delicious flashbacks

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I’m back and boy, have I missed blogging!  In fact, since a dear member of my family has been in the hospital, Sheila, (my computer) I haven’t even thought about posting anything.  She may be able to get off life support and come home soon (fingers crossed), but she’s still at Dr. Erica’s office. :)  So today, I saw a glimmer of hope; I’ll write on my break at work today!

Over the Labor Day weekend, I made these two “flashback” recipes that were featured on my blog last year.  Since many of you are new followers, please take a look around my 2013 posts because this girl posted every day for 365 days last year.  Sometimes, I look back and think, “How the **** did I do that; amidst a cross country move, leaving a job with none to go to, finding a place to live, and everything else that went on in 2013?”  I don’t know, but I did it and I’m still a proud woman of my accomplishments.  Most importantly, I know I could not have done it without the “Big Man” upstairs.  He’s a great blogging mentor, :) so thank you, God!  You rock!

Entrez (means “enter” for the non-french speakers in the house) recipe #1:

Blueberry Banana Lavender Muffins.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  They are still as good as I remember and I’m pretty sure Yankee Candle should pay me for the use of this scent for a new candle.  Here’s the original link with the recipe: http://365daystounstuck.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/day-199-lovely-lavender/

And recipe #2:

Chocolate Coconut Frosting Shots.  Get this;  they are almost healthy!  Maybe not if you eat the whole batch like I have been known to do, but 3 tiny ingredients make for an amazing treat.  If you follow Chocolate Covered Katie, who is an amazing cook/baker of all things sweet and healthy, it came from her site originally.  But here’s my link from last year with the recipe:  http://365daystounstuck.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/day-72-did-you-say-frosting/

 

So, thanks for walking down memory lane with me today.  I hope you try these!  blue1 choc2

 

 

 

 

food on your face

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Today, rather than expending my energies by ranting and raving my unusually aggressive opinions on facebook regarding a video I saw, ( it was a really minor thing, some kids at the Jersey shore were chasing a seal, which is extremely rare for these parts.  They didn’t hurt it, but I was insensed by the parents’ lack of say, “parenting”, or maybe the lack of common sense that this is a precious wild animal…not a play toy to put braids in its hair or play paintball with, but to enjoy from afar), I am going to share with you what happens when I get an overabundance of delicious strawberries!

Ok, there is no real good way to take pictures of having smashed up strawberries on your face that isn’t going to evoke images of the AMC’s fall premiere of The Walking Dead, but you will get the idea.  The facial mask I made was probably not as pureed as it should have been, but it still smelled like heaven and yes, it tasted great, too.  Aside from the grit of the rice, because I used a coffee grinder to pulverize plain, uncooked rice instead of buying rice powder, it worked pretty well.  I felt clean and certainly yummy.  Fingers were sucked on after application and I can’t say an occasional blob of strawberry goo didn’t pop into my mouth, too, but all in all, it was fun and turned out great.

Here is the original recipe I used and doctored up just a bit by substituting honey for the milk because it has great moisturizing properties, and it tastes better:

http://www.savvymiss.com/beauty-fashion/beauty-tips-beauty-advice/beauty-archive/article/strawberry-milkshake-facial-317/news-browse/4.html

And heck, if you’re reading this and you aren’t into health and beauty, looks like you found yourself a DIY Halloween makeup recipe, at least!

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To just…write

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As I gazed down at the gutter on our walk this morning, littered with a Hello Kitty sticker and a few scattered leaves, I thought, today, I want to just write.  For me.  No pressure to create a new recipe, make a challenging craft project or worry about how many “likes” I get on this post , but to just ramble a few words and sit back and reflect.

We’ve been in our new “old” home for a mere 3 1/2 months and although it seems like it’s already been years, I need to stop and just reflect a bit.  To stop stressing over the pile of unopened boxes, the ever-growing list of upgrades that the house needs and the money we need to sink into making the yard perfect.   Instead of worrying about my new job which isn’t my exact favorite thing; staring at spreadsheets and columns of programming jargon,  and worrying about driving into the 2nd most dangerous city in the US on a daily basis, I need to just chill.  Reflect and be grateful.  Yes, I have a tendency to get impatient when things aren’t perfect or don’t conform to my plans, but heck, I have a job!  I have gotten caught up in a wave of urgency and busy-ness that is constantly telling me, “you need to keep looking for another job that pays better” and “you have to get the house in ship shape order in case anyone drops by”.  trees1

How about I just sit the heck back and enjoy it?  Enjoy the people at my job; they are some of the most fascinating I’ve met in a long time.  The woman who brings in her “welfare food” to share and the one who eats a salad consisting of all croutons, cheese and no veggies.  Or just take a few minutes to sit in the grass and enjoy my incredible yard even though I can hear the constant whizzing of cars on the turnpike.  Heck, I didn’t even have grass at our home in Colorado. I mean, look at these trees!  trees2 trees3I’m truly in a suburban oasis of sorts.  Where else can you access two of NJ’s busiest freeways, smell the roasting of coffee beans from the coffee plant a mile away and still catch a glimpse of a family of wild turkeys strolling across your front yard?

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Today, I will just chill and write and take a deep breath.  Re-set my internal need for being busy and be grateful for how far we’ve come.  Last year at this time, I was just starting to load the moving pods to move to the Jersey shore.  Little did we know we’d be where we are now.  I mean, God was so patient with me in particular.  He made it all possible to move to the shore where I thought I’d be happy.  Then, the worst winter in decades turned my thoughts of “wow, how fun to have the whole shore to ourselves” into, “holy crap, I can’t live another day without being near family and friends or a Starbucks.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’d take a 50 acre farm anyday, but there’s something to be said about being around people.  So, He knew what He was doing and it’s all a part of a bigger plan.  I couldn’t see His plan then, and I still can’t see what He has in store for us next, but, I’m going to sit tight for today.  Sit tight, enjoy my house, the gorgeous trees, my new neighborhood, and just be.  I couldn’t be more happy with where we are now and what God has done for us in the last 365 days.  I didn’t think I would ever be happy in south “jersey” but I am, darn it.  And He had to bring us through the dark times to open our minds to His plan.  See?  His plan was for us to be here all along.  My plan that I forced on Him of living at the beach ended up to be a bad idea. I said last year, “ok, I’ll move to NJ but only if we can live at the beach.”  And He let that happen, but He also had a perfect way of gently showing that it was not the place for us.  It was hard, but the changes we experienced over those dark months at the shore showed what He wanted for us and our “wants” aligned with His wants.  Now THAT, is beautiful!  And now that we’re here, it couldn’t be any sweeter.   I. Am. Blessed.  Besides, a new Whole Foods just opened up down the street. ;)

 

a sensual experience

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I love food.  And I also love summer.  So, naturally, I love summer foods.  How many of you have had the pleasurable experience of eating something so delicious, so bursting with flavor that you ate it with your eyes closed and savored each and every morsel?  Today I did that.  I’m sure I’ve done it many times before, but today, it seemed like a mini getaway.

Fresh, summer produce gets me excited.  Meandering through the rows of gorgeous plant matter at the farmers market is such a treat.  This past week, I carefully picked out my peppers to roast because nothing says summer to me like roasted peppers.  After living in Colorado, famous for their incredible southwestern influenced roasted chili peppers, I knew I had to find an equivalent in NJ.  Alas, they don’t roast peppers at the farmers market here, but they have some great choices to take home and roast my own!

Today I used New Jersey “long hots”, sliced them up, and put them on a baking sheet with some olive oil.  I also cut up some fresh onions and beets to add to my roasting pan.  The smell of roasted peppers and onions is simply sinful!  I roasted in the oven for about 15-20 minutes; just until they are browned and soft-at about 350 degrees.

Now here comes the cool part-the meal!  I made some massaged and oiled kale (which is by far the best way to eat the stuff), tossed it with some fresh tomato, an ear of fresh, raw corn cut off the cob, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, some almonds for protein, some delightfully pungent goat cheese and then topped off my salad with the roasted veggies right out of the oven.  And of course, a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and pepper.

Voila!  Roasted farmers market veggie salad!  You can use almost any veggie to roast and top your salad; mushrooms, cauliflower or even broccoli make for some good choices and it’s such a filling and satisfying meal.

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Thanksgiving in July

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I’ve already heard it; “you’re crazy, cooking all that stuff in the middle of summer,” but for some reason I’ve been dreaming about turkey (not so much the turkey, but the mashed potatoes…yummm :) ) and stuffing for the last couple weeks, so I thought I’d just do it. However, I lightened everything up for a “summer” makeover, including this awesome gluten free dressing with fresh herbs.

Gluten Free Stuffing with Fresh Summer Herbs

1 bag gluten free stuffing mix
8 oz chopped mushrooms
fresh sage, finely chopped (about 5-6 leaves)
fresh thyme, finely chopped (about 4 sprigs)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large green onions, chopped
8-10 large kale leaves, finely chopped (spinach or chard would work well)
1/4 c salted butter (or a vegan alternative)
1 can chicken broth (or veggie broth)
2 eggs (or egg alternative for binding since gf bread doesn’t have the protein “glue” to make it stick together as well as regular bread)

Saute the onions, celery and kale in butter. Once softened, add the mushrooms and cook over medium until soft. Add fresh herbs and saute for about 3 more minutes. Then, transfer to a large bowl to cool to lukewarm. Add 2 eggs and broth, mix up and season with salt and pepper. Pour into greased baking dish and cook at 350 for 30 minutes.

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hot buttered what?

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Good morning and happy Sunday everyone! I’m playing hookey from church and made a pin from Pinterest…I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now; Hot Buttered Cheerios.
I must say, I’m not quite as impressed as I thought I’d be, especially with all the hype! Yes, anything that is sautéed in butter is usually good, but honestly, it just didn’t knock my socks off. Even with my addition of 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar, because I was looking for a sweet crunch for breakfast.

Not my most creative moment in the kitchen but I’m glad I at least tried it. Then again, maybe because I’m not a huge cheerios fan, that would have something to do with it. :)

Hot Buttered Cheerios

2 cups cheerios
2 tb butter
2 ts sugar (optional) or sprinkle salt

Melt butter in the pan, throw the cheerios in, sauté until very slightly browned and sprinkle with sugar.

Have a great day!20140720_071503

a great summer read!

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The time has come, my dear fans, book lovers and readers!

Nowhere But Here, a “park your butt in the hammock, have a glass of pinot noir at hand and settle in” kind of book by my darling friend and accomplished author, Renee Carlino, is now available in paperback! I’m so excited for her and could not be more pleased to hear that this book is already flying off the shelves. So, before you hit the roads for your summer vaca or fill up the inflatable pool for your “stay-cay”, go out and grab a copy.

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Thank you to the lovely people at Simon and Schuster for asking me to be a part of the book blog tour. I must say, I’ve missed blogging the last couple weeks and I’m feeling energized to be writing again, so thank you! Now that we’re settling in to our new “old” house in New Jersey, I hope I can share some of what I’ve been up to in the coming days, so come back…often. :)

Now, here is a synopsis that SHOULD make every one of you want to run out and buy it.

“A jaded Chicago reporter in her twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius in this rich and deeply satisfying contemporary romance by the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing.

Kate Corbin has lost her spark. A year ago, she had a handsome boyfriend and a budding career as a reporter at a popular Chicago newspaper. But after the woman who raised her passed away, leaving her lost and alone, she fell into a rut—and never got out. Now she’s stuck writing fluff pieces about lipstick and wine, and feeling trapped in a relationship that’s going nowhere.

Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, Kate’s boss and mentor gives her the opportunity to jump-start her career. The assignment: spend a week interviewing R. J. Lawson, a famously reclusive tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as the owner of a well-respected Napa Valley winery.

Kate jumps at the chance, but the trip begins in disaster, both personally and professionally. After alienating R.J., her only saving grace is Jamie, a charming vineyard hand who shows her the beauty of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. It doesn’t take long for Kate and Jamie to fall hard, and for Kate to rethink her life in the city. But the week ends with a heartbreaking journey back to Chicago that sends Kate reeling, wondering what went wrong in those four perfect days.”

I’m honored to have been asked by this world-renowned publisher to be a part of the buzz and hype for Renee. It’s amazing and exciting and I certainly can’t wait to see just how far my talented friend and author will go! Hugs!!!

Nowhere But Here by Renee Carlino

Atria Books

Paperback: Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN 9781476763965 | $15.00 | July 8, 2014

eBook: Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781476763972 | $3.99 | May 5, 2014

Order the paperback

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound

Order the eBook
Amazon
Apple
Barnes & Noble
Blio
Books-a-Million
Google

And to learn more about this up and coming author, visit her website: http://reneecarlino.com/