Monday, July 31, 2006


Two new reviews

Down Came the Rain

Something that Lasts

Will post some recipes and pictures later.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bluebarb Crunch

Here's my newest review posted:
The Nannies

My mother-in-law gave me a bunch of rhubarb, and being a rhubarb novice, I had no clue what to do with it. I found this recipe in my Bed and Breakfast cookbook:

Bluebarb Crunch
4 cup rhubarb cut into l-inch pieces
2 cups blueberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water

For Crumble/Crunch Topping
l cup all-purpose flour
l cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter or margarine - melted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375In a large bowl combine rhubarb, blueberries, sugar, flour, cinn, lemon ju and water. mix well. Pour into a greased 9 by 12" baking dish.For topping, in a small bowl combine topping ingredients, sprinkle topping over fruit. Bake 45 min. until rhubarb is tender.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Well, the other night I had made the chicken marsala, and now I have this big bottle of marsala wine...what to do with it? I didn't have the ingredients to make tiramisu (but I will be getting them soon!) but I did have some berries that needed to be used. So I whipped up some zabaglione.

It was VERY easy.

I put a pot of water on the stove and got the water hot/boiling. Then I used the large stainless steel bowl above and put the following in the bowl:

4 egg yolks

4 teaspoons sugar

4 tablespoons Marsala wine

I wisked the mixture constantly, making sure the bowl didn't touch the water, until it became thick and creamy. It took about 5 minutes. That's it!

It was really delicious with the berries, everyone in the family enjoyed it.

I'm currently reading Family by Karen Kingsbury and listening to The Husband by Dean Koontz

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I love salmon (I can't help but hear Kelly Pickler's pronunciation in my head when I type that). It's very inexpensive here on the west coast at this time of year. I found this recipe in Giada's Family Dinner book and it's delicious. She calls for broiling the salmon in the oven, but I put it on the grill so I didn't have to heat up my kitchen, it worked wonderfully that way.

Broiled Salmon with garlic, mustard, and herbs

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

3/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (I didn't have any so I used dried)

1 Tablespoon white wine

1 Tablespoon olive oil

nonstick cooking spray

6 6-8 oz. salmon filets (I used half a salmon because it was cheaper)

Lemon wedges

In a small bowl, mix the garlic, both mustards, rosemary, and thyme. Mix in the wine and oil. Set the sauce aside.

Preheat the broiler. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray (I sprayed heavy-duty foil with non-stick spray) Arrange the salmon fillets on the baking sheetand sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Broil for 2 minutes. Spoon the mustard sauce over the fillets. Continue broiling until the fillets are just cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to plates and serve with the lemon wedges.

We had fresh green beans and twice baked potatoes along with the salmon. Very delicious meal.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recipe and a review

Here's another review:
I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)

A couple of weeks ago I made another Rachael Ray recipe, which was a pork tenderloin with strawberry sauce. It was wonderful, although a lot of work. Also had parmesan risotto with it, which even my rice-hating hubby loved.

Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Strawberry Sauce

Juice and zest of 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
1/4 cup coarse-grain mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two 14- to 16-ounce pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and cut in half crosswise
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 whole star anise
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup Strawberry Sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the lime juice and zest and the mustard with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the pork in the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. In a medium, heavy saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, star anise, red pepper flakes and Strawberry Sauce and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Push the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan and keep warm.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the oil ripples. Remove the pork from the marinade and sear on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes total. Place the skillet in the oven and roast until cooked through but still juicy, about 10 minutes for medium. Place the pork on a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes more. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce and lime wedges.

Strawberry Sauce

2 pounds fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Juice of two lemons (4 tablespoons)

1. Combine the strawberries, brown sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Partially cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are softened and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. Pour the strawberries into a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Press the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a storage container. The sauce will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Parmesan Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring continuously for a few minutes, until the grains are glistening. Increase the heat to high and add the broth and 1 cup of boiling water. Bring the rice to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the risotto from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and Parmesan and season to taste with salt.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New Reviews

Here is my newest posted review:

The Measure of a Lady

I'm currently reading Irish Girls are Back in Town a compilation of short stories by chick lit authors. It's for a long overdue review, I'm mad at myself that I've had it on my piles for so long. I'm so far behind! Will move onto Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger next. Currently listening to The Husband by Dean Koontz, but I haven't heard very many good things about it.

We had turkey burgers for dinner tonight. It's been SO hot, I haven't been cooking much lately. We went to Fort Stevens on Saturday to escape the heat, stopped at a great restaurant in Astoria called Baked Alaska The food was wonderful, I had blackened salmon tacos and LeeRoy had Alaskan Amber Ale battered fish and chips. Service was so-so, but we survived. Ate dinner at Pig N Pancake which is always good after a day of running around. Everyone had breakfast for dinner and we left satisfied. Yesterday we went up to the upper Coweeman river and everyone but me played in the water. This cast is just not wonderful.

Back to reading I go, I have some more pictures from things I made before the heat wave, will post soon.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Chicken Marsala

I have discovered the book Giada's Family Dinners and I'm in heaven cooking! These are fabulous dishes and I have yet to find one my family doesn't like. The other night I made Chicken Marsala with Mustard and Mascarpone and it is all gone! The picture doesn't do the flavor justice. It's heavenly. Here's the recipe.

Chicken Marsala with Mustard and Mascarpone

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
salt and pepper

2 tablspoons olive oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup chopped onions

1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup marsala wine

1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

12 ounces dried fettuccine

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side, set aside.

While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of teh butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until it is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3 inch thick slices. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss with remaining 3 tablsepoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Using tongs, mound the fettuccine on plates. Spoon the chicken over.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Grilled Pizza

I made grilled pizza last Friday night. This is a great summertime meal and it's very easy.

My recipe comes from Weber's Book of Grilled Pizza. We have a gas grill, so that's what I make the pizza on.

You can get dough anywhere, but I choose to make my own because it's so easy.

Basic Dough Recipe

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 package active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Place lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast on top and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Combine flour and salt. Add to water, 1 cup at a time, until well incorporated. If very sticky, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft and slightly sticky. Add 2 tablespoons oil, mix well until dough feels elastic. Turn dough onto well floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. (I use my Kitchenaid with the dough hook here). Oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until more than doubles in volume, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and knead until smooth. Divide into 4 balls and proceed with pizza making.

For pizza

Roll out each piece of dough, generously covering each side with oil. Stack with sheets of wax paper between. Get ingredients ready. For pizza Margherita (shown above) I used mozzarella, some grated parmesan, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, minced garlic, and salt.

Preheat grill. Place dough over direct heat for 2 minutes, utnil bottom is marked and brown. Flip over with tongs. Cover with toppings. Turn off middle burner to bake on indirect heat. Close grill and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bottom is lightly browned.

It is quite delicious, a nice smoky flavor. If I'm feeling ambitious, I put wood chips in a smoker box and that gives it an even better flavor.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Newest Reviews

God's Trophy Women

The Recital

Flirting with Forty

TeenVirtue 2

I'm currently reading The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks. It's a choice for one of my online book groups. Interesting so far, kind of a mix of historical fiction and non-fiction.
I'm going to have to get busy with my RT books here in a week or so. Kids start swimming lessons on the 31st, so that's a good 20 minutes of reading time each day for two weeks.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I just finished Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields. That definitely hit close to home, wow. Review will be posted soon.

I'm currently reading The Nannies by Melody Mayer. I needed a light YA break. The kids and I are listening to Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. It's keeping Logan's interest a little more than Grace's, I think it's a little above her head.

Spaghetti a la Rachael Ray

The other night I made spaghetti with mozzarella stuffed meatballs from a recipe from Rachael Ray's Every Day magazine. It was delicious and everyone in the family liked it (even Kimber who hates red sauce)

This isn't my picture, it's the one from the magazine. My camera always seems to be upstairs when I want to take pictures, and hobbling up the stairs is a huge pain with the cast. So I am resorting to "Canned" pictures. I did make the recipe though, and it was fabulous, so take my word for it and make it. Instead of her sauce, I just used two jars of Ragu onion and garlic sauce. I have so much of it and not any crushed tomatoes.

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk or water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, 2 smashed and 1 chopped
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 pound lean ground sirloin (I used ground turkey breast due to my major hamburger phobia)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 large egg
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 20 (1/2-inch) cubes
1 pound spaghetti

1. In a medium bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the milk. 2. In a large, wide saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season to taste with salt and let the sauce simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. 3. Add the beef, chopped garlic, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, egg and 1 teaspoon of salt to the soaked bread crumbs and stir with a fork until combined. Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in your hand and press a mozzarella cube into the center. Shape the meat around the cheese, forming a ball. Repeat with the remaining meat and mozzarella. 4. Stir the sauce and raise the heat to medium- low. Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce, submerging them completely. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook without stirring for 20 minutes. 5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti, cook until al dente, about 8 minutes, and drain. Toss the spaghetti with the tomato sauce and meatballs, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

I also made Focaccia--partly from a Rachael Ray recipe and partly my own made-up version. I used her ingredients, but not her directions. I didn't have the time to do it like her recipe described.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water (70°F to 85°F)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and 1 tablespoon whole fresh rosemary leaves

1. In a medium glass bowl, stir together the yeast, lukewarm water and sugar. Let the mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the microwave with a measuring cup with one cup of water inside. Micro-rise the sponge (I learned this technique from the book Bread in Half the Time) Heat for 3 minutes at 10% power. Rest for 3 minutes. Heat at 3 minutes at 10% power. Rest for 6 minutes.

2. Combine sponge in a mixer bowl with remaining ingredients (except whole rosemary leaves) Mix/knead until dough forms a cohesive ball. Put in greased bowl and repeat micro-rise instructions from above. Preheat oven to 400.

3. Gently transfer dough from bowl to a greased 9 x 9 inch baking dish. Spread dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Gently press fingers into surface and make indentations. Sprinkle coarse salt and whole rosemary leaves over top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Drizzle more olive oil over the top.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I have been cooking...

I've been cooking a lot, I just haven't been posting much. I haven't been taking pictures of what I made either, but I think I can find pictures on the net since all of the recipes have been food network or Rachael Ray recipes.
The other day I made beignets, the recipe can be found here Cream Puffs in Venice

They were actually really good, I was quite surprised since I rarely make anything that requires deep frying. I do recommend trying them out though, because they weren't very difficult to make. I actually might make them again. I made them on Friday morning.

Friday night, I made another Guy Fieri recipe Penne with Cajun Hot Links and Chipotle Shrimp. It was delicious. Instead of the hot links, I used turkey kielbasa, and as per my usual, I used fat free half and half in place of the heavy cream.

1-ounce olive oil

4 hot links, all beef, cut in 6 bias slices

20 (21/25 shrimp), deveined, shelled and butterflied

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup Chipotle Sauce, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound cooked penne pasta

1/2 cup Parmesan, grated plus more for serving

1 tablespoon diced Roma tomato

1 tablespoon diced scallion

In saute pan over high heat, add olive oil and hot links. Sear links until browned. Add the shrimp and cook until pink. Lower heat to medium. Then add cream, 3/4 of the Chipotle Sauce, salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta and the cheese. Toss to combine.
Serve in pasta bowl and garnish with diced tomato, scallions, more sauce, if desired, and grated Parmesan.

Chipotle Sauce:

1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce

3/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

3/4-ounce Dijon mustard

1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo

3/4-ounce red chili flakes

1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender, puree, cover and refrigerate.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

New Reviews!

Finally had some time to get some reviews completed. Got my RT ones done too, it's been quite a productive week.

And God Created the Au Pair

Coupon Girl

Like Dandelion Dust

The Secret Life of Becky Miller

I'm currently reading Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker and I Did (But I Wouldn't Now) by Cara Lockwood

Friday, July 07, 2006

Steak and Salad

Well, I've had a VERY productive day today with the kids at grandma and grandpa's. I've completed all of my RT reviews (except for the book I'm still reading, but will finish that today I hope) and I've written all but one of my online reviews. Yahoo! I'm actually getting some things done! Truly, I feel like I've accomplished so much today. The weather is warm but not too hot, so the breeze blowing through is nice. I'm listening to jazz on the XM radio on my computer, so it's been a treat to work in the peace.

Last night I made Bloody Mary Flank Steaks and Romaine Salads--two more Guy Fieri recipes. They both turned out wonderfully.

Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion (I used white because that's what I had)
1/2 pound bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 heads romaine lettuce, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola because that's what I had)
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the grill to high heat.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saute pan over high heat. Add the onions and bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy. To the same pan add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
Brush the romaine lettuce with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, place on the grill cut side down, and quickly sear.
Serve the lettuce, cut side up, and drizzle the balsamic dressing over the lettuce. Sprinkle with blue cheese and garnish with cracked black pepper.

Bloody Mary Flank Steak
1 cup vegetable juice (recommended: V-8)
1/2 cup vodka
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
4 tablespoons olive oil
1-pound flank steak
Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except for the flank steak in a 1-gallon zip lock bag. Add the flank steak. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the grill to high or heat a skillet over high heat. Remove the flank steak from the marinade and wipe the excess liquid off with paper towels. Grill or pan sear both sides, then lower heat to medium and cook to medium rare.
Let the flanks steak rest, covered, with a clean towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut on the bias against the grain and serve.

And I did it all wearing the lovely boot! Aren't you proud of me?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My new companion

Lookie here at my new best friend!
The MRI I had last week shows that I have a partial tear in my PT tendon of my ankle. So now, except for sleeping and showering, I must wear this lovely air cast. It's not too bad, but I don't know what I'm going to do about driving (right foot). The kids are at their grandparents for a couple of days, I have a major review-writing day planned tomorrow, but I need to get at least two done today. I still have most of my last book--The Brushstroke Legacy by Lauraine Snelling ( a hit or miss author for me)--to read.

My goal for today--clean up my e-mail box, then write up two reviews, then lie on the couch and read my book until Big Brother is on.
Watched Rock Star:Supernova last, brought back a lot of memories about my high school and college days and the rock music I loved then! That's why I love the XM 49 station, all great "later" classic rock songs.

On to try to reach my goals!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Day After

Lots of clean-up now that the 4th of July is over and hubby is back to work and VBS is over. I can't believe (well, yes I can) how much got pushed aside for the last week and a half with so much going on. Today is definitely a day to recuperate!

Here's the salad I made for the bbq yesterday, shoepeg corn salad. It's a recipe I got from the Taste of Home Cooking School. I made it before and it's always a huge hit.

Shoepeg Corn Salad

3/4 cup vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 can (15 1/4 ounces) baby peas, drained

2 cans (11 ounces each) white or shoepeg corn, drained

1 jar (4 ounces) chopped pimientos

5 green onions, chopped

6 celery ribs, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

In a small saucepan, combine first six ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool. In a large non-metallic bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour marinade over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally. For best flavor, make 2-3 days before serving.

The other thing I made was sangria

This was not a real recipe. I just "winged" it. I mixed two bottles of merlot with some orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, and about a half cup of sugar. I sliced up an orange, a lemon, a lime, two peaches, and also added some frozen strawberries and some frozen raspberries. Mixed it all up in a big bowl and then chilled it until ready to serve. It was pretty yummy.

I'm finishing up my RT books for the month. I'm way behind on my other reviewing because I've been so overloaded with RT lately. I'm reading Norah's Ark by Judy Baer and I have one more book to read. I have loads that aren't written up, this past couple of weeks has made me a slacker in more ways than one! But fortunately for me, for the October issue I only have seven books (instead of 11 like this month) so I should be able to breathe a little easier.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Finally Updating

I finally have a free moment to update! I have a couple of pics to post. One of Grace's cake from last weekend and one of our new fridge. The cake was fun for the candy party, it had Skittles all over the top of it.

It was a funfetti cake...too cute. The kids really ate it, which surprised me, because usually a lot of cake gets wasted.

Now onto pictures of our new refrigerator.

It's a Maytag Ice2O, has the water and ice in the door and freezer on the bottom as a drawer.

We're definitely enjoying it!

I'll update some more later. I cleared off the camera so I'll be able to post more pictures this week.