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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Club Med Pasta Salad

Summertime barbeques are always more fun with an array of various salads. Club Med Pasta Salad is and easy fix and delicious the day it is prepared. It may dry out over time, so just stir in a bit of olive oil to make it 'fresh' again. 

This recipe does not require much measuring because it uses a full box of macaroni plus a jar of Kalamata olives, a jar of pesto and some crumbled feta. Simple! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mediterranean Panzanella (Bread Salad)

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad that makes used of stale bread by combining with tomatoes, onions and basil and a dressing of olive oil and vinegar. 

Mediterranean Panzanella dresses up traditional panzanella with the addition of Kalamata olives, feta cheese and cannellini beans. This exceptional one-dish summertime meal is simple to prepare and the perfect answer to the perpetual, "What are we going to eat today?" question when temperatures rise over 100F. 

This recipe uses a fresh loaf of focaccia, but day-old bread could be utilized as well.  Panzanella does not hold well, so mix everything just prior to serving. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Chicken Bruschetta

Summer presents a challenge for deciding what to eat. So many well-loved dishes do not seem appropriate for summertime fare. Chicken Bruschetta makes a great one dish summertime meal that is worthy of serving dinner party guests.

Marinated and grilled chicken (cut in half horizontally to allow for quick and even cooking) topped with a healthy portion of veggies is super easy to prepare (although there is quite a bit of chopping involved).

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rhubarb Shortbread

Rhubarb has long been one of my favorite dessert ingredients. It is common during the summer in the Midwest. My husband did not grow up consuming rhubarb like I did. The first time I made anything rhubarb for him, he tried a stalk thinking it would be similar to celery. Being a bit of a prankster, I just stood back to watch his reaction (he promptly removed the bite of sourness from his mouth into the trash). Rhubarb is essentially inedible on its own due to its sourness. Whoever thought to combine with other ingredients for great dessert was absolutely brilliant.

Rhubarb is difficult to find in California. Fortunately, there is one vendor at our weekly Farmer's Market that occasionally has a secret stash the red and green stalks poking out of a bucket at the back of his stand.

The first time I tried Rhubarb Shortbread it became my favorite rhubarb dessert. The shortbread crust paired with the gooey rhubarb layer make a perfect match.

Special thanks to my friend MaryJo for sharing this recipe. Some time ago I asked if she would be OK with my posting and her response was classic:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Mini Apricot-Almond Loaves

Summer is in full swing in Northern California...which means the Farmer's Market is filled with a vast array of fresh fruits and veggies - among them apricots!  This recipe pairs apricots with my new obsession: baking mini quick bread loafs. Mini quick breads make a fun food gift, breakfast, snack or dessert. The burst of tart apricot surrounded by lightly spiced sweet bread is delicious!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Oatmeal, M&M and Chocolate Chip Cookies

My grandmother made the absolute best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I remember she would store them in the deep freezer and we would sneak them and consume frozen whenever we had the opportunity. When I was old enough, I asked my grandmother for her recipe. I was surprised to learn it was the recipe from the Quaker Oats oatmeal box!

I have made some adjustments to the recipe to make it a bit more interesting...

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Squash

This dish was the result of prepping a meal with what was available in our kitchen at the time. The result was a raging success that has been requested several times since its debut. It is a simple, meatless meal that is ready in a matter of minutes. A perfect summertime dinner!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blogging Break Over!

It has been some time since my last post...December 2015! I began my food blogging experiment in November 2014. I thought it would be an easy hobby that would be fun and bring in some extra cash. I also thought it would help answer the eternal question at our house, "What are we going to eat today?"

What I actually experienced was much different from my expectations...

I was obviously delusional when I started blogging. It is not easy! I thought that within a year I would have a tremendous following and would be rolling in the dough. That clearly didn't happen. I have just checked my earnings and haven't hit the $5 mark. And that is not a monthly total. It is the total from November 2014 until now. How embarrassing!

The question about what are we going to eat today continued and was compounded by, "What am I going to blog about this week?"  Taking good pictures has proven difficult for me. Coming up with original content on a regular basis also proved to be challenging.

Why did I stop blogging? A variety of reasons. My dad passed away. A couple months later a kid rear-ended me when I was stopped at a red light in my new little car that hadn't yet had an oil change and tried to pin fault on me. And then a couple of months later, my washing machine flooded and damaged flooring that was only 6 months old in three different rooms. Dealing with all those issues at (relatively) the same time made keeping up a food blog seem like something insignificant that was easy to give up.

I have been toying with the idea of getting back into my hobby blogging over the past couple months and have finally committed myself to give it a go again.

I need to find my blogger identity (i.e. What am I going to be when I grow up?) I have tried the 'party' platform where several bloggers work around a common theme and then link to each other's post. Party blogging is fun, but I'm not sure that it is within my comfort zone. I have thought about going through my grandmother and great-grandmother's recipes, but I'm not sure others would find it interesting. I have thought about cooking whatever is on the cover of various magazines and grading them.

I was looking for some online motivation and by coincidence found the International Food Blogger's Conference will be in Sacramento, CA September 29 - October 1. The deadline for registering is June 30, which gives me only a couple of days to get it together!

What are my next steps?  I need to get three posts published by June 30 so I can register as an 'active citizen blogger' for the International Food Blogger's conference. Then I will do my best to commit to one post per week.  I also need to improve my photography skills and look into a better 'look' for my website. So many things to do!

I would appreciate words of wisdom from anyone who is currently blogging or has blogged and dropped it.  Let's see what happens with my renewed energy for food blogging!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Candy Cane Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

This month's #BundtBakers theme: Naughty or Nice. Because perception is reality, I chose to be Nice...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Bran Muffins #BreadBakers

Make-ahead food items have always appealed to me because they make me feel organized. With as much craziness that has been going on in my life recently, I need all the help I can get! (My latest drama involves a malfunctioning washing machine and a homeowners insurance claim.)

The batter for these bran muffins can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 3 weeks for fresh from the oven deliciousness readily available whenever the mood strikes. 

This recipe is an old family favorite. I remember being intrigued as a girl when my mother would prepare the batter and hold the refrigerator until baking. It doesn't get better than having muffin batter in the fridge ready to bake on a whim!