Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where the Heart Is

I managed to rework my schedule at get to Boston a full week earlier!  I arrived safely last evening and the whole family came to pick me up at Logan.  In the car we listened to The Beach Boys, whom my sister is a huge fan.  Five-year-old Cash's favorite song is Sloop John B and sang along so sweetly, not missing a word.  It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.  It feels so good to be home.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Short Hiatus

I've got a hectic week ahead of me and I take off for Boston to spend a week with my much missed family a week from tomorrow.  I will be back to full blogging mode after I return on Leap Day.  In the meantime, take good care, get some fresh air and enjoy yourself!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spicy, Cheesy Collard Green Chips

Baked kale chips seem to be the go-t0 healthy snack food as of late.  I had been wanting to try making some but have had trouble finding good looking heads of kale this season.  So when I saw these big and beautiful local collards at the market, I thought "why not?" 

This isn't a recipe so much as a method.  It is dead easy and the flavors can be customizable in an infinite number of ways.  First, I washed and dried the collards, then cut out the rib.  I cut down the leaves into smaller pieces.  I had to work in batches for the next steps because it was a big bunch of greens.  I put the collard pieces in a bowl, tossed them with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a good shaking of Cayenne pepper.  I laid the greens in a single layer on two big rimmed baking sheets then sprinkled on some cheese.  I had a block of vintage cheddar from Trader Joe's in the fridge, so I grated that up.  Any hard cheese would work.

Into the preheated oven, 310 degrees worked perfect for my oven.  About 20 minutes later they were baked up to a perfect crisp.  I let them cool slightly then using a spatula, I transferred them to a paper towel lined plate.  I repeated the process until all the greens were baked up. 

The baking removed all the water from the greens and taking any trace of bitterness with it.  All that's left behind is spicy, cheesy crispy and delicious snack chips.  The texture is very similar to a baked Lay's chip.  I could not stop eating them!  Stored in an airtight container, they'll stay crisp and delicious as long as they last without being gobbled up.

You can try any flavor combo that you like, a BBQ dry rub or salt and vinegar or curry powder but I loved the heat from the Cayenne and the salty tang from the cheddar.  I hope you try them, if you do let me know how you like them!

Here are a couple random pics for this chilly Friday.  On our cruise we watched the sun set every single night from our balcony.  I took photos of all of them.  This one is my favorite...

And lastly, madam who needs no introduction. Look at those shoulders and abs! If only the grain-free diet could do for me what it does for Tally.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Virginia Update

I'm having a great week!  I hope you are as well.  Rob has been home for a week now and it's been so awesome having him here.  I've been out and about most days because I don't have to worry about Tally (she's contented to sit at her Bunny's feet while he works) and I have a sense of freedom that is just irresistible.  And of course having dinner and evenings together with my husband is wonderfully wonderful.  I've been working in the kitchen and out walking in the sunshine and that makes me happy.  And when I'm happy I can deal with bad news. Which brings me to...

Rob and I sat down and crunched numbers to see what the actual cost will be to sell our house in this piss poor market.  The ugly reality of this economy has set in and with heavy hearts we've had to push back our move to Virginia.  Not only do we refuse to give Shady Dame away, we refuse to pay someone to take if off our hands (which is pretty much what is boils down to.)  Atlanta was one of the hardest hit in the real estate debacle, whoever thought foreclosures and short sales would be used as comps in pricing a home for sale? We had implemented a plan back when Rob first started his new job and now "efforts must me doubled!"  ~Finch, American Pie 2.  

Our spreadsheet has a 24 month and a 36 month plan, 36 being the absolute limit of the time we're willing to wait.  We won't live in a holding pattern, rather make the most of our time at Shady Dame while keeping our eyes on the prize.  One consolation is Rob's travel has been yielding lots of air miles which means lots more free flights to Boston in the interim.  

In other news, I've made some of the most delicious chips ever.  Out of collard greens!  I know what you're thinking and you're so off base.  I will share the recipe and raves in a forthcoming post.  Also, my gym membership is set to expire and I've got some decisions to make on that front.  When I return from Boston on Leap Day I'll get to work on what my options are.

One last thing, how about this no-winter winter?  Our daffodils sprung up in January and have been in full bloom since the beginning of February.  The trees have started to flower, too.  It's nuts but also all kinds of great.  The heating bills have been low, the sun has been shining brightly, the temps have been mild in the afternoons making for great walking weather and best of all no winter blues! 

Now I must empty the dishwasher and clean out a closet.  Just because the move is pushed back, I still want this house ready as soon as.  Have a lovely Thursday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Addendum to Greek Yogurt Tasting

I did a Greek Yogurt Tasting awhile back and Fage came up the winner.  But that was before I had the opportunity to try Cabot Greek Yogurt.  Cabot, makers of my favorite supermarket cheese show that they can stand with the big boys of yogurt.  Their Greek yogurt is INSANE.  The taste and texture is just the most delicious ever.  In fact it's more like a combination of the best yogurt with the richest sour cream and the most gourmet creme fraiche.  It's full fat and the golden color makes me wonder if some of the milk they use is from grass fed cows.  You must try it!

I used the Cabot yogurt in a delectable recipe I wanted to share with you, Cheesy Egg Muffins from Nom Nom Paleo.  I made these up yesterday and ohmystarsdelicious! 

I haven't had a lot of luck using coconut flour so I'm always looking for interesting and tasty recipes to work with it.  I used Sargento extra sharp shredded cheddar and lots of black pepper.  Because the coconut flour can leave the final product with a sandy texture, I let the coconut flour soak in the egg and yogurt mixture for half an hour before adding in the cheese and baking.  What a revelation, no sandy texture at all!  The addition of the coconut flour transformed these little gems from just baked eggs and cheese into a delightful, tender, cheesy, savory muffin.  Win-win!