Friday, June 29, 2012

A Loyal Fan

After reading four of Adriana Trigiani's novels I'm now her loyal fan.  And to think it all started with the Shoemaker's Wife :)


Don't Sing At The Table recounts the inspiring and fascinating story of the author's two Italian-American grandmothers, Lucy Spada and Viola Trigiani.  Adriani Trigiani grew up listening to their stories. Both of her immigrant grandmothers started work at an early age, had strong work ethics and became career women owning their own businesses. Their life lessons and wisdom were passed down to Trigiani making a strong impact on her life. 
With each new book I have read by Trigiani I can see how she has drawn inspiration from  her grandmothers' lives as well as from her own family. Their stories have helped shape her  writing. The life of Lucy Spada is the story for the Shoemaker's Wife. In the book Lucia, Lucia bits and pieces of her grandmother Viola Trigiani's life is evident. Trigiani's first novel is a 3 part series starting with the book Big Stone Gap. This novel is set in her hometown SW Virginia. In the book Cooking With My Sisters, Trigiani teams up with her family and sister Mary to write a book about family recipes.  
If you want to learn more about the author and discover some of her family's recipes this particular link is interesting http://www.adrianatrigiani.com/home/favorite-recipes/
Lastly, I was intrigued by the fact the author really has a Minnesota connection to the Iron Range. It is the place where her grandmother Lucy spent her married life and raised a  family.  This was a significant part of the story in the Shoemaker's Wife.
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Key Lime Mousse Cups
This light and airy dessert was so easy to make. It is a Taste of Home recipe. Perfect for summer entertaining.
Follow this link http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Key-Lime-Mousse-Cups for directions. Two  suggestions:Use fresh juice from limes rather than using bottled juice and make up filling the day you are serving, refrigerate it and then fill cups right before serving.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The World According to Bella

A Beast To be Feared
Due to a heat wave I recently was forced to take a break from muskrat hunting down by the lake to go inside where its cool. I've been hot on this trail of  a slippery muskrat all week.  I'm determined to find its hiding place. At least I got lucky with blogging. I finished my second piece for WWN. Check out A Beast To Be Feared.
http://www.wwnrockport.com/search/label/Stories%20and%20Memories
Love, Bella

Couscous with a Mediterranean Flair





"Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always

beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may

alight upon you."


-- Nathaniel Hawthorne 
1804-1864
American novelist and short story writer
Author of novel Scarlet Letter
________________________________________________
Couscous with a Mediterranean Flair
serves 4
Ingredients:
  • 1 box of lemon and garlic couscous
  • 1/2 jar of black olives, drained and diced 
  • 3/4 cup mixed green and red peppers
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 medium cucumber diced or sweet vidalia  onion
  • 1 cup cherry diced tomatoes
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • crumbled feta cheese

Directions:
  • Saute in olive oil onions and garlic about 5 minutes till soft 
  • Prepare couscous according to box directions but adding in onion and garlic mixture
  • Remove from heat and let set 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and add in peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes feta cheese and olives
  • Add prepared Greek vinaigrette dressing by the tablespoons till desired moistness (I used Girard's Greek Feta Vinaigrette and it added a great flavor to this salad)     
Serving Suggestions: Refrigerate salad till chilled

________________________________________
I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge today is the birthday of one of the 20th century's leading humanitarians Helen Keller 

1880-1968
Helen Keller often said that her motivation for activism throughout her life came from having to overcome her blindness disability.  She was a champion of causes and along the way even became a bit of a radical activist. Keller advocated for women's suffrage and helped founded the American Civil Liberties Union. She joined the Socialist Party of Massachusetts from 1909-1921 and then joined The Industrial Workers of the World. She devoted much of her later life to raising funds for American Foundation for the Blind. In her lifetime she was a popular lecturer sharing her stories and advocating for others with disabilities. President Johnson awarded  her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 
I enjoyed this quote from her
No one has ever given me a good reason
why we should obey unjust laws.
One certainly can admire this woman who displayed such a bold feminist spirit!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Versatile Pasta Grain

"So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, 
to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information."
And, "Never use a long word where a short one will do."
George Orwell, author of Animal Farm  
With that being said the short word of the day is Couscous
This pasta is made of tiny grains of dough that are steamed. It originated from Morocco and it a staple in North Africa. Couscous can be served as a breakfast cereal, a  salad and even in desserts.
Chicken and Couscous Waldorf Salad
Cook's notes: This featured salad with healthy ingredients serves 4. Omit the chicken and it can be a vegetarian meal. Since couscous is quite absorbent make it the day you will be serving it. Don't skip the step of using a fork to fluff  this grain so it doesn't become lumpy. 
Adding lemon juice to the dressing prevented the apples from browning. Adding dried cherries or cranberries would be another option for the salad.
Ingredients:
  • 1 box (5.8 oz.) Couscous (I used a product called Near East Couscous Mix Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil) 
  • 2 cooked grilled chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup onions
  • 1 medium apple unpeeled and chopped in chunks (about 1 cup) 
  • 1/2 cup celery (can substitute cucumbers) 
  • 1/2 cup dressing ( I used Ken's Steak House Sweet Vidalia Onion but Honey-Dijon Mustard or Poppyseed would also work ) 
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Directions:
  • Cook chicken and set aside
  • Make couscous according to box directions
  • Toast walnuts in a heavy skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently
  • Mix walnuts, chicken, onions, apple, celery or cucumbers
  • Add lemon juice to dressing and then mix all together
Two other options for using couscous will be posted this week. One salad is a southwestern dish and the other a Greek.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Met A Man-book of children's poems

John Ciardi
June 24, 1916-March 30, 1986
An American poet, translator and etymologist

"The success of the poem is determined 
not by how much the poet felt in writing it,
but how much the reader feels in reading it. "
John Ciardi

How Does A Poem Mean is Ciardi's most well-known work.  This book was published in 1959 and covers how to read, write and teach poetry. It is considered a standard text for college and high school poetry courses. Ciardi was a regular commentator on NPR, and an editor, poetry critic and columnist for Saturday Review for many years. While John Ciardi is primarily known as a poet his translation of Dante' s Divine Comedy was highly acclaimed. Ciardi's  poetry is much like that of Walt Whitman and Vachel Lindsay. He sought to make poetry more accessible to all by clarity and immediacy.
"The River is a Piece of Sky" is from his first book of poems for children, The Reason for the Pelican
  
The River is a Piece of Sky
John Ciardi

From the top of the bridge
The river below
is a piece of sky-
Until you throw
A penny in
Or a cockleshell
Or a pebble or two
Or a bicycle bell
Or a cobblestone
Or a fat man's cane-
And then you can see
It's a river again.

The difference you'll see
When you drop a penny;
The river has splashes,
The sky hasn't any.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Unexpected


Imagine my surprise when I was recently in a small town up north when I saw my this  Little Free Library box.  I wrote about this unique lending library in a post January 20, 2012. Little Free Library is a non-profit project that was formed to promote literacy, foster love of reading and hopefully build a sense of community in towns and cities. For additional information go to http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/
Perhaps you might consider starting one in your area. What a great concept.




The sign Biffy Bargains caught my attention on this repurposed outhouse outside of town. I thought perhaps it might be just the place to find those candlestick holders I have been looking for my mason jar craft project. But I left empty handed.


On my way home I didn't expect to see another turtle treking across the road. This one was in no hurry despite the fact it was on a well traveled road.
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Have you ever heard of Agave Nectar? Since I was out of honey I used it as a substitution for the Brie appetizer below. This nectar is also called Agave syrup and is produced in South Africa and Mexico from several species of the agave plant. It  is commonly used as a vegan alternative to honey in cooking. 1/4 cup of agave nectar is equal to 1 full cup of sugar. Some uses are a sweetener in drinks, cereal, and substitute for maple syrup. I found a blog that is exclusively devoted to recipes using agave nectar.
http://agave-recipes.blogspot.com/
Panko Breaded Brie with Honeycomb, Thyme and Toasted Almond
recipe is from The Lake Elmo Inn, Lake Elmo, MN
Ingredients:

  • Brie cheese cut in 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 -1 tsp. thyme 
  • butter
  • finely chopped almonds
  • Agave nectar or honey
  • Flatbread crisps (homemade croutons for used in this photo but Town House Flatbread Crisps- garlic flavor would work just as well and would be easier. Any other crisp type of cracker or firm bruschetta can be used)

Directions:

  • Cut Brie into bite sized pieces
  • Mix panko crumbs and thyme
  • Dip each Brie piece  into flour, then into egg, then into panko bread crumbs
  • Refrigerate
  • In a saucepan melt 1 TB. butter when it starts to brown add breaded brie cheese pieces
  • Fry on one side till brown and then flip over no more than 1 minute a side

Cook's notes:If cook Brie pieces too long will fall apart. How much butter you use depends on the number of pieces you fry.
Serving On a cracker or crisp flatbread place one fried Brie cheese, top with one small squeeze of nectar or honey and sprinkle almonds on top  







   

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brie Pastry Cups

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on
your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one
who'll decide where to go..."
by Dr. Seuss 


Brie is a soft cow's cheese named after the French region from which it originated.
This appetizer recipe is from tasteofhome.com 
Brie Cherry Pastry Cups
Ingredients;
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves (I used red pepper jelly)
  • 4 oz. Brie cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans 
  • 2 TB. minced chives
Directions:
  • Thaw puff pastry about 40- 45 minutes
  • Unfold and cut into 36 squares
  • Press squares gently into greased miniature muffin cups
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Use end of a wooden spoon to make 1/2 in indentation in center of each and bake 6 minutes longer or until browned
  • With spoon handles press pastry down again
  • Spoon a rounded teaspoon of jelly/preserves into each cup
  • Top with 1/2 inch piece of Brie cheese, sprinkle nuts and chives over it
  • Bake 3 minutes longer or until cheese melted


Oh, and don't forget to serve a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Possible Rental

I'm not afraid of storms,
for I am learning how to sail my ship.
by Louisa May Alcott

I was lucky to find on the Internet an ark to rent.  I know the size seems large but many of my lake neighbors are willing to go in on the rental cost. I suppose you are wondering whyI would consider such an extravagant rental. Well have you heard about the copious amounts rainfall over parts of Minnesota lately? In one day my rain gauge measured 7-3/4 inches of rain, in 3 days we had a total of 10 inches and in the last 2 weeks at least 16 inches total. So renting an ark seems like a sensible and a proactive measure to take. Who knows how much more rain will be coming this way.  Even Duluth made the national news recently with their off the charts rainfall that brought unprecedented flooding.
Did you know that Las Vegas is lucky to get 2-3 inches of rain in a whole year? 
___________________________________


Last year I posted this picture of appetizer plates made from thrift store purchases. On one plate I used a glass for a base and on the other plate glued a candlestick holder for the base. There are lots of options with plates and bases to bring out your inner creativity.
Here in the Lake Country these jars are called redneck wine glasses. They were on display at a store. But how easy to make your own with mason canning jars and candlestick holders as the base. This is my new summer craft. Now I can use up a box of jars I had left over from canning.  Thrift shops, flea markets and antique stores can be good places to find candlestick holders. I am not so sure about this project for wine use but thought they would make great gifts. Nuts or candy could be put inside.    
On the right side photo gallery I posted some floral container ideas. The really small containers in photos were dollar store purchases. Some ideas for using these containers include: individual place settings for a dinner party or prizes at a shower. 




Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ladies Night Out

Cook's notesI decided a jump start on summer solstice with a party was in order at the lake. Wine and appetizers were top of the menu. I relooked at the Black Forest Cupcake recipe posted June 7th under Turtle Crossing. I made the same batter but used mini cupcake liners instead. I added a cherry to each one before baking. After baking I did not cut out a quarter sized hole instead frosted each mini cupcake with cream cheese frosting and topped it with a raspberry. It worked well for an appetizer. 
    Appetizer Mini Black Forest Cupcakes 
with Cream Cheese Frosting 
makes 48
Ingredients:
  • 1-15oz. can pitted sweet cherries in syrup
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/3 cup sugar
  • 10 TB. butter (option that worked better for me was using half margarine and half butter)
  • 1/4 cup cherry brandy
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TB. cocoa powder
  • 1 TB. baking powder  
Directions:
  • Drain cherries and set aside 
  • In a saucepan add the reserved cherry syrup, chopped chocolate, sugar, butter/margarine and 1/4 cherry brandy
  • Cook on low heat stirring till chocolate melts
  • Pour into a large bowl and whisk in egg
  • Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder  
  • Fold gently into chocolate mixture
  • Use a teaspoon to spoon batter into mini cupcake liners filling almost to the top
  • Add a cherry to each mini cupcake
  • Bake 18 minutes
  • Cool on a wire rack and frost




Tequila Lime Coconut Bars with Macadamia Nuts
Ingredients:
Crust
  • 2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies(store bought the crisp kind)
  • 1-1/4 cup crushed macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TB. melted butter

Filling
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar 
  • 3/4 cup coconut plus 1/3 cup coconut for topping
  • juice from 3 limes at least 1/3 cup can add more if like a lot of lime taste
  • 3 TB. tequila
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 TB. lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup flour

Directions:
Crust
  • Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil allowing 2 inches to extend over the sides-lightly grease
  • In a Cuisinart finely chop cookies-in 3 batches
  • Add chopped nuts and cinnamon and 2 TB. melted butter
  • Pat crumbs in foil lined pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes

Filling
  • Whisk eggs in a bowl until smooth-whisk in coconut, zest, lime juice,tequila and sugar
  • In a small bowl stir baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup flour 
  • Whisk dry ingredients into egg mixture and pour over hot crust
  • Bake 10 minutes and add sprinkle 1/3 cup coconut over top and return to oven to bake about 10 more minutes or until filling is set 
  • Cool pan on a wire rack then lift foil off bars and place bake in 13 x 9 pan to cut
Serving suggestion-sprinkle with powdered sugar-cut in squares and then recut the square on diagonal to be a triangle
Chicken Salad Mini Bites

This recipe was previously posted in April but worth repeating.
Note that curry powder is strong so start out small. 
Chicken Salad
Ingredients:
  • Mini Phyllo shells (used Athena brand)
  • Cooked chicken breasts
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • chopped celery
  • chopped onion
  • finely chopped walnuts
  • Miracle Whip

Directions:
  • In Cuisinart finely chop nuts, chicken and onion
  • Place chicken mixture in bowl and add finely chopped celery and curry powder
  • Add only enough Miracle Whip just till mixture is moistened
  • Bake shells on a cookie sheet for 3 minutes-let cool
  • Use a teaspoon to fill and top each shell with with a blackberry 







Sunday, June 17, 2012

Celebrate the Day

"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right,
 he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong."
Charles Wadsworth


Today seemed like that kind of day to take on a cooking challenge. I found a recipe that had some of my husband's favorite ingredients:chocolate, whip cream, Kahlua and coffee.
The steps may appear daunting BUT well worth the effort.  
Chocolate Tiramisu
recipe by Kriss Harvey from Bon Appetit May 2011
serves 4 if using a larger bowl like I did but will serve 6 if using the traditional ramekin. The recipe is rich so smaller ramekin is better.


Cook's notes: My adaptations are noted in the recipe below
can also place this dessert in small teacups to serve
Ingredients:
Espresso syrup
  • 1 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 TB Kahlua

Tiramisu
  • 1 package (3oz.) ladyfingers halved
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped (do not exceed 61% cacao)
  • 1 cup chilled whip cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 TB. plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 TB. Kahlua

Directions:
  • Combine marscarpone, 2 TB. sugar and vanilla in a small bowl-whisk to blend, cover and chill
  • Stir espresso, sugar,and Kahlua-set aside
  • Place 1 TB. water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it and let sit 10 minutes
  • Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, 1/4 whipping cream (do not whip it)and 1/4cup water in a metal bowl-mix well
  • Place metal bowl over boiling water and whisk constantly till custard thickens about 6 minutes (do not let mixture get too hot or will curdle)
  • Remove from heat
  • Add gelatin mixture and whisk well,add chopped chocolate and return bowl to hot water and cook 1-2 minutes longer till chocolate melted
  • Add 1 TB. Kahlua
  • Set bowl of chocolate mixture in a larger pan of ice water for 6 minutes
  • Beat 3/4 cup whipping cream and fold into chocolate mixture
  • Spread chocolate mouse about 1/8 cup in bottom of each bowl
  • Lay 2 lady fingers over mouse and sprinkle with espresso syrup
  • Repeat with another layer of mouse and then ladyfingers and sprinkle with espresso syrup over the ladyfingers
  • Spread 1 TB. mascarpone on top of all of this add a raspberry and grated chocolate
  • Refrigerate till serving  
A recent flea market adventure purchase-vintage cast iron skillet
Look for upcoming skillet recipes

        


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Turtle Crossing

Little Turtle
There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.  
by Vachel Lindsay
1879-1931

Vachel Lindsay was famous in his day as a traveling bard whose dramatic deliveries in public readings helped keep appreciation for poetry as a spoken art alive in American Midwest. Like Walt Whitman, Lindsay was a poet who traveled widely and chronicled as much as he could about the American experience. Perhaps you remember learning  this poem for recitation in school. The structure of this poem makes it really easy to remember.
Traveling the lake roads either by foot or car one needs to proceed with great caution this time of the year. Lots of turtles make the trek across the roads oblivious to traffic. Some just get as far as the middle of the road to lay eggs. Recently a turtle found a good egg laying place in our driveway. We have had to be creative figuring out ways to protect the egg laying spot from Bella. She is persistent!   
____________________________
Black Forest Cupcakes
recipe from My Family Table by John Besh
Ingredients:

  • 1- 15 oz. can pitted sweet cherries in syrup
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/3 cup plus 1 TB. sugar   
  • 10 TB. butter (optional to use half butter and half margarine)
  • 1/4 cup cherry brandy plus 1 TB. cherry brandy
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TB. cocoa powder
  • 1 TB. baking powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • dark chocolate curls (I used a vegetable peeler)
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Drain cherries, reserve the cherries and syrup separately
  • Set aside drained cherries in a bowl
  • Combine the syrup, chocolate, 1-1/3 cup sugar, butter and and 1/4 cup brandy in a saucepan
  • Over low heat stir till chocolate melts
  • Pour into a large bowl and whisk in egg
  • Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a small bowl
  • Gently fold flour mixture into chocolate mixture
  • Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners
  • Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners
  • Bake about 22-25 minutes or till cupcakes are firm to touch
  • Cool a few minutes and place on a wire rack to cool
  • Mix 1 TB. cherry brandy, 1 TB. sugar and stir into whipped cream
  • Cut a quarter size hole into the top of each cupcake and fill with two reserved cherry in each
  • note:the little tops are edible and can be added back on cupcake then top with whip cream mixture and shaved chocolate-my family ate the tops before I could put them back on


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Amazing Legacy

"I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone.
And I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support."
Anne Frank

These were the first entry words of  Anne Frank in her new diary. It was a  a birthday gift for her 13th birthday from her parents while living in the annex.  Who would have guessed this diary would become one of the most widely read pieces of non-fiction apart from the bible. It has been translated into 67 different languages. The diary was published by her father in 1947 after Anne' death. The red checkered notebook was named kitty after the cat Anne had to leave behind when her family went into hiding. The diary is a powerful story of a Jewish teenager's years spent in hiding during World War II.  For someone who died so young Anne left a powerful legacy behind. 
Today is Anne's birthday June 12-March 1945. The following quote is quite amazing and thought provoking coming from someone so young. 
"Until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and disfigured, to begin all over again after that."
Anne Frank, diary entry for May 3, 1944 
_________________________________________
Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa 
It was recently brought to my attention that the French Yogurt Cake recipe posted in May was missing a necessary ingredient...sugar!!! YIKES not sure what happened so I am reposting it. 
This cake was recently served at a luncheon for seniors. On top of the cake was a prepared strawberry glaze from a can, diced strawberries and then topped with cool whip. Since we were serving over 60 people we got quite busy I forgot to take a picture of the completed dessert. But I did get one of the cake.  It looked lovely and really had a homemade taste.

 French Yogurt Cake 
10 serving pieces
Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4  cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 TB grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 TB. lemon juice
  • 2 TB. poppy seeds
  • diced strawberries
  • canned strawberry glaze

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Spray a  loaf pan with PAM
  • In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds
  • In another bowl whisk yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and sugar
  • Stir all ingredients just till well blended   
  • Bake 35 minutes and test for doneness with s large toothpick
  • Cool in pan 10 minutes then invert to a serving dish
  • Top cake with 2 TB glaze, diced strawberries and cool whip


Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Fragrant Fruit

The ripest fruit is 
the highest on the tree.
by James Whitcomb Riley
1849-1916
American writer, poet, author
He was also known as Hoosier Poet and
Children's Poet

The test of a good peach is to smell for a strong peach scent.
The red blush on the skin is simply characteristic of certain varieties, not an indication of ripeness. 
2-3 large peaches or 3 medium peaches = 2 cups of sliced peaches 
Good things to know:) 

Pork with Peach Barbecue Sauce 
Peach and Pork Kabobs recipe adapted from Southern Living June 2012 
Serves 4
Cook's note: I know some may be thinking... yikes 1/2 cup bourbon! but really the meat was marinated in it for only 10 minutes, it is a good tenderizer and adds a nice flavor to sauce. The recipe can be adapted for pork kabobs rather than using chops. Chicken would also work with this recipe.
Ingredients:
  • 4 pork chops
  •  1/3 -1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 TB. dried Rosemary
  • minced fresh basil leaves (2 TB.) 
  • 3/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce ( I used one with honey)
  • 1 large peach diced
  • 2 TB. peach preserves
  • onion and green pepper slices 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  • Whisk together bourbon, lemon juice cloves, olive oil, rosemary and basil 
  • Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture and set aside in a saucepan
  • Add rest of the mixture to a zip lock bag
  • Place pork chops in bag and marinate for 10 minutes-turn bag once and then drain chops from liquid bag
  • To the 1/4 cup reserved liquid place in saucepan add peach preserves, 1 diced peach and barbecue sauce
  • Cook on low heat till bubbly
  • On a piece of foil place pork chop and several spoonfuls of the sauce, add onion and green pepper slices
  • Grill about 20-25 minutes

Serving suggestions: potato salad, coleslaw, rice or broccoli/bacon/sunflower salad 
Cook on low heat till bubbly a 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The World According To Bella

Lake life just got a little better for me with the installation of AC. Today seemed warm and even chasing bunnies at my neighbors didn't seem fun. So I went inside and took up my usual resting spot (underneath the table) to bask in the cool air. Perhaps the excitement of getting my story published just wore me out.



http://www.wwnrockport.com/search/label/Stories%20and%20Memories
check this link out above ...my blog submission to WWN was published 
and Mrs. S got lucky too with her recipe submission 
 http://www.wwnrockport.com/2012/06/mixed-green-salad-with-grilled-chicken.html
Love, Bella

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In Bloom



Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peonies are such fragrant flowers that come in rich colors. Lucky I had my camera phone to snap these beauties on a recent walk.
Did you know that peonies were named after Paeon known in Greek mythology as the  physician of medicine? 
Enjoy the day and whatever you do take time to smell the flowers :)




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Unexpected Surprise

The World According To Bella
All my hard work blogging has finally paid off. I got an offer today from the Rockport, Texas Online Newsletter to publish some of my stories. If you followed my Texas adventures back in February they published my last blog Top Ten Things I learned Visiting Texas.  And yesI do remember how friendly the town was to us.  People would stop and comment on my looks and oh, my, the doggie biscuits that came my way. And I didn't even have to beg for them.  The best place for treats was the Chamber of Commerce. Not only did I get invited inside but several different people working there gave me a treat.  And I never pass up food.  My tummy was nice and full when we left that place.
I am thinking maybe Mr. C and Mrs. S might consider a fall trip back to Rockport.  I so loved the little house on stilts we rented.  And remember those darn cats I watched 24/7? Wonder if they are still there.
My bunny runs lately are keeping me in good shape. But poor Mrs. S she is becoming weary taking me for walks. I am beginning to think she could use some body building courses. 
Yesterday on a walk in the cities, not at the lake I spied a bunny. And I was off and running because yes, Mrs. S again lost her grip on the leash. Really my strength is no match for her. But this time I will admit I went a little crazy. I flew around these yards at a breathtaking speed in hot pursuit of the bunny.  Dragging my leash behind did not slow me down one bit. But the bunny outsmarted me and found a hiding place. I tried my best to find it.  
Mrs. S declared me quite naughty. No matter how much she screamed my name and tried to grab on to my leash I just wouldn't stop. I was so sure I could catch this bunny.  
When I finally gave up I had to listen to Mrs. S all the way home telling me how bad I was.  As you might guess there were not doggie treats for me in my bowl that night. 
Love, Bella
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Update on the  book Shoemaker's Wife.  Not since I read Gone With The Wind have I sobbed so much over a book. 
""Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are

the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most
patient of teachers."

by Charles William Eliot 







Saturday, June 2, 2012

The French Way


"Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything
that makes you smile."

Mark Twain 

Creamy French Tarragon Dressing

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 TB. chopped green onion
  • 1 TB. tarragon
  • 1/8 tsp. celery seeds
Directions:
  • Add all ingredients in blender and mix
  • Chill for several hours to meld flavors
Serving suggestions: Use this dressing on salad, asparagus or fish


Chicken Fruit Salad



Ingredients:

  • Mixed greens

  • Blueberries

  • Raspberries

  • Honey Roasted Almonds

  • Sliced cucumbers

  • Grilled chicken


Dressing: Homemade Creamy French Tarragon, prepared Raspberry 
Vinaigrette or Poppyseed
Serving suggestions-slices of banana bread
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The World According to Bella
On The Run
Mrs. S is no match for my sturdy 79 lbs.  She is a wimp! We were taking our usual morning walk down the road when I spy a fox.  I want to catch that fox but I am on a leash. With a sudden burst of energy I lunge toward the woods.  Mrs. S is trying her best to rein me in.  But my speed and strength were simply too much for her. Despite the fact she is hanging onto the leash and screaming "Stop, stop!"  I am towing/dragging her along. Finally in desperation or plain defeat she lets go.  And I am off and running to the woods with my leash dangling behind. 
But my impressive speed is not quite good enough. That fox just couldn't be caught. Sadly, I came back empty pawed to the road. Mrs. S seems relived.  As for me, I am just disappointed. That fox was oh, so close.     
Love, Bella