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popover to Austin

Austin, TX postcard mural

I’ve been in Austin, Texas all weekend, visiting Marissa. Actually, not just Austin, but Waco and Round Top too. So this week, along with the recipes from more than a week ago from our Easter supper, there will be a bit of Texas thrown into the mix.

The silo sign

Our first adventure was hopping in the car and driving to Waco, TX so that we could visit and shop at the Magnolia Market Silos.

inside magnolia market

You know, Magnolia Market, as in Joanna and Chip Gaines from the ever so popular Fixer Upper on HGTV.

Magnolia Market Silos

It was raining when we arrived, but it cleared up as the day went on.

magnolia market entrance

inside Magnolia Market Silos

We were nice and dry in shopping heaven, so the rain didn’t bother us anyhow!

Magnolia Silos

Here I am with my two little bags of purchases. I couldn’t go too crazy, since I flew to Austin, I could only buy as much as I could get in my suitcase.

Magnolia Market Garden Shop

That’s OK, maybe I’ll drive the next time. By then this sweet little Garden Shop will be open along with the Magnolia Bakery, which should be opening in the next month or so.

potting bench

After all, a girls needs goals!

cheddar popovers

Sharp Cheddar Popovers

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April 4, 2016   No Comments

yummy au gratin and a new tip

The first side dish from our Easter supper was a rich, creamy, cheesy and garlicky potato au gratin. So Good!

easter dinner

Bonus! A new tip comes along with this recipe. I found the tip on Epicurious.com and thought it was brilliant!

use strainer to strip thyme

The most time-consuming and frustrating herb to remove the leaves from is thyme. Here is a new way to go about it.

strainer thyme

TIP: Use a strainer! Stick the end of a sprig of thyme through one of the little holes and pull through. The leaves stay behind in the strainer. See – Brilliant!

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April 1, 2016   1 Comment

fresh entrée #1

yellow flowers

For last weekend’s Spring Reunion Dinner, I served two fresh and colorful entrées. Today I post the first, along with a few photos of the flowers and tablesetting.

I picked up the flowers above at Trader Joe’s when I was grocery shopping for the dinner and arranged them quite simply in a few of the bottles from my “miscellaneous cool bottles” collection.

Loris flowers

These beauties were given to me by Lori and I can assure you she didn’t just pick them up at Trader Joe’s – more likely at some fancy florist shop. I arranged them in some of my clear square vases and they were held indoors until it was cool enough to move them to the table on the back patio where we ate our meal.

table

I decided to keep the table simple, fresh and clean – like the food.

iris

I started with white placemats and napkins, blue and gold Indian-inspired tea-glasses for the water and frosted white striped wine goblets.

bird

Gold flatware to match the tea-glasses and a lovely set of mix/match of bird and floral dishes in simple black and white.

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March 4, 2016   4 Comments

fruity first course

This layered fruit-cheese salad was the first course for our Spring Reunion Dinner. I decided to make individual servings, but it could be made even easier in a large clear bowl or better yet, in a trifle dish.

fruit

If you’re making one large salad, you’ll use all the fruit. For these six small individual portions, you’ll end up with about half of the fruit left or enough to make at least 12 individual servings. So either cut the fruit portions in half, or freeze the remaining fruit and use for smoothies, that’s what I did.

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March 3, 2016   No Comments

food = love

A dear friend and neighbor has gone through an especially tough time. I offered to bring dinner over for her family. She tried to say no, but I wouldn’t have it, so we decided that Sunday would be a good day. I brought over an Italian pasta dish and this Mexican dish.

Chicken Tortilla Enchilada Bake

I made another pan of the Mexican dish for our family Sunday meal. I hadn’t planned on putting up a post of it, but after Connor asked for the recipe and another neighbor asked for it too, I decided I’d better get it up here.

Chicken - Tortilla Enchilada Bake

I hadn’t taken any photos, meaning I had to remake it. One problem though – I was out of black beans so I used kidney beans in their place. It’s far better with black beans! I also forgot to add the dollop of sour cream for the photo… it’s tastier with the sour cream too. In other words, don’t rely on the photos, just follow the recipe and you’ll be all good.

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February 24, 2016   1 Comment

BLT-Salad Skewers

It’s not always practical to serve a salad. For instance, at a cocktail party or any occasion where guests will be standing. These colorful and flavor-packed little salad skewers come to the rescue! They are a nice alternative to the standard crudités platter.

lettuce knives

You’ll be using a knife to cut iceberg lettuce. There is an old wives’ tale that warns that using a knife on lettuce will cause the cut edges to quickly turn brown. This is not true. Not if you are using the lettuce within a day or so. All torn or cut lettuce leaves will eventually turn brown, under the same scientific theory that cause an apple or avocado to turn brown after cutting.

Even though you cut the lettuce well ahead of time for this recipe there is no fear of the edges turning brown because the cut pieces are held in ice water to keep them crisp and free of any browning.*

Even so, you’ll see that I do use a hard plastic knife especially made for lettuce. It’s one of the many tools crowding my kitchen drawers and cupboards that former students have given me. I have it, so I use it, but it is in no way a necessity.

*It is important to cut and assemble the lettuce portion of the skewers well ahead of time, not only to crisp the lettuce but because this step of the recipe, although extremely simple, is time-consuming and it is the last thing you’ll want to do at the last-minute.

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February 13, 2016   1 Comment

pop pop poppers!

I love the thick cut bacon from Costco. It’s the only kind I buy, so it is what I used to make these yummy tater tot poppers. That was a big mistake! By the time the bacon baked enough to get crispy, the tots were nearly falling apart. Be sure to use cheap thin-slice bacon … my mistakes are all for your benefit. You’re welcome!

jalapeno yum

These poppers are spicy-sweet. You can amp up the wow factor by replacing the maple syrup used in the brown sugar glaze with jalapeño jelly. I didn’t think of it until after I made them, but I’ll be doing that next time, for sure! For some unknown reason, the jar of pickled jalapeño didn’t make it into the “ingredients photo” but be sure to include them when you make these ~ otherwise they are not poppers at all ~ just boring bacon-tots.

Lastly, I don’t give you quantities here so make as many or as few as you’d like. I suggest many. They are addicting.

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February 11, 2016   No Comments

commitment fulfilled

For the last two years I’ve served as the vice-president of our HOA. I decided not to run again so yesterday my term ended. On Monday night, I hosted our annual meeting to vote in new board members.

boursin plus

I love my neighbors and I love my neighborhood, so it’s always a joy to cook for them. These next few days I’ll share the dishes I made for the meeting, beginning with this easy and yummy dip.

Pictured above are the main ingredients, less one package of the Boursin. Boursin comes in this three-pack at Costco and I made the recipe to use it up before the expiration date. I had bought it back in December, thinking I’d use it in some holiday cooking and entertaining, but no. Any savory flavor of Boursin would be just fine in this recipe.

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February 10, 2016   No Comments

harder than I thought

Getting back into the swing of it, blogging-wise, has been harder than I ever imagined it would be. Since I missed it so much, I thought I’d fall right back into the rhythm. Um, not so much!

I want to blame it on the holidays. Thanksgiving, out-of-town family, Christmas, even more family from out-of-town, New Year’s, and more family have made it hard to want to sit down at the computer and “work.” But that’s really not it. I blogged religiously for more than 5 years, through every major holiday and life event, so I can not claim that the season is the issue.

I’m just out of the habit, and until I get back on track, posts will be spotty. I’m now prepared for that reality and I hope that you’ll stick with me through this transition.

mjc

Marissa & Jeff drove back to Austin on Saturday. They had flown in two weeks ago but drove back so they could take all their wedding and wedding shower gifts. They made it back in record time, arriving home, safe and sound, by mid-morning on Sunday.

tamales enchilad style

On Friday night, for their last dinner at home, I made a pan of super-easy and super-yummy tamale enchiladas. So yummy, in fact, that I couldn’t get a photo of the pan before they were all but gone!

tamales

I bought the tamales from a young woman who was selling them at Connor’s apartment building. She had two adorable little ones in-tow, so how could I say no?  I bought a dozen green chile-chicken tamales and a dozen red chile-pork tamales. I should say, that’s what I thought I bought, she accidentally gave me only six green chile (1 bag) and a dozen and a half (3 bags) of red chile.

tamale night

A few nights before, we enjoyed 6 of the green and 6 of the red, served in the traditional style. That was nice, but to my taste, tamales are a bit dry. So serving the remaining dozen red chile tamales enchilada-style was way more fun!

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January 4, 2016   4 Comments

Kim’s Bruschetta assortment

menu

Kim made a delicious and beautiful assortment of four bruschetta for Marissa’s bridal shower. All flavors in the variety are inspired by the bruschetta menu from ever popular (since its opening in 2001) Postino Wine Cafe. Kim didn’t have recipes to give me, since she just throws these babies together organically and naturally. But don’t worry, I’ve written up recipes for you. There are no specific quantities, make as many or as few as you need.

At Postino, French bread is used as the base and then the slices are cut in half after they are topped. For the shower, Kim used baguettes to make smaller, more individual-sized pieces.

Bread

  • 1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • Olive oil
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves, flattened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and bake at 350 just until warm and slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and rub with garlic cloves let cool for a few minutes before topping.

lunch plate

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May 20, 2015   No Comments