Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Ryan and I dressed up Thursday for his Kindergarten Halloween party, Saturday for a party at my friend Kathleen's house, and today, of course, for Halloween.  Next Halloween, I'm dressing up as something that does not require a wig and I'd like for Ry to wear something that shows his cute face!   And how about my husband Joe???  Nice mullet, ay?  He went as a very fashionable hockey fan...
 I'm sad to see Halloween go.  I love everything about it.  I love seeing it through a my five year old's eyes.
I love how he enjoys absolutely everything.  I helped him rake the leaves into a pile so he could jump in them repeatedly.  I loved the running from house to house trick or treating.  So fun.

I hope you had a wonderful and safe Halloween.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Memories and Your Sense of Smell.....

I read once that the most memory inducing one of our senses is smell.  I believe it.  Every now and then I'll smell something that brings a smile to my face.

1)  Homemade Gingerbread Cookies.  Every Christmas my Mom would make these delightful cookies and we would go crazy for them!  We had to walk a couple of blocks from the bus home and about half way home we could smell them.  We weren't walking then, we were running!
2)  Mom's homemade bread.  Talk about "warm fuzzies."  Again, the smell the bread wafted half way down the street.  She timed it perfectly, still warm out of the oven.  She'd have the butter and jam on the counter and immediately we'd devour one whole loaf! (there were 5 of us)
3)  The smell of my Grandma Henderson's house.  I know it sounds weird, but her house had a very distinctive smell that cannot be described.  She was an avid cook and owned many antiques.  I think it was a combination of those two things.  Once in a blue moon, I will come across this scent.  I LOVE it!  She was an awesome Grandma.

We have many food traditions in our house.  Things like gingerbread cookies, iced sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls, Saturday breakfast, oven fried chicken, and spaghetti with meatballs, just to name a few, are a huge treat and conjure up great memories from when my big boys were little.

What are some of your favorite "scent" memories?   If you have a moment, leave me a comment about your favorite memory. 

Thanks, have a safe Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zucchini & Banana Chocolate Chip Bread.....

My friend Kathleen mentioned that she used to make a very moist bread with these ingredients and could not find the recipe...wha-la...I did it.  OMG it is so incredibly moist!  Another "One Bowl" recipe.  You MUST try this one.

Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread

2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups mashed banana
3 eggs
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350’. Coat 7 small loaf pans with cooking spray, set aside.
2) Into a large mixing bowl, add shredded zucchini, mashed banana, eggs, oil, and sugar, mix well.
3) Mix flour, soda, *chocolate chips, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add all at once to wet mixture. Mix until just blended, do not over mix. Pour evenly into prepared loaf pans.
4) Bake for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven onto a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely.

*when you add chocolate chips to the flour, they won't all settle to the bottom of the bread.
**If you buy bananas on a weekly basis, you will have a couple that get too ripe to eat.  Peel and put into a heavy zip bag, freeze.  They will be a bit watery when you thaw them out, but they work just fine in any recipe.
***I bake quick breads in small pans because it drastically cuts down on baking time.  The end result is much more moist as when the bread bakes over an hour in a large loaf pan it dries it out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipe correction and Oh My Gosh!

Hi everyone!

Just a quick note about my Iced Pumpkin Cookie recipe. (you can find below)  In the instructions I originally said to roll out the dough to 3/8", please make a correction on your copy, it should be 1/8".

I had the vegetarian chili for lunch today, if I may say so myself, "It's to die for!"  Soooo good.  I topped the hot chili with a small amount of cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips....YUMMY!

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hearty Vegetarian Chili.....

I don' know about you but I am trying to cut back on the amount of meat my family is consuming on a weekly basis.  Try this alternative to any meat chili.  This thick and hearty chili is loaded with healthy vegetables and is extremely flavourful.  Do not be deterred by the zucchini and the yellow squash, it is undetectable after simmering and it adds body to the chili.  Garnish with extra sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream if you wish.   The recipe is large enough for freezing.  Be sure to label and date everything you put into the freezer.

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow squash, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons cumin
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juices
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with juices
2 28 ounce cans of water
2 14 ounce cans black beans, drained
2 14 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
2 14 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
Sour cream and shredded cheddar for garnish (optional)

1) Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add onions, green pepper, and celery. Cook for 7 minutes. Add garlic cook one minute.
2) Add shredded zucchini and yellow squash. Cook for 10 minutes.
3) Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, tomato paste, chipotle, salt, and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring often. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, sugar, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4) Add all drained beans. Simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and green onions if desired. Makes 20 1 ½ cup servings.

*you can easily cut this recipe in half.  Freeze any leftover tomato paste.  Use one small yellow squash.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs...Oh Boy!!!

This is one of my favorite Sunday suppers.  It's so cozy to fill your home with the smells of simmering homemade pasta sauce and meatballs.  The longer you let the sauce simmer, the better it is.  Add to that tender, flavourful meatballs and oh my goodness, a dinner that will have your family not walking but running to the table!  This recipe is large enough to freeze.  I love pulling this out of the freezer when I don't feel much like cooking or am pinched for time.

Oh, one more thing...what's a spaghetti dinner without some killer garlic bread?  See that recipe below.

Homemade Meatballs and Sauce

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 28 ounce can tomato sauce + 1 ½ cans water
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1) Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions, oregano, thyme, and basil. and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, cook for one minute.
2) Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.   This gives the paste a chance to caramelize or sweeten.
3) Add canned tomatoes, water, sugar, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer.  Stir every 10-15 minutes.  Prepare meatballs.

For the Meatballs:

1 ¼ lbs. ground turkey 93/7
1 ¼ lbs. lean ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
½ teaspoon granulated onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1 cup water
1 lb. spaghetti

1) Preheat oven to 375’. Line a cookie sheet that has sides with non stick foil. Set aside.
2) Add meats to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with hands. (use gloves or meticulously clean hands with no cuts)
3) Scoop meatballs with a large cookie dough scoop. Shape into balls and place on sheet.
4) Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add immediately to sauce. Simmer 30-60 minutes. Makes about 32 large meat balls.  (be careful not to simmer much longer with the meatballs in the sauce or they will fall apart)
5)  Cook pasta according to package directions less a couple of minutes.  (if they say to cook for 10 minutes cook for 8)  Put the pasta back into the cooking pot over medium heat.  Immediately add a couple of ladles of sauce and cook for two minutes.  The flavor of the sauce will cook into the pasta for the remaining couple of minutes.  Serve immediately.  Top with cheese and serve with a simple salad and garlic bread.  YUM!

*try adding cooked Italian sausages to the sauce for an alternative to meatballs.  Cut them into 2" pieces.
*meatballs can be frozen with or without the sauce and can be easily used in other recipes.

Garlic Bread....

Ummmm, this is incredibly simple and so, so good.  PLEASE do not buy those frozen garlic breads, they're loaded with bad fats and ingredients you can't pronounce.  They also take 20+ minutes in the oven.  Make this when your pasta is boiling, it literally takes minutes.

Killer Garlic Bread

1 large baguette, cut in half
4 tablespoons softened butter, or half butter and half olive oil
2 large cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Dried parsley for garnish, optional

1)  Preheat oven to 350'.  Foil line a cookie sheet.
2)  In a small mixing bowl, mix softened butter and crushed garlic.
3)  Spread garlic butter evenly over baguette.  Sprinkle cheese over bread.
4)  Bake for 7-9 minutes.  Sprinkle with dried parsley.  Enjoy immediately.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Iced Pumpkin Sugar Cookies.....

I don't know anyone who can pass up an iced sugar cookie!  I have made these cookies for years.   In fact, Jack and Chris remind me the minute October comes around that I need to make my pumpkin cookies.  I have the boys plop the candies on while I ice.  It goes very quickly and they LOVE to help!  I love the fact that there is no "piping" involved, too time consuming.  Ice the cookie with the orange, add the candies, and at the very end, do the stems. 
If you're feeling generous, why not share with others?  Isn't this a pretty package?  I alternate which way the cookies face in the bag to make it stay upright.
Here are a few cookie baking tips:

As always, flour your board.  Use 1-2 tablespoons and be sure to get some flour on the top of the dough as well.
After the dough has been chilled, it's a bit hard to manage.  Use a small amount at a time.  Your first batch will be the hardest, don't worry, it gets much easier once you've worked the dough.  Once you've cut out your first batch, remove the scraps from the floured board and add another chunk of the cold dough, knead into a ball and continue.

Utilize as much of the rolled out dough as possible.  Do not place dough onto a hot cookie sheet, they will start to bake.  Always line with parchment paper.  The cookies will never stick and you can cool them on the parchment as well.
I have cookie sheets that do not have sides.  This is extremely convenient while baking.  I slide the hot cookies right off the sheet and onto the cooling rack. (above)

This recipe is larger than most.  It will make about 68 good sized cookies.  You can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Best Roll Cut Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

2 cups sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, one pound at room temperature
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
7 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Icing (recipe below)

Orange gel food coloring (You can find at a craft store)
Green gel food coloring
Candy Corn
Chocolate chips
Cellophane bags for packaging (optional)
Raffia ribbon for packaging (optional)

1) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy and add one half of the sugar, beat, then add the rest. Add two eggs and beat. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the remaining three eggs and vanilla, beat until nicely incorporated.
2) Lightly measure out flour into a separate mixing bowl. Add baking powder and salt, whisk until blended.
3) Add half of the flour mixture to the egg/butter mixture and beat well. Add remaining flour and blend until all ingredients are incorporated.
4) Shape into a large ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then put into a large zip bag. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
5) When ready to bake, allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375’ and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Have cooling racks ready to receive hot cookies.
6) Cut off a chunk and begin working with your hands to make it pliable enough to roll out on a floured surface. Roll to 1/8” thickness. Cut out with your favorite shapes and place on prepared sheets, leaving at least 1” of space between cookies. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Cool for five minutes before removing from cookie sheet onto a rack. Cool completely before icing.

For icing:

6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
5-7 tablespoons water
Orange gel coloring
Green gel coloring

1) Measure powdered sugar into a medium size mixing bowl. Add vanilla and 5 tablespoons of water. Mix well until there are no lumps. Add additional water by the teaspoon to get a smooth, spreadable consistency.
2) Remove a couple of tablespoons of icing and put into a very small bowl. Add a small amount of green food coloring and mix well. Add about ¼ teaspoon of the orange to the rest of the icing, mix well. Add more if you want a more vibrant orange.
3) Ice each cookie with the orange icing and add decorations to each cookie as you ice. Add the green icing to the stems at the very end, after you’ve completed icing with the orange.   Makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

Icing tips:

*Cover the icing with a damp towel when you’re not using to keep it from drying out.
*If the icing is running off the cookie because it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time, mixing between until the consistency is thicker.
*Have all decorations ready to go in small bowls so that when you ice the cookie, you can immediately put the eyes and smile on the cookie.
*Allow to air dry several hours or overnight. The icing will set up and you won’t have to worry about messing them up when packaging. These cookies travel very well but do not last long!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes Anyone?

What's not to love about a cupcake????  They're the perfect size, ok, maybe you'll have to have two!  Perfect for casual parties, no serving plates or forks necessary.  There is something to be said about "mini" anything.  So cute and appetizing.  Make these from my recipe for Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting and simply bake in cupcake pans.  This one bowl cake recipe goes together in minutes.  The recipe will make 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.  Bake at 350' for 17 minutes.  Be sure to spray the inside of the cupcake liners with cooking spray and fill each liner to 2/3 full.  Cupcakes cool much faster than a large bar pan so they can be enjoyed much quicker!  So easy and so much better than any store bought cupcake.

Moist and tender cinnamon pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.....that's what I'm talkin' about! 


Correction in Chicken Satay Recipe....

Hi all-

Please note when to add the brown sugar to the peanut sauce.   I corrected the recipe below but if you've already printed the recipe, please make the adjustment.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vegetable and Mini Ravioli Soup.....

I am in love with this vegetable soup that has an Italian twist.  It is loaded with fresh vegetables and flavorful cheese filled mini raviolis.  The recipe goes together pretty quick too.  I used homemade chicken stock I pulled out of my freezer but feel free to use store bought.  If you want to freeze, don't add the pasta directly to the soup.  Make enough to add to what you'll be eating and freeze the soup without the pasta, you can easily add later.  Enjoy with crusty Italian bread or grilled cheese.  Delish!

Vegetable Soup with Mini Cheese Ravioli

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions, about 2 medium
6 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½” pieces
5 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
8 cups or 2 quarts chicken stock-homemade or store bought
2 14 oz. cans cannelli beans, drained
½ lb. mini ravioli, cooked according to package directions
Chopped parsley for garnish
Parmesan cheese

1) Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onions, zucchini, and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute. Add tomato paste to pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often.
2) Add diced tomatoes with juices, chicken stock, and cannelli beans. Allow to come to a low simmer.
3) While soup is heating up, cook the ravioli. It takes about 15 minutes or so. Add a couple of cups of the pasta water to the soup pot. Drain pasta and add to the pot. Taste, you may have to add additional seasoning. Top each bowl with parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.  Makes about 20 one cup servings.
Great with crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.

**You can find mini ravioli at Trader Joe's.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Leisurely Car Ride?

This is something that would be totally unheard of here in the city.  Absolutely NO ONE just jumps in the car to take a leisurely drive.  There is nothing relaxing about grid lock!  Geeze!

Let me point out that we lived in a more rural area of beautiful.

Every once in awhile, right after dinner early evening, my Mom and Dad would decide that we should take a ride.  All seven of us would jump in the car (a light blue station wagon) and go for a ride.  We'd look out the windows and seek out farms and whatever else interesting we might see.  We'd have the windows down and the breeze would fill the car.  I must point out that my Dad was quite a "put put" driver, very conducive for this type of recreation.  This would not be enjoyable if you were driving 80 miles an hour....I had long hair and this could be quite painful!  Often times we'd end our jaunt with an ice cream.  I love that memory.

One little hiccup in the drive might have been my older brother, Richie, was able to make the most realistic siren sound.  My Dad would pull over and there would be no emergency vehicle!  So funny now but boy did he get mad.  Of course, he'd be in the very back of the station wagon, out of arms know what I'm getting at.....

The next time you are fortunate enough to be driving down a two lane road in a more rural area, try to refrain from the ipods, DVD players, cell phones, (adults too!) and just enjoy the scenery and conversation with your kids.  They often have very interesting view points and can be very, very funny!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce.....

This is one of my favorite appetizers.  It is quite simple and easy to make ahead of time.  The peanut sauce is fantastic!  For a different twist, try tossing the grilled chicken pieces, a pinch of red pepper flakes,  and peanut sauce with a pound of hot angel hair pasta and  top with chopped cilantro....OMG, delish! 

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

For the marinade:
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 teaspoons coriander
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into 1” pieces
32 or more 6” bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ of marinade
1 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water plus more if needed
Lime wedges

1) Combine all marinade ingredients and set aside. Cut the chicken into 1” pieces skewer 3 pieces per skewer. Pour half of the marinade over chicken and marinate for an hour.
2) For the sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions for 5-7 minutes. Add chili powder and reserved marinade, brown sugar, and ½ cup of water. Continue over heat until very hot. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, carefully whisk until completely incorporated. Add additional water if the sauce is too thick. Loosely cover and set aside. To warm the sauce, do so in microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds at a time. Heat until just warm. If you over heat the sauce, the oil will separate.
3) Cook chicken over preheated grill 8-12 minutes. Serve with peanut sauce and garnish with cilantro and fresh lime wedges. Makes approximately 32 skewers.  Allow for 2-3 per person per serving.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Step by Step Sunday Onion Braised Pot Roast.....

This is a family favorite.  Tender, succulent onion braised beef served with sour cream mashed potatoes and gravy.  Are you hungry yet?  Let's begin.....for the pot roast you will need:

2 1/2-3 lbs. beef pot roast
salt & pepper
2 large onions
5 large cloves garlic
1 1/2  cups water
1 cup wine

Generously season what appears to be half a cow!  Cripes!  Anyway, this is a 3 lb. roast.  It makes for wonderful leftovers, so I recommend making more than you need.  Don't worry about over seasoning, especially with this amount....

Next, heat a large dutch oven or pan that can go into the oven with a lid over medium high heat.  When hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and put the seasoned meat into the pan.  Cook about 7-10 minutes per side to caramelize the beef.
While the meat is browning, thinly slice a couple of large sweet onions.....

When the meat is nicely browned, remove the meat from the pan onto a platter.  Set aside.  Add onions to the pan, stir often.  Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan to prevent scorching.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.   Can you imagine how my house is smelling right about now?????

Of course, we must have plenty of garlic.  Slice 5 large cloves and add to the onions....
Cook for about 2 minutes.  Oh yes, time to preheat the oven to 325'.....

Push the onions off to the side and add the meat with the juices on the plate back to the pan.  Cover the roast with the onions and garlic.  Time for my favorite braising liquid.....

Add 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of wine.  Oh look, a glass for convenient! 
Cover with the lid and place into the oven....oh wait, the meat takes 3 hours, we're eating at 6:30...better wait a bit!

Cook for 3 hours.  This would be a good time to prep your potatoes.  Peel your potatoes and put them into a large pot, add salt and cover with water.  I like to turn the heat on about 1 1/2 hours before the meat is done.  That way I can mash them and have them ready to go when the meat comes out of the oven.  My house smells unbelievable! 

The meat is is so tender that it's falling apart.....the epitome of comfort!

For the gravy.....

It is best to remove as much of the fat as possible from the drippings.  Put the roast onto a serving platter.  Remove as many of the onions as you can and put on top of the roast.  Cover with foil to keep warm.  If you have one of those fat separators, use it.  If you don't put all of the liquid into a 2 cup clear measure.  Using your turkey baster, put it into the bottom of the cup with the juices and suck out just the liquid from the bottom, leaving the fat layer on top.  Put this liquid into a medium sauce pan.  You'll want about 1 1/2 cups of broth, if you don't have that much, just add water to get it to 1 1/2 cups.  In a liquid measuring cup, measure 1/2 cup of water and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  Mix well and add to the broth mixture.  Turn on the heat to medium.  Heat until nicely thickened and give it a taste.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

I love this savory rich meal with a lovely cabbage salad.  Try my Red Cabbage and Avocado Salad with Peas.  The tart of the cider vinegar is fabulous with the roast.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grilled Garlic Shrimp Over Baguette....

When I had my gal pals over for food and bubbly, this seemed to be the favorite.  This is a beautiful and extremely flavourful appetizer.  At the end when you put the shrimp on top of the bread, be sure to baste with plenty of the flavorful butter and garlic mixture.  It will soak into the yummy grilled bread.  There are a few steps in the preparation process, but they're very simple.  If you're entertaining, prepare everything right up to the cooking.  All you'll have to do is about 10 minutes of grilling and you're ready to serve.

Garlic Lemon Shrimp Over Grilled Baguette

2 lbs. large deveined frozen shrimp, thawed and peeled leaving tails
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
16-18 6” bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes

For the lemon butter:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches black pepper
1 whole lemon, zested, then juiced
2 large baguettes, cut into 6" pieces, then halved


3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 lemons cut into wedges

1) If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 20 minutes. To thaw frozen shrimp: place in a large bowl and allow cold water to slowly run into bowl and down drain. Once thawed, peel and drain in colander. Put shrimp into a dry bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Skewer 2 per skewer. Refrigerate.
2) Put all sauce ingredients into a microwavable dish. Refrigerate.
3) When ready to cook, preheat grill.  Cut baguette and set aside.
4) Microwave the sauce ingredients until just melted.
5) Grill the bread first on both sides, you just want to get the bread a little crunchy with grill marks.  Cut each piece in half on a diagonal and place on a large serving platter. Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side or until bright pink. Immediately place the grilled shrimp on the grilled bread in a criss cross.
6) Generously baste with the lemon and garlic butter mixture. Garnish with chopped parsley and a fresh lemon wedge.  Enjoy!

Isn't this an elegant presentation???


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Life's Simple Pleasures,Good Food and Girlfriends.....

Ever stop and really think about the significance of food when entertaining?  Not just the different food choices you make, the garlic and lemon, the sweet and savory, the spicy....then the grand finale, a luscious dessert.  The time spent pouring over recipes.  In my case, changing my mind a hundred times until I have the perfect menu.  Thinking about things you can prepare mostly ahead and simply warm and serve so you can enjoy the company of your treasured friends.  I love this whole process. 

I had a small gathering on my deck a couple of nights ago.  The weather was gorgeous.  I lit a fire in the chimney, lit the torches, and the grill.  In the warm glow of the deck I served Caramelized Onion and Brie Flat Bread (in archived recipes), Baked Potato Skins, Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, and Grilled Lemon Shrimp over Grilled Baguette.  For dessert I served Homemade chocolate chip cookies and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bread (in archived recipes).  The food was delicious but the company was truly scrumptious!

Good times.

There really is nothing better than sitting with your girlfriends around the table, laughing and sharing stories and the centerpiece of the evening is the food you've thoughtfully planned, shopped for, prepared and served.  Cooking for your friends is truest expression of love. 

Thank you Cathriona, Deb, Sarah, Kathleen, Helen, Margaret, and Christine.  You all are amazing women.  I look forward to each and every time I see you.

Plan a soiree for your BFFs soon.  Your efforts will surely let your friends know how you feel about them.

Have a wonderful weekend!

ps-look for the above mentioned new appetizers soon!