Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is here.. and I'm almost ready

I'd like to start by apologizing it's been so long since I've posted anything. Life tends to get in the way. :) My sister, Krissy, got married over the weekend to my husband's best friend. Saturday that cold front moved into South Florida and it rained most of the day until 3:30. The weather cleared up just in time for the ceremony. YAY, perfect timing! :) Their wedding turned out absolutely beautiful. (Stay tuned for pictures and details.) Finally, I have time to write some new posts.

As many of you know, I have been making jam and other goodies all year. My jams and sauces are all labeled and ready for gifting. Some of my techniques and recipes come from the amazing advice of Marisa over at On her facebook page, she reviewed a jam jar tutorial at This is the template I used for my jam labels. Check out the fruits of my labor--

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Nations Capital

Wow, it's been forever since I've posted. We travel often during the summer months. Justin and I were in Washington D.C. last week visiting family. I was thankful that it was overcast most of the time. It helped cool off the streets of D.C. We had a great time. My sister-in-law, Brittany, took us to some delicious restaurant's like Matchbox, Sonoma, and Zaytinya. We checked out the Holocaust museum (which is depressing), Air and Space, and the Natural History. My dad and his wife came to visit and we wondered around the National Mall.

We knew Virginia has wineries??? And they have an Annual Virginia Wine Festival. I never knew. We drove out of the city one day and checked out Pearmund Cellars. We tried some great wines and sat on the back deck and drank a bottle. I personally enjoyed the Cabernet and the Riesling. Check them out at /

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back to Reality

We are back from my birthday vacation. We had such a great time. Lots and Lots of wine tastings and exploration the finger lakes region of New York. If you haven't been to this area of New York, you should definitely check it out. It's beautiful and the people are very friendly. Special Thanks to my New York family for the hospitality and our boston friends for coming to spend the weekend with us.
On my birthday night, Justin took me to this little gourmet cafe at Red Newt Vineyards. It was the perfect setting for a quiet, romantic dinner. The food was excellent. For dessert, I had a slice of blueberry lemon cheesecake. It was heavenly.
We bought a bottle of Hermann J. Weimer 2005 Pinot Noir. It had flavors of bing cherry, touches of vanilla and earthy notes with a smooth, long finish. Very yummy. Unfortunately, we did not make it to Hermann J. Weimer's Vineyard.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Off to wine, dine, and birthday time

Bright and Early, Wednesday morning, Justin and I are flying out to the Finger Lakes in New York. We are headed out to see our New York family, attend the finger lakes wine festival, hang with our very good friends from Boston, and R.E.L.A.X. I am so excited I'm having trouble sleeping. LOL.. I love vacation time. Check out some pictures from our last trip to New York.

This is where we are staying... Jen and David's cabin

Gorgeous views from the cabin on Seneca Lake
Hiking at Watkins Glen

We will be attending the Finger Lakes Wine Festival. Here's the link to check it out: We are going to bring back lots of wine. =) Back in a few days. Ciao!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Getting Crafty - Part Three

A couple weeks ago, Jen and I had another half day of crafting. We didn't make as much as usual but had some fun and checked some projects off the crafting project list. That week we made another round of Homemade ketchup (yum), homemade mozzarella cheese, chai tea, preserved lemons, and hazelnut chocolate sauce for ice cream. Also, we made some new body products to try including: eggyolk hair conditioner, coffee body scrub and soy milk face cleanser. (Sorry about the poor picture above, it's the only one I have from that day)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Delicious Summer Salad

My sister, Krissy, and I made the most delicious summer salad. We took most the veggies from my fridge and created this colorful and vibrant salad. I love to make salads like this. Usually I call them my "vegetable drawer" or "kitchen sink" salads because I literally put everything I have in refrigerator in the salad bowl. The salads always come out delicious. This particular salad has fresh spinach, baby greens, vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced ripe avocados, boiled eggs, and walnuts. We dressed the salad with Annie's Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

May 11th Share

Our first share in May was full of colorful and delicious organic fruits and vegetables.  The share included cauliflower, bi-color Florida corn, baby artichokes, spring mix lettuce, cucumbers, eggplant, peaches, cantaloupe, brocolini, yellow squash, mango, strawberries, and bananas. Also, we did the $10 add-on for Heirloom Tomatoes. Yum.. They were sweet and perfectly ripe. I just love heirloom tomatoes.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting Crafty -- Part Duo

Mother's Day weekend was another long weekend of crafts. While the men did some gardening, the girls did some serious creating. We made another round of beauty products including: Chocolate Brownie Lip Gloss, Hemp & Lemongrass Soap, Clove Soap, Bath Bombs, Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub and Eye Makeup Remover. The Eye Makeup Remover is awesome. I didn't realize how effective it would be. 
(12 completed projects)

We made some jams including: Kiwi-Lime Jam, Strawberry Spice Jam (my favorite), and Blackberry-Apple Jam. We made the Chai recipe from the Jam it, Pickle It, Cure it book. The Kiwi-Lime Jam is pretty while it is cooking.

The most amount of work was when we made Salsa Fiesta and Homemade Tomato Sauce. Oh Man, Oh Man, peeling 40 LBS!! of tomatoes was quite the chore. Not sure if we will do that again this year. However the Salsa and the sauce came out delicious. Check out the stack of tomatoes we peeled, seeded and chopped, & the rest of the pictures.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

April 27th Share

The share we received on April 27th was full of fixings for a Mediterranean  or Greek meals. We received Pineapples, Bananas, Apples, Blood oranges, kiwis, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Avocado's, Blueberries, Fava beans, Rainbow Chard, Arugula, Raspberries, Lemons and Garlic. Yum... I made the most delicious meal with Rainbow Chard and Fava Beans.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ginger-Braised Bok Choy

Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage, which has a delicate flavors. This cabbage is featured in all sorts of Asian dishes from appetizers to soups to Stir-Fry's. Bok Choy is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and it is super low in calories. Look how pretty this delicate cabbage is.

Ginger-Braised Bok Choy
Adapted from Food to Live By

5 heads, baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon of grated peeled ginger
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and the bok choy. Cook for 1 minute.
Drain the bok choy in a colander and pat it dry with a towel
Heat the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bok choy, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook.
Stir occasionally until the bok choy is crisp-tender and lightly browned on both sides (5-7 minutes)
Lightly drizzle Teriyaki sauce over the bok choy and serve immediately.

**I used the recipe below for the Teriyaki sauce.**

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Better than store bought Teriyaki Sauce

As promised the homemade Teriyaki sauce that I made to go with the Shrimp-Daikon Fritters. This recipe doesn't even come close to commerical teriyaki sauce. It's so easy to make. I will never buy Teriyaki sauce again. I used an empty soy sauce bottle to store it -- Just make sure you label & date the bottled sauce.

Teriyaki Sauce
adapted from Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook (Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbk)Food to Live By by Myra Goodman

1 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of pineapple juice (no sugar added)
1/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, the reduce the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until thickens and reduces. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 8 ounces.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Shrimp-Daikon Fritters

Daikon is a type of Asian radish that looks like a large white carrot. It's commonly used in many Asian dishes, it is the main ingredient in these daikon fritters. We received these radishes in one of our Annie's Organic Shares. After doing some research, here's the recipe I came up with. It's an adaptation from the Nook and Pantry Blog.

Shrimp-Daikon Fritters

About 3 cups of grated daikon (about 1.5 pounds)
1 TBL salt
3/4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cooked shrimp, chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 egg beaten
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Mix grated daikon with tablespoon of salt in a colander. Let the mixture sit with a heavy pot pressed on top for about 30-40 minutes.

Sautee shiitakes until fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Let cool and chop.

After 30-40 minutes, squeeze the water out of the daikon with your hands. You want most of the moisture out of the shredded daikon.

Mix the daikon with chopped green onion, egg, flour, sesame oil, and white pepper. Make 8-10 fritters with your hands.

Completely cover the fritters with panko bread crumbs.

Heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pan fry the fritter until they are golden brown on both sides.

Serve Hot with soy sauce or Teriyaki  Sauce

(Stay Tuned for the Homemade Teriyaki Recipe)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

April 12th Share

During Tax week, we received a great organic produce share. This share gave us the staples we needed to get through a rough week for me. The organics we received included: Strawberries, Mangoes, Pears, Grapefruit, Baby Carrots, Celery, Romaine Lettuce, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Squash, and much more.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting Crafty (Part One)

Ok so that was quite the productive weekend. Jen (my gourmet & crafty sister in law) and I had planned on just making strawberry jam last weekend. Well 1 project turned into 14 projects. lol.. It was fun. Most of the recipes came from the following books: Ecobeauty, Organic Beauty, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, Well-Preserved, & Preserving the Harvest. Check out the picture below.

Drum-roll please... We made 3 kinds of strawberry jam: Strawberry Jalapeno, Strawberry Blackberry, and Strawberry Orange; 2 kinds of homemade ketchup (which is amazing); Baby food Dog Biscuits; Cranberry Vinegar; Chocolate Massage Bars; Brown Sugar Lip Exfoliator; Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub; Healing and Moisturizing Lip Balm; Oats and Honey Soap; and Beeswax Soap.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mmmm.. Homemade Pizza

One of my homemade favorites is Pizza. Pizza at home is so yummy, easy, and affordable.  You don't have to have a stone oven or even a pizza stone. Although, a pizza stone is a great investment. I love ours, it was $25 and makes the pizza crust crisp and crunchy. When I make pizza for dinner for 4 persons or more, one of pizzas goes on the stone while the other goes on a regular baking sheet. Both ways are delicious and satisfying.

Usually I just buy pizza dough from our local grocery store in the bakery section. I've attempted to make the dough over the years and it never turns out well.

Pizza Ingredients

- Olive Oil
- Cornmeal
- Bakery Section Dough (for the pizza stone)
- Refrigerator Pilsbury Pizza dough (for the baking sheet)
- Favorite Tomato sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Goat Cheese
- Ball of Mozzarella Cheese
- Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Broccoli florets
- Shallots, thinly sliced
- Pepperoni, thinly sliced
- Pineapple, crushed or canned
- Chopped fresh Basil
- Pesto
- Grated Parmesan
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Truffle Oil

Ingredients are completely subjective and vary by preference. You can do any variety that suits your taste buds.


Pizza Stone Pizza: Caramelized Veggie and Goat Cheese

1. Place pizza stone on the lower rack of your oven. Preheat oven to 450' for 45-60 minutes.
2. Let the dough sit out at room temperature
3. Saute (or Roast) the mushrooms, broccoli, and shallots until caramelized
4. Place pineapple in colander and put a heavy pot on it, to squeeze the liquid out of the pineapple
5. Flatten dough out with your hands on a slightly floured surface. Starting at the center and working outwards until the desired diameter - 10-12 inches
6. Sprinkle corn meal onto preheated pizza stone and place dough onto the pizza stone
7. Brush the dough with olive oil
8. Spread pesto and tomato sauce on the dough
9. Layer the toppings: veggies, pineapple, pepperoni, and basil
10. Crumble the goat cheese and fresh mozzarella on the top
11. Bake in oven for 15-20, until the crust is golden brown
12. Lightly sprinkle about a tablespoon of truffle oil

Baking Pan Pizza: Hawaiian

1. Grease the baking sheet with olive oil and place the refrigerator dough on it
2. Spread pizza sauce on to the dough
3. Put the pineapple and pepperoni on to the dough
4. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella
5. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes until crust is golden brown

Serve hot and with grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes

Monday, April 12, 2010

March 30th Share

On March 30th, I picked up our organic produce share to make colorful Easter dishes and fresh salads. Our box included: 2 pineapples, pears, fair-trade bananas, strawberries, oranges, mangoes, lemons, apples, asparagus, scallions, yellow cherry tomatoes (YUM), spinach, avocados, cucumber, and zucchini.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cain Concept - Library Edition

The 2000 Cain Concept Library Edition is a real treat. The Cain Concept is based on the classic blenchland Cabernet Sauvignon that made Napa Valley famous. The Concept is a blend on Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. This combination of flavors develop into a complex bouquet and a refined, rich and balanced finish. The Library Edition was bottled without filtration.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Organic Produce Pick-up

On March 15th, we picked a most mouth-watering organic fruits and vegetable box. This box was very fruit heavy, but delicious. We received Florida strawberries, blueberries, Kent mangos, Fair-trade bananas, tangelos, carrots, sweet potatoes, plum tomatoes, pineapples, spring mix, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Also, received Swiss Chard, which I included in the Winter Minestrone.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Broccoli Crunch Salad

A couple of years ago, My brother and sister in law first made this salad for a family event, and I became completely addicted. Every bite is delightful and satisfying. Heidi Swanson from out did herself again. This dish can be made anytime of year and goes along with any meal or potluck.

Broccoli Crunch Salad Recipe
Adapted from Heidi Swanson at

4 cups fresh broccoli florets
Salad Dressing:
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water

2-3 small crisp apples, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 shallots
2 tablespoones of chopped chives

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli just long enough to take the raw edge off - 20 seconds. Drain and spin the broccoli in a salad spinner to get the water off or few good shakes against the sink in a strainer. Set in refridgerator to cool

Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium hear. Add shallots and stir every few minutes for about 15 minutes until they get them dark and carmelized. (Do Not Burn) Remove from skillet and slide onto a paper towel to drain and cool.

Make the dressing by sprinkling the salt over the clove of garlic and smashing the two in to a paste. In a measuring cup whisk the salty garlic paste with the almond butter, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add the hot water and whisk until light and creamy. Taste to preference and set aside. ( I like to make this ahead and let the flavors meld together)

In a large bowl gently toss the broccoli, apples, shallots and walnuts with a generous drizzle of the dressing. Sprinkle with chives and serve family style.

Serves 4-6.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Delicious Portugal White Wine

Broadbent Vinho Verde is a traditional vinho verdo whose grapes are grown in the following regions within the Vinho Verde appelation: Braga, Barcelos and Guimãraes. This Vinho Verde is a non-vintage wine that should and can be consumed immediately. It has screw top and is inexpensive (approx. $10.00/bottle), which is perfect for taking to the beach on these beautiful south Florida days. It has a slight sparkly taste that is light and sweet in flavour.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

February Wine Pairing Dinner at Secrets Wine Dinner

Last month's Wine Pairing Dinner was a Gourmet Festival. Chef Joe always surprises us with his culinary skills. The food was straight off a French Bistro's Menu paired some unique wines from around the world.

First Course
Champalou Vouvray Sec 2007

Bouquet and Palate: A fetching nose of quince, orange, lime, narcissus, freesia, sweet corn, and green tea ushers in a luscious yet remarkably delicate palate, with a perfectly judged hint of sweetness (this is what locals call sec tendre) supporting pear, quince, and citrus. Savory salinity, a hint of caramel, chalk, and citrus zest as well as a suggestion of vanilla cream inform an ear-to-ear finish of lift and refinement.
Rating: Wine Advocate 90 points

Food Pairing: Lobster & Artichoke Bisque with Black Truffle Pate Choux Crisps: Classic Lobster Bisque  with fresh lobster and artichoke garnish

Second Course
Domaine De Reuilly Pinot Noir 2007

Bouquet and Palate: Crimson color, with an entry that is soft and racy. The wine shows delicate tannins, without being the least aggressive style Pinot Noir. It is a wine which is easy to drink and complements a wide variety of food.
Winery: Domaine de Reuilly is situated in AOC Reuilly, a 170 hectare vineyard in the centre of France, close to appellation Sancerre. The vineyard of Domaine de Reuilly extends across 15 hectares comprising the following grape varieties: 10 ha of Sauvignon, 4 ha of Pinot Noir and 1 ha of Pinot Gris.

Food Pairing: Partridge Cassoulet: A classic south of France white bean stew prepared with sausage, chicken, and fresh vegetables

Third Course

De Martino Legado Carmenere 2007

Bouquet and Palate: Legado Carmenère has an intense aroma of ripe red fruit and black pepper. On the palate the wine is full withwell-integrated tannins, balanced acidity, and a pleasant touch of oak.

Winemaking: De Martino was the first winery in Chile to bottle Carmenère as a single varietal. The fruit comes from their estate vineyards in Isla de Maipo. Here the soil is rich in sand, clay, and gravel providing excellent drainage and poor fertility. The struggle of the vines naturally controls the growth and gives the wine good intensity. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks followed by 12 months of aging in French oak barrels.

Food Pairing: Steak Tartare with Gaufrette Potatoes: Diced Raw Filet Mignon with Dijon capers and red onions. Accompanied with fresh cute waffle fries

Fourth Course

Some Young Punks "Drink & Stick 2007" (Matero & Syrah Blend)

Bouquet and Palate: Red scarlet color and earthy aromas, with cherry and plum, a tad spice, cinammon, pepper and sangria. A frolic of toothsome dark berries on the animated palate, strawberry and black currant, refreshed by light and exhilarating acids. This is a complex wine with full integration between vibrant fruit and subdued oak, immediately ready to enjoy and immensely suited to good food.
Winemaking: A slightly larger proportion of Mourvedre grown to good vineyards on the Fleurieu Peninsula with Shiraz from the McLaren Vale, a limited production of 1723 cases.

Food Pairing: Asparagus Risotto with Duck Confit & Taragon Nage: Slow-roasted duck over a creamy, classic Asparagus Risotto with a delicious Taragon Nage
Fifth Course
Brix Sweet Pinot Grigio
Bouquet and Palate: Brix is a term used to describe the level of residual sugar in a wine. This California Pinot Grigio has a high Brix content that makes the style much sweeter than your typical Pinot Grigio. It is a great substitute for higher priced dessert wines.

Food Pairing: Creme Brulee & Linzertorte