Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our Favorite Feast

For special occasions and spontaneous treats, Brent and I love to have a cheese/meat/fruit board for dinner. It makes a wonderful light dinner (unless you eat way too much bread and cheese, which I am usually guilty of.) and is easy and fun to prepare.

We began this "tradition" after returning from a first anniversary trip to France...we consumed so much wonderful food there...but our favorites were the bread and cheese and wine. (And I was a big fan of the french onion soup, too!) So I hope you can enjoy a "taste of France" soon!

Cheese & Meat board

1. 2-4 cheeses, some of our favorites include Brie, Port Salut, Gouda, but we always like to include a new one to try.
2. baguette, sliced thinly and/or crackers
3. sliced meats, we love herbes de provence-crusted salami (and I am not usually a salami fan)
4. a selection of mustards
5. fruit, we like strawberries, apples, pears, and grapes
6. a great wine, sparkling cider/juice, or sparkling water (what I've been drinking lately, especially Perrier!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Six years

We celebrated our sixth anniversary on Saturday...a quiet and relaxing weekend. It's not often I am without my own words :) but here is a sonnet of Christina Rossetti's (one of my favorite poets) that expresses much of my heart:

Sonnet 5 from "Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets"

O my heart's heart, and you who are to me
More than myself myself, God be with you,
Keep you in strong obedience leal and true
To Him whose noble service setteth free,
Give you all good we see or can foresee,
Make your joys many and your sorrows few,
Bless you in what you bear and what you do,
Yea, perfect you as He would have you be.
So much for you; but what for me, dear friend?
To love you without stint and all I can
Today, tomorrow, world without an end;
To love you much and yet to love you more,
As Jordan at his flood sweeps either shore;
Since woman is the helpmeet made for man.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rainy days

Rainy days are my favorite. Especially afternoon thunderstorms in the summer. But I'll take a rainy day any day of the year! (I know, I know, by now you all know this about me!)
We've had lots of rain lately...and lots of rainbows in front of our house! About two weeks ago, we were outside one evening letting the kiddos play when it started to rain all of a sudden. We ran into the garage and just watched the rain come down. As it started to end (and was just raining lightly) Nathanael wanted me to put him down. He was intrigued by the raindrops he saw and ventured out onto the driveway, followed closely by his big sister. Brent got some great shots of them playing in the rain...I especially love the ones of their reflections!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Week of Wednesdays: Day 7

There are fresh cherries at my grocery store. There is something about them that just makes me happy! They are a happy fruit, I think! Now, I don't like maraschino cherries...and cherry pie filling is not my favorite (unless accompanied by cheesecake)...but I love to eat fresh cherries.

So I brought some home...and I ate lots. And then I scoured the internet for a cherry cobbler recipe (Brent's pick...he is not a big cherry fan) and I found one (at Williams Sonoma) that I made last night.

It's yummy. I baked it in a casserole-style dish...but I think next time (and there WILL be a next time!) I will use a pie dish so the crust spreads over the whole cobbler. Here's the recipe!

For the filling:
5 cups pitted fresh Bing cherries or other sweet cherries (about 3 lb. unpitted)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained
3 Tbs. sugar

For the topping:
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. For individual servings, place six 1-cup ramekins or custard cups on a rimmed sheet. For a large cobbler, have ready a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie dish or baking dish with sides at least 2 3/4 inches high.
2. To make the filling, in a large bowl, stir together the cherries, lemon juice and sugar until well mixed. Divide the fruit among the ramekins or pour into the pie dish or baking dish. Bake the fruit for 10 minutes while you prepare the topping.
3. To make the topping with an electric mixer, in a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and vanilla; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces. Beat on low speed until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture and continue to beat just until combined and a soft, sticky, evenly moistened dough forms.
4. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the hot fruit, spacing it evenly over the surface. The topping will not cover the fruit but will spread during baking to cover it. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Bake the cobbler until the fruit filling is bubbling, the topping is browned, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the topping comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Week of Wednesdays: Days 5 & 6

I hope all you moms out there had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday...I sure did, despite having somewhat sick children! (That is why I didn't get to post yesterday!)

But since I missed yesterday, I will share two biscotti recipes, one of my own and one from my favorite Recipe Blogger, Elise of Simply Recipes (the picture above pictures the recipe from Elise.)

I love to make biscotti as gifts for my favorite coffee drinkers...Brent loves them...I mailed some to him while he was deployed years ago...they are great baked items to mail because they are sturdy and you don't worry about them not being fresh and soft, like you would with cookies or brownies. One Christmas, I made a coffee basket for my Dad and filled up a large mug with my mini-biscotti!

And biscotti is a great excuse to drink coffee! So I hope you enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Biscotti (my recipe)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup banana, mashed
2 eggs
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
2. Beat sugar and butter with mixer on medium speed. Beat in banana, vanillan, and eggs until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Add chocolate chips.
3. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 10 x 3 inch rectangle on the cookie sheet with greased hands.
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes.
5. Cut each rectangle crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Turn slices cut side down on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and dry on top. Turn cookies andbake 10 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack.

Yields: about 40 3-inch (mini) biscotti

Ginger Almond Biscotti

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
3 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 cup blanched almonds (okay to use just raw almonds)

1. Bake almonds 10 minutes at 350°F, let cool, then roughly chop.
2. Cream sugar, molasses and butter. Add eggs, mixing in one at a time. Add minced ginger.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and all spice. Add flour mix into butter and eggs mix, one third at a time. Add almonds. (At this point sometimes it is helpful to refrigerate dough for several hours to make it more easy to form into logs.)
4. Turn out onto a well-floured board, and divide into two portions. With floured hands, shape into logs about 9-11 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch high, and transfer to a greased and floured baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand until cool enough to handle.
5. On cutting board, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Return pieces cut side down to baking sheet. Re-bake 15-18 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Week of Wednesdays: Day 4

Here's a deliciously light recipe that is on my menu for next week. I'm thinking next Sunday's lunch. And maybe the price of blueberries will have gone down by then! It's a Cooking Light recipe...and you can also find it on the website I shared yesterday.Hope you are having a great Saturday! Enjoy!

1 (10-ounce) package Italian-blend salad greens (about 6 cups)
2 cups grilled chicken breast strips (such as Louis Rich; about 6 ounces)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup quartered strawberries
1 cup sliced banana
1 cup sliced peeled kiwifruit (about 3 kiwifruit)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons herbed goat cheese
Raspberry Dressing (recipe follows)

1. Arrange 1 1/2 cups salad greens on each of 4 plates. Divide the remaining ingredients except Raspberry Dressing equally among 4 plates. Drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons Raspberry Dressing.

Yield: 4 servings

Raspberry Dressing

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients; stir with a whisk.

Yields: 3/4 cup

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Week of Wednesdays: Day 3

Two things to share today:
First, my favorite recipe for chicken salad (shared with me by my dear friend Shannon) and second, a website that my friend Emily shared with (where I got this yummy picture of the chicken salad sandwich that I am now craving!)

I'll start with the website though: My is a great new site that has compiled recipes, entertaining tips, menus, etc. on one site from some of my favorite magazines, including Southern Living, Cooking Light, and Cottage Living. The picture above is actually a Rosemary Chicken Salad recipe. Anyway, check this new site out...there is lots and lots to see and taste!

Chicken Salad sandwiches are one of my favorite things for lunch...I am pretty lucky to have a fabulous grocery store nearby that sells three different types of fresh chicken salad for when I don't have time to make my own...but this recipe beats all three of them! I hope you enjoy it too...thanks again's one of our family favorites!

Shannon's Chicken Salad

2.5 cups cooked chicken*, diced and cold
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 .5-2 cups sliced red grapes*
1/2 cup sliced almonds*
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Serve on croissants (my favorite).

*Shannon boils her chicken with salt and a bay leaf for flavor. You can substitute other fruits (I also like dried apricots in the salad) and nuts to suit your taste.

Serves a lot!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Week of Wednesdays: Day 2

I have not made this recipe YET...but it is on my list for this year's grilling season! It sounds really yummy...if you make it soon, let me know what you think! And I think circle-shaped skewers (pictured above) are such a great idea...much easier to fit on a plate than the traditional type, don't you think? You can find some here and here and I'm sure in so many other places!

Fruit Skewers with Vin Santo Glaze

1 cup vin santo (marsala wine)
1 4-inch long orange rind strip
1/4 cup sugar
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon butter

1 cup peaches, cubed and peeled (about 2 medium peaches)
1 cup plums, cubed (about 4 plums)
3/4 cup green grapes
3/4 cup sweet cherries, pitted

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1. Prepare grill.

2. Glaze: Combine first four ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove and discard rind and cinnamon stick. Add butter, stirring with a whisk. Remove from heat; keep warm.

3. Skewers: Thread fruit alternately onto each of 8 8-inch skewers; brush with 2 tablespoons of glaze, reserving remaining glaze. Place on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from grill.

4. Cheese: Combine ricotta, honey, and orange rind and stir well. Spoon 3/4 Tablespoon glaze onto each of four plates and top with two skewers per plate. Spoon 1/4 cup cheese on each plate.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My favorite breakfasts

I think some of my most favorite breakfasts were at the Stone Hill Inn, located in Stowe, Vermont. We spent our honeymoon there...and seriously, we ate like kings! In addition to fruit, baked goods, and traditional sides each morning, they offered a choice of three different "breakfast entrees", with all new choices each morning! (You can peek here for a sample menu!) Brent almost always chose the "savory" option and I always went for the "sweet" option...and we always shared! Each night, we would talk excitedly about what was for breakfast the next morning (it was THAT good)...and it was always a treat.

I was thrilled last year to discover on their website that they had published a cookbook...I ordered it right away, planning to make Brent some of our favorites on our anniversary! The recipes have not disappointed us yet, so I'm going to share two with you today...a savory and a sweet, of course! (And if you really enjoy these and want more, you can find our more about the cookbook right here!)

Sausage, Apple, and Cheddar Omelet

1.5 teaspoons butter
1/2 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup sliced or cubed precooked pork breakfast sausage
1.5 teaspoons butter
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Melt 1.5 tsp. butter in a small skillet. Add the apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Saute until the apple is tender but firm. Stir in the sausage. Set aside.
3. Heat 1.5 tsp. butter in a 6-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs. Cook until the eggs are 3/4 cooked through, lifting the edges occasionally with an ovenproof spatula and allowing the uncooked eggs to flow under.
4. Spoon the cooked apple mixture on top of the eggs and sprinkle with the cheese. Place the skillet under the broiler until the cheese melts and the eggs are fully cooked. Fold the omelet in half and slide onto a serving plate.

Yields: 1 omelet, but plenty to split between two, if you're serving other food as well.

Blueberry Raspberry French Toast Bake

12 slices French bread, cubed
16 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes and softened
1 cup each fresh blueberries and red raspberries
12 eggs
1/3 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Arrange half the bread cubes in a 9x13-inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Scatter the cubes of cream cheese on top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup each of the blueberries and raspberries. Top with the remaining bread cubes.
2. Beat the eggs, maple syrup, and milk in a large bowl. Pour evenly over the layers in the baking dish. Cover with foil and chill overnight in refrigerator.
3. Let dish stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes longer or until puffed and lightly browned.
4. While baking, combine the sugar, water, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened, stirring often. Add the remaining fruit. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. Cook until the butter melts, stirring constantly.
5. Cut the French toast bake into 8 squares and place on serving plates. Top with the sauce and dust with powdered sugar.

Yields: 8 (very large) servings
( begins "A Week of Wednesdays" so check back in each of the next 6 days for more favorite recipes!)

Monday, May 07, 2007


Brent managed to capture this picture of Nathanael a few weeks ago and I just love it! I wonder if he even knew Daddy's camera was focused on him because he is SO focused on his shadow!

That's one of my favorite things about watching my children grow...seeing the delight/surprise/amazement on their faces as they learn and discover the world around them is so precious to me.

Speaking of discovery and children growing, I had a doctor's appt. this morning and learned that I will have another ultrasound in 4 weeks (I wasn't expecting another until the end of July). So, hooray for hopefully being able to soon discover this little one's gender!!!

And I have to discover more computer skills....because I'm hoping to start doing some "remodeling" to my blog this bear with me if things look a little crazy. Hopefully they'll look better than ever soon!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Just Plain Yummy

I was going to share something different today, but after our dinner last night, I have to share this recipe I stumbled upon by reading Jody's blog. This is her recipe for Spaghetti Pie, and my whole family already LOVES it! I am not a fan of traditional spaghetti...I don't think I've ever made it before, to be honest...So it was fun to finally hear Hadleigh's pronounciation of the word: Pisketti.
The recipe below is how I made the Spaghetti Pie, but you can find Jody's original version here. I made this in my Pampered Chef deep dish pie dish, which I love! I served this with a Greek salad...and garlic bread would make a great accompaniment! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did (Brent and I both admitted that we had a desire to devour the whole pie...thankfully, our self-control was stronger than our desire!) And thank you, Jody, for sharing such a great and easy recipe!

Spaghetti Pie

1 box spaghetti (I used half of a 1 pound box)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup parmesan cheese (I used a little extra)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese (I used about 1.5 cups)
1 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 to 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
2. Cook ground beef until browned; drain off fat. Add spaghetti sauce to meat and mix well.
3. Drain spaghetti and return to saucepan. Toss spaghetti with butter until melted. Stir in parmesan cheese and eggs until well-combined.
4. Lightly spray deep pie dish with cooking spray; press spaghetti into and up sides of pie dish to form a crust. Spread cottage cheese over spaghetti. Spread beef over cheese and noodles. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ba Ba Boom!

This is my little guy...our not-so-chubby "chubby buddy"...Hadleigh's "Naniel". I don't blog about him nearly enough...maybe because Hadleigh in her "3-ness" does and says plenty to keep the blog (and me) busy...but Nathanael's personality bubbles over and is infectious.
In the picture above, he is showing us his "happy smile"...which can make any yucky day all-of-a-sudden a happy one.
His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of our favorites of his include:
Bible (he says it ALL the time),
Ba-ba-boom! (we're really not sure where this came from, but he loves it and we love it.)
eb-bow (elbow, as he points to his, or Hadleigh's, or mine)
peas (please)
ang-goo (thank you...exactly how Hadleigh pronounced it when she FINALLY decided to use it...he picked it up on his own and uses it sporadically after receiving something.)
Elm-mo (with an almost silent "l"...he uses Elmo to describe any cartoon/video/picture of a video/the t.v.)
Mimi (this is his name for the phone, which was also Hadleigh's first name for the phone, which also happens to be my mom's "grandmother name"...hmmm...I wonder who I talk to a lot!)
Bankee (whenever he needs a little comfort from his blankie)
Bowl (which means he either wants the food on the table in front of him or he is through with the bowl on his tray.)
He loves to give high-five's, every now and then he will give Mommy a kiss (mmm-uh), he lives to wrestle Daddy and do anything and everything with Hadleigh. But one of my favorite things about him is that he doesn't mind being covered in kisses...I kiss him constantly if I am holding him...he has the most wonderful soft skin...I describe him as gooey, which my sister thinks is preposterous, but you other mothers will understand and identify, I am sure. (And yes, Hilary, I could just eat him up!)
So I'll leave you with this picture of the little boy who constantly makes me thankful. He is pointing out all his body parts (eyes, ears, teeth, cheeks, nose, elbows) after dinner at the table...and of course, his hands are so dirty and greasy (he's a boy after all) but nevertheless, he has to point out his head!

© 2011. All Rights Reserved. | Prefab Blog Design By Penny Lane Designs