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Posts from — September 2014

quick chicken pasta dinner

creamy cajun

We’re on a chicken kick at my house. Boneless skinless chicken breast is what I make for dinner when I’m uninspired. Not that that’s a bad thing.

After all, one can’t be creative and “in the mood” to make a “wow” dinner every night!

Even so, this quick and easy pasta dinner put smiles on the family’s faces.

The best part …. even though the cupboards are quite bare … I had everything on hand and didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

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September 30, 2014   No Comments

accidents happen

This summer, when we were out of town, my full-size freezer in the laundry room was accidentally left open for a day.


It wasn’t all the “openers” fault.

Although the freezer is only a few years old, the seal had come loose and instead of figuring out how to fix it, I used duct tape to keep it closed.

Additionally, I had a little chalkboard chef on the front of the freezer who told “would be openers” this:

do not open

“Do NOT OPEN! It is next to impossible to re-shut and keep shut.”

Unfortunately, the “opener” did not see or heed the chalkboard chef’s warning.

Even though I knew of the “freezer breach” immediately upon my return home, I avoided the freezer and refused to open it and face the music until two months later.

Nearly everything was a loss; homemade chicken and beef stocks, frozen citrus juices, handmade puff pastry, lobster broth, homemade mole, demi-glace, frost-burnt cookies and brownies, and quite a bit of meat. I threw out more chicken breast and chicken thighs than I’d care to mention.

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September 29, 2014   1 Comment

Pumpkin season is upon us!


Everyone jumps on the Pumpkin Bandwagon this time of year. Recipe blogs have the best reason to do so! It’s our mission to spread the Pumpkin Joy!

These delicious cookies are inspired by a recipe I found in Better Homes and Garden Magazine.

The first ingredient is scary!

One pound of butter is A LOT!

The upside, if that is possible? The recipe makes 100 cookies. One Hundred – that’s A Lot too.

lined up sheets

Luckily I have enough cookie sheets so I don’t have to use the same sheets over and over. If you do need to use the same sheets, be sure to let them cool completely between batches.

frosted cookies

Plus, I have plenty of cooling racks. One of the advantages of having a cooking school!

I’ve named these cookies “cakey” because of their cake-like texture. I suppose another option could have been to name them “mini-cakes” instead of cookies.

You Decide.

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September 26, 2014   5 Comments


Throw Back Thursday!

Lemon Curd Roll

One of my favorite recipes from Year One (2009) of the blog, is Lemon Curd Lemon Roll.  I highlight it again to show my love and gratitude for my beautiful baby girl, Marissa.

Bonus picture: Me and Maris just after her 2nd birthday on Christmas Day. xoxo

Bonus TBT picture: Christmas Day 1989 -Me and Maris, a few weeks after her 2nd birthday. xoxo

Marissa amazed me last week, when she sent me her Southwest Airlines itinerary confirmation, surprising me with the fact that she’ll be flying home for my birthday weekend, in late October.

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September 25, 2014   2 Comments


This real-life “Missing!!!” flyer really tickles my fancy! What a great sense of humor the victim has.


I’ve been missing something too. It was not stolen, but it is frustrating, just the same.

For some unknown, messed up, virtual reality, cyberspace reason – many of you (maybe all of you,  for all I know) have not been getting the “new post” emails that you signed up for.

For instance, my daughter, Marissa has not gotten them for months on end. On the other hand, my friend and neighbor, Amy, stopped receiving them around the beginning of August.

I have no idea why or how this happens. What I do know, is that I’ve spent a huge amount of time, effort, and even money trying to resolve the situation.

My new webmaster, Chris, has taken one more stab at it and we are most hopeful that all of you subscribers have the “new post” email for this post in your inbox today.

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September 24, 2014   5 Comments

fresh honeycomb in the frame

shelborne honey

In late July, when we were staying at the Shelbourne, in Dublin, we’d have their breakfast buffet each morning. I saw something there that I’d never seen before. Fresh honeycomb in the frame (direct from the hives) with spoons to help yourself and scoop right off the frame. So Cool!

chocolate covered honey comb

About a week later, at The Ballymaloe House, we were served Fresh Honeycomb Dipped in Chocolate as an after-dinner treat. Even Cooler!

I haven’t been able to get either thing off my mind since.

Last Saturday, Sheila invited me to go to Singh Farms (8900 E Thomas – just east of the 101 at the Thomas exit) with her. Their Farmer’s Market won’t be open until late October but their compost yard was open and they were selling herb starts, compost, bat guano, worm castings, fresh eggs …. and honey!

I wondered if they might sell fresh honeycomb in the frame. Sheila encouraged me to ask.

honey frame

I did. And they do! I bought this lovely honey frame (easel not included) for $20.

You don’t have to buy an entire frame of honeycomb to make this recipe. You can purchase fresh honeycomb online HERE and have it delivered right to your door.

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September 23, 2014   2 Comments

my people

What is it with the people in my family? They are either natural-born wife and mother torturers or honest-to-goodness klutzes!

nail polish

First, it was Marissa with the nail polish.

Now, it’s Dave with the red wine!

A few weeks ago, when I came home from Rancho la Puerta, Dave picked me up from the airport. On the drive home, he said, “Oh, I have to tell you, I had a little accident.”

In other words, “Welcome Home!”

a lot of red wine

The glass of red wine he spilled was next to the bed. It “somehow” fell off the nightstand.

I immediately asked, “What did you do to it, so far?”  Luckily, all he’d done was blot the hell out of it. Unluckily, by the time I got to it, it was completely dry.

There are a variety of remedies for red wine on carpets. All are for when the spill is new … and wet. You can use white wine to remove red wine, salt, baking soda, vinegar, or club soda. But all the remedies I found said something like this:

“There are several methods for removing red wine stains that work well, see which one works well for you. Just remember, whatever you do, don’t let the spill sit for long before taking action, the longer it sits the more difficult it will be to lift the stain from your carpet”

Great! Oh well, what could I do? This wine was dry as a bone, so I just let it be and ignored it for … two and a half weeks. I’d walk by it several times a day and feel defeated.

Dave was out-of-town for the last five days, so I decided it was time to tackle the stain. I figured I’d get after it day after day until it was gone. I thought if I was able to take up a little more each day, letting the carpet dry between, that would be the best solution.

Plus, with Dave away, it could dry without being trampled on and I’d be less mad each night since I wouldn’t see his face.


Just as I did with the nail polish, I used rubbing alcohol. I’d saturate a cotton ball and rub it back and forth and then in circles. I was pretty discouraged after the first attempt! Good thing Dave didn’t come home from work that night!

come on

But, I kept at it…


… day after day.

getting there

This is the current state of affairs.


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September 22, 2014   3 Comments

sign up – only a few spots left

My fall series classes at Les Gourmettes are filling up, there are only four seats left.

Raw Chocamoca Tart with Espresso Syrup

Here is the description from the Les Gourmettes brochure and registration:

fall 14


plate of tapas

I’ll give you one guess –  What cocktail will we be making on Week Three with that Ginger Beer from Week One?

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September 20, 2014   No Comments

private class

Last night I taught a private cooking class here at my house. It was a demonstration class with an appetizer theme.

demo class

Since individual appetizers can be time-consuming to assemble and to make the class a bit more fun, I did ask for assistance from the students on a couple of the recipes.

beverage station

The best of both worlds, I teach with free help!

blue cheese grapes

Setting up for a class is a lot like entertaining and many of the techniques I use for a class are the same that I suggest to people when they entertain, such as:

  • Choose do-ahead recipes
  • Mise en place is a must
  • Lay out your serving pieces and “map out” your table long before guests/students arrive
  • Make Lists and a Timeline

recipe 1

All five of these recipes can be done well ahead of time, perfect for entertaining.

Blue Cheese Grapes, Caesar Dip with Crudités, Pigs in a Warm Puffy Blanket, Hot Feta and Tomato Spread, and Smoked Salmon Quesadillas.

mise en place

For a cooking class, we set all the ingredients and utensils needed and place them on individual trays for each recipe. When entertaining (or cooking in general) pull together everything you need and prep (chop/dice) what you can ahead of time. This is known as Mise en Place, or “everything in its place.”

set up [

September 19, 2014   4 Comments



Congratulations to my BFF, Peggy, who, as of yesterday afternoon, is a first-time grandma!

gma and gpa

I know she is too young to be a Grandma, but somehow she is to little Cruz Michael DeBolske. OK, Cruz is not so little. He weighed in at 11 pounds!

What? Eleven pounds, that’s two babies in one!


It’s hard to believe that this beautiful petite young woman could deliver such a big baby … well maybe not so hard to believe.  Look at new mommy, Keegan, just last week. She is all baby!

daddy stevo

Here is your new daddy, Stevo! This photo was posted on Peggy’s FB page soon after 11-pound Cruz was born.

Baby Cruz is named after Stevo’s big brother,  Joseph Cruz DeBolske, who is Cruz’s personal guardian angel! Joey, my boy, I know you are dancing around heaven this day. Such love and joy!

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September 18, 2014   3 Comments