Saturday, January 31, 2015

Friday Favorites from The Girl Who Ate Everything, Yammie's Noshery, The Slow Roasted Italian and Once Upon A Chocolate Life

Good morning! Happy Friday and a happy Super Bowl party weekend. As I said yesterday, the game to me is all about the food and if I manage to step away from the table long enough to watch the tv, the commercials! 

Although I will not be having a party I thought I would share my favorite party recipes this week, just in case you are looking for a last minute idea.


Ham and Cheese Sliders from The Girl Who Ate Everything

These delicious Ham and Cheese Sliders from The Girl Who Ate Everything are so easy to make for a crowd and are one of those party foods that you cannot stop at just one. 



Soft Pretzel Bites from The Slow Roasted Italian

I LOVE pretzel nuggets with mustard and cheese and if you follow me on Instagram you can see that I consume them frequently. I will be making these 30 Minute Pretzel Nuggets from the Slow Roasted Italian this afternoon as a trial run for Sunday. The recipe make 64 nuggets, hopefully I can save a few for my husband.


Artichoke Dip from Yammies Noshery

If you read my post yesterday than you can seen that I have a fondness for cheesy, creamy, fattening dips. I have a "go to" recipe for Spinach and Artichoke dip that I make often but I thought I would try something different this time, and THE Best Spinach and Artichoke Dip EVER from Yammie's Noshery seems like it will fit the bill nicely.



From Once Upon A Chocolate Life Blog


Bake Chocolate Fudge from Once Upon A Chocolate Life


Of course one cannot have or attend a party without a few treats! I prefer mine chocolate and have a ton of recipes and ideas on my other blog, Once Upon A Chocolate Life. I will be whipping up a batch of this Baked Chocolate Fudge as well as a few cereal treats.

Tell me what are your favorite party foods? Are you a pizza, sub-sandwich, barbecue person? Or do you prefer all of the little dips and nibbles? Share your favorite party recipes please!


On a side note, did you know that this week is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz? Ten years ago, 1500 survivors came to the reunion, this year less than 300. The survivors are dying and soon there will be no one to tell of their experience in the first person. Please do not let this world wide atrocity die off in history. Share this article,  70th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz and any books and history that you know about these horrific atrocities.


Have a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl or whatever else that you have planned.



Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Scrumptious Dips for the Super Bowl

Cheesy Corn Dip from Closet Cooking


Good morning! How is your week? Did you survive the storm? It snowed about 2 inches here which is  a rare occurrence, and I felt like a kid on a snow day! I love snow, probably because we do not get too much. So I spent the day at home working and baking.
This weekend is the Super Bowl, they say that during the 4-5 hours of the game people consume an average of 2400 calories. Honestly, I would have thought that number much higher. In fact if I attend a Super Bowl party I do not even see the game because I am glued to the food table. Comfort food and junk food are two of the major food groups right?


Corn and Cotija Dip from Minimalist Baker


Easy Feta Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything!


My favorite things to make and eat at parties are dips. I like them with veggies, on crackers and bread and of course chips too. Today I thought I would share a few of the dips I hope to make or eat this Sunday.



White Pizza Dip from How Sweet It Is


Queso Fundido with Chorizo from Smells Like Home



Vidalia Onion Dip from The View from the Great Island


Artichoke Roasted Garlic Dip from Wonky Wonderful

Taco Dip from Deliciously Sprinkled



Baked Fontina Cheese from Smells Like Home



What do you think? The cheesier the better I think. What are your favorite dip recipes? I would love the hear about whatever dips or tasty treats you will be making for the Superbowl.


Have a great day!



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Indian Butter Chicken

Good morning!I hope that you had a fabulous weekend. I did, but it was busy and I feel like I need a "snow day" to relax. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I will not be having any snow, a little rain and grey days but not much else. How about you? Are you in the path of the the "storm of the century?" If so, do be careful and stay inside with a pile of good books, food and candles.





Although I ate out the majority of the weekend I did have a leisurely afternoon Sunday cooking with my husband.  One to the dished that we made was this easy and scrumptious Indian Butter Chicken. You can serve it with basmati rice, white or brown rice or even over cauliflower rice. 


Indian Butter Chicken
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1japaleno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cardamon
1 can, 6 0z. tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fat free 1/2 & 1/2 or heavy cream or regular half and half
11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 chunks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon butter

Rice for serving
Chopped cilantro for garnish





Directions

In a large skilled, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeno and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Make sure to stir ofter. Then add the garam masala, garlic, chili powder, cardamon, and coriander. Stirring constantly for mother minute.

Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and add the tomato paste and chicken broth. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan and add the half and half. Stir and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and the salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Add the 3 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Serve the chicken over hot rice and garnish with cilantro.




In the interest of blogger honesty, I have made this several times and the first three times I forgot to add the butter, in fact I simply overlooked it in the recipe. I actually said to my husband, "I am not sure why they call this butter chicken, there is no butter in the recipe." I blame that on old age, but in fact I was in a hurry. Whatever the case, I could not tell a difference with or without the butter, so if you want to save a few calories, skip the butter.







I hope that you have a great week. Be safe!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday Favorites from Broma Bakery, Iowa Girl Eats, Pip & Ebby, Well Plated and More

Good morning! I hope you had a great week. Are you ready for the weekend? I am so ready as I mentioned yesterday, to just relax and nest. Throw in some tasty meals and a book and I will be content. 

This week it seems that comfort food was on the mind of many, including myself. Chocolate and cookies are a perennial favorite, typically the dough or the cookies still warm from the oven. This week, Broma Bakery made Copycat Levian Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies. I already whipped up a batch of this dough and it is "marinating" in my fridge as I type this. I will keep you posted on how they taste.


Iowa Girl Eats


In addition to chocolate and cookie dough, pasta, in particular spaghetti is one of my favorite things to eat. In fact for many years as a child it is the only things I would eat. Thankfully I have grown out of that phase and eat spaghetti only occasionally. This week, Iowa Girl Eats made a 30 minute Vegetable Ragu and I can tell you it is FABULOUS! I made it this week and it was a challenge not to eat the entire pan!


Image Pip & Ebby

 While sitting around reading, watching a movie or relaxing this weekend a dip or two would be an excellent snack. Pip & Ebby made Crock Pot Ruben Dip that looks easy and delicious.


Image She Wears Many Hats

And She Wears Many Hats made Baked Bacon Cheese Onion Dip. I have had this dip without the bacon and it is delicious. It would make a fabulous addition to your Super Bowl party.


Image from Well Plated


Last but not least, MY FAVORITE thing in the world! I could literally live on hot chocolate, chocolate chaud, or European drinking chocolate. Whatever you call it, it is thick, rich and delicious. This delectable recipe from Well Plated is based on the famous hot chocolate from Angelina's. So if you are craving a little chocolate, or a reminder of your last trip to Paris you should try this recipe.


I know there are many books, movies, and other interesting things around the web this week that I could have posted about but sometimes it really is all about comfort and food.

If you found something great this week, please share!

Have a safe and happy weekend.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mid Week Musings

Good morning! I am feeling a little discombobulated this week as I was out of town most of last week and over the weekend to celebrate the christening of my grandson, or to be more precise, my step-granson. 

It is always nice to be with family and go away for a bit but there is no place like home. I know this might seem a little strange as I love adventures and travel but I find as I age that I prefer my time at home to traveling.




I have yet to pinpoint the reason. It could be age, it could be because the "golden age" of travel is past and now it seems as if the airlines are simply moving cattle, or it could be that home seems safe and the world seems like it is going to "hell in a hand basket." I don't know but whatever the case it is nice to be back at home in back into my routine.

Do you ever feel like that or are you one of those that prefers to be out and about all the time?




I am looking forward to the weekend, fingers crossed the weather will be nice. Although we have had a mild winter I am sick of it already. The temperature is up and down and up and down, one day you are out in shorts and a t-shirt and the next bundled up like you are going on an arctic expedition.

I am so looking forward to the weekend, a date with my husband, dinner with friends and a good book. What more could I ask for?

What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be heading out on an adventure, staying close to home, or are you as yet undecided?




I want to try a few new recipes as well simply because I love the smell of baking or a pot of simmering something in the house on a winter weekend, it seems more cosy.

Do you do a lot of baking, cooking on the weekends? Or do you prefer to cater in? 

I hope that you have a wonderful day. Relax and get ready for the weekend. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Finding Vivian Maier

Good morning! 

Image Here via Pinterest


I have a list of movies to watch, books to read and place to see which sometimes seems a mile long. Finding Vivian Maier is one of those movies. I had read about this documentary some time ago and in fact wrote about it on my blog but I never got around to watching it until last night. 

I am so excited that I did. Finding Vivian Maier is about a mysterious, French nanny who was born in New York and spent most of her life in Chicago tending to her charges while exploring her passion, photography. 

In her lifetime Vivian took over 100,000 photos in Chicago, France, New York and around the world where she traveled for 8 months. 

What is most interesting about Vivian and her incredible photographs is that they were unknown until after her death. In 2007 John Maloof purchased a box of photographic negatives at a auction in Chicago with the hopes he could use some of the photos in a book he was writing. He never did use her photos in his book but he was so impressed with her work that he tracked down the other buyers of boxes from the auction and began an investigation into her life.

This film explores Vivian, her photos, film and life through John's interviews with people who knew her in her lifetime.

I loved this movie! Vivian's photography is fascinating, and raw but at the same time endearing and magical. Her "eye" captured life on the street as well as in her own life, and those she cared for.

Thanks to John Maloof and his tireless work, Vivian Maier is now considered on of the 20th centuries greatest photographer. Her work has been shown in Germany, London, New York, France, Chicago and in California and is currently being sold at 

Have you watched this movie? Did you find it interesting? Do you have any movie recommendations? Or books? Please share if you do.

Have a great day!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fitbit Flex Recommendation and Review

Good morning! I hope you are having a great week so far. I know that many have made resolutions for the new year to eat better and to get to the gym. I would like to suggest one small change to your life to help you accomplish your goal. A fitness tracker!



Image from Fitbit



Although I love yoga and working out, I have to be honest, I am lazy. I don't like to actually have to get in the car to go to the gym or the studio. I like to workout at home on my own time schedule. In the past I have had weights, an elliptical machine, treadmill and almost every workout tape known to man to try to accomplish this. What I have realized with age is that I like to walk, either on the treadmill or outside, its easy and relaxing. 

It is my preferred method of exercise and how I get the best results for my body and my health, both mental and physical. In fact doctors are now calling walking "the Superfood" of exercise because practically ANYONE and EVERYONE can do it, ANYWHERE! 

Although I have always walked on my treadmill or out with my dogs I was not really working out enough to loose the "last 10 pounds" I gained over the last 10 years. Do you know the ones I am talking about, the ones that creep on with old age? The ones that you continue to tell yourself will magically disappear without having to make any lifestyle changes.






Not only that, my walks with the pups or during the day were the only exercise I was getting for the most part of a day because I work from home. When you are sitting at your desk all day you do not really move, unless it is to the refrigerator or pantry.

As I refuse to stop eating cheese, sugar and all of the other yummy things in life I decided that what I needed to do was work out smarter. So in September of 2013 I got a Fitbit Flex , fitness tracker to get me off my butt and moving, as well as to keep me accountable.

I set my goal at 10,000 steps a day which is roughly 5 miles. In the interest of transparency, the first week, other than my dog walks I was shocked to learn that I was only getting about 800-1100 steps a day moving around the house.

Now all that has changed, I walk a minimum of 12,500 steps a day. My Fitbit "makes" me want to do better and to reach my goal each day. Six days a week, 12 months of the year I am either outside or on the treadmill walking, taking in nature, meditating and just enjoying my exercise. To date have walked 19,500 miles! I have also shed "the last 10 pounds" and I feel so much better!





I know there are many other fitness trackers by Nike, Garmin and several other companies. The Fitbit Flex was the one I picked because it is inconspicuous, it does not have large flashing numbers, and frankly the company has the best customer service ever! Fitbit Flex also tracks your sleep patters and allows you to set silent alarms in case you need an alarm clock. Using the app. you can track your calories, sleep, active and inactive movements as well as weight. They also offers many other fitness trackers each with numerous band options and band colors including a Tory Burch option for the Fitbit Flex.

Do you have a Fitbit, Jawbone, pedometer or any other tracker? If so do you think it has spurred you to exercise more?

What are you doing to reach your fitness goals? What is your favorite workout or fitness tip? Please share because I know we will all be interested!

Have a great day!


NOTE: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased my Fitbit and just wanted to share my find with you. My opinions are based on my experiences and are my own.






Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Baked Cambozola with Pecans and Cranberries

Good morning! I hope that you had a nice and relaxing weekend. I relaxed, read two books and went on some beautiful walks with my pups. It was a the perfect way to regroup after the busy holidays.




I know that a lot of people are dieting and doing juice fasts to try to loose a few of the Christmas and New Years pounds they gained, if you are one of those people file this recipe away, because it is so fabulous that you are going to want to try it at a later date.



For those of you who do not know, cheese is one of the four food groups, at least in my house, especially in the Winter. This delicious Baked cambozola with pecans and cranberries can be made for a crowd or scaled back for one! It is easy, delicious and the perfect appetizer or treat on a cold winter afternoon. Seriously, what could be better than smooth, creamy melted blue, brie like cheese with cranberries and pecans? OK, maybe chocolate fondue but this comes close.





Baked Cambozola with Pecans and Cranberries

1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
pinch of kosher salt
1 pound Cambazola cheese, rind removed and cubed

Sliced apples, pears and crackers of your choice for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Combine pecans, cranberries, curry, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the cheese in a one quart baking dish and top with the pecan mixture. Bake until the cheese melts and the nuts are toasted, about 12 minutes. Serve with apples, pears and crackers.






What do you think? Are you a fan or cheese, what about melted cheese dips? Do you have a favorite dip to share? With another wave of cold weather setting in I am looking for a few comfort food recipes to keep me company this winter!

Have a wonderful and hopefully warm week!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Friday Favorites from Tone on Tone, Pip & Ebby, Pinch of Yum and More!

Good morning! Have you survived the deep freeze and snow? We are muddling along here, the temps are way below normal and I have three pups that are currently boycotting the frigid temps, they will only go as far as the front or back porch and no further. 

This week all I have had on my mind mind is comfort food and purging the house of all of the things I decided I don't need. What about you?


Image Here

Although I have not made any resolutions I have been enjoying all of the wonderful "words of the year" and resolutions of other bloggers, one of my favorite blog post this week was from Brooke at World of Wanderlust29 Things to Remember in The New Year. Just in case you need a little reminder of the important things in life.


Image Pinch of Yum

As I mentioned it is freezing here and when the weather is frigid all I can thing about is nesting and comfort food. This week, Lindsay at Pinch of Yum made Braised Beef Ragu and Polenta, I have already been to the store for  the ingredients and will be dining on this tonight!


Image Here

And for tomorrow I am thinking of this delectable Chicken Artichoke Pasta Skillet from Pip & Ebby! Does it get any better than pasta and artichokes?


Image The Yellow Table


In addition to yummy meals, I am dreaming of adventures and this week Anna of The Yellow Table in in Venice, one of my favorite places in the world! If you would like to escape from your winter doldrums check out this beautiful post!


Image Helen Norman via from Tone on Tone


Last but not least, Loi of the beautiful and classic blog Tone on Tone is downsizing and putting his and Tom's stunning home on the market! This beautiful home and gardens has been featured in many national magazines and is going to be a wonderful place to live for whomever buys it. In the meantime, if you are not thinking of relocating to Washington, D. C you can dream by visiting Loi's wonderful post!

What have you been up to this week? Have you found any interesting books, recipes or adventures to share? Do you have any resolutions to share?

I am always interested in hearing about your finds so please share them in the comment section!

Have a fabulous weekend!




Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's Resolution Thoughts

Good morning! As we are one week into 2015 I am curious, did you make any resolutions for the new year? Did you cut out alcohol, sugar, smoking? Did you vow to "finally" get into shape and get your butt to the gym every morning? Or perhaps you are planning on training for a marathon?




How is it going so far? Did you know that 45% of Americans make resolutions and only 8% keep them?

When I was younger  I believed that I HAD to make resolutions each year, simply because every was doing it and then I was disappointed and angry with myself if I failed. Then I stopped for while and felt like I was "missing out" on something, what I do not know.

Last year I gave up entirely and decided to just try to live a more mindful and meaningful life which I thought I was doing until God and the universe had other plans. Instead I spent the year just trying to survive.

What I have come to realize is this, life is going to happen wether we have made resolutions, plans, dreams, or schedules.





Get out there and live the life you want, not the one others choose for you, if you fall down, dust yourself off and try again!

Love yourself first and most, otherwise you cannot really love others. 

Learn anything and everything, the world is your oyster. 

Don't settle for a job that doesn't excite you, or a life that doesn't fulfill you.

Your body, soul and mind are the MOST valuable things you have, take care of them. Eat better, get some exercise, and believe in something.

Be grateful. 

Life is short, enjoy!






Tuesday, January 6, 2015

White Bean and Ham Soup



Good morning! 2015! Wow, it seems strange to be writing that. I feel as if just a few weeks ago I was wrapping gifts and baking tasty treats to send off to friends and family. 

I feel a bit discombobulated this month, as I will be spending the Winter at home and not with my parents and friends in Wisconsin, as I have done the last three years.  Don't get me wrong, I will not miss the unending amounts of snow but I will miss the time with my parents, siblings and friends. 




This past week we had a bit of a chill in the air and decided that as Winter had "set in" we would warm ourselves with some hearty White Bean and Ham Soup.  I love soup and like to have at least one pot a week on the stove in the winter, it makes the house cosy and toasty and is always nice to have something to warm the belly. 




This soup could not be easier, you can make it on the stove or in a crock pot, either way it turns out perfect!

White Bean and Ham Soup


2 lbs dried beans, soaked overnight and then culled

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
5 clover of garlic diced
1 ham bone from a spiral ham or 11/2 cups of diced ham
6 cups of chicken/vegetable broth
2 cups of water
2 springs fresh rosemary
1 spring fresh thyme
4 fresh bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste, AFTER the beans are cooked

Directions:

Turn the crock-pot to high, add the olive oil, onions, and garlic and the chopped ham or ham bone. Rinse the pre-soaked beans, making sure to get rid of the stones. Add the beans to the pot, and then add the broth and water, making sure that the beans are covered by at least two inches of water. Then throw in the fresh thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Put on the lid and cook for a minimum of 4 hours, or until the beans are soft. Some pots make take more or less time. 

Once the beans are soft, salt and pepper the soup to taste.  Serve with fresh crusty bread and enjoy!





I hope that you stay warm and have a wonderful week! 




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