Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Week in Pictures

Our Chihuahua Mushka enjoying the heck out of a t-bone. She is all dog! 

A little snow earlier in the week beautifully blanketed all the appropriate places but happily stayed clear of the roads, driveways and sidewalks. Thanks Mother Nature! I can really enjoy the snow this way. 
The trees in the yard look magnificent.!

I tried making Smashed Shrimp Shumai and it was a huge hit, so mush so that I made it three times in four days (fresh each time from the filling and to use up the wanton wrappers). The dipping sauce is delicious too - 3 tablespoons of Rice Vinegar, 2 tablespoons of Light Soy Sauce and 1 tablespoon of Garlic Chili Sauce also knows as Sambal. We will be pulling this one out more often than just for the shumai. 

Lodge Open House and the light coming through the window was just right 

Paulie, posing patiently for me, he really does not like being on that side of the camera but I persuaded him to even smile 

Sunday night laziness from Moses who insists on pulling down all the perfectly folder blankets off the back of the couch 

Simple roasted dinner of pullet halves, fingerling potatoes, carrots and the last of the shumai.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dinner - Steak, Fingerling Potatoes & Acorn Squash

Comfort food on a cold day

Acorn Squash, 4 minutes in the microwave and 40 minutes in a 400° F with a pat of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar, dash of vanilla and black pepper 

Fingerling potatoes, washed, cut in half lengthwise, boiled for 8 minutes then roasted in a 400° F oven for 40 - notice, same amount as the squash that way everything finishes at the same time 

Potatoes finished off with chopped dill and more fresh cracked pepper 

Steak cooked in coconut oil, 3 minutes on each side then rested for 15 minutes, sliced and served 

Squash, a little sweet, perfectly tender and loved in our house

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Planner/Organizer Stamps

I am compiling a list of companies that make stamps that are perfectly sized for use in planners/organizers like #Filofax #ErinCondran #DayTimer

Many of you might already be familiar with #Studiol2e but how about #SweetStampShop or #WaffleFlower. Just check out some of the adorable stamps:

Studiol2e BeYOUtiful Plans

Bella Creations - Plan Nerd 2

Pink And Main - Icons

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thankfulness Week - Day 6

Today I am thankful for all the animals in my live, our beloved and now senior Chester, if it's not Chuckit then it's his star stuffy near by. His hearing is nearly gone but he is the love of our lives and never fails to put a smile on our faces. 

Moses, what can I say about this adorable therapy dog. He is our baby, but knows each and every time one of us is not feeling well or is sad. He really is intuitive. 

And then there's Princess Mushka. Five pounds but all DOG, no piddle pads for her, she insists on going outside with her brothers. She's a fabulous traveling companion and has been to at least a dozen states and Canada. One important fact, she is a Daddy's girl and if he is home I do not exist except for one simple reason. If Paulie is napping or watching TV, she will go into my office to get me to let her know so she doesn't bother Daddy. That's pretty spoiled but we love every little ounce of this adorable Chihuahua.
Animals add so much to our lives that I wanted to make sure to give them their own special Thankful day.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfulness Week - Day 5

Thanksgiving is the epitome of abundance, at least for those who have the means and I am painfully aware that not everyone in this world or this country have the means. My family is always aware of where we came from and that makes us appreciate every morsel we consume and sharing food has been the best way to show love. I love my family and grab any opportunity to show that in my food. Some people might think, why make a full meal for just two people? Well, we ate, tomorrow I will share with my parents and each of the leftovers made this week will be share on my daily vlogs. I already have an idea for Turkey and Wild Rice soup.

Sweet Potato Souffle with Crumble topping 

The 'Bird' about 13 lbs. 

Simple Cranberry and Mushroom stuffing, not from a bag but made with toasted homemade croutons and low sodium Manischewitz Chicken stock 

Beans with Onion Jam and blanched almonds 

And PIE - with the perfect whipped cream to pie ratio.

I hope that each and every one of you have had a chance to enjoy the day and take a moment to be thankful for what you have and maybe just a little less emphasis on what you don't have because that's just a self fulfilling prophecy and is not productive.
I am thankful for:
  • Each Morning
  • The love of my family - husband, parents, sister and extended loved ones
  • My animal friends - Chester, Samantha, Mushka, Moses, Ginger, Henrietta, Lucy, Ethel & Gladys
  • For being able to make a meal like this one

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankfulness Week - Day 2

Tonight's Sunset
I am thankful for the perseverance, luck, persistence and good old fashioned hard work that has landed me in the job that I enjoy and affords me the flexibility to help family when they are in need.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Butternut Squash Salad

I posted the ingredients to today's challenge earlier today - Butternut Squash, Dill, Pecans & 5 Spice.

Keeping it simple for #MeatlessMonday 

Adorable little squash, I peel it over a paper towel 

To cut down on the moisture that exudes out of the flesh once you start peeling it 

All done and I even kept all my knuckle skin, this time 

Skins and seeds are treats for the Girls tomorrow 

The color of the flesh is radiating nutrients 

Diced the same size so they cook evenly

Dill oil - 1/4 cup Grapeseed oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon No Salt seasoning 

Blended in my NutriBullet 

Mixed in with the diced squash and spread on a 1/2 sheet pan in a single layer, into a preheated 425° F oven for about 20 minutes then turn over and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until fork tender 

In the meantime, I saute the pecans in coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of 5 Spice seasoning 

Rinse and spin baby greens 

Add baby hot house cucumbers, cipollini onions, radishes, scallions and homemade dijon and dill dressing (grapeseed oil, red wine vinegar, No Salt seasoning, dill, dijon in a mason jar 'all shook up') 

Dressed greens topped with roasted butternut and topped with toasted pecans 

A tasty meatless dinner for the first Cooking Challenge, can't wait to see what everyone makes using these ingredients.

Thankfulness Week - Day 1

I am Thankful that even when stumbling blocks appear in life we have the fortitude to move forward without complaining because there is always someone who has more challenges and still faces them with grace. I learn from people like that every day.

What are you Thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Leek, Potato & Corn Soup (Meatless Monday Meal)

It might not look like much but the flavor is addictive and the aroma intoxicating. I shares this Meatless Monday meal in a vlog but here is the written recipe

  • 3 large leeks cut into half moons
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of good Veggie Base, I use Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (they even have Vegan Organic bases, here is the extensive selection)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon No Salt McCormick's seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill
Clean thoroughly the leeps, since they grow slowly, dirt gets trapped between their layers. The most effective way to remove that dirt is to cut off the dark green portion of the leek (it's too woody for cooking) then cut the leek lengthwise and then chop into half moons. Place the cut pieces into a bowl of water and agitate to rinse, replace the water and repeat as needed till you no longer see any soil. I use a salad spinner for this process and it works nicely.
Once the leeks are clean, saute them in Coconut Oil with onions and no Salt Seasoning (or salt & pepper if you are not counting your sodium intake), Once the onions and leeks are translucent but not brown, add 3 smashed garlic cloves (no need to chop because everything will be blended together),
Dissolve the veggie base in water you will be adding to the soup, then add diced potato. Let cook till potato is fork tender, add sour cream or yogurt and blend off the heat then add 2 cups of frozen corn. Taste for seasoning, I always add fresh cracked black pepper at this point.
Garnish with dill and croutons and enjoy.

I showed the step by step in the following vlog:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Simple Project Each Day - Livingroom Cleanup

I admit it, we got lazy the last couple of weeks with Paulie's health challenges and wound care that the living room started resembling something out of Hoarders episode. Today my patience ran out so I used my lunch break from work to tackle it and shamed myself publicly by posting the before and after. I am committing, once again, to complete a project each day to continue this motivational momentum. Tomorrow I address the kitchen... now that will be a job and a half.

Weeknight Gourmet - Lamb Chops

Spoiled hubby my making a weeknight gourmet dinner of lemon parsley lamb chops over ricotta garlic mashed potatoes. Both plates were cleaned and it was a fraction of the cost had we gone out to a restaurant. Sometimes it pays to learn a few good techniques so you can reproduce your favorite flavors at home.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tapas Dinner for Meatless Monday

We opted for Tapas tonight, bite size morsels of flavorful treats from savory to sweet 

I was inspired for the entire meal by the gorgeous thickly sliced portobello mushrooms from the market which were fried in coconut oil with fresh cracked black pepper resulting in what looks and even tastes like 'bacon' but without any animal protein 

Accompaniments of pimento stuffed green olives that are....wait for it... LOW Sodium! 

Two small wedges of cheese - a lovely light brie perfectly paired with slices of Asian pear and Mediterranean Cheddar full of herbs and spices 

Capping off the meal with a quick and easy Cheesecake dip of 3 tablespoons of Ricotta cheese mixed with 1 teaspoon of Raspberry Agave again inspired by the fresh Raspberries from the market