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sausage to the rescue

sleep baby

I have a confession. It is really hard to get back into the swing of cooking and cleaning and real-life after nearly 3 weeks of being out-of-town and having company. I have no drive or motivation to do … ANYTHING!

Dave is knee-deep in tax season, so we are like ships in the night.

Connor works from 2:30 PM to midnight, five to six days a week, so he’s rarely home for dinner.

sleep kitten

And although I didn’t have jet-lag in the usual sense, I now realize that although I wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night…. I am tired all day long!

sleepy sloth

I mean, when 3:30 or 4:00 hits each afternoon… I’m ready for bed! It takes all my power to stay up. Seriously, I feel like I need toothpicks to hold my eyes open! I think the latest I’ve hit the sack since our house-guests left is 8:00 PM. My usual bedtime is 10:30 or 11:00.

Enough of my first-world woes. I did get somewhat inspired by a package of sausage, of all things.

aidells

It’s really good sausage! Aidells sausage from Costco. And one of my favorite flavors ~ Habanero with Pepper Jack!

I went on the Aidells website and found a recipe to zip up to our liking. Here is one of the two sausage dishes we had for dinner on Sunday night…

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March 31, 2014   2 Comments

pasta and beef

A week ago yesterday, our neighbors, Allison and Ian, had a new baby girl. She joins two sisters, ages 2 and 3.  Since Allison obviously has her hands full (to say the least!) another neighbor, Kim, organized a sign-up for us to pitch in and bring dinners to the family for the next couple weeks.

genius

Kim used a great online tool called Signup Genius. I’d never heard of it before, but I guess it’s all the rage with mom’s of school age kids. I am so out of the loop! It really is genius though!

braised tri tip and spaghetti

Anyhow, I made a double batch of this dish yesterday afternoon. My three guys really enjoyed it for dinner last night. Hopefully Ian, Allison and their girls will enjoy it just as much tonight.

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February 17, 2014   1 Comment

Migas for the crew

Before I get into today’s post – I want to take a moment to wish my mother-in-law, Patricia Hopkins, a very happy birthday! I love you. xoxo

I made brunch for the fabulous crew from Forevergreen Landscape Designs, Inc., the great group of guys who’ve been redoing our front yard and patio area for the past month.

brunch on the patio

The project was supposed to wrap up last Friday, but because of a mistake by the rock delivery dude, who delivered the wrong color rocks, the project is ongoing… it should be done by the end of this week with a reveal sometime next week.

screen

Long before the nasty gray cement-like rock was delivered, I’d promised to make the guys breakfast or lunch on what was to be their last day… we settled on brunch. And since the majority of men on the job are Hispanic, I decided to make Migas.

As you can see, I was very stealth and snapped a couple photos through the screened windows of them enjoying their meal.

peak

Mexican or Tex-Mex Migas is a traditional breakfast dish consisting of scrambled eggs mixed with strips of corn tortilla, diced onions, chile peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, and cheese.

chips and such

My version uses crushed tortilla chips, minced serrano, and Parmesan.

Chip Custer is the owner of Forevergreen Landscape Designs. He is the very talented landscape designer who did our backyard. If you go to his website HERE, you can check out photos 2, 3, 8, 10, and 12. Those are a few of the before and after pictures of the backyard project we did with Chip five years ago.

Now you see why I happily cook for these guys!

onion tomato serrano

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November 13, 2013   4 Comments

chowder time!

frontdoors

I can not begin to tell you how difficult I find it to even think about decorating this house for fall. It is still in the high 90′s during the day. Even attempting to place a real pumpkin outside would be asking for disaster.

At least the mornings and late evenings are finally cooling off to the low 70′s. That helps a little.

Plus, one of my favorite areas to decorate for the season is the front entry.

Last year it looked like this…

wideview

Today, it looks like this.

fall 2013 entry

Hmm, at least the “caution” cones are a bright pumpkin orange. That might be all the entry decorating we get this year.

No matter ~ I vow to dig out the fall and Halloween decorations today and then do something with them.

The morning and evening cooler temps did instill in me the urge to make a double batch of yummy fresh corn chowder. A double batch because I wanted to share with my very generous neighbor, Cheryl.

You see…..

A few days ago, Cheryl anonymously dropped off culinary treasures at my front door (yes, she tromped through the dirt to get there). I don’t know for sure if she meant for the gift to be anonymous, but I wasn’t home and she left it with Connor.

Not surprisingly, Connor had no idea who Cheryl was, all he said when I ask who dropped it off was, “I don’t know, she was thin and pretty.”

Oh, thanks Connor, that describes all my neighbors!

After a little detective work on my part, Cheryl fessed up.

Cheryl's crafts

This is Cheryl at the Christmas Crafts Class back in December 2012. On that note – watch for info tomorrow about my upcoming Fall Crafts & Decor Class …

So what was the culinary treasure that Cheryl gifted me with?

Homemade Croissants!

There were three of them!
Connor was home … so coincidentally there were three of us.
I ate one, and immediately hid the other two – eventually eating all three.
Connor did not know what was wrapped in the towel he had accepted.
Dave never knew they even existed.
They were mine. All mine. And they were delicious!
Thank you, Cheryl!

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September 30, 2013   6 Comments

cool-down salad

It’s HOT. Here is a cold refreshing salad to help cool you down. Throw in some rotisserie chicken if you want to make it a main course.

Now go sit under a fan or jump in the pool.

Enough said.

slaw and dressing

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July 2, 2013   2 Comments

galette

IMG_6974

Galette is a French term that refers to a variety of flat round cakes, usually made with a flaky pastry dough.

Galettes can be sweet or savory. Although it is most common for galettes to be filled with fruits or chocolate and served for dessert, savory galettes are a satisfying meal on their own.

When making this galette, it is important to have the filling ingredients chilled or at room temperature. A hot filling will melt the butter in the dough before it hits the oven, preventing the crust from becoming flaky and crispy.

add thyme

One of the filling ingredients in this galette is an onion jam. I link you to that recipe in the list of ingredients.

I made a simpler version for this galette by eliminating the vinegar and raisins in that original onion jam recipe and instead adding a couple teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves. Either version will work wonderfully here.

Joanne Weir made a Mushroom and Blue Cheese Galette in cooking class at Les Gourmettes last week. It was fabulous! I was the lucky recipient of an extra round of dough for the crust. It is an outstanding dough. It is flaky and crispy and delicious. The recipe below is for Joanne’s dough and my filling.

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April 22, 2013   3 Comments

potatoes and bubbles

IMG_6703

A few weeks before Easter, Connor informed me that he and Patrick didn’t need all the silly things I always put in their big elaborate Easter baskets. Oh really? Fine, go ahead a suck the fun out of my basket shopping!

IMG_6707

As a result, instead of the usual big basket of goodies, they each received a little strawberry basket that only had Harkins Theater gift cards and a couple tubes of bubbles. How’s that for no silly things?

IMG_6708

It looks like they had fun with the silly bubbles, to me! I’ll check back with him next spring and see if he might like to go to back to the big baskets!

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April 5, 2013   3 Comments

day four (dinner) and day five – week one

stew

Here are the recipes for dinner of Day Four and all three meals for Day Five of Week One of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse.

OK, I’m getting a bit frustrated with the way some of the recipes are written and with some of the techniques.

Take the original dinner recipe for day four – the procedure for the Roasted Portobellos with Kale has you sautéing the kale and then heating an oven and roasting the mushrooms for 30 minutes.

It doesn’t make sense, the kale takes less than 10 minutes to finish, which means that by the time the mushrooms come out of the oven, you’ll be topping them with cold kale. Annoying!

Since the link to the online recipe didn’t work anyway, I’ve corrected it and posted it here for you.

lentil stew ingredients

And the dinner recipe for day five – Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew – had more issues!

Red lentils generally cook quickly, so do not do as the recipe tells you. Instead of simmering the stew for the full 20 to 25 minutes as directed, reduce the total simmering time to 16 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and red peppers as directed but not the lentils. Add the lentils during the last 8 to 10 minutes and only cook until tender. I cooked mine as the recipe directed (all together for 20 minutes) and my sweet potatoes were overly soft and the lentils fell apart so badly, they turned to mush.

Enough complaining, here are the recipes.

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February 8, 2013   No Comments

eat your kale

Saying, “Eat Your Kale”  is so 2012, but that doesn’t mean Kale is not still King in 2013.

strip the stems

Why?
Because…

  • One cup of kale still has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of fat.
  • Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
  • Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers.
  • It is high in antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which also help protect against various cancers.
  • Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the recommend daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune disorders.
  • Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • It is high in Vitamin A, which is great for your vision, your skin, as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Kale is high in Vitamin C, high in calcium, and kale is still a great detox food.

To summarize – Eat Your Kale!

This quick and easy pasta recipe should help get it on your table on any busy weeknight, especially if you use the meat from a rotisserie chicken, as I did.

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January 9, 2013   4 Comments

chowder

IMG_4800

On the second day after Christmas, we had no food left in the house.  OK, we had food, but nothing much to make for dinner. All I could scrounge up was the ham bone from HoneyBaked left from Christmas Eve. It had less than a cup of meat left on it.

ham bone

What to do?

I dug around and found a package of diced pancetta with an expiration date of 12/29/12. Score!

I had a few potatoes, a bell pepper, a chunk of cheddar cheese, and some leftover mushrooms that would soon be going south. Hey, this might constitute a meal, after all!

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December 28, 2012   1 Comment