Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Sunflowers!


On a whim, while at the farmer’s market, I purchased 3 sunflower plants.  I figured I could squeeze them into one of my flower beds.  So I temporarily lined them up on a little edge at the back end of our driveway.  So, that as I pulled into the driveway and park (remember, I can’t get into my garage – yet), they were all lined up in a row.


But then, it turned out, they made me happy.  Every time I pulled into my parking place on the driveway, they were waiting for me, and they made me smile.  Really, is there anything more cheerful then a sunflower?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!  Please honor those who have given so much to allow us to be free. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #60


Nobilo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, New Zealand.  $8.99 – Costco.  They say:  A bouquet of rip tropical and citrus fruits that flow through the palate, finishing fresh and crisp.  We say:  everything we want in a Sauvignon Blanc.  Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #312 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop


Coco by planter in February. 


Smudge by the same planter in May. 



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Kitties at Mom’s Sunday CafĂ©.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 


Friday, May 27, 2011

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

I started to begin this post by saying that Greek Salads were my favorite, but then I paused.  Wait.  What about Cobb Salads?  And wait, what about Caesar?   And, don’t forget Waldorf! 

So, okay, I maybe don’t have a favorite salad.  I have a list of favorites, one that grows and changes depending on what salad I am forking into my mouth at the moment.  At this moment, it is a Greek Salad, and it is my favorite. 

Even though you really don’t need a recipe for Greek Salad, I found one in Everyday Food: Great Food Fastbecause I can always count on Martha for a good salad.  We had this for dinner one night last week, and I realized that if I always kept these ingredients in the fridge (and I almost always do), I could easily have this salad on the table in 20 minutes, anytime I felt like it.

Greek Salad

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (omitted because I don’t like raw onions)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (I used more because one can’t have too many olives)

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss.

Serves 4.


This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

and for  


This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Listen.  Do you hear that? 

It’s the sound of nothing.  No students, no desks, no books, no missing assignments.  No school.  Free until August 3rd.

Exit students.  Enter my garage.  I will get a car in it by August 3rd.  I will.

Except guess who scheduled their mammogram bright and early on the first day of summer vacation?!  What was I thinking?  I don’t have a very good track record with mammograms so this was not a good move on my part.  I should have scheduled it for the last day of summer vacation, which is already a bad day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

May 29

You’re looking at May 29, 2009.  Hmm…??


Does this help?


How about this?

Yes, I believe this was a case of “desperate times calling for desperate measures”.  When your CSA gives you weeks and weeks of turnips and you hate turnips, you’ll try anything.  I honestly do not remember at all if they were good or not. 

***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Garden Tuesday–The Random Edition

I am about to need a garden version of What Was it Wednesday?  I have so many garden photos and I usually only post one or two.  So, today it’s a bit of clean up.  Here are four random pictures from my garden in April. 

Foam flower

Got shade?  Then you need this.  Foam Flower.  It’s a lovely creeping kind of ground cover with soft delicate flowers in early spring.

Bleeding hearts

Bleeding Hearts.  Love them.

Columbine buds

Am I the only one who finds buds as interesting as the flowers themselves?  Columbine.


Besides buds, I love plants with interesting leaves.  More columbine.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Lemon Thyme

Roasted Shrimp with Lemon Thyme

After declaring 2011, “The Summer of My Herbs” I could think of no better book to turn to than,The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld.  The subtitle, “200 Herb-Inspired Recipes, Plus a Complete Guide to Growing, Handling, and Cooking with Fresh Herbs” says it all.  This is going to make my “Summer of My Herbs” so easy!  Now, if only I could find a book on how to get someone else to come clean out my garage, I will be all set.

Have you discovered roasting shrimp?  It’s amazing.  Especially if you roast them in their shells; they stay so moist and tender, plus it removes a prep step for the cook.  I am all about removing prep steps, I say the eaters need to put in a little effort every now and then!

Roasted Shrimp with Lemon Thyme

The original recipe called for marjoram, but it gave the variations of using English or lemon thyme, or rosemary.  Since my lemon thyme was looking particularly attractive that day, it was the winner!  And speaking of winners, this recipe is one.  So simple, perfect for a weeknight, or a weekend when you’ve been out having fun all day.  Serve this with some roasted veggies and your entire dinner can be made with one bowl and 2 baking sheets.  Nice.

Roasted Shrimp with Lemon Thyme

  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp in the shell, cleaned (I used the easy peel kind)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped lemon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Place shrimp in a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 3-5 minutes or until shells turn pink and shrimp is no longer translucent.  Serve warm or cold in their shells.

Serves 3-4 as a main dish or 8 tapas servings.

This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by   Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #59

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier

Pine Ridge, Chenin Blanc + Viognier, 2009, $10.00.  They say:  Chenin Blanc – bright acidity and luscious pear and melon flavors, then add Viognier to layer in spicy floral and grapefruit notes.  We say:  soft, creamy mouthfeel, pick up pear and soft grapefruit with floral overtones.  A great summer wine! Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #311 HERE!!!


How big is your pile?  You know.  The pile of cat toys, tunnels, beds, perches…. The things that looked so cute and so promising at the store.  You bring them home, unwrap them, proudly present them to your feline.  Your feline, who then maybe, just maybe, might even sniff them before turning away, walk over and get in the empty box they came in.


Coco is proudly demonstrating a success story.  This toy/scratcher/whatever it is, is wonderful.  They love it.  Smudge and Coco play around and under it every evening.  Smudge loves to scratch on it and sit on top, sort of perched, and as you can see, Coco finds it a great place for a nap.  We rub it with a little catnip to make it even more attractive, but really they love it no matter what.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by ME, ME, ME.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

I can’t remember the last time I ate at McDonalds.  It’s been years.  Years and years.  I’m not being all high-and-mighty, I understand completely that it’s probably only possible for me to say that because all of my children are now in their 20’s!  But even when my children were younger, fast food was not a very frequent event.

There are a few fast food menu items that I like though, and that is some salads.  Arby’s used to (not sure if they still do) have a salad with chicken and apples and cranberries that I thought was pretty good, and someone had an Asian chicken salad that I thought was good, until I looked at the ingredients (and calories) on the dressing packet.

What I bring you today is a salad that you can make in about the same time it takes to drive to a fast food restaurant.  I used leftover rotisserie chicken, and even with cutting the carrots myself (you could use those already cut carrots), I had this ready in less then 20 minutes. 

I found this Asian Chicken Salad at Cooking Light, and like my recipe earlier in the week, I’m not going to bother retyping it in.  I didn’t change a thing, other then not using bottled ginger.  I keep my ginger in the freezer and when a recipe calls for ginger, I get a chunk, still frozen, and grate it on my micro plane.  Works like a dream.  The ginger comes out really fine and disperses the flavor nicely through the recipe. Then I just toss the chunk back in the ziplock and back into the freezer it goes. 

Raise your hand if you noticed that I managed to do a week’s worth of posts at a so-called food blog, without posting one recipe!



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!


AND for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bertolli Wine Pairing Winnings

Bertolli Wine Pairing

When the ever-so-lovely Mari at Once Upon a Plate, offered a contest for a virtual wine pairing, I believe I pleaded, begged, and left as many comments as was legally permissible.

And guess what??  I won!  I was so excited to receive this kit.  I totally love the wine aerator, can’t wait to try the Bertolli stuff, and I had just so happened to have purchased a bottle of Cavit wine!  So, I was all set!

The way it worked was that there would be a virtual wine pairing, you would go to the site, log in at 7pm CDT and participate.   And as much as I am loathe to share my ignorance with you, I will tell you what happened that night.

At 6pm EDT on the dot, I had out laptop open to the site, wine perfectly chilled, wine glasses ready, plate of pasta slightly steaming, hubby and I sitting..waiting for the start up.  Nothing.  Not a peep. 

Apparently, 7pm CDT is 8pm EDT.   I knew there was an hour difference, I just went in the wrong direction. 

From now on, I will only enter contests that do not require a time change.  It is apparently outside the range of my abilities.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What Was it Wednesday

You’re looking at May 24, 2009.

It started out with this.

And then, this happened.

And then, Smudge supervised the smoker.

And we ended up with this. 

Believe me, I have no idea why this didn’t get posted back in 2009!  Obviously some sort of incredible smoked chicken.  And by the way, did you notice that I smoked two? I have learned, when you crank up the smoker, fill it up.  Of course, now I would fill it up even more, I’d be smoking anything I could find!

*** What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking files. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lemon Chive Roasted Vegetables

Lemon Chive Roasted Vegetables

Are you ready to be amazed?  It’s not even summer yet (a week and two days till my summer officially starts) and I have already begun the “Summer of my Herbs the 2011 Edition”!!! I know.  You are amazed.  I will also keep you posted on my “Clean out the Garage the 2011 Edition” – but I’m not going to officially begin that until my summer officially begins Smile

Do you grow chives?  Maybe I should say, “Do you grow garlic chives?”  Because if you grow garlic chives, you probably no longer grow regular chives.  The garlic chives run rampant through my herb bed, totally obliterating any regular chives that might have attempted to grow.  Garlic chives have a larger and flatter leaf, and have a combination garlic/chive flavor.  I use them in place of regular chives…mainly because I have no choice… I have no more regular chives.

Lemon Chive Roasted Vegetables

So, back to these herby vegetables.  I found this recipe for Lemon Chive Roasted Vegetables at Cooking Light.   I’m not going to reprint the recipe here, because with a simple click you can read it at the Cooking Light website.  What I will tell you is to pay attention to the servings – yes it serves 12!! As I started chopping the potatoes I thought, “dang, this looks like a lot of potatoes!”  It was.  When I attempted to add the pound of baby carrots, I finally looked more carefully at the recipe.  So, if you are serving lots of people (Marjie!) this is for you, for the rest of us, I would suggest possible cutting it in half!

This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by  Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s my birthday, peeps.  I am taking the day off. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

Gone with a Handsomer Man

Don’t you love when you find yourself reading the right book at the right time?  You know, what I mean, don’t you?  When you are totally in the mood for deep and scary, and your book is filling that need, or you want a nice period piece to take you back to a kinder, gentler time, or you want some frivolous beach read. 

Well, during the tornadoes, we had no power, no internet and no cable.  Thank goodness, my kindle was all charged up, and waiting for me was, Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West.

It was everything I needed at that moment.  It totally lured me in from the very beginning.  It was the perfect combination of romance, mystery, chick lit, some food…everything I love!  In addition, the writing was everything I have come to expect from Michael Lee West. 

Some of my favorite lines:

All I ever wanted in life was true love, a set of copper cookware, and the perfect recipe for red velvet cake.

I fixed him with my blandest expression – not cold, because I didn’t want to send coldness.  I wanted to send blankness.  I () you. 

I cannot wait for more in the Teeny Templeton series, I can tell that this will be one that I will anxiously await each new book!


Weekend Cat Blogging #310 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop


What?  You mean your basil doesn’t weigh 15 pounds and is covered in fur?



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome.

AND for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Carrot Salad

carrot salad

Last week, I showed you my easy-peasy baked ham that I made for Easter.  This week, I am highlighting my two side dishes.  You might be thinking, “Really, she is just now getting around to posting her Easter eats?!”  Yes.  I am. 

First of all, we had tornadoes, and second of all, school is totally kicking my butt.  This is, by far, my worst year ever.  I am so afraid, that on the last day of school, when usually we are just cleaning up and locking up, I will still be working.  Really working.  Like still working on paperwork and getting files in order.  Because if there is one thing that special ed has plenty of, it’s paperwork.

Sorry, don’t let me go on about school.  Really.  I could sob, and whine, and complain, and fret, and wring my hands…for hours, if you let me.

So back to my carrot salad.  I wanted something quick and easy, that I could make the day before and not have to worry about it on Easter.  Enter, this carrot salad, from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolutionby Alice Waters.  It was everything I wanted it to be:  quick and easy, with simple, clean flavors.

Carrot Salad

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Make the vinaigrette by stirring together the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if you need to.  Toss the carrots with the dressing and add the parsley.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4


This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

and for



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!