"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Need a Drink: Refreshing Summertime Concoctions: Healthy Eating

Hibiscus Cooler

I don't know about you but I need a drink. My kid's summer schedule was a little more hectic than I planned on it being. It has been hard to find time to write between shuttling kids here and there.

This week my daughter is in a horse back riding camp and my son is up in the Adirondacks for Boy Scout camp. A chance to relax...  I will be going to BlogHer at the end of the week - very exciting. I can't wait to learn more ways to improve this blog. 

Well, if you get a chance kick off your shoes and put your feet up on your porch or deck, and try one of the refreshing drinks people have shared with us on Foodie Friday. If you search my Foodie Friday archive you will find even more intoxicating concoctions.

 Cheers,
 Diane

Lavender Lemonade 

White Wine Sangria with a little Vaca

Thyme and Lime Lemonade

Middle Eastern Lemonade

WEEKLY MENU PLAN: 

Sunday: Mini Man Burgers, pickles and cole slaw

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Quiche with a Tomato Red Onion Salad


Wednesday: Eggplant Parmesan with Crusty Rolls

Thursday: Garden Stuffed Yellow Squash with Quinoa

Friday: Seafood Pesto Lasagna with Garden Salad

Saturday: Wedding Anniversary Dinner Out


Related articles



Friday, July 27, 2012

Zucchini Tagliatelle: Foodie Friday


zucchini tagliatelle
Zucchini Tagliatelle

Our camp in the Adirondack Mountains is on an island, so when dinner doesn't work out I have to improvise with what I have on hand. I usually am very prepared, my husband and I are both old Boy and Girl Scouts. The evening I made this dish we were planning on grilling chicken...well when we opened up the package...nasty. Oh, the smell of bad chicken is nauseating. I threw this dish together with the zucchini I had planned on using as a side dish. The sauce for this meal is incredibly simple and wonderful to use with any fresh vegetable because it doesn't over power the subtle taste of vegetables, so please, whatever is fresh and ripe in your garden or the farmer's market sauté up in this sauce and serve it over any type of pasta.

Zucchini Tagliatelle
by Diane Balch

Preparation time: 15 minutes                        Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients:

1 pound of Tagliatelle pasta or any other type (Schar gluten-free pasta)
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 large green squash chopped (zucchini)
1 large yellow squash chopped  (zucchini)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese

Directions:

1) Bring pasta water to a boil with 2 tablespoons of salt in it.

2) While water is coming to a boil, in a large skillet melt the butter and cook until it starts to brown then add the white wine and bring it to a boil. Stir constantly. Add the red pepper, nutmeg, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to the sauce. 

3) Reduce the heat to medium low and add the zucchini. Cover and cook until desired tenderness, approximately 3 minutes. Stir occasionally.

4) When the pasta is cooked add it to the skillet, add the parmesan cheese. Mix well and let it stand for 5 minutes. This dish is also nice with cannelloni beans or chicken added. 
copyright 2012


Hosted by
Home Maid Simple
and
Simple Living with Diane Balch

THANK YOU!
This food party has really grown and I just wanted to take a moment to say, "I appreciate you sharing your recipes with us on Foodie Friday each week." To me there is nothing more special than enjoying a home cooked meal by a friend or family member who put their heart into preparing it. If you have never read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel it is a wonderful summer read about pouring your emotions into your cooking. I highly recommend it.



Spotlights from Last Week's Party:

From: A Flock in the City


Now here is something special to do with "all those tomatoes" this makes a fantastic vegetarian meal or a wonderful first course.

From: Lavender and Loveage


Mangoes and Prawns the flavors of this dish are all about summer!

From: Peanut Butter, Passport, & Epinephrine 


A beautiful rustic country dessert, perfect for peach season.



UPDATE: THERE WAS A LARGE STORM IN MY AREA LAST NIGHT AND I AM WITHOUT POWER. I WILL PERIODICALLY BE CHECKING THIS POST. I APOLOGIZE IF I AM DELAYED GETTING BACK TO YOU.

This is a food party please only link up food related posts. Thank you. 

Instructions for Foodie Friday linky:

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG BY EMAIL OR RSS... or FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK

1) Copy the Foodie Friday Button's html from this website's sidebar.

2) Paste this html to the html page of the recipe you want to link to Foodie Friday. You can also make a word link or post our button on your sidebar. Please link back.
3) Copy the link to the recipes you want to add to Foodie Friday, not your homepage. You can post up to 3 recipes that you have not shared before.

4) Click on "your next" on this page.

5) Past your link and type in the name of the recipe, not your name.

6) Choose how you want to download the photo.


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lemon Barley Pilaf: French Fridays with Dorie

barley pilaf
Lemon Barley Pilaf

I cook a lot of brown rice and make pilafs often, so when I read over Dorie's recipe I decided to simplify it and cook the barley in a rice cooker like I do with most grains. I have used pearl barley before in soups and the texture is terrific, but I found I kept having to add more water to the barley because it was just too hard. Even fully saturated with 4 cups of broth/water to 1 cup of barley I found it to be too chewy. It reminded me of kasha which I do not love. I think the flavoring and the vegetable mixture is wonderful, and I will use these ingredients in a brown rice pilaf, but for myself and my family barley pilaf was not a hit. 

Here is my recipe for the pilaf based on
 Dori Greenspan's Lemon Barley Pilaf recipe.

LEMON BARLEY PILAF
by Diane Balch

Ingredients: 

1 cup of cooked pearl barley or other grain: rice or quinoa would work well.
4 cups of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of butter
1 bay leaf
1 carrot minced
1 red pepper minced
4 scallions minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon's zest

Directions:

1) Cook grain according to directions in chicken broth with the bay leaf. If you are using pearl barley I recommend 4 cups of broth to 1 cup of barley. 

2) Sauté vegetables in butter putting into skillet in this order: scallions, carrots, red pepper until they are limp.

3) When grain is done mix it with the vegetables and add the lemon zest. Makes a great side with chicken or fish.

Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why it is Important to Play Games?: Simple Living Ideas

Some of our Favorite Board Games

When we are at our camp in the Adirondack's we don't have a TV, video games, or even a stereo to entertain us. I find we do talk more as a family, and we sit quietly on the deck and listen to the best music ever produced: the sounds of nature. Most evenings though we find ourselves turning to our extensive collection of board games. Yes, playing games are fun but they also are good for all of us. For us old folks games keep our minds sharp. They challenge our memory and our ability to concentrate and strategize. For kids there are so many social skills that are promoted through game playing. I recommend board games because unlike video games you face your opponents which teaches you more about how to read body language. I also think you talk more when you face a person.

Reading Social Cues: This is a extremely important skill to develop when playing games that entail bluffing like Poker. In these games you learn to watch the tiniest twitch of your opponent in hopes that you will figure out their "tell" and know when they are lying. Tell me being able to detect lying is not an important life skill?

Following Directions: You have to listen and pay attention to the structure and rules of the game in order to participate. Being able to follow directions is important for completing school work along with any kind of application you will ever have to fill out.

Sportsmanship: Going along with following directions is developing an ability to play by the rules and to be fair and flexible when the game doesn't move in the direction you want. You learn that being a "good sport" involves giving people the benefit of the doubt, being generous and kind, along with accepting losing without holding a grudge. 

Learning from Failure: I think learning to accept losing is especially important for kids who are growing up in a "trophy for everyone" over praising society. When you submit yourself to a game, you have to accept that you will win occasionally, but a lot of the times you will lose. Kids need to realize that losing does not mean total failure. If you want to get better at the game you learn from your mistakes. You pick up your pieces and  you play the game again until you succeed this is an old fashion skill called: resilience. 

Developing Patience:  You have to wait to take your turn and not interrupt another player while he is making his move. You have to wait for others to finish their play, which sometimes can seem like an eternity when you have a really good move you want to make. You also need to learn to wait for the best time to play a move. You learn timing in strategic games which is so important in life if you want to optimize your opportunities for success.

Strategic Thinking: Kids and many adults live very impulsively. Some games like Chess and RISK require a person to think several moves ahead. Long term thinking skills, planning are required to really master these games. 

Negotiation Skills: Some of the really great new board games like Settlers of Catan and Cargo Noir along with classic games like Monopoly require players to make deals with other players in order to get the resources they need to win the game. These games are fantastic little micro worlds were one gets the chance to see the pros and cons of sharing and trading personal resources.

Being Oppositional without being Enemies: I think this skill is probably one of the most needed today because we live in such a polarized time socially and politically. In a game your best friend can play the role of your opponent. You try to defeat this dearly loved person in a game - but is it personal? No.

Doing this type of role playing helps us to remember that we all have different opinions and positions on may issues but we are all just playing our role, our part in the larger game. 

We don't have to hate a person because their viewpoint differs from us, that's what tolerance is about. To tolerant does not mean to like, it means to put up with an opinion that is different from our own opinion. So, if you can put up with your best friend destroying your empire in a greedy pursuit of your wealth, maybe you can put up with your next door neighbor's viewpoints - even if they are very different from your own, because he is basically a nice person who just happens to be playing the game a little differently than you.





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Monday, July 23, 2012

Marinades for Grilling: Healthy Eating

Here are some outstanding marinades and rubs that have been posted on my foodie friday party. Check these out and more on my Pinterest page. Remember with marinades don't over do it. Only red meat can usually tolerate being left in a marinade sauce too long.

Grilled Chipotle Chicken with Chipotle Cream Sauce









7 Recipes to Marinade Fish




Mustard Rubbed Smokey Grilled Chuck 'n' Chuck









Weekly Menu Plan:

Sunday: Grilled Chipotle Chicken with Corn on the Cob and  Garlicky Broccoli

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Burger with Salad

Tuesday: Hot Dogs with Sauerkraut and Baked Beans

Wednesday: Zucchini in an Olive Oil Sauce over Pasta, Smores Pizza

Thursday: Road Food


Saturday: Crab Cakes from leftover stuffing with Buttery Spinach and Brown Rice







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Friday, July 20, 2012

Brushetta: Foodie Friday


brushetta
Brushetta


I got some super ripe and aromatic tomatoes from a farm stand along with some euphoric smelling basil, these two ingredients screamed to me: brushetta. Don't feel locked in to this selection of vegetables, use this marinade with what ever is fresh and ripe from your garden. Make sure you toast your bread so you can sop up the juices that form when you mix these ingredients together. You are not going to want to miss a bite of this classic Mediterranean concoction. Add some cheese, goat cheese goes especially well, or even some cannoli beans, or tuna...will make this a complete meal. 

Brushetta
by Diane Balch

prep time: 10 minutes                                             as an appetizer serves: 4- 6


Ingredients:

Marinade:
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of anchovy paste (No it will not make the dish fishy tasting, trust me.)
1/4 teaspoon of salt (Fancy salt is best, like fleur de sol, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper


6 small ripe tomatoes chopped
1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil
1/4 cup of oil cured black olives 

Directions:

1) Whisk marinade ingredients together.

2) Pour marinade over vegetables and mix. Let sit for up to a half hour before serving in order to allow flavors to blend.

3) Serve over toasted bread or crackers with or without cheese and beans or tuna.


Hosted by
Home Maid Simple
and
Simple Living with Diane Balch

Celebrating Summer Vegetables
is what came to mind when I was choosing my recipe the features for this week. Summer vegetables are peaking and the recipes below are very much about focusing on fresh local and unique foods. Summer is definitely the time for simple recipes that just enhance the naturally ripe flavors of fresh foods. 

Spotlight from Last Week's Party:

From: Hezzi - D's Books and Cooks


Take your freshest vegetables cook lightly and add cheese: simple & delicious.


From: Taste Buds, Two Buds Tasting


Haydn & Kristy are involved in an international local food swap. This recipe shows how to use a unique ingredient to make a simply tasty meal.


From: The Kitchen is my Playground


Who needs a fancy cake in the summer these peaches are the perfect treat.




This is a food party please only link up food related posts. Thank you. 

Instructions for Foodie Friday linky:

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG BY EMAIL OR RSS... or FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK

1) Copy the Foodie Friday Button's html from this website's sidebar.

2) Paste this html to the html page of the recipe you want to link to Foodie Friday. You can also make a word link or post our button on your sidebar. Please link back.
3) Copy the link to the recipes you want to add to Foodie Friday, not your homepage. You can post up to 3 recipes that you have not shared before.

4) Click on "your next" on this page.

5) Past your link and type in the name of the recipe, not your name.

6) Choose how you want to download the photo.



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