"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!


Panettone French Toast Pudding #Weekly Menu Plan

Panettone French Toast Pudding: simplelivingeating.com

Not another Fruit Cake or Panettone? What to do? What to do? Well, Christmas is over and it is time to start thinking about New Year's Eve or Day which ever you celebrate. You can put those cakes to good use. 


Quick and Easy Panettone Dessert #Weekend Bites

Quick & Easy Panettone Dessert- simplelivingeating.com

If you get a Panettone or a Fruit Cake as a gift here is a quick and easy dessert that you can make using either type of holiday bread. 


Yunnan Ham with Broad Beans & Goat Cheese #The Yunnan Cookbook #Weekly Menu Plan

Yunnan Ham w/ Broad Beans & Goat Cheese- simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Direct Contact PR. All opinions are my own.

China is a vast country that is too hard to comprehend in it's entirety. Looking at the cuisine of one region gives one a much better sense of a piece of it's culture than a broad Chinese cookbook.


Chicken Breast with Dried Cherry Sauce #Weekend Bites #Stoneridge Orchards Montmorency Cherries

Chicken Breast w/ Dried Cherry Sauce- simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Stoneridge Orchards. All opinions are my own.

Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for stopping by today. I know you are busy cooking, wrapping, and possibly still shopping for presents. If you are baking for the holidays I'm certain you have dried cherries on hand for putting in cookies and breads. 


Orange & Olive Salad #French Fridays with Dorie

Orange & Olive Salad: simplelivingeating.com

I was extremely skeptical about this recipe, so much so that I decided to just slice a single orange and a few slivers of onion to test this recipe solo at lunch.
Now I'm a Mediterranean girl and I love olives and onions, and oranges are terrific in season but the thought of putting these three ingredients together with olive oil and salt... just seemed odd. 


Feast of the Seven Fishes: Fish Recipe Round-Up #Weekly Menu Plan

Haddock with Parsley Cream Sauce: simplelivingeating.com
Haddock with Parsley Cream Sauce

It is a Southern Italian tradition to have a feast of seven fishes on Christmas Eve. The origin of the tradition is debated, but most likely the seven fishes represent the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.


Sugar-Free Holiday Ricotta Loaf #Weekend Bites #Lily's Sweets

Sugar-Free Holiday Ricotta Loaf- simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Lily's Sweets. All opinions are my own. 

During the holidays when family and friends get together there is usually one or more guests who can't eat sugar. It is nice to have a little treat that they can enjoy too. This Sugar-Free Holiday Ricotta Loaf does the trick in my family. Everyone likes it just because it tastes good!


Slow Cooker Beef & Dried Apricot Tagine #French Fridays with Dorie


Slow Cooker Beef & Dried Apricot Tagine: simplelivingeating.com

Tis the season to be extra busy and there is no exception in the Balch house. On top of shopping for Christmas presents and holiday parties. My son is working toward a Boy Scouts merit badge in rock climbing and my daughter just won her first foil competition. Plus she is participating in a softball clinic. 


Chicken with Pineapple Sauce #Samoa #Food of the World

Chicken with PInapple Sauce- simplelivingeating.com

I love being part of Food of the World because I never know what part of the world I will get to explore. Samoa a group of islands in the South Pacific was chosen for this month, and I have to say quite frankly, I barely even heard of the country, other than that I knew the US had a territory in the region. 

The Stuffing That Almost Wasn't. #Win a Year's Supply of Applegate's Natural Good Morning Bacon #Weekly Menu Plan

stuffing: simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Applegate. All opinions are my own.

There was the "Year Without a Santa Claus." but could you image a Thanksgiving without BACON. No I didn't say turkey; I said BACON.


Shrimp & Andouille Sausage with Curried Rice #Weekend Bites

Shrimp & Andouille Sausage with Curried Rice- simplelivingeating.com

Excuse the not so great photos this was an unplanned recipe. When I saw how rapidly my family was devouring this dish I realized that I should share it with you because it was really simple to make and full of flavor.


Tartine de Viande des Grisons #French Fridays with Dorie


Every once in a while I am reminded that I know nothing about beef. I am a child of sausage manufacturers. I never ate hamburgers; growing up we had sausage patties. The only other meat we ate was chicken. 


House Trip: Local Food Guide to New York City


Girl with pizza: simplelivingeating.com

In association with House Trip I bring you a guide to New York City Food.

I went to college in New York City and lived in Manhattan for several years afterward. I currently live only an hour from NYC by train.
 I often visit New York City with the sole intention of eating.


Creamy Red Kuri Soup: inspired by Béatrix's Red Kuri Soup #Weekend Bites #French Fridays with Dorie

Creamy Red Kuri Soup- simplelivingeating.com

I tried Red Kuri squash last year after being enticed by the possibility of not having to peel a squash. I love squash, but I find first cutting it, then cleaning out the seeds and innards, then having to cut it away from the skin just down right exhausting. Squash is good... but not that good. Red Kuri's squashes skin for some strange reason gets softer as it is cooked. It is completely edible. I found my new favorite squash!


The Farm to Table French Phrasebook with GIVEAWAY #Weekly Menu Plan

The Farm to Table French Phrasebook: simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Ulysses Press all opinions are my own. 

It was such serendipity that I was contacted to review The Farm to Table French Phrasebook by Victoria Mas just before I left for Paris. I read the book on the plane and felt well prepared to order food along with getting a basic understanding of French food tradition.


Best Thanksgiving Recipes #Weekend Bites

Pumpkin Yogurt Loaf with Maple Carmel Sauce: simplelivingeating.com
Pumpkin Yogurt Loaf with Maple Carmel Sauce

I'm not expecting any harp strings from you, but readjusting to the family schedule with jet lag has been harder than I expected. The kids' activities and our holiday plans did not take a pause for Paris... not complaining, just trying to get focused again.


Storzapretis (aka Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi) #French Fridays with Dorie

Storzapretis: simplelivingeating.com

I went into making Storapretis with the arrogance of a five year old. Growing up next door to my Italian grandmother I spent hours, upon hours making Cavatelli pasta. Painstakingly rolling and folding each little piece of pasta. 


Paris Trip: My 50th Birthday in the City of Lights #Weekly Menu Plan

paris sites: simplelivingeating.com
Effel Tower, Arc de Tromphe, The Opera, Place de la Concorde

Bon Jour,

My husband and I are back from our "romantic" (code for no kids) trip to Paris. The weather was terrific for November only a little overcast, no rain and in the 50's. It is a great time to visit because tourist season has just ended and there aren't any lines to get into the museums and monuments. My take on Paris is:


Back from Paris! #Weekend Bites

Me by the pyramid entrance of the Louvre.

Bon Jour,

I just got back from my 50th birthday trip to Paris with my husband... yes just the two of us. I have never been so far away from the kids. I had a freak out moment... but I got over it very quickly and had a romantic time with my husband.

I promise to post photos, but right now I have to dig my way out of the laundry. The house is in pretty good shape considering it was supervised by my 22 year old nephew with a 13 year old for a chef.

Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes... it really was the most special birthday I've ever had. I've been with my husband for 25 years and I didn't think he could surprise me... well, he did! 



Weekend Bites in Paris! Oooh la, la.

Eiffel Tower: simplelivingeating.com

Simple Living and Eating is taking a little holiday in Paris to celebrate my 50th birthday. I promise to post some pictures and tell you about the wonderful food I eat while visit. Please enjoy the party. 



Turkey Hash: Thanksgiving Dinner Hash #Cooking with Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce #Weekly Menu Plan

Thanksgiving Dinner Hash- simplelivngeating.com

This post is sponsored by Frank's Red Hot. All opinions are my own.

Frank's Red Hot has always been my go to hot sauce. We use it every year to make Buffalo Wings for the Super Bowl and my teenage son regularly splashes some on meals that he claims are just not spicy enough.


Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash: Ghoul-lash! #Weekend Bites

Hungarian Goulash- Ghoul-ash- simplelivingeating.com

When I received an invitation to a Halloween party I responded, "I will be there with something ghoulish to eat... maybe goulash?" At the time I was just being cute, but then I thought about it...maybe I will make goulash! 


Osso Buco in a Tomato Orange Sauce: Osso Buco å l' Arman #French Fridays with Dorie

Osso Buco in a Tomato Orange Sauce: Osso Buco a l arman: simplelivingeating.com

I didn't know that the French had hijacked the beloved Italian dish: Osso Buco? I grew up eating this dish flavored with a lot of pepper and garlic. Dorie Greenspan's recipe a l' Arman (after the French artist) is a lot more sophisticated and very French. It contains oranges and herbes de Provence.


Easy Crockpot Mexican Pork Stew #Dei Fratelli Ripened Recipe Contest #National Tomato Month #Weekly Menu Plan

Easy Crockpot Mexican Pork Stew: simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Dei Fratelli. All opinions are my own.

Until field hockey season is over we are in over drive at the Balch house. You see my daughter is determined to keep up with her fencing too, which means 2 nights a week and Saturday on top of her field hockey practice and game schedule. My son has been busy with both fencing and Boy Scouts and my husband has been traveling... lets just say I have I lot less time to spend in the kitchen because I am driving so much.


Beer & Butter Roasted Vegetables #Weekend Bites

Beer & Butter Roasted Vegetables- simplelivingeating.com

Our pool club has a beautiful grove area by a lake. An old tradition of having an Octoberfest was resurrected this year. We have been having a dry and mild Autumn so the event had gorgeous weather. Some families brought desserts and others were designated to bring side dishes. Many types of German sausages were provided.


Weight Loss Yogurt Cereal Breakfast #Healthy Eating #Weekly Menu Plan


In Mireille Guiliano's famous book: French Women Don't Get Fat.  She shares a recipe for what she calls: Magical Breakfast Cream. It is a yogurt cereal concoction that is very healthy and helps stave off hunger, so you can make it to lunch without snacking.


Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Apple Cake #Weekend Bites

Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Apple Cake- simplelivingeating.com

We have been going apple picking with friends of ours every year since our kids were toddlers. They have been living in Brooklyn for a while now and the traffic to get out to the orchard is just not making it a fun thing to do anymore. 


Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic & Potatoes #French Fridays with Dorie

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic & Potatoes- simplelivingeating.com

We are on an ugly food roll in French Fridays with Dorie: celery root two weeks ago, monkfish last week and Jerusalem Artichokes this week... it must be Halloween season because I feel like I've have been concocting witches' brews for the last month. Don't be surprised if we roast eye of newt next week!


Belgium Mussels #Food of the World

Belgium Mussels- simplelivingeating.com

When I think of Belgium I think of mussels. I was fortunate enough to visit Brussels on my way to a wedding in Amsterdam. There were street vendors and outdoor cafes overflowing with mussels. Yes, everyone must eat "Mussels in Brussels." with a side of pommes frites...

10 Best Fall Recipes from Simple Living and Eating #Weekly Menu Plan

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good: simplelivingeating.com
Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

I hope you are enjoying a long holiday weekend like we are....quiet, restful... so unusual for us these days. A good weekend to cook and sort through old recipes. Here are some of my family's favorite Fall meals.


Andouille Sausage & Pappardelle #Weekend Bites

Andouille Sausage & Pappardelle: simplelivingeating.com

This recipe is truly a mixture of Mediterranean flavors and elements. Andouille sausage is a favorite of the French and Spanish (quite popular in New Orleans) with Pimenton Picante (Hot Paprika) from Spain and a favorite Italian pasta Pappardelle. 


Scallops with Double Carrots (Bonne Idee of Monkfish and Double Carrots) #French Fridays with Dorie

Scallops with Double Carrots- simplelivingeating.com

We made the ugliest vegetable, celery root, last week in French Fridays with Dorie. This week we were suppose to make the ugliest fish: monkfish. Ever since I saw a picture of what this beast looks like I have been unable to eat it. I substituted scallops.


Slow Cooker Chicken in Tomatoes #Dei Fratelli Ripened Recipe Contest #National Tomato Month #Weekly Menu Plan

Slow Cooker Chicken in Tomatoes- simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Dei Fratelli. All opinions are my own. 

This is a great contest to enter... everyone loves tomato based recipes and Dei Fratelli's products are delicious and diverse. They have plain tomato ingredients,  along with Italian and Mexican flavors so you can keep things interesting with different flavor palettes. 

Here is my recipe for the contest and I plan on making another one with a Mexican flair.... oh, yes, by the way... my family loved this dish. You simply can't go wrong with tomatoes! 


Muffuletta Pasta Salad #Weekend Bites

Muffaletta Pasta Salad- simplelivingeating.com

Muffuletta Pasta Salad brings back memories of family gatherings when I was a kid. My whole extended family loves this salad. There is something in it for everyone. Ham and salami for the meat lovers, provolone cheese, and Giardiniera salad (pickled vegetables) that I just learned how to make myself. (Check out Monday's Post: Giardiniera on a Muffuletta Sandwich)


Celery - Celery Soup #French Fridays with Dorie

Celery-Celery Soup- simplelivingeating.com

It is the time of year to give out the ugliest root vegetable award. Will it be parsnips, goatsbeard? The hands down winner every year is always celeriac or celery root. No vegetable is as knobby and gnarly. 


Giardiniera on a Muffuuletta Sandwich #The Everyday Fermentation Handbook #Weekly Menu Plan

Giardiniera on a Muffuletta Sandwich- simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Adams Media. Opinions are my own.

Fermentation, microbiome, gut health.... have you heard the buzz?  Good health begins in your stomach. Adding fermented food such as pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt, to your diet can improve your digestive abilities and may improve your immune system. It seems that we have been overly sterilizing our foods and getting back to eating foods that have naturally occurring good bacteria in them may help balance our system.


Slow Cooker Chicken Okra Stew #Weekend Bites

Slow Cooker Chicken Okra Stew- simplelivingeating.com

My family and I have started to adjust to our busy Fall schedule. I am making lots of slow cooker meals because two nights a week my kids are at a fencing class. They leave at 5:30 and are back home at 8:30 pm. I never know if they want to eat before or after it, so I like to have dinner ready. If I don't have something made, they snack. Even quality granola bars are not going to give them the same nutrition as a home cooked meal... so slow cooker to the rescue!


Vanilla Vegetable Salad #French Fridays with Dorie

Vanilla Vegetable Salad- simplelivingeating.com

A salad made with fresh carrots and yellow squash mixed with fresh greens just sounded perfect for a late summer meal. It was the vinaigrette that was questionable. Extra virgin olive olive, good,... lemon juice, good,... vanilla extract... odd?


Skillet Mushroom Mac-n-Cheese: & Fun with French Cheese #MAKE IT MAGNIFIQUE #Weekly Menu Plan

Skillet Mushroom Mac n Cheese: simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Council. Opinions are mine.

Is your mac-n-cheese recipe getting to be a little boring? How about cheeseburgers... yawn? There is a way to wake up your meals. Just switch out plain old American cheese with a French cheese such as: Brie, Camembert, Emmental, Raclette, Mimolette, Comté & Fourme d’Ambert. 


Chicken Curry in a Hurry #Weekend Bites

Chicken Curry in a Hurry: simplelivingeating.com

I have been in nothing but a hurry since school started after Labor Day. My husband had surgery on his arm. He is doing well. My daughter joined the Field Hockey team and both of my kids need to be driven to their fencing class twice a week... oh, yeah, and all of those doctors appointments that I put off, because who wants to go to the doctors in the summer!


West African Tuna Salad inspired from Tuna and Mango Ceviche #French Fridays with Dorie

West African Tuna Salad- simplelivingeating.com

Southern Italians have a strong connection with Africa. Physically it is so close. Many of us have African blood pulsing through our veins. My oldest sister has always had a strong affinity with African culture, especially it's dance. 


Umbrian Roast Chicken with Vegetables, Roccafiore Organic Wine: Fiorfiore #Weekly Menu Plan

Umbrian Roast Chicken with Vegetables: simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by Roccafiore wines. Opinions are 100% mine.

Sipping a glass of Fiorfiore organic white wine on a beautiful Autumn afternoon I am transported to the rolling hills of the Roccafiore Vineyard and Spa in the Umbria region of Italy.


Pardina Lentils a version of French Lentils # Weekend Bites ( formally Foodie Friday) #French Fridays with Dorie

Pardina Lentils- simplelivingeating.com

I have truly been meaning to get back to my regular blogging schedule, but September has been a busy month.  Last night I attended a cooking demonstration at the The Daily Meal with Chef Kerry Heffernan, formally of NYC's famed Eleven Madison Park restaurant . He made some really interesting dishes from local and wild fish/fowl and herbs of Long Island where he lives. Check out the menu. I never even heard of whelk or knew you could eat bluefish cheeks? 


Vegetable Quinoa Soup #Food of the World

Vegetable Quinoa Soup- simplelivingeating.com

I had just come down from the cool Andes Mountains into the Amazon basin town of  Puerto Maldonado. It was so hot and humid you could cut the air with a machete. 

Mason Jar Salads: 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go #Healthy Eating #Weekly Menu Plan

Apple and Frisee Salad- simplelivingeating.com

It is only in the last year or so that I have discovered the wonders of salad for lunch. It is healthy, low in calories, and because it is not loaded with carbohydrates it helps to keep you from being tired in the late afternoon.

Amazon $100 Gift Certificate: Makobi Scribe Amazon.com Blast


Makobi Scribe is bringing you this Amazon Twitter blast where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone and provided by Makobi Scribe. Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.


Curried Chicken, Peppers and Peas en Papillote #Foodie Friday #French Fridays with Dorie

Curried Chicken, Peppers and Peas en Papillote- simplelivingeating.com

Back from vacation, kids back to school... slowly getting back into my regular blogging schedule...

I have never been a fan of papillote cooking, pouch cooking. I usually find that flavors don't intensify enough by steaming. I did make a mild fish dish that had a very delicate herb seasoning that worked really well with this technique, but in general I have not had much success with this type of cooking. 


Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts #Foodie Friday #French Fridays with Dorie

Chanterelles with Napa and Nuts: simplelivingeating.com

Back in the day when we used to send our film out to be processed occasionally the developers would send you back the wrong film. Once I got a little kid's birthday party's pictures, so I mailed them back. A person from the film company called me on the phone, (no texting, no emails) to inform me that they where having trouble locating my photos. 


foodie friday logo: simplelivingeating.com

Welcome to Foodie Friday. I am on a little summer blog break... but the party must go on!

My co-host Adelina from Home Maid Simple and I have noticed that there are a few Friday parties with the name Foodie Friday. We don't want you to confuse our comments and shares with other parties, so we are planning to change our name and would love your suggestions.

Please leave Friday food party name ideas in the comment section.

Thank you,


Quinoa Vegetable Salad: GF version Couscous Salad #French Fridays with Dorie

Quinoa Vegetable Salad- GF version Couscous Salad- simplelivingeating.com

I never wanted to be trendy, but thanks to a wheat allergy, I was forced to make a gluten-free version of this couscous salad from French Fridays with Dorie.