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Freezer Fajitas

The remaining freezer meals I made for Marissa and Jeff only have one photo, which I took to use on Instagram stories while I was there. Hopefully, that will be enough to entice you to give at least a couple of them a try. I’ll start with this one that was so easy and quick that I only needed 1 bowl and a microwave to prep.

A little bonus today; photos of sweet Max who turned 2 months old on August 1st. He fills my heart with so much love and joy!

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August 3, 2022   3 Comments

get a sheet pan

I hate to have to call out someone here on the blog, especially my own daughter, but for the sake of this recipe, it must be done. Marissa does not have a decent sheet pan. When I say a decent sheet pan, I mean a large 13 x 18-inch baking sheet with sides, also known as a half sheet pan. Yes, the pans most of you have are actually half sheet pans. Here is the breakdown:

Quarter sheet pans are typically 9 by 13 inches (standard size for sheet cakes), half sheet pans are 18 by 13 inches (this is the size of most pans described simply as baking sheets) and full sheet pans are 26 by 18 inches (too big to fit in many home ovens, but the standard commercial size).

One of Marissa’s sheet pans is a quarter sheet pan, the other is smaller. As such, this recipe was very difficult to make while I was working on stocking her freezer before I left town.

You may be thinking, “Linda, seriously, just buy the girl a proper sheet pan!” Oh, I would, if my daughter wasn’t a minimalist. I do my best to NOT buy her anything that has not been preapproved. I don’t blame her for being a minimalist, she grew up in a maximalism home. The more, the better, is my motto. Why have one set of fine china when you can have six or seven patterns? Why have one set of clear cocktail glasses, when you can have multiple sets of various colors and styles? And don’t get me started on all of the delicious holiday selections! You get the idea. Plus, during her adult life, Marissa has lived in big cities, San Francisco and now Chicago, where space in your typical home needs to be used wisely. Whereas, she grew up in the suburbs and her mother always had plenty of room and could always add on a shed or two, or three! So, I get it. But Marissa, you NEED a half sheet pan!

*Important Reminder at the end of the recipe.

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July 29, 2022   No Comments

Picadillo

Thank you for the kind words and for letting me that there, is indeed, someone out there! The soup I posted last week, along with today’s recipe, and several more to follow, are dishes I made for Marissa and Jeff while I was in Chicago for the month of June. I was there for an entire month because my sweet daughter gave birth to her first child, my first grandchild, Max Cameron on June 1, 2022!

I know that many of you who follow along are already grandparents and many of you have shared with me the joy it is. It is not as if I didn’t believe you, I did! That is why I was so excited for my turn, but there really is no explaining the kind of love one can have for the child of one’s child. It is truly beyond!

Of course, having been a new mom myself many moons ago, I wanted to make things as easy and be as helpful as I could be for Marissa. This is why I spent the last couple of days I was there cooking and freezing meals for the new parents. Below is a list of what I made, the highlighted entries are linked recipes that are already here on the blog. The remaining will be posted in the days ahead.

Picadillo Taco Meat

Tuscan Chicken w/Cannellini & Cremini

Chicken Fajitas

Spinach Lasagna w/Mushroom Ragu

Sausage, Poblano & Broccoli Quiche

Chicken & White Bean Chili

Sesame-Carrot Soup

Creamy Celery Soup

Meatballs in Red Sauce

Several of the dishes were doubled, so there were actually 15 meals in total. While I was cooking for them, it was not my intention, it honestly hadn’t even crossed my mind to blog the recipes, so some will have only one “in process” photo. Others have been made again since I came home, the celery soup for instance, and the Picadillo Taco Meat that I am posting today. I made this last night for my dad and Connor for Sunday supper. I doubled the recipe so that I could send leftovers home with the bachelors.

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July 25, 2022   5 Comments

hello, can anyone hear me?

Hello. It has been more than a while. It feels like an eternity. I have thought about coming on here for many months now, but I wasn’t sure that I had anything to say. Life goes on. Things happen. Good things, bad things, mundane things, and even life-altering, wonderful, amazing things. One thing that doesn’t happen all that much for me anymore is cooking. It feels weird to say that out loud but it is true. I do not cook much, which is the main contributor to me wondering if I have anything to say. That being said, how about today I post a recipe, with more in the sporadic days to come? Plus, I’ll delve more into life and all those “things”.

I made this soup twice in the last few weeks, once for my daughter and son-in-law in Chicago and then again for one of my dearest friends here in Phoenix. Summer may not seem like the ideal time of year for soup, but this is so refreshing and creamy (with no cream, milk, or any sort of dairy) that it works all year round.

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July 21, 2022   4 Comments

TikTok

I am one of the billions of people across the world who waste too much time on TikTok. It is wildly entertaining but also mind-numbing. So yeah, your basic good time. My personal rule is that I only watch it when I get in bed at the end of the day. One thing that has blown my mind is how much engagement some of these videos can get. Some of them have hundreds and thousands of likes, which is amazing.

Coming back to the video, I made it as the original one showed, but I’m suggesting you make a couple of changes, I am reflecting those changes in the instructions below. The original used 2 pounds of ground beef. That is too much for my taste, When the sliders were baked in the oven, covering with foil was not called for, it should be. I’ve added foil for the first 15 minutes of the 20-minute baking time. This should prevent the top buns from getting so dark.

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August 19, 2020   No Comments

It’s been 11 years

Eleven years ago yesterday, my friend, Cyndi Greening, came to my home, set up this thing called “a blog” for me, logged me onto WordPress to post my first blog entry, and LesPetitesGourmettes.com was born. It is my 11th Blogiversary!

I was SO dedicated to it for the first few years, blogging Every Single Day! I shocked myself. I am not the type to do anything, besides brushing my teeth, that consistently. Eventually, I began to feel resentfully tethered to writing daily and started taking off weekends. That worked for a long time and then Marissa became engaged. We had a wedding to plan and I had weight to lose, so I took off nearly a year. I’ve not gotten back to any sort of blogging consistency since and I’m fine with that.

Life changes and flows. I went through a divorce and now live alone. Cooking is not the priority it once was. I started Harmony Boards and that is my passion now. I love to entertain but that has been put on hold until … who knows when. But this blog will live on with posts put up when I have something I think is worth sharing. It will live on because I love connecting with all of you. Your kind comments make it worthwhile. When you ask for a recipe for something to try at a restaurant or something you see me share on Instagram, it makes me smile, and more than happy to share it with you. So thank you. Thank you for being there. Thank you for following along on my life journey for more than a decade. Thank you for caring! xoxo

I can’t think of a better recipe to post on a Blogiversary than a cocktail recipe. I made the most DELICIOUS cocktail for my kids the night before they left for their long drive back to Austin. If this wasn’t a Blogiversary post, I would have titled it, “Recipe Perfected.”

You may recall when I recently posted a recipe for a Frozen Gin & Tonic. It is a knockoff of a cocktail from one of our favorite restaurants in Austin, Loro. I used regular ice in the blender that time around. This time, I used pebble ice from Sonic (yes, you can drive through and buy their ice) and it made all the difference!!! I mean ALL THE DIFFERENCE. It was the exact consistency of the Loro G & T. Since you may not know what that consistency is – the same as the famous frozen margarita from Z’ Tejas. Smooth to the point of almost creamy, not a single chunk of ice to be found. Enjoy!

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August 17, 2020   9 Comments

missing, lost, or never happened?

Marissa and Jeff’s month-long working road trip has come to an end. As I write this on Friday morning, they are both working from their in-home-office setups in my house. When their workday comes to an end in a few hours, they will pack up their car one last time and drive back to Austin. As much as I hate to see them go, I understand the need and desire to be in your own home. I have that feeling every time I go out of town. I can’t wait to leave and then I am so happy to be back in my own familiar space.

Marissa and I had several cooking/meal goals planned for the trip. I think we accomplished them all. One was for her to try out my sous vide, aka an immersion or circulation cooker.

I purchased it about 4 years ago, I had used it once or at least I thought I had. I searched every possible term and word to find a blog post for the chicken I cooked with it. I found nothing. I went through the nearly 59,500 photos on my computer and I found no photographic evidence of using it. Does that mean it didn’t happen? If we don’t have a photo or video of an event in life, was it just a dream? The other strange thing is that I am 100% certain that I purchased the sous vide on Amazon. I can’t find it anywhere in my purchase record there. What is happening?!? You can buy the one I have from Amazon HERE, or feel free to do research and find one that suits your needs.

With the amount of time I have wasted worrying and searching for that first sous vide use, I could have posted this recipe days ago. I am going to have to believe that maybe it happened in some alternate universe or reality and move on with my life.

Marissa chose the recipe from seriouseats.com. We did some adapting and ended up with a deliciously seasoned and perfect tender pulled pork. Unfortunately, her first experience with the sous vide was not the easy, effortless, and smooth one I hoped it would be and that is completely my fault. I filled a large stockpot with water, clipped the sous vide to the side of the pot, and plugged it in. Then we endured at least 30 minutes of struggling and constant beeping trying to get it started. After much aggravation, Jeff suggested that maybe there wasn’t enough water in the pot, sure enough, the water did not come up past the minimum fill line. It was just at the line because I knew that once it came up to temperature and we were able to add the bags of pork, the water level would jump significantly. Dang nabbit! No matter, we finally got it going and were able to go to bed knowing that the pork would be cooked to perfection late the next day. One of my favorite parts about cooking with this method, for this long period of time, is that your house doesn’t smell, Not at all. Not until you open the bag. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fragrance that cooking provides… just not the same strong smell for 18-24 hours. Especially when you’re trying to sleep.

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August 14, 2020   No Comments

best intensions

Trying something new, a Watermelon Cake

My daughter and son-in-law, Marissa and Jeff, are on a month-long “work from home/away from home” trip. They packed up the car and left Austin, TX on Saturday, July 18th, stayed overnight in Las Cruces, NM, and arrived in Scottsdale, AZ on Sunday, July 19th.

One night, we picked up a divine meal from our favorite AZ restaurant, FnB

Jeff set up his workspace in my Harmony Boards office to work remotely and Marissa set up her office in my dining room. Both had their large monitors, laptops, and all other needed computer equipment. Their jobs require a minimum of a combined dozen+ Zoom meeting per day so the cats and I did our best to stay quiet and out of the way, with varying levels of success. At least in my mind, success. I’d bet Marissa would say with varying levels of failure. As stated, we did our best.

One night, I made Ahi Tuna Poke

The following Friday, July 24th, they again packed up the car and drove to Thousand Oaks, CA to spend the week with Jeff’s sister, brother-in-law, and two adorable nieces. Jeff’s parents, who live in Chandler, AZ, were also there and the entire family had several days of overlapping time together.

The Beach and heavenly cool temps!

On Saturday, August 1st, Connor and I packed up my car and drove to my timeshare in Carlsbad, CA for the week. At the same time, Marissa and Jeff packed up their car for the third time and met us there. Actually, I should say met us here, as it is Thursday as I write this and we still have all day today and tomorrow before we pack up the two cars and head back to Scottsdale on Saturday when M & J will once again unload the car to stay with me for another week before they pack it one last time to drive back to Austin after their month-long vagabond adventure.

Chicken Enchiladas another night with my #1 favorite cheddar, Tickler.

My intention had been to blog throughout this time with the recipes for the food we’ve been cooking together. But in all honesty, after not seeing my daughter in person since January 1, 2020, I’ve just been enjoying spending time with family and not writing recipes or taking photos of the cooking process. It had been the longest stretch of time since I had not seen her in person in her life. The last such stretch was 6-months when she did a semester abroad in Paris at the end of her sophomore year at UA but that culminated with a 2-week dream family vacation in Italy and France. There wasn’t just a light at the end of the tunnel, but an actual rainbow!

Beet Hummus for a baby shower

I know it has been as long or longer for many of you, so I know you understand. And for those of you with loved ones in the military or abroad for other reasons, I have no room to complain. But I so missed my girl!

Pink-themed Harmony Boards are my new favorite.

While they were in Thousand Oaks for the week, I switched Marissa’s office set up to my master bedroom for more privacy for her and the ability to not live like a church mouse for me. My hope is that it will be an even better week for the three of us. And hopefully the bonus of actual recipes being posted from the final week of their trip. In the meantime, I do have a simple grilled pizza recipe to share that we made together the other night here in Carlsbad. I would have preferred to use chévre as the cheese, but I was outvoted in favor of burrata. I also forgot to pick up peaches, walnuts, and arugula, so we skipped those, but you should not, if possible. Lastly, I did not have the luxury of topping the pizza at the grill due to lack of space, so I added the toppings in our room with everything except the burrata because that would have made the raw pizza too heavy to transfer to the grill. So I slid the pizzas onto the grill, topped them with burrata, and then reduced the heat to low, closed the lid, and cooked it for about 10 minutes or until the top crust was cooked through. To prevent the bottom of the crust from burning, I frequently moved the pizzas from the front of the grill to the back and closely monitored the bottom crust to make certain it was not charring too much.

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August 7, 2020   4 Comments

fig & plum compote

Timing is everything and my timing for the most recent fig harvest was not good. Not good at all.

I had about 5 days of using ripe figs from my 4 trees on Harmony Boards when I once again made the decision to temporarily close due to the alarming jump in Covid-19 cases and deaths in Arizona. What to do with all of the figs?!? Honestly, the birds are feasting like never before and Connor’s dog, Ellie, enjoys the fallen figs when she visits but I am still left with baskets full of ripe and overripe figs to deal with.

I had other ripening fruit I’d purchased for boards in my refrigerator, one of those being plums, so the best option was to make fig and plum compote. It’s quick and easy and will be great to put on boards once I start up again. I shared the process in stories on the Harmony Boards Instagram page, I’ve saved it in the highlights if you’d like to take a look. Please go give the page a follow if you haven’t already. One of the best ways to support small businesses is to follow and share from said small business’ social media pages. Instagram is where over 75% of my orders come from!

If you decide to make it, the compote is not only delicious as an accouterment on a charcuterie board but would also be fantastic on grilled pork, chicken, ham, etc. Add a tablespoon to a basic vinaigrette. Use as the base for a sweet pizza that includes prosciutto, peaches, chèvre or blue cheese, walnuts, and minced rosemary, topped with arugula. (now my mouth is watering) Or simply spread it on your morning toast.

Fig & Plum Compote

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups trimmed and halved fresh figs
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped fresh plums
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil over low heat in a medium pot. Add the onions and reduce the heat to as low as it will go and sauté for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and continue to cook, stirring often for another 15 minutes until the onions are just beginning to caramelize. Remove from heat before the onions brown.

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July 22, 2020   7 Comments

halfway through 2020 …

Be sure to read to the end. I have a tip that will change your life if you love fresh flowers in your home!

Remember back in March when we were all stuck in our homes and cooking became THE thing to do? I was cooking, writing, snapping photos, and blogging like a madwoman.

Well here we are at the beginning of July, still, or once again, stuck in our homes but now it’s over 100 degrees outside and the last thing I want to do is cook. I’m only selling Harmony Boards from Thursdays – Sundays, so there are often fruits and vegetables that must be used up on Monday. The solution to that is smoothies, soup, soup, and more soup.

At last count, I’ve posted over 80 soup recipes, so adding several more doesn’t seem like the thing to do. As I’ve shared before, to make a smooth and creamy soup with any vegetable; simply sauté some diced onion with diced celery and carrot, add the main vegetable of choice, such as asparagus- basil (photos above), and pour in a box of chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until said vegetable is tender, season, blend and enjoy.

I can’t have people over, so no use in firing up the grill, it’s too damn hot to turn on the oven and I’m still not 100% sure if I’ll be able to escape this nearly surface of the sun local on the 1st of August as I usually do. California may or may not allow us “Zonies” in and I’m not yet certain if my timeshare in Carlsbad will shut down again before I can get there. Yes, things are feeling not so wonderful here in the Hopkins’ Cave.

The one thing guaranteed to always make me feel better, feel loved, and feel human, is to have fresh flowers in my main living area. In the kitchen, breakfast room, and living room. If there are pitchers filled with gorgeous blooms, Arizona summers are tolerable. Barely, but barely is better than nothing!

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July 3, 2020   6 Comments