24 May 2017

Last Minute Memorial Day Ideas

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The bloggers at Project Beautiful are so understanding when it comes to hosting a party, so we are sharing with you our best ideas for Memorial Day.  Check out the links below for food, recipe, party ideas, parades, cocktails, drinks, gardening and decor!

For food:  Hawaiian Burgers, Red White and Bleu Cheese Grilled Pizza, Red White and Blue Fruit Salad, Red White and Blue Chocolate Covered Cherries, Strawberry Trifle and more!

For drinks: Bomb Pop Cocktails, Peach Coolers, Watermelon Sparkler and more!

For decor:  Red, White and Blue Home Decor, Decorated Silverware, Tie Dyed Fireworks napkins, Paper Poppy Wreath, Red White and Blue Container Plantings, Patriotic Handkerchief Wreath and more!


In years past, our family has had a Memorial Day Cookoff but this year, we are celebrating the beginning of summer in Cabo san Lucas!  We will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary along with our kids, so this is such a wonderful opportunity for us.  I am going to miss our tradition, though.

Look through this amazing line up of goodies and let me know your favorite in the comments. Let me know your favorite and I will be sending an Amazon gift card worth $20 to one lucky person!

On this Memorial Day, I would like to publicly thank my dad, Jerry D Oliver, my uncle David W Holt, uncle Richard Peck, uncle Robert J Oliver and cousin Mike Moore for their service in the armed forces. I am so fortunate to have these honorable and brave men in my own family!





21 May 2017

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear #SundaySupper

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Small bites are a perfect patio party food.  When my husband and I plan a party, we often think in terms of small bites, food that is easy to eat and carry from place to place.  We were challenged to think of our favorite foods, and to make them miniature, and so we did.  This is the inspiration of our favorite dish: meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear


To keep this dish easy and so that you can have time with your guests, all of the prep gets done ahead of time and only the final cooking and assembly goes into making this dish.  When I am the hostess, what I want to do is be with my friends, so I try to do all I can to make that happen!

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

Today's #SundaySupper is sponsored by Tapa Toro. Tapa Toro combines contemporary Spanish cuisine with a vibrant, energetic atmosphere – bringing a fresh dining experience to the I-Drive 360 area in Orlando, FL. Their unique paella pit, vibrant tapas menu, and extensive selection of imported wines will guide you through a culinary journey of Spanish flavors and culture in the heart of Central Florida.  We are huge Orlando fans, just having been there at Christmas this year.  Love Disney World at Christmas!

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

Here is our take on meatloaf and mashed potatoes: small bites style!

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

1 bag of frozen meatballs (you choose size, variety, etc)
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 t garlic, minced
1/2 c cilantro, stemmed
6 mint leaves
1/2 c sour cream
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 and cook the meatballs according to your package directions.  If you have a favorite meatball recipe, you can insert it here! Cook the cauliflower by placing medium sized florets in one inch of boiling water for 15 minutes until soft (check with a fork.) Drain, and place into a food processor.  Add sour cream, salt, cilantro, mint and garlic into food processor and process until smooth but allow some small chunks to remain.  Use plenty of salt as cauliflower tends to need it. Scoop cauliflower onto serving dish, add two meatballs.  Use the meatballs to scoop up the cauliflower.  Delish!

Sunday Supper Small Bites Recipes for Entertaining

Small Starters

Pint-sized Protein

Demi-Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

20 May 2017

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup #SoupSwappers

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This month at #SoupSwappers we are featuring fruit soups.  This is a fun category and if you haven't tried to make one, this is the time to do so.  My lemon and blueberry soup is adapted from a recipe that I found in a cookbook by the St. Louis Herb Society.


Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup

This chilled and sweet soup is a perfect appetizer for a summer menu, and can be served as dessert. Add a couple of my favorite madeleine cookies you will have a creative and delicious ending to your meal.

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup

2 c blueberries
3 c water
1 T lemon verbena, bruised
1/3 c sugar (or sugar replacement, such as Truvia)
1 meyer lemon, chunked
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1 c sour cream
1/2 c dry red wine

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the blueberries, lemons, water, sugar, cinnamon, lemon verbena and nutmeg.
Isn't this a pretty color?
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Seive into a large bowl, discarding the leftovers.
It seems a shame to discard these fragrant leftovers!
Chill for 1 hour, covered.  Whisk in sour cream and wine. Chill until ready to serve.  Ladle into serving bowls, garnish with lemon verbena and a dollop of sour cream.

If you don't have meyer lemons, use regular lemons and more sweetener. If you don't have lemon verbena, try thyme.

Here are some more great soups to try!  Expand your cooking and eating experiences and let me know if you try one!







18 May 2017

Girlfriends and Gardening #WaveRave

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I wasn't paid to do this post, although I was given the plants and pot for free.  I also was not asked to write this post, but I love the flowers and the shops involved so much that I wanted to write all about the experience!

For me there is no better way to spend time with your girlfriends than in a gardening center.  Walking among the flowers, daydreaming about English gardens and just oohing and ahhing over all the gorgeousness is a lot of fun.  And then you discover Wave Petunias.


Put this all together with girls who love to blog and eat, you have the makings of a wonderful event. Several St. Louis bloggers came together to learn more about Wave Petunias at Parkview Gardens here in St. Charles.  Hosted by Julie from julieblanner.com, we learned how to pot up some gorgeous patio pots, with eats from Prasino's and expert help from the people at Wave Petunias!


When we first arrived, Julie was there to greet us and get us started with sangria.  We chatted a bit, admired the flowers, and as others arrived, started snacking on this delicious food.

prasino st. charles food

Once we were all there, we learned about the Wave petunia and how it came to be.  I love the story and I want to share it with you!  A Japanese beer company employed several horticulturists who grew plants for the flavors that go into making their product.  When the company was looking at options for wine grapes, it discovered a vigorous spreading petunia growing wild.  The breeder was able to produce a seed that resulted in the first Wave Purple petunia!  In 1995 the company won an award and impressed Anna Ball, the president of Ball Horicultural Company which is headquartered in West Chicago. They saw the potential in the flower, and the rest is history!!

Our wonderful presenter showed us the elements of a good planter pot and then set us to task creating our own pots, with the star being Wave Petunias.  




We potted, planted, talked, discussed and eventually admired each and every planter, as all were unique and gorgeous!  Some put herbs in their pots for future cocktails and drinks!


Here is my pot, blue like the house with yellow and white flowers.  Right now it is sitting happily with my patio furniture, next door to the succulent angel.

You can learn a lot more about the Wave Petunia, including tutorials on planting here.  Go and check them out.  We all need pretty flowers in our lives. It reduces stress and gives us something to care for. Did you see a favorite color of Wave Petunias?






15 May 2017

Hydrangeas~ #PBColorOurWorld Blue

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When we picked blue for our color in #ColorOurWorld last year, I thought my hydrangeas would be up and blooming, but due to a wild and wet week, the hydrangeas are still in the bud stage.  I still want to share with you about getting a nice blue in your hydrangeas.

blue hydrangea

First, you have to have the right hydrangea plants.  I have a pair of oakleaf hydrangeas that will not have blue blossoms, no matter what I do to them.  You have to have what are known as mopheads or lacecaps in order to get the blue blooms.  These plants can change their bloom color based on soil chemistry.  Acidic soil gives you blue blossoms, while a more alkaline soil gives you pink.

First you will need to know the acidity level of your soil.  Use a pH kit to find out.  You can purchase them in most garden stores.  This will give you the natural pH of your soil.  Then you will determine what you need to do to get blue blooms.  The pH range for blue blossoms is 5.2-5.5  If your pH is higher, then you will want to LOWER the pH by adding soil acidifer (follow the directions on the package.)  If the soil pH is lower than that, you will want to RAISE the pH by adding powdered garden lime, also available at your garden store.  Follow the directions on the package.

blue hydrangea


You will have to retreat the soil at the minimum, annually.  If you see your blossoms turning another color, retest the soil and treat as suggested above.

For our color theory lesson, blue is one of the primary colors.  Our sky and water appear blue due to the optical effect called Rayleigh scattering.  Blue wavelengths scatter more widely due to the oxygen in our atmosphere and our eyes see more blue.  A similar thing happens for blue eyes, there isn't any actual pigment in the eye, it has something to do with scattered light.

blue hydrangea


The stone lapis was used to make blue pigment for art in the middle ages.  Blue is most associated with intelligence, calmness and concentration.  Did you know blue was the most popular color for men's suits?

One of my favorite blues in in the painting the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vemeer.  Isn't it a gorgeous blue?

How do you use blue in your garden?  Any further tips on hydrangeas?

14 May 2017

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries #SundaySupper

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I love to plan a wonderful brunch for Mother's Day about as much as I like going to one!  This year I will be taking my mom out to eat, as we will be in my hometown of Marceline for my 40th high school reunion.

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I love a good cocktail and last year I made this delicious mimosa that is so refreshing and good.  That cocktail, along with this Frisee Salad, would make a wonderful meal fit for the queen that is your mom!  To complete this meal, these Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries are the perfect ending.

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

These are so easy and so delicious that you will find ways to make them all during the summer.  I already have plans to make them with plain cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake and pineapple.  I'll keep you posted.
Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
I box lemon pudding
1-3 T whole milk
1 qt. strawberries
3 shortbread cookies, crushed

Prepare your strawberries by cutting the stems off and creating a flat base for which the strawberries can stand.  Cut an X through the small tip of the strawberry, not quite cutting through.  With a mixer, blend cream cheese and milk. Gradually, add the pudding 1 T at a time, alternating with the milk. I made mine fairly stiff, as you can see, but you can make it a softer filling by adding more milk. Put filling in a piping bag with a star tip.  Spread the X in the strawberry until the tip can be inserted and squeeze filling into the strawberry until it reaches the top, swirl off.  Continue until the strawberries or the cream runs out.  Crush shortbread cookies and sprinkle crumbs on top.

You can store these in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to serve, then let them sit 10 minutes on the counter before serving.  It is hard to eat just one!

Sunday Supper Mother's Day Food Ideas

Chocolate Treats

Entrees

Sides and Salads

Sweets

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

11 May 2017

Trusting Grace #ourgoodlifebooklist

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I was given this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Trusting Grace, a novel by Maggie Brendan, is the third book in a series that I have been able to enjoy from the first book to this one.  I have enjoyed meeting these characters and was glad that the author chose to let each main character have a book of their own for us to really get to know and enjoy their stories.



I was really interested in Grace's story after learning more about her in A Sweet Misfortune.  She seemed like a genuinely nice person and she is! I could feel her pain in not having a family of her own, the loss of her husband and the devotion to her father, who is ill and needs her care. I love that in her need of help for a farm, a newly widowed man and three children (who are the children of his late wife, who failed to tell him about them!) Romance buds, after a time, and the book tells their story.

There is a spot of real drama in the book, and not telling you the ending, the author does seem to let it be a bit too convenient. However, for me, the goal of a romance is to get rid of the bad guy and she does so, and with a cheer from me!

The book has times when the story lags, and the ending is a little long in coming, but I do like the characters well enough to spend some extra time with them.  In the future, I would ask the author to consider a bit more detail in the ending, and a lot more detail in the day to day operations of the farm. I like that stuff, and it is needed to really give us the 1880s feel.

If you like historical fiction as much as I do, you will love this series.  The books can be read as a stand alone books, but you will meet the characters and want to more about them, like I did. Good summer reading!



10 May 2017

Sugar Free Magic Chocolate Shell #UltimateRecipeChallenge

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I love chocolate shell but now that I am sugar free, I haven't been enjoying my favorite treat.  With this sugar free magic chocolate shell recipe, I can enjoy it once again.  It's vegan, low carb and made in under five minutes!

Sugar Free Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell

I use a liquid stevia that is flavored with chocolate to add some depth, but you can use regular stevia. I find with stevia that it is best to start with a small amount and add more to taste. If you are using natural sugars like coconut sugar, replace the stevia with 2 tablespoons. In order for the sugar to have time to dissolve, I recommend that you add the sugar to the coconut oil and melt together in the microwave.

Ingredients for sugar free homemade magic chocolate shell
(in the spoon) Salt, Coconut Oil, Chocolate Liquid Stevia, Cocoa, Homemade vanilla
Sugar Free Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell

Sugar Free Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell


1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t salt
3 droppersful of chocolate stevia liquid (start with 1 and add more to taste)

Melt the coconut oil, add in cocoa and stir until all lumps are gone.  Add in vanilla, salt and one dropperful of chocolate liquid stevia.  Taste, add more stevia if needed.

Store at room temperature.  You may need to microwave for a few seconds (less than ten) to make the shell pourable.

I used a nutrition calculator to find that this recipe has 46 calories/tablespoon, with 0 sugar and 5 g of fat.

The Ultimate Recipe Challenge is hosted by The Kim Six Fix every other month. If you would like to join us, send me an email at terri@terristeffes.com and I will pass your name along!  Investigate these other marvelous chocolate recipes!  {You're welcome.} 

09 May 2017

Earthborn Holistic Earthbites #ChewyInfluencer

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I was given this product in exchange for my honest opinion.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that Truman and Wilson, our rescue dogs, pretty much like any treat they are given. I am sure it has a lot to do with being grateful for every bite, even though they have been treated like kings while living here at our house.



When choosing a treat for the boys, I always read about the companies that I choose from. I like to be sure they are getting good quality food sources and when I read about Earthborn, I knew that this was a company I would like to support.

The rewarding mission of Earthborn Holistic combines a love of pets and the planet. Taking a wholesome approach to nutrition with high-quality ingredients that nourish the whole pet, every holistic pet food formula is designed to offer balanced nutrients that support your pet's overall health and physical well-being. Earthborn Holistic offers a variety of canned and wet formulas for dogs and cats that meet their individual tastes and needs. And not only do they care about the needs of dogs, but they care about the planet too. With a goal to create awareness about the environment, they take a variety of measures to help the planet. The packaging is made in North America using clean, natural oil that reduces dependency on foreign oil. Additionally, the packaging is lighter and takes up less space, which means more packages fit in a truck and less fuel is used in the supply chain. Also, their UPC for Trees program promises to plant a tree when consumers send back the UPC code from their purchased products.

Right?

So many wonderful things right there that make me just plain happy.  I ordered the treats and almost before I turned around, the treats were here!  Chewy.com does a fantastic job of delivering their products in a quick manner!  The boys love it when the doorbell rings and it is a Chewy.com box!



When I unwrapped the treats, I pulled out a couple for the dogs to smell.  Typically, they grab it and run and then come rushing back for more.  This time, they both smelled it and Truman took it carefully from my hand and went to his spot on the carpet and put it down.  He sniffed it, licked it and ate it.  And then came back for more.  Each time, it was a careful enjoyment, much like I am with a perfectly cooked scallop!  He savored it, that is the best description!

I would say these are a hit!  Both dogs are eager to get one and both like to take their time with it. That actually makes me very happy!

Have you ever had a treat that your dogs would savor?


07 May 2017

Grilled Kielbasa and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette Salad #SundaySupper

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In the summer a salad always feels like the right choice.  The lettuces from the salad bowl are fresh and tasty, the grill beckons, and all works synergistically to make the perfect meal.  Could be that I made up "synergistically."  I hope you know what I mean.

Grilled Kielbasa and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette Salad

My husband and I are big fans of the humble kielbasa. We buy one that is precooked, and will snack on it with some favorite cheese, grill it in a kabob, or slice and panfry it to serve with a hearty pasta.  It is versatile and tasty and quick.

Grilled Kielbasa and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette Salad


This salad almost makes the kielbasa seem.... elegant.  Not a word generally associated with this protein. However, the bite sized pieces, the lovely greens and the vinaigrette combine to make a beautiful dish.  What do you think? Would you serve this to your friends or is this just a family meal?

Grilled Kielbasa and Warm Vinaigrette Salad

Grilled Keilbasa and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette Salad

4 c mixed spring greens
1 pkg turkey keilbasa
1/4 c parmesan shavings
1/2 c white cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T whole grain mustard
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash the spring greens. Lay on paper towels to dry. Separate greens onto two plates. Sprinkle cheese over the greens.  Sprinkle beans over the cheese.  Heat the grill to medium. When grill is hot, place whole kielbasa on the grill. Grill until kielbasa is heated all the way through and grill marks are on the meat. Remove from heat and rest five minutes.  In a small jar, add red wine vinegar, mustard, olive oil and 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper. Cover with lid and shake until blended. Remove lid and microwave for 30 seconds, stirring after every ten seconds. Pour the warmed dressing over the salad. Slice the kielbasa and lay on top of the salad.  Serve with crusty bread to sop up the dressing.  

Visit these other wonderful food bloggers to see even more delicious dinner salads that will keep you in business all summer long!  

Sunday Supper Summer Dinner Salad Recipes

Brilliant Beef Salads

Choice Chicken Salads

Great Grain Salads

Superb Seafood Salads

Vibrant Veggie Salads


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

04 May 2017

Mother's Day Gift Guide

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I was given this wine glass in exchange for my honest review.

I love getting and giving unique gifts for my friends and family, and Mother's Day is no exception! I like to spoil my mom with things she wouldn't buy for herself.  This year I am giving my mom some fun things that I thought you might like to hear about, especially if your mom is around the same as as mine (which is a young 78!)

My mom doesn't read my blog so I feel very comfortable sharing with you what she will be getting next week.  The first gift is from QVC and is this fun hanging plant.  This is an artificial plant, with a string of lights woven through it.  It was approximately $50 but I know my mom will get a lot of use from it on her front porch.  There are a lot of colors to choose from too, but I wanted to choose realistic flower colors.

The second gift was this Mother's Love necklace from the Vantel Pearl party that I was invited to. This is such a fun party! You purchase the setting, then join a Facebook Live party to open a real oyster. The pearls that you open are the ones placed into your setting.  It is so addictive. This necklace was around $70.  The pearls are gorgeous.  I won't show you the exact necklace, but here is a photo of the necklace, and of the pearls I opened!



Aren't those pearls going to look awesome in this necklace?  I can tell you, I have the necklace already and it is gorgeous!

Another fun gift is this wine glass from DuVino Wine Glass. My mom doesn't drink wine, but she loves fun glasses and I thought she would love this fun wine glass!  It is about $18. The wording is so cute! The bottom fill line says, Classy.  The second fill line says Sassy and the third fill line says Smart Assy!  Adorable!!  The glass has a 12.75 oz capacity, sturdy stem and base. The shape is more like a tulip which I think is beautiful.  It is dishwasher safe, comes in a white gift box.  You can buy this at Amazon (see the link below).  I will be buying this for a certain set of girlfriends in the near future, too. There are other fun sayings to choose from, too!

DuVino wine glass

My last gift for my mom is this hummingbird feeder.  Mom hasn't been a big fan of birds as far as I know, but I love seeing them myself, so I thought I would get this wonderful feeder I found at a fair. The design is such that you actually make the syrup in the feeder (directions included) and the design makes it ant proof, which is important.  You can purchase a hanger to hang it from a window, or you can simply hang it from a shepherd's hook.  It comes in a variety of colors, too.  You can purchase this here.

I hope you found the perfect gift for your mom, I know I sure did and that she will have a blast seeing all these fun things!  Let me know which one would be your favorite!


03 May 2017

Warm Steak and Sweet Potato Salad

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It is National Salad Month and we are celebrating with a variety of delicious salads at Foodie Extravaganza!  Thank you to our host, Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. She organized us into this wonderful group of bloggers and recipes that I am delighted to share with you!

Warm Steak and Sweet Potato Salad


This salad makes a nice sized lunch for two. Add more greens and another steak to make enough for four. The sweet potato cubes are plentiful.

Warm Steak and Sweet Potato Salad


Warm Steak and Sweet Potato Salad

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper
your favorite steak seasoning
1 1/4 lb strip steak
4 c mixed spring greens
2 T herbed de Provence
1/4 c goat cheese crumbles, if desired
Champagne vinaigrette dressing

Preheat oven to 400.  Wash greens and place on paper towels to drain.  Make dressing. Peel sweet potato and cut into one inch cubes.  Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Lay on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Roast for 20 minutes, turn, and roast for 10 minutes more.  While potatoes are roasting, season the steak with your favorite seasonings.  Season heavily.  Heat a cast iron skillet, sear steak on edges, and on each side (depending on doneness, 4-6 minutes on each side.)

Remove from heat, and let rest 6-8 minutes. Slice on the diagonal.  To assemble salad, lay greens on a plate, sprinkle with herbes de Provence. Pour on dressing.  Add sweet potato cubes and goat cheese crumbles.  Lay steak across the top of the salad and serve warm.

This salad is an elegant meal for friends as well. Slicing the steak ahead of time means that the steak is easy to cut and eat.  You can leave off the goat cheese crumbles as we did, and of course, exchange the Champagne dressing for your favorite dressing.

Warm Steak and Sweet Potato Salad

Take a peek at all the other wonderful salads being made for today's round up, and give one a try for National Salad Month.  Be sure to come back and tell us about the one you made!

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting. She encouraged us: "Let's celebrate all things salad. Green salads, pasta
salads, potato salads...whatever you want!"

Posting day for #FoodieExtravaganza is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

The Salad Smörgåsbord


02 May 2017

A Sentence A Day~April

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April is a beautiful month here in Missouri, and this month in my sentence-a-day-journaling I focused on the beauty of spring as well as my personal daily happenings.  We should always remind ourselves of the beauty around us.  It is a great stress reliever!

A Sentence A Day Journaling


Here are the past months renditions: For past editions of the A Sentence A Day journaling, check out these links: MayJuneJuly,  AugustSeptember,  October NovemberDecember, January 2017, February 2017, and March 2017.  It's hard to believe that it has been almost a year!  I need to think of a way to celebrate!

April 1.  Even though it is April Fool's Day, I put a down payment on a new convertible, so excited to be able to enjoy the April flowers with the top down!

April 2.  Bob is working hard to get the planters up for my new cutting gardens, where there will be a potting bench and fruit trees!

April 3.  My doctor revealed that I have lost 20 pounds!

April 4.  I loved seeing my JC girlfriends at Book Club tonight, these are the women my soul cries for when we are apart for too long.

April 5.  I can tell my students are beginning to stress about their big Decision to Teach paper because the same question was asked six times in class tonight!

April 6.  I loved seeing my middle school teachers today and hearing how proud they were of their student growth this quarter!

April 7.  I absolutely despise going to the tax office, however, I love my tax guy!

April 8.  A lazy day to spend just with my husband is always a blessing, especially when we are in a garden!

April 9.  The symphony was extra good today as we got to hear the swing sounds of Gershwin and seeing all the blooming cherry trees.

April 10. Today I was in Columbia to train for our new principal recertification workshop and I have to say, I love being with these dedicated professionals!

April 11.  I was in Columbia again today to have our monthly meeting but it was a bit special as the Dean of Education came to our meeting.

April 12.  Another meeting with my tax guy but the highlight of the day was meeting with the high school girls who are going to model the wedding dresses for the brunch later this month!

April 13.  We are headed to Chicago to spend Easter with my daughter, alas, not in the convertible like we had planned and our dinner was at a fantastic location where the room was so sunny and bright it felt like you were dining outside.

April 14.  The four of us went to Garfield Park to see the new display themed after Chicago baseball and had a fantastic time looking at plants, flowers, arrangements, and water displays.

April 15.  Our event for today was to go and watch the ships move down the Chicago River back to Lake Michigan, in an annual event called the Bridge Lift, where 27 bridges are lifted in succession until all boats reach the Lake.

April 16.  We had Easter brunch at Dusek's which was crazy good, with some courses being paired with beer and afterwards, headed to Washington Park to admire all the daffodils!

April 17.  Today we are to pick up the car, 16 days after the initial purchase, which I find entirely unacceptable.

April 18.  NO car.

April 19.  A training on critical thinking at the middle school today kept my mind off the fact that we still don't have a car.

April 20.  I had blood drawn today in order to see how my first 12 weeks on my new program is going!

April 21.  Our dinner club ate at a restaurant that is owned by the same family that hosted our rehearsal dinner for our wedding and noticed they have a spectacular outdoor seating area.

April 22.  Today was the PEO brunch, Daisies Say I Do, which was a huge success and so beautiful and I love all my PEO sisters!!

April 23.  A down time for us, which was so needed, after our big event yesterday, and seeing my phlox in my butterfly garden in full bloom.

April 24.  I had my PEO sisters who serve as officers over for dinner tonight and Bob did a great job on the major portions of the dinner.

April 25.  Met with middle school for the last time this year and did some more work on critical thinking.

April 26.  We had a wonderful book club meeting today and afterwards met with the president of The Bridge foundation to talk about fundraising, afterwards drove around our neighborhood and admired all the pink dogwoods.

April 27.  Today was one of those days where I feel so much passion about my work, then, followed up with an online book club meeting with my daughter!

April 28.  Bob and I drove to the dealership to get the new car today, completed all the paperwork and was waiting for the all clear to drive home, when the BUSINESS manager refused to let us take the car home until our bank issued the check for the car.  

April 29.  Even thought it was a rainy mess of a day, we did manage to go to the Master Gardener Plant sale which helped with my attitude about STILL NOT HAVING A CAR.

April 30. What a downpour we are having, but the side effect is that I have two adorable dogs snuggled up next to me.

Thank you for joining me for this so fun journaling experience!  It has been an entire year of journaling with a sentence a day.  I enjoy doing it and would love to group up with other writers to continue the idea. I started a Facebook group, too!  Who wants to join me?  You can join here! 

01 May 2017

Chicken Paillard with Spring Green Salad #TasteCreations

Yum
Welcome to the May edition of #TasteCreations, where we are featuring salads!  The summer months are such a great time to have a salad, with fresh greens easily available and inexpensive! Plus, it is super easy to grow your own salad bowl, too!

Chicken Paillard with Spring Green Salad

#TasteCreations wants to introduce you to our newest member of the family: Teri from The Freshman Cook.  Teri is a professional chef and restaurant owner (for over 20 years!) and writes a blog for the "freshman cook."  Her recipes are easy to follow and always so good!



I chose this salad because it has a great balance of cooked and raw vegetables, with lots of contrast.The parmesan can be left off for those who are dairy free (like me).


Chicken Paillard with Herbes de Povence and Spring Green Salad

5 oz asparagus
grape tomatoes
1 shallot
chives
1 T champagne vinegar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz sugar snap peas
3 T slivered almonds
1 T herbes de Provance
1 T unsalted butter
3 oz baby arugula
shaved parmesan
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Clean your produce. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends and cutting on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces. Halve the tomatoes and mince the shallot (use the shallot sparingly to taste.) To start your dressing,  put the shallots in a large bowl (the whole salad will go in there eventually) and add the sliced chives. Pour the vinegar over the shallots and chives.

Pound the chicken to an even thickness and set aside. Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the snap peas and asparagus and saute until bright green, about 3 minutes.  Vegetables will be slightly tender.  Add almonds, and stir for about 3 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer veggies to a plate, keep skillet handy for the chicken.  Season chicken with the herbes de provence and salt and pepper.  Heat skillet again and add butter and 1 T olive oil until butter is foamy, add chicken and cook until no pink shows, about 4 minutes per side.

To finish the dressing, while the chicken is cooking, add 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper to the shallots and stir.  Whisk in 2 T olive oil to fully combine.  This completes the dressing.

Add the arugula, tomatoes, sauteed veggies to the vinaigrette and toss, coating evenly.  Divide the salad between two plates, top with cooked chicken and garnish with parmesan.

This was so good.  It sounds like a lot of steps but really it goes quickly and the warm veggies and chicken on the salad was so amazing!

Let's see what the others were up to this month:

Nikki from Tikkido has this Tequila Lime Grilled Shrimp Salad that I cannot wait to try!
Rosemary from An Italian in my Kitchen has Homemade Creamy Italian Dressing with Grilled Chicken Salad.  Oh. My. Word.
Teri from The Freshman Cooks has Chicken Avocado Caprese Salad which I know my husband will love!
Lauren from The Mom Home Guide has Chicken Avocado Strawberry Salad which sounds lovely for Mother's Day!

If you are a food or lifestyle blogger who posts about food and would like to join us, please email me at terri@terristeffes.com and I will send you the details!  We are a laid back but wonderful group of bloggers to work with and we would love to have you!

Salad Recipes #tastecreations