June 28, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Macaroni Salad w/Avocado, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Happy Tuesday!!  June has flown by so quickly!  I can't believe that we're approaching Independence Day.  If I don't get to chat, visit, email or otherwise communicate with you this week - please have a happy, safe and fun 4th of July weekend!

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

 Macaroni Salad w/Avocado, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

1 BOX Elbow macaroni
2 Cups Plum Tomatoes, Diced
3 Cups Avocados, Diced
2 1/2 Cups Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Cubed
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, Torn
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, avocados, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let mixture marinate for 20-30 minutes. Cook elbows about 1 minute less than recommended package cooking time. Drain and pour onto a flat surface. Drizzle with a small amount of oil and let cool.  Add cooled pasta to ingredients in bowl; toss and serve

What's cooking in your kitchen?

June 25, 2010

Holy Cupcakes!

My mom is super sweet.  She was in Barnes & Noble yesterday, and knowing that I've been ogling it - bought me Martha's cupcake book.

Isn't she the best?!?!  Now I just have to wait for a cool enough day to actually make some of these lovely treats.  :-)

June 21, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Frozen Iced Tea

Happy Tuesday, ladies!  Summer has come fast and furious to New England.  Holy *hot* over the past week.  Has it felt like August in other parts of the country too?

Here's a little secret...I HATE hot tea.  Iced tea is completely different story.  LOVE IT!  And even better than that is frozen iced tea.  Great for a hot summer day.  :-)

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Frozen Iced Tea

4 cups orange sherbet
2 cups strong black tea, cooled

In blender, combine sorbet and tea and blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into 4 glasses.
*Courtesy of Good Housekeeping*

What's cooking in your kitchen?

June 17, 2010

I ♥ True Blood

True Blood is back.  HURRAY!!!  I've been anxiously awaiting it's return for months now...OK, fine.  I admit it, I've been counting down since January December November.

Now it's back and all is right with the world my summer viewing schedule.

Have you seen the Snoop Dogg video "Oh Sookie"?!?!  You have to watch it!

Did you know that Twitter will be hosting a "Drop of Blood" on Thursday nights?  A quick clip that didn't make it into an episode and HBO is kind enough to share!  Check it out here.
Did you watch last Sunday and really appreciate some of the lines or um...Eric's "scenery"?  Have any predictions you'd like to discuss?  I'm all ears!!  Discuss.  :-)

June 14, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Chicken Caprese Sandwiches

Happy Tuesday, ladies!  After my long weekend - it was awfully hard motivating myself to return to work Monday morning.  I wish I could tell you I did lots of fun and exciting things over my long weekend.  Unfortunately - that's not the case this time.  Instead, I spent quality time with my mom, aunts and grandmother. It was my grandmother's turn to be in the hospital (AGAIN, poor thing!!).  Four days, two hospitals and a pacemaker later...things are looking up!

Caprese salad is one of my favorite, but the sandwich version is pretty darn yummy too.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
2 small ciabatta loaves, cut in the middle
2 chicken breasts (cooked)
2 fresh mozzarella balls
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Cut your ciabatta in half; slice your mozzarella, chicken & tomatoes.  On both sides of your ciabatta bread, give a very light drizzle of olive oil.  Lay down a layer of fresh basil leaves, then tomatoes - followed by the chicken and finally your mozzarella.

Now that you have the base recipe, I have a few improvements for you:
1. Toast your ciabatta, then rub a garlic clove over the inside.  Very tasty!
2.  Assemble as normal and pull out your panini maker...or a skillet and foil wrapped brick. Toasty goodness!
3. Forgo the basil on the sandwich and use a quick pesto instead.  Recipe below.

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup olive oil

Dump into the food processor and whir until all ingredients come together.  Remember - this should be a bit on the chunky side...not emulsified!

What's cooking in your kitchen?

June 10, 2010

Momma Went to NYC - A Note From Beckett

Hi!  Beckett here.  Momma went to NYC last weekend and because I'm feeling attention deprived, she says I can tell you about it for her.

Momma's friend is getting married today, so she and her friends (aka other puppy & little human mommies) left last Friday for a bachelorette weekend.  I freaked out when she packed.  What?!  She should know she isn't allowed to leave me!!  So momma left Friday morning and had to stop to take her inhaler before she even got to cousin Kirstren's house.  Bad asthma!

The girls stopped for breakfast and a little shopping - where some of them bought matching shoes (Note from Cole: Seriously.  Buy one, get two free from the Bass Outlet!!  How cool is that?!?!), and arrived in Manhattan in the early afternoon.  Night one was dinner at a jazz club.  They had the small restaurant side of the club all to themselves and got absolutely spoiled by the bartender and two waiters.  These lovely men bought the table of nine ladies two rounds of shots and gifted the bride with some foil art.  In the shape of...um, male genetalia.  The guys get an "A" for their craft skills! (Cole: It's amazing what you can do with an apple, tin foil, hard boiled eggs and a paper towel roll *snicker*)  The rest of the girls went out to a few bars after that, but momma had to go back to the hotel and take care of her asthma.

Saturday morning the girls all wandered down to have breakfast in the diner next to the hotel.  (Cole: BTW, fantastic location!  Across the street from the Hell's Kitchen PD, two blocks from the Hudson River, and over all a great neighborhood.)  At that point, I made Grammy text momma that I was pouting and on a hunger strike...  In the afternoon, the girls got on a Circle Line boat and made the trip around the Statue of Liberty.  Such glorious weather.  Too bad momma came home burnt!

Saturday night the girls got all dressed up and brought the bride out for a "surprise".  Momma says that they went to Lucky Cheng's, and that I'm too little a boy for her to tell me what they do there.  But she linked it up for you, just in case you've never heard of them before.  I hear the bride was quite surprised!  Again, the other girls when out to other bars afterwards, but momma's asthma is persistant and she had to cab it back to the hotel.  Like a good momma, she waited up for all the girls to come home - and read a good book while she waited.

Sunday morning most of the girls had to sleep off their good time.  That gave momma, Kirstren and Heather a chance to get up and moving early.  They had breakfast and went to the Met to see the new Picasso exhibit.  (Cole: It sounds cheesy, but the Met was the highlight of the trip for me.  Very low-key; time with other people who really enjoy art; and it felt like "bonus" time that we weren't going to have.)  Then I made Grammy call and order momma to come home.  OK, fine.  I didn't yell at her.  But it was time for the girls to come home!  Despite having a huge-ass SUV (momma's words!), the 5 girls and their luggage barely crammed themselves in for the ride home. 

And to think, Meadow, Carmella and I didn't even get presents from momma when she got home.  What NERVE!

Barks & Kisses,

June 09, 2010

Update on Mom

Andrea just sent me a tweet asking how mom is...and it occurred to me that I really haven't shared too much about her lately.

Mom spent a full week in May in the hospital.  Multiple pulmonary embolisms, bronchitis and another low-grade infection later, she got to come home.  Unfortunately, she had to come home with oxygen.  She's still using it a bit...but her need for it diminishes more and more all the time.  In the meantime, she's using a spare bedroom downstairs because she isn't allowed to go up the stairs more than once a day, and she has to rest more often.  We're all watching her like a hawk! 

She's back on her chemo schedule, but the little hiatus she has to take and the decision to give smaller, more frequent doses means she won't be done until mid-August - about six weeks later than she had hoped.  It's a little bit of a bummer, but she knows it will be over soon enough...

Despite all that, she's doing really well!  She is very comfortable now showing her bald head out and about.  :-)  Of course, she had to buy dozens of hats before deciding she'd rather be bald than wear hats all the time! Ha!

Now, if we could just get my grandmother out of the hospital for more than a week at a time...life would be GOOD!!

June 07, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - S'Mores Cookie Bars

Happy Tuesday, ladies!!  Did you all have a good weekend?  I did!  A group of us went to NYC for a bachelorette weekend and had a blast. But more on that tomorrow.  :-)

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

S'mores during the summer...but in some parts of the country, it's just not warm enough for camping and fire pits yet.  This is a good alternative.

S'Mores Cookie Bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (1.55 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars
1 cup marshmallow creme

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.

2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Press half of dough into prepared pan.

3. Arrange chocolate bars over dough, breaking as needed to fit. Spread with marshmallow creme. Scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallow; carefully press to form a layer.

4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into 16 bars.
*Recipe found here*

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