Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A New Cookbook for My Collection

I haven't taken a count lately but I am guessing this one puts me well over 100. I love cookbooks, I can sit and read them like a novel. Unfortunately, since it's so easy to find a recipe on the internet, I don't use them as often as I used to. Of course, there's those tried and true recipes from my favorite cookbooks. I need to make it a point to find at least one new recipe a week from any one of my hundreds of cookbooks...that would make a great blog topic!!!

I am a big fan of Martha Stewart radio, especially Everyday Food, Living Today and the gardening show (the name escapes me). There's been a lot of talk about Martha's new cupcake cookbook. Until yesterday, my plan was to put it on my Christmas list. While browsing the book aisle at Costco, there it was and at a great price, too. I couldn't resist.

Cupcakes are just fun!!! All the flavors and all of the different ways to decorate. As with many towns today, we have a couple of shops that specialize in cupcakes. Amazing that people pay $2.50 or more per cupcake, for something that is so easy to make at home.

After thumbing through the book this morning, the recipe I decided to try first was the Blondie Cupcake. They're easy to make, no frosting and remind me of a chocolate chip cookie in a cupcake.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Tastes of Summer

We went to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, just another reason I am enjoying our first weekend home from vacation.

The produce at the market had changed considerably in the weeks since we last visited. I was hoping for Fourth of July sweet corn and berries. Only one or two booths had corn and I don't think I saw any berries. Next weekend?

What we did find was an abundance of squash, tomatoes, new potatoes, peas, beans, onions and lettuce. Everything looked beautiful. We've had a lot of rain and cooler temperatures (until last week) and the veggies have flourished.

We brought home our largest "crop" of the year, new potatoes, cherries, zucchini, cue ball squash, baby eggplant, baby beets, snow peas, peas in the shell and green beans. I am always a little overwhelmed when I get everything home. Making sure we store it properly. What to cook when? What new recipes to try? Now that I've figured it all out my concern has turned to anticipation. I can't wait to try some new recipes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ten Days...3000 Miles and Lots of Great Memories

We arrived back in "The Good Life" late yesterday afternoon. 7 hours across non scenic I80 in Nebraska was the culmination of our trip. We were all glad to be home. Our own beds and all of the comforts of home were there for us. Michael was home all of about 10 minutes and off he went to see the friends he'd left behind 10 days ago.

As we were eating dinner at Red Lobster (chain food was calling to us) in Cheyenne,Wyoming on Friday night, we recounted the memories of the week and talked about our favorities.

Breakfast - The Running Bear Pancake House in West Yellowstone
Lunch - The picnic lunch in Sinks Canyon State Park
Dinner - Michael's was the Prime Rib at the in Cheyenne and for Tim and I the gnocci at Nani's in Jackson Hole.
Most Comfortable Bed - Cody Cowboy Village
Favorite Experience - Michael's was ATVing in Apline, Wyoming, Tim says he loved it all, for me the breathtaking scenery of the Teton Mountains at Sunset.

Ten Days...3000 Miles and Lots of Great Memories!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1750 Miles...Jackson Hole

Michael was very glad there would be no alarm set for 5:30 on Day 6. We slept in. After a fabulous breakfast at The Running Bear Pancake House in West Yellowstone, we headed towards Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton is not far outside the south gate of Yellowstone. Upon entering the park we stopped at the visitors center for a map. We were told we could see elk, elk calves, bears and bear cubs on our trip down to Jackson Hole. Shortly after entering the park, we were stopped with road construction. Just about the time we started moving, off in the distance was a bear and a cub...go figure the road is one lane and we can't stop for pictures!!! We did see numerous elk and a baby moose along the way.

It was a cloudy day and the tops of the Teton mountains were hidden by the clouds. Even with the cloud cover, these mountains are amazing!!! We made a stop at Jenny Lake, a beautiful lake at the base of the Tetons. We took the boat across Jenny Lake and a hike up to the beautiful falls.

We'd rented a condo just outside of Jackson . So nice to be in the same place for two nights. Four loads of laundry later, we all have clean clothes again!!

We had dinner at the Gun Barrel Steak and Game. Tim enjoyed an Elk Chop, Michael a mixed grill of venison sausage, elk chop and buffalo prime rib. He ate every bite and said the prime rib was the best he'd ever eaten.

We drove up to the Snake River Overlook (the site of Ansel Adams famous photograph of the Tetons) to take sunset pictures. What a breathtaking and serene sight. On our way to the overlook we saw an owl. He was the most beautiful creature.

The chilly weather and lack of sunshine made me rethink my desire to go white water rafting. Tim and Mike were willing to squish into wet suits for an 8 mile trip down the Snake River. I did some shopping in downtown Jackson Hole. Unfortunately, my credit card limits aren't high enough for many of the jewlery stores and galleries in Jackson.

Jackson has been the highlight of the trip for me. The Tetons are breathtaking and I loved the town. A return trip to this area will be in our future vacation plans.

Monday, June 15, 2009

1600 Miles...West Yellowstone

It is the end of Day Five and we are in West Yellowstone. Today began with another early morning of animal watching. It was a cloudy, chilly 41 degree morning. Just as we entered the Lamar Valley, we saw two black wolves about 200 yards from the road. Fascinating to see these animals up so close.

We spent the rest of our day seeing the many thermal features and geysers of Yellowstone. The colors and shapes are fascinating. We ended our day watching with the most famous and predictable of geysers, Old Faithful.

Driving to Old Faithful, traffic came to a standstill and it took us about 90 minutes to go less than 10 miles. We wondered was the traffic always this bad or had there been an accident? As we approached the area where the traffic had been stopped, we saw the problem, a LARGE herd of Buffalo.

Next up days Six and Seven Grand Teton and Jackson Hole...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

1300 Miles...Cooke City, Montana

It's now Day Four of our Yellowstone trip. No internet service for Day Two and too tired on Day Three, I am playing catch up on my travel journal.

Day Two was Cody, Wyoming. It was a beautiful drive over the Big Horn Mountains and into Cody. We went to the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Day Three off to Yellowstone. We drove the Chief Joseph Highway and over the Beartooth Pass to get to Cooke City. Breathtaking scenery and more snow on the mountains than I have ever seen and to think it's June. We arrived at Yellowstone early afternoon. What a beautiful place, so much to see and so many different landscapes. Wildlife watching is one of our focuses for the trip. Our first day in Yellowstone we saw Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Buffalo (they're plentiful), and Elk.

Day Four we were on the road before 6:00 am to look for wildlife. Upon entering the park, we were greeted by a buffalo who thought the road belonged to him. We were very cautious when trying to get around him. We headed for the Lamar Valley. The photographers and wildlife watchers with their spotting scopes and big lenses were at the first overlook in the valley. We pulled in and found they were spotting wolves. Also up on the ridge, way in the distance, were two grizzlies.

The one animal I really wanted to see up close was a bear. On our second day in the park, we were lucky enough to see two black bears up close. One was a full grown bear and the other probably around three years old.

We spent two nights in the town of Cooke City, Montana. Cooke City is a small historic town at the base of the mountains. You can stand at one end of the street and see the entire town. It's a snowmobile paradise in the winter and a great place to stay, just outside the northeast gate of Yellowstone in the summer. They have a general store that's on the National Historic Register and has everything from fly fishing supplies to groceries.

Day Five...Old Faithful

Thursday, June 11, 2009

600 Miles...Casper, Wyoming

Day one of the Yellowstone road trip is complete. Our original trip plan was to go as far as Scottsbluff, Nebraska today. We were on the road before 7:00 am. After entering the trip data into "Roo" (the GPS) unit, we decided we could go futher, giving us another night in Yellowstone. After a few phone calls, to make some changes and cancellations , we set "Roo" for Casper, Wyoming.

Setting the theme for the week, lunch was at Ole'sBig Game Steakhouse in Paxton, Nebraska. If there's an animal you can hunt, it is mounted on the wall at Ole's. After lunch we were off to see Chimney Rock, just outside Scottsbluff.

Several downpours and lots of antelope later, we are in Casper, Wyoming.
Day 2...Cody, Wyoming.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy (Early) Birthday Tim!

My husband, Tim turns the BIG 50 in late July. I turned 50 first and chose a cruise to celebrate. This year was Tim's turn. Originally we looked into going on an Alaskan cruise but decided to wait a few more years for that trip. Of course, with the current state of the travel industry, we'd have gotten a real bargain if we had chosen the Alaskan cruise. Instead, Tim chose a road trip to Yellowstone. We're so happy that Tim's 16 year old son Michael will be going with us. He's also excited and looking forward to the trip. Maybe he's really an adult living in a teenage body? Excited about an 11 day road trip with his parents?

We (or should I say I) started planning our trip over 6 months ago. I am a total planner, so it's been easy and fun for me. Hard to believe, we leave Thursday morning. The laundry room floor is covered with totes and bags, cameras, binoculars, hiking shoes, rain gear and above all THE SNACKS. I am hoping everything fits in the car and leaves us room to bring home a souvenir or two.

I will be deviating from the cooking theme for the next couple of weeks and posting updates on our travels.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is a Peppadew?

On Guy Fieri's show Guys Big Bite, Guy made a Peppadew Aioli. I had never heard of Peppadew's.

Peppadew's are piquant peppers grown in South Africa. They are the only new and unique fruit discovered since Kiwi. They're sweet yet slightly spicy. I wonder where I can buy them? I'd like to try them stuffed with cheese as an appetizer.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Snookie's Cobbler

On our last visit to see my husband's family, his sister Rosemary (Snook's) invited us for lunch and to see her newly remodeled kitchen. The kitchen looks beautiful and lunch was delicious.

For dessert, Snooks made one of the best cobbler's I've ever eaten. While we were cleaning up the kitchen, I asked her for the recipe. She said, "It's the easiest dessert to make." She was absolutely right, it's very easy and delicious.

Snookie's Cobbler

2 cans of pie filling (flavor of your choice)
Yellow or White Boxed Cake Mix
1 stick of butter

In a 9 x 13 pan, spread pie filling. Sprinkle cake mix over top of pie filling. Dot butter on top of cake mix. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sesame Roasted Asparagus

Looking for a different flavor for another bunch of this Spring's wonderful asparagus, I found a Food Network recipe for Seasame Grilled Asparagus. I adaped the recipe to roast the spears in the oven. I wish asparagus season lasted longer!!!
Sesame Roasted Asparagus

1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Salt and black pepper
In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus. Season the asparagus with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes .

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Roasted Dill Potatoes

The dill in my Aero Garden is growing like crazy. I have more dill than I know what to do with. I am searching for new ways to use it. Tonight I decided on Roasted Dill Potatoes.

I adapted my normal roasted potatoes recipe by adding some chopped dill and some garlic. Not over powering, the dill just added a nice flavor to the potatoes.

Roasted Dill Potatoes
4 - 5 New Potatoes, quartered
Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic
2 - 4 tbsp fresh chopped dill
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Combine all in a roasting pan or on a cookie sheet. Roast in a 400 degree oven, 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ThIs Week's Farmers Market

Another beautiful Saturday for the Farmers Market. We picked up two unusual vegetables this week.

A Philadlphia White Box radish. An heirloom radish, introduce in 1880's with a mild and creamy. These radishes were forced in cold frames in the late 1800's.

Cue or Eight Ball Zucchini. This squash reminds me more of a patty pan with it's hard skin. My initial thoughts were to slice the cue ball and fry or grill it. In searching for recipes, I find the way it is served most often is stuffed.

What unusual vegetables are available at your local farmer's market?