Monday, February 25, 2013

Hopping Through the Blog Parties

I just started blog hopping.

Or, technically, I just started linking up and joining in on Blog Hop parties.

There is one (or a thousand!) for every day of the week. It is ALOT to keep up with but it is fun to see all the different blogs out there.

I am a novice at this but this is what I know so far.....

Someone hosts a party on their blog and offers to other bloggers to link up on their page once a week, or how ever many times they set it up for. Sometimes there are co-hosts. Each one is a little different according to the hosts' rules. You just link your blog (each one walks you through how), comment and follow the host and co-hosts. Then you can click and read as many others as time allows and comment and follow them as well. Invite them to visit your blog and leave your address so they can follow you back.

You can link your main blog page, a recipe, a craft, a DIY project.

It is a great networking tool and a lot of fun in the process. I have gotten so many new delicious looking recipes that I want to save, that my recipe file on my desktop is bursting! And I have added a lot of blogs that I follow to my list.

Below are the blog parties I currently follow.....I have one for each day Monday through Saturday.You can find a button for some of them on my right sidebar. It will take you to the page the blog hop is offered on. To link up with the most current party, you can sign up on the hosts blog page via email. Then you will get an email every time the party is open.

A wonderful new find is The Marketplace where you can post up to three items from your Etsy or online shop. Hosted by Debra at Common Ground, there are so many gorgeous items to look at and buy!

On Monday I receive an email from Marvelous Mondays Link Party hosted by Julie at This Gal Cooks  and Carrie at The Frugal Foodie Mama. You can link your DIY projects, crafts and recipes at this party.

On Tuesday it is Healthy Tuesday

hosted by Becca at A Humble Bumble.  Here you can link up your healthy recipes. There are so many links to healthy recipes from other bloggers that you just want to dive into all of them!
Here you can link up anything from your blog. Be sure to comment and follow the host and co-hosts.
On Thursday you join in on the Grow Your Blog Link Party hosted by Julie at This Gal Cooks and Paula from Call Me PMC. You link up your main page here. Why? Julie and Paula have said it best....

"What is the Grow Your Blog Hop all about? NETWORKING! Meeting new bloggers, finding new content to follow, building your readership. Why is blog networking great for you? Simply put, it increases readership and traffic to your blog. How do you network? Visit. Comment. Invite. Communicate. These are key to growing your blog."
On Friday there is Freedom Fridays Blog Hop hosted by Evelyn at My Turn for Us. There are no rules here. Just link up and read, comment and follow!
And finally, on Saturday join in on the Meet and Greet Blog Hop hosted by Laurie at Created by Laurie and Kim from 2 just B you.  You can link your blog and there are always co-hosts to follow. There is also a fun question of the week you can answer in the comments on the hosts and co-hosts blogs.
Whew! That is ALOT! Of course you don't have to follow all these blog parties at once, like I did! But it is easy to get caught up in all the good stuff to read and it is fun when others come back and visit your blog.
Have fun with it if you decide to join in.....let me know which parties you like best!
AnnMarie :)



Monday, February 18, 2013

Easy Skillet Chicken Parm

I am absolutely, positively blank on what to blog about today. I try to blog at least once a week and usually something comes to me before now!

So, I decided to share another recipe and it just happens to be our dinner tonight! I found it on America's Test Kitchens where I watched them put it all together. It is really easy and it is all done in one large skillet on the top of your stove.

Below are the ingredients. I usually make do with what I can. The recipe calls for fresh bread crumbs and you don't want to cheat on this part! I always save the ends of the sandwich bread and put them in the freezer for such a time as this! It also calls for fresh basil, but since it is not in season here I use dried. I was having a problem finding a nice chunk of packaged provolone so I went to the deli and had them cut a 1/4 pound chunk off for me. The recipe calls for 4 boneless chicken breast but I use six (two boys eating) and it works out fine.

To make the bread crumbs I take the frozen ends of the bread and put them in my Ninja and in two seconds, I have fresh bread crumbs.

Don't be surprised when you are told to put them on last! Now we can continue on with the recipe......

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 2 tablespoon dried)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds), halved horizontally  (I also pound my chicken on both sides for tenderness)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp provolone cheese

Toast bread crumbs in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, without oil, until browned. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup parmesan and half of basil. In a separate bowl, combine remaining olive oil, 1/4 cup parmesan, remaining basil, garlic, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

There are the nicely browned bread crumbs, the sauce and the provolone. I really just wanted
to show off my new nesting bowls my daughter Candice gave me for my birthday!

Place flour in dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the same, now empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook till golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate.


Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato mixture to the empty skillet. Return the chicken to pan in an even layer, pressing down to cover with sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella, provolone and remaining parmesan over the chicken. Cover with a lid and cook until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and serve.
Add a little side of angel hair, broccoli and italian bread and Yum!! Easy and delicious. A nice alternative to the calorie laden restaurant dish that has been deep fried. Just look at how tender that chicken is!
You can always mix up some extra sauce and warm it up if you like a lot of sauce on your pasta and over your chicken. We find that there is usually enough.
Think of how easy this recipe will be for you to make. You don't have to stop every minute to take pictures and then make your husband and son wait to start eating and then stop eating for more pictures.......yeah, I think those rolling eyes mean they get me!
AnnMarie :)


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You Can't Beet This Salad for Healthy Eating!

I love beets!

My love for them began when I was pregnant for my son 14 1/2 years ago. I actually craved them. I would buy them and boil them for the hours they took to cook, salivating just waiting for them to be done!

Then Dr. Oz came on the scene with his healthy eating tips and shared a salad that was made with beets and goat cheese. Well, I never made that because of the goat cheese. Then I went to a funky cafe in a funky part of the city near me and had almost that exact salad.

That is when I fell in love with goat cheese!

So when my husband gave me Lidia's Favorite Recipes cookbook recently I was thrilled that she had a beet salad recipe in there. I had to try it this time, knowing though that I was probably going to eat it all husband and son wouldn't even think of trying it! So, I invited my girlfriend Bonnie over for lunch, making sure she liked the ingredients, and I made it. Her husband wouldn't ever try it either! It was delish! Definitely a girls luncheon kind of salad.

Since then I have made it a few times just for myself with a few changes here and there. It makes about 4 meals, so I was eating it for every meal till it was gone! When Bonnie came over I replaced the sliced apple with sliced cucumber because she can't have apples. I used only the red beets, which are so sweet, but they tend to throw a lot of their color on to everything. I also added swiss chard to the greens. When I made it for myself I added chopped walnuts which gave it just enough crunch!

This is the full recipe in one of those large pasta dishes!

Roasted Beet and Beet Greens Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese
Serves 6
10 to 12 small yellow and red beets with greens and stems attached (about 3 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium tart, crisp apple
4 oz. aged goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the greens off of the beet bulb, leaving a tiny bit of stem on the top of beets, then scrub the beets clean and poke them with a fork. Put in a shallow baking dish with 1/2" water on the bottom. Roast the beets till tender all the way through, about an hour. Replenish water as needed. Test with a knife. Cool completely.

Rinse the beet greens well trimming off the tough parts of the stems and cut the softer stem pieces from the leaves. Bring a large pan of water to a boil and drop in the stems. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the greens. Cook all for 20 minutes more. Drain and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and let them cool. I found that there weren't a lot of greens on one of the bunches of beets I had so I bought swiss chard, cooked it, and added it to the mix.

Peel the cooled beets removing the tip, the stem base and all the skin. Cut in wedges and put in a large bowl. Cut the stems and greens and add to the beets.

Whisk together the oil and vinegar with the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt and some pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the beets and toss. Core and slice the apple and add to the salad, topping it all off with crumbled goat cheese and walnuts.

Mmmm....want some?

AnnMarie :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Take Your Christmas Decorations Down! It's February 11th!

Okay so you can tell by my title that I am a little bugged by this. It just so happens that there is a house in our neighborhood that is guilty of this every year. Not only are their decorations old and worn out looking at best, but they leave them up till March!

It's Valentine's Day in 3 days!

Santa, go back to the North Pole!
I get the whole decorating the day after Thanksgiving which is supposed to be the official start to the holiday season. We tried that and I found that having everything up till January 1st was WAY too long. But this year I saw lights on trees in the window of houses before Thanksgiving. It's the whole pushing everything up, mostly controlled by the retail industry.

Can we just enjoy the holiday or event when it happens and not have to hear about it 2 months ahead of time? And then look at it's remains 2 months after?

Is anyone else with me on this? Can anyone explain this to me?

Please don't tell me you still have your decorations you?!

Okay, I vented and now I feel better....a little.

AnnMarie :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo, You're Beautiful!

Nemo has arrived in Upstate New York!

This first picture was taken Friday, February 8th when the snow started about 2:30 p.m.

And this picture was taken this morning, Saturday, February 9th at 9:15 a.m.

I guess we are staying inside today....I have a Lasagna to make anyways.....and maybe some brownies! There is no better comfort in food than chocolate after pasta!

What are you doing on this stormy day?

AnnMarie :)


Monday, February 4, 2013

Anxious for the Hunt

It's getting close but not quite here yet! Garage sale time! Antique shows! Community Thrift Sales!

I am getting anxious to get out there and see what everyone has been cleaning out of their basements and attics all winter. I am anxious to walk around collecting my vintage finds without layers of clothes, a winter jacket and scarf and heavy boots on.

I have been cleaning out a lot of my own stuff but not anything I can sell in my Etsy shop NaNa's Things. You see, Etsy has a guideline that anything labeled vintage has to be 20 or more years old. I do have ALOT that qualify for that too but I am not ready to part with them yet. I want something new that's old! I want to pick, thrift, hunt. I want to shop!

Over the long winter, thankfully, I have found some local places to pick through every now and then. There are at least three VOA's (Volunteers of America) nearby, a Goodwill and a Savers. Every now and then I get the bug to go see what they have and I usually find something worthy!

Last week on my birthday trip to Yolickity Frozen Yogurt we were right in the same plaza as Savers. So glad we went in because I found this really great retro daisy enamelware pan. It is on my kitchen counter and I will be sad if it sells!


I also found this great apple shaped pitcher

I have found so many great vintage items in the shape of an apple that I added a section to my shop call Vintage Apple Items. Just stopped in at the East Rochester VOA today and found this great ceramic apple cookie jar to add to the rest!

A cute owl bank, a solid brass mardi gras mask, some embroidered dish towels, a rooster tablecloth, some 70's faux woodgrain plastic boxes.....these are a few of my favorite things.........this week! Like the thrift stores, my shop is changing constantly as I add my new treasures. Stop by and visit sometime!
Can't wait to see what I'll find next week!

AnnMarie :)