Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Bocca" Summer Salad

Last week Jay and I had our first date night in a long time.  My mom is here visiting and watched the kids so we could sneak out.  I left the dinner plans to Jay.  He took me to a restaurant in Cooperstown, NY called Bocca Osteria.

 The cuisine is Italian, and very delicious.  We ordered the "Bocca" salad as an appetizer and it was just delightful.  It had candied pecans, oranges, bleu cheese crumbles (which I'm normally not a fan of, but were wonderful in the salad), mixed greens, served with a balsamic vinaigrette.  We added chicken to ours too. 

After consuming most of it, I told Jay, I would come back just for that salad.  Now I love salad, but normally I would not go back just for a salad.  This was exceptional!

So here is my version of that scrumptious treat.  I added cherry tomatoes to mine, just because they were hanging around in the fridge.  I also didn't have time to candy the pecans, so I just dry roasted them in the pan.  My version wasn't as delicious as the orginal, but it will do until I can get back.


4 c. mixed greens, washed
2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes
2 oranges, supremed or 1/2 c. mandarin oranges
1/2 c. toasted pecans, chopped
2 oz. crumbled bleu cheese
1/8 sliced red onion

balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar or creut and shake vigoriously.  Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour 1/4 to 1/3 of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss with tongs.  Serve immediately.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Ready For Adam's Birthday

My oldest is turning 7 years old in a couple of days.  I can't believe how fast the time has gone.

So each year I ask him what he wants for his birthday theme.  This year he asked for a Harry Potter birthday.  He was very specific about what cake he wanted too.  For the party at my parent's house, he wants a spell book cake, and for my in-laws he wants golden snitch cupcakes.  OK, I can do this :)

So today, I decided to make the wings for the golden snitch cupcakes.  I want to give them plenty of time to dry before I transport them 300 miles.  So I whipped up a batch of royal icing, traced a sheet full of wings, and began piping.  I finished them off with clear decorating sugar, to give them a bit of sparkle. 

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

School Wrap Up!

Brandon is graduating from preschool tomorrow....sigh!  My baby is heading to kindergarten in the fall....what am I going to do??

Well, I'm getting ahead of myself.  We still have the whole summer to get through, so I will not shed tears quite yet. Well maybe a few tears. 

It has been a busy few days.  My parents came into town on Father's Day.  My mom is still here, but my dad has headed home.  However, I did make a special dessert for him and Jay on Sunday.  Now this dessert is not hard, and it's not my idea either.  It totally belongs to Sara Lee. 

My mom started making this when we were young, and she has made it so many different ways.  Basically all you need is a Sara Lee pound cake, fresh fruit, and Cool Whip.  Yes, nothing says "I love you" more than partially hydrogenated vegetable oil ;)  You can use real whipped cream, but I suggest serving immediately, so it doesn't go flat and soupy. 

The picture shows it all.  Simply cut the defrosted pound cake into thirds length wise.  Slather each layer with whipped topping, and sliced fruit.  I used strawberries, but my mom has used mixed berries, peaches, bananas, etc.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I have also been busy making dessert trays for our staff appreciation luncheon at Adam's school.  Here's a little look of the mini cupcakes!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Love My Kindle Fire

Love the turquoise Gum Drop Case &
 the Vera Bradley sleeve
I have a new toy...yes I do.  About a month or so ago, I purchased a Kindle Fire.  Oh, how I love thee. 

At first I was very hesitant about reading a book on an electronic device.  I love to hold a book, turn the pages, even the musty smell of old books.  I never expected to like reading a book on a computer screen.  Initially, I thought it would be nice to have an e-reader for traveling, but I also wanted to be able to check my email and have web access while traveling.  This is what solidified my decision. 

I received the Kindle right before our Mother's Day trip to New York City (which by the way was an absolutely wonderful trip).  I downloaded a few apps for the kids while riding on the train, a book for myself, and I purchased a case to protect it from any accidental drops.  We were on our way, and this is what began my love affair with my Kindle.

The kids were able to play their games on the train or while waiting for a table at a restaurant.  I was able to read my book at night in the hotel room while the kids were sleeping.  Did I mention, the screen illuminates, so you don't need a light on to read?  I also downloaded a few books for the kids to read.  I was able to check my email while away too.

By the end of the trip, I think I was addicted to my Kindle.  I now use it at night in bed to play Words With Friends, read, or do online shopping :) 

The other great thing I discovered since purchasing my Kindle Fire, was Amazon Prime.  It came free for one month, which gives perks of free apps and books.  However, it also gives you free two day shipping on most items from Amazon, without having a minimum purchase.  I used that feature twice the first month I had it.

While I still love to read a hard copy book, I have also found an appreciation for an e-reader. Yes, I have evolved and am trying to keep up with the times.

Happy Saturday!

p.s.  What was the first book I downloaded to read???? Fifty Shades of Grey, and yes I have read all three ;)  It takes a brave girl to admit that!

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Back!!!

I have been on a bit of a break, but now it's time to come back.  I am creating new ideas and recipes to share.  I'm in a happier place for many reasons.

School is almost done for the summer for my boys.  Our wonderful neighborhood school lost the fight to keep it open amongst budget cuts.  Our community is moving forward, and the students have been reassigned to the other three elementary schools.  We are very happy with the placement of our boys.  My youngest will be starting kindergarten in the fall, and my oldest will be a second grader.  Happy times :)

My health is looking up.  YAY!!!!  I have been going through some very personal health concerns, but received some wonderful news just yesterday.  While I am not totally "out of the woods" forever, right now I am fine, and I'll take it.  Thank you to my wonderful family and supportive friends, who offered me hugs, laughter, cards, and endless pep talks on late night conversations (you know who you are!)

Summer is right around the corner and I am so excited.  I have a trip home planned soon, and I will be able to meet my niece :)  We have a great family vacation planned too.

I will share with you some of things I have been up to while on blogging hiatus.  I look forward to a great summer together!!!