A couple of months ago I had some very exciting news. The Oliso company offered to send me a Smart Hub Combo to see how I liked it!!
Hmm…the crickets I’m hearing after my announcement tell me that some of you may not know what a Smart Hub is.
Allow me to enlighten you.
The Oliso Smart Hub Combo (brought to you by the same people who make those marvelous irons) is a countertop cooking system that combines a single induction burner topped with an enclosed, cordless sous vide water bath cooker. It also includes an Oliso Vacuum Sealer with heavy duty, reusable bags. continue reading
When the temperatures rise over a certain degree, I switch from my regular hot mug of coffee to cold brew I make at home. I just heap ground local coffee into my French press, fill with cold water, and let it sit overnight. It is a summer treat that I look forward to every morning when Showgirl wakes me up. I rise giddy and excited knowing that I don’t have to wait the two minutes for my hot coffee to brew. It’s like I’ve gotten ahead of the game. continue reading
Now, I’m not talking about heating up something on the stovetop or in the microwave of a motorhome or trailer. I mean real campfire cooking, out of doors and over an open flame, like the pioneers did it.
Okay, well. Maybe not quite like the pioneers. You’re not going to find any salt pork, hardtack, or squirrel on my campfire menu. As I explained in my earlier post I don’t camp, I glamp. And when I glamp, food is the star of the show.
My carefully planned and executed menus feature delicious dishes made from fresh, flavorful ingredients, served on real dishes with real silverware, a tablecloth, flowers, and candles. Think of it as rustic chic – emphasis on chic.
But the rustic part applies too. When I’m glamping, I can’t cook quite the same way I would at home. I need to make some concessions for the limitations of storage space, equipment, and refrigeration (or lack of it). That’s why, when it comes to campfire cooking, one-pot meals are definitely the way to go!
The old adage of “when it rains, it pours,” holds true when it comes to the delightfully small cherry tomato. As if by their very nature, you never just have a couple. They come in droves – either a big container from your supermarket or a bucket-full from a green thumb friend or farmer.
Wherever you get yours, this is the time of year when those tomato plants just go crazy but in a very good way! While I would be perfectly happy just snacking on them throughout the afternoon, enjoying that juicy taste of summer on my tongue, why not give these tomatoes the glory they deserve?
But what to do with them? There are just so many options…
But I’m still left yearning for more. I want something so spectacularly tomato-ey that takes advantage of all the ways I love tomatoes. I love them fresh and sweet with a sprinkle of salt. They’re also equally satisfying oven-roasted to supercharge their flavors.
Enough gushing about my unabashed love for tomatoes. Let’s move on to another (related) topic.
In the summer, when it’s too hot to move and too hot to cook, I like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. So if there’s a healthy summer salad recipe that takes all of 5 minutes to make, I’m all in. This watermelon salad has feta, arugula, lime and coconut to keep things interesting. As I was making it, I couldn’t help but think that minus the feta and arugula, it would make a really knockout summer cocktail too! Lime, coconut, watermelon – these are the tastes of summer!
Sheet pan dinners are all the rage these days. It’s easy to see why.
What cook doesn’t love a meal that requires no more cleanup than crumpling up a sheet of foil and tossing it in the trash? Especially if the resulting recipe is loaded with healthy ingredients and full of flavor?
My Sheet Pan Chicken Marbella with Garlic Rosemary Citrus Sauce fits that description to a tee. It’s a delectable, hearty, easy to prepare dinner that makes weeknight meal making a breeze but looks and tastes good enough to serve to company. In fact, I particularly like preparing this for company because once it goes into the oven I don’t have to do a thing until the last few minutes of cooking, leaving me lots of time to visit with my guests.
I love an old-fashioned hamburger as much as the next red-blooded American. The mustard, the pickles, the American cheese, the juicy goodness, the buttery bun, the familiar char in the air billowing from the grill. It reminds me of summer. And happiness. And time with family.
Side note: I’m making myself very hungry.
In the midst of my daydream about hamburger heaven, I remind myself that it is not all about the beef. Burgers aren’t the friendliest in the Weight Watchers life I’m living in right now, and while they are worth an occasional splurge, I like to bring leaner proteins into my life whenever I can.
That’s why it’s so great that burgers are delicious in all sorts of ways! In Oregon, we eat a lot of salmon burgers, homemade veggie burgers, and now that I’ve discovered this jewel, the best chicken teriyaki burger recipe has found its way into our weekly menu! I love to sneak in herbs from my garden whenever I can. Healthy, fresh, and seasonal on a bun.
I’ve been standing out on the deck in my bathrobe this morning, cheering and clapping for a long line of runners who have been streaming down the bike path near my house. The Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival is taking place in my community today, the same event that, two years ago, inspired me to try tackling my first sprint triathlon.
In honor of that anniversary, I decided repost this blog I wrote in February of 2018. I don’t know what challenges, crazy notions, or comfort zone smashing ideas might be tugging at your sleeve right now, but I hope reading this will inspire a few of you to dive into the deep and take them on.
It’s okay to be scared. It’s not okay to let fear prevent you from living ferociously and fully.
You can do this.
In the fall of 2017, I began swimming twice a week as part of my triathlon training. Like a lot of novice triathletes, this was the part of the race that made me nervous. It wasn’t that I couldn’t swim, just that I didn’t – at least, not very often and not very far.
Finding a race that required a swim of just 300 meters in a pool was what made me decide to go through with it. The security of swimming in a pool, where lifeguards would be on the watch, made the whole thing a lot less daunting. Three hundred meters was still farther than I’d swum in a long time but it seemed doable.
For the first session of training, my goal was to swim 50 meters. That’s just two complete lengths of the pool, up and back.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to a long table dinner at Rainshadow Organics, a local farm.
The long table in question stretched along a wide, shady porch with a gorgeous view of the farm. After a glass of wine and some appetizers, all the guests were given a tour of the twenty-five acres by Sarahlee, the farmer who has spent the last eleven years of her life cultivating this land.
It took me about five seconds to develop a complete girl crush on the fascinating and colorful Sarahlee who – wait for it – is married to a professional rodeo rider. No kidding! She’s an organic farmer married to a cowboy. How fabulous is that? She could have walked right off the pages of one of my novels! continue reading
In my post on Hospitality 101, I pointed out that creating a fun and memorable experience for friends and family does not require you to go all out in the food, drink, and décor department. But sometimes it’s fun to do exactly that. A dinner party I recently gave for new friends from church proves the point.