Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?


You’re looking at July 5, 2009.

Apparently it was a good day.

Filled with good food.

It involved sauce.

And meat.  I like meat.

***What was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking pictures.   AND let me just state, that I am giddy with excitement to have gone through five of them with this post!!! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Garden Tuesday - Keys of Heaven

Keys of heaven

I took this picture on May 5, 2010.  It has absolutely nothing to do with my garden right now.  And unfortunately I also have nothing to do with my garden right now, unless you consider the endless watering, which seems to be accomplishing nothing. 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thinking of you

tulips in blue ball jar

Just a post to let all of those effected by hurricane Irene know that I am thinking of you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #73 ~ Cupcake Chardonnay

Cupcake Chardonnay

Cupcake Chardonnay, 2009, $7.79, Costco.  They say:  decadent flavors of butter, cream, bright citrus and vanilla melt into a balance of oak and subtle spice.  We say:  creamy mouthfeel, buttery, vanilla, a bit of citrus, excellent!  Buy again:   oh yes!!

P.S.  Happy Anniversary Mr. Sidewalkshoes, it’s been a very lovely 24 years. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #325


You may be under the impression that my cats sleep a lot.

You may be right.



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

AND next week WEEKEND CAT BLOGGING will be here!!!!  So, get your kitties ready, and THOR, and join me next week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Italian Style Garden Pickles

Quick Pickles

Once a week, on grocery shopping day, I buy a rotisserie chicken.  I used to serve it with potato chips, but since I bought the dreaded calorie app for my phone, no more. So, I needed something just as easy as opening a bag of chips, but without the calories.

Enter quick pickles.  With a jar of these in the fridge, I have an instant side dish. 

I found these in Quick Pickles: Easy Recipes for Big Flavorby Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby and Dan George.  A book, I cannot recommend highly enough.  As a matter of fact, as I sit here looking through it, I’ve decided that I really need to do a cookbook review on it, so expect one shortly. 

The beauty of these pickles is that they can be made with a variety of vegetables, whatever you happen to have.  All I had was zucchini and yellow squash, so that is what I used.   I was about to say that I will forever and ever have a jar of these in my fridge, but I must amend that to say that I will have some jar of pickles, because I really, really, really do want to work my way through this book.

Italian Style Garden Pickles

  • 8 cups total of any of the following vegetables in any proportion you want:  carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise into 3 to 4 inch strips, red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips; chile peppers, halved; green beans, whole or halved; radishes, stemmed and quartered; celery (with attached leaves), cut into 2 inch segments; cauliflower florets, cut lengthwise into two or three slices
  • 6 or 7 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tablespoons total of any combination of fresh oregano, fresh thyme, or fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns

In a large bowl or jar, combine the vegetables with the garlic and herbs, and mix well.

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to dissolve the sugar.   Immediately pour this over the vegetables and mix gently.  Allow to cool to room temperature, uncovered and then refrigerate.  These are ready within a few hours, but get better with age.  They will keep, covered in your fridge for at least a month!


My pickles are smiling at me. 

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

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pasta with Shrimp and Zucchini

Pasta with Shrimp and Zucchini

Do you make every recipe exactly the way it is written?  I used to.  And truth be told, the teacher in me sometimes cringes when I don’t follow the directions.  I mean, how many times a day do I tell my students, “READ the directions!” 

But now, after what seems like a bazillion years of food blogging, I feel empowered to stray a bit.  Deviate, if you will. 

So, I had some shrimp, and I had some pasta, and I had some zucchini, and I had this recipe: Pappardelle with Shrimp & Zucchini.  So, yes, I had pasta, but I didn’t have pappardelle.  Since my pasta was more bite sized and not big flat noodles, I thought that shape of the zucchini should change.  Instead of long strips, it should also be bite sized or even smaller.

I julienned it with this. AND guess what I discovered?!  If you julienne your zucchini, when you cook it, it practically dissolves and makes almost a creamy type pasta sauce!!  Who knew!?   Well, perhaps you did, but this is a totally new discovery for me.   This maybe my new favorite way to use zucchini.  It’s a total win-win – use up some veggies and get a creamy pasta without any cream! 

I encourage you to check out the recipe above and make it your own!


This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Honeybunch of The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?


You’re looking at June 27, 2009. 


What do you think?  Chicken wrapped in prosciutto?   Stuffed with maybe spinach and some kind of cheese.  The cheese looks really white – goat?  Mozzarella?   Feta? 

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ Peppers


I love looking at all your harvest pictures on Garden Tuesday!  Since, I don’t vegetable garden, my harvest consists of herbs, flowers, and peppers.  I have discovered that peppers are about the only vegetable that I can grow.  I think this is because they are naturally pest free.  I don’t really have to do anything except water them.  My kind of vegetable!

These will become hot vinegar, some pickled peppers, and some just go straight into the freezer for winter hotness!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

I love traditions, don’t you?  I find comfort in routines.  Ways to do things.  The same old, same old. 

Take this basil pesto.  I make it every summer. 

There is something so nice and comforting about having jars of this in the freezer.  Jars, ready to bring back summer with a mere flick of the wrist to open them.

You can find my recipe here.  Make it now, while basil is flourishing, and thank me (and Giada) in the middle of winter, when you are transported back to the dog days of summer. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #72 Contadino Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio

Contadino Pinot Grigio, 2010, Italy, $4.99, Trader Joes.  They say:  light crisp and easy drinking wine.  Has hints of apple and pear with underlying tones of something more exotic.  We say:  very light, little bit of fruit, a little tropical, tastes kind of watered down.  Buy again:  probably not.  ***Note – we rarely drink Pinot Grigios – so we really don’t know what to expect.  The only thing I know about them is that Ramona on the Real Housewives will drink nothing else to the point of obnoxiousness.  So, if you are a Pinot Grigio person, feel free to enlighten me, otherwise, you can use your own judgment as to whether or not you listen to my opinion on this!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #324 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Noli and Oliver

Most of you know that in addition to being a special education teacher and a food/garden/kitty cat blogger, I am pursuing a professional photography business, Pamela Greer Photography, because, you know, there are just too many hours in my day! Well, the lovely Michelle, at The Accidental English Teacher, asked me to come take some pictures of her sweet family.

Oliver and Noli


And I am sure by family, she meant not just hubby and her sweet baby girl…she also meant Oliver and Noli! 

What other photographer provides free kitty cat pictures!  Maybe that should be my marketing niche :)



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

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

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Fruit with Wine and Mint


Do you Pin?  It’s my latest obsession.  I pin foods I want try, pictures I want to take, kitchens I want to cook in. 

Follow Me on Pinterest

One of my pins was a picture of strawberries with sugar and white wine from The Pioneer Woman.  There were no specifics, just a gorgeous bowl of strawberries.  So, I googled and found this, Summer Fruit with Wine and Mint from Giada

I was still hung up on the gorgeous picture of strawberries, so instead of all the fruit that Giada called for, I just used strawberries.


This was so good.  And when you are all finished with the fruit, be sure and drink the sauce, it’s like the best Sangria you’ve ever had!

All gone.

I’m not going to repost the recipe, just follow the link above! 



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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toasted Turkey Sandwich with Quick Cucumber Pickles

Toasted Turkey Sandwich

Do you have a chair?  An evening chair?  A chair that is your evening refuge, where you drink your glass of wine, watch some tv and work on your pile?  Pile? 

You know the stack of cooking magazines that arrive in a never ending onslaught from the post office.  While watching the ups and downs of the Real Housewives, I peruse and mark recipes to try.  Then after my stack gets big enough, I move those magazines on to the cookbook shelve, where they languish. 

But last month when the July/August issue of Everyday Food arrived, I marked a turkey sandwich recipe.  I left the magazine open on the arm of my chair, as a constant reminder that this recipe was going to be made.

And made, it was.  And excellent, it was.  

Followed the recipe exactly, except that I could find any store bought tapenade.  So, I made my own, which basically amounted to me tossing all the olives I had, some roasted red peppers, some pepperoncini peppers, capers, garlic, a little olive oil and salt and pepper in a food processor, with a little basil vinegar.  Better than store bought!!!

Toasted Turkey Sandwich with Quick Pickled Cucumbers

  • 1 country-style loaf round bread, sliced in half horizontally, insides scooped out
  • 1/2 cup tapenade
  • 1/2 pound deli turkey, thinly sliced (I used some smoked turkey that I had in my freezer)
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces provolone, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, cut lengthwise into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread the tapenade on the inside of both bread halves.  Arrange the turkey on the bottom half of the bread, top with zucchini, tomato and cheese.  Put the top half of the bread on the sandwich and wrap tightly in foil.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers with the vinegar and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Unwrap the sandwich, using a serrated knife cut into wedges and serve with the pickles.

Serves 4


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

****EDITED for a grammar error that I just couldn't live with!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two For Sorrow by Nicola Upson - TLC Book Tour

Two for Sorrow

One of my jobs as an inclusion teacher is to go into the language arts classroom to help my students.  Since a lot of my students have trouble with reading, I spend a lot of time in there.  One of the things I’ve learned is how a story should be written.  The graph of the storyline should look something like a hill.  The story goes up the hill, reaches a climax, and then goes down the hill.

I have never read a book that illustrates this so well as Two for Sorrow: A New Mystery Featuring Josephine Tey by Nicola Upson.  The story starts slowly.  It sets the tone and develops the characters.  The main character is Josephine Tey.  She is writing a fictionalized account of two women, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters, who in 1903 were hanged for murdering babies.  In order to write her novel, she interviews people who knew the women and who were at the hanging. 

Just when you are lulled into thinking that it’s going to be a lovely little mystery having to do with the history of the women, you are jolted with the gruesome murder of a seamstress who may have ties to the women.  And from that point on the story picks up speed rapidly.  I could not put it down.  It was full of surprises.  There was actually one part where my mouth dropped open, I had no clue what was coming next.

This is a perfect blend of good old fashioned mystery, with enough gruesomeness for those that like that sort of thing. 

You can find out more about Nicola Upson at her website: Nicola Upson.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (August 9, 2011)

This book was provided to me by TLC BookTours.  Opinions are entirely my own. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garden Tuesday - The Optimistic Version


I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here it’s a sad state of affairs when it comes to the garden.  It has been so hot, I basically stopped weeding somewhere around the first week of July.  It’s been so dry, I’ve  stopped listening to the anguish cries of my plants as I rush from my air conditioned car to my air conditioned house.

As I was looking through my garden pics, trying to decide what to pick, I saw these tulips from the spring.  What a happy time that was.  I remember, all I wanted was no more snow.  There were promises of blue skies, butterflies, and lemonade on the back porch. 

I’m ready for snow.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

Last week, I posted about my calorie app and my newfound love for fruit salads.  After I posted it I realized that I showed you two different versions of basically the same salad.

I didn’t want you to think that I meant that I always had strawberries and kiwis.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

But in a nod to fair and balanced reporting, I felt you should see my mango blueberry combination.

I am an equal opportunity fruit salad employer.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #71

KungFu Girl

Kungfu Girl Riesling, 2010, Washington State, $10.99, Costco.  We say:  sweet and fruity, a little apple and a little citrus.  Buy again:  definitely.

We love Costco.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #323

It’s hot and I’m tired.  The kitty cats, being incredibly empathetic, are staying inside and sleeping.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Samantha, Clementine & Maverick .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Salmon with Chili-Mango Salsa

Salmon with chili-mango salsa

Remember yesterday’s post about my calorie app?  Remember what I said about fruits and vegetables? 

Really, now I buy as much fruit as I do veggies.  And while yesterday’s fruit salad is a fantastic option, I also wanted to find other ways to include fruit.  Thank you, The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Freshfor this recipe!  It is one of those that is incredibly easy, but looks incredibly impressive.  

I served it with some couscous and literally had dinner on the table in about 20 minutes. 

Salmon with Chili-Mango Salsa

  • 1 10-ounce mango, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded serrano chili
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).  Combine first 7 ingredients in small bowl; mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Season salsa with salt and pepper. Brush salmon with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Grill until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with salsa.  ***Note I didn’t grill mine, I just pan sautéed them for about 3 minutes per side.

    Serves 2



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

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Everyday Fruit Salad

    Fruit salad

    I installed a calorie app on my phone.  This has resulted in a lot of changes.  A lot of negotiating.  After a particularly bad day, I don’t do stressful eating anymore, I hoard and save up my calories so that in the evening I have 160 of them left.  That’s for my gin and tonic.  A necessity. 

    The other thing I’ve learned.  You can eat lots of fruit and vegetables.  Lots. 

    Instead of dessert, I’ve been making fruit salads.  It’s fun.  And colorful.  And it doesn’t take many calories.  I need to save them, you know. 

    fruit salad

    The key to the fruit salads (well besides the fruit) is this fabulous dressing.  I make a jar of it at the beginning of the week and just drizzle a little on the fruit. 

    Fruit Salad Dressing

    • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
    • 2 tablespoons orange juice
    • Juice of one lime

    Mix in a jar.  Drizzle a spoonful over your fruit salad.  Enjoy.


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

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    What Was it Wednesday?



    You’re looking at June 26, 2009.   It looks like I was marinating some squash in my cute vintage dish. Isn’t everything more fun in cute, vintage dishes?

    What Was it Wednesday

    Which then apparently I turned into these kebobs with some weird colored couscous. 

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