Monday, July 27, 2009

Asheville Pasta

Many years ago, I lived in North Carolina. A few short hours and I could be in down town Ashville. It really is a beautiful place if you ever get in that neck of the woods. And you’ll have to visit the Biltmore Estate too. Anyway, back then I had the luxury of going out to eat at restaurants quit frequently. I always try to order something different or a meal I have not had whenever the menu allows. I also like to try and decipher the ingredients so I can attempt to recreate the meal on my own. OK, so all of this was pre marriage, pre kids and before my house looked so cluttered. (I really should be cleaning now… Naaah, on with the blog) Here is one of the pasta dishes that I really enjoyed during one of my weekend trips to Asheville NC.


Fresh spinach
Small tomatoes (grape or cherry work best)
Black olives
Feta cheese
Angel hair pasta
(Chicken or shrimp) optional

If you are adding meat cut and cook first then set aside.
Sauté spinach in olive oil. Toss is sliced olives, cut tomatoes and season to taste.
Serve over angle hair pasta and top with crumbled feta cheese.

I would normally have a photo of the finished product but the vultures ate it up so fast I didn’t get a chance.
Let me know if you give this one a try.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Berry Cookie Cobbler

I belong to a Mommy group that does a ton of fun things through the year. This past weekend, we had our annual Family Picnic. Everyone brings something and we purchase fried chicken. It’s a great day of relaxed fun at a park. The kids run wild (and sleep great that night), the husbands get to know one another a bit more and usually entertain the children for us. We all get to hang out, eat and chat.

This year I made a berry/Cookie Cobbler.

I told Ashley I was going to post this for 4th of July. Good thing I sent her the recipe early. ;-)


2 bags frozen berries (your choice, you can get mixed or try different things. This last time I used 1 bag blueberries and 1 bag dark pitted cherries) thawed (Let them sit in a strainer in the sink for a while until they are thawed).
1 can pie filling (apple or cherry works nicely)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 roll prepared sugar cookie dough
Ice cream (To top when it is done)

Pre heat oven to 350
In a large bowl, mix berries, pie filling, sugar and cinnamon
Pour into 8x8 baking dish (You may need 2 dishes depending on what berries you get)
Crumble the cookie dough over the top, covering nicely with a few holes for the fruit to bubble through
Bake uncovered 45 minutes or 'til the cookie crust is golden.

So easy
So good.
Top with ice cream. YUM!!!!!

Here’s how we worked off the extra calories.

As for the Berry Cobbler, you can also make it in individual sizes. You can use oven safe coffee mugs or I have these cool little saucepans. I made the dessert in these once for a couple’s night we had with friends. It was cute, each couple had to share a pan.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's all about sex baby...

I just attended a meeting the other night with a group of my friends and this was the topic. It was a great, fun way to talk about our relationships and a very non-threatening way to remind us all how important it is to “work” on our marriages. It’s no secret that we are busy. We are all busy, all the time and then there are new things that are being added to the list on a daily basis. If you’re not careful, time can get away from you, and before you know it, you and that special someone are just going through the motions. (That’s no fun!)

Don’t wait for the timing to be right or the money to go to that fancy new place in the city or for you to be “in the mood”. Just do it. It’s not impossible to find a few minutes to do something sweet for another person and you never know where things might lead.
Besides, sometimes a little gesture is all it takes to bring a smile to his/her face.

One evening while I was putting the kids to bed, the hubby was preparing a beautiful tray of cheese and bread and fruit along with some wine so we could have a treat after a long day. Way back when we were dating and only seeing each other one weekend a month (working full time and in school full time Urg!) we used to sit on the floor in-front of his fireplace and feast on a tray like this and talk for hours or until the wine kicked in. ;-)

(Sorry, I took this shot in a hurry. It’s not the best lighting but you get the idea. Do you see the graham cracker crumbs from the s’mores the kids had earlier?)

Anyway, him doing this for us was enough to make me feel special, like I was his girlfriend. We sat out on the deck and looked at the moon and each other by the light of three tea lights (pseudo fireplace ambiance). I love nights like these…

If you can’t find time for dinner and a movie find some special time to say, “I love you” in a special, unexpected way.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's the little things...

Sometimes we all need a reminder that the little things in life are the most important. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Today, I will not worry about the dirty dishes in the sink. Today, I will play. Today, I’m not going to get stressed over the “what if” that may or may not happen in my future. Today, I will be in the moment. I will enjoy the simple things that are right under my nose. Smell the roses. Take a walk and look at the world in front of you. Take it all in. Hug someone. Tell a friend they are special to you. Put your feet up and take a deep breath. Watch the sun set. Listen. Listen to your world, to your family, to your heart.

What will you do today?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Clever Ideas

Here are just a few ideas that I thought were clever:

1. Keep a few bungee cords in the trunk of your car. You never know when you might purchase something large and need to strap down the lid. Always be prepared.

2. Keep one or two mini-sized Doodle boards (the kind with the magnet pens) The kids can use them to practice writing letters and numbers or you can do the writing and quiz them (If there is another person driving or you’re stuck waiting in a parking lot or heavy traffic).

3. Want to use some planters on your deck but not sure how to keep them from falling off? Double up. Screw the first one onto the ledge (or strap down with wire) and then set the other one inside. This makes it really easy to bring them in for a late season frost or even a severe thunderstorm. Also, if you plant something that grows towards the sun then you can turn the pot/plant easily.

4. Add a little whimsy to your weekend. Put a smile on your pancake. Add a few drops of water to a little syrup and a drop or two of food color then use a Q-tip to draw on a smile.

5. When I pack snacks or lunch for school, I always put a note on the napkin. It started with a simple picture and then when she could read, I started to use small words now we are up to phrases. It’s my way of letting her know I’m thinking of her while she is away from me. (A friend of mine did this with her kids until they were in high school. Although to save them from humiliation in front of their peers, the notes turned into simple smiley faces and then to two dots just as a subtle reminder.

6. The next time you get something that is in a large box, cut off the side of the box and save it under your bed or behind your dresser. This will come in handy the next time you need it for a craft or to make a painted T-shirt.

7. Get a roll of craft paper to have on hand. You can find it in white or brown. It’s great to have if you need to ship a package, or for a craft. I use the white to make my own wrapping paper when I run out or forget to get some new. You’ll see in an upcoming post that I even used it for a puppet stage.

8. Make a choke-E checker. Cover the cardboard inside a roll of toilet tissue with some contact paper and teach young children to use their new tool to see if items are safe to have around a baby. If it can fit in the tube, they can’t let the baby play with it. (works most of the time)

9. Put a bunch of candles or tea lights and some matches in a cookie tin and place it somewhere easy to get to in the dark. This will come in handy during a power outage.

10. Make your own Popsicles using jell-o they melt much slower…less mess.

What sort of little tricks or clever ideas do you like?