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What's your go-to deviled egg recipe or add-in?

Saturday, March 26, 2016
I love deviled eggs year-round but this time of year I am especially inclined to make them. They are a perfect spring snack or Easter appetizer. They will also always remind me of moving into our house as they were the very first thing I cooked in our new home. (Moving means an empty fridge…but I did have eggs, mayo and mustard!)

Deviled eggs never make it long in our fridge. Mike and I are both exercise addicts and we’re always looking for a quick, healthy yet filling snack after a workout or a long run. Eggs always do the trick. If I make a batch one day, they’re always gone the next.   

My Grangran gave me this deviled egg dish that was my Nana's. I don't think he realized I'm such a deviled egg aficionado!

A recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Things Cooks Know, was all about hard boiled eggs and what you can do with them. My Aunt Barbara, who turned me onto the podcast, texted me about the episode, and mentioned she puts jalapeno jelly in her deviled eggs. A recipe I’ve been making lately spices things up with Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.  I also give my deviled eggs a heavy sprinkle of the Paprika that my parents brought me from Hungary. (It’s a bit better than McCormick’s!)

This stuff is good. I don't think I have any grocery shopping plans in Hungary anytime soon though...

I’d love more suggestions of ingredients to add to deviled eggs. As much as we make them, it’s good to have a variety of recipes. 

Who doesn't love a deviled egg?

Will you make deviled eggs this Easter weekend? What recipe do you love?

Long weekend in Jewell County

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In February, I had an unexpected and extended trip back to Mankato. I had planned to visit that weekend, but when we received the sad news that my nanny from childhood had passed away, I knew plans had changed and I’d be going up to Mankato much earlier in the week. (More to come in another blog about what an amazing woman Ann was.)

It’s funny how unexpected visits back home can often be the best. I really enjoyed my extra time in Jewell County and took advantage of the opportunity to be back home for so many days. With our work schedules, vacation time, and family holidays, most of our visits are wonderful and fun, but they’re often just too short. My few days in February were wonderfully unplanned and relaxing. It was a really rare opportunity for me to spend those days with my parents. I left Sunday morning thankful for such a great weekend.

Here’s a recap of all the great things I enjoyed back home -

- Antiques in ScandiaScandia,Kansas, is a quaint little town on the Republican River with a large Scandinavian heritage. Their main street is lined with fun little antique shops that offer plenty of treasures if you’re willing to dig a bit. Ann was buried at a cemetery in Scandia on Thursday, so after the burial, my mom and I decided to stop at the shops before heading home. Always fun to browse.

- Buffalo Roam Compuestos –I grew up on these. A compuesto is basically a really good taco salad. They’ve never changed in my 20-something years of eating them, and that’s a great thing.

- My parents’ deck – My parent’s home has this amazing wraparound deck with really great views of the sunrise in the morning and the evening sunsets. It was a bit chilly to spend too long out there this trip, but we were able to enjoy the views a little in the morning. Missy especially loved it.

Beautiful sunrise on Friday morning.

Missy loved her view from the deck.

 - Shopping-  Small town shopping is the best! I stocked up on candles at Possibilities, bought Mike a new lunch box at the new Dollar General, and found darling Easter décor at Aunt Flossie’s cupboard in Superior, Nebraska.

- Visiting Grandpa and Grandpa – It’s always good to see Grandpa and Grandma, and it’s so great now that they’re both in Superior. I really enjoyed showing Grandpa photos of my cousin Victoria’s new little girl, Rebecca Claire. He wanted to go through the slideshow many times!

Grandpa loved looking at the slideshow of Rebecca! 

- Mexican food in Superior- For lunch on Friday, we took Grandma to the new Mexican restaurant in Superior, and it is really good. And they serve margaritas! For those reading this and wondering why I’m so excited about margaritas at a Mexican restaurant….it’s a big deal. Coors Light is about all you can find at most restaurants in Mankato and Superior. Nothing against Coors Light.

- Cruisin’ in the Corvette – My dad loves his yellow Corvette and we were lucky enough to have a unusually warm February weekend that called for a cruise on Highway 36.

Beautiful 70 degree weather meant the Corvette was out and about. 

- Running in the country- I really enjoyed running on the dirt roads north of my parent’s house. The weather was beautiful that weekend, and the wheat was just starting to show and paint the fields green. I loved taking in the scenery and realizing just how beautiful this part of the state is.

- The Kettle in Beloit, KS – For lunch on Saturday, my parents took me to The Kettle in Beloit, Kansas, a cute little restaurant downtown with plenty of delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches, and a great wine and beer list! It’s fun to have a place to go when we visit now that we can order a glass of wine. For lunch on Saturday, I had a Cuban sandwich which was wonderful, and a mimosa. I was very impressed, and definitely want to go back!

Enjoying lunch on Saturday at The Kettle. 

- Trip to the Farm- Saturday morning I went to the farm with my dad. I really enjoyed the drive out there. It used to be so normal to me, but this time I really appreciated the scenic views and the wide open space as we traveled down the white rock roads. While my dad fed cattle, I wandered around the farm and through Grandpa and Grandma's house - truly a trip down memory lane! 

I love this rustic flag my dad bought for one of the sheds.
My dad with Pippen, the beloved farm cat. 
I had fun wandering around the old farmhouse and taking photos.
The old chicken coop! 
Feeding on Saturday morning
- Happy Hour-  Each evening we enjoyed Chardonnay and tasty appetizers around the kitchen island. It was fun for the three of us to catch up and tell stories. Being home was definitely good for the soul.

I headed south to Derby Sunday morning excited to return home, but also feeling very thankful for my weekend visit and realizing that Mankato will always be home.

The Lolita at Watermark Books & Cafe

Friday, March 18, 2016
I love Watermark Books & Café for so many reasons. It’s in College Hill, my favorite part of Wichita, it’s the most darling, local bookstore, and they serve delicious food.  It definitely makes the list of locales I could deem “My Happy Place.” Some days I just want to hide from the world with a sandwich in one of the book aisles and not go back to work.

The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you can dine in or order a meal to go. The menu consists of great specialty coffee drinks, soups, salads, and baked goods. All delicious. If you want a great side to your sandwich or salad I’d suggest the Tomato Bisque, their signature soup that’s served daily.

Ok, here’s another reason why I love Watermark. All their sandwiches are named after famous books. Sandwich names include The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye (served on rye, of course!), Great Expectations, Streetcar Named Desire, Anna Karenina, The Iliad, Moby Dick, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Lolita. How many of those sandwiches have you read? 

The Lolita ranks as my favorite sandwich in town. This sandwich consists of turkey, pesto, provolone and walnuts grilled on focaccia. It’s served fresh off the grill with provolone and pesto oozing out of it and it is True Sandwich Bliss. If you know me well, you know I could live off of pesto. I dream of this sandwich! I mean, look at this beauty.  

You can choose a full or half order of this sandwich, but I highly recommend the full. I promise you’ll thank me later. 

Things I'm Loving - March

Saturday, March 12, 2016
March is just rolling along, which is fine with me. The sunshine, daffodils, and steady stream of KU basketball make me quite happy. Here's what I've been loving lately. Have something you are loving? Let me know! I love discovering new recipes, podcasts, books, magazines, etc. It could very well be in the next Things I'm Loving post.

I really don’t know what the Kale I was thinking. How did I miss out on the huge Kale craze everyone has been on these past few years? I have always read about how Kale is a superfood, and I’ve looked at Kale recipes in magazines, and even walked by the infamous Kale chips at the grocery store. I guess I just never really knew what to do with Kale, and was slightly intimidated by it.

Well, Blue Apron to the rescue once again! We recently had a couple of Blue Apron meals that included Kale recipes, and they were amazing. My world was changed forever. How had I not been enjoying Kale yet?! I think this is what I love most about Blue Apron – it introduces me to foods that I’m too unfamiliar or scared of, and shows me how simple it is to enjoy them. Here’s our favorite way to enjoy Kale right now:

Mince two cloves of garlic and cook in two tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Once garlic is softened and fragrant toss in a bunch of roughly chopped Kale leaves (remember to discard the vines). Kale really cooks down so don’t be afraid to use a pretty large amount of it. Once the Kale is added, season with salt and pepper, and pour in about ¼ cup water. Once water has cooked off, remove from heat and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Kale yeah.
Southern Living
My mother renewed my subscription to Southern Living for Christmas, and I’m always so excited to see it sitting in my mailbox. It’s such a treat to flip through the pages of beautiful décor and design ideas, delicious recipes, and gardening tips. Kansas may be considered part of the Midwest, but I still love gathering ideas to add a little Southern Charm to my life each month.

Real Simple’s What Cooks Know podcasts
A while back when I was ga-ga for my new found world of podcasts, my Aunt Barbara left a comment with the recommendation to check out Real Simple podcasts. I love the magazine, so I knew I needed to give the podcasts a listen. My favorite of theirs is the What Cooks Know podcast. Each week they pick out a cooking topic to discuss and provide tips for whether it’s a food like chocolate chip cookies and mac & cheese, a technique like broiling, or a situation like cooking for crowds. These quick, 20 minute podcasts are entertaining and informative. I was so inspired by the tips from the chocolate chip cookie episode that I baked chocolate chip cookies that weekend using what I had learned. I won’t give anything away if you want to listen to the episode, but you can really make your cookie exactly how you like a chocolate chip cookie with some of these tips.

Amazon Prime
What did people do before Amazon Prime? Did they go to the store? Did they have wait in line at registers? Ok, seriously, Amazon Prime makes the world a happier place for me. I’m not a big fan of shopping or going to the mall. I have very few stores I actually enjoy shopping. (T.J. Maxx, Sephora, the grocery store) Mike and I order a LOT off of Amazon Prime and I’m always amazed at how it just magically appears in our mailbox like a day after we order it. Definitely a convenience I don’t take for granted! Recently I received my jumbo order of Donut Shop K-Cups and truly enjoyed the awesomeness of Amazon Prime. Need coffee? It’ll show up in your mailbox a day later. Amazing.

Brent Musburger's commentary

Mercy! Gave him a facial! Oh, baby! Shave and a haircut! Save the women and children!

Did you listen to Brent Musburger's reaction to Wayne Selden's dunk? If not, give this clip a watch and listen to Musburger. You'll have tears streaming down your face. Or maybe that was just me.

Basketball commentators say the darnedest things.

French Valentine's meal

Friday, March 4, 2016

With Valentine’s Day on a Sunday this year, Mike and I opted to cook something at home on the actual holiday and to use up some Bonefish Grill cards later for our ‘out to dinner’ date.

Mike and I have a favorite restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. It is the most romantic place to have dinner, and the food is phenomenal. It’s a definite stop on any of our Vegas trips. The best part about this French restaurant is that it’s not terribly expensive for Vegas, and it sits directly across the street from the Bellagio fountains. So throughout dinner on the terrace you have non-stop entertainment. It’s so beautiful.

Mike and I at our favorite 'date' restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, in Las Vegas.

For our Valentine’s Day dinner at home, I thought it would be fun to do a French meal in honor of our favorite date restaurant. At Mon Ami Gabi I always order the Chicken Grand-mere, basically a roasted chicken served with vegetables. It’s so good! So, I found the French bistro dinner menu in my "Cooking with Bonnie: Farm to France" cookbook, and started planning! 
I love this cookbook written by Wichita chef, Bonnie Aschliman.

Mike and I decided on a menu of French Onion soup and Roasted Chicken with a side salad from her French Bistro dinner chapter. Mike also got me French champagne for Valentine’s Day which made for a perfect pairing. 

Mike poppin' bottles.
Beautiful white roses from Mike made a perfect centerpiece!
We prepped our chicken, well, Mike did, while I chopped onions and wept. Once our chicken was smothered and stuffed with butter, seasonings, and veggies, we popped it in the oven to roast for 1 ½ hours. While the chicken cooked we worked on our French Onion soup. We learned that Gruyere cheese is very expensive, but oh does it taste good baked on top of the soup. 
Missy was our sous chef. Or, more accurately, our vacuum.

Mike had the honor of prepping the chicken. He's a pro.

Our verdict on our French meal? The soup was amazing – you can’t beat homemade French Onion. The chicken was very good, but we both said for the time and the money, we could’ve just picked up a Rotisserie Chicken at Dillon’s. (Thank you, America) The French Champagne was wonderful, of course. If you’ve never tasted true French Champagne, you really should. It’s completely different than our American versions – a lovely treat.


Missy is just like her mama - she loves the bubbles.
In our house we drink a lot of Champagne and Prosecco. I love bubbly! We've discovered that Missy has a affinity for bubbles, too. I don't know whether we should be amused or concerned. She gets so excited when we pop open a bottle, and begs for it as if we had a piece of bacon. We let her lick the cork sometimes for fun, and she looks like she's in heaven. Champagne wishes, and milkbone dreams, indeed.

 After dinner, we carried on our cooking theme and watched the movie, “Burnt.” It’s good but my favorite ‘cooking’ movie is still “Chef.” It was a great Valentine’s at home and was just as enjoyable as going out to eat.

Bon Appetit!

Everything except the whole doing the dishes part.   

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