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Family Time and Food…..

We got home yesterday afternoon from a glorious week in Lake Toxaway, NC.  This is where I spent nearly every summer growing up, Chris and I were married, and more recently we had my Mom’s memorial service.  It was bittersweet to be up there….and brought back many memories but in all, I am so glad we decided to move the Thanksgiving tradition back to the mountains.

Our days were filled with a lot of nothing….like boating, attempting to fish and enjoying rocking on the back patio with a fire.  We meant to do our family Christmas photo while we were up there but never got around to it.  Oh well…..

View from out on Lake Toxaway, NC

Maddie and Harry boating with their Auntie

 Fishing with Pop-Pop

Happy Mamma!

Daddy’s Girl

Ready for Nap!

We had no internet access up there, other than our phones and a lone iPad that was on a data plan and it was really nice to disconnect, read, play cards, sleep and generally just enjoy each other.  I feel completely rested which is good since the rat race starts back up tomorrow AM, right?  Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving as well.

I also forgot to post my new weeknight recipes before I left town last weekend so I thought I’d just make this a huge post and do so today.  First was a Beef and Broccoli Bowl recipe I pulled from the Cooking Light Website.  It was so easy to pull together and my husband declared it better than the local Chinese joint.  I can assure you it was a lot healthier.  I served with  brown rice as you can see below.

 Cooking Light Beef and Broccoli Bowl Recipe, photo via moi.

The week before we left I also made a Greek Salsa Chicken with Roasted Potatoes.  I initially pinned this recipe from my friend Tiffany’s blog and it has been a repeater ever since.  The only thing I do differently than the recipe is to use a bit less olive oil in the salad/salsa.  And, at Tiffany’s recommendation I use Alexia potatoes….super easy and so yummy.

Recipe and Photo of Greek Salsa Chicken from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

We did a hearty Autumn Salad as a main dish one night and this one was ok, but probably not a repeater in our house.  Nothing wrong with it…just nothing wow about it either.

Photo and Recipe from Espresso and Cream, via Good Life of Design

Finally, I made this hearty Chicken and Wild Rice Soup last week in the mountains.  I love to make it when we have Honey Baked Ham leftovers to use.  It was perfect to come home to after cocktails at friends.  We got the kids down to bed and enjoyed this outside in front of the fire.  I’ve been making this soup for years and my main change is I use whatever milk we have (skim or 2%) instead of the half-and-half.  If you think it is too thick…ramp-up the broth or the sherry (just don’t overdo it!).  I usually use a Rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep time.  This time my husband added in some cut up scallions as we were dishing this and it was a nice addition.  Fresh cracked pepper is a must….

Image and Recipe from Culinary in the Desert Blog

So, there you have it….that’s what I’ve been up to.  Today, we are going to start pulling out Christmas decorations (we had our outside lights put up before we left for vacation but we have wreaths to hang, etc.)  Oh yes, and lots of raking to to do!

Have a great day and hope to see you back here tomorrow.

Recipe Success….

I mentioned we were entertaining last weekend and the guests do not eat wheat.  I tried out a new appetizer that was to die for….so I thought I’d share.

image, via

I made a lot of stuff Saturday night (two appetizers, homemade green goddess salad dressing, wild rice, creamed spinach and individual pavlovas for dessert….husband did a beautiful marinated beef tenderloin) and to say I was rushed until the moment the guests arrived would be an understatement.  My car battery died as I was headed to the grocery and that put a dent in the morning with a call to roadside assistance and a trip to the dealership for a new battery.  I think I finally hopped in the shower about 20 minutes before our guests arrived….thank goodness I didn’t need to wash my hair! 

Anyhow, no photos of my own food but the above looks like mine although I put less of the “salad” in each endive leaf…..

Parmesan Walnut Salad in Endive Leaves

Adapted from Gourmet (it is in the big yellow book).


  • 1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4-pound piece of Parmesan, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1/8-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 4 Belgian endives
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves


In a bowl whisk together garlic paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and oil and stir in Parmesan and celery. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.  However, make sure it chills for at least 3 hours though so the flavors can blend.

Trim endives and separate leaves. Endive leaves may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in dampened paper towels, in a plastic bag.

Stir walnuts and parsley into salad. Dip wide end of each endive leaf into salad, scooping about 1 tablespoon of salad onto it.

Trust me, so good!

Let me know if you try it!