It was Christmas morning. There was a few inches of snow blanketing everything and big fluffy flakes were still falling from the sky. There was a fire blazing in the fireplace. <Okay, ours is a gas fireplace with a switch to flip on the wall next to the mantle, so it’s not exactly a production.> Christmas music was blasting. The dining table was decked out to the nines. I’d made fabulously fragrant monkey bread, and Jacques Pépin’s quiche, and gotten those onto the table along with nice strong coffee and kicked-up mimosas. I just had to finish up my strawberry Santas. I’d taken a shortcut and bought whipped cream in a can. It comes with its own dispenser. Genius, right?! Read More
Hi everybody! I just spent the last two weeks down at Disney and Universal with my family. It really is a magical place. I think this was our 6th trip there, so we thought we had the drill down, but they’ve changed so much since our last visit, like 6 years ago. If you’ve never gone, you should totally rectify that!
I’ll gladly spend all day working on dinner but I suffer from serious morning laziness. This is a problem because I love brunch. We moved to Texas about 10 years ago, and discovered migas. Tortillas fried in oil, and eggs scrambled in. Oh baby. That is a fine breakfast. It seems tragic that I’d missed out on these until then. <sniff> No, it’s okay. I’ve been making up for lost time. My version is for morning underachievers who want to get close enough without extending themselves. I make them with tortilla chips. Sometimes the atomic orange ones. <I know!> I treat them like nachos and load them up with everything good. When I smoke meat, I love to save the leftovers in little baggies in my freezer for future migas. Come on! Let’s get you into some migas! Read More
Summer’s on its way! I saw a recipe for a strawberry spinach salad in a Penzey’s catalog years ago. I loved it. It’s the most friendly salad ever. I’ve played with it to make the dressing a little lighter, added grilled orange chicken, and changed the pistachios to candied pecans. It’s perfect with Pellegrino with lime if the kids have talked you into playing outside after dinner, or with a lovely Pinot Grigio if you’re planning to relax.
If you love it, please come back and find me again! Or hit that follow button! 😀 Read More
My kids’ school has a night called mini-school when they walk the parents through the kids’ schedules, the teachers talk about the curriculum, and contact info is exchanged. It goes for a few hours right when dinner would be. That’s our excuse night to grab Little Caesars for the kids and go out for a beer and hors d’oeuvres dinner after the meeting. Nice. On the last one, we popped over to a little place down the street called the Drunken Donkey. They have a great beer selection, every sports broadcast you’d wanna see, games, and beer-based munchies. Perfect. We ordered Bacon Thingies, poppers stuffed with chicken and cheese, and wrapped in bacon over shredded iceberg lettuce with a ranch drizzle. They were fantastic.
The Final Four’s coming up. I thought this would be the perfect excuse to bust out the air fryer and try to make some bacon thingies. It worked beautifully, so I thought I’d share. My youngest doesn’t like jalapeños too much, so I stuff a few mini bell peppers for her, and she adored those. I’m rocking an extra large Philips with a shelf, so I can fit 16. You can set the peppers in yours ahead of time to see how many you can fit.
If you love them, please come find me again! 😀
I put 5 miles on my sneakers on most days. Yesterday was 9 because it was so nice out. I started in a winter coat this morning, and pretty quickly tied it around my waist because it was t-shirt comfy outside. I’m down in Texas, loving the spring blossoms everywhere, but feeling pretty guilty about all this sunshine when I see my buddies up north posting pics of snowy windows, and having one more cup of coffee before grabbing their shovels. Brrrrr! I grew up in Wisconsin, and lived most of my adult life in New York, so I remember big old banks of snow all too well. So this post is for my friends in the frozen tundra. A peace offering for all my flowery posts.
There used to be a show on Public Television called Chef. Oh, it was great! Lenny Henry played Chef Gareth Blackstock. In a few episodes, Chef sets up meetings with illegal fill-in-the-blank suppliers in the woods in the British countryside. He’s always the most wonderful blend of absolute nervousness and excitement. Awesome. When those Facebook quizzes come out asking if a friend ever saw you in the back of a police car, what would it be for, my friends would tell you it would involve cheese. My husband knows that it would be the height of romance if he could arrange a questionable cheese transaction in England for me. Holiday made.
Jell-o. It’s not a guilty pleasure. I love the stuff. About 20 years ago, I found out you could use softened ice cream in place of half the water, just like you would whipped topping. Oh baby! That’s some delicious stuff! Still not convinced you should try this retro gold?! Okay, let this play out in Justin Timberlake’s voice in your head, “I’m bringin’ jell-o back. Yeah.” Yeah, I know. I’ll see you in jell-o town!
I love making the jell-o right in little parfait cups, but you can use a big bowl if you’d like. Glass is so much more fun so that you can see the layers from the side. Here are a few of my fruity faves…
If you love it, come find me again! Or click that follow button. 😀
We moved to Texas about 10 years ago, and fell in love with some of its iconic foods: queso, kolaches, migas, sweet tea, and smoked brisket. Oh baby, that’s good brisket! I read all the books. No, that’s not an exaggeration. I like to tackle things nerd-on. And I practiced, just making one little modification each time til I got my perfect brisket.
Give it a try! If you love it, come find me again! 😀
The dolly store. My kids are way past that now, but I remember when we used to trek in to American Girl. They would pour over all the historical doll displays, oohing and aahing at all of those darling little accessories. They loved the books, too, and got a decent idea about American history from the nerdier volumes. The New York store (we used to live there) used to have a theater in it where you could watch plays. They were wonderful. I tried to steer them clear of the hairstyling area. I used to cut their hair myself, and couldn’t fathom forking over for a doll to get her style on. Then we’d go to the café. Have you been? They have little doll seats that clip on to the table so that the dolls and kids can eat together. The dolls even get served tiny cups of cocoa when the kids do. Holy adorbs! I wasn’t into the food, but didn’t really care. Then once, I ordered a parmesan crusted tilapia and it was delicious! So, I pulled together a similar dinner at home so we could have dolly night. They’re hopping off electronics or the treadmill, instead of hitching dollies to the table, when I make it now.
I hope you love it, too! If you do, please come back and find me! 😀
Oh brunch! How I love you! A few years ago, we spent a few days in Denver on the way to Yellowstone. What a cool city! If you go, the art museum there is absolutely amazing. Definitely in my top 5 art museums ever. There’s a breakfast place there called Snooze. http://snoozeeatery.com/ You have to wait to get in, but it’s oh so worth it! Mmmm. Sweet potato buttermilk pancakes topped with homemade caramel, candied pecans and ginger butter. Buttermilk pancakes with caramelized pineapple chunks, housemade vanilla crème anglaise and cinnamon butter. I LOVE those pineapple upside down pancakes!
I started playing with that idea in my kitchen trying to bring a little vacation home. I added dollops of crushed pineapple and a sprinkle of sugar to each pancake before flipping it, and it caramelized so nicely. Delish. Then it hit me! Coconut flour is healthier than regular flour and it’s banging the same tropical vibe. And coconut milk makes everything more decadent even though it’s good for you. Oh baby! The wheels were spinnin’! Coconut flour and almond flour pancakes love to stick to the pan, so you need to make them smaller. And that would make adding a little dollup and sprinkle to each fussy. Hmmm. In Maricel Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, she makes the most cravable caramelized pineapple, avocado, and red onion salad. (She has a killer restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey, right through the Lincoln Tunnel from Manhattan, called Cucharamama, and you must go if you’re ever near there. She’s a culinary genius and food history nerd extraordinaire!) The pineapple is caramelized under the broiler, just getting turned once. Perfect technique for this!
They’re healthier this way, but they’re yummier, too! It tastes like an island vacation. It’s a little plate of sunshine. Delicious, delicious sunshine.
It’s a weekend, so let’s set the kitchen mood! Put on a Marley’s Legend or turn your XM to 42 for the reggae channel. Prefer a little Cuban music? Albita’s No Se Parece A Nada wonderful. Or a little Jazz or Blues is always brunch appropriate. Or crank Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All (Remastered). You do you. Open the windows. But brunch is really at its yummiest on the porch. Truth.