Monday, May 30, 2011

Meatless Monday-Mushroom Stroganoff

     Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Not to go off on a complete tangent, I do want to thank the brave men and women who have served in uniform, I appreciate that sacrifice. So now that the weather is finally getting warmer, its time for some lighter dinner recipes.  This is one of my favorite recipes, it also is a vegetarian recipe, definitely give this one a shot, it is amazing.

     Now I know not everyone is a big fan of mushrooms, so if mushrooms aren't your thing you can also substitute eggplant or zucchini in this recipe and it tastes really good as well.  I like mushrooms though, so that's what I always go for when I make this recipe.  Also this is a very budget friendly recipe, so that always works well for when the money is a little tight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everyday Elegance, Orange Lavender Creme Brulee

     A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe. ~Thomas Keller

     I always love going to friend's homes for the first time.  It is always interesting to see if the home is indicative of the friend's personality.  I like to think that my home is just like what I try to be, warm, inviting, cozy, organized, elegant and totally girly and feminine.  I try to invoke the same emotions in my kitchen.  I want my food to feel like you can sit down with me as a friend at my kitchen table and get a picture of who I am as a person.

     I grew up reading all of the classic books, and wondering what it would have been like to have lived in the Victorian era, what it would have been like to have gone to tea with Anne Shirley, or to New York with Jo March, or parties with Polly Milton.  I loved the elegance of the descriptions I would read, as the authors would talk about the fine china present, and the doilies and the silver, and then how they would mention the food, it always seemed so simple, yet so perfectly elegant.  Simple, yet perfectly elegant is what I try to recreate in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I have been reading Wednesday

100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life     As you all know I love cookbooks, I also love cookbooks with a slight sense of humor at times.  This was a gift from a friend of mine and I have to admit that I was very skeptical of this cookbook. 

     As a GLAMOUR magazine reader I have read numerous times their accolades for the "engagement chicken", girl makes chicken for boyfriend, boyfriend proposes to girl that night or within next few days.  Boy and girl live happily ever after.   I have never made that recipe for a guy before, maybe that is why I am single, highly doubt it, but who knows?   I figured it was just cause I am cynical and fussy, maybe it really is not my fault.  Anyway, I love roasted chicken and I decided to make the recipe all for myself, that's right, not for a guy, not for company, just me, myself and I.  I wonder if that is against the rules for me to make it and not somehow have a man involved.  Oh well.  Hopefully this doesn't mean that I am jinxing this recipe for the others.  Personally I found that lasagna and cheesecake always work well with guys, but maybe roast chicken is the new great way to a guys heart.  Try it out yourself and let me know how it work for you. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mango Fool

     "One way can be learned by starting to see the magic in everything.  Sometimes is seems to be hiding but it is always there.  The more we can see the magic in one thing, a tiny flower, a mango, someone we love, then the more we are able to see the magic in everyone.  Where does the mango stop and the sky begin" ~Joshua Kadison

     While I was at the grocery store I saw the most beautiful mangoes at a price of three for a dollar.  As you and I know that is an amazing price for mangoes, so I stocked up and took these fragrant juicy beauties home with me, so far I have made Mango Sticky Rice, Mango Salsa, and today I made Mango Fool.  The name always makes me laugh, I think that this will be the perfect dessert to my Ole Fajitas dinner. 

Spring is Coming! That Means Ole Fajitas!

     The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning

     Sometimes it seems that Spring is never going to come, I mean really, am I destined to another month of grey and gloomy weather?  I have decided to try positive thinking, so I decided to make my signature Ole Fajitas as way to hopefully nudge Spring into coming.  I love to have these with my black bean salad, and a large glass of water with lemon or mint for a great low-fat and refreshing meal.

Cooking Alone, Piano Lessons & Mango Sticky Rice

      “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

Laurie Colwin

     When are we ever really alone?  For me I don't know that I ever really am, I bring the memories of those near and dear to me everywhere I go, especially in the kitchen.  I love being in the kitchen, it brings back so many memories every time.  I feel my grandmother when I wear her old aprons into the kitchen and use her old cookbooks, or my mother when I alter yet another one of her classic recipes. (Sorry Mom)  Or remember all the time I spend pouring through magazines and cookbooks when I try a new creation.  There is always an excitement in the air.  I love cooking, and I love creating new things.  And I love cooking for the people I love.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rainy Day Blackberry Tart

     It was a crazy day today, when I woke up the weather was absolutely beautiful, the sky was blue and it looked like a beautiful Saturday.  Then the rains came and the lightning, so what is a girl to do?  A girl makes a fabulous dessert and curls up with her adorable dog and reads a good book.  Just so you know my housework was already done for the day.  The book, was actually a new book, called The Post Mistress,  which so far is an excellent book so I will have to write more on it.  The dessert was my own blackberry tart recipe which is always a crowd pleaser.  It was a nice relaxing way to spend the afternoon that is for sure.  Try this on your next rainy day and see what you think.

Talents & Sharing & Pumpkin Madness

     This week I saw a beautiful thing, I saw someone's talents in action, and saw how talents can be a way to enrich the life of others.  As I mentioned I had company in town this week.  It was so good to have family come to visit, I had my brother and his family come to visit, his wife is one of those women that seems to be able to do everything perfectly.   I am not bitter, just amazed and her abilities.  Anyways, she is an amazing quilter, and I was able to see the results of something very special she did.  A dear friend of hers lost her husband in the battle to cancer, leaving her as a young widow with a beautiful little girl.  My sister in law made a beautiful quilt with fabrics from the husband's shirts for the wife and daughter to have in their home.  I was able to meet this lovely woman, and her daughter and be present when my sister in law presented this quilt to her during their visit this week.  It was a beautiful thing to see someone use their talents and abilities to serve and strengthen another person, to extend compassion and hope and comfort.  It is what I try to do with my cooking, to be there for another person through the bad and the good, and to give and share of myself.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Apple Pecan Pancakes

     Somedays you need an indulgence, today is one of those days, I had a craving for pancakes for breakfast today, don't these look delicious?  These pancakes would also make a great recipe to make for Mother's Day Breakfast, and easy too so the clean-up is easy.  These are easy to make with the basics you already have in your kitchen.  These are also great to have with a berry syrup, or bananas on top, or my favorite, chocolate chips.

     Serve these with an ambrosia salad, or eggs and bacon and you will have a breakfast fit for a queen, treat mom like the queen she is and deserves to be treated like.  This is also great for any weekend that you have company coming to visit.  This weekend I have family coming to visit, and I think this might be the breakfast I make for them.  What do you think? 

Whirlwind Week

     Do you ever have those whirlwind weeks, you know the weeks I am talking about.  The ones where you lose all track of time and days and get to Friday and think......did I get everything done?  How is it Friday already?  Well this has been one of those weeks.  It has been a good week, just busy.  This week has had Cinco de Mayo, tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby and Sunday, most importantly of all is Mother's Day.  To all of you mothers out there I admire your dedication and say Happy Mother's Day.  My Mother taught me so much, she taught me to always be actively learning and growing.  Mothers have this influence in our lives that nothing else can really replicate.  I definitely appreciate everything that my mother has taught me and everything that she continues to teach me, (I am afraid I am a bit of a work in progress here.)