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Posts from — August 2018

soup, an anniversary and Paris

go to site by Linda Hopkins

source It is well known that I love soup. French Onion Soup is at the top of my list. I have been craving it since my dear friends, Scott and Amy Kilpatrick, went to Paris to celebrate their 25th Anniversary back in June.

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click here At the top of my must-eat list is the French Onion Soup at Royal Madeleine. They went and I was soon receiving texts that the restaurant does not serve the soup in the summer.

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http://acrossaday.com/?search=price-of-accutane-at-costco Dang it! I had no idea. I cropped off more of Scott’s text since it was too derogatory and obscene towards to “French Frogs” for me to repeat here. I do love him, he’s a funny and adorably sarcastic guy! And Amy is just the sweetest, I adore her and you already know her too. She is follow The Amy of Amy’s Famous Taco Soup.

Anyhow, the last time we were there it was late May and the soup was on the menu. I guess it comes off at the end of May. It made me sad they missed out but I understand. I don’t enjoy soup as much in the heat of summer either, which is why, even though I’ve been craving it for months, I have yet to make it.

Well, I tamed a bit of the craving when I made this French Onion Soup inspired recipe for our Sunday supper. I should have thought to invite Amy and Scott over to make up for their disappointment.

A few notes before we get to the recipe. Do not rush to process of caramelizing the onions. It takes time, about an hour, to get them just right. In the photo above, they had been cooking for 45 minutes. I had browned off all the chicken in the meantime. It took another 5 minutes or so after that for them to get even the slightest bit of color.

But then, just like that, they were done about 10 minutes later. It will happen. Don’t get frustrated.

Also, don’t fret about the chicken not being cooked through when you’re browning it. It will cook to perfection in the oven later, I promise.

Lastly, four pounds of onions is a lot of onion! You’re going to need a very large skillet to not only cook them all down in, but to also fit all the chicken thighs in one layer. If you don’t have a big skillet, the reicpe can easily be cut in half. And I call for 8 to 10 chicken thighs, because when you buy the family pack from the grocery store, that is what you get, somewhere between 8 and 10 thighs per package.

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August 28, 2018   1 Comment

the avocado dilemma

Ripe avocados were an incredible challenge to find in Quebec. On the day we arrived, Monday the 13th, we went to the grocery store directly from the airport. We bought 8 avocados and they were rock hard. Kim also bought 3 bananas.

Did you know that the way to speed up the ripening of an avocado is to put it in a brown paper bag with a banana?

Yep, ripe bananas release ethylene, the hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit, so placing one in a closed paper bag with your under-ripe avocados will speed up the process.

At least it does in AZ, not so much in Canada. When I left in on Tuesday morning, (8/21) those darn avocados were still hard as rocks!

Thankfully, we went to the farmer’s market in Ottawa mid-week and found 6 ripe avocados. I used 2 of them for this recipe and the other four in a guacamole I posted yesterday. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up purple leaf lettuce, so please use your imagination and pretend it’s there, mixed in the butter lettuce.

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August 24, 2018   1 Comment

kale guac

I am typing this on the long flight from Philadelphia to Phoenix. The first flight from Ottawa to Philly was basically a puddle jumper, but this one is getting the best of me. It’s currently 10:00 eastern time (the time-zone I’m now adjusted too) and I’ve been typing and formatting recipes for my spring cooking classes for the last 5 hours. I’m going cross-eyed. Actually, I can barely keep my eyes open. But I must! I can’t sleep on planes, so it’s either this or go cross-eyed playing solitaire on my phone. This seems more productive.

We still have 45 minutes left on this flight and then there is luggage to collect and an Uber ride home. My head can’t hit that pillow soon enough!!

That’s the end of my “woe is me” story. How about a yummy recipe? I made this guacamole knock-off on Sunday for our daily “booze cruise” on the pontoon around Deer Lake.

Many months ago, when I first tasted the Kale Guacamole at True Food Kitchen, my hopes we’re very high. If I remember correctly, someone else at the table wanted to try it.

Then it came and it was a revelation, so good! I looked up the recipe, expecting it to be mostly kale with maybe an avocado or two mixed in, but no, it’s mostly avocado with a little kale thrown in so that it can be called Kale Guacamole. No matter, it’s good and it sounds healthy. The poblano adds a nice little kick but the thing I love most about it is the addition of fresh citrus.

If you’re not sure what “1 grapefruit, supremed” means. Or if you have an idea, but aren’t sure how to supreme (or segment) citrus, go to this LINK and you’ll see how.

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August 23, 2018   2 Comments

Ratatouille Gratin

I found the recipe for this next dish on Food52 and made it for Paul’s “Welcome to the Lake” dinner on Saturday night. It is a delicious and stunningly beautiful dish.

I added and omitted a few ingredients from the original recipe. In the photos you’ll see 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash and 2 eggplants, but that was too much for the baking dish, so in the recipe I say to use one of each.

Don’t worry, we didn’t let those go to waste. I spread the excess on a sheet pan, seasoned and baked them off for another meal.

We picked up Paul at Montreal-Pierre E Trudeau International Airport at around 10:30 am.

We then drove to Old Montreal, parked and walked about a mile and a half to Schwartz’s for their famous smoked meat sandwiches.

That sandwich was just as spectacular as I remembered from when I visited in October, 2010.

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August 21, 2018   No Comments

a book and a salad

I’m still in Quebec at Kim and Paul’s dreamy lake house. I haven’t been posting regularly because, well, I’m on vacation and because I’ve been obsessed reading a book I found on the shelves here. I finished http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=viagra-generico-100-mg-in-farmacia-senza-ricetta-pagamento-online-a-Bologna All The Light We Cannot See yesterday afternoon. My dreams have been filled with it since the day I picked it up and last night was no exception. Many of you have probably already read it since it came out nearly four years ago. I’m usually behind the curve when it comes to books. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a new read.

Now that I have my nose out of the book and my head out of the clouds, here is the salad recipe I promised you last week. Oh, and there is a mouse update at the bottom of this post.

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August 20, 2018   3 Comments

Wednesday dinner at Deer Lake

I know I said I’d post the recipe for the salad we ate the night before last, and I promise to get to that soon, but we had such a fun day yesterday, that I’d rather talk about that for now.

It was cloudy and foggy over the lake when I awoke. Then the thunder rolled in and the rain began. The lake house was so cozy and dark, it felt like fall for a moment and I was in heaven. Summer drags on when you live in the desert, so even a few moments of what feels like fall is a complete joy.

Our morning plans to paddle board were put on hold. Kim knows how and Debby and I were eager to learn.

photo credit: Pinterest

Oh, before I go any further, I should mention that I was a bit tentative about being the first person to get up and leave my room. And for good reason, the first night here we saw that we had another resident in the house with us. A mouse. Granted, he was little and even, dare I say, cute. We tried to shoo him out the door with a broom but he wasn’t having any of that. Kim set out a no-kill trap but it didn’t work. We saw him again the next night, Debby set four mousetraps with peanut butter and placed them around the kitchen. So, the first person up was going to have to deal with a dead mouse and I didn’t want that to be me.

But I was getting sore from sitting in bed and typing my post. I had to get up so I could sit at the table to type. I quietly crept out and peeked around the corner … no mouse. All the peanut butter was gone but thankfully, no smashed mouse.

Yay for me. Yay for the mouse. But then again, we still have a mouse in the house, so no bueno!

The rain stopped. Kim and I went to run errands and grocery shop in the little town of Ripon. Two of the things at the top of our list were more mousetraps and Snicker’s bars, which will hopefully work better than the peanut butter. Debby stayed behind to read and hold down the fort.

When we returned, Kim taught us to paddle board. For me, the hardest part was going from the kneeling stage to the standing stage. I had to do Lamaze style deep breathing and talk myself into being brave and just do it.

After much hesitation and nearly psyching myself out, I did it. Debby did too. We were quite pleased with ourselves. The Howards have two paddle boards. I came to shore and Kim took that board out. Most of my pride washed away as I watched her pop right up and quickly paddle down the lake in the blink of an eye. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Next, we went out on the pontoon boat and took a tour around the entire lake.

It’s a long lake! You can’t see from one end to the other. It curves and twists and there are cute islands and peninsulas. Kim and Paul not only own the lake but also the 550 (approx.) acres of wooded land that surround it. This is a very special and magical place that has been in the Howard family for generations.

After our cocktail boat tour, I made another recipe inspired from a doctor’s office waiting room magazine find. The perfect end to a perfect day.

OK, not quite the end and not perfectly perfect. Kim and Debby set a total of 10 mousetraps with the Snickers. Without a doubt, I’m sleeping in this time.

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August 16, 2018   4 Comments

quinoa in Canada

photo credit: Cody Howard

If you’re like me, sometimes you look at your smart phone in complete awe. We walk around with a computer in our pockets. No longer do we need a watch, a camera, an encyclopedia, a dictionary, any array of how-to books, a landline, and the list goes on.

And no longer do I tear out pages from magazines in doctors’ offices. Yes, I’m sorry to admit that I was one of those people. Now, I just whip out my phone and snap a photo of that recipe or article I must have.

photo credit: Debby Gooding

The following recipe is inspired from one such photo I took during a recent visit to a doctor’s office. I don’t recall the magazine, probably a celebrity weekly or women’s monthly, since those are the magazines I usually gravitate towards in that situation.

I’m in Quebec Canada with Kim Howard and her dear friend, Debby Gooding, at Deer Lake, which is the Howard Family’s gorgeous Canadian retreat. Click HERE to read more about it in this posts from my last visit in July, 2013. One of my favorite things about this magical place is all the vintage vibes.

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August 15, 2018   2 Comments

savings bonanza

I’m in Carlsbad, CA at my timeshare this week with Marissa and my cousin, Michelle Lorts. Michelle and I drove over on Saturday and picked up Marissa, who flew in from Austin, TX.

This is the view from our balcony. Not too shabby.

We’ve had a wonderful, relaxing and coooool week thus far. Not missing the 110+ degree AZ days one single bit!

Here are Michelle and Marissa out in the front of the resort under an African tulip tree. Isn’t it gorgeous?

But the real news I have to share is the amazing deal I got on wine at Von’s (Safeway in AZ) grocery store. We went in to buy some orange juice and a couple of bottles of Michelle’s favorite Sauvignon Blanc, Brancott Estate. When we strolled down the wine aisles, we immediately noticed that all the wine was on sale with yellow tags on every shelf. The Brancott was regularly $13.99 a bottle and was on sale for $9.99. Sweet!  Michelle grabbed 2 bottles.

Then I looked a little farther down the aisle and saw a couple of red tags among all the yellow. Upon further inspection, I saw that the Robert Mondavi Oakville Fumé Blanc which was regularly $34.99 a bottle was on clearance for …..  wait for it….

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August 9, 2018   5 Comments

yellow is the new red… and green

Do you remember a few posts back when I shared my excitement over finally being able to grow something, besides herbs, in a garden?

Well, are you ready to see the surprise harvest?

The surprise is that I forgot what I’d planted. I thought it was zucchini and watermelon but turns out it was watermelon, cantaloupe and English cucumber. This weekend I had another wonderful surprise!

The watermelon was not your run-of-the-mill red fleshed watermelon, it is yellow!

I had completely forgotten I had planted the super cool yellow instead of the everyday red. I was overjoyed but honestly a little disappointed too.

Disappointed because I’d looked for yellow watermelon in the market when I was creating the Harmony Board for Lisa’s birthday last week but I could not find any. And there it was – in my own backyard the entire time. Doggone it!

When shopping for the board, I may not have found the melon I wanted, but I did find yellow kiwi at Costco. Did you even know there was such a thing? I discovered it a couple of summers ago, but this was the first time I saw it at Costco. The green kiwi is the smaller fuzzy one on the left. The yellow is slightly larger and has no fuzz.

Just as with the watermelon, they taste much like their everyday cousins.

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August 3, 2018   No Comments