Thursday, May 05, 2016

Local News

UNH is offering new seed varieties geared towards the short growing season and climate of New Hampshire.
Weare residents are still searching for four cows who went missing a few days ago.
It has been 13 years since The Old Man in the Mountain natural structure fell.
One of the local cafes in town is closing it's doors after six years in town. We've been there a few time and will miss the Parmesan and Prosciutto Salad and Liquid Gold Latte (made with maple syrup).
I found a link for the 10 Best Places to Go for A Picnic in New Hampshire.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

What I'm Reading

Nevada Barr is one of my favorite authors and I love the series she's written based on the Park Ranger Anna Pigeon. She's written over fifteen books in this series and the first one is Track of the Cat. 
I've read the books, never in order, for years and decided it was time to read the first book. The books are stand alone - in that the storyline does not depend on the previous books. However, there is a continuity woven throughout the series that adds interest, but it not crucial to reading in order.
The main character is a national park ranger who loves the outdoors, the solitude of nature, and the chance to get away from humans. Each novel takes place in a different national park, which while being the setting of the books, plays out as a character, as well.
It's all engrossing to read the details of the territory of the parks and hear them through the main character. Anna is likable, yet somewhat cold, endearing and tough. The author created a rich personality in Ranger Pigeon that keeps me hooked on the books.  

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Laugh, Talk, Dream, Smile, and Love

New in the shop is this inspirational quote. You can get it in a poster form.
Laugh, Talk, Dream, Smile, Love Poster
Laugh, Talk, Dream, Smile, Love Poster by DMellenDesigns

Or in postcard form to send to everyone you love.
Laugh, Talk, Dream, Smile, Love Postcard
Laugh, Talk, Dream, Smile, Love Postcard by DMellenDesigns

Thank you for the ongoing support to all who have purchased cards, computer and phone cases, posters, and bags from my shop DMDesigns.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Food Trends I'm Currently Loving

Food Trends come and go. Like fashion, various foods see a surge in popularity, despite being around for a long time. Who hasn't heard of arugula?
I tend to dig in my heels and balk at "trends" but eventually, give them a try. Most, I dismiss as fads, but some I adore. Currently, I'm indulging in a few:

Infused Waters: I did a blog post last week and have been drinking infused water after having it at a friend's house. I love the addition of subtle flavor and no sugars (aside from sugars in the fruit). I drink more water now than I ever did.

Siracha - the famous red sauce that's delicious as a hot sauce for meats, fish, breads, and veggies. It adds an extra kick to food and cuts through any "fatty" taste.
Photo from Simply Recipes posted by Elise Bauer July 1, 2012
Grilled Romaine Lettuce -   The grilling chars the lettuce and almost sweetens the leaves. It also changes the texture and the grilled leaves soak up any vinaigrette deliciously. Here's a NYT recipes as well.

Spirializer and Veggie Noodles - Make your vegetables into noodles. I'm slow to this trend, my friend Bonnie has been doing it for years. I love the way you can spiral cut zucchini and carrots, top with a vinaigrette, and serve a delicious and unusual salad. Here are even more recipes.
Photo from A Million Miles
Smoothie Bowls, like the one pictured above, from A Million Miles Blog, are a delicious meal full of healthy ingredients. I think it's like an amped up yogurt with toppings. Bon Appetite has a few recipes. Basically, you made an extra thick smoothie (pureed fruit and veggies) and top it with nuts, fruits, and cereal.

What are some trends you fancy?

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Blessings

I am grateful for the little things and the big things.
This week I saw a small car pull out from a fishing dock. Six fishing poles were stuck out the rear window. It was a sight that brought a smile to my face.
I took fresh pineapple, ice, and coconut rum and blitzed them together in the blender. It was light, refreshing and delicious. Sort of a pina colada... healthy version?
I played tennis with a fun group on Sunday. The craziness ensued and it was all I could do to not laugh. One person plowed into another and knocked her over like a bowling pin. Once we found out she was okay, we helped dust her off. Her attacker made a comment later in the game, that he hit a wall and was tired all of a sudden. I asked if he always called his partner "the wall"? We had a good laugh about it.
My good friend had a birthday celebration (one of many) and we had a good time.
Jon and I spent an afternoon walking around in a museum. We haven't done that in years.
We went to dinner with friends who just returned from a trip to the midwest. It was fun to hear their memories.
Ashley presented her findings for her Master's Degree at Boston University. She rehearsed continuously with her sister and reports say she did a fantastic job! I am blessed that both of my daughters took their schooling seriously and worked hard and thoughtfully towards their academic goals.
P, M, and I back in the 70's
My sisters M&P had a birthday this week. Happy 41st, Little Sisters!
It's May Day! May 1, 2016. This means warmer weather is on it's way.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pizza Toppings

Pizza is a huge industry in America with over $30 billion in sales each year. 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a week. This is no surprise as over 3 billion pizzas are sold each year and over 1 billion frozen pizzas.
And what is it about pizza that makes it such a big seller? .... the toppings!
The top 10 toppings in America are pepperoni, mushroom, onion, sausage, bacon, extra cheese, black olive, green pepper, pineapple, spinach.
And everyone knows that those are just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps that is what makes pizza so popular is that you can eat once everyday for a year and not have the same one twice!
Toppings have become more "gourmet" more "foodie lovers" with the addition of arugula and the like. But, there's also more toppings that are just as loved:
Herbs: basil, cilantro,
Meats and Fish: pepperoni, prosciutto, salami, chicken, shrimp, anchovies, sausage, hamburger, meatball, crab, bacon, ham
Vegetables: artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers,roasted peppers, black olives, spinach, tomato, jalapeno, garlic, mushroom, onions, pineapple, green olives, broccoli, arugula, eggplant,
Cheese: mozzarella, pesto, feta, gouda, cheddar, parmesan, Munster , Swiss, Brie, Blue Cheese, Gorgonzola,
Fruit: Apple, Pear, 
Sauces : Marinara, pesto, White Sauce, Southern Gravy, Brown Gravy, 
Grouper Fish Pizza
This post was inspired by a Grouper Pizza! Blackened Grouper topped on a pizza crust with mozzarella, red onion, spinach, and chopped tomatoes. The pizza was light and delicious. The grouper, a white fleshed fish, was seasoned well and was complimented by the red onion and spinach.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Infused Waters: A Great Way to Stay Hydrated

 My good friend Robyn serves delicious water at her home. She gave me a cup and I sipped what I was expected to be plain old water. Instead was a subtle herb and lemon flavor. It was delicious and I finished the cup immediately. When I told her it was delicious, she told me it was basil, mint and lemon infused water.
The herbs were mild, more of an aftertaste, and the lemon gave a bit of tang. I was hooked. When I went home, I immediately made some infused water with what I had on hand. In my case, it was orange and rosemary. Delicious. Who could have thought that savory herbs would make water so refreshing?
The formula for infused water is simple, just herbs, fruit, or vegetables. Let sit a few hours and drink. I've found that some of the herbs develop of bitter taste if left too long, which I found to be more than 6 hours. Sometimes the combination of citrus with herbs can speed up that battering process.
Infused Waters can be made with any combination of the following:
HERBS- lemongrass, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, cilantro, mint
SPICE- ginger, cinnamon stick, peppercorns
FLOWERS- lavender, hibiscus
FRUIT - berries, citrus, apples, pears, pineapple, kiwi, mango, melon
VEGGIES - carrots, celery, jicama, green or red peppers

Robyn had a beautiful glass drink dispenser that she used to serve the water. I used glass water bottles and made 800 ml at a time. This allowed me to drink 3-4 a day. I have never felt so hydrated! I love the flavor of fresh rosemary in water and used it in a few of my bottles.
Wash all herbs and fruit before using. I sliced the fruit to allow the flavors to infuse the water. I've done previous posts on Agua Fresca which uses pureed fruit and sugar, but I prefer the flavor of no added sweeteners.