Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shrimp Pasta Salad; Kary's Mardi Gras Style and "The Invention of Wings"



September 2014 Selection The Invention of Wings
Author: Sue Ann Monk 
Thank you stopping by and spending a few moments with our book club.  
The book club ladies and myself are really big fans of Sue Ann Monk and one of our all time favorite books was The Secret Life of Bees, published in 2002. So when Rosemary suggested The Invention of Wings we all agreed that we would love to add this to the list for 2014, and selected September as the month to discuss the book.

The book is set in the city of Charleston, SC in 1803, one of my favorite cites. And just the thought of the variety food that is offered in this city brings to mind so many of my favorite recipes. 
 
I was trying to decide what to serve at book club and inspired by The Invention of Wings I decided to borrow from several of my recipes; Shrimp Pasta Salad, Mardi Gras Salad and Lulus’ Awesome Shrimp Appetizer for my book club meal.  Ok now I am hungry and it is early morning, sometimes writing about food leads me to want to munch all day… 
Kary's Shrimp Pasta Salad, Mardi Gras Style. Hmm little heavy on the Parm


Back to the book, Sue Ann Monk’s writing transports you to the coastal city of Charleston, SC; you can almost feel the salty sea air on your skin and smell the mouth watering aromas that drift out of the doors of the downtown eateries and permeate the air.  

The story is set 58 years before the US Civil War and I was not aware that the book was partially inspired by historical events until I read about the author, Sue Ann Monk and how she was inspired by the Grimke sister’s. 

Click on the links for an overview of the book and travel back in time with “Handful” and the Grimke sisters Sarah and Angelina. These brave women fought for equal rights in a time when women were seen and not heard. I encourage you to read the book and take a virtual trip back in time to Old Charleston, SC.  

Have you read the book? What are some of your favorite Charleston style recipes?  
 
Just cook something!
 
Cheers! Kary

And now for my Shrimp and pasta Entrée served with Trader Joe’s Cornbread 

        Ingredients:

        1 head iceberg lettuce chopped

        1 bunch (or 10-ounce bag) fresh spinach leaves, stemmed, rinsed and chopped

         I like to use baby spinach but any fresh spinach works as well

        8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

        ½ red onion thinly sliced

        1 11 oz can Mandarin orange sections, drained or you can use the juice for the dressing

        1 pound Cooked shrimp, peeled and devein (you can purchase cooked & cleaned shrimp) You can use this recipe to marinate: Lulus’ Awesome Shrimp Appetizer or toss with the dressing and chill overnight which is what I did this time

        1 package Mushroom tortellini

        ¼ cup Shredded Fresh Parmesan Cheese 

        Dressing:

        ½ cup cider vinegar

        1 teaspoon onion powder

        1 Tablespoon honey or 1 Tablespoon Agave or ¼ cup sugar or the juice from the mandarin oranges,

        1 tsp dry mustard

        2/3  cup vegetable or olive oil

        Dressing Options- I currently used about ¼ cup of “All Natural Garlic Vinaigrette from Aldi’s        

 
        Cooking Directions

        Whisk together the cider vinegar, onion powder, sugar, mustard and vegetable oil

          This can be made several days ahead of time and refrigerated

        In a large skillet, over medium heat cook the bacon, allow the bacon to cool then crumble

         You can cook the bacon several days ahead and refrigerate

        Rinse the lettuce and spinach, drain in a colander, pat dry with paper towels and chop

         I like to cut off the stems from the spinach

        Slice the red onion

        Drain the mandarin oranges

        Cook and clean the shrimp.

         Options: You can use this recipe to marinate: Lulus’ Awesome Shrimp Appetizer or toss with the dressing and chill overnight, or just add to the salad and toss in  

        Cook the tortellini per the package directions and drain

        In a large bowl toss together lettuce, spinach, bacon, onion, mandarin oranges, shrimp  and tortellini

        Whisk dressing; add about half to the salad, toss, and taste. If you need more dressing add.

         Some times less is more for dressing and Cheese

        Grate ¼ cup of Parmesan Cheese over the salad and Serve!  

Crunchy French bread or Cornbread are a great compliment to this dish.  

A delicious and satisfying meal for any occasion!
 
 Cheers! Kary

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Gone Girl", Book Club & Cabbage Chicken Salad




Our book club read Gone Girl for our November 2012 selection. I wrote this post last year and never got around to posting so in celebration of the Gone Girl Movie, opening this Friday October 3, 2014 I thought I would go ahead and post this.   

November 2012 book club was hosted by Rose, as always the house was festively dressed for the Thanksgiving holiday, radiating warmth. Rose usually hosts our November book club and since it usually falls after Thanksgiving Rose treats us with a Mexican feast, a nice change from all the turkey we have just consumed! 

Last year Thanksgiving fell during the last week of November so our book club was the week prior to the Turkey feasting. We were expecting Mexican and our Rose surprised us with a deliciously light and flavorful Asian Chicken Salad that delighted the taste buds!  

Kary's Broccoli Slaw with Chicken
 

This month was my selection, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn which we all thought was entertaining, which is not always the case. Some of our best conversations have been about books that not all of us cared for, the resulting discussions are exceptionally interesting and passionate. Several of our group read the books many months ago, so thanks to Rose and Katie for reminding of us of all the diabolical twists and turns involving Amy and Nick.  

We all agreed that this book was deliciously wicked and much of the discussion was about the author and what her background was. Some of the group believes that in order to write such a diabolical story, one would have to have experienced the situation at some level. However after reading Gillian’s short bio on her website it sounds like she has an amazing imagination, rather like Amazing Amy in her book.  

Every month we all look forward to gathering together, sharing a meal, lively conversation and most importantly the relationships that have deepened over the years. And this month the burning question for all of us was “How far you would go for revenge, and does your mind even think this way? 
 
Have you read the book? Are you going to see the movie? 

My book club buds; Anne, Elaine, Katie, Katy, Lynn, Rose and Rosemary, I love you ladies! See you next week at my house for book club.
 
Next week look for my next book club post "The Inventions of Wings" Sue Monk Kidd

 Cheers! Kary

Here’s my recipe for Broccoli Chicken Salad, similar to Asian Chicken Salad. I need to get Rose’s recipe for myself and to post.

Ingredients:

• 1 packages of pre-shredded broccoli slaw (broccoli, carrots and red cabbage) or pre-shredded coleslaw or 1 small head of cabbage sliced

• 3 green onions diced

• 1 ½ to 2 cups of cooked chicken.

– 2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces or purchase roasted chicken and dice into bite size pieces. Use left over chicken for salad, sandwiches or toss with pasta

• 1/4 cup of raw shelled sunflower seeds or sliced almonds, toasted

• 1 3 oz package of Top Ramen noodles, chicken flavor

– You can use other flavors, I just like the chicken

• Dressing:

– 1/4 cup of olive oil

– 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

– 1 teaspoon sugar or Steva

– 1 seasoning packet from the Top Ramen Noodles

Cooking Instructions:

• Rinse off the green onions, cut off the root and dice

• Rinse off the slaw in a colander and dry with a paper towel

• Cut the chicken into bite size pieces

• In a large bowl add slaw, diced green onions and chicken

• In a sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or non-stick cooking spray and toast the sunflower seeds on medium heat. Watch closely or the sunflower seeds will burn!

• In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sweetener and the Top Ramen seasoning packet

• Add the dressing to the large bowl and toss all ingredients

• Crumble the Top Ramen noodles (do not cook) and toss in the salad prior to serving for a crunchy salad

– You can refrigerate leftovers, the salad tastes great the next day even with the noodle soften from sitting over night in the salad

The salad is ready to serve at room temperature or chill.

 Do you have a favorite Cabbage/Asian Chicken Salad?
 
Cheers! Kary

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Dolphin Tale 1 and 2 Adventure, Meeting Winter and Hope

 Dolphin Tail 2 opened last weekend and I couldn’t wait to revisit the wonderful world of
Winter and her friends at the Clearwater Aquarium,  where their mission is to Rescue, Rehab and Release.
I can’t believe it was over two years ago that my sissy Debbie, niece Molly and I loaded up the Mini Cooper and motored down to Clearwater, FL to meet Winter and friends.

 

Molly and I had been making plans for months, monitoring Winter on the Winter Cam, plotting and planning our great adventure.

 

Finally the day was here, early Monday morning in May 2012 we departed from my home in Charlotte NC, about a 400 mile journey, our first stop on our motoring adventure was St Augustine, FL where we spent several days at the beach home of our great friends Lynn and Paul.

We arrived just in time for an early dinner at the Beachcomber, which is one of our favorite local places to enjoy fresh seafood. Providing a casual atmosphere, nestled behind the beach dunes where you can relax on the deck, feel the ocean breeze on your face and the Atlantic Ocean is your backdrop.
Kary and Molly 2012
“St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States and if you would to read about this delightful city I recommend that you visit Simply St. Augustine, a blog written by a local. Today I would like to focus on Winter and will write more about St. Augustine in another blog post.

 Next stop, a 250 mile drive from St. Augustine to Clearwater Florida, through a torrential rain storm,  fortunately  we arrived safely at the  Marriott Residences Inn, a two bedroom suite awaited us, which the girls loved and the location was convenient to all the attractions in Clearwater.

The next morning we were up early, really excited and ready to meet Winter!
Molly and the Boathouse 2012
The Clearwater Aquarium looks exactly as it does in the movies Dolphin Tale 1 and 2.  down to the houseboat docked right next to the Aquarium, Molly waiting for Rufus to drop in for a visit. This is truly an aquarium completely focused on Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release.

We finally arrived at Winters home (several U-Turns were involved) where Sissy Debbie and I surprised Molly girl with the Sea Life Safari where we encountered dolphins in the wild, seabirds and had a hands-on-experience on the gorgeous intra-coastal waters.  

One more surprise for Molly was the Encounter Behind The Scenes where we were able to see the tanks where the “patients” are rehabilitated, the hospital and our guide was really knowledgeable and explained how the program works.

Next stop was the Daily Presentations, and the Brighthouse Theater. Also available is the Boat and Kayak Tours and be sure to check out all Activities prior to your trip and reserve your tickets, we did and we were able to plan our day. Snacks, ice cream and beverages are available on-site or pack a cooler with Broccoli Slaw Salad with Chicken, fresh fruit and water, Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches always a good choice and easy!
Winter playing 2012


Winter 2012
The absolute highlight of the day was meeting Winter, Molly had written a note for Winter and after the Animal Encounter Molly spoke with one of the trainers and showed her the note that she wrote to Winter. (We did not get the name of the trainer but I think I spotted her in the Dolphin Tale 2).

Molly showing her note to Winter
The trainer whispered to Molly for us follow her downstairs to the underwater viewing room, as Molly held her note up to the glass the trainer called Winter and Winter swam up to the glass, I swear she looked right at Molly and the note.

It was such a magical moment and there was a couple with their two children watching the entire encounter and the Father turned to us with tears in his eyes and said “this was the most amazing part of the day, Thank you for this”.

It was an incredible adventure for Molly, Debbie and I, also very educational. So make plans soon to  enjoy a day of Adventure that will warm your heart and touch your soul!

Have you met Winter or Hope yet? Have you seen Dolphin Tale 1 and 2?
Please share your stories, it only takes a minute to sign up as a follower or leave your email address for updates.

 Cheers!  Kary

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Galapagos Adventure!






The cruise Director greets us with “Good Morning, Good Morning” over the ships intercom system; and so the day begins on the Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos Islands.

This adventure has been planned for over two years, and finally we arrive in Quito, Ecuador on May 2nd, 2014. Note to travelers, your passport must be valid for six, yes 6 months in order to travel to Ecuador. I have traveled for years and somehow missed this Very important fact, and yes my best buddy and travel agent Betty did inform me when we booked the trip but somehow I missed it…. The important thing is that my hubby and I were able to renew our passports and off we went on the most incredible adventure.

I will be posting more pictures, however in order to get you started please follow these links for Travel-Monkey and begin your photographic journey to the Galapagos Islands. Enjoy these links, Kongo is a fabulous photographer and writer! Cheers! Kary

 
 
Journey to the Center of the World | Travel Monkey

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

What's on the Grill; Scallops, Chicken, Bratwurst


 “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” -Mark Twain

 On this Memorial Day weekend let us remember those who have fallen for our country and our military who continue to stand on the wall to protect the United States of America.

“I am proud to be an American. Because an American can eat anything on the face of this earth as long as he has two pieces of bread.” -Bill Cosby

If Hamburgers or Hot Dogs don’t appeal to you this Memorial Day weekend here are several recipes that I am sure will please your palate.

Just cook something! Cheers! Kary









Saturday, January 4, 2014

Great Music, The Man From Ravcon & Chili on a cold winter day







 

 In many parts of the US it is cold outside and we could all use a little warming up and some great music always makes for a better day. 

Awhile ago we were in our favorite record store in Charlotte, NC and became friends with one of the employees Mike Brown, or in the world of prog/surf/rock/pop/spaghetti western music, he is known as The Man From Ravcon.

Mike played in a Charlotte band for many years called The Ravelers but for the last few years he has been writing, recording and producing his own tunes as The Man From Ravcon.  Mike not only writes all the music but he plays all the instruments on every song and recently released his sixth album, Skyscraper.

My hubby Doug and I are always on the hunt for great music so when we discover something new and exciting we love to share, just click on any of the following links, enjoy the ride and don’t forget to buy…..

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/TheManFromRavCon (link for sampling all six releases and buying)








The Chili is simmering accompanied by the cool sounds from the The Man From Ravcon.
 Cheers! Kary

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sandy Shuman Jewelry - Nature inspired designs made from the heart….urban, earthy, bohemian, and eclectic

Today is  “Shop Local Saturday” and a perfect day to jump back into blogging and introduce to you a  Whimsically Artistic Jewelry Designer, Sandy Shuman .

Sandy’s shop is not a local brick and mortar store however several months ago Sandy launched her on-line small business .


Please stop in, take a look and  shop around!  

Sandy Shuman Jewelry -  Nature inspired designs made from the heart….urban, earthy, bohemian, and eclectic.  

My new favorite bracelet designed and created by my sister-in-law Sandy Shuman is a joy to behold with rustic blue/green turquoise joined together by artisan silver heart toggle.
 
I just love all the pieces in her collection!  

If you are shopping for unique one of a kind jewelry I have the shop for you!   

Just click on the link, Sandy has imagination, style and I just love her presentation of every piece of jewelry! 


Every piece of jewelry is a unique creation designed by Sandy.  Here are just a few…. 

Looking for a symbol of independence Steer Your Own Course Necklace by SandyShumanJewelry on Etsy 

Wear a little reminder of the sea with the

 
Enjoy the experience, you are just one click away! 
 

Cheers! Kary