Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015 Tapas Menu

It was so much fun to have my brother Pat joined Claire, Mike and I for the holidays.  We had so much fun cooking together.  I especially appreciated that he made the crab cakes this year.  The lime remoulade was outstanding. 

The wine of fantastic. We started with white; a dry Riesling from Terra Valentine that Claire brought and the Salus Chardonnay for the two Mike's. The one wine missing from this photo is the Girasole Muscat Canelli included just for Jan.  We are so happy Jan and Mike Pitzo also joined in the fun on Christmas eve. The festivities start right after the 4:00 children's mass. Another highlight for me was singing in church with Claire. :)

  • Meatballs with pineapple (Mom's recipe)
  • Blue cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Empanadas (Made for Thanksgiving and froze some. I will definitely do that again.) Great with the corn salsa
  • Crab cakes with lime remoulade and corn salsa
  • Spinach artichoke dip made by Claire was super delicious with toasted Asiago bread
  • Salted almonds
  • Popcorn with truffle salt
  • A variety of cheeses (smoked Gouda, aged cheddar, Boursin, etc.) olives and wonderful deer salami from Mike.
  • Large green grapes
  • The port was delicious with the fudge made by Jan and the chocolate covered strawberries sent by my sister Jane. I also made almond joy bars, one of my favorites.
An extra benefit to this amazing feast is we have plenty of food for the next day. On Christmas morning I made an egg casserole served with a  grapefruit and mint salad with coffee cake along with mimosas.

After breakfast Claire and I go into movie and knitting mode and no more cooking happens.  Super fun holiday!

I forgot to serve the Fondue Cheesecake Bites with Red Grape Relish.  They are delicious.  I will make these and again and actually serve them

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken Parm Stuffed Spaghetti Squash


Large Spaghetti Squash 
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts /cut into strips
2 Eggs /beaten
Italian Style Breadcrumbs 
Marinara Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning
Oil for frying

How to make it:
With a sharp knife, slice the squash in half. (If the squash is too tough - puncture in several places forming a dotted line around the squash. Microwave for 3-5 minutes to soften. Allow to cool before cutting in half - following the dotted line). Scoop out the seeds - brush with oil, salt, and pepper, - and roast face down in a preheated oven at 375˚F (190˚C) for 35-40 minutes (until a fork can easily pierce the skin). 

Meanwhile, slice the chicken breasts into strips. Place flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls.  Coat each strip with flour, then egg, and then roll in bread crumbs. 

Heat a well-oiled skillet over medium/high heat. Fry the chicken strips (in batches if necessary) until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Set aside on paper towels. 

Once the squash has finished roasting - remove from the oven and let it set for a few minutes before turing over and pulling at it with a fork. Shred the inside of each squash, being careful not to poke through the skin. Pour marinara sauce over shredded squash. Top with chicken strips, then more marinara, and finish with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a pinch of Italian seasoning. Return to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

Coconut curry pumpkin soup

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lasagna Roll Ups

Crab Rangoon Dip

Crab Rangoon Dip - A party favorite!
*To Save this recipe, simply Share it to your timeline*

2 cups crab meat
16 oz. cream cheese (2 blocks)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. First, soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about a minute.
2. Chop your green onions. Add them and your two cups of crab meat .
3. Add the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, powdered sugar, garlic powder and lemon juice.
4. Mix all the ingredients and bake for 30 mins at 350 degrees. Serve hot with chips or fried wontons or pork rinds.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

French wines

This delicious Syrah is from France.  Dennis Kohl recommended it and Dianne and I sampled while prepping appetizers for our Thanksgiving eve event. Super delicious.  Dianne described it as being soft in her mouth.

This Cabernet Franc is very earthy and tastes of mushrooms.

Very tasty French Rose.

Thanksgiving menu, 2015, 2016 & 2017

I start Thanksgiving morning making pies.  3 go to the church and 2 stay home. Such a fun way to start the day. A stop at the grocery store and then on to the dressing, then the turkey goes in the oven. Next up is the sweet potatoe casserole and the cranberry relish. Whew!

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp orange juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla

Cook in medium pan for approximately 5-7 minutes. 
When berries start to pop, mash together. 
Cool and serve.

  • Apple pie for Mike. First thing on Thanksgiving morning I make pies for the church Thanksgiving dinner. Fun. Then a pie for Mike and then the dressing and finally the turkey.

Mike and I went for a walk after dinner. Light snow falling. Very beautiful. Feeling blessed. Missed the presence of family but enjoyed the quiet especially after a hectic fall of moving. Peace.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve Tapas event (2015)

Mike and I enjoyed the company of good friends on Thanksgiving eve. Thanks Penny and Jan for joining us.  My good friend Dianne assisted in preparations the day before.  That too is a fun event accompanied as well by good wine. A big thank you to Claire Dailey for wine and food pairing ideas, co-owner of Nov & Somm

Below is the menu.

Below is a photo of the wines served. I absolutely loved the champagne. I purchased the Muscat Canelli especially for Jan as she likes sweet wine.  The Girasole was recommended by Dennis Kohl from Cellar 70.  For a sweet wine, this was actually good and did pair well with blue cheese.  Thank you Brian Page Page Wine Cellars and Revolver Wine Co for making amazing wine. The cab was delicious and the Petit Syrah dessert wine was fantastic.  Claire, you were right, champagne does go well with something salty.  The popcorn with truffle salty was fabulous. I forgot to add to the list above, a fantastic sweet dip that Jan provided. It's delicious with fresh veggies.

I big thanks to my friend Dianne who came over on Tuesday afternoon to prep and sample wine, of course. Dianne brought the sweet potato hummus which had a little kick.

I tried a new empanada dough recipe from Ruth Riechle.  It has many stages but is a great thing to do while talking and sipping wine. The result is a beautifully flaky crust.  We opened an amazing Syrah from France, also recommended by Dennis Kohl.

Notes for the future.  I did not like the tomato Ginger jam or maybe it just didn't pair well with the empanadas. I loved the shrimp cocktail and will be capturing the cool way the shrimp were cooked.  The empanadas are delicious but SOOOOO time consuming to make.  Below is my first batch.  I need to make the slits deeper. The good news is that I made extra and froze them for our Christmas tapas event.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

granola from Sower and the Seed

Here's our granola:
3 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. coconut--flaked or shredded
3/4 c. sliced almonds
1/2 t. cinnamon (we add lots more)
1/2 c. maple syrup/honey/or agave
1/3 c. oil
1 t. cinnamon (we add more of this, too)
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Heat the oil and maple syrup and vanilla, pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.  Put one layer onto a cookie sheet and toast at 300 degrees, turning once.  Toast until granola is as golden as you like it.  Remove from oven, cool, stirring once or twice to reduce clumping.  Store in an airtight container.  Great as a gift!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Here, as promised, is the recipe for one of our most popular baked items, our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!  Our granola recipe follows.  Next email we will have more of our recipes for you.
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. salt
Mix all dry ingredients together, then add:
2 beaten eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. chocolate chips
Blend til moistened.  Bake in greased muffin tins of whatever size you choose.  350 degrees, 20-25 minutes

Recipe from Sower and the Seeed. October 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rutabaga Carrot Ginger Soup



Healthy, no bake granola bars with just 5 ingredients and a sweet, crunchy texture. Peanut butter and honey complement each other perfectly in this ideal portable breakfast or snack.
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 10 bars
  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)*
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
  • optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
  1. Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a "dough" like consistency. (mine rolled into a ball)
  2. Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 degree oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw - I just prefer the toasted flavor.
  3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl - set aside.
  4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8x8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily. (A loaf pan might work, but will yield thicker bars.)
  6. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.


1 cup raw almonds, soaked at least 4 hours
3 cups filtered water
1. In a high-speed blender blend the nuts and water for about 2 minutes until the nuts are completely blended.
2. Strain the mix through multiple layers of cheesecloth in a colander two times.

Read more:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bok Choy Salad

This recipe was shared with me in March 2015 by the folks who own Sower N Seed in Minocqua, WI. It is delicious. I love the crispy topping. I served this with thin pork chops that I cooked on the grill with a little BBQ sauce, yum!

Bok Choy Salad

1/2 cup butter, coconut oil or combo
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 pkg Ramen Noodles (don't use seasoning packet) (cook the Ramen Nooodles 1st. This may be obvious to everyone, but I had never prepared them before trying this recipe, silly girl.)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup sliced almonds

Saute together in fry pan til almonds and noodles are nicely brown.  This is the crispy topping

Chop 2 heads Bok Choy (I wasn't sure how much of the Bok Choy green part to use)
Thin slice 5 green onions (may substitute other onions - red are pretty)

Toss together for your greens base

3/4 cup olive oil (may use other salad oil)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons to 1/2 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it.  A reduced amount of maple syrup is good too or combo of sugar and stevia
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Whisk together for dressing

(Note: I only used a little of this to dress the greens.)

Best Bok Choy


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, halved and sliced
  • 3 baby bok choy, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


In a wok or large saute pan, add the grapeseed oil and when almost smoking, add the onions and bell peppers. Saute, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the bok choy, garlic, soy sauce, and fish sauce and saute until 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Asparagus Salad with Sesame Seeds

This recipe comes from the "Old Rittenhouse Inn" 2009, pg. 50 I served this as part of a spring
brunch with Quiche Lorraine.  Delicious.

Salad -
1 pound Bibb lettuce, chilled
10 ounces cooked asparagus, cut into 1/1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced red radishes (I used a black radish)
1/2 cup minced red onion

Dressing -
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 T soy sauce
2 t. sugar
3 T olive oil
1 t. sesame seed oil
2 t. peeled & grated ginger root
1 T fresh herbs, choose what is fresh

Garnish -
3/4 cup sesame seeds

Toss together all the ingredients and chill


  1. Combine vinegar, broth, sot sauce, and sugar.
  2. Add oils
  3. Stirr in ginger root
  4. Pour dressing over salad and toss and garnish with sesame seeds.

Ginger Orange Tea

This recipe comes from "Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health" @2009, pg 44.
I love making ginger tea in the morning before my 7:30 yoga class, especially in the winter. It warms me up. I am hoping Mike will give it a try.

Serves 2, Yields 2 cups, Time: 10 Minutes
 Claire gave me this cool container.
Keeps my tea warm.

Can be served hot or chilled.

1 rounded T. grated peeled ginger root (Note: I also add turmeric)
1 cup water
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 - 2 T honey

In a small sauce pan, bring the grated ginger and water almost to a boil, then cover and steep for 5 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the ginger tea, pressing the liquid out of the grated ginger with the back of a spoon.

Stir together the OJ, lemon juice, honey and ginger tea. Reheat for a hot beverage, or chill and add ice.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Brunch Menu

I served this for Jan and Maggie in March 2015. It would be great for a Mother's Day brunch as well.

Quiche Lorraine (from Gourmet by Ruth Reichel)
Asparagus Salad (from Old Rittenhouse Cookbook)
Fresh Fruit with Strawberry Vinaigrette (from Vegetarian International Cuisine)
Banana Bread
Ginger Tea (from Moosewood Cookbook)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wisconsin Poppycock

Wisconsin Poppycock
This recipe is via Beth Kost.  It pairs beautifully with a buttery Chardonnay!!!
4 C popped kettle corn
2 C Corn Chex® cereal
2 C Rice Chex® cereal
1 C lightly salted peanuts
½ C butter, cut up
¾ C packed brown sugar
½ C light corn syrup

  1. Heat oven to 250o. Remove and discard any unpopped kernels from popcorn. In ungreased large roasting pan, mix popcorn, cereal, and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In 1 ½ quart saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
  3. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up.