Food · Holiday · Home · Travel

Breakfast prep for a weekend get away

The fun in a weekend get away is not having to work while you are getting away.  At the same time you want to eat and eat well so what is the answer to the question?  I have two favorite make ahead breakfast items that I make, freeze and take with me.  Both are perfect for the guest who gets up early and the guest who sleeps in late.

Sausage muffins:

Take one pound hot Italian sausage (either pork or chicken will do) and fry it until it is done.  In a separate bowl empty two jars of Kraft Old English cheese.  Scoop the done sausage hot from the pan and pour over the cheese.  Let the heat of the cooked sausage melt the cheese as you stir the two together to combine the sausage and the cheese into a spread.

Take one package of English muffins and slice each muffin in half.  On a cookie sheet spread the sausage and cheese topping on top of half of an English muffin.  Pop tray of muffins into freezer and wait to serve.  When you are ready to serve, pop the now frozen muffin into the microwave or the oven to heat until bubbly.  In the microwave eat for about 30 seconds.

Mini frittata:

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Dice onions, green pepper, and tomatoes and sauté them in olive oil in a fry pan. Do the same for prosciutto.  Set vegetables and prosciutto aside.  In a bowl add six eggs, salt, half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and several dashes of hot sauce.  Whisk together. Add in half a coup of grated cheddar cheese and whisk again.   In a cupcake  pan, preferably a silicon one, add the vegetables and meat into each cup then pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables.  The egg mixture should reach the top of each cup.  Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.  Once done let cool.  Pop each mini frittata out and place in a ziplock bag.  Microwave to reheat when ready to serve.

Exercise · Food · Travel

A Visit to Colonial Williamsburg

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Are you ready to take a trip back in time?  Colonial Williamsburg is the restoration of the town of Williamsburg, pre Revolution.  In other words, welcome to a living history museum set in the 18th century.  You literally take a trip back in time.  The buildings are restored and the docents are in period attire.  If you’ve not been, I can recommend you visit.

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I love visiting. Colonial Williamsburg operates multiple hotels on the property for visitors to enjoy.  My favorite is th Williamsburg Inn.  Every time I visit I feel like I’ve died and gone to pampering heaven.  The rooms are beautiful, the service designed to make you feel like a princess, even the Queen has stayed there.

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The Inn and the nearby Lodge are perfect for access to the historic area.  What better for exercise than a walk or run around the historic district? Merchant’s Square is a fun stop for shopping and eating.  The Cheese Shop is a must visit for a quick bite. The Fat Canary great for supper, although my personal favorite is the Blue Talon.

The Blue Talon restaurant is a French bistro within east walking distance to the Inn.  Their mac-n-cheese is to die for and the garden salad the perfect accompaniment.  The menu is replete with excellent choices and the wine menu is to die for.  Added fun are the replays of The French Chef, Julia Child’s tv program.  My favorite is that I can have a wonderful dinner and walk back to the Inn.  The Inn also has a wonderful breakfast.  Sunday brunch is legendary and don’t forget to grab a cocktail from the Restoration Bar or the patio bar, depending upon the weather.

No visit to CW would be complete without a visit to the spa. I always opt for a massage and leave time for the whirlpool and the steam room.

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CW offers so much from golf and tennis to museums to history to shopping.  There is something for everyone.

Food · Home · Organization

What’s for dinner? Kitchen Staples

 

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What do you keep in your pantry or kitchen?  I’ve been cleaning out closets and generally organizing things.  The kitchen is next on my list.  My cleaning binge sparked the question of what are my staples?  What are those items that are “go tos” for my kitchen?  Let me start with the fact that I cook.  Take out is a rare thing for me and while I love eating out, it tends to be a social occasion with friends for me.  This means that I cook dinner most nights, breakfast and sometimes even lunch.  My doctor is all for this.  She tells me to eat on the outside of the grocery.  By this she means fresh veggies, fresh meat and fish, avoid the frozen food section and go light on the canned goods.  Avoiding the canned goods may be the most difficult part.

So what are my kitchen staples?

Meat:  Chicken, chicken sausage, bacon, beef, pork chops, shrimp, salmon

Canned goods:  tuna, chicken stock, beef stock, green beans, tomatoes, beans of all types

Vegetables and fruits:  tomatoes, asparagus, lettuce, squash, apples, onions, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, broccolini

Frozen foods:  corn, mixed vegetables, broccoli

Add in butter, flour, eggs, milk, sugar and cheese and I can whip up something healthy in minimal time.  I tend to go for soups and stews that I can make up on Saturday or Sunday and eat on during the week.  I love rice, potatoes, and pasta but they only love my waistline so I limit them to twice a month.

Suggestions for a new soup or stew?

 

Food · Home

Rosa’s scrambled eggs ala Carol

New year, new recipe!  Scrambled eggs seem so basic don’t they?  Who knew there were so many different way’s to scramble an egg?  In the waning days of 2017, I learned a new quick and easy method to make light and fluffy scrambled eggs!

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Admission time, I rarely eat eggs for breakfast.  My preference for breakfast and corresponding appetite mean that I typically grab a breakfast bar or English muffin or half of grapefruit two or three hours after I’ve been up.  I’m just not one who wakes up wanting food.  I do, however, love breakfast so when I want to treat myself I do breakfast for dinner.  Eggs and bacon or sausage muffins or waffles or pancakes, now I’m just making myself hungry.  Breakfast for me means many dishes to wash so any steps I can take to enjoy a wonderful dish with little effort is a plus I’m happy to embrace.

Past favorites include making mini frittatas  in a silicone muffin pan and keeping them in the freezer or making extra waffles and toasting them when ready to eat.  This year I was inspired at a visit to a friend where I learned of Rosa’s microwave scrambled eggs. I’ve embellished the recipe slightly to add cheese and onion and be a bit more of an omelette type of scramble.

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Into a microwave dish add two eggs and a bit of lemon juice.  Beat up as if you were placing the eggs into a pan.  Place in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove and whisk or beat further and add salt, pepper, and onion.  Return to the microwave for an additional 30 seconds.  Remove and add cheese beating further and return to the microwave for a final 30 seconds.  Adjust the cooking time based on how done you like your eggs.  I like mine DONE so the final 30 seconds of cooking time is critical to making my eggs well done.

 

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Food · Travel

Project cheese soufflé

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My last trip to New York included visits to two of my favorite French restaurants.  I’ve long loved a butter lettuce salad with a smile vinaigrette.  On that trip I had the most delicious and simple butter lettuce salad with a sherry and shallot vinegarette.  This inspired me to attempt to make my own.  Salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, good olive oil and shallots thinly diced turned into a wonderful dressing for my salad.


Next up was the soufflé challenge.  I’ve made cheddar cheese soufflés for years to varying success.  The soufflé I had for lunch at Cognac sent me back to my kitchen determined to surpass the disappointing soufflé I’d made the last time.  It should be simple, right?  Separate your eggs, whip the whites, make a cheese sauce, fold the sauce into the stiff egg whites and bake.  Nothing to it?

Well, the last soufflé I’d made seemed to separate and left a ton of sauce at the bottom of the dish.  Not what I’d intended to serve.  So inspired by my visit, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I tried again.  This time success was in the air.  I think I’d add a bit more pepper and salt but, overall, the soufflé was a hit and tasty too!

Maybe one more experiment?  Next time, I’m going for individual souffle’ dishes for each person rather than one large to share.

Food · Gift Giving · Holiday · Travel

Christmas Markets in Prague

 

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Christmas Markets, to me, are a distinctly European thing.  For the last few years, I’ve begun my Christmas festivities with a trip to a Christmas market.  Last year I was fortunate enough to visit Prague for their markets.  What an amazing city!

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I stayed in a hotel near the Astronomical clock.  The Prague clock dates to the early 1400’s and is one of the oldest in the world.  Every hour as it chimes there is a show of figures of the apostles and other figures including death move in rotation.  The clock is beautiful and sits on a square with a wonderful market.  The street food was excellent with kabobs of chicken and peppers, cinamon and sugar spirals of dough, and these wonderful sticks of spiral sliced potatoes like chips freshly fried for your delight.  It was easy to make a meal while wandering around.  The castle grounds also held their own market.  I discovered the most beautiful blown glass at one of the booths there along with fun toys and more excellent food.

I’d not see the live animals at a Christmas market before.  I loved the stables with sheep, donkey, and cows for petting.  What a wonderful nod to the Christmas Story plus the animals were fun to pet.

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On the dessert side of things, I must mention the gingerbread and hot chocolate.  The ginger cookies were to die for but the hot chocolate was simply out of this world.  Imagine walking around the city for a couple of hours in 30 degree weather and deciding you need to warm up with a cup of something hot.  I spied Amorino’s which presented as a coffee, dessert, chocolate shop.  My hot chocolate was delicious.  It was thick to the point that a spoon could stand up by itself.  I “cut” the dense chocolate with a side serving of vanilla macaroons, also fabulous.  My cup was on the small side which was perfect as the chocolate was rich, thick, and oh so chocolatey.  Whipped creme would have been an excellent addition.  By the time I left, I was warm and full.

I wondered the streets for hours checking out local crafts and artisans.  I discovered delightful bells in the shape of Santa and beautiful glass.  From the church of St. Nicholas, to the Castle, to the Charles Bridge, to the Old Town, the city is easily walkable with something different to see on every street.

If you are in to high fashion, all the designer shops are there as well from Cartier, to Hermes, to Dior.  My favorite souvenirs were the glass balls I purchased from a vendor at the Castle market made by using a medieval process and the wooden flying plane from the Old Town market.  A few Santa bells also came home with me for friends and family.

All in all it was the perfect start to the season.  Lights, trees, concerts, and crafts.  What’s not to like?  I had such fun that I’m off to Christmas markets again, this time not in Prague but what will I find in my new markets?

 

 

 

 

 

Food

French Onion Soup

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I’m on a French cuisine kick these days.  Maybe it is in anticipation of an upcoming trip to Paris or maybe it is because I love French food.  I’m not certain which but I spent the day making onion soup.

Onions and bone broth make for a relatively low-calorie hearty soup option that makes a great supper for when I get home at night.  Easy to fix and filling, it is a perfect night-time meal option for me.  You might be thinking, how is french onion soup low calorie with all the bread and cheese?  I have my own special twist.  I use pecorino Romano shredded cheese and croutons.  It is a fraction of the cheese and bread you normally find used in onion soup and, yet, it gives you the taste you want.

Making the soup is a bit more than my traditional dump and run recipes so I tend to wait until I’ve got a kitchen project to make this recipe.

Slice six large onions and separate the rings

Melt butter in the bottom of a large stock pot until it foams, add the onion rings and coat.  Let cook on low until the rings are translucent.

Sprinkle with sugar, salt and thyme, bring to medium heat and cook until the onions are caramelized.

Add three tablespoons of flour  and one teaspoon dry mustard and cook for three minutes.

Stir in eight cups of bone broth, half a cup sherry and 3 teaspoons of lemon juice.  Cook for several hours.

Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Serve with croutons and pecorino Romano cheese.

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