Lemon Curd Linzer Cookies for a Frozen Birthday Party

April 21, 2014 in Desserts, Holidays, Oh My!

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A Frozen-Themed Birthday Party featuring gluten-free Lemon Curd Snowflake Cookies

Elsa & Candles on the Icy Mountain. Fabulous Frozen Cake courtesy of the very talented Amanda Hill.

For the First Time In Forever: My daughter Lily turned SIX last week, and like just about every elementary-age child, Frozen is the obsession du jour. Being me, I of course seized the opportunity for a theme party. And I will go ahead and state for the record that I deliberately avoided looking at Pinterest AT. ALL. for any of this. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest for all kinds of things, but for parties, I enjoy the process of coming up with ideas 100% from my own brain, take it or leave it. Scroll down for the cookie recipe, but first, check out a few shots of the other offerings.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Roasted Asparagus Dip with Spring Crudites

April 18, 2014 in Appetizers

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A spring veggie platter is a spectacular edible centerpiece.

Spring Veggie Platter

Spring Veggies never looked so pretty. Asparagus dip is a bonus!

When spring veggies are piled high in the produce section, it brings my heart joy. I literally do a little shopping cart dance when asparagus is in abundance. I am desert born and raised, after all, and warm sunny weather makes me feel that all is well in the universe!

So I wanted to make a platter of crudites (raw or slightly blanched vegetables for dipping) that is really a work of edible art. This spring platter fits the bill, especially if you add some roasted asparagus dip in the center of a cabbage bowl. I created the dip with the same flavors of the warm artichoke dip/spread, on lightened up. The dip is delicious – like roasted asparagus with a hint of briny artichoke hearts.

Use whatever veggies you like – but I recommend blanching the tougher vegetables a bit to soften them – I did mine in the microwave oven.

Put this on your buffet or table at your next spring feats and you will get rave reviews – guaranteed.

Happy Spring All ~

– posted by Donna

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Sticky Sweet Balsamic Lamb Chops

April 16, 2014 in Entrees, Holidays

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Sticky, sweet, tangy. The perfect lamb chops for your spring feast.

Honey Balsamic Lamb Chops

Easiest and Tastiest Lamb Chops Ever.

This is the very first time we have posted a lamb recipe on this blog. Because lamb is spendy where I live, it is a once-a-year treat at our house – usually for our Easter feast.

And so, it has to be yummy. And easy. This honey balsamic glaze is tangy and sweet and just the right amount of sticky to make you lick your fingers brazenly with every bite.

This is a version of a recipe by Jamie Oliver, whose love for cooking healthy real food is contagious. I am an avid fan of his show 15 Minute Meals, and this recipe is the kind of food he cooks – playful and flavorful food that is easy and quick.

I did make twice as much of the glaze as he calls for – and for me this is the perfect ratio of glaze to lamb chop. I also added a dash of cayenne pepper sauce – just for a little heat. I think this is the perfect mix of flavor and texture for these chops – and this will be on my table on Easter Sunday.

– posted by Donna

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Rosemary Infused Lemonade Recipe

April 13, 2014 in Oh My!

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Rosemary infused lemonade just might be the perfect spring drink.

Rosemary Lemonade

Because rosemary and lemons truly are best friends.

The perfect spring drink for your Easter dinner just might be this lemonade infused with rosemary.

I love infusing lemonade with unique flavors. I crave this Blueberry Mint Lemonade, for example.

The surprising thing about this lemonade is that you smell the rosemary first before you taste it – as you lift a glass to your mouth you smell the lemon and the rosemary.

This is as easy as steeping some rosemary in simple syrup and then adding lemon juice, ice and a sprig of rosemary for extra pizzazz. Who needs little paper umbrellas when you can have real herbs as a twizzle stick?

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Rocket Man Pizza

April 10, 2014 in Entrees, Gluten Free, Vegetarian Entrees

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 Never tried an arugula-topped pizza? 

Arugula, ricotta, chevre, and feta + garlic, lemon and thyme vinaigrette, topped with toasted hazelnuts = Rocket Man Pizza (with gluten-free crust from Bob’s Red Mill)

I’m sure Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland has many other delicious pizza offerings and other excellent far, but I wouldn’t know. Ever since encountering their “Rocket Man” pizza (rocket as in the UK name for arugula), I haven’t been able to bring myself to order anything else. It’s arugula tossed in a lemon-thyme (a long, long thyme?) vinaigrette, atop a bed of ricotta, chevre and mozzarella, sprinkled with feta and toasted hazelnuts as a final flourish.

I had the chance to hang with Donna and the family this weekend, and in an early celebration of my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had a pizza party with a variety of pies; some pre-made, some make-your-own. I’ve been wanting to try an approximation of HUB’s Rocket Man for a while now, so this was the perfect excuse to give it a shot.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Foolproof Oven Poached Eggs

April 7, 2014 in Breakfast

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Perfectly poached eggs will change your life. Or at least your brunch.

Oven poached eggs

The perfect tool for poaching eggs? Your oven!

Poached eggs are such a Julia thing to make, don’t you agree? Yet, they are the Achilles heel of many a home cook like myself.

So, when I had a group of women coming over for brunch, I wanted to go for the Oooh’s and Aaah’s. I wanted to serve Eggs Benedict with asparagus, but was afraid to attempt poaching eggs for 6 people. But, there is a really simple tool to use to make poached eggs almost effortlessly: your oven!

Turns out you can poach eggs perfectly in your oven! Yes, sorry Julia Child, but eggs just aren’t that easy to poach on the stove top. Even if you are a dedicated foodie like Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen, it’s still a complicated and arduous task.

I tried this technique as a test a few days before I wanted to serve them, and they came out perfect the very first time. Perfectly cooked whites. Perfectly oozy yolks. Perfect perfect. And as easy as cracking eggs into muffin tins.

Happy Brunch, Everyone!

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Beet Deviled Eggs

April 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Holidays, Side Dishes

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Double duty beets: flavor inside and color outside deviled eggs.

Beet Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs, flavored and colored with beets.

Beets add sweetness and flavor to the classic deviled egg – and a bonus: soak your peeled hard boiled eggs in beet water to add a rosy hue to the outsides of the eggs!

Once a year in early spring I become a deviled egg fanatic. I have tried all kinds of mix-ins to the yolks, and I have to say that it was a surprise how delicious the sweetness of the beets was mixed into the yolks. They are delicious mixed with a little Dijon to balance the sweetness.

There are lots of food bloggers doing naturally dyed eggs – so beautiful! I just added my beets in two places!
See How to Dye Easter Eggs the Natural Way, Simple Bites
Tea Stained Easter Eggs, Yummy Mummy
Vegetable Dyed Eggs, Weelicious

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Spring Chicken Soup with Lemon and Artichokes

March 27, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Soups and Stews

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A perfectly bright, warm, simple chicken soup for a day of April showers. 

Spring Chicken Soup with Artichoke and Lemon

Simple, flavorful, healthy. This is something of a copycat recipe.  I’m not going for anything even near total accuracy, but it most certainly was inspired by the Lemon Artichoke Soup you can find in the prepared foods section at Whole Foods. If you’ve been there lately, I’m sure you know the one. I love the flavor combination of lemon, artichoke and chicken (such as in this recipe), and having it rendered in soup form seemed like just the bowl of homemade nourishment I love in the rainy Northwest spring.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Easy Asian Chicken Meatball Stir Fry with Spring Vegetables

March 24, 2014 in Entrees

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Asian flavors with chicken meatballs – just in time for spring!
Asian Chicken Meatballs

Hooray for Spring! Double Hooray for spring vegetables, I say! This time of year I just can’t get enough of green spring veggies – like peas, asparagus and green onions, also known as “spring” onions.

Spring vegetables are perfect for a stir fry dish – and I decided to make chicken meatballs in place of the usual chicken strips.

And my current Asian food obsession: ponzu sauce. Think soy sauce with citrus flavors. Sort of a Japanese vinaigrette. LOVE the stuff. It is perfect as a stir fry sauce, with just a little cornstarch stirred in.

This is a dish that comes together in about 20 minutes – so simple and packed with delicious Asian flavors. You could serve it over rice to stretch it as a family main dish – but I like it just out of the skillet.

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One Pot Honey Balsamic Spring Chicken Recipe

March 20, 2014 in Entrees

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Easy Honey Balsamic Chicken – spring deliciousness on a plate.

Honey Balsamic Spring Chicken

Spring on a Plate – with honey balsamic flavors.

Easy weeknight meals require creativity and experimenting. Take this dish, for example.

I love chicken thighs and I have lately been craving spring ingredients. Asparagus is abundant and cheap the last few weeks! Why not chicken and asparagus together?

So I tried this dish with just the chicken thighs and the veggies, but it seemed too bland to me. I decided to up the flavor by adding the thighs back to the skillet at the end of cooking with a little balsamic vinegar and honey to deglaze the pan and to glaze the thighs. A million per cent improvement! We were literally licking our fingers to get every drop of this yummy sticky glaze!

This dish is really simple and an be on your table in about 20 minutes.

Happy First Day of  Spring Everyone!

– posted by Donna

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