Going Greek

Happy New Year! Today’s post will be brief, but delicious! It’s our first recipe of the year, and it’s also our last before the big adventureContinue reading

Counterbalance

Pies, pies, pies. So many pies this month. That’s okay. It is a month for feasting festivities. Still, I figured I’d counterbalance the caloric overload with a beautiful veggie dish. (Yes mom! I used beautiful to describe a vegetable – and a green one at that!) Continue reading

Perspectives

While the emperor ate his pancake bits, on the other side of the tracks, the peasants were tossing together cabbage and bacon.  Continue reading

Happy Endings

Well, is it just me or did this past summer just fly by? Every year they get faster and faster. Well, as you know we ended our summer with a little country getaway. We rented a farm-house in Michigan for a week with the kids and just spent some quality time with absolutely no distractions (except for a few bee stings – poor Mike!). farm house

Thankfully Mike is not allergic to bees and recovered just fine; albeit rather annoyed. Aside from those two little incidents, the trip was utterly blissful. The kids were happy the whole time (no meltdowns or plate turnings) and they were inseparable. From morning until night, they were attached at the hip, playing and laughing. campfire

We did lots of cooking, ate every meal outside, read books, made crafts and even got to pick our own peaches. peach orchard

I’m not joking when I say that Miss A ate at least five peaches while we were in the orchard. peach picking

Somehow we still ended up taking home one whole bucket of fresh Michigan peaches. So as you can imagine, our next few recipes will be down right peachy. peach wagons

The farm house was exactly what we needed. It was peaceful and felt like home the second we walked through the doors. country home

It wasn’t extravagant by any means, but it was homey, clean, private and surrounded by grape vines. grape vines

And it was only a short 30-minute drive to sunsets on the beach. beach sunset

As simple as it was, we all agreed that it was one of our best family vacations. We all felt happy, connected and most of all rested. sunflowers

There’s not a whole lot to report back other than we spent a lot of quiet mornings in our upstairs sitting room overlooking the countryside. Then we’d make our way down to the kitchen area where the kids and Mike would read and craft while I cooked something up. I don’t think we were ever dressed or out of the house before noon! quiet mornings

Our days were lazy and spontaneous and then we’d head for some quiet nights either on the beach…sunset beach time

sunset girl

or back at the farm. country sunset

One evening, we sat around the campfire. Mr. N and Miss A were roasting marshmallows and Mike and I were sipping wine. The discussion turned to what a great trip it had been and that we should definitely visit the farm again. Then Miss A, usually not one for serious conversations, sighed and said, “Yes. This was like a happy ending for summer.”

Indeed it was. It was then just a few days later that I was snapping the first day of school pictures. Mr. N school day

It’s always the first day of school pictures that reflect back to me how much they are growing up and changing. First day of school

While the end of summer is always bittersweet for the kids, it was especially so for us parents too. Miss A is now a kindergartener, which means a full day of school five days a week. In other words, our house is suddenly very, very quiet. Since this was the first day of “real” school for Miss A, we weren’t sure how she would handle the separation. She had cried a few days beforehand, but otherwise was staying her tough little self. As the bus approached, we said our goodbyes and gave out our hugs. I was using every ounce of self-control to keep those tears locked away behind my sunglasses. I was standing behind Miss A, when she looked at Mike slightly panicked and said, “Where’s mommy?”

Just then, Mr. N walked up alongside of his little sister, took her by the hand and happily said, “Come on, Miss A.” boarding the bus

She looked up at her big brother and smiled. They boarded the bus and didn’t look back until they were in their seats, smiling and waving. As the bus turned away, the dam burst and my tears were flowing. Fortunately, I’m in good company and several of us moms were able to cry, laugh and hug our way through the walk home.

Miss A was right – that vacation was definitely a happy ending, but I also think that this is a new happy beginning. It’s definitely a new stage of life for us. For the past nine years, Mike and I have juggled our schedules both working from home and our offices. We’ve managed through the chaos and the stress to be stay-at-home parents as much as possible. Mike would stay home some days, I would stay home others, we’d work nights and sometimes weekends, trading off work and at home time, while trying to find a balance for quality family time when we could all be together. It wasn’t easy. And it’s the strangest feeling to look up, nine years later and think that those days are behind us. happy endings

While I very much miss my little buddies, I can’t help but think about all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead for all of us – and I’m excited. Even with only one week of this new life under our belts, I can already see that this next stage, might be just as fun as the last – particularly if this vacation was any indication. sunny side up

So since I’m feeling all happy and sunny, I figured we’d kick off our Michigan recipe series with some bright and sunny foods. This first recipe, is hardly a recipe at all. We obviously had a lot of peaches on-hand, so we used what we had in our little kitchen to whip up a fresh Peach Salsa. peach salsa

We used peaches, tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, honey, cherry balsamic vinegar and salt for seasoning. We first served our salsa as a side with tortilla chips. Miss A was not a big fan of the salsa due to the jalapeno. This was only a 2 spooner for her. Mike enjoyed the fresh peaches with his chips. It was a good blend of salty and sweet. salty and sweet

Mr. N and I enjoyed our peach salsa with the chips, but our favorite way to serve it was with a sunny side up egg on toast. peach salsa and eggs

Mike, Mr. N and I all gave the salsa 3 spoons. It was fast, fresh and was a simple balance of sweet and spicy. Print this recipe: Peach Salsa

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. We read them while we were away and always enjoy them. We read many of them to the kids and they enjoy following along as well. They know many of you by name, and will often ask which one of you provided the new recipe at our table (as many of your recipes are served at various meals). I promise I’ll get back to commenting soon, I just have a few projects that I’ve been sitting on for quite some time that I’m ready to move forward on; and of course, we’re still working out our new school time routines. Please know that I’m hovering in the background printing many of your recipes and that I’ll be popping in and out as I can as we try to find our new balance.

We’ll be back soon with a few bread recipes. Yes – I’ve actually made some bread! And the best part, it’s edible! Until then, here’s a flashback that happens to be another great use for peaches. We made this in Michigan too, and needless to say, Miss A devoured this one. 🙂Georgia peach cobbler

A Devil of a Good Time

Hi everyone! As we mentioned in our last post we were preparing for some fun. Well, this week we are off to our neighbor to the North to meet some new friends and enjoy some family time. Yep, it’s another road trip; although not quite as epic as the one a few years ago that took us to many of the same places. little devils

So while we are away, you’ll forgive us for not checking in on many of your wonderful blogs. We’re going to unplug for a short time and recharge. We’ll be back next week with another French recipe and hopefully some great vacation stories to share. Lobster Devils

Until then, we thought we’d share this little non-recipe of a recipe with you. It was a HUGE hit in our house and it just happens to involve lobster which is reminiscent of that trip a few years back. Just search “lobster” on our site and you’ll see what we mean. deviled eggs

We took a basic deviled egg recipe – hard-boiled eggs, add the yolks to a bowl, and mix them with Dijon and mayo. This time we then added a bit of dill, some Champagne vinegar, diced shallots, and of course some chopped up lobster. (We had claws on-hand after a tasty special at Costco.) The measurements on today’s recipes are approximates. You can easily adapt this to your own taste preferences. lobster deviled eggs

Once the mixture was added back into the egg whites, we topped them with a pinch of truffle salt, some chives and a sprinkling of paprika (regular, not smoked, as we didn’t want to diminish the taste of the lobster). Now you can see why these were such a hit. Lobster Deviled Eggs with Truffle Salt

Mike and I both gave them 4 spoons. Hands-down. No questions. Miss A gave them 100 spoons. I have never seen her eat so much of a non-dessert food in my life. I’m not kidding. She put these little devils (pun intended) away! But Mr. N, he insists on saying they were 3-1/2 spoons….despite also devouring them and fighting with his sister over the last one. Hmmm. I’ve determined his vote is due to either not wanting to appear as a conformist, or that it wasn’t dessert and therefore doesn’t deserve a 4 spoon vote. IMG_7151

What I’m trying to say, is that you may as well consider this one of the rare 4-spoon all-a-rounders. Now do you think I should add it to our index page for four spoon dishes. Hmm…

I’ll ponder that while we’re away. Enjoy your week everyone! Print this recipe: Lobster Deviled Eggs

Thyme for Leeks

Happy Memorial Day to our U.S. friends. Isn’t it glorious not to have to work today! Mike, the kids and I are certainly enjoying it – even despite our dismal weather. In fact, Mike has had the smoker going since the wee hours. If that smokey aroma can’t lift your spirits I don’t know what will!

So while Mike tends to the smoker, it’s back to French recipes. Today we’re going to share with you the recipe for roasted leeks which we prepared to go with our coq au vin. Prior to making this recipe we had only used leeks in preparing soups and risottos. We had never made a dish that featured the veggie front and center, and we were eager to taste the results (Well, at least Mike and I were eager – they are veggies after all.).

First we sliced the leeks lengthwise, rinsed them down and gave them a bath. They are dirty little buggers, so don’t skip this step. leek bath

After they were good and clean, we placed them cut-side down in two small baking dishes, then tucked some fresh thyme sprigs throughout the dish. leeks and thyme

Next we whisked together some olive oil, Sauvignon Blanc and water with a touch of Fleur de Sel (sea salt). We were fortunate to have some authentic French sea salt from Anneli who lives in France and cooks some amazing French dishes over at Delicieux. The salt was our surprise gift in last year’s Secret Santa hosted by Charles at Five Euro Food (who also lives in France and has some great French recipes on his blog). fleur de sil

After whisking the wine and oil we poured it over the leeks and tossed on some minced garlic for good measure. garlic leeks

We then covered the leeks with foil and roasted them in the oven for 45 minutes at 375F. In the meantime, Mike and Miss A sliced some French baguette for us which we brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven for about 10 minutes (with the leeks). French baguette

After the leeks finished roasting (and were tender to pierce with a fork), we tossed them in the broiler to brown for 2 to 3 minutes, watching them closely. Once done, we removed them from the oven and dusted them with Parmesan. Braised Leeks

To serve the roasted leeks we placed them on the slices of toasted baguette and drizzled a delightful dressing over the top. The dressing was a simple mixture of olive oil, Champagne vinegar, garlic, mustard, honey, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

As many of you know, I’m rather picky when it comes to vegetables. So when I say that I really enjoyed these, that’s saying something for a veggie dish. I gave them a solid 3 spoons. Mike liked them too, but being a less picky veggie eater than myself, he said he would have preferred asparagus and only gave them two spoons. leeks with garlic and parmesan

The leeks were sweet and tender, and they were absolutely delightful on the toast with the dressing. The toast brought some texture and the dressing, combined with the seasonings from the leeks made for that salty sweet combo. My feelings aside, they still tasted like vegetables, so they were not a hit with the kids. Miss A ranked them at 1 spoon and Mr. N at 0 spoons. They did eat the toasts up though. roasted leeks

As we mentioned, we served our leeks with our coq au vin for a deliciously French dinner. French dinner

Since we often feature these dishes and meals in an appetizing little set-up, today I thought you might enjoy a more authentic view this time. Our actual table is a bit less fancy than the photos (but no less delicious – most of the time). family table

And speaking of views, we’re going to join in Miss C’s backyard photo challenge. It has been so much fun to see the different backyard views from around the world. So here’s our little suburban backyard: backyard living

As much as I detest the suburbs, I do love our backyard space (and our neighbors!). This little area under our magnolia tree becomes our living room in the summer. On weekdays I often bring my work outside; and on the weekends, we play outside, read outside, get together with the neighbors for impromptu BBQ’s, and definitely eat outside. It’s by far the best part of our house. summer living room

Incidentally, Miss A and I also had the opportunity to visit Miss C’s backyard, and what a backyard it is! We had such a wonderful day and Miss A (and I) made some memories that will last a lifetime. We’ll share more on our visit to Farmy in a few weeks. Until then, we’re going to spend a few more weeks in France (well at least cooking from France) since we learned it’s such an integral part of our history. Besides, who wouldn’t want to stay in France! Yum! Cheers and enjoy the week. (Miss A certainly enjoyed playing with Ton Ton!)Miss C's backyard

Print this recipe: Roasted Leeks