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get it while you can

hatch salsa

OK, I posted about the awesome Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s for the Green Chile Salsa and Pork Stew … and now it seems as though it may be gone for the season.  You Snooze – You Lose.

That being said, I do not want you to lose out on this fabulous frozen pizza at Costco.

Costco Frozen pizza

Honestly I want you ALL to run to Costco and buy this frozen pizza so that they don’t ever get rid of it.  Don’t you hate it when that happens?

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October 23, 2014   1 Comment

Peggy’s great Trader Joe’s find

My BFF, Peggy, and I try to walk in the early morning hours at least 4 or 5 days a week. Either she drives to my house or I drive to her’s and we walk our neighborhoods.

IMG_5698

When I entered her house a couple of weeks ago, I smelled something delicious. She said she had made Green Chile Stew for a family dinner.

From the smell alone, I knew I HAD to have the recipe. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned before, but Peggy’s a great cook. She didn’t have a written recipe but she did share that she’d found a new product at Trader Joe’s that made her stew super easy.

Do Tell!

hatch salsa

Hatch Valley Salsa! I’m not sure how long they’ll have the salsa in stores since Hatch chiles are seasonal, so get over there and grab a bunch while you can.

After our walk, I drove directly to Trader Joe’s and bought seven jars of the stuff!

Then … on the morning of the Craft Party, I browned up a bunch of pork and when Peggy came early to help me set up, I made her help me put the stew together. Below is the delicious result!

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October 22, 2014   13 Comments

Greyson’s pancake dippers

greyson pumpkin patch

Our grandnephew, Greyson, spent the long weekend with us. He is 4 1/2 … so his parents, Tony and Amy, were along for the ride too. They are from Wisconsin. Tony is the son of Dave’s oldest brother, Roger. Amy is a dental hygienist and she had some continuing education classes to attend, so they made it into a mini-vacation.

BZZ Pumpkin patch

On Friday, we met up with Tram, Steve, Zak and Zoey along with Raechel and Brooklyn at The Simple Farm for their Pumpkin Patch and Tour.

Steve and Zoey

Greyson especially liked the goats, I have no photos to share of Grey enjoying the goats because I was holding Zak at the time. Holding babies always trumps photo taking!

breakfast at the swimup bar

On Saturday morning, I made pancake dippers for breakfast. Grey and Tony enjoyed them poolside. Well, not exactly pool “side” more like swim-up bar “side.”

I have posted about pancake dippers before, but the last time, I did not include a recipe. This time, I shall!

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October 20, 2014   5 Comments

gingerbread time!

At the Craft Party last weekend, it may have been warm outside and most of the guests were wearing shorts and sundresses …. that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to dream about and enjoy the fun and flavors of fall and winter!

crafting

What the heck!??! We were making fall and winter crafts so we may as well eat food associated with the season! With that in mind, I made these tasty gingerbread muffins.

gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8-ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

Grease 12 muffin cups; set aside.

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October 17, 2014   3 Comments

zucchini & tomatoes

Rainy and crafts

This is Rainy and the crafts she made at the Craft Party. Cheryl and Angie provided the Fall Wire Tray (with all the trimmings) as their craft and Sloane brought the Thankful Glitter Leaf Garland that Rainy chose to make.

Below is the second egg dish I served at the Craft Party. A quick note about it – leftovers are only good the day after. By the third day, the tomatoes have given off too much of their liquid and it gets soggy. If you don’t have a crowd of 10 to 12 to serve, feel free to cut the recipe in half and assemble in an 8-inch square baking dish, bake for the same amount of time.

Z & T Strata

Z & T Strata

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 green zucchini, ends trimmed then sliced in half diagonally, then thinly slice
  • 1 yellow zucchini, ends trimmed then sliced in half diagonally, then thinly slice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups dry French bread cubes
  • 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese (12 ounces)
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, melt butter over low heat. Use a brush and take some of the butter and grease a 3-quart baking dish; set the baking dish aside.

Zucchini and tomato

Add tomatoes and zucchini to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 6 minutes, , stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to lose their firmness but do not allow them to pot; remove from heat.

cooked

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October 16, 2014   5 Comments

Cocktail Infusions

The original craft that Tram planned to bring for the Craft Party was a very cool black and white-painted harlequin pumpkin. She and I looked at several options on Pinterest and we were both quite excited about it.  Then… time passed and well, if you’ve read this blog for more than a few months, you know that Tram has adorable 7-month old twins, Zak & Zoey. 

Z&Z

Yeah, I know! They are just about the cutest thing on this Earth! And to think that when they start talking up a storm, they will be calling me “Aunt Linda” – I’m super excited about that!

Anyhow, Tram has her hands more than full. As the party approached, I decided to take the pressure off and offer an easier craft option. One that I could help her with and one that was close to her strength. One with coffee! You also probably know that Tram and her husband, Steve, own Press Coffee Roasters.

So… I found some awesome bottles. Here are the bottles we used. Next, I gathered up all the ingredients needed – except some cinnamon sticks, and the coffee, of course, which I left to the expert! Somehow, between the two of us, we came up with the most popular craft at the party.

infussionsPhoto courtesy of Tram Mai

Cocktail Infusions!

And not just one flavor, but three delicious options!

Shopping Notes: All of the dried fruits were purchased at Trader Joe’s.  The whole spices can be found at any grocery store. The brown sugar cubes at Cost Plus and the rock sugar at an Asian market.

They come together in no time and make THE perfect hostess gift for the holidays. Or just a super cool thing for your own bar. Enjoy!

cranberry

To make the Cranberry Infusion:

Gently remove the cork topper.

Place about 5 of each of the three varieties of cranberries in the bottle. Add 2 brown sugar cubes and 8 white rock sugar pieces. Tear 2 of the large pieces of the dried Mandarin fruit into the bottle.

Return the cork topper and add the Cranberry Infusion label.

 (Trader Joe’s carries at least three varieties of cranberries. All have slightly different coloring and texture, so I bought 3 packages for added interest. You can use just one variety and drop in 15 cranberries of the same type.)

ginger

To make the Ginger-Cardamom Infusion:

Gently remove the cork topper.

Place 4 pieces of the Crystallized Ginger and 6 pieces of the Uncrystallized Ginger in the bottle. Add 2 brown sugar cubes and 8 white rock sugar pieces. Add 1 tablespoon Cardamom seeds to the bottle. Tear 2 of the large pieces of the dried Mandarin fruit into the bottle.

Return the cork topper and add the Ginger-Cardamom Infusion label.

(Same thing with the ginger. It would be perfectly fine to just use either ginger, but the two add a better look to the bottle with more variety and interest.)

espresso

To make the Espresso Infusion:

Gently remove the cork topper.

Place 2 tablespoons coffee beans (preferably Press Coffee!) in the bottle. Add 2 brown sugar cubes and 6 white rock sugar pieces. Next add 1 piece of vanilla bean (cut a vanilla bean in thirds and just add 1/3 of the bean) plus 1 piece of cinnamon stick, and 3 whole loves.

Return the cork topper and add the Espresso Infusion label.

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October 15, 2014   5 Comments

Caramel Apple Crêpes

caramel apple crepes

This was the most popular recipe from the Craft Party, not surprising since it’s basically a dessert disguised as a breakfast food. Tomorrow, I’ll post the instructions for one of the most popular crafts that was offered … Cocktail Infusions. Those may not sound exactly crafty, but they are easy to assemble and make great hostess gifts!

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October 14, 2014   6 Comments

breakfast lasagna

crafty!

Yesterday, I held my 5th annual Craft Party.  This time around, I only provided three craft options and asked the attendees to provide crafts they wanted to share too.

Just as only one of my three craft sold out while the other two went nearly or completely untouched – some of the guest crafts were very popular and others only had one or two that were made. But, it’s all good – everyone had a great time crafting, eating, drinking and socializing.

craft food

I made two egg dishes, a sweet crêpe option, muffins and, as promised, the Frosted Pumpkin Cookies.

The first recipe I’ll be sharing is a fun breakfast or brunch lasagna.

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October 13, 2014   2 Comments

Friday Funnies

The Funnies this week have a very specific theme.

breath

Oenophilia (EE-no-FIL-ee-a; Greek for the love (philia) of wine (oinos)) is a love of wine. 

novinophobia

she's drunk

medicine

I actually asked myself this question last weekend!

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October 10, 2014   4 Comments

dinner on the fly

market

I wander through farmer’s markets and produce departments with the best intentions. Squash for a gratin, cucumbers for a dip, apples for a pie, spinach and mushrooms for a salad.  Unfortunately, once I get home and pack it all away in the produce drawers – gratins, dips, pies and salads don’t always get made.

mushrooms

Such was the case with my most recent packages of mushrooms and spinach. The meal that the salad was planned for didn’t happen when we were invited out to dinner with friends, and for some inexplicable reason, I didn’t feel like a spinach salad the next night. OK, honestly, I was too tired to make an entrée and a salad.

spinach

Instead, I combined the ingredients and just made one dish. The result wasn’t especially inspiring, but it did get dinner on the table … with minimal thought, time and effort. Sometimes, one can’t ask for more than that!

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October 8, 2014   2 Comments