Monday, January 26, 2015

Shrimp, Chili, Salsa, Chicken Fingers = Super Bowl Snacks

Food favorites for the Super Bowl  

Ready, set, hike!

I am sure most of you in the US are aware that Sunday is “Super Bowl Sunday” so unless you are living under a rock, have been on another planet or off the grid, this Sunday many of you will enjoy chicken wings, pizza, beer and many other assorted snacks and beverages all while watching the big game. Or maybe you will be socializing while the game is on just waiting for the next commercial.

Oh come on and admit it, we all love to watch those commercials!

What's on your game day menu?

Hmmm still deciding on our menu, here are a few of my fav’s:

 Shrimp Marinated Lulu’s Awesome Recipe  ~ The shrimp is so delicious as a appetizer or try my Shrimp Pasta Salad, Mardi Gras Style always a fan fav!  

A new family favorite is Apricot Zingers; Dried Apricots, Organic Jalapeno Peppers and Bacon Appetizer from Carries Vitt’s new cookbook, “The Grain-Free Family Table, Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic”.  

What are your favorite Super Bowl munchies? 

Just cook something!  

Cheers! Kary ~ 

“Karen Squires is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to”


Friday, January 16, 2015

Boeuf Bourguignon home cooked

Have you made real beef stew, I mean the way Julia Childs prepared it?  

No, well on a cold rainy day back in 2009 I prepared “Boeuf Bourguignon with Boeuf A La Bourguignonne” Yes Julia Child’s “Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms.”  

If you have not prepared this recipe or had the opportunity to indulge yourself in a mouth watering bowl of this delectable stew you must try it! Or get someone like me to prepare it for you; it is truly a labor of love which you can taste in every bite. 

Of course you need to set aside several hours to prepare this and at least an hour to slowly savor the finished product pared with a nice bottle of your favorite red wine and a freshly baked baguette. No wheat bread with this stew, yes I know white bread always gets a bad rap, but why are the French so healthy and they consume freshly baked bread with white flour, my guess is moderation or more importantly organic wheat with no chemicals or additives, like we have in the states. 

I booted up the DVD player, queued up Julie and Julia on DVD and began my preparations.

The first time I prepared Julia’s recipe I made one exception, I purchased thickly sliced bacon and cut the slices into 1 inch squares. Julia’s recipe calls for a 6 ounce chunk of bacon, removing the rind and simmering the bacon with the rind in water for 10 minutes, adding the rind and cooked bacon to the pot when cooking the stew.

The second time I prepared the recipe I did not simmer the bacon in water, I again used thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces but fried the bacon in my cast iron baking pot over a very low heat, to remove as much fat as possible. The French use pancetta, which is bacon that has not been smoked. 

As for the cut of beef it has been my experience that pre-cut stew meat works really well, already cut into cubes and when slow cooked it will be tender and delicious. You can find Julia Child’s recipe in her cook book of course or at julia-childs-boeuf-bourguignon-recipe, there are some great suggestions for preparing this recipe on the site as well.  

While watching Julie and Julia’s cooking journey on the telly I chopped, diced, boiled and cooked my way through the movie. 

The result was just plain yummy!  

Over the years I have made many different versions of Julia’s julia-childs-boeuf-bourguignon-recipe. Check back for my crock pot recipe. 

What’s your favorite Beef Stew recipe?  

Just cook something! 

Cheers~ Kary

Favorite Kitchen Helpers that I used to prepare this recipe:

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round French  Oven ~BUY NOW

 “Karen Squires is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to”

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Club Selections 2015 "Have you Read the Book ? Book Club"

Happy New Year from “Have you read the Book? Book Club" 

Start with a group of friends, add good books (sometimes not so good books), always great food, lively discussions, sharing of truths and you end up with have you read the book, book club and a special bond between friends.
January 2015
Last week we had our Christmas/New Year’s celebration at City Tavern, a Charlotte favorite that recently opened in Waxhaw, NC.  We selected our books for 2015 which I have listed below, and enjoyed a great meal, shared lour book selections and lots of laughs. I can not remember exactly when we launched our book club, I think 2002…hmmm not sure but we have been having fun and sharing laughs, tears, good books and wonderful food ever since. 
I believe it was 2011 when we changed our name from The Heathwood Book Club”, not a very creative name to “Have you Read the Book? Book Club”.  And yes we do read the books! Well most of us do, however sometimes life gets in the way of reading the book selection or maybe you start the book and it just is not good timing for that particular book. For instance when our selection was The Art of Racing in the Rainmy best buddy Denali a rescue dog, passed away... Every time I tried to read the book I was in tears and have not picked it up again since. Maybe some day, the ladies tell me I would love it. 
Anyways, we renamed the book club, because even if you haven’t read the book, we all need some girl time and bonding. SO it is never an issue if one of us hasn’t had time to read the book, the ones who did read the book will provide a summary prior to our discussion and that my friends is why our book club is “Have you read the Book? Book Club”. It’s all about good friends, sometimes very intense discussions, awesome food and ok maybe a glass of vino!

Here’s our selection for 2015 ~ I will be posting on my blog each month after we read the book and share some of our thoughts and of course write about the food!

All of us ladies love a good book and would love to hear your suggestions. Do you have a favorite author? Thank you for stopping by!

Cheers! Kary

Month       Book                                                                     Author
                     Click on the Link to Purchase any of the books listed below  
January   ~     “The Fault in our Stars”                                    John Green

February  ~    “The School of Essential Ingredients”              Erica Bauermeister

March     ~       “The Burning Room”                                         Michael Connelly      

April        ~       “OrphanTrain”                                                Christina Baker Kline

May         ~        “Big Little Lies"                                              Liane Mariarty

June        ~       “Be My Eyes”                                                   Dustin Stevens

September~     “The Goldfinch”                                                Donna Tartt

October    ~      “Annie Foreman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral”   Kris Radish

November ~     Between Sisters                                                 Kristen Hannah

December ~    Christmas Party and Book Selection for 2016
July and August ~Summer vacation and fun summer reading, we will continue to add to the list as we recommend good reads, and cookbooks as well.

Don't Give Up,Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life  Louis Zamperini~ amazing story and UnBroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Grain-Free Family Table” Carrie Vitt ~ Great recipes and a healing journey

100 Days of Real FoodLisa Leaks ~ Real food recipes, suggestions for a healthy life

  2014 Book Club Selections

Charles Sailor~Good discussion book

Dorthea Benton Frank ~ we love all her books!

Liane Moriarty~ Great read

Jenny Wingfield~Compelling story

John Grisham~Jake's journey continues

Tammy Hoag~Great read

Sue Monk Kidd ~Beautiful story

Mark Childress~Crazy fun yet serious

Jane Green~ Great read and subject matter

2013 Book Club Selections


Kathryn Harvey 

Cathy Lamb~Loved this book

Michael Connelly

Elin Hildebrand

Lisa Genova

Katrina Kittle

William Landay

Louise Erdrich

Gillian Flynn

2012 Book Club Selections


Todd Burpo

Kristin Hannah

David Sedaris

Chris Cleave

Tatiana De Rosnay

Stieg Larson

Harlan Coben

Nicholas Sparks

2011 Book Club Selections


James Patterson Sundays at Tiffany's

Gabrielle Charbonnet
The Doctors Wife
Elizabeth Brundag

Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Ann Shaffer
Fly Away Home
Jennifer Weiner

  Dennis Lehan
  Half Broke Horses
Jeannette Walls

Garth Stein

Michael Connelly
“Karen Squires is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to”