Artichokes, Hollandaise Sauce, and Fondue

I have been really excited to try out Julia Child’s recipe for artichokes and hollandaise sauce. I have never made hollandaise sauce from scratch before, I had only ever used a packet from the store. I will never every buy a packet that says it makes hollandaise sauce. Making from scratch is the way to go and it is ever so tasty. Really I have no idea what I was thinking when I used that packet, why had I not tried to make it, truthfully I think I was afraid I would mess it up and that I thought it would take forever to make. Reality it was quick and simple. Artichokes were only ever purchased in jars for salads. I really wanted to try making them. So they too were a purchase from Trader Joe’s, a nice 4 pack and looked really lovely. Boiled them like Julia suggested and they turned out great with one exception. The artichokes I picked were not very big so there was not very meaty. So next time bigger artichokes and not the baby ones. Which is good so now I learned this wonderful lesson of not to be afraid to try something new in the kitchen even.

I also made Swiss fondue to accompany our artichokes.  I love fondue, you might say I am an addict. While I know it’s not something I can have every week, I do so look forward to making it.  In my pictures you can see my latest fondue pot from Le Creuset. Currently I have five different fondue pots that I have acquired over the years. Which I love pulling out at holiday parties and special occasions. It is also one of my Mom’s favorite things to have when she visits. Friends and neighbors say they enjoy coming over for enjoy it at the parties as well. I think the draw is that it’s fun and unusual.


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Mushroom Ravioli

photoMade mushroom ravioli with a creamy mushroom sauce. Made a quick and easy caprese salad for the side.  This was not an all homemade meal but more a Semi-homemade one. While at Trader Joe’s I picked up some Mushroom and spinach premade ravioli. I wanted to try out the flavors before making homemade ravioli which I have made several times with my pasta machine. Admittedly it was rather tasty and think I will be making homemade more ravioli in the future. The sauce I made from scratch and altered a recipe I had found online. The caprese salad was made from fresh basil from my garden, mini heirloom tomatoes I found at Sprouts, little mozzarella balls and an aged balsamic vinegar I found at Trader Joes. Salad was fantastic as fresh herbs from the garden are always a delight. My mushroom sauce could go with any ravioli you have or even on chicken. It is light and very simple.


Mushroom sauce

10-12 oz of Mushrooms-I used cermini and brown, my family loves mushrooms

Splash of red wine-I used some that was in the fridge

Heavy cream-3.5 oz

Butter & olive oil

Slice mushrooms, sauté in a little bit of olive oil and two pat of butter. Add in splash of red wine while cooking. When mushroom are tender add heavy cream and cook down a bit. Toss in pasta and add Parmesan Cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Into the Kitchen and Finally Cooking

Typical luck would be that I get all set up to cook and then something happens. Realizing this is what real life is like for most. The thing we intend to do is not always what we end up doing. Two weeks ago I was ready to cook after dropping my daughter off at college. I had spent the day shopping at Trader Joe’s and Kroger. Then the following day I spent with a dear friend. We went for our morning walk, then went shopping for the day. Her air conditioner was out at home and I thought that perhaps a trip to the Mall, lunch and check out the new Sprouts grocery store were in order to keep cool. We had a lovely day and Sprouts was so overwhelming. Unfortunately that evening she got sick and I ended up taking her to the hospital. So while she was there I spent the rest of the week spending time with her at the hospital. Thankfully she got to come home but that meant I did not cook until Friday of that week. This past week I have been playing catch up around the house. Of course I am in the middle of my Fall Cleaning, that by no means is done overnight. I like to deep clean in the fall before I put up all my holiday decorations out. Now I am finally back into the kitchen and cooking again. I have a lot to post and there will be several post over the next couple of days as I catch up. Also look for my cookbook reviews post as well. I have been working on several new updates to the site and now how direct domain name registered for the site. You can now just go to to get to me. Yeah! I have also ordered business cards with my name and web address because I found out that several people were wanting cards after talking to them. Yes I have been a very busy girl.

Back Into the Kitchen I Go

Wow, I have not been on my blog in a while. I have to admit that this summer got away from me and this took a back seat. My daughter is now in college and settling in nicely, which now lends to more time for my cooking pursuit. So up this week I will blog several new recipes. Today I was at Trader Joe’s and bought artichokes. While I have never cooked them before, Julia Child has a recipe I have been wanting to try. Also because it is going into fall I will be attempting some new bread recipes. Have made a few loaves but never anything I can really say has stuck out in my mind as fantastic. So look for several blogs this week on all the new stuff I will be trying.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Today while talking with a friend she shared with me a new way to cook Cauliflower. In the past I have only ever had steamed or boiled, but never roasted. So for dinner I thought I would give it a try. Super simple and easy. She told me to toss with olive oil and bake in the oven. Tonight I realized she didn’t tell me for how long or what temperature. When I pulled the cauliflower bag out there was a recipe on the back, problem solved. To my family’s delight the loved it. Another success. Paired with Chicken Marsala.

32 oz bag of precut cauliflower
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In plastic bag put olive oil, garlic and cauliflower. Toss till well coated. Spread out mixture on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and peper. Cook for 20 minutes, half way through turn. Cook till golden. Remove from oven, and place in bowl. And Parmesan cheese and toss. Serve.


A Little Salad from the Garden

Summer is here and my garden is finally producing veggies. This year it’s small and has been a little slow. My whole reason for growing is tomatoes. I can not stand those things in the grocery store that produce guys says are tomatoes. To me tomatoes are those wonderful things you grow and have flavor. Best picked off the vine, washed off and eaten right then.

I had several tomatoes com of the vine and have been sitting on my counter to ripen up a little more. Today they were calling my name. I just had to have to have one or two. So this morning I was eating late so what to fix. I wanted something a little more than just tomatoes. Something heathy too. I came up this little salad.

1 small can canned chicken
2 medium garden tomatoes
4-6 artichoke hearts
1 avocado
1 small baby cucumber
Little bit of olive oil

Cut veggies, use fork to shred up chicken, and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

This is a very light salad that you could use tuna instead of chicken. I opted for chicken because I am not a fan of fish.


My salad with some of my garden tomatoes.

Super Easy Chicken with Creamy Penne

As an avid cookbook collector, I have tried to share my love with my daughter. When I have come across a cookbook that I think she will like I try to buy it for her. Amount her collection is a cookbook called “Just 10 Minutes” it was a small little book that had really simple fair that I thought she could make on her own at college. We have been getting her ready for her big move as of late, so we thought we would try another recipe that she could do. She picked this out and was my sous chef in the kitchen. I must admit it was simple and easy, but also very tasty. Very light considering it has cream in it. Husband liked it so much he asked it to be in the rotation of dinners. For the wine I used the Cupcake Vineyard’s Angel Food. Served with a Caesar salad and fresh Parmesan cheese.

7 oz Penne Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
4 tbsp dry white wine
5 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
Fresh chopped parsley for sprinkling

Cook pasta in large pot until tender, cook chicken separately in pan with heated olive oil. Pour wine over chicken and cook on high until almost evaporated. Drain pasta and add to chicken. Add peas and cream. Stir well and cover. Simmer for 2 minutes. Serve with sprinkled parsley.


Shrimp Scampi & Compound Butter

This week I made compound butter from the fresh herbs I collected in the garden. It was extremely easy to make. I took softened unsalted butter and combined with the herbs. The first was tarragon with salt and pepper. The second was chives, parsley, and rosemary. Simply softened the butter on the counter, chopped up the herbs and mix. I added salt and pepper to taste. Spread onto wax paper and refrigerated. Have used the butter on wonderful bread from the bakery as well as cooked vegetables. Very tasty.





Another night I made the Shrimp Scampi. It was Red Lobster’s copycat recipe. Super easy and quick. I used Cupcake Vineyard’s Angel Food wine for it. It’s nice and light tasting. Steamed up some broccoli to pair with it and served over angel hair pasta. The bread of course I used the compound butter. Again a hit with the family. Now I have made Shrimp Scampi before, but had not tried this recipe. This was first time I felt the sauce turned out well.


A crazy couple of weeks

So these last couple of weeks have been crazy and I had been meaning to post on here, but transferring pictures seemed like an issue from iPhone to iPad and then to WordPress. Today I had the 4th update on the iPad and looks like everything is back to working again.

May 22nd, 2014 was a Roasted Pork Tenderloin. Before I had only made in crock pot. On a friends recommendation I took the tenderloin, covered in olive oil and the wrapped fresh rosemary. It turned out rather nice. I served it with boiled potatoes with fresh parsley. Also fresh cut tomatoes with a tad of sour cream and chives. This was my quick simple dinner I made the night my daughter graduated high school.


Last week in May the family was all sick so I didn’t try anything new. Knowing their taste buds were off and not feeling all that adventurous. My garden however is growing well and seems to be flourishing.


Whoops, I mean tonight’s dinner

Tonight’s dinner was a nice French meal of Beef Bourguignon. Originally I had planned to use Julia Child’s recipe, but instead used Ina Garten’s. I must say that no matter the recipe it is time consuming to make and worth every minute.

After a quick stop off at the grocery store to pick up fresh cut bacon, mushrooms and garlic; a phone call, potted my new mint plant, I started dinner. Gathering most of the ingredient and prepping as I cooked. Finally get to the part of adding the cognac and lighting it. Recipe says to stand back, boy were they not kidding. Whoosh it went and me slightly panicking at how high the flame went. Thankfully not for long as it burned off, but it did have me a bit worried. Bottle of Cupcake Brand -Red Velvet added to the pot and bringing to a simmer. Oh man did the house smell fantastic. Into the oven it went to cook longer and the smells only got better. Husband came home and was roaming the kitchen waiting for it to be done. ( think he was a bit hungry). Dinner comes out and finishes on the stove. Then to serve it over a slice of toasted country mountain bread. My husband digs in and says that it is wonderful and should serve when his folks are here. I say that means eating it again next week. He was okay with that since it was so tasty.
I sit down and finally taste it,oh my goodness why in the world had I never tried to make this dish before. It was fantastic. In the end everyone was stuffed and happy another new recipe to add to my dinner line up. Here are some shots of dinner in process and the plating. Highly recommend Ina’s recipe for those looking to try something new.