Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quick Bagel & Egg Breakfast

My husband is a protein guy. He doesn't do waffles, pancakes or sweet treats for breakfast. As much as this pains me since I love love love sugar and bread, I've found some good compromises. Bagel Thins help my carb fix and filling it with eggs and ham makes him happy. It also helps that I can make it in 15 minutes I have to prepare breakfast before leaving for work.

How good does this look?

This is 3 eggs with a splash of milk scrambled, Natural Choice deli ham (I only buy nitrate free), chives, salt and pepper. I spread the bagels with a little cream cheese to hold it all together. 

  And Cafe Escapes is a little sweet fix for me in the morning. I'd been tweeting with them and they offered to send me a sample. Thank you! The Cafe Mocha is my favorite flavor but the Dark Chocolate is a close second. I don't have the machine you would normally use for these but I've got plenty of hot water and it works just fine to add it to a cup, stir and enjoy.

What kind of breakfast do you prefer?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

LA County Museum of Natural History

 I've lived in Southern California my whole life and somehow I had never been to the Natural History Museum. I have the feeling this happens to a lot of us. We live near these great attractions but never visit. Yet there are people who travel to our cities to see the exact thing we take advantage of. I'm hoping to visit more local places. Any suggestions?

If you have kids, this is a great place to visit. The museum had arts & crafts stations near the entrance. My nieces painted and made bird feeders. There's no extra charge.

I'm not really into dinosaurs or modeled animals but in case you are.....

The butterfly garden was my favorite. This was an extra couple dollars and you had to wait for your appointed time but it's worth it. The guides leave you to tour alone or will show you around if you like.

We also stopped by the science museum. Definitely a kid's playhouse. So much to see and touch. Of course, I had to share the dessert I snacked on there...

Raspberry Frangiopane (I think that's what it's called)

Chili Cheese Fries

The best thing about these fries, other than the delicious taste, they're baked-not fried. Which means you can eat more, right? Any reason for me to indulge in potatoes is a good reason to me. Of course, you'll have to ignore the calorie count of the cheese but you could omit it and the fries would still be delicious. The recipe is another hit for Joy the Baker. I can't seem to get enough of her cookbook.

Panino- Los Olivos

Panino is one of those places I kept trying to visit when I went to Santa Barbara but never seemed to make it. I would read the reviews, plan to go and then something would come up. Fortunately, I finally made it there a couple weeks ago and it was everything I hoped it would be. I visited the one in Los Olivos which is a small town in wine country with lots of tasting rooms and charming storefronts. You can sit inside or outside. It was raining when I went so I scored a table looking outside.

This is the curry chicken salad sandwich. It's served on your choice of bread with a sweet honey mustard sauce. It was so good I ate both halves even though I had every intention of saving one for later. Next time I'm bringing a cooler so I can take a couple home for lunch during the week.

Have you been to Panino?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cocoa Almond Granola

I've only had my Joy the Baker cookbook for a little over a month and I've already made this granola twice. It's delicious. I use it in our morning parfaits with strawberries, bananas and yogurt. I love that it's not too sweet and it has just a hint of chocolate. Not enough to taste like dessert but enough to feel like I'm indulging a little bit.

Have you ever made your own granola?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

French Potato Salad

If you're looking for a fantastic recipe for a mayo-less potato salad, this is the perfect one. However, I must warn you, this is the most expensive potato salad recipe I've ever made. The champagne vinegar alone cost me $10 and that was on sale. Since I made this for a big group of people for Easter it was worth the expense but normally I would pick a recipe that's less pricey.

French Potato Salad
by Ina Garten


1 pound small white boiling potatoes

1 pound small red boiling potatoes

2 tablespoons good dry white wine

2 tablespoons chicken stock

3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 tablespoons good olive oil

1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves


Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in 1/2 (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Any ideas on what I can do with the almost full bottle of champagne vinegar I have left?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Morning Oatmeal

For me, oatmeal is a cold morning winter breakfast but I don't want to give it up for warm springtime days so I created Spring Morning Oatmeal.

Spring Morning Oatmeal
by Danielle- All Things Yummy

Makes 2 servings

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 3/4 cups skim milk
pinch of salt
1 heaping tablespoon strawberry jam
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup silvered almonds
1 cup sliced strawberries

Bring oats, milk and salt almost to a boil then reduce to simmer until oats are cooked. Remove from heat, mix in vanilla, jam, almonds and strawberries. Serve immediately and enjoy.

What do you like to eat for breakfast?
Do you have favorite oatmeal toppings?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lemon-Lime and Thyme Cookies

First let me say, Happy Easter! What are your plans today?
I'm up early making potato salad for lunch after church.
This is the first year since I was a kid that I have a proper Easter dress. I can't wait to wear it. Do you dress up for Easter?
Need a treat for today.....
Lemon-Lime and Thyme Cookies are the perfect Spring treat. Almost a shortbread cookie but not with a crunchy. The flavor will have your friends asking "hmmmmm,what is in this?"

The recipe, from Joy the Baker, suggests a method of combining the zests and sugar in a way that brings out the essential oils and perfumes the sugar. The link is to her website for Citrus Sables, a similar recipe without the thyme.

While her recipe calls for forming the dough into a log and cutting circles, I had some extra time so I rolled out the dough and made flowers. Fun and festive for Spring.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Carrara Pastries

I've blogged before about my love of Cafe Firenze and now Carrara Pastries is open in Moorpark as well. So many delicious Italian pastries available that you won't be able to try just one. I sampled more than my fair share and I can't wait to go back.

What's your favorite pastry?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Potato Zucchini Cakes- Joy the Baker

I have found my new favorite cookbook and it's written by Joy from Joy the Baker. Every picture has me drooling and running to the kitchen. Thank you so much to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for sending it to me. A message to friends and family- you'll be receiving this cookbook on your birthday, it's that good.
The first thing I made and will be making many more times- Potato Zucchini Cakes. I couldn't find the recipe on Joy's website and I hesitate to share it because of copyright issues so please go buy the book. You won't be dissappointed.

Topped with sour cream and paprika. Every bite is crispy-savory-deliciousness.

Here are the cakes frying beautifully in oil.

And another close-up of yumminess. May I suggest making these for Easter or Passover?

Do you have Joy's cookbook? What have you made?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Van de Kamps- Parchment Bake

I must admit, I rarely eat fish. It's just not something I crave. But, my husband enjoys it so when I was offered the chance to review Van de Kamps I was excited to try it out. I tried the garlic butter tilapia which I served with salad and potato/zucchini cake (post to follow).

The fish comes frozen in parchment paper which you bake and serve. The parchment paper was a great baking method since it locked in moisture and the fish cooked evenly. My taste verdict- I didn't care for but that's because I don't really care for fish other than ahi tuna. My husband's taste verdict- "it's good as far as frozen fish is goes." So while we probably won't be buying this again, I did pick up a box of Van de Kamps fish sticks, because who doesn't like fish sticks?

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received Van de Kamps Parchment Bake.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What Could It Be????

I love when I get mail that isn't bills. It's even more fun when it's a big box on my front porch.

What could it be?

Oh Wow! Fun baking stuff.

And delicious cookies!

Thank you so much Erica. I won her giveaway at Itzy's Kitchen. Check out her awesome blog.

Pizza Spaghetti Bake

Any other huge pizza fans out there? I have the phone number memorized to my favorite pizza place. Favorite toppings? I love tomatoes and black olive. Yum Yum! Good ole pepperoni works too. If you're also a spaghetti fan you're going to like this dish. I'm sure it would also be a pleaser among kids.

I swapped the pork sausage with ground turkey and I wouldn't do it again. It really needed that sausagey element. Also, I'd use jarred pizza sauce next time and at least 2 cups more sauce than the recipe calls for. I like my pizza and spaghetti saucey.

Pizza Spaghetti Bake 
from Plain Chicken and

12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (1-lb.) package mild ground pork sausage
2 ounces turkey pepperoni slices (about 30), cut in half
1 (26-oz.) jar tomato-and-basil pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8-oz.) package shredded Italian three-cheese blend

Cook spaghetti with 1/2 tsp. salt according to package directions. Drain well, and place in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. Add pepperoni, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until slightly crisp. Top spaghetti in baking dish with sausage; pour pasta sauce over sausage. Arrange half of pepperoni slices evenly over pasta sauce. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses. Arrange remaining half of pepperoni slices evenly over cheese. Cover with nonstick or lightly greased aluminum foil.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes; remove foil, and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and just begins to brown.

Can't wait to read about your favorite toppings. Any I have to try? Please don't say anchovies.

Ham, Cheddar and Apple Bake

It's Sunday afternoon and I've lost the motivation to do anything but blog and nap. It's been a busy weekend with my family and even though I have many chores waiting for me, I'm going to procrastinate and share this recipe with you instead.
I put the recipe together the night before, store it in the fridge and then bake it off in the morning. I take a chunk to work with me and it keeps me full until lunch.

I came across the recipe over at Framed Cooks 
I swapped the pears for granny smith apples and the brie for sharp white cheddar. I finish the recipe with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Delicious!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun or had a nice long nap?