Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

Pam's dining room

I figure if you read this blog, you are kind of like me.  And if you are kind of like me, peaking into people’s houses is a hobby of yours.  Yes, I am partial to walking through neighborhoods right at that magic hour.   Magic hour?  You know…that time between when people turn on their lights, but they haven’t yet closed their curtains.  I love catching glimpses of chandeliers, furniture, wall colors, pictures. 

Pam's dining room

So, today I’m giving you a glimpse of my dining room.  Decorated for Halloween. 

Pumpkin

This is not my dining room, it’s a pub table that sits in the area between my kitchen and my family room.  It’s also decorated for fall.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #82 ~ Bay Moon Sauvignon Blanc

Bay Moon Sauvignon Blanc

Bay Moon, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Monterey, Trader Joe’s, $5.99.  They say:  aromas are of fresh melons, pears, dried figs, lemon grass and Meyer lemons, with a hint of fresh dried herbs that waft from the glass.  We say:  melons and pears, not as heavily citrus as most sauvignon blancs, smooth and creamy.  Buy again:  yes!

Hey…I just had a thought.  Would anyone be interested in joining a linky party for weekend wine reviews?  I could do it just like I do the “Garden Tuesday” – you could link up if you feel like it, or not.  Let me know if you think it might be fun. I personally would love to see other wine reviews. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #334 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Smudge

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you how Smudge helps us with our wine-drinking job on Sunday afternoons.  I thought I’d show you how he helps us watch TV in the evening.  I don’t know what we would do without Smudge’s help.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by CatSynth for the Halloween edition.

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Feta, Tomatoes, and Black Olives

spaghetti squash

Last week my husband went on a business trip to Seattle for almost a week!  I was left at home to take care of the kitty cats, take out the trash, and teach every day because teachers never get to go anywhere fun.  Ever.

I consoled myself with a couple of trips to Marshall’s and Tj  Maxx, the kitties insisted. 

I also consoled myself by making me this super healthy and super good dinner, the somewhat boringly named, Spaghetti Squash II from Allrecipes.   I knew it would be good…tomatoes, basil, kalamata olives, and feta – that combination always adds up to good in my book.  Tossed with spaghetti squash, it had the feel of a pasta, but the goodness of squash.  Really yummy.  And it’s a good thing too, since it was just me, I pretty much ate it for lunch and dinner for almost 3 days in a row! 

With spaghetti squash popping up all over the grocery store here for fall, you really need to give this a try. Follow the link above, I didn’t change a thing. 

 

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Normal Philodendron Activity?

philodendron

While sitting, working on my laptop the other day, I noticed this.  What’s up with this philodendron?  This one lone rogue vine is making a run for it.  I can’t decide whether to put it back down with all of it’s brothers and sisters, or see how far across my living room ceiling it can go.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

Olives

You’re looking at July 27, 2009.  Olives, obviously.  I kind of remember this.  I think that I had just read of an idea to store your olives in a jar of olive oil.  It kept the olives fresh, and when you were all done with the olives, your olive oil was much more “olivey” – the only problem was that the olive oil solidified in the fridge.  So, you had to dig your olives out.  Which wasn’t totally bad, and then at the end, I did use the olive oil like butter, just spread it on bread before toasting for bruschetta and crostini. 

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ Nandina

Nandina

If you live somewhere where you can grow Nandina you simply must.  And see, if this was a regular garden post, from a regular garden blog, I would give you charts and graphs and zones and things.  But it’s not.  So, all I can tell you is that it does wonderful in Tennessee.  It’s evergreen, has gorgeous berries, and the new growth is a beautiful deep red. 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Facebook ~ Like Me Please. Pretty Please. With a cherry on top.

Pumpkin

What does the picture of the pumpkin on my front porch have to do with Facebook, you might be asking yourself.  Don’t bother fretting about it.  It has absolutely nothing to do with it.  But I am loathe to post without a picture.  We are visual people, are we not?  So, enjoy my pumpkin, and feel free to volunteer to paint my porch.

So, yeah, Facebook made some changes.  One of those changes, as best my feeble mind can figure out, is that if someone is not active on a page (liking or commenting), as of October 31, you will no longer see feed for that page.  So, I know some of you follow me on Facebook, and if you want to still see my feed pop up on your wall, you need to just go to one of my posts and like it, or comment, that’s all you have to do.  Pretty painless.  This also applies to my photography business page, which you might note, a little snippy like, that I am not even active on my Photography Business Page – I’m trying people.  I promise it will get more active and regular and oh-so-much fun real soon.

So, please go like a post or a photo or even, gasp, leave a comment.

Sidewalkshoes Facebook Page

Pamela Greer Photography Facebook Page

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #81 ~ Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Kim Crawford, 2010, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc.  $12.99.  They say:  on the nose you’ll find tropical fruit and cut grass note, and the palate bursts with passionfruit, citrus and ripe stonefruit flavors.  We say:  We agree with everything they say!  Big citrus, grassy nose, smooth tropical fruit, soft.  Buy again:  Yes!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #333 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop!

Smudge

Yes, this is an old picture of Smudge.  It’s from April actually.  My herb garden was just beginning.  But like my backlog of cooking photos, I also have a backlog of cat photos.  You don’t mind seeing what Smudge looked like in April, do you?  You can also see the innocent baby garlic chives.  This is before they totally raped and pillaged my herb bed.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Billy Sweetfeets Gingersnap.

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

Friday, October 21, 2011

Barley, Beef, and Mushroom Soup

Barley, beef, and mushroom soup

Please do not let this horrible photo dissuade you from making this soup.  It was not the most photogenic soup, I’ve ever made.  And yes, I am blaming the soup and not the photographer, okay.

It’s fall.  It really, really is.  Leaves falling.  Sweaters coming out of storage.  Sunday soups in the slow cooker.

Yep, I make a soup every Sunday.  Which means that for the rest of winter, I will always have carrots, celery and onions in my house, because with those you can make just about any soup known to mankind.

This time, I decided to use some of my grains.  Barley to be exact.  Where to go when searching for grain recipes?  I always turn to Whole Grains Every Day, Every Wayby Lorna Sass.  

This was so good!  The combination of dried mushrooms and fresh added layers of flavor and made the broth so rice and creamy.  I used ground beef instead of chuck.   Since I used the slow cooker, I browned my beef, put it in the slow cooker, sautéed the leeks, carrots and mushrooms and added them to the cooker with everything else and let it cook all day.  Total comfort food!

Barley, Beef, and Mushroom Soup

  • 1/4 ounce (1/4 cup) dried mushrooms
  • 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or ground beef)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced, halved or quartered
  • 3/4 cup barley, preferably hull-less, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the dried mushrooms (in a heat proof bowl) and let the soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Season the beef with salt and pepper and heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet, over high heat.  Brown the beef for about 8 to 10 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a plate (or slow cooker if you are using one).

If there is not fat in the pot, add the remaining oil.  Add the leeks, carrots and fresh mushrooms, season with salt.  Cook over medium-high heat until they soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the barley, browned beef and 6 cups of water (or just put in slow cooker).  Remove the soaked mushrooms with a slotted spoon, chop and add to the soup.  Pour in the mushroom soaking water, careful to not add any grit at the bottom.  If slow cooking – set on low for 8 hours.

Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat, simmer, partially covered until the beef and barley are tender, about 60 minutes.  Stir in the dill and adjust the seasonings.

Serves 6.

 

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

 

 

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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Falling For Me by Anna David ~ TLC Book Tour

Falling For Me

When I decided to read Falling for Me by Anna David, I chose it because of the second half of the title – How I Hung Curtains, Learned to Cook, Traveled to Seville, and Fell in Love.  Since I love to cook, hang a mean curtain, have fallen in love, and really, really wish I had traveled to Seville, this sounded like a winner. 

I admit it, I love self-help memoirs.  It seems like there are so many ways to re-invent yourself, and Anna David has stumbled on one that I certainly would have never dreamed of – using Sex and The Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown as her guide.  

I know.  It sounds crazy.  But it works.  What makes it work is that Anna David doesn’t take it to the extreme.  She pulls things from it that are usable and meaningful to her life today.  She uses it to try new things, step out of her comfort zone, be more adventuresome. 

For example:  “A chic apartment can tell the world that you, for one, are not one of those miserable, pitiful single creatures.” –Sex and the Single Girl.  Working from this line, Anna David started making some changes in her apartment. After a few trips to Restoration Hardware and IKEA, she has an apartment that she is proud of and she starts to enjoy it.

..lighting candles and cozying up under a blanket watching movies or cooking something simple and eating it at my cute little table-and-chair set, activities that once would have made me feel like the quintessential pathetic old maid….I begin to appreciate my living space as a peaceful oasis away from the fast pace of Manhattan.

What she really learns from the book is to be happy with herself, and if she is not happy, to do the things necessary to change. 

 

Book Trailer

For TLC Book Tours

I received a copy of this book to review and received no other compensation.  Opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

Quinoa something

You’re looking at July 25, 2009.  Some sort of quinoa salad obviously.  I’m trying to decide if that green looks like basil or mint?   Looks like some sort of skewers in the background.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Garden Tuesday ~ The Purple Coneflower Edition

Purple Coneflower

This is what my purple coneflowers look like now.

Purple coneflowers

I leave them uncut all winter.  See the half eaten seeds?  The other half is in some goldfinches belly.  They love them!

I know that it is getting towards fall and winter here in the US, and my Garden Tuesday entries are really getting slim.  But that’s okay.  I didn’t create the link to win any linking contests.  I created it because I do post a garden picture every Tuesday, come rain or shine, snow, or the dark of night.  (I think I just mixed a whole bunch of sayings in that!) So, the linky will be here every Tuesday, if you feel like it, feel free to link up!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cholula Hot Sauce!

Cholula hot sauce

Most of you know, I am a purist.  A traditionalist.  Quite simple minded actually.  If something works, I don’t change it.  So, when I was presented with a chance to try Cholula Hot Sauce, I didn’t need to step outside of the box. 

Cholula Hot Sauce

I knew what I was going to do with it.  It says it right there on the box.  Great on eggs, SOUPS, seafood…..  I adore hot sauce in soups.  And I adore soups, which is why one was readily available for dinner the very day that these arrived in the mail.  A few drops of this sauce provided just the right amount of heat and a lovely hint of smokiness.

Cholula Hot Sauce

Now for you more creative types, there are all kinds of flavors…chili garlic, chipotle, chili lime and original.  I bet you can do all kinds of wonderful things with them…I’m thinking the chili lime would make some fantastic hot wings.  But you know what, soup season has just begun, and I am going to be sure and keep plenty of this around for that!  Also, bottles with cute, cute, cute wooden stopper tops…you know I love that!!

Disclaimer, I was provided this hot sauce to try.  I did not receive any other compensation other than the sauce.  Opinions are entirely mine.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Wine Reviews #80 Wise & Heimer Riesling

Wise & Heimer Riesling

Why yes, I bought this wine totally because it was called Wise & Heimer.  And it came in a blue bottle.  Win.  Win.  The details:  Wise & Heimer Riesling, 2009, $7.99, Cost Plus World Market.  They say:  present bright aromas and flavors of apples, pears, and apricots.  We say:  creamy mouth feel, fruity, finishes with a lot of the apricot.  Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #332 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Smudge

Every Sunday my husband and I have the arduous task of opening a bottle of wine and drinking it.  Oh, we don’t just get to drink it, I have to take a picture of it.  And then I have to write something about it.  It’s difficult.  But I do it for you, my peeps.  Luckily we don’t have to do it alone.  Smudge has his own job to do.  He supervises.  Don’t let this pose fool you.  He is working hard.  Just like us.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Jules and Vincent at Judi’s Mind Over Matter.

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

Waste not, want not. Vodka soaked lemon peels.

Vodka lemon peels

Remember back when I made limoncello over the summer?  Well, once it was finished, I had these vodka soaked lemon peels leftover.  I am loathe to throw anything food related away, especially when they have spent the majority of their lives soaked in vodka.  So, I stuck them in a jar in the freezer (which also contains vodka soaked blueberries and cranberries, because soaking things in vodka is a hobby of mine).

  iced tea

What does one do with vodka soaked lemon peels?  Why put them their iced tea of course!  I also think these will be delightful in hot tea this winter. 

 

 

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

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Giada’s Tuna and Artichoke Panini

 

Tuna and Artichoke Panini

Even though I primarily buy organic products, I can’t resist a good bargain at Costco.  Why yes, I do need 12 cans of tuna, thank you for asking. 4 jars of Nutella, of course.  25 pound jars of capers, if you insist.

So, yeah, I have cans of tuna.  Lots of cans of tuna.  Using my handy dandy Eat Your Books program, I search for tuna in my cookbooks, and find Tuna and Artichoke Panini in Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipesfrom Giada.  

Tuna and artichoke panini

Oh my.  Such goodness.  If you are looking for a quick and easy sandwich (perfect for football watching), look no further.  I’m not going to bother retyping the recipe, because I did not change a thing (other than to add only half the amount of artichokes called for, simply because I apparently can’t read a recipe correctly before going grocery shopping).  So, follow the link above to the Food Network site, or look it up in your cookbook, and if you don’t have Giada’s Everyday Italian Cookbook, I highly recommend it.

 

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Was it Wednesday? The eggplant edition.

eggplant

I believe I should title this post, “Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures” or “What to do When Your CSA Refuses to Stop Giving You Eggplants.”

Pickled eggplant

I vaguely remember this.  It is dated July 22, 2010.  It was some sort of pickled eggplant.  I had more eggplant than I knew what to do with.  I had already had it everyway possible.  I was starting to get teary-eyed when I even saw the color purple.  I remember that this pickled eggplant was actually not too bad.  But still.  This was a dark time and I do not wish to ever go back there.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Garden Tuesday - The Fall Herb Bed

 

Herb bed

I thought you might be curious to see what my herb bed looks like in the fall.  Can you find the oregano, fennel, basil, lemon verbena, tarragon and rosemary?  And there is also a profusion of wild violets, which I don’t have the heart to pull out.

Pam's herb bed

Here is from the other side.  In the lower left you can see that my garlic chive blossoms have gone to seed and and are spilling their fertile goodness everywhere.  Feel free to bookmark this page and point it out to me next spring when I am whining and moaning about garlic chives being everywehre.  You can see that my sage has pretty much called it quits, my fennel looks like a brown monster with weird tentacles, but my my rosemary is still going strong.

So, how about you?  How is your garden doing?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon and Sage

 

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon and Sage

Hey foodies.  Did anyone notice that last week I didn’t have a single food post? 

The correct response to that would be, “No, Pam!!  You were so wildly entertaining, we didn’t even miss the food!”

Well, luckily I’m back with food this week, so the pressure to be wildly entertaining is off.

Stuff for making risotto

 

It’s fall.  I am giddy with excitement.  And part of that giddiness comes from filling every nook and cranny with winter squash (they store practically forever – or at least for months).  Every trip to the grocery store has me lugging a few home, whether I used up last week’s or not.  So, after a few weeks, I have quite the collection.  I usually begin with butternut squash, my favorite.  And what better way to use up butternut squash than with a risotto, so how about Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon and Sage from Fine Cooking.

Butternut squash risotto with bacon and sage

This was good, but not great.  I had a feeling about it and I should have read the reviews, because it turned out a lot of other people had the same feeling.  The feeling … the butternut squash should be roasted and not cooked along with the rice.  That would have added a level of roasty goodness that this needed.  But otherwise you can not go wrong with a butternut squash risotto with bacon and sage at this time of the year!  So, follow the link above, read the reviews and roast your squash. 

Happy Fall!