HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY & RECIPE LINKS week 23 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.155

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

GOOD MORNING! Can you believe we are in June already? This year is zooming by! There is so much I had hope to have already accomplished by this time, yet here we are almost to summer and I haven’t. For me, it was our lack of a real spring this year and the “extended” wintertime that seems to be holding me back. 😂 At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.🤣 I do have the garden beds planted FINALLY! and yesterday’s rain seems to be helping them settle in quite nicely.

We had quite a bit of rain yesterday and a much cooler temperature. Today is supposed cooler still (than normal), but at least sunny and then we should be getting much warmer by the end of the week. Spring temperatures are FINALLY here. I’m still carrying a light sweatshirt in the car at all times because it takes all day to get to the warmer temperatures 😂

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING Laundry and cleaning are up to date 😀
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I have no pending errands or appointments this week that can’t wait. I do need to get the tires rotated on my car and address a brake squeal that shouldn’t be happening because they are pretty new brakes 😀
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS Because I don’t have many actual errands, I’m hoping to get a bunch of paperwork handled.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I found some OLD, really OLD taste of home magazines in an antique store and will be going through them  in hopes of finding some new and fun recipes.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • AMAZON PRIME We’ve been re-watching WAREHOUSE 13 ~ it’s been so long that it feels new again, but with characters that feel like family 😀
  • CABLE We ran across an old Hitchcock movie that starred Jimmy Stewart called ROPE which was kind of fun on a rainy Sunday morning.

After a couple of weeks of audio books I’m having a tough time getting back into reading 🙁

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
 BBQ BEEF PATTIES & ASPARAGUS RICE
 SOUR CREAM PORK CHOPS & CORN TAMALITOS with GREEN BEANS
ORANGE TERIYAKI CHICKEN
 HONEY THYME PORK TENDERLOIN
 YOYO CORN your’re on your own or clean out refrigerator night
 BALSAMIC HERB CHICKEN and PARMESAN MASHED POTATOES
JAMBALAYA & SALAD
DESSERT
 
 
PECAN BARS
 

We took a walk around the pond the other day and I found that the blackberries are starting to bloom. Hopefully they’ll be on time this year for the festival in August.

There is a neighbor who spearheaded a grant program to “build up” the pond. Unfortunately, most of us don’t share his vision. There are tons of construction changes (paving walkways where there used to be a well used path, tearing out the trees that lined the south side of the pond, adding pavilions and tons of concrete…) and upgrades going on that are disrupting the local neighborhood peace. Many of the animals aren’t happy either. The 9-10 swans that were living on the island are gone, literally just vanished, many of the birds are no where to be seen, we haven’t heard the frogs this year, the beavers that built this dam have lost most of their trees and vegetation in the area…

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MACAROONS ~ BLOG 366.151

We found the most amazing bakery, The Baker’s Table, on our last trip and they made the BEST Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons! I just had to recreate these delectable bites! I added the chocolate dip bottom as an option 😀 Just saying you can never have too much chocolate!And you can change the color to coordinate with holidays.

Funny story though is that they had very few left. I bought all they had and was telling my nephew about them at lunch. I told him I’d quarter them and bring them to dinner so everyone could try a piece. After lunch he took his daughter and niece into the village and was so proud that he found a bakery selling them. LOL he sent me this picture of my nieces eating MACARONS which led to a discussion at dinner about the difference between a macaron and a macaroon 😀

So, for those who don’t know the difference, a macaron is a sandwich-like cookie filled with jam, ganache, or buttercream.A macaroon is a drop cookie made using shredded coconut. Preparation for each of these cookies is incredibly different, even though they start out with many of the same ingredients. Not to mention the mouth feel and texture of the cookie itself.

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MACAROONS – yields 2 dozen

3 LARGE egg whites at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon PURE vanilla or almond
½ teaspoon orange extract
pinch of salt
½ cup dried cranberries, FINELY chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated orange OR lemon zest
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
4 ounces PURE white chocolate, grated (see notes)
Dipping chocolate (almond bark), melted (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

  • Beat egg whites until frothy, then add sugar, extracts and salt, beating 2-3 minutes.

  • Gently fold in cranberries, zest, coconut and white chocolate.

  • Using a cookie scoop, press firmly into the scoop and carefully drop mounds onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart, making sure you have them nicely mounded.

  • Bake at 325°F for 12- 15 minutes until golden, watching carefully as they brown quickly.
Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melt almond bark in microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.
  • Dip cookie bottoms in chocolate.
  • Cool until firm on wax paper.


Note

  • Not all brands of white chocolate will melt. Be sure and check the label. In order to melt, the ingredients must include cocoa butter.
  • These cookies freeze really well, so you can make them ahead of time which makes them a holiday favorite. Store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

BALSAMIC BASIL TOMATOES ~ BLOG 366.149

I usually make Sweet and Sour Tomatoes, but every now and then a completely savory version is in the cards!

BALSAMIC BASIL TOMATOES
5 medium tomatoes, cut into thick slices or 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 LARGE shallot, THINLY sliced
1/2 cup FRESH basil chiffonade
1/4 cup olive oil*
1/3 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar*
3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, minced garlic, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Arrange tomato slices and sliced shallots in a 3 quart serving dish. If using cherry tomatoes, toss them with the shallots, garlic and basil.
  • Pour marinade over tomatoes.
  • Chill 3-4 hours minimum before serving.

NOTES:

  • I use avocado oil which is more neutral allowing a QUALITY balsamic vinegar and flavorful basil to shine through.
  • I often use a combination of champagne vinegar and white balsamic vinegar.
  • This marinade pairs well with crisp cooked broccoli florets or even green beans substituted for the tomatoes – or any combination of the three.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENUS week 22 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.148

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Good morning my friends. I’m so happy to be home and maybe back to a more normal routine this week. I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend, but also remember that this is not just a BBQ holiday. It’s a time to honor those that gave all for our country.

Honestly, I’m exhausted!!!!!! It’s been an exhausting month!!!!!! I need a vacation from my vacation!! I’m going to take a couple days to rest up and then think about what needs to be done next.

Also, I’ve spent a great deal of my time volunteering for the Eagles over the past 2 years. June 1st will bring about a “changing of the guard” in officers that I have some serious doubts about. So, I’m branching out to other organizations with my volunteer efforts. This is a good thing for me, but requires a mind change.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I have a couple loads of laundry to get caught up on.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I have to make a list and get several groceries this week when I go to town for my pedicure on Wednesday.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS Hoping to spend Thursday and Friday getting caught up on multiple projects.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I really need to hunker down and go through several recipe piles and trim down my want to make list.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • AMAZON PRIME We started watching WAREHOUSE 13 of an evening. We really enjoyed it the first time around.
  • ROKU We are watching COACH reruns for hubby to fall asleep to.

Now that I’m all caught up from the trip and a non-stop week of food prep for the cribbage tournament over the holiday weekend I can finally start a new book. I STILL DREAM ABOUT YOU by Fannie Flagg.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
 BBQ BEEF PATTIES and TOMALITOS
 TUSCAN CHICKEN and ASPARAGUS
 CORN / YOYO clean out refrigerator night or you’re on your own
 ORANGE TERIYAKI CHICKEN and RICE
 BAKED HAM with RASPBERRY SAUCE
CORN / YOYO clean out refrigerator night or you’re on your own
BAVETTE STEAK in DEMI-GLACE AND SAUER POTATOES
DESSERT
 
 
 

I’m still sorting through all the pictures from our trip, but I did get a couple this week with my super early mornings that were particularly nice and spoke to me.

WHITE BOLEGNESE SAUCE ~ BLOG 366.144

WHITE BOLEGNESE aka RAGU – Bolognese sauce is a slow-cooked meat sauce from the city of Bologna. To make a good bolognese you MUST start with a good soffrito or mirepoix if you’re French. Onions, celery and carrots are the main ingredients. Personally I like to use shallots, finely minced carrots and a little garlic also. Add to these some finely minced beef or pork with a quality white wine and you can achieve perfection when you simmer it with white wine, chicken stock and heavy cream for a white sauce.

White sauce is a refreshing rich and silky alternative to the traditional red sauce. Add tomato paste ditch the white wine and you have a rich and hearty Red Bolognese. In Naples bolognese contains more tomatoes. Always use a quality Parmesan!

WHITE BOLOGNESE
SAUCE
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Pancetta finely diced
1 pound QUALITY ground pork
1 pound QUALITY ground Italian sausage, casings removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 LARGE shallot, finely diced
3 ribs celery, finely diced
2 carrots peeled, finely diced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons FRESH minced thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon FRESH grated nutmeg
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated and rind reserved
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • In a large dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the pancetta to the pan, cooking 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crispy.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove Pancetta. Drain on paper toweling before adding to a medium bowl.
  • Add the beef, pork and Italian sausage, cooking until browned and MOST of the liquid has evaporated.
  • With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to the same bowl with the Pancetta.
  • Add the shallots, carrots and celery to the pan sauteing for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are softened and slightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Return the ground meat and pancetta to the pan.
  • Add the white wine, simmering for 3-4 minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the chicken stock, cream, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese rind and bring to a simmer.
  • Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover loosely with a lid to allow for some evaporation and reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.

FOR SERVING
16 ounces rigatoni pasta
1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
1/3 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese

  • Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add the pasta and cook to al dente.
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups starchy pasta water and then drain.
  • In a large skillet, add half of the sauce with the pasta water and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the heavy cream and the al dente pasta to the pot, simmering for another 4-5 minutes until the sauce is glossy and coats the pasta.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and top with more freshly grated Parmesan cheese.