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crispy oven-baked chops

I may have mentioned once or twice before that Connor does not like berries. Not raspberries, or blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries. He won’t eat berries or anything berry flavored.  It blows my mind!


To add insult to injury, neither Dave or Connor like citrus! They won’t eat an orange, a grapefruit or even the sweet candy-like clementines. The saving grace is that they will eat foods and dishes with citrus in them.


I know, they are strange men!

For Sunday supper, I made pork chops with a strawberry salsa. Being the thoughtful mom that I am, taking Connor’s tastes into account, I also made chimichurri sauce to accompany the chops.

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February 24, 2015   1 Comment

“what should I make for dinner”

sweet salvage

Yesterday, I came home after a morning at Sweet Salvage and asked Connor what he wanted for dinner. It was his only night off this week, so he could pick whatever he wanted. He didn’t know but told me he’d think about it while I went off to a lunch appointment.

I had lunch with Marissa’s future mother-in-law, Amy, to go over some wedding details.


After lunch I sent Connor a text, “Any dinner thoughts yet?”

He replied, “Roast pheasant with buffalo sausage and sparkling cider sauerkraut.”

I said, “So helpful.”

He sent back a text, “Was it not specific enough?”

I thought, “He’s egging me on” … so I said, “Sure sounds good.”

I headed towards the grocery store, fully intent on just picking up some tortillas and making chicken enchiladas. I mean, if he wasn’t going to say what he wanted, I certainly wasn’t going to ask again.

A few minutes later, I get another text, this time with the website for his pheasant recipe!


OK, I’ll take the bait. I sent back a text, “Any idea where I can get pheasant and buffalo sausage, Mr. Smarty Pants?”

His reply, “Costco?”


As I drove, I thought, “What the heck! I’m going to take his dare and make a version of his darn recipe.”


I picked up Cornish game hens in place of the pheasant…


…and hot Italian sausage in place of buffalo sausage.


I checked out the recipe and it called for 6 pounds of prepared sauerkraut. Six pounds! A one-pound package costs $3.49, I’m not about to spend $21 on sauerkraut! So, I bought just one package. I mean, I was going to have to alter this silly recipe drastically anyhow.

Turns out Connor went on Google and typed in “What should I make for dinner?”  A few sites came up and from that he picked out-

Roast Pheasants with Buffalo Sausages and Sparkling Cider Sauerkraut


This recipe calls for juniper berries. I used them since I have them on hand, but if you don’t – there is no reason to go buy a jar – they honestly don’t add much flavor at all.

Here is my recipe for…

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February 20, 2015   8 Comments

layers of creamy potato goodness

outdoor table

For Valentine’s dinner, Dave requested a version of these potatoes, which he had seen in the food section of the Arizona Republic.

valentines dinner table

The original recipe did not call for the half-and-half or thyme, but I felt it needed both for extra creaminess and flavor.

heart plate

They were divine!

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February 18, 2015   No Comments

Friday = Cocktail Time

cocktail board

Today is the last day of “Cocktails & Cupcakes” bridal shower details and recipes.

What better note to end a week on than cocktails!?!

We’ll start with the recipes and end with a fun decor item that the mother of the bride, Laura, her sister, Mary, and I created.

the bar

These following two cocktails come from The Bar Book Elements of Cocktail Techniques by Jeffery Morgenthaler with Martha Holmberg. Martha taught a modern sauces class at Les Gourmettes last month and I was the happy recipient of this bar book.

tom collins

Tom Collins

  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) gin, preferably in the Old Tom-style, such as Hayman’s (available at Total Wine)
  • 3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounces (1 tablespoon) simple syrup*
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) chilled soda water
  • 1 lemon peel for garnish


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February 13, 2015   2 Comments

strawberry margarita cupcake

It’s finally time for the cupcake recipes from Megan’s “Cocktails & Cupcakes” bridal shower!


Actually, time for the cupcake recipe. Only one cupcake is new to this blog. Links to the remaining cupcakes from the shower are at the end of this post.

lime zest

I found the recipe for these Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes through Pinterest and I had some trouble with it. The problem was actually with the frosting. It’s similar to the frosting for Toffee Crunch Mini Cupcakes (which works perfectly) but this one still gave me fits.

The frosting was a nice consistency, until it was time to add in the strawberry purée and the other liquids, then it became a runny mess and the only way I could fix it was to add cups (so very many cups) of powdered sugar. The result was an overly sweet – basically pure sugar – frosting. I’ve corrected the recipe, but please still take extra care when adding the strawberry purée, add a little at a time and keep an eye on the consistency. If you do this, you should not have to add any powdered sugar!

fill tins

Also, when looking at the photos, please keep in mind that I made a double the batch so that I could make regular and mini cupcakes. So when you see 4 eggs instead of the 2 called for – don’t be concerned.

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February 12, 2015   5 Comments

Sweet ‘n Spicy Meatballs

Some people may think I was crazy to host two bridal showers in as many weeks. Crazy like a fox is what I say!

brides to be

The shower that Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa threw for Lindsey left me with a bounty of items and ideas to use for Megan’s shower, two weeks later.


Kaley did such a beautiful job with the chalkboard art that I immediately knew I’d be using it again!

perfect signs

Abigail left behind a wonderful bulletin board that she had guests write words of sage advice for bride-to-be, Lindsey.

advice pinboard

I just had to recycle it for Megan’s shower, as seen on the left edge of the photo below.

present time

Then there was the “Welcome” and “Presents” banners that Abigail made.



Yes, I reused them as well.


So, as you can see, hosting two versions of the same sort of party in a short amount of time is easier than hosting just one!

Here is another appetizer from Megan’s shower.

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February 11, 2015   3 Comments

Bloody Mary Shrimp appetizer


In keeping with the bridal shower theme of “cocktails and cupcakes” the wine barrel in the entry was decked out with seltzer bottles, cocktail shakers, flowers arranged in silver mint julep cups and ice buckets, and of course, cupcakes.

Today’s recipe was the most popular of the appetizers served at Megan’s Bridal Shower.

spoon appetizer

I’ve been making this appetizer for years in various incarnations. If I remember correctly, it came from Gourmet Magazine some 10 years ago.

You can buy Chinese soup spoons at Asian markets, on Amazon or at Cost Plus World Market.  They are not only perfect for this recipe, but great for all sorts of appetizers and little dessert tastes.

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February 10, 2015   3 Comments

crab cakes for the Patriots

coffee ice cream

I made a themed dinner for Super Bowl Sunday. Crab cakes for New England and coffee ice cream for Seattle.  To be honest, I didn’t make the ice cream, I bought it but it’s the thought that counts and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think “coffee” when the the think Seattle!


In the recipe, I give you instructions on how to smoke tomatoes on an outdoor grill. I actually used an indoor stove-top smoker that I own and love.

smoke rising

If you like to smoke a variety of foods, it’s a pretty good investment. You can find it HERE. If not, just keep using your grill.

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February 3, 2015   No Comments

lazy Super Bowl snack

Did you enjoy the Super Bowl? It was very low-key at our house. A few weeks ago, Dave and I received an invite to a party, but we turned it down because we didn’t want to leave Connor and my dad hanging out to dry.


A few days ago I talked to my dad and was asking what time he wanted to come over and he informed me that he was going to a Super Bowl party! How do you like that? Too funny really. So it was just the three of us chilling at the house all day.

I had some chips and salsa on hand, so that was snack #1. I needed something more but I had no intention of going grocery shopping, so I came up with this tasty treat.

I’d baked a few potatoes the other night and had two left. Plus there was leftover prosciutto and cheese from last weekend’s bridal shower. That’s all it took!

The recipe made 16, I ate 2 of them, the rest quickly disappeared, so I guess the boys really like them!

 prosciutto potato wedges

Prosciutto Wrapped Cheesy Potato Wedges

  • 2 baked potatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 16 pieces of Port Salut or Brie cheese (cut into 2-inch long sticks)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

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February 2, 2015   1 Comment

shrimp piccata pasta

wine glasses

Marissa’s childhood friend, Lindsey, is getting married in March.


Marissa and Lindsey’s other bridesmaids and maid of honor threw Lindsey’s bridal shower here at our house on Saturday.


The girls (Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa) did a fabulous job! The shower was a huge hit!

dessert table

Lindsey and all her guests were rightly impressed.


We set up the “savory” station consisting of cheeses …


… Italian meats…

salad and bread

… breads, crackers and salads.


Then there was the wonderful Essence Bakery desserts! Oh my!

pool bar

We set up the bar down in the pool kitchen.

milk bottles

We used my vintage milk bottles – along with necessary sign to keep guests from being scared off from the beat up bottles.

Yesterday, I made dinner for the first time in more than a week, to the delight of my family. It had been an unusual, difficult and busy week. The recipe follows.

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January 26, 2015   3 Comments