Friday, August 31, 2012

Boozy Cherries

Boozy Cherries

My favorite thing to make is infused liqueurs.  Though you probably already knew that based on:  Dark Cherry Liqueur and Bourbon Soaked Cherries, Orange Liqueur, Cranberry Liqueur, and Limoncello to name a few!

Besides having all that lovingly infused liqueur to drink, you also have fruit laden with liqueur.  I don’t waste that fruit.  One of my favorite ways to use it is on top of ice cream.  Just spoon out a few pieces of fruit (in this case cherries) and drizzle a smidgen of the liqueur over the top and you have elevated ice cream from a kiddie treat to a decidedly adult dessert. 




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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Broken Harbor

There are a few authors that I do not even hesitate for one moment to get their latest book.  Tana French is one of those authors.  With Broken Harbor as usual she did not disappoint. 

The story begins with murder detective, Michael "Scorcher" Kennedy, talking about his recent case.  

"Here's what I'm trying to tell you:  this case should have gone like clockwork.  It should have ended up in the textbooks as a shining example of how to get everything right.  By every rule in the book, this should have been the dream case."

And with that, begins a psychological thriller that hooks you from the very beginning, and doesn't let you go until the very end. 

When he gets to the murder scene, he finds a husband brutally murdered, two small children also dead, and the only surviving member of the family, the wife, has been taken to the hospital. 

Tana French is a master at characterization.  You really feel like you know these people.  Like you could have conversations with them, like you are there.  Their thoughts and actions are so well thought out and developed.  

I only highlighted one passage, which shows you how totally engrossed I was in this story.  I couldn't not stop reading long enough to highlight!

"Only teenagers think boring is bad.  Adults, grown men and women who've been around the block a few times, know that boring is a gift straight from God.  Life has more than enough excitement up it's sleeve, ready to hit you with as soon as you're not looking, without you adding to the drama.  If Richie didn't know that already, he was about to find out."

Highly recommend. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at October 16, 2010.  Looks like some sort of chicken salad maybe?  On a tortilla.  I see avocado, cilantro and a blurry fork.


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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary to Mr. Sidewalk Shoes

Sedum Autumn Joy



Just a few snippets from my garden this week:  Sedum Autumn Joy, Phlox, and bright green new baby holly leaves.

I’d also like to wish a happy 25th Wedding Anniversary to Mr. Sidewalk Shoes!!!  We are BFF’s.  (and for those of you that don’t teach middle school or have access to 14 year old lingo – that is Best Friends Forever).

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad

The above salad is the culmination of 7 years of food blogging.  When I started my blog, my first blog post, I had no idea really what kind of blog this was going to be…hence, the subtitle “A blog about food, and a little about reading, and some sewing, and I might even knit something.”  Notice that cats and gardening are not even mentioned.  But food was listed first, and I primarily consider myself a food blogger.  I’m not a super duper food blogger, since I really only blog about food a couple days a weeks, but I do feel that it is the glue that holds all my other interests together.  Adds a bit of cohesiveness to the blog. 

So, finally after all these years, I feel more confident in my ability to wing it.  When I first started out, I religiously followed a recipe, choosing not to make something instead of risking a substitution.  Now I will substitute things that don’t even make sense.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.  AND I can actually make things up that taste half way decent. 

Like the above salad.  I had some leftover grilled veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers and onions).  Not enough to use by themselves.  So I cooked up some quinoa, made a quick homemade herb vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice, fresh parsley and thyme), and tossed it all together, with some salt and pepper.  Served along side the leftover grilled chicken.  Perfect.

This is what it’s all about.


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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #121 Con Class Rueda

Con Class Rueda

Con Class Vendimia Exeptional, Rueda, 2009, $13.99, Total Wine and More.  We say:  thin, bit of citrus, nothing special.  Buy again:  no.  We aren’t sure why we bought this.  $13.99 is more than we usually pay for wine (we aren’t proud of this, but it’s a fact).  It doesn’t have a pretty label, so that means it had some high recommendation or something.  Apparently we are not high recommendation people.  Apparently we have more $5-$7 tastes, and that is okay with us.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #374 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop




Patchouli.  Enjoying the 80 degree weather we have been having!!! 



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Judi, Jules and Vincent .

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thyme Scented Salmon with Tuscan White Bean Salad

Thyme scented salmon with Tuscan White Bean Salad

This, my friends, was wonderful.  I have seen dishes of salmon on top of lentils, that always seemed intriguing to me.  Since, lentils and I are barely on speaking terms, I couldn’t bring myself to try them.  Even though they seemed so European Rustic Cool.  So, when I saw Thyme-Scented Salmon with Tuscan White Bean Salad, from Cooking Light, I was excited, this I could do. What better way to use my gorgeous cannellini beans from Rancho Gordo.

Thyme-scented Salmon with Tuscan White Bean Salad

The bean salad was so good, with a lovely subtle flavor.  We liked it so much, we scoffed at Cooking Light’s 1/2 cup serving suggestion and divided the whole salad between the two of us.  It was just right.  Perhaps if I had served another side dish, I could have stretched the bean salad to serve 4. 

Broiled Salmon

The other change I made was to broil the salmon instead of baking it.  I like the crispy broiled top.  5 minutes under the broiler and you’re good to go.  Since did broil it, I sprinkled the thyme on after I removed the salmon from the oven.  I do realize that baking it with the thyme would have infused the thyme more into the salmon, but whatever! 

Follow the link above.  Make this.  Enjoy your Rustic European Coolness.




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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Timbuk2 Camera Bag Insert

Timbuk2 Camera Bag insert

Don’t you love spotting the foodies at restaurants?  The ones taking photos of everyone’s food with their cameras.  Sure some people use their phones, but I really prefer to use my camera.  The problem is that I don’t like carting my camera bag around.

Cute purse!

I prefer to carry this cute purse from Marshall’s around.  Now, I can carry this cute purse and my camera!!  You can find my full review of the Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Insertat Pamela Greer Photography.

Seriously.  I love this! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at August 29, 2010.  Some sort of shrimp.  I can’t tell though, does it look like it’s on beans or rice or something?  Certainly it’s not just a bowl of shrimp.  Though there is nothing wrong with a bowl of shrimp!


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

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Baby Jalapenos




My babies.  Do you have any babies in your garden this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pasta with Edamame and Pesto

I was browsing through Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009: Every Recipe...A Year's Worth of Cooking Light Magazinewhen I came across, Fava Beans with Pesto and Cavatappi.  Sounded good.  Two problems.  One…I have never, ever seen fava beans around here, and two…I know a lot of pasta, but cavatappi is not one of them!  So I decided to take the concept of the recipe and use what I had.

Pasta with edamame and pesto

I always have edamame in the freezer, I love it!  It has such a great nuttiness.  I also had some weird pasta (have no idea what this shape is called), since I had no idea what cavatappi looks like, I figured any other odd pasta would work! 

This was lovely, fresh, and simple.  I really like the fresh pesto.  A perfect summery pasta.  You could substitute peas, or even zucchini for the edamame.

Pasta with Edamame and Pesto

  • 3 cups shelled edamame
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced $
  • 3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi pasta (or whatever you have)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.

Combine the basil and the next 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.  With the processor on, slowly pour the oil through the food chute, and process until well blended.

Cook the pasta according to directions.  When there is about 4-5 minutes left, add the edamame to water.  Drain the pasta and edamame and place in a large bowl and toss with the basil mixture.  Add the tomatoes and toss.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Serves 4


This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #120 Trader Joe’s Sauvignon Blanc

Trader Joes Coastal Sauvignon Blanc

Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, $4.99, Trader Joes.  They say:  Crisp with hints of gooseberry, and tropical fruits, this wine finishes with mineral and herb notes.  We say:  crisp, fruit up front, little bit of herb and grass.  Buy again:  yes, it’s very good for a five dollar bottle of wine!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #375 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop




I got a new lens for my camera.  A 50mm which makes indoor shots a little easier, I don’t have to back up quite so far.  So, I was sitting on the dining room floor, checking out all the different angles and shots I could do. 

Coco helped.



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

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

Friday, August 17, 2012

Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza

Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza

Whenever I make pizza dough, I always make enough for 3 pizzas.  I use one batch and store the other two batches in the freezer.  It’s genius.  Pizza any time I want it.  The only tricky part is remembering the night before to take the dough of the freezer and put it in the fridge.  Otherwise you are good to go.

So, while doing a huge deep clean of my freezer, not really cleaning it, just frantically looking for the bag of peas that I though for sure was in there, I found some pizza dough.  So, I got on Eat Your Books, and searched for pizza.  When I saw Arugula Pesto, Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella pizza from Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner I knew I had a winner.

This was so good.  I love the way you make this wonderful cheesy pesto, and then spread it over the pizza.  You can see in the instructions that you are supposed to slice some tomatoes, all I had was cherry tomatoes.  Looks a little odd, but it still tasted good!

Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza

  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 packed cup (1 ounce) arugula
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 (1-pound) ball store-bought pizza dough
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 plum tomatoes sliced into ¼-inch thick slices

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet (without sides) with cornmeal. Set aside.

In a food processor, blend the ricotta, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the smoked mozzarella and arugula. Pulse until just combined but still chunky.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch diameter circle, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.Spread the ricotta mixture on top leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the tomato slices on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 15 to 16 minutes until the crust is golden. Cut into wedges and serve.

Serves 4 to 6



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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer

As a special education teacher, I think I am drawn to the different.  People who are different.  My favorite students are my autistic students, I think because so many of them lack that filter that is instilled in us at an early age.  They say and do what they feel, when they feel it.  So, I was especially drawn to the characters in Shine Shine Shineby Lydia Netzer. 

When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and eighteen-days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together.

That line pretty much sums up the book.  Two wonderfully different people meet and fall in love.  Maxon is a genius at robots, not so much so at social interactions.   Sunny, different in her own way, helps Maxon with social niceties and raising their autistic son, Bubber. 

At his father's funeral, she showed him how to shake hands with the minister, what part of his mouth to show when smiling.  Even the first time he told Sunny he loved her, Sunny herself had all but written the words in the air in front of him, and led him to the spot, and pointed to each syllable.  And yet, that day, he made up his own words.

I really enjoyed this book.  My only complaint is with the ending.  I'm not sure if I wanted the book to go on longer, or wrap things up in a different way, but I just felt let down at the end.   Still though everything else in the book more than makes up for the slight let down at the end.

I’m curious, if you’ve read it, and I highly encourage you to do so, what did you think of the ending?  Was it just me, or did you wish for a little more?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at August 29,2010.  Some sort of pasta obviously.  Maybe a Bolognese?   Maybe a baked pasta?


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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~More Birdies

Downy Woodpecker Sidewalk Shoes

I believe this is a downy woodpecker.  He comes to the feeder, snatches a seed and then flies off to the nearest tree to crack it open.

Goldfinch Sidewalk Shoes

I love our goldfinches!! 

Goldfinch Sidewalk Shoes

I do so wish I had a better telephoto lens. 

How is your garden doing this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Penne with Zucchini and Mint

Sidewalk Shoes Penne with Zucchini and Mint

Do you do this?  You pull a cookbook off your shelf to make a certain recipe.  Then you find yourself, casually flipping through the book, with small quick intakes of breath.  Look at this recipe!  Look at that recipe!!  Why do I not use this book more often???

Penne with Zucchini and mint Sidewalk Shoes

Well that happened last week, when I made the Salmon Florentine with Quinoa Pilaf from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Weekby Ellie Krieger. One of the first recipes I stumbled upon was Penne with Zucchini and Mint, two things that are in abundance right now!!  Perfect!  As she says in her book “the bright clean flavors and simplicity of this dish make it destined for regular rotation at your home as it is in mine.” 

Really.  It’s lovely.  Simple.  Fresh.  Totally encompasses the eat what is in season now.  It’s not a huge show stopper, it’s just simplicity at it’s best.

Penne with Zucchini and Mint

  • ¾ box (12 ounces) whole-wheat penne pasta
    ¼ cup olive oil
    4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    2 medium zucchini (8 ounces each), sliced into ¼-inch-thick half moons
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    ¾ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1½ ounces)
    ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente and according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, add the oil and garlic to a large deep skillet and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the garlic is lightly golden, about 6 minutes; be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the zucchini. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper.

Drain the pasta, then return it to the pasta pot. Add the zucchini mixture, Parmesan cheese, and mint, and toss to combine.

Serves 4


This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Simona of Briciole.