Ladies and Gentleman: Start Your Ovens!

Yes, it’s that time of year – time to load up your kitchen with home-made holiday goodies for friends and family, and try your darndest NOT to load up your own tummy! In case you just can’t resist, these treats Oat Chocolate Chip Raisin Drops  (from Hungry and Fit blog) are practically guilt free – and just 5 ingredients!

5 ingredients baked

2 large bananas (mashed), add 1 c. oats and stir, add 1 tsp. cinnamon and stir, add a handful of raisins, and a handful of chocolate chips – stir – bake at 350 degrees for 12-16 minutes.

5 ingredients

BTW – Prince was on the radio singing “Gonna Party Like It’s 1999…” and I finished mixing these and they were in the oven before Prince could even finish singing a song…now, THAT’s fast!

5 ingredients mixed

Next up: Chocolate, Fruit, and Nut Clusters - from Health magazine – just 4 ingredients, a bowl, and a cookie sheet….crazy!

Chocolate & Fruit drops

If you can melt chocolate in the microwave, and not eat this straight outa the bowl, you get my vote for holiday self-control beyond my dreams…I’m just saying…there could have been some bowl licking involved in this after the fact…don’t waste quality ingredients, you know.

Chocolate & Fruit drops chopped chocolateChocolate & Fruit drops on tray With any luck, these ideas will get you in and out of the kitchen in record time, yet still leave time to indulge in what matters most – quality time with loved ones to count your blessings and celebrate another holiday season.

Happy cooking!

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Scarecrows In The Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden was the scene for Scarecrows in the Garden, enjoyment for both young and not-so-young alike. Here are a few of the scary works of art. Enjoy! Next up at the Garden will be Holiday Lights – also a “don’t miss” event.

Not Too Scary, Right?

Not Too Scary, Right?

Beauty of The Garden

Beauty of The Garden

Poor Frank....

Poor Frank….

These two were definitely my personal favorites…..

I Found out Where the Wild Things Are!

I Found out Where the Wild Things Are!

Scarecrow Where the Wild Things Are 2

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Summer In A Bowl – Better Known As “Salad”

A true to life summer Kitchen Invention – take it away, watermelon and arugula Salad…..After all, you are the stars of this post!

Sorry that the picture is not the usual one of perfection, as I took this one with my camera phone instead of Hubby’s photography talents being available. No fear – the salad was so delish I just had to share it with you.

 Salmon Salad - 8-2014

Simple ingredients:

Arugula, watermelon chunks, feta cheese, shredded carrots, fresh figs,  a few raspberries, and a light drizzle of my favorite (store-bought) dressing “Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinaigrette” topped with fresh wild caught salmon.

Bottoms up!

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As Promised – Dessert!

Last time we chatted, the Hubby and I were with friends and family at Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria in Orlando celebrating Hubby’s new job, and our friend, Kyle’s, new job and pending move.

Arugula

Yes, the dinner was fabulous. Yes, we did enjoy each other’s conversation. Yes, we had a few belly laughs, and toasted to Hubby and Kyle to wish each of them much success – as they both start new jobs. Yet..

Something seemed missing. Until the very end. When, out of nowhere (not really…it’s just a figure of speech you know! The magic happens in the kitchen….), there appeared the most decadent desserts possible.

Tartini's Chocolate Dessert

Tartini’s Chocolate Dessert

Surprise! Yours truly had called ahead to ask for special treats for a special celebration. Needless to say, nothing was left after the plate was passed once around the table for all to share.

If you have the chance, be sure to enjoy Tartini’s for dinner – and don’t get so full you can’t also indulge in a sweet dessert treat!

Tartini's Gelato Dessert

Tartini’s Gelato Dessert

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Scenes From A Restaurant

OK, I know that title sounds a bit like a skit from the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”….but it has a certain ring to it as it relates to the pics from one of many dinners at Tartini Pizzeria and Spaghetteria in Orlando, Florida, where I am known as the “out-of-town regular”. Must be that I eat there every chance I get…If you have a chance, be sure to give them a try. Hate to “eat and run”, but my workday is now over, and a girl’s gotta go eat, right?

Salmon Carpaccio

The pizza is fabulous, pasta dishes sublime, the service staff attentive, and the atmosphere a lot of fun.  Tell them I said “Hi”!

Oh, and next time – I’ll tempt you with dessert….out of this world crazy good!

Arugula

Involtini

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There Are More Than A Few Ways to Get Your Vitamin C from Oranges…

I’m just saying…..LOL!! Enjoy your day :)

Fl Orange Tequila

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Our Summer Garden Is Well Under Way

Warm weather has turned to rather hot weather here in Atlanta, allowing the basil, tomatoes, and herbs to gather strength and begin their season of growth.

Sweet Cherry Peppers - 6-2014

Even though I’m commuting to Orlando for a work project, the Hubby is being ever so diligent – he is maintaining the beauty of the garden and sharing his good work by sending pictures of the veggies to me. 

Here’s a peek at what is happening in our small corner of the world. Hope your corner is bountiful this year!

Tomatoes in the Garden 6-2014

Banana Pepper - 6-2014

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Happy Anniversary to The Hubby!

Not only was it Friday the 13th of June last week, it was our wedding anniversary – #27, to be exact.

27th Anniversary Champagne 6-13-2014

Here’s hoping that you did not walk under any ladders, have a black cat cross your path, or break a mirror on Friday.

Us? We enjoyed a toast to the past, present, and future together!

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Beauty of the Winter Garden

Our Lenten rose is quite the story. We used to live in an old 1920’s bungalow close to Downtown Atlanta. Around the corner was a really old park that we in the neighborhood helped to clean of debris, trash and weeds. During one of those adventures, we found baby Lenten rose plants growing in the crack of the sidewalk…each with one tiny stalk and 2 tiny leaves.

Lenten Rose Single Bloom

We thought to ourselves “Why not try to transplant these little lovelies? Maybe they’ll grow for us..” Lo and behold! This one surely did!

Lenten Rose in Full Bloom

Now it is the star of our late Winter/Early Spring garden. Color when the rest of the plant world is sleeping.

Lenten Rose in Bloom

 

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Chili Mac – Comfort Food To The Max!

Comfort food takes on a new meaning with this recipe for Chili Mac from the March issue of Cooking Light magazine. Usually, ground turkey is a “non event”……you know what I mean – not a lot of taste, and kinda spongy in a dish. Not when spiced to the max in this one dish wonder!

Chili Mac Fresh from Oven

Trust me on this one, the leftovers are even better than the main event. As if that were not enough, the recipe makes two large dishes of yumminess – one for now, and one for the freezer. (Freeze for up to 2 months, without the cheese. Thaw, add the cheese, cover with foil, and reheat at 400 degrees for 20 minutes). Can you say “time-saver”? Yep, thought so.

Chili Mac Plated

Simple items we changed: had some leftover roasted red peppers, so diced and added in lieu of the green bell peppers. Added some chopped black olives. Omitted the onion and added lots more garlic. Our marinara was only about 3.5 cups, and it was the perfect amount. (Don’t think I’d recommend using a full 4 cups, unless you like it a bit on the runny side.) Added some grated fresh parmesan on top, for a bit of additional flavor. 

Chili Mac with Bread and Kale

Served with hot bread, which cooks nestled alongside the chili mac, and a side of sautéed kale with garlic and olive oil. Or you could add a simple green salad to get your veggies for the meal.

Let’s dive in – No need to wait to enjoy – eat it while the gooey cheese on top is melty!

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