Daily Rituals

I was reading Design Mom and she had asked some blogger friends to comment on their own daily rituals. This one by Danielle is particularly sweet.

Danielle of Elleinad Spir:
…nighttime cuddles. My husband typically reads to Bonham at bedtime. When they are done I hear the same thing each night, “Mommy, I’m ready for you!” and I walk in to see him waiting for me, with outstretched arms, for his 10 minutes of cuddles. The first few minutes are spent chatting about our day, or about what tomorrow might bring, then the last five are silent. Just holding each other close. I love listening to the sound of his breath slowing, calming, bringing his day to a close.

These moms all have the common theme that their children and families are the focus of rituals for them. Routine is comforting to children and something as simple as reading the same story night after night delights them.

One my own daily favorites has come about with addition of Tribble to our lives. She is a tiny, sweet, feisty, morkie.


I walk her several times a day. Here in Pennsylvania most evenings hold a chill in the air even in the summer. I enjoy her final excursion of the night.  She routinely makes the rounds of various spots; her favorite bush, the mail box post, the flower bed in front of the house. On most nights, as we round the corner of the house a breeze will pick up, carrying earthy scents and beckoning her towards the woods and the certainty that some animal hidden in the darkness needs to be chased.

She scurries to the edge of the trees, but goes no further. Each time turning back to return to the warmth of our house.

April 14, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink

Spinach and Red Pepper Strata

This makes for a delicious Sunday brunch. One morning I had coffee brewing, bacon sizzling and this in the oven when my family came down in the morning, the aroma filled the house and it was heavenly. I particularly like the versatility of this dish, just about any mixture of vegetables and cheese will work. In the past I have used Gruyere and mushrooms; brie and scallions; and this spinach, red peppers and cheddar.

Spinach Strata

Spinach and Red Pepper Strata

8 eggs
1 c of milk or half and half
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/8/ tsp pepper
8 slices of bread,  I used italian, day old is best
1/2 c frozen, chopped spinach, drained
1/2 c red Pepper
1/2 c onion
1 tsp butter
1 c cheddar cheese shredded

Blend eggs, milk and spices and set aside. Saute onion, peppers and spinach in butter over medium heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan. Layer the bread in the pan, spread the vegetable mixture over the bread and sprinkle cheese on the veggies. Pour the egg  mixture over the cheese and bake for 45 minutes, or until firmly set.

April 11, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink

gimme some oven Blog

I am so glad that I found this blog. Ali writes about the food she loves and gives us inspired, creative recipes at  Gimme some oven.com   She states,  ali photo from gimmesomeoven.com “I’m a musician by day, and love to cook/bake/entertain by night.  I’m fortunate to spend my days working as a worship leader, musician, and arranger in a local church. …

The main reason I cook, however, is because I absolutely love sharing meals with friends and family.  I’m captivated by role that “breaking bread together” has played in relationships and communities throughout history, and know that tons of my favorite memories and laughs and stories have been shared together around the dinnertable.” I recommend a visit to her blog.

Featured Recipe:
Buffalo Chicken Cups Recipe by “gimme some oven”

buffalo-chicken-cups from gimmesomeoven.co


  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cayenne hot sauce (I recommend Frank’s “Red Hot”)
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly


Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Brush chicken breasts with olive oil, and then sprinkle evenly with the smoked paprika and chili powder.  Place in a baking dish and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the center is no longer pink and the juices run clear.  Remove chicken and let cool, then shred.

Meanwhile, fit a wonton wrapper into each of 24 mini baking cups, pressing the wrappers carefully but firmly into sides of cups.  (Be careful to keep the corners of each wonton wrapper open; otherwise you will not be able to fill them!)  Bake for 5 minutes or until very lightly browned. Keep wontons in baking cups.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the melted butter and hot sauce.  Add the chicken and stir until well coated.  Then fill each wonton cup with a tablespoon or two of chicken, and then top with a pinch of blue cheese.  Return wonton cups to oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is soft and melty.  Remove and top with sliced scallions, and serve warm.  These are best served immediately.

April 8, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink


Quinoa is a good gluten free choice when you want a side dish.


I wanted to try this grain dish. I boiled 2 cups of chicken stock and then added a dash of salt and 1 cup of Quinoa. After I added the grain, I turned the heat down to low. Cooked for 15 min. My daughter has been making it with garlic.

Wikipedia: a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

April 4, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink

Peppermint Pattie Mousse

When I was young my mother had a mousse recipe using York peppermint patties that she would make on special occasions. It was so chocolaty,  rich and creamy.

Peppermint Chocolate Mousse

Peppermint Pattie Mousse

1 bar of dark Chocolate, 4 oz
6 York Peppermint Patties
6 Tbsp Butter
1/4 c Brewed Coffee
2 c Heavy Cream
3 Eggs, separated, use very fresh eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar

Beat the egg whites in a bowl and set aside. Melt the chocolate and patties in a pan over a larger pan of hot water. Add butter. Once chocolate is melted whisk in the egg yokes, one at a time. Remove from heat and blend well.  In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream, with chilled beaters, over a bowl of ice until it’s shiny and firm. A Tablespoon of Rum can be added to the melted chocolate if you choose.

Pour the chocolate into a large mixing bowl, add whipped cream and slowly blend together. Then fold in the beaten egg whites. Spoon the mousse into serving dishes. Chill for several hours.

PLEASE NOTE: you are using egg whites that have not been cooked. You want to use the freshest eggs you can and you want to refrigerate the mousse once it’s made. Do not eat any egg products that have been sitting out for more than two hours. A great substitution is using pasteurized egg whites or use a powder meringue product, such as “Just Whites.”

Egg Whites


melting Chocolate
Whipped Cream

This takes a little extra work, but the effort is well worth it.

April 2, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink

Virtues of Vinegar

Well, I’m a big fan of Vinegar and I usually have several type on hand at any given moment. Right now it’s clear, distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Versatile hardly does the substance justice. It takes out stains, marinates meat, cleans the laundry and preserves veggies – most notably pickles.

Here are some tips I have heinz_new_vinegargleaned from webosphere:

• Discourage a cat from sitting on a certain windowsill or other surface, or from scratching upholstery, by spraying white distilled vinegar on the item.Test first on an unnoticeable area to be sure there won’t be a discoloration.
• Get rid of hard water stains on your car with a rinse made from 3 parts soft water to one part white distilled vinegar.

Photo: Heinz.com

• To make cleaning the grill easier, spray a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar on the cooking surface.

• Before painting old concrete, clean with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Let it air dry.

• Clean hardened paint brushes by simmering them in a pot with white distilled vinegar. Soak them first for an hour before bringing the white distilled vinegar to a simmer. Drain and rinse clean.

• To shine chrome sink fixtures that have a lime buildup, use a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar.

• Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.

• Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

• Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so, and then run hot water down the drain.

• Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.

• Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.

• To clean a grease splattered oven door window, saturate it with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.

• Remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher by pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through a whole cycle. Do monthly.

• To prevent good glassware from getting etched by minerals, wash then spray with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Give the glasses a hot water rinse before letting them dry or drying them with a towel.

• For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.

• Get rid of lime deposits in a tea kettle by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water and letting it sit overnight. If more drastic action is needed, boil full-strength white distilled vinegar in the kettle a few minutes, let cool and rinse with plain water.

• Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white distilled vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. (Check the owners’ manual first.)

• Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean.

• Easily clean your mini blinds by wearing pair of white cotton gloves. Dip gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water, and run your fingers across both sides of each blind.

• To clean tarnished brass, copper, and pewter, use a paste with equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and table salt.

• Make a metal cleanser by adding enough white distilled vinegar to 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to make a paste. Rub it on and let it dry on the surface. Wash it off and dry with a soft cloth.

• Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water.

• Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar.

• To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off.

• Get rid of calcium deposits on faucets by soaking a cloth or paper towel in white distilled vinegar and wrapping the area tightly. Let this sit for a couple of hours or overnight.

• Rid a shower head of lime deposits by tying a plastic bag containing 1/2 to 1/3 cup of white distilled vinegar around it and leaving it there over night.

• Shine colored porcelain sinks by scouring them with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

• Clean grout by letting full-strength white distilled vinegar sit on it for a few minutes and scrubbing it with an old toothbrush.

• Clean shower door tracks by filling them with white distilled vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours. Pour hot water into the tracks and wash and scrub away the scum with a toothbrush.

• Freshen air in the bathroom by spraying into the air a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup water.

Thank you “On The House Media © 1996-2012” at On The House.

March 31, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink

Walnut Spinach Pesto

My food processor has been getting a workout lately. I’ve made a different type of Pesto almost every day. I had some frozen spinach that I wanted to use so this batch has walnuts, spinach, and parsley.

Walnut Spinach Pesto

Walnut Spinach Pesto

1/2  c Spinach thawed and drained frozen, or  1 c fresh, washed and drained
1 c fresh Parsley
1/2 c Walnuts, shelled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

In food processor, pulse greens, garlic  and nuts with 1Tbsp of olive oil until chopped. Add remaining oil, lemon and lime juice and salt and process on medium for a minute or two. Chill.

I served this with roasted cauliflower. It is also good with meat or served on pita chips.


March 29, 2012 Posted by: Leave a comment - Permalink