Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food for Thought

I am not sure about you, but I try really hard to feed my family as healthy as I can.  After seeing Today on NBC yesterday morning I am not going to try even harded to make sure I am selecting the best foods I can for the most important people in my life. 

The Today Show had interesting broadcast regarding how food dyes can impact children and could cause hyperactivity in them.  The FDA is conducting a hearing this week to see if this is indeed true.  The FDA may require warning labels on foods that contain the following dyes:  Red #40, Red 3, Blue #2, etc.

If you want to read more about this here is the link to The Today Show's article, and also a great article from The Washington Post.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


When was the last time you gave someone a good Thank You!  Gratitude is such a small gift, but it gives back in so many ways. 

Last month while I was volunteering a couple came in for tea and looked me dead in the eye and said "Thank You."  It sent chills down my back and made me feel so good.  It made me realize how a sincere thank you can do so much for your soul.  I am now trying to make sure the people I thank know that I truly appreciate their help and looking them straight in the eye as I do it.

Just think how long that Thank You might go!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dinner by Dad

So tonight my lovely spouse is going to cook me dinner.  I thought I would share the recipes he has chosen to make...

We are going to start with some bubbly and Feta and Radish Toasts...

And then on to Herb and Spice Lamb Chops with Minted Asparagus

Dessert is still a secret..

Monday, March 28, 2011


How do you like to keep your schedule organized?  Do you like keeping it in your phone, computer, on a big board in the kitchen or in a calendar?  I used to like keeping it in my phone, but after a while I got tired and longed for the days of having it hand written so I could feel some accomplishment of checking things off my list and schedule.  I discovered momAgenda a few years ago and found them so useful (I wasn't even a Mom at that point and still loved them!)

What I like about the day planner is that there is a place on each day for you to jot down what dinner is that day.  In addition there are sections for each child so you can keep track of that schedule as well (and your spouse's!)  These agendas come in a couple of different sizes and various colors.

Image from momAgenda

In addition to these wonderful day planners there are a number of other products that they offer such as journals, stationary, notepads, organizers, etc.  You can also download the agenda for your iPad.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lights Out

Today at 8:30pm I am going to be turning off all of our lights off for one hour in participation in Earth Hour 2011WWF has done amazing job starting this program and it has exploded around the world. 

It is amazing hour to just think about how technology impacts us, and how shutting it off every once and a while makes such a big difference.  I am so excited to spend that hour (or more) just talking with my husband and enjoying an evening without any tech. 

I hope you join me in turning off the lights tonight and to get you excited, check out these images from previous years! 




Friday, March 25, 2011

What is for dinner?

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Salmon-Ginger Rice Bowl  After making this tonight I suggest you make a bit more of the marinade to pour over the salmon and cook the salmon in a parchment package at 425 degrees F for 11 minutes.

Monday - Chicken Feta Salad

Tuesday -  Dad is cooking, and won't tell me what he is making...

Wednesday - Spinach Soup with Creamy Potato Mustard Mash

Thursday - Dinner Out

Friday - Creamy Asparagus Soup with a Poached Egg

Saturday - Mustard Beef with Fennel - See Below for the Recipe

Mustard Beef with Fennel - Donna Hay Magazine, Issue #54
Serves 4

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp seeded mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil, extra
1 x 250g beef fillet, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
2 bunches asparagus, halved and blanched
lemon wedges, to serve

1.  Place the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, garlic, and sugar in a bowl and mix well to combine.  Set aside.

2.  Heat the extra olive oil in a wok over high heat until hot.  Add the beef in batches and cook, stirring for 30-45 seconds or until just brown and set aside.

3.  Add the fennel and asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

4.  Return the beef to the wok, add the mustard mixture and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. 

5.  Arrange on plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Straighten Up

I am doing some light reading this week and came across Tim Gunn's book, A Guide To Quality, Taste, & Style, and found wonderful reminders regarding one's posture.  Rather than keeping the shoulders back, he suggests keeping them down, creating more space for the neck. 

Also, I love the idea of the "bistro position."  Imagine yourself slipping between two bistro tables and tucking your bottom under and drawling the navel in.  Of course this idea originated in France and first appeared in Your Carriage, Madam written by Janet Lane.

I am going to try to remember to implement these daily!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Earth Hour 2011 - Reminder

At the end of the week Earth Hour 2011 will be here!  If you haven't participated before, please do so.  Organized by WWF, for one hour on March 26th from 8:30pm to 9:30pm you turn off all of your lights.  It is a perfect time to have a night candlelit dinner with a loved one.  This is such a great thing to do, and it makes such a difference.  If you want to read more about Earth Hour and sign up please visit their website.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Live the language - Paris

Have you seen this video yet?  It has me ready to pack a bag and hop on a plane.   Maybe it is time I get serious about learning French.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Spring!

Today is the first official day of Spring, although it hasn't been feeling like spring in my neighborhood.  The snow is just starting to melt, but I did spy some daffodils starting to come up.  It amazes me that they grow every spring under the snow...I love daffodils, they are so bright and sunny even though most trees and plants are still barren from the winter.

Here is wishing you a sunny, happy Monday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I have never made my own mustards, but after reading this article in Sunset Magazine I am going to give it a try.  They had six recipes for homemade mustard and they all sound so good, and very easy: rosemary thyme, cognac, ballpark beer, hot and tangy, seeded agave nectar, and spicy chipotle.  Looks like we'll be having sandwiches for lunch next week!

Images from Sunset Magazine

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is for dinner

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Lemon-Tarragon Salmon Over Asparagus

Monday - Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday - Lemon and Ginger Chicken

Wednesday - Lamb Keema

Thursday - Garlic Chickpeas and Chorizo - See Below for the Recipe
Friday - Spiced Chicken with Carrott Salad and Harissa Yogurt

Saturday - Beef with Wasabi Mash and Asian Greens - See Below for the Recipe

Garlic Chickpeas and Chorizo - Donna Hay Magazine, Issue #54
Serves 2

3 chorizo, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp shredded lemon zest
250g cherry tomatoes
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup basil leaves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
finely grated parmesan, to serve

1.  Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chorizo and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the chorizo is golden and crisp.

2.  Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for 1 minutes. 

3.  Place the tomatoes in a sieve and press to split and release some of the excess juice and seeds.

4.  Add the tomatoes and chickpeas to the pan and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until heated through.

5.  Stir through the basil and lemon juice.  Divide between serving bowls and sprinkle with parmesan to serve.

Beef with Wasabi Mash and Asian Greens - Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 54
Serves 4

1kg starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp wasabi paste
1/2 cup milk
40g butter
sea salt and cracked pepper
4 x 200g fillet steaks
4 green onions sliced
1 bunch bok choy trimmed and blanched
4 Tbsp store bought chilli jam

1.  Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted cold water and bring to a boil.  Cook for 12-15 minutes or until tender.  Drain and return to the pan with the wasabi, milk, butter, salt and pepper, and mash until smooth.

2.  Heat a large frying pan over high heat.  Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium, or until cooked to your liking.

3.  Top the mash with the sliced steaks and the green onions and serve with the bok choy and chili jam.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan

Tomorrow is a day of silence in the blogging world which I will be observing.  Please check back on Saturday for the weekly menu for next week.  Until then, let's keep Japan in our thoughts and please do what you can to help them. 


Erin Go Braugh

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Here is some trivia about this festive day:

1.  St. Patrick's Day celebrates St. Patrick's death on March 17, 461

2.  There are more than 100 parades held in the US today in celebration.  Boston and NYC are two of the largest parades. 

3.  Blue was the first color associated with St. Patrick, but over years it changed to green. 

4.  The Shamrock was used by St. Patrick to explain the holy trinity to the non-Christians. 

5.  Every year the city of Chicago dies the river green.

6.  If you kiss the Blarney Stone you are said to cure yourself of shyness.

7.  Leprechauns are shoemakers.
8.  In Ireland the color green stands for hope.

9.  St. Patrick was born in Britain.

10.  Erin Go Braugh means Ireland for Ever

All images via

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inner Beauty

I found this on Pagoda Press the other day.  I thought it was terrific and needed reposting.  These are wonderful reminders for everyday - of course Audrey would get it right.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Parisian Fashion

Did you see the article on Ines de la Fressange in this month's Lonny Magazine?  The article gives a little hint to what the book has in store for us, it seems like her style runs on the side of unexpected.  A chiffon printed dress paired with heavy motorcycle boots - that I might pass on, but I love the idea of pairing a pencil skirt with ballet flats! 

I have already pre-ordered the book from Amazon and can't wait for it to be released on April 5th. 
The pictures are so chic, her daughter looks so effortless.  I had actually blogged about these photos before, I didn't realize they were part of this book.  After seeing these few images I can't wait to shed these winter sweaters and put on some spring clothes! 

Images via

Monday, March 14, 2011

Luck of the Irish

With St. Patrick's Day this coming Thursday I wanted to show you some great ideas I found online for hosting parties.  Twig and Thistle has some great DIY projects that look really easy and they are even providing some printables to top it off!  Celebrations at Home has free printables as well and some great inspirational pictures for cookies and cupcakes.  Last but not least, The Hostess with the Mostess has pictures from a beer tasting party.  Such wonderful ideas to provide as inspiration. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


If you are like me, you have been glued to the television the past couple of days watching the destruction of Japan.  The images of the tsunami are utterly amazing, the force of that water is so great.  I can't imagine what the people are thinking and feeling.  If you want to help the Japanese here are some resources that you can donate to:

American Red Cross

Save The Children

International Medical Corps

For more information on organizations arranging relief for Japan please see this link.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I still receive phone books every year.  They are such a waste of paper and space no that you can look everything up on the Internet.  I can't remember the last time I used one.  You can now opt-out of receiving these at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Shopping

Have you started thinking about what your closet needs this spring?  Matchbook Magazine had a terrific article in their premier issue identifying the 50 classic items everyone needs.  It looks like I am missing a few items, so I will be putting a straw hat, a nice umbrella, navy blazer, black cigarette pants, and some tunics on my list.

They even include a cheat sheet that can be printed out so you can take it with you as you do your spring shopping. 

What do you need to buy?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let them eat cake!

There is something wonderful about a beautifully decorated cake.  I would love to learn to make cakes that look like these:

...I guess it is time to get out the tips and start working on my skills!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bath Time Fun

I just came across these fun card games to make bath time (or even hot tub time) more fun.  Milliwik makes waterproof cards that can be used in any kind of water.  They offer a couple of children and adult card options.  I know my little one will enjoying playing with the splashimals. 

Images from Milliwik

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The Utensils page is up and running.  This page is obviously a work in progress as I learn about more websites and apps.  I would love your feedback on useful sites you use. 

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tea Tin Flowers

I am currently trying to scrounge around to find old used tea tins as flower vases.  They are so colorful and bright and can really cheer up a table.  Plus they are the perfect size for small arrangements.  You can even use them to grow herbs, and would look terrific on a kitchen window sill.  As spring starts to roll in these will be so fun to use to display Mother Nature's gifts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What is for dinner?

Here is what we are eating next week...

Sunday - Salmon with Spinach and Chickpeas - for recipe please see below
Monday - Tomato and Basil Risoni with Ricotta

Tuesday - Chickpeas with Chard and Pan-roasted Tomatoes

Wednesday - Black Bean Soup with Avocado, Orange, and Cucumber

Thursday - Grilled Chicken Pita Salad

Friday - Asparagus, Leek, and Gruyere Quiche

Saturday - Chickpea Pattie Salad - for recipe please see below

Salmon with Spinach and Chickpeas - Martha Stewart Living Magazine, March 2011

Active Time 15 Min.
Total Time  25 min
Serves 4

3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless salmon filets
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
5 cups baby spinach
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut out four 12 x 17 inch pieces of parchment; fold each in half crosswise to form a crease, then open.

2.   Pulse parsley, garlic, and oil in a blender or food processor until a paste forms.  Season each salmon fillet with 1/8 tsp salt and the red-pepper flakes.

3.   Rub fish with paste.  Divide spinach and chickpeas evenly among 4 parchment pieces, arranging mixture on 1 side of a salmon fillet; season each pile with 1/8 tsp salt and some pepper.  Lay 1 fillet on top of each.  Fold parchment over ingredients; make overlapping pleats to seal.

4.   Bake on 2 baking sheets (2 packets per sheet) for 9-10 minutes for medium-rare or 11 minutes for medium.  Unwrap.

Chickpea Patties with Tomato and Halumi Salad
Chickpea Patties – Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 48

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 green onions, trimmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup olive oil, extra, for shallow frying

1.      Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon rind, flour, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and process for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick paste. 
2.      Add the sesame seeds and mix to combine.  Shape 1 Tbsp of the mixture at a time into patties.
3.      To cook, heat the extra olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden and crisp.  Drain on absorbent paper.  Makes 24

(To freeze uncooked patties, divide into 4 portions and place in zip-lock bags or airtight containers.  Freeze up to 3 months.  Before cooking, place the patties in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight and allow to defrost completely.)

For Salad:

6 cups of your favorite salad greens
Parsley leaves, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
halumi cheese – this is generally sold in a block, make sure you have enough for 2-3 full
            slices for each salad
Fresh lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1.      Assemble the salad greens, parsley, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber on each plate.
2.      Thinly slice the halumi cheese and fry in a sauté pan for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Add to the salad.
3.      Add the cooked chickpea patties to the salad
4.      Sprinkle the salad with the fresh lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They are here!

It is that time of year, the Girl Scout cookies are everywhere.  I just found out that there is an app to locate the nearest selling point if a little lady didn't come door to door to sell them to you.  You can download it for free from the AppStore

I am going to be buying some more thin mints this weekend, they are just so good, and freeze very well.  I love pulling them out in the middle of summer, people are always impressed with some homemade thin mint ice cream!


Images via Girl Scouts

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."                 Dr. Seuss
Happy 107th Birthday Dr. Seuss!  Since today is Read Across America Day (and tomorrow is World Book Day) let's all grab a copy of the birthday boy's classic "Green Eggs and Ham" and celebrate the wonderful words and worlds of Dr. Seuss!

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