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Yet another recipe from Suzi’s book of favorites. She always talks about her mother making these overnight cookies when she was growing up. What a fun project with your kiddos this weekend?!

Goodnight Cookies

2 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

6 ounces chocolate chips

3/4 cup nuts (pecans), chopped

Dash vanilla extract

Dash cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the remaining ingredients until combined. Drop mixture by the teaspoon on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put in the oven, turn off the heat, and forget until morning.

 

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It’s time to get on my soap box for my top pet peeve — the gift of puppies at Christmas. I know. It is adorable. Those kids are thrilled. All is right in the world while that puppy plays in piles of discarded wrapping paper.

BUT. Think about a week later when you’ve been up all night and the kids are snug in their beds. Think about what happens when they go back to school and you’re back at work in January. Most people aren’t lucky like I am to have a built in doggie daycare in the form of MawMaw and PawPaw (also known as Paul and Suz). You’ll be tempted to make that post on Facebook to re-home that little ball of fur.

Don’t get me wrong. I always asked for puppies at Christmas, but we are a different breed of dog people (and my parents knew how to say no). When we were growing up, our dogs stayed outside; but we played with them. We would come home from school, get into the backyard, and spend hours running around the yard with the dogs. We didn’t play video games. We didn’t have the internet until I was in the 8th grade. Our dogs were our after-school activity. Now that I’m an adult and have 2 children, I mean, dogs of my own, nothing makes me madder than seeing those people who had to give in to their kids’ wishlists and get them a puppy post they are ready to regift a family member.

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Now, here comes the warning. If you have the slightest thought of getting a puppy for Christmas for your kids this year, go ahead and unfriend me. Block me on Instagram. I’ll be watching you otherwise. And when you go back in mid February and make that post saying “free to a good home” or “we just don’t have time for him”, beware. I’ll call you out  on that post because you are the worst of the worst. I won’t feel bad about it either. Your kids will eventually move on and forget, but that dog won’t. Dogs get attached. Dogs become a part of the family the moment you bring them home and begin to trust you. When you give them away or let them run off or don’t have time for them, that changes that dog.

So, you’ve been warned. Merry Christmas. Get them a stuffed animal instead.

As a Christmas present the first year that my parents were married, my grandmother gifted a custom-bound book to fill with her favorite recipes. I’ve seen this book come out of the cabinet all of my life and know that it is filled with recipes that I’ve grown up with and love. One particular recipe that I demand make it’s appearance each Christmas season is for my favorite cookie, Childhood Thumbprint Cookies. The dough is that of a buttery shortbread, and it is filled with a dark fudgey chocolate that I could eat by the spoonful (and maybe have over the years).

 

Childhood Thumbprint Cookies

For dough:

1 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

For frosting:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To make the dough, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour and salt. Mix well and chill. Roll into 1-inch balls and flatten with thumb. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

To make the frosting, cook sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Beat until the desired consistency (a thick, shiny fudge). Top each cookie thumbprint with a teaspoon full of chocolate and allow to harden. Keep in an airtight container (and hidden so no one else will eat them).

 

Maybe the average Christmas tree parent doesn’t encounter issues with their decor. Maybe it’s like a free-for-all of tree problems at my winter wonderland because there is one in each room. However, when I came home Sunday night to find my birds and squirrel themed tree on my dining room floor, I felt like I was in the twilight tree zone. After a second tumble while I was in the shower, I was ready to get a new one and throw that particular artificial tree on the curb.

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BUT when Mom and Dad stopped by Monday morning to assess the damage, they found a possible culprit. Jo (the Beagle) was happily running through the house with one of the bird ornaments that resembles a ball of yarn. I mean, the tree is dedicated to she and Jackie’s favorite prey; but after having it up every year, I figured that they were over the tree ornament grab and run. Maybe not. We still have a few weeks to go.

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What do I remember most about Christmas morning at Nannie and PawPaw’s? (Other than the flocked, white tree?) I remember my grandfather, TJ Guido, carefully making up a punch bowl filled with homemade Egg Nog. He spent time whipping the cream by hand and making sure to get the recipe just right. Of course, it was the adult version of egg nog, so I never indulged. Now, I’m still not a fan, but Paul Guido sure is. Here is the recipe they went by year after year.

Egg Nog

1 carton whipping cream

12 eggs, separated

2 cups sugar

1 pint whiskey (or rum)

1/2 gallon sweet milk

Nutmeg

Beat cream. Blend yolks and sugar. Add to cream. Add the milk. Fold in egg whites. Add whiskey. Sprinkle nutmeg on each cup to taste. Can put in punch bowl and will not separate.

As most of you know, I am carrying on the Guido Christmas tradition of having a white, flocked tree each year as my Christmas centerpiece. My grandmother’s tree was epic each year. With her large bay window in the living room, she could afford to get the fattest tree on the lot. She went for short and fat, and she got it right every year. Mom and Dad were always on hand to help with the flocking process; so when I bought my house with a large window in the living room, we knew I would take up the tradition.

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See? I’ve been Christmas obsessed since the early 90s.

Now, over the years, I’ve traded her pastel and mauve ornaments for traditional reds and greens to stand out for the passersby. (Don’t worry. Those “Nannie” ornaments now live on my bedroom tree each year.) And this year was poised to be the best tree yet with the edition of those retro colored lights added to the white lights for a little pizzazz. However, the flocking gods had other plans this year.

In early November, I went to the same old site to get the same old flocking fiber refills that I get every year. I always start the year with five pounds of flock to make sure I have enough to get through the tree. I usually only need 3 or at most 4 pounds, but you just never know how the flocking will go once you get started. When the flock came in, the bags weren’t in the refill packages that I’m used to. They were just Ziploc bags of flock. So I had a slight panic wash over me while looking at this $100-worth box of alien flock. After some Googling and frantic emailing to Fowl Flocker, I found out that Peak Seasons no longer makes the refill packages of flock for my particular flocking apparatus/gun. Again, I panicked. I started looking for new flocking methods. Some said to use a sieve to “dust” the flock. (Yeah right.) Others suggested buying the industrial flocking machine. (Hell no to $1,000+.) Finally, I found a “snow blower” perfect for the amateur flocker. (What a sentence.) So, I was ready.

The morning after Turkey Day, we bought our pre-painted real Christmas tree, got it into the stand, and trimmed the excess limbs to create shape for the flock and the hundreds of lights and ornaments to decorate with. Now, time to flock. The new apparatus called for a spraying of water over the tree as the first step, then the flock was the go on with more water. Already, we’re adding more water than we usually do; and the process calls for a final spraying of water after the flock has been applied. The first pound of flock is poured into the bucket, on goes the shop vac, and bam. The pound of flock is gone. I think I went white lipped. We’ve only made one pass up and down the length of the tree and we’re a pound of my five pounds down. Shit. So we started to strategize this process. Dad handled the bucket. I worked the shop vac power switch. Within 5 more minutes, the flocking was finished. Now to add (more) water to activate the adhesive in the flock. Then the entire tree drooped. More panic. It just needed to dry. Yeah. Dry! Remember now, it was humid as all get out this weekend. That can’t be good for flocking with this much water. So, we decided to let it sit in the carport overnight and think about what it did.

The next morning, I noticed that a little more of the tree had sprung into shape; but for the most part, we were still drooping. So, inside the tree came. I trimmed some more limbs out to lighten the mood. And on went the decor.

It’s not my best tree; but from the road, it looks just fine. I will say that decorating it definitely helped. I gave it a vodka and water last night to help spur it along. However, Peak Seasons and I will be having some words later today about the flocking process. I mean. What the flock?

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There aren’t many dishes that Dad talks about from growing up, but one that stands out are the stuffed artichokes his grandmother, Bena Guido, would make for an appetizer at Christmas Eve. A few years ago, I tried a recipe I found on pinterest. It was an all day affair to make these things; and while they were good, they weren’t Bena’s. However, I started digging through Nannie’s recipe box and (Voila!) I found a recipe for Stuffed Artichokes. I’m hoping that this is Bena’s famous recipe because I’ll be whipping it up at some point to test it out. (Fingers crossed.)

Stuffed Artichokes

4 medium artichokes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

1/2 cup parsley, shopped

2 ounces ham or pepperoni

1 medium clove garlic

2 teaspoons fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Trim artichoke leaves and take fuzzy choke from bottom. Brush ends of the leaves with lemon juice. In processor, blend cheese with bread crumbs, parsley, meat, garlic, and oregano until the meat is finely minced. Stir in olive oil. Sprinkle artichokes with salt, open the leaves slightly, and stuff with 2 tablespoons of the mixture in each leaf. Sprinkle with remaining mixture. Put in shallow dish so they fit snuggly. Cover bottom of dish with water. Cover with foil leaving opening for vent. Cook on high 12 to 16 minutes turning every 4 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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Well, today I start my 31st year and am excited to see what it brings. I have to say, thirty was a good one and will be hard to beat. Right before that big birthday, a friend told me she thought 30 would be my year. Was she right! A new job, which is what I’m thankful for this year. A crop of new friends, including a large-toothed nutria. New adventures that have brought me a little closer to home. Time was spent in New Orleans with Dad, Baton Rouge with Mom, and the Delta with my favorite kiddos. Top all that off with more weekends than I can count spent curled up with the Beagles. Thirty was welcomed and enjoyed.

So, tonight I’ll ring in 31 with the best of friends over dinner and a couple glasses of bubbly just in time for Turkey Day!

 

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This recipe is one that my Nannie, Doris Guido, made for every Thanksgiving and Christmas I can remember. When she realized just how much I liked it, it would show up throughout the year, too. I loved it. It was the crunch of the water chestnuts and Ritz crackers, the creaminess of that cheese, and all those veggies that I absolutely adore! Now, Doris loved onion. It was present in everything, but it’s perfect here. Add this to your Turkey Day spread. Trust me.

Zucchini and Squash Casserole

2 cups zucchini and squash, cooked and drained

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Medium onion, chopped

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

10 Ritz crackers, crushed

1 can sliced water chestnuts

Cook and drain the squash and zucchini, pressing out all the water. Saute onion in it. Mix together veggies with mayo, eggs, salt, and pepper. Add water chestnuts. Pour in greased 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Top with cheesed crushed crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

It’s no secret that I like Christmas. As soon as Hallmark starts running that marathon countdown and XM changes over to the jolliest of tunes, I’m instantly in the holiday spirit. Don’t misunderstand, though. I love all of fall. I love pumpkin spice like every other basic out there. I love seeing the leaves change and crisp fall days make their way into our lives. I love Halloween and dressing my Beagles into costumes that they absolutely hate. I even make room for Thanksgiving because, really, what’s better than a day solely devoted to eating, watching a Christmas parade, and then napping all afternoon? Plus, both my sister and I celebrate our birthdays in November, so we have an appreciation for the fall.

But what’s wrong with decking the halls early? What’s wrong with spreading a little Christmas cheer? I’ve already planned, ordered, and started addressing my Christmas cards. I’ve got 4 of my 6 trees up and decorated. Is there a Christmas wreath on my door? No. Do I have pumpkins on my porch? Yes. Have I already pulled out my Christmas PJs? Hell, yes. It’s cold outside. So, do us all a favor. Don’t judge those that decorate during the month of November and sing Fa-la-la-la-la under their breath at a moment’s notice. We’re just jolly, ok? It could be worse.

A few years back, we went to Mistletoe Marketplace and found a vendor called Rag Muffins out of Florida. She had so many adorable tea towels, and if you’ve been in my kitchen you know I have a tea towel for every occasion and I purchase one on every trip. She can take handwritten recipes and turn them into tea towels. So your favorite recipes can also act as artwork in your kitchens.

That Christmas, I sent the recipe for my MawMaw’s Okra Gumbo she had written in 1986 on a notecard and left in her recipe box for me to find 20 years later to be made into a tea towel for my mom. To say we had a tearful Christmas morning when that gift was unwrapped is an understatement. So while I don’t have any pictures of her making this gumbo, I have her handwriting to go by and hang on my stove when I miss her.

Okra Gumbo

1 pint frozen okra gumbo mix, thawed

2 cups water

1 16-ounce can tomatoes, not drained

1 pound medium shrimp

Salt to taste

Bay leaves

Combine mix, water, and tomatoes in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add shrimp and simmer for 20 minutes. Salt to taste. Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked rice.

Remember that Supper Club event I talked about a couple of weeks ago? I thought I’d share a couple shots from that amazing night on the bluff.

Anyone need plans for Sunday afternoon? Country Roads is hosting our 35th Anniversary shindig at The Myrtles in St. Francisville, and the tickets are flying. What better way to bring in the upcoming holiday season than with a little cheer, merriment, and an adventure close to home?

Has anyone else heard that song before? I remember it from early on and went down a YouTube rabbit hole looking for the origin. No luck, but there sure are a lot of crazy videos associated with chicken pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie has to be one of my all time favorites. If mom was making it, I was thrilled. If it was in the cafeteria, I was the first in line. I dream about Fridays at Mammy’s Cupboard just so I can have this special, and I always ask if they have leftovers if I go on Saturday. In college, I tried my own version with crescent rolls. I’ve seen recipes on Pinterest for a Crock-Pot soup version. This is my mom’s version. You won’t be disappointed.

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Chicken Pot Pie

1 package pre-made pie crust

4 chicken breasts (or 6 thighs), boiled and cut into bite-size pieces

Broth, reserved from boiling

1 large can mixed vegetables

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Warm the soup and add the vegetables and cooked chicken. If too thick, add broth to thin. Pour into pie crust rolled into a greased pie plate. Top with remaining crust, crimp the edges, and cut vents into the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

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Making a Murderer: Part 2

Ok, this is a bit of a spoiler alert. If you watched season 1 but haven’t started (or finished) season 2, skip to the podcasts below. When I watched season 1, I had a fishy feeling about Bobby Dassey. When they shared the timeline of events that day, I knew something was wrong with the fact that Bobby vanished as soon as Teresa Halbach left the property. I don’t think that Scott Tadych had anything to do with it, but Bobby’s demented self did.

And let’s talk about Kathleen Zellner for a minute. She is something else. That hair, those nails, her lack of emotion. Maybe I’ve been watching too much of season 3 of American Horror Story, but she would make a perfect Supreme.

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Bear Brook

I stumbled upon this podcast yesterday when driving back and forth from Baton Rouge. I keep starting and stopping podcasts that just don’t keep me hanging on. This one seems like it will do the trick. It follows a double murder that is found by a couple of kids playing around in the woods back in the 1980s.

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Voodoo City

This one is just a treat for all of those looking for some trick in time for Halloween. The stories are quick and shed some light on New Orleans legends. Give it a listen!

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I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of sausage in link form. It must be a texture thing because I love ground sausage. So, when I hear that red beans and rice is on the menu, I know it will be pick around the sausage night for me. However, I love the flavor that it leaves in the mix; so, leave the sausage in!

Red Beans and Rice

1 16-ounce can Blue Runner Creole Cream-style Red Beans

3 16-ounce cans Bush’s Light Red Kidney Beans

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

8 ounces chicken broth

1/2 pound sausage, sliced thin

1 cup ham, finely chopped

Add all ingredients to the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours. Serve over white rice.

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I have really gotten into trying to read the book before the movie comes out. One of my most recent was Crazy Rich Asians. I will say that I completely suggest doing the Audible version. It’s so nice to hear the names and towns pronounced correctly. It’s also amazing to hear the accents. It adds a whole new tone to the book. With the digital version coming out in a few weeks, get this onto your list. It’s quick, catty, and really satisfying.

It’s that time of year again. The balloons have completed their first race of the season, and the mayhem of Balloon Race weekend is underway. Who would’ve thought a couple of weeks ago when we were praying for temperatures below 90 degrees that we would be dealt this slate of fall weather to enjoy the best of the best?

Growing up, I have so many memories of Balloon Races past. One of the earliest is spending Saturday morning on a pallet in the driveway, snuggled up watching the balloons float overhead. I also remember my Dad’s first flight and him being christened with an upside-down champagne toast in the field next to the balloon he rode in. (Oh, don’t worry. Aimee and I tried to recreate this same toast at home with water and plastic cups, and their is VHS evidence out there somewhere.) Aimee’s first flight came later with cousin Stephen, and mine was just a few short years ago one Friday morning Hare and Hound race.

So, instead of sharing a recipe today, sending everyone to the grocery store, and spending time stuck in the kitchen, I’m hoping everyone plans on spending the weekend out of the house. Natchez has a full weekend on deck, so get out there and chase a balloon!

This weekend is the be-all and end-all for weekends to come to Natchez, be out and about in Natchez, and strongly consider becoming a Natchezian in your spare time. With the hot air balloons already floating around to excite the locals, we’ve got our fingers crossed for a weekend of calm and cool weather. So, come see us.

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But, we would also like to see you stay for dinner on Sunday night. Country Roads will play host after a long weekend for us locals and set out of spread that showcases the best views, tours, and dining in town in the second event of the Fall Supper Club Series. How do you become a member of the club? All you need is your golden ticket that can be purchase right here. Want to know what’s on the menu? Read a scrumptious overview here.

There are only a few tickets left, so hurry and grab yours now.

 

I know; I’m jumping the gun. But I love fall for many reasons — the main one being that Christmas soon follows. Last December, I hosted a little gathering for my Moscow Mule-loving friends and tried out a new recipe on them. The Cranberry Mule was a hit!

 

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry juice (not juice cocktail)

Ginger beer

Vodka

Fresh limes, cut into wedges

Fresh cranberries, frozen for garnish

Over ice, pour a shot of vodka into your mule mug. Top with half a can of ginger beer and finish with cranberry juice. Squeeze in a lime wedge and add frozen cranberries as a garnish. You could also add sprigs of rosemary for a Christmas-time look.

When I moved into my house, the first order of business was to paint. The house was spotless (Thanks, Elizabeth Turner!), and I was able to run straight to the paint department to start selecting shades of gray for every single surface. I was excited to paint the chocolate brown dining room a bright shade of gray to lighten the space. We found that the cabinets used as book shelves by the previous owners were actually better suited for china cabinets since a plate rail was on each shelf. Once we got into the process and did a little digging in the attic, we found that the glass doors to the built in cabinets were in perfect condition. They just needed a fresh coat of crisp white paint and to be rehung. This may have been the easiest face lift we have completed to date.

Last fall, Mom and I came across this recipe in an issue of Louisiana Cookin’ in hopes we could bring on feelings of fall. These are delicious, spiced to perfection, and a must bake this weekend.

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Cane Sugar Snaps

3/4 cup all-vegetable shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/3 cup cane syrup

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup raw cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat shortening and granulated sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, beating until just combined. Add cane syrup, beating until just combined. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt, and cloves. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to shortening mixture, beating until combined. In a small bowl, stir together cane sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a spring-loaded 1-ounce scoop, scoop dough, and roll into balls; coat in sugar mixture. Place dough balls at least 1½ inches apart on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 13 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on wire racks.

So, what is my house missing (besides a dishwasher and actual en suite bathroom)? A fireplace. I feel like every home needs a mantle. And since I grew up in a home with a brick fireplace as the focal point of the living room, it was something I wanted somehow in my chimneyless house. Luckily, my Dad is Mr. Fix It and was able to build a mantle for me.

I had the perfect empty wall in my dining room, so for my 27th birthday, dad built a mantle into my house. We spent hours in the molding department at the hardware store trying different layers. Corbels versus none. Details versus simple. What we ended up with looks like it should have always been there. Hopefully I will find the perfect iron grate to place in the hole where the fireplace would be. I’ll keep my eyes peeled in the mean time.

With a weekend of football ahead of us, go to the store and pick up these items. You will be glad you did when having your own at-home tailgate in front of the TV. It’s our family’s favorite, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before now.

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Seven-layer Mexican Dip

1 small can Frito bean dip

1 package taco seasoning (low sodium)

1 8-ounce container sour cream (plain Greek yogurt)

1 12-ounce container guacamole

1 package shredded taco cheese (low fat)

3 ripe tomatoes, diced

1 small can black olives, sliced

3 green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the bean dip and taco seasoning.  Spread bean mixture on the bottom of your serving piece.  In another small bowl, combine the sour cream and guacamole.  I now substitute with the Greek yogurt; and, honestly, I like the taste better.  Spread this mixture over the bean dip layer.  Add the bag of cheese to the stop.  Spread the tomatoes and olives over the cheese, and top with the green onions.  Serve with tortilla chips or Frito scoops.

Since celebrating 6 years in this little house on Auburn last week, I’ve been looking through the before and after photos I have showing some major changes we’ve made over the years. So, I thought I’d share a couple of those projects with you.

When I bought my house in 2012, we found wall furnaces in so many rooms that were no  longer in use, actually removed the ones in the bathrooms and kitchens right away, and covered the holes they left. However, there was a pair of furnaces in the living and dining rooms that were in the wall and the floor that posed quite a problem. However, after a couple of years of thinking, dear ole Dad came up with the perfect Mr. Fix It fix. He was able to recreate the look of the built-in china cabinets into matching book shelves  to cover not only the holes in the walls but also the missing hardwood floors. Plus, who doesn’t need more built ins?

You see what I did there? I’m ready for big bulky sweaters. Since it’s not quite there yet, I guess I’ll knock down the air conditioning and pull out the crock pot for this week’s easy, delicious chicken chili. Best part? It’s one of those “can dump” recipes that NO ONE can get wrong.

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Crock Pot Chicken Chili

1 small onion, chopped
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
10-ounce package frozen corn kernels
2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
4-ounce can chopped green chili peppers, chopped
1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
24 ounces (3) boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (for topping)

Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, diced tomato, cumin, chili powder, and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and mix well. Nestle the chicken in to completely cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite toppings!

Yesterday marked 6 years as a homeowner, and I have loved my relationship with my little house on Auburn Avenue. We get along nicely, and it doesn’t mind when I continually make it change and update its style. Over the past year, it’s seen a new coat of paint on the shutters and doors. It’s now got a nice pair of bathrooms that match. The blinds are slowly being changed out. (20 windows takes time and money.) We even got a little update in the laundry room (and some shiplap). I’d say it’s turning out nicely.

Hopefully over the next year we will see a fresh coat of paint for the siding. I wouldn’t mind a little hail damage either (hint, hint Mother Nature).

Happy Birthday, House!

September 17, 2012

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I’m on a fall kick with recipes, and this one is the quintessential Guido concoction. Growing up, when this smell filled the house, you knew that summer was over and fall had arrived. Now, when I walk up to the back door and can smell this aroma seeping through, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s just a simple trail mix; but my God, it’s absolute perfection.

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Do-Dads

1 box each rice, wheat, and corn Chex cereal

½ bag pretzels

1 box Cheez-Its

1 bag oyster crackers

1 jar unsalted peanuts

1 jar cashews

4 cups pecan halves

4 cups almonds, unseasoned

1 ½ sticks butter

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 cup Worcestershire sauce

Tabasco to taste

¼ cup lemon juice

Put all dry ingredients in a large container, and mix well. In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the seasonings, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Using a one gallon plastic bag, fill the bag half full with the dry mix. Drizzle ¼ cup of the butter mixture into the bag, seal the bag, and toss to coat the cereal mix. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees for thirty minutes (or until the mixture appears dry). Spread in a larger pan to cool before storing in air-tight container or large plastic bags.

Every year brings back those same feelings from 2001 of anger, fear, and patriotism. In 2013, I had the honor to visit Ground Zero during a quick trip to the Big Apple. It may have been pouring rain but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to visit such a sacred American monument.

 

With fall quickly approaching (And let’s be honest, it’s September. It’s here.), I can’t wait to fill my home with the scent of fresh coffee, dreamy comfort foods, and pumpkin-spiced everything. Full disclosure, I upgraded to a full-time adult this week by ordering an actual coffee pot and getting rid of my one-cup Keurig. I actually set it to pop on 30 minutes before my alarm went off so my house smelled of freshly brewed coffee when I woke up. I felt like I was a grown up when I woke up this morning.

Here is a recipe that makes my senses happy when it’s roasting in the crock pot, PLUS it’s easy!

Mississippi Roast

4 pound chuck roast

1 envelope ranch dressing mix

1 envelope au jus mix

½ cup butter

4 – 5 sweet peppers, sliced

Seasoned salt and pepper to taste

Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray. Place the roast in the bottom and sprinkle with black pepper and seasoned salt to taste. Sprinkle ranch mix over the top; then the au jus mix on top of that. Place the peppers on top of the mixes and top with the butter. Set the slow cooker to 8 hours and let it go!

Over the weekend, we witnessed the burning of one of Natchez’s finest landmarks, The Prentiss Club. Some remember it for the Cellar in its basement years ago and others remember it after Buzz Harper came to town and revitalized the building with grandeur and a golden touch. What I remember the Prentiss Club for was a cocktail luncheon given in my grandmother, Doris Guido’s, honor in the spring of 2007 when my sister was the reigning Natchez Garden Club Queen. Our Queen Mum enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in the grand ballroom and lavish dining room surrounded by friends, family, and guests of all ages. We wined from crystal, dined from fine China, and finished the event with a silver spoon filled with a strawberry trifle.

Now that my Nannie has passed away, the Prentiss Club has been the holder of the memories from that afternoon several moons ago. I hope that the future for the building and almost art gallery is bright. In Natchez, we restore our history for generations to come. The Prentiss Club still has many years to go.

With the kickoff of football season this weekend for the SEC world and a side of dove hunting this Labor Day weekend, here is an idea recipe to try on your friends and family. From Absolutely A la Carte, this recipe is rich, creamy, and perfect for a crowd!

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Fireside Dip

2 pounds hot bulk sausage

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

3 15-ounce cans chili without beans

1 pound processed cheese spread loaf, cut into cubes

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into cubes

2 – 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained

Cook the first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain well. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients to mixture, stirring well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted. Serve dip hot in a chafing dish with tortilla chips. (This recipes makes for 25 to 30; so you can adjust as needed for your crowd.)

So, I’m into cults. Not in a way that suggests I want to or would join one, but I like to know why these people are able to be brainwashed in joining groups that take all of their money, their time, and families. Well, if I think about it, maybe online shopping is a type of cult. It takes all of my money. Anyway, here are a couple of cult-themed resources I’ve come across lately.

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Cults of Our Lives

This podcast covers a new cult each week in 30-minute spurts. I personally have learned so much, but sometimes, the girls get off track and the sound quality isn’t top notch for both hosts. However, listening to this each week during my trek around the states of Louisiana and Mississippi led me to my next obsession — Patty Hearst and the SLA.

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The Radical Story of Patty Hearst

Ok. Did she or didn’t she? Was she or wasn’t she? Personally? I think she was full blown in that cult from the beginning.

Long story short. An heiress to media millions gets “kidnapped” by a smaller (but violent)     cult, the Symbionese Liberation Army, held “hostage” for months while releasing tapes to  her family through the media about ransoms and needs of the group, only to show up on security footage of a bank robbery holding a machine gun of sorts. If you watch all the way through the docuseries, you’ll see just how into it this rich bitch gets. Crazy people.

Yesterday, I woke up with a scratchy throat, sinus pressure, and the chills. I figured since I hadn’t been sickly since last fall I was probably due for a round of the crud. I called my favorite “nurse,” Mom, and ordered up a pot of soup. And did she deliver! It had all of my favorites: wild rice, English peas, mushrooms, and cans of that delicious “cream of” concoction that goes so well in all things yummy.

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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

4 – 5 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

1 package Uncle Ben’s wild rice

1 bag frozen English peas

1 can sliced mushrooms

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Salt and pepper to taste

After boiling the chicken, reserve the broth. Shred the chicken and set aside. Prepare the wild rice as noted on the package. In the pot of broth, add in the peas and mushrooms and allow them to cook. Add both cans of soup, the chicken, and rice; and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat. If the soup needs thickening, prepare a package of white gravy; and add to the soup as needed to thicken and add flavor.

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Artwork by Country Roads’ Jennie Guido and Kourtney Zimmerman

What started out as a design for this year’s advertising campaign in Country Roads quickly turned into the artwork to commemorate this year’s festival. Growing up in Natchez, you see these posters and t-shirts everywhere. Restaurants, offices, and homes cover their walls in the colorful designs year after year. It’s the ideal Natchez collection.

And this year, I get to be a part of the collection. When I was told the focus of the music this year at the festival would be on New Orleans Jazz since that River City was taking its turn at 300, this image popped into my mind. With the amazing help of our Creative Director and mind reader at Country Roads, Kourtney Zimmerman made my idea come to life.

I can’t wait for this year’s Balloon Races to get here! It’s going to be a good year.

This week, the City of Vidalia and Natchez, Inc celebrated and welcomed Vidalia Demin Mills with a fantastic reception and delicious treats from all over Concordia Parish. One such dish was the spinach and artichoke dip from the Duck’s Nest. Oh. My. I had dreams about it that night. It was creamy with a touch of spice. Slap. Your. Mama.

It made me think of another spinach and artichoke dip that I have dreams about occasionally from A la Carte in Cleveland, Mississippi. Thankfully, I am the proud owner of one of Charlotte Skelton’s last copies of her cookbook, Absolutely A la Carte (thanks, Aimee). Here is her version.

A la Carte Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 ½ cups sour cream

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 – 2 tablespoons onion powder

Salt to taste

Ground white pepper to taste

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

Combine mozzarella and sour cream in a large bowl; stir in garlic and next 3 ingredients. Add spinach and artichoke hearts to mixture, stirring well. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Keep warm in a chafing dish.

Now, Charlotte says to serve these with home-fried tortilla chips, which (let me tell you) make this dip exceptional. So, in case you want to go the extra mile (which is completely worth it), here is that recipe.

Home-Fried Tortilla Chips

24 corn tortillas

2 quarts sunflower or safflower oil

Salt to taste

Stack tortillas into piles or 6; with a sharp knife, cut each stack into 6 to 8 equal wedges onto paper towels. When the temperature registers between 375 to 400 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer, add a handful of tortilla wedges into an electric deep fryer. Fry for 1 minute, stirring once or twice. Do not crowd the fryer, and fry the chips only until they’re crisp but not too dark. Transfer chips with a slotted spoon to paper towels, and season with salt. Continue frying other wedges.

Yes. We’ve added another. It’s something that we don’t necessarily have an excuse for, and we’re not sorry about it for the naysayers that think we’re crazy. We just love dogs. They are more than “part” of the family — they are family. Each one has a unique personality that fits into the Guido family mold; and when we have to say goodbye to one, we are all lost.

I had been planning on writing a post about our 2 “black kids,” the Black Labrador twins — Mae and TJ. However, over the past week, another “black kid” has come to live with us (at my parents’ house for all you people that think she’s living with me and the Beagles).

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Mae & TJ – The Twins

Last Tuesday, Mom and Dad were on their way home from early morning laundry openings and a side visit to McDonald’s when they spotted this black lab looking puppy on the highway near Grace Methodist Church. Dad, being the softy he is, instantly thought of our sweet Mae at home, wheeled the Ram Charger around, and jumped out to grab her from our Natchez rush minute. Luckily, Mom still had her warm McDonald’s biscuit, pulled it from the wrapper, and waved it wildly for the dog to see. Quickly making her way from the traffic, that puppy belly crawled into our lives, and “Grace” became a Guido.

I have to say, she’s definitely someone’s pet. We looked for her owner, shared her on  Facebook, checked for a microchip — and nothing. She is very mild-mannered, loves a good cuddle, and sleeps in the kennel all night. She sits. She stays. She stops when you say “no”. For a “puppy” of about 6 months or so, she’s pretty perfect. Now, we don’t think she is full Labrador. There is something else lurking in those bat-like ears. (We did a Google search and worried she may have some Great Dane in her. Search Labradane. We were scared.) But, she’s fitting in nicely with all of the Guido pups. The Beagles quickly took to her, and Mama Jo is teaching her who is boss. The Twins think she’s their long lost sister and roll her around the yard like a rag doll.

So, yes. We’ve added another. We saved Grace.

It’s finally Friday, and it’s cocktail time. When we traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, last September for my cousin Kari’s bachelorette bash, we spent an afternoon atop The Vendue at its amazing rooftop bar. We all quickly fell victim to the deliciousness of Peach Moscow Mules (and even took them “to go”). Ever since, we have attempted to recreate that yummy concoction and gotten pretty close to the real thing.

 

Peach Moscow Mule

1 shot peach-flavored vodka

Can ginger beer

Fresh lime juice

Ice

Fill a copper mule mug with ice. Pour in the vodka and top with ginger beer. Squeeze the juice of half a lime and enjoy!

This past weekend was chock-full of events, which were all fueled by endless wine, delicious food, and fun people. With a Friday afternoon with my freshly returned-to-America bosses around Natchez, Friday night landed the entire Country Roads crew (minus a few) at Natchez Food & Wine Festival’s Tastings Along the River. We wined; we dined; and we learned about the wine hammock/sling/yoke. (Don’t worry; those will be coming to a Supper Club near you this Fall.)

The Man. The Myth. The Wine Hammock.

Saturday was spent a little more relaxed with cocktails and cookies at my house before a delicious spread presented by Esther Carpenter and guest chef, Adam Ozga, at The Elms —  gazpacho with an avocado creme, a deconstructed tuna salad, charred short-rib with vegetables-a-plenty, and finished with a trio of desserts that all washed down nicely with an array of wines.

Finally, we Guidos celebrated Jackie O’s birthday the best way we know how — with a puppy party completely with pancakes and candles. I think she was happy to be off her strict diet for the night.

It’s an exciting foodie-themed weekend here in Natchez — Natchez Food & Wine Festival kicks off tonight with “Tastings Along the River”. I’m excited to get the Country Roads team in town this afternoon and start the festivities of a scrumptious weekend of taste testing and dinners.

In the meantime, I’m also planning a special party for Sunday night. My Jackie O turns 6 on Sunday, and we will be celebrating with a pancake feast! A couple of weeks ago, I used Joanna Gaines’ recipe for pancakes from her cookbook, Magnolia Table, for waffles. Let me tell you, it’s the best recipe I’ve used yet. Sometimes other recipes come out of my waffle iron flat and sometimes chewy. These were tall and fluffy. You almost didn’t need syrup — almost, though. Scatter some blueberries over the batter before closing the iron, and Voila! you have blueberry waffles to die for.

The Best-Ever Fluffy Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil

2 large eggs

Butter and syrup, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, and eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and stir together until well combined. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes. The batter will begin to get fluffy. (This is an important step.) Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Generously oil the skillet. Carefully pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake into the pan, far enough apart that they won’t touch. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom and the top is bubbly, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding oil to the skillet as needed. Serve hot.

(I would double this because the batter is thick and you’re going to want to stuff yourself with these.)

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This may be a bit of a spoiler post, but I’ll try not to give anything away. To be honest, it’s not as if there is much to give away this season.

I’ve been an avid follower of all things Netflix, including almost all of its original series, since the beginning. However, this season of Orange is the New Black was plain disappointing. You would think a group of misfit prisoners would lead to some really good story lines in gen. pop. in Max. No, we were just given regular old Piper complaining, Red worrying herself to death, and some drug addictions. What’s new, Litchfield? I miss several of the characters that didn’t follow to Max and that died last season. It’s just not the same. I will more than likely stick around for the next one since the finale was so so. You’ll see when you get there.

 

Luckily, we have friend with blueberry bushes (thank you, Greer family); and they don’t mind sharing.

One recipe that is our family go-to with fresh blueberries and usually on the Fourth of July is a scrumptious dessert called “Blueberry Yum Yum,” which was shared with MOM years ago by our neighbor, Lori Gaudet. Mom said that she can remember the first time she had it. It was at least 20 years ago on the Fourth of July, and she just couldn’t get enough of it!

Blueberry Yum Yum

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 tablespoons water

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened

1 9-ounce frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine blueberries, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until berries are soft (about 15 minutes). Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water in small mixing bowl. Stir well and add cornstarch mixture to berry     mixture. Continue cooking and stirring constantly until mixture is thickened. Set aside to cool.

Combine flour, margarine, and pecans in a small bowl and mix well. Press mixture into a  greased 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool.

Combine cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar. Beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread over the crust, then pour the blueberries on top. Refrigerate before serving.

Ok. It’s just been me and Netflix binging the past couple of weekends; and I found 2 crime shows that (one) I’d never heard of, strangely enough, and (two) they are both based on real events. Now, they kind of help each other out a little in my opinion, so be sure to watch them in this order.

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Mindhunter

First things first, this is based on the finding of the term “serial killer” by a special division of the FBI. What I like about this show is that it really shows a difference in the FBI before and after this division formed and started working. It also makes you think differently about crime. Just give it a watch.

Plus, David Fincher is connected to this project, which for all of you out there that took Dr. Hays’ film class in college (I took it in both undergrad and graduate school) you’ll see the style connections.

Bonus. Season 2 is in the works right now.

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Manhunt: Unabomber

Again, this should be watched after Mindhunter because they roughly reference that division of the FBI with no explanation. So knowing that background helps develop the plot and show a little bit.

Now, this show was perfect for me for 2 major reasons. One, I like learning about true crime events that happened in my lifetime but was too young to be aware of. I find that interesting, and I usually spend hours Googling the offender or crime long after I’ve watched whatever documentary has sparked my interest. Second, it studies the English language. This was like sitting in a strange version of Dr. Sarcone’s History of the English Language course, and I. Loved. Every. Minute. Of. It.

I had no idea what or who the Unabomber was. I was familiar with the name, but that’s about it. So coming across this series was exactly what I needed to learn more. I kind of wish that the series would develop more into other seasons that dive into the “manhunt” of other true crime criminals. I would be on the edge of my seat waiting for those to be bingeable.

For Jo’s birthday party this past weekend, Mom whipped up a yummy “salsa” with lots of fresh-from-the-garden goodness. It’s light, a little spicy, and easy to over-indulge on without feeling too bad about it later.

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Italian Salsa

6 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 fresh cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

4 fresh banana peppers, seeded and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 can olives, sliced

1 can black beans, drained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 package Good Seasons Italian Dressing, prepared

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl. Prepare the dressing per the directions, and pour over the mixture. Mix well and refrigerate. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.

Well, the baby Beagle that we rescued turned 2 over the weekend. She had a perfect day with her sister (Jackie), cousin (Honey), and her besties, the twins. Maw-Maw made her yummy apple-shaped cakes with vanilla icing, and we enjoyed a picnic in her honor Sunday night.

I tend to go above and beyond for my kids’ birthdays, but Jo’s are special. I know she probably doesn’t remember that first month of life spent eating from dumpsters and trash cans, but I’m trying my hardest to make sure she never does.

We love you, Jo Jo! Here’s to many more birthdays with you.

Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of potato salad. I think it was the yellow mustard that turned me off; but as I grew up, I found that the more you put into the mix, the better it is. Also, I found that Creole mustard is the only way to go with potato salad. Recently, we went to New Orleans and brought home a jar of Arnaud’s Creole mustard. YUM!

Potato Salad

2 pounds russet potatoes

2 pounds red-skin potatoes

4 eggs, boiled and mashed

1 ½ cup mayo

3 tablespoon Creole mustard

½ cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper or banana pepper, chopped

½ cup sweet pickle relish

½ cup green olives, sliced

2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

Begin by boiling the potatoes in salted water until the skin begins to peel and they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and remove the skin.  Place in a large bowl with the boiled and mashed eggs, mayo, and mustard.  Mash all together leaving the potatoes chunky and well combined.  Fold in the celery, relish, olives, peppers, and green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Let chill overnight before serving.

If the potato salad is dry the next day, add a hefty spoonful of mayo to the mix.

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So, I’ve got a new fascination — stove top popped corn. I know. This is how it was done before that thing called the microwave was invented; but for us “millennials”, microwave-style popcorn is about the only way to go unless you go to the movie theater, hardware store, or bank regularly for a bag of the real stuff.

It’s pretty fantastic since you get to control your butter and salt topping (or any topping for that matter). You are able to control the serving size to a degree. I still am working on what serving size works for me. Last time, I made too much; however, it does hold up well in a Ziplock in the pantry.

The kind I ordered is Mississippi grown and made, too. When I was visiting in the Delta, my friend Allie had a bag of “Crop to Pop” on the counter; and I was intrigued but didn’t think about it again. Then, my sister comes home from Mississippi Wholesale Market with the card for this “Crop to Pop” business. She said it was good, so I gave it an order. Give it a try if you like crunchy, sweet popcorn that you can feel good about popping on the stove. The directions are easy, but be sure to constantly shake the Dutch oven with the lid ON. Otherwise, you’ll be finding popcorn all over the kitchen for days. Those things fly everywhere!

I have yet to meet anyone who is not a fan of fried okra. Let’s be honest. It’s delicious and the best way to enjoy that violent little vegetable. The way my mom fries it up is the only way you should in my opinion. It’s the recipe my grandmother used; and more than likely, it’s the way her mother fried it, too. It’s crunchy without being fully coated in batter. It’s salty with just the right amount of sweet from the okra. It’s not sticky and slimy on the inside. It’s perfect.

The Only Way to Fry Okra

1 mess garden fresh okra, chopped

1 egg, beaten

Yellow cornmeal

Vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Once the okra is chopped into similar bite-sized pieces, salt to taste. Pour the beaten egg over the okra and mix. Cover the okra with cornmeal and toss until all is coated. Fry in batches in hot vegetable oil until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter.

Last week, while attending the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, a family friend was leaving the room to head back to the office and said, “Enjoy the Heat!” while dashing out into the humid June morning. I’d never heard it said quite like that. Most people say, “Stay cool” or “Don’t get too hot out there.” But putting this positive spin on an inescapable heat like the one we are having this summer seemed the only way to make it through. Well, that and a good sno-cone.

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I’ll be honest; I’m the first one to complain when I start to sweat. It’s just not for me. My hair isn’t a fan; I can’t stand the tacky feeling you get after you cool off; and to be honest, no one looks good wilted from sweating. Yesterday, on my way back from Baton Rouge, I stopped in St. Francisville to get some work done before heading back home. I got so hot getting in and out of the car several times in an hour and a half span that my knee caps were sweating. I’m used to sweating behind my knees and such, but for the actual top-of-the-knee cap to be perspiring seemed a bit much. When I saw the sign for “shaved ice snow cones” I did a U-ie in the middle of the road and dared anyone to stop me from getting to that counter and ordering up a clear strawberry concoction for the ride home.

So, enjoy the heat. It’s here to stay.

Have I mentioned that the tomatoes are coming in in droves at the Guido house? Every summer, we try to come up with a new way to enjoy those little boogers, and this past week we gave bruschetta another try. Our family friend, Nancy Kuehnle, told us about the bruschetta method she uses by toasting the bread with a layer of cheese before topping with tomatoes. So we gave it a try. Let me tell you. That’s the way to go. You don’t end up with the entire topping hanging off the toast on the first bite that way. It’s much easier to navigate and gives it a better taste, too.

 

Garden Fresh Bruschetta

6 – 8 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

1 loaf fresh French bread, sliced

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil, chiffonaded

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and finely chop the tomatoes. Allow to drain the excess juice in a colander while preparing the bread. Salt and pepper the tomatoes at this stage. Slice pieces of the loaf and brush both sides with olive oil. Top each slice with about a tablespoon of Parmesan and toast in a 350 degree oven until slightly crispy. Remove the bread from the oven, top with about 2 tablespoons of the tomatoes, dress with fresh basil, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Run back into the oven until the cheese on top is melted. Serve warm.

I’m not sure if you’ve been keeping up with the Netflix original movies lately, but they are killing it with new content this summer. I love to spend my weekends binging all kinds of Netflix original series, but this weekend I went for the Netflix original movies. Unlike the Disney Channel original movies of my childhood and teen years, these aren’t sappy and G (sometimes PG) rated. These are a little scandalous with a side of the “F” word. Enjoy.

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Brain on Fire

Based on a true story, this one has me worried now every time I have a brain “freeze” or headache. It really brings a new light on getting second, third, and possibly fourth opinions when you know something just isn’t right going on inside of you. Give it a watch and know that you are not one of the thousands that suffer from this rare autoimmune disease.

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Ibiza

I don’t know if I liked this because of Vanessa Bayer or because I just don’t see how they went so long without showers and sleep at their age. I feel like if I went on this trip, I would have to cry “uncle” a couple of hours in because they just don’t give up. They get shit faced each day and night without naps or sleeping in. They get on planes non stop and ride around in what looks like un-airconditioned cars while hungover or coming off of a high. I’m not sure I ever saw one of them brush their teeth. My point is I was amazed at how much I kept willing on this behavior scene after scene in order to find this mythical DJ.

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Set It Up

This one is a good old fashioned rom com with an update. The update to the plot being that online dating and “ghosting” are both referenced in this one versus blind date set ups and such. I really liked this one because of the realistic characters of the over-bearing bosses and the over-qualified assistants. Plus, who doesn’t love it when the two characters who hate each other in the beginning (SPOILER) fall in love at the end? I mean, who didn’t see that coming from the first second of the trailer?