Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring cleaning - Day #1...

And so it has begun...spring cleaning. Although it was difficult getting started today because it's colder here in northeast Ohio, only about 43°F. While I would like to say I scrubbed the dining room from top to bottom...that would be a lie :( I started by organizing and cleaning my china cabinets (a free standing hutch and a built-in china cabinet). The older I get the easier it seems to part with the things I don't love! I removed everything from both, washed all the glassware, shined the glass doors and polished the woodwork.

Thanks to several blogs I follow I have been cleaning out and organizing closets and cabinets off and on for the past month. Our local charity loves when I start clearing out...they are the recipient of my castoffs (as long as they are still usable items). I love opening a cupboard when everything is sparkling and in its place...makes it so much easier to put things back when they have a place.

It can be soooo difficult getting started. When I'm having a rough time getting motivated I aim for getting one small part done. By the time I stop I usually have 3 or 4 "projects" completed. Unfortunately, I also come up with 4 or 5 more while I'm working that need added to the list. My husband would be the first one to tell you my brain never stops and my list is perpetually never ending!

How are you doing on your spring cleaning? What is your favorite part? Least favorite?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dijon spinach salad...

I know I mentioned the ingredients in this salad but I thought I would pass along the actual recipe. I was sooo surprised with how much I enjoyed this salad. My 13 year old was especially fond of it, too.


8 c. torn fresh spinach
1 c. shredded red cabbage
1 c. thinly sliced cauliflower
1 c. thinly sliced red onion
1/2 c. sliced radishes
1/4 to 1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used 1/4 cup)
1/4 c. cide or tarragon vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
2 Tbl. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. sesame seeds, toasted

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar and salt; shake well. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Yield: 10 servings

Nutritional analysis: One 3/4-cup serving (prepared with 1/4 c oil) equals 80 calories, 156 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 5 gm carbs, 2 gm protein, 7 gm fat, 2 gm fiber.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dinner with friends...

My friend "SheShe" and I are both huge fans of the Food TV show Chopped.  One night while watching a chopped marathon we decided we would have a colaborative dinner. I would prepare the before and after and she would take care of the middle.

Here's the menu:

  • Dijon Spinach Salad

  • London Broil

  • Mushroom Rissoto

  • Green Bean Almondine

  • Black Forest Cake

  • The recipe for the salad came from the 2001 Quick Cooking annual book. It has so many delicious vegetables and a low fat salad dressing that is simply oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, sugar and salt. Anytime you make your own dressings you can control your fat content, sodium and sugar. So don't be afraid to play around with the ratios to meet your dietary needs.

    In the fall I always can several quarts of cherry pie filling because it's hubby's favorite. So coming up with a dessert was easy. It was supposed to be a three layer Black Forest cake but hubby grabbed the 3rd layer for his lunch...what a rascle. On the first layer I made a dam of whipped cream (which is simply whipping cream, vanilla & sugar) and filled in the center with pie filling. I added the second chocolate cake and repeated the process. To dress it up a bit I added some maraschino cherries, and I think I will dust it with cocoa powder before we leave.

    I will encourage my friend to post pictures of her "middle" on her blog but even if she doesn't there are plenty of good ideas for you to enjoy. Be sure to stop over...just be warned, you will be hungry when you leave.

    **edit -- Dinner was fabulous! The grean beans were fabulous and I didn't think I liked risotto...until tonight. SheShe promised she would post about the main meal. Be sure to check it out. I have more yummies I will be posting about over the next few days.

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Me from A-Z...

    I'm playing along with Spend the Thyme Farm.

    Won't you play along too?

    A. Age: 41
    B. Bed size: Queen
    C. Chore you dislike: Putting clothes away!
    D. Dogs: An almost 2 year old chow mix who's way too needy and way too hairy, but we love her.
    E. Essential start to your day: Coffee with cream & sugar and a hot shower.

    F. Favorite color: Blue
    G. Gold or silver: Gold
    H. Height: 5' 5 1/2"

    I. Instruments you play(ed): Clarinet in high school.
    J. Job title: Wife, Mom, Small Business Owner
    K. Kids: 2 great kids, 1 girl, 1 boy

    L. Live: Farmlife with 2 horses, 8 chickens & 3 geese
    M. Mom’s name: Darlene
    N. Nicknames: Cara
    O. Overnight hospital stays: Just for childbirth

    P. Pet peeves: People not putting things back where they belong, liars and crazy drivers

    Q. Quote from a movie: “You think I'm pretty, you want to kiss me!" Sandra Bullock, Miss Congeniality
    R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

    S. Siblings: Two halves no wholes
    T. Time you wake up: 5:30

    U. Underwear: Of course!
    V. Vegetables you don’t like: Okra
    W.What makes you run late: Trying to do too many chores in too little time
    X. X-rays you’ve had: X-ray of elbow when I broke it and way too many "tooth" x-rays
    Y. Yummy food you make: EVERYTHING!
    Z. Zoo animal favorites: Polar Bear, Tiger and Giraffe
    Your turn :)