Tag Archives: food

My Blueprint Cleanse

In October 2013 I joined a gym… well more of a club.  I can eat, drink, shower, work out, swim, watch TV, shop, get my hair done, get a massage or a wax – even a makeup application.  I can play racquetball or tennis, sit in front of the fire (life is good), take Tango lessons, yoga (among other things), go to one of the many drinking and eating social functions offered and have a gourmet meal in the cafe.

In January 2014 I went back to eating healthy and counting every damn calorie I stick in my mouth.  I lost 11 pounds in January and 3 so far this month.  Not bad, but my goal is 10 pounds per month so I can actually go out in public in a bathing suit.

I gained about 30 pounds in 3 months – I am an expert gainer.

So the other day I was in Whole Foods on one of my many visits to the Middletown store, when I discovered a box of juices made to cleanse your body.  Manufactured by Blueprint, the 6 juice cleanse cost $55 for a one-day cleanse.

After researching the product at home Blueprint Cleanse offers a 1, 3 or 6 day cleanse of 6 100% organic, raw juices.  renovation-cleanse-bottles

I didn’t know if I could do a 3-day but I was sure I could juice for 1 full day.  I chose the Renovation Cleanse.

I started out and ended the day with a hot water and lemon.

For breakfast I had to consume 1 GREEN JUICE containing 110 calories of juice from organic romaine, organic apple, organic celery, organic cucumber, organic spinach, organic kale, organic parsley, organic lemon.

First impressions:

Color:  Bile

Smell:  Celery

Taste:  Celery and lettuce

Opinion:  I hate the taste and smell of celery and the taste of the green juice was hard to get down.  It took me from 8 am to 9:30 am to finish the 16 oz bottle.  I’ve had worse things in my mouth, but I eat for enjoyment not necessity.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Next my mid-morning snack called P.A.M.  was 210 calories of juice from organic pineapple, organic apple, organic mint, filtered water.

This was yummy!  What a lovely taste!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Color:  Bright yellow or the color of strong pee

Smell:  Pineapple

Taste:  Sweet and easy going down

Opinion:  This was a great juice!  It was a must-need after nursing that vile green bile juice.

Lunch.  Dammit!  Another green juice!  No explanation needed.  But by this time I couldn’t get it all down and left 1/3 of the bottle in its coagulated mess.

My afternoon snack was Spicy Lemonade.  Its 120 calories of filtered water, juice from organic lemon, organic agave nectar, cayenne extract (Mexican Habanero, jalapeño, African, Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese peppers) was pretty good.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Color:  Light-colored Lemonade

Smell:  Lemony

Taste:  Lemonade with a hint of spice

Opinion: This was a good juice.  It felt clean and fresh.  I wish there was a little more spice but I guess it has to appeal to a broader audience and not just a spice-addict like myself.  The hotter the better.

Dinner.  Ugh!  Little did I know that I had to drink beets!  I hate beets!  I hate the texture, the color, the taste.  C.A.B. is 190 calories of juice from organic apple, organic carrot, organic beet, filtered water, organic lemon and organic ginger.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Color:  Deep Red

What's left...

What’s left…

Smell:  Earthy

Taste:  Beets and dirt

Opinion:  This wasn’t as bad as the green juice but because of my massive dislike of beets, I couldn’t drink the whole thing and left about 1/2 inch in the bottle.

Dessert.  My last juice was 300 calories of Cashew Milk (they have alternatives for people with nut allergies) including filtered water, organic cashew, organic agave nectar, organic cinnamon, organic vanilla extract and organic vanilla specks.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Color:  Thick Whitish Almond Milk

Smell:  Nutty Vanilla

Taste:  Nutty but light

Opinion: I thought it would taste better but it was pretty good.  Filling.  I could taste the cashew and vanilla flavors.

Is it worth it?

Yes.  I thinks so.

I felt clean.  My urine was completely clear and healthy looking.  I lost 1 pound but I didn’t expect to really lose any because the calorie count was my normal intake.

I was not hungry at all.  Psychologically I craved food – especially when my husband brought home KFC for himself – but I really had no desire for solid food.

I did have a headache but I think it was a sinus headache and not a food headache.

I felt light-headed in the morning and then throughout the day but was still able to function normally.

I didn’t go to the gym because I felt weak – probably NOT from the cleanse since I woke up in the middle of the night with my period (usually makes me weak – damn 40’s).  Fun stuff.

In any case, it’s worth a try.  I felt really good the next day.  There was no pooping involved – in case any of you are worried about that but I did pee a lot.

I think I might be ready for a 3-day cleanse.  I bought a juicer – we’ll see how that works out.  I may try Suja Fresh Start as well.  It’s worth a shot.

I will add that I was miserable all day – cranky, irritable… but I had other things going on.  As the night progressed I did feel less grumpy… but it was my first cleanse!  I think that might be normal.

Well, I’ll be ready for another – many next month… I’ll keep you posted.

If you have tried Blueprint or another brand – or even your own – I’d like to hear about it.

Good luck and happy cleansing!

© 2014 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

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I know, I know… it’s been a while

I know, I know… it’s been a while.  I’ve been sick – damn sinuses.  I’ve been depressed – damn Hurricane Sandy.  I’ve been extremely busy – damn job.

I can never seem to just sit down and write anymore.

My husband is needy.  I have 3 of the neediest cats on the planet – with all their meowing, and following me around incessantly – you would think I had kids!

Well, tonight is my attempt to get back into the swing of things – a.k.a. BLOGGING.

I’m on yet another diet – or should I say… healthy eating regime… and all I can think about is food.  Healthy and unhealthy.  I lost 16 pounds so far and I started January 15th but I have a bit to go.

Yesterday, I was driving by the diner and had a sudden urge for French Fries and Gravy – known as “Disco Fries” sans fromage to some.  It was hard to keep driving, but I did.

Then I thought about the meal I made Saturday night.  It was so yummy!  So good that my husband and I ate an entire pound of spaghetti.  Yes, you heard that right.  The whole pound!

That was a cheat if I do say.

So since that damn Pasta al Pomodoro taunted me with its goodness, I figured I would share the Bon Appétit recipe with all of you – hoping my weight loss group will read this, cook it and gain weight so I will win the challenge yet again!  LOL!

Image

 

PHOTOGRAPH BY Romulo Yanes

Pasta al Pomodoro – via Bon Appétit

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs
  • 12 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp. cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Preparation

  • Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add spaghetti or bucatini and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese, if desired.
serves 4
  • Nutritional Information

    One serving contains: 
    Calories (kcal) 560.4 
    %Calories from Fat 34.5 
    Fat (g) 21.5 
    Saturated Fat (g) 5.8 
    Cholesterol (mg) 15.0 
    Carbohydrates (g) 76.2 
    Dietary Fiber (g) 6.2 
    Total Sugars (g) 8.3 
    Net Carbs (g) 70.0 
    Protein (g) 14.1 
    Sodium (mg) 426.8

By the way, I made a pound of macaroni.  Screw that 12 oz crap!

 

© 2013 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

My Manhattan Clam Chowder

With the advent of the cold weather, soup is always a good idea.

It warms you up from the inside out and makes you feel all cozy and content.

After Thanksgiving was over I thought I’d make some turkey soup – but alas – Tom Turkey had none to give so I opted for a giant can of clams from Costco and made some Manhattan Clam Chowder.

I love the New England version I make, but since my dad was over, and hates the creamy version, I whipped up my spicy version of Manhattan.

Now I never write down recipes – but I’m making a valiant effort to recreate it!

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • a few good shakes of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 giant 3 lb can of clams from Costco
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 link chorizo, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds – optional – I only use it if I have it in the fridge
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 handfuls of potatoes – cut into small cubes
  • 1 lg can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, leaves chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Directions

Drain clams through strainer and reserve broth.

In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the meat beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pot and reserve.

Melt the butter in olive oil in a the same pot over a medium flame. Add the onion, celery, garlic, 1/2 to 1 tbsp red pepper flakes and chorizo (optional) and cook until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir the flour into the pot. Cook the onion and flour mixture for several minutes then add the potatoes and add the wine and stir.  Add clam broth and bring to a simmer, stirring until smooth. Add the tomatoes and sugar, stir well to incorporate, then toss in the pepper flakes, thyme, and parsley. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook at a low simmer until the broth is flavorful, 20 to 30 minutes.

Add clams.  Stir well, season again, if needed, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately

ENJOY!

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

FALL Back into Healthy Eating Habits

 

When I think of Fall, I think about 1.  Back to School (back to work for me), 2.  the Fall collections and how I can integrate the new trends into my wardrobe without draining my bank account and 3. going back on my damn diet!

I’ve eaten to excesses this summer with no exercise, except for an occasional tennis game, and I know I gained weight.

Now it’s time to buckle down so I can get into my single-digit sizes again and Clean Eating Magazine is one of my favorites to get me motivated.  It has great recipes that will put you on the right eating path and make you stay there.

Last night I made Spicy Red Quinoa Jambalaya from Clean Eating’s March 2012 issue.  I’ve made it before and it was delicious.  This time I made a few modifications because I didn’t want to go to the store yet again – and it was still delicious!

Spicy Red Quinoa Jambalaya

  • 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 lb low-fat spicy turkey sausage, cut into half-inch pieces, casings removed  I used 3 links of smoked chorizo
  • 2 plum tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch strips  I subbed some Italian peppers and a jalapeno from the garden
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan on medium high heat.  Add sausage and saute stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and bell peppers and saute for 2 minutes.

Stir in broth and pepper flakes and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Distribute shrimp evenly over the top of sausage-pepper mixture.  Cover and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, until shrimp are firm and pink.

Season quinoa with salt and pepper, transfer to a large serving dish and top with sausage mixture.

Serves 4.       1  3/4 cups of sausage mix and 1/2 cup quinoa.  Calories 335.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Recipe courtesy of Clean Eating Magazine.

 

Pop Art: Raspberry Icebox Cake

Pop Art: Raspberry Icebox Cake.

Pasta with Spicy Tomato-Beer Sauce

I’m always looking for new recipes.  Whether they are my own creation, a tweak on someone else’s creation or just a recipe straight-up.

I wasn’t feeling well today so I decided to make one of my comfort foods – pasta.

I found this great recipe for Pasta with Spicy Tomato-Beer Sauce at saveur.com last week and decided to try it today.

It was delicious!  The perfect combination of flavors and spicy, spicy, spicy.  It takes a while to cook, so start early.

Here’s the recipe from Saveur Magazine.  I tweaked it a tad because it’s what I had on-hand – fabulous!  Bravo Saveur!

Pasta with Spicy Tomato-Beer Sauce

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
8 cloves garlic, smashed
6 oil-packed anchovy filets, chopped
4 red Fresno chiles, seeded and chopped – I used 2 long hot Italian peppers and a good dose of red pepper flakes
4 gherkins, chopped – I used 6 cornichons
2 red onions, chopped
1  28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained – I used crushed tomatoes
12 oz. bock beer, preferably Birrificio Italiano Bibock – I used a white beer
3⁄4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lb. pasta, such as scialatielli or linguine – I used penne rigate
8 caper berries, for garnish
2 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add capers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, chiles, gherkins, and onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until ingredients are browned, about 20 minutes. Add canned tomatoes and beer; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Purée sauce in a blender; return sauce to pan over low heat. Stir in olives and season with salt and pepper.

2. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain pasta and transfer pasta to sauce; toss to combine. Stir in a little pasta water to loosen the sauce, if you like. Serve pasta garnished with caper berries and parsley.

SERVES 4

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Recipe courtesy of Saveur Magazine.

Stuffed Tilapia Steamed on the Grill

I love fish and seafood.  Flounder, tilapia, trout, catfish, shrimp, scallops, lobster – you name it!

I can eat it every day – my husband is a different story.  I have to invent new ways to make the same fish taste very different.

This summer I’ve done the foil packets, the steaming, the grilling, the everything, so I decided to try a stuffed filet.  I have never been successful in finding a recipe that I liked, thus decided to create my own.

Here it is – or at least I think it is but I didn’t write it down until this morning:

Jacqui’s Stuffed Tilapia on the Grill

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (if using larger shrimp, coarsely chop) – soak in white wine for a few minutes before cooking
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay
  • 2 tbsp ea of fresh lemon thyme & dill
  • white wine
  • 1 cup Panko
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 thin pieces of tilapia or other whitefish fillets, such as lemon sole, flounder or haddock (about 2 pounds total)

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and zucchini. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Add the shrimp, approx 1/4 c – 1/2 c wine, herbs and seafood seasoning and cook, stirring, until the seafood is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not over-wet.  Remove from the heat.

Add the Panko and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff filets and place in a Pam sprayed grill-safe foil baking pan.  You may place extra stuffing alongside.

Pour white wine over fish – just to coat – and sprinkle with Old Bay.  Cover with foil and cook on grill until cooked through – maybe 10 – 15 minutes depending on thickness of fish and temp of grill.

Serves 8.

Enjoy!

What are your favorite summer seafood recipes?

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Grilled Chicken Sausage & Peppers

Summertime always makes me think of cheese steaks at Midway on Seaside Boardwalk, funnel cake, zeppole and of course a nice sandwich of sausage and peppers.

If you have a grill, there is no reason to use the stove – it makes the house too hot in the summer and makes the AC work too hard.

I’ve been grilling my sausage and peppers for years.  The grill gives the dish a great flavor and it’s done in no time.

Last nice I decided to try a chicken sausage instead of my normal HOT sausage & peppers.  I bought the Premio chicken sausage.  Don’t buy the fully cooked one.  It will not be the same.  You can also use any combination of peppers you like.

Here’s my recipe.  I hope you try it and enjoy it!

1 large package of Premio uncooked chicken sausage (about 8-12 links)
2 cubanelle peppers, sliced into chunks (does that make sense?)
2 poblano peppers, sliced into chunks
1 jalapeno pepper, chunked
2 long hot Italian peppers – left whole
5 or 8 mini mixed color bell peppers, chunked – I used orange, red and yellow
1 large onion, thickly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
light agave syrup
salt & pepper
hot red crushed pepper
Italian seasonings
extra virgin olive oil
grated Pecorino Romano
a handful of mixed, fresh herbs – I used basil, oregano, rosemary & thyme
a grill fry pan – one with holes in it

Take out sausage and bring to room temperature.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine all peppers, onions, garlic, a large drizzle of agave, a few good shakes of Italian seasonings, salt & pepper & red pepper flakes to taste.  Drizzle with olive oil and mix well.  Adjust seasonings and amount of oil if needed.

Heat grill & cook sausage, flipping until browned all over and cooked through.  Do not overcook!  Meanwhile, place fry pan on grill and dump in pepper mixture. Cook until vegetables are charred and softened.  Remove when done and place back in bowl.

Add a handful of Pecorino and fresh herbs to pepper mixture.  Mix well and adjust seasonings.  Slice sausage and add to peppers.  Mix well and serve.

Serves 4 – 6 depending – maybe 8 – who knows.  All I know is that I served two and it was well received and almost gone!

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

My Life As A Jersey Girl

For the first 4 years of my life, my mom, my dad and I lived upstairs from my paternal grandmother (aka Nanoo) and my Aunt Mary (aka Mimi).

We lived in 3 rooms.  A large old-fashioned kitchen with a big white sink like you would see in the movie A Christmas Story, a large living room with a scratchy yet pristine couch, a smaller flowered love seat that pulled out into a bed, a big reclining chair and a console colored TV.  The bedroom was small with a full-size bedand a small closet.  That was the only closet space in the entire apartment!  Oh wait!  Maybe there was one in the living room.  I can’t remember.

My Nanoo in her kitchen

We had a half bath with a toilet that was so tiny, if you were an adult your knees would hit the pipe directly in front of the bowl.  Showers and baths were taken downstairs at my Nanoo’s but my mother used to bathe me in the large tub adjacent to the kitchen sink.

We had no air conditioning, so we spent most of our warm evenings on the porch swing chatting with the neighbors.  This is the late sixties and early seventies, when you knew your neighbors and actually spent time with them.  This is before everyone got too busy to see each other face to face, before families started moving away from each other instead of living on the same block or in the same house for that matter.

Playing the organ in my Nutley kitchen

This was a time when we all gathered for Sunday dinner at 1:00 in the afternoon to enjoy a giant pot of gravy with meatballs and sausage, and a huge bowl of macaroni (not pasta) that my mom and maternal grandmother (aka Grandma) slaved over for a couple of days just to get the perfect flavor.

My dad and I were always disappointed when mom made a roast beef or some other non-macaroni Sunday dinner.  It just wasn’t the same without the smell of pork and beef wafting through the house.

In the Nutley kitchen with my cousins

In the summers I swam in my Uncle Al’s pool next door.  He really wasn’t my uncle but calling a neighbor or a cousin aunt or uncle to show respect was an upheld practice.  My Aunt Ann (aka Tootsie) also had a pool that we would swim in.  She lived on the next block up the hill from us.

My Nutley childhood is full of fond memories of people, events, smells and daily life.  It was simpler time.

In 1971 we moved to the next town over.  It was only a 5 minute drive but it seemed like a world away.  No more running downstairs to see Nanoo and Mimi.  No more running up the block to visit Aunt Tootsie.  No more running across the Pipeline to visit my Tata (my Nanoo’s sister) and my 2 cousins that were my age, Bobby and David.

I was alone in Bloomfield.  No friends.  No family.  Just mom and dad.

My Poppy (my step-grandfather – really my great-uncle) helped my dad put up a 18 foot above ground pool.  It seemed like days that they were digging.  My dad

In my pool

was a perfectionist.  Everything had to be smooth and level.  When it was done, I couldn’t wait to jump in!

I spent day and night in that pool.  I was part fish.  I learned how to swim underwater first (I had been swimming since I was 2) and then I gradually mastered the art of freestyle.  My dad was a great swimmer who could hold his breath longer than anyone I knew.  He would stay under water for what seemed like hours but was really A LOT of minutes.  It was unbelievable.  No one could match or beat his breath-holding expertise.

One day a neighbor down the street came over with his daughter and introduced himself as Dick and his daughter Susan.  He thought that we might be the same age – and we were.  Susan was my first friend and more importantly, my first BEST friend.  But Susan is another story – I’ll talk about her later.

Back to my my new house…

We finally had air conditioning!  Two units!  We all slept downstairs until I got a little older, then we moved upstairs.  Then we had 2 units downstairs – one in the

My 1st bedroom at our new house

dining room wall and one window unit in the den (once my parent’s room, then the den, now my dad’s room) and one in each of our bedroom windows’ upstairs.

We could NEVER have all 4 on at the same time or they would trip a breaker.  Two at a time my father said.  So during the day we had the downstairs 2 running and at night the upstairs 2.

He used to come in my room to wake me up (I was NEVER a morning person) and bitch and moan because I kept the AC so cold.  He’d walk in and say, “Jesus Christ!  I can see my breath in here!”  I loved it cold in the summer so I could snuggle underneath the covers.

During the summer we spent most of our time in the half finished basement watching TV, eating, playing games (this is when I wasn’t in the pool).  We had another kitchen in the basement and my mom did most of her cooking downstairs 1.  because of the heat of the summer (even with AC) and 2.  because she wanted to keep the upstairs clean.

Did I mention that my mom (and her mother) were OCD, clean-crazy Italians? ALWAYS cleaning the house.  You could literally eat off my grandma’s floors – they were so clean and shiny.

We weren’t ALLOWED to use the front door.  The living room was for company

Sitting in the livingroom

only.  Food was definitely off-limits there.  I wasn’t allowed to sit on my bed after it was made.  My mother always said, “Beds are for sleeping, not for sitting.”

That about sums it up.

My bedroom floor was covered with an itchy indoor/outdoor block carpeting.  It was an ugly gold and I hated stepping on it.  My walls were hidden with white wood paneling and wooden beams framing my bed.  My furniture was a dark, early American clunky set that was popular in the seventies.  One wall had ceramic Hummel’s that my mom made but I was not allowed to put up posters or anything like that.

I loved Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson but posters of the Jackson Five or Puppy Love were out of the question.  Phyllis put her foot down.

We had a half bath upstairs complete with a built-in vanity and a little faux fur covered chair.  It had a big sink that I loved washing my hair in.  All my makeup (when it was time for makeup), hair stuff and other toiletries were tucked away in  3 out of the 8 cabinets.  I loved that part of the house!

The kitchen was an open galley-like kitchen with a wall oven and a stove top.  My

Singing away in the kitchen with Grandma & Poppy

mom set up a small “ice cream table” with 2 chairs so we had someplace to eat besides the dining room – which happened to be adjacent to the kitchen.

The living room had a wall of built-in bookcases and cabinets from floor to ceiling.  It housed all the books we loved to read:  Reader’s Digest, how-to books, nature books, encyclopedias and all the treasures that I bought from the Weekly Reader and various book fairs we had throughout the year at school.

The curtains on the front windows were made with material from Germany or Austria that one of my dad’s bosses brought back for my mom.  They were pretty, white, lace curtains covered by a heavier material drape.

The entire house was wired for sound.  I mean it was ahead of its time.  We had speakers in the livingroom, kitchen, basement and everywhere else – all hooked up to a stereo system complete with turntable, radio and 8 track.

It was cool!

I loved my new neighborhood and my new friends.

To be continued….

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

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Grilled Pasta Primavera

It’s only June 29th and I’m running out of summertime food fare.

I’m sick of grilled meat and fish, so I decided to throw this together.  I hope I remembered everything!

Jacqui’s Grilled Pasta Primavera

1 or 2 packages of asparagus-gruyere ravioli (I used 2) or 1 lb pasta
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 zucchini cubed
1/4 – 1/2 package of fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 – 1 1/2 c assorted bell peppers coarsely chopped
1 1/2 c grape tomatoes
2 whole, peeled garlic cloves 1/4 c roasted garlic
a squirt of agave syrup
1/2 c marinated bocconcini
a handful of mixed fresh herbs, chopped – I used basil & oregano
a handful of grated cheese – Pecorino Romano
x-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, whole garlic cloves with salt and pepper, agave and a drizzle of olive oil.  Toss.
Meanwhile cook ravioli or pasta according to directions.

On a grill in one of those pans with the holes in it, grill bacon until starting to brown.  Add vegetable mixture and grill until cooked to your liking.  Place back into the bowl.

Add roasted garlic, bocconcini, herbs, grated cheese, cooked ravioli and some olive oil.  Mix gently.  Adjust seasonings and olive oil.  Mix well.

Serves 4-8.

Enjoy!

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.