29 June 2009

Some of my favorite things...

Ahhhh the weather has cooled down. The forecast for the next week is only upper 80's...yeah!!

My friends are always sending me these lists of favorites to fill out. For me this is always kind of difficult because I have a hard time choosing just one. But, here we go, I decided to do this one and to NOT use the answer "too many to choose" on anything.

Local Restaurant- The 9th Street Grill

Restaurant- Hops Brewery

Book Series- Janet Evonovich's Stephanie Plum Series

Christmas Movie- The Family Stone

Scary Movie- 1980 version Crawlspace...the thought still scares me even now.

Beach- Boca Grande Florida

Magazine- Body and Soul

Health Store- Mari Mann's

Nail Polish- Revlon Red

Day of the Week- Saturday

Season- Fall

Holiday- Thanksgiving

Dessert- Pumpkin Pie

Veggie- Corn on the cob

Herb- Basil

Cold Cereal -Total Raisin Bran

Frozen Entree- Don't eat them

Domestic Pet -Cats

26 June 2009

Feline Friday

Meet Bruce Lee. He is our almost three year old feline friend that allows us to live here with him and his brother Jet Li (I will introduce him next time.)
How did we meet? Well, hubby and I were out Christmas shopping and came across these two adorable brothers at the pet store. I was against it. We had just lost the last of our two other feline friends that had lived with us for 15 and 16 years and I wasn't sure if I was ready to allow myself to get attached. So we went to lunch to discuss the pro's and con's of bringing these two little guys home with us. We even discussed names. Hubby suggested Bruce Lee and Jet Li...yes he owns a Tae Kwon Do school and is a fan of both of these particular martial artists. I wasn't too crazy about those names so we decided to just think about it until we got to know them.
The pro's outweighed the cons and after talking to the woman at the pet store and learning that they had just turned 6 weeks old and had just arrived there a couple of hours prior I decided they should come home with us.
As for their names. We didn't have a cat carrier with us because we were not planning on bringing anyone home so these two very rambuctious cats were given to us to take home in two of those little cardboard carriers. I checked both carriers to make sure they were secure. We set the two of them in the back seat of the car and we didn't even make it out of the parking lot before one (Bruce) literally busted his way out of the top of the carrier meowing loudly and then just looking at us. I decided OK...I think those names will fit. And they do. These are two very active kitties.
I will update you on their activities each Friday.

Baby it's HOT outside!!!

This polar bear at the St Louis Zoo looks how I feel. It is HOT!!! Now you would think that after 20 years in South West Florida I would be used to the heat. NO...it's hot and I am thinking of the wonderful fall days ahead.
We have had a 10 day long serious heat wave with temp's way above normal. Tomorrow's forcast is actual temp's high 90's to 100 with the heat index approaching 110-115. Can anyone say Global Warming??

22 June 2009

Happy Summer

When I think of Summer, one of the many things that I think of is a nice sunny day at the ball park. Don't let the picture fool you. We are die hard Chicago Cub fans in this house. This picture was taken last July when the Cub's played the Cards.

It was a pretty laid back weekend around here for a change. Between jobs, the business and everything that life brings, we are usually very busy. This weekend though we decided to take time to relax.

The weather was HOT. We've been under a heat warning for the last three or four days and this is supposed to continue at least the rest of this week.
The changes in the weather patterns and the intensity of all the various storms are kind of scary to me. I've noticed that the weather is a topic on many peoples minds as I read postings on other blogs.

This winter we had a much colder than normal season and a lot more snow than is the 'norm' for this area.
Now we've been having much higher than normal temp's and when it storms, they are so much more intense than usual.
It has been so hot here, my cilantro has already shot up and is basically useless, plus for SOME reason, my mum is blooming.

Saturday I made hot sauce using some of the peppers that are growing like crazy on our patio.
In the afternoon hubby and I went to Applebee's for a quick appetizer before going to see The Taking of Pelham 123 starring Denzel Washington. It was a pretty good movie. Not to mention I love sitting in a cold, dark theater when it is 100 degrees outside.

The rest of the weekend we just hung out and relaxed.


1 green pepper chopped
1 onion chopped
2 jalapeno or cayenne peppers chopped
(add desired amount of seeds depending on how hot you want it)
5 or 6 cloves of garlic chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Put all ingredients in blender or processor and blend until a smooth consistency.

We us it on picadilly, chili, spaghetti or other tomato based pasta dishes or Mexican dishes.


17 June 2009

Meatless Meal Idea

We are trying to eat less meat. That is a HARD thing for two meat lovers to do.

I love a good center cut pork chop but did manage to give pork up over three years ago. We primarily now eat chicken, a little ground beef here and there, fish and seafood with a steak thrown in from time to time for myself.

My goal is to limit meat to two or three nights a week, so any time I find a good meatless recipe I am excited.

I came across this recipe in Energy Times. The mushrooms will fool even dedicated meat lovers.


4 large portobello mushrooms sliced (or 8 oz white button mushrooms, quartered)

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt free steak seasoning salt to taste

4 wraps

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 cups fresh baby spinach

2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced

1. Brush mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning

2. If grilling: Preheat grill. Once grill is hot, cook mushroom strips until deep brown, about 10
minutes. Turn and grill until golden, about another 6 minutes.

3. If sauteing: Heat olive oil in large non stick skillet, over medium high heat. Add a single
layer of mushrooms and cook without stirring for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms
become red-brown on one side. Flip mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more, until
other side is the same color.

4. Warm wraps on the grill in foil or in a dry skillet or oven. Mix ginger and mayo together
and divide among wraps; top with spinach and tomatoes. When mushrooms are done, slice
them into thinner strips, sprinkle with more seasoning if desired and place in wraps.

16 June 2009

Three Heavenly Ingredients

My Basil

My three favorite ingredients are homegrown tomatoes, fresh basil and good mozzarella cheese. These ingredients on their own can be added to so many different foods to make a fabulous dish. But when you add them together...the taste is like heaven on earth.
My first experience with these three together was in the mid 90's at a place called Antonio's in downtown Ft Myers Florida. It was a cute little place with a gorgeous hand painted mural on the wall of New York City.
It was there that I tried a slice of tomato, basil pizza and I was hooked from the first bite. It was awesome.
After that, I started to grow fresh basil. Even now that I have moved north, I keep a pot growing in the bay window all winter long.
I have experimented with the three together on pizza dough, french bread, sour dough bread, pasta, plain old slices of Wonder Bread...you name it. It's a combination that I just love.
Tomato, Basil Pizza
Roll out favorite pizza dough recipe
Drizzle a little olive oil over dough
Spread 8 or so thin slices of tomatoes
Spread 10 or so fresh basil leaves
Top with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
Bake according to your dough directions
Cheese should be slightly golden

15 June 2009

Gram's Food

If I would have realized growing up how truly blessed I was to have my Grandmother I would have paid a lot more attention.

Aside from all of her other attributes, she was a true Home Maker. Her cooking, canning, preserving, growing everything, sewing and knitting skills could rival Martha Stewart. Now that I am older I am just truly amazed at how much she could not only do, but do so well.

I wish all of those Sunday's, holidays and summers that I stood by her side in the kitchen that I would have watched her a little more closely and listened a little harder to the priceless lessons she was trying to instill in me. I wish I would have taken notes so that I could have a record of the knowledge that she possessed.

I moved to South Florida in my late teens where there was no family to have Sunday dinners with and it was shortly after that that I did realize her excellent cooking skills. I missed her home cooking. I missed the roasted chickens and turkeys, the creamy mashed potatoes, the home made dinner rolls, the strawberries in January and so much more. It was then that it started (I beleive the first lesson was deviled eggs LOL)...I would call her and tell her I wanted to make this particular dish and she would tell me what I needed and walk me through it over the phone.

Gram taught me the basics and I ran with it, trying everything. I firmly believe she was and still is with me in spirit each time I try a new recipe or cook and old favorite.

The best thing she taught me was not to be afraid to just try. Just keep practicing. If it doesn't work out you'll figure out what went wrong and it will be better next time, she would tell me.

So, I guess my love of cooking actually stemms from my love of eating my Grandmother's good food.

Thanks Gram!