Finally a home cooked meal…….

After nearly 10 days on the road, eating in restaurants and hotels its finally time for a home cooked meal! I have no idea how people who travel a lot do it, eating out all the time would drive me crazy!

Back to my home, kitchen, garden and family, today I embarked on a simple tasty meal made with garden goodies that was just perfect for the moment.

veggies

The loveliest vine ripened tomatoes, basil and jalapeños were ready to be picked from the yard to partake in my spicy aromatic tomato sauce to go with some al dente spaghetti.

DSC02218

Dished the spaghetti, topped it off with my aromatic spicy sauce and drizzled a little bit of my Basil Olive Oil from the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company!

Of course as a celebration of Mamacita being back, I had to make a sweet treat, and one of the family favorites is my Raspberry Chocolate Tart.

All you need for it is:

  • 1lb of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 pints of raspberries
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups of oreo cookies
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

DSC02226

Pulverize your oreo cookies and then mix them with the butter and sugar and press down into mold. Bake at 350 deg for 20 minutes. Let it cool.

Grab 1 pint of strawberries and press them onto the crust till you cover it nicely.

Put the chocolate chips in a bowl, add the corn syrup and warm cream and mix until all the chips are melted.

Pour into your mold covering all the raspberries and then add more raspberries to decorate. Place in fridge to set for a couple of hours.

DSC02223

So here is a cheer to being back at home but most importantly, to eating a home cooked meal ❤

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic……..it’s that simple.

Yes my followers, Mount Dora is back on the map!

DSC01704

Tonight I came across these perfectly ripened  plum tomatoes, remembered the abundant basil growing in my yard outside and decided that with the addition of garlic it was time for some Tomato Bruschetta.

DSC01707

Chopped up my tomatoes, garlic and basil, added some olive oil, salt and pepper and for the drum roll finale, added some delicious ( and by this I mean you can drink it with a spoon) Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar from the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company!

DSC01709

Slight technical hitch, there is no fresh french baguette in the house to serve it on! So I had to settle for some last minute crostini made from several types of leftover sliced bread, not ideal but who’s complaining right?

DSC01715

I went from a totally unplanned dinner, to a delicious satisfying appetizer which will pair very well with a new wine I got to taste recently. The wine is called Apothic Dark which has a blend of blueberry and blackberry with notes of coffee and dark chocolate, need I say more…

Perfect scenario would have been to be enjoying this appetizer at the Wine Den in Mount Dora in the company of some crazy lovely ladies but instead I will settle for the loving hubby ❤ ! What can I say, I am a lucky girl, always surrounded by good company 🙂

The History of Artichokes……

The Artichoke is one of my favourite veggies! I grew up eating these as a kid, dunking each leaf (petal) in salsa golf (mayo mixed with ketchup)

I haven’t come across too many people that eat it which is a pity or maybe a blessing as that would mean that there are more for me to enjoy! lol

Anyway, for those of you who might be wondering where the artichoke comes from here is a little bit of history.

DSC01279

The globe artichoke is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. Another variety of the species is the cardoon. It is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region.

Ok, so now that we are done with the artichoke history lesson, here is how I prepared this delicious flower for tonight’s dinner.

First of all you start by cutting the stalk so that they kind of stand flat, then you fill up a pot with water, add some salt, add the artichokes and bring to a boil. Do not cover them! I let them boil for just under an hour and test their readiness by poking a knife at the bottom to make sure its nice and tender.

DSC01283

Remove from boiling water and place on a draining rack upside down to make sure that all the water goes bye bye.

DSC01285

Prepare your favourite vinaigrette, which I did today by using some olive oil and my fabulous Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar from the Mount Dora Olive Oil, some dijon mustard and a few capers.

DSC01281

I drizzled some of the Blackberry Ginger Balsamic vinegar at the bottom of my plate, then placed my artichoke and carefully opened it up so that when I drizzled my vinaigrette it kind of seeps into every nook and cranny!

DSC01288

The artichokes turned out delicious. I love eating the petals one at a time and look forward to that lovely flavorful heart, but the star of the dish was the vinaigrette! I nearly licked it off the plate, but being the lady that I am, I finished it off with a teaspoon :-)!

Thinking my friend Ann and I might need to prepare some of these to take over to The Wine Den on my next visit as the Balsamic Vinaigrette would pair wonderfully with their fabulous wines <3!

Superbowl Leftovers……..

Yes we are back on the leftover theme, obviously my favorite……:-)

Yesterday was a big American Football day here in the USA, Superbowl took place with the Seahawks (Seattle) playing against the Patriots (New England).

nflsuperbowl201549624x312

GO PATRIOTS! (that was actually my hubby’s shout out not mine)!

I have tried and tried for now nearly 18 yrs to like this game but have not succeeded, so instead I busy myself in the kitchen, making treats for the game watchers!

DSC00793

Last night we had some simple but very tasty burgers full of flavor and yumminess cooked just right (not too well not too raw and still very juicey). Piled on the tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, mustard and catsup and topped the off with some crispy maple bacon and made a nice mess eating them :-).

DSC00781

As a sweet treat I made some Cranberry, Orange White Chocolate biscotti which went perfectly with that after dinner cup of coffee……

DSC00783

Anyway, today I found myself with some leftover burger patties all seasoned and ready to go, but not in the mood for a burger per say, you know its Monday, diet is back on, don’t want the bread and so it goes.

DSC00797

Decided on a Lettuce wrap……..out came the Butter Lettuce, Tomatoes, then placed the burger in the middle and topped it off with some sliced avocado and hearts of palms. Added a teaspoon of salsa golf (mayo mixed with catsup) and a drizzle of Pear Cinnamon Balsamic Vinegar from the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company. ❤

Stealing Rachel Ray’s words “Yummo”! That just hit the spot, Monday is nearly over and now there are only 4 days left before the weekend swings back to visit us again.

Mount Dora Flashback……..

For those of you who have been following my recent blog of my wonderful Adventure in Mount Dora, this evening I am having one of those Flashback moments!

Yes I know it was only last weekend, but some places leave a lovely feeling in your heart and I will do anything to relive them over and over!

So last weekend, Saturday night to be exact my good friend (aka Big Sister) Ann, made us a wonderful dinner that ended with a yummy Chocolate Lava Cake, topped with double vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Yeah I know what you are thinking and it was all of that and more…….


DSC00549

Tonight, home alone, hubby traveling and kids out doing their thing, I had this overwhelming feeling to relive a tiny little bit of last weekend and I did so by making myself this little bite of heaven!

I made a gooey chocolate and salted caramel brownie, then topped it off with 2 small scoops of salted caramel ice-cream and wrapped it all up with more than a drizzle of Expresso Balsamic Vinegar!

DSC00570

Yes it just took one bite and I got transported straight back to Mount Dora, into my friend Ann’s dining room and through the streets of Historic Mount Dora into the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company where I purchased the delicious Balsamic Vinegar. From there, took a little stroll down the road right back into the Wine Den to sip of some lovely wine…….

Nearly had to go for seconds hoping I would find myself back on the Segway tour through the quaint streets, broad walks, wooded areas, parks and sidewalks…….but I am strong and I didn’t! Will save that for another time….

Next time you find yourself reminiscing about good times, why not make the effort and relive them in your own house? It’s not that difficult and the feeling is totally priceless :-)!

Happy Friday ❤

Its a Rooster Affair …….

You have all heard about people who collect stuff right? We have stamp collectors, cork collectors, wine collectors, book collectors, etc……

But have you ever heard of anyone that is soooo passionate about “Roosters”?

DSC00401

Well I have the pleasure of having a great friends who just loves loves loves “Roosters” and everywhere you go in her house, her kitchen, her living room, here yard, there is a Rooster to be seen!

roosters

Of course that fact that she calls her place Loon Creek Cove and the Looney Bin,  blends in nicely with her collector habits don’t you think :-)! lol

DSC00406

She has travelled all over the world and has surrounded herself with the most marvelous pieces of history, souvenirs from every nook and cranny and of course, her “Roosters”!

DSC00400

So going forward, I will be on the hunt for Rooster type of decor to help her add to her brood!

PS: Had to edit my blog as I left out a very important Rooster Picture! See below 🙂

DSC00552

Wine Lovers – Can’t get any better than this……..or can it?

During my recent trip to Mount Dora, I experienced something really special.

I visited a Wine Bar, but not just any Wine Bar!

It’s called “The Wine Den” and you might be wondering why did I think this particular wine bar was so special?

DSC00508

Well, here is why…….. you usually think of a wine bar as a place where people go and hang out , socialize and drink copious amounts of wine right? Not saying that they don’t do that here, but this place is more like a “Family” Wine Bar! Everyone knows everyone and in the midst of the social hustle and bustle you get the random tourist that pops in and out, joins in the conversation and buys some wine.

photo 2

But the best part is watching the locals savour their wine whilst chatting with the owner and staff, and guess what? You buy your bottle of wine, they put your name on it and keep it in the fridge for you, so that when you stop by the next day or so, its readily awaiting your arrival! Isn’t that a fabulous idea?

DSC00504

They also, every Friday night, have what they call Yappy Hour – which translates to “Happy Hour” with dogs! Yes, you read it right, its bring your dog to the wine bar night and having experienced it first hand, I have to say that the dogs were very well behaved, it was a very pleasurable evening!

photo 1

Should I mention that my good friend Ann diligently prepares and takes in  some to die for appetizers which pair wonderfully with the wines 🙂

DSC00507

During my visit, not only did I get a chance to taste some lovely wines but I also got to meet some wonderful people, as well as spending some time catching up with old friends!

So next time you find yourself in Mount Dora, swing by “The Wine Den” and enjoy a glass of wine!

Thank you my dear friend Ann for the wonderful experience!

DSC00502