March 30, 2011

Printable Recipes

This is a public service announcement to remind you that at the bottom of virtually every recipe on this blog, there is a link that says "Printable Recipe".

This link (when clicked) will take you to a special page that is void of my ranting, raving, and shitty photography.

It only contains the extra words or pics.

It is here that you should go to print the recipe.

Unless you love to burn ink in your printer.

Or unless you like copying and pasting parts of my blog posts on to separate Word documents.

Or if you like to make fun of me by showing your friends my scatter-brained posts.

Otherwise, this is a convenient way guessed it....print the recipe.

Again, the link is at the bottom of the post.

Leave a comment here with any questions.

Thank you and have a nice day!

March 29, 2011

Recipe Revamp: Chicken Stir Fry

Happy Spring Everyone!

Steve and I spent a lovely weekend with my family up at the cabin last weekend.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

I actually got sunburned.


It was the last hurrah before the ice starts to melt.

The next time we go there, it will be by boat.

I'm ready!

But in the meantime, how about a yummy recipe for Chicken Stir Fry?!?!

If you need any further proof that I am a nut job, read the original post here.


As a note: You can sub in whatever vegetables you have on hand - asparagus, zucchini, water chestnuts are all good substitutions. Also - to switch things up, instead of using hoisen sauce (which is a like a sweet asian bbq sauce), you can sub Thai sweet red chili sauce. It will give it a totally different (but delicious) flavor.

Also - 1 cup equals 16 tablespoons. 1/2 cup equals 8 tablespoons. Just so you know!

Here is the recipe without all the crazy talk.

Yay - can you tell that the days are getting longer here in the frozen tundra? I actually have some natural light to take pictures in!

Chicken Stir Fry  (serves 6)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce, divided plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup hoisen sauce, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to make it spicy!(optional)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 5 cups mixed vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used onion, bell peppers, pea pods, carrots and broccoli)
  • 3 - 4 cups cooked white rice (or brown rice, if that floats your boat)
Marinade the chicken in the ginger, garlic, 4 tablespooons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of hoisen, the crushed red pepper, and the sesame oil. Let it marinade for at least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours).

While the chicken is marinading, wash and cut your vegetables and make your rice according to package directions.

Mix the remaining soy sauce (4 tablespoons), the chicken broth, and the corn starch in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and stir fry for a few minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Remove to a separate bowl.

Heat another tablespoon of oil (if necessary) and throw in the veggies, stir fry until crisp-tender.

Add the soy/broth/corn starch mixture and the chicken to the veggies. Turn the heat down to medium low and stir around to coat until the sauce gets thick. Yum.

Serve over rice (make sure to spoon some yummy sauce to put over the top too) with extra soy sauce as needed.


Printable Recipe

March 21, 2011

Recipe Revamp: Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Come to mama.

This is one of my all time favorite dishes.

The flavors are just amazing and it is a great change from traditional Italian pasta salad.

But don't get me wrong, I love traditional Italian pasta salad too.

Just wanted to clear that up so there weren't any hard feelings.

I made this last week for the 100th time, and I realized that the original post about it was confusing and disjointed (why doesn't that surprise me???), so I thought I'd post a new, organized recipe.

As mentioned in the original post, this recipe was an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe, which was revamped by the Pioneer Woman. I chose to use less olive oil and more vinegar than PW though (surprise!). I also sometimes add rotisserie chicken.

It's a "Must Try" recipe if you love sun-dried tomatoes.

Yum - these are a few of my favorite things...tomatoes, fresh basil, and kalmata olives. Look at those colors! During the winter, you may have a hard time finding yummy cherry tomatoes, but don't fret - you can leave them out if you have to.

Making the sun-dried tomato dressing in the blender...

Major YUM.

This one doesn't have cherry tomatoes, but has the addition of rotisserie chicken to make it a delicious one-dish meal.

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad (serves 8)
  • 1 package of rotini pasta
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) basil, chiffonaded 
  • 4 ounces pitted kalmata olives, drained and chopped (you can  use more or less to taste)
  • 10 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of rotisserie chicken, chopped (optional)
For the dressing:

Put the sun-dried tomatoes and the oil they came in to a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, red wine vinegar and black pepper.

Puree, adding more olive oil as necessary (up to 1/2 cup).

I would recommend putting this in a jar in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors combine, but you don't have to.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine the pasta, tomatoes, basil, olives and dressing in a large bowl - stirring to combine. Add half of the Parmesan cheese, stir to combine.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, serve and ENJOY!

Please note: If the leftovers become dry, you can add more red wine vinegar and olive oil to moisten.

Printable Recipe

March 20, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Blackened Seasoning and Gilled Asparagus

Happy Spring!

How ironic that I woke up to 2 - 3 inches of fresh snow this morning...

In an effort to eat healthier (have a mentioned that I am in 2 weddings this summer?), I bought a big, fat, red, wild-caught salmon fillet and some perfectly ripe, in season asparagus at the grocery store a week or so ago (yes, I am behind in my blogging).

You can't get much healthier than that, right?

The weather has been pretty gorgeous (until last night), which means that the grill has been calling my name...but first I had to overcome a challenge.

Steve doesn't like salmon.

Let me rephrase that.

Steve doesn't like COOKED salmon.

He loves the raw salmon that we eat at the sushi bar...but he thinks that cooked salmon is yucky.

I agree with him that some fish gets stronger and more fishy tasting the more that you cook it - like salmon and tuna...which  is why when we cook tuna, we buy high grade tuna, sear it and eat it rare.

But salmon? I wasn't sure if it was safe to undercook salmon.

Plus, I was craving the full flavor of a grilled piece of fish.

The compromise?

Blackened seasoning.

Click HERE for a delicious, basic recipe for blackened seasoning (and some other delicious marinades and rubs - perfect in time for grill season), or you can buy the premade stuff (I would recommend Chef Paul's - he is the pioneer of Blackening fish).

Traditionally blackening includes dipping the meat in butter, then the blackened seasoning, and then pan frying the meat in hot butter in a cast iron skillet...delicious, but not quite as healthy as I was going it can stink up your house.

My recipe is more heart-healthy, but still gives an excellent flavor that even fish snobs will love.

The verdict? Steve really enjoyed the fish and said it was by far the best way he had ever eaten salmon.

End of story.

What are you waiting for?

And don't forget the humble (yet delicious and nutritious) asparagus recipe at the bottom.

Grilled Salmon with Blackened Seasoning (serves 4)
  • 2 lb wild-caught salmon fillet, skin still on the bottom
  • 1/2 lemon, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of blackened seasoning (homemade or store bought)
Rinse salmon fillet and pat dry. Place skin side down on a plate or in a baking dish.

Squeeze the lemon evenly over the top of the fillet, then drizzle the fillet evenly with olive oil.

Rub blackened seasoning all over the parts of the fish that do not have skin (the top and sides).

Let the fish rest while you preheat the grill to 400 degrees.

Put the fish skin-side down on the hot grill, and cook about 6 - 8 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and the top is starting to get flaky.

Please note: keep a close eye on the fish while it's cooking. If you have smaller pieces, or a hotter grill it will take less time

If desired, remove skin before serving (skin should easily peel off once fish is cooked).

Serve with lemon wedges.


Printable Recipe

Grilled Asparagus (serves 4)
  • 1 bundle of fresh asparagus, washed and woody ends removed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a zip-top bag.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees

Place asparagus in a grill pan and grill for 4 - 6 minutes, or until crisp tender.

Please note: you can also roast these in a 400 degree oven for 4 - 6 minutes instead.


Printable Recipe

March 13, 2011

Canadian Bacon and Pepperjack Cheese Mini Frittatas

These were even better than the Ham and Swiss Cheese Mini Frittatas

I used the same recipe (click on the link above for the recipe post), except that I subbed Canadian Bacon for Ham, and Pepperjack cheese for Swiss. I also added some crushed red pepper and it gave it a nice little bite. 

These are so easy and good, and they keep in the fridge for a few days so you can reheat them and eat them as a super fast weekday breakfast. 

The worst part about these is trying to clean the pan. I greased these muffin cups with butter and they still stuck. Any suggestions?

Dear Kempton

I miss you so much.

The house is so empty and quiet, and I think about you 1,000 times a day.

It's so hard to break the 9 year habit of taking care of you and worrying about you...

Did I remember to feed Kempton?

Where is he?

Is he getting into something?

What time do I have to be home to let him out to pee?

Can we bring him with if we go overnight?

Did he take his medication?

And sometimes I forget that you are gone. I left a piece of rotisserie chicken on the floor for 15 minutes the other day before I stepped on it and then realized that you weren't there to clean it up.

Mornings when I wake up and you are not there, and coming home from work are the worst, but night times are hard too and I would give anything to bury my face in your fur, kiss you on your muzzle, or to snuggle with you on the couch.

I am so, so sorry that I couldn't make you better. And that I put you through so much in order to selfishly keep you with me.

You and I went through so much together, and I am so grateful that I had you around to make me laugh, keep me company, talk to (though I still talk to you all the time without thinking...pretty soon I'll just have to admit that I am crazy and talk to myself), snuggle with, protect me, follow me around and keep me from feeling alone.

You took care of me just as much (and probably more) as I took care of you. Do you remember when Grandma Grow was dying and Jim couldn't understand why I wanted to take you up north with me? He thought that it would just be one more thing for me to worry about. But then half way up to Falls, you stood behind me on the back seat and put your head on my shoulder, and made sure I knew that I wasn't alone.

Or when Jim and I were going through the divorce, and I spent the afternoon crying on the couch. As soon as I left to go to the bathroom, you ate the entire pile of wet you were hiding the evidence so no one would know I was crying.

There were so many times like when Steve had surgery to remove his cancer and you laid next to him on the couch with your head across his lap and wouldn't let anyone else get close to him. Or when another dog would run towards me and you would throw yourself in between us or ram them with your chest to protect me...even if I didn't need protecting.

...but there were also funny times, and frustrating times (like when you ate Cal's hacky-sack and then puked it up one week later; or when you chewed up my eyeglasses; or when you accidentally locked yourself in the bathroom and then destroyed it trying to get out).

You were unlike any dog I've ever met.

Maybe it was your breeding.

Maybe it was because you were a rescued dog.

Maybe because I am dysfunctional and needy, so you became dysfunctional and needy too.

I'm not sure, but I appreciated the fact that you were stubborn and naughty.

Your howl never failed to make me laugh, even when you were doing it scold me or talk back when I yelled at you.

You had such a strong and unique personality, and even the vet said that they had never seen a character like yours. Dr.Bouchard sobbed when you died, and two of the technicians and one of the front desk girls bawled as well.

I am not the only one who misses you either. You wouldn't believe the number of cards and emails and phone calls I've recieved. And last weekend, when I went up to the cabin, Grandpa lit off a firework display in your honor.

Your friends miss you too. Steph, Chad and Koho came up this weekend to visit, and Koho wandered around the house and the yard searching for you. He seemed down and out of sorts all night on Friday night. Aly was the same way when Lyndi brought her over last Thursday. She searched for you high and low, and then just went and laid down and gave me dirty looks, like she knew that it was my fault that you weren't here.

I know that you are having fun wherever you are now. I know that Grandma Grow is feeding you milk bones and Bailey and Kody are letting you beat them to the ball (though I'm certain that Bailey still isn't letting you hump her). I hope that you have a big couch to sleep on, and someone to spoon you and listen to you snore.

When we get your ashes back, we are going to sprinkle some in the back yard (and on the other side of the fence, where the deer are and where you always wanted to be); some on Park Point where we used to park the boat and have fires and walk down the beach; on Rainy Lake at the cabin where you loved to be; and in Kempton channel where we got your name. Grandpa said he would like to put some of your ashes with some of Bailey's ashes, so you could be together. Auntie Steph said she would like to have some too, so that someday when Koho dies, you can be with your best friend again. And lastly, I am going to keep some for myself. Because I know that your favorite place to be was right by me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

You were so much more than just a dog to me, Kempton. You were my best friend. I will always miss you and never, ever forget you.

I love you,


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.  ~Josh Billings
 You think dogs will not be in heaven?  I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson
 There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.  ~Konrad Lorenz
 In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  ~Edward Hoagland
 The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.  ~Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899
 We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.  ~George Eliot
 I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner
 A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such.  ~John Holmes

 "Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices.  This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Kempton, a Dog."

March 5, 2011


Hey guys...

Sorry I haven't been posting - I lost my best friend last week, and I just haven't been able to write about it yet.

I'll try again next week.

Thanks for being patient.