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chicken and lentils

I made this slow cooker stew for a girl’s night with my BFF’s, Peggy and Anne, a month ago, when it wasn’t 93 degrees outside, like it is right now! We enjoyed the fireplaces, each other’s company, the Jacuzzi and the correct seasonal weather.

What the heck?!? Here it is mid-March and already in the 90’s in Arizona! I just heard my upstairs A/C turn on again! I hate it! I know that the mid-west and east are suffering through a blizzard and freezing their behinds off. And as ridiculous as that is, this heat is just as bad. It’s expected to be 96 degrees this Saturday! What happened to spring? Who do we send our complaints to? Rant over. For today anyhow.

I used chicken tenders, which meant that I needed to removed the tendon from each.

It’s easy to do. Use a fingernail to hold on to the end of the tendon. Then slide a paring knife to scrape it off. See, easy.

I thought the stew had just the right amount of heat. Anne found it too spicy for her taste. Even Peggy thought it was a little too hot. If you like spicy, keep the recipe as is.

For a milder stew, simply eliminate the jalapeños.


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March 15, 2017   No Comments

soup rules!

Once I make a pot of soup, all I really want to do is to make another.

Yesterday it was cauliflower soup, today it’s broccoli and spinach. Tomorrow… ooh, chunky corn chowder sounds yummy!

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March 9, 2017   1 Comment

cauliflower rice

Have you seen or tried the packages of cauliflower rice that are all the rage? I picked up a 2-pack at Costco recently to give it a try. I used one package as intended, as a side dish and honestly, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. If you know of a stand-out recipe, please let me know.

I decided to use the second package for soup. You can never go wrong with soup!

Initially, I thought I’d roast the cauliflower rice for the soup, I had it all spread out on a baking sheet, but then I decided to roast a bulb of fennel I had instead and leave the cauliflower as is. The thought process here was, “I don’t want to have to keep checking on the little cauliflower bits and worry about them burning.” Laziness wins!

Roasted cauliflower or not, this is one delicious and tummy warming soup.

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March 8, 2017   1 Comment

horseradish vinegar

In yesterday’s post I spoke of my childhood trauma with canned vegetables and encouraged you to share childhood food stories of your own. Lori and Amy obliged and shared both hilarious and horrifying stories. Thank you! I laughed and cringed at the same time. The best part – bits of each of your stories are parts of my hot cereal story, so now I’m going to have to share it!

Not today though. In my next post, I promise.

Today, I’m going to give you a recipe that will use up extra horseradish root you may have after making the fresh horseradish sauce that went with Wednesday’s beef brisket recipe. At least, I had a big piece of horseradish root left, so I needed to do something with it!

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March 3, 2017   No Comments

no canned vegetables allowed

When I was growing up, we very seldom had fresh vegetables. No frozen vegetables either. Canned vegetables, that’s what we ate.

There was the occasional fresh corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, potatoes and of course, lettuce – mostly iceberg. But tinny tasting canned veggies were king at our house.

  • Canned peas (mushy with an unappetizing dull green-gray in color)
  • Canned green beans (ditto)
  • Canned beets (I can’t even!)
  • Canned lima beans (Please, NO!)
  • Canned spinach (especially tinny, watery and gray-green)
  • Canned carrots (the worst of them all!)
  • Canned corn (this is the only one that I will eat today – I admit to  a strange weakness for canned cream corn)

Exceptions: Canned beans (pinto, black, kidney, etc.) and canned tomatoes – these are allowed in my pantry and in my cooking. Although I’m always using them as a component in a dish, not just heating them up and eating as is.

It goes without saying, that I hated most vegetables throughout my childhood and into early adulthood. And it took years to get up the courage to taste fresh versions of those canned nightmares.

It took decades longer to try “exotic” (think asparagus, Brussels sprouts and the like) vegetables. Today, I love most all vegetables. The only holdouts that I still can’t acquire a taste for are beets (taste like dirt to me) and carrots. I know, carrots, of all things, but I still don’t like them cooked or even raw.

I didn’t have my first Brussels sprout until 1999 or 2000 and I didn’t see them fresh on the stalk until 2013, when I posted this recipe. Seriously, I never had seen them on the stalk before that day when I walked into Trader Joe’s and there was that strange looking thing!  Now they are one of my favorite, especially roasted, as in this easy side dish.

**Please feel free to share any of your childhood “food nightmares” in the comments section. I have more, a real whopper of a tale involving hot cereals.

*After all that nightmare talk, let me say that growing up in Scottsdale wasn’t all that bad. I mean when you wake up to a sunrise like this, from earlier this week, you know that life is nothing but good!

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March 2, 2017   4 Comments

rainy day brisket

It’s been raining cats and dogs in our desert for the last couple of days. Nothing tastes better or is more welcoming on a cold and rainy day than beef brisket!

This classic brisket is a family favorite. I found the original recipe nearly 30 years ago in The Silver Palate New Basics cookbook and have adapted the recipe over the years.

Basic Beef Brisket with Fresh Horseradish Sauce

  • 6 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of most excess fat
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced

Horseradish Sauce

  • 1 cup and finely grated fresh horseradish root (peel first and use a microplane to grate)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

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March 1, 2017   No Comments

bacon candy

At last, the end of recipes from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck.

Marissa made my famous Caesar Dip, the recipe can be found HERE. Near the end of the evening, I set out bowls and platters of holiday sweets and desserts I’d purchased at Trader Joe’s, alongside the coffee and cocoa bar.

Before I share the last recipe, let me tell you the joke I made up about it…

The original name for this recipe was Bacon Crack, that seems a bit crass, so I’ve since changed it to Bacon Candy.

I made the recipe the morning of the party. I tasted it and didn’t think it was all that great. Come party time, I put it in the serving dish and told guests, “It’s called Bacon Crack, but it’s not all that it’s ‘cracked up’ to be.” Haha.

Funny thing was, everyone loved it. I tasted it again and they were right, it was boatloads better once it cooled completely and sat around for a few hours.

I apologize that it has taken seven weeks to post the 10 recipes from a Christmas Eve Eve party. (To easily find them all in one place, just click on the link in the first sentence of this post and it will take you to them)

The good news is that here on the blog, 2016 finally ends and next week, 2017 begins!

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February 24, 2017   1 Comment

Lisa’s Brie en Croûte

This recipe came straight from the Pepperidge Farm website. And I have to confess, so did the photo. The picture I took was too blurry to use.

My beautiful friend and neighbor, Lisa, made it and topped hers with an adorable puff pastry candy cane in place of the poinsettia you see pictured here. What’s not to love?! Cheese, puff pastry, almonds and dried cranberries. Yum!

Tomorrow I’ll finally wrap up with the last recipe and some final thoughts from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck.


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February 23, 2017   No Comments

Kim’s Salmon Rounds

We’re closing in on the last of the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck recipes.

Kim made this one and totally changed the recipe I’d sent out and made it all her own… no surprise there.

Instead of making the cream cheese mixture the recipe called for, Kim used Boursin. Use any flavor you prefer.

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February 22, 2017   2 Comments

Shrimp Scampi Dip

Recipe #6 from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck is rich and creamy and what I’d call decadent. In other words, stick to the crudités if you’re watching your fat intake! Then again, this was served during the holidays, certainly a taste can’t hurt.

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February 21, 2017   4 Comments