Happy Breakfast

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend 🙂

So lately I’ve found myself in a happy little fog in the mornings. The light is soft and the air feels somehow cleaner. As Anne Shirley said once, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet.” Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and it feels fresh and full of moments to be lived and things to discover. Sitting down on my futon sofa with a cup of french press coffee of the day and a little plate of breakfast flipping through my beloved cookbooks has quickly become one of my favorite ways to start the day.

This morning I made a simple little breakfast of bread and fresh blueberries but let me tell you about this bread! I took a few slices of Tuscan bread, buttered both sides generously, tore them into chunks, drizzled them with honey and broiled them until they were deliciously browned. So yummy! Eating this makes me feel like I’ve somehow transported myself to somewhere in Italy with the morning sun waking up my bright red flowers on the terrace outside beckoning me to come and play in its warmth. And my happy fog continues 🙂

Have a beautiful day today filled with happy discoveries and sweet daydreams.

 

 

 

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Basalmic Parm Eggplant Bites

Eggplant. If you said that word to me two years ago I would have made a face and said no thank you. Slimy and cold are two adjectives I associated with the purple vegetable. Enter my mother-in-law.  She is so funny and endearing. When you meet her you realize that giving is very much her love language and it is her mission to make sure when you are in her presence that you are well fed. My husband teased one of his friends when they came home to visit from college one time that she would not leave his mother’s house without eating something regardless of if she was hungry or not. True to form my M.I.L offered pretty much the menu contained in Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I tease but I love this woman dearly and feel so blessed to know her and to be a part of her family.

So two years ago she gave us two little baby eggplant plants. We planted them in our garden and I watched their silver fuzzy leaves grow. Soon beautiful translucent purple flowers began to emerge and my heart began to soften. Then they gave us the fruit of their labor, deep purple veg streaked with lime green and hints of rich browns. My artist eyes loved them but my taste buds needed further prompting. The only recipe I knew of for eggplant was Eggplant Parmesan. We made it and it was okay. We found another recipe for Eggplant Feta dip and that was amazing! (I’ll share that one later). But the other night after harvesting a few stragglers I came up with this little appetizer. I’m…in…love! Its not slimy and is perfect for when your starving but dinner just isn’t ready yet. It takes a little prep but I think its worth the effort. Hope you enjoy it too!

 

 

Ingredients:

One large eggplant or several small ones

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Olive Oil

Shredded Parmesan

 

Preheat your oven to around 410. Take one large eggplant or several smaller eggplants and cut them to about 1/2 inch slices. Lay out slices on a piece of paper towel and lightly salt the tops. Then flip them over and repeat. Lay another paper towel over the slices and let them sit for about ten minutes. This combination will dry out the veg so they won’t be slimy when they are cooked.

 

 

After 10 minutes baste both sides of the slices with balsamic vinaigrette and a touch of olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes then flip and bake for another 5 minutes. Pile some shredded Parmesan cheese over the tops of the eggplant, bake for another two minutes or so then set oven to broil. Leave in the oven just long enough to lightly brown the cheese, about a minute.

 

 

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

After the Rain

Happy Saturday all!

It must have rained for 45mins straight this afternoon and it was wonderful! I opened the back door and just sat on the floor enjoying my dog’s company and the scent of my new maple leaf pumpkin candle glowing in the cozy kitchen. A glass of Bailey’s on the rocks later at dinner with my dear husband and I am pretty much the most contented person you’ll meet this fine day. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning!

Hello! Hope this day finds you blessed and ready to start a relaxing weekend!

Just had to share a funny little thing that happened on the morning of the 4th. I fell in love with coffee. Now, I know you’re probably thinking…”um, okay sweetheart, that’s great.” But you don’t understand. I’m a tea snob and have never understood society’s obsession with coffee. I was a barista at two coffee shops for a total of 3 years and never drank it, well, except for the required tastings Starbucks has you do which I totally understand. My husband is a coffee aficionado who almost bought his own coffee shop and buys green coffee beans roasting them to his liking. But me…no.

I grew up on iced tea. It’s hot here and nothing is so refreshing as a glass of tropical tea iced to perfection. Long lost peaceful hours spent reading under my beloved lemon tree next to the pool sipping happiness in a glass creep back into my memory and heart when I taste that first sip. Comfort pure and simple.

On the morning of the 4th the clouds decided to join us in celebrating the holiday. I love clouds just as much as I love iced tea and their presence was very welcome. The sun had been so bright and unflinching for the past month that I felt my soul becoming scorched like our poor plants trying to survive in our backyard. The morning was so perfectly cozy: the rain falling outside, my husband home from work and our customary holiday breakfast of cinnamon rolls waiting to be enjoyed. I was excited to try out my latest Goodwill find; a ceramic mug with big yellow flowers on it very much in the hippie fashion. Tea just wasn’t going to cut it this time, not with the rain and rich cinnamon rolls. My friend had given me some pumpkin coffee from Trader Joe’s a while back so I decided to french press some and give coffee a shot. It…was…perfect.

I’m excited to explore this strange new world…my journey begins 🙂

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Sauteed pear and blue cheese pita

This has been a week of new recipes in my household. Last night we had black bean burros with corn, avocados, cilantro and a splash of lime topped with an ale queso. Tonight we went a little sweeter, sauteed pear and blue cheese pitas. I usually don’t like pears because of their gritty texture and they have a kind of sweet that’s just too sweet. I need a bit of tang in my fruit. But I saw a beautiful picture of the fruit browned to a caramel color and it looked delicious so I tried it tonight. So glad I did! Here is my little recipe.

Sauteed pear and blue cheese pita:

2 pitas

2 cups of fresh spinach

2 pears peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 cup of blue cheese

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tbsp. brown sugar

 

Reserve enough olive oil to drizzle on pitas, set aside and heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Add pears and brown sugar. Saute on medium high until pears are caramel brown. Broil pitas until they reach your desired crispness. Remove from the oven and top with spinach, blue cheese and pears. Drizzle the pitas with the remaining olive oil and serve.

Serves 2

 

Avocado love

On Monday mornings I can usually be found on Pinterest searching for new recipes to make for the week’s meals. In my searching I discovered a delightful blog called Morsels and Musings. What a fun site! Nestled among intriguing recipes for Sahlep (a Turkish drink), Earl Grey jam and toasted marshmallow fudge was a little snack, grilled avocado with melted cheese and hot sauce. If the picture wasn’t enough to lure me in the ingredients sure did the trick. Avocados, hot sauce, cheese and lime juice are just a few of my favorite things. I made this for dinner last night with some buttered Tuscan bread and orange slices on the side and it was, well, summer happiness on a plate! Here is the recipe and please be sure to check out this great blog for more yummy things to make!

http://morselsandmusings.blogspot.com/

Grilled Avocado w Melted Cheese & Hot Sauce

Ingredients:
1 avocado
1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (Tabasco or Louisiana)
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Slice the avocado in half and remove the stone. Prick all over with a fork, or cut criss-cross patterns with a knife. This allows the sauce to penetrate the flesh.

2. Pour the sauce over each half, then top with lime juice and salt and pepper.

3. In the cavity where the stone has been, put ¼ of the cheese on each avocado half. Place under the hot grill for 2 minutes.

4. Top with remaining cheese and grill (broil for Americans!) for another 2 minutes until completely melted and avocado warmed through.

Eat hot with a wedge of lime and chipotle sauce on the side!

Photo and recipe credit: Morsels and Musings: grilled avocado w melted cheese & hot sauce.

Compost = Awesomeness!

My husband and I began gardening last year. We’ve learned a lot along the way but one of the most important things we’ve learned is that seeds from compost grow much better than transplants. We have a plot of earth that we dug up, shoveled compost all over the top of the soil and planted corn and some various squashes. The corn is doing alright but the squashes have long since dried up. A few weeks after the squash died we began seeing random sprouts coming up and realized they were from our compost. This is the result!

 

For a while I called it the Mystery Garden because we had no idea what was growing. It was a lot of fun to go outside each morning and poke around to see what had grown. We now know that we have pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and cantaloupes! I think we’ll pick the spaghetti squash in a few days and cook it with blue cheese and lightly sauteed asparagus spears!

Here are a few shots around the garden. Enjoy!