Saturday, November 2, 2013

DIY Ways To Organize/Display Your Nail Polish!

Five Fun Ways to Organize Nail Polish

Monday, July 29, 2013

How To: The Fishtail Braid!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

cute polka dot nails!

There are so many cute and easy ideas to coordinate a Spring outfit. I just love the polka dots!
Take a look!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The glorious Glory Bowl

I loves me a big dinner salad and, with this dressing, I was in heaven. So happy my daughter is visiting as it gave me an excuse to put together this healthy salad for our dinner and we both enjoyed it with a slice of Irish Soda Bread. Salad should be cold, is that true? This one could be but after poaching the chicken and steaming the rice it remained somewhat warm and comforting.
It is finally Spring, albeit somewhat cold. The mountains are glistening with fresh snow but robins are everywhere in the yard, woodpeckers are making an impression on the newly placed telephone poles and my grape hyacinths are in bud.
Do not have this salad with any old dressing or it will not reach it's full Glory Bowl potential!

8 c cooked brown or basmati rice
2 c beets, grated (nice with candy cane or orange beets)
2 c carrots, grated
2 cups almonds, toasted or cashews mixed in
2 c spinach or baby kale
2 c tofu or poached chicken, cubed

1/2 c nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 c water
1/3 c tamari or soy sauce
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 c veg oil (no canola! if you can help it)
2 T tahini paste

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender and add oil in a steady stream. You will have leftover dressing which you will be happy to use on almost anything, anytime!
To assemble salad place rice in 8 bowls, top with beets, carrots, kale, nuts and chicken. Drizzle the dressing over salad.

A shout out to Whitewater cookbooks, the BEST!

And now a little about Nutritional Yeast:
Definition: Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegansbecause of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. Sprinkle some on hot popcorn or garlic bread, or add a generous spoonful to a stir fry or pasta sauce. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you're vegan, it's a good idea to add some to your food regularly. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk foods or supplement section of your health food store. You can look for either nutritional yeast flakes or powder, but be sure you don't get brewer's yeast by mistake, as its quite similar in appearance.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Strawberry Focaccia with Maple/Balsamic Carmelized Onions

Such a lovely way to say good bread! I am always looking at bread recipes and have made Focaccia breads before but when I came across this recipe from Saveur Magazine online
I couldn't resist. What would it taste like?

Prepare to ENJOY!


1¼ oz package dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100–110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon honey
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup plus 5 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced (I used a med purple onion)
2½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise into 1/8–inch pieces
8–10 fresh basil leaves, sliced chiffonade (you remember:roll those leaves tightly and slice thinly!)
Coarse sea salt

1. Combine yeast, water and honey in a medium bowl; let rest for about 5 minutes, until bubbles form on the top. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and kosher salt; set aside. Add ¼ cup of olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir well to combine, then turn dough onto a lightly flour surface and knead until dough is smooth and supple, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place it in a bowl greased with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest until the dough approximately doubles in size, about 1 hour.

2. Brush a 9x13–inch baking sheet with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Remove dough from bowl and press it into the sheet with your fingers until it touches the edges. Using your fingers, gently press indentations into the dough, all over the surface. Gently brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; let rest, lightly covered, until it puffs up slightly, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, 15–20 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and maple syrup; let cook until liquid is evaporated, 2–3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool slightly.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly press strawberry slices into the top of the dough, then scatter onions and basil evenly across the top. *(see below) Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Bake until the focaccia is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into pieces. Serve drizzled with more olive oil or spread with fresh goat cheese.
* I used the strawberries on the entire loaf but stopped about 3/4 with the onion and basil as I knew 'some' would not like the combination. I put rosemary, cracked pepper, sea salt and strawberries on the final 1/4 thinking I might like that with some nutella! Which I did. Also cream cheese. YUM. I believe you will enjoy this one. We certainly did! Thank you cookbook author Leah Koenig for this tempting strawberry sensation! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Slow Cooker

Winter seems to have settled in and I can't think of anything I would rather have than hot and spicy soups to warm me up!
The past few nights we have been listening to a single owl 'hooting' most of the night. Last night it was pleasantly quiet and serene went we tucked in for the night and around 4 a.m. I was startled awake to the sounds of not one but three owls outside communicating with each other. It went on for awhile and suddenly strange 'Jurassic' noises and cackling sounds made me sit up and take notice. Then it was all quiet. I'll leave all reasons to your imaginations and get on with the soup...
Do not be put off with the long list of ingredients. Most of this you will have in your well stocked kitchen. Run to the store the day before and grab the missing ingredients. The only thing I was missing was fresh lime and cilantro and they weren't needed until the soup was done.
Prepare and leave for the day!!
One pot cooking is better than meditation. :)

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Slow Cooker


1 24oz tin diced tomatoes
1 24oz tin red enchilada sauce
1 small can diced green chillies
1 19 oz tin black beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 med onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
3 c rich chicken broth (Better Than Bouillon, tetra box, cubes or homemade)
1T cumin
1T chili powder (ancho or regular)
1T oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp allspice
1tsp cinnamon
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c cilantro chopped
2 limes, juiced or quartered and squeezed
Garnishes: tortilla chips or sliced and fried fresh tortillas, sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado slices, green onions


Combine all ingredients up to and including chicken in the slow cooker (crock pot)
Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours
Remove Chicken and pull apart with 2 forks and return to the cooker
To each bowl add cilantro and lime wedges or juice and set out garnishes to serve.

Adding all ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ready to slow cook Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vegetable and Pork Egg Rolls

It seems to be an Asian inspired few weeks for me and today I looked at the meat and poultry I had purchased from ,my terrific local fresh butcher, and I had a pound of ground pork. Besides making wonderfully moist patties for the barbecue or meat loaf or added to spaghetti sauce, ground pork lends itself so well to Asian dishes. I had a package of egg roll wrappers in the fridge and was able to round up the other ingredients. I am reminded it makes sense to plan menus for the week and always have a well stocked kitchen.

Chinese Egg Rolls (Pork)
1 lb ground pork or chicken or very fine strips of meat
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T minced ginger
2T soya sauce
2T sugar
2T rice wine vinegar or sherry
3T green onion chopped
2 tsp cornstarch
5-6 cups shredded cabbage and carrots (small bag of coleslaw mix substitute)
3 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
dash 5 spice powder
dash sesame oil
add soya to moisten if too dry
salt to taste after adding soya sauce
egg roll wrappers
small bowl with water and dash cornstarch (or use egg and water wash to moisten edge of egg roll before frying)
veg oil for frying

Fry ground meat with garlic and ginger until no longer pink. Add next 5 ingredients. Mix well.
Steam-fry shredded veg until wilted. Add sprouts and chestnuts. Add next 4 ingredients.
Mix meat and veg mixtures together.
Add soya sauce if mixture is too dry. Mine was fine at this point and I didn't want it to be too wet and weep through the wrappers. I abhor splattering oil in my kitchen!
On a clean surface put 1 wrapper with a point facing you. Put about 1/3 cup filling on the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper and fold away from you, wrapping one side in and then the other. It should look like an open envelope now. Before making the final turn moisten the edges with the water or egg mix and lay it folded edge down and proceed to make as many rolls as you will be using right away. If you make them all up, you can freeze them and deep fry later.
I made 6 which gave us 3 each and that was very filling!
Fry in about 1 inch of veg oil at 350 degrees until brown on 1 side, turn and repeat. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with plum or sweet and sour sauce or honey mustard or rice wine and ginger threads.
I made a quick sweet and sour sauce with 1/4 c ketchup, 1/4 c soya sauce, 1/4 c rice wine, 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 c pineapple juice mixed with 1 T cornstarch and 1/4 c water to thin. Heat until thickened and thin if necessary with water.

Ground Pork, Ginger and Garlic
Veg, Sprouts, Water Chestnuts, Pork Mix, Spices
Egg Roll Wrapper facing you
Filling on bottom 1/3 of wrapper
Final roll, brush with water or egg mixture and lay facing down
Ready to Fry
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Hot and Tasty!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

KFC please move over....

This needs a new name, Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken sounds Asian, which this is not. It's far closer to a deep fried chicken breast with a honey garlic dip aka KFC. It's really good. It's cold outside which requires spicier, full flavored foods, don't you think? I called my mom, she was having rigatoni loaded with a pork and beef sauce and even at 5PM was wearing cozy pj's and her sweatshirt. I could relate. It was already too late to put on a slow simmering pot of chili or curry, but I had chicken breasts thawed. Double Crunch Honey Garlic sounded good and you will see as the coating ingredients come together that it is loaded with flavors. Tongue-tingling flavors. I was surprised and pleased it was better than I anticipated. Don't you love it when that happens. The last recipe I made was a spicy Mexican version which I also loved and of course who hasn't tried the Asian version of honey garlic take-out chicken? I must post the Mexican version so you can compare it to this recipe.
Recipe adapted from

4 large boneless chicken breasts sliced horizontally, seasoned with salt and pepper
Flour mixture:
2 c flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp sage
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3 T ginger
2T nutmeg
2 T paprika
This mixture makes a little more than you will need for 4 chicken breasts so dump in portions into your dredging bowl. Save the remainder in the freezer for the next time you make this.

Egg wash:
2 eggs
4T water
Dredge chicken breasts in flour mix, then egg was, then flour mix, coating well.
heat about 1/3 c oil in large fry pan until med hot and begin frying the coated chicken breasts until dark golden brown turning after about 4-5 minutes each side.
Drain cooked chicken on a wire rack over a paper towel while the sauce is heating up.

In a med pot add
2 T olive oil
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
Cook to soften but not brown the garlic
3/4 c honey
1/4 c soya sauce
1 tsp black pepper
Simmer together for about 8 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken. Reheat and dip the chicken in the sauce and serve over rice or noodles and with steamed greens.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mongolian Beef

It started out with the crockpot eyeing me. I was debating on putting a stew in there and waiting for the magic to happen but honestly I had a craving for Chinese.
I found a recipe for crock pot Mongolian Beef but suddenly it was afternoon (funny how that happens, oh, you Pinterest and FB junkies) and I needed a quicker fix! 
I found a recipe at Table for Two as it were and I adapted it ever so slightly.
Mongolian Beef with Rice and Spinach

Take-Out, Fake-Out Mongolian Beef
4 healthy servings in under 30 minutes

Oil for frying
1T ginger minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 onion, chopped
3/4 c low sodium soy sauce
1 c water
sesame oil a few drops
1 1/4 c dark brown sugar
1 1/2-2 lbs flank steak partially frozen and sliced across the grain
1/2 c cornstarch
green onions sliced

In a small saucepan over med heat, add 2 t veg oil and sauté ginger, garlic and onion about 2 minutes. Add soy, water, brown sugar and stir to combine. Bring this mix to a boil for about 3 minutes then remove and set aside.
In a large bowl toss sliced steak with cornstarch and place in fridge for about 10 minutes to allow cornstarch to stick to the steak.
After 10 minutes in a large pan, heat 1/4-1/2 cup of oil and in batches sear the steak on both sides. Do not cook through. Remove and place on plate with paper towel as you do the same to all the steak. Pour off any excess oil in the pan.
Place the pan back on the burner over med heat and add the sauce, bringing it to a boil. Add in the steak slices and coat with the sauce. The sauce will begin to thicken and shine.
Serve hot over rice or noodles and add onions. Add greens (spinach, broccoli, bok choy) to complement this highly fragrant and delicious meal. I hope you have leftovers because they make a great lunch next day and another chance to practice with chopsticks.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year New Posts begin

Mongolian Beef
Bacon Wrapped Burger
Chicken Pho

Funny how you think January will never get here. I'll never get through December with all the baking, shopping, family happenings BUT here we are welcoming 2013. 
Whether you are feeling pensive, melancholy or looking forward to another year of possibilities, there is nothing one can do to stop the march of time. 
So, I say we eat well, eat often and love those who love us, with abandon. Perhaps try a little harder to love those who ignore us or don't seem interested in us. 
Keep up our strength for each day with prayer and exercise and hugs.
I have been baking less since the first few weeks of December but ultimately cooking more. More main dishes and, after all, this cold season demands more soups and stews and other hearty fare, wouldn't you agree?
This week it has been Mongolian Beef, Chicken Pho, Bacon Wrapped Burgers. Yum to all!
Chicken Pho
(adapted from Love and Olive Oil)

Makes 4 large servings

1 lb dried rice vermicelli

Soup Base:
2 T whole coriander seeds
5 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 T heaping chicken bouillon in 2 Q water or 2 Q chicken stock
2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless is my choice)
1 whole onion
2 garlic cloves
2-3 inch chunk of ginger smashed
1 T heaping brown sugar
1 T fish sauce

2 c bean sprouts
fresh cilantro
fresh mint
fresh grn onion
fresh Thai or reg basil
1/2 lime cut in 4
chili flakes

If using whole seeds toast until fragrant about 2-3 min and remove from heat.
In a large pot add spices, stock, chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to med low and let simmer at least 20 min.
Remove chicken and shred the meat.
Taste the broth and add sugar or fish sauce to taste.
Strain the broth and discard the solids.
Prepare the rice noodles as per directions.
Ladle the broth into bowls. Divide the chicken and noodles into each bowl. Top with sprouts and other add-ins to taste.
Thoroughly enjoy!