Sunday, July 29, 2012

Caprese Salad


Caprese Salad has to be one of my favorite salads.  Especially in the summertime.  We enjoyed this one for dinner and there is none left over.  I like to use the freshest mozzarella I can find and of course you have to use summer tomatoes fresh from the garden or in my case this year, fresh from the Farmer’s Market.  I have basil growing in several pots outside on the deck and I have been pinching off leaves and using them in everything I can think of.    A generous drizzle of olive oil and an equal amount of Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar that I picked up at Green Gate Olive Oils the last time we went down to Pinehurst.  I LOVE that vinegar.  If you can’t find the Black Cherry, regular Balsamic Vinegar is delicious too.  If you get a chance to shop in an olive oil/ vinegar shop, ask for a taste of the black cherry if they have it.  It’s incredibly good!  Shops are starting to pop up all over and if we have one here in little ol’ Greensboro, NC than I am sure you have one near you too. 

Caprese Salad

1 Ball of fresh mozzarella cheese

2 or 3 medium sized tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes make this even better if you can get them.)

Olive oil  ( I like regular but extra virgin is delicious here too.)

Balsamic Vinegar (Experiment with some flavored vinegars if you dare.)

Fresh basil leaves

sea salt

black pepper

Parmesan Reggiano (optional)

Slice your mozzarella cheese  and your tomatoes very thin.   I like to place the mozzarella on the platter first so that the olive oil and vinegar have a chance to seep into the cheese.  Then I cover the mozzarella with the tomato slices.  Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Don’t worry about the amount.  I like to pour each into a big spoon first and then drizzle them over the salad for more control.  Then I like to cut the basil very thinly into ribbons (chiffonade) and sprinkle over the top along with some scattered whole leaves.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.   Although I didn’t do it on tonight’s salad,  sometimes I like to take my Microplane grater and add some finely grated Parmesan Reggiano over the top.  With or without, this salad is fabulous!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strawberry Pie


This recipe is everywhere!  Do a search for Strawberry Pie recipes and over and over you will find this recipe popping up.  And with good reason.  It’s quick and easy and of course delicious.  It reminds me of the Strawberry Pie that we used to get at the Big Boy. (I think they are also called Shoney’s.)   I haven’t eaten in a Big Boy in I’ll bet more than twenty years.  So this pie definitely took me back. 

Here’s the recipe:

Strawberry Pie

Pillsbury Pie Crust

Whipped cream

4 tablespoons strawberry jello mix
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 pint fresh strawberries

Place one pre-made pie crust in a pie plate and bake it off according to the package directions.  Set it aside to cool.

While the pie crust is baking, wash and slice the  strawberries and set aside in a bowl.

Bring the water, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil using a whisk to stir.  Stir until the mixture thickens and turns clear.  Add the strawberry jello and whisk it in. 


It will be a thick, red, and glossy.  Gently fold the the strawberries and the glaze together.  Transfer the glazed strawberries to pie crust and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with whipped cream.


Strawberries have about run their course for this season but you can still find good deals on them but not for much longer I would suspect. I should have tried this recipe out earlier in the season. I’ll be ready next year!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Bars


I found these delightful Blueberry Crumb Bars on Pinterest just yesterday and couldn’t stop thinking about them.  Especially since I had a container of blueberries sitting in my fridge that were just starting to pass their prime and I hated the thought of just throwing them away.  You know, soft enough where you don’t really just want to pop one in your mouth.  Nothing worse than getting a mushy berry.  These bars are not too sweet and they are absolutely delicious.  Thanks to the blog Annie Eats who found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen for the awesome recipe!

I cut the recipe in half and it worked beautifully using only 1 pint of blueberries.    I baked it in an 8 X 8  inch baking pan and they came out perfect.  Just the right amount.  If you are feeding a crowd or want lots of leftovers, make the regular sized recipe as listed below.  

Here is the recipe:

Blueberry Crumb Bars


1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cold butter

1 egg

¼ tsp. salt

zest and juice of one lemon

4 cups fresh blueberries

½ cup sugar

4 tsp. cornstarch


Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9×13” pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, flour and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Original Source:  Smitten Kitchen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Scrambled Omelette with Spinach, Corn, and Cheddar


Today I had the most delicious breakfast!  Most mornings I am in a rush and typically I’ll have a couple cups of coffee, a hard boiled egg, and a slice of whole grain toast with some peanut butter on it.  And that is a great breakfast for me because it works.  It keeps me going all morning.  But today I had a bit more time than normal and wanted something slightly different.  This is what I came up with. 


Scrambled Omelette with Spinach, Corn, and Cheddar

Olive Oil


2 Eggs, beaten

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Fresh corn cut off the cobb if you can (mine was leftover from dinner the night before.)

Small tomato, diced

1 slice of Ezekiel bread, toasted

1/4 of an avocado


I started out with a handful of fresh spinach that I sautéed in about 1 teaspoon of olive oil.   I added some delicious leftover corn kernels from last night’s corn on the cobb from dinner and then added some sea salt and pepper.  I sautéed them until the spinach started to wilt down and the corn was heated through.  Then I added the two beaten eggs.  Slowly I gently folded the eggs as they cooked.  When the egg mixture was almost set, I sprinkled the eggs with some shredded Cheddar cheese and the diced tomato.  Then I transferred the scrambled omelette  to a plate and the residual heat helped to melt the cheese. 

I served it with the avocado chopped up and then spread on the piece of wheat toast. 

It was delicious!! 


This recipe is VERY imprecise and really you could use whatever you have leftover from last night’s dinner and play around with the type of cheese you like. Whatever you come up with, I am sure will be delicious. But I have it on very good authority that this is a winning combination.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A New Rag Quilt Under Construction


It’s going to be 100 degrees here again today and I have the whole day ahead of me.  I’ve started a new rag quilt and here is a quick preview.  I’ve got most of the pieces cut but I think I want to add one more fabric to the mix.  Thought it would be fun to go with the grays and yellows for this one.  This will keep me busy and indoors and out of the heat.  I also plan on over-dosing on Mad Men today too. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It’s Too Hot!!


I am having a bit of a bachelorette weekend. My husband and daughter are up in Chicago for a nephew’s wedding for the weekend. Someone had to stay home with the wayward teenage son who didn’t want to go and since he can’t be trusted to stay here alone, here I am.  Sad but true.   Today I entertained myself by starting out my day at the Farmer’s Market.

It’s too hot to do much of anything!  It’s going to be 100 degrees again tomorrow and I am so over it!  Relief is coming I am told next week with lower temps and some rain.  I have no right to complain unlike all those thousands who lost power and therefore their air conditioning.  But, I am complaining anyway.  I got up early this morning and headed to the Farmer’s Market downtown.   My car actually said it was 94 degrees and it was only 10:00 in the morning!   Usually, I head over to the Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market which is huge but today I headed downtown instead to check the smaller one out.  It’s only open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.  Loved it!

  I picked up some beautiful tomatoes (No garden for us this year.  Couldn’t bear the thought of battling the Bermuda grass this year. Good thing we have two great Farmer’s Markets here.)  and found a middle eastern vendor selling all kinds of unusual things.  I picked up a container of their tabouleh and had some for lunch.  Delicious.  They had some wonderful looking olive bread and some other pastries that I’ll try next time.


I  also picked up an almond croissant that I took home to enjoy with a cup a coffee.  It was très délicieux.


To Rome with Love Movie Poster

In the afternoon, I went to the movies  to see Woody Allen’s latest “To Rome With Love”.  I was never a fan of Woody Allen or his movies until I saw “Vickie Christina Barcelona”.  I also liked his tennis/murder  movie called “ Matchpoint”.  I really enjoyed both of those because they both seemed so different from the Woody Allen movies I remembered from before.    Last year we went to see Midnight in Paris and thought it was cute but after seeing “To Rome With Love” today I had a revelation.  I realized that I don’t like Woody Allen movies that have Woody Allen in them!  He’s such a whiner!  And, “To Rome With Love” features Woody Allen.  Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, and Alec Baldwin are great in it but forgive me for saying it but it seemed kind of silly.  But, I look at it this way.  I spared my husband husband from having to sit through it and the theater was air conditioned.  :)  How about you?  Are you staying cool and are you a Woody Allen fan?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No Bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake



Is Pinterest not a wonderful invention?!   Allow me to paint you a picture.  It’s the Fourth of July.  You have been invited to the annual Cook Out.  You have had many days notice of this.  You’re not sure what to bring.  You volunteer your usual Orzo, Corn, Red Pepper, and Chive Salad (also know as Orzo Confetti Salad), which everybody loves but you want to try something new.  Something fun, colorful, and delicious.  Where to turn?  This is where Pinterest comes in.  It’s time to go back to your boards and pick something from the many pins you have created and saved and make one!

I saw the recipe for this delicious No Bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake just a week or so ago and thought it would be perfect for the Fourth of July Cook Out.  It’s from the blog called So How’s It Taste? She topped hers with drizzled, melted chocolate chips.  I’ll try that next time.I wanted to stick strickly to RED, WHITE, AND BLUE.


Here’s how it’s made.

No Bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake

3 lbs. fresh strawberries, sliced
2 (8 oz.) tubs fat-free whipped topping (or use regular or light) (I used Cool Whip)
1 (14.4 oz.) box graham crackers
1/4 cup milk chocolate chip morsels (optional)

Spread a small amount of Cool Whip on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  (I think glass looks the prettiest.)

IMG_1467     IMG_1476

Take a packet of graham crackers from the box and lay them one by one on top of the Cool Whip.  I used Homey Maid Grahams by Nabisco and  there were 3 packets in each box.  Each packet is the perfect amount for one layer and so my dessert was three layers high. 

Spread another thin layer of Cool Whip on the first layer of graham crackers, and then top the Cool Whip with sliced strawberries.


Layer two of the graham crackers is next.  Do your best to place them neatly.  It does not have to be perfect and a few holes here and there are fine.  Nobody is going to see them.  Spread more Cool Whip on layer two and top again with strawberries.  At this point, your dessert is getting close to the top of the dish.  Don’t’ worry.  Add that third layer.  It will fit. 

For the top and final layer.  I was more careful in placing the strawberries.  I wanted the more red outside of the strawberries to seen on the top so I hand placed them for the final layer.  At this point you can melt the chocolate chips in your microwave, put them in a small sandwich bag, snip off a point of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the top of you dessert. That’s it!

Serves 12


This is the first year that our neighborhood won’t be having a fireworks display.  :( 

 But with it being so hot and dry, it’s probably a good thing.   We’ll just have to make the best of it.

Happy Fourth of July to you all!