Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's All Done With Mirrors...

Dear Sweet Baby Jebus. Yet ANOTHER Daring Baker conquest. Wait! Hold on.. I gotta go look up "conquest"...

1: the act or process of conquering

Mmmm hmmm.. okay that's a good word. Yes this was a conquest because it involved several highly scary steps, especially to a novice baker like myself. But! Because I AM a Daring Baker, I knew I could rise to this challenge and come out the other side hootin' and hollerin' VICTORY!!!

But.. uhh.. just to play it safe, I asked a Tartelette to come help me. squeeeeeeeee!

As most of you are aware by now (and if you aren't - where the freeg have you been?), Helene came to visit me for 5 glorious days of shopping, eating, baking, eating, cooking, exercising and eating. And during two of those days, we made this month's Daring Baker challenge recipe, a strawberry "mirror" cake, chosen by my favorite Queen of All That Is Fattening and Sugary - Gracie. Or some of you might know her as Peabody. Yes, my Gracie was this month's hostess with the mostess and the Strawberry Mirror Cake recipe she chose came from "Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993".

strawberry mirror cake

When I first saw this, I instantly remembered a cake recipe I'd seen on either or which was a raspberry mirror cake and although I didn't save that recipe (way to scary for me) it stayed with me. So I guess I had mixed feelings when I read Gracie's choice. On one hand I was tickled pink as there were no fakkin crepes to mess with, but on the other hand, sponge cake? bavarian cream? strawberry gelatin? God. I kinda eyed my fancy, still pretty much brand spankin' new, French crepe pan with a new appreciation for it. :P

Soooooo.. what did I think about this cake, eh? I thought about maybe playing it off as a not so bad of an experience because I didn't want to hurt Gracie's feelings.. but I think I've made it pretty damn clear by now - my most dreadful experiences are usually my most favorite. And besides, this would have nothing to do with Gracie and her wondefulness.. this would have to do with how one single person can still f*ck up a cake even with a French Pastry Chef standing 2 inches to her right. GOD.

Okay to be truthful, I don't remember much as this was the longest cake baking session of ALL TIME. Not that that's a bad thing - it was a great thing! Helene and I did more chatting (and sauce & ball making) than anything else that first day and I remember it with great fondness. Uhh aside from my barking footsies. You know, other than my bladder (which is thimble sized apparently), my feet are the smallest things about me.. and let me tell you, my friends, once they start feeling "unhappy" well, they don't let you forget it for a fakkin second. Although, to be fair we did accomplish a lot that day.. kinda. I remember wine?

Anyhoo.. there are several steps to a mirror cake, I've learned. The first is the sponge cake. Now from hearing from my fellow Daring Baker chicas and chicos, this cake wasn't easy for some. For me (us) it wasn't a problem. I believe it was due to that French gal and her egg beating abilities. My (our) cakes came out nice and fluffy, although slightly over done. HEY we were chatting!! Those set aside, I (we) started on the bavarian cream.

strawberry mirror cake

Here's where the nightmare started.

Okay well.. the actual making of the bavarian cream was not a problem. We (I) had no problems with the gelatin setting too quickly over the strawberry puree. I (we) might have given it a lil stir, I can't recall. But I have no recollection of any one part of this bavarian cream making going wrong. It poured nicely over the slightly dry (shutit!) sponge cake and was just enough to cover the cake completely yet still leaving enough room on the top for the "mirror". I (we) put it in the fridge to set up over night because well.. did I mention my barkin footsies? Sauce? Meatballs? W.I.N.E.? Yeah it was time to pack it in for the night, have a lil din-din and get some sleep. Oh, I should probably mention, (now keep in mind we still had the final step to finish) we started this challenge around 1:30 in the afternoon and we didn't finish it until 10 pm that night. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA! I TOLD YOU it was the longest cake making session EVER.

Next morning we were up and at it early (NOT) - 'kay once we (I) dragged our (my) dead arses out of the office and into the shower it was probably already 10ish. We still needed to run up to the store because we ran out of gelatin when making the bavarian cream and couldn't finish the "mirror" part without it. Suffice to say, that the actual mirror layer was a breeze to make (I think some French gal did it?) and I was already focused on macarons. Dudes! She taught me macarons!! WOOO!! Our (my) challenge cake was set back into the fridge to set up and we had planned on cutting into it that night after dinner.

Blah blah macarons blah blah deee blah blah buttercream blah blah blah dee blah blah crunchedy light and fluffy shells blah blah blah lemon-ginger dee blah blah later.. the dinner dishes were done and it was time to cut the cake!!! We were all quite excited at the prospect of this.. as my sis and mom were there and had heard so much about the cake. heeeeeeee.

So I (we) took it out and warmed up the ring on the springform before gently removing it.. it left some "scars" on the sides, but we chose to ignore this.. what we couldn't ignore was, uhmm.. the color. At least I couldn't quite get past it and I did a quick search for my sunglasses. Mmmm hmmm what was a gorgeous shade of light pink when put into the refrigerator the night before had turned both dark and yet bright over night. I'd say.. somewhere between magenta and Pepto Bismol. Certainly not the light "strawberry kissed" shade of pink that the cake in the photo looked like. But that's okay - after all I was born and raised under the motto of "Who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good!" And so slicing commenced.

strawberry mirror cake

As I passed a plate of hot pink cake to each family member I thought to myself, "Hmmm.. this bavarian cream feels as if I'm slicing through Jell-o". So I gave the platter a lil shimmie shake and the whole cake kinda bloobled and wiggled. Not really knowing what that would mean as far a texture goes, we all grabbed forks and took ourselves a great big bite of hot pink... melted erasers? I was sitting across the table from my mom.. and the look on her face, really was priceless. My sister politely put down her fork and dabbed at the corners of her mouth with her napkin. I kinda poked at it a bit and went in for another forkful hoping I'd just hit up on a spot where maybe the gelatin didn't dissolve completely. Nope, not so lucky. The texture of my (our) cake was rather spongey but yet also quite rubbery. The cake layers themselves, were about as dry as the Mojave, but they were light and fluffy. So that's good, right? Now the mirror part.. well that part I scraped off the rest of my slice and ate it by itself. It was the best strawberry jello I've ever had.

The party broke up soon after and I tried my hardest to pack up a few slices (and by a few slices I mean half the cake) for my mom but she ran out of the house with her arms clamped firmly to her sides. I eyed both Nigel and Chloe who were looking at me with this glint of hope in their eyes, but I just could not give them any.

I love my dogs.

So what the hell went wrong? I don't know.. I originally thought it was because we let the bavarian cream set up too long by keeping it in the fridge over night and most of the next day. But, from reading comments left by other Daring Bakers, others had left their cakes in the fridge for that long - or longer - and they didn't seem to get the rubber sponge effect. And then I though, "Oh No. The gelatin measurement was a typo. It wasn't suppose to be 4 (FOUR) 2 1/2 (Why the hell I wrote FOUR TBS is a mystery. Sorry, I must have lost my mind for a brief moment. hee) tablespoons!!" So I wrote to Gracie and asked if that was a possibility. Bless her cotton socks, she went back to the book to check but it was the correct measurement. She made good sense by saying that the bavarian cream needed to be stiff to hold the mirror. I'm convinced that my (our) bavarian cream rose above and beyond the stiff factor. And let's not forget that spongey texture too (not the actual sponge cake, but the cream was spongey).. what the hell happened there, I have no idea.

The good news is.. this can't be an all bad recipe, because it's sounding like my bad experience wasn't the experience of many of the others. Hell one gal (you're going to have to go read to find out who!) won 3rd place in a bake-off contest with her Strawberry Mirror Cake! I'm so damn proud of her. =)

strawberry mirror cake
Do you think I'd be nominated for a "Most Outstanding Use of Photoshop" award? :P

But all in all, this was a fantabulous experience for me. I learned how to make a sponge cake - and seriously, if we hadn't been chit chatting and not paying attention, we would have taken it out on time and it would have been superb. It had a really good flavor - although if there ever was another time I'd make this I would pour the soaking liquid on it after poking holes all through the layers. That might have helped with the dryness of over baking it. And really? What more could I ask for.. I had one of my closest and dearest friends with me the whole time, making me forget about my barkin' feet, causing my face to be in constant smile mode, and just generally feeling damn happy that I started this blogging hobby of mine 16 months ago. =)

Okay.. so here's the deal, kids.. we no longer have individual Daring Baker blogrolls on our personal blogs. We've decided to create a blog to specifically house the "official" Daring Baker blogroll that we can update constantly. So will still point to my right sidebar, which will direct you to a link which will bring you to the list of our active and gorgeous members. Woot!

Whatcha waiting for?? Go read! :D


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SHF No. 33 - Tropical Paradise

To be honest, when I saw that my fellow Daring Baker and sweet friend, Mary of Alpineberry was hosting this month's Sugar High Friday with the theme of Tropical Paradise, I was kinda bummed. I'm not so much a tropical kinda gal. Show me a dessert menu that has all but one tropical flavored dessert and I can almost 100% guarantee you that I will pick whatever that one lonely non-tropical treat may be.

This doesn't really make good sense as I adore tropical fruits and to a gal from Ohio, The Armpit of the Midwest, that means mangos, papaya, pineapple and coconut. I love them all.. and I'd probably love those fruits deemed tropical that I've never had or heard of. So go figger, eh?

But I really wanted to show support to Mary so I went in search of a tropical-like dessert. What I came up with might not SCREAM tropical, but for me - it was a walk on the wild tropical side. Staring at my fridge, which is jam packed with HUGE zucchini from our garden, I needed to use some up as the next round was ready to be picked. Of course, my first thought was zucchini bread because you can use up a lot of zucchini that way. But zucchini bread isn't exactly a tropical statement, now is it?

Yeah, not so much.

But.. whatsay you add a lil coconut to the mix? Or hell.. be adventurous and add a LOT of coconut to the mix! Still probably not a dessert I'd see on any given menu in say, Hawaii, but for Ohio - holy hell, we're visiting white beaches, palm trees and sipping a fruity beverage complete with lil paper umbrella via my kitchen! Wooo! (Pathetic, I know)

What I simply adore about this bread is that I screwed with the ingredients and it still came out as THE BEST zucchini bread I've ever had. Who knew coconut could jazz up your run of the mill zucchini bread? I originally found this recipe on and after reading the first 15 or so reviews, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Coconut Zucchini Bread & Muffins

Well as we all know, I'm trying desperately to drop a few 1000 pounds. Okay so mebbe not so "desperately", but I'm really trying to change the way I eat and the way I think about food. So when looking at this recipe I see the ingredients call for 1 c. sugar and 1/2 c. veg oil. I decided to try to lighten that up. I cut the sugar down to 1/4 c. and added 1/2 c. of Equal. I cut the oil down to 1/4 c. and add 1/4 c. of pearsauce. Yes, pearsauce. It's like applesauce only it's made with sausage. HAHAHAHAHAAAA!! No, really it's made with pears. Duh.

Fanfarkintabulous, kids! I also increased the coconut to 3/4 c. and replaced the currants with a mix of raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries and blueberries (from Trader Joes *swoon*). This loaf of moist and fruity deliciousness is just tropically enough for me to submit it to this month's Sugar High Friday. Thanks for hosting Mary! And I hope your back feels MUCH MUCH BETTER!!

Coconut Zucchini Bread & Muffins
Coconut Zucchini Loaf
Courtesy of Carol and All Recipes

Makes 1 loaf

1 egg
1/2 c. vegetable oil (1/4 c. canola oil + 1/4 c. pear (or apple) sauce)
1 c. white sugar (1/4 c. sugar 1/2 c. Equal)
1 c. grated zucchini (2 c. grated zucchini (skins on))
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. flaked coconut (3/4 c. coconut)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (I omitted them)
1/2 c. currants (3/4 c. raisin, golden raisin, dried cranberry & blueberry mix)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9" x 5" x 3" inch loaf pan.

In small pan boil one cup water. Add currants or raisins, and boil for two minutes. Drain.

In mixing bowl beat egg, oil, and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla.

In another bowl, measure flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, walnuts, and currants or raisins. Stir to combine thoroughly. Pour all at once over batter in mixing bowl. Stir to moisten. Turn into greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out on rack. Cool and wrap.

Coconut Zucchini Bread & Muffins

My Notes: At 40 min. my bread was getting pretty brown, so I capped the loaf pan with aluminum foil. At 50 minutes this bread was done, so check often after 40 min. I made another batch and got 12 muffins from it. I baked the muffins for 18 - 20 min. at same temp.

Keep an eye out if you are a zucchini bread fan.. because my garden is chock full of zucchini with no signs of stopping any time soon, I'll be experimenting with different flavors of bread to try and use most of it up. :)

Coconut Zucchini Bread & Muffins


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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Adventures of an Italian Food Lover...

Adventures of an Ital Food Lover bk jkt[2]

I had first heard of this book while reading my beautiful and talented partner-in-crime's post regarding how a recipe from the book brought back wonderful memories of her grandmother.. the way she explained the book made me think of it not so much as a cookery book, but more of a book full of precious memories and celebrations of friends and family - through food. After I commented on her post, I immediately clicked over to Amazon to get this book up on my wishlist.. I waste no time, kids.. NO TIME.

Imagine my surprise and sheer delight just a few days later when I receive an e-mail from Ivonne with the subject "So don't hurt me..." -'kay well the surprise was there, and then there was a lil alarm, followed by "okay what the hell did we get ourselves into now?" before the sheer delight kicked in.. heee.

And I quote:

"I volunteered you for a book event."
"Since we’re sisters I figured I could do that without asking you first. Don’t ya’ love me???"


Yeah, I do love her. =) I, of course, was tickled freakin' pink to be involved with this event because I was more than curious to read this book. After all, I had it added to my wish list within 20 seconds after reading her post doncha know. A week or so later I received it in the mail and that night I started to read it..

I know we aren't suppose to "review" the book exactly, but I have to say to anyone who is thinking about buying it.. go for it. It's a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each and every friend she wrote about and how the recipes came about.

While trying to figure out what I was going to make, and the decision was a difficult one, I couldn't help but to keep thinking about a time in my life when I was 12 years old and my youngest sister had just been born. Now you are going to think this silly and well.. kind of strange, but bear with me.. is that bear?? or bare?? Wait.. it can't be bare - this is a PG-13 blog.

ANYHOO.. my father had picked myself and my younger sister up at my auntie's house after the baby was born to take us to their best friends' house.. this doesn't make as much sense to me now, why we didn't go see my mom and the baby, but I went with it pretty easily that day.. so we get over there and his friends are half looped as they'd been "celebrating" her arrival.. On the table was this pink stuff that was shaped like a fish sitting on a platter with a bunch of crackers spread around it and a butter knife stabbing it in it's head. Mrs. R urged me to try spreading some of the pink dead (obviously) stuff on a cracker but I didn't want anything to do with it as I was completely grossed out to the max ohmygod. Okay, so apparently my morbid fascination got the best of me, and I tried a wee schmear of it on a cracker and I remember my eyes lighting up and going back for a bigger schmear of the pink dead thing. Any thought of my newly born baby sister was completely gone from memory.. all I wanted to do was eat this stuff - it was so good!

Put a platter of salmon mousse shaped into a fish in front of me now and I would most definitely turn my nose up at it. I have no good reason why.. maybe the thought of ground fish kinda squicks me in my old age.. maybe it's because my youngest sister was spoiled 100 times more than I was. ;) I don't know - but on the day of her birth, all I truly remember is being at Mr. & Mrs. R's house stuffin my pie-hole with processed salmon and, I'm sure, a boatload of mayo.

Why the hell would I even mention this right now?? Because believe it or not - that is one of my earliest true food memories - oh sure, I remember the important stuff - the first time I tried lobster for one. But it was more than the actual food, it was the love and celebration and feeling completely safe with the company I was in. Mr. R has long since passed and I don't speak to Mrs. R anymore - fate, I guess.. and my dad.. one of the few times I remember him being completely and unabashedly excited, thrilled, happy and gushing. My God that man loved his girls.

Little Meatball

Well there is no salmon mousse in Faith Willinger's Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. So I went with another item that is near and dear to my heart.. meatballs! My family has made the same meatball recipe since my grandmother's mother taught her eons ago. My grandmother taught my dad, my dad taught my mom and my mom taught me.. that's alotta meat-ah-balls! Our balls use the same ingredients (mostly) of our sauce so they are a good pairing together - but heck, no one can have just one meatball recipe in their repertoire now can they? So I was pretty jazzed about making these.

As always, when I'm rolling my meatballs memories come flooding back from the days of our restaurant business.. the hundreds upon hundreds of meatballs that were hand made every other day. The scooping, the rolling, the greasy hands and mucky fingers after about your 50th ball. Ugh.. the standing in the same position for hours.. that was the worst of it. But you know what? I'd give anything to be back in that kitchen standing next to my mom rollin' meatballs and shifting my weight from one screaming foot to the other. To bend my back to and fro' every hundred ball or so, just to work out the kinks. Listening to my dad on the other side of the huge butcher block table, whistling while he cleaned the beef tenderloin.. the heat.. the smells.. the royal pain in the ass it is to work for the public.. I miss it all and I remember it all - and it only takes (these days) 3 lbs. of ground round, some bread crumbs, cheese, herbs and a few eggs and I'm right back there where I belong.

Little Meatball

A huge thanks to Ivonne (my heart), Cathy of A Blithe Palate and Faith, for including me in this special event.. for it was much more than enjoying a book.. it was many reasons and ways to revisit my favorite (and not so favorite) memories.


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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Garden Update, 7 Things and Imma Schmooze!

I really am cooking.. it's not all salads and chicken breasts, really. In fact, last night's dinner was SO GOOD, but that's coming in a later post (as well as what promises to be the most decadent cake I've ever had the displeasure of trying to make - look for the next installment of Kitchen Disasters soon as well! :D ). But this post is all about our lil garden that is bursting at the seams, a meme I was tagged for by The Cooking Ninja (Thanks!!) and holy hell.. I've been given an award - a Schmooze award! hahahhaaaaa!

We'll start this off with a pictorial - My lovely and dear friend Sara who has been keeping us updated on her very organized and awesome garden, has asked us to show her our gardens and how they've progressed. At first I almost hesitated for a second because showing ya'll our garden would totally "out us". You see.. where we spend hours each week making our flower beds look totally smashing, our garden doesn't usually get as much care and well ohmygod you are going to see all of our weeds. *blush*

I feel so dirty.

But, having opened up to the blogging world just this week by presenting to you such a loverly and charming picture of moi, the dainty flower that I am, I figured ya'll would be able to handle the shock of seeing our dirty lil garden secret.


Shall we get started? :)

Clicking on any of the photos will bring you to my Flickr account where you can see bigger versions if you so desire.

Zucchini, Cukes, Yellow Bell Peppers & Tomatoes Zucchini & Cukes Tomatoes & Peppers
These would be photos of the "East Wing" where our Zucchini and Cucumbers are threatening to take over the whole area, as well as our tomatoes vying for a shot to do the same.. and our poor bell peppers stuck in the middle with no way of escaping.

Green Grape Tomatoes That I Don't Think Are Grape Tomatoes Green Mater
On the left is my grape tomatoes. But I think I've been hornswoggled. Yes, hornswoggled. I've never seen grape tomatoes get so fakkin long and big - so I can't help but to wonder if some jackass wrongfully labeled them? Gah. They are tasty though! We've actually harvested FIVE of them. Woo. On the right is a lil beefsteak mater, I'd say in it's teenage years? We've got a while before those are ready.

Yellow Bell Peppers That Are Still Green Huge Peppers
Our really rather huge yellow bell peppers - although they haven't turned yet. And from what I remember of our yellow bells last year, they were at least starting to turn by the time they got this huge - the fakking, hornswoggling bastard probably labeled these wrong too. Gah. And yeah.. I hate green bells. Go figger.

Cuke - Almost Ready to Pick Zucchini Flowers
On the left is just one of the ELEVENTY BILLION burpless cukes that are in that nest of leaves and vines. This one has another day or two before it should be picked. On the right are some cute zucchini flowers getting ready to open up. I couldn't get a shot of any zucchini on the plants because we picked the easily seen ones before I realized I should be taking pictures. Doh.

Today's Harvest
Here is yesterday's harvest.. 2 big zukes and 3 rather oddly shaped cukes. Rather oddly?

Leaf Lettuce Leaf Lettuce
The middle of our garden was host to a HUGE patch of leaf lettuce. Unfortunately, the first harvest was chock full of lil squishy slugs. Needless to say, as I was washing it and discovering the lil fakkers I was completely squicked out. So squicked, in fact, that I couldn't fathom eating it.. so we dug it up and then planted seeds in a container hoping to avoid the nasties - so far so good! :D

Holy Cabbage? Swiss Chard & Lotsa Weeds
The "West Wing" holds 4 finally forming heads of cabbage. As you can see, it looks more like Swiss cheese. We're not sure if we're going to win the battle against whatever is eating it. *sigh* On the right is our Swiss Chard - avert your eyes to the pretty yellow and red lined leaves.. DO NOT make eye contact with the weeds!! Gah.

And saving the best for last...

Lil Baby Eggplant!!
Can you see it?? squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

OMG THE Cutest Eggplant EVER!!
Just THE cutest baby Eggplant EVER!!! I am so excited about this as I've never grown my own eggplant and didn't know how the plant would fare.. this lil beauty is just one of FOUR. heeee!!!!!!!

So there you have it.. our garden. Definitely the best harvest of 90% of everything we've planted this summer. Only 2 failures - the radishes weren't happy and all but one bush bean plant took - I was too embarrassed to get a shot of it with it's wrinkly lil beans hanging off it all pathetic like. We prolly should have pulled it to put it out of it's misery.

Moving on to a meme that I was tagged for by the very talented cook, The Cooking Ninja! This one is titled "7 Random Things About Me" - well, that's kinda hard as I've already listed 100 random things about me.. But here goes:

1- Over the past few years, I've suddenly developed a terrifying fear of heights. Just the thought of being somewhere high up now makes my heart pound. Which blows me away as I've always been the first in line for the tallest roller coasters at Cedar Point and standing out on the deck over looking The Grand Canyon was never a problem. I think it might have something to do with a reoccuring nightmare I've been having.. which I'm not going to get into here - but it involves a cruise ship and Nigel. *shudder*

2- Bugs. Motherfakking nasty-ass bugs. I HATE them with a Burning! Searing! Passion! I refer to spiders as "Monsters" and even the tiniest one is always met with me yelling for Hubbs to KILL THE MONSTER. Ants? Terrified. The common housefly? Sends shivers down my spine. Butterflies? As long as they aren't near me, I can handle - but if the lil bastards start fluttering my way, I'll take cover. I won't even tell you what kind of reaction I have to bees, wasps and other stingy-bitey mofo's - you might think me weird. :P

3- I'm a habitual locker upper of doors. I can't sleep at night if I've forgotten to "make the rounds" and locking up the front and back doors. It's so bad, that when I come in from the back yard, I unconsciously lock the slider behind me.. which pisses Hubbs off to no end when he's a few steps behind and walks into it or wrenches his shoulder as he tries to pull it open. hee.

4- I firmly believe that my bitch-cat could possibly be my father. Or someone else we love that passed. Seriously. I'll try to keep this short (yeah right) - she showed up one day while I was still living with my mommie after my dad passed.. just outta the blue. She'd leave each night and show up again the next day. Then I started to feed her. Then my mom started to feed her. Then we started to let her in (my pooch Jiggles Lu had recently passed, so I think both of us were starving for 4 legged furry love) during the day. One day my mom decided to take a nap, so she gets in her bed, under the covers, when her feet touch something. She pulled off the sheets and comforter to find cat poo. UNDER THE BEDDING. Ohhh my lordie she was NOT a happy camper. She calls me at work (as if I could do anything being over an hour away) and screams at me that we're taking the F'n cat to the Humane Society the next day. I was against this.. she wasn't a kitten, so I didn't think she'd have a good chance of getting adopted and I did not want to put her to her death over mistaking my mom's bed for a litter box. hee. We went round and round about this for days until finally I told her I'd go with her so she'd shut the hell up. We put her in the cage we bought for her and got into my car. Car wouldn't start and I ended up flooding it. So we get out, cat included. Couple minutes later, I go back out to try it again and it starts right up. I go get my mom and the cat and when they get into the car, it doesn't stall out once I put it in gear - it just quits. And it won't start again. We looked at each other and she spoke first, "I'll pick up a litter box and food dishes after work today." I've had her ever since (about 7 years now).

5- I'm a movie freak fanatic. Each and every Tuesday when the new movies come out on DVD I am at the Blockbuster first thing. I never miss a Tuesday.
I always rent all the new ones, regardless of how many came out that day and then I spend the rest of the week stressing myself out because I have to watch all of them.

6- I watch the Simple Life. (don't hate me)

7- I'm always cold. You'd think with my padding that I'd be nicely insulated, but that isn't the case. I do get hot in the summer and I'll kick on the central air, but just minutes later I'll be shivering and putting on a sweater. At work, my teeth actually chatter at times. I wear a sweater or jacket year round at my office.

'kay that hurt! Sorry if they were lame, but I kept checking the 100 list and finding that I'd already listed what I was going to include in this list! hahaha

I guess I get to tag 7 more people.. and I think this lil meme has been out for a while, so if you've already been tagged, I apologize and if you haven't been tagged yet but hate memes, I apologize. :P

1- Gracie
2- Kelly - yes I know you've done the 8 Random thingies, but you haven't done any memes on Sass. And uhh.. I KNOW there are more than just 8 random thingies about you. :D
3- Morven
4- Sis
5- Cheryl
6- Marce
7- Sara


And finally!! My dear, sweet friend, Kelly of Sass and Veracity AND Kellementology (a must read - is hilarious) has given me a Schmooze award. heeee! Apparently she thinks I've made a lil bleep on the surface of the blog reading world with my incessant chatter and fondness of leaving dorkie comments. HAR! No really, this award was created by Mike of Ordinary Folk and Danielle of Pink Reviews to "recognize people who have a positive influence on the blogging community by developing and nurturing relationships. You know — commenting on other’s blogs, joining in on and sustaining a “blogversation.”" I stole that quote from Kelly. shhh I thank you, my sweet girl, for thinking of me and awarding me this very cool award. I think I'm blushing. :D

Better than receiving this award is actually getting to pass it on to some people who I feel are worthy of such a nice thing! There are SO MANY I wish I could give this too, but from taking a que from Kelly, it looks like I might only be able to give this to five people. =(

Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups - Not only does this sweet lady make an effort to comment on all of her favorite blogs, but her comments are always so uplifting and supportive. Thank you, Tanna =)

Patricia of Technicolor Kitchen - Patricia is another beautiful gal who you'll see commenting on many blogs with such sweet things to say. She always brings a smile to my face once I've read one of her comments. Thank you, Patricia =)

Helene of Tartelette - Not only does Helene make a conscious effort to support all of her favorite blogger friends, but she also goes that extra step in trying to help anyone who has a baking question. Her advice is always spot on and I, for one, am quite grateful for all of her baking advice and tips. (Which I took advantage of, last night when I called her freaking out AGAIN. hee.) Thank you, Helene =)

Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms - I've said this many times before - just thinking of Elle makes me smile. This gal can make you feel good about yourself on your worst days! I'm mighty grateful to have the pleasure of meeting her! Thank you, Elle =)

And last but not least,

Mary of The Sour Dough - I have a feeling that Mary might have been a cheerleader in her youth? You can guarantee that when Mary leaves you a comment (which she does often and everywhere) you'll feel as if you've just conquered your biggest fear and not just that fakkin' chocolate cake. Mary is a woman who, no matter how rough things might get, puts you and what you're going through in front of herself. She's definitely one of a kind. And Thank You, Mary =)

Again, I wish this list could be longer because it'd include every gal up there who got tagged for the 7 Random Things meme as well as Ivonne, Brilynn, Jenny, Morv, Mary, Laura, Gilly, Meeta, Karen, Kelly-Jane, Gattina, Deborah, Kirsten and OHMYGOD So! Many! More!! This is a great community to be in - virtual or not, I count myself extremely lucky to be a part of it. Much love to you, everyone! :D

OMG I'm so late for work.. heee!


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Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh great, I have to eat the chicken..

I've been neglecting my preshus bloggie. =( You'd think with all of the extra time of relaxation and leisure that I've enjoyed this past week while on vaykay that I'd be posting every day! Nope.. didn't quite work out that way - I had a Tartelette to keep me company for FIVE days!! And then the weather was gorgeous for the rest of the week so I spent most of my time putzin' around in the yard and playing with the dogs as well as catching up on some reading while lounging on our swing by our pond. Heaven. Absolute Heaven. *happy sigh*

So what does one do with their very own Tartelette for five days? Well there's a lot of giggling that goes on.. and some huge belly laughs too. Of course there is cooking and baking - lots of cooking and baking. Some wine drinking, and by some I mean 7 dead soldiers laying in our recycle bin. You know, why the hell do they make the wine glasses SO BIG if they aren't going to Econo-size the fakkin bottles?? WTF?

Hubbs and I picked Helene up at the airport Thursday night and let me tell you, from the second I saw her standing on the curb I knew we were going to have a great time. Any nerves I had completely disappeared. Wanna know why? Because right from that moment I started laughing. Ohhh the look on her face when she saw our vehicle and me, most likely, with a huge slap-happy grin on my face pointing at her as if she was some cool animal on display at the zoo. "Look honey! Right there! Right there! There she is!!" She had this not-quite comprehending look on her face, as I'm jumping up and down in my car seat, as well as this half-wave, half uhhh-is-that-you? jesture going. Priceless. Simply priceless. Then she had to deal with him hitting the brakes and me jumping outta the car at her like some crazy woman. Had I been her, I probably would have dropped a load in my pants and started to cry for my mommie.

I grabbed her and gave her a hug and Hubbs grabbed her bags and put them in the back, then we hopped back into the car and from that minute we started chirping. Dear Lord, if he wanted to get a word in he would have been highly disappointed. heee! I don't even remember what the hell we talked about on the way home, other than Paula Deen. Bless her, ya'll. =) Helene brought me Paula's magazine, which I had no idea existed! Me! Paula's number one fan and the woman that would like to take her out for a glass of butter! Course I flipped through the pages but didn't really comprehend much as I had HELENE in the back seat. Holy cow!

We got home and she got a very quick introduction to Nigel and Chloe.. if I remember correctly, I don't think she even got in the door before they were all over her. So her first impression of my house was ca-razzeeee dogs (just like their mama) and me screaming at Chloe to "GET DOWN. FOR CHRISSAKES CHLOE GET DOWN!!" Yeah, we're an impressive bunch alright.

Things are kinda blurry here too.. I don't know exactly what went on next.. I think there was wine involved. I know we went out to the back by the pond and sat on the swing for a bit.. and then it was like 9:30 already and we were hungry, so we took her to a lil grille and had a fabulous dinner of sauteed perch on their patio. For which half of it I had to stand as my lower back was screaming. That was the only suck thing about the whole time.. my back. Ugh. I still don't know how I hurt it, I was probably going one way and my flab went the other way causing my back to wrench. God. Anyhoo... home we went where Hubbs promptly went to bed (he had to work the next day - MUAHAHAHAHAHAA!!) and she and I stayed up until 1ish just chit chatting. Again, there might have been wine involved?

Friday we putzed around and slowly got ready then off we went to the Trader Joe's. I was so focused on getting her there, because that was the one thing she wanted to do while up here, that I completely forgot right next to the TJ's was a Sur La Table.. I so forgot about it that I was kinda startled when she squealed and pointed to it. heheeee Luckily we found some good bargains - well some better than others as I spent $30.00 on a salad spinner that I probably could have got at Linens-N-Things for $20.00, but I was caught up in the awe and wonderment.

So's we're browsing around the store looking high and low for good buys when I come to a display of KICK ASS glass tumblers (horrible picture of them) and margarita glasses.. hand blown glass, complete with the lil air bubbles that I love in glassware, as well as a ribbon of different colors blown in around the middle - gorgeous.. and so begging to feed my glassware addiction. I fondled a few of them - wanting very much to bring one up to my cheek for a cuddle, when the sales lady comes over and starts telling me how I "need" these glasses. Helene came over to see what I was drooling over and when I said, with eyes as big as saucers, "I covet these glasses", she joins in with the sales lady and tells me that I need them.. "Maybe I'll just buy two", I say. The whole time I'm wonderin' which method Hubbs will use when he kills me if I buy any more glassware.. but they were gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrjusssssss. So the next thing I hear is Helene telling me that two wasn't enough and that I "needed" four - as she was putting them into our basket! It was like she knew I'd die a slow and painful death if I did not purchase those that I covet, so she made the decision for me. Bless her cotton socks. Not to mention, she was now my scapegoat when Hubbs saw them - "She MADE me do it!!!" heeee!

She checks out first and she puts the glasses up on the counter and I'm like, "those are mine!" to the cashier, when Helene says, "Ohhh noooo I'm buying these for you!" and then this look comes across her face and she says, "What? Did you think I was actually forcing you to buy 4 glasses?" HAHAHAHAAA! Well no, I didn't really think she was forcing me, I really thought she just read my mind and new how sad I'd be if I didn't buy them so she just gave me that lil push I needed and dammit, I'd do that for a friend too! So's I try to explain that to her, trying not to sound like an asshole and make her think I thought she was forcing me.. and well.. I shut up and she bought me four TO DIE FOR glass tumblers that I covet (as well as fondle each day). Was that toooo sweet, or what?? Thank you Helene and B! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new glasses. =) xoxo

Next we went to the TJ's and had a blast in there.. she got some items that she could take back with her and I bought way too much, as per usual. We spent a good hour in there, I'd say, and once we finally left we decided we were hungry, so we drove over to a nearby Italian chain (Bravo!) for a nice lunch of fried calamari and chop salads. I was then going to take her to The West Side Market, but we were pretty much all shopped out so we went home..

Friday night was steaks on the grill with my sister joining us and I think there were potatoes and salad and uhh, definitely wine. After dinner we all retired to the back by the pond where Hubbs made a fire. My sis said she had a hankerin' for something sweet, so I told her I had caved the week before and bought the fixin's for s'mores. Ingredients were brought out and she and Helene started roasting their marshmallows. This might not sound very exciting, but it was Helene's first s'more ever!!! I was quite delighted to watch her eat her first s'more. And then her second s'more. Ohh there goes the third s'more! hahaha I guess I can say that she thoroughly enjoyed them. :D I didn't participate in s'more eating because my week of frantic cleaning and house project finishing finally caught up to me - as well as the back thing screaming, so I went to bed early. But from the look of my kitchen table the next morning (beer cans! shot glasses! wine glasses! a half bottle of Yukon Jack! My preshus Grand Marnier left OPEN!) I'd say they all had fun without me. :D

Saturday we got to bakin'.. well.. I guess you could call it that. What normally would have taken 3 hours, tops, to complete the Daring Baker's challenge recipe, started around 1 pm (we had gossip to share! showers to take! e-mails to check! blogs to drool over!) and ended around 9:30ish. God. My feet were SCREAMING in protest. hahahaaa! I also taught her how to make my family's marinara and meatballs (ancient Italian secret - and no one had better tell my mom that I gave it to her! hahahaaa) in between making batter and baking, so it wasn't like just the one recipe was made in those 8.5 hours. *grin* Oh we had way too much fun - much more than 2 silly girls in a kitchen should have. =)

Helene also gave me a present that afternoon. One of those band exerciser thingies? You know.. like a giant rubber band with handles on each end? Then she taught me several exercises with it, as well as how many I should do and for how long. Considering the very long road I've got ahead of me, this was the perfect choice in how to start out my exercise routine. The exercises are low impact and focus on working on the muscles, they get my heart beating and I can feel the burn - but not to the extent where I feel I'm going to have a heart attack. hahaha! Paired with walking each day (slowly but surely I am walking a little longer each afternoon), I am feeling really good about these new routines. :D From here on out she's going to send me new exercises and work out plans and hopefully by the time we make it to South Carolina, I'll be in, at least, a lil better shape! Thank you, SO MUCH, sweetie. =)

Course dinner that night was spags & balls and uhhh, wine. I think we made it to around 1 am that night as well. Hubbs had left us girls the house (he ran away to his brother's, I think he was scared of being with the girls all weekend) so it was nice to just lounge in the living room, after a very long day in the kitchen, watching Anthony Bourdain (sexxxxy thing) eat cow snout.

Worn out?
Sometimes Nigella will have this effect on you...

Sunday we resumed our baking and finished the challenge recipe.. oh, I said our time in the kitchen ended around 9:30 the night before but I didn't exactly say we finished the challenge. ha! So we finished that, then we made the sorbet (see below) and she taught me how to make a gorgeous rose out of a pear of all things! Finally we got to what I had been dying to do.. the macarons. Oh yeah baby!! That was the coolest thing I've been taught in I can't tell ya how long.. we made 3 different flavors, (and by "we" I mean, SHE did most of the work - let's just say my piping skills are about as good as my frosting technique. har!) all of which were heavenly. I'm going to guest blog about them on her blog sometime next week - so be looking for it! :D Finally, we made dinner, which consisted of sesame seed encrusted teriyaki tuna steaks, Alanna's green bean salad and Helene's ratatouille (she'll be guest blogging right here about it next week as well! Yay!). Holy crap, I'd never had ratatouille before and OMG it was so good. SO GOOD! My mom and sister joined us and they both agreed how fakkin good it was. =) After everyone left and Hubbs went to bed (he had to work the next day MUAHAHAHAHAHAA) Helene and I stayed up until 3 a.m. working on lil projects - but I gotta tell you, I don't know how she was feeling, but I think I helped stretch out the night so long because I knew she'd be leaving the next day and I DIDN'T WANT HER TO GO. =(

Two dorks
Two major dorks. :D

So yeah, Monday came.. and we spent the morning drinking coffee and chatting until it was time for her to start packing and getting ready for the airport. Once we got there, I helped her get her bags out and gave her a great big hug and told her how much I loved her.. then I hadda get my vehicle outta the way, so I left. =( I was sad, but not as sad as I thought I'd be because seriously, the way we clicked from the minute I saw her throughout the rest of her stay, I knew we'd only grow stronger in our friendship and that this would not be the only time we'd spend together. Hubbs and I are planning a trip to South Carolina (hopefully this winter!) so we can also meet Helene's husband (who, btw, is HOTTT) and do some damage in her kitchen. :D

The rest of my week was pretty much spent as I stated above, but every morning I wake up I wish she was still here.


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Monday, July 09, 2007

HHDD - Sorbet!

I've got 6 minutes to write this post before I am sooo past the deadline for my friend, Laura's, edition of Hay! Hay! It's Donna's Summer Day! Sorbet. Acckkk - me and my problem of not knowing when to shut the fakk up and I've only got 6 - errr, FIVE minutes to hit publish!

Gingered Pear Sorbet

Why am I so late? Because I just spent the best 5 days with my lil Tartelette! What a blast we had! What a darling she is! We shopped, we baked, we laughed out loud! We drank wine and she had her very first s'more! ha! We exercised.. briefly. We cooked! We drank wine! We visited with family and enjoyed each other's company immensely! But, MY GOD. That lil girl wore me out! heheee And that statement is hilarious as she did most of the damn work - so there ya go. =)

So this is why I am going to run over that deadline by a couple few minutes - feel my pain, kids! Feel. My. Pain.

But I am here writing this up because I want to show my support for one of my new friends, an extremely talented baker, a fellow Daring Baker and last month's winner of HHDD - Caesar Salad! I'm talking about the lovely Laura of EAT DRINK LIVE. She totally blows me away with her creations and I'm so happy that she joined up with the Daring Bakers or I might not have discovered such a talent and such a fantastic lady.

Gingered Pear Sorbet

Laura chose sorbet for this month and I was nicely surprised with her choice. I love sorbet but have never made it before - so this was going to be a great challenge! My first thought was watermelon - my all time favorite fruit. But as I was searching for recipes, I came across one for Gingered Pear Sorbet. Holy crap, I hadda make it! And as fate would have it, I believe this choice was meant to be. On Friday, Helene and I went shopping at Trader Joe's (how I heart you TJ!) and the first item we see is a lil glass pot of Ginger Spread. Oh man.. it just looked and sounded so good that we both bought a jar.

Gingered Pear Sorbet

Once we were home (after a very lovely day) we unpacked our goodies and planned our method of attack for the next day of baking and sorbet making. After we had that settled we opened the wine. Okay, so we might have opened it a lil sooner, but who was keeping track?? Anyhoo.. the next day we started rather late (there is just so much to do - and by that I mean there is so much to gossip and giggle about!) but made the sorbet first. That ginger spread came in very handy as it was the perfect substitute for the ground ginger called for in the recipe. This sorbet is amazingly light and zingy. The pear flavor comes through very nicely but the sweetness and kick of the ginger is the star of this sorbet, for sure.

I'm now confident that I can take this base recipe and make all kinds of different fruity flavors and that just tickles me pink as I can have a whole cup (you did say so, Helene! I heard you!!) of it as opposed to like a 1/2 cup of low fat ice cream. Party on! teeee!

Ohhhh Laurrrrraaaaaa.... here be my submission to your lovely round up! Gingered Pear Sorbet - fanfarkintastic! :D

Gingered Pear Sorbet
Gingered Pear Sorbet
Adapted from a recipe submitted by Donna Cline on All Recipes

1 (29 ounce) can pear halves (I went with a 15 oz. can of light pears in their own juice and a few larger pear halves from a jar of pears)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 2 tsp. of Trader Joe's Ginger Spread)
yellow food coloring (I omitted this - it's pretty enough on it's own)

Drain pears, reserving 1 cup juice (discard remaining juice or save for another use); set pears aside. In a saucepan, bring sugar and reserved juice to a boil. Remove from the heat; cool.

In a blender, process the pears, lemon juice and ginger spread until smooth. Add cooled syrup and food coloring if desired; cover and process until pureed. Pour into an 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. dish. Cover and freeze for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until partially frozen.

Return mixture to blender; cover and process until smooth. Place in a freezer container; cover and freeze for at least 3 hours. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving.

Gingered Pear Sorbet

PS - I can not recommend highly enough purchasing your own French Pastry Chef. Seriously kids, having your own comes in so handy. Not only will she boil your pear syrup for you, but she'll create a gorgeous lil rose out of a slice of pear so that your very boring pictures turn out extra special. =) Hurry - check out HSN or Amazon today!!!

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

It's a Stravaganza of Salad!

**A note from, what I loosely call, "the author"**
DUDES - Yesterday I FORGOT the Stravaganza was TODAY. F*ck! Today I had eleventy billion things I had to get done. F*ck!! I started this lil round-up around 8ish this morning.. it's now 10:30 p.m. I partly blame my chores. I partly blame the beautemous sunshine outside and I partly (85%) blame how I don't know how to shut the fakk up when writing on this here blog. Forgive me! Please? :D

Holy cow! You guys ARE THE BESTEST!! When Kelly, of Sass and Veracity, and I started this whole Salad Stravaganza thing, we were thinking how blessed we'd be to get like 20 to 25 submissions.. 48 49 is what we got!! FORTY EIGHT NINE! Ya'll rocked our salad lovin' worlds! Thank you SO MUCH!!! =)

So here's the deal if you are just now tuning in.. One day (okay, several days in a row quite possibly adding up to a month of days) Kelly and I were whining about our boredom with the same old, same old salads that we make almost every day for lunch and/or dinner.. and then we thought, "Wow, wouldn't it be great if someone would do some sort of salad event?" I mean, really - I know that Kel and I can't be the only 2 women on the face of the planet who hate their thighs, arse, hips, tummy, underarms, forearms, ankles, big toes, earlobes, etc. could we? Hell no we aren't! I've yet to meet a woman who finds herself to be perfect in every way (even though I think many of my "real-life" and "online" gal pals are completely perfect in any way, shape or form). I even know quite a few men, who don't poo-poo the salad lunches or dinners as they aren't happy with their bodies either. Christ we live in a world that constantly tries to beat into your brains about how healthy you should be (at least that's the way it is here in America) and how being overweight is the bad juju, mon. Yet, those healthy, skinny folk are pretty much in the minority. Why is that?

I'm going to tell you why!!! Because chocolate cake TASTES GOOD! :P

No really, how many of you are in she same boat as Kelly and I with the same old boring salads? If I've learned anything from this wonderful offering of delectable salad recipes, is that we need to look beyond what's in the crisper drawer of our refrigerators, kids. I've never seen such a variety of salads that use ingredients such as roasted vegetables, fruits & berries, beans, herbs, cheeses and meats! I mean, salads aren't just for diets anymore. And salads of this caliber can't even be recognized as healthy meals, because they are SO DELICIOUS! Hello? How can something that tastes SO GOOD be good for you??

Before I show you what I mean, I just want to thank Kelly for being an awesome partner in this salad adventure. Boy, for someone who's never organized and kept track of event submissions before, Kel - you rock, sistah!! I LOVED working on this with you, thank you so much =) What's more, way more, is how lucky and happy I am to be able to call you my friend. Love you, honey! xoxo

Okay now that the moosh is outta the way *blush* let's get to my half of the Salad Stravaganza round up:

Starting us off on our journey is a new friend of mine whose name is Danny. Danny keeps promising me he's going to start his own blog, but for now he's emailed me a recipe for what I am titling,"Danny's Best Ever Salad" Why that title? Because Danny says anyone who's ever tried it has proclaimed it to be the best salad they've ever had. =) I can believe the hype as this salad sounds amazingly good! Allow me to copy the recipe here for all of you on Danny's behalf:

Stock Salad Photo

Danny's Best Ever Salad
Fill a large tray with mixed greens
Hard boil 3,4,6,...eggs (as many as u like)
In same pot boil a few small potatoes
Slice 1 red onion
1 can large black pitted olives
A handful of cherry or grape tomatoes

Dressing: this really makes the salad , or any salad....!

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 blood oranges
3-4 tbsp. of aged balsamic vinegar (the good stuff only please)
Finely chopped fresh basil as much as u like
1 tbsp. honey dijon mustard

Mix all dressing ingredients together well.

Peel and half eggs and potatoes and place on greens, toss in olives (liquid removed), red onion, and tomatoes. Smother entire salad with dressing and enjoy!

Did I lie? Doesn't that sound fantabulous? Thanks Danny!

Jenny-AllThingsEdible-RomaineStrawberry AllThingsEdible-Jenny-TriColorPastaSalad

Next on our list is the gorgeous Jenny of All Things Edible. Yes, well it's a fitting title for her blog as she shares with us so many tasty treats - this salad among the tastiest! Her Romaine-Strawberry Salad sounds heavenly. And if that weren't enough, her equally talented 4 year old son has submitted a recipe too!! One of the best pasta salads I've ever had, Tri-Colored Pasta Salad with Cheese, Baby Carrots and Cucumber I'm so hunnnnggggrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Thanks Jenny! And please thank your son for us too!

Marta-ItalianinAmerica-Insalata di cavolo rosso1

Marta of An Italian in the US was kind enough to share with us a magnificent salad made with mangos and other super tasty ingredients. Her Insalata di cavolo rosso, peperoni, mango, avocado e mandorle is not only a mouthful to say - but hello? It's a salad that I'd be more than happy to have a mouthful of! hehe What all of that means is a delicious mix of red cabbage, peppers, mangoes, avocado and almonds. *swoon* You've got your sweet, your savory, your creamy and your crunchy.. what else could be better? Thanks so much, Marta!


Emily of Appetitive Behavior writes one of my favorite blogs. She comes up with some major droolworthy dishes and I always look forward to what's next! And she sure kept us drooling with her submissions (yes, plural as in 2 tasty recipes!) for the 'ganza! First up is this creative Amansala Ginger Salad Emily says that she had a version of this salad in a restaurant called Rangoon in Philadelphia with her boss and she was immediately taken with it. Although she could not reproduce it exactly, she says this version is an excellent substitution. I'm quite intrigued with the ginger in the salad, that's something I've never tried.. YET!
Her second submission is this, Melon Salad Agridolce. What we have here is one of my favorite things - a fruit and cheese platter. You know sliced melons, pears, grapes or cherries paired with nutty, creamy, salty, delicious cheese selections and usually there is a side of various nuts and always served with a good glass (or bottle, Kel!) of wine. Now take these components and turn them into salad. Genius!! You've got fresh greens with the cheese, the fruit and the nuts - and a red wine vinaigrette drizzled over it. Ohhh happy! happy! Thank you so much, Emily!


I'm grinning from ear to ear just thinking about this next salad.. You see, when I first saw Alanna's, of A Veggie's Venture, submission I knew I was going to run out to get the ingredients that very night. And I did.. and I squeeeeeeeeeee'd the whole way home. Seriously, just imagine some crazed woman with a bag of green beans in one hand, her other hand firmly gripped to the steering wheel of her car with this huge, teethy, maniacal grin on her face comin at you at 65 mph. Yeah, scary. Her Fresh Green Bean Salad with Asian Dressing did this to me! I even blogged about it early and spoiled the debut for the Stravaganza! Hee! Thank you and thank you and thank you, Alanna!


Talk about your lovely and talented ladies, our next salad genius is Dolores, of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. Unfortunately for last month's Hey! Hey! It's Donna Day event, Dolores was a a lil late in meeting the deadline, but it worked out perfect for us! Woot! Now we get to share with you (and our own tummies!) this completely droolworthy Caesar Salad with Skewered Shellfish. Holy cow.. does anyone have a tissue so I can wipe my chin(s)? Heavenly, Dolores, thanks so much!


One of my favorite ladies in the blogosphere is Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict. Jasmine has such a wonderful way of writing that I just really can't help myself but to love her posts. She was neck-deep in her classes, but still found the time to send us a most delicious salad with a tropical feel.. I introduce to you, The Tropical! YUM! This salad has all the fixin's - chicken, grapes, almonds, greens, peppers and a yummy raspberry vinaigrette - oh yeah baby! Thanks Jasmine - it sounds delish!


Jeanne, from Cook Sister! brings to us a most creative salad that she'd been playing around with in her head for quite some time. I'm so glad she finally decided to give it a try because she has me salivating by just reading her post (which I've read several times!). The vibrant color of that butternut squash just has me all ga-ga drooly. heee! Paired with the warm butternut squash is salty Feta cheese and crunchy pine nuts.. oh! my! God! I want some right now! =) Go check out this gorgeous Roasted Butternut, Feta & Pinenut salad immediately if not sooner! Thanks Jeanne!


What can I say about this next girl? Well.. exactly what can't I say about her? I could go on for days =) She is my partner in crime, my "sister" from afar, she's my confidante, my rock and the calming factor in my life. No one settles me down like Ivonne. You might be familiar with her "little" blog - Cream Puffs in Venice? hehee My dear, sweet friend Ivonne has not only made us one salad.. but three.. bless her cotton socks. ;) And what glorious salads they are! First we've got a warm and inviting mix of roasted potatoes, green beans and tomatoes. This is a type of salad I make often - and for the exact reason that Ivonne states, "The warm potatoes soak up the dressing..." Ohh how I love roasted potatoes in a salad, especially with a good oil and vinegar dressing.. YUM!

Her second and third salads come from Tracy Stern's Tea Party. The first of the two is what sounds to be a magical mix of both creamy and crunchy in a green apple and avocado salad with her own special dressing.. I will be using that dressing tonight, as a matter of fact! I can't wait! And finally, her third salad is pasta salad containing chickpeas, roasted red pepper, red onion and artichoke hearts. *swoon* We can't thank you enough, Ivonne - you rock!


Ahhh my Gracie. How I heart her so =) She is one of the driving factors in my life that makes me want to continue on in bettering my baking skills. Between her and my other love (I'm gettin kinky with all this lovin' going on!) Helene, I hope to one day at least be able to frost a damn cake evenly. hee! While reading Gracie's post, I was chuckling and giggling quite a bit. I guess we did kinda "gently remind" the Daring Baker crew of our lil salad event, didn't we? heheee! And I so love hearing what delicious and commonly loved foods her hubby doesn't like. hahahaaa! Which, yeah.. this time is salad. But that doesn't stop her - thank God! - although it's not as often as she'd like, she still enjoys salads - and if even half of them are anything like this one.. I'd be able to live on salad alone! Pears poached in red wine, bites of savory bleu cheese, spicy candied walnuts with a blackberry jam vinaigrette drizzled over each seductive bite. And I say seductive because - Hot damn, kids! This salad is sexxxxxy! Thanks for bringing the Sexy Back in salads, Gracie!! heee! Ohhhh.. and one more thing! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRACIE!!! Tomorrow (July 2) is Peabody's birthday - make sure you wish her many more to come!


Our second Romaine and Strawberry salad is brought to us by the lovely and very articulate Kristen of Dine and Dish. But there's nothing second hand about this gorgeous salad with it's creamy poppyseed dressing, no there is not! Kristin craves this recipe since she was introduced to it by a friend this past Easter. And I can totally see how she would crave it often. Okay that's 2 now - I am SO TRYING a romaine and strawberry salad before all the strawberries go away! Thanks Kristin - between you and Jenny, ya'll have got me craving it now too! =)


Laura's blog, EAT DRINK LIVE, had become a fast favorite for me. How I never found her before she joined the Daring Bakers, is a mystery to me.. or at least it's a reason I'm kicking myself in the arse over. Laura's baking abilities are bar none and her creativity in the kitchen is quite stunning! Just like this lil stunner of a salad, Spiced Orange and Avocado Salad Wow.. oranges and avocados.. just a lil slice of heaven right here on earth! Not only is this salad something special to look at, but it sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks muchly, Laura - you've once again blown me away!


Next is my smilie girl - I picture her smiling a lot AND she makes me smile alla time. =) Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms was kind enough to share with us her Grandma L's Super Salad! What this is, is a combination of super fresh ingredients, such as crisp romaine and carrots and then 2 of my favorite things, marinated mushroom and roasted red peppers! Yum! This sounds SO GOOD, Elle! Thank you sooooo much =)


I've met so many wonderful people in this blogging world of ours and truly, I am blessed. Whether I were to meet all of them or none of them in person, I am blessed.
I feel this way particularly for our next "salad mixologist". Morven and I were paired together for our first BBM over a year ago and we became fast friends. She's my soul sistah! I love you, Morv! =) (Does everyone pour out their hearts and kinkiness in their round-ups? :P ) 'kay well there's something else I love.. and that's roasted veggies.. and hoooo bay-bay, Morv's done us up right! A salad made up entirely of roasted vegetables with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and spring onions - all warm and caramelized and crispedy and creamery.. oh heaven's.. THIS is one of the reasons I love her so. :D Thank you Morven!

Susan-FoodBlogga-3pea&radish salad

The ever charming Susan of Food Blogga has wowed me yet again with another one of her fresh veggie creations.. this time it's an inviting Warm Three Pea and Radish Salad. YUM! I love me my peas! And if this weren't enough, Susan educated us on the differences between the English pea, the Sugarsnap pea and the Snow pea as well as a little background on each and tips on how to prepare them. I learned something new! I always appreciate that. =) I also appreciate such a pretty and most delicious salad! Thanks so much, Susan!


Oh my gosh.. time for me to get sappy again! har! (You can scroll down a few lines if you've had enough of the sap) Callipygia of FOODchair is another close friend of mine who I cherish! We've shared much about each other - the good, the bad and the ugly. I don't know what I'd do if she weren't in my life. Course she'd be better off if I weren't in her life - lousy friend that I am!! Happy Belated Birthday, Callipygia!!!! I love you sweetie! =) (her birthday was yesterday, the 30th - everyone wish her a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) hehe And now on to her fabulous salad! Have you ever read Callipygia's posts? If you haven't I couldn't urge your more strongly to go and get comfy in her archives. You won't be disappointed. A damn good example is her post regarding mushrooms. Yep, mushrooms! Once you are finished reading, before you even realize you are famished and wish her Seven Generation Salad was sitting right in front of you, you'll notice just how much you take a mushroom for granted. Seriously. You rock, Callipygia - Thank you so much!

Danielle-Habeas-Inacucumber Danielle-Habeas-Nanacucumber

Hooo lordie, I'm going to start shortening up these lil write-ups! And this is a good one to try to keep short and sweet because - yes, you guessed it! - I could go on and on about how much I love Danielle's blog Habeas Brulee. This woman knows how to cook! She knows how to bake! She knows how to do attorney type things! My God, she knows how to blow glass, producing BEAUTIFUL bowls, vases, glasses, etc. A few of which are highlighted above.. she made the clear glass bowl and her sweetie made the red one! And you'd really need beautiful bowls to show off these 3 (THREE) beautiful salads. Firstly we have a very creative Fava Bean and cherry salad I gotta tell yas.. I'm so fakkin intrigued by this one - my "dislike" of beans doesn't even sway how much I'd like to try this! And then we've got two cucumber salads.. Danielle decided to compare two grandmother's recipes. Her own grandma's Hungarian style cuke salad and Alanna's (from A Veggie Venture) grandma's sour cream based cuke salad.. either or, I'd be SO HAPPY to have them in front of me, right now! Thank you so much, Danielle!

iliketocook-Sara-TomatoSalad iliketocook-Sara-TomatoPastaSalad
iliketocook-Sara-CurriedPineappleSalad Sara-iliketocook-PineappleSalad

Well this is the price you pay when you have so many wonderful friends.. my very special Sara, whom I just adore. She's a wonderful cook, she's a great writer and she's trying to learn how to bake with me! She's also a very special friend (as if you couldn't guess?) - and if anyone is going to get me to eat tofu, it's going to be Sara. :D Sara out did herself this time.. not 1, not 2, not even 3 recipes - FOUR! Four fabulous salad recipes that had me drooling right from the start with this tomato salad "base". Fresh tomatoes, a lil salt, a lil oil & vinegar.. YUM! Building on to that she created this super yummy sounding Tomato Pasta salad! Double yum! And then she hits one out of the park with two pineapple salads that sound AMAZING! We can't thank you enough, Sara - 4 fabulous thigh trimming salads!

Lisa-Lisa's Kitchen-ColeSlaw

Lisa's blog, aptly named, Lisa's Kitchen is a new blog to me - but I gotta say - it looks great! And hey, you have to love a Lisa, right? =) Lisa brings us a creamy cole slaw that looks to die for.. this one I'm definitely making Hubbs as he's a cole slaw aficionado. He's going to love this and I'm going to love it sittin' beside a marinaded, grilled chicken breast - cole slaw and grilled chicken are the bomb! Thank you so much, Lisa!

And last but certainly not least (you can all sigh with relief, my long-windedness is almost complete) my partner in the Salad Stravaganza and very good friend, Kelly of Sass and Veracity! WOOOOO! Kelly! We did it, Sistah Christian!! Kel's salad is just way to fakkin good looking to even remotely being good for you. I absolutely positively REFUSE to believe that this salad is better than say.. a plate full of brownies (which, yes.. I've eaten for dinner before.) (DO NOT JUDGE ME!)



Brown Derby Cobb Salad with Marinated Top Round Steak. Could you just die right now? She marinated the steak and then she grilled the steak to medium rare perfection. And then.. then she sliced the steak into tender savory mouthfuls of joy. Can anyone else hear angels singing? And then.. AND THEN she boiled the eggs, she fried the bacon to the perfect crispedy crisp, she sliced the avocado and sprinkled on the bleu cheese.. AND THEN she grilled up some poultry mammories to juicy lipsmacking goodness. Could that be all? Hell no it couldn't be all.. THEN she whipped up a home made Cobb salad dressing.. *swoon*

Could somebody please shut those angels up?? I can hardly hear myself think! uhh?


My dear sweet Kelly-Jane, of Cooking The Books, who made us TWO gorgeous salads.. one of which I flipped over and will so definitely be making it as soon as some apricots become available.. and still - putting that recipe in my notebook to try this summer.. I FORGET TO ADD TO THE ROUND UP. I swear to God, I suck.

Kelly-Jane, I hope you can forgive me! But while I wait to find out what her punishment is going to be.. allow me to share with you what this very talented gal cooked up for us!

Cooking The Books Kelly-Jane - Cowboy Rice Salad

Firstly, she made this very pretty "Cowboy" salad of rice, beans, chicken sausage, spices and what looks to be an amazing lime dressing bringing all the glorious flavors out. This salad looks and sounds so good that I think it'd make a perfect dish to start off my "healthy bean eating" kick. YUM!

Cooking The Books - Kelly-Jane - Apricot, Ham & Cheese Salad

Secondly - and the one I really flipped over (yanno me by now - the sweet and the salt or the savory and I'm all fakkin over it) was her creamy and luscious Apricot, Ham and Cheese salad.. ohhh man it looks SO GOOD! I can't wait to make this for Hubbs, I think he's going to really enjoy it too. Again, I'm so sorry Kelly-Jane! But a great big THANK YOU! for an awesome submission of 2 really, really tasty lookin salads! xoxo

Anyhoo.. yes, yes my friends... 50 51 delicious new salad recipe choices right at your fingertips!! Your thighs are breathing a sigh of relief.. I know mine are!!

We can't thank you guys enough, seriously - way to make a lil salad round up so huge and filled to the gills with creativity. Ya'll rock.. but ya'll knew that, didn't you? ;)


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