Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 7 - Blog Challenge

Day 7 - A Photo That Makes You Happy...
This is a picture from my wedding day (obviously). When Fabulous Husband and I first went and looked at the property, I had envisioned a picture like this. I just love it. The contrast, the colors, me in my dress, the scenery.
Can I just say again how much I love our wedding photographers?!?! They really rocked it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 6 - Blog Challenge

Day 6 – 20 of my favorite things

I really like today’s challenge! This list will by no means be in any particular order, so should you be looking to give me a gift feel free to pick from anywhere on the list as I likely will love #15 as much as #2.

Jim Beam - especially Red Stag
Stonyfield Yogurt
Whole Foods Cherry Vanilla Crème Soda
Driving on Back Country Roads
Chocolate Labs
The Beach
Scituate, MA
Reality TV
Our wedding photographers
My Wedding
Disclaimer: This was supposed to be posted yesterday...with lots of pictures, but I'm having some issues. Okay, I'm having a lot of issues, LOL. I'm working on it and at least you have my list!

Loads of Veggies Chili

We love Chili in our house. What's not to love? Throw a bunch of stuff in the Crockpot, let it simmer and you have dinner for a few nights. You can freeze it, you can bring it for lunch, you could even make a salad with it. Chili has endless possibilities and endless recipes. Turkey, Chicken, Beef, Venison, Pork, vegetarian. With beans without beans. You name it, it's been done. Here is a version we just made using a lot of veggies from our farm share.

Crockpot is loaded and ready to go:

Chili has been simmering on the keep warm setting for 12+ hours...


1 pound ground beef
6 cloves of garlic
4 small red onions
2 bell peppers
2 green peppers
1 orange tomato
1 red tomato
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes w/chilies
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
Red pepper flakes
Chili powder

Brown meat with garlic, onion and scallions. In large Crockpot combine the rest of the ingredients. Once meat is browned, add to Crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours of high for 3.

Serve with chips, sour cream, cheese or by itself.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 4 & 5 Blog Challenege

Day 4 – Favorite Book

This a little hard for me. As an avid reader I have a lot of favorite books. So I’ll just list a few, how is that?

Day 5 – Favorite Quote

This one is easy…

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream ~ Edgar Allen Poe

I love quotes. They inspire, they give strength and hope and there are so many too choose from. When you can’t find the words yourself, you can always use someone elses. I have used some great quotes in so many things in my life, Christmas cards, thank you cards, letters, notes, emails, I have picture frames with quotes and books full of them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 3 - Blog Challenge

Day 3 – Favorite Television program

I could sit here and bore you with my horrible addiction to reality TV. Since it’s Friday, I won’t.

My favorite Television program is:


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Carmelized Onions & BBQ Pulled Chicken!

This is one of the easiest recipes I have in my secret recipe folder. It's tasty, it's good for parties, good for leftovers making sandwiches, tacos, burritos, pizza, salads, you name it.

This particular evening we were having it as a leftover. I had some beautiful onions from our farm share so I caramelized them to add into the leftover BBQ pulled chicken.
To caramelize the onions, I browned some butter, added the onions and sugar. YUM.

Then added the already shredded chicken in. It gave it a very sweet yet tangy taste on the sandwich.


6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce (You can use any kind! This makes it interesting!)
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I use low fat or fat free)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (Was out - used A1 instead)

Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Sauteed Peaches & French Toast

This was a last minute, quick Sunday breakfast. Full of flavor, easy and not so healthy!

Leftover, few day old baguette (from Whole foods)
Cream Cheese

Mix buttermilk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and soak bread. Cook to preference. In a separate pan, spray with PAM, and saute peaches until warm. Spread syrup and cream cheese on French toast and accompany with peaches.

I used peaches that were overripe as they needed to be used or thrown out. They were extra juicy and warm. YUM.

Day 2 - Blog Challenege

Day 2 – Favorite Movie

Welcome to Day 2 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s blog topic: Favorite Movie. I like movies, but I am by no means a movie buff. In fact, I don’t like going to the movie theater and I rarely watch movies at home. Most of my movie watching is from back in my college days or when I would be “recovering” on the couch. Since I am no longer in college or really have very many “recovery” days needed, I just don’t watch too many movies. Fabulous Husband does, but I’m not really into the genre’s he is into, so I’m happy he doesn’t mind that I’m off doing other things while he is watching a movie.

I have a lot of movies that I love, that I would watch over and over, probably before I would even watch a new one, but I should narrow it down for the sake of this post.

Romantic movie: Sabrina (the remake)

I’ve seen the original; I still like the remake better. Who doesn’t love a good poor girl meets rich guy and falls for him but then rich guys brother falls for same girl and oh the drama that ensues…

Serious movie: The Quiz Show

I know, a weird pick, but I was young (in HS) and there was just something about Ralph Fiennes. Needless to say, I really enjoy this movie and I really enjoy all the subtext and subtle things that make the movie even more of a masterpiece.

And while we are on the subject of movies, let’s discuss some of my favorite movie snacks!

1. Muddy Bears – my ALLTIME favorite movie snack. Chocolate covered gummy bears. HELLO!?!?! Did you read that, CHOCOLATE covered gummy bears. LOVE THEM.
2. Twizzlers – and with your bag of twizzlers you need a sprite, then you can use one twizzler as a straw!
3. Milk Duds – so good, but so bad for your teeth.

Did I just say bad for your teeth? Ugh, I’m getting old.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quick, Easy and overloaded with veggies!!

This dish took no time at all and it is so easy, versatile and tasty, it's a joke. We pick up our "Vegetable Box" CSA share on Wednesday's. I love fresh veggies.....

leftover pasta sauce
leftover grilled chicken

Cut everything and saute with sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese.

This also was a great leftover for lunch at work the next day! You can really put in any veggie you want or have on hand and it will still be fabulous.

30 Day Non-Food Challenge

Yes, this is a cooking blog, but since I can’t ALWAYS cook or bake or create, I thought I would join one of my favorite DW nesties in the 30 day blog challenge. It will give you a chance to get to know me a little more and it should be pretty entertaining. And I will still post recipes, cooking experience and some fabulous food driven adventures!

Here is the list of 30 days of blog topics…
Day 1 - your favorite song
Day 2 - your favorite movie
Day 3 - your favorite television program
Day 4 - your favorite book
Day 5 - your favorite quote
Day 6 - 20 of my favorite things
Day 7 - a photo that makes you happy
Day 8 - a photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 9 - a photo you took
Day 10 - a photo taken over 10 years ago of you
Day 11 - a photo of you recently
Day 12 - something you are OCD about
Day 13 - a fictional book
Day 14 - a non-fictional book
Day 15 - your dream house
Day 16 - a song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 - an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc)
Day 18 - my wedding/future wedding/past wedding
Day 19 - a talent of yours
Day 20 - a hobby of yours
Day 21 - a recipe
Day 22 - a website
Day 23 - a YouTube video
Day 24 - where I live
Day 25 - your day, in great detail
Day 26 - your week, in great detail
Day 27 - my worst habit
Day 28 - what’s in my handbag/purse
Day 29 - hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 - a dream for the future

Day 1… numero uno, ONE…

YOUR Favorite Song

My favorite song? Oh, this would be so much easier if it really was YOUR favorite song and not mine. I LOVE music. Like, love, would marry a lot of music and really, it is the soundtrack of my life. I could go on forever and ever about music and bands and songs and tune and albums and shows and oh boy this is a lot harder than I thought it would be. And I’m sure now everyone is saying just pick a darn song and move on girlfriend.

Hold on, before I pick ONE, is it really possible to have ONE favorite song? And what criteria are we going to base this on? I mean is it my favorite go out with the girls song, or maybe my favorite roll down the windows, driving a long the coast song or how about the I’m stuck in traffic, life sucks tune…

My favorite song to sing with the girls… Copacabana, Barry Manilow

And okay, I have a lot of favorites for driving in the car….

Baby Girl – Sugarland
Toes – Zac Brown Band
Apple Bottom Jeans – T-Pain

And I mean what about all the old songs, and my love of country and pop and 60’s and 70’s and okay, I admit it, the 80’s?

Oh and how about Jack Johnson, he’s so dreamy and his songs…so perfect for driving on Route 12 on Hatteras Island. Ooooh and I could sing Jimmy Buffet for HOURS… or Phish or the Big Wu..

We are in trouble now and this blog post is SINKING fast! Let’s just go with my favorite song of the moment:

Up On the Ridge: Dierks Bently – This song reminds me so much of driving back country roads to my ridge.

And just for fun, here is a picture from the top of our ridge looking down at our creek and cabin (we don't live in the cabin... someTHINGdoes, but not us).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simple Pasta & Veggies

There are so many nights that I don't walk in the door until close to 7:00. My bedtime is close to 9, so that leaves me very little time to cook, bake, spend time with fabulous husband, work on the house, play with the dogs and cats etc etc. So when I can pull off something really simple, but tasty, I'm all about it. This recipe was really easy.

1 box pasta - shells

Lots of veggies (carrots, squash, zucchini, onion, tomato)

Fresh Parsley

Salt & Pepper



3 Cheese mix from Whole Foods

Cook past according to box. Brown butter and garlic. Add onions, salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes then add veggies and throw over the pasta.



Enjoy. I did.

Monday, August 23, 2010

White Chocolate Blondies

I am a certified choc-a-holic. So much so that I really, firmly believe I could survive off Chocolate. I prefer milk to dark, but in a pinch, I'd eat either. Then comes white chocolate. Some believe it isn't a real chocolate. Fabulous husband on the other hand LOVES white chocolate. When we first started dating I started boning up on my white chocolate baking skills. I've made some pretty good things, but one of the easiest and most loved are the White Chocolate Blondies.

These go so fast at his family parties (it's a family thing...the love of white chocolate) that I almost feel I should double the batch, but I've tried it and it's doesn't work out so well. They certainly aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they do taste good. If you, or someone you know is a white chocolate lover, this is a must recipe for you.

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Used Macadamia Nuts instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan. Melt white chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until foamy. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in the melted white chocolate mixture. Combine the flour and salt; fold into the white chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
NOTES: I have learned that it is easiest to let the blondies cool, refrigerate and then cut the next day. Also, using high quality chocolate makes a big difference. Don't just buy the Nestle's morsels. I use Dove white chocolate and it really really makes a difference.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


What do you make when a 2 year old comes to visit? You are asking the wrong person, really.

But when his mom advised that he eats anything and if anything fails there is always peanut butter and jelly, I was inspired!

(I think mine look better than Martha's)

Makes 18
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
Strawberry jam, for topping

Make cupcakes as directed in Basic Cupcake How-To, adding peanut butter before adding eggs. Use sour cream and vanilla as wet ingredients. Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with peanut butter frosting. Place a dollop of jam in center of frosting. Decorated cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

NOTES: These were really good. I'm still getting used to my new (old) oven and so I overcooked them a bit, but still really tasty. I didn't use strawberry jam, I used a superfruit jelly that we had that gave it good flavor. And they are for sure 2 yo approved!

Holy Meatloaf!

The inspiration for this meatloaf is Cajun Meatloaf that I got from http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/

I have never made a meatloaf before. I don't like meatloaf. The entire idea turns me off. But I love meat and ketchup...but yeah, not meatloaf. Fabulous husband likes meatloaf. Go figure. I've mentioned making it from time to time, I searched recipes and then I found this recipe. And I still couldn't make myself do it. Then, I decided, ya know what, just do it. Stop being a sissy.

Perhaps I should have cut the recipe in half. Or a third... because if I didn't like it too bad I'd be eating meatloaf forever.

Doesn't really look so appealing, I know. BUT...

It was AMAZING. I mean like really to die for. Yes, I just said meatloaf was to die for. I pretty much followed the recipe exact. Making only a few changes I've noted below. But I feel I must caution you as no one did me. There are only two of us... this was enough to feed a family of 30 on Thanksgiving. I mean it was ridiculous. But that's what happens when you use 3 pounds of meat.

3 whole Bell Peppers (2 If They're Large)
2 whole Medium Onions
1 bunch Celery (5-6 Ribs)
8 cloves (to 10 Cloves) Of Garlic
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire (Was out - used A1 Steak Sauce)
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Optional: A Few Shakes Of Hot Sauce
2 cups Ketchup, Divided
½ cups Whole Milk
1 cup (to 2 Cups) Breadcrumbs
2 pounds Of Lean Ground Beef (92% Lean)
1 pound Ground Pork (Couldn't get any so I used sweet sausage)
3 whole Eggs
2 Tablespoons Honey

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop all of the fresh vegetables (peppers, onions, celery) into a small dice and mince the garlic. Over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Once butter begins to start browning, add the diced vegetables and garlic. Add about 1 teaspoon salt.
After these have cooked for a few minutes add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you like it hot, add a couple shakes of your favorite hot sauce. Next add about ½ cup of ketchup. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

After allowing the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes, add about ½ cup of milk. Stir until combined. Next add at least 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Continue adding breadcrumbs and stirring until mixture is a nice, thick paste.

In a large mixing bowl place the ground beef and pork. Whisk 3 eggs and add to the meat. After allowing the pasty vegetable mixture to cool down a bit, begin incorporating it into the meat. Keep working all of the Cajun-Vegetable mix into the meat until all is blended well.
Spray a sheet pan with some non-stick cooking spray. Next, using your hands, form your meat mixture into a loaf on the sheet pan. Make the loaf around 6-8 inches wide and about 1 ½ inches thick.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together ¾ cup of ketchup with about 2 tablespoons honey. Slather this sauce over the whole meatloaf.

Place in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

NOTES: Really easy to make, but a lot of prep. BUT Very VERY VERY good. I can't even say how much I loved this. And it's a good thing because we ate it for 3 meals and some is frozen. So, who wants to come over for meatloaf?

Addicted to the Farmer's Market

It's true, I'm addicted. I have barely bought a single piece of produce at the store since the middle of June. I LOVE the Farmer's Market. We get so much and the quality and taste is second to none...

Variety of Cherry Tomatoes

Red Potato's


I used to hate onions. Now I love them. I use them in almost every thing I cook or create (aside from sweets). These have such an amazing flavor, flavor you don't find at the food store.

Cheaters Guacamole!

I hate avacado's. It's true. The texture, bleh.
Then... I had awesome guacamole at my Bachelorette Party...
Now, I love guacamole. I have a really incredible recipe, but this isn't it. This is my cheat recipe. Shhh.. don't tell.

You just mix this packet with 2 avacados! I also added tomatoes. And Poof! You have guacamole! FABULOUS!

Not Your Mother's Potato Salad....

I love potato salad, especially in the summer. It just evokes summertime backyard grilling fun. Fabulous Husband wasn't so much a fan. So I searched for a recipe I thought he would like and then I stumbled upon this. He LOVES it, and so most people I make it for. It's not to heavy on the mayo, and has a nice spice kick to it. Plus, it's got that fresh flavor, not that sitting in a bowl of mayo blah flavor.

The inspiration is Mesa Grill's Southwest Potato Salad (aka Bobby Flay).

1 1/2 cups prepared mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chipotle pepper puree (Didn't have any so I omitted)
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts (Whoops! Didn't have these either)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 new potatoes, about 3 to 4 pounds, cooked, drained and sliced 1/2-inch thick


Combine all the ingredients, except the potatoes, in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place warm potatoes in a large bowl and pour the mixture over potatoes and mix well. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste.

NOTES: Even without the chipolte pepper puree and the scallions it was good this time around. I've made this a few times and this was the first time I didn't do it exact. This is a must for people who like their food a little spicy!

White Peach Salsa...Canned.

The inspiration for this adventure is Peach Salsa II.

Looks yummy.
Jars are all sterilized and ready to go!

4 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and chopped (I used White Peaches - from the farmers market)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 jalapeno peppers, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (49 gram) package light fruit pectin crystals
3 1/2 cups white sugar
canning jars


Sterilize jars and lids.

In a large saucepan, combine peaches, onion, pepper, cilantro, garlic, cumin, vinegar, and lime zest. Stir together pectin and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, and stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir for 5 minutes.
Pour peach salsa into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch air space. Seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

NOTES: This is REALLY sweet, more of a jam/jelly than a salsa, but still came out really good. I got 3 jars full and then enough for us to use on dinners for a few nights.

We used it with chicken, in salad and on spread on bread. All really good. I would make this again and am looking forward to enjoying it in the "off season" when I can crack open a jar!

As far as canning, this is only my 3rd attempt at it and I have the original Ball Jar Kit.
This was a great recipe to try out as it doesn't yield TOO much. And would also be a great gift!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ground Grapes

I don't know much about them. I bought them at the Farmer's Market. They are supposedly called ground grapes. You peal them open and pop them in your mouth! They don't suck.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

White Mashed Potatoes

These were so good, so easy and the potatoes are from the farmer's market! What are we going to do over the winter!!!

White Mashed Potatoes

4 white potatoes
Loaded Baked Tater Dip
1.5 tablespoons Smart Balance
1% Milk
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Place cut potatoes in pot fill with water and sprinkle salt. Bring to boil and continue on low rolling boil until potatoes are desired softness. Drain from water and mix with Smart Balance, milk and add Loaded Baked Tater dip to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Garlic Parmesan White String Beans

We get these beans at the farmer's market, and the are so crisp and fresh I try to keep them as crisp and fresh as possible when I prepare them. This dish is so simple, quick and very flavorful. It's was a great side dish for our grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. And will most likely be used again next week when I make my first ever meatloaf.

Garlic Parmesan White String Beans

1 tablespoon EVOO
2 cloves of Garlic
2 handfuls of white string beans
Cracked Black Pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Saute garlic in EVOO. Rinse and snip beans, add to pan and cook to preference. Remove from heat, toss with cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gilled Eggplant Parm

My version of Grilled Eggplant Parm.

Just looking at this picture is making my mouth water.

Did I mention every single thing in this recipe except for the cheese and bread is from the farmer's market? The cheese and bread are from Whole foods. Oh and the can of tomatoes.. that wasn't from the market either.

Ohh, and the linguine that was store bought.

Linguine was left over from the night before.
Bread was from Whole Foods, sliced, drizzled with EVOO, then grilled.
Eggplant was cut longways, brushed with EVOO, grilled for 3-4 minutes each side, then I placed slices of part skim mozz on it, grilled until it melted and removed.
We didn't have any jarred sauce, so I sauteed some garlic & onion in EVOO, threw in some bell peppers, oregano, crushed red pepper and a can of diced tomatoes.
I layered the eggplant with sauce and POOF. I was stuffed, but it was sooooooooo sooo good.
Makes me wish I had bought two eggplants instead of one. Perhaps I could make it with zucchini or squash, this place is lousy with that.
Needless to say this went over very well. I've made it before cutting the eggplant in discs, and either way it's great.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grilled Corn & Tomato Salad

A trip to the farmers market inspired Grilled Corn & Tomato Salad. Everything I used in this recipe I bought at our local farmers market on Saturday.

I diced up some plum tomatoes, an orange tomato and red onion. Added some red wine vinegar.
I mixed melted Smart Balance with garlic powder (not from the farmers market). Grilled the corn...

De-cobbed (is this a word?) the corn and mixed.

Visually stunning and VERY tasty. Super easy and a great side dish to any summer meal.