Thursday, March 31, 2011

Goodbye March

My Life - March 2011
  1. Ran in my first 10k. (Live-In #1 says I don't run, I 'jog with style')
  2. Ran with Live-In #1 in her first 5k.
  3. Visited two 'new to me' wineries - one of which I will return to in the summer to enjoy their beautiful view along with their spectacular wine.
  4. Started baseball season with Live-In #2 and Live-In #3 - I am a 'Baseball Mom' rather than a soccer mom and I LOVE IT!
  5. Survived Spring Break - it was questionable at times.
  6. Bought new silverware - my old silverware was very much appreciated hand me downs.  However, I am excited to have something that reflects my taste...and can bring good tastes to my mouth!
  7. Went to war with an ant colony...I think I am winning but I'm still not sure!  I am scheming my next covert operation!
  8. Accompanied my sister-in-law to her first chemo treatment - thank you Stephanie for letting me be there with you.  I am humbled by your trust and quiet strength.
  9. Completed my tax worksheet - hopefully my tax man will be nice to me this year!
  10. My blog hit the 1,000 page view mark - only 999 were from me!
Such is a month in the course of my lifetime. I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of My Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolate Infused Red Wine

Not long ago My Lover and I were at a 'Grand Opening' for a local wine shop and they were serving something I had never heard of - A Red Wine Infused with Chocolate.  I was intrigued so I had a taste and thought it wasn't bad...I enjoyed the chocolate taste and thought it was an ingenious idea...

Until...I bought a bottle, brought it home, uncorked it (by this I mean unscrewed the cap - which I personally can't stand, but I'll save that story for another day) and poured myself a nice glass to drink...NOT.

You see, the problem with wine tasting is that it can sometimes serve to get you in trouble rather than enlighten you.  Such is the case with this wine (for me).

Coco Rosso, Dark Chocolate Infused
From the Bottle
Imagine the finest wine infused with natural dark chocolate to create a decadent wine experience.  Delicately blended with inviting aromatics of black cherry, raspberry and plum highlighted with right, velvety dark chocolate.  Savor this indulgent wine as a sweet accompaniment to any meal or dessert or simply enjoy on its own.

Carol's Thoughts
This wine is too sweet for my taste.  It also troubles me to not know what kind of grapes they used..Merlot, Cabernet, Cab Franc, Syrah, Concord???  I remember when I bought this wine I thought that if I looked at it as dessert I could drink at least one glass...Maybe I wasn't in the mood for dessert last night...

Not to be thwarted, I tried to save it by bringing it to a boil and reducing it on the stove to see if I could make a syrup or sauce out of it and pour it over ice cream.  - The Result: F=Failure, it sort of tasted like BAD blackberries!

In conclusion, here are some points you may want to consider.
  1. This is a sweet wine (not like 'Sweet=Awesome, Rad, Far Out - but Sweet=Sugary, Syrupy, Gooey)
  2. If you like sweet wine you will probably like this wine
  3. The chocolate flavor is there, but a little odd/off
  4. If you take your chocolate seriously, I would recommend sitting down with a chocolate bar and infusing your mouth with it rather than this wine
  5. Ice Cream is better served with chocolate sauce
*Disclaimer: I call it like I taste it...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicken Marsala

In the beginning...I was known to make Chicken Marsala for My Lover - dutifully following my recipe book as if it were the Bible.   Fast forward to present day, I make Chicken Marsala for My Lover only on occassion and I NEVER follow the restrictions of my recipe book. 

This is his favorite day I will do my favorite 'made up' version (which includes pasta, cream and cheese...Oh MY!)

Chicken Marsala

To Start - Pound Your Chicken
I just folded it into plastic wrap, but you can also put it into a storage bag and pound it so the chicken doesn't spray accross your kitchen if you get a little excited about your task...

Clean and Slice Your Mushrooms
I use a damp paper towel.  'They' say not to submerge your mushrooms in water because they will soak it up.  Soggy Mushrooms=Icky Mushroom...but then again so is a dirty mushroom - just get them clean!

Finely Chop an Onion or Shallot (I used a Shallot - this way I get a little onion flavor but Live-In #1 doesn't detect them and start picking them out one by one!) 
Mince several Cloves of Garlic (I am of the opinion if you don't smell like garlic tomorrow, you did not eat enough today)

To a hot pan, add EVOO & Butter

Saute Mushrooms, Shallots & Garlic

Drown mixture in Marsala Wine & let reduce (about 1/2 cup)

Place Flour in a dish and season liberally with Salt and Pepper

Liberally season your Chicken w/ Salt & Pepper

Add EVOO to a Screaming Hot Pan

Dredge Chicken in Flour mixture and place in Screaming Hot Pan

Brown on each side for aproximately 4-5 minutes
Pour about a cup of Marsala Wine over the Top - please be careful not to start a fire with the wine...if you don't feel confident in your abilities - turn the flame off before pouring the wine...just don't forget to turn it back on when the wine is in the pan. (While it wasn't with this dish, I do have experience with fire in the can be a scary thing!)
Cook a few minutes longer - until wine has reduced and chicken feels slightly firm

Add Mushroom, Shallot and Garlic Mixture
Add more wine if pan is getting too dry

At this point you could serve your chicken - BUT - Lover wanted a little pan sauce so....

After removing the chicken & mushrooms - Add more Marsala wine (only if pan is dry) and then add a Pat of Butter (I like the way that sounds...'pat of butter')
Scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan
Let reduce just a bit

Pour over Chicken

And if you are taking a picture for a might want to take a better one that I did...BUT - then again, I never said I knew anything about photography!

Chicken Marsala
4 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
1 lb button Mushrooms
1 Shallott
3-4 cloves of Garlic (depending on size and how much you like)
1 cup Flour
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1-2 cups Dry Marsala Wine*
1 Tbsp Butter (pat of butter)

*Marsala comes in Dry and Sweet.  You want the Dry for this me on this one...I have made this mistake for you, don't repeat my folly!  Also, don't buy Marsala Wine in the cooking section of your store - YUCK!  Instead, go to the wine department, you will find it by the Sherry or Port.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Death and Taxes...and Salsa

I worked on taxes over the weekend...Oh Joy!  The fact that I did them prior to April 15th is a testament to what I have learned over the years.  I don't know why I procrastinate the way I do, but I do..  So today as I considered this blog, a quote came to mind...

"The only things certain in life are death and taxes." Benjamin Franklin

I used to hear my parents use this phrase.  I probably heard my grandparents use this phrase.  Heck, I am sure I have used this phrase in conversation...  BUT - I don't agree with it...there are a few other things I know I can be certain of in my life...
  1. I will always procrastinate when it comes to doing taxes.
  2. School mornings will always be chaotic at my house as long as Live-In #2 and Live-In #3 have a say in the matter.
  3. My alarm clock will forever annoy my sensitive ears.
  4. The first cup of coffee in the morning tastes the best.
  5. Laundry is a never ending job.
  6. I am in love with my family.
  7. Summer is never long enough.
  8. I'd rather do the dishes ten times over than mop the floors.
  9. Salsa and Chips are the perfect food marriage.
  10. Tomorrow has no mistakes in it....yet...
I will stop there...I wouldn't want Ben Franklin to feel bad if he came back and found I blew his theory out of the water... 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini

My friend Erin and I have a created a tradition of a 'Wine Birthday Lunch' or a 'Martini Birthday Lunch'.  This year on her birthday she came over and I made Teriyaki Chicken & Pineapple Panini's.  Yes, they were yum-o-licous!

I didn't think one of my chocolate martini's sounded all that great with the panini so I set out trying to come up with 'lighter' martini recipe.  To tie in with the flavors of the panini...I came up with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini - I thought I was a genious!

Then, I discovered other people have thought of it too, in fact you can find variations as a 'shot' rather than a martini - but I like the martini better...AND I still think I am a genious!

Bring to the Party
Vanilla Vodka, Pineapple Juice & Grenadine

To a ice filled shaker - add equal parts Vodka & Pineapple Juice and
Shake, Shake, Shake

Pour into Martini Glass

Angle a spoon towards the edge of the drink, pour just a little Grenadine over the spoon and watch it sink to the bottom of the glass.


Enjoy on a Monday afternoon!
Or a Thursday Evening...
Or a Saturday Morning...

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini

2 shots Vanilla Vodka
2 shots Pineapple Juice
Splash of Grenadine

(Makes 1 Tasty Martini)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I love baseball season.  My Lover coaches our live-ins, we get to be outside, they don't play if it's raining (mostly), the uniforms are so cute, summer is around the corner...etc, etc, etc....

I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures from seasons past.

Hi Handsome!

This is My Baby Boy

This is My Baby Boy too

#5 - He is Mine!

Hello Lover!  He is Mine Too!

This is my baby girl.  She actually did wear cleats when playing,
but she didn't have time for them when practicing at home!
Note: the sun is shining and there are flowers blooming in the background...there is hope that spring will one day arrive!

Helping his sister out.  Isn't his 'catcher's gear' too cute?

Again - #5 is my Baby!!  See she is wearing cleats!  She doesn't play anymore, she sits by me and keeps me company. 
I miss watching her play...

Lover & Live-In #2 - showing him his 'ready position'

Um, hello my babies...please stop growing up so fast.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blogs I Follow and Why

I religiously follow three blogs - there are other blogs I take a look at from time to time, but these three have a steadfast follower in me.

Funny Little Duck - This is the blog that introduced me (hooked me, if you will) to the blog world.  This blog has it all: recipes, whimsy, thought provoking dialog and beautiful pictures.  This blog is the whole package.  The best part is that it is written by a very special friend of mine, I lucked out at the age of seven when I picked her to be my friend.  Now...uh hem...30 years later I am blessed to still have her in my day to day life.  She is the inspiration behind me starting my own blog - so if you like my blog, you should thank her...if you don't - well too bad for you! CMU

The Pioneer Woman - Funny Little Duck told me I would like this blog before I was into blogs... I checked it out and found a Salsa recipe.  I tried it, I loved it (remember, I think Salsa should be a drink).  I went back for more and then became obsessed with the site.  Seriously, I think her stats must have hit an all time high - I had to be on there at least a 1000 times a day trying to catch up with the last 5 years of this blog.  I now own her novel, cookbook and have tamed my stalking to a couple times a day.  If you like food and life you will like this blog.

Blogging Dangerously - I found this blog one day when I was wasting time On the Twitter.  I swear this blog is written by my alter ego.  Who knew my alter ego lived on the East Coast.  She blogs very honestly about subject matter you will probably never find on my blog and I LOVE IT!  If you have been to her blog you know what I am talking about...if you haven't - you can thank me later for the introduction!

Monday, March 21, 2011

French Toast Bagels

I love sweet breakfast!  Cinnamon Rolls, Crepes, Pie (yes pie!) and French Toast.  So yesterday morning while I was out challenging my body on my weekend mind wandered to what I kind of breakfast I was going to reward myself with. 

I came up with French Toast Bagels.  It is inspired I tell you...  Using bagels instead of bread makes for a chewy bite of delicious rapture. 

Here's how you make them...I hope you enjoy!

For the batter you will need Eggs, 1/2 & 1/2 and Cinnamon

You will also need a Cinnamon Bagel. 
I used a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Mini Bagel.  You could also use a bagel with raisins (that would be devine), but my live-ins don't like raisins (picky little eaters...don't know what they are missing!)

Beat the eggs with a fork

Stir in the 1/2 & 1/2
(sorry about this pic, not sure why it rotated on is not saved this way)

Stir in the Cinnamon
(use as much as you like, I probably have a couple teaspoons in here)
(Again, sorry about th picture!)

After cutting your bagels in half, dip bagels into the mixture,
swishing them around to make sure they are well coated.

Place on griddle, cut side down - I had my griddle set to 375 degrees

After a few minutes, flip and press down with a spatula.
This will ensure an even crust on the bottom.

Serve with a little butter and maple syrup. YUM!!

And then look at the Happy Faces you will have!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Raspberry Truffle Martini

I like to go to restaurants and take a look at the martini's on their menu and salivate..  Periodically I will find one that catches my eye and I come home and recreate it in my own playground. 

This weeks martini is exactly one of those martini's.  I don't remember what restaurant I was at or if I even ordered one, but I can tell you the results of my labor are devine.  I am not boasting or exagerating...just ask the people who I have made this for...they have the most difficult job of suffering through my concoctions and let me tell you they are happier for it! 

Bring to the Party...
Vanilla Vodka, Creme de Cocoa, Chambord
Half & Half & Whipping Cream

Pour all the ingredients into a martini shaker

 And Shake - Shake Like You Mean It. 

Now...I understand there are some of you out there who think I may be making a big deal about the shaking part...but I assure you I am NOT. This is a serious job.  Do you see the ice on this shaker???  This is what you want to shake it until it hurts to hold onto the shaker because it is so cold. 


If you shook it like you meant it, you will see the shards of ice in your drink...this is a good thing - it keeps your martini ICE cold baby!

Serve and Enjoy!

Raspberry Truffle Martini
2 shots (oz) Vanilla Vodka
1 shot (oz) dark Creme de Cocoa
1 shot (oz) Chambord
Splash 1/2 & 1/2
Splash Whipping Cream

Yields: 1 Martini (yes that is one!!!)