I am so happy that you have landed in my little corner of cyberspace. If you join me here, you will, hopefully, get to know a little about me. You will read my thoughts, my hopes and dreams, and see some of my favorite things. I hope you will visit often. I will try to update it regularly and hopefully you will see an improvement in the blog along the way. Thank you for stopping in to see me as I travel on this journey called "life"!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Getting up at 3 a.m. is worth it sometimes

because you get to see something like this...

Sunrise over Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

It was worth the drive to the coast just to witness this.  We made a memory and took roughly 400 photos. Now, I need a nap. Before I head off for some much needed shut-eye, I'm going to link up with Sunday Snapshot over at NiHaoYall.  

Sunday Snapshot

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a beautiful day!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Chicken and the Wonder of Pinterest

So I'm not sure how I first stumbled upon this recipe....
But I'm pretty sure that my  need to make it first started with this....

I mean...
Doesn't that look good?

And when I read the ingredients, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I had the Asian Linguini Salad and the sushi on my mind already.  I love to make the little drummettes using sriracha; but, it's hard to find them these days in a "free range, antibiotic free, don't feel bad about what may be inside of it kind of chicken" and I thought that this chicken would be the perfect compliment to that meal.  Enter some normal sized drumsticks and some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

This recipe was sweet and oh so spicy.  It was the perfect compliment to the Asian Linguini Salad.  Since the chicken was so spicy, I was glad that I didn't add spice to the salad.  It would have been too much.  

If you have followed along with me for any length of time, I know you are going to be shocked by this revelation.....

I pretty much made the recipe as it was listed.  I know.  It's highly irregular.  But seriously....this recipe was perfect.   I absolutely couldn't have made it better....except....

Would you believe that I forgot to add the cilantro to the marinade? 


Who forgets cilantro?

I didn't realize it until the chicken was already getting happy in the bag with the marinade.  Too late.  I am quite sure that would have made it even better.  Cilantro has a way of doing that to everything.  I won't forget next time.  I hope you won't either.

So without further delay, I am happy to share with you this wonderful recipe.  Please take a moment to stop by and see Jane Deere.  She has some really yummy things to show you over there.  You will be glad you did!

Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Chicken
very slightly adapted from a recipe found here at Jane Deere

4 pounds chicken pieces
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup Sriracha Thai hot sauce
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1 cup Smucker's Sweet Orange Marmalade
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled & minced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (don't forget!)
2 limes, zest and juice
¼ cup rice wine vinegar

In a medium bowl whisk together all marinade ingredients.  Pour over chicken pieces and toss with the sauce to coat evenly.  Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. (I marinated mine overnight!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour chicken and all of marinade into baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring half-way through.
*This can also be done on the grill or smoker.  Keep an eye on it and watch for flare ups.   (I grilled ours and they were delicious!)

Now to sidetrack for a moment...
Are you using Pinterest?

I have been using it like crazy lately.  I find it to be the perfect way to store all of those "must try soon" recipes (among other things!) in a visual format.  Before Pinterest, I would bookmark recipes or star them in my Google Reader or email them to myself to store in my "recipe" folder in Gmail.  Most of the time, they would get lost among the clutter.  Now, I can simply "pin it" to the appropriate board and have a visual reference for the things I want to save out on the Internet.  Truly...it's amazing!  

If you haven't tried it and would like an invite, just send me an email at...
and I will send you an invite.

If you are using it, I would love to connect with you there.  Just click on the "Follow me on Pinterest" button in my sidebar to see what I've been up to on there.  I look forward to seeing you soon!
Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

This post is being linked up here for Foodie Friday at Little Brick Ranch.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Maple Monday & Your Chance to Win

You know we love maple syrup around here and
Ben's Sugar Shack has the finest around.  
I just have to share with you that beginning this Monday, August 1st, Ben's Sugar Shack is hosting MAPLE MONDAY.

What is Maple Monday?

According to Ben's newsletter....

"Every Monday a randomly chosen Facebook friend will win a maple goodie of the week and have it shipped to you free of charge!"


All you have to do is "like" Ben's Sugar Shack on Facebook here and check the Facebook page every Monday to see if you are a winner.

That's it. 
So easy, right?  

And what is not to love about Ben's Sugar Shack  
and their delicious maple syrup.  

To kick things off on Maple Monday, Ben will giving away a pint of maple syrup and a 4-pack of candy.  How awesome is that?

So I encourage you to hop on over and show Ben some love for your chance to experience some of New Hampshire's finest maple syrup.

I know I will be looking for my name on Monday.
Thanks, Ben, for this opportunity to win!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Asian Linguini Salad and other stuff...

I wish I had something really interesting or witty to say this morning.  I would love to dazzle you with my witty prose; but, I am afraid that I have nothing much to say.  You know what I mean, right?  Some days, you just have nothing.  Today is one of those days.  I have nothing except this food that I need to share with you.  I'm pretty much going to let it speak for itself.

I have been wanting to make these dishes for awhile and I have finally gotten around to it.  I'm not sure what has happened to me and this blog over the last few months.  I guess life has a way of intervening.   That's okay though because life is good and we are enjoying our new home in New Hampshire....even with the occasional heat wave.   So when the temperatures start rising outside, I start craving salads.   The Asian Linguini Salad worked perfectly for that.

I let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours before we ate it and the only complaint that I had about it was that I wish that the linguini noodles had soaked in more of the sauce flavor.  Please don't misunderstand me.  The sauce was amazing and it tasted delicious on the noodles.   This Louisiana girl just likes really bold flavors and I would have liked to have tasted more of the sauce because it was so good.

I, also, like things spicy.  This salad was not spicy at all on its own and if I hadn't served it with some seriously spicy chicken, I would have added some heat to the sauce with some Sriracha or crushed red pepper.   Since the chicken was so spicy, the salad was the perfect cool compliment to it.   I will have to tell you about the chicken in another post.  It is definitely worthy to stand on its own.  

So without further delay, I will share the salad recipe that I got from Cat Can Cook with you.  I am sharing my very slightly adapted version of this recipe.  I encourage you to go over and visit Cat and see her original version along with all of the other wonderful recipes that she has featured there.  This isn't the first recipe that I've made of hers.  

Remember the banana muffins that I featured here?  

Seriously... Cat CAN Cook!
Thank you, Mary, for introducing me to Cat!

Asian Linguini Salad
Adapted slightly from Cat Can Cook
16 oz. whole grain linguini, cooked

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 TBSP brown sugar

2 TBSP honey

Squeeze of lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
(*more for garnish)

1/2 cup cashew nuts, chopped
(*more for garnish)

1/2 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas, chopped

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup carrot, grated

3 or 4 green onions, chopped

In a large bowl combine soy sauce, sugar, honey and lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil and garlic.  Whisk well.  Mix in the cooked noodles and toss to coat. Stir in all vegetables and cashews. Chill for several hours or overnight. Just before serving, top with extra chopped cashews and chopped cilantro.

I, also, got the opportunity to try my hand at making some Spicy Crab Rolls and California-ish rolls using Soy Paper to go along with this meal.  They were a little messy!

I won't be joining the staff of a Japanese restaurant any time soon; but I didn't think they were too bad for my first time.

And as you can see, the family loved them....

And dessert was a hit, as well....

Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

It wasn't nearly as pretty as Joanne's cake.  See for yourself and get the recipe here.

But it was absolutely amazing...

Please make this cake.
Do it. 

Your family will thank you.

This post is being linked up with Hearth & Soul Hop 
 Tasty TuesdayTuesdays at the Table, 
and  Make a Food-"e" Friend.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a wonderful day!

Hearth and Soul Hop at Zesty South Indian Kitchen

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ain't that the truth?!

I got this in email today and 
could totally relate to it.  

Can you?

It's my first summer in a long time without air conditioning.  I'm cranky....but not dying.  I've just been spoiled with central air conditioning.

  Down south, it's a necessity
...not a luxury.

I'm glad that the heat doesn't last long here.  I'm pretty sure that I'm going to make it through.

I hope wherever you are that you are able to keep cool.  Have a beautiful weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade Catalina Dressing & other stuff...

We normally have Mexican or I should say 
"Mexican inspired" food at least once a week around here.  
What can I say?  
We absolutely love it.  

The hot weather has had me thinking of salads lately.  My friend was visiting from Louisiana this past week and she showed me Pioneer Woman's Grilled Corn Guacamole. That certainly amped up the cravings.

  Oh my.
Have you seen it?

If not, you should click here and take a look.
It is a thing of beauty to say the least. 

It is kind of like the Charred Corn Salad that I made here; but Pioneer Woman's salad looks easier to make, I think, and  it has more avocado. 

How can that be bad, right?

So I've been thinking about grilled corn and guacamole and that leads me to thinking about taco salads and that always takes me back to the one that my Mom always made when I was growing up.  It was amazingly good and we definitely did not have it often enough.  I'm not sure that we could have had it often enough though.  I loved it.  It had all the usual taco ingredients plus beans plus Doritos and the ingredient that made it all so special.....

Catalina Dressing

An email from Kitchen Simplicity with a recipe for a Homemade Catalina Dressing just sealed the deal for me.  I knew that I had to bring all of these yummy things together for Thursday night's dinner.

I browned and seasoned the ground turkey, picked the fresh lettuce from my garden, grilled the corn, chopped the avocados and was disappointed because they were not so lovely inside and threw quite a bit of them away, made the Catalina Dressing and tossed it all together with some Tostitoes Hint of Lime Chips and it was delicious.

The dressing was once again the star of the show.  Every time that I make homemade dressing, I vow never to buy dressing again.  Making dressing is sooo easy and it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff.  So without further delay, I share with you this wonderful recipe for.....

Catalina Dressing
very slightly adapted from Kitchen Simplicity

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup garlic red wine vinegar
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Place first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the oil in a steady stream with the machine running until the mixture comes together in an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

This post is being linked up here for Foodie Friday, here for Friday Potluck, here for MomTrends Friday Food, here for Foodie Friday, here for Food Trip Friday, and here for Fresh Food Friday. 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

friday potluck guest host girlichef


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Black & White Weekend

This post is being linked up here  
with The Weekend in Black and White.

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to the
most amazing man ever..

Thank you for 13 wonderful years!

I love you more than life....

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

White Bean Blondies

I have been wanting to try Black Bean Brownies for awhile and just haven't gotten around to trying them yet.  Have you tried them?  I love the idea of replacing some of the unhealthy ingredients in desserts and replacing them with good for you things like beans.  What a great way to get extra fiber and protein and less carbs and fat!

When I was preparing to make the big pot of white beans for the salad that I shared with you here, I thought I would go ahead and cook all that I had so that I would have enough to use some of them in other dishes.  If you could make brownies out of black beans, why couldn't you make blondies out of white beans?  It made sense to me.  I knew that it couldn't be an original idea though so I did a Google search and I was right.  Someone had already been there and done that which was good for me.  No re-inventing the wheel here.  I could just make an alteration or two to make them my own and give them a try. 

While they were a little crumbly,  it didn't affect the taste at all.  It may be that we didn't let them cool long enough before we cut them.  My husband came in and was ready to try them immediately.  He ate a couple of pretty big pieces before I shared the secret ingredient.  Some things are better kept to yourself....at least for a little while.  I think he and Connor will agree that they are delicious.  

So without further delay, let me share with you....

White Bean Blondies
Adapted from The Professional Palate’s White Bean Blondies

1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
* I used 15 oz. of a mixture of dried navy beans and cannellini beans that I had cooked very simply with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Salt rather than using canned beans.

3/4 cup sugar 

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Shredded Coconut
*I added a handful of it and didn't measure it.  Use your disgretion on this one.  Chopped pecans or walnuts would be delicious in there, as well.

Blend everything (except chips, oats and coconut, if you are using) in the bowl of a food processor in the order listed, pulsing between each addition.  Before adding the chocolate chips, oats and coconut, process mixture until very well blended and very smooth. Add the oats, chips and coconut, pulse just until blended. Pour into an 9- x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Cook at 350F for 35 - 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand at least 20 minutes before slicing. Store in refrigerator. 

This post is being shared here with
Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  We are getting our first visit from a Louisiana Thursday evening.  We are going to be off playing tourist the next few days.  Boston, Vermont, White Mountains, Seacoast/Maine....here we come!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

White Bean Salad with Peppers, Goat Cheese and Mint

With the temps finally feeling like summer up here in New Hampshire and the lack of air conditioning in the house, we have been having our share of salads lately. I have to keep them interesting if I expect my husband and son to have anything to do with them so I had to get creative with what I had in the cupboard and fridge this past week.

I had a bag of dried navy beans and a few dried cannelini beans so I soaked them overnight and cooked them very simply on the stove with just a little salt and olive oil.  I had a few sweet baby bell peppers left over that needed to be used as well as part of an onion.  With the addition of some garlic, garlic scapes, vinegar, olive oil, goat cheese and fresh mint and I had the ingredients for a great salad.

White Bean Salad with Peppers, Goat Cheese, and Mint
Adapted from  Joanne Weir

1 cup dried white beans
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons white balsamic pear infused vinegar, plus more if needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 or 4 baby bell peppers, cored, seeded and minced
1 small red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, for topping
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips, for garnish

Pick over the beans and discard any stones or damaged ones. Cover with plenty of cold water and let soak for 4 hours or overnight. Place the beans in a saucepan with plenty of water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the skins just begin to crack and the beans are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain the beans.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar to make a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to the warm beans and let sit until the beans cool.  When the beans have cooled, add the diced peppers, onion, and garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and additional vinegar, if needed.

Note:  I doubled all of the dressing ingredients.

Once we had enjoyed this salad for a meal Friday night, I took the left overs on Saturday and ran them through the food processor with some more Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cayenne Pepper and made a delicious white bean hummus that we have been enjoying with crackers.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you have a wonderful week!

Hearth and Soul Hop at Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays