Monday, September 11, 2017

Peaches, Mozzarella, Pacenta & Basil

Fresh tomato season in the southeast is over and one of my favorite tomato dishes is Caprese Salad. 

A couple of weeks ago hubby and I loaded up the car and headed to the 1000 Islands on the Saint Lawrence River in New York state. Doug’s brother and wife have a cottage up there on a lake, which is amazing and a really beautiful part of our country.

I brought fresh peaches with us and Cathy had a new recipe to try; peaches, mozzarella, pancetta, basil, drizzled with balsamic syrup. Oh, wow they were yummy and that easy to make.

Just slice the peaches and mozzarella, then layer with the pancetta and drizzle the balsamic and top with fresh basil. Yep that’s it and new summer favorite!


Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~ 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah with a side of Pizza



"Have you read the book, book club is back! 

We gathered at The Stuffed Olive in Waxhaw, NC to share a meal, laughs and discuss The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah.

“The Nightingale”by Kristin Hannah opens with this statement; “If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love, we find out who we want to be; in war, we find out who we are.” This got my attention, did this grab yours?

As I mentioned in my last post about our book club we decided to try something different this year and meet at some of our local restaurants rather than host from one of our homes. We always love getting together and look forward to catching up, sharing lots of laughs, great food and our thoughts about the book.

Meeting and discussing the book at a restaurant has a completely different vibe than meeting at one of our homes. Still enjoyable, but at one of our homes it’s just plain comfy. Also, I love writing about what our host prepared for the evening. Stay tuned we may change back to hosting at home.

We settled in at The Stuffed Olive, ordered pizza and got down to the business of discussing our book.

Kristin Hannah is one of our groups favorite authors and again she does not disappoint us. The Nightingale is set in France during World War II and although we have all read many history books about war WW II, this book is focused on two sister’s perspectives, experiences and about the struggles that the women and children face. Back then women were usually not on the front lines shooting guns, but they were fighting a different kind of battle in their homes and villages. And some women, like Isabelle found a way to join the resistance, I won’t share the details and spoil the story, you will just have to read The Nightingale.

In The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah’s  story tugged at my heart strings, brought tears to my eyes, an ache to my belly and I could almost feel the chill in my bones. The story is about the Women in war and it is set during World War II in worn torn France during the German occupation.

Kristin’s writing takes me to a place where I can only imagine what is was like to experience the screeching of the air raid sirens, the cold harsh winters, the anger, loneliness, hunger and despair that people felt during WWII and any war zone.
To me the story is about the women’s hope for the war to end, for husbands to find their way home and to get back the simple pleasures of life they experienced before the war. Basic survival was the goal for the day. And in war everyone is damaged, some are heroic and some not so much.

I found myself shivering, trying to stay warm while reading about how Vienne tried to keep her family from freezing and not starving.

This was one of those books that continues to haunt me. Kristin writes about the struggles the women face; basically, just trying to survive, to feed their families and avoid freezing during the winter while many of the German soldiers ate their food, took over not only their town but homes and abused the women.

War is truly an awful thing and as I read The Nightingale I was thinking about the horrors of war, but my hope continues to be that someday all mankind will lay down their guns and find peace throughout the world, war does not solve problems. 

A haunting story…. Kary~


2017 Book Selections:
 “Before the Fall” Noah Harvley
  “The Nest” Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  “Dark Town” Thomas Mullen
 “Mister Owitas Guide to Gardening” Carol Wall  


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th of July Recipes, Fire up the Grill!

Happy Fourth of July! Let Freedom Ring and thanks to all who came before and who still serve our country so we can celebrate holidays like today. 


 Every 4th of July as I slice up the watermelon, make potato salad and fire up the grill I am transported back to all the great 4th of July gathering so far in my life. So many memories; as a child swimming all day with our friends, grilling hamburgers and waiting for dusk so we could join all our neighbors light up the neighborhood with sparklers and fireworks. 

Beach holidays, celebrating with family and later taking our kids to the pool at Raintree Country Club and other years spending the 4th of July holiday in Myrtle Beach. And then there was the year Doug climbed Mount Rainer while I watched and waited for him to safely make it down the mountain. 4th of July spent in Seattle, Washington and this year just hanging close to home away from the maddening crowds!


Enjoy the day and every day, oh and Just Cook Something! Cheers! Kary~

Mac and Cheese

Poplano Peppers with Cream Cheese and Bacon 





Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pesto with Fresh Basil, Walnuts, Garlic, Cheese and Olive Oil

My basil plant is thriving and it is the first of June, time to make pesto!



Yesterday I  made a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich with pesto as spread, I usually use mayonnaise, it was scrumptious. Check out some of my recipes with pesto: Pesto Lasagna, Pizza, Crunchy Bread, Pesto Chicken Sandwich, scramble with eggs and as a marinade for chicken and fish.

This makes a about 8 ounces
 
Pesto Ingredients:

• 1 cup of olive oil
• 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated
• 1/2 cup of walnuts or pine nuts
• 6 cloves of garlic, remove the skin add depending on how much you like garlic
• 2 cups of fresh basil; about 2 handfuls
• Dash of sugar or honey 
• I like to keep walnuts in my refrigerator to keep them fresh; eat as a snack, add to a salad, sprinkle on broccoli, use your imagination
• Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 2 to 4 minutes until the mixture is smooth

• You can store the pesto in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kitchari Soup Mung Beans and Basmati Rice

Back in February I posted a recipe for Kitchari, my first attemp cooked up like risotto not soup….and later I realized I only used 4 cups of broth not the 8 that was recommended. I just grabbed a 32 ounce box of organic vegetable broth not thinking about the fact that this was 4 cups not 8. 

Today I decided to try again and whip up a pot of Kitchari Soup. 

Here’s what I used:
4 cups low-sodium Organic Vegetable Broth- I used one 32 ounce box of broth
1/4 cup split mung beans, found these at Earth Fare and really like the flavor
1/4 cup brown basmati rice
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds. If you’re not familiar with fennel it has a licorice taste and can be very strong
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, this is a current personal favorite

I also added 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. onion powderke

In a large cooking pot add the vegetable broth, beans, rice and stir in turmeric, cumin, fennel, paprika, garlic and onion powder
Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 to 35 minutes. This time is was more like a soup and made 3 servings, about a cup each. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe, what are you cooking? 

Just Cook Something! Cheers! Kary!

Here are a couple of interesting and educational sites:
Kitchari Healing Stew, Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse 
Ayurveda a Science of Internal Healing

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Chicken Thighs Mediterranean Style

If you like Chicken thighs you will love this Mediterranean inspired recipe.

I usually marinade Chicken Thighs in Lite Sesame Dressing for a day or two then cook on the Grill. I was trying to think of a different way to cook them and here is what I had on-hand:


8 boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chicken broth
2 green onions, you can use ½ of a yellow onion or 2 shallots
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
4 Tbs. capers
4 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Using a mixing bowl add the chicken broth, green onions, red wine vinegar and caper, whisk together set aside. If you have olives or dates you can add these as well.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, add the chicken thighs and brown on each side, on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Turn off the stove top and pour the liquid over the chicken thighs, add the sprigs of rosemary and bake in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken thighs are tender.

I served this with a spinach salad and this recipe is a keeper!

Just cook something! Cheer! Kary~



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cocoa Powder Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

 Cocoa Powder Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

I have a favorite chocolate cookie recipe that I have been using for years from Betty Crocker’s cookbook “Baking Classics” copywrite 1979. It was a gift from my friend
Margie when Doug and I got married. This recipe “Chocolate Drop Cookies” has been a family favorite for years, of course with a few changes, this recipe includes 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, melted.

Last year I was out of chocolate bars but had cocoa powder, so I went in search of a cookie recipe with cocoa powder as an ingredient. The recipe that I found is on FOOD.com and is by wannabe runway model, posted on July 22, 2007.

The new family favorite and here’s Kary’s take:
Kary’s way                                    Original Recipe
½ cup butter                                 ½ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar                         ½ cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoon sugar                       ¼ cup sugar
1 egg                                            1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour                 1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder                       ¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda                 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt                            1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup peanut butter chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, I usually put it in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften.

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until creamy, crack the egg in a small bowl, add along with the vanilla and stir until well mixed. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mix in until well blended. Fold in the peanut butter chips.

I usually chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes, it just makes the dough easier to work with. Using a teaspoon place the cookies on the cooking sheet, I line mine with parchment paper or use a Silpat to cover the cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, I have a convection oven so this is the perfect time for these cookies in my oven. Also, I like a chewy cookie, hey it’s your cookie so bake it your way just don’t burn them!


What’s your favorite cookie recipe? Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~