Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Month: March 2010

Grilled Parmesan Garlic Asparagus

With the arrival of Spring comes the fresh picked asparagus. We love asparagus. They make a lovely dish to accompany any holiday meal. They are fantastic in omelets as well as soups and stir-fry’s. Asparagus is a perennial, related to the lily with fern like […]

Herbed Boiled Potatoes

Herbed boiled potatoes is a family favorite. We often serve them on Valentine’s Day, Easter and other special occasions. This version of red potatoes transforms the ordinary boiled or baked potato into something spectacular that your guests will really enjoy. Potatoes can be very tricky […]

Springtime Chocolate Nests

Springtime Chocolate Nests

The birth of Spring is a marvelous sight to see here in the Valley. The medians along the highway flourish with a backdrop of orange and red poppies in addition to random purple and yellow wildflowers. The once boring lifeless hills awaken with the fresh scents of vibrant greens. The fragrant air recently cleaned by the passing rainstorm breathes life and beauty into the sleeping earth.

These little chocolate nests are just as delightful as the surrounding landscape. They are a little messy to begin with but they are so darn cute. They would make an adorable place setting to welcome guests to for Easter day dinner or an extra special treat at a tea party. You could even share one with the Spring Bunny. So don the aprons and let’s make some Springtime Chocolate nests.

8 oz dark, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 bag (2 1/2 cups) chow mein noodles
Small egg shaped candies
Waxed paper

Place the chocolate in a bowl and microwave on medium for 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Or place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over simmering water, stirring until melted.

Gently stir in the chow mein noodles.

Divide mixture into 5-6 mounds on the waxed paper shaping to form the nest with an indentation in the middle. Let set 15-20 minutes. Place a few eggs in the middle.

The Art History of Vincent Van Gogh

Self Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh March 30th marks the birth of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh.Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Holland. During the brief 10 years that Van Gogh pursued painting he produced some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings.  […]

Scrumptious Honey Whole Grain Cornbread

Historically cornbread has been around long before the first European settlers arrived. The Native American Indians taught the new settlers how to grind corn into corn meal to make “Pone”. Using a simple mixture of ground corn meal, water and salt this early version of […]

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein

I try to start every week prepared. Sunday night we sit down and have a family pow wow to discuss the family issues and the upcoming week’s schedule. I finish the weekly menu and write up the grocery list. Sunday I was in control. Monday I was frustrated. Monday’s are always packed. There is laundry to do, grocery shopping and it is my day to volunteer at school. The cupboards, pantry and refrigerator were bare after a week of trying to use up what we already had. This made for a very long shopping day as I had to stop off at several places for the best deals. Then there was the call from the doctor asking if I could bring Mason in for some lab tests. I was hoping the nurse was going to say I could pick up the health examination form I dropped off the following Monday that was only supposed to take them 48 hours to fill out. The deadline to submit all the school registration paperwork was fast approaching and I needed that form by week’s end. Tuesday was fulfilling yet exhausting. I spent all Tuesday morning cleaning the house, organizing and playing Taxi driver. Wednesday afternoon I spent at the doctor’s office holding my six year old son down while they gave him three shots. I was feeling relieved the evening’s dinner party was canceled; our guests had something come up last minute. Worried because I still needed a babysitter for Friday afternoon; parent/teacher conference. And guilty because I did not do a very good job selling tickets for the school’s tri-tip fundraiser due on Friday.

After all of the commotion that week I was looking forward to a bowl of Pork Lo Mein. Problem was I forgot to take the pork chops out of the freezer to thaw. Luckily I had left over roasted chicken. The next obstacle in my way was I accidentally threw out the magazine page with the Lo Mein recipe I wanted to try. So I winged it using Top Ramen.

1 tbsp oil
2 cups chopped chicken, 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Any combination of the following Vegetables- 1 celery stalk sliced, 2 cups shredded cabbage, a handful water chestnuts, shitake mushrooms sliced, handful snow peas, 1 bok choy chopped roughly, bean sprouts, sliced red pepper, 1 carrot cut julienne, 1 small onion sliced, 1 crown broccoli
Noodles- rice noodles, Soba Noodles, Top Ramen noodles

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Top Ramen Oriental broth
1 tsp powdered ginger, 1 tbsp grated
1-2 tsp Chinese rice wine vinegar
1-2 tsp sesame oil

Mix together the soy sauce, broth, ginger, vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.

Boil noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet or wok. If using raw chicken add the chicken to the wok; cooking until no longer pink. Remove. Add the garlic and vegetables; saute until tender but still crisp. Return the chicken and pour in the sauce. Let simmer for five minutes. Serve mixture over noodles or without noodles.

Serves 4

In the sauce I used 1 Top Ramen Oriental flavoring packet. You can substitute chicken stock or make your Oriental flavoring with less sodium.
Oriental Flavoring
Source: Adapted from Spark People
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder

Mix all the spices together; store in an airtight container.
1 teaspoon = 1 Top Ramen packet.

Hearty Lentil Soup

Here is a hearty Lentil Soup to warm the bones through the last scraps of winter. I have tried many lentil soup recipes but they either had an off taste or they lacked flavour. I hope this soup is to your liking. When ever possible […]

Saint Patrick’s Day

Illustration by: Richard Svensson I have been referred to as the “Kool Aide Mom” once or twice because our home is the place to be if you want to have fun. There is always something going on here. We love celebrating holidays official and corny […]

Slow Cooked Home-style Beef Stew


Herbs de Provence is a culmination of popular herbs used in Southern French cuisine. Before commercial bottles of herbs came along, Grandmothers would walk the hillside picking herbs to flavor their meats and soups. The herbs used depended on the chef. Some might use a combination of bay leaf, thyme, fennel, rosemary, chervil, oregano, summer savory, tarragon, mint, and marjoram. Lavender was not a traditional herb but is commonly found in jars of Herbs de Provence.

Traditional or not, the lavender is what I love most about this version of beef stew. There is this depth to the stew. I can only describe it as romance and silk scarves sauntering in the breeze. Cunning like a black widow toying with her prey. Very French. Very Amazing and delicious.

Source: Adapted from “Where’s My Spatula?” by Christy Rost
2-3 pounds Stew meat, cut into 3-inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup cranberry juice
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 bunch fresh celery leaves
12 whole pearl onion, peeled
1 head garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound small red potatoes, rinsed
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup beef stock or water
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Herbs De Provence
Salt and Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook the meat, in batches, in the skillet. Cook several minutes on each side until brown; transfer to the crock pot.

Deglaze the pan with the cranberry juice, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour the mixture into the crock pot.

Add the celery, leaves, onion, garlic and potatoes to the crock pot. Pour in the tomatoes and beef stock; season with rosemary bay leaf, Herbs de Provence and salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 5 hours. After 6 hours check the meat and potatoes for tenderness. The meat should almost fall apart.

Serving 6-8

March Frienships Renew

Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There were two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, a […]