The 1st Annual Musing Awards

The first Foodie Buddy

The first Foodie Buddy

It’s coming up on a year of blogging. It’s been such a hoot for me and I intend to continue and I hope you’ll stick with me! I’m going to wrap up my first 12 months of blogging by bestowing the much coveted (not) Musing Awards to some of my favorite persons, places and things I experienced for the FIRST time this past year.

The results are in and the “Musee” (patent pending) goes to……..

Favorite Prepared Foods and Beverages:

Savory: Blue Hill Butternut Yogurt-this stuff is the bomb! Currently, the only place around me where it’s available is Wegman’s and it’s a bit pricey but worth every penny. Check out Blue Hill’s website for locations, other fun products and recipes. My own concoction is the yogurt, hot sauce, and almonds…a perfect at the office breakfast yum. http://bluehillyogurt.com

My fav is the Butternut Squash, but there's beet and Sweet Potato at Wegman's as well

My fav is the Butternut Squash, but there’s beet and Sweet Potato at Wegman’s as well

Sweet: Garden Lites Carrot Berry Muffins– found in the freezer in the Organic Foods Section (at Giant at least) these muffins are just a moist 4-bite piece of Carrot Cake only nutritious too. I swear spread some cream cheese on the top and you have dessert! 35 seconds in the microwave from the freezer and you’ll be in guilt free heaven.

Marvelously delicious with no effort

Beverage: American Harvest Vodka- When I’m not drinking tea, I’m drinking wine. When I’m not drinking wine, I’m drinking Vodka (I think in that order…sometimes I forget). A mid=priced Vodka this Organic-American made Vodka has a wonderfully crisp, clean flavor that in my opinion stands up to being “dirtied” or sipped straight (very chilled of course).

http://americanharvestspirit.com/

Favorite “New to Me” Chef: Chef David Schmidt of Enchantment Resort in Sedona Arizona- I mentioned Chef Schmidt in my post “Northern Neck Paradise”. I met him while vacationing this summer and became enchanted…..with the chef and the resort where he is the executive chef. Check out the website to learn about the Resort and David Schmidt (Chef also has a facebook and twitter page). http://www.enchantmentresort.com/

As a side note, I made the Granola Recipe on the resort website as Christmas gifts to my Office employees at my real job this year.

Granola Gifts for my Office. Double the recipe made 20 bags!

Granola Gifts for my Office. Double the recipe made 20 bags!

Favorite “New to Me” Winery:first ever tie. First Colony Winery, Charlottesville VA and Old House Vineyards, Culpeper VA. I go to lots of wineries, especially in Virginia. Out of a dozen or so that were new to me this year, these two stand out as favorites-great venues, good wines and personable staff! I truly find something to like at every winery I go to (sometimes it just the Corgi!), but at times I find a winery that has it all…go to these two when in VA. http://www.firstcolonywinery.com and http://www.oldhousevineyards.com

 

Marigolds used keep pests away from the grapes at Old House Vineyards

Marigolds used keep pests away from the grapes at Old House Vineyards

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thatched Roof of First Colony

The Thatched Roof of First Colony

 

 

 

Favorite “New to Me” Restaurants:

Upscale to the Max- Te at the Inn at Leola Village-If you happen to be in the Lancaster PA area and you want to indulge in an award winning meal go to Te. Matter of fact, stay over night in the lovely accommodations available at the Inn at Leola Village. Our meal at Te was exquisite and I hope to go again sometime soon! http://www.theinnatleolavillage.com

In the Windy City- The Purple Pig-this was tough. I realize we didn’t even scratch the surface of all the fabulous restaurants in Chicago and literally ALL of the places we went to had merit. The Pig though has a certain flair that I found interesting, comforting and just darn tasty. It’s not everywhere you can order bones filled with fat and consider it delicious….you can at The Purple Pig!

Roasted Bone Marrow was just one of the exciting choices at the Purple Pig

Roasted Bone Marrow was just one of the exciting choices at the Purple Pig

Just Plain Delicious-Restaurant Sidney (Willoughby Run in Gettysburg or the Original in East Berlin PA)- Love, Love, Love my Sidney. Great Food, relaxing atmosphere at both locations and a Chef and servers who try to please. http://restaurantsidney.com/#!/main

Classic Sidney Pate

Classic Sidney Pate

Favorite “New to Me” recipe to me- Easy Cioppino- the recipe is found in a previous post titled “Easy Peasy”. I swear, I must try 100 different recipes each year (have I mentioned that I love to cook?). This particular recipe is very easy, very delicious and quite healthy.

This is my adaptation of the recipe found Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Publication "30-Minute Dinners"

This is my adaptation of the recipe found Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Publication “30-Minute Dinners”

Life Time Achievement Award: Gazebo Room Salad Dressing-This is a no-brainer for the first award of this kind. Please refer to the previous post titled “Location, Location, Location”. GRSD is a must-have for all household that are lucky enough to live in a State that stocks the dressing at local grocers.

Photo (3)

Unlike the Oscars, winners don’t go home with gift bags. Instead, I’ve tried to supply contact info when possible so do me a favor and click on a couple of sites that interest you. It’ll show the winners you care and I get a kick out of seeing the number of “clicks” I get on my stats page (anonymous of course)

It’s been a fun year. I look forward to testing out next year’s winners for the next 12 months…stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza with a Princess

Recipe for Smoked Chicken Pizza as it appears in Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication: 30-Minute Dinners

Recipe for Smoked Chicken Pizza as it appears in Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication: 30-Minute Dinners


Ingredients gathered to adapt the Smoked Chicken Recipe

Ingredients gathered to adapt the Smoked Chicken Recipe

Dear readers this post will be my first ever to not only promote a recipe and a food product or two, but to introduce a fabulous cooking piece that has me giddy! Any gal my age may remember the “Princess House” parties our moms or grandmas had bringing friends and family together to purchase crystal glasses and vases that were only used once a year or more often given as wedding gifts. The Princess House Company has endured, but let me tell you, fancy crystal is only a sliver of the type of products they now peddle. Still only available through home parties or direct order from your consultant, Princess House offers fabulous cookware that fits my “Foodie without Big Bucks” lifestyle perfectly.http://princesshouse.com
A few nights ago I adapted the above recipe to fit my need-for-speed, taste and most importantly my desire to use my “Ultimate Grill, Bake and Serve Stone” recently purchased from my dear friend and personal PH Consultant (thanks C!). This stone is as versatile as it gets….grill (gas or charcoal), bake, broil, chill or freeze…..it does it all. This night, after getting my ingredients together, every step of preparation was done on the stone atop my gas grill as shown in the pics below:


Besides using the grill, changes to the recipe for me included use of a deli-roasted chicken, one large whole wheat pizza crust and probably more like a 1 1/2 cups of smoked mozzarella. The smokiness of the cheese is what gave this pizza a rich and unique flavor. I substituted iceberg lettuce and my own tomatoes for the arugula because my guy likes the crunch of a fresh iceberg (no matter that it’s nutritional value is nil) and besides my edible landscaping is paying off in tomatoes and other veggies currently. As one might guess if you’ve read my previous post, I drizzled Gazebo Room Salad Dressing on the whole darn thing in lieu of plain old EVOO……yum.http://gazeboroom.com

Finished Product

Finished Product

Easy Peasy

This is my adaptation of the recipe found Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Publication "30-Minute Dinners"

This is my adaptation of the recipe found Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Publication “30-Minute Dinners”

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In an earlier post I mentioned that I just can’t follow a recipe precisely. That was still the case with this one although I was close, very close. I’m also pleased to note that this recipe actually only took 30 minutes to prepare just as the publication advertised and was oh so delicious!
I used salmon and cod (next time I’ll go with salmon and scallops only because the cod was so flaky). The recipe didn’t say to, but I cooked my fennel until it started to brown and sort of caramelize. The biggest change I made was I used canned diced tomatoes…even easier and better tasting at this particular time of year (I chose a garlic, basil and oregano seasoned variety). I used chicken stock instead of broth and I did not, I repeat I did NOT put any of those nasty anise seeds in my dish! I’m sure you can tell this meal was low in calories and fat.
Unfortunately this particular BH&G Special Publication magazine isn’t being displayed any longer in stores, but it may be available on the website. It’s a good one. I’ve made several recipes from the mag already and have a few more I want to try.