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Wednesday, June 30, 2021


I love pasta recipes, but I try not to eat them a lot, since they seem to love my butt and thighs (if you know what I mean).  But alas, it had been awhile, so I went with a Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta. 

I'll be absolutely honest, I didn't grill the chicken.  I just didn't feel like firing up the grill for this....but I'll plan better next time and grill a bunch of chicken and freeze some for later.  It was super yummy with just lightly browned chicken on the stovetop, so I can only imagine how much tastier it would be with grilled chicken!

Get the noodles cooking while you're putting together the rest of the dish, and you'll be ready to eat in about 30 minutes!


2 (6 oz.) chicken breasts, skinned
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
8 oz. uncooked linguine (I used fettucine since that's what I had in the pantry)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
4 cups fresh spinach leaves


Prepare grill (if you're going to grill).  Season chicken with ¼ tsp. salt and pepper.  Grill chicken.  Let stand 10 minutes, slice thinly.  If you're browning the chicken, season the same way.  Using a large oiled skillet, brown over medium heat.  Slice thinly.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain well; keep warm.   

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.   Cook garlic until lightly browned.  Stir in flour.  Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened.  Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.  Add remaining ½ tsp. salt and pepper, along with the spinach.  Stir until spinach wilts.  Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine.


recipe c/o:

Wednesday, June 23, 2021


This particular wedding dress is as unique as the couples' love story.  The story spans 15 years. and culminates in a wedding in France, which is where they met as younger versions of themselves.  Spring forward a decade and a half and they found each other after life/partners had come and gone from their lives.  They got married in a quiet ceremony in the Mayor's office, followed by an intimate al fresco dinner with family.  With that setting, you can imagine that my bride was looking for a non-traditional dress for the big day.  In fact, she had a tea length dress in mind.

She brought me a couple of inspirational pictures and I went from there.  Part nostalgia, part contemporary fashion....she was delighted with the end result!  A deep sheer embroidered lace "V" in the front and open back, combined with a circle skirt and flouncy short sleeves makes this the perfect wedding dress for their one of a kind wedding.                                               

                                                                                                                                                    Extra touches like a custom sash with appliques from the embroidered lace, along with tulle inserts along the front and back bodice, takes the design up a notch. 

And of course, with some Covid restrictions still in place in the EU in early June, I made a matching mask for her to use before and after the ceremony.                                                                                 Congratulations to Rachel and Youri....Best Wishes to the both of you as you continue to write more chapters to your sweet love story!       

Friday, June 18, 2021


 One of my all time favorite meals from our Mother/Daughter trip to Ireland was a bowl of seafood chowder and Irish brown bread, or Irish wheaten bread.  It was such a simple meal, but it was so tasty! Below is a picture of that wonderful meal.  

We had many wonderful Irish breads during our travels, this one being one of my favorites.  So, it's become my mission to try to replicate this bread.  It's been a series of trials and errors with recipes, shapes, and loaf pans.  The last recipe has a very good flavor, but I'm still not quite happy with the "loft".  

There are several challenges.  First, our ingredients are different than those in Ireland.  Second, our loaf pans are not the same dimensions (you can see the shape in the picture above.  Their pans are longer and narrower), Thirdly, I'm baking this at high altitude versus sea level. 

Let me take you through all three rounds I've gone through so far.  Hopefully, my efforts will streamline things for you.  I'll also share the recipe that I believe I'll be sticking with while I continue to work on the size/shape of my loafs.

If you do some browsing, you will find a lot of recipes out there.  This one, as I mentioned is a brown soda bread or wheaten bread.  The classic soda bread has just a few ingredients, and does not include yeast.  The leavening comes from buttermilk and baking soda.  The best thing, it doesn't invole any kneading either. 

My first attempt was classic in the ingredients, and also in the round shape.  I even put the cross on the top (look that up, it's a fun story).  You know the Winter Olympics event that takes place on the ice, called Curling?, it uses a broom and has this disc (also known as the rock or stone) that slides down the ice? Well, that's what this baby reminded me of.  It had a decent flavor, but was very dry and the outer crust was rough and fell apart when I cut into it.

For my second attempt, I chose a different recipe.  I found this cute male chef from Ireland on You Tube and used his recipe.  He also used loaf pans.  (the recipe yields two loaves) 
It has a few other ingredients which gives the bread an even better flavor, like a bit of brown sugar and golden syrup (or what we know as honey....isn't that adorable?).                                                               As you can see from the pictures, the slices aren't very tall.                 
My third attempt was to use the same recipe, but I purchased a smaller loaf pan.  I did get the same hearty flavor and a little better lift.   So, I feel like I'm on the right track.  I'm going to continue to work with the size of the loaf pans and I may try to increase the volume of the recipe by another 1/2, which should help fill the pans a bit better (there definitely is room for more batter).  In the meantime, I'm going to continue to enjoy what I've made.  I chose to slice the loaves and then freeze them so I can just grab a slice (or two) and re-heat them in the microwave as I please.   Don't forget to add some butter, and a little bit of golden syrup on top.                                                                                                         

Below is the recipe from Chef Adrian that I recommend.  I did not make any high altitude adjustments, since I believe the height of the loaf comes down to the pans.  The bread is otherwise hearty and moist as is. 


2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 ½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. quick oats 


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray or grease two loaf pans (8½ x 4 ½).  Sift the flours, soda and salt into a bowl.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, brown sugar, melted butter and honey.

Using a spatula (or clean hands), mix gently and quickly until you have achieved a nice dropping consistency.  The mixture should bind together without being sloppy.  Don't overwork. 

Divide the mixture equally between the loaf tins and sprinkle with the oats.  Most homes don't have an oven that can half steam and half bake.  So bake these on the top shelf for 45-50 minutes with a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create some steam.  (This added technique of steaming, I feel made a huge difference from the first recipe.  My loaves were done in 40 minutes)

Check halfway through that the loaves aren't browning too much.  If they are, reduce the temperature or move the loaves down a shelf.  When cooked, tip out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.  

I am willing to admit, I may never hit the mark on this bread, since the reason this meal tasted so fabulous could be based upon the magical nature of this vacation. 

After all, I was in Ireland with my daughter.  I was walking in the footsteps of my Mom's ancestors. We had just left the Cliffs of Moher where we were almost blown into the Atlantic and a cold rain had started.  We were damp and windblown and tired when we arrived at the lodge.  We went down to their dining room (it was mid-day and we hadn't had any lunch) and this meal absolutely hit the spot! 

In order to replicate this bread to a may come down to another trip to Ireland!  There is a whole section of Ireland that we didn't get to on our first adventure.  Maybe a little Scotland and Northern Ireland this time around.

Monday, June 14, 2021


 I've always been a fajita fan....both the traditional beef or chicken variety.  But, when I ran across a shrimp fajita recipe, I knew I had to give it a try.

Not only does this have a great flavor, but it really is super simple to pull it together. 


2 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder 
2 Tbsp. cilantro
2 cups sliced pepper (yellow, green, red, or combination)
1 onion thinly sliced
1 lb. large shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails off)
1 Tbsp. oil
lime wedges
flour tortilla
assorted fajita toppings of your choice


Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat.  Add the onions and peppers, and cook stirring occasionally until they're tender and charred on the edges.  Add salt and pepper.

Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl.  Add the shrimp to the skillet and sprinkle the seasoning mixture over while cooking.   Stir well, to coat the peppers and onions with the seasoning.  Cook covered for 4-5 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and opague.  Sprinkle the cilantro and a bit of lime over the top before serving.  

Serve with tortillas and lime wedges.  Don't forget fajita toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, and avocado.


recipe c/o: