Saturday, June 30, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #368 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Cat with orchid

Coco enjoying a little afternoon sunshine.  Besides admiring Coco, you may also want to admire my orchid!!  I totally love growing orchids, I always thought they were difficult, but they aren’t and they are so rewarding.  Just like kitty cats.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Judi, Jules and Vincent.  Yay, I am so glad to see they are hosting!!! 

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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Seared Scallops on Lemon and Mint Salad

Seared Scallops on Lemon and Mint Salad

On a normal week, my husband and I eat out one night a week, and one night a week he picks up sushi from Publix.  So, I cook 5 nights a week, one night out, and one night is sushi night.  Except a couple of weeks ago, things got in the way and we had to eat out 3 nights that week.  It was awful.  I mean it was good, but I eat so much more when I eat out than when I cook at home.  So when the week was finally over, I was craving something light.  This salad from Entertainingby Donna Hay was perfect.  Now, I didn’t have the nice big scallops like I was supposed to, but it didn’t matter.  This was really light, and I was getting to the bottom of the recipe, I saw where it said, “serves 4 to 6 as a starter” – so yes, it was light.  But after three heavy restaurant meals, it was just right.  Really, I don’t know how people who eat out all the time do it. 

Seared Scallops on Lemon and Mint Salad

  • 24 scallops
  • cracked black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

salad

  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup Vietnamese mint leaves (I just used regular)
  • 1 bunch (3 1/2 oz.) arugula
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Combine scallops with a little pepper, the oil and the lemon zest.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Combine the mint with the arugula and arrange on plates.  Combine the lemon juice, chili, ginger and oil.

Place a frying pan over high heat.  Add the scallops and cook for about 10 seconds on each side or until seared.  Place the scallops on the salad and top with a drizzle of the dressing.

Serves 4 to 6 as a starter.

 

 

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

This will be my entry for Cookbook Sundays

 

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

Before I go to Sleep

The topic of amnesia has been done over and over again both in books and in movies. Probably because it is such an intriguing and frightening topic. In Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel, the main character, Christine has an amnesia that affected everything that occurred after an "accident." When she wakes up every morning, she still thinks she is in her 20's instead of the 47 that she actually is, she has no memory of the house that she is living in, or of her husband lying beside her in bed. As she rushes into the bathroom in a panic, she is confronted with a set of sticky notes arranged around the mirror. They tell her who she is, they remind her that she is married and that her husband's name is Ben.

Everyday Christine wakes up with no memory of the day before. Until she starts seeing Dr. Nash, who has her write in a journal, to see if it will help restore her memory. Then sometime during the day, Dr. Nash will call her, tell her who he is, and tell her where to find the journal. So, that now even though she wakes up a blank slate, she has a better idea of who she is. There is one disturbing thing about the notebook. Inside the front cover it says, "Do Not Trust Ben!" Christine must piece together the bits and pieces of her life from the journal. She must figure out what was her accident that left her memory damaged. Ben tells of an auto accident, but Christine has faint memories that suggest something much more sinister.

This book held my interest from beginning to end, hard to put down at times, even. Predictable, but with a few surprises thrown in.

4/5

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

Cheeseburger

You’re looking at July 4, 2010.  Easy.  I will definitely be making some more of these this fourth of July!

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Geraniums

Geraniums

I am a lazy gardener.  I want my flowers to do most of the work.  I want them to come back year after year.  Popping their green heads up as soon as the weather begins to warm.  There is only one annual flower that I buy every year and that is red geraniums.  I love them.   They do work very hard, giving me a constant stream of their full red bouquets through the entire summer and deep into fall.  They are my constant in the garden as my perennials ebb and flow.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Canned Beans ~ Yay or Nay?

cannellini beans

I know that opening a can of beans is easy.  But you know what is almost just as easy?  Making your own beans and freezing them.  Obviously spelling the beans correctly is not easy, since you may notice that I spelled it differently on each bag, however spelling doesn’t faze me at all – I’m terrible at it, and wouldn’t recognize a correctly spelled word if it slapped me in the face.  Back to these beans.

Once a month or so, or really whenever I need some beans, I cook up a big batch in my slow cooker.  I leave them unseasoned and every so slightly firm – definitely not overcooked.  Both of those are reason enough to stay away from canned.  There is no added sodium in my beans, I leave the seasoning to whatever recipe I am using them for.  And since one of the things I love to use them for, especially in the summer, is a bean salad side dish, I want them a little firm to hold their shape.  How many times have you opened a can of beans and found half of them mushy and split?  It’s a crapshoot really. 

cannellini beans 

I portion them in freezer bags, about the amount that is in a can of beans, since that is how so many recipes call for them.  I lay them on their side and freeze them.  They don’t take up much room and they thaw quickly.  The other advantage is that they are organic.  If you are going to buy organic beans, even canned they are pretty expensive, so buying them in bulk and doing it yourself can save you some money.

How about you?  Canned or homemade?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #112 Bogle Sauvignon Blanc

Bogle Sauvignon Blanc

Bogle, Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, $10.70, Vine and Barrel.  We say:  Bogle pretty much never disappoints us.  Light, citrus, tart, very nice.  Buy again:  yes.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #367 HERE!!!

Smudge at the catnip

Smudge is excited that everyone is joining him here today for Weekend Cat Blogging.  Though he does feel the need to guard his precious cat nip.

Smudge at tthe catnip

Seriously.  Smudge is not big on sharing.  Especially when it comes to the nip.

 

 

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

link up below!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Corn and Radish Salad

Corn and radish salad

On Monday, I wrote about the barbecued chicken from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast.  Well on the same page as the barbecued chicken was a super easy recipe for a corn and radish salad.

I had radishes and though I didn’t have fresh corn, I had a bag of frozen corn in the freezer.  This salad was a revelation.  It was so good and so incredibly easy.  The sweet corn combined with the peppery bite of the relish was perfect.  The jalapeño added just the right amount of heat and the lime juice balanced the sweetness of the corn.

I highly recommend that you add this your summer salads!  If you don’t have the cookbook above, and if I haven’t convinced you to get it yet, it’s not because I haven’t tried.  Seriously, I bought the book in 2007 and I’m still finding things I haven’t tried and should have a long time ago.  But anyway, you can find it online:  Corn and Radish Salad.

 

 

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

 

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Bring up the Bodies

It’s your lucky day, peeps, a two-for-one special on my book reviews!  I know.  What is better than one of sad, incompetent book reviews….why two of course! 

Today’s review is for Wolf Hall: A Novel and Bring Up the Bodies both by Hilary Mantel.

Let me preface this by saying that history and I do not get along. I struggled through it in high school and college. While it is interesting when I am reading about it, it does not stay with me. If there is a part of your brain that stores historical facts, mine is empty. That sound you are hearing is crickets chirping.

So, when I started seeing good reviews for Bringing Up the Bodies, and read that it was about Anne Boelyn, I thought it sounded interesting. I knew she got her head chopped off, and that was the extent of my knowledge. Then I read that it was a sequel to Wolf Hall, I decided I'd better refresh myself and start with Wolf Hall.

Wolf Hall is the story of Thomas Cromwell. The son of a blacksmith who worked his way into the good graces of King Henry VIII. He is a truly interesting character. He manipulated, worked his magic on everyone. He juggled cardinals, the King, the King's men, women, everyone. Wolf Hall begins the King married to Catherine and ends with him married to Anne Boelyn. He is not happy with Anne since she has not provided him with a son.

Bringing up the Bodies begins with the King married to Anne Boelyn and ends with him married to Jane Seymour.

I have to admit that I knew none of the supporting characters (and there are a lot), really I didn't know that much about the lead characters. So, half the time, I really didn't know who was who. The list of characters on my Kindle book was 4 pages long, and broken into categories: The Cromwell Household, The Dead, The King's Family, The King's Other Family, The Howard and Boelyn Families, The Seymour Family of Wolf Hall, The Courtiers, The Clerics, The Officers of State, The Ambassadors, The Reformers, The "old Families" with Claims to the Throne, and At the Tower of London. Under each category is a list of characters. See what I mean? It's confusing. So, I basically read it to get the gist of what was going on and focused on the main characters, not spending too much time on who was who.

The writing style is interesting, but at times difficult. Sometimes it is difficult to know who is talking. However the dialogue is good and easily understood, and the author uses it well to develop the characters.

I have mixed feelings, I enjoyed these books, though they are not my usual genre. If you are interested at all in history, I think you would find these very enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

Smoking a fatty

You’re looking at June 27, 2010.  I was obviously smoking a fatty, which I learned about from Larry at Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings.  He fills his fatty’s will all sorts of good things.  Me, I just take the wrapper off the roll of pork sausage and set it on the rack in the smoker.  Usually I am smoking something else and the fatty’s are just the icing on the cake!

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~Purple Coneflower~

Purple Coneflower

Do you have purple coneflowers in your garden?  You should!  About the only bad thing I can say about them is that if left alone, they can take over a garden, but with a little heartless weeding, you can keep them in check.  Also, if you leave the flowers in the fall to dry, the finches love the seeds!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Barbecued Chicken

Barbecued Chicken

What does the inside of your refrigerator door look like?  Does it have multiple shelves?  Skinny shelves, perfect for housing bottles of this and that.  If yours looks anything like mine, it is filled with jars that you bought to use for a recipe and now sit languishing on the shelves with an expiration date of two years ago. 

When I had a craving for some barbecued chicken, I remembered that I had a bottle of barbecue sauce in the fridge.  Yes.  I did.  It expired July 24, 2011.  I remembered a photo of some barbecued chicken from  Everyday Food: Great Food Fast.  There I found a recipe for barbecue sauce with only 7 ingredients:  hot sauce, cider vinegar, light brown sugar, molasses, Dijon mustard, and garlic cloves.  Ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand.

Barbecued Chicken

Oh my.  This was so good.  So good that I have had it twice this past week.  I still have a little of the sauce in a jar and a fridge, and will be finding something else to barbecue because I don’t want this to go to waste.  If you currently always buy your barbecue sauce, please try this at least once.  It is so good.

If you don’t have the cookbook that I mentioned above, you can find it online: Barbecued Chicken.

This will be my entry for Cookbook Sundays

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #111 Crios Rosé of Malbec

Crios Rose of Malbec

Crios, Rosé of Malbec, Mendoza Argentina, 2010, $9.99. Total Wine.  They say:  a richer, spicier wine than most Rosés. We say:  we agree, it is definitely more complex.  Not your typical Rosé. Buy again:  yes.

I know…not a very manly wine for Father’s Day is it? 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #366 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Smudge

Forget “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” I bring you “Cat on a Hot Screened in Porch.”  I looked out our window and saw Smudge lying on the back porch.  I was able to snap this pick without disturbing him. 

A few minutes later I looked out to see if he was still there, and found this:

Cat on a porch

Apparently it is a popular spot.  Coco, however, noticed me snapping the pic.  And yes, she has a picked up a few souvenirs from the woods behind out house.  Luckily there is nothing more fun than trying to comb leaves off of a cats belly (insert heavy sarcasm here).

 

 

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, June 15, 2012

Pancetta, Mizuna, and Tomato Sandwiches with Green Garlic Aioli

Pancetta, Mizuna, and Tomato Sandwiches

Every night my husband comes home from work and asks, “What’s for dinner?”  He does this as he is retrieving a wine glass from the cabinet.  It’s like he is trying to decide white or red, and if the dinner is worthy of wine.  Which is funny, because we usually only have white (we keep a lovely boxed white at all times in the fridge) and even if I said the most un-wine-worthy dinner, he would still have a glass of wine. 

So, when I replied, “Sandwiches” – he kind of balked for a second, like I was going to spread some peanut butter and jelly on two slices of stale bread and plop it on a plate in front of him.

Pancetta, Mizuna, and Tomato Sandwiches

Let me just say, there are sandwiches and then there are SANDWICHES.  This is a SANDWICH.  I would order this in a restaurant, I would have a lovely glass of wine with it.  This is good.  It is a fancy BLT of sorts.  And where did I find this gorgeous specimen of a sandwich?  In one of my very favorite cookbooks, The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh

If you don’t have this cookbook, I highly encourage you to get it.  It is huge and filled with nothing but fast easy recipes that are also amazingly good!  But since it is from Bon Appetit, I knew there was a chance I could find it online for you, and here it is:  Pancetta, Mizuna, and Tomato Sandwiches with Green Garlic Aioli.  I made it pretty much as written.  Though I didn’t have green garlic, just used regular (and I didn’t blanche it like they suggested), and I subbed arugula for the mizuna.  This recipe makes plenty of the Green Garlic Aioli so you’ll have leftovers for more sandwiches, plus I used it as a dip for some leftover roasted chicken. 

 

 

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

 

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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines

Immediately after reading, The Fault in Our StarsI wrote a review of it, and then went on Amazon and downloaded An Abundance of Katherines. Like The Fault in Our Stars it did not disappoint. I have to say that I have a new favorite author and his name is John Green. I know that his fiction is labeled young adult, but it is so much more. The writing, the characters are all amazing.

The main character of the story is Colin Singleton, a former child prodigy. The story behind the Abundance of Katherine's is that Colin gets dumped. Not just dumped, but dumped by 19 girls named Katherine. It sounds absurd, but it so believable in this story.

I really can't do it justice, so I'm going to let some of the writing speak for itself:

"The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths: one of his general policies in life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily be done lying down."

"He thought of Chicago, where you can go days without ever once stepping on a single patch of actual earth. That well-paved world appeals to him, and he missed it as his feet fell on uneven clumps of hardened dirt that threatened to twist his ankles."

"He couldn't quite pinpoint when Hassan had started to become like everyone else on the planet, but it was clearly happening, and it was clearly annoying."

Again, I highly recommend A Fault in Our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines. I am sure I will be reviewing more of his books, since I can not get enough of this author.

5/5

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

Green bean quick pickles

You’re looking at June 21, 2010.  Pickled green beans obviously.  And, since the lids are the plastic storage lids and not the actual canning lids, I’m sure they were quick pickled.  One of my favorite things to do with veggies in the summer.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~Daylillies

Day Lilies

I have several varieties of daylillies in my yard.  Fancy schmancy ones that I have no idea what they’re called.  But my heart belongs to these that are simple bright yellow.  They are unfailingly bright and cheerful.  They pop up every year, ask for nothing, and give so much.

Day lilies

More on the way!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

It’s summer, people. That means yardwork, and gardening, and just plain sitting outside. You’re going to need something to drink, right? Well the fabulous people at Michelob have just the thing for you, with their Michelob ULTRA Light Cider.

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

I can not say enough good things about it! It’s crisp, light, and refreshing . It’s naturally sweetened, made from hand picked apples, gluten free and has only 120 calories!! Most hard ciders have about 180, so this is a win for me! You can drink it straight or over ice. What I love about this is that I normally think of cider as a fall drink. But this proves that you can have your cider year round.

When I found out that I was going to do a review on it, my husband was out of town visiting his dad. He called me from a grocery store to ask what to roast with some salmon (green beans or asparagus were my suggestions). While giving him advice, I also asked him to pick me up some of the Michelob Ultra Light Cider. When he got back in town, he handed me 4 bottles. That’s funny, because I knew it was being released in a six pack. His reply, “it’s really light and good.” Me, “TWO bottles are missing.” Him, “it’s really light and good.” So if you don’t have your husband pick it up, expect to find it in six-packs of 12-ounce clear glass bottles.

Michelob ULTRA Cider

I enjoyed it outside on my porch and even at night while watching TV. You can enjoy it year round anytime, day or night. It makes a refreshing alternative to white wine, champagne and heavier ciders. And guess what? I loved it so much, I even made a sorbet with it! Later in the week, I will share the recipe. So good!

Michelob ULTRA Light Sorbet

To learn more about Michelob ULTRA Light Cider visit Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on BlogHer.com. And visit the Sponsor’s site. ***Usual disclaimer - I was provided with this product for review. Opinions are entirely my own.

.