August Inspirations

Love the seasonal food that is available in abundance right now.

I also like the idea of having a snack tray in the fridge with healthy snacks. I found a new string cheese that is Wisconsin Cheddar with Parmesan notes. OMG, it tastes like Gruyere cheese to me. I just love it. I don’t like Peanut Butter, but have Almond Butter. And I like Greek yogurt that is plain without sugar. I have several recipes for humus and it is so easy to make. I like the beet humus and the pine nut humus.

I saw the above Farmers Market display idea. What a neat idea. 🙂

I love French recipes and the above Coq au Vin caught my eye. It has chicken thighs and drumsticks, smoked bacon, baby carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, burgundy wine, broth and fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, tarragon and chervil. The French just have a flair for flavor. I pinned the recipe on my French Recipes board on my Pinterest.

I like the idea of the above wine and cheese spread. It just looks like fun.

I like Farmers Markets where they have colorful veggies and sunflowers.

And that’s my blog for today. Over and out.

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Casseroles

Shepherds Pie is so delicious and an easy supper. I have the recipe for the above Shepherds Pie on my Pinterest Casseroles board. My Mom used to just brown some hamburg and put it in a Casserole dish and then put a can of creamed corn over it. On top of that she would put the mashed potato and dot it with butter that melted. It was really good.

My Mom used to also make Scallop Potatoes the old fashioned way like the above recipe. It was really good.

Taco Casserole sounds really good. I pinned the recipe on my Pinterest Casseroles board.

A Pizza Casserole sounds easy to make and really kind of good. That recipe had a 5 star rating and I pinned the recipe on my Pinterest Casserole Board.

I have a set of the Le Creuset mini coquettes like above. Creme Brulee is really good and blood oranges added to it sounds healthy and tasty.

You can also use those little pots for individual servings of almost any casserole. I got the 15 oz ones and they are quite small. I don’t know how small the 8 oz coquettes must be.

I also found a recipe for the French Cherry dessert above that they call Clafoutis. Perfect for those little Le Creuset pots.

The Pioneer Woman has some cute casserole dishes at the Walmart. I love the colors, the ruffled edges and the flower print.

There are all kinds of recipes for chicken, broccoli and rice casserole. Everyone has their favorite.

Chicken cordon bleu lasagna sounds kind of good.

Everyone has a favorite Mac N Cheese and I guess the Keto recipe uses cauliflower instead of pasta noodles.

And that’s a few ideas that I have come across.

This and that

Pretty dishes are so fun to collect. It’s old fashioned to have a China Cabinet, but I always wanted one to show off dish patterns. One of my Grandma’s was total British and the above type patterns were always my favorites.

I love open shelves, also. The Jadeite pattern is vintage and beautiful.

One of my Grandmothers was total Irish and whenever I see a dish pattern like above, I think of her. She was always cooking and baking.

Then I have a Grandpapa that was total French. I am attracted to French style dishes like the Pistoulet pattern.

I like tablescape ideas and the above tablescape is one of my favorites.

Tea ideas are always a favorite of mine. I have a board on Pinterest full of tea ideas with recipes.

Jadeite tablescapes are so old fashioned and I love that dish pattern.

Mason jars are neat to put flowers in for the table.

I also love Bistro type tables to dine outside in the summer.

Twinkling string lights in the kitchen over the kitchen sink is such a fun idea.

I collect Le Creuset and my color is Carabean blue. But I have a few Solei or the yellow sun color also.

I love cottage ideas with winding garden paths and picket fences.

Cute little bird houses here and there is so whimsicle.

Then a Koi Pond with Waterlillies. So artistic and colorful.

I like open beams and cathedral ceilings. Can you even imagine having a kitchen like the Barefoot Contessa has?

I love the above idea for a table setting on the porch. I love the blue accented with yellow. Then the candles. I saved that idea to my tablescape board on my Pinterest.

I love Snapdragons. They are so old fashioned and pretty.

I found the above bouquet of Snapdragons at my favorite farm-stand a few days ago. They were only $5.00 which is so worth it because they make me smile.

And that is my thoughts for this first Monday in August.

Salad Ideas

There are so many ideas for salads. The above salad was in Vermont Life Magazine. It has charred onions, seasoned Ricotta and poached eggs over micro greens.

A Cobb Salad is always good. I pinned the recipe for this salad and all the salads on my Salad recipe board on my Pinterest.

A Broccoli Salad is very healthy as are most all salads.

A Tropical Fruit Salad is so refreshing. I love how they use the Pineapple as a dish for the salad. And then the Coconut Dip. Yum!

One of my favorite salads is the Cheeseburger Salad with Mac Dressing.

Salads are just fun to put together with whatever you have on hand.

My favorite dressing for salads is the above Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing. I just make it in a small mason jar and shake it up.

Another favorite salad is the Greek Salad with feta cheese.

A Grilled Salmon Salad is a neat idea.

I love a Potato Salad. It’s always a classic and goes with everything.

A layered salad in a see-through bowl is always nice.

A Chicken Salad is always nice.

The above Antipasto Salad Kabobs are a neat idea.

The above is a Jamie Oliver idea for a portable salad. I pinned the recipe on my Pinterest salad board.

Green Goddess Salad sounds really good.

I like a Taco Salad.

There are so many ideas for salads. So I just thought of a few that are good for this time of year when you really don’t feel like heating the stove up too much.

Summertime…..

The covered bridge that is right in the middle of Woodstock is so picturesque. It’s so fun to go for walks or bike rides through that area.

This is the view inside the bridge looking at the Ottauquechee River that runs underneath the bridge. In the Spring time that river is high and swift rapids are what you see. My friend, who is a Swede grew up in Woodstock. When he was a kid, him and a bunch of his friends built rafts and sailed down that river in the Spring. Only one raft made it to their destination and that was his and his best friend who now lives in Virginia. They all got in trouble with their parents at such mischief.

My friend Sigurd, had a Morgan horse that he used to ride in the countryside when he was a kid. He also used to go skiing at Suicide 6 which is just outside of town.

I love to go for walks through Woodstock. There are outside tables where you can stop and people watch and have a coffee or a glass of wine.

I love to go to Walpole, NH and pick up French pastries from Burdick’s Chocolate. They have a Cafe that is just like a French Bistro. I bring the pastries home and use my favorite French mug and matching plate.

This is a view of Lake Champlain looking over toward the New York side mountains. So beautiful and the people that own this piece of land, built a beautiful Cedar log lake-house to enjoy this view. They stay there in the summer and then have a place in Key Largo Florida in the the winter. It must be nice.

The natural beauty of summer is all around.

Nothing like walking barefoot in the grass. It’s healthy for you besides.

Butterflies are so majestic and beautiful. They are all over the place in the summer.

Chickens just like to be free range. No matter what, they will find their way to where they want to wander.

At least once in the summer, I have to have my favorite New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream. Part of what makes summer.

I love the casseroles that you can make in the summer with the abundant zucchini and summer squash this time of year. If you leave your car unlocked in the summer while shopping, you are apt to have some of the over abundant harvest from people’s gardens perched on the seat of your car. It’s been known to happen. 🙂

Zucchini Bread is fun to make this time of year.

I liked Julia Child. She always cooked with abandon and just had fun with it.

I like to shop and also like a good deal. I like the above work out outfit and it costs a fraction of the same style elsewhere. It’s from Walmart.

Black-eyed Susans are everywhere this time of year growing wild. So pretty.

Summer has it’s pros and cons, but always a fun time of year. ❤

Instant Pot Ideas

Cheesecake is one of my favorite treats. Especially the New York style Cheesecake. I found several recipes that I am going to try and pinned them on my Pinterest board. I plan on trying out recipes that I find and the very best ones that I think come out the best, I plan on saving on my blog Instant Pot recipes. I found the special insert that is used for making cheesecakes in the Instant Pot on Amazon.

The best cheesecake recipe I found for the Instant Pot was the New York Cheesecake and you use graham cracker crumbs, butter melted, a little sugar and cinnamon for the crust and put in the freezer first. There is a little lemon zest and almond extract in the filling along with cream cheese at room temperature, heavy cream, cornstarch and vanilla with 3 large eggs.

Rotisserie Style Chicken is a recipe for the Instant Pot that sounds really good. I saw several recipes that I will try, but there is one in particular that sounds really good. I pinned all the recipes on my Pinterest Instant Pot board. They use a 4 lb chicken in all the recipes that I saw.

The Instant Pot has a saute button where you brown the chicken until golden brown and they have a rub recipe that is pepper, thyme, paprika, oregano, onion powder and garlic powder and they stuff the cavity with lemon. You use the metal trivet and add chicken stock and adjust the pressure to high for 28 minutes.

New York Times has a recipe using the Rotisserie Chicken in a salad with greens and herbs. They had baby arugala, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and a sliced avocado. They use a dressing using the juice of one lime, a pressed garlic clove and a few glugs of olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper.

Rotisserie chicken can be used in all kinds of recipes.

Another recipe that I found that sounded really good and I am going to try is Instant Pot Minestrone Soup. You use the saute button and add olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots and celery and stir until tender. Then stir in basil, oregano and fennel seed until fragrant, about 1 minute. You then stir in chicken stock, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, zucchini, Parmesan rind and bay leaf and set timer for 5 minutes. You do a quick release and then stir in kale until wilted about 2 minutes. Then you stir in red wine vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

There are all kinds of recipes to make chicken stock in the Instant Pot. They say that once you make your own chicken stock that you will never go back. The above recipe has chicken wings, one large carrot peeled and halved, one large onion quartered, one head of garlic halved crosswise, 5 sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns and a teaspoon of kosher salt. You just place the chicken wings with all the ingredients into a 6 quart Instant Pot and stir in water to the max fill line, about 10 cups. You select the manual setting, adjust pressure to high and set the timer for 45 minutes. You do a natural release with the pressure cooker which takes about 20-30 minutes. Then you just strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. You skim any remaining fat from surface and discard and let cool completely. Then divide into airtight containers. You can place in refrigerator up to 3 days or freezer up to 3 months.

Normally chicken stock has to simmer on the stove for all day I think.

I found a recipe that I am going to try for Spaghetti and Meatballs in the Instant Pot. This recipe sounds good because it starts out with making your own meatballs using ground beef, Italian sausage, Panko crumbs, milk, one beaten egg, Italian seasoning, 2 cloves of garlic minced and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. You just brown the meatballs using olive oil in batches using the saute button on the Instant Pot. Then return all meatballs to the instant pot. You stir in beef stock, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add 12 ounces of spaghetti, broken in half, stir in a 24 ounce jar of tomato basil pasta sauce until evenly coated. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high and set time for 8 minutes. When finished cooking do a quick release pressure. Gently stir mixture until spaghetti is completely separated, about 1 minute. Then let stand 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with basil and Parmesan if desired. Sounds good to me. I have the complete recipe on my Pinterest Instant Pot recipes board.

The Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto is the easiest risotto you will ever make without any stirring or fuss. You just set a 6-qt Instant Pot to the high saute setting. On my Instant Pot I just hit the saute button twice to get it to high saute. You melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 3 cloves of garlic minced and one onion diced and cook, stirring often until onions have become translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes. Then you add 8 ounces of mushrooms thinly sliced and cook stirring occasionally until tender and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then you stir in 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup Arborio rice, and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme. Then select manual setting; adjust pressure to high and set time for 6 minutes. When finished cooking quick-release pressure. Then stir in 2 cups baby spinach and 2 tablespoons of butter until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Then stir in 3/4 cup of frozen peas, thawed, and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan until heated through, about 30 seconds to one minute. Serve immediately. Yum!

I found a ton of Instant Pot recipes that sound really fun to try and pinned them on my Pinterest Instant Pot board. I am sharing a few of the ones that I am going to try and perfect and have them in my arsenal of recipes.

The Instant Pot is a nice tool to have in the kitchen.

July Musings

Early morning when the sun rises is such a beautiful time of day. There are bike trails that go along lakes that are just magical.

I was driving along the highway the other day and a huge Dragonfly just swooped right in the back seat window of my car. I stopped when I could and opened all the windows wide so that it could get out but it seemed to like the very back hatchback of my car. I left the windows full open and some time or other it must have found it’s way out.

The local farm-stands are open now and I just love the garden fresh veggies. I don’t have a garden, but these farm-stands are the next best option.

The garden salad you can make with their mixture of Kale, Baby Greens, Spinach and Beet Greens is just everything you need to start with. Then the freshly picked from the garden tomatoes and cucumbers add to the mix. A few chopped mushrooms and red onion makes a salad worthy of a restaurant Salad. Love Farm-stands this time of year. ❤

A nice veggie tray with your favorite home-made dip is always fun to make with all the veggies they offer. I have a few recipes for Dips on my Dip Recipe board on my Pinterest. But the far easiest and just as delicious is when you buy those little packets that you just add sour cream and mayonnaise to them. The Vermont Country Store has all kinds of them and some of the Farmstands carry them.

The Vermont Country Store has all kinds of Dried Herb Dips to choose from and they are available on their website to buy.

I worked at the Vermont Country Store at one time and I used to make up these dips for samples in the store. They are sooooo good.

I saw the above kitchen island on the market place on facebook. It was located near where I live and they were selling it for a moving sale. You had to move it yourself and it was on a second floor and very heavy. The price was unbelievable because they just wanted to not have to move it. I could have gotten it because I saw it early and it’s just everything I love. I just couldn’t figure out a way to get it. So someone else grabbed it fast. I love those chairs and the round rug. Such an idea that is just my style.

Years ago Ree Drummond had a recipe for a low carb breakfast that had zucchini and summer-squash with a poached egg over the top. Then it had slices of cheddar cheese on the side. She said that she recreated it from a breakfast that she had in a fancy hotel in New York City. With all the summer-squash and zucchini that are in the farm-stands now, I made this the other day. I just sauteed the chopped squash and added mushrooms and chopped red onion. Then two extra large, farm fresh eggs poached that I got at the Farmers Market. Also a few slices of Cabot Vermont Cheddar cheese on the side that melted in from the sauteed veggies.

When eggs have a dark yolk, they are the best in my opinion. I just love farm fresh eggs.

I like to use the eggs for a Frittata that I put sauteed mushrooms and onions in and chopped Vermont Cheddar. Then I tried making a Peach Bellini which was totally scrumptious. I just put some orange juice in the bottom of the blender and added frozen peaches and blended it. Then I added some Champagne and pulsed it in. Ice cold and the orange juice brought out the flavor of the peaches. The Champagne just gave it an extra touch of bubbly.

There is a place in Norwich, Vermont that has baking classes. Things like the above are offered. It’s on my bucket list to take a couple of those classes. Gesine Bullock-Prado has the classes at her house that has a built on to her and her husband’s beautiful Colonial house a baking studio. Her sister is Sandra Bullock and Gesine occasionally also gives classes at King Arthur Flour in Norwich. The classes from her house baking school fill up within a few minutes of being posted, but sometimes there are people that cancel and she lets you know when there is an opening.

I like the above Iced Coffee Protein Shake idea. I make it without the protein powder and just add a tub of Greek Yogurt and Pumpkin Seeds to the blend.

The above is my idea of a dream cottage. To have that near a lake and walking and biking trails would be the ultimate.

I saw the above dress on one of my favorite fashion blogs. It is so cute and a must have. That fashion blogger usually has designer, very expensive styles from Nordstrom, J Crew, Gap, Banana Republic and such. But this dress is from the Walmart and only costs $11.50. I love it! It looks comfortable and stylish. There is a Walmart near where I live and I can have it sent there and not even have to pay postage.

I want the above Keurig Coffee machine that makes really good coffee and Lattes. QVC has the above package with all the extras for a really good price.

802 is the area code for phones in Vermont. So I love the above photo with two of my greatest loves, Vermont and coffee.