2011 Culinary Highlights

Is it really, really the middle of January? Wow! 2011 was a great year for me – new adventures, new places, new people and lots of lessons in the journey of life.
And, of course, we can’t forget new recipes!
It was a year ago this month that I started the Penarious Challenge. I’d have to say that the most interesting challenge was the attempt to recreate Heinz ketchup in the kitchen. I learned more about ketchup than I ever wanted to know and came pretty close, but not close enough. Heinz Tomato Ketchup recipe remains a secret.
One of the most exciting moments in my culinary blog world was getting interviewed by Ian Lamont of Slickepott, the fudge sauce company. You can read about all that in this post if you haven’t already.
And, if you haven’t already, click on over to his website and buy some fudge!
Most Complicated Recipe Award goes to the Orange Almond Cream Cake. 
My, was it good though!
Here are the recipes that made the “You Gotta Try” list. No, it’s not every recipe I posted last year either. :D
Sweetness –

Raspberry Cheesecake

Swedish Mazarinmuffins

Cherry Almond Oatmeal

Savory –

Gnocchi with Spinach Cream Sauce


Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Salad

It’s another adventure to take on 2012! I annually wonder what the next year will hold and before we know it, it will all be memories! 
So don’t forget to savor the moments – stop to smell the roses, give a hug, breath in fresh air, try a new recipe, or count your blessings! 
Happy TwoThousandTwelve! 


At this moment in time I am sitting at a table in the Post Falls Library in Idaho. And I can’t believe it – still. I’ve been working at this cute little coffee shop located on Chase and Seltice for about a week.

I say working, but more factually, I’ve been being trained to work. :D It’s going very well and I’m loving it. It’s been crazy trying to learn everything though – crazy and challenging, very! We have 50 different flavors to choose from and I don’t even know how many drinks!

This is the espresso machine. Although intimidating at first, I find that it makes life as a barista much easier than it could be. :P

Blue skies and sunshine today… I won’t tell you the temperature as it might make my southern friends and family jealous. I have to laugh every time I hear someone complain about the weather up here. They don’t even know what hot is.

So anyway, I’ll be up here until September at least. Maybe I’ll move here, I don’t know yet. I like it,  so we’ll see…
I’m all by myself for the week as my friends I’m staying with have gone on a trip to Oregon. It’s strange living by myself, to say the least. I’ve always loved quiet, but I find I like to have music on when I’m home. The house doesn’t feel quite so empty.
I wasn’t sure how I would like cooking for one, but so far I love it. I’ve been craving tomato mozzerella salad since I’ve been gone, so here’s my 1 to 2 serving recipe.
1 tomato, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 T. sliced fresh basil
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper

fresh mozzarella balls
one thick slice sourdough bread
2 t. butter

Two of my must have kitchen staples…

Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, balsamic and oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to go heavy on the salt since the mozzarella is unsalted. Set aside,  or refrigerate for a couple hours.

You can get several different sizes of mozzerella balls. Mine were big enough to slice, but you can serve them whole or quartered if you prefer.

I found this amazing green olive sourdough bread at a store here and couldn’t resist buying it as it was a dollar off. It is so yummy! Cube your sourdough bread and toast in a skillet with butter or oil.

Arrange lettuce on a plate. Top with mozzerella balls and tomato mixture. Sprinkle on the fresh croutons and there you have it! I promise you that it is simply amazing. :)

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! Leave me a note or send me an email! I’d love to keep in touch. And definitely drop by for a coffee if you’re in the area. We make the best! :D