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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Computer problems...ugh!

What a day it has been and it's not even 3:00 pm yet! I slept in a bit and then thought I'd have a leisurely day checking emails and Facebook. I have been noticing for quite some time that my computer seemed to have issues. I finally reached tech support and, $300 and 2 hours later, my computer seems to be fixed. The one thing that is driving me crazy, however, is that they changed my fonts somehow. I DO NOT like the way it looks. Makes it feel like I'm in SAFE MODE. The bright spot is that HH decided to make us bacon and eggs for lunch. He wanted to go out to eat but I wasn't going to leave the tech support guy alone with my computer since he had taken over control. I wanted to watch everything he was doing....and good thing, too, since he tried to remove a couple of programs that I wanted to keep.

I am also noticing issues with my blog. I can't click onto a lot of the links, such as "older posts" and "home". VERY frustrating. Also, I can't comment on someone else's comment...what is up with that? I have NO idea who to contact at, but while I'm in the "fixing" mood, I might as well tackle that next!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day and have something fun planned. Dealing with the computer issues has almost tapped out my fun meter! lol.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mediterranean Food Festival experience

Last week I met a lady at wine-tasting who gave me a postcard advertising a Mediterranean Food & Music Festival here in my hometown this weekend. I came home, set it down and promptly forgot all about the event until I came across the postcard while looking for my missing instruction manual for my mini-recorder earlier today. (I recently became quite ruthless about throwing things away and that manual may have become a casualty of my purging war.) I immediately told HH about the festival (I'm still not happy about missing the large Greek Food Festival in Sacramento earlier this month)and so off we went. It was a very small festival but the people were friendly and the food was good. We ended up getting a combination plate for HH, with a side of stuffed grape leaves (Warak Dawali is what I think they were called)and a Gyro for me. The combo plate came with a chicken skewer and beef skewer, hummus (very tasty hummus, I might add), Basmati rice and a salad with the MOST refreshing dressing. I asked Jean (the lady who gave me the postcard last week) what all was in that wonderful dressing. She said it was made with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt & pepper. I will be making this dressing very soon! We then split a yummy Baklava for dessert. I wanted to try the Turkish coffee, but decided against it as I might want to sleep sometime in the next couple of days. :) The live music hadn't started when we left, so we missed out on that. They had a VERY small shopping area that we looked at, but nothing struck me as a "must buy". It was a very nice afternoon and the weather was about 90°....and we were in the shade, which was nice. I love food festivals and this one was pleasant, but not spectacular.

Rosemary, Garlic & Olive Oil Chicken for the Crock Pot

Yesterday I was on a mission to find a healthier Crock Pot recipe using chicken. So many of my chicken recipes for the Crock Pot seem to be bathed in delicious, heavy cream sauces and that was just not going to work for me. I haven't eaten as healthy as I should for the better part of a week now and I wanted to get back on track. I didn't feel like spending hours in the kitchen, either, so the Crock Pot seemed the best solution. Throw it in and forget it!! Now just to find a healthy recipe! I went straight to Google (what would I do without that marvelous search engine?) and found what looked to be a great recipe in a relatively short time. By the time I found my recipe it was already 1:45 in the afternoon and I still needed to make my near-daily trek to the grocery store. Here is the recipe I found. Just click here

It was so easy to make, and cooks on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

The chicken was very moist and tender and the house smelled delightfully of the fragrant Rosemary, with just a hint of the garlic. It also tasted like it smelled - delicious! For a fast, healthy meal, you can't beat this one. I served it with a side of steamed Brussels Sprouts and a nice salad with my homemade Ranch dressing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Marinated Green Beans

Today the Hunky Hubster (hereinafter referred to as HH)and I had to make a painful visit to the DMV(is any visit there ever anything LESS than painful?). Well there is a bright spot to this less-than-joyous trip and that is that there is a fruit stand on the way back!! Hallelujah! So I made my poor, tired, worn-out HH stop on the way home so I could pick up a fresh veggie for tonight's dinner. I wandered through the small, tight aisles looking for the perfect vegetable to complement the grilled tri-tip we were having. I saw small, too-firm avocados; beautiful, misshapen turnips; fragrant herbs, and some truly luscious fruit. I spied the long, slender, firm green beans and I was sold! I picked up a couple pounds of those beauties and away we went. I arrived home with my precious bundle and immediately searched the Internet to find the perfect recipe, preferable one using ingredients I already had on hand, as the HH made a beeline for the bedroom as soon as we got home. I was lucky I wasn't caught in the vapor trail! After a few keystrokes into the Great Google Machine, this is the recipe I found: Marinated Green Beans

The recipe requires you to chill it at least 3 hours before serving and I didn't do this as I didn't have the time, but I did chill the green beans in an ice water bath for quite a while). Enjoy!
P.S. I completely spaced out taking a photo - SORRY!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pasta Puttanesca

This dish has long fascinated me....maybe it was the tantalizing title, or maybe just the simplicity of the dish itself, but it has been on my "food to-do" list for quite some time. Just hearing the name brings a vision to mind of those Italian "working girls" rushing to make this dish before their next "client" made his appearance. It is quite possible that they made this dish just to lure the poor souls to their door! The aroma wafting through the house after the anchovy paste and garlic hit the sizzling olive oil was enough to lure my husband into the kitchen!

I have tried to find the source of this recipe and I can't. I will continue to search as I want to give the creator of this amazing recipe the credit. My apologies to the author of this recipe.

1 lb spaghetti
6-7 cloves garlic, pasted with the back of a knife, or use a garlic press
1 TBSP anchovy paste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil (I use extra-virgin olive oil)
7-10 tomatoes, chopped and partially seeded*
1 cup Kalamata olives (be sure to pit them if not already pitted)
3 TBSP capers
1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until it is barely al dente. While the spaghetti noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the garlic, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fragrant and a light golden color (this should take 2-3 minutes).
Add tomatoes to the oil mixture, along with the olives and capers, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is done.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Simmer and turn the pasta using tongs, until it is cooked al dente, about 2 minutes. Add the basil and serve!
*NOTE: You can puree the tomatoes if you wish, but I prefer them chopped.

Next time I make this dish, I will puree half of the tomatoes and see how I like it prepared in that manner.

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