Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Important upcoming dates!

really I'm kidding ... sort of!  lol!  April 15th is National Glazed Spiral Ham Day -- if you've never had a Honey Baked Ham ... search them on the Internet and get yourself one!!

Stay tuned because April 16 is Eggs Benedict Day ... do I have recipes and stories for you!!

April 18 is National Animal Crackers Day ... oh my gosh, do you remember the little boxes with the strings attached that were such a treat?  Hope your kids enjoy the same!!

And April 20th is Pineapple Upside Down Cake day ...

I could just go on and on but you'll have to check back because I have so many recipes to share!!!!  Have a great tomorrow!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Crab Louis

Since my liver and onions yesterday wasn't such a hit with most of my friends ... I thought tonight I'd go the seafood route because it is so fresh and plentiful here in Florida.  Not wanting to put a LOT of effort into dinner for one, and having picked up a container of jumbo lump crabmeat, I developed a craving for Crab Louis.

What is it?  
Many historians believe that the salad began appearing on menus of finer West Coast establishments between the turn of the 20th century and World War I. Other historians suggest that the salad was named after King Louis XIV who was known for his enormous amounts of food he could eat. I prefer to believe it was named for King Louis -- thus it is a "dish of kings" -- or in my case queens! lol!!

The crab is traditionally placed on a bed of good lettuce (I'm using baby greens) with hard boiled eggs, chopped tomato and asparagus spears surrounding it.  The dressing is made with mayonnaise, red chili sauce, minced green onions, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper and served on the side.  Since it's just me eating, I'll pour that right on the crab!!

That's Life ...

... and it's tough times.  After our exciting move to Florida back in December, we had a lovely Christmas with family and then for my birthday in January darling Jenny and Sophie came to visit!  We were off to a great start.

Then along came the bad news ... in February my husband was diagnosed with small cell cancer in his lungs and by March it had spread to his liver and bones.  We're putting up a good fight and going through chemo with another round this week and more scans next week.  Our mantra nowadays is from our favorite movie "Finding Nemo" and it's "just keep swimming" so we're trying to keep our heads above water.

One of the biggest challenges is getting enough nutrition into Howard as he is not in the mood to eat.  I make a mean milkshake full of calories, but he can only drink one or two a day :)  But at least he's trying ...

Keep us in your thoughts and swim along with us!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nutella -- are you addicted?

It's World Nutella Day, and if you haven't tried this confection, it's time you did!  Here's a site with dozens of ways to incorporate Nutella into your every day life!  I even have a friend who has to fight with her grown son over the large sized jar of this wonderful treat!  Once tried, you'll be a forever friend!


Avocados on Demand

When we were in Virginia it was a real trick to find a ripe avocado.  After living for years in California I sort of took it for granted that this luscious fruit was available everywhere ... but I learned differently!  In Hampton I would hit all the grocery stores -- generic as well as specialty markets -- in search of the perfect "tennis ball ripe" avocado.  Sometimes we were lucky, but more often we had to ripen them at home and wait for that process to take place.

What an absolute delight to walk into any market here in Sarasota and have a huge selection for squeezing to obtain just THE RIGHT fruit!

Now, how many ways can you use an avocado?  Oh baby let me count the palatable delights!!  I'm sure that all you fans have more suggestions, but here are my top favs:

1. First comes to mind the wonderful chip dip called guacamole.  So many variations, but tonight in my haste to chow down, I took an avocado, split it in half, scooped out the beautiful fruit into a small bowl.  Added a squeeze of lemon (fresh picked from the tree of course -- hey we live in Florida now!), squeezed a few cloves of garlic into it, added a few tablespoons of prepared spicy salsa and mushed it all up with a couple of tablespoons of mayo and some salt and pepper.  Then I had my own late-night party!

2.  Another favorite in the family is sliced turkey breast with mayo and slices of avocado.  Add bacon and bean sprouts for a real California style treat or just the avocado!

3.  Use the fresh avocado as a bowl for your favorite salad -- I've got friends coming for luncheon on Tuesday and will make chicken salad remoulade served in avocado halves.  Shrimp/crab/lobster salads are also totally elegant served in avocado.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

January Travels

I remembered today that I took dozens and dozens of photos from the middle of January when Jenny and Sophie were here along with Cousin Daryl from Colorado.  Looks like tomorrow will be photo clean up day! For my birthday Howard gave me a new really fantastic DSLR camera and I haven't even begun to learn the ins and outs!  But stay with me and I'll get better!  See you tomorrow!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Books Read 2011

If any of you noticed, I've been off my blog since November when life got so crazy getting ready for the move, actually making the move, and finally recovering from the move!  Last night was the first time I actually sat on the computer feeling "normal" as I worked -- not just flying in and flying out!

However, I've been remiss in recording my books ready for the end of 2010 and the first month of 2011.  I can hardly remember the days that passed, never mind the books read, but I'll try to keep up better this month :)

So, have you read anything really good lately?  If you're a fan of Karen Marie Moning's "fever" series, her newest book was released on January 18 and is currently making the rounds of my family while I catch up on some other things. 

Reading is a good thing ... you can be anywhere and anyone you wish when you're in the middle of a book!

Stuffed Mushroom Day

Well, it's supposed to be chocolate month, but today is stuffed mushroom day and I really can't resist sharing my all-time favorite recipe that I've been serving since the early 1970s thanks to Julia Child and her amazing kitchen!

Take some good sized mushrooms (there are so many choices today!!) and pull out the stems.  Trim the bottom of the stems so it's nice and clean and then chop the stems. Twist the pieces in a paper towel to extract as much moisture as possible. Mince up a couple of shallots and put the stem pieces and shallots in a big dab of butter to saute for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, wash the caps, brush with butter and arrange hollow-side up on a small baking sheet.  To the stems and shallots, add 2 teaspoons flour and stir to cook the flour a little bit.  Slowly add 1/2 cup heavy cream and bring to simmer for a minute or so until mixture thickens.  Stir in a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Fill the mushroom caps and then top each with a tablespoon of grated swiss cheese.  Dribble some melted butter over all then bake in a 375 degree oven until caps are tender and cheese has browned on top.

Bon appetit!

African Violet Fever

Back in the 1970s I learned how to make new little violet plants from leaves and had a wonderful window bench that just loved my violets and so I grew dozens of them!  I had no idea at the the time that violets had names or actual descriptions in a database ,,, I just knew that I was thrilled to pieces when little tiny "mouse ears" appeared in the little leaves I had planted in the perfect California window seat...and they grew and flourished and flowered and all was right in my California world of flowers and veggies and tennis.

Then came the 80s and while still struggling to find my feet, I had tons of houseplants of all sorts ... but no violets.  I did live in a wonderful house in Westchester County, NY, but here most of growing was of the outside variety -- fruits and veggies with a few flowers thrown in for color, but no real opportunity for my orchids or violets. We did, however, have the MOST awesome vegetable garden I've ever known!  But how many tons of broccoli should a person really be exepcted to eat? lol!  Peter, you did an amazing job!

And moving onto the 90s, I had a huge house with it's own plant room and plant stands that should have been the envy of all who viewed! lol!!  I had wall to wall;/ ceiling to floor stands with lights and could grow anything!  So was born my vegetable garden and grow beds ( which I was so happy to share with my next door neighbor) as well as another opportunity to start my flats of
African Violet leaves.

Well, the garden was a huge success with lots of great veggies, but the violets had barely gotten seated and established when once again we were off to parts unknown ... and though some of my lovely colors remained, I lost a good number of them on the nove to Vermont.

With all that went between there and here, it matters not.  For today I have three new violet plants and along with my best friend cousin Kimberley, we'll start our new African Violet empire :) or at least we'll having some growing!!