A Basket of Goodies from The Garden, An Aussie Burger & Time with Old & New Friends

I know this is so far behind it is ridiculous. I know this because I haven’t talked about 4th of July and kids are getting ready to go back to school. Gosh, I am glad to not be going back to school.

I am going to try to do this very tongue and cheek and we will see if it flies.

Have you ever seen Chevy Chase in the movie VACATION? He takes the family to the Grand Canyon. They get out of the car look down into the Canyon. He puts his arms over their shoulders. He bobs his head up and down a few times and says they have seen it and it is time to go to the next wonder of the world. Sixty seconds if that to see one of the wonders of the world. Well, I love that scene. Now, I will try to emulate it in this blog as I capture more than a months time in a hopefully quick set of snapshots. You know it is hard for me to not be too wordy.

I went to Tucker’s in OTR for breakfast before they had their fire causing them to temporarily shutdown. I had a six-cheese omelet and loved it. I decided to come home and make a 2-cheese omelet with parm and mozzarella. It was quite tasty.

I went to the Northside 4th of July Parade. I was not as entranced with it this year as previous years, but we did meet a Chinese Crested poodle that looked a lot like Dulce. Not as cute.

Chinese crested 1

Chinese crested 2

We saw some interesting things.

Then I came home and went to a BBQ picnic. Look at these ribs!! They were made with cumin and other Indian spices. I have never had them prepared that way. I ate ribs and corn. Corn is not on my diet. I paid for it the next day with the side affects of the corn on my body. (READ: Pain in feet.) But corn is worth it here and there.

I steamed broccoli and then put a healthy sprinkling of Beau Monde spice on it. Healthy and good. I have replicated the recipe several times and snack on it.

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I took my dear friend Trouble’s grandson out driving. We went and practiced the driving route for his driving test and drove through a cemetery. He asked me to take him to his driver’s test. I said sure. He told me he had to be there at 8am. Again, I said sure. Then turned my head and inaudibly mouthed. OMG! I said, “On one condition. We go to breakfast after the test. He grew up in Cincinnati and had never been to Sugar n Spice. That is just sick and wrong.

I went to my friend Kris’s house for coffee one rainy day. She has these two totally adorable children that were so excited to show me their things. I was so excited to see her things. I loved her framed art and her decor made me feel like I was in a French countryside house. I really liked it. There was so much to look at in it.

I went to a dinner party years ago and my first true love’s brother-in-law was there and he made the most amazing pesto. He told me the secret was fresh ingredients. He was wrong. I have tried several times since to mimic his pesto. I can’t do it. Is it good? Yes, but not as good as Eric’s. Ugh! Will keep trying. It looks yummy!

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My friend Lisa turned 50 and so Lisa, Mindy and I went to Django in Northside to help her celebrate. We sat down at 7 and we left at 11pm. We always laugh and have so much fun together. Mindy suggested we all live together when we are old. I said like the Golden Girls. Lisa called dibs on Maude’s character. I was torn between being Blanche or Betty White but decided that I was more like Betty White. Although, it might be more fun to be an outrageous slut.

I had my honorary cousin Kathy over for lunch to meet my friend L. They both spend time in the winter at St. Petersburg and they both are so nice and so fun to be around. I forced my diet on them. I promise it was not painful. I actually think they liked it!

MENU

Chicken salad

Caprese Salad

Peach & Plum Salad

There is protein, a vegetable, some color, and some fruit.

The baseball All-Star game came to Cincy this summer and it was a huge hit. People really loved our city. It took us a while to get here but we are getting here.

A few friends and I did a drive by of events and witnessed the city coming alive. It was very cool! This is fountain Square in downtown Cincy.

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My friends Carolyn and Roy bought this beautiful replica of a 1937 Jaguar. Look at this beauty. Apparently, it is terribly uncomfortable, but it sure is a beauty.

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There were two kids named Jonathan and Laura who lived up the street from me and I babysat them many moons ago. Somehow and some way I reconnected with them when I lived in New York. Then I lost touch with them because I moved away and Jonathan moved to Taiwan. Well, I wrote to their mom to ask her a question and she said come to my birthday party to see Jonathan and Laura. I did! It was great fun! It was outside at Washington Park. It poured and we all stayed because we were having so much fun. Nice party.

At the party, Jonathan and I reconnected and we met up for coffee one day and sat and talked for three hours. It was so nice and so fun! He is a great guy!

The next day, I opened my door to the most beautiful basket of fresh veggies and herbs.

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It was amazing! I was so touched and so impressed and so psyched!!! Look at this….

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I invited Darlene who left the basket for me and Shirley over for breakfast. I incorporated the contents of the basket into breakfast as much as I could!

There were purple potatoes in the basket. I was unsure if I could eat them for fear of the starch, but it looks like they are really healthy. I guess like a sweet potato.

health benefits from PURPLE POTATOES

So, I roasted the potatoes with rosemary. I made the eggs with basil, oregano and thyme. I made bacon and I made herbed butter for their toast. I wanted a piece of toast badly, but I declined.

It was a wonderful breakfast with friends.

One day three DIFFERENT friends went out to breakfast. On our way home, we passed a joint called Alabama Fish Bar down in OTR (over-The-Rhine). I had heard it was great! I was pointing to the joint and the lady working inside the window was waving us to come in. It was really adorable. She ran out to the car since we were stopped at a light and handed us menus. A few days later, I drove by and there was a line out the door. I want to try it even more now!

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We had a wonderful neighbor on the 7th floor, who moved to a nursing home. Two gals orchestrated an outing to meet her and her daughter at a Chinese restaurant here in town. We went. What we didn’t know is that one of the gals had called ahead and asked if they served wine. The answer was no. So, this gal said, “May I bring wine?” The restaurant woman said, “Yes, but you order the tea and you drink the wine in the tea cups. So, that is what they all did. I drank the tea. It was a hoot!

My dear friend Mare who is such a trooper as she so far has quite successfully battled colon cancer. Her kids were out of town and she needed a ride to chemo. I tend to sit with her when she is there. I went to meet her hot doc that she calls Doom and Gloom. Then I went to her corner of the chemo room where she sits with a lovely cast of characters. Betty who has battled the same cancer as Mare for five years and her son Kevin, who Mare calls Tracy Morgan because he looks dead on Tracy Morgan from SNL. Then there is Ron and Raya. Everyone talks. Everyone laughs. Mare is white, Betty and her son are African American and Ron and Raya are Indian. I love that they come together and there is no color or race…it is just people bonded by an unfortunate disease. They all get along so well together. If only the rest of the world operated so civilly.

My friend Stacey came to swim with her two sons. One had gotten back from camp in the Carolinas and the other has been to Europe and Israel this summer and he is only 16. How cool is that!

My mom and stepfather came to Cincy. It basically was a drive through. The first night we went to Boca and shared three small and I do mean SMALL tasting plates.

branzino la plancha

branzino la plancha

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre

Tuna Crudo

Tuna Crudo

It was delicious. They took this old famous Cincinnati institution called La Maisonette and GUTTED it and made it into BOCA. Worth the trip!

BOCA

The next morning they drove out of town and returned a few days later. We went to A Tavola. Again we shared. Thankfully, the portions were more normal. We started with a bacon tapenade. Then we had a Gorgonzola and Picante pizza. We split a Wagyu beef slider. Delicious!

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The pizza crust was divine. It was so good and almost velvety in texture. I loved the crust. Different topping next time.

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After pizza we went to the COMET in Northside to listen to the Bluegrass band. They are so good!!! Every Sunday night. Get there early or late because they play to a sold out crowd.

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One of the things that Darlene brought me in my basket of garden delights was Swiss chard so I made Swiss chard and horseradish which was okay, but it basically the dish is overpowered by the horseradish.

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The other dish was Swiss chard, with onions sautéed in Smoked Paprika and then cooked with raisins and garnished with almonds. I loved it. And you know this because I have made it two times since!

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SWISS CHARD WITH RAISINS & ALMONDS

¼ of a medium sized onion

2 T. of Olive Oil

1 T. smoked paprika

1 bunch of Swiss chard

1 handful of raisins

¼ c. water

1 handful of almonds

Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, sauté onions in paprika.

Toss in Swiss chard. Cook down till wilted.

Add raisins and water.

Cook roughly ten more minutes.

Stir and remove from heat.

Toss almonds on top.

Enjoy!

Some friends talked to me about a good burger that caused me to come upstairs and defrost meat to make one for myself. My all-time favorite burger EVER is an Aussie burger. The Aussies know how to do it. Odd COMBINATION but very, very good.

CLASSIC AUSSIE HAMBURGER

Hamburger

Lettuce

Tomato

Onion

Ketchup

Mustard Mayo

Here is where it changes.

ADD:

Roasted beet slice

Fried Egg

And I didn’t have any here but also a slice of pineapple.

Trust me….it is really, really good!!!!

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The bathing suit I bought in May was torn off my body by a 5-year-old boy! I was playing with him in the pool when he tried to climb up my body and this was the result. Yes, that is my belly button.

Erin's torn bathing suit

My friend Emelee…this is the name she wanted in here to protect her real name. Some people like anonymity. She was reading an article about the best burgers in Cincy. Now, I needed another burger. So did she! So, we went to the River Brew.

Beautiful presentation. Here are the ingredients below:

Brioche bun…didn’t eat it.

Burger…medium rare.

Blue cheese

Onion straws. (okay, I ate those.)

Spicy Aioli

The picture says it all. I ordered a side of roasted veggies instead of those killer looking french fries that come with it.

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Other yummy treats I experimented with include the following.

Strawberry & Tomato Salad

Strawberries

Tomatoes cubed

Green onions

Mozzarella Cubed

Sprinkle of Parm Cheese

Basil

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Taste

 

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Omelet with Roasted Leeks

 

Bunch of leeks sliced

Toss in bowl with Olive oil, salt and pepper

Spread on cookie sheets

Bake @ 400 for 10 minutes, stir around

Bake around 7-10 minutes, depending on how brown you like them

Make an egg omelet, toss them into it and fold.

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Smoked Salmon Sandwich SANS The Yummy Bagel

 

Spread Salmon on a plate

Add Philly Cream Cheese

Green Onions

Capers

Slices of Tomato

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Orange Beets with Goat Cheese Drizzled with Balsamic Glaze

 

Roasted Sliced Orange Beets in Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Place on Plate

Put a dollop of Goat Cheese in Center

Drizzle Balsamic Glaze on top

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Coconut & Lemon Smoothie

NO ONE told me I would need a hammer and chisel to get to the meat and juice of this coconut.

 

Coconut & Lemon Smoothie

Coconut meat of ½ coconut

Half a container of NOOSA Lemon yogurt

Blend.

Enjoy.

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Eggplant Parm or Bruschetta ??? Not sure, but yummy!!!

Roasted thin slices of eggplant in Olive Oil, S & P (salt/pepper)

In a skillet, I sautéed onions, garlic, added, dice tomatoes & chilies

Put the eggplant slices on cookie sheet

Put a dollop of the sautéed mixture on top.

Sprinkled a little parm cheese on top

Added a slice of mozzarella

Placed under broiler till cheese melted.

Stacked on plate.

Healthy and yummy.

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There is a wonderful light show in Cincy called LUMENOCITY. It used to be FREE and it used to be first come first serve. Now, it is a lottery system and you must pay for it. No one I knew won tickets. So, the first night of the show, I went and grabbed my friend Lynn and said lets go and see if we can find a view from OUTSIDE the fence. We did!!! Yes, it was through the fence, but it was still fabulous!

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And a few kids found Dulce and passed her along. They were cute. She was a trooper.

 

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Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

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