Thursday, January 31, 2008

No way could I get a picture!

Yes I've been at it again! I found the best Farmer's Market ever. All the food is certified Organic (Worden Farms) and the market is held every Wednesday! It doesn't get much better than this...well yes I guess it does. The guy on the shrimp boat right around the corner who was selling last nights catch right from his boat even beat that! I brought my bounty home. Cooked up the beets for dinner and left the shrimp for T. to cook and behead! Now just to let you know, my family loves fresh shrimp. That shrimp was sauteed in fresh garlic and butter until just cooked. Put on the plates and eaten up so quick that I didn't stand a chance at getting a picture! But it sure looked good!

I cooked up the beets using the oven roasted beet recipe that I used the other day and they were delicious again! I saved the greens to cook up tonight with one super large fresh salad! This is the best time of year to be eating locally that's for sure!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sausage and Fresh Greens

I found this recipe a couple of days ago on a fellow Floridian's blog (Jenn from The Left-Over Queen). Due to all of the wonderful fresh produce we have access to here in the winter both of us are cooking similar things. I have loved several of her recipes before this one (remember the oven roasted beets last week?). This one was incredible though. Maybe the thing that I liked best about was that I cooked it in the afternoon. Placed the pot and all in the fridge and when T. got home from work he was able to just turn the stove on and heat up dinner for us. Pretty cool for me on a busy Tuesday night!

Sausage and Fresh Greens


6 organic chicken sausage links (I use all natural pork sausage)
3 TBS olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, diced
1can CiCi (garbanzo) beans
2 TBS tomato paste
8 oz. Can plum tomatoes w/ juice
2 cups assorted greens (chard, beet, spinach)(I only had swiss chard at the time)
salt & pepper to taste
splash of white truffle oil (I used truffle "Carpaccio"-Just what I had on hand)


In a skillet place sausage in one inch of water. Boil water and turn sausage frequently. When water is gone, add olive oil to pan and shake pan to coat the sausages. Brown sausages on one side. Add the onions and garlic. Turn sausages and brown on other side. Add beans, tomato paste and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add greens. Salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with a splash of white truffle oil. Can serve over pasta, potatoes, with rice or just by itself.
We did top it with some goat cheese. What a wonderfully, flavorful dish!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some of the best meals are made when cleaning out the fridge!

I am looking for chickens...actually not really chickens I want their eggs! We have been trying to eat seasonally and locally but boy is it hard sometimes. I have been looking for farm fresh chicken eggs. shouldn't be too hard right? Wrong. I drove 3 hours today on the hunt for chickens eggs and still came up empty. The only place that I can find around here won't return my calls or emails so I have to keep hunting. Hopefully by the end of the week I will be able to show you some great things I have made with my farm fresh eggs!

Anyway the other night after we had been to our local U-Pick I wanted to just clear out the fridge and make sure that we used up everything that we could before we put the new stuff in. We ended up with a wonderful meal utilizing left over items and some really great fresh, local produce!

We had some eggplant left over form my Royal Foodie Joust entry so we used that and made it into 2 individual stack like eggplant sandwiches with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and tomato slices in between. T. topped his with some left over Manchego cheese and Parmesan! Then we baked them to get everything nice and warm and the cheese melted and browned.
Then onto the spinach. We had some baby spinach leaves and wanted to cook them up. We used some Panchetta that I had left over from the Royal Foodie Joust so I cooked that up nice and crispy and cooked up some mushrooms that were on their last days as well. All went great with the spinach as you can see!
To cook the spinach I first browned up the panchetta (regular bacon would work as well but you might need to drain it before you add the other stuff) add a bit of olive oil (1 Tbsp) some sliced mushrooms and some chopped up garlic (we use a lot of garlic). Cook until all of this is soft. Add the fresh spinach. It will be completely fill you pan but just stir it around and it wilts right down. Cook until just wilted and stir in 1 Tbsp of butter. Remove from heat and serve! This can be done without the bacon or panchetta as well.

Next we move onto the zucchini fritters. I have posted that recipe before but here it is again. This is such a nice easy side dish to make when zucchini are plentiful. Zucchini Fritter Recipe. T. decide that he wanted some aioli sauce (garlic/mayonnaise sauce) with his so he made some up and put it in these fresh roasted jalapeños that we had as well!
This turned out to be one of the best meals that I have had in a long time! The kids liked it and ate bits and pieces here and there. Sure beats eating left overs again!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Just a quickie...

I found out today that I have been published again this time by BBQ Report to see the story click here . Reuter's picked me up again last week as well. I guess a little validity is good here and there!

Daring Baker's Challenge for January!

When my wonderful sister was here over Christmas we were reminiscing over the amazing Lemon Meringue Pies that Mom used to make. Turns out my memory was really fuzzy because those pies came out of a box! I can't remember the name of the company and maybe it was just a Canadian thing but regardless I was really craving one now! So to my great surprise and excitement I found out that January's Daring Baker Challenge was...did you guess it? Lemon Meringue Pie!!!!

This month's challenge was
hosted by Jen, Canadian Baker, and I truly can't thank her enough! This pie was amazing in every single way. The crust was firm and strong enough to hold up to a very moist pie (kind of reminded me of shortbread!) but not tough...the lemon curd was sour and sweet both at the same time and the texture was incredible and then the meringue...what can you really say about meringue (do you know anyone who doesn't like meringue?). The only thing I struggled with was the weather this time. It was in the 80's and incredibly humid. I could not for the life of me get my meringue into "stiff" peaks but I could get it thick enough to work with. I truly loved this recipe and T. and the kids loved it as well. I can think of about 10 people who have Lemon Meringue Pie as their favorite that I will be forwarding this incredible recipe to!

I also found that I am not very good at making the pretty fluted edges on the pie but I am sure that will come with practice!

Will I make it again...Oh yes and I can't wait to. Maybe I will make it for myself for my birthday!!! I will be looking for excuses to make this one!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

It all started with a chicken...

Roasted Chicken

One day last week I thought it would be a great idea to roast a chicken. The weather was nice and cool and the kids always eat a roasted chicken real well. I was at the grocery store and bought a chicken. It was a 3 pounder but, get this, it cost me around $8???!!! Yes, it was organic, free range, no antibiotics or hormones, but still that is a lot for a small chicken. I figured though that I would be sure to make 2 meals out of it so could therefore justify the expense!

So have you ever made something and it turned out so delicious but you knew that because of all of the crazy components involved in the meal you would NEVER be able to recreate it? That's what happened here. First of all for dinner on Wednesday night I roasted the chicken. I roasted it my standard way...lost of garlic, butter to brown the skin, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and half a lemon inside the cavity. I always roast this chicken in a large, heavy casserole dish because I love how moist the bird is when it is done. Anyway that with a salad was dinner on Wednesday. Chicken Stock Cooking

I saved all of the bones, drippings and the leftover meat and let them sit in the fridge over night. In the morning I took the bones out and threw them into a pot with the drippings, celery, onion, onion tops, parsley, and white pepper. I let this just barely simmer all day. Around dinner time I strained the stock and put the cleaned stock back on the stove and added the left over meat (cut into small pieces) and, now here is where it gets loopy, I had made stuffed eggplant during the week and had a bunch of leftover lentil stuffing so I tossed that into the pot as well. The smell of this soup cooking was out of this world. You had the lemony smell from the roasted chicken, cinnamon from the lentil mixture, and the wonderful savory smells from the stock that I made. To top it all off I made some dumplings to go in the pot. This soup was amazing but I will probably never be able or want to make it again. Next time it will be a bunch of different leftovers used in the pot!
Pot Full of Chicken Soup with Dumplings!

Dumpling Recipe

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 egg beaten
2 Tbsp melted butter
2/3 cups milk

Directions: Sift the dry ingredients together and the beaten egg, melted butter and milk. Stir gently until dry ingredients are just moist. Drop by teaspoon into the boiling soup pot and caver and cook for about 18 minutes. They should be nice, light and fluffy!
What a Great Bowl of Soup!

At least I can justify the $8 chicken now!!!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, January 25, 2008

Yeah...It's Friday Feast Time! Friday Feast #178

I have a field trip to go on today with my oldest daughter so I am so glad it's Friday and I can do my favorite meme! Sit back and enjoy!

How many times per day do you usually laugh?

I laugh a lot in a day. I have a great life and I think that makes it easier to laugh at things! My kids make me laugh, T. is kinda funny (don't tell him I said that - It will just encourage him!), my sister, my Mom and my friends all make me laugh! Life in general is pretty funny!

What do your sunglasses look like?

I have some big black Juicy Couture Sunglasses. They are the fashion type not sport.

You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?

Can I go 2 place or one place via a quick stop over? I thought I could...I would love to go to see my family in Canada but I would want to go to Chicago first and visit my best friend from high school who I haven't seen in over 10 years!!!

Main Course
Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.

Definitely the weather!!! Southwest Florida...the weather doesn't get better than this!

If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?

Oh Pink of course...then I could take off my rose colored glasses and really live!

Hope you enjoy this!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Royal Foodie Joust

One of the things that I have loved so much about blogging about food is that I am learning that there are soooo many things that I don't know. I love the challenges because they encourage me to go beyond my comfort zone again and again! One of my favorites is the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jenn, which I love participating in. The winner from the previous month gets to choose the 3 ingredients that need to be used for the next month. Last months winner Dharm from Dad~Baker and Chef choose eggplant, Lentils and cinnamon as the ingredients. Wow what was I going to do with those???!!! First I thought I would do a dip like a Baba Ghannoush but then I thought that I should challenge myself a little more. So I came up with a stuffed eggplant dish that was to die for! I will definitely be making this one again!

Lentil Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

Thanks Dharm for choosing these ingredients and to you Jenn for hosting this challenge!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I love fresh produce!

To me there is nothing better than a nice huge fresh salad for dinner. I have always been like that. I love my veggies raw but have never really liked them cooked. Beans, corn, carrots, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cabbage and yes even potatoes taste so much better to me raw than cooked! So I guess it just makes sense that I love a nice big salad with nothing but fresh veggies!

Last night was ice skating lessons which always make for too late of a night and the girls are always so tired by the time they get ready for bed. I knew dinner wasn't going to be anything really fancy. We had decided on steak and salad. We are still trying to work our way through the box of produce that we got over the weekend. The girls won't eat salad so we steamed up some broccoli for them. The salad was great. We used the sweet onions, fresh rip tomatoes, radishes, and some of the small tender garlic just nicely chopped.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, January 21, 2008

Oven Roasted Beets

I was so excited to get my big box of produce yesterday and couldn't wait to get cooking! Unfortunately with as busy as we are I had to wait until this afternoon. Tonight was a karate night so I made the beets this afternoon and figured I would just heat them later. A couple of days ago I was looking at another blog The Left-Over Queen and Jenn had made a roasted beet salad. I so wanted to try it! But due to a cold snap last week the tops of the beets were a little messed up so I decided just to skip that part and just roast them following her directions. I ended up serving them at room temperature as a side to the pot roast that we were having. I can honestly tell you that these were the best beets that I have ever had! I don't know if it was the roasting in olive oil or the freshness of the beets but they were delicious. I was actually sad that I had only bought one bunch...guess I have an excuse to go back now!

Oven Roasted Beets (from Jenn the Left-Over Queen - Roasted Beet and Beet Greens salad)

4 fresh beets
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F. Wash and trim beets, leaving their skins on.

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Place beets on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper. Shake cookie sheet so that beets get coated with oil and spices. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 45 minutes or until beets are fork tender.

Take beets out of the oven and peel skins off. Note: If you care about your nails, which some people do, wear gloves, or you will have red dye under your nails for days afterwards. Do not run under water as it will wash away a lot of flavor.

Cut into quarters. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

We left these at room temperature and ended up serving them this way and they were absolutely amazing! I think the balsamic made this as well so don't skip this part!

Thanks for another great one Jenn!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Look at what I found!

What a great find huh? I guess after reading so many blogs with people trying to get their hands on the freshest and the best produce available and trying to eat seasonally and all I see them coming up with are root vegetables I decided to go on my own hunt! Not that there is anything bad about root vegetables and if you live up north you really don't have too many other options. But I don't live up north. I live in South Florida and this is our growing season.

Check out this big box of produce that I got at a local U-Pick farm!!! I was so excited. I got Fancy Italian eggplant, zucchini, sweet onions, fresh picked garlic, strawberries, star fruit, beets (small though), broccoli, tomatoes and jalapeño peppers! Now I just have to come up with some great recipes using what I have. Shouldn't be too hard so check back to see the latest!

Another thing that was really great was being able to show the girls where the food came from. We have always had a garden and grow tomatoes every year but for some reason we missed planting time this year. I guess too busy with other things, what a shame. Anyway it was way too cold for us to be doing any picking but we took a walk back into the fields and were able to point out a couple of things that were ripe for the picking...cauliflower, corn that was getting close and brussel sprouts sticking up on their poles! What a great thing.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday's Feast #176

Well it's Friday once again. The day I take the easy way out and blog about nothing! Here is your Friday's Feast


What is your favorite beverage?

I can't answer just one on this. I love water all the time, I love coffee in the morning and in the evenings I LOVE Stoli Vodka or Red Wine!

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.

A big mess, Camera and my iPhone.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?

I like to think that I am pretty honest. I will not lie. I will omit some information at time but no lying. I learned a long time ago that I did not have the attention span to hold onto a lie. I would give myself a 9 on honesty!

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?

Oh this one is hard but here is my stab at this! I am from Canada and it always irked me, when I was growing up, that there was a Niagara Falls on both sides (US and Canada) so when you went there you always had to tell people that you were on the Canadian side. Therefore I guess I would rename the American side American Falls as that is the name of the falls on the US side.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?

Oh this one is children stress me out and my husband calms me down (the vodka doesn't hurt at all either)

Have a great day and

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sunshine Citrus Chicken

I guess a trend is starting to appear. We have been grilling a lot. There is a reason behind this. We all got a little fluffy (read fat) after the holidays and I find that the easiest way to get the extra weight back off is to eat lean, healthy meals. My method of cooking is not real lean so this is when we rely on the grill to help us out. Lucky for us we live in Florida so we can grill all year long and even if you live up north you can but it is definitely more challenging!

The kids have been getting a little tired of the regular old marinades and I happened to have an orange left from the muffins that I made yesterday (which she didn't like anyway!!!) so I knew it was going to be citrus based. Here is basically what I threw together. The measures are just estimates. Not so important for a marinade.

Sunshine Citrus Chicken

Juice from half and orange
1 cup soy sauce (low-sodium if you like!)
1 tsp orange zest
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
4 chicken thighs

Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes (longer is better). Grill or bake until done!

We served this with Marrakesh Express Mango Salsa Couscous which was surprisingly delicious. It was also a real treat because we let my oldest daughter (age 7) cook this herself. She sure was proud!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Quest for the Pefect Muffin...the ongoing saga!

If you remember a couple of months ago I was trying to simplify my crazy morning routine by making muffins. I must have made about 15 dozen muffins (most of them sitting in frozen limbo in my refrigerator) in this time period and the girls still wouldn't eat them so I said I was giving up. Well here is something about me...I don't give up too easily! So back at it I am!

I asked my oldest one what type of muffin she would like to eat for breakfast and she looked at all the fruit in the house (Clementine's. grapefruit, cherries, grapes, bananas, apples, mangoes, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) and guess what she picked???? Oranges! Can you believe that. Who has all of that fruit in there house at one time anyway and then how can she just inventory everything in a split second and choose the one thing that I did not have!!! Anyway off to the grocery store I went and bought and orange and some orange juice.

I decided just to alter a couple of other recipes that I had and liked and change the flours around and they turned out pretty good. They are even slightly healthy with the huge amount of fruit and the oats that are in them! The true test will be whether or not she will eat them!!!

Orange Blueberry Muffins

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pork Chop Marinade

Last night was a karate night so I had to think fast on a meal. I decided that T. would be home early enough to grill some pork chops so all I really had to do was come up with a marinade. This one turned out real well and would be good with a pork loin or chicken.

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (use low sodium soy sauce if you like)
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 pork chops
Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or more. The thicker the meat the longer the marinade time will be. We grilled the chops but they can be baked or broiled as well.

We served it with a healthy bowl of steamed broccoli and salad. This could easily be glammed up for a dinner party meal or just when you have guest over for a casual bite!

As always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Grilled Chicken and Spinach.

Now I do know that most of your are deep into winter right now but I know for a fact that you can still grill in the winter. My Mom used to bundle herself up and head on out to cook us dinner on the grill. I'm from Canada so if she can do it so can you!!!

T. cooked this up but I threw the marinade together so it was already for him to throw on the grill.

Chicken Marinade

1/2 cup white wine
2 T olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
3 cloves garlic ( minced)
1/8 t ground ginger

We used thighs but you can use you favorite part of the chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes but longer is better.
Grill until cooked.


1 bag of fresh spinach
5 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed pan. Add garlic and allow to toast slightly. Add bag of spinach. Cook until tender. Add salt and pepper and serve immediately.

We usually eat a meal like this several times a week. It is nice and fast and healthy to boot as long as you don't cover your spinach with butter and Parmesan cheese that is (see top picture!)!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

We went where the road carried us...

This picture is taken from the car on US 1 just heading into Islamorada and our sunset!
This one is taken from out table at the restaurant!

And we are so grateful that it ended up in Islamorada in the Florida Keys!

What a fun day we had yesterday. T. had to do a bit of work in the morning and my oldest daughter had to finish her school project, so we got a bit of a late start but we had planned on going to the Miami Metro Zoo. This was about 2 hours from home so it really wasn't a major journey but still not something you would do everyday. We really needed a bit of an escape though. After the holiday's we have still been going hard and finally had one day that we didn't have anything that we had comited to.

The Zoo was great. We had never been before and really liked it. It had a bunch of stuff that we didn't even get to so it will be fun to go back to! This is where it all goes a little crazy though. T. and I started talking about dinner and he suggested going to the Keys. We just laughed and then I said "why not?" and then it was set in stone and neither of us vcould think of a good enough reason not to. So off we went. After getting the GPS and OnStar to stop fighting over directions we were on our way. I think it was really only about 45 minutes from where we were at the Zoo to get to Islamorada. Our goal had been to be holding a cocktail and watching the sunset in the Keys! And we did it. We ended up having a really great dinner at the Islamorada Fish Company. The restaurant tables are all outside on the deck and the deck is out over the water. Where we ate we had huge Tarpon swimming right underneath us! What a great experience. We have been very lucky that we are both pretty impulsive and are not afraid to just goes where the wind blows. It has been more challenging in the past when the children where younger but now that they are older we can get back to it!

We finished out dinner grabbed a couple of Starbuck's coffees to keep us going and we were on the road again! This time heading home.

It was a nice quick drive to Alligator Alley and then it started to get a bit weird...the moon literally disappeared. If any one can explain this it would really make my day! I tried to get pictures but nothing was showing up on the camera and you don't just pull over on the Alley (or do you?...I'll get to that later!). When we turned onto the highway the moon was in front of us just to the left. It wasn't really high up but high enough to shed some light. It is is the first quarter lunar phase right now and looked like a smile in the dark sky. As we kept watching it though it was getting lower and lower (it is about 9 pm) and oranger and oranger and smaller and smaller. Until suddenly it was really red, huge and low. Then all you could see was two little tips on either side where the top of the smile had been. I pulled out my iPhone and started searching lunar eclipses and anything lunar but nothing showed up so my question is WHAT DID WE SEE???!!! Pretty bizarre. It didn't come back either. When I went to bed a 1 am I went out and tried to find it but it was no where to be found.

Anyway on with our journey...shortly after the moon fell out of the sky the big honkin' truck started chugging. My husband had let us all run out of gas at 10:15 at night on Alligator Alley!!!! The toll booth's were so close we could see them but not another inch was to be gotten from the beast! Thanks goodness for OnStar. They had gas to us within a half hour but in the meantime T. had gone out (yes along I-75 in pitch black darkness) to press the button on the call box that we had stopped by. He stepped on a snake and it startled him and he pushed the button that you need to pushed to get help and quickly got back in the truck. Well help came in the form of a speeding Sheriff's car asking us what the emergency was. I guess the buttons might be mixed up or T. hit the wrong one but anyway they had been alerted of a roadside emergency and were quick enough to stop the fire and ambulance that was headed our way. They were not impressed and not very helpful! They actually left us there with our lonely set of emergency lights blinking on the side of the road!

Anyway we got the gas, got home and got the girls to bed. We realized that this spontaneity was a huge part of us and that we were so glad to have it back!!!

Thanks Islamorada...couldn't have done it without you!!!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday's Feast #175

It's Friday again and the one day of the week that I take the easy road and post the meme. Enjoy this feast!

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?

My middle name is Lorraine. When I was younger I would have changed it to Lynn. Reasons: That was my sister's middle name, it was short, there was a teenager who had really long hair and we all thought she was so cool on our street when I was young and her name was Lynn as well. Real crazy reasons!

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?

I would use pink and dark colors. I switch between them both. The fabrics would have to be really nice and soft. I love the feel of flannel so maybe I could design PJ's. I sure can't have anything hard or scratchy on my skin. Even rough cotton shirts are not soft enough for me.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?

I hate, hate, hate cleaning the bathroom. I think it is just a disgustingly filthy job. As we speak my cleaners are cleaning my house so I don't have to do the gross bathrooms. If I was cleaning up after myself I could do it but men are really gross in the bathroom!

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

I have a really horrible fear of swimming in lakes, rivers, ponds etc. Anyplace where my feet have to touch stuff that I can't identify and see. I am feeling anxious just writing about it! I have no reason that I can trace for this fear but I am very thankful that I live in Florida and where we are the water is crystal clear and we have a pool! If we go to the beach and the water is murky I cannot go in! Sometimes it helps if I wear shoes. Figure that one out???!!!

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment

I am sitting in my home office. I can see my two big dogs wrestling, a ton of papers all over my desk and a bottle of bright pink nail polish (I really need to put that away!).

Happy Friday to everyone and

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's Chili Time!

I was at the park the other day and one of my girlfriend's husband was there as well. It was getting real close to dinner time so of course we started talking about food. He started to tell me about the great chili that my friend Lynn had made last night. He was raving about it. They ate it in loaded potato skins that they made. I got my stomach rumbling and I just knew that I had to have the recipe! So after about 2 days of constant begging I finally got it. I made it last night and it was really good. Now here's the catch. I was going to post this recipe in here but I have been working really hard on my newsletter and was looking for a recipe just like this to put in it. So I guess the long and short of it is...

Here are some great pictures of Lynn's "Now Famous" Chili but unless you are a subscriber to the newsletter you won't be able to get it. I know that sounds kinda sucky and I am not trying to sucker you into signing up but I have a huge amount of people who wait for the newsletter for some exclusive recipes that do not get placed on this blog. As a teaser though it is all about a Super Bowl Party (or any other type of real casual gathering that you may be having).

To those of you who are waiting for the newsletter I am just putting the finishing touches on it so you should receive it tomorrow. I have been having some deliverability issues with it generally to Comcast subscribers. If this is you please contact me at and I will figure out another way to get it to you!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First Step Towards Simplifying My Life!

Last night was the first small step towards reaching my goal of simplifying my life in 2008. Always before Tuesdays were incredibly hectic in the Chiappini house. But now my oldest daughter has gotten her green belt in Karate (congrats my love!) we are now able to switch some of the nights that she needs to go. Then on Tues both of the girls will be able to go ice skating and I won't be expected to be in both places and try and get dinner together. This way I can organize dinner and have T. throw it on so that it can be ready for us when we get home. Pretty slick huh?

Last night I decided that I was just going to have a big old salad but they were going to have pizza. I didn't really think that I needed to make pizza dough for just the 2 of them so I figured that we could use tortilla shells topped with sauce, or olive oil, and cheese and bake them until they were nice and crispy. Sounds like it should have worked well huh? I guess with all of the stuff on the pizza's they were a little gummy when the cheese was nice and brown so we had to cook them a little extra. I would definitely do this again. It is great when you are tight for time and need a fast and filling meal!

This could also be used during a sleep over or any other type of kid party! You can let the girls build their own "tortilla pizza". How cool would that be?

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, January 7, 2008

The silence is almost deafening!!!

I now know what that means. Today is the first time that I have been alone in almost 3 weeks! If you remember my Mom arrived for Christmas about 3 weeks ago and the girls have been off for 2 weeks. And yes it has been wonderful but now I feel like I need to get moving and get a bunch of neglected things done or as my Mom pointed out to me this morning when I spoke her, I could do what I wanted to do and not what anyone else wanted! But my house is so very quiet.

I will not really be posting anything food related today as I have nothing really to post. I have been sick for what feels like a while now (since New Year's Eve...hard to beleive that was only a week ago!) and the girls lunches have been either frozen hamburgers or fruit salad and I already used that one and then last night we went out for dinner.

Last night we went to Carrabba's for dinner. Now we always avoid the chains. Very rarely do we ever eat at any of them other than Moe's Southwest Grill (if you have one near you and you haven't tried it go on in! It is fast food, build it yourself with fresh ingredients concept...we love Moe's) Tony hates Carrabba's but it was close and we were tired and hungry so in we went and it was very pleasantly, surprisingly good! I had a penne pasta special with alfredo sauce, peas, prosciutto, and mushrooms. Loved it. Tony had a pizza which he liked and the girls had spaghetti and meatballs and chicken fingers. All around a good meal.

I hope that I am going to be better soon so I can get on with my life and blog about it!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

It sure looks like summer!

This picture makes me think of the hot, dog days of summer. Lucky for us though it was taken today. We went to our local farmer's market this morning and got some really wonderful looking stuff. Florida Strawberries are ripe now as are our tomatoes. I hope not too much was hurt by the freeze we had last week! We got home and all the girl's wanted for lunch was fruit salad and who could blame them. Fresh strawberries, blueberries (unfortunately imported) and local carambola. Sure made for a pretty picture!

Also don't forget to vote for my entry in the Royal Foodie Joust. Voting only goes until the 7th!!!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, January 4, 2008

The Royal Foodie Joust!

Well it's that time of the month again. This is when I go begging for votes! Every month I compete in a challenge that is hosted by Jenn - The Left-Over Queen. At the end of the month we are then asked to vote on which one was the best entry.

This months entry was the Mint-Pomegranate Brownies. You can check out my post again here.
You can vote for me at The Royal Foodie Joust. You will have to sign in and register but I promise you this is the only thing you have to do. There is no spam from this or anything like that.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Feast One Hundred & Seventy Four

Welcome to my feast! It is cold outside but warm in here. Grab a coffee or a hot cup of tea and pull up a chair...enjoy this Friday's Feast!

When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?

Yesterday I checked my PO Box which I hadn't checked since before Christmas and there was a check for me for $200! I love checks in the mail!

If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?

I will stay here in Southwest Florida for my winter home but I will have my summer home in Highlands, North Carolina for my summer home. I would also have a vacation home on Tybee Island which I would use throughout the year! I say if you are going to do it do it right!

Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.

Banana (I have a banana smoothie every day. I love bananas.

Main Course
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.

I have a lot of nice clothes. Unfortunately I don't get to wear them very often. I am a stay at home Mom and there is not much of an occasion for a full length gown! It is black and very low cut in the front and the back. The body is close cut and the dress is full length. The back has 3 small black roses which attach a short train. I wore this dress as the maid of honor to my sister's wedding and loved her for it. I will wear it again!!!

If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?

I am so sorry but I would never want to do that. All of the memories I have stem from things that I have experienced that were good or bad...they have made me who I am today and I like that! Maybe one of the terrible days form high school that really wasn't as bad as it seemed to me then???

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Oh Baby , is it cold outside!!!

This is my neighbor's house. He had the sprinklers going and you can see where the grass has frozen!!!

Man it is cold here. We are so spoiled here that we actually complain when it is hot in December! Today was a rude awakening for all of us. It was 32 when I got up at 7:00! Brr. But lucky for us it will be short lived and will warm up quite nicely for the weekend!

I ahve been pretty sick with the flu all week but today it seems to be easing up as well. I was able to get up and clean up all of the mess that has accumulated while I was down. I have a bunch of errands to run today so this will be a quick post!

One of the days when I was sick I heard the kids and T in the kitchen making one of my oldest daughter's "recipe's". She likes to make up food inventions and then feed them to us. This one involved ice cream so I was all over it! It ended up tasting pretty good (I think - my taste buds were shot but how can ice cream be bad?).
The recipe was Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with Pineapple juice. The juice is not to be poured over the top but squirted on with a baster of some sort!

This was the finished product! Yummy...really hit the spot when I was sick!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!!! (was that really yesterday?)

Oh boy. I missed whole day. It all started on New Year's Eve. I took my Mom to the airport got home and suddenly (no joke-- it was suddenly) I was sick. Stuffed up nose, headache, body aches, fever etc. I kept my fingers crossed that she would make it home to Toronto safely, we have had times when we have made several return trips to the airport. We had a casual get together that night that we were going to but by the time T. got home I knew that I should not be going but was too sad to even think about missing it! I really hope I didn't infect all know who you are! T. realized that at about 10 o'clock I was done and needed to be home and in my bed. I got home and went to bed and got up today! I really did miss New Year's Day.

Hope you all had a great one and didn't make too many New Year's Resolutions! They always seem to make us feel so bad about ourselves if we can't keep them. Set some nice goals for yourself and thank me later!!!

I have some great foodie things and a recipe that my oldest daughter created and fed us to post but that will all have to wait...I need to go back to bed!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!