SPIRALIZED ZUCCHINI & CARROTS WITH PAN FRIED SALMON

Well slap yo Momma, hush my mouth, and call this one a new favorite. My husband said “make sure you write this one down”. I of course am doing that right now.

I just purchased the spiralizer attachment for my Kitchen Aide. Of course my friends at QVC had a special so what’s a girl to do? I love QVC! If I purchase something and it doesn’t meet up to my standards, back it goes. I will admit, I have sent some things back but not many. It’s a great company and they stand behind their products. This one is definitely a keeper. It was very easy to use and clean up was quick.

http://www.qvc.com/KitchenAid-Spiralizer-Attachment-with-Peel%2C-Core-%26-Slice.product.K43772.html?Slice_20180202_DesktopMobile_CA=&cm_cat=AD&cm_ite=KIT_SKNNBR_K43772_ai%3AKITCHENAID_SPIRALIZER&cm_pla=KAK_20180201_id%3AKITCHENAID_SPIRALIZER&cm_ven=FB&cvosrc=social+network+paid.adparlor.QVC_CLEARANCE-KitchenAidSpiralizerAttachmentwithPeel%2CCore&TZ=EST

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I spiralized some carrots, and zucchini. With the addition of some tomatoes, garlic, onion, and white wine a wonderful zoodle dish was created. Topped with pan-fried Salmon filets, dinner was born.

This dish was very flavorful with great texture. A glass of Chardonnay was just the ticket to round out the flavors. I am really excited because there is one portion left. So, we shall see who gets to it first tomorrow! All is fair in love and leftovers…..if ya know what I mean. Here is the recipe……..

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Spiralized Zucchini & Carrots w/Pan Fried Salmon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 zucchini  (or enough to make about 4 cups of spiralized noodles) skin on, ends cut off, cut in half, spiralized, set aside
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and ends cut off, cut in half, spiralized, set aside
  • 1/4 C chopped sweet onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (I use a microplane)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of fire roasted, diced, tomatoes with their juice (I used Hunts)
  • 1 Tbsp of dark agave
  • 1/4 C of good white wine
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Salmon filets, seasoned with lots of salt and pepper, bring to room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chili Powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter  til melted.
  2. Add the carrots and onion and cook until just softened.
  3. Grate the garlic into the pan with a microplane and add the tomatoes, cook until the garlic is fragrant, just a few minutes.
  4. Add the Agave and the white wine and stir to combine.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper and add the crushed red pepper if using.
  6. Add the zucchini noodles and toss, cook for about 10-15 minutes, you want to keep the zucchini al-dente. It does not take them long to cook, they are best when left with a slight crunch.
  7. When cooked removed the pan from the heat and place it on a burner to keep warm while your fish cooks. (Literally minutes)
  8. In another pan over medium high heat, add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  9. Take the seasoned filets, place skin side down and cook for 3 minutes and turn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes. (You can cook them more or less, it depends on how you like your fish cooked.)
  10. Take your cooked filets and place them on top of your zucchini mixture.
  11. Dust with chili powder.
  12. Bring your goodies to the table and serve from the pan.

This is impressive enough to serve to guests. Don’t forget to add a good bottle of white wine. I hope you enjoy!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

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CRAFTING WITH CHRIS

My friend Chris and I love to craft. We also like to drink the occasional glass of wine, talk about cooking, and just have a good laugh. We got together for a crafting, wine drinking, sushi eating, good old time!

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She called prior to our get together. “Hey do you want to make a wreath?”  I of course said sure.  She sent me a pic of what she had in mind. So, off to AC Moore I went in search of a wreath form and my ribbon. So many choices to make. Although we had the same picture and instruction, they could not have turned our more differently. Both lovely and pretty enough to hang. I think we did quite well!

This is the wreath Chris made…..

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This is the one I made…..

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Same project and concept, two different wreaths. There really is no right or wrong way. It depends on your taste and what you want yours to look like.

Mine consists of a wire wreath form and 10 different spools of ribbon. I will warn you, ribbon can be pretty expensive. Look for sales and coupons in your local craft stores. Some stores have bins of ribbon marked down from previous seasons. I used wired ribbon. You could also use deco mesh, also found in craft stores, or on-line.

This is the wreath form I used.

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I cut my ribbon into 8 inch lengths.  I strongly encourage you to use a rotary cutter and cutting mat. It makes this part of the project go much faster.

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Using the second row from the center I tied the ribbon, alternately, all around until it was the desired fullness. Then using only the sheer ribbon on the very outer ring I alternately tied those colors in. When it is the desired fullness, fluff it out and hang it. Pretty easy!!!

So my Valentine’s wreath is done. You could use this technique literally for any holiday. Maybe you would like to do one for St. Patricks day or Easter. This would also make a nice gift. You could color coordinate for a special room or a specific season. The possibilities are limitless.

I hope you have a wonderful Valentines day. If you decide to make one send me a picture. I would love to see your creation.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

PASTA E FAGIOLI, PUMPKIN DUMP CAKE AND SUPER BOWL

Barely home from Aruba; one of the best vacations we have had in years. Even though I ended up in convenient care on the Island…….ear infection, uggghhhh. Super Bowl Sunday is here!

Truthfully I was more interested in the commercials until the game got interesting. I don’t personally have anything against Brady. I just thought it would be nice to see someone else win. And win they did! In what was a white knuckle finish, Philadelphia reigns victorious. First super bowl win, ever, too! Congratulations, job well done.

We usually host a large party. Unfortunately just arriving home Saturday curtailed our number of guests. It was still fun and the food was amazing. Everybody brought a dish to pass. I love eating like that. It’s fun to share and taste and it doesn’t put all the burden on one person.

Our menu consisted of Skinny Taste Pasta E Fagioli. Hearty, excellent taste and healthy. We are definitely soup lovers in this household and this one hit a home run. I will definitely be making this one again. Thanks so much Robyne!

(Picture taken from Gina Homolka Skinnytaste Fast and Slow Cookbook)

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https://www.skinnytaste.com/pasta-fagioli-64-pts/

Buffalo dip and Sloppy Joes were part of our buffet. We also had a nice field green salad with strawberries, pignoli nuts, grilled chicken, goat cheese, and a lovely balsamic honey dressing. I am working on getting the recipe from my daughter for that one. As soon as I do I will post it for you.

I made a Pumpkin Dump Cake. It is so easy and serves a lot of people. It is also one that everybody seems to like. Add some whipped cream and you’re in heaven.

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I found this recipe on Pinterest. I had tasted this before at a friend’s house for a luncheon get together. I fell in love with it and so did everyone there. I knew it was a keeper and one that I would use over and over.

Here’s the recipe. I think you will agree with me and keep it in your rotation of desserts too.

PUMPKIN DUMP CAKE

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 29 oz can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 can 12 oz 2% evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 C melted butter
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C chopped pecans (I used walnuts and it was very tasty)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  2. Beat well and pour into a greased 9×13 cake pan.
  3. Sprinkle cake mix over top, followed by chopped nuts of choice.
  4. Pour melted butter over the top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

These two recipes could become your new favorites too. Check out the cookbook Skinnytaste Fast and Slow. It is excellent: one I use all the time.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ATBB..thank you ARUBA!

One year ago, on January 27th, while sitting in Aruba I decided to start a blog. I’m not sure if I was inspired by Aruba or a lightning bolt…haha. I honestly wasn’t sure I could do this at all. I gave it one or two posts and figured the novelty would wear off. Instead, I found a sense of release and purpose.  So this particular blog is dedicated to ATBB and Aruba.

This has been an amazing vacation. My husband planned it 10 days prior to our arrival…..spur of the moment! I of course was thrilled; this is our favorite getaway. What’s not to love? Great weather, great food, the locals are friendly, helpful, and speak English. It’s called “One Happy Island” and for good reason.

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Aruba is a 19 mile long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea. It’s 15 miles from the coast of Venezuela. On a clear day the Venezuelan mainland is visible from the south-eastern coast. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles.

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We met a couple on this trip from Connecticut; Chris and “Bah”. Feels like we have known them forever. We have shared stories about our families and friends, laughed a lot, and eaten some amazing meals. Suffice it to say, we have a lot in common. Food is definitely a love we all share. Hopefully I’ve talked Bah into starting her own blog. She, also from an Italian family, loves to cook and is willing to share her recipes. I can hardly wait!!! A friendship we hopefully will enjoy for years to come.

This trip we stayed close to the airport at the Renaissance Marina Resort, which is now owned by Marriott. It is within walking distance to some of Aruba’s best restaurants. This resort boasts its own private island with pink flamingos that will eat from your hand. A free boat ride escorts you to the island to spend the day lazing in the sun, or playing in the crystal blue water. If you prefer to be out of the sun, cabanas are available so you can just enjoy the island breezes. There is also a restaurant that has great local food, cocktails, and beer. If you prefer, you can stay at the resort and enjoy one of their three pools or a beach lagoon. Like to gamble? There are Casinos as well. Let us not forget the shoppers. Gucci, Prada, Cartier, Tommy Bahama, Nautica, Nike, and many jewelers, just to name a few.

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http://www.renaissancearubaresortandcasino.com/resort-accommodations/marina-hotel-en.html

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It’s only fair that I include some of the restaurants we really enjoyed. Keep in mind, we couldn’t go to all of them but the ones I am listing are well worth the trip. I strongly encourage you to make reservations. Fish is in abundance and fresh. Their meats and produce are flown in and treated with great respect. Dining is an experience here that you will truly enjoy. If you like to fish there are several places that will prepare your catch for you at a decent price. Here are some of our favorites.

http://www.bingoaruba.com/  (Best beef carppacio I have ever had. Also famous for their dutch drink Shroebbler)

http://www.yemanja-aruba.com/main/  (A wood fired grill, the stuffed portobello mushroom was to die for. Their toasted bread with olive tapenade was killer too.)

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http://legaragebistro.com/  (French cuisine. We had a fantastic lunch there.)

http://www.solemarearuba.com/  (Italian at it’s best. We have been dining here for 24 years.)

http://www.thedutchpancakehouse.com/  (Always busy but what a great breakfast. The cruise ships dock at their back door.)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wacky-Wahoos/278125168880426  (Very difficult to get into. When you book your vacation book a reservation here and hope you get in.)

http://papiamentoaruba.com/  (Beautiful surroundings in an old farm-house. Great food and friendly atmosphere.)

https://www.google.com/search?q=Big+Mamas+aruba&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari  (On Baby Beach, get the fish sandwich, it’s amazing.)

http://www.madamejanette.info/joomla2/menu  (A bit more upscale, great for dinner, a nice treat for your and your special someone.)

http://casibaricafe.com/  (Biggest grouper sandwich I have ever seen and very tasty. It’s where the locals go.)

https://www.facebook.com/midudurestaurantaruba/https://www.facebook.com/midudurestaurantaruba/ (Another local hangout with the best view on the island of the island.)

https://www.casatuaaruba.com/casa-tua-renaissance-marketplace/  (Best pizza on the Island)

http://www.bugaloe.com/  (Fun, great seafood, dancing,  kareokee, entertainment.  Do not miss this one)

So, get your vacation on, come sit under a divi divi tree and relax. Come to Aruba! It is “One Happy Island”.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEANIE & MITTENS .. the crochet story.

When I was in nursing school one of my classmates would crochet in the evening.I believe her name was Cindy. She was very serious about everything and also very intelligent. I asked one evening after watching her, “would you teach me how to do that”. She did and probably got a few grey hairs but I finally got it.

I am one of those people who loves to craft as well as cook. There is such a sense of accomplishment when a project is finished. Recently, I made a crocheted hat and mittens for my friend’s birthday. The weather has been a bit bitter here and she has refused to come out of the house until the temperatures are above 40 degrees. Seemed like a perfect gift to me.

Well, true to Maryland style weather, the temperatures have gone from 9 degrees to the 50’s and I am still holding onto her gift. I haven’t seen her come out of hibernation yet!  I’m sure she has; I just haven’t seen her head emerge to gift her. I know, in true Maryland style, we will have more cold weather before winter is over. Hopefully she will get to use them.

I hadn’t crocheted for a while so it took me a few attempts to get my crochet on.  All in all the project went well and I have the goods to prove it. I used a pattern from http://www.leftinknots.com for the mittens. The hat is done in a simple double crochet with the edges and the top of the hat joined at the seams. I purchased a fur like pom-pom from a seller on Etsy. It looks real doesn’t it?

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Do you like to crochet? I would love some good patterns or ideas since I’m on the chain gang kick again. I would love to hear from you and hope you enjoy the patterns.

Had to post a pic of the birthday girl! I finally got her gift to her. She loves it!!!!

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Mittens: http://www.leftinknots.com    The Perfect Fit Mitten

Hat: 4.0 Hook, Worsted Weight Yarn

  1. Chain 62, add 2 chains to turn, (total 64). Leave a long tail for sewing the seam.
  2. Double crochet, starting in the second chain from the hook, crocheting in the back loop only which will create the rib. Continue to the end of the chain, turn, chain one and continue again across the piece in double crochet.
  3. Continue in that pattern until the piece fits securely but not too snuggly around the head, usually 20- 22 inches wide. (the ribbing should be going in an up and down pattern.
  4. Sew the back seam together with the long tail and continue to the top. Going. in and out of every other stitch at the top, then pull tightly and bring to the inside to secure with a knot. (this will close the top of the hat)
  5. You can make a pom-pom or purchase one as I did. and secure it through the top of the hat.
  6. Roll up the brim. You can also purchase buttons for decoration or it can be left without them. A pretty rhinestone pin would also have been cute.

Until next time,

Ciao xoxo

I’m Back…..Air Fried Bagels

I promised myself I was going to write at least twice a week. So far I haven’t been great about it but today prompted me to remember my committment to myself. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.

I don’t make resolutions because I feel like we should be the best we can be every day. Let’s face it, nobody is perfect! I am striving to be happier and healthier this year. I think that’s a great start.

So on that note…..I am following the new Weight Watchers Freestyle program along with the hubster. I have always loved Weight Watchers because I don’t have to buy special foods. I don’t have to cook something different for guests. I can still go out on occasion and I can still have a cocktail or dessert if I want to. While my daily points have decreased, the number of zero point foods has increased. It’s a learning curve, but we are getting there.

Recently posted was a WW recipe for air fried bagels. They can also be baked. I just happen to own a Cooks Essential air fryer and love it. Really, “everything topped” air fried bagels. I had to give it a whirl. It makes 4 nice sized bagels at 3 points.

So here’s the before air fried pic’s…..

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and here’s the after…..

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Can I just tell you………YUM. They really were excellent. I will make these over and over again. They were very simple to do. I will, in the future, make them into a thinner rope before shaping them into a bagel. Mine seemed to be a tad doughy. Taste wise, hands down, a great bagel. If you could only see the many possibilities rolling through my brain………..it’s exhausting.

So without further ado, I will post the recipe. Give it a try! Oven or air fried, it was well worth giving it a test run.

WEIGHT WATCHERS OVEN OR AIR FRIED BAGELS

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 FS POINTS PER SERVING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s not expired)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 C non-fat Greek yogurt that has been strained overnight. (do not use regular yogurt, it will be too sticky)
  • 1 beaten egg, or egg white
  • Toppings of choice (you can purchase “Everything Topping” from King Arthur Flour) or use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic or onion flakes or make your own everything topping.

DIRECTIONS:

OVEN METHOD:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Place parchment or silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment spray with oil to avoid sticking.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well. Add the yogurt and mix with a fork until well combined. It will look like small crumbles.
  3. Lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 20 turns. (It should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away).
  4. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 3/4 inch thick rope and join the ends to form a bagel.
  5. Top with egg wash and sprinkle both sides with seasoning of your choice. Bake for 22 minutes in 350F oven then increase to 550F for 4 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

AIR FRYER METHOD:

  1. Pre-heat the air fryer  325F and set for 11-12 minutes.
  2. Repeat steps 2-4 as above for the oven method.
  3. Top with egg wash and sprinkle both sides with seasoning of your choice.
  4. Transfer in batches without overcrowding and bake 12 minutes, or until golden. No turning needed. You can check them at 10 minutes for color.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo