Friday, January 31, 2014


I am a nerd. The other day I was tweeting and was retweeted by Chris Hayes! Now, if you have to ask who Chris Hayes is you probably aren't a MSNBC watcher or political geek like me. Anyway, it's trite to many but thrilling to me! Yes, that's how I roll.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pasta with Olives ~ Meatless Recipe

On our never-ending quest to get healthier or, at least, try to eat less meat, I am bringing you some meatless options. This recipe is actually vegetarian and vegan and meatless. I will have some vegetarian recipes but mainly my new recipes will be meatless. There is a difference because the other day I was making a mushroom stroganoff (recipe coming soon) and realized it wasn't vegetarian because I used chicken broth. And I use dairy. I am not sure if dairy counts as vegetarian.

Anyway, I found this recipe in one of my new books and decided to try it. It cannot be easier. Even a kid can make this and it was delicious!

Start off with 6 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive tapenade. I bought some jarred tapenade at the store and it worked well.  Also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 cloves crushed garlic and some black pepper. 

Add about 1/4 sliced green olives and 1/4 cup sliced black olives. I had no black olives so I added all green olives. I bought little cans of olives. Of course, you can use jarred olives or fresh olives from an olive bar if you live somewhere that would have an olive bar. Our town does not have one. Sigh. 

Grate some fresh nutmeg into the mixture. I would say about 1/2 teaspoon but do it to your taste. Let the mixture simmer but not boil. In the meantime, boil the pasta. 

Once the pasta is done, put into the pan with the olive mixture and mix well. 

That's it. This recipe is under 30 minutes. Is vegan (I think), vegetarian for sure and meatless. It was also really delicious. It has an underlying tartness because of the olives but the oil and pasta smooth that out. The nutmeg gives it an nutty flavor that pairs well with the olives. It is also flexible because you can use any type of olives you want. You can use any type of pasta your want as well. I added a little Parmesan cheese on top and it was so good. 

Buen Provecho! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Room with a View!

I love this room in our house. I rarely go in the room though because it reminds me of our cats, who are gone now. I do, however, go in once in a while. Yesterday it snowed and it was the perfect day to go sit there and watch the snow fall.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Apron Obsession

I was cleaning the kitchen drawers the other day and found some aprons that I have collected throughout the years. I love aprons. I rarely wear them because I forget they are there then I ruin a shirt and dig one out. I am a messy cook so I have to wear one when possible. I used to have more but we did some summer cleaning this past year and Tom made me get rid of some because there were so many.

I was able to hoard some and then I bought more when I was in Europe. So the collection will probably grow again. Right now, I am looking for a minion apron or a grumpy cat apron. I think they would make a great addition to my collection.

This is my current favorite apron. I received it with a prize I won and I loved it. See, "Recipes are for Sissies" is my philosophy on cooking. That is not to say that I do not use recipes but I like Willy-Nilly cooking.

I love this apron given to me by my friend, Tammi. It is a pink Day of the Dead apron! I love Day of the Dead and I love pink!

This apron belonged to my grandmother so I will never get rid of it. I got shortly after she died and I have had it for about over a decade. I never wear because I want it to stay as is. Besides her pots and pans, this is all I have left of her.

The blue apron on the right also belonged to my grandmother. And the one on the right was given to me by my sister. I sometimes wear the cat apron because it is just plain cute.

I was awarded this apron as well as a cash prize when I won the Saucy Mama recipe contest. Yeah, I actually won a cooking contest. I will always keep this because it was the first and only recipe contest 
I have ever won and I am proud of that fact. 

This apron was given to me by Chef Arnold. When I lived in Florida, I used to work at the Lord's Place in West Palm Beach. It was a great organization that sheltered and fed the homeless. We had a restaurant on site and when I left, Chef Arnold, gave me this apron. He was a little eccentric but I liked him and he cooked good food! I never throw out anything that was signed for me. That's how I roll.

This cuteness I won a long time ago from Carolyn's Kitchen. Not me Carolyn, but another Carolyn. It is funky and retro and I love it. If I ever had a real dinner party, I would wear this because it is sort of fancy.

This apron I bought. It is handmade in India. It was on sale and it was so beautiful. I am not a fan of the half aprons but I could not resist! 

This apron I received when I attended the Disney Dining FAM trip last year. It's Mickey. It's Disney! How could I not totally love this apron, right? I almost am afraid to use it because it is so adorable. 

This is one of my new aprons. Yes, I bought this in London. We did not buy many souvenirs because we have so much crap already. But I could not resist buying this because it reminds me of our European trip.

This apron I bought in Madrid. Again, another half apron but I HAD to have it. The picture does not capture the intense colors of the apron. Plus, it is just so Spanish! Love it. 

I still look around for other aprons to add to my collection. I know I should wear them more often but I don't. I just like collecting them. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Days!

It finally snowed this week and the snow stuck. Boo. Luckily, I did not have to go out because I hate driving in the snow and ice. It's scary. Plus, in my mini car, it can be dangerous.

Here are a few snow pics I took.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My new cookbooks!

These are my new cookbooks as we move into a healthier lifestyle. We aren't going totally vegetarian but we are trying to have a balance.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Featured on the Secrets Resort Tan Lines Blog!

My Secrets the Vine post was featured on the Secrets Resorts & Spas blog: Tan Lines. WOO! That's super cool. I hope that I will be able to visit more of the Secrets Resorts because we really enjoyed this one.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Carolyn in Carolina!!

Today marks the 5th year of existence of this blog! Happy Birthday to Carolyn in Carolina. It is amazing that it has lasted this long and is still going strong. When I started this blog, I had no idea the opportunities that it would open up for me. The same goes for my other blog: The Art of Random Willynillyness. In March, I celebrate its 5th year as well.

Blogging brought back my passion for writing. It also allows me to share my random thoughts and all my life with whoever happens to come across this blog. I love that. There have been times when I have wanted to shut this blog down and merge it with my other blog. And I still may do that because it is tough keeping up 2 blogs at one time.

My other blog though is filled with product reviews and giveaways and other stuff so it is not that personal like this one. The good part is that if I ever merge them. I would move over my favorite content from this blog to that one. But I am still not sure. It is easier to blog when I am not working full time but when I get a full time job, it is tougher.

In any case, I wanted to mark my 5th year of blogging. So Happy Blog Birthday to me!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Butternut Squash Pasta

Here is another one of my favorite Fall recipes. I tried this a few years ago and it was really good. I decided to make it again because it was so good. It is also pretty easy to make. Plus, it is vegetarian so it is a good dish for a meatless meal during the week! Here is how I made it:

Take a butternut squash and cut it up. 

Put the squash in a casserole dish and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Also sprinkle a littleolive oil on top of the squash. Put into a 400 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes.
Make sure to check it every once in a while so it doesn't burn. 

Once the squash is done, take it out of the oven and scoop it out. 

Put the squash into a blender or food processor. Add a little chicken broth. I added about a cup and blend. You have to play with the consistency so add broth as needed. 

Add some fried sage leaves and blend. Once you get the mixture to the right consistency, 
you can get the other ingredients ready. 

In the meantime, start frying up 2 cloves of garlic and a shallot. 

Once the garlic and shallot are translucent and soft. Add the puree to to the pan. 

Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. You can also add cinnamon or allspice if you like. 

Add some Parmesan cheese as well. 

Add the pasta and mix. 

Serve with a little Parmesan and Sage leaves on top. YUMMO!!

Buen Provecho!