Sunday, December 30, 2018

Weekend Round-Up

 Best winter sunrise photo
The sun's early rays are reflected on the ice. It was a breathtaking sight with hues of blues and pinks.

Whether it's grilled, roasted, or baked, asparagus is a refreshing way to add flavor and nutrients to any meal. And with so many ways to prepare asparagus, the variety of recipes seems endless. The tender veggie adds sophistication as a side dish, an appetizer, part of 
your main course or brunch.
Lemon-Roasted Asparagus With Parmesan
Recipe serves 6 and adapted from Healthy Living Magazine

  • 2 bunches of asparagus with ends snapped off
  • 1- 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or lemon olive oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves 
  • peeled zest (in long strips) and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • Sliced almonds
  • Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad. 
  • Toss the asparagus with the oil, garlic, lemon zest, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and roast 20 to 25 minutes, tossing occasionally until browned.
  • Drizzle lemon juice to taste over asparagus and transfer to a serving dish. Discard strips of lemon zest, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and almonds.

Ham and Asparagus Quiche
Cook's notes: I started with a basic recipe from Midwest Living April 2014 and went from there. I substituted white cheddar for the yellow cheddar cheese but Swiss cheese can also be used. Torn spinach leaves (1/2 cup) can be substituted for ham cubes and the quiche makes a great vegetarian meal. Recipes makes 2 small quiches or one large one.
  • 1 package Pillsbury rolled refrigerated pie crusts (2 in a box)
  • 3/4 tsp. each dried parsley flakes, dry mustard and herbes de Provence
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 6 oz. asparagus spears cut in 2 inch lengths
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced
  • 2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • Let pie crust stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place each pie crust in a pie pan, crimp edges.
  • Line pastry shell with 2 sheets of foil (blind baking) overlap the foil so edges will extend over the pie pan.
  • Bake for 8 minutes, remove foil and bake 3 minutes more. 
  • Mix in a blender eggs, cream, half and half and spices.
  • Bring salted water to a boil, add asparagus, boil 1 minute. drain and pat dry. 
  • Brush bottom crusts with Dijon mustard.
  • Divide the cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese between both pie pans.
  • Divide the onion, ham and chopped asparagus spears between two pans
  • Tear foil strips and place around the outside edges of each pan to avoid over browning.
  • Divide filling and slowly pour into prepared pie pans.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce to 300 degrees and bake 25 minutes more.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Freeze the extra cooled quiche.
Enjoy your last two days of 2018

Friday, December 28, 2018

New Years Eve Holiday Central Part Two

Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, 
but when you look back everything is different.
C.S. Lewis
A two day snowfall with well over a foot of snow  turned our area into a winter wonderland. 2018 is definitely going out with a bang!
DIY New Year's Eve Project
and an easy to follow youtube video

Easy and Practical 51 DIY Ideas from Buzz Feed
Thai Chicken Curry Salad
Pesto Cheese Tarts
Cornbread Crostini

Puff Pastry Brie Sticks

Warmed Asparagus Spears Wrapped in Puff Pastry

Be sure to check my Pinterest  Boards
New Years Quotes
New Years Ideas

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Years Eve Holiday Central Part One

Ideas for a family friendly New Years Gathering

Expand on the Reindeer Bar idea (Ever Ready previous postings)  or try
Hot Chocolate Bar

Pizza Making Station 
Milk and Cookie Toasting Bar
Ring in the new year with a family-friendly milk-and-cookies toast. Prepare the glasses in advance by dipping the rims of cocktail or champagne glasses (or buy some inexpensive ones from Dollar store) in melted chocolate, then cover with colorful sprinkles. Ar midnight (or whenever you decide "midnight" is), serve the milk and the fortune cookies. Toast to the new year and read your fortune!

Almond Joy Cookies
The perfect match for a milk toast. Amazing crisp cookies loaded with mini chocolate chips, toasted coconut and almonds. Recipe makes 32 cookies and they taste quite reminiscent of the candy bar. 
  • 1 /2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup each white sugar and brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 of a 12 oz. bag of mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bittersweet)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup chopped almonds (sliced almonds)
  • Toast coconut and almonds 3-5 minutes at 350 watch carefully so mixture does not over brown, stir a few times.  Set aside to cool. 
  • In a bowl cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt together. Add in flour and mix well. 
  • Stir in chips, toasted coconut and almonds. 
  • Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour or freezer 1/2 hour.
  • Heat oven to 375 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  • Bake cookies 10-11 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.  

A New Years party favor sure to please your guests- Midnight Kisses
This New Year's Eve party favor is such a cute take on the kissing thing at midnight! To make it part of your decor, you can arrange these bags in a basket with a large bow to greet guests. What an easy party favor to make. free printable link.
Add some funfetti to your New Years Day Breakfast
Funfetti Pancakes
Cook's note: A fun easy way to brighten the start of the day with these pancakes. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Eggnog French Toast

Share the holiday spirit with a brunch meal your family and friends will love. Eggnog French Toast puts a festive twist on classic french toast for a simple yet decadent holiday breakfast.

Eggnog French Toast
Cook's Notes: Be sure to use a hearty bread like sourdough, challah or brioche as it soaks up the eggnog batter without falling apart.
Recipe adapted from and makes 6 large slices or 8-10 smaller sized pieces. It can easily be doubled. Be sure to use real warmed maple syrup as it makes a difference in the flavor. Add fresh fruit with a meat side and you'll be off to a great start for the day.


  • 1 loaf hearty bread 
  • 3 eggs 
  • ¾ cups eggnog 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1 tsp. Saigon Cinnamon 
  • Dash of nutmeg 
  • 1 TB. melted butter 
  • Real maple syrup 
  • Cut loaf into thick slices. 
  • Preheat griddle and grease with butter or PAM. 
  • Beat eggs, eggnog, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon until well combined. Place eggnog mixture in a shallow bowl. Soak each bread slice and toast on the griddle until golden brown on both sides.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The World According to Bella

It's A Wrap 
I mean for Christmas 
When I heard Mr. C and Mrs. S planning an overnight at Sadie and Luna's house I was not enthused.  After writing my Christmas letter and letting Santa know exactly my new location this news was a setback. How would he find me somewhere else? They promised it would be just one night with a return on Christmas Day. 
As expected Sadie and Luna went all out with their festive outfits.  I came not too festive just wearing my green stripped collar with a bell. I left the antler headband in the van as I felt silly wearing it. Mrs. tried to make me look more festive to cheer me up by adding a few bows. But gosh, I could never come close to their outfits. 
Chris had some treats for us from their Trader Joe box  
and he had our complete attention. 
Sadie and Luna love attention from Jenny and Chris but got tired of picture taking very quickly.   
We bought them Christmas doggie treats and stopped off at Mulligans's house the next day to deliver him a very large rawhide bone. I was in a hurry to get back home to see if Santa made it to my house. Not only was my stocking stuffed with treats but he left this huge 7 lb. box of milkbones.  Well over 330 snacks in 5 delicious flavors

and also left a small stocking filled with mini milkbones. 

Mrs. S seemed worried with all  these snacks and said we'd have to limit how many a day.  
I didn't see a bed upgrade anywhere in the house as I looked all over. I did hear Mr. C say something about an Amazon delivery. Just as I got real excited thinking about a bed delivery I heard the words IN ARIZONA. Yikes! a return visit to Arizona was not on my list. I'm not ready for a trip like this as I just got a new fur coat and was enjoying the cooler weather.  
Guess that means Mrs. S will be making me wear my out west cowgirl outfit. 

I hope your Christmas was good. Will keep you posted on the bed upgrade. 
Love, Bella

Merry Christmas

Wishing You All the Blessings of the Season 
Egg Nog Cinnamon French Toast  
Almond Joy Cookies
Cranberry Orange Sauced Chicken 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas
By Clement Clarke Moore

According to legend this immortal poem A Visit from St. Nicholas or The Night Before Christmas was written by the poet and professor Clement Clarke for his family on Christmas Eve 1822. He never intended that it be published, but a family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, learned of the poem sometime later from Moore's children. She copied it into her album, and submitted it to the editor of the Troy Sentinel where it made its first appearance in print on December 23, 1823.

Soon, the poem began to be reprinted in other newspapers, almanacs and magazines, with the first appearance in a book "The New York Book of Poetry in 1837". It was not until 1844, however, that Moore himself acknowledged authorship in a volume of his poetry entitled "Poems"published at the request of his children. One hundred and eighty years later it is the most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature. The poem is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today.

The following poem has been adapted
Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse:
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there:
While we were all nestled snug in our beds,
Bella had visions of treats dancing in her head;
I in my nightie and he in his sweats
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When out in the living room there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Bella making a BIG leap
for those stockings that had been hung with such care,
her hopes were high that her stocking had been filled.
Then away to the window she flew like a flash
Hoping for a glimpse of the jolly old elf.
But he had sprang to his sleigh and gave his team but a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
Then we heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

Cranberry-Orange Mimosas are deliciously sweet and perfect to toast the holiday season

Recipe from and serves four

  • 1 bottle champagne
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • ¼ cup Triple Sec or Orange Liqueur
  • garnish fresh frozen cranberries
Combine all ingredients; divide equally among champagne glasses.

For an individual drink:
  • ¾ cup champagne
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 TB. cranberry juice
  • 1 TB. Triple Sec or Orange Liqueur
  • Garnish fresh frozen cranberries

Saturday, December 22, 2018

As The Year Grows Old

When the Year Grows Old
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I cannot but remember
When the year grows old—
How she disliked the cold!

She used to watch the swallows
Go down across the sky,
And turn from the window
With a little sharp sigh.

And often when the brown leaves
Were brittle on the ground,
And the wind in the chimney
Made a melancholy sound,

She had a look about her
That I wish I could forget—
The look of a scared thing
Sitting in a net!

Oh, beautiful at nightfall
The soft spitting snow!
And beautiful the bare boughs
Rubbing to and fro!

But the roaring of the fire,
And the warmth of fur,
And the boiling of the kettle
Were beautiful to her!

I cannot but remember
When the year grows old—
How she disliked the cold!

Cook's notes: Presenting Some of the Best of Ever Ready 2018
Month by month favorites with recipe links
I thought you might be interested in knowing what were some of my favorites from the past year. As I scrolled through the months all I could think of was "Did I really cook all that food?" And indeed I did! Some say my husband is a lucky man:) 

Enjoy a look back at Ever Ready

Burrito Bowls
Lots of healthy options with these bowls
Mexican Brownies
A unique mix of ingredients that work together to create a complex taste 
Lemon Ricotta Cake 
Off the charts-a moist cake that captures a lemon flavor of spring  
Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Great mix of Asian flavors-tastes just like a dish from PF Chang Restaurant
Hot Pimento Cheese Dip
It's decadent, rich and totally worth the splurge
A refreshing summer drink with a hint of lime 
Kielbasa Foil Packet Dinner
A no fuss flavorful foil packet dinner
Peach Blueberry Galette
A seasonal fruit galette that tastes bakery fresh 
Sweet Potato Hash with Egg
 A healthy start to the day 
Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
Cranberry Pear Crumble
A seasonal fruit favorite
Hash Brown Egg Breakfast Cups
A tasty brunch meal with lots of options 

What was your 2018 favorite?

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...