Cherry Ice Cream Smile, and a Small Duran Duran Obsession

Ok if you got the title of this post then you already know I am a Duran Duran Super Fan. It’s not something I am necessarily proud of, but it is who I am. I got their cassette for Christmas when I was 10 or 11, and immediately I fell in love. I plastered my walls and ceiling with their posters, bought every book, video and record they sold. Made people drive me by Simon’s mom’s house, I was lucky enough to live in the same city as she did (but I bet she didn’t feel the same way). Every thought and action in my pre teen life revolved around the fab 5 in some way or another. I was what you might call obsessed. Every day I would watch MTV hoping to catch a glimpse of Simon’s baby blue eyes, listen to the radio trying to get any kind of tidbit of gossip about themand all of my friends had to like Duran Duran or they were traitors in my book. Then slowly there became a time when I sort of left them. I cheated on them with The Smiths, The Cult, The Pixies, I traded my jazz shoes for Doc Martens, I even got married and had two kids. They were always my first love though, the one I could never forget. Once my kids started to get a little older and I could stop listening to Disney songs for entertainment, I came back. It started slowly, I would listen to a CD here and there, google them on the internet, download the dance mixes onto my Ipod, and well then it kind of got out of control. I like to think that it doesn’t rule my life like it did when I was 12 but there is evidence to the contrary. I follow, John, Simon, and even Simon’s dog on twitter (it is the only reason I signed up for the service). I plan many trips around Duran Duran concerts. I will think nothing of leaving my husband and kids if I get good seats in another city, state, or even country. I still scream like a 12 year old girl when I see them. I will push my old and decrepit body all they way to the front row every time, pushing the young whipper snappers out of my way in the process. I have even climbed over walls and across seat backs in heels to get there. I justify it by my age and commitment, I have earned front row seats even if my ticket says otherwise. I am 40, the ushers don’t scare me anymore. (And by the way front row at a sold out Madison Square garden concert is totally a bucket list moment.) Pictures are worth a thousand words right,  this was my Halloween costume last year.

So it was only a matter of time before I brought it up in my blog, I had cherries and I had ice cream, I was already singing the song in my head, the recipe just had to be created. Cherry Ice Cream Smile

1c pitted sliced fresh cherries

3T sugar

1/4 c water

2T spiced rum

pinch of salt

Ice Cream

Add cherries, sugar and water to a small pan, bring to a boil and simmer until cherries start to soften and liquid becomes syrupy. Add rum and salt, bring to boil again and then turn off the heat.

Serve over ice cream with whipped cream and nuts if desired.

and just because… I love you Simon, Bahamas 2008

Eat Your Veggies, Mashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

Trying to get kids and some adults to eat vegetables can be tricky. Trying to limit you carbs and find hearty, comforting, side dishes can be challenging. Mixing up your week night dinners and getting out of a rut can be tiring. This recipe solves all of these problem and is quick and easy, and I even like it better than mashed potatoes.

Mashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

16 oz of broccoli and cauliflower florets (I bought them already mixed in a bag at my supermarket)

1 oz cream cheese (from the brick, not soft)

1/2 tsp salt

2T half and half or milk

Steam broccoli and cauliflower until soft, you could use a microwave steam bag or steamer ( you could even boil it in a small amount of water). Add cooked veggies, cream cheese, salt and half and half to a food processor and pulse until “mashed”, mash by hand if you don’t have a food processor, it just may be slightly chunkier. Serve, see I told you it was easy. Try doing cauliflower or broccoli solo too.

60 is Nifty! A Birthday Party and Stuffed Mushrooms

My mom turned 60 last week so my siblings and I, there are a lot of them, threw her a birthday party.  As it has become tradition for milestone birthdays, I made her a slide show of pictures throughout her life, teamed it up with some of her favorite songs and showed it during the party . It’s on DVD so she will have it as a take home souvenir. My sisters and I did the decorations. I am not one for the typical black and gloomy, over the hill type parties so we went for a festive and colorful look. We made lots of tissue flower bouquets.

To make, take large sheets of tissue paper and cut into fourths. stack 6-8 sheets of the cut paper together and accordion fold the short side. wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle tightly and cut the ends into a scallop or point. then gently pull each piece of tissue apart until it looks like a flower.

Here’s a tutorial  since I forgot to take pictures of the process: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/mexicantissuepaperflowers/mexicantissuepaperflowers.html 

We also made large tissue pom, pom flowers to hang on the porch, with some white twinkle lights. Here is the tutorial for the pom poms http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to

So everyone could share their well wishes and memories for the birthday girl, I cut a large 60 out of cardboard and spray painted it (colored poster board would work as well)

and had bright colored post it notes and a pen so guest could write on them. I am using the post it notes and the pictures of her party to make a scrapbook for my mom.

Everyone pitched in for food and drinks, my sister-in-law made a gorgeous “sunflower” from mini cup cakes, an 8″ round cake and blackberries

60 IS NIFTY! A BIRTHDAY PARTY

There was lots of great food. One of my contributions was stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms:

2 pints whole mushrooms, stems removed and saved

1 T oil

1 c chopped onion

1c mushroom stems chopped

1 cup chopped spinach (I used fresh)

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/4 c white wine

1 block cream cheese softened

1/4 c panko bread crumbs

1/4 c parmesan cheese grated

In a large pan heat oil and saute onion, and chopped mushroom stems until soft, add spinach and saute until wilted. add salt and pepper and white wine, bring to boil and reduce heat to low, simmer for 5 min.remove from heat.

add cream cheese, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and cooled onion mixture to a food processor and puree.

Toss mushroom caps with olive oil and stuff with cheese mixture, bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes depending on size of mushrooms. Serve.

Happy Birthday Mom! and thank you to everyone who made the party a success.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

We all have seen and love  food in miniature, pizzas, sandwiches, sliders, everybody likes a little single serving of their favorite food. I was making chicken pot pie for dinner and decided to try to shrink them, just for the cute factor. I kind of had a plan, use my regular pot pie filling, refrigerated biscuit dough and a muffin tin, but I had never done it before so I made sure I also had a back up plan incase things went wrong, as they do a lot in my house. The incredible thing is that they actually worked, cooked through and were as cute as a button, the bad news is that unless you are carb loading or only want cute the bread to filling ratio is off. Easy enough to fix by spooning extra filling over the top at the end, kind of like a popover. Or skip the cute part and just spoon filling over baked biscuits, country style, which was my back up plan and equally as delicious.

Chicken and Vegetable Filling

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

2 T oil

1 zucchini chopped

2 potatoes chopped

1 c chopped carrots

1 c chopped leeks

1 clove garlic minced

2 tsp seasoning salt

1/8 c sherry

1 3/4 c chicken stock

1/4 c flour

2/3 c milk

In a large pan heat oil and saute chicken and potatoes about 5 minutes, add leeks, garlic and carrots continues to cook over med heat until chicken is cooked through and potatoes have started to soften.sprinkle with flour and cook one minute,

Add sherry and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom. Add chicken stock and zucchini and seasoning salt and stir, bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk and stir, heat through, turn heat to low.

To make Mini Pot Pies,pre heat oven to 350. Use a non stick muffin tin and separate your refrigerated biscuit dough in half. I used Grands.

Place on half into each tin and spoon in filling

Place the other half of the biscuit over the top and press to seal (doesn’t have to be perfect, sort of seals itself while cooking).

Use a sharp knife and cut a 1 inch slit into the top of the dough of each pie. Cook according to biscuit directions.

Voila, cute on a plate.

Option 2, cook biscuits according to package direction, split in half and spoon chicken pies filling over top.

Fresh Corn Salsa

As you may know I love to use ingredients that are in season, not only is it cheaper, it is delicious. This fresh corn salsa is versatile and yummy. Try it on a taco, tostada, or on top of black bean soup, would also taste great on a salad or by itself on chips and keeps much longer than a tomato or fruit based salsa so it’s great for a potluck too.

Fresh Corn Salsa

2 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob ( about 2 cups)

1/4 cup red onion chopped

1/2 jalapeno chopped

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

1 t olive oil

juice of 1/2 lime (about 1-2 T)

Remove kernels from cob with a knife, make sure your corn is fresh since we are not cooking it.

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl and serve. We had ours on top of a chicken and black bean tostada.

Red White and Blue Salad: A Fourth of July Favorite

Ok there is some green in there too, but otherwise this is a tasty and patriotic dish. This is one of my most requested recipes. Healthy, easy and refreshing it is perfect for potlucks, picnics, or summertime meals.

Red, White, and Blue Salad

2 c baby arugula

1/2 seedless watermelon cut into bite sized chunks

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 contained feta cheese crumbled

 

1/4 c olive oil

1 lime juiced

3T red wine vinegar

1 t minced ginger

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

In a large bowl, add watermelon, blueberries , arugula and feta, toss together until mixed. Then in a small bowl whisk together, oil, vinegar, ginger, lime juice and salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss before serving.

*** If you want to make it even easier, use a good store bought red wine vinaigrette and squeeze a lime over the salad instead of making the dressing.

My Version of a Banh Mi : An Asian Style Meatball Sandwich

If I understand this right, Bahn Mi, means bread in Vietnamese, but it is now widely known as a pork sandwich with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. There are many variations and can be found in big cities and Vietnamese restaurants, none of which are close to my house. So I needed to give it a try on my own and here is what I came up with. I of course did not have the wonderful crispy baguettes from a Vietnamese bakery so I had to do with what Publix was selling. Still they came out delicious and my family loved them, the combination of spicy, sweet, and savory is all here on one easy sandwich. Wake up your taste buds and give this a try, I will warn you though they can be addictive.

Pork Meatballs

1.5 lbs ground pork or pork and beef mix

1 egg

2 T soy sauce

1 t sriracha sauce ( use hot sauce if this is unavailable)

1 t dried cilantro (or 2T fresh chopped)

1T fresh lime juice

3/4 c Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, wet hands and roll into balls, I used about 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture per meatball so that it would fit onto my buns.

Cook for 20 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle.

Pickled Vegetable Topping

1 c shredded carrot (or matchstick carrots)

1 cucumber sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler (or shredded)

1/2 red onion thinly sliced

2 jalapenos sliced thinly

1/4 t salt

3 T vinegar

2T sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a med sized bowl

Place Meatballs on roll or baguette, top with pickled vegetable mixture and top with fresh chopped cilantro and basil. If you want more heat mix 2 T mayo with 1 t sriracha sauce and spread on roll before serving.

Father’s Day, a reason to make breakfast: Pineapple Ginger Pancakes

As I have said before, I don’t like to make breakfast, it is way too early to mess up my kitchen, but there are exceptions, one being Father’s Day. My husband loves breakfast and he deserves it, for example he was awoken this morning by our oldest son, there was a crisis, the internet connection was down. Now two hours later and all of us complaining the whole time he has it back up and running and I don’t think any of us thanked him. Hopefully he will read this, so thank you, see I’m not that ungrateful. Well the least I can do is make breakfast. Pancakes are always a crowd pleaser, so I decided to make it a little more special by making a fruit topping, we had a pineapple on hand so the decision was made. Happy Father’s Day to all the hard working Dad’s out there who so often go unrecognized, if I could I would make you all breakfast.

Pineapple Ginger Topping

1 fresh pineapple peeled cored and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks (most produce stands will core and peel whole pineapples for free, just ask)

1 t chopped ginger

1/4 c orange juice

1 t corn starch

Place all ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes or until juice thickens slightly.

Pancakes

1 c flour

1 T sugar

2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1 egg beaten

1 c milk

2 T vegetable or canola oil

Mix together all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl, mixture may still be slightly lumpy, do not over mix.

Use a 1/4 or 1/3 sized measuring cup to ladle batter onto a skillet that has been preheated to medium and rubbed with a small amount of oil.

Flip when bubbles form around the edge, about 1 min. cook for another minutes and remove keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Spoon pineapple topping over pancakes and top with pecans, almonds, or toasted coconut if desired

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and a Ramona Shandy

Nothing says Summer like fresh squeezed lemonade. I had a bunch of left over lemons from my son’s graduation I need to use so I decided to whip up a batch. I am also trying to find a drink I can make for a crowd and thought this would be a good mixer for alcohol. You could mix it with a flavored vodka, berry , vanilla  etc… Mix it with a wheat beer for a traditional Shandy or go out on a limb and make a drink worthy of Ramona from Real Housewives of NYC, yes it’s turtle time somewhere. Mix 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 Pinot Grigio and you’ve got a Ramona Shandy. This drink is refreshing and light and economical for a party or a large group of housewives. Maybe even serve it at book club if you are reading Most Talkative by Andy Cohen. I apologize for the picture quality, I made this spur of the moment and used my phone camera, but you get the idea.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Mint

4 c water

2T fresh mint leaves

2 c sugar

1 c fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 c ice

1 lemon sliced for garnish

Mint sprigs for garnish

Put 4 cups water in a sauce pan with mint leaves, add sugar and stir, bring to a boil stir making sure all sugar is dissolved and remove from heat and let cool, remove mint leaves.

In a large pitcher add lemon juice, cooled mint and sugar mixture and ice, stir until combined.

Serve over ice, garnish with mint and lemon, or mix with Pinot Grigio for a Ramona Shandy

I’m back and I got an award !

Old Montreal

 

I just returned from a trip to Montreal and Vermont and found out I received an award from one of my favorite bloggers, Lilly Sue’s Bites and Brews. Anyone that knows me knows that her blog title alone is enough for me to love, but she is also from Colorado one of my favorite places to visit and writes the most interesting articles about food, travel and beer. Well she bestowed the Liebster Blog Award upon me and I couldn’t be more grateful.It is nice to know that other bloggers are actually reading your blog and enjoying it.

I started this as a sort of therapy to get me through my knee surgery but have found I really enjoy it.  Hopefully it will be like my knee the more time I spend on it the better it will get.

It is now my turn to award some fellow bloggers who have inspired me, intrigued me, or made me laugh.

1. Maggie’s One Butt Kitchen The name makes me laugh but her recipes make me drool, baking is her expertise.

2.A Lot on Your Plate  is in a word fun,I love her recipes, tips and crafts.

3.Becca’s Green Kitchen Fabulous photography and delicious healthy recipes.

4. Fantastic Frugal Foods from Justa’s Kitchen she has been there supporting me since I started this blog, a fellow Floridian, and great tips for saving money and revamping old favorites.

5.Back Road Journal, wow is all I can say about this one, I am transported to New England every time I see her posts, the pictures are award worthy and her writing is divine.

Here are the rules for the award:

1.Thank and link to the blogger who gave you the award. Thanks again Lilly!

2.Copy and paste the award in your post.

3.Pick 5 other blogs with less than 200 followers to award. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know about their nominations.

 

Thanks to everyone who has clicked around, liked or made comments on my blog, it is my therapy and I think it’s working.