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Showing posts from March, 2017

Birthdays Are For Fun...

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It’s birthday season and that means that I’m frantically planning one party and have one more soon thereafter! I’m unsuccessfully trying not to get sucked into the vacuum of unrealistic expectations that bring so much disappointment, which then undoubtedly bring on an episode of anxiety, mixed with a bit of the blues. Every year, I think that I’ve learned enough saving tips, tricks, and haggles to make the next year run smoothly, but it never happens. I find myself in a sea of frustration, hoping that I can pull off a good party without putting us in the poorhouse. The question my friends that don’t have kids or whose kids don’t like to have birthday parties is, why?Why do I allow it to make me crazy? Why isn’t it that whatever they get, is good enough? The answer is -- that it truly is, always good enough, but I turn it into a, I want to give my children the worldvs.this party will show them how much I love them!

And just as I tell my husband, it’s the small gestures that matter, that…

Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Cucumber Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 23 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Salad:
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup pear tomatoes, sliced in rounds
1 kirby cucumber, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced
3 pepperoncini peppers, stemmed and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Chicken:4 chicken paillards (scaloppini), about 4 ounces each
Olive oil spray
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear to a coarse paste. Put the garlic paste in a large bowl and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, pepperoncini, and dill and toss. Give a couple of generous grinds of black pepper. Toss again, and set aside.

Preheat a grill pan or nonstick skillet to medium high. Spray the chicken paillards lightly w…

Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce

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Recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood
Total: 4 hr 35 min
Active: 35 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Crust:
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Filling:
32 ounces (Four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Strawberry Sauce:
1 to 1 1/4 cups halved fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 lime, zested

Directions
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray; line the bottom with a round of parchment paper; and spray the paper with cooking spray. Place the pan on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and bring the foil up around the sides to enclose the seam between the bottom and the sides of the pan (this will prevent water from leaking in).

Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are coated.…

Parmesan Chicken

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Recipe courtesy ofIna Garten
Total: 30 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry
1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both s…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Grilled Shrimp and Noodle Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen Total: 35 min
Active: 29 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
14 ounces flat rice noodles
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 pound medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium bunch asparagus, trimmed
5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Directions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs; drain and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili sauce and 1/3 cup water in a medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup of the marinade to another bowl and toss with the shrimp. Toss another 1/4 cup marinade with the asparagus and mushrooms in a third bowl. Let the shrimp and vegetables marinate 10 minutes at room temperature. Toss the noodles with the remaining marinade.

Heat a grill or grill pan to med…

The Ritual of Celebrating Every Day...

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I’m always taken by surprise when another year comes around and it’s time to celebrate my kid’s birthdays. The surprise is not that time has passed, it’s that my kids grow in so many beautiful ways that I’m surprised at how much we all learn while doing so. My amazing therapist once said that when she reached 50 years old and her kids were doing great on their own, she and her best girlfriends were like, “Whew! We’ve made it!!” I thought they were out of their minds because I was a young mom with two small children trying to make it to the next day, let alone to 60 years old. As my children started to get out of the baby stage, I slowly started to understand my therapist’s statement. Then, one day I woke up to a message from one of my closest friends that needed to talk to me urgently. I can’t remember how the beginning of the day went, but I remember walking into her house that evening and reading a piece of paper that said that she had breast cancer. I paused and wanted to erase wha…

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 35 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (more if needed)
1 lemon, zested and juiced (more juice if lemon isn't very juicy)
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more softened for serving
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup blueberries
Maple or pancake syrup, warmed, for serving

Directions
Heat a heavy skillet or grill over medium-low heat.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the evaporated milk, lemon zest and juice. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then add the egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir gently to combine. Stir in the melted butter. Splash in more evaporated milk if the mixture is overly thick. Stir in the blueberries.

Melt a little of the softened butter in the heated skillet.…

Easter Punch

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Recipe courtesy ofGeoffrey Zakarian
Total: 30 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
25 ounces gin, such as Plymouth
20 ounces Acacia Honey Syrup, recipe follows
15 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
10 ounces velvet falernum
10 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Rock candy sticks, for garnish

Acacia Honey Syrup:
2 cups acacia honey

Directions
Mix together the gin, Acacia Honey Syrup, lime juice, velvet falernum, grapefruit juice and nutmeg in a punch bowl.

Fill a teapot with ice and then add some of the punch; stir in the teapot for 15 seconds. Pour into teacups and serve with rock candy sticks. Repeat with the remaining punch.

Acacia Honey Syrup:
Combine the honey and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer, stirring, until the honey dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, up to 2 weeks.

For more recipes visit foodnetwork.com



Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 1 hr 10 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 to 6 whole fresh peaches (best when not overly ripe or soft), peeled, cut in half and pit removed (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/2 a lemon
7 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt using a fork or pastry cutter. Cut the butter into small pieces and gradually add to flour mixture until evenly mixed. Slice the peaches 1/2-inch thick into a bowl. Add the zest from the lemon half. Squeeze juice from the lemon half and stir in with the peaches and zest. Add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup to the peaches and stir well. 

Pour the peac…

Taste the Rainbow

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By: Amanda Rettke
How to Make a Stunning Rainbow Cake with Gold Ombre Layers
There's no gold waiting for you at the end of this rainbow ... but there's plenty inside!

Vivid rainbows that lead to a bountiful stash of gold are part and parcel of Irish folklore. What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with this showstopping layered rainbow cake with a gold ombre center? Start with the batter from this Classic White Cake recipe and this simple vanilla buttercream recipe, doubled. You'll also need: red, yellow and blue food coloring; gold sprinkles; a rotating cake stand or lazy Susan; three 8-inch round cake pans; a cooling rack; pastry bags or plastic baggies; rubber bands; a small offset spatula; scissors; a bench scraper or a large offset spatula.

Make the Batter
Once you've prepared the cake batter (the recipe should yield about 4 cups), divide it between 3 medium bowls, roughly 1 1/3 cups of batter per bowl.

Mix In the Color
Add 5 drops of yellow food colori…

Every Relationship Is A Mirror...What Does Yours Reflect?

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Every situation, every circumstance, every event, every relationship is a mirror of what’s going on inside ourselves. –Deepak Chopra

As one evolves, matures, or connects more easily with our inner wisdom – the image of our world changes. Different people come into our lives, we outgrow friendships, and circumstances and events start to show slight differences that transform the image we see in the mirror. I understood this more than ever when I read Deepak Chopra’s quote, it came as a welcomed enlightening moment that helped me put a few sad thoughts to peace. A few months ago, I started to feel overwhelmed by the large amount of people I was connected to in my social media accounts. There were people in my life that lurked around my feeds but didn’t add anything positive, others no longer shared anything in common, and/or they were agitators looking to get a reaction out of people. The majority of people enriched my life in so many ways but I had to dig deep to find them. So, I starte…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Grilled Shrimp, Watermelon and Feta Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
This beautiful summer meal comes together in only 30 minutes. Garlicky shrimp and toast take just a few minutes to cook on the grill; the watermelon salad is a cool, crisp take on Greek salad.

Total: 30 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large cloves garlic, 1 grated, 1 halved
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill grates
1/2 medium watermelon (about 3 pounds), rind removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups), chilled
1 garden cucumber (about 8 ounces), peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
One 4-ounce block feta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into large pieces, optional
1/2 baguette
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Special equipment: Four 12-inch wooden skewers

Put…

Crab Cake Sliders with Blood Orange Aioli

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Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro
Total: 40 min
Active: 40 min
Yield: 24 sliders
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Blood Orange Aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 1/2 orange)
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon blood orange zest
1 clove garlic, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crab Cake Sliders:
18 butter crackers, crushed (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise, plus more for schmearing
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay, plus additional for garnishing
8 dashes hot sauce
1 large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds lump blue crab meat, shell and cartilage picked out
Butter, for spreading
24 potato slider buns, split
Baby mesclun greens, for topping

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the blood orange aioli: Combine the mayonnaise, blood orange juice, mustard, zest and garlic in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

For the crab cake sliders:…

Happy International Women’s Day!!

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It’s truly happening…Women around the world are uniting more than ever to stand up and be counted. Social media is covered with pictures of women around the world adding their names to the movement by wearing red -- empowering one another with a nod of support, and posting messages of encouragement from inspirational women who’ve made a difference in their lives. We can’t and won’t waste this great energy away; we’re taking in the empowering messages and will take action, speak up, and stand together against injustices happening to any living being.

While the naysayers blatantly stand around complaining about this day being no different than any other day, I beg to differ. The energy and momentum of this day will only get stronger, and the energy of empowerment will linger in our consciousness around the world. Our movement is proving to us and our young girls that there’s power in numbers, and our numbers are overwhelmingly more powerful than ever. The record-breaking amount of women …

Shrimp Jambalaya

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen This Cajun dish is perfect if you want to impress dinner guests but don't want to spend a ton of money. Make your shrimp work double duty: use the shells to make a shrimp broth that enhances the flavor of the dish.

Total: 2 hr 40 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 pound shell-on shrimp
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 onion, 1 half left intact, the other chopped
3 celery stalks, 1 cut into large chunks and 2 chopped
5 garlic cloves, 3 crushed and 2 chopped
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated
2 links (about 5 1/2 ounces) andouille sausage, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Kosher salt
1 cup long-grain rice
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Large pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Louisiana-style hot sauce, for serving

Directions
Make the shrimp broth: Remove the she…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Pan-Seared Salmon with Kale and Apple Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Four 5-ounce center-cut salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves very thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
1/4 cup dates
1 Honeycrisp apple
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino
3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
Freshly ground black pepper
4 whole wheat dinner rolls

Directions
Bring the salmon to room temperature 10 minutes before cooking.

Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the kale, toss to coat and let stand 10 minutes.

While the kale stands, cut the dates into thin slivers and the apple into matchsticks. Add the dates, apples, cheese and almonds to the kale. Season with pepper, toss well and set aside.

Sprinkle the salmon all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick s…

Asian Noodle Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Salad:
8 ounces thin spaghetti
One 8-ounce bag julienne/fine-cut carrots (about 1 1/2 cups)
One 6-ounce bag baby sweet peppers, seeded and sliced thinly into rings (about 1 cup)
One 4-ounce bag bean sprouts (about 1 cup)
3 English cucumbers, halved, seeds removed and sliced
3 scallions, sliced
Up to 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 head or more napa cabbage, sliced
1/2 head or more purple cabbage, sliced
1/2 bunch kale, leaves torn off the stalks and shredded
2 cups peanuts, chopped

Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped

Directions
For the salad: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, rinse and let cool.

Mix together the cooked spaghetti, carrots, peppers, bean sprouts, …

Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 medium onion, quartered
3 stalks celery, quartered
3 medium carrots, quartered
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound plum tomatoes, halved
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/4 medium head)
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
1/4 pound corned beef, cut into thin strips (use leftovers or deli meat)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions
Pulse the onion, celery and carrots in a food processor until they are pea-size pieces. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots and the allspice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the tomatoes to the pot and add the beef broth, cabbage, potatoes, barley and 4 cu…