Simple Appetizer Magic

Sometimes, the simplest of items help create the easiest, best dish. Take this for example…

Pear Appetizer Plate

Simple ingredients, allowed to do what they do best – that is: entice us to eat a small sampling to get our tummies ready for dinner! And this sure fit the bill, when our friends joined us to cook out on Labor Day.

Juicy, ripe pears sliced and wrapped with salty prosciutto then drizzled in honey….

Pear Appetizer Ready to Enjoy

See his little friend, the blue cheese? Yes, that’s just enough of a bite to really wake up your mouth with a jolt of flavor.

Did anyone notice the dried fig? Fresh ones are always our first choice, but since these were in the ‘fridge…well, you know…they did not want to be left out of the party!

A little puddle of balsamic glaze for good measure…..

Shall we dive in now, or just talk about it more??!!!?? Let’s eat!

Pear Appetizer Close up

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Peachtree Road Race – Happy 4th!!

Hubby and I were lucky enough to get “volunteered” by our dear friend, Bill, to assist the Atlanta Track Club at the Peachtree Road Race yesterday. What an absolutely awesome day (other than the getting up at 3:30 am part of the day…..)

Here’s the Press Truck that Hubby got to ride in. In spite of the rainy, soggy morning, everyone on hand had a huge smile for Hubby’s camera – even the Press.


I had the privilege of driving the pace car for the 36 Military runners. It was a “run away”, with one lone runner on the Army Team, David Seymour, leading the pack. This guy must be made of iron, as he never let up! Not even up “cardiac hill”, the be-dreaded hill in front of Piedmont Hospital that gets to the runners right about the time they begin to feel the pain. But no, David just chugged away, talking to the guys on the press motorcycle that rode beside him as he ran uphill….and I had to make sure to stay out of his 10-mile-per-hour way! (Sorry there’s no photos of this part, since I had to keep my eyes on the road.) Take a look at all of the Military Team Results.

What a thrill – once I got to the end of my duties, parked that pretty little Benz, and watched – just in time as the world-class runners RAN at high-speed toward the finish line – for a first ever photo finish – WOW! Those two runners looked like they had just started a race, instead of just about to finish one!! Incredible, and I for one, just don’t know how they do it.

From the Press Truck, Hubby got this great shot as 60,000+ runners took off – just after the elite runners had a record first of a photo finish. Another first? Rain delay…but the show must go on….What a day!!

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Below is Alexi Pappas from Oregon, the winner of the Women’s race, crossing the finish line – check out her time! Did I say “Amazing” a time or two….indeed!

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Summer Dinner on the Patio

Peaches, anyone? Fresh, juicy, and flavorful…..the perfect flavors when combined with tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, spinach, fresh basil from the garden, drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar – then simply go outside to Get Your Dinner On!!!

Easy, fast, and healthy – perfect for Summer when it’s just too darn hot to eat anything heavy. Enjoy!!

Peaches and Salad

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Stay Thirsty, My Friends!

Any excuse for a party is a great excuse, right? Well, how about a 28th Anniversary celebration for me and the Hubby? That was just the ticket this past Saturday night.

Welcoming us and our friends was this guy – you might know him as The World’s Most Interesting Man…..he knows us as regulars at El Azteca Mexican Restaurant.

World's Most Interesting Man

Gathering the troops together to celebrate at El Azteca allowed us to kick back and relax – while Alfonso did all of the cooking! And he did not disappoint with his selection of goodies.

Table Decorations

Starting with ceviche, and moving on to chicken with mole, we all dug in to enjoy the evening.

Chicken with mole

Fresh guacamole, chips & salsa, cheese dip….you know the drill…no counting calories until at least tomorrow….

Cerviche and Guacamole

Our dear friend, Rhonda, brought Carrot Cake cupcakes – freshly baked by her Mom, Linda. Here’s the story – Linda baked our wedding cake for us 28 years ago, and (yes) it was a carrot cake wedding cake! Tradition just has to be maintained, right? Especially when that is the Hubby’s favorite cake.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

To keep the celebration going, we brought along a giant (is there any other kind?) Chocolate Cake from Costco, since three of our best buds had birthdays this past week. Terry, Jim, and David all got to don the festive hats and get embarrassed as the staff and friends sang “Happy Birthday” to them.


Since we were celebrating multiple events, the cake had to be appropriately titled, so it became the “Happy Birth-A-Versary” cake!

Until next year’s anniversary, Stay thirsty, My Friends…..

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A Morning Walk in The Garden

So glad you could join us! After a relaxing breakfast on our patio today, Hubby grabbed his camera to capture what’s happening in the garden….let’s take a walk, shall we?

The tomatoes are looking great! Each year, we anxiously await the ripening of our fresh produce…it’s hard to wait (yet well worth it) for “farm to table” goodness!

IMGP2165 (2)And with those fresh tomatoes, we’ll enjoy a bounty of both Basil Genovese and Purple Basil…beautiful in a cooling caprese salad for dinner.

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Here’s what started it all today – we noticed that all of a sudden – here is the first bloom of the Day lily this year – what a color!

IMGP2175 (2)Plus, it’s friend, the Gaura, seems happy to float in the air like tiny dancing butterflies. What a pretty sight with a gentle breeze!

IMGP2185 (2)Check out the Butterfly Bush….even planted in a large pot, it’s happy to feed the bees. And they sure are happy it’s here!

IMGP2168 (2)See the hint of color on the hydrangea? Soon, this little beauty and it’s neighbor one pot over will be bursting with pink and blue blooms.

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Hope you come back soon! The view changes each and every day.

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Breakfast Time!

Sometimes, on a Saturday morning, you just have to have it – eggs, grits, and a big fattening flaky biscuit. If you are in the Alpharetta, GA area, be sure you check out Scratch Fresh for breakfast. All I’m saying is Y.U.M.M.Y!

Hubby went for wheat toast and hash browns with his eggs. I’m sticking with the grits and biscuit!!

Scratch Fresh Breakfast

Scratch Fresh Breakfast

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Spring In Atlanta

A beautiful Spring day – let’s have a walk on our patio together. The Japanese Maple trees are certainly happy, seeming to beckon us to take a breath, have a seat, and enjoy the morning….

Trees on Our Patio

The larger hosta, called a “Guacamole”, is happy to have warm weather and grow bigger every day. It’s smaller cousin seems tiny in comparison.

Hosta Guacamole

All of the different colors of green bring a smile to my face – even without a cascade of blooming flowers just yet, the plants are simply beautiful just as they are.

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Are You In-Spiralized? We Sure Are!

The nice folks over at Tuttorosso Tomatoes asked if I’d participate in the “Inspiralize the Spring” promotion, which runs through April 15th. They are giving away tons of prizes on their Facebook page, so scoot over there RIGHT NOW and register to win some of the great prizes – including kitchen gadgets, an Inspiralizer, aprons, and copies of the new book “Inspiralized” by Ali Maffucci. Ali’s blog features ways to get creative with all kinds of veggies for super healthy meals – check out

Here’s the nifty package that arrived via UPS –


How about we create a Kitchen Invention with Gnocchi, spiralized Zucchini, Tuttorosso Diced Tomatoes, and green peas, all in a super light Spring-time sauce?

Grab a glass of wine and let’s get started.

Chop Garlic

Simple is best, and that’s what this is all about – don’t have a spiralizer? Use your zester to create ribbons of zucchini.

Spiralized Zucchini

Chop 3 gloves of garlic, add to your pan with olive oil. Sizzle a bit – don’t burn the garlic! – and add the zucchini ribbons. Pretty!

Zucchini in the pan

Next in – the diced tomatoes, some of the tomato juice from the can, and bring to a boil.

Add tomatoes

Turn the heat to low, and add a small can of green peas. Way to amp up our veggies today, right?

Add Peas

Toss in some Italian herbs, maybe a little oregano, and a twist of the pepper grinder – DONE! Dinner is served!


Be sure to take a look at the recipes (and sign up to win the Grand Prize) over at Good luck!

Posted in Main Dish Inventions, Pasta Creations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Healthy Hearty Muffins – Is This Breakfast or a Snack?

Homemade healthy muffins are a fave around our house. Not just because of the yummy scent that permeates the house in the morning, or that they are hot from the oven, or that cold Greek yogurt tastes SO good on top….or…shall I go on and on? Our muffins are getting cold already!

Muffin Halves Top View

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Raisin Muffins are the perfect breakfast food – whether eaten at home, with yogurt and fruit, or taken “on the run”, these jewels of perfection hit all the right spots.

Single Muffin Close up

Roughly based on this recipe from Cooking Light, we (as expected!) put our own spin on them. Here’s how we changed the recipe around:

  1. Had no wheat bran, so added 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds.
  2. No pitted dates? No problemo! Subbed golden raisins.
  3. Added Craisins and chopped dried apricots, too – both add pretty color.
  4. Don’t like to add 1/4 cup of oil to YOUR breakfast treats? Neither do we. Easy fix – we used one mashed banana and one small container of apple sauce, with only 1 teaspoon of oil.
  5. Added 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds and 3 tablespoons of chopped toasted walnuts.
  6. Used less sugar than called for, and did not miss it one single bit.

Muffin Close up

Since we changed around some ingredients, we used a bit less boiling water than called for in that step toward the end of the recipe. Interestingly enough, it is a cool trick learned. It definitely helps to “plump up” the oats and dried fruit.

Muffin Halves

Perfect breakfast, since you can mix the dry ingredients the night before, then just mix and add the wet ones the next morning.

Simply put these babies in the oven to bake. Meanwhile, you prepare for your day, while breakfast cooks itself – just for you!

Muffins Cooked

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Get Your Carrots On For Breakfast!

We will never feel the same about pancakes again. Or how easy it really is to scrape your knuckles on the grater. But that’s another story…back to the pancakes.

Tired of eating the same old – same old for breakfast, it was time to shake things up a bit. Lo and behold, Cooking Light  must have heard our cries for Help!

Do you ever save a recipe (from 2009, no less!) and figure that someday you’ll actually cook that recipe? This is one of those – Carrot Cake Pancakes – Had some extra carrots. Time to cook ’em up.


To make it our own, we did not use the honey/butter topping, but opted for a few berries and some fat-free Greek Yogurt — plus an extra dash of cinnamon on top.

Ready to Enjoy

Now, it’s time to enjoy your carrots for breakfast.


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