Summer Salad Series I: Beets with Herb Dressing

29 May

Kicking off the summer with a summer salad series. I love salad and eat it almost everyday, sometimes twice a day. When I go to someone’s house and ask what I can bring, I am always asked to bring the salad because not only do I love to eat salad, I love to make salad. And apparently I’m very good at it!

It’s easy to get in rut and get salad boredem. So each week I will post a new recipe that will broaden your salad horizon and hopefully inspire you to be more creative in the kitchen.

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Ingredients:

3 lbs roasted medium beets, preferably a mix of colors

1 large shallot, minced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Salt

Fine grated zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley

1 Tbs chopped, fresh tarragon

1/4 cup chopped, fresh chives

1/4 cup olive oil + 2 Tsb

1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted, roasted pistachios

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tops off beets and rinse well. Place beets in a bowl, drizzle with  2 Tbs olive oil and toss till well coated. Place beets on a baking sheet lined with tin foil, cover tightly with tin foil. Bake for 1 hour until beets are tender.

Let beets cool.

In the meantime, in a bowl mix the shallots, vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in orange zest, tarragon, parsley, chives and oil. Season with salt to taste, stir well.

Arrange the beets in overlapping rows on platter. Stir dressing and spoon it over the beets. Sprinkle with pistachios and serve!

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*Keep in mind that you can always roast the beets and make the dressing ahead of time and then you can assemble right before you’re ready to serve.

**If you’re like me and you like your salad closer to room temperature, take the beets and dressing out of fridge about an hour before serving so that it’s not too cold.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine and Top Chef Masters star Naomi Pomeroy

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Pinspiration, Inspiration!

7 May

Inspiration can come from anywhere, anything or anyone. I’m am constantly inspired but I must admit that Pinterest can provide lots of inspiration for all kinds of things. I use Pinterest to find recipes, ideas for parties, clothing and so on and on….and now you can even buy that dress you found and have to have! It helps me to see where I need to be with my business, what people like; trends. I love that you can arrange things, add boards and I can add the items I sell from the website. Pinterest is a fabulous business tool. (No, I am not in cahoots with them, this is all me.)

Here are some simple but effective ideas to make your patio gatherings really great that I found on Pinterest.

1. Lighting: those pretty little white lights that everyone loves. String them around your patio or even the patio umbrella for that soft, pretty lighting that feels like you’re in Paris! *The Window Shop

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2. Place settings: Adding a touch of nature to your table setting, like this radish, so sweet and unexpected! *Better Homes and Gardens

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3. Unusual ice bucket: Use a wheel barrow, a wagon, a large tin tub for a bit of whimsy and fun. It does the job and looks really cool! * Style Me Pretty

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4. Fruity/Floral Ice Cubes: So easy and so pretty! What an impact something so small can make. Add fruit, herbs or even edible flower petals to ice cubes. They look so pretty in a glass of sangria or seltzer! *Kidsdigne

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5. Chambray: A chambray tablecloth or runner with chambray napkins. who doesn’t love chambray? I know I do, so I decided to use chambray this season. Coming soon to you, by me and Patio Fashions…stay tuned!

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*Chambray Photo thisisnotsonew

Long Overdue-Small Business Reality

26 Apr

Hello all! I’m back. It has been 5 months since my last post and I apologize. It has been a bit crazy in my life and I was suffering from a creative block. We are renovating our house while living in it, my mother was moved into a nursing home, we adopted 2 more goats for a total of 4 and I am working on getting my Patio Fashions business off the ground…all while working full time.

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I love having a busy life. I love trying new things. I love life. I am now finding balance and I am ready to dive into this blog and my business. I hope you will continue to join me  on my journey of food, entertaining and fun!

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Photos by: Kimbrough Daniels

Real Homemade Green Bean Casserole

20 Nov

With Thanksgiving only a few days away I thought it totally appropriate to share my recipe for homemade green bean casserole. Now it’s not that I don’t like the Campbell’s version, but I have given up processed foods and quite frankly it is much better with fresh ingredients. Some people roll their eyes when I say we’re having green bean casserole, to me it is a must have on my table for the holidays!

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Ingredients

2 Tbsp salt

1 1/2 lbs green beans, rinsed with ends trimmed

2 Tbsp butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz package baby bella mushrooms, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp flour

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

6 oz french fried onions

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Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9″x 13″ baking dish and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with the 2 Tbsp of salt. Add green beans and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the green beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften, then add garlic. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook till mushrooms begin to soften.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Add vegetable broth and stir well. Add half and half and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and add green beans, stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and then french fried onions.

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly. Serve and enjoy!

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FYI…I don’t use the bread crumbs, not a fan.

Stuffy Dressing or Dressy Stuffing?

13 Nov

So, which is it? I only just found out what the difference is between stuffing and dressing, perhaps you already know and it seems pretty obvious now that I do know. Dressing is stuffing that is not “stuffed” into the cavity of the bird and stuffing is dressing that is “stuffed” into the cavity of the bird! There you have it.

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I love traditional stuffing but came across a recipe that seemed too good not to try (which is why I love Pinterest)! Rosemary Mushroom Stuffing, which is ironic because the recipe is vegan so clearly it is dressing and not stuffing. For those of you who are not vegan of course you can use regular butter and chicken stock but I urge you to try it the way it is written, you will never the know the difference.

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Ingredients

half loaf rustic, artisan bread*

1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced

3 celery stalks, diced

1/2 cup currants (they are by the raisins)

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

pinch of sea salt

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

2 tbs vegan butter

2 tbs olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cube and toast artisan bread in oven.

The rosemary and fennel seeds need to be ground up, you can use a mortar and pestle if you have one. I put mine in a small bowl and used the handle end of a large knife to crush them and it worked just fine. Put aside.

In a large saute pan, heat butter and oil over medium low heat. Add onions and celery, stir until onions become soft and translucent. Add mushrooms, cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the fennel and rosemary mixture, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Stir to cook for 3 or 4 minutes more then remove from heat.

Pour vegetable stock and currants into the pan and stir.

Add toasted bread cubes to pan and mix well. Transfer to medium size baking dish.

Bake dressing covered with foil for 45 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

Let dressing stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving and enjoy!

*The original recipe calls for rosemary artisan bread, I used plain as I thought it might be too much rosemary but obviously you can use what you like.

**Recipe adapted from canned-time.com

 

 

 

Tastes Like Take Out Chow Mein

12 Oct

I’m always looking for new ideas for vegetarian meals that will be satisfying and that my husband will like…this is a great one! It is easy to make and you can be creative with the types of vegetables you use. I only suggest you stick with veggies that won’t get soggy (like squash and zucchini), I would stick with hardier types like string beans and peas.

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Ingredients:

4 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

3 ribs of celery, slices into 1/2″ pieces

5 or 6 large mushroom, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can mung bean sprouts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs vegetable oil

5 green onions, chopped (keep some aside for garnish)

3/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

1 Tbs corn starch

salt to taste

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Directions:

Mix vegetable broth, Bragg’s and corn starch; set aside.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add onions and saute until transparent. Add carrots and celery; cook for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until desired tenderness. Then add garlic and cook until fragrant, add mung bean sprouts and green onions, stir well. Add broth mixture and stir until well combined. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat as sauce thickens. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with rice and garnish with green onions…enjoy!

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*I like my vegetables to be tender so I boil the carrots and celery for a few minutes, you may or may not want to do this.

Buffalo What? Potato Wedges!

2 Oct

Football season is in full swing which means that in our house Sundays are devoted to football watching and eating. This is the one day of the week that we eat what we want; no calorie counting and I call it football food. My husbands favorite is buffalo chicken wings, not mine. I don’t like the skin and all the icky veiny stuff and I’m also a vegetarian now. But I do love the taste of the wing sauce, blue cheese and celery,so what to do? After being inspired by Libbie Summers, the amazing food guru, I decided to make buffalo potato wedges. The result was absolutely delicious, John may never eat chicken wings again!

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Ingredients

2 to 3 Tbs vegetable oil

4 or 5 medium Russet potatoes, cleaned well and cut into thin wedges

1/3 cup hot sauce (I like Cholula, but I know Frank’s is a favorite of many, use what you like)

few dashes of Tabasco

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1/4 cup scallions, thinly chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put potato wedges in a bowl, drizzle the vegetable oil over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Spread wedges on a jelly roll pan. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until tender, turning after 15 minutes.

2. While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in small saucepan and add hot sauce and tabasco. When the potatoes are cooked to your liking (tenderness/crispiness) transfer them to a baking dish and toss with the hot sauce mixture. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and bake for another 5 or 6 minutes until cheese is melty.

3. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the celery and scallions….serve and enjoy!

*this is totally mine in terms of ingredients and amounts, I’m not famous for measuring so amounts are approximate, you may have to adjust to your liking.

 

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