Tuesday, November 30, 2010's time for Christmas baking

I am soo excited to get started with Christmas baking!  I have a whole bunch of magazines with all kinds of different things to try...some new...some old standbys.

I just got the new Martha Stewart "Everyday Food" magazine with all kinds of fun, fast, tasty treats!  From my subscription to Martha Stewart Living I found a lot of recipes and decorating ideas for the holidays

While I was up north on vacation I picked up a couple of Better Homes and Garden magazines- 100 best cookies and Christmas Baking.

I can't wait to share them with you!!

Nate and I will be making sweet treats to send out to our friends and family out in WA in the next couple of days.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • A drizzle of olive oil

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet (rice-a-roni)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper ( I also added some poultry seasoning and a couple of shakes of yellow curry powder)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons cream cheese

In a small sauce pan add garlic, onion and a drizzle of olive oil...saute until onion is soft.

In a large pot bring to boil, broth, white wine and water, chicken and onion mixture.  When it reaches a boil add the rice and seasoning packet.  Lower heat to a simmer, cover to simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the pot is simmering, you'll need to make a roux by melting butter and your choice of seasonings.  Add the flour a little at a time, whisking gently to keep it smooth.  Once it is smooth, add the milk, again a little at a time.  Once it is smooth and incorporated, (may take patience and elbow grease) you can add it to pot of chicken and rice. Mix gently to incorporate in soup. Add the cream cheese and turn off heat. The cream cheese will melt and soften so you can gently stir into the soup.

To reheat, you may need to add a little more milk or water to thin it a little bit.

One of my favorite soups!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nick's Pizza Review

Nick's Pizza, Newburyport, MA

Friday night is synonymous with family pizza night!!

The Friday after Thanksgiving is no different.  After a fun day of sightseeing, we went to Nick's Pizza to pick up a couple of pizzas for dinner.  My mother-in-law has a milk allergy, which can pose a problem with having pizza.  For me, the more cheese the better!!  At Nick's, not a problem!  We were able to order a pizza with half no cheese just the toppings and half with cheese and toppings.

We thoroughly enjoyed the pizza.  It is very saucy and not as cheesy.  The sauce wasn't spicy but the pepperoni was!  It wasn't greasy like some pizzas can be.

Facebook page

Price - moderate unless you have coupons
Ambiance - average if you stay there,  it's a small pizza place
               - excellent if you get to pick where you eat it
Taste - Excellent

I would recommend this to anyone in the Newburyport, MA area.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bertucci's review

Tonight we went to Bertucci's.  It's an Italian restaurant with Brick Oven specialties.  The restaurant was in Lynnfield/Beverly, MA.

When we lived on the West Coast, my East Coast raised husband raved about and missed Bertucci's.  Every time we came for a visit to the Boston area.  He had to go to Bertucci's and a seafood place for twin lobsters.

I usually get either the ravioli or the pizza.  Tonight, I had a Bertucci's calzoni with meatballs, pepperoni and caramelized onions.  It also had a ricotta, romano, mozzerella cheese filling as well.  The crust was nice and not too dense.  It wasn't sweet.  The Pomodoro sauce was a little spicy but was good.  The balance mixture of the creamy cheese and the meat was very tasty. You can also order the calzone with a whole wheat crust.

My husband got the Bertucci's Ultimate pizza.  Each quarter of our pepperoni pizza with a different topping — sweet Italian sausage, meatballs, rosemary ham and chicken.  

For my son we got the kids macaroni and cheese.  It was penne pasta with a thin cheese sauce, not something that kids think of when they think mac and cheese.  Although he did eat most of it!!

My in-laws each got the Chicken Broccoli Penne which is fresh grilled sliced chicken, broccoli and rigatoni in your choice of a lemon garlic cream or white wine sauce.  They had the garlic cream sauce.  It had whole cloves of garlic in it so it was garlicky!

The service was pretty good.  It wasn't very busy but it seemed as though the service staff didn't have anything to do but our waitperson was a little bit slow to check in on us.

Prices - moderate
Ambiance - Good (a family restaurant so the noise level can be a bit loud)
Service - Good
Taste - Excellent
I would recommend this restaurant to any hungry traveler!! If you see a Bertucci's, you need to stop!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lessons learned on the road

Eat lavishly with gratitude!

Rules of  the road, "on" the road

1.  If you are travelling with kid, always have a clean set of clothes, outside of the suitcases where you can reach them, without having to unpack the whole car.  You never know when you're going to need them!

2.  Don't let the outside of a restaurant taint your view of how the food will taste.  The inside on the other hand...if it is dirty, smells dirty...grab the kids and go to a different restaurant (even if the kids are screaming about having to leave).

3. For one whole day...forget about being an adult (except in emergencies)...see the world how a little kid sees's REFRESHING.  Even a simple leaf on the ground should bring out a WHOA!! THAT IS COOL feeling, every once in a while.

4.  Eat dessert first!

5.  Life goes around only without regrets, lots of gratitude and your life will be more than you can imagine!

Be thankful!  Have a great Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

simple and delicious

Here's a recipe that I've tried out this week that was delicious, simple and won't break your budget!! The best kind, right?

Monterey Chicken on a Shingle
Who doesn't love BBQ chicken with onion, cheese and bacon!?!? I was looking for something easy and delicious to make for a late night snack for my husband and I.

I used our toaster oven but you could toast the muffins in a regular toaster and then put in the oven to heat through.

I'm going to post how I assembled them and you can add or subtract what you like or don't like.  That's the great thing about can make it your way.

I took 3 English muffins and halved them.  I spread enough butter to cover the muffins (not slathered).  I took a 3 cooked chicken tenderloins and sliced them lengthwise and place them on 1 of the muffin halves. You could also use canned chicken as well.

On the other half, I sprinkled cheese and some diced onion (green onion would be another alternative) bacon bits and a small squirt of BBQ sauce.  I put the muffins in the toaster oven and toasted them like I normally would make toast.  Our toaster takes about 4 minutes and toasts both the top and bottom.  I put them together like a sandwich...viola...easy and tasty!

Thanksgiving Menu

a Thanksgiving Menu from Kraft foods! Some great ideas! I won't be making Thanksgiving dinner this year, but I will be making Christmas dinner so I'm saving some of the ideas and recipes for then!!

Good eats!

my new serial blog-

My Internet Serial Novel

Updated every Friday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My husband, 2 boys and I are going away on a vacation!! I am so excited. Hopefully I will be able to blog some of our food experience on the road.  We haven't been to New England for Thanksgiving in 4 years. So it will be a fun time for all.  Our last "vacation" was a road trip...but wasn't at a leisurely pace.  Hopefully this one will be!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Expo.

My sweet boys, Nate-4, Sam-1

I have to put in the personal part of my fun day.  I have a 2 boys , 4 and 1.  It doesn't make for a lot of time to spend with my husband or for that matter alone with my husband.  I was thrilled when our friends graciously said "yes" when we asked if they would watch the boys so I could attend the expo.  I can't imagine going to an event like that with a curious 4 year old, and a stroller!  Honestly when I left the boys, I was very anxious because they haven't been away from me very much.  Not that I didn't think our friends could handle it.  I just didn't want them to have a horrible day while I was having fun!! But I didn't need to worry.  They all had fun. (at least the parts she told me)  The boys both fell asleep in the car on the way home.. So there was happiness all around.

But on to my Expo experience.  It was at first OVERWHELMING.  I haven't ever been to something SO HUGE.  I'm a country girl so visiting the city can be an adventure.

We were fortunate enough to ride the metro into DC and transfer to the right line and it took us right to the stairs of the  DC Convention Center.

The celebrity speakers were Bobby Flay and Paula Deen.and Rachel Ray.

(in this picture she was a cut-out)
We got there about noon and the first thing you noticed is the awesome smells coming from the expo floor.  They had a place you could stop and take pictures of the floor which was pretty neat.

When you first get down stairs, they were handing out a bag, map and things for the attendees.  I grabbed as many business cards as I could so the bag came in handy

There were lots of people there.  There was a cooking stage where the chefs from the Bloom kitchen showed different cooking techniques.

There was a food tasting pavilion that we went to put on by  They had different products from the show that you could sample and at the end you went to a computer and voted for your favorite.  It was really fun.  Made us feel "special"!

Here's a list of some of the vendors that I really liked.  There were LOTS that were awesome!

One of our favorites!  Being  country girl from WA dairy country, this company has a soft spot for me.  They deliver milk in glass jar and have ice cream too! We're going to try and stop by there on our way north this weekend. They are in Middletown, Maryland.
South Mountain Creamery

The BEST BBQ sauce we tasted was from Pork Barrel BBQ

They were on the show "Shark Tank".  The BBQ sauce is PHENOMENAL.

The BEST caramel cake!
Caroline's Cakes

A business that brings cupcakes to your party...where you are. GREAT IDEA!
Catch That Cupcake

Maple Butter - It is SO tasty you could just eat it off the spoon like frosting! Makes my mouth water even now.
Foss Foods

I got a sample of some hickory salt from the Spice Lab that I sprinkled over chicken last night,  VERY NICE!  Not spicy and not too smoky.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eastern Market

Will be visiting this!! Looks like a lot of family fun and a great way to support local farms!!

Eastern Market

Caroline's Cakes, Home of The World's Best Caramel Cake!

Had a sample of the caramel cake....YUMMY!

Caroline's Cakes, Home of The World's Best Caramel Cake!

Catch That Cupcake

Local business with a GREAT idea!

Catch That Cupcake

Premium Chocolate Walking Tours, Workshops, Tastings in Metro Washington DC

When my friends get to DC...we'll have to go on this tour!!

Premium Chocolate Walking Tours, Workshops, Tastings in Metro Washington DC



Tried the Uncle Joe's Vodka Celebration sauce at the DC Metro Show...YUMMY!!

Foss Gourmet Foods Maple Butter

This was FANTASTIC!! I would highly recommend this product. Not only is it good on toast...but straight off the spoon!

Store - Foss Gourmet Foods, LLC - Wake Forest, North Carolina - Maple Butter - Maple Syrup

Grama's Best | Delicious home-cooked products brought from our Grandmothers' recipe books

Grama's Best | Delicious home-cooked products brought from our Grandmothers' recipe books

Jam that was Phenomenal!!

Another GREAT vendor.

One of the AWESOME vendors from the DC 2010 Cooking Expo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking is my reward!

Yesterday was a domestic day at home.  Did all the things that aren't my favorite...and found that I was looking forward to my reward....baking!!

Every time we go to the store lately Nate's been asking me to buy him pink frosting cookies. So I decided to attempt to make sugar cookies.  Sugar cookies are a hit and miss proposition for me.  Sometimes I have to hide the result with frosting. Other times they are just too tasty to put frosting on them.  The ones I made yesterday - very tasty without the frosting. 

I love to try out twists in my baking.  Yesterday was no exception..  I found a recipe online for "Easy Sugar Cookies" on  It called for one cup of butter, so I tried them with 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup cream cheese! OH MY WORD....they were tasty!!  Normally sugar cookies are rolled out and then cut.  This recipe makes drop cookies and made 30 large sized cookies.

Easy Sugar Cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cooking with whine...I mean wine!

What goes better with Fridays than wine???

I picked up a bottle of wine the other day jokingly telling my husband it's for taking the edge off the whine!  As the mom of 2 little boys, the whine can get out of control.  Actually I bought a bottle of wine so I could experiment with adding it to dishes.  Adding different amounts, at different times in the cooking, using it in different cooking methods.

The wine I picked up is a Barefoot wine. It's a Riesling white wine. The definition says "This light-bodied and refreshingly sweet wine hits all the right fruit-filled notes: delicate orange blossom, juicy apple, and tangy lemon."

 I first tasted it to make sure that I'd like the taste.  Nothing worse than using a wine in your cooking that you don't like the taste of.

Since it's sweet and has a little tang of lemon and green apple, my first experiment was with pork chops!  I marinated the pork chops for about 4 hours in a sesame ginger dressing, with a couple splashes of wine in a plastic bag.  Before putting the pork chops in the bag, I took a knife and poked holes randomly on each side of the chop.  Once I put them in the fridge to marinate every hour, more or less, I would go and moosh (technical cooking term) the bag around, trying to work the marinade into the chops.  To cook the chops, I did bread and fry them on my flat top griddle. I cooked them for about 5-7 minutes on each side. While I was cooking them I made my sauce, I sauteed a 1/2 onion, chopped, in a Tblspoon of butter, until onions are translucent.  Added a splash of wine, and a 1/2 jar of Alfredo Sauce and simmered for about 10-15 more minutes. It was delicious.

The wine added so much to the flavor to the chops.  The wine I picked added sweetness but there was also a little bite from the lemon.

So what wine should you use with what food?  Good Question

Young, full bodied red wine
Red meat, red meat dishes
Young, full bodied, robust red wine
Red sauces
Earthy red, full bodied red wine
Soups with root vegetables and/or beef stock
Dry white wine or dry fortified wine
Fish/shellfish/seafood, poultry, pork, veal
Dry white wine or dry fortified wine
Light/cream sauces
Crisp, dry white wine
Seafood soups, bouillabaisse
Sweet white wine or sweet fortified wine
Sweet desserts
Dry, fortified wine (i.e.: sherry)
Consommé, poultry, vegetable soups
Regional cuisine
Regional wine

Here's a link to Barefoot Wines and the wines they carry.  They are very tasty and not that expensive.
Barefoot Wines

How long should you cook to get the wine "out" of your dish?

Immediate Consumption
Overnight Storage
Boiling liquid, remove from heat

Dishes that have been baked or simmered:
After 15 minutes
After 30 minutes
After 1 hour
After 1.5 hours
After 2 hours
After 2.5 hours

A few questions and answers from

QUESTION: Will recipes taste better if I use a premium or expensive wine?

ANSWER: A good-quality wine will give the same fine flavor to a dish as a premium wine or expensive wine. Save the premium wine to serve with the meal. Remember - only use wines in cooking that you would enjoy drinking.

QUESTION: What is "cooking sherry?"

ANSWER: Cooking sherry usually has salt or chemicals added to make it unpalatable as a sipping wine. Sold in small bottles, it is generally more expensive than regular sherry. I do not recommend using anything labeled "cooking wine."

QUESTION: Will wine in food make me tipsy?
ANSWER: No. The alcohol in wine begins to evaporate at 172 degrees - well short of the boiling point of water. Even people who avoid drinking wine for religious or personal reasons can cook with wine.

QUESTION: Can I use leftover wine for cooking?

ANSWER: Yes. To save leftover wine for cooking, pour into smaller bottles, cork tightly and store in the refrigerator.

QUESTION: How much wine should I use in a recipe when cooking?

ANSWER: This question depends upon the flavor intensity of the wine and the foods you are cooking. Proceed slowly in adding additional wine than the recipe calls for. Wine needs time to impart its flavor. If you're not sure whether to add more wine to a dish, let the dish cook at least ten minutes before tasting again. Adding more wine than the recipe calls for won't necessarily make it better. Wine does not automatically turn an ordinary dish into a gourmet dish. Use it with discretion.

Suggested amounts to add: 
Soups - 2 tablespoons per cup
Sauces - 1 tablespoon per cup
Gravies - 2 tablespoons per cup
Stews & Meats - 1/4 cup per pound
Poaching liquid for fish - 1/2 cup per quart

Suggested recipes- Filet Mignon with a wine glaze
Salmon with Pesto Wine sauce

Don't want to use alcohol in your cooking but still want the same richness in flavor...check out a substitution list here

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So excited!! I won! I won!

I entered a contest for an awesome e-cookbook on The Violet Fig.  I was ecstatic when I opened my email that said "You've won!"

Thank you to Tricia @ Once A Month Mom for putting together the e-cookbook.  You should go take a look at it and download it for yourself! You can pick up your very own copy here!

I have glanced through it and can't wait to delve into it and start planning my holiday meals!!

Thank you so much to Becky at the for sharing the e-cookbook.

fall is here!!

With the arrival of fall comes the sickies.  I think kids are magnets!!  So the foodie blog has been quiet for a couple of days...ok quite a few days while I took care of sick kids and one that is cutting teeth. Fun, fun!!

This morning I made blueberry muffins.  I'll admit this time I cheated and used a muffin mix...but had to make it Mandy style and change it up a little.  It's the Martha White brand but is the BEST mix by far that I've found.  Instead of doing the usual adding the milk, mix and bake, I added a container of blueberry yogurt and enough milk to make the required one cup.  The muffins turned out very tender and tasty!! I have a picky 4 year old eater so to have him ask for a second muffin is a compliment!!!

I still have the couscous set aside to do my spotlight.  Hopefully I won't end up with the sickies and will have an awesome spotlight done soon!

About Me

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I love to cook. It is my passion.