A Birthday Filled with Indulgences

A BIRTHDAY INDULGENCE

 

Sidewinders

Mexican Latte- espresso, chocolate, cayenne & cinnamon

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Brugger’s Bagels

Everything bagel with cream cheese

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Skyline chili

4-way & a cheese coney

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Gaslight cookies

Chocolate chip cookie

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Sixteen Bricks bread

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Toast w. butter

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LeVain’s Cookies

Dark chocolate with chips

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Dewey’s Pizza

Pepperoni & onion

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Graeter’s

Banana split w. Mocha chip & Cookie Dough ice cream, bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch, whipped cream on top

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Next day….food hangover….I don’t think I will do that much cheating in one day again or at least not on my birthday!

 

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

FOODTASTIC

Scallops with Mushroom & Thyme on a Bed of Zucchini

 

3 large scallops

¼ small onion, sliced

1 garlic clove

2 T. olive oil

1 T. butter

1 c. mushrooms

1 zucchini, spiralized

1 t. Thyme

 

I spiralized the zucchini. I sautéed the onion, garlic, mushrooms in olive oil and butter. I set aside. I then did the zucchini in the garlic and olive oil and butter mixture.

Set it aside. Then I put in the scallops in the skillet with the butter and cooked them till ready. Then I put the veggies in a plate and the scallops on top.

 

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Egg, Tomato, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley & Basil

Puppadum with Egg

1 egg fried

1 tomato sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 slice of onion chopped/green onions sliced

1 t. Rosemary

1 t. Thyme

1 t. Parsley

1 t. basil

1 puppadum

Pinch of salt & pepper

In a skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. A pinch of salt and pepper. Add a clove of garlic. Add onion, add spices, add tomato slices. Cook until you get it to a consistency you like. I like it really soggy and almost overcooked. You may like your onions and tomatoes undercooked. Your call. Pour into a bowl. Set creation aside.

Put olive oil in that skillet. Let it get very hot. Crack an egg in skillet. Cook to desired consistency. I like my yolk running but I like the egg white cooked. Set aside.

Separate skillet. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet well. Let oil get very hot. Take a puppadum out of wrapping and place in hot oil and it will curl. Push edges of it down into oil until it curls and cooks through. Pull out with tongs, place on plate, add tomato mixture and a fried egg on top. Then the tomato creation. Serve.

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Kumquat creation

I bought these and wanted to try them. I sliced them and put some lemon juice on them and tried to eat them, but they made my mouth pucker. Not for me, but you never know until you try!

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When I was in Istanbul. There was a wonderful restaurant down the street from my hotel. A gal I met on a tour was staying at my hotel. Her name was Christina and she was from South Africa but living in Saudi Arabia and we became dinner buddies. We went to this restaurant almost nightly because it was so good. I got this dish every evening for dessert.

 

Apricot w. ricotta & honey

6 dried apricots

1 container of ricotta

1 jar of honey

Place the apricots on a plate.

Put a dollop of ricotta on each one.

Drizzle honey on top.

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Tikka Masala Cauliflower

 

Ingredients

 

Cauliflower Florets – separated from 1 big Cauliflower

1 cup of Canned Tomato Puree

Finely Diced Onions

Green Chillies –as many as you like for desired heat

¼ c. Cashews

4 Cloves

1 T.Cardamom

1 T. Cinnamon

1 T. ginger

2 Bay Leaves

2 garlic cloves

1 t. Turmeric Powder

1/3 t. chili powder

1 T. garam masala

2 T. Butter

2 T. olive oil (or whatever oil you like to cook with)

½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream

2 t. Sugar (I will omit, as I try to stay away from sugar, may use honey if needed)

Salt – to taste

1 t. Coriander Leaves

Marinade Ingredients

1/2 t. Turmeric Powder

½ t. Chilli Powder (Depending on Spice Tolerance)

1 T. Tandoori Chicken Masala Powder

1 t. Coriander Powder

1/2 t. Cumin Powder

1/4 c. Yogurt

1 T. Lemon Juice

Salt – as required

Directions

Make a marinade using the above ingredients. Marinate the cauliflower florets and keep it aside for 15 minutes.

Soak 1/4 cup cashews in warm water.

Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Line a baking dish with Aluminum Foil and arrange the florets. Drizzle a few drops of oil and roast the cauliflower florets for 20-25 minutes turning once in between. Alternatively, you can roast the florets on a non stick skillet with little oil until lightly browned.

Melt 2 T. butter & oil in a big pan.  Saute cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and Bay Leaves for 2 minutes. Saute onions and green chillies till the onions begin to brown.

Meanwhile grind the cashews to a nice paste.

Reduce heat and add 1/2 t. turmeric powder, 1 T. chili powder, 1 T. ginger 1 T. garlic, 1 t. garam masala powder and saute for a minute.

Add the Cashew paste and tomato puree and saute for a few minutes.

Add 1/2 c. of water along with 2 t. sugar/honey and salt to taste. Bring the gravy to a slow boil.

Add the roasted cauliflower florets. Mix well and simmer for 7-8 minutes on medium flame.

Reduce heat, add fresh whipping cream and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from stove top and keep covered.

 

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Re-doing Chris’s Chair

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Helping Kristen in Paris

So, one of my best friends from New York went to Paris on business and was texting me on how to get from the airport to her Airbnb and then to certain places in Paris and it was like being back in Paris. I loved it! In helping her navigate the city, I got to be back there. Gosh, I love Paris. What a great city. It is not NY but it is a fabulous place.

 

Mita’s w. Eric Hunter

My sweet, dear friend Eric came to Cincy for a reunion from Seven Hills and we went to Mita’s for dinner. New restaurant downtown. Good eats. Eric thanks for treating me to such a great meal. Loved being with you as always!!!

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Wagner in mask

I babysat my friend Mindy’s kids and Wagner put on a scary mask while we played a game of RumiQ.

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Mobile of Venetian Glass

I took some Venetian glass I bought in Venice and turned it into a mobile that hangs in my bathroom so I can see it everyday!

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Mare’s 75th B-day

My wonderful friend Mare and her son many, many years ago made a pact that they would celebrate her 75th and his 50th together! So, they had a wonderful bash down at the Sign Museum. It was such a wonderful party. Nice, nice family. Fun evening.

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AND….I saw one of my best friends from college that I haven’t seen in YEARS…..good ole Mark E.

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Door frames

From aqua to black….

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Netherland Salad

My friend Jennie came to town with her daughter. Her daughter went to an event at the Aronoff and Jennie and I went and walked the new park down by the Ohio River and then she had a her first Netherland salad, which she has heard my mom and I talk about forever! The bummer…they didn’t toss it…I should have asked…

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EmJ

My sweet, sweet, dear, dear friend Trouble lost her hubby. It was heart wrenching for her. Her family rallied around her including a daughter from Michigan, who brought her daughter EmJ to Cincy with her. So, in order for Trouble and her daughters to have time together, I took EmJ on a Cincy adventure, which included a ride on the new carousel, a walk through Smale Park and the Heekin kids park, and for a scoop of Graeter’s ice cream.

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Dulce joined us and she had fun too….

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Kirby School

They took this school in Northside and converted it into an apartment building. Not well done, but definitely well intentioned. I love that they left remnants of the classrooms in the apartments.

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Steely Dan w. Mindy

Always wanted to see them in concert. Heard they were fabulous from my old Boston boss and he was right. Mindy thanks for going with me.

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Painted fish

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I made one for myself…not as cute…but you get the idea…

DUTCH’s hamburger

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Daikon radish

A Greek fella at my local small market told me to spiralize a daikon radish, drizzle olive oil on it, sprinkle salt, squeeze lime on it, and eat it for a snack.

Good crunchy, low cal snack.

 

Chicken with goat cheese, dried cherries and figs

I baked a chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, dried cherries and figs. Drizzled olive oil and sprinkled salt and pepper on it and baked it at 350 for roughly 20 minutes. I put toothpicks in to hold it together.  It doesn’t look pretty…BUT….Easy and yummy.

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Opera @ Zoo

Trouble and Vivian and I have talked about doing this forever and we finally did it! The Opera at the Cincinnati Zoo with all the animals!  AND despite the ghastly heat…what a great event…

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Painted furniture

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A few pieces painted by me…a few by my mother….

 

SALAD OF BERRIES & NUTS

Lettuce

Raspberries

Blueberries

Sunflower seeds

Capers

Dried figs

Water chestnuts

Chicken

Toss together and add dressing. This is a pic before I added the lettuce…always put dressing at bottom and add ingredients on top and toss…

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UC Mural Tour & Taft Ale House

The University of Cincinnati did a tour of the downtown murals for their alumni. It was such a cool event. A few showcase some local artists. The tour ended at an old church converted to an ale house called the Taft Ale House. UC did such a nice job!

Here is Cincinnati artist…Charley Harper’s work on the wall below.

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Here is the famed John A. Ruthven’s work below….his famed bird front and center.

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ERIN & ROD

One of my friends from NY, who works at CNN came to Cincy to cover Hillary on the campaign trail. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 years and he had not seen OTR since it had turned a corner and became this totally cool, hip neighborhood. Fun to show him the city.

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Sue Greenberg cookies

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Salmon with tomatoes, bananas, lime, olive oil, etc.

1 piece of salmon

½ sliced tomato

1 banana

Juice of ¼ lime

2 T. olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cook salmon in olive oil, salt and pepper @ 350 until it gives way when pushed upon…

Take remaining ingredients combine in bowl and pour over fish. Eat and enjoy!

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Asian food week

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Burger Week

$5 burgers

Nation burger

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MOTR Burger

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A burger to rival DUTCH’s…I had a burger called THE TRIPLE BYPASS. Bacon Crusted Prime Beef, Hickory Bacon, Havarti, Lettuce, Bacon Aioli.  I didn’t do the bun and instead had my burger wrapped in lettuce. However,  what was absolutely KILLER there was the Vanilla Gelato milkshake.

 

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Great spot down in OTR….

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Figs with mozzarella, lavender honey

Slice figs

Drizzle honey

Small piece of mozzarella on each fig.

I found REAL figs…not dried figs…which is unusual in these here parts…beautiful isn’t it…like a piece of art..

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Poached salmon w. capers

1 piece of salmon

2 T. olive oil

1 T. capers

Salt and pepper

Cook salmon in olive oil salt and pepper @ 350 until it gives way when pushed upon

Pour capers on top

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Zucchini chips in coconut oil & beau monde

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They are yummy sliced either way….

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Peach & tomato w. pesto and mozzarella

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Salad w. watermelon, figs, water chestnuts, almonds, Peyton’s dijon vinaigrette dressing.

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Sushi- char, rice, avocado

My friend Annie down on Sanibel had taught me how to make sushi YEARS ago. I went and bought the mats YEARS ago to roll the sushi. I was thinking it would be a fun thing for the ex and I to do one night. He and I  never made the sushi and there the sushi rolling mats sat in their wrappers. It was time to pull them out. I found an old recipe that I think was a Barefoot Contessa recipe that I adapted for myself combined with hints from my friend Annie.

 

CHAR AND AVOCADO SUSHI

Rice

2 T. rice vinegar

1 avocado

2-3 oz. cooked char

2 T. Mirin

Seaweed sheets

I don;t have a rice cooker, but I have a steamer… so I improvised. I put a paper towel on the bottom of my steamer making sure to not cover the entire bottom of it. Only half of it. I placed some rice on the towel and then drizzled 2 T. of rice vinegar and cooked the rice for 45 minutes stirring it a bit 20 minutes into the process. I wanted it to be a little crunchy and soggy so I could clump it together easily.

I placed the sushi mat down. The seaweed sheet glossy side down. I drizzled some Mirin on the seaweed and spread it all over it. Then put the rice near the bottom edge but an inch from the bottom. (Picture below it is centered. That won’t work. Scoot it closer to the bottom.) Then covered it with slices of avocado and then bits of the char fish. Rolled it. Sliced it. Ate it.

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Late morning snack

A bowl of cornichons and olives

A bowl of sunflower seeds

Almonds

Apricots

Filling and healthy. Salty and sweet.

 

My friend Melinda was married to a Columbian. They had a daughter named Maya who went to Walnut Hills and now is a freshman at Temple. I was lucky enough to be a part of her graduation celebration and her going to college party. Her dad and then subsequently her mom made a traditional Columbian treat called an Arepa. They make theirs with cheese. You can buy them at Findlay Market. They are SO yummy!!!!

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They also had a gluten free cake from CAKE RACK down at Findlay and let me tell you…it is flipping good.

CAKE RACK       http://www.findlaymarket.org/merchants/cake-rack-bakery

 

Skyline chili

How does one treat oneself after an annual mammogram exam? The answer is with a 4-way and a cheese coney from Skyline. If you are a Cincinnatian….this is heaven on a plate. This is mother’s milk…Only thing better is a bowl of Graeter’s ice cream…

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Labor Day Fireworks

Most cities do a big firework display on the 4th.  Here in Cincy it is on Labor Day weekend. MY friend Mare invited me to her holiday celebration. Her condo has the BEST view of the river EVER!!!! I have seen lots of views and you get one direction or another but at Mare’s place…it is panoramic.

Fun, fun group of people. Her kids. Their kids. Their friends. Great, great time.

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Raspberries

I learned 2 things about raspberries.

  1. Put them on fever blisters and it helps take the sting out and helps them heal faster.
  2. Spread them on a cookie sheet and do NOT let them touch each other and they will last longer in your refrigerator.

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Grilled Lettuce w. Balsamic

1 Head of Romaine lettuce

1-2 T. olive oil

2 T. balsamic vinegar

Crumbled bleu cheese

Cut the romaine in half.

Smear olive oil on the inside of both halves. Place face down on grill until charred.

Plate it. Drizzle balsamic over it. Cheese on top.

I had this in a restaurant in Baltimore MANY years ago and loved it. I had a friend who made it for me a few months ago and I replicated it. I forgot how much I loved grilled romaine.

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Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

 

The New Spiralizing & Zip Lining Queen

Last year, my 87-year old friend, Vivian decided she wanted to go ziplining. I told her I would go with her. We didn’t get to go because of a health issue of hers, but we went last weekend.

We went to a place called Dagaz Acres in Rising Sun, Indiana.

We did 10 lines and 2 bridges. The crew out there was fantastic! One crew member to start you and another to catch you! It was a lot of fun!

I did sadly sprain my ankle. My fault. I caught my ankle as I was running at the beginning and the momentum of the swing grabbed me and my ankle caught. And toward the end of the day, I NAILED a post. Like a cartoon character, I went tush first (thank goodness) into a post.

Needless to say, Vivian was tired at the end. I went home and iced my tush, knee and ankle! It just goes to show age is a number!

I can’t believe that we were swinging from tree to tree. I really didn’t have an interest in going, but so glad I did. It was a lot of fun!

zipline lengths

zipline trail 1

zipline trail 2

DAGAZ ACRES for ZIPLINING

 

On the way home, we stopped at Skyline for some chili. Skyline is now posting the calories of everything you eat. The average calorie count on an item is 770 calories. SO depressing but understandable for such a tasty treat!

I was going to get the Atkins-like bowl of chili and hotdogs and no bread or noodles but that was 700+ calories so I ordered a 4-way with spaghetti, which I have not eaten seen my college days, because I am a Coney girl!

They accidentally gave us regulars. We both ate half. Dulce (the dog) got the other half! I forgot how bloody, damn, delicious those 4-ways are! OMG!

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And Dulce agreed!!!! She can’t eat her half fast enough….

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She liked it so much so that the next day when I gave her dog food she looked at me to say WTF? Where’s the Skyline?

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Other than my Skyline detour, I have been good. I ate two slices of cheese last week and because of TWO slices of cheese it threw the scale off…losing weight was so much easier when I was younger!

So…back on the weight wagon…

I spiralized an apple and the skins came off and the skins, so I was told, are so good for you that I tossed the skins in a frying pan with a little butter and a little cinnamon and browned them up and tossed them on a salad for a little flavor and a little crunch and a little apple skin healthiness! I added a little chopped onion and a dijon vinaigrette. Low points, healthy and good!

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I bought a daikon radish. I held up the daikon and looked at the veggie man and said is this the daikon? He came over and said this is how you eat it. With fresh lime and olive oil. He was right. So, shock of all shocks, I spiralized it and tossed it with lime, olive oil and it needed a pinch of salt.

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I then decided I wanted spaghetti and meat sauce.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES with MEAT SAUCE

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1 zucchini, spiralized

¼ of a small to medium onion

1-2 garlic cloves

1-2 T. olive oil

½ t. butter

½ lb. ground beef

1 T. rosemary

1 T. thyme

1 T. basil

1 T. oregano

I spiralized a zucchini. I put it in a sauté pan with a little olive oil.

In a separate skillet, I sautéed onions, garlic in olive oil until translucent, added the meat then added the canned tomatoes, and rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano.

When the zucchini was to my liking, I placed it in a bowl added the meat mixture and was happy! Above is a pic before I married the two!

I really do not miss pasta, but I have not had pasta in a really long time except for an exception here and there. Pasta makes me fat! Maybe none of the rest of you, but I look at pasta and I gain a pound. I eat pasta and I gain 2!

 

For a yummy low point, low-calorie dessert, I spiralized an apple. Then I tossed it in a bowl with cinnamon, honey and I made fresh whipped cream or you can use it store bought. It was really good.

Spiralizing it made it seem like there was SO much more to eat and when you are on a diet. That’s nice!

APPLE WITH CINNAMON, HONEY & FRESH WHIPPED CREAM

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Last night, I made this for my lunch today…..

 

BEEF STROGANOFF ON A BED OF DAIKON RADISHES

Ingredients

1/2     lb. beef sirloin steak (OR I USED GROUND BEEF)

1 C. fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼     medium onions, thinly sliced

1     garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4   cup butter

1     c. beef broth

1/2   teaspoon salt

1     teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8   c. arrowroot

1/4   c. sour cream

1     daikon radish, spiralized

Directions

  • Cook mushrooms, onions and garlic in butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender, add beef and cook until brown. Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Stir in arrowroot into remaining 1/2 cup broth; stir into beef mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in sour cream; heat until hot (do not boil). Serve over daikon noodles.

I must confess that I lessened the amount of arrowroot for ya’ll, because when I made it, it had too much and it looked like snot was in my dish. I knew it wasn’t because I was home alone and Dulce wouldn’t do that and couldn’t reach that high to the stove, but the consistency was not pretty because I had done too much arrowroot to thicken it because I didn’t use flour. Here is a pic of the dish before the daikon radishes and the sour cream…

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I made Pad Thai again, but this time with pork, green onions, walnuts, bean sprouts and so it looked more like a traditional pad thai than my older version. I love Pad Thai. When I lived in D.C. there was a Pad Thai or rather a Thai place a few blocks from my house on Connecticut Ave and they had the best pad thai and I CRAVED it!!! I went ALL the time!!!

This is not as good, but a MUCH healthier version. Still good, but nothing was as good as that Pad Thai on Connecticut Avenue, but there is a really great pad thai in a HOLE IN THE WALL on McMillian in Clifton called THAI EXPRESS!!! When I want the real deal…that is where I go!

And this is my new healthier version….

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp or what ever protein you prefer
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • ¼ sliced onions, green would be better if you have them
  • 1 large egg
  • about 2 cups (480ml) bean sprouts
  • squeezed some fresh lemon in it
  • handful of walnuts, crumbled
  • ½ c. mushrooms
  • ½ c. spinach
  • ½ cucumber

SAUCE

  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fish sauce or to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 small red chili, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. peanut butter

DO IT:

  1. Cut the zucchini into noodles
  2. Heat a large pan on medium high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil (reserve the other half for later). Then add zucchini noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the zucchini noodles are tender. Don’t overcook the noodles. The zucchini noodles should be slightly crunchy with a tender bite. This is when I added the spinach and mushrooms.
  3. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients (vinegar, fish sauce, ketchup, coconut sugar, sriracha, soy sauce, peanut butter), and then set aside.
  4. Let the noodles rest for about 3 minutes to allow as much moisture as possible to release. Remove the noodles from the pan and drain the excess water.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic until soft and translucent, about 30 seconds. Add the protein and cook until tender and cooked through.
  6. Add noodles back in. Add the egg and stir in with the vegetable until the egg is cooked.
  7. Add the sauce. Cook for about 1 more minutes or until the zucchini noodles are heated through. Then stir in the bean sprouts.

Here are SOME of the ingredients that I combined….

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To create this….

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I had two foodies over for lunch the other day for a long overdue meal…Sarah was going to teach me how to make homemade Mayonnaise, which she did…AMAZING…I had no idea it is basically…oil, egg, lemon juice and salt…

Then I had made a pork tenderloin that I forgot to photograph for ya’ll with a rub that I thought was WAY too salty to share…but I did chop up the leftovers and add it to the Pad Thai above…

And a root vegetable curry, which I have given the recipe to you in the past! For dessert, I browned up a pear in butter and cinnamon and put a dollop of fresh cream on top.

It was such a lovely lunch with two such neat gals!

 

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….