If you read a foodie’s blog and they claimed at one time that they couldn’t go a week without a cookie what would you do? You would make one of their cookie recipes of course! At least that is what I did when I got assigned the oh so cute Chelsy’s blog Mangia!
But it’s not what I thought I’d make. I was positive as soon as I got my email from our Secret Recipe Club super leader Debbi of Debbi does dinner healthy that I would be making Italian. My heart sang at the thought, just like it did when I was first assigned Manu of Manu’s Menu (love that gal).
As I cruised through her blog and started pinning recipes on my “secret board” (thanks Veronica for that idea) I ran across her little comment about being a cookie fiend. And that particular cookie caught my eye. It called for a bunch of ingredients that I really, really, no kidding really needed to use. Let’s just say my pretzels were labeled: best if used by May 2012. Yeah, I probably have had these for the last 2 years. Continue reading “Mangia! Double Chocolate Almond Joy Pretzel Cookies” »
Remember when I received all that dill in my Bountiful Basket? I posted these deviled ham eggs and then I posted the Flounder Olympia (which you need to try if you haven’t yet). But that’s not all baby! I made this fantabulous quiche also. Actually I made quite a bit more but didn’t photograph it all.
After dosing ourselves in dill I realized that I never really used it enough in my cooking. Fresh dill was always paired with fish, or some creamy dressing/dip and used, of course, for pickling. Honestly I use more dried dill than fresh. But that wrong has been righted by the insane amount that I received and a new found appreciation and love for fresh dill.
I so enjoyed the flavor that I will be planting at least 4 dill plants, maybe more? I’m also planting a bunch of Boston pickling cucumbers. A good pair is a good pair.
Speaking of a good pair; asparagus and dill! Why have I never done this before? I know asparagus gets pickled (they’ve been known to show up in my Bloody Mary’s and Caesar’s); logically this thought should have occurred to me before! I am mourning the missed opportunities I could have had with dill and asparagus… Continue reading “Asparagus Dill Quiche with a Potato Crust” »
Would you believe that I’m sitting outside, drinking coffee and typing this post? To me this feels so luxurious. This is how, in my little mind, I imagine a writer’s life. The perfect writer’s life, where you could put pen to paper (or type) anywhere when inspiration hits.
I have always thought writers to have a glamorous job where they dictate their hours and only panic near deadlines. Sipping coffee while the words flow or enjoying wine and thinking that you do your best writing then. Staying up late, sleeping in or vice versa.
I think that probably Hollywood had some influence on this image that I have. The outsider looking in only sees what they see. The garbage men just drove down my alley, they looked over at me sitting al fresco, hacking away on my laptop and I know their thoughts “it must be nice…wish I could do that…but someone has to actually get up and go to work”.
I know that’s their thoughts; before I started freelancing if I saw someone doing something I wanted to do or perceived as “the life” I was a bit envious, I had those very same thoughts. Usually our image, or if I may say, the cover of the book, isn’t necessarily what’s going on inside. Continue reading “Pavlova with Strawberries and Mint” »
I’ve decided that Mother Nature is either a manic depressive or severely PMSing during the spring. She’s definitely a moody one, especially in Montana. Maybe it’s because she loves us so much that it incurs this severe differences in our days (you know the saying, you hurt the ones you love the most). For example, Sunday before last it was a gorgeous beautiful spring day, by Tuesday there was 6 inches of snow on the ground. Moody, moody, moody!
If Mother Nature PMS’s all spring, then I must have become in sync with her living in Montana over the years. Just as quickly as the weather changes so does my mood. If I wake up and the sun is out, so am I. I become an amazing production machine; whether it’s yard work, house work or ‘real’ work. I feel like I have boundless energy and can conquer the world. Continue reading “Hearty Spring Pasta” »
Have you ever heard the term “so ugly, it’s cute”? Typically this refers to animals and babies, not to food. And it shouldn’t. Actually I’ve never seen anything so ugly that it became cute. Cats with no hair…ugly! Smashed up face dogs with ubers of wrinkles…ugly. Your newborn baby…sorry moms…ugly (but not forever of course). Croc shoes…ugly! But oh so comfortable. Just because something is ugly doesn’t mean that it’s not likable, lovable or delicious for that matter. Continue reading “Uniq Citrus and Cucumber Salad” »
When I retired from the Air Force I thought I was going to be a teacher. I love to teach, mentor, and share knowledge and skills. Naturally I thought I’d be teaching dental assisting, after 22 years of it, I probably had enough experience. I was so sure of it that I got a BA in Education, specifically workforce education and development.
That didn’t happen. Apparently someone has to die before you can get a teaching position at the technical school. But sometimes things work out for the better anyways.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like teaching anymore. I’ve been teaching cooking classes and a little photography, and sharing my new gardening knowledge. I still love teaching, it’s almost a compulsion (some people get taught something whether they want to know or not). When my neighbor asked me if I’d like to teach her photo club of 6th graders some food photography, I was delighted! Continue reading “Roosevelt Cookies (Lemon Glazed Craisin, Granola and White Chocolate Cookies)” »
I was so happy when I got my assignment this month for Secret Recipe Club! I was assigned Tandy from Lavender and Lime. First off I’m a fan of citrus, and she obviously is too, it’s right there in her title. Tandy is from South Africa, two years ago McGyver and I went on a Safari there and stayed to visit friends, you can read about that here and here. Naturally anything to do with South Africa brings back a flood of good memories.
Tandy has some serious cooking chops! Her recipes have been published in several venues, even before she started her blog. She’s also won a cooking competition. Tandy makes her magic in a small kitchen with the best of ingredients. And I love this quote that she has in her about page.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
When it came to choosing a recipe I went straight for her venison recipes. Lucky me, I have a freezer full of venison and I am always looking for exciting new ways to prepare it. As soon as my eyes landed on her recipe for Venison Roast with Coffee and Star Anise Rub it was love. Tandy mentioned in her intro to the recipe that she wanted to use a loin but didn’t have any so she used a leg roast instead, well Tandy, I had a loin just waiting to be used.
This would be a good time to mention that what Tandy refer’s to as venison are ‘bokkies’, as in springboks (which is also a rugby football team), blesboks, bushboks, etc. Bokkies are actually an antelope, here in the states when we use the term venison it’s in reference strictly to deer. Having ate spring and blesbok before I knew that the flavor was not dissimilar and it would be no problem using deer instead of blesbok. Of course there was zero chance that I would actually be able to get my hands on one.
Speaking of not being able to get my hands on something, I went to four stores and not one of them had juniper berries. Thank goodness I had a trip to San Francisco scheduled and I was able to pick some up. Also while I was there I bought some cabernet salt which I used in place of the regular salt. There will be more on that and the rest of my trip on Friday (are you happy Debra? She’s been asking me when I was going to share). Continue reading “Coffee, Juniper Berry, and Anise Crusted Venison Loin” »
I cannot count how many times my mom would make no-bake cookies while I was growing up. I remember that she thought they were the most amazing ‘cookie’ ever. Quick, easy, sweet, chocolately and of course no oven required. Last minute bake sale no problem, last minute party no problem, last minute guests no problem. These cookies could be whipped up in no time and made very little mess so an easy clean-up followed. I guess that is pretty amazing.
I recently discovered that what we unimaginatively called no-bake cookies are in fact called Preacher’s cookies in the Appalachian. The story goes that if you spotted the preacher at the bottom of the hill you could throw these cookies together and they would be ready by the time the preacher made it up the hill (source).
These cookies also go by “Cow Patty” (for obvious reasons) and “Poodgies” for, well, I have no explanation for the name Poodgie. Since my mom always called them no-bake, no-bake they will always be to me. I made these cookies for my ‘adopted’ grandkids one day when I realized that I didn’t have any snacks for them at the house. I only had a short time before I needed to pick them up from school and these cookies were just the ticket. Continue reading “No-Bake Nutella and Pretzel Cookies” »
As I sit here and write this, it is snowing outside and my house is at a not so balmy 50°F. I have a blanket wrapped around me like a burrito, my sweatshirt is zipped to the top and a kerchief dons my head to keep my ears warm. A cup of coffee warms my fingers and core in between typing.
Spring in Montana! Only last week the temperatures were up to the low 60’s and warm breezes were making their way through the lands. My daffodils responded whole’heartedly announcing to the world that indeed spring was here. I could feel the serious itch to start my veggie garden but I resisted…this is very typical of a Montana spring. It lures you into spring fever and then slam, it gives you a reminder that spring is hardly but a wink before we hit the summer.
Evidently McGyver had decided it was time to turn off the heat and not give me the memo. So I’ve been sitting here all morning freezing (in a home sense) before I thought to check the thermostat (my office is always a little cooler than the rest of the house). Unfortunately it’s taking longer to warm up my little bungalow than I’d like. Despite the chill, I still have a case of culinary spring fever! Which is perfect since Simone at Junglefrog Cooking has revealed the theme for this months photography and styling contest: Spring! Continue reading “Strawberry and Jicama Salad with a Lemon Basil Vinaigrette” »
Recently I came into an obscene amount of dill! I mentioned in my last post (Deviled Ham Stuffed Eggs) that I had been preparing so many dishes with dill that I thought that perhaps McGyver and I might end up being pickled. I even tried my hand at pickling some radishes and carrots (we’ll have to wait to see how that one plays out).
With so much dill on hand and my irrational fear of wasting anything, I posted on my Facebook page a call for dill recipe ideas. Someone immediately chirped up and boy am I glad! Michelle suggested a dish called Halibut Olympia, she recommended using lots of shallots and mix a bunch of dill with a mayonnaise sour cream mix.
As fate would have it, I did not have lots of shallots, nor did I have halibut, nor did I have sour cream. Which meant the recipe was perfect. You know how us bloggers roll, we would change everything any ways. I did have flounder, and I had red onion and plain Greek yogurt, all no brainer substitutes.
I did a quick search on the internet for Halibut Olympia to get some portion and cooking time frames, I found this blog post which inspired me to use a panko topping and saute the onions. In my organic basket there was also a bunch of Swiss Chard which I thought would make a nice bed for my flounder (plus healthify it). I halved the amount of yogurt mayonnaise mix because flounder is not a thick hearty fish like halibut. I cooked up some new red potatoes and tossed them with butter and dill, then added a salad with a dill vinaigrette which completed the meal. Continue reading “Flounder Olympia with a Panko Crust” »