• Large dish of colorful Ratatouille
    Vegetable

    Ratatouille – the perfect freezer meal

    When I think of Ratatouille the first thing I think about is that cute animated movie from a few years ago. The adorable rat, Remy, who dreamed of being a chef and had so much gumption that he worked until he made it happen. I never knew how much you could learn from a rat! Seriously, animated movies sometimes have great life lessons! That’s for another day though. I love that movie and the dish with its name is one of my favorites. Other than chopping a lot of vegetables, it’s pretty easy to make. This recipe makes a lot and it freezes well. One recipe makes enough for a…

  • Beans and Greens
    Pittsburgh,  Vegetable

    Beans and Greens

    At just about any Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh, you will find “beans and greens” or Scarola e Fagioli on the menu.  This hearty dish is typically a side dish but is sometimes served as a soup, and is always served with a piece of crusty Italian bread and parmesan cheese sprinkled over top.  This classic Italian (or Italian-American) dish is a “peasant dish”. Many people will tell you that it originated in the U.S., not in Italy, but that is debatable. Beans and Greens quite possibly originated in Southern Italy, where many of Pittsburgh’s Italian residents immigrated from in the late 1800s. At that time, the ingredients would have been…

  • FingerLakes Riesling Vineyard
    Travel,  Wine

    Finger Lakes

    Mark and I love to travel.  While we only get away once or twice a year right now, we love exploring new places.  We have a long list of places to visit and try to get to at least one new place every year. Sometimes we find one that we just absolutely love and we find ourselves returning regularly.  The Finger Lakes in upstate New York is one of those areas. We didn’t actually “find it”.  Mark’s brother and sister-in-law have been vacationing there for years and kept telling us we needed to go for a weekend.   So, when we found out that the puppy we were getting was near…

  • Chimichurri Sauce
    Condiments,  Pittsburgh

    Chimichurri Sauce

    Last week I spent a few days working in the Strip District – an old historic market area in Pittsburgh, which is one of my favorite places (but that is for another day). I came home with a huge bunch of parsley and not wanting to waste it I decided to make a chimichurri sauce. It could also be that we ate lunch that day at Gaucho Parrilla, an Argentinian restaurant that is absolutely fantastic. Worth the wait if you happen to be down there! Anyway, I guess I had South American cuisine on my mind…and had a skirt steak thawing in the refrigerator, so it was meant to be!…

  • Garlic Scapes often found at Farmer's Market Find
    Vegetable

    Garlic Scapes

    If you’ve been to a Farmers’ Market recently you may have noticed bunches of twisted green stalks in a basket and wondered what they are.  They look a bit like a scallion but are missing the white bulb at the end. They may have a little cone-like shape close to the top.  This is a garlic scape. It is the top part of the garlic plant that is often cut off to allow all the energy to go to growing the bulb. According to “The Spruce” cutting the scape off allows more flavor to concentrate in the bulb while it continues to grow. Home gardeners and farmers know the delicious flavor…

  • Strawberry Fizz Cocktail
    Beverages,  Cocktails,  Featured Recipes

    Making Simple Syrup for Summer Cocktails

    It’s the base for many cocktails – simple syrup. It has to be one of the easiest recipes ever. 1 part sugar to 1 part water, mix in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Viola! Why use sugar in a cocktail? The mere definition of a “cocktail” according to Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide is “spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Why not use regular sugar in a cocktail? You can, but it’s hard to dissolve the sugar crystals completely. It is versatile – you can make any flavor you like which will elevate your drink and…

  • Strawberry Pie
    Dessert

    Strawberry Pie

    When I think of summer I think of luscious berries that just burst with juicy sweet flavor when you bite into them. I also think of pie, and a strawberry pie is one of my favorite summer desserts. I’ve struggled with making a good fruit pie recently. I just haven’t been able to get the syrup to thicken right and usually, it ends up being a gloppy mess! I think I cracked the code with this one. Or should I say, America’s Test Kitchen helped me crack the code! This is a take on their recipe. I adapted their recipe a bit, but they helped me get the syrup just…

  • Breakfast,  Uncategorized

    The Egg Hater

    Yup, I really, really dislike eggs. I always have. Everything from the smell to the taste, there is just something that completely turns me off. Unfortunately for me, eggs for breakfast were a regular part of Sunday morning growing up. Let me tell you, those mornings were stressful until my Mom finally learned that I wasn’t being stubborn, I really didn’t like eggs! So why then a post about eggs? Well, I was looking for things to do with leftover ham after Easter and was getting tired of ham soup and ham sandwiches. My husband likes eggs and is always looking for something for breakfast that is high in protein…

  • Salad

    Southwest Chopped Salad over Grilled Romaine

    Warning! If you don’t like chopping vegetables, this recipe is not for you! I spent the better part of last week at a conference for work. It was the Produce for Better Health Consumer Connections Conference, in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ve been to this conference 3 times and each time I come back renewed and with new ideas for both work and home. This year was no exception. It was a busy conference with very little downtime but I still came home feeling a bit renewed. Maybe it was the warm weather and sunshine, or maybe it was the company and networking or maybe the food and all those fruits and…