Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Crusty Griddle-Baked Quesadillas for Foodie Extravaganza


Time once again for a fun little club that we call Foodie Extravaganza Party.  Did you know that every month there are national holidays celebrating different foods?  Well, let me assure you that there are and they cover everything from fruits to nuts and beyond.  This month we celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!!

This month's party is being hosted by Lauren of From Gate to Plate and it is sure to be a good time. Make sure you stop by everyone's post through the link on the bottom of this page.  You will not be are in for an oooooey, goooey good time!

France has Croque Monsieurs, Italy has Panini, UK has Cheese Toast, Australia has vegemite, USA has grilled cheese in many variations, Brazil has Bauru and Mexico has Quesadillas....I decided to go to Mexico for today's party.

Oooey Goooey Melty Mexican Chihuahua Cheese
 with Roasted Poblano Rajas and a side of Guacamole.

I took my recipe from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen Cookbook.  I love this cookbook and it is my go to whenever I get a hankering to prepare Mexican food from scratch.  My friends are always requesting that I bring guacamole to parties because this version that I took from Rick Bayless is the best!!  I served it along with these Mexican Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

Char your peppers over the open flame on the grates of your stove top or under a broiler.
When charred all over, place in a shallow bowl and cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes or so.
Peel, stem and seed the pepper and slice them into 1/4" strips.

When making the tortillas your dough should be the consistency of cookie dough.
Take a handful and form it into a ball.
Place a piece of parchment paper on the tortilla press.
Put the dough ball on the parchment paper and flatten slightly with your hand.
Place another piece of parchment paper over the flattened ball and close tortilla press.

Place the tortilla onto a griddle set at medium heat.
Top with the cheese, leaving an inch border, and top with the poblano rajas.
Let cook for 20-30 seconds and flip in half with a spatula, pressing down gently.
Let cook for another 30 seconds, flip over and push to the side while you start on the next quesadilla.
When the next quesadilla is covered with toppings remove the previous to a platter and keep warm.
Continue in this manner until ingredients are used.

Crusty Griddle-Baked Quesadillas
adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen

3 large fresh poblano chiles
1 T. olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced 1/4" thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried oregano
salt to taste
2 c. masa harina
1 3/4 c. warm water
2 c. shredded Mexican Chihuahua Cheese (also know as Quesadilla Cheese)
Salsa or Guacamole 

Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame or under a broiler until blackened on all sides.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes.  Peel, pull out the stem and seed pod, then rinse briefly to remove bits of skin and seeds.  Slice into 1/4" strips.
In a med size skillet, heat oil over med high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring regularly, until nicely browned but still crunchy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and oregano and then add the chiles and heat through.  Season to taste with salt.  
Mix the masa harina with the water until combined, add additional water by tablespoonfuls, if needed to make the dough the consistency of soft cookie dough.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom plate of a tortilla press. Roll a handful of the dough into a ball and place on the parchment paper, press down with the palm of your hand and then lay a second piece of parchment paper over the top.  Close the tortilla press, flattening the dough completely.
Remove the top sheet of parchment and lay the tortilla on your hand while you peel off the bottom parchment paper.  Lay the tortilla on a griddle set at med heat.  Cover the tortilla with cheese to a 1/2" from the edge.  Lay a portion of the poblano rajas down the center of the cheese covered tortilla. After about 30 seconds, fold the tortilla in half with a spatula, enfolding the fillings.  Press down slightly and allow to cook for another 30 seconds.  Flip over and push to the side of the griddle while you start the next quesadilla.  When the next quesadilla is cooking remove the previous quesadilla to a platter and keep warm.
Serve with Salsa or Guacamole.  Print Recipe

Take a look at some of the other great Grilled Cheese Recipe being shared today!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lapsang Souchong Smoked Beef Roast

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my visit with Stacy of Food, Lust, People, Love at her friend, Naszreen's tea shoppe, The Rendezvous with Tea.  While I was there Naszreen gifted me some lovely, smoky, decadent Lapsang Souchoung tea.  It smelled delicious and we discussed how not only would it be wonderful to drink with beef but that it would make a wonderful rub to use on a beef roast.

We were right......

I crumbled the tea.

Mixed it with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil.

Massaged the rub over both sides of a Chuck Roast.

Browned the meat.

While the meat was searing I placed some vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot.

Place the browned meat on top of the vegetables.

Deglaze the pan with water, creating this beautiful, golden, fragrant braising liquid.
Pour this liquid over the roast and vegetables and set on low heat for 8 hrs.

The beef was tender, flavorful and delicious with a slight hint of smokiness from the tea.
The only problem was that there were no leftovers with which to make the dinner I had planned for tomorrow night.

Lapsang Souchong Smoked Beef Roast

1 beef pot roast, I used a Chuck Roast
2 T. Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into 2" pieces
1 small bag baby carrots

Crush tea leaves and place in small bowl.  Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and mix together. Pat the beef roast dry.  Rub tea mixture over both sides of the beef roast.  Heat a large skillet over med high heat.  Place beef roast in dry hot skillet and sear for about 5 minutes, flip roast and sear for 3 or 4 more minutes until browned on both sides.  While beef is searing place vegetables in the bottom of a crock pot.  When beef is browned, remove from pan and lay over vegetables.  Carefully add 2 cups of water into the hot skillet and boil, scraping up any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Pour over meat and vegetables.  Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hrs. Print Recipe

In Like a Lion, Out like a Lamb????

Here it is the last day of March.....Springtime.....Easter is less than a week away......It was 54* yesterday while I was out running errands.

This is what we awoke to this morning.  This is the view from my front door!!  Beautiful....if it were December!!  Do you think maybe it is an April Fool's joke???  And here is the view from my back door......

Go away March!!!  You have been an absolutely HORRID month this year!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Product Review and Giveaway Opportunity...

Calling all Bloggers

You might recall a while back when I introduced you to my daughter and son in law's products at Petoskey and Pine. Well, I am very proud to announce that their website, Petoskey and Pine. com is up and ready to start accepting orders.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about their products.  I have lived through an entire Michigan winter without suffering from the dry, scaly, itchy skin that has always plagued me during this time. My husband, who normally suffers terribly when his fingertips split and crack each winter, did not suffer that malady this year after he began using this wonderful soap.  I used the lip balm exclusively this year and never suffered with dry, cracked lips.  The candles smell lovely and burn evenly and efficiently.

I think this is because Petoskey and Pine only uses the finest, all natural ingredients they can find to make their products. I will share their words with you.
Petoskey and Pine is a bath and beauty company created with the idea of using only the purest ingredients with respect to the environment. We research our suppliers to ensure that they provide sustainable products and purchase those products through fair trade programs. We are a small company that produces everything by hand and we test all our products on ourselves to ensure they meet our high standards.
Now, I know that I may be a little biased.  After all, the owners of this company are very near and dear to my heart.  That is where you, non biased and non related bloggers, come in.  Petoskey and Pine would like to send twelve lucky bloggers their choice of either a bar of soap or a candle.  Each blogger will also be given a lip balm to try.  All Petoskey and Pine asks for in return is an honest review of their product and your inclusion of a product giveaway in your review post.

What a wonderful Mother's Day gift this would make!

Petoskey and Pine will be raffling off a gift box set to one lucky reader.  This set comes complete as shown with two bars of soap, one candle and one lip balm.  These items are packaged beautifully for gift giving nestled in decorative boxes and wrapped up with a bow.  

Petoskey and Pine will also be giving two more of our lucky readers a gorgeous bar of soap on a wooden soap dish tied up and ready to be presented with a flower attached.

We ask that you go to and check them out.  Then, if this is an opportunity that you would like to offer to your readers email me at with your blog name, blog url, choice of soap or candle and mailing address.  We are very sorry but at this time Petoskey and Pine is only able to ship in the United States.  

Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, is already on board.  That leaves eleven spots open for other bloggers who would like this opportunity.  The first 11 to respond will be the lucky recipients of these products for review.

A Very Rough Weekend

This was a very rough weekend on the farm....

Some of you may remember when I posted a year and a half ago introducing the newest member of the family, Princess Fiona of Fair Haven.  The title of that post was A Perfectly Wonderful Weekend. This weekend we lost our Princess when she was hit by a car in front of our house.

We were not home when the accident occurred.  Thankfully for us, Tragically for them, Jen and Randy were here visiting.  We were at Mom Klik's 91st birthday celebration.  Jen and Randy had just returned home from having dinner out.  The dogs were let out and within a minute Randy heard a loud noise and knew that something had been hit.  He ran to the door and and called for the dogs, threw on his shoes and started down the driveway where Bella and their dog, Winston, ran to him. Randy found Fiona on the side of the road.  She was unable to move her back legs and her front leg were out stiff in front of her.  She was not bleeding and her breathing did nto appear to be labored. Jen called us as Randy loaded Fiona into their van to be brought to the hospital where we met them.

Fiona was taken into ICU and we prepared ourselves mentally to lose her.  We believed her back was probably broken and we would need to humanely put her down.  It felt like we were there forever and it was agonizing to hear our girl whimpering and crying in pain.  After a couple of hours, the doctor met with us and told us that the xrays showed that there were no broken bones, however they were unable to get good films of her neck because of the pain Fiona was suffering.  The doctor further said that the films showed no signs of lacerations or tears in any of Fi's organs.  Fi's stomach was filled with air but she felt that was due to the trauma of the impact and that Fi was extremely bruised and sore.  The only damage that she could confirm at this point was a torn ligament in Fi's leg that could be remedied with surgery.

The doctor said that she would like to keep Fi hospitalized with strong pain medication in an IV drip and monitor her over the weekend.  Once the pain was under control they would be able to get better films of her neck area and the doctor thought that would show a subluxation of the spine that would also be able to be treated.  We were relieved and happy that the diagnosis was not the death sentence that we believed we were going to hear.

We signed away a good portion of our savings (I didn't really want a new kitchen floor anyway) and went home with a prayer of gratitude.  At 6 am our phone rang, it was the vet who advised that Fiona continued to worsen during the night and that she had what appeared to be a slow arterial bleed and that her stomach had filled with blood.  The doctor said that, if we chose, she could do exploratory surgery to see if she could find the tear, she also advised at this time the the paralysis to the front legs had not eased at all and they were still unable to get good films of Fi's neck.  We made the very difficult decision to have her put down at this time.

This tragedy came right on the heels of our having to have our Buddy Boy put down at the beginning of this month.

This leaves us now with only or Bella Baby who you see lying here next to her Dad.  She spent all day yesterday roaming from room to room and to all ends of the yard in search of her brother and sister.  When she is not roaming she sits next to us and whines.  It is breaking our hearts.

Last night as we climbed into bed to cry ourselves to sleep, Frank said we needed to get another puppy right away, for Bella and for him, and that he wanted another chocolate lab even though he knows the chances of getting another lab puppy as good and as calm as Fi would be rare.  I told him we would worry about it after Easter....I don't know that my heart is ready for another puppy just now.....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Weekly Menu for Holy Week

This is a very busy week coming up for us.  Between Choir, Masses, Services, Food Pantry and Easter Basket Distributions most of my time will be spent at one church or another.

Today we are celebrating Mom Klik's 91st birthday with a party hosted by Roz and Ron at their house.  We will be going over there right after the 4 pm Mass at which we are singing.

Tomorrow we are going to be hanging out with Jen and Randy all day.  If the weather is nice we are going downtown to the Farmer's Market and to Belle Isle which has recently been made a State Park. We will be having meals out except for breakfast, and perhaps we'll go to a movie in the evening.

Monday is the only day that I won't be running around like a chicken with my head cut off....they really do that by the way...I will be using this day to plan my Easter Menu.

Tuesday I will be shopping for the Easter Basket Food Distribution on Thursday and we have choir practice in the evening so I am making a crock pot meal that can be used for the rest of the week.

Wednesday will be spent at the Food Pantry to prepare for regular distributions and to make sure there are no last minute additions to the client list for Easter Baskets.  Wednesday night I will go shopping for our Easter Feast.

Thursday we will be distributing the Easter Baskets and then will be singing for Holy Thursday Mass. We will probably order up pizzas while doing distributions.

Friday we have church service at 1 pm and then are singing the Tenebrae at 8 pm.  It is also a day of fast and abstainance for us with no meat and only 2 small meals and one full meal with no food at all between 12-3 pm.  We will be eating out in between services.

Dinner at Roz and Ron's

Dinner out

Meatless Monday
Pasta, Pesto and Peas

Root Vegetables

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Holy Thursday
Ordering in Pizza

Good Friday
Dinner out

Please stop by each day as I share recipes and photos.  I will also be joining up with Menu Plan Monday where you can find tons of menu ideas.

Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Stir Fry

The original plan was to go out for dinner last night but Jen and Randy both had to work yesterday so weren't able to get here until 7:30. Instead I deciede to throw together a Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Stir Fry and make some Vegetable Egg Rolls, using this recipe and just deleting the shrimp.  I had everything prepped and ready to go as they walked in the door.  Dinner was served within 15 minutes.

Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Stir Fry

2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. ginger paste
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut in half crosswise
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
7 scallions, white and light green parts sliced
1 T. peanut oil
1 T. cornstarch

Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger in large bowl.  Add shrimp and toss to coat.  Let stand in marinade, refrigerated for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in the bottom of a wok.  Add the asparagus and scallions to the wok, reserving some scallion for garnish.  Stir fry for a moment before adding the shrimp reserving the marinade.  Continue to stir and fry until shrimp turns pink.  Add the tomatoes and stir and cook briefly.  Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade and pour into wok, cooking and stirring until sauce thickens and contents are coated.  Print Recipe