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Monday, April 14, 2014

Hey, Hey, Blondie!

Ahhhhhhh, Spring!
And let's not forget the upcoming hide-those-eggs holiday!
It's time for fresh food to tickle those hibernating taste buds.
How about a dessert that's from scratch, but so easy you'll
forget you skipped the boxed mix?
 Blondies fit the bill.
What's a blondie?
It's a chewy, moist, delicious brownie sans the cocoa,
which allows the add-ins to shine,
and this one showcases dark chocolate-mint M&M's.
Ready to do some baking?
Preheat that oven to 325 and grab an apron!

Sunny's Blondie Bars

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
12 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 bag of Dark Chocolate Mint M&M’s, divided
This is super easy. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set it out of the reach of the cat.
Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl, add the eggs, and then the vanilla. Mix in the flour and combine until moist. Now add half of the M&M's. 

Take a 9x13" baking pan and slather it but good with cooking spray.
Press the batter into it. Try not to lick your fingers.
Now press the remaining M&M's into the surface and pop that sucker in the oven
for 45 minutes. You want the edges just golden. Don't overdo it.
Remove and cool completely, Then loosen the edges, turn it out onto a cutting
board, slice into absolutely perfect squares
and garnish with fresh mint for presentation;
that way your guests have something to flick off of their plates.
Or don't tell anyone they're ready, make yourself some tea,
and curl up with your own slice of Spring, enjoying the quiet,
which probably won't last any longer than your dessert.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Dimwit Dog

Where did I disappear to this time?
One word: dog.
Or rather atomic dog.
The new puppy is a maniac.
 Welcome to the new chaos in my home.
 Between work and Seamus chewing everything I own to shreds,
I haven't had a moment to hot glue anything.
How crazy is it?

Don't get me wrong...
we love him to pieces, and he's family.
But this is my only time to get a post in.
Coming soon: how to repair most of your masticated,
unrecognizable, saliva-soaked possessions.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Company Worthy Food in a Flash

I had a crowd last weekend, and with everything going on,
 I wanted to put together a good meal that would wow my guests
 and meet all the dietary needs of the throng,
such as the vegetarians.
It was also important that it pack a nutritious, high fiber punch.
And it even includes an appetizer!
Crispy Asparagus Spears

2 pounds of fresh asparagus
Cooking spray
Lemon pepper seasoning

Set the oven for 450.
Rinse the asparagus and cut off the woody ends. In a pot large enough
to immerse the spears, bring enough water to a boil to cover the veggies.
Once it's boiling, add the asparagus for three minutes.
Drain and rinse with cold water.
Lay the spears on a broiler pan, spray with cooking spray,
sprinkle lightly with lemon paper, and place in the oven close to the top element
until they start to brown slightly and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Arrange on a platter and send them out to be devoured. 

Leave the oven on.
Mini Caprese Salad
This has a bright, amazing flavor just like its more formal cousin
but without the high maintenance fuss.
1 pound of grape tomatoes
1 pound of golden pear tomatoes, or yellow cherry tomatoes
1 can of medium pitted black olives, drained
1 tub of buffalo mozzarella pearls, drained
1/2 bottle of fat free balsamic vinagrette
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, washed and cut into thin strips

Rinse the tomatoes. Dump everything into a bowl. Toss gently and fall in love.
Wild Mushroom Pasta
  A half hour total is all you'll need to make a gourmet dish that's creamy and 
satisfying without the high calorie consequences.

A 16 ounce box of fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
8 ounces of baby portobellas, sliced
8 ounces of shitake mushrooms
2 large portobellas
8 ounces of cremini mushrooms
1/2 a bag of fresh spinach
1 bunch of scallions, sliced
1 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
Olive oil
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbsp roasted garlic seasoning, such as Montreal
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese

Drain the cooked pasta, rinse in cold water, and return it to the pot.
In the meantime, in a large saute pan on medium high heat, coat the bottom with olive oil,
wait one minute, then add the mushrooms and roasted garlic seasoning.
Saute for five minutes, then add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.
Toss in the scallions.
Add the milk and cheese, stirring until smooth,
then the spinach until it wilts.
Add it to the pot of pasta and toss over low heat until you're
ready to serve.
All you have to do now is make dessert.
That'll take hours, right?
Tropical Sauce

1 fresh pineapple
1 cup light brown sugar
Vanilla ice cream

Cut the rind off the pineapple, core and chunk it.
Lightly spritz a baking dish with cooking spray, and the pineapple
and sugar, and mix.
It makes its own sauce!
Put the dish in the oven 10 minutes before serving until the sauce caramelizes slightly. 
spoon over ice cream, and enjoy!

Sure, it's a little decadent.
Actually, it only tastes that way.
But this is a special occasion, and you still spent less than an hour in the kitchen!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tossing Daisies in the Surf

I am not a fan of funerals.
I find that's just not the last memory I want to have
of someone who was a part of my life.
When my sister passed away, I knew how I wanted to honor her memory.
 We invited friends and family to join us on the beach
where Jen and I hung out as kids.
The universe was cooperating that day with a perfect, sparkling morning.
 There's no way to be depressed with your toes in the sand.
 The idea of this ceremony is to take turns sharing happy
memories and toss a flower into the ocean.
I bought three bouquets of white daisies.
There was a good bit of laughter as we recalled hijinx 
and shenanigans from back in the 80's, 
and pleasant recent adventures and Facebook postings.
As blossoms washed back up, I saw a little boy of 4 or 5 gather
some of the stems and present his mother with them.
Further down the beach, someone was sticking them in the shore line like a garden.
You know I was smiling.
I don't generally indulge anymore, but I felt I'd be forgiven.

And I did go have a beer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's Blooming?

Today, we're having a Flower Ceremony to honor my sister's passing.
More on my weirdo beliefs later.
 Savannah, Seamus and I hit the Farmer's Market for tons of fresh food and flowers.

Happy Sunday.