sweet  pea salad with goat cheese 

Apple of my eye🎶🎶🎶

Howdy, friends!

I love me some sweet peas. ( and classic tunes 😉)

Scott and I picked up some snow peas at the market on Saturday. Usually I just steam them, but after seeing the mint in my yard, I started to get all creative and stuff.


So I took a bag of these babies…


And sliced them thinly. Fancy- pants word is julienne, but you can call it slicing thinly 😉

I gathered up some lemon, pine nuts,feta,butter, mint ,sea salt and pepper.
( not pictured… White wine)

And made a purty little plate


Start by toasting the pine nuts. Set aside.

I melted the butter ( a tablespoon, maybe?) into a cast iron skillet ( my favorite cooking vessel, btw )

Then I added the peas to coat and just start to wilt. I didn’t want to overlook them, a nice crunch was what I was going for .

I added the wine ( 1/4 cup-ish) and let it reduce by half, then added the zest and juice of the lemon, chopped mint , toasted pine nuts and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Right as I was ready to serve I added the crumbled feta ( we bought a local goat feta… Simply amazing!). And garnished with a bit of mint.


So simple, so tasty,so easy!

It went lovely alongside my linguini with roasted garlic goat cheese and zucchini dish.

( that recipe is coming up soon )

If you come across snow peas.. You should try this!


there’s a turkey in the backseat…

howdy friends!

I know that Thanksgiving seems like it was sooooooo far away, giving the shopping weekend that followed, but I had a few things to share with you and couldn’t get around to it until now, so do me a favor.. fire up the Delorean and come back to Turkey day with me… just for a minute ( or 10 )


a few of you have asked me what I did with Theo after his 2 day salt spa bath….. when I was ready to put him in the oven, I removed hime form the brine.. rinsed him and patted him very dry with paper towels. I place some carrots, celery, onions and fresh herbs in the bottom of a roasting dish , the placed a roasting rack on top ( this makes the gravy extra yummy ) I stuffed the cavity with fresh herbs, onions, lemon and clemetines. Trussed him, then stuck a few fresh sage leaves between the skin and the breast an brushed melted butter all over him. Season with salt and pepper.


place on bottom shelf ove 425 degree oven for 30 minutes… then reduce heat to 325 and tent with aluminium foil…Roast for a few hours ( depending on the size ) basting every 45 minutes or so….



oops….. dont hold it in the oven too long…. 😉

remove the bird when the internal temp in the leg is 165… then let rest.


ok.. so I have a story…. pull up a chair.. ( I LOVE storytime!)

Every year, after the dinner, we bundle up and take a walk.. ( like everyone else does 😉 So about 4 or 5 years ago, we were walking in downtown plymouth when we saw a rollerblader. Unusual? hmm.. not so much.


but the station-wagon chasing her ( clearly a family member) well… that was a bit odd.


The driver of the car was screaming at her ” get in the car…. I’ve got the turkey in the back seat” and she in turn was rollerblading as fast as she could screaming back to the driver ” I’m trying to get away form you.. can’t you see that?” and again…. ” but the turkey is in the back seat…


now I know we all have some sort of drama around the holidays ( myself included ).. and although I’m not making fun of what was happening…. when all was said and done… we all just looked at each other and said, did that just happen?


so our standard thing to say was ” there’s a turkey in the backseat”..


then I found this card…


ugh.. the pic is horrible.. but it is a station wagon full of turkeys!

So the following year, as we headed out for our walk . we were remembering the crazy walk from the year prior and discussed how we wouldn’t see anything that crazy that year….. so we decided to change that. We began the ‘Thanksgiving walk o Shame”

we all dress up in crazy attire and sing and dance and ‘decorate’ the downtown


this is a pic from last year


you can’t miss us… trust me 🙂 Its fun and like I said, we sing a dance around and remember all the little things that we are thankful for !

the pic is dark, but here is Jo & i from this year 🙂


I love crazy traditions… SO MUCH!!


so I’ll leave you with a few pics from our holiday…



<img class="alignnone wp-image-2580" title="Thanskgiving table with flowers form my kiddos


and lastly… I found this on the web… and decided to tackle it…. I am super proud of it..


It’s entirely edible!! I made it out of bread!!!!


one very last note.. you may want to re read I’m Thankful again…. I was afraid that I would leave some out and it turns out that I did….. and half of the paragraph about Scott disapeared… it made me sound heartless, really..


so I have updated it 🙂 smoooches!



now.. head back to the future! it’s Cyber Monday! .

autumn mushroom soup with cognac

heres a story about a fun guy. * giggle*  get it… Fun-GI?

True story… when I was little I was ADDICTED to cream of mushroom soup… I could not get enough of it.

I remember sitting at my mom’s small table with a bowl of it. I swear I  actually remember having it for breakfast. Good ol’ Campbell’s!

then something happened ( mom, help me out?)  I think that  I got sick after eating it once.. and from that point on… I could not STAND mushrooms. Yuck.. gross.. fungus, I tell you, fungus.

I would not get ANYWHERE near them.

About 4 years ago, something changed. I saw a grilled portabella sandwich with blue cheese ( something else that I couldn’t stand) on a cooking show for super bowl Sunday recipes.

I found myself really wanting to try that sandwich! Bizzarre, I know.

Who am I?

I ran to the store, bought the ingredients and voilia! I Liked it.  I more than liked it, I LOVED it!

go figure?  Now I eat mushrooms all the time. They say that your body and palette are always changing.  I’m so happy that mine changed for the better.

One of my favorite new magazines is Vegetarian Times.  I received the subscription as a gift when I subscribed to Yoga journal.

this months issue came in yesterday & The cover called out to me.  I opened the magazine to this page and knew that I had to make it. And let me tell you, I am so glad that I did. Easy, quick, healthy.. and trust me, you would never believe that there isn’t any cream in the recipe.


If by chance you are vegan. just switch out the butter for Earth Balance or Olive oil..

If you don’t want to use almond milk, I’m sure you could use cow’s milk.. I’m just not sure if the consistency would be as ‘creamy’

ironic, eh?

SO here you go….  grown up cream of mushroom soup.

Autumn Mushroom Soup with Cognac

2 pounds white or button mushrooms ( I used baby bella)

2 Tbsp butter

2 large leeks thinly sliced  * see note below*

2 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp. dried Thyme leaves

1/4 cup cognac ( I bought a small nip from behind the counter of the liquor store.. perfect amount)

3 1/2 cup vegetable broth ( I used low-sodium)

1 cup almond milk ( make sure it’s not flavored or sweetened )

1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish

Sea salt & pepper  to taste.


yeah.. about that….. I can;t find the cord to upload the picture of the ingredients…. so I took a picture of the picture 🙂

Start by pulsing the mushrooms in a food processor ( or chop them finely)

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat  ( I use cast iron now.. I love it & will explain my reasonings later ) Add the leeks and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the leeks are softened, stirring occasionally.

Increase the heat to medium-high, stir in garlic and thyme and cook 1 more minute.

Deglaze pan with Cognac  and cook 1 minute or until the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in chopped shroons , cover pot and cook 5 minutes.  Then uncover and cook 5-7 minutes more or until most of the liquid  has evaporated and the mushroom start to brown.

Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Add almond milk & s& p.. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.

Garnish with Parsley.


ahh… look a barefootgirl in the picture !!

** note on prepping leeks**.. Leeks are grown in sand and are really sandy. No mater how hard you try to rinse them you will still get grit in your dish, Now one wants grit in their soup. yuck.

SO to prep them, do a preliminary rinse, then chop them on a cutting board. Then add the leeks to a big bowl of ice water and let them sit. The sand will all soak to the bottom. Wash the grit off of the cutting board. To drain the leeks , don’t drain them into a colander because you would just be dumping the sand right back into them.  Using your hands, reach into the ice water and lift the leeks up ( gently so that you don’t stir the sand up)

There you have it.. perfectly prepped leeks!

rejoice mushroom lovers.. rejoice!

oxoxox~ shel

simple addition


4 things~









happy birthday, Ali  I love you very much & am very proud of you!

it’s here!!!

FALL is here!!  finally 🙂  For this sweater lovin’, apple picking, boot addicted, hayride & PUMPKIN fanatic…. my time of year has arrived!!!

and what better way than with soup.  That was last years’ recipe.( click on the word soup to get to that recipe)  And although very tasty.. I was in the mood for something a little sweeter… A little bit of research & I found Williams-Sonoma cream of butternut and apple soup! a perfect recipe for me to start with

  • Ingredients….from Williams-Sonoma website
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Bermuda onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lb.,
    peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and
  • 4 pinches of Spanish saffron threads, about
    1 tsp.
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
( yes, chef, i know that i did not use Granny Smith apples…. I didn’t have them 😦


In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the squash and stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
I basically followed the recipe , the only change that I made was that didn’t have heavy cream ( I had used it when I made parsnip puree the night before & forgot to grab more) ( yum, BTW!) .. so I made the soup up until that point, then swirled a bit of milk at the end right in the bowl & garnished with some rubbed sage….
it’s as warm and fuzzy as my favorite boots 🙂
sianara summer!  it’s been real 🙂

sealed with a kiss

a Hershey’s kiss that is. Today’s recipe comes straight from chocolate-land itself…

When the kids were little we went to Hershey, Pennsylvania on a camping trip. When I saw this cookbook at the end of the tour I just HAD to have it.

It was my one big splurge of the trip. I remember reading it cover to cover for the whole 16 + hour drive home.

*disclousre* most of the family went….. we still owe a certain girl a trip to Hershey…. who’d have figured that SHE would be the biggest chocolate lover of us all?


This recipe was one of my favorites.

Peanut Blossoms

Peanut butter & chocolate. In a cookie. as they should be. forever and ever.  Amen.

HOW could you go wrong?

trick question.. you can’t 🙂

You will need

Hershey’s kisses ( and someone to unwrap them for you).. on second thought.. get 2 bags. one for the cookies.. one for the cooks;)

1/2 cup butter; softened  (recipe calls for shortening, but I always use butter)

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

granulated sugar


begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

then set your helper* ahem* Alison* to take this kisses from this form

to this form



In a large bowl, beat butter & peanut butter until well blended. Add 1/3 cup sugar & brown sugar; beat until light & fluffy. Add egg, milk & vanilla; beat well.

Stir together flour, baking soda & salt. Gradually add to to peanut butter mixture.


Shape dough into 1-inch balls & roll in the remaining sugar. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment or silpat.

Bake for about 9 minutes; remove cookies from oven

press a kiss down in the center of each cookie. ( the cookie will crack around the kiss)

Remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool.


SWEET peanut butter & chocolate heaven….


Oh! Oh! Oh!  Lookie what I found while clipping my coupons ( um.. I’m kind of a self-procailmed coupon queen)




now maybe I’ll actually remember it?  let’s hope!

do any of you have suggestions for a particular kind of cookie that you would either like me to bake or research? I know I put the question out there awhile back, but alot has happened since then and I’m having trouble remembering…….


like the parchment paper.



ooey gooey minty bars

That’s what I’m calling them. The official recipe that I found is called midnight mints.. but once I made these & they were on the platter.. I decided hat I would re-mame them ( at least in this house 😉 )


Sunday morning, our oldest son, Jason, left  for his 6 month tour of duty in the Persian Gulf… although the emotions around here have been wildly unpredictable& unexplainable , the biggest emotion is by far pride.

We are sooo proud of him…




These are a triple layered bar-type cookie with tons of sweetness

you will need:

for layer 1:

1/2 cup butter, softened

5 tablespoons cocoa

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup coconut

for layer 1~

combine butter, cocoa & sugar in a saucepan. slowly bring to a boil. Turn of heat & whisk in egg to thicken & add coconut.

using a spatula, press into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan


Layer 2:


1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons milk

1/4  teaspoon peppermint extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 drops green food coloring

Combine all ingredients in a bowl & using a mixer, mix until have bowl full of minty-greeness. Spread over first layer.

layer 3:

2/3 cup chocolate chips ( I used mint chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons butter.

Melt butter & chips in the microwave, then spread or drizzle over lay 2.

Chill 😉


Now I had me quite the time cutting these. I suppose if I ever remember to buy parchment paper,  lining the base of the dish first might make it easier. Either way, there were no complaints about these cookies….

they do need to be refrigerated, or they will freeze, so you need to keep that in mind, they aren’t your typical ‘cookie jar’ cookie ( like cookie jars stay full anyway..)

but they were yummy. Mabye next time I’ll serve some with some grasshopper fudge brownie sundae ice cream.


or something like that 😉


oh.. and I  finally did a little decorating….



chocolate butter cookies

So remember when I tempted you yesterday with this cookies dough? I was making yet another recipe from my old stash

Again.. no clue where I got the recipe, but I will tell you that this is quite simple & very versitle

Chocolate Butter Cookies

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa

Here is what you do:

In a large mixer combine sugar& butter; beat at medium speed until creamy ( about 1-2 minutes) .

Add egg & almond extract;continue beating until well mixed.

pause to admire your dough

Reduce speed to low. Gradually add the flour & cocoa scarping the bowl often until well-mixed.

this is where the versatility comes in.

you can

A) use it as is in a cookie press

(I’m not that brave yet)

2) wrap the dough in plastic wrap & allow to chill for at least an hour, then roll out & use cookie cutters

(we may be trying that later this month)


III) dump the dough on a long piece of plastic wrap & roll into a long roll

like I did 🙂 and chill for the world’s best slice & bake cookie!

When you re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Remove dough from fridge just when you are ready to bake it.

using a serrated knife, slice into 1/4 inch rounds

place each round on a silpat or parchment paper & bake for 7-9 minutes.

Remove cookies from oven & allow to let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Now these cookies were really yummy just as they were, but since I am trying to get into a festive state of mind, I thought that it would be fun to dip them in white chocolate & put some fun sprinkles on them

sprinkles make everything more fun., dontcha think?

I saw an article in a magazine today on another way to decorate cookies, & I did try on a few cookies, but overall, I think they were a tad pathetic..

I took a square piece of paper the size of the cookie & cut a tiny snowflake *cough* snowflake looking type of shape. Put on top of the cookie & using a tiny sifter, sift powdered sugar on top.. then remove the paper.

This is what I came up with

ok.. so they don’t look exactly like the magazine, but I was kind of rushing..  so we may be giving this another try as well. I did not try it, but I am pretty darn sure that you could make this dough ahead of time, freeze it in the log-form & have slice & bake cookies within1 15 mintues whenever you want them.

I must try that.

and just for you , Kim……. one from the archives…

kinda still looks like him…..


English Toffee Squares

you had me at ‘English’

I love tea…

I love trifle…

I love toffee..

not so sure about Scotch Eggs but Ryan insists that they will be delicious…..  we’ll see.



back to the cookie~ when I came across this recipe,  I knew this HAD  to be my cookie of the day.

English Toffee Squares

you will need :

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts ( I used almonds, because that’s what  I had )

(pesky elf optional)

so remember butterbutt from last year? She did it again.

I pulled out the ingredients to get to room temperature before I went to the gym & when I came home, a stick of butter was missing.

Guess who is  in the doghouse

and guess who learned her lesson about how high to store the butter 😉

Ok.. start by preheating the over to 275 degrees & lining a small cookie sheet  (15 x10 ) with parchment paper ( I was out of parchment paper, so I used aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray)

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter & sugar until creamy; scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Separate the egg

and mix the yolk into the butter mixture.

In another bowl, sir together flour & cinnamon. add to the butter mixture & mix until blended.

Dump the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet & with oiled hands, press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan. It takes a few minutes to get it all flattened out, but trust me, it will lay out nicely.

Quickly whisk the egg white( I used the flour bowl, one less bowl to wash) then brush the egg white over the dough mixture

sprinkle the chopped nuts on top

and gently press into dough

Bake at 275 for 1 hour. Remove from oven & let cool just a bit, then cut into squares.

*note* using the parchment/ foil makes it easy to lift the entire bar out & trnasfer to a cutting board to make easier cutting. The foil seemed to stick to the back a little, but I was able to peel the part that stuck off. I think that with parchment this wouldn’t have been an issue.

I was astounded at how delicious these are.

when I first read that there was cinnamon in the dough I was a bit unsure, but seriously.. without the cinnamon & nuts & butter, they taste just like Baklava!!!

These will be on my cookie list every year for the rest of my life.

in the meantime, would someone please come over & eat all of these for me? like immediately? So that I don’t




Happy December!


Clearly, I am a blog novice, so although I *made* a page just for cookies, I cannot get it to post as I can the main page.. so here is the link to that little page right up there which will be





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