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Posts from — September 2012

The Black & White Halloween Mantel

I believe I have created my best Halloween mantel EVER!

It’s kinda hard to get a decent picture with the windows on either side of the fireplace, so I had to wait until dark, which wasn’t much better. This one was taken at night with a flash.

And this one was taken at night without a flash. Neither do it justice, but maybe some closeups will.

This is the left side of the mantel. Skulls, Glitter, and Glitz are part of the theme.

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September 30, 2012   3 Comments

peach pie

Photo credit: Diane Larimore Garcher (swiped by me from Facebook)

These are peaches from my cousin, Diane’s, two trees. Earlier this summer, my dad went up to Prescott Valley to visit Diane and she sent a bunch of peaches home with him. This all occurred back in mid-August while I was in Alaska.

Upon our return to Arizona, my sister, Sloane, picked us up from the airport. As we were driving home, my dad called Sloane’s cell to see if “we’d made it.” I was assuring him, that indeed we did, when he said, “Hey, what are you doing tomorrow? I’ve got a bunch of peaches from Diane – how about I bring them over and we can peel them.”

WHAT?!  I’ve been out of town for two weeks. I landed a mere 25 minutes ago. The day is gone, it is dark outside. I spent the last 10 hours sitting on shuttles, stuck in an airport, languishing on an overbooked airplane, and standing at a carousal waiting for luggage (I know that word “carousal” sounds like such FUN. It is not!)  And my dad honestly thinks I may actually want to just hang out and peel peaches with him in a few hours!

Yeah, thanks. But, no, not so much!

Although clearly disappointed with my obvious lack of enthusiasm – my dad peeled the peaches himself, packaged and froze them, and then brought them to my house later in the week. Upon their delivery, he said, “Maybe one of these days, you could make me a peach pie with these.”

Wow, parents really never lose the knack.  They know exactly how to lay on the guilt, don’t they?

Anyhow, yes, I made the pie and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thank you, Dad. And, thank you Diane, for the luscious peaches – they were divine! xoxo

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September 29, 2012   1 Comment

creating a dish for the new dish

I recently purchased this cool “entertaining set” and have been itching to use it. My first thought was that I’d make my “world famous” cucumber martinis for one side and a chilled gazpacho for the other – as a Friday night happy hour for Dave and myslef. But Fridays kept filling up with other things.  Opportunity knocked last Sunday when my dad came over for dinner and Connor came home for the weekend.

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September 28, 2012   3 Comments


The following recipe is what I made for dinner on Monday night. You know, this past Monday night when the most ridiculous thing ever was on television. Yeah, when the Seahawks “beat” the Packers on Monday Night Football.

What a joke! I feel so sorry for the Packers and their cheese-head fans! But it also could affect the Cardinals down the road… with Seattle being in our division and having that “extra win”…

If it comes back to bite Arizona… Oh, I do not want to even think about it!!! Curses to those idiotic chowderheads on Park Avenue!! (FYI- “Park Avenue” refers to the head honchos at the NFL)

At least the chowder I made was really good!

Update: Since I wrote this yesterday afternoon – the referee lockout has ended! Although we’re all grateful for that, it doesn’t change the outcome and possible ramifications of that game… uggg.

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September 27, 2012   2 Comments

iPhone/iPad LPG “app” and other cool stuff

There is this quotation I subscribe to -

The quote is often credited to the late great John Lennon. Upon further research, I discovered it actually belongs to the early 1900 author, Marthe Troly-Curtin. No matter, it is true.

While “wasting time” on Pinterest, I found this fantastic site. Blogger, Kristi of creativekristi.com, is a proud Military wife and mother of two, living in Maine.

Because of and thanks to Kristi’s help, you can now have your very own Les Petites Gourmettes “app” on your iPhone or iPad and it will take you directly to my website. OK, it’s not really an app.

You don’t download it from the App Store. Instead, it’s really just a bookmark, but it looks like a little app icon, with a sweet picture of a whisk (an actual photo I chose from my blog photos).  It looks clearer on your phone than it does here. :-)

To get it – follow these 4 quick and easy steps: (quick – as in – less than a minute and easy – as in – my husband could do it! I’m not being mean, he’s seriously tech challenged – ask our kids!)

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September 26, 2012   7 Comments


The first time I stepped foot into America’s Taco Shop, I was completely sold! It was back in February when Tram and I first dropped in during a full afternoon of shopping on 7th Avenue in the Melrose District. And the most recent time I was lucky enough to eat at America’s was this past weekend, with Kim, and yes… we were shopping again.

In addition to the signature tacos, Kim and I shared an “extra” – America’s Corn (sweet white corn, lite mayo, cotija cheese, chili, and lime).

This is how it was served, which would be perfect for one. But since we were sharing, I began to use a little plastic knife to cut the kernels from the cob so we could eat the corn with chips. A server walked by and said it could be ordered off the cob too, so he took it back to the kitchen and cut the kernels off for us (most likely with a metal knife!) Wow! It is terrific – so terrific in fact – that I made it at home for my guys… who loved it too.

Cotija (pronounced ko-TEE-hah) cheese  is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese made  from cow’s milk. Named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It can be hard to find in all grocery stores, so a good substitute is either Parmigiano-Reggiano or feta. I used Parmesan.

The mayo-slathered corn is a common street food you’ll find being sold on corners throughout Mexico.

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September 25, 2012   1 Comment

wheat berries from the farm

Another weekly haul from my CSA – another recipe to go with it. In case you forgot, CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture group who comes together to purchase fresh farm produce and products from local farms. The CSA I belong to gets its items from Crooked Sky Farms and this week, one of the items in my basket was a bag of fresh wheat berries.

What is a wheat berry?  A wheat berry is the entire wheat kernel, minus the hull, composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Wheat berries have a tan to reddish color. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture. When wheat berries are milled, whole-wheat flour is what you end up with.

Have you had wheat berries before? Have you cooked with them? I’d previously eaten wheat berries but I hadn’t used them in my kitchen yet. Now I have, with delicious results. Enjoy!

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September 24, 2012   1 Comment

a month, a week, and a day away

… from today, is Halloween!

My Illinois BFF, Jen, called me at 8:34 AM this past Monday morning and was buzzing about a blog that she had just found and completely loved. There was a craft on that blog that SHE AND I HAD to do … right now! (yep, that is her above, I know, she’s super pretty, and yeah, I adore her!)

HERE is the blog … and the project … that we I did that very day.

And here is the story of exactly how that went down:

I jumped in my car, which was serendipitously filled with gas just the day before, and headed out to the closest  99¢ Only Store, which is exactly 3.3 miles from my house, to buy the necessary supplies. There, I found 11 black feather boas, 4 packages of black and gray gauze, 4 black glitter skulls, and 2 silver glitter skulls.  From there I drove across the street to Hobby Lobby and purchased 2 foam wreath forms, using a 40% off coupon for one of those wreaths. Total amount spent – $33.79 plus tax.

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September 22, 2012   6 Comments

sophisticated mac & cheese

There is so much to love about this mac & cheese:

  1. It’s mac & cheese for goodness sake – gotta love that!
  2. It has three fantastic cheeses – provolone, Fontina, and mozzarella … no cheddar in sight
  3. No need to do a stove-top roux first – super easy
  4. It’s topped with rich beef short rib meat
  5. The meat is already cooked and prepared, ready to shred and use – EASY!
  6. Individual servings – awesome!
  7. It was a huge hit with my guys (husband, son, and Dad) last Sunday night – Manly Man Mac & Cheese!
  8. Lastly, if you made or plan to make the 3-cheese grilled cheese sandwich from yesterday’s post… this uses the same 3 cheeses. Coincidence? I think not.

Yeah, this is good stuff, perfect for a family meal and special enough for guests. I purchased the prepared boneless short ribs at Costco, but I’ve noticed that most grocery stores sell precooked and packaged short ribs as well. For some strange reason, the Costco package is 17 ounces, but we’ll just round it down to a pound – to make it easy. The meat also comes in a sauce, drain it off and discard, you won’t need it. You will be making an easy and much better ragù.

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September 21, 2012   3 Comments

lunch imitating art

More than 2 1/2 years ago I made a bold confession to you – I love Campbell’s Tomato Soup more than homemade tomato soup. Just image my joy and excitement when I saw on Facebook that, for a very limited time, Target was carrying Andy Warhol inspired Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans.

I LOVE those cans, the original art which you can check out HERE and the cans sold at Target. I drove from store to store to store to find all four colors of the cans. Below you can see what I was able to round up.

Warhol created his first Campbell’s art in 1962. It consisted of 32 separate canvases of 32 different Campbell’s soup varieties.

The “extreme” colored cans didn’t come around until 1965. Warhol claimed to have eaten Campbell’s soup for lunch, nearly daily, for 20 years.

No, I’m not going to give you the “recipe” for making Campbell’s Tomato Soup, you’ll find that on the back of the can (I use milk – not water) … how about a grilled cheese sandwich to accompany your soup?


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September 20, 2012   4 Comments