The Glamour of Traveling

When I had the honor of singing the US and Canadian national anthems at Toronto’s Skydome (before Rogers amassed their billions for the naming rights) I met a woman who was to throw the first pitch. Prior to the game all of the pre game folks rehearse according to a carefully prepared and timed script.

She had to go to the mound…or many feet in front of the mound and practice throwing to the catcher. Wow, that’s hard. I was impressed she got it even near the plate. She said she had been throwing the ball to her husband for weeks to practice.

When it was my turn to practice they cued my tape and I (shudder, yes, I lip synced) sang the anthems with all my heart into a dead mic. Easy peazy lemon squeezy.

This whole process blew first pitch woman’s mind. “Wow, you sounded great! Where do you sing? Are you famous?”

“Um…I sing most often in church and I am decidedly not famous.” But, she was not buying it one bit. Not famous? Not possible. She kept at it. “How often do you sing the national anthem?” At that point I had sung for the Sabres a few times and sang at what is now Progressive Field in Cleveland for the Indians.

Of course I was famous, or so she believed. When she gushed again she declared my life must be so glamorous. By then I didn’t have the heart to tell her differently since she already didn’t believe me. Even today, whenever I clean my bathroom I think of first pitch lady and the glamour of my life.

Travel is glamorous. Traveling is not.

I write this from a hotel room in North Carolina at about 12:30 AM. A ten and a half hour journey took nearly fifteen hours today.

Apparently God picked Florida up by the Keys and shook it like a rug, flicking everyone without a Florida zip code back to the northern state where they belonged. I’m convinced that the only people left are the senior citizens and the food service folks who serve them their early bird specials.

It took 3 1/2 hours to drive through South Carolina and those that were not in their cars in post holiday gridlock were eating at the Cracker Barrel. No lie, my mom and I had to wait 20 minutes for a table at 9 PM. Thank God they have biscuits. And sweet tea. And grits.

But the trip was worth everything we experienced today because my family was mostly together last weekend (missing a nephew and family who stayed back home and a niece who was traveling through Italy).

Cousins got to make new memories, siblings and parents played Monopoly and 500 Rummy and I got to cook.

My sister and I prepared our annual seafood feast on Good Friday. The kids actually look forward to it and I don’t think we disappointed anyone. It is a hefty investment but worth the expense and time. We really kept it simple this year with only one hot side (my orzo with roasted grape tomatoes) and a “nice” salad. Our cousin brought a really cool bread bowl and cupcakes. We had a great evening.

20130414-203607.jpgHere is a quick trick for grilled shrimp: marinate them with the shells on with lemon, lots of garlic and good olive oil. Get your grill screaming hot. Instead of just one skewer, use two to create some stability. Cook each side for only a few minutes until just pink.

One of the highlights of my trip was dinner at the Chart House in Fort Lauderdale. The dinner was as good as the view. There are many of these restaurants across the country. Each one has a view of the water. My favorite is in Dana Point, California. If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend it. It will be a special dinner so be prepared for a pricey a la carte menu.

From Thursday through Monday we had nine people living in a two bedroom condo. Close! But I wouldn’t trade the joy on my mother’s face when she saw an entire pew filled with her family on Easter Sunday.

No, traveling is not glamorous, but well worth the effort knowing we once again made memories of a lifetime.

Have a yummy day!

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1 Activity + 1 Bite + 1 Sip = Easy Party

Any holiday is busy with church and travel and family so it’s hard to coordinate the fun and have fun yourself.

For Easter this year I decided to schedule an early brunch for our family at a lovely restaurant. This way everyone had time to relax in the afternoon. At 6:00 pm we all convened for an Easter egg hunt for the children, a sandwich platter and age appropriate drinks for all.

Here is a plan that will get you out of the kitchen and into the mix.

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1. An activity: ours was an egg hunt but here are a few ideas for an activity to center around your party

movie night
the playoffs (Buffalo fans, don’t put off having a party just for this :o)
Mother’s Day – have the big kids coordinate a card making party for all of the moms. Think glitter and macaroni.
clothing drive – ask everyone to bring one no longer loved professional outfit to the party and box them by gender and size. Donate them to a job placement center.
game night – you don’t have to stick to the usual ones…have you ever played Candyland with alcohol?

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2. A Bite: I made a sandwich platter. I bought 2 ciabatta loaves and 2 multi grain loaves. Look for bread that will lay flat on both sides when cut in half.
I cut one ciabatta and one multi grain in half lengthwise. I put mayo on both sides and layered a quarter of a pound of provolone cheese, a half a pound of thinly sliced roast beef and sliced tomatoes. I cut the sandwich in quarters then down the middle making eight sandwiches.
Next was prosciutto di parma on ciabatta: i spread pesto on both halves of ciabatta then added a half a pound of thinly sliced prosciutto di parma. On that I spread about 6 ounces of goat cheese. I cut the sandwiches as described above.
The last one was my grilled zucchini Caprese sandwich. You can find it here. https://judethefoodie.com/2013/02/12/grilled-zucchini-caprese-sandwich/
I placed all of the sandwiches on a big plastic platter. Paper plates and paper napkins save time and add to the party theme.

3. A Sip: all you need is one special drink and you have a party. My Easter Punch

20130401-104743.jpgis as easy as can be. Buy a package of frozen mixed berries. Add some to any kind of cool glass (I love these retro dot cups here). Fill the cup about half full with store bought lemonade then complete with sparkling white wine. I used Asti but you can use Prosecco or Champagne.

Give this a try and you actually will enjoy your next party.

Have a yummy day!!
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Congratulations to Colleen Low Larkin who won the March Quick Bite Quick Sip contest.

March theme: Grandma’s Kitchen

“The pies at Mangia Cake and Village Bake Shop, while they’ll never be quite as good as hers remind me of my Grandma Ross-BEST PIES EVER!”

You have won a $25 gift certificate to the Lewiston Village Pub!

Let’s keep the party going. April’s Quick Bite Quick Sip theme is Spring. Head out to your favorite eateries and hang outs and play.

Easter Cookies…Hop to it!

20130326-131402.jpgEaster Cookies? Why not?

Simply make your favorite drop sugar cookie (I made a ricotta lemon cookie) with yellow food coloring, frost with sugar glaze and sprinkle with pastel sugar.

The secret to any cookie is consistent shape and size. I use my smallest cookie scoop for this task.

The glaze is two cups of confectioners sugar, the zest and the juice of one lemon plus water to get to 4 tablespoons.

To glaze the cookies, line a few cookie sheets with parchment (easy clean-up) and invert the cookie quickly in the glaze and roll around to coat. Set glazed cookies onto the lined sheet. Much of it runs off onto the parchment (you’ll be glad you lined the sheet) so don’t over do it. Only do 5-6 cookies at a time or the glaze will dry and you won’t be able to sprinkle. Sprinkle with colored sugar and let dry. They package easily and you can stack them.

Have a yummy day!

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Viva Saint Guiseppe!

When my grandparents talked about the old country they were talking about Italy. My mother’s family is from Bari and Calabria and my father’s family is from Sicily. So, I describe my Italian heritage as heal, toe and football if you look at the map.

My Sicilian grandmother used to do a St. Joseph’s Table every year and I have many fond memories of not only the food but the stories of holidays past. You can read more about our tradition at here.

The following recipe is actually my favorite, using a dressing of vinegar and sugar for a sweet and savory pea salad. Anyone who knows me knows I rarely use canned anything. In this case, it is the perfect and easy way to make this St. Joseph favorite.

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Great Gramma’s Bitter Sweet Peas

(I cut this in half and it still is hard to fit into my large cast iron skillet)

6 Large Cans Peas (drained)
1 Large Bunch Celery (diced)
1 Pound Italian Green Olives (pitted and chopped)
1 Large Can Artichokes (cut up)
1 Tablespoon Salt

Dice and cook celery until slightly softened. Drain and cool. Saute onions, add celery, and olives. Take off stove (recipe says to take off the fire but I decided to change that) and add peas and artichokes. Mix lightly with fingers.

¾ Cup White Vinegar
½ Cup Sugar
Warm the vinegar gently in a sauce pan to melt sugar. Remove from heat and add to pea mixture. Toss lightly and refrigerate.

I just made half the recipe and it barely fit into my large cast iron skillet.

 

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Sunday Dinner Musings

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Sunday dinner means a lot to me. It’s not just my memories of dinners when I was a kid but its the memories I know I am making for my family today that motivate me to make a pot of sauce on a Sunday. Last year I posted “Musings While Making Sauce”

My son was home for the weekend and along with a Sabres game with his dad we gathered family and friends for a dish of macaroni.

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Sunday dinner is the extra effort meal. Sunday dinner does not need to be sauce and macaroni but in the middle of the winter it was a natural choice. I think that any dish that takes a few more minutes and you would not have the time nor the effort left in the tank after a long work day to prepare is a worthy Sunday dinner meal.

My mother often used to make a rib roast or roasted chickens on the oven rotisserie.

Sunday dinner smells good. I love how the house smells during these cooking sessions and sometimes for days after. If you make something with bacon it’s a gift that keeps on giving for days to come.

Sunday dinner is not complete without dessert. I talk a lot about how my mom used to bake every Saturday and how I remember watching her bake pies. I have some sort of a pastry deficit but still give it a try when peaches are in season.

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I baked a red velvet Bundt cake from a box cake on Sunday. To make it Sunday special I creamed on brick of cream cheese and about 1 cup of confectioners sugar. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and slowly added half and half (I didn’t measure but I think it would have been about 2-3 tablespoons) until the frosting was creamy. I put it on the cake by heaping a spoonful on the top and gently guiding it down the sides. It looked pretty and tasted amazing…

…just like Sunday dinner should…

Let’s talk some more about Sunday dinner. Please feel free click the email link below and give me your story. What do you cook? Who is at the table?

When the meal is special and you’re surrounded family and friends, any day is Sunday. I know folks who work in different service industries who have Monday evening Sunday dinner.

Yesterday I invited my family and as is usual custom in our home there were a few friends I had never met before they came to my home.

That is why I would like to write a book titled “If It’s Sunday Dinner, We Must Be Family.”

Have a yummy day!

Sautéed Bananas With Grilled Angel Food Cake

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Servings: 12
Prep time: 0:30
Total time: 0:30
Categories: Dessert, Fruit
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 1 c Walnuts or Pecans

• 1Tbsp Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 6 Bananas

• 1Tbsp Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 Angel Food Cake

Directions

Toast nuts, set aside.

In large heavy skilled add 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat. Slice bananas and add to pan, stirring often until they get soft and creamy on the outside. Remove from heat.

Slice angel food cake, brush with a little olive oil and grill on each side until grill marks appear, being sure not to burn the cake.

In a pretty stemmed glass or bowl, layer a piece of cake, bananas then chopped nuts.

Have a yummy day!

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Fusilli With Tuna And Tomato Sauce

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Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 0:15
Total time: 0:30
Categories: Fish & Seafood, Pasta
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 2 12oz cans Solid White Albacore Tuna in water, drained
• 1 28oz can low sodium Diced Tomatoes
• 1 16oz jar Chunky Salsa (heat according to preference)
• 1 3oz jar Capers, drained
• ½ c Yellow Raisins

• 1 lb Fusilli Pasta
• 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

• Parmesan Cheese

Directions

Fill a large pasta pot with cold water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy large skillet on medium. Add tuna immediately and break up with wooden spoon. Heat through a few minutes then add tomatoes and salsa.

Bring to a simmer and add capers and raisins. Stir and cover. Lower heat to medium low stirring occasionally.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put into bowl. Add olive oil and stir gently. Add a little sauce to bowl then divide into bowls. Shave Parmesan cheese onto top.

Have a yummy day!
JudeTheFoodie.com

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