Monkey Business

The New Year is upon us! We are very ready to turn the page and welcome a new year, new adventures and renewed spirit. We had a fabulous Christmas this year, well four Christmas celebrations, each just as special as the next. And now with the chaos of the holidays behind us, we’re winding down one of the best ways we know how – together. No work, no cleaning, no chores, no snoring mangoes. Santa was here

So with four Christmas celebrations you can imagine that we did some cooking and ate some delicious food. In fact, we ate a lot of delicious food. The celebrations kicked off at my grandparents’ in rural, central Illinois with some of Grandma’s blackberry cobbler. The next day we returned home to spend the evening with Mike’s family (aka Nana and Papa) and we brought along our Chilean Christmas cake.  Continue reading

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Journeys

Today I have Carolina In My Mind. 

If you haven’t figured out by now, I listen to lots of music. I listen to music when I work, when I run or do yoga, in the car, on the train and when I just need to relax. It’s rubbed off on Miss A too. She sings constantly, and I do mean constantly. She sings everything from Adele to Ozzy Osbourne. I’m fairly certain she knows the words to more popular music than she does children songs (and she knows lots of those too).

Music for me defines certain moments in my life, represents different journeys and is often a direct extension of many of my inner most thoughts and feelings. Recently, Mike and I were able to venture on a little journey of our own. While the kids were off having a great time with Nana and Papa, Mike and I took a mid-week road trip to North Carolina.

Neither of us had ever stayed in the tar heel state before, and we were both looking forward to the drive and the destination. As we ambled our way around North Carolina we came across an area where we could access the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2,184 miles extending from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. It passes through 14 different states and has been on my list of things to do since I was 18. While not hiking the AT on this particular trip, just standing on it gave me quite a thrill.

Eventually Mike and I wound up in Asheville, North Carolina at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. One glance at the menu and we knew we picked the perfect spot. While nearly everything on the menu looked fantastic, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the Rosemary Peach Lemonade. Rosemary in lemonade? I knew I had to give it a try and after one sip, I was blown away. The flavors are intense – peaches, lemons and of course, rosemary which brought such a refreshing crispness to the perfect summer drink. It instantly got my wheels spinning…how could I make this at home? I mean now that I had experienced this drink I knew I couldn’t wait until our next trip to North Carolina, especially not knowing when that would be!

Fortunately, in scanning my Cooking Light issue for the month of June I came across a recipe for Peach Lemonade. I took this as a sign, so today we bring you our first recipe from North Carolina, a nod to the Tupelo Honey Cafe, Rosemary Peach Lemonade. We started by making a simple syrup infused with rosemary.  Continue reading

All Fired Up

Tonight we wrap up our adventure with the official recipes from Greenland. We do however have one more Greenlandic inspired dish coming your way, but I promise it will not involve halibut or a casserole. As for tonight’s recipe, well it’s one I had a sneaking suspicion we would enjoy – Mike and I anyway. This one is not for the kids.

You see tonight is the blog’s first “grown-up drink” recipe and who knew it would come from Greenland! Now you’ve probably heard of Irish Coffee, Mexican Coffee and Calypso Coffee, but have you heard of Greenlandic Coffee? Well, we had not until this little cooking adventure, but it will be a part of our repertoire from here on out.  Continue reading

Ecuador!

This post’s title is dedicated to Charles at Five Euro Food who posted a link to this video in his comments on our Ecuadorian beans. Since then, I cannot say the word “Ecuador” without yelling it in my head (or out loud) just like in the song. Fortunately it makes me laugh every time too, so I’m not annoyed…yet. But I’ll give you fair warning, if you listen to the song you will never hear the word Ecuador the same way again. Ever.

In addition to our bean stew on Sunday, we also made a wonderful fruit dish. This recipe is again adapted from Laylita’s Recipes and would be wonderful on a hot summer day. We also thought it would be a great complement to our hearty and spicy beans. (Translation – just in case I hated the beans, I needed something to fall back on!)

The dish is called Come y Bebe, or Eat and Drink. It’s a brilliant concept for a fruit salad. It’s basically an Ecuadorian drinkable fruit salad with a name that the kids loved to say! Especially Miss A who loves all things “baby,” never mind it didn’t mean that kind of baby. Continue reading

Aloha! Our Epic Cooking Journey to Hawaii

Last week Mr. N took us to Indiana for our  mid-week stateside adventure. This week it was Miss A’s turn and she went for a more exotic destination - Hawaii! She’s been quite fascinated with the state after learning that mom, dad and Mr. N were there before she was born and that we’re trying to plan for a trip there again next year (fingers crossed!). The first choices for our dinner were obvious – a Tropical Fruit Salad and the nonalcoholic version of the Lava Flow. Mr. N and I indulged quite frequently in this delicious little drink on our last trip to the Big Island, and he was very excited to try them at home. As for our main course, after a little digging through internet recipes we decided to try the Manapua. Coincidentally the manapua recipe was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the Chinese – so it’s a good fit for our international theme this week too.  Continue reading