May 31, 2013

Wow, has the last month flown by! Having a baby is like going into a time warp, where what was previously ‘a day’ or ’24 hours’ is now equal to ‘feed little people, sleep and maybe shower’. So that means my month hiatus from a blog post is more like a few days in regular time.

In the last month, so many great friends and family have stopped by with delicious meals and treats, I wanted to share some favorites! Also, while I have been nursing I have watched some great cooking shows, so I wanted to share some of the ideas that I can’t wait to try.

1. Have you ever seen French Cooking at Home with Laura Calder?  She is super smart/well-traveled albeit quirky, and she just inspires me to shop for amazing ingredients like tarragon vinegar from Nice and sea salt from the Ivory Coast. I love hearing her stories about France and it is filling in for my inability to travel for the next 15 years nicely.

2. My friend dropped off some yummy chocolate chip cookies with her fantastic meatloaf meal, and I actually texted her for the recipe.  They were dark chocolate and not too sweet, kind of salty, and definitely tasted homemade.  (Those roses are from my husband from the hospital after having Andrew, love him!)

When I saw my friend she told me they were the all natural prepackaged cookies at our local store. Here is the package, go get yourself some! There are such a great chocolate fix.

3. We are lucky enough in Portsmouth to have some great small grocery stores with delicious pre-made food.  I have been living off of Fresh Market’s Curry Chicken Salad and Pesto Chicken Salad. They are both so easy to make I plan to make a big batch at home soon. To make them, just bake 3 chicken breasts at 350 for 30 min, or grab a rotisserie chicken, cube the chicken and toss with mayo. For the Curry Chicken Salad, mix in curry powder + cashews + grapes. For Pesto Chicken Salad,  pesto + walnuts or pine nuts. (You can use store bought pesto in a pinch too). Season well with salt and pepper.  This to me is summer heaven in Bibb lettuce and a Pita, or really thick wheat bread. Or Cibatta. Ok, I’ll stop.

4. This side salad a friend brought over is also on the must re-create at home list. What I love about it are the size of the cucumber and celery pieces, it makes the salad feel so hearty and the dressing is amazing.  Why have I never thought to cut celery so big and include it in a salad? It is in a red-wine vinegar dressing with TONS of dill but not a lot of oil, so it is very light. I am really inspired to toss summer veggies in lots of herbs and vinegar.

I ate this for lunch for 2 days, one day adding tortellini and extra feta:

5. I hope you are blessed with a pizza place nearby that has good greek salads, with the really yummy dressing, soft fresh pita and great salty feta. Because I am.  Nick and Charlies, and if your local, please order from them (you can find their website here) because I really really love them and want them to stay in business.

6. While we are at it, if you haven’t tried Peeper Ale, it is a Portland,ME local brew and we (as in my husband, my extended family, and my friends. A hearty collective) love it.  I am heading to Casco Bay, ME tomorrow and I am having one in advance tonight with the above greek salad.

7. My sister and her husband brought over bags of Steak Burritos and Breakfast Burritos after Andrew was born.  It was such  a great make ahead meal, and they freeze very easily too.  Thinking I will dedicate a Sunday this summer to making a bunch since it is so easy on busy mornings and evenings to toss these in the microwave.  Sharing this idea with you all in the quest for the easiest make ahead meals ever.

8. I love fish, and it feels like a treat because it is not often I can shop for it and cook it on the same day.  Next time I have the chance, I am making this: Ina Garten’s Salmon Sandwiches with bacon and guacamole on Cibata rolls.  I am dying to try these!

Going to snuggle with the littles for family movie night. Have a fabulous weekend!

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