A simple cheese board has become the Sunday evening dinner menu at our house. While winding down from the weekend and gearing up for productive work weeks, we treat ourselves to some of our favorite cheeses. For easy entertaining or quiet evening snacking, a cheese board is the perfect way to impress or selfishly indulge.
Tellagio (a Northern Italian cheese made since the 9th century), Gorgonzola Mountain (blue cheese from Lombardi, Italy), Sartori Sar Vecchio (an American version of the Italian Parmigiano Reggiano), Dried Turkish Apricots, Italian Herb Olives, Mixed Berry Jam, red grapes, honey (for the blue cheese), and crostini.
Valentine’s Day is just another day around our house. We don’t do flowers or presents or fancy dinners. It’s not that we’re anti-Valentine’s Day. We just live life as John often sums it up, “I tell you and hopefully show you that you are very loved every day of the week. I, on the other hand, have had so many work projects and volunteer commitments lately that I’ve been MIA, which leads me to deal with extreme guilt when I walk in the house at night and see everything cleaned, laundry folded and dinner plate waiting on the stove. Knowing that I likely haven’t expressed ample amounts of my love and gratitude toward my husband, and knowing we have a strict no gifts policy, I decided to take the tried and true route cleared by so many women before me. You know, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It’s true. A wise woman once told us before marriage that love starts in the kitchen. A favorite around our house is anything with oranges and cranberries, so this little muffin recipe dressed up in parchment cups from Paper Chef was the perfect “You are loved today and every day” gift for my valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you. I hope you feel so loved.
Pecans are a staple in any Southern woman’s kitchen, and each year, my dad picks, shells and packages pecans for me to freeze and use throughout the year. As I was looking for a sweet treat last night, J grabbed a bag of pecans from the freezer, and a few minutes later, we had the perfect fall snack.
I started with a 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Then I added 1Tablespoon of sugar and 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon – mixing for a few seconds until both dissolved into the melted butter. Then I added the pecans, stirring continually for about 4-6 minutes. Once finished, I poured the pecans onto a pan and tossed them on and off for about five minutes.
To top it off, I sprinkled a touch of cinnamon and sugar over the caramelized pecans to give them a bit of added sweetness.
I love raspberries and greek yogurt, so when I came across this three ingredient frozen yogurt recipe from Martha Stewart, I knew it would become a favorite summer treat. The sweet + tart flavor is the perfect way to cool off this HOT Memorial Day weekend while we’re at the lake with my family. So far, the only things into my suitcase are swimsuits, my iPad and sun hats. I’m looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend catching up on some of my favorite blogs, a new book and time with my wonderful family. Happy Memorial Day!
Blend 2 and 1/2 cups raspberries and 1/2 cup superfine sugar until smooth.
Strain raspberry liquid through a mesh sieve. And whip 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt into raspberry mixture.
Place into ice cream maker and blend until frozen. Pour yogurt into a freezer safe container and freeze for bout an hour. Will last in freezer for up to one month.
Unfortunately, I won’t be with my mom this Mother’s Day, but for those of you lucky enough to spend the day with your most-admired lady, here’s a savory meal that is tasty enough to impress, yet simple enough to stave off stress and enjoy time with Mom. Marinate salmon filets with a mix of bourbon and brown sugar, place in tin foil and grill until done. Serve over a simple succotash, with buttermilk biscuits and tomato gravy.
Hopefully, we’ve all been blessed to have a special mom-figure in our lives. How I got so lucky to be my mother’s daughter, I’ll never know, but I’m so thankful and proud to be hers. For always, my mother has been my biggest fan. She believes in dreams. That is the dreams of her children. Regardless of the dream my brother and I decided to chase, my mother always helped us develop a plan to get there, while cheering us on along the way. She has given us the confidence to take risks, to go on adventures, to live in the “grey” and to believe in ourselves when doubt began to creep into our hearts and minds. And she shows us love, every day. Luck may have nothing to do with it at all, but I know for certain that I’m fortunate to have such a wonderful mother.
Do you have a favorite story to share about your mom? Happy Mother’s Day!
My dear friend, Katherine, who’s family is from Cypress has taught me much about Greek cuisine. While my lamb chops will NEVER compare to her perfect dish, I can manage to impress the taste buds with a simple Caprese Salad. With Roma Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and clipped basil on hand…
I simmered a cup of balsamic vinegar on medium heat until it formed into a thicker reduction.
After slicing the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, place on a platter and drizzle with a touch of olive oil and balsamic reduction.
Top with slices of basil, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.
What does one do on a weekend with blue skies and 90 degree temperatures?
1. Grills Burgers and “Guitless” Fries – (sliced red potatoes, 1tsp olive oil, sea salt and black pepper – baked at 425 for 1/2 hour) with homemade sweet pickles (courtesy of Gaga)
2. Sunbathes on the deck (flip-flops: similar style here, Apple iPad; hat: Target)
3 & 4. Cools off after a music fest on the river with Bourbon Caramel Gingersnap Gelato
5. Whips up fresh guacamole with leftover avocados and fresh cilantro from the herb garden. Guacamole – two avocados (peeled, pitted and smashed), chopped cherry tomatoes (I used 1/2 cup), 3 tsp lemon juice (I was out of lime), 1 tsp garlic salt, black pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp Worcestershire, fresh cilantro
6. Preps an herb garden (pots: The Home Depot; chalkboard labels: Martha Stewart for Staples)
7. Arranges a bouquet from her favorite rose bushes
8. Smiles at the first hydrangea bloom of the year
9. Catches Baby Jack and J snoozing after a fun-packed weekend of yard work, planting a vegetable garden, cooking, baking, going to a music festival, seeing The Five Year Engagement with good friends, catching some sun and starting a new kettle bell workout.
With my strong aversion to mayonnaise, I’ve never imagined a day when I could enjoy pimento cheese sandwiches. Recently, I thought about substituting the mayo with cream cheese to make a smooth spread instead of the typically chunky Southern staple. To my surprise, a few other folks had thought of that, too…thank you, Google! Then I decided to add a little excitement with hot sauce.
Place 1 pound of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, half pound of shredded pepper jack cheese, 7 oz jar of pimentos (drained), 8 oz package of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (add less if you don’t enjoy a kick to your taste buds) in a food processor.
Then, spread onto toasted french bread, fresh vegetables, crackers or pita chips for tasty snack.
This recipe makes more than you’re likely to enjoy, so package some up to share.
With strawberry season in full swing, these muffins are one of many delicious recipes. With some hesitation prior baking them, I must say, this is one perfect muffin! The sweet flavor from the strawberries combined with the hint of tart lemon is the perfect combination for a morning muffin on the go.
One of the best combinations, Champagne + Strawberries just got better…with cupcakes! I made these a while back for a wedding party for dear friends. The cupcake recipe was very simple, and I may have added a bit more champagne to the icing recipe! After baking and icing the cupcakes, I garnished each with a slice of fresh strawberry. Then, my creative brain dediced to fill half of the cupcakes with strawberry jam for a flavorful punch. By punching holes into the center of each cupcake with a straw, I squeezed the jam into the center with an icing dispenser. Then, I decorated the tops with champagne icing. I made over 100 cupcakes, and I was very pleased to take home empty platters.