:: Weekend Recipe....Asian Sesame Chicken Salad ::

And this is the deliciousness that I simply devoured for lunch, and a great way to use up leftover chicken!


    2 wonton wrappers
    Canola oil, for frying
    2 tablespoons sliced almonds
    4 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces,
    { loosely packed }
    1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
    3 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast,
    grilled and sliced thinly on a bias
    ¼ cup Asian Sesame Dressing {recipe follows}
    1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    Asian Sesame Dressing
    Makes 1 ¼ cups

    ¼ cup rice vinegar
    ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil



    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. To prepare wonton strips, cut wonton wrappers      
into 1/4 inch strips. In a deep skillet, pour canola oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. 
Heat oil to 365°F. Carefully drop wonton slices into hot oil and fry for about 
30 seconds, or until crisp and golden. Remove with slotted spoon,  and      
drain on paper towels.

2. Arrange almonds in a single layer on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes, 
toss nuts, then toast for an additional 5 minutes, or until golden. 
Remove from pan to cool.

3. To make the salad, toss the lettuce, cilantro, wonton strips, chicken, and dressing 
in a large mixing bowl until combined. Place the mixture on a serving plate. 
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and almonds and serve.

 Asian Sesame Dressing:
1. Combine all ingredients except canola oil in a medium mixing bowl with a wire whisk.

2. Once ingredients are combined, slowly pour in the oil while whisking to form an emulsion.


Well, I held out through spring and even all this long summer.  I was going to start watching this show during the winter when I needed something to do, but I finally found myself watching my daughter-in-laws favorite show " Downton Abbey".

It's really a pretty good show. I'm surprised, but more than that, what I really love in the beautiful scenery don't you? After all, I think it's  ... just so pretty.   With a cup of peppermint tea in hand,  I just sit back and enjoy forty minutes of beautiful decor, clothes and that gorgeous scenery. What a lovely way to end a long day.  

Have you seen it yet?  If you haven't watched Downton Abbey yet or have put off watching it, I urge you not to deprive yourself any longer.   It's really worth taking a look at.


:: When I open my eyes ::

When I open my eyes in the morning this is the look and face that I am usually greeted with. 
Little Buddy spends an inordinate amount of time trying to wake me up in the mornings, 
all the while; without seeming like he is trying to wake me up. {smile

Sometimes he will sneeze, most of the time he flops around and around pretending to 
try to get comfortable; and then he will stick his face so close to mine that our noses are 
nearly touching and I open my eyes to make sure I am not being suffocated by a 
who knows what. Then he just smiles and acts like "Well, isn't this a coincidence that we 
should both wake up at the same time?  That's great because I'm starving!"
It is quite seriously nearly impossible for me to be annoyed or upset when I have these 
giant marble sized brown eyes staring me down, giving me that sweet puppy dog look. 
And, I have to admit, it's a wonderful way to wake up in the morning, he helps me to 
appreciate the fact that I woke up, and have the opportunity to begin a brand spanking
new day! He looks at me like : Isn't this great? What should we do? I'll do anything!
And he's bouncing around already, so, we do the bed dance, jump up and down on
the bed and dance our little hearts out...then, we go for a wonderful long, walk. When
we get back home I feed him, then, he's out for the count! Don't worry though, after 
a little power nap, he's as good as new and ready to tackle everything again! 

Right now, he is out. Which gives me time to blog a little bit! Being that it is
Wednesday is a very good thing for me because I have tomorrow off! And, the
best part of today is that we are having a Mexican potluck at work! Yummy! 
I simply love those potlucks, my figure takes a hit, but, what the heck!

Have a wonderful day!


:: Chicken pesto panini ::

Chicken Pesto Panini
2 slices sourdough bread
1 T pesto
1 slice provolone cheese
1 roma tomato
2 slices bacon
1/2 chicken breast
1/2 avocado

1. Grill chicken breast in a frying pan until thoroughly cooked through.
2. Cook two slices of bacon until crisp.
3. Spread pesto on one side of both slices of bread.
    Place provolone on top.

4. Slice avocado into thin slices, enough to cover one slice of bread.
    Do the same with the roma tomato.
5. Once bacon and chicken are done cooking,
    stack them on top of other ingredients.

6. Put the two sides together to complete the sandwich.
7. Grill the entire sandwich in a panini press & take out
    once the bread is slightly brown & crispy.
8. Slice into two halves & serve!

This is super easy and delicious! Enjoy!


:: Applesauce Muffins ::

Applesauce Muffins

2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tb melted butter

Ingredients for muffins:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour **
**{you could use 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 all purpose flour}
1 cup old fashioned oars
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
** {you also added 3 Tb of ground golden Flax}

Directions for Topping:

Stir together the oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and set aside.

Directions for Muffins:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.

Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
Stir and mix well .

In a second bowl, mix the applesauce with the milk, vegetable puree, sugar, oil, and egg with a wooden spoon.  Add to the flour mixture, mixing slowly to combine until just moistened.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle with the streusel topping.  Bake until the topping is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffins, 18-20 min.

These are soooo good! healthy and delicious! 
They are the perfect breakfast treat during this fall season!  


:: This weekends plans ::

I will...

Bake a loaf of spiced pumpkin bread; visit a thrift store and find something 
fun for under $10; get my favorite sweaters out of storage and start putting 
away my summer clothes; bring my beautiful basil plant indoors; make a fun
 playlist; delete old and unused files from my computer's hard drive; 
tell someone how much they mean to me; try some new calming yoga poses; 
apply a dark nail polish for a touch of glamor [perhaps OPI Affair in red square?}; 
practice my Rosetta Stone German; post five things I'm thankful for;  
sip white wine in front of the fire chimney; Buy a new Autumn candle {or two}; 
brew some hazelnut coffee; make a pot of Chili; and wish the weekend 
would last forever...

What kind of magic are you making this weekend? I want to hear about it!


*Painting by Marta Wiley

:: Mushroom Risotto ::

Mushroom Risotto {makes 4 servings} Ingredients: 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, 1 cup chicken stock (boiling), 2 tablespoons butter,1 onion (diced), 8 ounces mushrooms,  2 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 teaspoon thyme (chopped), 1 cup arborio rice, 1/2 cup white wine,1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable, warm), 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated), salt and pepper to taste, 1 handful parsley (optional).Directions: 1. Cover the dried porcini mushrooms in the stock and let sit for 20-30 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. 3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. 4. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute until they turn tender and release their moisture, about 10-15 minutes. 5. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute. 6. By this time the dried mushrooms should be nice and soft so remove them from the stock, squeezing to drain and reserve all of the liquid. 7. Chop the reconstituted mushrooms and add them to the sauce pan. 8. Add the rice and toast until it starts to turn translucent, about 1-3 minutes. 9. Add the white wine, deglaze the bottom of the pan and cook while stirring until the wine has disappeared. 10. Mix the stock that the mushrooms were soaked in with another cup of stock and add it to the sauce pan 1/2 cup at a time while stirring until it has disappeared. 11. Add the butter and parmigiano reggiano and stir until it has melted. 12. Season with salt and pepper and a touch of truffle oil. 13. Serve garnished with parsley.

I don't have my own picture to use yet. Isn't this a lovely picture? It looks just like the risotto that I make. I find it very comforting on chilly days. I will pair this with a lovely, colorful salad. But, I will also grill steaks for those who choose to have meat with this meal. For those of us who do not want to add meat tonight, This meal is, all in all a comforting and filling meal. I am also going to add to this some fresh homemade rolls that I am making now. {letting the dough rise}  This is dinner tonight. Three neighbors {6 couples} are coming over and one is bringing an appetizer, the other is bringing the wine, and the last is bringing dessert. Afterwards, we are going over to yet another neighbors house for an outdoor movie. And despite that it's chilly out - we are all going! We will wrap up in warm blankets and enjoy some hot homemade cinnamon rolls and her famous hot apple cider! Delicious!

What are your plans today? Is fall slowly creeping in where you are?


Time to harvest....


With the days turning colder, I have had to pick all of my peppers,
and tomatoes and make large batches of salsa, and then can them
and freeze them. Wow! I just can't believe how many I was able
to make! This should take me through the whole winter I think!

I'm afraid I have really been indulging a lot! {oh, well!}

Do enjoy homemade goodness as much as I do? What special
things do you like to create?