Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hello Everyone, it's been a long, long, long time.......

Yes, we are back in New Jersey and have been back since the end of February.  We miss our  food blog friends!

Packing up and moving cross country is quite a large task at hand.  It is also very exhausting.   We currently are renting a beautiful house on the lagoon and settled in to enjoy the summer near the water.    We will be house hunting in the fall.   With all the unpacking to do, I also decided to go to school and get my Realtors license which I gladly passed the state test and have been licensed since May.  Rowland is back at work and doesn't like the long commute and longs for the 15 minute commutes he had while we lived in Texas.

It is has been a flurry of activity since we have been back with family and friends wanting to see us.  As they say there is no place like home!  Time has certainly passed so fast since we have been back.

Our dining experience has been very limited due to lack of funds and being very busy and lots of summer BBQ's. 

Starting sometime in October we will be having what we call pot luck Saturday night which we started about 9 years ago with friends.  Since we came back our friends have been asking if we will be starting them up again and we said YES!   So with that said there is a group of about 12 of us and we take turns hosting and can pick and choose the theme we want if we are hosting and let everyone know what the theme is and we cook according to that theme.   It is lots of fun and a chance to try something new and to be with great friends and have a good time.   We will be documenting our pot lucks and bringing them to you!

We will also be starting our fall and winter kitchen cooking series soon.......glad to be back home and look forward to sharing stories with each and every one  of  you.

Rowland and Ronnie

Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye Texas, Hello New Jersey!

Wow, its been awhile since our last post back in September, 2010.  Rowland and I have been dealing with many changes, the first one being our son Alex, enrollment in the Marines.   He has since graduated Marine Boot camp, Parris Island, SC and is currently stationed in Beaufort, Georgia studying Satellite Communications. 

There is also a cross country move on the horizon for Rowland and I back to our home state of New Jersey.   We will be moving back to Jersey the end of February and are very happy to be returning back to our home town state.  We have missed our family and friends very much and are excited. 

About 2 years ago, Rowland's job took us out to the state of Texas and were lucky enough to have lived somewhere different and to experience a different way of living.  We have enjoyed our stay in Texas, learning about good Texas BBQ and Tex Mex.  Texas is a very proud state and it is evident everywhere you go, what other state flies there state flag everywhere?  We have ventured to all the mom and pop eateries and got a chance to visit local spots such as the Fort Worth Stockyards, JFK Memorial, Fair Park, Dallas and more.   We also have seen the beautiful splendor of farm life with pastures of cows and horses sprinkled throughout the lush farm land of summer.  We will miss the beautiful sunsets and remember Texas in our hearts for all the warmth and hospitality they have shown us.

Going back home and being close to our families makes for a great homecoming.   See you down the Jersey Shore!

We will be back soon with all new reviews from the New Jersey and
Tri-State area with all new food reviews and fun!   Also, from our home in  New Jersey, homemade recipes from our kitchen.

See you soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harvest Apple Mini Lattice Pies

When I think of Labor Day I think Fall.   I guess with Labor Day being the unofficial end of summer, kids returning back to school and no more summer vacations for the work weary, it is time for cool crisp days to come accompanied by colorful falling leaves.   Growing up on the east coast our traditions of fall were taking the kids pumpkin and apple picking on a warm October day and bringing home loads of hand picked apples and pumpkins from the orchard.   Placing pumpkins and flower mums on my front porch were a Fall tradition I still love!  Fall is my favorite time of the year in anticipation of home baked pies and slow cooked meals in my crock pot, making my home warm and cozy. 

This past weekend I got a jump start on that feeling of Fall by baking my apple lattice pies.   I love using granny smith and golden delicious apples because it is a combination of tart and sweet.   I mix brown sugar, cinnamon, touch of nutmeg and simmer apples slowly until softened (the house smells good when apples are simmering on the stove).   Very simple recipe with a homemade pie crust consisting of cold shortening, flour, cold water, a pinch of salt. 

Filling the dough is a delicate balancing act because over filling them will result in leakage, so I try to just add 2 teaspoons of fruit.  I love putting a lattice top for a little fun!   I brush an egg wash of egg and water and sprinkle with coarse sugar for a little crunch and sweetness.   Confectioners sugar is also delicious sprinkled over the pies.

These pies are fun to make and can be eaten with your hands.   I am glad I took pictures because no sooner than an hour later my son and husband devoured all of them leaving me with one (I guess I am lucky they saved me one, right?)

Just a blogging note to Monet, at Anecdotes and Apple Cores she made the cutest pie bites!
Check out her blog and recipe!  

Fall makes me think of snuggling in for the winter with good food, friends and family!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nana Mary's Sausage & Peppers

Being of Italian descent, I remember as a child going to my great grandmother's house in Staten Island, NY and just remember the smells of her tiny kitchen.   Nana Mary was a short 4'11" Italian cook, remembering she had to stand on a stool in front of the stove, stirring tall pots of homemade tomato sauce or as Nana said "gravy".  Sunday's were a day for family to get together and my mom would drive me and my brother from Long Island to Staten Island every Sunday for dinner with our relatives.    We have a large Italian family and Nana would cook large amounts of gravy loaded with homemade meatballs, sausage and pork chops with homemade pasta.  Starting her cooking early in the morning for a 2:00 afternoon meal. 

It gave her great joy when everyone was at the table eating her meal.  Which started with a homemade plate of Antipasto, fruit, different cheeses, deli meats, and that was before the meal.   My uncle made homemade red wine in his basement and I can remember the grown ups drinking wine from small jelly glasses. 

Food traditions are a very important part of our family and I have carried those traditions down to my children.  Although, it might be hard to have a sit down 2:00 Sunday dinner, I often make recipes I remember from Nana Mary. 

Sausage and peppers from Nana Mary is a simple uncomplicated dish that originally Nana would serve over fresh pasta, but I love the recipe as a sandwich and so does my family.   Made from homemade marinara sauce, onions, peppers, garlic and special seasonings I serve the sausage and peppers on hero rolls, and watch as my husband and son devour several sandwiches each.   As I watch them eat, I feel like Nana Mary did and it makes me smile!

Hamburgers "Breakfast of Champions!"

Saturday's for the wife and I are what we call "running around day"  a day devoted to catching up on all of our errands, preparing for the week ahead. 

This Saturday morning the wife and I had a full morning of dropping dogs off to the groomers, here is a picture of our newly groomed babies, Abby a.k.a Miss Mary and Bailey a.k.a Bad Boy Bailey.  Don't they look so cute?
Bailey & Abby

Grooming day for the dogs is sometimes an all day event because we take them to a wonderful lady named Liz, in Justin,TX  which is a 1/2 hour from where we live, so we try to do things close by.  Wife also had an appointment at a nearby salon, so being the good husband I decided to wait in the car until she was done, but all that time I was getting really hungry and a big sign in front of me read "The Snooty Pig Cafe"    The Snooty Pig Cafe is a diner like eatery located in Argyle,TX .   We mainly go there for breakfast and sometimes lunch and are known for their colossal homemade muffins and biscuits. 

So by the time wife was done with her salon appointment I said "let's have breakfast"  we situated ourselves and wife ordered a traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and a biscuit with a side of fresh hot coffee.  I looked on the menu front to back and wasn't sure what to eat.  So being as hungry as I was decided to go with the hearty Chili Bacon Cheeseburger with jalapenos and fresh cut french fries.  Wife looked at me as if I was crazy having ordered this huge burger for breakfast but I just said it is a "breakfast of champions".  

When our order arrived I can see my wife laughing wondering how I was going to eat this for breakfast but I knew I wouldn't have a problem.  The insides of the bun were lightly grilled, soft and fresh, not to waste food I piled on the lettuce, tomato and raw onions.  Topped with mild homemade chili and jalapenos, I proceeded to add mustard, lil mayo and ketchup.   Yes, I know a little much, but I proceeded to dig in enjoying every messy, spicy bite, oh and it had bacon also!  "Small Feat for Mankind" but somebody had to do it!

If you are ever in Argyle, Texas stop by the:
Snooty Pig Cafe
100 Country Club Road
Argyle, Texas  (940) 464-0748

Good breakfast and lunch plates at reasonable prices.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer's Simple Pleasures and Old Fashioned Ice Cream

When husband (Rowland) has the day off we try to make plans ahead of time, but if you live in Texas, this summer has been a hot one!  Since the beginning of August we have seen above 100 temps. 

We decided to go to the square in Denton, TX .  Really cute with the town hall building in the center and quaint shops surrounding it.   Denton Town Square is right near the University of North Texas Campus and is a popular place for students and where families come to walk the square and can eat at several of the great restaurants and shop the vintage boutiques.   During the summer the courthouse lawn is a gathering place for musicians to play and where you can just bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the show! 

So with no particular plans in mind we decided to go to our favorite vintage book store where I like to buy vintage cook books for inspiration.  We then visited our favorite antique store and several other shops, but as the heat of day soon approached (which is usually before 12:00) we decided to try a mom and pop old fashioned ice cream shop. 

Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop is just that, old fashioned!   When you walk in you feel like you stepped back in time with its black and white tiled floors, vintage lighting, counters with seating and pressed tin ceilings, housed in an authentic old building. 

Opening in 1998, they mix carbonated drinks from syrup and soda water the old fashioned way.  They make real ice cream soda's and all their ice cream is fresh and made on the premises.   Making ice cream the way ice cream was made 80 years ago.   When you walk in there is a large framed blackboard with all the flavors they offer, I lost count but I believe it was 100 flavors.  They make there waffle cones and their own hot fudge fresh every day.  From old fashioned sundaes to waffle cones and more toppings then I could have imagined.  They also offer a lunch menu of sandwiches and soup. 

My husband and I decided to go simple, Rowland ordered watermelon ice cream and I ordered fresh strawberry and banana and coconut cream scoop.  Our ice cream was served in a cold frosted oval glass dish.   Since it was to hot outside we decided to sit inside at one of the round tables with antique metal chairs. 

Before I could take a picture of Rowland's ice cream he was done!  I should have taken a picture before we sat down, oh well!  Rowland's watermelon ice cream was the color of watermelon, fresh and creamy with fresh watermelon in the ice cream, there was also small chocolate chips to mimic the seeds of a watermelon.   I had two scoops of creamy dreamy heaven, my strawberry & banana scoop was mixed with fresh strawberries and fresh banana in a creamy smooth base.  My coconut cream was pure heaven, not overly sweet but just creamy coconut taste with coconut flakes mixed in.

                                              Yummy, Yummy!  

Sometimes it is good to step back from our daily fast paced lives and just slow down and re-connect with the person you love and enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer and that is what we did on Husband's day off.

If you love old fashioned ice cream and are in Denton, TX be sure to visit:

Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop
117 West Hickory Street
Denton,  TX  76201

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shout Out to Our New Blogger Friends

We just wanted to say a few words about our Foodbuzz friends.  It was great meeting fellow bloggers at the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Event, at Carrabba's Italian Grill this past Saturday. 

If you have not yet attended a Foodbuzz Event, it is a fun way of meeting your fellow Foodbuzz Bloggers in person.  This was our first event and we absolutely had a great time meeting people that have the same common interest as we do.  There was never a shortage of conversation when you all share a common passion which in our case is food.

We just wanted to mention some of the bloggers we met and if you have not visited their blogs, give them a visit because they are a great bunch of people!

We enjoyed meeting each and every one of you, can't wait for the next event!