Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eggplant Piadina with Pesto Spread

My son Chuck, used to share an apartment with a young lady who was with him in the Navy.  Camie and Chuck were great friends and he would often bring her home when they had leave together so Camie became part of the family.

A couple of years ago, Camie got married and was restationed to Maryland from Virginia.  She finished her commitment to the Navy and is looking forward to the next chapter in this journey we call life.  As luck would have it, Camie's father (who is also military) was recently assigned duties here in Michigan and moved to the neighboring town.  Camie was in for a visit and contacted us so we had her over for dinner.

Camie came for dinner on a Meatless Monday which suited her very well as she eats very little meat. I had found a recipe in my latest issue of Cuisine at Home for an Italian Flatbread Sandwich called a Piadina.  Piadina's can be topped with any fillings but I chose to go with the Eggplant and Tomato toppings used in the recipe.  I did adapt the recipe by using homemade pizza dough and pesto instead of store bought as suggested.

Reminiscent of pizza, this open faced sandwich uses a ricotta/pesto spread instead of sauce.  It can be prepped ahead of time and once you are ready to have dinner takes only minutes to create.  I think this is going to become a regular in our household.  I will definitely try other toppings but it will be hard to beat this delicious Meatless Monday combo.

Eggplant Piadina with Pesto Spread
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #118

1/2 c. olive oil
juice from one lemon
2 t. garlic paste or minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 eggplant, cut into 12 slices
1/2 c. pesto, see my recipe here or use your favorite or store bought
1/4 c. ricotta cheese
2 t. lemon juice
2 T. fresh basil cut in chiffonade style (sliced thin)
1 lb. pizza dough, see my recipe here or make your favorite or buy from market
3 T. olive oil
12 slices fresh Mozzarella cheese
12 slices heirloom tomatoes
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Whisk together the 1/2 c. olive oil, lemon juice, garlic paste, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the eggplant slices in a baking dish and pour the olive oil mixture over the slices, turning to coat both sides.  Set aside until dinner time.

Combine the pesto, ricotta, 2 t. of lemon juice and fresh basil in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Divide the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces.  Stretch and roll each piece into an 8-10" round.  Brush olive oil on each side of the pizza rounds.  Heat a grill to high.  Grill the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until tender, flipping halfway through and topping the cooked half with a slice of Mozzarella cheese.  While the eggplant are cooking, place the dough rounds directly onto the grill rack and cook 1 or 2 minutes per side, until nice grill and char marks appear and the dough puffs nicely.  Remove the pizza rounds and the eggplant from the grill.  Spread 1/6 of the pesto mixture on each warm pizza round. Top with 2 slices of eggplant and 2 slices of tomato. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. Print Recipe

Small Victories Sunday Linkup

I'm linking up over at Small Victories Sunday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tasty Tuesday.....Beet and Blueberry Salad

I was flipping through my August issue of Cuisine at Home and came across a recipe for a Beet and Blueberry Salad that I thought looked incredibly delicious.  I decided to make it, to go along with our Grilled Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes, Sunday night.

I tweaked the recipe to make it my own and to accomodate our pantry and tastes.  I was was incredible....and I am happy to share it with you.

You will need roasted beets for this recipe.  I simply place scrubbed beets onto a sheet of aluminum foil.  Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Make a packet around the beets and seal completely.  Place on a hot grill with the lid shut until easily pierced by a fork, 1-3 hrs, depending on the heat of the grill and the size of the beets.  When beets are tender, remove from the grill and allow to cool.  When cool to the touch, peel under cold running water.  The peels should slip right off.  These can be made a day or two before you need them and refrigerated.

The ret of the salad is easy, peasy.  
Just make layers.
I started with some organic mixed greens.

Add a layer of cleaned blueberries.

Dice the beets and layer them on top.

Toast and chop some pecans and add them to the mix as well.

Finish it off with some crumbled Feta cheese, minced mint leaves and a lemon honey vinaigrette.

Beet and Blueberry Salad
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue # 118

2 handfuls greens of choice
1 lb. of beets, roasted, peeled and diced
1 pint of blueberries
1/2 c. pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 c. mint leaves, minced
1/2 c. feta cheese crumbles
juice of 1 lemon
2 T. honey
2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. Champagne Honey Mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Line a platter with the greens, layer the beets, blueberries, pecans, mint and feta over the greens.  In a small bowl whisk togther the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the salad and serve at room temperature.  Print Recipe

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lemon Muffins for #SecretRecipeClub and #MuffinMonday

Woohoooo it's a Secret Recipe Club Special Event!!  Since this month has 5 Mondays we are celebrating "back to school".  In these special events we are not required to participate and we are often assigned a blogger outside of our group.  This gives us an opportunity to get to know other members with whom we would normally not have contact.

I was excited to be assigned to Daily Dish Recipes owned by Nicole.  I do know Nicole from other blogging clubs and events but I have never been lucky enough to have been assigned her in past SRC events. 

Nicole live in Missouri and is mom to 5 teenagers.  You can tell how much she loves being a mom and she rounds out her life with cooking and writing.  She has been writing on line now for over 12 years so you can just imagine the treasures you can find when browsing her blog.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make when I signed up for this back to school challenge.  You see, it is also #MuffinMonday, another fun group to which I belong.  Muffin Monday is the brainchild of Stacy from Food Lust People Love.  She invites other bloggers to join her on the last Monday of each month and share a muffin recipe.  That's themes, no hosting, no obligations....just muffins, muffins and more muffins.

Muffins are perfect for back to school.  They are a nutritious, quick breakfast that you can hand off to your kids with a piece of fruit as they run out the door.  They make a great dessert in their lunchboxes and they are a perfect snack when they get home and are starving before dinnertime.

I went right to Nicole's bread section in her recipe index.  I found a wonderful Chocolate Chip Muffin but it called for sour cream and there was none to be had in my refrigerator.  Then there were these ooey gooey looking Caramel Apple Muffins but they were from a previous SRC assignment as were these Fresh Strawberry Muffins.  

It would take me a long while to link to every great muffin recipe I found on Nicole's blog so instead I just recommend that you head over and take a gander at her visual recipe file.  Take a napkin with you to wipe the drool from you keyboard.

I finally settled on Nicole's, Delicious Breakfast Muffins.  I adapted the recipe slightly by adding some lemon juice, zest and extract to the batter.  

Lemon Muffins
adapted from Daily Dish Recipes 

2 eggs
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon + milk to equal 1 cup
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. lemon extract
1 t. vanilla extract

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs, oil, sugar and milk.  Lower the speed and stir in the flour, baking powder and baking soda until just combined. Mix in the zest and extracts.  Divide between a 12 cup baking tin that has been treated with baking spray or lined with paper cups.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 15-17 minutes, or until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

Here are the other Back to School Offerings

More Mouthwatering Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Fabulous Phryne Fisher....A Book Review

  I was loaned a book called An Introduction to the Honourable Phryne Fisher by Kerry Greenwood.  This book contains the first 3 books in a series starring a lady detective from London who is currently residing in Australia during the 1920's, named Phryne Fisher.

Phryne Fisher's family was originally from Australia and moved to London when her previously poor as a churchmouse family hit the jackpot when a long lost uncle passed away leaving her father a title and millions in inheritance.

Phryne loves being rich and she is stylish and very sought after by the gentry, however she never forgets her roots and is generous to those less fortunate and treats them as the equals they are.

In this first book, Phryne is asked to check in on the daughter of a family friend.  Their daughter had married and moved to Australia where, they believed, she was being poisoned by her husband. Phryne arrives and finds herself in the middle of  a drug ring and an illegal abortion clinic that is raping their clients as well as butchering them.

It is a fun, quick paced read and you can't help but fall in love with Phryne and all those that she draws close to herself.

I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Back to the ol' routine...including the Weekly Menu

We got home yesterday around 5 pm.  Unpacked, threw in laundry, went through a mile high stack of mail, which included.....

Lots of Birthday Cards!

A book that I won from Mark of Carstairs Considers.


My birthday gift from Frank.

That's right folks....that is a true honest to goodness, latest model of the VitaMix.  I cannot wait to start playing with it.  I wanted to start immediately but first things first.  Jen was at the house when we arrived home and it was dinnertime so we headed out for a bite to eat. THEN...we went to the grocers to get goodies so we could have smoothies for breakfast this morning.

I am up bright and early, sipping on my green smoothie and planning my Weekly Menu.  Later this morning Jen and I are going to the Farmer's Market while Frank mows the lawn which is, thankfully, green again.  This afternoon we may go into the neighboring town for an art/craft fair and tonight we are meeting Amy and Doug for dinner at our favorite Mexican Restaurant, Miguel's.  

I am, of course, dying to see my Little Angel Face, but she and her Mama had a party to attend today so I have to wait until tomorrow.

Okay.....enough rambling from is the Weekly Menu.  Enjoy and I will see you during the week as I post photos and recipes.  Happy Weekend Everyone!

Out to dinner

Grilled Pork Chops
Beet and Blueberry Salad
Sweet Potatoes

Meatless Monday
Eggplant Piadina
Red and Green Italian Salad


Grilled Pesto Pizza with Spinach and Chicken

Beans and Rice

Fish Friday
Sesame Crusted Salmon
Asian Broccoli with Garlic

Friday, August 26, 2016

TheFinal Day of our Road Trip...

Yesterday was our final day of this wonderful road trip we have been enjoying.  We went on a Libations Bus Tour.

Our first stop was Black Star Farms.  We have been fans of this winery for years and have had the pleasure of staying at their inn several times.  I bought a bottle of sparkling wine that I will be sharing with you in November when we are celebrating "being thankful for local wines" in our Wine PW group.

The next stop was a brewery called Hop Lot.  I didn't partake in any of the beers but we did enjoy a s'more while we were there.  

The final destination was Northern Latitudes Distillery where we enjoyed a cocktail before boarding the bus to return to the hotel.  A group of us then went to have dinner at Copper Falls Steak House.  There were 13 of us.  We had 8 pm reservations and arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes late.  The restaurant had 2 tables filled but said they were sorry they couldn't accomodate us because we were late.  Very bad business decision on their part. Thirteen very disappointed people that will never give that restaurant a try nor recommend it to their friends, not to mention they lost out on a $700 order.

We left there, never to ever return and called Mode's Bum Steer.  They were more than happy to accomodate us even though nearly every table was full and they had to pull out reserves.  Our server was fantastic, friendly and efficient. The food was delicious and a great time was had by all.  I recommend this restaurant any time that you are in the Traverse City won't be disappointed.

This morning we will go down to breakfast after which Frank will be called up to receive accolades for his years of service.  Then we are heading home to deal with a problem that arose with the sale of our house....I'll leave that story for another day.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Birthday Celebration....

We arrived to Jen and Randy's around 5 pm on Tuesday, which was my birthday.  I still wasn't feeling well and I felt worse as the day wore on.  We toured their new store, Blue Vase Books and More, and then went to the house to visit while we waited for Lili to get back from her appointment with the college advisor.  Lili is a senior in high school this year but will be taking all of her classes at Northwestern College in Traverse City.

We went out for pizza at Dick's Pour House, which was good but I was only able to swallow down half a piece and half a beer before calling it quits.  We went home, I took a glug of Nyquil and was out for the count by 9 pm.

I felt better when I awoke.  We had planned on going hiking and out to lunch but the weather had different plans with scattered thunderstorms throughout the day.  Jen and Lili headed down to our neck of the woods so Lili could tour Wayne State University to see if she wants to attend there next year.  They are staying at Amy's for the next couple of days.  Then Lili is staying with friends and Jen is staying with us for the weekend.  Randy went off to work and Spence, Frank and I went to breakfast.  I was feeling a better so after breakfast we did a little shopping.  I came home, took another glug of Nyquil and had a nap.  When I awoke we dropped Spence off in Empire for his Cross Country practice and headed to Traverse City to check into our hotel.  We changed and headed out to dinner at The Boathouse, which is one of my very favorite restaurants.

The views from the boathouse are lovely.
It is breathtaking even on stormy, blustery days.

We started out with a bottle of Charles Krug Cabernet from Napa Valley.
The Boathouse is a Farm to Table restaurant that prides itself on using local ingredients.
They have a large selection of wines from the local wineries.
Michigan makes some wonderful white wines but our weather is not conducive to reds.
We wanted a hearty California, Cabernet with our dinner.

Dinner started with locally grown heirloom tomatoes and roasted beets over arugula.
This was topped with burata cheese and pesto.
It was the perfect start to the meal and the tomatoes were just what tomatoes should be.
They were juicy and sweet, firm to the bite. not that mealy texture of tomatoes bought at the market.

For our entrees Frank chose the Kobe Strip Steak and I chose a 1/2 rack of Lamb.
OH MY YUM.....

For entertainment we watched this poor couple limp their boat up onto the beach.
They had it beached, she remained behind and he left for a bit.
When he came back they pushed the boat back into the water and he started it up.
It appears he was trying to move it to the other side of the docks but it died.  
They then tried pulling it to the other side of the docks but it began filling with water.
They pulled it back to where they started.
 Before they could get it back to the beach it started filling up and sinking.
It was a very sad thing to watch but it kept us all enthralled for over an hour and a half.

We finished off the meal sharing this decadent chocolate plate.
I was electrified with deliciousness.

We were driving back to the city along the bay, enjoying the view and listening to a wonderful easy listening station they have up here WQEZ.  Eric Clapton came on and suddenly Frank pulled the car to the side of the road, turned the music loud, got out of the car, opened my door and asked me to dance.  There we were on the side of the road, overlooking the bay and dancing under the sunset.  It was the perfect ending to an exquisite birthday celebration.  

We returned to the hotel and met up with the other conference attendees at the Beach Side Cocktail Party provided by Frank's employer.  These conferences have been an event that we have enjoyed for the fifteen years that Frank was in the employ of POLC and we are delighted they invited us back to attend this year's.  Frank will be announced and awarded a plaque tomorrow morning before the conference ends.  We will attend some of the conference this morning and join everyone for lunch before part of the group goes to the golf outing while the rest of us go on a libations tour.  I will tell you all about that very soon.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

From NC to Ohio.....a long but beautiful drive

We left NC bright and early yesterday.  We knew we had a long ride in front of us.  Luckily we had a great book, A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett, to listen to during the drive.  We also had some gorgeous landscape and scenery to admire.

We also made a slight detour into the town of Mount Airy.  Mount Airy is the birthplace and childhood home of Andy Griffith.  Andy continued to have a home there and spend at least 2-3 months there each year with his family and friends to recuperate and relax during his working years.

Andy Griffith's old school has been turned into a playhouse, museum and actor's school.  We took a walk and saw what we could see.  Frank got a kiss from Thelm and I got a ride in the Mayberry side car.  We also got a chance to say "Hey" to Goober.

We stopped by Aunt Bea's, took a walk around town and stopped in the jail for a visit.  Otis wasn't there but he did leave his clothes behind.  We missed Andy and Opie too but it was okay because we ran into them as they were leaving to the "fishin' hole".

We enjoyed our little detour and it helped break up the long ride.  We got to the hotel around 9 pm and Frank ran out to get me some nyquil as I have some sinus/ear/throat thing trying to settle in on me.  I fell asleep while waiting for his return. He woke be up, gave me a slug of nyquil and back to sleep I went until 6 this morning.  I still feel pretty yucky.  I'll pop some Aleve after breakfast and then we hit the road for Jen and Randy's in Michigan.  Only about a seven hour drive today so I'm happy about that.  If I'm not feeling better by tomorrow, I will hit a clinic and get something to drive this bug out so it doesn't put a damper on our trip.

Have a great day everyone.

Monday, August 22, 2016

On the Road Again.....

Well we are back on the road, heading towards Michigan.  We won't make it all the way but hopefully we will make it halfway to our TC family which is our destination for tomorrow night.  One nice thing about road trips is it gives me plenty of reading time.  Since we left I have listened to The One in a Million Boy and read The Bookseller.

Image result for unravel by calia read

Then I started and finished Unravel by Calia Read.  I am not sure how to review this book without spoilers.  It is the story of a girl who is desperately trying to help out her friends who are having some terrible things going on in their lives.  So terrible that the girl, Naomi, ends up in a psych ward which is where this story begins.  It then flashes back to her childhood and young adulthood as she discovers her friends secrets and hardships and attempts to save them.

Image result for x rated

This book is what my friend, Miss Sue, would call an S& F book.  The S= suck and the F= well you get the idea.  This is not a book that you would want to share with your tween or teen.

I had this book pretty much figured out halfway through but still enjoyed it and was a little bit surprised at the ending.  I will give it a 3 out of 5 rating as I did enjoy it.

I have now started reading the Phryne Fisher series.  My friend, Kirsten gave me Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher which contains the first three novels in the series.  I am about a third of the way through Cocaine Blues.  These mysteries starring the elegant Phryne Fisher is written by Kerry Greenwood.  Have you heard of this series?  I am enjoying it thus far. What did you think?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leg 3 of our Trip-Morehead City, North Carolina

We left Chuck's in the early afternoon on Thursday and drove through storms to North Carolina where we met up with some of our diving family from Anchor Bay Scuba.  We got settled into our room and then went with some of the group to the dive shop to register after which we had dinner in town.  We were exhausted and went to our room after dinner for a good night's sleep.

On Friday, some of us went to the aquarium while others went off for museums, shopping, sightseeing, beaches, etc.  I was glad we chose the aquarium, not only is it a nice aquarium but the outside temps were nearly 100* so it was nice to spend time indoors.  We all had a nice lunch on the water afterward.  Many of the gang were meeting up for dinner later in the evening.  Our friends, Mike and Mark arrived for the dive trip around 4.  They were starving so we joined them for an early dinner at a steakhouse not far from the hotel.

Saturday we were up bright and early....well it wasn't too bright at 5 am but you get the idea.  We were on the dive boat and headed to the dive sites by 6 am.  The weather was not great so we stayed closer to shore and dove two wreck sites, The Indira which is a landing craft that was used in Vietnam and then the JJF Tug and Tramp.  I am sharing some video with you.  Unfortunately the visibility was only 10' because of the storms that had come through.

Today, we were again at the boat by 6 am.  We headed out for the U352 that luckily we saw last year with great visibility.  We were anxious to see it again and many of our group were here for the first time just to see this German UBoat that was sunk 36 miles from our shores during WWII. It is a 2 hr. boat ride to the dive site.  When we arrived the current was too strong to allow diving so we boated another 1/2 hr to another WWII wreck.  Unfortunately the boat we were on had a problem that could cause a danger to divers. The dive was aborted and we traveled another 2 1/2 hrs back to shore.  The dive crew was as disappointed as we and we all received a full refund.

This is our second year with Olympus Dive Center in North Carolina.   The crew is wonderful and we have always had great trips.  Our friends, who suffered an apartment fire and lost all their dive equipment, were a little unhappy due to the fact that they were quoted one price for rental gear and then charged much more than that quote, but overall we have been very happy with their service and look forward to visiting again. 

This is only half of our group.  The other half were on another boat and were able to get their dives in.   I don't know how it was for them as they are not yet back but I hope they had a great dive.

And I hope you have a great day...we are off to the pool to meet up with some of the others before dinner.