Showing posts from January, 2017

How to Prepare (and Eat!) an Artichoke

When I was a principal at South Callaway Schools, my administrative assistant was a sunny and kind woman named Dana who was a California (state) implant to Missouri.  Dana was the perfect antidote to my seriousness and always made sure that school was a fun place to be. One day, for whatever reason, Dana and I were at school with no one else around.  It could have been before Parent Teacher conferences, or maybe a school concert, but she decided she was going to show me the proper way to make and eat an artichoke. She brought one to school and somehow cooked the thing and showed me how to eat it.  It Rewas delicious, and since that day, I have tried to make sure I have at least one whole artichoke a year. I am going to show you how Dana taught me to make an artichoke. First, snip off the pointy ends of each petal. Remove most of the woody stem, leaving about an inch.   Cut off the top 1/4 with a serrated knife.   Rinse the artichoke under cold running water.  Pla

French Kiss #foodnflix

January's pick for #FoodnFlix was French Kiss, hosted by our sponsor, Food 'n Flix!   Here's the movie description as written by our host: French Kiss stars Meg Ryan as Kate, the tightly-wound, straight-as-an-arrow history teacher living the life she'd always imagined with her fiance Charlie (played by Timothy Hutton) in Canada. Charlie asks Kate to go with him on a work trip to Paris, but Kate opts to stay home and secure her dream home and finish planning their wedding. Kate's world is shattered when Charlie calls to tell her that he's fallen in love and won't be coming home. She musters up the courage to hop on a flight to Paris, where she is seated next to Luc (played by Kevin Kline), a French thief, who annoys her to no end and stashes something he has stolen in her bag. Once in Paris, Kate sets her mind to winning back Charlie, and Luc sets his mind to retrieving his stashed goods. Romance and comedy ensue. Plus, the majority is actually fi

Simple Game Day Snacks

Putting on a party for your game day need not be a big preparation.  Keeping things simple but fun makes the day even more fun.  We recently had a spread worthy of the Super Bowl but without a lot of fuss and stress.  Let me walk you through it! 1.  Crab dip.  Get good crab from your butcher and a great cocktail sauce.  Mix together and pour over softened cream cheese.  Serve with good crackers. 2.  Make hummus (it is so easy with Hummus So Easy, see my recipes here , here and here !)  Serve with fresh veggies as a dipper.  We love baby carrots! 3.  Make a large bowl of popcorn.  We love the Skinny Pop with white cheddar.  Yummm.  We can eat a whole bag of it ourselves. 4.  Have a sweet.  Whether it is cookies, or candy, or ice cream sundaes, have a little something for those who like to indulge their sweet tooth. 5.  Marcona almonds.  These are so good and perfect for those who want to indulge.  These almonds are so delicious, we don't do anything more with the

Easiest Bread Ever

Bread is the food of life. Baking bread takes me to faraway places, like the time we traveled to England, and scones, biscuits, and homemade bread were a part of every meal and table.  It takes me to my favorite Italian restaurants, the crispy yet chewy crusts that absorb those delicious oils and sauces or my favorite butter dense with fresh herbs.   It is the mainstay of my favorite breakfast, avocado toast.  A hearty piece of bread perfectly toasted, with smashed ripe avocado, olive oil, and salt and pepper sprinkled liberally over all.  The textures, the aroma, the taste buds smiling really big! I found a recipe on Pinterest for a 5 ingredient bread made in an hour.  Of course this caught my attention and I have tried it several times.  I have made adjustments the recipe based on my personal experiences.  Here you go. Easiest Bread Ever 2 small envelopes of fast rising yeast 1 T good honey 2 c warm water (as for a baby's bath) 4 c flour 1 1/2

Healthy Soup Options #SoupSwappers

Our resolutions are freshly made, but you might find yourself starting to slide a bit, the salads are getting monotonous and you long for something comforting to eat.  A group of bloggers have banded together to give you some healthy soup options that will leave you feeling satisfied and happy. You might remember that our group, The Secret Recipe Club, disbanded a while back.  I am happy to say that one of our group, Wendy Klik, of A Day in the Life on the Farm  rallied us together and we have started a new group called Soup Saturday Swappers.  You can find us on Facebook if you are a food blogger and want to join us! The herbs I used were the ones I harvested and froze for occasions just like this.  My herb garden provides me so much pleasure in the summer, and when I harvest and use them in the winter, even more so!  This herb mixture is basil, oregano and thyme. We also used my husband's homemade chicken stock.  Each time he roasts a chicken, I am having him make sto

Jessica Fechtor's Cherry Clafoutis #CooktheBooksClub

Cook the Books read Jessica Fechtor's memoir called Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought me Home for our bimonthly selection. Jessica's writing is what we teachers like to call "authentic voice."  Even though I have never met her, I know I would recognize her when she spoke. Her book tells the story of her brain aneurysm at the age of 28, her nothing-short-of miraculous recovery, her food blog and how food and cooking helped her return to the world. I was completely, soulfully and utterly mesmerized by this book. Jessica writes her story in carefully crafted, simple yet powerful sentences, that sets the story free to soar. We walk beside her bleeding brain, recover with her outside of surgery, struggle with physical therapy and the loss of sight and taste, celebrate when things start to go well, cry when they aren't. And between all of this, is food. Not just any food, but food, like Jessica, that has a heart.  In its own simplicity, she talks

Valentine Candy Bouquet #OrientalTrading

I was given product from Oriental Trading for my review but all opinions are my very own! Valentine's Day is approaching and we are all scrambling over our pinned posts to find a gift for those in our lives who go above and beyond to make our lives easier.  I, too, am looking for that gift, and I believe I have found one that is easy, creative and inexpensive, yet also is beautiful and tasty! This candy bouquet is so pretty in person.  All you need are candies, a vase or container, foam to hold the candies in place, tape, and floral sticks.  All my candies were purchased from the Valentine's page of Oriental Trading!   So many choices, both in kinds and colors!  You will see so many ideas when you visit the Crafts Section, too.  I searched the whole section just in case there were ideas I hadn't thought of yet! Green foam and plastic container came from a dollar store. First I wash and dry the container. I place the green foam in the container and create

A Moonbow Night #ourgoodlifebooklist

In my first read by author Laura Frantz, I am taken in by the authentic voice of the era that the author seems to write with ease.  The opening sentence "There was no cure for the whirling April snow, the cold seeping through thin, trail-worn moccasins from the frozen forest floor" draws you quickly into the misery of trailbreaking in 1777 with the threat of harm and the lack of filling food to look forward to each day.  A Moonbow Night is the story of survival in the wilderness during the first flood of landowners to Kentucky.  Temperence, the main character of the story, is a strong, smart and savvy woman of the frontier. The author makes sure that each character is grounded and sincere.  Each has distinct voices and mannerisms that make you love and sometimes, dislike them.  All have strength of character when times call for it and all have weaknesses that nearly do them in.  The author weaves the story like a fine artisan, and the story emerges just like a tapestry.

Vanilla Extract

I like making my own vanilla.  Real vanilla extract is expensive in the store, and I can make my own with ease and I happen to love the taste.  The hardest part is finding a good vanilla bean and I can make that easy for you, too.  Order your vanilla beans from Penzey's!  (not an affiliate link) Homemade Vanilla Extract Clean bottles that hold 8 oz of liquids vodka, enough for each bottle vanilla bean, 1-2 per 8 oz of vodka Make sure your bottles are clean and dry.  Pour the vodka into your bottles.  Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and drop into the bottle.  Let the vodka and vanilla bean sit together for 3-6 weeks. Strain the liquid and rebottle before gifting. Use the vanilla the same way you would use store bought vanilla. I use all precautions and store this vanilla in the refrigerator.  Since there are no preservatives, I want to place it in a safe spot.  This is the super delicious vanilla I use in my Warm Vanilla Drink.

Truman and Wilson Give Back! gave us our treats, but the opinions expressed are our own! Wilson and Truman had an opportunity to give back and they did!  This month at you could choose to order Wellbites and in turn, Wellbites would donate five cases of food!  As rescued dogs themselves, they understand the need to share and give back.  We are so proud to be a part of Wellbite's campaign. Wellbites are also very good .  Truman and Wilson preferred these treats over others they were offered when they came from outside.  Wellbites come in a variety of flavors.  Beef and Turkey, Turkey and Duck, Lamb and Salmon and Lamb and Chicken.  We were given the Beef and Turkey ones, which were, according to our dogs, yummy! Wilson is a West Highland Terrier and Truman is a Cavashon.  These two white pups give us endless fun and joy, and being honest, annoy the dickens out of us from time to time.  Both dogs love to nap and bark, and sometimes do both at the same time.  No. Kidding.

Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sliders-The Ultimate Breakfast Challenge

Welcome to the Ultimate Recipe Challenge-Breakfast! hosted by Kim Six of The Kim Six Fix.  You will see a lot of breakfast recipes from fabulous bloggers! I love coming up with recipes for my family during the holidays.  For the first time, we needed a breakfast that could be eaten on the run, so I made up these breakfast sliders.  This is a combination of all sorts of recipes I found on the internet and pinterest.  My family was crazy about them but we ended up eating them at the table anyway! These are super easy but a bit time consuming.  I got up early that day to get them made.  That's probably why we had time to eat at the table, come to think about it! Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sliders by Our Good Life 6080540 Ingredients (4 servings) 12 slider buns (dinner rolls) deli sliced ham, 1/2 pound 12 slices muenster cheese 9 eggs 1/2 c butter, melted 1/4 c real maple syrup salt and pepper Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a

Word of the Year is: CONQUER

I have been fortunate to be with a group of strong women who know how to take charge of their lives and because of that, I have managed to hold on to mine by a thin thread. We always chose a word of the year and a couple of the women always held us accountable.  While I didn't always achieve what I wanted, I always did better than I thought I would! So this year's word, CONQUER, comes from the fact that my goals have been similar for the last several years.  This year I want to CONQUER those goals so I can move forward with my real goal: retirement and travel and fun with my husband as long as we are able! Let's look at last year's blog goals:  I met my goals for Pinterest and Facebook fans.  I did not meet my goals for Twitter and Instagram.  In fact, I stalled on both Twitter and Instagram.  I am actually ok with that for one main reason:  my Google Analytics say that Pinterest and Facebook are my biggest referrals, then Google.  My 2017 blog goals are to conti

Cheeseburger Stew #SundaySupper

You know the feeling you get when you wrap a warm  blanket around your shoulders and pull your feet up to the fireplace?  That is the feeling you get when you first bite into my Cheeseburger Stew. Warm and comfortable cheeseburger taste in a bowl!  This slimmed up version is difficult to differentiate from the full fat, high calorie version you find in diners, but it is much better for you! When #SundaySupper asked us to make recipes using lean beef, this is one recipe that I love to use lean hamburger in.  You don't have to drain the fat from the burger which is a time saving step.  I never know what to do with that leftover fat, anyway!  With the wholesome goodness of carrots, onions and new potatoes, this soup leaves you feeling happy and satisfied. This soup is outstanding at a tailgate party, or the SuperBowl, or any college game day football game. I usually have crackers, toast points, or sliced baguettes available for dipping.  Finished with your favorite, cold beer, i

A Sentence A Day~ December

When I learned about writing a sentence a day for journaling, I knew it was something I wanted to do.  I was right, because here I am today, still doing it! This is my eighth month and I don't think I will be slowing down anytime soon. It's just one sentence a day, although, trying to summarize the day's events and emotions into one sentence is challenging. For past editions of the A Sentence A Day journaling, check out these links:  May ,  June ,  July ,   August ,  September ,   October , and   November . I knew December would be a challenge.  There are so any things on my want-to-do list, plus keeping up with two blogs (I do a Christmas blog half of the year) I just wasn't sure how this would work. The neat thing about this type of journaling though, is, that it is just one sentence!  I can usually work it in right before bedtime.  Here are my thoughts from December. December 1.  It's finally December and now my friends can't tell me that I cele

Color Our World~Red!

This month the bloggers from Project Beautiful focused on the color RED.  It was a perfect color choice for December and now you will have many beautiful red posts to read and love. Let's talk a bit about the color red.  People know a lot about red.  It is one of our three primary colors.  It is associated with heat, passion, sacrifice and danger. It is used to get attention: think stop signs.  It is used to mark happiness (China).  Ochre is a reddish rock that was ground up and made into paints, as long as 140,000 years ago!  Holidays, religion, and the sunset all have connections to red that will make your head swim just thinking about all that red! We have several gardening bloggers in our group and they always have the most wonderful choices!  Look at Lee's Red Hot Mammas.    You will want to go and read her post about these delightful flowers. Soshi at Blooming Secrets has a nice collage of flowers you might consider if you are wanting a spot of red in it.