Friday, March 30, 2012

Our traveling companions

We are headed off to Costa Rica for a week. Of course, Scout is none too happy to be left with the house/cat sitter. She dreams of traveling but always gets stuck at home. Oh well.

Last year when I went to Costa Rica, I took Flat Stanley. Well Flat Stanley is back for more adventures. He is also bringing his friend, Flat Benito along. Benito is the blonde one with the suit.

Flat Stanley belongs to my friend at work who coordinates the Flat Stanley program. Flat Benito is coming along because one of the kids at school did not have anyone to send him to so my friend asked if I was willing to take along an extra Stanley. I agreed because I am such a good and wonderful human being. LOL

I won't be posting a lot when I am gone. But hopefully I will have some great pictures to post when I get back. It's always good to go see the family and have a little down time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Carolyn's Pasta Salad Recipe

I am still on my vegetarian kick. As I start trying to cut back on the meat, I realized that I have cooked plenty of vegetarian dishes without really realizing it.

One of those dishes is regular old pasta salad. I love pasta salad in the summer because I have tons of fresh veggies and herbs from my garden to toss into the salad. At the moment, I have no fresh veggies but I realized I had a lot of random veggies in the fridge and decided to make a pasta salad so they wouldn't go to waste.

I am so about not wasting food anymore. Now I am not always successful but when I shop now, I think about how many dishes I can make with a food product and how I can incorporate it into another dish. A whole chicken is great roasted and then you can use the leftovers and bones for soup. The other day I made steak and I re-purposed the leftovers into burritos.

These veggies would probably go to waste so pasta salad is a great dish to toss them into. I had some peppers and green onions. I also had some home jarred banana peppers from a friend who canned them last summer. So I tossed them into a bowl and added some olive oil and some apple cider vinegar.

The great thing about pasta salad is that it can be willy-nilly. You can put anything into it. It is so versatile and easy to make. You can also use any type of pasta. I love using rotoni, elbows or any small pasta. Just cook it up in lots of slated water.

While that is boiling cut up your veggies. I cut up my colored peppers that makes it festive and tasty. Honestly, like I said, you can add anything. Fresh veggies are the best but you can make do with what you have. I have used caperberries, olives, feta cheese, cilantro, tomatoes and anything else that looks good!

I also add a good quality olive oil and a flavored vinegar. I decided an apple cider vinegar because it went well with the banana peppers. I usually like using a good quality balsamic vinegar when I have fresh veggies because that takes it up another level. I also add salt and pepper and any fresh herbs I have. If you don't want a vegetarian dish, you can always add some protein like chicken or shrimp. I mean, anything goes with this dish!

Once the pasta is done, rinse and add to the mixture. You don't even have to rinse the pasta is you want it to go into the mixture warm so it soaks up all the good oil and vinegar. Mix it up and then put in the fridge for a few hours. You can eat it warm but I like my pasta salad chilled.

I usually serve this as a side dish but it makes a great lunch or dinner. Just add some fresh bread as a side dish and it is a perfect summer meal. I also love to serve this at parties because it is filling, tasty and will feed a lot of people. It is pretty inexpensive to make as well.

So there you have it another easy veggie dish. This is perfect for summer!

 Buen Provecho!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ The Fishermen

I was in my kitchen cooking when I looked up and noticed there were fishermen out on the river. They looked like they were having a lot of fun.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Can Feel Spring in WNC!

The other day was warm and sunny and beautiful. I live in an amazing area and it always surprises me. These are taken from my front yard.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Easiest Vegetarian Dish Ever Recipe

A few weeks ago, we saw a documentary called "Forks Over Knives" and it scared the heck out of us. Basically the documentary talks about how a meat based diet can really make you sick. Of course, it is not just meat but the crappy meat filled with antibiotics and chemicals and all the processed foods we eat.

Anyhow, after watching that we both decided that maybe it is time we eat less meat. Now we aren't becoming vegetarians but maybe part time vegetarians. There are dishes I make that have no meat but we still eat a lot of meat.

I am also listening to a book called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Well, in this book her family moves to the family farm and tries to eat only local and seasonal food. It is a fascinating book with tons of information and great tips about how to eat better. I am in love with book but, then again, I love all her books! If you have never read a Barbara Kingsolver book, GO BUY ONE NOW! The "Poisonwood Bible" is amazing!

I am not going to preach because I am so guilty of being a bad and unhealthy eater. Even now when I have the information to make me eat better, I still eat junk. I am hoping if we take baby steps, we can slowly move toward a plant based diet and maybe lose weight and get healthier.

I make a wonderful orzo pasta dish that is now going to become a staple in our household. Right now we are still eating meat but I am trying to switch out maybe 2 to 3 meals a week to a vegetarian meal. It's a start, right?

Anyway, here is my willy-nilly recipe for the easiest veggie dish ever!

First get some cherry tomatoes and spinach. I use frozen spinach because you would have to use a lot of fresh spinach to match the amount of frozen spinach. Saute the cherry tomatoes and spinach in a little olive oil and fresh garlic. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime boil the orzo. Once the orzo is done add it to the spinach and cherry tomato mixture. That's it. Serve with a little shaved Parmesan on top and it is delicious.

You can serve this as an entree or side dish. Yummo!! I am hoping to have some new veggie recipes in the future!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Daydream Believer

I was only 2 years old when the Monkees started their TV show. But I remember that I watched it when they started showing it in reruns. I loved it.

It was always so much fun. I loved the music and the shenanigans. It made me laugh and I knew all the lyrics to every Monkees song. I would catch every episode and I swear I must have seen them at least 100+ times each. It was so quirky and ridiculous. I remember watching it with my sister after she would come home from school. We would dance around and sing.

I was also in love with Davy Jones. He was probably my first childhood teen idol crush because I was super duper young when I started watching the show. I mean I also liked Peter, Mike and Mickey but Davy was always the cutest one.

I had no idea that the show had started when I was 2 years old. I always remember how surprised and shocked I was that when I was 7 or 8 and saw Davy Jones on the Brady Bunch. He was so much older than the Davy I knew from the Monkees. I have to admit though that I was still jealous of Marcia because she went to the dance with him.

The Monkees were part of my childhood. A big part of my childhood. I have to admit I have a Greatest Hits CD around the house and listen to it every so often. It was sad to hear one of my childhood crushes died. It also made me realize that damn I am getting old.