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  1. A Toast To Vegans

    January 25, 2015 by Barb

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    If you put your friends into a Venn diagram, what would be the intersection? Would it be their looks or economic class? (That would be a little shallow!) Maybe it is their love of sports or the outdoors? It could be something as simple as the fact that you grew up together and you remained friends. (Or your mom has had them on a friendship retainer for the past 40+ years.)

    For me, one of the biggest ways I “classify” my friends is by the food that they eat. I have a subset “A” called my picky eater friends. (Those are usually the friends I’ve had for years and I can’t dump them just because they order a burger everywhere we go!) I have the subset “B” of adventurous eaters (love these folks because you can pretty much go anywhere with them). I even have a subset “C” for just drinking a cup of coffee. (This group is awesome because they are always jacked up on caffeine.)

    Recently, I have found a new subset, which I will call “V” and they would intersect with all of the subsets. It is almost weird for me to mention them on Felt Like a Foodie given my eating tendencies but they do have definite intersection points.

    But how can these people be both picky and adventurous with food? Dare I say it?? These gals are VEGANS!!!! (I didn’t know if I should scream VEGAN of whisper it like a golf announcer.)

    These gals are “picky” due to their dietary choices, they are super adventurous and they love coffee. Boo-yah. Instant friends!  (And just so I don’t get any vegan hate mail, I intersect you with the “picky” people too because you choose or “pick” foods that fit your lifestyle.)

    Can a woman who bleeds bacon fat become friends with Vegans? (It is more like how are they friends with me because I am sure some of my food choices repulse them.) I think I like them because they take up the dauntless task every day of finding food without a face and make it interesting.

    The other thing I like is that they don’t preach their veganism…they just live it. They know that I am a carnivore but have yet to feel the need to make me feel guilty about the choices I make with food.

    These women make their own cheeses and have found creative alternatives for pretty much everything under the sun. Their dedication is admirable and it has made me think more of WWVD? (What would a vegan do?)

    So I was out to lunch with one of them the other day and she said something about avocado toast. My first thought was “How do you eat avocado toast without bacon?” I didn’t say it because I didn’t want to prove my vegan ignorance.  (She’ll learn soon enough how ignorant I can be.)

    When I got home, I started looking up articles and recipes for avocado toast.   I was amazed at the options. (This article was my favorite.)

    So the other night, I thought I would make some variations of avocado toast to see what all the fuss was about and I must say I loved it. It was pretty simple to add different ingredients and make each slice taste unique.

    Recipe wise, there really isn’t much to do but make sure you mash your avocado with some sort of citrus and season it properly. I made 4 big slices of toast with one avocado. I used about a quarter of a lemon per half avocado or a half of a lime per half of avocado. I think one of the keys is not to over mash your avocado. It is better to have some different textures in your mouth.

    I made one with lemon juice, avocado and pickled onions.

    I made another one from Bon Appetit that had tahini, avocado, limejuice, cucumbers and red pepper flakes. (This was pretty dang good.)

    Another was made with lemon juice, avocado, toasted almonds and roasted cumin. (I’d do this again with either no cumin or a different spice…maybe saffron?)

    And my favorite was made with limejuice, avocado and then sprinkled with the Japanese rice seasoning (Nori Komi Furikake), some togarashi (Japanese red pepper) and a small drizzle of red chili sesame oil. It was soooooo delicious!!!! (These Japanese ingredients are found in all sorts of stores these days.)

    I can see why Vegans would make this part of their weekly if not daily diet because they could reinvent toast constantly and never get bored.  If you are making these toasts for vegans, make sure you use vegan bread. I didn’t even think of that component until I was done but luckily I wasn’t feeding this to anyone in that subset so no vegan values were hurt in the process.

     

     


  2. Pesto from Another World

    January 22, 2015 by Barb

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    Winter in a small town is like being transported to another world. (I mean a new place not the soap opera, Another World, but that would be kind of cool to live in a pretend soap opera world.)

    There is a peacefulness because unless you have somewhere to go….you stay home. You get projects down around the house, catch up on old movies and cook…a lot.

    I am personally enjoying the quietness of home and discovering the hidden treasures that are sometimes right under my nose like recipes that aren’t necessarily new but can be reinvented.

    The other weekend I was making some sort of chicken for dinner and decided that spaghetti with pesto sounded wonderful. I’m not sure if it was the garlic-basil flavor I was craving or maybe just the desire to see something bright green.

    So I actually left my house and went to the store. (Am I sounding like a mix of a hermit and agoraphobic?) This winter world looked different from the one I knew a few months ago. There is white stuff on the lawns and street. The trees are missing leafs (or is it leaves?). And the Christmas lights were gleaming????? Wait, why are there still Christmas lights out? (I say this as my Christmas wreath hangs on my house….a month later. Who am I to judge?)

    I got into the store and went straight to the produce section. (Actually, don’t all stores have the produce right where you walk in?) To my dismay, no basil was found. Whaaaaat? The produce guy said they are concentrating on local ingredients and they haven’t had “good” basil lately but I could buy some in the tube. (Tube O’Basil is not something I want to use because it is slimy  It is also not local so this guy was sending me mixed messages!)

    Feeling frustrated, I grabbed a bunch of parsley, muttered to myself, paid for my food and stomped out of the store. (Luckily, there weren’t a lot of people out to witness my craziness or hear the curses coming from my mouth.)

    I got home and thought I’d just make plain garlic/olive oil pasta but I really wanted my pasta to be green. I miss green. I enjoy my winter world EXCEPT for the pale, colorless palette.

    So I just said SCREW IT at the top of my lungs. (Surprisingly this does not startle my husband at all. His other world seems to have a sound barrier that amazingly blocks my voice!)

    I grabbed some garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and PARSLEY. (Oh, I am a wild one.) I twirled those ingredients up in my food processor and saw some of the most beautiful green pesto I have ever seen!!!

    But things are deceiving in this other winter world….Could this pesto be as delicious as it looks? The answer was YES!!!! Hubby actually said it was the best pesto he has ever had in his life!!!!

    Things in my winter world can keep life pretty interesting. I may be able to satiate my food cravings with a little creativity and a lot of swear words. (Am I the only one who looks at the word “satiate” and see the words sat I ate? I find that incredibly amusing especially when talking about food. I think I just proved that I need to get out more.)

    Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto

    Ingredients

    12 ounces of spaghetti

    2 cloves of fresh garlic

    1 green onion

    ½ cup of pine nuts (toasted)

    2 packed cups of flat leaf parsley

    ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

    ½ – ¾ cup of olive oil

    Fresh Ground Pepper to taste (You shouldn’t need to add salt because the parmesan is salty but add it if you need to.)

    1 cup Pasta water

    Directions

    Cook pasta per directions in large pot of salted water. Reserve a cup of the pasta water.

    While pasta is cooking, twirl garlic in food processor until it is finely chopped.

    Add the green onion and give that a twirl.

    Add the pine nuts and twirl until chopped but don’t twirl it so much that it turns into pine nut butter.

    Next twirl in your parsley and Parmesan.

    Now SLOWLY drizzle in the olive oil. It should be smooth but not oily!!!

    Taste….add a little pepper.

    Put the pesto in a large bowl and toss it with the freshly cooked pasta. If you would like it creamier, slowly add a smidge of the pasta water. I used about a half of a cup.

    Look down at your bowl and say hooray because you just made pesto that is out of another world!

     


  3. Red Gold Simple Gourmet Lasagna

    January 19, 2015 by Barb

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    “Food Brings People Together” is the newest campaign of Red Gold Tomatoes. As a family owned company, they only work with local family farms to help us make great meals for family and friends at home.

    Since I am part of Red Gold’s adopted blog family, they gave me a challenge to help promote their Red Gold Simple Gourmet Lasagna Party on Facebook. I’m supposed to make a simple lasagna but step it up a notch.

    Now anyone who has eaten at our house knows that I take great pride in my own lasagna recipe but I would not classify it as simple. It is a “plan ahead” lasagna. (It is also a plan on wearing bigger pants the next day because you will eat so much of it!)

    Red Gold Tomatoes has come up with some effortless add-ins that will make dinner a piece of cake. (I wonder why “piece of lasagna” never took off as a popular saying?)

    They gave me a handful of recipes like Eggplant Florentine Lasagna and Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna which can be found on their website. But the one that made my mouth water was the Chicken Parmesan Lasagna!!!! It is like the ultimate Italian Match-up!

    I stayed pretty true to their recipe with the exception of cheating on one big thing. I purchased chicken scaloppini filets from an upscale grocery store. I just thought if I am going to call this my “easy” gourmet lasagna, I needed to skip a few more steps.

    The only other thing I changed was that I cooked my noodles first. I’m not a fan of no-bake lasagnas. There is just too much room for error. I know people consider this a time saver but to me it is worth the 10 minutes to cook my noodles.  (I had a no-bake lasagna incident about 5 years ago and it still pisses me off!)

    Here is the recipe link that I used. I was absolutely thrilled with the end product….a tasty new lasagna that was EASY and it is something I would love to whip up for company sometime.

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    The other thing is that the Red Gold Tomatoes lasagna recipes are set up so you aren’t spending the whole time cooking and you can actually enjoy some time with your family and friends.

    Finally, I really was digging the chicken pieces in the lasagna. I’ve made lasagna with ground turkey/chicken in the past but I sincerely enjoyed the textual bites of the chicken cutlets in this lasagna.   Surprisingly, it didn’t make the lasagna feel heavier which was my fear. It was an extremely lighter meal. (Unless you eat two big portions, then you need a lasagna intervention!)

    Thank you to Red Gold for supplying me with my delicious tomatoes and giving me an excuse to reinvent my lasagna.   I have been a fan of Red Gold Tomatoes for years so doing these challenges are a pleasure for me.IMG_9022

    Let me know if you try any of Red Gold Tomatoes recipes and what you think!


  4. Tinga-ling with Self Awareness

    January 15, 2015 by Barb

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    If I had to give a title to this winter, I think I would call it the Winter of Self-Awareness. (I’m not talking the naughty self-awareness that no one ever talks about.) I’m talking about looking into myself and being aware of some things I want to change.

    I’ve stayed home a lot due to my health and the frigid weather so it gives me some time to really be introspective. There are little things I want to “fix” like never buy a pair of socks again because they have multiplied in my drawers over the years.

    I also want to be better about putting things away. (There is another member of this household that has this same issue but we won’t mention his name.) I don’t know why it is so hard for me to put something like a potholder in a drawer or jeans in my closet.

    The big thing I need to change is…oh, I am not sure if want to share this. It is quite odd but here it goes….food hoarding. I think I must have had another life during some famine.

    I have a tendency to buy food and then save it. I’m not sure why I’m saving it but I just do. And it is not like I am saving fancy stuff like caviar or truffles for a special occasion. I save the weird stuff like pork shoulders, crackers and Pez. (Yes, Pez the candy. I feel I need a supply in the house at all time in case there is a worldwide Pez shortage.)

    The good news is that I use my food stash before it even gets close to the expiration date. And I will agree it is silly to have so much stuff on hand….all the time. (Unless I know I am going to be snowed in….then this is a great trait.)

    So the last couple of weeks, I worked on my depleting my reserve.   I told myself that unless I needed some fresh produce, everything else had to come from my freezer or pantry.

    I “found” a very nice pork shoulder in my freezer so I instantly thought I needed to make Pork Tinga again. (I’ve made this before on Felt Like a Foodie but I had to switch it up again because I didn’t have exactly what I needed.

    The good news was that I only had to go buy cilantro and tortillas. Hooray! Plus, this was actually made in the slow cooker so I could spend the rest of my day soul searching, meditating and watching Love Boat reruns.

    Empty the Pantry Pork Tinga

    Ingredients

    1.5 pounds pork shoulder, trim off fat and cut into large chunks

    12 ounces chorizo sausage, remove casing

    2 Idaho potatoes, cubed

    1 large Vidalia onion

    1 can Rotel LIME Tomatoes

    1 Can Red Gold Mexican Fiesta Tomatoes

    3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped

    1 Tbsp of the adobo juice from the can

    2 tsp chopped garlic

    1 tsp Mexican oregano

    Toppings

    Guacamole

    Pickled onion

    Cheese

    Cilantro

    Lime slices

    Corn/Flour Tortillas

    Directions

    Have your slow cooker out and read to fill.

    In a large skillet, crumble the chorizo sausage and brown over medium/high heat. You may need to break up the pieces with a spatula as it cooks.

    Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to your slow cooker. There should be some drippings left in the pan, use those to brown the pork shoulder pieces. You don’t want to cook them fully, just brown them.

    Add them to the slow cooker. There will be some pretty brown fond stuck to the bottom of your skillet, use the liquid from your canned tomatoes to deglaze the pan and add that to your slow cooker.

    Now add your potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, adobo juice, garlic, onion and oregano.

    Cover and cook for 8 hours. Shred the pork with a fork and mix it back into your slow cooker.

    Serve either in a big bowl with tortilla chips or make Tinga tacos and put them in a tortilla with some guacamole, cheese, cilantro and a squirt of lime. YUM.

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    Given the cold days I know we still have ahead, I will have more time to use my pantry/freezer ingredients creatively. I will also continue to reflect and change myself for the better. Let’s just hope the winter doesn’t last too long because I really think I’m already close to perfect. (Um, maybe I need to work on being humble!)

     


  5. Pack a Peck of Pickled Onions

    January 10, 2015 by Barb

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    Are there words out there you just like to say? Maybe they twirl off your tongue like with one of those cool rolling “R” sounds. (I can’t roll and sound like an idiot when I try.) Or maybe it is a word that sounds like another word such as peanuts. (Wanna have some fun? Talk to my mother in law!)

    One of my favorite words is pickle. First, it is a great rhyming word. Think about it… tickle, nickel, fickle, trickle, Kristi McNichol. (I wish she were still on TV. I really liked her.)

    It is also great in alliterative tongue twisters!   Hours of winter time entertainment right here at your fingertips!

    Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.

    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

    Where’s the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?” 

    And undoubtedly you can look at the word pickle and think “Wow! Pickle is a noun AND a verb.” Growing up with the last name of “Felt”, I felt life was cooler because my last name was a noun and a verb. Added bonus was that I could make an entire sentence with two words….Barbara Felt felt felt. (It was this kind of banter that made me the weird kid.)

    Enough about me….let’s get back to the word pickle. So you obviously know that a pickle (noun) is something that has been preserved in a brine or vinegar solution. (You do know that right? )

    But what seems to perplex a lot of people is how to pickle (verb) something. When doing food preservation, there are ton of safety things to consider IF you are planning on storing your pickles on a shelf in your basement or cupboard. (I like that word too.)

    You have to have the chemistry of your brining liquid just perfect or you may make people ill. (This is why you take a class and read a lot on the subject before preserving anything. Unless murder is your motive but killing people is frowned upon.)

    There are also plenty of ways to preserve veggies but I am going to talk about the simplest thing you can do….the quick pickle. (Which is also something my husband requests every now and then when I have a headache but that is NOT one of my favorite pickles!)

    A quick pickle or refrigerator pickle is a process where you make a brine or vinegar solution, add your veggie and pop it in the fridge. After an hour or so, you have a perfect, pickled product to pop on your plate. (Ooooo, that was fun to say.)

    Onions are my favorite things to pickle lately because they are so versatile. I like pickled onions on salads, blanched green beans, tacos, nachos, gyros, sandwiches, stews, chilis…the list can go on and on.

    They add a powerful sour/sweet bite to whatever you are eating. The best part is that they are EASY!!!!! It is one of those recipes that won’t leave you in a pickle!

    Perfectly Packed Pickled Onions

    Ingredients

    1 red onion, thinly sliced

    1 cup Apple cider vinegar

    2 Tbsp sugar

    3 tsp pickling salt (or Kosher)

    1/2 cup – 1 cup warm water (I like it TART so I don’t use a lot of water. I started using water to just help dissolve the sugar and salt) 

    Directions

    In a quart mason jar (you know the ones that are so trendy now and can be found in any housewares department or mother in law pantry), add the warm water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Add a top (I like the plastic screw on tops) and shake!!!! This does count as exercise so make it count!)

    Shake until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add onions so the liquid covers them all. (You may have a few slices that don’t fit. That is okay, wrap them up and use them for something else. Or I just saved them and popped them in the jar AFTER I used up my first batch of pickles.)

    Give the jar a shake and place in the fridge for an hour.

    Voila! You’ve got pickled onions!!!!! Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out. I believe they should be good for at least 10 days but I guarantee they won’t last that long.

    The nice thing about a refrigerator pickle in the winter is that it adds a brightness to your food on a gloomy day. I have yet to try a lot of other recipes for refrigerator or icebox pickles BUT given the looks of our weather lately, I will have plenty of time to play around in my kitchen. (I also like the word kitchen but it doesn’t rhyme with much.)

     

     

     


  6. January Baking Project-Sugar Cookies

    January 7, 2015 by Barb

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    There was an interesting discussion with my husband, Earl, last week concerning my New Year Resolutions.   No, he didn’t want to add things like wear high heels more often or give him massages every night. (He has been asking for those things for YEARS and they haven’t happened!)

    It was the part about baking. He read that resolution about baking and immediately said “Hooray, I get cookies EVERY month!” I looked at him and said bluntly “Baking doesn’t mean cookies.”

    This was the moment I realized I am married to the Cookie Monster. He just stood there and said “No Cookies.” The look of sadness on his face was devastating. I tried to explain to him that I want to try new baking techniques etcetera but he couldn’t stop saying “No Cookies.”

    Earl was hanging his head and looked like he was about to cry. How could I break his heart like this? What kind of wife am I? He deserves so much more because he does so much for us.

    So yesterday I decided to make him some old school sugar cookies for no other reason than I love that guy.

    With every ingredient I added to the mixing bowl, I kept thinking about marriage. I thought about how like a sugar cookie, it takes some work to make it perfect. You get your hands dirty and you roll with situations as they come up.

    Some moments are sweet like the cookie itself but there is the occasional bitter moment like when you burn a tray of cookies.

    You try to cut each cookie flawlessly but every now and then there may be one that isn’t your best. Given the love you have for each other (or cookies) you still appreciate it because it is the effort and thought that counts.

    As I iced each cookie, I tried to change up my decorations just to keep things interesting. (Do I need to spell out how this relates to marriage? Wink. Wink.)

    I did take the time to place them on a nice platter and had them sitting on the table for when Earl got home. (Um, I don’t really have a good analogy for marriage on this so pretend this is a Madlib and insert your own.)

    When Earl got home, I made him close his eyes and directed him toward the dining room. With Cookie Monster enthusiasm he exclaimed “COOKIES!” You made me cookies!

    Hugs were given and smooches were received but the moment that will stick out most to me is when he said the thing all wives long to hear “I love you more than cookies.”

    I learned a few things from this experience but not necessarily things about baking. The hours of rolling, cutting and icing the cookies were spent of thinking of only one thing…how much my husband means to me. I don’t only love him, I like him. He doesn’t ask for much and it was my honor to do something to make him smile.

    The funny part of this story was that Earl did love the cookies BUT I made him the wrong kind of sugar cookie. I went for a crispier, thin cookie but he likes the softer one. He still enjoyed them because he LOVES cookies and he LOVES ME!!!!

    Sugar Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)

    Ingredients

    2 cups flour

    ¼ tsp salt

    ½ tsp baking powder

    ½ cup butter

    1 cup sugar (I used about a tablespoon less than a full cup because I knew I was going to ice them and I didn’t want them too sweet.)

    1 egg, beaten

    2 Tablespoons Brandy

    ½ tsp vanilla extract.

    Directions

    Take your butter out so it softens so you can cream it. Given that it is so cold here right now, my butter decided to stay rock hard. So I placed it between to sheets of plastic wrap and pounded it. Ta dah, I learned something this month.

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    In a bowl, I mixed the flour, salt and baking powder and set it aside.

    In my electric mixer, I added that softer butter and sugar and creamed it.

    Slowly, I added the egg, brandy and vanilla. Make sure it is well mixed before you gradually add the flour mixture.

    Split the dough in half, wrap it up in plastic and put in the fridge for at least an hour. (During this hour you can go do your hair and toss in a load of laundry.)

    Preheat oven to 350 and put parchment on a couple of baking sheets.

    Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut evenly. I was able to fit about a dozen per sheet (I made about 3.5 dozen).

    Bake until golden for about 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

    I frosted mine with an icing made from 1 cup powdered sugar, a couple tablespoons of milk and a dash of vanilla.

    I’m glad I started the year with this as my baking project.   I’m not sure what I’ll do in February but what ever it is I know that my husband will welcome the treat with open arms.


  7. New Year Resolutions

    January 4, 2015 by Barb

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    Happy New Year!!!!! Do you make resolutions? Do you need to drop a few pounds? Read more books? Stop swearing? (Damn, I should have thought of that one earlier.)

    Or are you already perfect? (I am always trying to live up to this standard….note…I said trying.) Alas, I know I am deeply flawed so I have taken about four days to come up a realistic list of things to accomplish in 2015 that would make me (and the world) better.

    First, I think I need to incorporate more gesticulation in my life. I am a fan of hand gestures like the air quote, the point and the occasional middle finger. (Maybe that no swearing should have made the list?) But I know conversations would be much more exciting if I added some jazz hands or an expressive wave when I’m talking.

    Think about it. If I say “I can’t wait to eat some ice cream.” You would probably smile and nod at me and maybe think, “Why is she telling me this?” BUT if I said, “I want to eat some ice cream” WHILE pretending to scoop ice cream up with a spoon and feed myself. You would be like “Dang, now I WANT ice cream too because she made that so much more interesting.”

    Next, I want to have some more Ha-Ha moments. No you didn’t misread that. I didn’t mean Aha moments where I have a moment of insight. I meant Ha-Ha where I have a moment where I just laugh no matter what the situation.

    I really try to make light of bad situations but I think I will feel much better if I actually label those moments as Ha-Ha and get a good giggle.

    Finally, I guess I need to do some things very specific for the blog. I’ve given this resolution the most thought (Seriously, do those other two sound like I was thinking at all?) I wanted to set a goal that would push me into doing an activity that is outside of my comfort zone.

    I gave some thought to doing a monthly video but I am so uncomfortable in front of a camera with my clothes on.  I get very stiff and make super bad jokes. Wait…I do that without a camera. But still no one wants to see me babble about food when you can just read my babble about food.

    So after a few more minutes of pondering this part of my resolution (imagine me tapping my temple with my index finger…gotta love my new gesticulations), a few things came to me.

    First, tapping you finger to your temple REALLY does help you think well. Next, I am going to bake something every month. I’m not a huge fan of baking but I do know that it is an area of the kitchen that could use some improvements. And finally, I am going to revisit some of my “standard” recipes and try to reinvent my favorites.

    With that said and in honor of the ball dropping down for a new year….I thought I’d start with my meatballs. There are certain things I have made the same way ever since I learned to cook….meatballs are one of them.

    So this week when I made spaghetti, I decided to switch it up. I was going to make my meatballs with an ingredient that I just can’t get enough of these days….salami! Don’t worry….I’m haven’t gone completely crazy (are you picturing me twirling my finger by the side of my head and making a zany face?). I just decided to add some salami to a version of my favorite recipe and go from there.

    What came out of this resolution deserved a pat on the back? (Pat, pat, pat.)

    Ball Dropping Meatballs

    Ingredients

    1 pound of ground veal

    1 pound of ground pork

    ½ cup of chopped up salami (it was about 6 big slices)

    2 Tbsp Parmesan

    2 Tbsp Romano Cheese

    1 egg

    ¼ finely chopped breadcrumbs

    1 tsp garlic

    1 tsp Italian seasoning

    Salt and pepper

    Your favorite batch of uncooked spaghetti sauce

    Directions (REALLY EASY)

    In a large bowl, GENTLY mix all the ingredients together. You want to get things incorporated BUT don’t over mix.

    Roll into balls. Mine our usually about the size of a golf ball…or maybe smidge smaller.

    Heat a skillet with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. In batches, brown your balls. At this point, don’t worry about cooking them all the way because they are going to cook in your sauce.

    In your slowcooker, add your sauce ingredients and your meatballs. Set on low and let it cook for about 6 hours.

    Your meatballs should be perfectly cooked and just moist as moist can be.

    The interesting thing to me is that I expected to have some yummy chewy pits of salami in each ball. The salami broke down during cooking so I got the flavor but not necessarily the texture. They were absolutely delicious.

    I am glad that we have a new year together. I am hoping that 2015 is as exciting as last year but no matter how it turns out I will be able to laugh about it, have a Ha-Ha moment and be okay. (I am making the okay gesture with my hand!)

     


  8. Kayem Artisan Sausages-Easy Comfort Food Recipes for a Winter Meal

    December 30, 2014 by Barb

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    I always wonder how people discover new recipes. Do you just wing it? Copy from your favorite restaurant? Follow a blogger? (Or at least follow a blogger when she is actually cooking and not whining about her chronic illness…by the way…thanks for all of the support this past week!)

    I kind of do all of the above. (Especially the whining thing) With holiday gatherings, shopping and just a lot of friends playing hooky, I’ve been kept me from being too creative these days.

    So lucky for me, Kayem gave me some suggestions for easy weeknight meals using their awesome artisan sausages.   (I did a blog on Kayem earlier this year and have been in love with their sausages for years. Wait….does that sound weird?)

    I usually am hesitant to go straight off of a products recipe link but I took the challenge! (Seriously, you don’t have to twist my arm to hard to eat a Kayem Sausage.)

    My favorite two recipes were the Sweet Pepper Provolone with Linguine Vodka Sauce and the Tortellini Soup with Fire Roasted Pepper Jack.

    The pasta recipe was soooo simple and the best part is it was made with things you should already have in your house. The hardest part of the recipe was trying not to snack on the sausage while making the pasta! The Sweet Pepper Provolone has become one of my favorite sausages because you can actually taste the real pepper pieces.

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    I also fell in love with the Tortellini Soup recipe. Once again, I was trying to only use what I had in the house so I subbed out the tortellini for some little, itty bitty ravioli. Oh this is the go to recipe now for this winter ESPECIALLY because you can switch up your sausage!   (Does that make me a swinger if I switch my sausage?)

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    I made this again with Kayem’s Sweet Sausage too and it was phenomenal. It goes back to my original thoughts on Kayem…they just have a really good natural product and you can taste it in your recipe.

    The new recipes on Kayem’s site are worth a look (and a try.) I am going to make the Jambalaya with Artisan Andouille and Shrimp this weekend. It sounds like the weather change will call for a bowl of comfort food.

    Kayem is making it easier to find their product with a store locater. I am thrilled to say our local store JUST started carrying Kayem! (Don’t be afraid to talk to your store manager about his sausage selection.)

    I really appreciate Kayem providing me with their product so I could play around with their recipes.   Whoever on their team developed them did a great job!

    I like having some recipes that let me utilize what I have in my fridge and pantry. Since I’m not feeling up to snuff these days, it is nice to just cook up my meal without a trip to the store. (Kayem Artisan Sausages freeze up nicely so I have some always in my house!)

    Try some of the recipes out and let me know how you like them! I am sure they will be a welcome change to your regular menus. (And you might just find a few new favorites and fun ways of talking about your sausage!)

     


  9. Our Night Before Christmas

    December 28, 2014 by Barb

    It was the night before Christmas, when all through this house

    A creature was snoring and woke up this cute mouse 

    I left the bed quietly with great care, hoping  I wouldn’t wake my loving teddy bear

    All of a sudden as I left the bed, I doubled over and felt kind of dead.

     

    With me in my nightie and him shorts, I wasn’t sure if I should wake him from his sleeping snorts.

    When down in my stomach there arose such a clatter, I knew instantly that there was something the matter.

    Away from my stomach my body did push and I was in pain all the way to my tush. (Not really but it rhymed)

    



    The ER was on the route of where we need to go and seeing a doctor who would be in the know.

    When what on my CT scan should appear is some weird stuff going on…oh no…oh dear. 
 


    With a liter of fluid and a diagnosis so quick, I knew in a moment that I was becoming quite sick.

     

    More rapid than heartbeats the specialist arose to wipe my tears and blow my nose.

    With a flip of a chart on the hospital wall…they want to cut away, cut away, cut away all.

    As I gathered my thoughts and continued to cry, I know my next step will be to see the surgeon guy.

    So some time will pass before we will know, what they can do to fix my belly and where to stitch and sew.

     

    Not the Christmas day we had on plan but I was happy to be with my sweet man.

    It looks like there will be some things ahead that are a must and I will leave the details to the doctors I trust.

    So I hope you don’t mind me sharing this day in our life and hope to make something yummy next week with my favorite knife.

    I’ll keep on blogging about lots of great food but I might include some stories of this stuff that isn’t so good.

     IMG_0850

    (PS Smile brought to you by pain meds.)  Edit on 12-29-14  This picture was taken on Christmas in the ER.  I am home and appreciate all the messages I’ve received this weekend!


  10. Happy Holidays

    December 24, 2014 by Barb

    Just a quick note to wish all of my readers a happy holiday season.  (Do you think I’m taking this Elf on the Shelf thing a little too far?)IMG_8946