Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rustic French Tomato Tart - Success!

 I did a little research for my tomato tart and found David Lebovitz's blog Living The Sweet Life In Paris .  I followed the recipe with just a few changes. One, I wasn't convinced that the crust would be crispy so I baked it for about 10 minutes before putting the mustard and topping on. Two, I didn't have big tomatoes so I used cherry tomatoes. I just cut them in half and poured them in.

I told Hubby about my experiment before I made it and he wanted NOTHING to do with it. I heard a cacophony of "Yuck, that sounds Ick!" (Sigh)
Luckily I have a Neighbor Wife who loves tomatoes.

When it was done, I tried it to make sure it was good. It was very, very good. This piece was for my Neighbor Wife. I snuck it over to her while she was decorating her front yard for Halloween. That's right, Halloween! She's a little on the enthusiastic side of this holiday. There are 5 phases to the decorating. Anyway, I wasn't expecting to be outside, obviously, since I was wearing Hubby's boxer shorts that say "DAD" on them and a wife beater shirt with a visible Not Sexy Bra!  (So NOT French Sexy!)

Suddenly I'm feeding not just Neighbor Wife, but Jessie, her son, her Hubby and Karen from down the street. This stuff is moving! By the time I come back in, Hubby tells me he tried it and loves it. It even smells good, he said. There's only 2 pieces left and I'm confident they will be gone by tomorrow.

I will make this again. I will use more goat cheese, more tomatoes and more honey.


Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A few days ago I spent sometime with my friend, Gina, who just back back from a visit with her family in France. I drilled her like a new marine in bootcamp about the food she ate. She told me about a tomato tart her aunt made. Crust from scratch, gruyere cheese, tomatoes and herbs on top. I've done a little research and will attempt one tonight.

Wish me luck.

Happy Wednesday

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Stevia from my garden

This morning I cut some fresh Stevia from my garden. I brewed it with my green tea and it was .....interesting. It had a little bit of sweetness with an earthy quality and a bit of an aftertaste. 
I talked with my sister, Tammy, yesterday who drinks green tea every day. She had the green tea journey a long time ago.  She has found a special blend that is her favorite. It is loose tea that comes in a canister. It just has a number. Something like 913. Next time I see her she's going to share some leaves. 
I'm going to take Adrienne's advice and use Truvia for now. 

P.S. No sleepwalking last night! Poor Hubby's on high alert. It kind of freaks him out when I sleepwalk. 

Happy Tuesday

Monday, September 26, 2011

Green Tea

In my pink pot.

I come from a long line of coffee drinkers. Growing up, my Dad would start the coffee pot at 6:00 in the morning and it was full all day. He would start with regular and switch to decaf at noon. At my wedding reception I saw my Dad in the parking lot standing by his car. I walked over in my giant white dress and asked him if anything was wrong. He laughed and said "Oh no, I just wanted some coffee and I brought my thermos. I'm also checking to see how the Dodger's are doing." In case you are wondering, yes, there was coffee served at our wedding.

So when I say I love coffee I mean it. I could drink it all day. Except for the fact that I've been sleepwalking for the last few weeks. Hubby said I've been sleepwalking a lot. One night I tried to get out the back door. Luckily we have 3 locks on that door as I only got 2 open and then gave up. One night I told him I was going to get a game ready for 5. Then Saturday night I walked into a doorframe and bruised or broke my pinky toe. I have no memory of most of these. I did wake up after the pinky toe situation.

So I am going to give up coffee for 6 weeks and see if my nightly antics subside. I've heard all the wonderful things green tea has to offer. (Wonderful things green tea has to offer)   Here's the teensy tiny problem. I don't love the taste of it. So I'm going to use stevia with it to give it a little sweetener. I have a stevia plant in my herb garden. This seems like a grey area to me. It's natural but is it good for you?

Happy Monday

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Joyeux Dimanche - Grenade

This weekend I'm house sitting for a friend. 
She told me to help myself to these juicy pomegranates ripe for picking. 

And I did.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Birthday Girl's Night

Birthday Girl's Night
Ice Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Cups On Top
Thanks Jen!!!

Happy Saturday

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweet Treats and Recipes

My friend, Jessie, had her sweets exchange this month. The theme was Fancy Schmancy. 

I made my Fanciest Schmanciest Dessert so far. Orange Flower Pavlovas With Strawberries. 

Her Momma made an apple pie with fresh apples from her tree.
There was no recipe, she just threw it together. 
It was the best apple pie I've ever had. 

Ingrid made these yummy Lace Cookies.

Lace Cookies

Yield: 20 sandwich cookies
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes


1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Splits or parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and oats. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, cream, cory syrup, and vanilla. Mix with the beater blade until smooth. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
4. Drop about 3/4 of a teaspoon of batter onto prepared baking sheets. Try to make the cookies all the same size. Place only 12 cookies on each sheet because the cookies will spread in the oven.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
6. Find 2 cookies that are about the same size. Spread one cookie with melted chocolate. Place other cookie on top. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Jessie made these lovely marshmallows dipped in chocolate. 

Chocolate covered coconut marshmallows: (She didn't make it with coconut)

a few chopped up 60% chocolate bars tempered for dipping
7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 recipe Homemade Marshmallow batter, recipe follows
Confectioners' sugar


Homemade Marshmallows:

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Very lightly oil a 9x13 non-metal pan. Sprinkle half the toasted coconut over the bottom. Scoop/spread in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with very lightly oiled hands. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut and press it in lightly. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. Dip each piece carefully in the tempered chocolate. Set dipped marshmallows on parchment-lined sheets until they are dry/set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Mary made these delightful Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies.

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

8 oz bitter sweet Chocolate, chopped
6 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract

1-Cookies: Heat oven to 350 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
2-in a medium bowl whisk together flour salt baking soda and baking powder
3-in large bowl blend sugars and butters until well blended,add peanut butter,add egg and vanilla, beat in flour mixture until just blended,Stir in peanut butter chips
4- Drop 8 (2 tbsp) balls of dough on cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart, press floured fork into tops to make cross hatch design and spread dough to about 3 inch rounds. Bake about 12 minutes until edges are brown. Let cool two minutes on cookie sheet then remove to rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and second sheet.
5-Filling: in a microwave safe bowl melt chocolate and butter for 1 minute whisk until smooth and add vanilla. Chill until filling is thick enough to spread
6-spread filling on the bottom of one cookie then press another on top to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.

I can't believe I didn't get a picture of Natasha's Chocolate Souffle! But she was nice enough to send her recipe. It was still warm from the oven with fresh whipped cream to top it off. And she gave everyone Tinkerbell cookie cutters. Love her.

Bistro Garden Chocolate Soufflé
5 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
4 drops vanilla
1 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 oz un-sweet chocolate melted
8 egg whites
Additional sugar
Powdered sugar
Sweetened whip cream
Beat egg yolks with ½ cup sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour until paste is formed.
Meanwhile, bring milk to a boil. Add egg mixture all at once. Bring again to a boil. Whisk quickly until paste is well incorporated and smooth. Continue to stir with wooden spoon until thick as light choux paste or pastry cream. Add melted chocolate and stir until blended. Cool.
Beat 3 egg whites with 1/3 of remaining sugar until frothy. Add 3 more egg whites and half of the remaining sugar. Continue beating. Add remaining egg whites and sugar. Beat till whites are stiff and shiny but not dry. Fold eggs into batter. Spoon into two 5 inch soufflé dishes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or for 1 hour for one larger soufflé.
Top with whip cream. Serve warm.

Tre Fantastique! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bubba Gumps And The Dancing Queen

Steamed Seafood

This weekend I was lucky enough to celebrate 3 birthdays. It started at a restaurant called Bubba Gumps. It's a family friendly, high energy restaurant that is based on the movie Forest Gump. I ordered the yummy steamed seafood. After eating the lobster claw and some of the crab legs I passed my plate over to Hubby, The Sgt. Major and my nephew Seth to polish off. I forgot to taste the Jasmine Rice but I'm sure it was good. We ordered some dessert to share and when our server brought it, he and 7 other servers sang a delightful birthday song to Grandma Dee and Tammy. It's a happy place with good food.

That night I went to a rollerskating rink for my beautiful friend Tina's birthday. It's been a long time since I was on skates. For the first 15 minutes I was desperately clutching my friend Chris's arm for fear of falling. Chris has his own skates and is obviously a pro. He talked me down and gently sent me on my way. I found my rhythm again and after an hour and a half of skating found myself grooving to Abba's Dancing Queen. It was definitely a moment that brought me back to my childhood.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Joyeux Dimanche

Shaboom sends us her post from the French Riviera:

Go on over to Dust Jacket Attic and see the lovely post on Luxury Macaron House LA DURÉE.

Dust Jacket Attic

Joyeux Dimanche!!

*photos from DustJacketAttic

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grilled Sausage

Hubby made this las night.

Grilled Sausage with a side of Dijon.
Rice and veggies.
A small onion from Grandma Dee's garden.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Smells

I was shopping at Sephora the other day when I tried this. It's supposed to have all of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. When I got pregnant I couldn't handle any perfume smell at all. This never went away. But for some reason I'm attracted to this sent. Especially the Vanilla and Blackberry. I think I have found my new smell for awhile.
What do you wear?

Happy Friday

P.S. No one is paying me for this, I just like it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

French Skinny Wish List-Oscar de la Renta

All Photos from

I want them all.  Oscar de la Renta's Spring 2012 line.

Of course, I need a place to wear them.

PTA meeting?

A girl can wish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How To Make Wild Rice Taste Good

Who needs the Farmer's Market when there's a Grandma Dee in my life?! I brought all this home from her garden on Sunday. 3 different kinds of tomatoes, those mystery chili peppers, gorgeous onions, basil flowers, and mint.

Just look at those onions! Now, what to do with it?

I bought this bag of Wild Rice on impulse one day. I had never had it and it looked really healthy.

You have to wash and drain the rice before you cook it. I decided to cook it with chicken stock instead of water to give it extra flavor.

At the very end I added frozen peas and corn. I tasted it. Hmmmm. It needed something else. 

Meanwhile I had been cooking some of Grandma Dee's tomatoes, onions and basil flowers with a little olive oil and garlic.

I added some of that on top. Mmmm much better. It still needed something else.
But what?

And then I remembered that the French throw an egg on almost anything. So that's what I did. The final  touch was some of the chili pepper flakes from Grandma Dee's mystery chili peppers.

This will be my new lunch for the next few days.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011


My beautiful friend, Tina, took me to a fantastic restaurant for my birthday. 
It's called Boa. 

We started out with 
Goat Cheese Baklava
Pistachios, Black Truffles, Frisee

Next we split a Chop Chop Salad.

Boa is known for there steaks so I ordered the Marinated Skirt Steak Frites

 This was our yummy dessert. 

Everything was incredibly perfect!

Happy Saturday

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Normandy Day Two

Shaboom sends us her update from France:

I went biking AGAIN today. Real biking. With a really swollen *ahem* area due to yesterday's activity. I call it SSS (squished squeak syndrome.)

I would have rather been doing this kind of biking like my friends (who are putting me up in their summer house.)

But instead I was further agitating my SSS by riding around checking out boring crap like nature and architecture.
Who needs that? If you can't buy it at Target, it has no value. Right?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Normandy Day One

Shaboom sends us her post from France:

I went biking in Normandy. Yeah. My butt's really sorry about that. 50 miles. I know that's not a lot for you athletes but for me ...well let's just say there was no tiki bar on the route. I mean, how am I supposed to motivate?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday Bash

Hubby gave me a Birthday Party.
He made the radishes with herb butter.
 The bread was drizzled with olive oil,  toasted in the broiler,  rubbed with a garlic clove, topped with cheese then put in the broiler again. 
Then he added a little freshly ground black pepper. 
Dinner was grilled steak, grilled vegetables and a wonderful potato salad he made that included blue cheese and bacon. 
My sister in law made me a chocolate cake. So yummy.

Tammy gave me this basket. It has all of my favorite things. 
White Balsamic Vinegar
A gorgeous Pepper Plant
Thai Curry Sauce
Garlic Olive Oil
And so many more yummy goodies.
There were even 2 artichokes!!!

I had an awesome day.

That night we sat outside and watched a lightning storm. 
This double rainbow appeared.

Now that's what I call a perfect ending to a really fun day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Portobello Mushroom Salad

This is such an amazing salad.
First I sauteed the Portobello Mushrooms in butter, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and white balsamic vinegar.
While the giant mushroom was sauteing, I cut up some Romaine, Tomato and Avocado, tossed it with olive oil and white vinegar. Goat cheese and capers add the final touch with the mushrooms fitting snugly on the side.

The mushrooms are an amazing stand in for meat. You'll never miss it.

Have an awesome Saturday.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banana Bread

Last night we had planned on having Split Pea Soup and a little salad for dinner. Hubby started the soup and I noticed the 4 giant bananas that were on their way out. I announced that I was going to make banana bread. Hubby thought this amusing since I've never made banana bread which only makes me want to do it more.
I found a recipe here. Luckily I had all the ingredients because I really don't know if I was motivated enough to make a special trip.
Neighbor Wife and Ballerina Girl came over and suddenly it was a party. There were forts being made, Legos everywhere and then the Banana Bread came out of the oven before the Pea Soup was done.
Butter was spread on the warm bread. Neighbor Wife requested the end pieces, the kids ate 2 slices, Hubby ate some and I had a slice. The Pea Soup was forgotten. It sits in our fridge for dinner tonight along with a few tiny slices of the delicious bread.

Happy Thursday