April Showers…

Good golly, it’s been 17 days since my last post.  Let me catch you up…

The month of March was a whirlwind and April is bringing many showers.  We are officially relocating to Charlotte, NC!  New jobs, new adventures.  Upon getting organized, I dug up an old gem of my mother.  It’s crazy, I see so much of myself in this pic; her hands, her willingness to try any recipe and her staple necklace.  I LOVED that necklace.  With every day new, I remind myself to eat a good breakfast and keep gentle reminders around; how can you inspire others if you are not inspired?  And with yesterdays monsoon pseudo-tornado, complete with a middle school run for cover drill and my American flag being ripped out of the column on my front porch, the grass really is greener and my tulips are a ridiculously perfect rouge! A friend sent me this picture of her afternoon walk and I mean really, does it get any better than a bed of bluebonnets? Spring is the best time of year, so with the showers, come the May flowers – yippee!

But back to the food.  Since I work from home, I am booked on conference calls pretty much all day.  I need to squeeze in something quick, easy and healthy; otherwise I miss the boat and I am ravenous by dinner.  I have been playing around with bagels and pumpernickel bread, roasted turkey or salmon, avocados or tomatoes, goat or brie cheese, hard boiled or poached eggs, capers or onions and arugula or spinach.  And some pomegranates.  Run to the market and pick up a few of these things and then just play around with changing it up.  It can be fun and you don’t need to have the same thing every day, just have some fun with it.

With the house on the market, we have also been eating out, a bunch, too much. My waistline is not happy.  But we were all craving our favorite salads and something homemade, so I tried this recipe that a friend shared on Facebook; you never know with a video, meaning – it might be more complicated than you think but this was a goodie, a simple 1-2-3; I watched the video 3 times, ran up to the store and delish, this delivered! Give it a try Twisted: Lemon Chicken Pasta.

With some spare time the past few weekends, I’ve been hitting a few of my favorite spots and saying my own personal au revoir.  Let’s face it, everything at Hunters Head Tavern in Upperville is always amazing, but they served up some yumma-yum on the sweet potato biscuits with honey butter. Whatever, I can’t even.  The Blushing Bubbly hit the spot, and I am gonna miss this place…head here on a Sunday for brunch, it’s the bomb.

I also did some retail therapy a few weeks ago in good old Georgetown.  I happened to stop into Urban Outfitters and it was Save the Music day with beer and DJ’s, repping all genders.  For those of you who know me, it was like the universe sent me there.  They had me at VH-1.  I don’t really drink beer but the concession was cool and I scooped up some t-shirts.  I was craving a crisp libation and a salad, so I dipped down to one of my all time favorite places, the Waterfront; um, on any given day, I’ll take lunch and a side of the best people watching around at Nicks Riverside Grille. It just never disappoints. Hard to get a seat at the covered bar overlooking the Potomac but wait it out, it’s worth it.  I wedged myself in next to the receipt ringer and that alone was bliss.

Also on a new fun stop on my list is Mt. Defiance Distillery for spirits and ciders; I must say, I can’t stomach a shot of anything, but served over ice is the way to go…cool vibe, small, do not bring your kids…the Absinthe was cool to see how it is fresh brewed…this is a quick stop, you can get in/out pretty quickly – I loved the Ginger Cider, like ginger ale, but after it’s set over ice & water for a bit…

Instagram is much easier to pic and post, but my passion is trying recipes and writing about it.  For the next while, I need to get life under wraps, maybe taper down to weekly or monthly posts until I come up for water, but stay tuned.  I am gonna miss this little perch I have called home for eight years; the perfect spot for an afternoon visit in the sun.  Remember, it’s that time of year that calls for Rose or Chardonnay, so cheers to my next adventure, CLT and Cackalacky!

 

 

 

Arborio Rice and Wild Boar ‘nay – olé!


I have a latin girlfriend who has a most terrific name that needs to be said all together, i.e., first, middle, last and married, and then just adding olé!  It truly makes me smile. So when I find something I adore, and the words come together, I am so happy.  It’s the little things in life, right?   For instance – Arborio rice and Wild Boar Chardonnay – olé!

Arborio rice is an italian short grain rice used in basic risotto dishes.  It’s apparently a good source of (good) carbs; remember, not all carbs are bad, in fact, we need them to function, keep our brains working and bodies functioning.  Arborio rice is packed with protein, vitamins A & C and minerals, giving you your daily nutrient dose.  Another fun fact, it helps your digestive system function well.  Lastly, it stimulates the production of enzymes and hormones, protecting the tissues in your body.  And my 6th grader just learned about that last quarter, so I know it’s true 🙂

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I also took in a tasting at the Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg last week and learned a lot, in a little bit of time.  Kevin was a terrific resource, very patient with me and my very funny, crumb dropping, equally persistent faux wine connoisseur slash, great girlfriend.  For instance, did you know that the newer the barrel and the less time a grape spends in the new oak, the oakier it gets?  And the oak taste/fragrance comes from all different variations of tree’s.  I mean, that makes total sense – I just had never put two and two together.  Per their website, Wild Boar Chardonnay 2015 holds aromas of white peach, lychee nut, and Golden Delicious apple with hints of citrus and a slight nuttiness; this wine pairs perfectly with roast chicken, salmon with pesto, pasta carbonaro and creamy brie.  What can I say, they had me with all of the above…

Pick your fish – shrimp, salmon, tilapia, mahi-mahi….whatever you like.  Marinate it in a simple, yet effective, olive oil/garlic/soy sauce/lemon mix, and set aside until ready to cook.  When you are ready, bring out a stock pot, add 1 cup veggie broth/1 cup water/splash of wine & lemon slices – bring to a boil – cook for 7-10 minutes.  Turn off…


Arborio is not just any rice.  It’s (obviously) Italian rice, but cooks down to the perfect risotto; you can add just about anything to it, so tonight, I added onion, peas & sun-dried tomatoes and a dab of parmesan.  Just buy a box of generic arborio and follow the directions.  I will say, I purchased mine from the local Harris Teeter, and they called for 6 cups of chicken broth; I hesitated and only used 4; I tend to err on the side of caution with liquid portions, butter, etc. like, I used only 4 tabs (1/2 inch slices) of butter instead of 1/2 a stick.  Then I added in onions, broth, peas, tomatoes, broth and so on – keep stirring it, or it will definitely stick/burn.  This was done in under an hour.  I was so surprised at how easy this was…creamy, not salty, natural flavors – – perfect bed for a piece of fish.

Portion is a key factor in all dishes, so keep this at a minimum; scoop up the risotto, add your fish and enjoy with a side salad of Arugula, Blueberry & Sliced Cherry Tomatoes (I added a lemon wedge, I can’t have enough lemons), drizzle some olive oil and DONE.  ENJOY!

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5-in-1 belly fat fighter

Last week I mentioned was on a mission to provide an all-in-one dish to feature salmon, greek yogurt, broccoli, artichoke and onions! Joy B. on the Today Show some good suggestions to start with http://on.today.com/2l4zLaG, but I wanted to try to make something that hit all 5 that would be both practical, and delicious.  This is a great lunch or dinner option, and would be easy enough to make for a group of friends.  You’d just double up the recipe and go for it!

INGREDIENTS: (feeds 4)

1 lb of salmon (have the butcher cut off the skin, cut in 4 pieces)
1 broccoli head (trimmed & cut down)
1/4 canned artichokes (chopped up small)
1/4 yellow onion (chopped up small)
1 cup greek yogurt
1 shallot (use half for salmon poach, half for yogurt topping)
6 cherry tomatoes (chopped up small)
handful of dill (chop up, or use shears and cut up)
salt & pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine

For salmon:

In a deep sauce pan, bring water/wine/minced shallots to a boil; toss in some dill and lay your salmon in filet in, sprinkle with salt, cover, cook for 10 minutes (I only made one serving here).  Set aside and DONE.

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For broccoli:

Bring a pot of water to boil; toss in your broccoli for 5-10 minutes and set aside.  I like my broccoli less cooked than most, so I take out as soon as it turns jolly green giant good.  Set aside and DONE.
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For artichoke/onion topping:

In a little sauce pan, tab of butter – add in chopped artichokes, tomatoes & onions and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Set aside and DONE.

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For yogurt topping:

In a little bowl – – 1 cup greek yogurt, use the remainder of the shallot, add dill, drizzle in some olive oil, salt & pepper and stir (you can use this again & again, veggie dip, etc.).  Set aside and DONE.

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When everything is ready – place your salmon down, add your broccoli, top with artichoke/onion, scoop some yogurt topping over top.  The wine was already open, so I poured myself a little taste, and used my #gorhamsilver and #rosenthal china just, because. Uh…yum.  This was the best homemade lunch I have had in weeks!

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I saved a little sample for my gal pal (a good judge who can’t fake a good-food-idea-gone-bad-idea-face); let’s hope she loves it as much as I did.  Shameless plug for her online clothing group The Missing Piece Boutique (aka TMPB in Facebook); in case you don’t know it – she finds cute clothes that are just the right piece, color, size for everyone.  As an unofficial intern and huge fan (and since I stole a silver tote last night right out from under her inventory), I figured a sample and shout out were due…

ENJOY!