Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I am so craving Oatmeal Cookies!


     I love cookies, there is something about cookies and milk that makes every day brighter and better.  When I was a kid my mom used to make cookies and us younger kids would have to try to sneak as many cookies away as possible before the older kids got home and ate all of them, and believe you me I do mean ALL of them.  I have updated my mom's recipe just a little bit, and I do have to say I think these cookies are amazing.  The recipe makes four dozen cookies, so it gives you plenty to share and enjoy.  One of the things that I love about this cookie is that it is a nice hearty cookie, really one cookie is all that you need at one time, also these cookies travel well in a purse or bag.  Whenever I make these I toss a couple in a ziploc bag in my purse for the next day.   Try these, you will love them!

What I have been reading Wednesday- The Essential New York Times Cookbook

Product Details     I must first off apologize for my hiatus from the blog during the Holiday.  I hope that everyone had a nice time with family and friends.  I had a great weekend, with lots of amazing food as well, definitely gave me motivation to make sure I am hitting the gym.  The past couple weeks I have acquired several new cookbooks, and I am loving these.  This cookbook is one that I was skeptical of in the beginning.  Generally it has been my experience that whenever someone says "essential" it never is.  So I braced myself for disappointment with this cookbook.  I am pleased to say that the disappointment never came, this was an excellent cookbook.

This book is actually a compilation of the New York Times food column, highlighting articles and recipes all the way from the 1850s.  There are also anecdotes and stories with the recipes.  I loved this book it was almost a history book as well, I was able to see the evolution of food in this country over the past 150 years.  This really is a fascinating book, and it has some delicious recipes.  This is definitely a cookbook you will enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Miso Soup- Always a perfect soup

Picture of Hearty Shiitake Mushroom and Miso Soup Recipe
     Some days I just need soup, today was one of those days.  When I have soup I always find it calms me  and warms my whole body.  Honestly how can anyone be sad when they have a nice bowl of soup in front of them?  Some days I find myself thinking of so many different ways that I feel my life is going.  Sometimes when the world is spinning every which direction its nice to stop, sit down and reflect over a bowl of steaming soup.  Soup will always be one of the most perfect dishes out there, it is always satisfying and always hit the spot.  Sometimes at the end of the week soup is just the perfect relaxation dish.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I have been reading Wednesday- Mini Cupcakes

     I love cupcakes, there is something about them I just find irresistible.  I love all of the different creations there are in the realm of cupcakes.  The past few years their popularity has certainly soared, but I have to say I have always loved them.  I used to love it when my mom would make cupcakes for us, and we would get to decorate them.  Each one of us was able to make our own personal creation that we eagerly devoured upon completion.

     Cupcakes have totally transformed into an amazing canvas for expression.  You can do whimsical, vintage, retro, decadent, healthy, whatever your imagination can dream of.  This book is the collection of recipes for the bakery, Mini Cupcakes.  Let me tell you, you are in for a treat with this book.  These are hands down the most amazing cupcakes I have ever had.  I have been lucky to go to the actually bakery and get them fresh.  The smell of decadence fills the entire bakery, it is intoxicating.  I was so pleased with these recipes, I was able to exactly recreate the delicious cupcakes I had at the bakery, so if you don't live close to the bakery no worries, you can still enjoy these amazing cupcakes. 

Thoughts on Cooking

     “Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”

Julia Child (1912-2004)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy National Garlic Day- Shrimp Scampi

     Happy National Garlic  Day!  It is an exciting day I know.  How do you use garlic in your cooking, I would love any suggestions as I love cooking with garlic, it adds such a dimension to my cooking.  I love the smell of it roasting on the skillet and the nutty flavor that can come from it.  There are so many different ways to use garlic, but one of my favorite recipes with garlic is nothing more than a simple shrimp scampi, but everyone loves a good shrimp scampi, and it comes all together in a breeze.  It is one of those meals that you can make on even your most chaotic of days and is always going to be a crowd pleaser.  This recipe really shows how sometimes something simple can be simply amazing.  Fix yourself some and enjoy National Garlic Day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meatless Monday-Walnut Stuffed Eggplant

     It's another Meatless Monday!  One of the things I love about Meatless Monday is that I feel it inspires me to be more creative with my cooking.  Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to find a satisfying meatless dinner.  I love this recipe, and it smells amazing while it is cooking,  the smell of tomato sauce and garlic is always incredible.  It is also a very pretty dish when cooked, and a very hearty dish too.  Definitely try this recipe, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Down South Gingerbread

     I adore gingerbread, it is so spicy and flavorful, and when made right it just melts in your mouth.  Not as many people make it any more, I wonder why that is.   It seems that now people primarily only make it around the holidays.  Growing up we had this frequently in our house, my brothers and I loved it.  I love that it is a nice easy cake to make, that really is perfect for any time.  When I lived in the South I saw all sorts of different ways to make gingerbread, it was a popular dessert of the colonial south, and everyone felt that their Grandma had the best recipe for gingerbread ever.  I personally think that mine is the best, but isn't that what cooking is all about?  Creating recipes that best suit your tastes?  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Lemongrass Fish Recipe

     I love lemongrass, I love the taste  and zest it adds to the recipes, as Americans we rarely use it in our cooking.  I definitely think we are missing out, it adds such a bright pop to dishes.  As you can tell by a lot of my recipes I love to use spices and herbs in my cooking, they add a tremendous amount of flavor with very little calories.  I try to get as much flavor as possible or as few calories as possible, after all swimsuit season is coming up.  This recipe is a great recipe for any type of fish, I have also used it on scallops and shrimp with great success I usually serve it with some rice or vermicelli and a nice green salad, or steamed veggies.  This is a great base recipe, and you can substitute whatever protein you want, and adjust the spice level to your liking.

Sunday Afternoon Treat

     I love Sundays, such nice relaxing days full of inspiration.  Every Sunday I try to make some sort of treat to make Sunday even a bit more special.  These scones are great Sundays or really anytime,   I love the tang of the orange zest and the dried currants.   Usually I serve these with honey butter or lemon curd, and a nice mug of hot chocolate.  It is a little indulgence, but you do have to find time for the little indulgences in life.

     Whenever I eat these I try to pretend I am in England, instead of just dreaming of being there.  I love a lot of the British recipes, there is always something so refined and elegant about their cooking style.  Something that makes even the most simple of recipes into something really special.  That is what cooking is all about though.  Taking simple raw ingredients and making something extraordinary from them.  I love it when I can use simple things and make something worthy of sharing with the people I care about, so try a batch of these for the people close to you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring is coming Dinner...

     Yesterday I had one of the best lamb curries ever.  A friend of mine went and tried out a new restaurant in town and I was very impressed by the curry, so I came home and tried to replicate the dish for my own personal kitchen.  I love the aromas that are in the kitchen when I make a curry.  I can picture myself in India or the Far East, seeing exotic things and exploring the world.  Curry is one of those spices that just transforms you and takes you away to a whole new place.  I was very pleased with how well this came out, it was delicious.  I also made Chai Cupcakes for dessert, such an amazing dinner!  It makes me feel like Spring is here.  I am ready for picnics and evenings on the patio sipping lemonade at sunset.  Goodness doesn't that sound idyllic?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chicken Meatball Soup

     I love watching cooking shows, and especially cooking competition shows.  Last night I watched Top Chef Masters, I absolutely love that show, and I try to think what I would make if I was in the same situation.  The quickfire challenge was to make the perfect meatball, the winner made a Vietnamese chicken meatball.  If it had been me I would have made a meatball soup, course I am a huge soup fan to begin with.  So many cooking shows inspire me to look at my own cooking through new eyes, and to branch out to new things.

     I always get rave reviews anytime I make this soup, it is a nice light soup that is my take on the traditional meatball soup.  Usually I make a nice loaf of crusty sourdough bread and enjoy a bowl of this soup.  It is also a great soup to have on some of the grey and gloomy days that have been in my area lately.  The aroma from this soup and flavors will definitely brighten any day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I have been reading Wednesday- My New Orleans


     I had heard a lot of positive feedback on this book so I decided to check it out for myself.  Amazing stuff!  The recipes are amazing and the photography is incredible.  John Besh is chef whose background I have always found intriguing.  He is a southern boy, born and raised in Mississippi, but also has been all over the world, both as a chef and as a Marine.  Definitely a true American.

     His cooking and recipes are indicative of the Southern area that he loves, he combines stories with recipes and tips and history of New Orleans.  There is French, Cajun and Creole cooking.  I have tried several of the recipes, and they are easy to follow and amazing, one word of caution though, these recipes are designed to feed a small army, so if you are cooking for just yourself as I am you will need to cut the recipes down to size.

Happy National Peach Cobbler Day!!!

     Happy National Peach Cobbler Day!  What you didn't know it was National Peach Cobbler Day?  Neither did I until last night when I stumbled across on an article on it, and let's just be honest any excuse I can find to justify making and eating peach cobbler makes me happy.  As a southern girl at heart I love my peach cobblers, they always hit the spot and are always a perfect dessert.  Sadly, some people don't appreciate cobbler as I think they should, true it isn't an overly fancy dessert, and really is made from humble ingredients.  So many times I hear people say they wont make cobblers for company because it isn't fancy or impressive enough.  Seriously?   It tastes good and people love it and it is so easy to make, what could be better?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Midnight Munchies- Portobello Sandwich

     Some nights you just get the midnight munchies, sandwiches are one of my favorite midnight munchie snacks, but this sandwich is great for any time as well.  I love that it is also a healthy sandwich as well so I don't have to feel guilty.  A good friend of mine is a vegetarian and this is a sandwich for the carnivores and vegetarians alike, it pleases everyone!  This is a sandwich I actually find myself craving frequently, so good!  Give it a shot!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Meringues

    I always love an easy and inexpensive desserts, there is something so satisfying creating something decadent from practically nothing.  These are lighter than air and addictive, you will definitely want to have more than just one!  I make these often for just myself, but this time I am making these to teach a friend of mine an easy and cheap dessert.  This makes about forty to fifty meringues and costs under a dollar, bargain, I think so!    Sometimes I use different flavorings and food colors for different events.  I make them in pastel colors for petty much every baby shower I go to.  Also I love that these store so well, if you put them in an airtight container they will last for up to three weeks.  Try these yourself, I am sure you will be very pleased with the results!

Meatless Mondays- Portabella Pizzas

     I have never been a huge pizza fan, but I do love portabella pizzas, these are so good.  These are a great dinner on meatless Mondays, or any day you are looking for something lighter that still tastes great and will please the entire family.  There really is no true recipe for them, this is the basic recipe I use, but of course you can switch out the toppings according to your own tastes.  This is also a great recipe to use to get kids involved in the cooking process, and most importantly eating their veggies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Breakfast


     Who doesn't love a lazy weekend breakfast?  After a long week sometimes I like to indulge in a decadent weekend breakfast.  This is also a great recipe to use if you have someone special to make breakfast in bed for.  Use this recipe for Mother's Day and mom will be thrilled.  I usually just make it as a nice way to start a relaxing weekend after a busy week at work.  Sometimes it is nice to to do the little indulgent things for yourself, treat yourself to this, and treat the ones you love as well.  You will love it, and so will the kids.

Cheater Ravioli


     I love Italian food, and I especially love Italian food with a flair.  This is a modern take on the traditional ravioli.  I love this recipe for so many reasons.  It is super easy to make, actually sometimes I call it "cheater ravioli", since I use the won ton wrappers instead of actually using freshly made pasta.  I usually make the fresh pasta only for company when I make this recipe, either way is fabulous.  That makes this an super easy weeknight meal that you can easily get on the table.  This is a super rich dish, it pretty much just melts in your mouth, serve it with salad and breadsticks for an impressive yet simple meal.  This is a simple enough recipe that anyone can make and have fantastic results, I a sure that you will enjoy this as much as I do.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Aprons & Petit Fours

"Glamour Girl" Pink Sequin Apron by Haute in the Kitchen TM     How cute and totally girly is this?  I love aprons, I have tons of them, and I have a special affinity for vintage aprons.  I grew up with aprons, my mother always wore aprons and as a kid I thought that every grown woman wore aprons.  I thought that was when you were really a grown-up when you had aprons of your own that you got to wear when you were cooking.  As I have gotten older I have realized that perhaps I had an idyllic look on things, however I still have to say I adore my aprons and will always be wearing them.  This apron I found online and it was seriously screaming my name.  This apron I am hoping will be a great hostess apron, or just a anytime apron as well.  It makes me feel like I should cook something fancy whenever I wear it. 

Chloe's Corner- Liver Brownie Doggie Treats


     As I have mentioned before my dog it utterly and completely spoiled.  I love her to pieces though, she is truly a great dog, just extremely well-indulged.  Whenever I fix food Chloe always wants a bite (or more) of whatever I am eating.  So I have been doing alot of reading to come up with Chloe's own treat recipes for her.  Two of her favorite things are liver and peanut butter, she eats anything with those flavors.  So I decided to make her liver brownies, they look disgusting but she devoured these, she absolutely loved them!  It was good to see her enjoy her treats, I hope your dogs enjoy this as much as mine did!

Cajun Flair Shrimp

     Doesn't this look lovely? Last night's dinner was excellent! I made Cajun Shrimp and topped it over some leftover tabbouleh salad. It was a nice light and healthy meal without feeling like diet food. Also this was such a quick meal to make as well. I have discovered that what takes the most time in cooking is planning, if you plan your menu every week you won't have as many problems with getting dinner on the table.

     Having lived in the south I love Cajun and creole cooking, I love the flavors, how they use spices to elevate simple ingredients to something really phenomenal. I love the gumbos, the jambalaya, the crab boils, the cornbread and cobblers. Amazing food, I am getting hungry just thinking of it. This is a shrimp dish with a Cajun flair, I hope your families enjoy is as much as I do.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ciopinno-Perfect for a grey and gloomy day

     I love seafood, I could eat it every meal of everyday.  So clearly I am always looking for seafood recipes to incorporate into my recipe mainstays.  This is one of my "Grey & Gloomy Day" recipes.  It is warm and comforting and the smells of this soup is really incredible.  The first time I ever had ciopinno I was mesmerized at all of the different textures of the soup, it seemed to have everything, soft, firm, crunchy, it really was quite the experience.  You can also make substitutions to this recipe and find what works best for you.  I love to fix this on a cold night with rolls or sourdough bread it is a great way to end a grey and gloomy day. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Perfect Salmon Dinner


     I definitely am trying to eat healthier, so many times I hear that healthy food isn't flavorful food.  That is so not true, this is such a light and healthy, but delicious meal.  I have been reading so many different articles about anti-inflammatory foods, the flat belly diet and omega 3s.  If you are interested in an of that, this recipe is totally for you, it helps with all three issues.  I also love how this recipe doesn't have a strong fishy taste, so if you have people who aren't as fond of fish this will still work for them.  Hopefully this recipe will help me get ready for swimsuit season.  Serve is with string beans and brown rice and it is a great easy weeknight dinner.

Ambrosia

     In Greek mythology Ambrosia was considered the food of the Gods, and would give immortality to any who ate it.  While I am not convince that is the case, I am always looking for healthy recipes, especially ones for dessert.  I have always loved ambrosia and fix it frequently, its easy and healthy and tastes great.  My particular  ambrosia recipe is very different then a lot of the recipes you see in the cookbooks, I don't add whipped cream, I just have the flavors of the fruits melding together, because this recipe is nice and low calorie you can use this as a dessert or even a snack or breakfast dish, today it is my breakfast. Yummy!

What I have been eating Wednesday...

     I love cooking shows, usually if I am watching t.v. it is somehow food related.  I love to see what the challenges are for cooking shows and try to put myself in their places and think about what I would do if it were me.  Many times I am actually quite inspired by the creativity of the Chefs.  They really do come up with some amazing creations.

     Top Chef is one of my favorite cooking shows, so I thought it was only fitting that I review the book associated with it.  Also as a side note, tonight is the season premiere for Top Chef Masters.  Is anyone else as excited as I am?  This book is actually a great combination of the information on the show and it's contestants and their biographical background, and the most famous recipes of the show.  Definitely give this cookbook a chance, it will inspire your own creativity to try new things in the kitchen.  I sometimes hear from people that they have gotten into a rut in the kitchen, I think that is interesting.  For me I never feel like I get into a rut cause I am constantly trying new things.  This cookbook will give you ideas to keep energizing your cooking.  Try it for yourself, and don't forget to watch Top Chef tonight!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cowboy Cookies


     Who doesn't love a great cookie?  Everyone loves a good cookie.  One of my favorites is the cowboy cookie, it is so rich and chewy and so good.  I remember the first time I tried a cowboy cookie.  It was a couple years ago and I was sick at home when a friend brought me cheddar broccoli soup and these cookies, it was exactly what the doctor ordered for me that day.  I became addicted to these cookies and decided that I just had to master this recipe for myself.  These have become a favorite amongst all of my friends especially with a nice tall glass of milk. Enjoy these cookies, they are amazing!

It's Quiche Time!


     Mom was right as usual, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  I am definitely always looking for healthy breakfasts that are nice and easy as well.  I know so many of us skip breakfast, but there really is no reason to.  Make a batch of these on Sunday night and then take the individual quiches every morning on the way out the door if you are really in a rush.

     This is also a great recipe to make for a brunch or even you can make the recipe in a mini muffin tin and use it as an appetizer recipes.  The nice thing about quiches is that anything goes, you can add and omit ingredients to your taste,  Don't like peppers?  Fine, pick something different!  Experiment and see what you like and find a nice balanced breakfast that will work for you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatless Monday-Ratatouille

      I love the bright colors of a good ratatouille, it really makes eating your veggies so much easier.  Ratatouille is one of my newer favorite recipes that I have started eating the past few years, and yes I will admit that it is partially inspired by the movie of the same name.  I mean really, who doesn't love a cooking rat?  I especially love making this after a trip to a farmers market.  Having vine ripe, fresh ingredients really makes a difference.

      One reason also why I am sharing this recipe is because I am trying to do the "Meatless Mondays".  I really don't eat much red meat, but I do eat a ton of fish and chicken, so I figure a vegetarian day would probably be good for me.  This is also a great recipe for a budget conscious cook, since it is a nice and affordable meal to make.  Some people bake their ratatouille in the oven, I usually just make mine stove top in my Le Creuset Dutch oven (one of my favorite kitchen items ever)!

Strawberry Shortcake & Food for a Princess


     When I was a little girl sometimes my mother would make strawberry shortcake for me.  As a little girl I thought it was food fit  for a princess, after all it was sweet and fluffy, and most importantly pink.  In the summers my parents would take us to the u-pick berry farms where we got to pick our own strawberries, it was so much fun!  Mom would make shortcake, and also mom's famous freezer jam, a jam for which I still get cravings for to this day.

     As a little girl I would often ask for some sort of pink dessert for my birthday, but this was always my favorite.  Strawberry shortcake was always so pretty, as a little girl I felt like a grown up eating it, like I was a princess, instead of just a little girl playing dress up.  This is a recipe that I make frequently in the spring and summer when you can get those beautiful ripe, sweet strawberries.  This is a great dessert for a weeknight dinner, or a great dessert also for a ladies luncheon.  I am sure once you try this recipe you will find many reasons to make it.

Green Smoothies & Swimsuit Season


     As much as I have been saying how excited I am for warm weather, I have to admit I have some trepidation as well.  Like most women, swimsuit season can cause some fear.  The season or swimsuits and shorts can cause you to stop and wonder if you are ready for it.  Are we ever truly ready for swimsuit season?  I have been trying to do my best, I eat healthily and work out and cross my fingers for luck.  One thing that I have heard so many different experts talk about are "green smoothies". 

     What is the deal with these smoothies?  Are they really all that great?  Are they going to help me get into shape for the summer?  So many questions when it comes to the smoothies.  I have tried several of the store bought smoothies, but decided to create one of my own.  I am not sure that it is helping me lose weight at all, but it does help my focus and metal clarity so that is good.  This  recipe also tastes good too, it is a great morning pick me up, or a great way to get kids to eat their veggies.

Best Pizza Ever! Pizza Quattro Formaggi

     Why is it that everyone loves pizza, people crave it and eat it over and over again.  It is the staple food for frat boys and executives alike.  What is the allure of this food?   Does it have some sort of magical power, or are we just looking for a cheap and easy comfort food?

     I have to admit that usually I am not much of a pizza person.  Usually it is so salty and greasy that it just isn't for me.  However, at one of my new favorite restaurants they had this pizza on the menu and I fell in love with it.  It was really the perfect pizza, of course the restaurant wouldn't give me the recipe so I had to replicate it on my own.  This recipe makes for an upscale pizza that makes a great lunch or dinner with a green salad.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bedtime Stories & Stone Soup

     Do you remember story time as a kid?  Do you remember mom or dad reading a story to you while you were all snuggled in bed in your pajamas?  I have always loved books, they were a huge part of my world as a kid.  I still go to bed every night reading, I hope children still have books as a part of their life.  In my community recently there have been literacy drives to get books into the homes of underprivileged kids.  This is a cause near and dear to my heart so I was involved in this endeavor.  I know how books helped shape my life and how much I love them, I definitely want every child to have the same opportunities that I had.  One of my favorite bedtime stories was a Portuguese fable, Stone Soup.  I love that story and how it teaches about working together to achieve a common goal.  It really does show how great things can be accomplished if we all work together.  Also in this story stone soup brings the town together.  Food does have the capacity to bring people together, it helps us to build memories.  What foods bring your loved ones together?  What was your favorite bedtime story?  I took the story one step further and made a recipe to go along with the story for your very own stone soup.  Enjoy!

Comfort Food & Me Time...Rice Pudding


     Who doesn't love comfort food, especially on a dreary and gloomy day?  This is one of my favorite feel good recipes, it is so easy and so satisfying.  It is another one of those recipes that will invoke all sorts of memories when you have it, and it is always a crowd pleaser.  Even people that think they don't like rice pudding love this one.  I also find this is a great dessert of treat when you have an upset stomach, at least it always makes me feel better.

     So grab a quilt and a bowl of this and find a nice movie on t.v., and put up your feet and relax.  It is interesting I was watching the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" not too long ago and it always strikes me when they say that we never master the art of relaxing.  I am busy just like all of you, but I know I am so much more productive when I have scheduled some "me time" for myself.  So you have earned it, enjoy!

Ice Cream Sundae Memories...Turtle Sundaes


     119 years is a long time, a VERY long time.  Today is the 119 year anniversary of the first documented ice cream sundae.  Ice cream has always had a soft spot in my heart, after all who doesn't love ice cream.  My very first job as a kid was working in a ice cream parlor.  It was the "cool" job to have, no really it was in my hometown.  I never got sick of all of the different sundae and shake creations that we could make.

     One of my favorite parts of the job was how many times we would have grandparents come in with their grandchildren to enjoy a treat.  Our ice cream store had been in the town for a very long time, and was a local institution.  It was where everyone went to celebrate after the local football games, or where people would go for a treat after movie and a dinner on a date.  To this day that was one of my most favorite jobs.  I really did love the clean floors, and ice cream freezers full of goodies, and the sprinkles and toppings everywhere you looked.  I also remember the long lines that would go out the door of people waiting to get a treat.

Get Well Soon Basket

     It seems as though in Springtime while the weather goes from cool to warm and back again, over and over again, people get sick.  Such is the case this year, a good friend of mine has caught the flu and sounds downright miserable.

     I know that nobody enjoys being sick, so I try to always do something nice for my friends when I know they are sick or having a tough time, maybe that is also why they always tell me when they aren't feeling well.  These are three of my favorite treats to put in a get well basket, it brightens everyone's spirits  I usually also tuck in a good magazine or book as well to ease the boredom, and I always add a flower, because everyone smiles when they see a flower.

Sunday Lamb Dinner

     I love Sundays, I firmly believe that they are a day to meditate, relax and recharge for the upcoming week.  Growing up they were a great day to bring the family together and bond.  I remember Sundays at home, we would all pile into the family car and go to church in our Sunday best, then come home and Mom would have an amazing Sunday dinner that she would prepare for us.

     One of my favorite Sunday dinners is lamb, I have always loved lamb and it makes a lovely dinner, one for just the family or fancy enough when there are guests coming to visit.  This particular recipe is also excellent to use the leftovers in kebabs or stews.  So much that you can do with lamb.  I usually serve mine with a risotto and asparagus and a green salad, but really anything goes.  I know I am looking forward to my Sunday dinner today, hopefully you are too!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Orange Lavender Shortbread

     I firmly believe that if I start cooking and writing about all of my favorite springtime recipes that the weather will finally take the hint and follow suit.  Don't try to talk logic to me, that's my belief and I am sticking with it!  To me no flavor says spring more than lemon or citrus,  It is so light, refreshing, and invigorating.  Whenever I eat these I can picture myself at a beautiful estate in a flowing dress and enjoying a lazy afternoon.  Or it could just be me eating them as I clean and do laundry around the home, both options work, even if option A sounds far more romantic.

Rose Macaroons, Elegance at its finest!


     Do you ever find yourself getting a "foodie gift", and then not being quite sure how to use it?  I love to try new things and experiment, but sometimes the hardest thing for me is deciding what to try first.  Such was the case with this little creation.  A good friend of mine gave me a bottle of french rose flower syrup.  Even then name sounds so fancy and elegant.

     I wanted to do this gift justice in everything that I made with it, one of the most elegant desserts to me are macaroons.  So I tweaked with my macaroon recipe and came up with this, the results were so scrumptious, and really it was a treat fit for a princess.  I love the satisfaction that comes from another successful new creation.  I am still trying to figure out what I will try next with my precious syrup, any ideas?

Spicy Lemon Catfish

     Catfish has always been a maligned fish.  Everyone calls it ugly, or a bottom feeder, or a garbage fish.  Its bad reputation is legendary, however it teaches you what they always say, "don't judge a book by it's cover."  As well all know catfish is one ugly fish!  Underneath all the scales and whiskers is one delectable fish. 

     Catfish has become one of my absolute favorites, primarily because its usually one of the cheapest at the grocery store.  There are so many different ways to use it too.  It is a an easy fish to cook ad incorporate so many different flavors with.  You can fry it, grill it, bake it. poach it.  Find out what works for you!  This is my favorite though.  Enjoy!

Springtime Parties


     Something about daffodils always make me smile, they are so bright and cheery, and seem to say that the warm weather is coming, and the nice lazy days of summer are ahead.  I love springtime and I love springtime entertaining.  These are two of my staple recipes that I use when I host a springtime brunch.  I think I should start planning my next soiree.  I love being a hostess, I love people feeling welcome and at home in my place.  I find it very rewarding to have people want to visit and enjoy my cooking.  It goes back to my core cooking goal which is to cook from the heart and to bring people closer together through healthy and delicious food.  Plan a springtime party of your own, it is a great way to bid winter farewell.  I will be featuring several of my favorite springtime recipes that I have created all month, try some of them and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Biscotti Memories

     I remember very well the first time I had biscotti.  I was in high school and working in the mall, on a lunch break I stopped my the mall coffee place to get a hot chocolate and a muffin.  As I got my hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles, thank you very much, the barista asked me if I had ever had biscotti.  I said that I hadn't, she told me to try it and I wouldn't be disappointed.  I followed her heed, and oh my goodness the biscotti I had that day was amazing! 

     I love to have biscotti with my hot chocolate or apple cider, or even just a large glass of milk.  It is really the grown up and elegant version of milk and cookies.  I have made these time and time again, and also often give them as housewarming gifts with some mugs and hot chocolate, or as a nice pick me up gift.  Biscotti is so easy to make, and the homemade biscotti tastes so much better than any of the packaged ones that you see in the store.  These are my three favorite recipes, try them yourselves, make up your favorite hot drink get a good book and sit down and enjoy!

Springtime Blood Orange Salad


     Has everyone had a chance to try blood oranges yet?  If not please do.  I am so in love with these little beauties.  They really are so juicy and sweet, and cook like a dream! Lately blood oranges have been on sale in my local supermarket (hence my constant usage of them), and they are so amazing that I try to incorporate them into my recipes anytime I can right now.  I find myself having to go to a lot of gatherings where I need to bring a dish or salad, this is one that every time I make people ask for the recipe.  I am honestly embarrassed at how easy it is, but it is still delicious every single time.  I love how this recipe makes me think of spring and warm weather.  It is a great dinner salad, or also a great lunch salad, and healthy too!  Who says healthy food can't be full of flavor and mouth-watering?

Julia Child's White Bread Recipe


[Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread. ~M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

Chloe's Corner...Homemade Dog Treats


     I try to pretend that my dog isn't spoiled, but that is a huge lie, she is completely and totally spoiled.  Several friends and I all have dogs that we love, we have big dogs, little dogs, smart dogs, and well you get the idea.  I try to make sure that my dog gets the best of everything, after all women's best friend deserves to be treated to the finer things in life. 

     In my town there are a few dog treat bakeries.  Chloe loves to go there, she gets so excited when she gets a treat, whether she has earned it or not.  Gourmet dog treats are super expensive, and me trying to save money have experimented with a few recipes to see what I could make on my own for Chloe.  This recipe is for her everyday training treat.  It is super easy to make and super cheap.  With this particular recipe I use the small dog bone cookie cutter since Chloe is a smaller dog, this recipe for me makes 4 dozen small bones.  Give it a try, your dogs will love it