Saturday, February 28, 2015

Prepping for the Party and the Weekly Menu

Today will be spent running around and getting everything we need for tomorrow's big splash.....get it??....Dive Party? Splash?   Oh, never mind.......

First we have to go move a refrigerator.  Our rectory had a pipe burst and the kitchen was destroyed so the priests need to use one of the refrigerators from the food pantry until their kitchen is repaired and new appliances are purchased.  When we get home I will start prepping the food for tomorrow and Frank will make dinner for us....his specialty....Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.

The rest of the week is pretty quiet, just normal every day stuff except for Tuesday we are going out for dinner with Frank's family and on Friday my second eldest brother is going in for Triple Bypass Surgery....Prayers are welcome and requested.  I am not sure if I will be at the hospital, taking care of his grandkids or standing vigil at home.  His daughter is going to let me know where I am needed.  I am sure that everything is going to go without a hitch so we have made plans to get together with friends for dinner with the understanding that it is subject to change.

So here is my Weekly Menu.  Stop by each day for photos and recipes and make sure you join us at MPM for great menu ideas.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Sunday-Dive Party
See Menu here-Statia Cookbook, International Menu Cookbook
See some recipes here

Meatless Monday
Cherry Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Frittata-Eggs

Out for Dinner with Family

Oven Braised Short Ribs with Fennel-Things Cooks Love
Egg Noodles

City Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Glazed Carrots

Out with Friends

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Breakfast of Champions

I awoke at my usual time this morning, about 6:30 am, and Frank brought me a cup of coffee.  I caught up on my Words with Friends and Trivia Crack, yes....I am an addict...and then sent Jackie a text asking if she can drive to Zumba today as one of our cars is down.  I got up to refill my coffee cup and as I walked into the kitchen I heard...."pssst, over here".  I looked around, saw laundry folded on the kitchen table waiting to be put away and thought....okay, I will get to you after this next cup of coffee.

I proceeded to pour my coffee, into my cup adorned with my Little there is a great way to start each morning....and I heard again, "Hey, we are over here".  I took a second look around and saw the basket of unfolded clothes next to the folded clothes. Using a very stern voice in my mind....I told them they could wait!!!  Then I heard it again behind me....I turned around and there they were. The cookies I made yesterday to drop off for this week's fish fry.

Now, this was more like it!!!  They didn't need to wait until I was done with my coffee. They could join me with my coffee!  "Yes, yes"...I told that little voice in my mind that kept telling me I ate too many cookies last night.  "I know" I told it as it reminded me that I was going to Zumba in a couple hours.  "Quiet" I said as they told me I didn't even have breakfast yet.  They just would not shut I ate them!  That took care of that!

Seriously these cookies are hard to resist.  They are more like fudge with little pieces of M&M's scattered throughout.  I found the recipe on the back of a bag on miniature M&M's that I had gotten for free with a coupon.

Chocolate Mini M&M Cookies
adapted from back of bag

2 sticks butter, softened
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2  c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 c. miniature M&M's

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix together dry ingredients into a small bowl.  Gradually add to the butter mixture at low speed.  Stir in M&M's.  Refrigerate the dough for an hour or overnight.  Bake on parchment lined baking sheets at 350* for 7-8 minutes.  Cookies will be chewy and fudgelike.  You can bake longer for crispy cookies.  Print Recipe

Have a great day everyone....I am going to work off those cookies I couldn't resist!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

10 Reasons why you should enjoy a Lychee Nut Martini

This is the last recipe post from our Chinese New Year Celebration.  Frank made us some delicious Lychee Martinis to go along with our dinner.  Tingting was happy because she loves Lychees.  I had never even heard of them until we found this recipe.  I bought them canned but you can also get them fresh.  I think I will look for them the next time I am at the international market.

According to Wikipedia there are 10 good reasons why you should eat Lychees.

Image result for lychee nut quotes

According to me these are 10 good reasons why we should drink Lychee Martinis, not to mention they are delicious!!

Lychee Martini
adapted from

1 1/2 shots vodka
1 shot peach schnaaps
1 shot cranberry juice
1 shot of lychee juice (from canned lychees)
1 lychee for garnish

Fill martini shaker with ice.  Add all liquids and shake well.  Strain into a martini glass and add a lychee for garnish.  Print Recipe

Ginger Venison Stir Fry

Last Saturday we had a gathering of family and celebrated Chinese New Year.  It was a great time made even more special with the return of our daughter, Nicole, and her husband, Pierre, who just moved back to Michigan from Florida.  This was the first family gathering in a long time that included them at the table.

We had wonderful food, good conversation and lots of laughter.  Nothing makes my heart sing more than having a table full of people I love gathered together.  I love entertaining and I love trying to make events special.  Sometimes I will make up reasons to have a party.  Luckily, Frank loves to entertain too and is always agreeable to my crazy ideas.

I sat to plan my menu using many of our tried and true favorites but I also wanted to try some new recipes and utilize some of my cookbooks.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I am trying to cook at least one recipe from each cookbook in my vast collection this year.  This party gave me a reason to use a couple of them.  The cookbook I am sharing with you today is an oldie but I love it and it brings back many happy memories of lunches with my Amy  when she was a child.  

Image result for Someone's in the kitchen with Dayton's, Marshall Fields, Hudsons

Hudson's was a very popular department store here in Michigan, many other States called them by different names but it was the same store and nearly all of them had a wonderful, fancy restaurant upstairs with linens and china.  The food was always good but mostly we went for the experience. When Amy and I would go shopping and spend the day together we more often than not would end up at Hudson's for lunch.  It was "our" time and it was special.

Ah....but I wax sentimental as you are patiently waiting for me to post the recipe.  Hudson's did not serve venison that I am aware of but they did serve a delicious Ginger Beef Stir Fry from which this recipe is adapted.  Feel free to use beef but if you are lucky enough to have venison in your freezer and you have folks in your family that say they don't eat venison, make this dish and tell them it's beef....I guarantee they will never know and they will LOVE it.  

Ginger Venison Stir Fry
adapted from Ginger Beef Stir Fry as written in Someone's in the Kitchen with Hudson's

2 T. cornstarch
3 T. Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
3 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c. cooking oil (I used peanut)
1 T. ginger, minced (I used Gourmet Garden)
1 lb. venison or beef tenderloin, cut into strips
1 small onion, sliced
1 c. sliced carrots
1 head broccoli flowerettes
1 pkg. snow peas
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained

If using venison make sure that it is trimmed of all fat and silverskin.  This is what makes venison taste gamy.  No fat or silverskin means no gamy taste.

Combine first set of ingredients.  If using venison or a less expensive cut of beef, add to the marinade and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  If using beef tenderloin just set the marinade aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over high heat.  Add the ginger and stir a few seconds until fragrant.  Add the vegetables and stir fry until crisp tender. Remove venison from marinade and add to the vegetables, stirring and frying just until no longer pink.  Add marinade and cook until heated through and thickened.  Print Recipe

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Trip back to the Island.....if only in our Dreams....

I can't believe it has only been 1 short week since I was in sunshine and warm temps.  It seems so long ago......sigh......

Well no sense crying over spilled sunshine....I guess I may as well make the best of it and throw an Island Party!!!

Each year or twice a year if we are very lucky...we host the after dive party at our house.  We all get together, share our photos and videos, eat food and have drinks reminiscent of the dive locale and talk about where and when we get to do it all again.

Our dive family is a great and diverse group of individuals who are always a lot of fun to spend time with.  There is an enourmous amount of talent and ingenuity floating around.  We have business owners, government workers, cops, computer geeks, electricians, plumbers, attorneys, musicians. accountants, factory workers, doctors, nurses, vets....the list goes on and on......

But we all love diving, and vacation, and laughter, and sunshine.  We have come to know each other's families, dreams and hopes.  We cheer each other's acheivements and share each other's sorrows.  We are family.

Sheesh....I get so sentimental sometimes.  I will stop now and share with you our menu for this Sunday's After Dive Party.

The Simple Woman's Daybook for February 23, 2015

You can join us. 
Just stop by and see Peggy.

Outside my Window.....The sun is shining but don't be decieved the temperature out there is -8* F.

I am Thinking.....that Little Miss loves being a little jumping bean. 

I am Thankful.....that my brother went in for his annual physical to learn that he needed triple bypass surgery and did not suffer a heart attack.

I am nightie, I am still sitting in bed with my cup of morning coffee.

I am Creating.....the menu for our After Dive Party we are hosting this Sunday afternoon.

I am Going.....nowhere today.  It is a good day to stay cuddled up by the fireplace with my book or in a warm toasty kitchen with the oven turned on.

I am Wondering.....If today would be a good day to work on my bread for #BreadBakers.

I am Reading.....still working on Winter of the World by Ken Follet.  I am about 2/3 done.  It is good but it is over 800 pages and I have not had much opportunity to sit quietly this past week.

I am get the gumption to go down to the coooooold basement and hop on the treadmill.

I am Learning.....again, as I do each Lent, that the soul is willing but the body is weak.

I am short life is and how important it is to spend time with those you love.

In my Kitchen.....we are having fried chicken for dinner tonight and I need to start thinking about what kind of cookies I should make for our Parish Fish Fry on Friday.

A Favorite Quote for Today..... Image result for hold close to those you love

One of my Favorite Things.....Sun sparkling on the snow.

Chocolate Spice Cookies for Secret Recipe Club

The time has come.....the time is share with you my assignment for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

If you are new to my blog and have no idea what Secret Recipe Club is just head on over here and you can learn all about it and join in the fun if you so choose.

Each month we are assigned another blogger without their knowledge then we sneak over to their blog and nose around.  We learn about them and what makes them tick.  We also go into their recipe archives and find something terrific that we want to replicate and share with our readers.

This month I was assigned to JJ of 84th and 3rd.  JJ was born and raised here in the USA and is now living down under in Aussie Land.  She loves brunch and chocolate and hates processed foods.  She has great recipes, many of which are gluten and dairy free and some of which are vegan.

I on the other hand, as many of you know, am a proud and hungry carnivore who tries to eat healthily most of the time but like JJ loves my chocolate.

When I was first given my assignment I went through JJ's recipe file and found some wonderful ideas.  I was soooooo tempted by the Smoked Salmon Breakfast Pizza and the Fresh Fish Tacos made my mouth water.  But I settled on White Bean and Kale soup that I planned to make for Soup Saturday as soon as I got home from vacation.

But, as is apt to happen, plans changed.  When I got back from vacation, I was reminded that Lent was beginning and our Parish Fish Fry's were starting the week I returned.  Now I don't fry the fish, set the tables or do the dishes for the Fish Fry.  I don't even attend each and every Fish Fry throughout the Lenten season but what I do always try to do is drop off cookies to be used for dessert each week.  It takes a lot of cookies to feed our parish, luckily there are a lot of wonderful bakers out there who, like me, bake each week of Lent to provide them.

So I went back to JJ's blog and searched for cookies.  There are quite a few cookie recipes, all using unprocessed flours.  Not being as health conscious as JJ, I am not familiar with many of the ingredients she uses but I did find a cookie recipe that was calling out to me.....Chocolate Spice Cookies....YUM.

JJ made these way back in 2012 when the Mayan's predicted the world was going to end.  She decorated hers using Mayan symbols.  I made them using symbols of Spring for this Lenten season. Regardless of how you decorate them, they are delicious!!

I did make some minor adaptations to this recipe.  I used white sugar instead of coconut sugar and I only used 1/4 t. of Gourmet Garden Chili paste instead of 1/2 to 1 t. of chipotle chili powder called for in the recipe. Also I used kosher salt instead of sea salt.  I did have some spelt flour on hand though....yay!

Chocolate Spice Cookies
slightly adapted from 84th and 3rd

1/2 c. coconut oil, nearly melted
1/4 c. sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 c. molasses
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. chili powder or paste
1/4 t. kosher salt

3 c. minus 2 T. whole spelt flour
3/4 t. baking soda

Combine oil and sugar.  Mix in egg through salt.  Stir in flour and  baking soda.  Dough will be stiff. Divide dough in half and press into two flat discs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350*.  Roll dough out onto parchment paper and cut into desired shapes.  Place on baking sheets lined with parchment and bake at 350* for 5-6 minutes.  Cool on baking racks and then decorate as desired.  Print Recipe

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper Pinwheels for #SundaySupper

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Today we are celebrating the Red Carpet as we all gather around to watch the Oscars.  My family likes snacking when we watch tv.  Normally, Frank makes popcorn but today is not just any Sunday when you sit around watching tv...tonight is Oscar night, so I decided to amp it up a bit by making Roasted Red Pepper Pinwheels.  Or that was the plan anyway but sometimes my plans go awry.

The good thing about Sunday Supper is that it is normally a casual affair eaten with family and close friends so if things go wrong it is not really a tragedy just a minor inconvenience or as in this case....A Happy Accident.

Aren't these the saddest little pinwheels you have ever seen in your life??
But the taste was perfect....So never judge a book by it's cover.

I made my garlic herb cheese and I attempted to spread it onto the roasted red pepper and make pinwheels but they didn't turn as I had hoped.  I don't know if it was because I tried to cut corners and use jarred red peppers or if it was because my idea was off.  Whatever the reason the pinwheels were not as beautiful as I had imagined.

But I popped one into my mouth and it was heavenly.  The herb cheese melted into the roasted red pepper and it was just divine. So I put on my thinking cap and decided to create a new dish.  I threw everything back into the food processor, pulsed it a few times and Voila!!  Roasted Red Pepper and Herb Cheese Spread....Life is good.

Please check out all the other great Red Carpet recipes at the bottom of this post.

Roasted Red Pepper and Herb Cheese

3 oz. Neufchatel Cheese
1 jar Roasted Red Peppers in Olive Oil with Garlic
1 t. garlic paste
1 T. Fresh Italian Herbs
1 T. heavy cream

Place all ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Place into a small bowl and serve on crackers or use as a dip for fresh vegetables.  Print Recipe

And since victoriously turned this recipe around I am going to share it at Small Victories Sunday.

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:
Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:
Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:
Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:
Nominees for Best Dressed Table:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekly Menu for the Last Week of February

This is going to be another busy week in the Klik household, but we gotta eat...

Tonight we are having a Chinese New Year Celebration, you can see the menu here.  We are singing at 4 pm Mass and then people will come by afterwards.

Tomorrow, I am taking Mom Klik to play bingo.  We will have leftovers when I get home.

For Saturday's dinner, I needed lots of chicken breasts.  That means I have 3 chickens, sans breasts, left so lots of chicken meals this week.

On Wednesday's during Lent several of the area churches are getting together and sharing our faith and devotions.  Each week a different church will host a soup supper followed by a service.  Our church, because it is the largest, will host twice.  We have the first and the last Wednesdays of Lent, excluding Ash Wednesday, so this week we will be having soup and then will be singing at the service.

Thursday is choir and Friday is our Parish Fish Fry.

So here is the weekly menu, such as it is....stop back each day for photos and recipes and, of course, I will be sharing my menu at MPM with a lot of other great cooks!!

Saturday-Chinese New Year Celebration
See menu here-My Mother's Chinese Kitchen


Fried Chicken
Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Pot Pie

Soup Supper at Church

Grilled BBQ Pizza

Parish Fish Fry

Fun Friday with Family and Friends

Yesterday was a good day.  Our niece, Danielle, came over and hung out with us all day.  We don't get to spend as much time with her as we would like so it makes our time together that much more special. Then, when Tamie came to clean, she had her daughter Raechel with her.  She left but Rae decided to stay and hang out with us.  We played cards, we went shopping, we played with Little Miss while Ting took a nap.

I also planned my menu for tonight. You might recall that Wednesday was Chinese New Year. We try to acknowledge and celebrate each year with Tingting and this year is even more special because it is Melody's first Chinese New Year. For several years we went to a celebration at a restaurant. They had dragon dancers, fireworks, fortune tellers, and a great menu.  It was always a good time but very expensive. Last year they never contacted us and when I contacted them they said that they were no longer having the yearly event.

So I decided to throw a big celebration here at the house.  You can read all about it here.  This year, Chinese New Year fell on Ash Wednesday so needless to say there was no feasting that night.  Instead we are celebrating tonight with a family dinner that will include Ting and Melody, Amy and Doug, Dick and Jackie, Nicole and Pierre and John and Kirsten.  That is what the girls and I went shopping for yesterday.

Image result for chinese new year 2015

Here is our menu for tonight:

Menu in Celebration of Chinese New Year

Roasted Red Pepper Pinwheels
Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Ginger Venison Stir Fry

Chinese New Year Cookies

We finished off the evening by going out to dinner with a group of our dive friends and then listening to a couple of sets of our friend, Rob's band, Maverick.  They are so good and we had a great time.

I will be posting photos and sharing our party with you later tonight or tomorrow.  See you then.

Friday, February 20, 2015

#Cook the Books meets #Crazy Ingredient Challenge.....

The recipe I am sharing with you today is doing double duty for me.  I would like to first talk to you about Cook the Books.  Our host this month is Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.  Deb is lucky enough to live in Hawaii and she generously shares her life and her recipes with us on her blog.


Deb chose the book "Comfort me with Apples" by Ruth Reichl for this month's selection.  I must confess I had never heard of Ruth Reichl and I consider myself pretty in the know when it comes to food celebrities.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw the selection but I went online and ordered up the book to be delivered to my library.  Our county did not have the book but one further north did have it and sent it to me.  

Here is what happened when I got the book: I sat down one evening and I opened the cover, I read a couple of pages and then there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door and there was Ruth, with a smile and a bottle of wine.  We opened the wine, kicked off our shoes, sat down by the fire and began to talk.  Ruth shared her life with me, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad.  We laughed and we cried.  And then we laughed again.  We gossiped about all the celebrities that Ruth has met and we shared our innermost fears and secrets.  We became friends and I cannot wait to pick up her previous book "Tender at the Bone" and her fiction novel, "Delicious".  

Thank you so much Deb for choosing this book. I enjoyed it very much.  I have some good news for any of you who  would like to join this club....I will share it in Deb's words:

Submissions for this round of Cook The Books are due Monday, March 30, 2015. Anyone can join in the Cook the Books fun by reading and blogging about the book and cooking up a dish inspired by its contents. Let me know when your entry post is up by commenting on this post and/or sending me an email at: 

Ruth shared many recipes with us but the one that caught my eye was a meal she shared with Danny Kaye, who evidently was quite the chef (whoda thought!!).  Ruth did not get Danny's recipe but she did her best to replicate it and it sounded delicious....tender pasta tossed with a lemon butter sauce.

Then, as luck would have it, our Crazy Ingredient Challenge this month was to make a dish using Lemons and Basil.  I love our CIC makes me feel like I am a contestant on chopped.  I open the basket and inside I find lemons, basil and fresh egg fettuccine.  I am golden because I simply take the recipe from "Comfort me with Apples" and add some flavorful, fresh basil.  Perfection!!

You will find links to the rest of the club members basil and lemon recipes at the bottom of this post. You will also find information on how to join this great club as well.

I actually killed 3 birds with one stone with this recipe.
It fit the bill for Cook the Books.
It was perfect for Crazy Ingredient Challenge.
It was meatless and I served it for dinner on Ash Wednesday.

This pasta was delicious.

Tender, fresh egg fettuccine tossed with a buttery cream sauce flavored with basil and brightened up with lemon.  This recipe is sure to become a regular on Meatless Mondays or as a side to grilled chicken or fish.  It would also be delicious with some shrimp or crab tossed in along with the sauce. 

Basil and Lemon Pasta
adapted (very slightly) from Ruth Reichl

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 c. heavy cream
3 T. lemon juice
1 T. fresh basil, chopped (I used Gourmet Garden)
1 lb. fresh fettuccine, homemade or from the refrigerated section of your local grocer.
2 t. lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a deep, heavy skillet over med high heat.  Stir in the cream, lemon juice and basil. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm while you cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the lemon basil cream, toss to cover, sprinkle with lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and toss again.  Turn into a large pasta bowl and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Serve while piping hot with additional cheese to pass at the table.  Print Recipe