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not as advertised

A couple of months ago I bought a 3-pound bag of refrigerated shredded beef at Costco. It had a long-away expiration date (March 2018!) and the photo of the beef on the front of the bag looked so good!

It sat in my refrigerator for a few weeks, then I took it on our trip to Carlsbad in the beginning of August, just in case we decided to make tacos or something. We never opened it, so it came back to Arizona. I finally opened it last week.

Not at all as pictured on the package. What a disappointment! Costco is known for its thorough vetting process before selecting and selling products. I’m not sure how this product slipped through. It didn’t taste all that bad, as I did end up using it for tacos one night, but then decided I’d rather use the rest in some sort of casserole. It tasted much better mixed in with other ingredients. The next time I make this dish, I’ll be using leftover beef from a roast.

Note: In a photo of the ingredients below, you may notice that the can of green chiles is missing. That is because I decided to add them as I was assembling the dish.

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September 11, 2017   No Comments

strawberry caprese

This time last month, Peggy, Anne and I were in Carlsbad, it was hot and muggy in Scottsdale, but cool and beautiful in California, strawberries were cheap and on sale in the markets and I made a strawberry caprese salad.

A month later, the three of us are back here sweating it out in the still hot and muggy Arizona, Carlsbad is still cool and beautiful and strawberries are still cheap and on sale in the markets this weekend.

It’s going to take another month or more for our weather to be as pleasant as California’s but the strawberries will not be around that long! So if you want to make this salad, the time is NOW!

This is the ad from Safeway this week.. it ends on Tuesday… just saying.

 

Strawberry Caprese Salad

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small firm ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze

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September 8, 2017   1 Comment

cool and crisp

This refreshing salad is the perfect counterpoint and complement to the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai – posted last week. It is best served cold from the refrigerator.

My family enjoys and can tolerate quite a bit of heat and spice in our food. I thinly slice the jalapeño pepper for this dish, but it can also be finely minced for those who like things toned down a bit. I give directions for both methods; you decide which suits your taste.

Prep the salad and the dressing hours ahead and then dress it just before you heat up the wok for the pad Thai and your meal will come together in a snap.

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September 6, 2017   No Comments

watermelon obsession

I’m sure I am not the only one. Honestly, I pray I’m not the only one! I often go though periods of time where I am obsessed with one specific food. I’m not talking about a craving, but rather a true obsession. Watermelon is my current object of complete focus and desire. I can’t get enough of it.

Maybe it’s this never-ending heat and the need to cool down. Perhaps I’m dehydrated and I’m using watermelon to refill and refuel my bodily fluids. Or could it be that watermelon is just so dang satisfying and delicious? Whatever it is, I confess that I’ve eaten two whole seedless watermelons in the last 3 days! I didn’t share them with anyone else, they were consumed by me alone. And I’m not talking about the sweet little baby-size individual watermelons, I’m talking about the 5 to 7-pound medium-size seedless watermelons.

Mostly, I ate them “straight up” but the other evening, I made dinner out of them by throwing together this simple salad, a copy-cat recipe of my favorite summer salad at True Food Kitchen.

At TFK, the salad is served with feta cheese. Earlier this summer I made it with fresh ricotta cheese and it was stellar! Since feta is easier to find and what I had on hand, I used it.

I’m not providing quantities for the recipe, make as little or as much as needed. Feed yourself or feed a crowd.

*Be sure watermelon is cold and the tomatoes are room temperature.

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September 1, 2017   7 Comments

Pad Thai Remix

I love this dish! Spaghetti squash is subbed in for the classic noodles.

Spaghetti Squash-Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper flesh
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast half, finely chopped

Pad Thai Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Pad Thai

  • 1 small to medium spaghetti squash (about a 2-pound squash)
  • Peanut or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the soy sauce and then stir in the garlic and jalapeño.

Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Pad Thai Sauce: Whisk together the rice vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons in a small glass bowl, Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds and whisk until everything is combined into a thin sauce.

Pad Thai: Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Place the halves, cut side up in a large Pyrex dish, add 1/4 cup water the dish and cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 8 minutes or until tender.

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August 30, 2017   4 Comments

garlic bread +++

I have been making a version of this Ina Garten recipe for more than 10 years. Over that time it has evolved several times over. The basics of it stay the same; make a garlic-herb mixture in a food processor, warm it in oil, use along with some softened butter on a loaf of bread and bake.

Photo

It is such a basic recipe and since we all make garlic bread, I never thought it was worth sharing. So why share it now? Well, I finally decided that it’s not just the bread that I’m sharing here, but the side benefit of making this bread – the extra oil/garlic/herb mixture that you end up with.

You see, over time, I’ve added more ingredients and volume to the original recipe, so there is always some of the oil mixture left. I freeze the excess in mini-ice cube trays and use the resulting oil cubes for sautéing.

They add extra and unexpected oomph to just about any savory dish. It’s like having little nuggets of cooking gold at your fingertips.

So make a loaf of garlic bread this week and some gold-green nuggets at the same time.

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August 28, 2017   1 Comment

And the winners are….

The 8th Blogiversary Contest has come to an end and The Lucky Three have had their names drawn out of a pot by a random Trader Joe’s employee.

Thanks to all 30 of you who entered.

Once again the prize is that each winner will receive $100 in cash to spend on a Shopping Field Trip. We’ll spend the day shopping and learning the in and outs and best buys at:

Trader Joe’s

Queen Creek Olive Mill

The Pork Shop

and

AZ International Marketplace

After I typed up all your names on a sheet of paper. I cut them into strips…

Then placed them in a pot, a saucepan actually, and drove myself and the pot to the Trader Joe’s on Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, east of Scottsdale Rd.

I put the pot in a shopping cart and walked around looking for an employee that wasn’t too busy. I decided on the nice woman who was cooking up samples in the back of the store.

I let her know I’d be filming her and then posting the video on my blog, she kindly agreed and drew out the winning names.

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August 24, 2017   5 Comments

total eclipse of the potato

There is so much to talk about today!

First of all, do you want $100 in cash? For free? If so, you still have time to enter and a shot at winning it. Just leave a comment here and you’re in the Wednesday drawing. That’s all you have to do!

You can just say, “Hang in there baby, Monday’s almost over.” Or, “Hey Linda, I understand your life is in a state of change and flux but you really need to get back to posting recipes more often!” Or just, “Hi.”  Anyhow, learn more about the Happy 8th Blogiversary Contest at this Link and leave a comment today.

Secondly, feast your eyes on this hilarious vintage-style oven mitt that my adorable friend, Lisa, gave me! She told me she had a prize for me (what I did to deserve a prize, I don’t know, but I need to figure it out so I can do it again and again!)  I love it! Thank you Lisa! xoxo.  The oven mitt says so and it is true, below there is a new recipe that I’m droppin’ on y’all.

Lastly, have you heard that in just about 2 hours there is going to be a total eclipse of the sun? No one is talking about it, but it’s true! It’s all going down at 10:34 AM, Arizona Time. If you’re like me and don’t have eclipse glasses and have been too lazy to make a viewing box, set your timer and look out the window and see how dark it looks and say, “Well, that was cool.” and go about your day.

The boys all came over for dinner last night and I made yummy smashed new potatoes. When I was taking photos of the process, I inadvertently made my own little potato eclipse. Cool! No special glasses needed to view this baby!

Wrecking Ball Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

  • 20 new (baby) potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • Sea salt (preferably Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced rosemary leaves

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August 21, 2017   9 Comments

Blogiversary #8

Yup, it’s that time of year! Another year older. It’s time to celebrate!

Before we get to the details of this year’s giveaway, let’s run down a few stats:

1904 posts (posting an average of 4.5 times a week)

5216 comments (granted, nearly 1/5 of those are me commenting back to you)

254,629 spam comments …. that I have scanned through before deleting (legitimate comments sometimes get tossed in the spam folder) to prevent your delicate eyes from seeing. Let me tell you, there is more graphic porn spam than anyone should have to see!  If only the spammers used their time to do something good for the world … you get where I’m going with that.

Also, I’m sorry to say that I have sad news to share.

My high school friend, loyal blog follower and frequent commenter, Nancy Bull, passed away suddenly on her birthday on May 31st.

Nancy was the grand prize winner in the 7th Blogiversary Contest last year. The prize was to come to my kitchen and cook your favorite recipe with me and then have that recipe posted here on the blog. Nancy and I had the best time making her family’s Chili Rellenos recipe together. When I snapped this beautiful photo of Nancy, I had no idea it would be the last time I’d see her radiant smile. Nancy used the photo as her Facebook profile photo. It is there on her page to this day. It is a reminder of how lucky and blessed I was to share that special time with her. Prayers and blessings to Nancy’s family. She is deeply missed.

I know Nancy would want me to turn this back around and get to the fun and happy stuff. She entered every contest I have ever had and she would want you to enter this one, because it’s a goodie!

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August 16, 2017   26 Comments

Anne is up to bat

We spent the day at the Del Mar Racetrack on Wednesday. The most that was bet by any one of us on any one race was $3. Big spenders or gamblers, we are not. But we had fun! Our seats were right in front of the finish line. If not for that pole in front of us, they would have been perfect. Darn structural engineering.

We arrived back too late to cook, so we had leftovers and watched a movie. The next morning, I woke up early and took a 5-mile walk up the beach, to the Oceanside Pier, while Peggy and Anne slept in.

I don’t generally find many shells along the beach in Carlsbad, but the tide was low and I filled my pockets. I wanted to go out again this morning, but with the internet getting busy in the late morning and constantly kicking me off, I decided to get this post up instead. I’ll go out again on Saturday and take a bag with me to collect more.

Since we hung around the resort all day yesterday, Anne had time to cook us up a delicious dinner! The recipe is one she found on allrecipes.com. But she switched it up and made it her own, in true Annie-style.

One great twist she made was switching out the regular pasta for a chickpea variety. It was fantastic!

She found the Banza brand pasta at Sprouts (in the Phoenix area you can also find it at Whole Foods and Target) and although we didn’t have wheat pasta available to do a side-by-side tasting, I’m certain I would not be able to taste the difference if we had.

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August 11, 2017   1 Comment