"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!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spinach Lorraine Strata #Foodie Friday

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Spinach Lorriane Strata: simplelivingeating.com


I love making egg based main dishes. They are usually so tasty and so healthy. I have made my share of quiche, souffle, and frittatas... but I just learned about strata. 

Strata is basically a frittata with toasted bread in it. Kinda of a savory bread pudding. My husband makes really excellent crusty homemade bread, and even though my kids could eat an entire loaf a day; sometimes there are some leftovers. Fresh bread gets stale quickly, and other than making croutons using up his bread in a strata is a great alternative idea.

P. F. Chang's NEW Seasonal Menu: I had to check it out!

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of P.F. Chang's for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


When P.F. Chang's asked me to write about their new Winter Seasonal Menu I jumped at the chance. You see lunch at P.F. Chang's was a sure way to charm my growing teenagers to take a trip to the mall. My teens are a bit unusual. They don't actually like to go shopping.. which in the long run will save them money, but right now they are growing so quickly...they need clothes.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Garbure from the Supermarket: Pork Stew #French Fridays with Dorie

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Garbure: Pork Stew: simplelivingeating.com


The name of this dish: Garbure from the Supermarket is very deceiving. I thought all of the ingredients in it would be easily found in my grocery store. Well, not in a U.S. grocery store. The seasoning Piment d' Espelette I couldn't even find in a speciality market. Fortunately a kind Dorista told me that I could substitute cayenne pepper for it. I order some on line and look forward to tasting what others have described as an exceptionally flavorful pepper.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pungent & Bitter Recipes: Transition to Spring #Healthy Eating #Weekly Menu Plan

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radish


Here in the Northeast of the United States we are starting to get some day time temperatures above freezing which is a sign that Spring is on the way. I sometimes feel that the transition from Winter to Spring is a hard one to make. If I don't lighten up my eating, I feel heavy and sluggish come Springtime instead of light and energetic. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Morning Glory Muffins #Foodie Friday

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Morning Glory Muffins- simplelivingeating.com


There are some foods that are intensely filled with memories. Morning Glory Muffins are one of them for my husband and I. We used to enjoy these muffins over long cups of coffee at the Baker's Cafe in Katonah, NY. 

This town was the first place we lived after moving out of New York City. It was a great transitional town. We lived on the top floor of an old Victorian house close enough to the downtown to walk, just like in NYC. We had our cafe, deli, and speciality food shops all within walking distance. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Butter and Rum Crepes #French Fridays with Dorie

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I had my first crepe when I was 14. My oldest sister brought me to Paris on a very low budget. For breakfast we shared a baguette that you could buy for under 50 cents on the street. You could buy them fresh 5 times a day…the bread was amazing. For lunch I could either eat a gelato or a nutella crepe. Dinner was the only proper meal we had for the day. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Preserved Lemons: Recipes Using Preserved Lemons #Healthy Eating #Weekly Menu Plan

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Click here for how to preserve lemons and use ideas.

Got winter doldrums: I do big time! I am in a cooking rut since nothing seems to be in season right now… This is a time of year to daydream about warm exotic places… being focused on the Mediterranean my thoughts brought me to Morocco. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Emergency Chocolate Cake: The Valentine's Day Version #Foodie Friday

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Emergency Chocolate Cake: The Valentine's Day Version: simplelivingeating.com


The phone rings… "Hey, long time no see I'm having a little lunch at my house for Valentine's Day tomorrow want to join us?" "Sure, can I bring anything?" "Oh, surprise us."

The surprise is you have no eggs in the fridge, no chocolate chips…and no time to go to the grocery store.

Still have a cup of coffee left from the morning… you're in business. You can make, "Emergency Chocolate Cake."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Helene's All White Salad #French Fridays with Dorie

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Helene's All White Salad: simplelivingeating.com

White is just not the best color to mention to a person who has dug out of two snow storms in the last two weeks and is expecting another one today. I love the snow, but it can get tiring. Right now the snow is too deep for cross-country skiing, and my dog is too small to leap around in it. I'd like to go back to last month's snow coverage.


snowy woods: simplelivingeating.com


dog in snow: simplelivingeating.com


I'm not complaining too much; I rather have it white outside than gray. It is always brighter and prettier to look out side and see snow than to see what is under it… dead stuff.

But salad that is all white is another story?… hmm, all white food in general just doesn't seem that appealing. Bright colors are just so much more appetizing, so I had to close my eyes to give this salad a try.

It is a mixture of napa cabbage, celery, granny smith apples, and of course, white mushrooms.

Helene's All White Salad: simplelivingeating.com


Not very exciting to look at… the dressing is a mayonnaise made with lemon juice and olive oil.. a little fleur de sel and sesame seeds for flavor… the result…

Not too bad!

As a matter of fact, the more I ate of this salad the more I liked it. The flavors are very delicate. I usually make vinaigrette salads, so not having a pucker you mouth experience from vinegar was a pleasant change. Napa cabbage is a nice diversion from green leaf salad, and the bits of apple were really pleasantly contrasting to the mushrooms and celery.

This is a true side dish salad. It will not compete with anything else you are serving. Perfect with a delicate piece of fish or chicken in a light sauce… anything really.

Helene's All White Salad is about subtlety. It is a soft blanket of snow. Gentle and quiet… easy to enjoy.


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. 



Click here to see how the other Dorista's did.





This post is shared on the following food/craft parties: 


Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ 21st Century Housewife
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
In & Out of the Kitchen @ Feeding Big & More
Tuesday's Table @ Love in the Kitchen
Tasty Tuesday #Anyonita Nibbles
Share your Stuff Tuesday @ Table for Seven

Wednesday Food:

From Dream to Reality @ DYI Dreamer
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ All She Cooks
Look What I Made @ Creations by Kara

Thursday Food:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity


Friday Food:

Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
Weekend Potluck @ Sunflower Supper Club
Friday Linky Party @ The Pin Junkie 
Freedom Fridays @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
Inspiration Spotlight @ Dear Creatives




Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday Gravy: Neapolitan Ragu #Food of the World

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Sunday Gravy- Neapolitan Ragu- simplelivingeating.com


A food trip to Italy is a trip to my childhood. Every Sunday we would have "gravy" for dinner. My mother must have prepared this dish at dawn because it was always simmering on the stove when we came home from church about 11 am. The rich smell of meats slow cooking in tomato sauce would permeate the house. No one could resist dipping a piece of Italian bread in it… sampling just a little, in anticipation for dinner that evening.

Why did Italian immigrants call the "red sauce" we eat over pasta "gravy"? My guess is because it is made by slow cooking meat in tomatoes; they chose to translate it to gravy meaning "meat sauce". 

My mother's family comes from outside of Naples, Italy and it is my belief that the Italian-American Sunday Gravy is a version of the Neapolitan Ragu which can be made by cooking a variety of meats slowly in a tomato sauce.

The Italian-American version is usually made with: sausage, meatballs, and Braciole pronounced Brajole, which is thin steak seasoned with cheese and spices and rolled up and secured with twine. 

I made a slow cooker version of this meal because I just feel more comfortable going in and out of the house with a crockpot on than the stove.

I just made this meal for a group of old friends and served the gravy over homemade pasta with garlic bread and a salad.

However you choose to serve this dish it is truly the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.


Sunday Gravy- Neapolitan Ragu- simplelivingeating.com


Sunday Gravy: Neapolitan Ragu

by Diane Balch
simplelivingeating.com

preparation: 1 hour                                       serves: 8 - 10


Ingredients:

2 pounds Braciole: made from thin slices of beef any cut. I usually use flank.
1 pound of meatballs
1 pound of spicy Italian sausage

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: EVOO
1 onion minced
6 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning Mix
salt and pepper
3 ounces of tomato paste (about half a can)
1/2 red wine
3 cans of 28 ounce whole tomatoes preferably: San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 cup fresh minced Italian parsley for sauce a little more for the braciole. 


Directions: 

1) Make the meatballs click here for my simple meatball recipe. I make these the day before. I pack them tighter than usual and freeze them, so they will keep their shape. You can use store bought frozen meatballs. Put them in the gravy frozen. 

2) Make the Braciole. Pound out the meat. Remove any scraps of fat. The pieces should be pounded to about 1/4 of an inch thickness. Sprinkle salt pepper, grated parmesan cheese and minced parsley on the meat. Roll it up and secure it with twine. You can make these between 3 to 6 inches long. I usually cut them in half, I like to serve smaller ones.


3) In a large skillet in EVOO and a little vegetable oil, on medium high heat brown all of the meat. About 3 minutes per side. You are not cooking the meat through, just browning the outside. Put the browned meat in the crockpot.

4) Pour the red wine into the skillet after you have browned the meat and turn up the heat to high. Scrap the brown bits from the meat and lower the heat until the wine reduces a little. Pour this reduction over the meat.

5) Add about 2 tablespoons of EVOO to the skillet and saute the onions and garlic. Do not brown the garlic. Add the spices: red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning mix, so their flavors will bloom. Mix in the tomato paste.

6) Pour in the cans of tomatoes and break up the whole tomatoes while you stir, leave some chunks. Add the parsley and sugar. Heat the sauce though and then pour it over the meat in the slow cooker. 

7) Give it a little stir and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low, or put it in a slow cooker, brajole first, then sausage, with meatballs on top. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. 

Serve over pasta with garlic bread for dipping and a big Italian salad.


This food party is presented to you by the following co-host: 


Come join us on March 11th when we visit Ireland!


Please visit their blogs and follow their sites!



Remember to enter this very special giveaway:







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Romantic Dinner Recipes #Healthy Eating #Weekly Menu Plan

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Mediterranean Swordfish: simplelivingeating.com
Mediterranean Swordfish

Everyone has a different idea of what makes a dinner romantic. Some folks think seafood, other's beef or chicken and vegetarian's have their own ideas too. Should it be spicy or mustardy… maybe something in a wine sauce… it's hard to say?

Here are a few recipes from this blog and other bloggers that participate in our Foodie Friday Linky. Hopefully these meals will help you decide on a great dinner for you and that special someone for Valentine's Day.

Fried Goat Cheese and Lentil Salad: simplelivingeating.com
Fried Goat Cheese Beet & Lentil Salad

 Pan- Grilled Chicken w/ Chorizo Confetti
Pan- Grilled Chicken w/ Chorizo Confetti


Eggplant Rollatini
Eggplant Rollatini
Roasted Shrimp Marinara
Roasted Shrimp Marinara


Pot Roast in Red Wine
  Chicken Francese
Chicken Francese


Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin
Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

Easy Homemade Shepherd's Pie
Easy Homemade Shepherd's Pie


Remember to enter this very special giveaway:


Weekly Menu Plan: 


Sunday: Sunday Gravy, with Homemade Pasta, Italian Salad & Chocolate Bundt Cake

Meatless Monday: Root Vegetable Puree Soup with Homemade Sour Dough Bread

Tuesday: Salmon with Mustard Sauce & All White Salad


Thursday: Poor Man's Lasagna and a Green Salad


Saturday: Leftovers


This post is shared on the following parties:



Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ 21st Century Housewife
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
In & Out of the Kitchen @ Feeding Big & More
Tuesday's Table @ Love in the Kitchen
Tasty Tuesday #Anyonita Nibbles
Share your Stuff Tuesday @ Table for Seven

Wednesday Food:

From Dream to Reality @ DYI Dreamer
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ All She Cooks
Look What I Made @ Creations by Kara

Thursday Food:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity


Friday Food:

Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
Weekend Potluck @ Sunflower Supper Club
Friday Linky Party @ The Pin Junkie 
Freedom Fridays @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
Inspiration Spotlight @ Dear Creatives
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Cold Hard Cash: Valentine's Giveaway

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Enter to win $200 to spoil your sweetie (or yourself!) this Valentine's day! I have teamed up with 15 other amazing bloggers to share some love with you in the form of cash money. The winner will be chosen at random and paid via Paypal, so you must have a Paypal account to receive the prize.


Anyonita Nibbles is a food blog obsessed with providing recipes for flavorful food, like these triple chocolate eclairs.

 Dizzy Busy & Hungry provides easy, healthy, family-friendly food!

Natasha from 1 Epic Mommey is a lifestyle blogger sharing stories as a single mom and advice to other single moms, including the infamous How to Deal with Your Baby Daddy. Also, she shares blog hops, reviews, giveaways, and much more! 

The Brunette Baker is home to a range of tasty desserts and sweets!

Kelly is a feisty redhead with paint under her nails and flour on her face. Check out her ramblings about DIY, recipes, and home decor at The Moon and Me.

40eighteen is all about home and family and making life a celebration! Make yourself at home!

Elizabeth is a food blogger at Food Ramblings where she creates delicious but easy and low-cost recipes and tries to put everything in a crescent roll.

Diane blogs about Simple Living, Seasonal Eating with the Mediterranean Diet & Traditional Cooking from Around the World.

Sarah of Sarah Cooks the Books lives in California and cooks her way through her massive cookbook collection, sometimes coming across recipes to add to her permanent collection, like this impossibly good chicken and greens.

Nicole from 365ish pins is a Pinterest pin-tester discovering what works and what doesn't, like How to Clean your Slow Cooker.

Natasha from Serenity You blogs about recipes, kids play ideas, crafts etc. Her most recent craft was these lovely Twig Stars.
Christine from Foody Schmoody shares shortcuts to recipes ranging from something as easy as Turkey Sloppy Joes to dishes that require a bit more finesse such as Roasted Butternut Squash and Chicken Risotto

Pickled Okra is a fun blog that is 2/3 creative patterns and tutorials, and 1/3 amazing and easy recipes like my "Loch Ness Monster" free sewing pattern or my "Simply Amazing Toffee" recipe.
One TIPsy Chick is a place you will find simple time saving tricks, tips and recipes like Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub.

Mommy on Demand likes to focus and quick and healthy meals the entire family will enjoy, like these Chicken Pillows!

Get your fill of cooking, crafting and gardening in the North Maine woods with The Wilderness Wife.

Are you ready to win some money? Enter below! Increase your chances of winning, come back each day and pin an image to have your name entered 10 more times in the giveaway!



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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hearty Chicken Barley & White Bean Soup #Foodie Friday

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Hearty Chicken Barley & White Bean Soup: simplelivingeating.com


I am a lover of snow and winter sports, but I don't live in an area that has the resources allocated in our town's budgets for removing large amounts of snow.

Well, we had a snow storm on Monday.

We had a snow storm on Wednesday.

We are expecting a snow storm on Sunday.

This photo kinda sums up how I feel at this point.


http://www.wearecentralpa.com/story/please-stop-praying-for-snow/d/story/MsE69MR9W0CmvJq9BXQ_TA


There is only one thing to eat when you have been digging your car out a snowbank created by the plower…SOUP.

Enjoy,
Diane

Hearty Chicken Barley & White Bean Soup: simplelivingeating.com

Hearty Chicken & White Bean Soup

by Diane Balch
simplelivingeating.com

preparation: 20 minutes                                   serves: 4 -6 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1.5 pounds of chicken meat chopped if raw, shred if leftover
6 cups of chicken stock
1 leek chopped stalk and greens
1 fennel bulb chopped
4 carrots chopped
1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning
1 15 ounce can of Great Northern Beans
1/2 cup of pearl barley

Directions:

1) In a large sauce pan heat EVOO on medium high and sauté leeks, fennel, and carrots along with poutry seasoning and some salt and pepper.

2) Add barley to mix and then chicken stock. Bring it to a boil and add chicken.

3) Turn it down to a simmer when it isn't boiling any more add beans. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Simmer until the barley softens about 1 hour or if you have time shut off the burner and just let the soup sit for a few hours. The barley will soften after an hour or two.



Remember to visit and follow my co-host Adelina at Home Maid Simple to find out what blogger she is featuring this week!!!

Remember to enter this very special giveaway:


Foodie Friday Featured Recipes:

From: To Live & Diet in LA

Honey Glazed Pear & Feta Crostinis
Honey Glazed Pear & Feta Crostinis
Honey, pear, feta all kinds of low calorie great tasting flavors happening on these crostinis.



From: Cooking with Curls

Chicken Paprikash
Chicken Paprikash

Kinda of a chicken version of beef stroganoff, but lower in calories because it's made with yogurt, but it still has plenty of yummy mushrooms and onions and of course, paprika for flavoring. 



From: Something Sweet Winnie's Blog

Something Sweet Cake Layers w/ Strawberry Cream Pudding
Something Sweet Cake Layers w/ Strawberry Cream Pudding


So light and beautiful… all these layers say can say, "I love you." over and over again on Valentine's Day.

Instructions for Foodie Friday linky:

This is a food party please link up only 3 food related posts. Thank you. 

Click on at least 3 other recipes.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PARTY HOSTS:  BY EMAIL OR RSS... 

or FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK

SPREAD THE WORD: PIN, FB, TWEET ETC... this party. It is good for you and me.

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. 
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.
By posting in this party you are giving this blog permission to reprint (with a link to your post) in recipe roundups and featured posts any recipes/articles you share with us.



This post is shared on the following parties:



Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ 21st Century Housewife
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
In & Out of the Kitchen @ Feeding Big & More
Tuesday's Table @ Love in the Kitchen
Tasty Tuesday #Anyonita Nibbles
Share your Stuff Tuesday @ Table for Seven

Wednesday Food:

From Dream to Reality @ DYI Dreamer
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ All She Cooks
Look What I Made @ Creations by Kara

Thursday Food:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity


Friday Food:

Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
Weekend Potluck @ Sunflower Supper Club
Friday Linky Party @ The Pin Junkie 
Freedom Fridays @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
Inspiration Spotlight @ Dear Creatives