Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Grilled Tuna Niçoise Salad

Grilled Tuna Niçoise Salad
Just a quick post today, will be out in the garden. The weather has been strange, our days alternating between the sun and the rain. Because of the heat my lettuce is starting to bolt earlier than usual. There is not much time until it will get tough and bitter. So we will be enjoying salads, lots of salads. Last night we had a tuna Nicoise salad. While my husband grilled the fish, I prepared the salad dressing. Life is simple and good here. We are very fortunate.

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Grilled Tuna Niçoise Salad
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • minced Shallot, small
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Wild tuna
  • 1/2 head Lettuce
  • 2 medium boiled until tender slice Yukon potatoes
  • 1/2 pound trimmed steamed until tender Green beans
  • 1 sliced Tomato
  • 1/4 thinly sliced Red onion
  • 1/4 cup Nicoise olives
  • 1/4 cup Picholine olives
  • 1 tablespoon Capers
  • 1 halved Hard boiled egg
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, tarragon, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil to make a vinaigrette. Prepare grill for medium heat cooking. Salt and pepper and then drizzle a small amount of olive oil on both sides of fish. Place tuna on the grill and cook 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until tuna reaches desired doneness. Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, cut into slices.Add lettuce to large serving platter, then place tuna, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, onion, olives, capers and egg on top and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 to 4

*Forgot to announce the winner of the "Five Ingredient Recipes", cookbook. A Cookbook For Busy People. Drum roll........Mindy of "A Dandelion Diary".  Congrats Mindy!!!!

Thank you everyone for participating.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pure Delicious, A Cookbook

Pure Delicious, A Cookbook
A few members of our family have food allergies. Nothing too life shattering unless the concept of a stomach ache or feeling nauseas appeals to you. But we are lucky in the sense of no life threatening allergies. Growing up we did not even realize food allergies existed. We had to eat what was put in front of us. Peanut butter sandwiches were the mainstay of my grade school lunches, that and an apple which I threw in the trash every single day. (my poor mom) Thank goodness things have changed and food allergies are now recognized.

That leads me to “Pure Delicious”, a cookbook written by Heather Christo who is a trained chef and graduate of Le cordon bleu. She is also a blogger who has food allergies herself and a mom to two young daughters with food allergies. All serious enough to warrant some major food changes. Her introduction begins with a story of their transformation and ends with eight weeks to a new normal. In between there is info on the food elimination diet, how to create a new food lifestyle that is wholesome and delicious, helping your kids through the transition and adjusting to social situations. Then comes the recipes; there are over 150 to support your new lifestyle. They are free of gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and cane sugar. That’s pretty impressive in my book.

Pasta with Sausage, White Beans and Mustard Greens
I made three of her recipes and was very pleased with each and every one. The first one I prepared was the pasta with sausage, white beans and mustard greens. The pasta was gluten-free but everything else was what you would expect. Will be making this one again.

Broccoli Chopped Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette
The second dish I made was Broccoli Chopped Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette, which I brought to a potluck. I took a picture before and forgot to take the finished one right before leaving. There was nothing left to photograph. This salad was crunchy and delicious.

Chicken Teriyaki
The last dish was the Chicken Teriyaki with scallions and sesame seeds. The recipe calls for boneless skin-on chicken thighs and I used boneless skinless. In this particular instance I think that skin-on would have been a better choice. We both enjoyed the flavor it was the look that was a little off-putting. The skin would of given this meal a beautiful color.

In the past when entertaining others with food allergies or intolerances I felt overwhelmed. I now have "Pure Delicious", a resourceful cookbook with healthy and delicious recipes in my arsenal just waiting for the next occasion. You can too!

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blueberry Jam

Blueberry Jam with Cinnamon and Fresh Nutmeg
Yesterday we went blueberry picking. We drove about 25 miles up the coast and then another fifteen to get to Gibson Farm. We went there last year and were dazzled by their beautiful bushes; Jerseys and Berkley’s to be exact. The Berkley’s are larger and very sweet, my husband’s favorite. But I felt the slightly smaller Jerseys were more flavorful. We picked over 13 pounds.

Blueberry Bush
The recipe I have today is for blueberry jam and since my usual canning buddy is out of town my husband helped me. How sweet is that right? Anyway we measured out 18 cups of berries after deciding to combine the 2 different varieties and popped some in the freezer for later. The recipe I used for today’s jam came from the website Food In Jars. (Whenever I can or preserve anything I go here first). Marisa sure knows her stuff. In this recipe cinnamon and fresh nutmeg is used to spice things up. And what an amazing flavor they did add. Later that day at the post office I saw someone mailing a jar of blueberry jam with basil and balsamic. Will definitely try that next time. Hope you are all having a great week. Recipe below.

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Blueberry Jam
Freshly picked blueberries make a delicious summer jam. Perfect on toast, delicious in marinades and wonderful in baked goods.
  • 18 cups Blueberries
  • 8 cups Sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Pectin
  • 2 medium Lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg, fresh grated
Prepare jars and lids by washing in soapy water first, rinse carefully. Sterilize by boiling jars and lids at least 10 minutes. Carefully remove from pot and set on a clean towel to dry.Rinse berries, drain well then place in a non-reactive pan. Mash slightly. Add sugar and pectin, stir until combined. Cook at a controlled boil for 10 to 12 minutes. The mixture should look thicker and the foaming has stopped. *When this happens do the plate test.* If ready add the cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice and zest and mix well.Remove jam from heat and ladle (or funnel) into jars, leave about ½ inch from the top. Carefully (jars are very hot) wipe the rims and apply lids and rims. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes in a large canning pot. Make sure jars are completely covered. When time is up removed jars and place them on a kitchen towel to cool.Once cool, remove rings and test seals.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 15 1/2 pints

*Put a empty plate in the freezer when you are ready to start preparing the berries. Add 1 teaspoon of jam to plate. Push your finger through the jam on the plate - you're looking for it to wrinkle and not flood back in to fill the gap.*

Plate test

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fast & Easy Five Ingredient Recipes, A Cookbook and a Giveaway

Fast & Easy Five Ingredient Recipes
Todays’ post is all about Philia Kelnhofer, aka Sweetphi. She is a very talented and creative blogger that works full time as VP of operations for a Hartland-based dietary supplement manufacturer. She is also a photographer, wife, friend and new to her list of accomplishments …….. writer and author. I met her (online) about 5 years ago. Her positive outlook on life and delicious recipes always had me coming back for more.

Being the very busy person that she is she started a five ingredient recipe series and post regularly every Friday. Most are made with common ingredients that you normally would have in your home pantry. The recipes she posts about are delicious, fairly quick to make and perfect for those busy days. Anyway, drum roll please…….. her first cookbook “Fast & Easy Five Ingredient Recipes book launch is July 19th, just a few days away. Each recipe has its own photo and each and every one was taken by Phi, (see I told you she is talented). The event will be held at the Milwaukee Public Market where Phi will make and serve food from her cookbook.

Crispy Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad
Today I am sharing two recipes from her book. The first dish I made was the Crispy bacon and Brussels sprouts salad which consisted of bacon, Brussels sprouts, Dijon mustard, maple syrup and juice of ½ lemon. My husband loved this salad and I will definitely be making this again and again.

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Crispy Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad
  • 1/2 pound chopped Bacon
  • 1 pound, ends removed & chopped Brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Maple syrup
  • 1/2 juiced Lemon
In a large heavy skillet on medium heat cook bacon until browned on both sides. Remove from pan and let set on paper towels to drain.Pour out some of the grease, leave about a tablespoon in pan. Add Brussels Sprouts and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.In a small bowl whisk together the Dijon, maple syrup and lemon juice. Add bacon back in pan and pour over Dijon mustard mixture. Heat together for a few minutes until warm.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4

Peanut Butter Sea Salt Cookies
For the second recipe I prepared the peanut butter sea salt cookies which consisted of brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, peanut butter and sea salt. These were easy to put together and gluten-free. This is probably the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had, love the salty and sweet flavors going on.

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Peanut Butter Sea Salt Cookies
These flourless little beauties are so full of flavor, perfectly balanced between the salty and sweet.
  • 2 cups Brown sugar
  • 2, room temp eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla
  • 2 cups Peanut butter, creamy
  • 1 tablespoon, garnish Sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.In a medium sized bowl whisk together brown sugar and eggs. Now mix in the vanilla.With a wooden spoon stir in the peanut butter until thick and combined.Using a tablespoon spoon out dough and place on prepared cooking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Add sea salt and press down lightly on cookies to press in. Allow to cool 10 minutes on baking rack. Transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 30

Fast & Easy Five Ingredient Recipes
Now for the first time ever and to help celebrate Sweetphi’s success I am giving away one free copy of her cookbook. Please leave a comment and tell me if you have any good 5 ingredient dishes of your own up your sleeve and an email address to contact you if chosen. This giveaway is open until July 25th, and the winner will be notified on the 26th. Sorry U.S. entrants only.

You can pre-order Sweetphi's cookbook via: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Boswell Books, IndieBound and Walmart.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Baked Halibut with Panko, Lemon and Parsley and a Garden Update

Baked halibut with Panko, Lemon and Parsley

The weather has been kind of odd this summer. Lots of rain and then warm humid days makes for a fast growing garden, (and um; a few weeds). Yes I know there are quite a few of them.  I need to spend some time out there. There has been a few unwanted tunnels but nothing like last year….maybe the mole detector is working after all.

Garden update

Mustard greens (below) is a new plant for us this year I planted it from seed straight into the ground, nothing fancy and they are growing like gang busters. Chard is a veggie that I grow every year, sometimes I will have one or two plants that makes it through the winter. Such a wonderful treat when we come back each year.

Mustard greens

We picked up halibut from the town of Newport yesterday  and decided to prepare it very simply. I dredged it in a mixture of panko, lemon zest, parsley and olive oil. We really enjoy the crispiness and texture that panko lends to a dish. My husband is the chef when it comes to baking or grilling fish as I always, always over cook it. I have to say he does an amazing job.

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Baked Halibut with Panko, Lemon and Parsley
  • 2-6 ounce fillets halibut
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • zested-1 teaspoon lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • to taste salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400FLine a baking sheet with foilRinse halibut fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Combine panko bread crumbs, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Place halibut fillets onto the prepared baking sheet.Spoon the herbed crumbs over the fish, and lightly press into each fillet. Bake in the preheated oven until crumb topping is lightly browned and fish flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 6 ounce fillets

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fresh Garbanzo Bean Hummus

I like to believe that I am a person that readily accepts change, but really I am not. Last week I finally got up the nerve to have some changes made on this site and I am so glad I did. I stayed with blogger but had a new makeover. Thank you Linda for everything you did, it is much better than I ever imagined. However I do love to try new foods.

Have you ever seen a fresh garbanzo? Once you pop open up the pods you will notice that they are slight green in color. The flavor is similar to a fresh pea. There was not a lot of information available about how to prepare them.

So I decided to peel them and throw them in a pot of boiling water for one to two minutes. I then drained and rinsed them to stop the cooking. Some were used in a salad and the rest I made into a hummus.


1 generous basket of chickpeas (after shelled 1 ½ cups)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 small garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons tahini
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup water
½ teaspoon cumin
Handful of cilantro
Salt to taste

To prepare:

Begin by peeling beans first. (If you don’t they will squirt hot water at you when trying to remove the pods);)

Heat a large pan of water to a boil, add beans and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through strainer. Rinse beans until cool.

Place the garbanzos in a food processor with 1/4 cup water, the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cilantro, tahini and olive oil. Blend until smooth. ( I kept mine a little chunky because I love that kind of texture). Taste and season with salt.

Serve with veggies, crackers or pita chips.
I am joining Dishing it & Digging It Link party

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings

When it comes down to creating happy memories, what kind of entertainer are you? Do you like to make others feel special and loved? If you do, Food with Friends is the cookbook for you. Leela Cyd the author is a food, lifestyle and travel photographer and she is based in Northern California. Many of her food and spices are from her travels around the world which she blogs about at LeelaCyd.com.

The Food with Friends cookbook is focused on entertaining, the dishes are colorful and fun. Most have some sort of whimsical artsy twist that feels sincere and natural. There are six chapters: Breakfast and Brunch, Teatime, Happy Hour, Potlucks and Picnics, Desserts, and Tiny Takeaways. Every recipe comes with a beautiful photo and a personal introduction or story, which I found to be very charming. In her Onion Jam recipe she writes that it is so good she would happily marry a jar of it. Now that did it for me, later that day I made my own jar and it was delicious!! (see picture below).

Onion Jam

My favorite chapter was the “Style File” section. Here she talks about adding your own personal touches. Forget perfection and embrace what you love. It’s okay to add pine cones, driftwood or whatever it is that you treasure, use what you have.

What I gleaned from this cookbook was that with a little work we can make our family and friends feel special and cared about. Whatever the occasion Leela Cyd will show you how to keep it simple but exceptional at the same time. Food with Friends is for the artist in everyone of us. 

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”