Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Monday, February 28, 2011

Winners! Worst & Best! Breakfast!

Good Morning Everyone! :)

Here is a complete list of last night's Oscar winners!  Were you / are you surprised?

And here are last night's "Worst Dressed" ~ looks like I was COMPLETELY wrong about Sharon Stone as she was described as a "black swan gone mad."  Ouch. That's just mean!

And here are last night's "Best Dressed" ~ personally, I think Halle Berry, wearing a gorgeous Marchesa gown and 10-carat diamond Neil Lane earrings, stole the show!

So what's for breakfast this morning!??  I wonder what the rich and beautiful in Hollywood are having?  Heck...I bet half of them haven't gone to bed yet!!

We don't have any guests at our B&B this morning (we do have two couples checking in today) so Chris is sleeping in with our dog Molly and I'm pondering some options!

*My Banana Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes Drizzled With My Peanut Butter Syrup
*Kashi Go Lean Crunch With Slender Soy Milk + Blueberries & Strawberries w/ Sugar Free Honey
*An Egg White Omelet With Feta, Purple Onion & Grape Tomatoes w/ Fresh Garlic Turkey Bacon
*Go Back To Bed  (LOL!!)

Any thoughts?  Comments?  Feedback?  Let Me Know!  I really DO want to hear from ya'll!  :)

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Worthy ~ Roasted & Toasted! / The Best & The Worst!

First, an apology to my followers ~ I am SO sorry I have not been consistently posting every day ~ the B&B biz has been kah-ray-zee lately!  To my new followers, ("Welcome!!") , my husband Chris and I own a B&B nestled in the Ozark mountains. Be sure to check it out in the right hand column of my Blog page and become a Facebook fan!

Don't misunderstand - I'm not complaining about how low season is slowly coming to an end - we're just busier than normal - again, "a good thing!" as Martha Stewart would say!

So tonight is the biggest entertainment event of the year!  The 83 Annual Academy Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be presented by James Franco and Anne Hathaway at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.   ABC will air a live telecast at 8 p.m. ET.  Personally, I can't see Franco and Hathaway doing a better job  than Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin last year but, hey, that's just me!

The first Academy Awards were officially presented at a black tie dinner at The Roosevelt on May 16, 1929.  It seems as though the "stage was set" for elegance on that date via the formal attire.  One would hope the stylish Oscar traditions would have continued throughout the years but...not so much!  There have been some Oscar fashion disasters to say the least!  How is it these A-List Actors have F-List fashion sense?!!?

My personal top three Oscar fashion disasters are:

 (1) Sally Kirkland's in 2007  ~ she looked like a hundred year old butterfly that had mated with a hundred year old vampire, tossed on a Dolly Parton wig, forgot to wear a bra and called it a day.  Just gross.

(2) Bjork in 2001 ~ I don't even know where to begin ...a swan dress?  I mean, come on.  I feel she personally desecrated the beautiful, elegant swan that year.  I firmly believe any children or tweens that were watching that fateful night in 2001 were permanently scarred.  I firmly believe mothers of these children or tweens had to spend hours explaining to their distressed offspring that, no, that was not a real dead swan wrapped around that lady's neck.  I mean, what did Marjan Pejoski's dress even MEAN?  What a complete and utter FAIL.

(3)  Faith Hill in 2001 ~ reminded me of a tie die t-shirt but worse. I wondered if her children had dipped her dress in three different pitches of Kook Aid.  I wondered if she had been drinking "special Kool Aid" when she was getting dressed that night.  Mostly, I wondered you own a mirror?   Such a beautiful woman.  Such a talented woman.  Such a Oscar fashion disaster!  

These three were roasted & toasted!  They were some of the worst!  Hopefully, they each immediately fired their fashion consultants that evening!!...via phone while they were AT the Academy Awards!!  LOL!!

So who's considered to have been Oscar fashion stars?  My personal top three Oscar fashion stars are:

(1) Sharon Stone in 1999 ~ no one else could pull off pairing a lavender Vera Wang ball skirt with a white Gap button down from her husband's closet!!! And I mean....NO ONE!!  This chick is beyond cool in my book - she not only made headlines but she made everyone's best dressed list!

(2) Audrey Hepburn in 1954 ~ when she accepted her Best Actress award for "Roman Holiday." She wore a sweet, floral adorned belted Givenchy gown and could not have looked more beautiful or more elegant.  Her classic, elegant style is still main stream today.

(3) Farrah Fawcett in 1978 ~ this was during the prime of "Charlie's Angels" and she was, of course, the "IT" girl married to the very handsome Lee Major.   Her dazzling smile, golden locks and all American California good looks were matched that evening with a slinky gold mesh drop-waist gown and shot her to stardom!

These three were some of the best!  Sadly, Audrey Hepburn and Farrah Fawcett are no longer with us.  Miss. Hepburn lost her battle with cancer on January 20, 1993 and Miss. Fawcett lost her three year battle with cancer on June 25, 2009.  Both truly beautiful and talented women.  I don't know if Miss. Stone plans on attending the Oscars tonight but if she does, I'm confident she will be an Oscar fashion star!

So what about tonight?  What do we have in store for us?  Who will be roasted & toasted?  Who will be the best and the worst?  Check out what PEOPLE magazine is saying!,,20449766,00.html

So what about you?  Are you going to watch the Oscars tonight?  Are you going to have friends over to watch the Oscars tonight?  Are you having an Oscar themed watch party?  If so, what will you be wearing?  If so, what will you be serving?

Me?  Yes, I'll watch them.  No, we're not having friends over for an Oscar themed watch party - sounds fun though!  I'll be chillin' out in a cashmere sweater and yoga pants on the couch with Chris.  Who will be Roasted & Toasted tonight?  Who will be The Best & The Worst Tonight?   I don't know!  It's Greek to me!

However, food is a different story! I'm whippin' up an Oscar Best!!  Below is the menu!


To StArT: Sourdough toast points brushed with fresh roasted garlic and served with a fresh, diced organic grape tomato and English cucumber "salad."

To TeAsE:  Soft butter lettuce mixed with organic grape tomatoes, purple onion, organic Mediterranean capers, English cucumbers & Feta cheese - drizzled with my fresh, homemade oil free herb vinaigrette.

To EaT:  Butterflied Greek chicken served with fresh oregano couscous and topped with Kalamata olives and delicious Feta cheese.  I love Feta cheese!  :)

DeSsErT:  Organic strawberries topped with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream

You see anything you like?  You see anything you'd like a recipe for?  Give me a shout out!  Post a remark and let me know!  Let me know what YOU are going to be doing and wearing and serving tonight!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

Saturday, February 19, 2011

OkraLogic . A Girl Cook's Latest Audience Stats!

I Thank EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU For Your Support of OkraLogic . A Girl Cook!  A Big "Welcome!" To My Newest Followers in Germany, Denmark & France!  "Willkommen!" ~ "Velkommen!" ~ "Bienvenue!"   I'd Love To Hear Your Thoughts & Would Love To Share Recipes Too!    ~ Lisa

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Good morning!

CHEAP:  adj
Relatively low in cost; inexpensive or comparatively inexpensive

I've always disliked the word "cheap."  I mean, doesn't it sound 1K times better to say "less expensive?"  And I think the word "cheap" has a bad wrap.  If something is called "cheap" does that mean it's bad?  Or if something is called "cheap" does that simply mean you've gotten a great deal on something that once cost a lot more than what you ended up paying for it?  Or does "cheap" mean a low price and a low quality?  Your thoughts?...

Let me just toss this on the table ~ I don't consider myself a "cheap" kinda gal ~ but I do get excited when I snag a fabulous pair of Micheal Kors boots that have been reduced by 25%.  I do get excited when my favorite wine is available for 10% less on "Wednesday Wine Day."  I do get excited when I find a fabulous, quality menu item at a restaurant that is not attached to a gynormous price.   Based on what I just typed, I can say with the utmost confidence that the 25% savings on the Micheal Kors boots does not make the boots "cheap."  The 10% savings on "Wednesday Wine Day" does not make Pinot Grigio Santa Margherita "cheap."  A fabulous quality menu item that is not attached to a gynormous price does not make that item "cheap or of poor quality."  Sorry, I just don't think it does!

Now let's flip this coin to the other dirty side of "cheap."  There are absolutely things I associate the dirty side of "cheap" with.  Absolutely!  There is "cheap" clothing at Wal Mart.  Now, before you start thinking I'm a snob, I have purchased items at Wal Mart before. I've purchased short sleeve v neck t-shirts.  I've purchased tights in the Winter.  I've purchased pajamas.  I can assure you all of those items were "cheap" as in cheaply made - not a lot of quality work went into them and I actually ended up spending MORE money than if I had just purchased the short sleeve v neck t-shirts at J.Crew like I have always done, if I had just purchased my Winter tights at Banana Republic like I have always done, and if I had just purchased my pajamas at Garnet Hill like I have always done.  Instead, I tried to save some money and ended up throwing everything away and replacing everything with the "tried and true" quality items, thus spending more money!  Oh well, lesson learned, right?  So I'm going to say CHEAP CLOTHES = FAIL! Oh, and J.Crew - I'll never cheat on you again!!  :)     My brother shares my feelings!  He is the co-proprietor of WRATH ARCANE ~ not "cheap" men's clothing ~ quality, Made In The USA clothing!  Just ask Lebron James - he was wearing WRATH ARCANE on "The Daily Show With John Stewart!"    Or ask the fabulous actor, Idris Elba, who was photographed on the May 3, 2010 cover of "Jet!"
P.S., my all-time favorite "clothing find" is, hands town, a pair of black PRADA mules that I found at a Little Rock thrift shop ~ $20.00!!  And, yes, they are authentic and, yes, they are fabuloso!  :)

Now on to "cheap" wine.  I'm sorry, I just can't go there.  I just can't.  I have tried.  I have failed.  It's just not my friend! If you have an interest in making cheap wine I've attached a video for you!  LOL!!   I've also attached a link to "The Most Expensive Wines" for you!  If anyone out there can afford the hundred year old bottles of Shipwrecked Heidsieck (a mere $275K) let me know how it is!  I'm a MOET gal but I'd be MORE than happy to sip on some hundred year old bubbles!  :)   My favorite wines are Pinot Grigio Santa Margherita, Penfolds Bin 407, and Opus One!  My birthday is September 16th ~ if anyone would like to send me the Opus One wine gift basket at, I will happily accept!!

Now on to "cheap food."  Let me just toss this on the table...there is NOTHING better than a cheap, greasy cheeseburger!  Now, I don't mean the .99 double cheeseburger at McDonalds that my husband Chris calls "the best value in America!"  LOL!!  (blech!)  No ma'am!  No sir!  I mean the kind of cheap, greasy cheeseburgers at those "hole in the wall" kind of places.  My favorite cheap, greasy cheeseburger when I lived in Little Rock, Arkansas could always be found at THE BOX.  Man oh man was it good!  Man oh man are they rockin' good!  It's a party in your mouth!!

I firmly believe there is BAD "cheap" food out there!  Cheap pizza at those convenience store pizza joints - blech!!  Seriously, have you ever had pizza from a convenience store?  Trust me...just do not go there!  Cheap food can be found at a lot of chain restaurants ~ poor quality and pretty much tasteless.  Personally, I don't "do" chain restaurants other than "Chili's."  It's a personal choice and one that is pretty much based on the fact Chris and I are both excellent cooks and for us to go out to eat, well, it has to be pretty spectacular since we can make anything we want ourselves!  I'd rather sit home and eat stale saltine crackers than go to a chain restaurant and eat tasteless, poor quality food!  Our favorite restaurant in our quaint town nestled in the Ozark Mountains is "Rogue's Manor!"  It is fabuloso!  It's located three blocks from our inn, MOUNT VICTORIA, and we love, love, love it!  I love the Mediterranean pasta with prawns added and Chris favors the Osso Buco.  On New Year's Eve I had the divine lobster and Chris stuck with "old trusty" and ordered the Osso Buco.  When in season, we love, love, love their oysters and they also have a fabuloso potted montrachet appetizer.  (creamy goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives...all to spread on toast points!)  Yayo!!  Yummy!!

So, which is better?  Whatdayathink?  Cheap clothes?  Cheap wine?  Cheap food?

Me, personally ....I have to go with cheap food!  Just order a cheap, greasy cheeseburger at "The Box" in Little Rock and you'll agree with me!

Shoot me some comments!  Let me know your thoughts!!  :)

Have a great day ya'll!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
 ~ A Girl Cook

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rise & Shine!

Good Morning Everyone!

And, "Welcome to OkraLogic . A Girl Cook my new follower in...Germany!"

Entering into a committed relationship with the gym today ~ will be on the treadmill pondering today's Blog!!

Talk to ya'll soon!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The New Poll Is Up! ... "What's Your Favorite Flower?"

Hey everyone!

The new poll is up ~ "What's Your Favorite Flower?"   Don't forget to go to my Blog and vote - right hand column!

For my most loyal followers, you know what MY favorite flower is!!!   THE TULIP!!  (white!)

Oh, and "Welcome To OkraLogic . A Girl Cook!" to my new follower in ....DENMARK!!

Good Night!!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
 ~ OkraLogic . A Girl Cook

To Have And Have Not!

Hello everyone!  Have ya'll missed me?!?  (chuckle)

I'm sorry it's been a couple of weeks ~ I've had a lot going on in my life!  Cliff Notes version, we had a sixty year old oak tree at our B&B bounce off our car and then fall into the parking lot during a snow / ice storm + we had 14" of snow and were house-bound for what seemed like endless days + I discovered I have two brothers!!  The latter is primarily what has take up all my time and thoughts .....all "good things!" ....just been a lot for me to digest pun intended!  Oh, and I'm going to be an Aunt in March!!!   I'll be flying to Cleveland, Ohio in May to meet my fabulous little brother Sean, his beautiful wife Zoe and my new niece, Nina.

So I woke up this morning at 5:30A thanks to one of our cats, Matilda, who seemed to think my nose was a piece of cat food.  I woke up, got up, ground my coffee beans, brewed my coffee and went into the living room with my laptop where I sunk down into my favorite toile covered "Archie Bunker" chair.  I had every intention of  writing.  I had every intention of being witty.  I had every intention of writing an awesome, witty blog!   Well, it just didn't happen.  After about 3 sips of coffee my eyes started closing and I ended up going back to bed and snuggling with Chris and our dog Molly.  I must admit, sinking back into our Goose down filled bed was a small slice of Heaven!  :)

About 9AM the phone started ringing (we don't have any guests at the B&B today so it was d-i-v-i-n-e to be able to go back to bed!) which kinda forced me to get up and get around.  I took a reservation, made a fresh pot of coffee and then the phone started ringing ...again and ...again and...again.  Well, you get my drift!

No worries ~ here I am now!  Back in the saddle so to speak!  So my mind started turning this morning about today's blog topic and I came up with..."To Have And Have Not."  "Why?", you might be thinking?  Well, honestly because I was reading this month's VANITY FAIR last night, an article on the fabulous Miss. Lauren Bacall (we have the same birthday!! - 09.16), entitled "To Have And Have Not."  The tittle of course referring to the 1944 movie by the same name and starring Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall.

Although I am not living in Martinque with the second world war happening around me, I felt the title really encompasses so many things in my life - in everyone's life - as well as food!

Let's see.  To Have:
 I have had:....lobster, roller coaster rides, banana pancakes, rain splashing on my face, mustard on my cheeseburgers, the sunroof open, heat blowing and heated car seats "on" when it is 29 degrees outside, my homemade guacamole, music always playing at the inn, a generous supply of Gatorade G2 at all times, pictures of all things and people important to me, fresh flowers delivered every week, the windows open when I go to bed so I always have fresh air dancing around me, my husband Chris' party-in-your-mouth Jerusalem salad, constant contact with my friends and people who have a permanent address in my heart, hot bubble baths, grilled chicken Caesar salads, our animals around me at all times, oysters on the half shell, a "Law & Order marathon on my TV" while snuggled in bed, fresh mangoes, long lazy Sunday afternoon drives in the Ozark mountains, hummus dip, a stack of magazines on my night table at all times, fresh garlic in almost everything, everyone's numbers programmed in my phone so I don't have to attempt to remember them, extra ice in all of my beverages and our Egyptian cotton bed linens monogrammed.  That's pretty much a Cliff Notes version for you but you "get it", right? You're pickin' up what I'm throwin' down?!?

Let's see.  To Have Not:
I have not had:....frogs legs, an opportunity to visit Italy, chocolate grasshoppers, best friends since elementary school as I grew up "all over the place", a horse, caviar, a hot air balloon ride, a trampoline, venison, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, a season at our B&B without a crazy "Bridezilla", a rose garden (I don't actually like roses so I'm absolutely A-OK with that! favorite flower is the tulip!!....and Chris, as always, was the perfect Valentine having my usual 3 dozen white French tulips delivered!), Casu Marzu (maggot cheese - yes, loaded with writhing, live fly larva), sewing lessons, free food that's handed out at grocery stores (because, let's face it, that's just plain s-c-a-r-y!), children, pineapple on my pizza, a book deal (yet!), Publisher's Clearing House show up on my front door with The Prize Patrol (beyond a total bummer), Cognac, the desire to go sky diving, latkes, or shashlik (Russian ketchup).  That's pretty much a Cliff Notes version for you but you "get it", right? You're pickin' up what I'm throwin' down?!?

So what about YOU?  What are YOUR "Haves" and "Have Nots?"   I'll be honest, it took me longer to come up with my "have nots" than my "haves!"

So let's bring Martinque into the picture as, again, it is the setting in the movie "To Have And Have Not."   Actually, let's bring the food of Martinque into the picture!

Their fresh island seafood is lobster (yayo!), freshwater crayfish, conch & urchin.  Creole dishes are available with fish and fried vegetables.  Higher end restaurants serve French classics such as foie gras, escargot (yumm!) and steak with bordelaise sauce.  Popular desserts are pumpkin mousse and watermelon sorbet. :)

Their breakfasts are on the light side and tend to consist of guava and passion fruit as well as herring, avocado and cucumber salad.

Their customary beverage is Ty punch made with rum, lime juice, syrup and bitters  ~ sounds pretty darn tasty to ME!

I'm thinking a meal I would enjoy in Martinque that I can add to my "Have Had" list would be:

Ty Punch
Cucumber Salad
Lobster (why, but of course!)
Watermelon Sorbet

With Spring around the corner (hard to believe since it was -9 degrees just a week ago with 14" of snow on the ground) I thought a recipe for watermelon sorbet would be pretty tasty!  Below is the recipe ~ let me know whatcha think!  Maybe you could make it tonight and watch a fabulous "Bogie & Bacall" movie!  AMAZON makes it easy for you - they offer a "set collection" of all four movies they made together!

Oh, did I mention one of the romantic getaway packages we offer at our B&B is entitled "Bogie & Bacall?"  Chuckle...I kid you not!  Go check it out!  I actually reserved a "Bogie & Bacall" package last week!  Don't forget to visit the right column of my Blog page and become a Facebook fan of our inn, MOUNT VICTORIA!  Chris and I want you to!  We really do! :)

Hope you have a romantic movie and watermelon sorbet filled evening!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
4 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. grenadine
3 fresh mint leaves
3lbs. of seedless watermelon (1 small watermelon)

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring all ingredients to a boil (except the watermelon) dissolving the sugar granules.  Let cool slightly.  Remove the rind from the watermelon and cut the watermelon into chunks.  Puree half of the watermelon in a blender.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.  Repeat with the remaining watermelon. Add the slightly cooled syrup mixture to the pureed watermelon mixture - blend well.  Place in a 2 quart plastic container and freeze for 4 hours.  "Enjoy!"

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ OkraLogic . A Girl Cook

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year! - The Year Of The Golden Rabbit! Let's Talk! Let's Cook!

Today is February 3, 2011.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!

According to the Chinese Zodiac the Year Of The Golden Rabbit begins February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012.  The Chinese Zodial consists of twelve animal signs with the Rabbit being the fourth sign.  The  Rabbit is a lucky sign.  According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year where you can catch your breath  and settle your nerves.  Chinese New Year is the most important social and economic (and so darn colorful!) holiday in China and has been called Spring Festival since the 20th century.  The younger China generation actually observes the holiday very differently from their ancestors; it's become less about the chance to re-connect with family and more about relaxation.

So super cool - this is the Year Of The Golden Rabbit!  This is a year that's going to be filled with luck!  That's exciting stuff!  Based on the fact Chris and I are off to a not-so-good start in 2011, due to the fact half of an icy sixty year old tree fell on our car two days ago, we sure welcome luck!  We sure welcome being able to catch our breath.  We sure welcome our nerves settling.  We sure welcome "The Year Of The Golden Rabbit!"

Have you ever wanted or owned a rabbit?  I became the proud owner of a super soft brilliantly white rabbit with enormous eyes when my high school boyfriend proudly presented me with one as an Easter present. We were both so proud!  We were the proud parents of a rabbit! I named my super soft brilliantly white rabbit with enormous eyes Egg.  I thought Egg was such a great gift - this big, fat fluffy white rabbit.  I loved Egg.  Egg had a huge metal cage he slept in.  To date, I'm not sure whether Egg was a girl rabbit or a boy rabbit. (lol)  I let Egg out to play in the backyard.  I fed Egg lettuce.  I fed Egg rabbit food.  I loved my rabbit, Egg.  And then Egg bit me.  I don't really know what happened to change Egg's docile personality from the most laid back rabbit on the planet to a "snapping rabbit" comparable to a snapping turtle. Have you ever been bitten by a rabbit?  No?  Well, let me be honest with you - I absolutely do not recommend it.  I do, however, highly recommend letting a biting rabbit out of its huge metal cage and into the woods behind your house.  And so Egg was set free.  Oh, did I mention I had to go to the Doctor and get 3 stitches in my hand by my thumb?  Hopefully Egg enjoyed many happy years in the woods behind our house. I never saw Egg again and I do actually think of Egg every Easter.  I think it's safe to say that in the year of 1988 the rabbit did not bring me good luck.  It actually makes a lot of sense that Chinese New Year 1988 was the Year Of The Brown Earth Dragon because it sure felt like a dragon bite!  (lol)  I'm really not so sure how I feel about 2012 once again being the Year Of The Brown Earth Dragon!  Zoiks!

Let's see,  what else about Chinese New Year?  Well, by New Year's Eve you should have cleaned your house.  You should have put away all your brooms and brushes.  You should have paid all your debts. You should have resolved any differences with family members, work associates, neighbors, etc.  Wow!  I mean, I clean the inn / our house every day!  I don't wait 'till New Year's Eve!  (chuckle)

You're supposed to buy red money envelopes.  You're supposed to buy oranges and / or tangerines.  You're supposed to buy flowers.  You're supposed to buy new clothes for your children - especially red and orange.  You're supposed to get new dollar bills from the bank and put them in the red envelopes which then become lee see, or a lucky money envelope.  (funny - my Pappy used to pronounce my name like Lee-See) Wow!  I do this stuff all the time - with the exception of the money envelopes.  I buy oranges - the orange, in my husband Chris' opinion, is "nature's perfect fruit."  Chris loves oranges.  When he's sick all he will eat are oranges.  Me, personally - I can live without eating an actual whole orange.  I do, however, love some fresh squeezed orange juice!!  So much so that when I lived in Little Rock, Arkansas I would excitedly drive through "Satellite Cafe" and pay $5.00 for a small (and I do mean s-m-a-l-l) take away glass of fresh squeezed orange juice!

Let's see, what about Chinese New Year decorating?
Personally, I think the colors are beyond beautiful!  We're talking orange!  We're talking shades of amber orange. Shades of flame orange.   Shades of safety orange.  Shades of tangelo orange.  Shades of pumpkin orange.  Shades of persimmon orange.  We're talking orange!  Honestly, I don't have a lot of orange goin' on in my life.  I purchased an orange linen Ralph Lauren shirt last Summer that I really like - it looks great with a tan.  Other than that, I really don't think I have anything orange goin' on in my closet.

We're also talking red!  We're talking shades of burgundy red.  Shades of sangria red.  Shades of Venetian red.  Shades of candy apple red.  Shades of coral red.  Shades of scarlet red.  We're talking red!  Honestly, I love the color red!  OPI's red polish, "I'm Not Really A Waitress" is on my toes pedicure after pedicure. I drove a red Honda Prelude Si when I was in my 20's.  My favorite lipstick is CHANEL's "Rogue Allure."  There's lots of red goin' on in my closet!  I have red cashmere scarves.  I have red cashmere sweaters.  I have red Gap t-shirts.  I love red!

Let's see, what about Chinese New Year food?  Ohhhh yeahhhh!!! Let's get down to business and talk about Chinese New Year food!!  It ALL just sounds so beyond delicious!!

Let's talk about Chinese New Year appetizers!!  Yummy, Yummy!  There's Egg Rolls.  There's Pearl Balls.  There's Spring Rolls.  There's Lettuce Wraps.  There's Pot Stickers.  There's Dumplings.  There's a lot of yummy, yummy appetizers out there!  I have to say, my favorite are the lettuce wraps!  They are so simple and delicious and just so "fresh" to me!  I love lettuce wraps!  Oh, and I love P.F. Chang's!!

Let's talk about Chinese New year entrees!!  Yummy, Yummy!!  There's Kung Pao Chicken.  There's Sweet and Sour Pork.  There's General Tso's Chicken.  There's Clams In Black Bean Sauce.  There's Salt & Pepper Shrimp. There's Sesame Chicken.  There's a lot of yummy, yummy entrees out there!  I have to say, my favorite is Salt & Pepper Shrimp.  I love shrimp.  I love peel and eat shrimp.  I love boiled shrimp.  I love shrimp alfredo pasta.  I love shrimp!  Oh, and I love shrimp appetizers!!

Let's talk about Chinese New Year desserts!  Now, as ya'll know I'm not a sweets gal but I can be very sweet.  (chuckle)  Unfortunately, my Dad seems to only remember the not so sweet Lisa Margaret (pre-adult years of course ....chuckle).  Dad seems to remember the Lisa Margaret that threw the snowballs against the house with white siding in Iowa.  Dad seems to remember the Lisa Margaret that attempted to duplicate his signature on a report card that was sprinkled with a few "D's."  (geometry and history were absolutely NOT my thing!)  Dad seems to remember the Lisa Margaret that snuck the family station wagon out of the garage late one night so I could pick up my best friend, pick up my boyfriend and go over to my best friend's  boyfriend's house to hang out ...because his parents were out of town - but smart enough to take the family car keys with them.  Oh, and I was 15 years old.  I mean, hasn't everyone done this before?!?  Present date, I don't think I've ever seen my Dad that angry.  (chuckle)  My punishment you might be asking?  No worries - Dad was really good in the punishment department.  I had the telephone and television removed from my bedroom - for a month.  My boyfriend was not allowed to come over after school - for a month.  Oh, and I had to clean the house every Saturday - for a month.  Yes, the entire house.  Present date, I still feel those punishments were harsh.  I mean, don't you?!?

 But back to Chinese New Year desserts!  There's Egg Custard Tarts.  There's Almond Cookies.  There's Five Spice Peanuts.  There's Eight Precious Pudding.  There's Sesame Seed Balls.  There's Preserved Kumquats.  Honestly, the only thing that sounds vaguely appealing to me are the Almond Cookies.  On that note, below is my Mom's Almond Cookie Fingers recipe.  Santa Claus told me they were yummy, yummy!   I made these for him every year.

I hope you take the recipes on my Blog away with you today and perhaps prepare your own 2011 Chinese New Year feast for you and yours!  I've given you the history.  I've given you the traditions.  I've given you the decorating tips.  And I've given you the FOOD!!  So....get 'ta steppin' and whip something fabulous up tonight!!   Oh, and don't forget the bright orange and red flowers for your dining room table!  I'm thinkin' Gerber daisies!!

If you're in NYC it looks like ya'll are gonna have a rockin' good time!  Wish I was there!  I adore NYC!


2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8oz. almond paste - cut into very small pieces
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. butter (divided)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cut chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Mix the flour and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl cream the almond paste with 1/2 cup butter until fluffy.  Add the sugar and egg until blended evenly.  Add the flour mix and blend well.  Shape tablespoons of dough into 2" long fingers.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the 2" long fingers on the baking sheet and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Melt chocolate and 1 tbsp. butter in a saucepan.  Dip a fork in the chocolate.  Make lines on the cookies by drizzling the melted chocolate back and forth across the cookies.  Makes 48 cookies.


Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Latest OkraLogic . A Girl Cook Audience Stats!!

Hey ya'll!

As of today, below are my latest Audience Stats!  I thank each and every one of you so, so, so much for your support and following!!  Throw some comments out there - share some recipes - let me know what ya think!!

United States   1285
Canada               13
Singapore           10
United Kingdom   9
Czech Republic    2
Saudi Arabia        1

Endless Hugs!!
 ~ Lisa

Us, An Icy Tree Falling On Our Car & Our Comfort Food!

So there's ME   ~ A bubbly, fun-loving tall blonde cook
So there's CHRIS ~ A down-to-earth easy going tall handsome cook
So there's AN ICY TREE ~ 60 years old...covered in ice...fell on our car yesterday
So there's COMFORT FOOD ~ Why do people refer to certain foods as comfort foods? I can assure you, in light of yesterday's "event", I did not think it possible that food would comfort me / us!  I tried!  Chris tried!  We tried!

Yesterday morning was a beautiful morning.  Everything was covered in two inches of white powder.  All of the trees branches looked as though they had been dipped in a gynormous vat of rich white chocolate.  (chocolate bark anyone?!?)  The sky was a gorgeous shade of cerulean blue.  Birds were singing.  Squirrels were jumping  from tree to tree.  I was snuggled in our living room in my favorite Toile covered wingback with THE TODAY SHOW on the television, a warm Pottery Barn quilt covering my legs that were resting on my all time favorite over sized tuffet (a "steal" at an antique store in Little Rock years ago), an impressive cup of freshly ground organic coffee next to me on a glass covered antique burled walnut side table and my laptop resting on my lap. Chris and Molly, our dog, were snuggled on the couch under a goose down comforter.  Molly was snoring.  The sun was shining.

Yesterday was a beautiful morning like the memory of one Christmas getting the Barbie Townhouse, the Barbie Jet, Skipper Barbie, and an entire new evening wardrobe for Barbie.  Unfortunately, that Christmas afternoon I decided to pop Skipper's head off to see if it would float in water and I wasn't able to snap Skipper's head back on.  I spent a portion of that Christmas Day in my room in time-out.  Oh, and yes, Barbie heads float in water.  Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Yesterday was a beautiful morning ....until 11:45AM

I was walking through the living room and through the dining room.  I was walking through the butler's pantry to get to the kitchen.  All of a sudden I heard it.  It was a sound comparable to a building demolition.  It was a sound I imagine was the sound in "Jack And The Beanstalk"  when Jack grabbed the axe, and after two strikes, sent the Orge falling to the ground where he broke his crown and the beanstalk came toppling after.

About 10 seconds after this sound Matilda, our female orange cat, came running past me in the butler's pantry like a cat running out of a room filled with rocking chairs.  I stood there taking it all in.  I didn't want to move forward.  I didn't want to move backward.  By the way, did you know female orange cats are rare and tend to be a little "crazy?"  I know this because after I rescued Matilda at 8 weeks old and took her to the Vet, the Vet nervously told me so.  I can attest Matilda is a little "crazy."  I'm just goin' with the fact she stares at the wall and meows endlessly and hisses when you pick her up and swats at you when you walk by and then jumps in your lap purring.

So back to me and 10 seconds.  Within 10 seconds I had processed what had happened and I just couldn't move.  Eventually I heard myself yelling, "Chris?  Chris!  Chris?"  Chris didn't reply so I was forced to move.  I walked past our female orange cat Matilda whose eyes were as big as the Star Trek Enterprise and through the dining room to the living room.  And there Chris stood with his back to me staring out one of the tall living room windows.  "Chris?" I said.  No response.  "Chris?" I said again.  No response.  I remember feeling scared.  Scared like when you're young and your parents turn off your night light and you don't want them to because you think there is a scary monster under the bed. Well, there WAS a scary monster under the bed wasn't there?  How dare my Mom falsely label me a Drama Queen at age 5.  That crazy woman.

I felt scared.  "CHRIS!" I said.  Chris turned around and I could tell by the look on his face what had happened was a bad thing.  I knew it was a bad thing like you got an "F" in Math and had to take your report card home to your parents.  I know this feeling first hand because I have gotten an "F" in Math and have had to take that report card home to my parents.  It was a bad thing.  Let's just say Math flash cards became a large, unwanted part of my childhood.  Old Maid, Go Fish and my Jacks with the small red bouncing ball were taken away and replaced with Math flashcards.  It was a bad thing.

I walked forward and stood beside Chris and looked out the window.  It was a bad thing.  What was once a beautiful, magnificent sixty year old Oak tree was no longer.  The ice laden tree had split in half. One half remained standing and the other half was on the ground.  Oh, did I mention Chris had parked the car kinda under this sixty year old Oak tree?  At first I thought, it's okay - the tree is not ON the car.  The tree missed the front veranda of the inn by 1/2 an inch.  I remember exhaling.  I remember thinking... it's okay - we're okay.

NOT SO MUCH.  When the sixty year old oak tree fell under the weight of the ice and split it half the half that fell apparently bounced off the roof of our car and then from the roof of the car landed in the parking lot, blocking the front walk to the inn.  Not realizing this at the time, I said to Chris, "Well, it looks like the tree missed everything but why don't you go out and check."  Chris put on his snow gear and walked outside.  I was looking out the window at Chris' facial expressions like a kid looking out the window Christmas Eve hoping to see Santa flying through the night sky in his beautiful big red sleigh.  I kept watching.  My stomach sank.  I could tell by Chris' expressions it was a bad thing.

Chris came inside, shook the snow of his boots, took off his snow gear and gave me the bad news.  It was a bad thing.  The roof of the car was dented in and was no longer flush with the sunroof. The right rear side of the trunk was dented.  The back rear right tail lights were broken.  Oh, and of course half of a sixty year old tree was laying sideways in our parking lot blocking the front walk to the inn.

Within an hour Chris spoke to an insurance adjuster.  He spoke to the tree service company.  He spoke to the insurance company (again).  Chris was told we'll need to drive to their main office (about 2 hours away) for the damage to be looked at so we can be issued a check.  The tree service company is not working right now because it's too cold.  It's 7 degrees today & will be -5 degrees tonight.  The temps will not be above freezing until Friday ...when there is MORE snow expected!  So, riiiiighttt - we'll just hop in the car and drive right over!

So here we sit! On the bright side, we have power.  We have heat.  We have food.  Ahhhh.....we have food! Once all phone calls were made and the event handled as much as it could be handled, I started cooking!  I started seeking comfort in food.  I started seeking comfort for Chris in food.

Comfort food refers to foods consumed to achieve some level of improved emotional status.  So I started cooking!  I made hummus.  (I love, love, love hummus!)  I made salsa.  I made pan grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and fresh herb pan gravy. I made biscuits to go with the pan grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and fresh herb pan gravy.  I made ham and cheese sandwiches on fresh baked bread with heart of romaine, vine ripened tomatoes, purple onion & homemade fresh garlic mayonnaise with homemade sweet potato french fires dusted with sea salt.  I boiled a whole chicken.   I made chicken noodle soup with extra wide egg noodles and fresh thyme.  I cooked!  I cooked a lot!  Did I find comfort?  Ummm, no.  Did I offer Chris some comfort?  Ummm, no - Chris actually had to take several TUMS.  (lol)

About five o'clock Chris walked in the bedroom and said, "I've been watching The Food Network - how about a homemade cheeseburger Chicago style pizza for dinner?"  I was watching a movie - I pushed pause - I looked at him for a few seconds because nothing was sounding good to me and replied, "Sure, okay."

 So Chris started making a homemade cheeseburger Chicago style pizza for dinner! He made the dough.  He made the fresh herb pizza sauce.  He browned the ground beef.  He sliced the yellow onion to paper thin status on the mandolin  He sprinkled a mound of fresh grated NY super sharp cheddar cheese.  He made homemade pizza!   Within 30 minutes the a-m-a-z-i-n-g aroma of his fresh herb pizza sauce filled the air.  This a-m-a-z-i-n-g aroma tickled my nose and teased my stomach.  This a-m-a-z-i-n-g aroma made me jump out of bed and run into the kitchen like 81 year old Imelda Marcos runs to a Jimmy Choo shoe sale!  My stomach actually began to growl!

At seven o'clock I can honestly say we found comfort food!  We found comfort!  Chris and I have officially decided his homemade cheeseburger Chicago style pizza is OUR comfort food!  It was so good.  The fresh cracked pepper, fresh rosemary and sea salt crust was perfectly seasoned and baked.  The sauce was a party in your mouth.  The amount of paper thin mandolin sliced onion was perfect.  The cheese was perfectly sharp and perfectly melted.  We found comfort!  We found our comfort food!  What's YOUR comfort food?!?

There is a picture of Chris' homemade cheeseburger Chicago style pizza on the right hand side of my Blog page - right below the new Poll, "What Do You Like On Your Pizza?"  Be sure to check them both out and please vote on the new Poll!  What I like on my pizza is pepperoni & mushroom!  I also like spinach and fresh tomato! :)  What Chris likes on his pizza is hamburger.  He also likes a veggie all the way!  :)

Below is Chris' homemade pizza sauce recipe - he just whipped it up!  It's simplistically delicious! I hope, during this horrible "Historic Winter Storm", everyone is safe and warm.  I hope everyone finds comfort.  I hope everyone finds their comfort food!

1 can of whole organic tomatoes
several large pours of extra light olive oil
3 fresh garlic cloves
1 extra small handful of fresh basil
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1 handful of fresh parsley

Once the oil, garlic, salt and pepper are evenly blended, add the whole organic tomatoes and continue until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.  Taste and if the seasonings need adjusted, do so.  Cook on medium to low heat for 30 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature before you spread on your homemade or store bought pizza crust.  Before he placed his pizza in the oven he sprinkled the top with (more) parsley & basil!  "Enjoy!"

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

10 Craziest Frozen Meals! (Too Funny!)

Good Morning!

I saw this a moment ago and it just cracked me UP!

Me, personally, I find No.1 & No. 7 to be the funniest!

What do YOU think?!?

Experiencing a tad bit of writer's block this morning - I'm workin' through it and will post my daily Blog soon!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The New Poll Is Up! ... "What Do You Like On Your Pizza?"

Hey ya'll!

Chris made a totally from scratch cheeseburger Chicago style pizza this evening and man oh man does the inn smell GOOD!!!  His pizza inspired my new Poll, "What Do You Like On Your Pizza?"

Go vote! .....right hand side of the page and you can also check out a picture of his fabulous pizza!!

Make sure you tune in for tomorrow's Blog - it will involve the main event at the inn today which would be half of an icy 60 year old tree falling on our car!  GOOD STUFF!  (insert sarcasm here)

I hope everyone is safe and warm during this "Historic Winter Storm."

BTW, the top 3 fruits from my last poll, "What's Your Favorite Fruit?" were (3) Pineapple (2) Cantaloupe & (1) Mango.  I love, love love mangoes!!  :)

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook

Confessions & Concoctions

So I confess I'm tickled pink about the snow on the ground this morning.  I confess I'm not tickled pink about the sleet that's been coming down non-stop for an hour....the sound of it against our bedroom windows is what woke me up this morning.  You know the Pop Rocks candy you ate as a kid and they kinda exploded in your mouth with that sound resonating in your ears?!?  Well, that's what the sleet sounds like!

I confess I think it would be really cool to drive a snow plow.  I think I'd feel like a superhero driving down the street in that huge, yellow machine.  The Weather Channel has named this "Historic Winter Storm" THE BEAST.    I think a snow plow driver would be kinda like a superhero - pushing the snow back from THE BEAST so people can get around / helping people / doing good things / coming to peoples' rescue.  I'm thinking a ticker-tape parade would be appropriate!  Hmmmm, my very own ticker-tape parade!  How exciting!!  What to wear, what to wear....

I confess it's been way too long since I've thrown a snowball.  I really don't remember the last time I threw a snowball.  Sad, huh?  As a child it was my all time favorite event - the throwing of the snowball.  Sadly, it was this all time favorite event that got me in trouble.....every single time.  And I do mean every single time.  The most trouble I got in was when we lived in Iowa for a year.  Our driveway was on the left side of the house.  Our house had white siding.  I was a mischievous child.  Okay, I was simply a bad child.  I particularly did not like to be told what to do or when to do what I was told what to do.

So one week there was a lot of snow. I, of course, was ecstatic.  I put on my favorite green coat with the fur trimmed hood, my favorite red gloves and my favorite red snow boots.  I couldn't wait to get home from school and play outside in the snow.  I built snowmen.  I made so many snow angels there wasn't any unused snow left for me to make new snow angels on.  So I decided to throw snowballs.  I decided to throw a lot of snowballs.  I remember I saw my Mom in the kitchen window and I threw snowballs at her.  This promptly resulted in my Mom opening the door and yelling, "Lisa-Margaret, stop throwing those snowballs!  You'll break the window!"   I stood there staring at my Mom waiting for her to close the door and then I threw a snowball at the door she had just closed.  Let's just say that decision was not one of my better decisions.  I was sent to my room that afternoon and then had to listen to yet another one of my Dad's stern "Now Lisa" talks when he got home from work that day.

So a few days passed - more snow had fallen so I was able to make more snow angels. I have no idea why I loved making snow angels so much...I just did.  Heaven knows it wasn't due to me feeling as though I had a connection with angels - I definitely did not sport angel wings!!  So I started throwing the snowballs again.  I started out throwing them at the cherry trees in our backyard.  I got bored with that after a few minutes and made what ultimately would be a beyond bad decision - I decided to throw snowballs at the side of the house covered in white siding.  My Mom never heard me because apparently the white siding absorbed the sound of my snowballs.  I mean, we're talking I was throwing snowballs like an electronic tennis ball machine.

So my Dad comes home.  I, by the time he got home, had put the snowball throwing activity behind me and had moved inside to my room where I listening to records and pretending I was a superstar singing along  - singing along totally tone deaf that is.  So my Dad walks in my room and asks "Lisa, were you throwing snowballs at the side of the house today?"  I immediately recognized that tone of voice coming out of my Dad's mouth.  It was that tone that when he asked you a question it wasn't really a question - it was that tone that was TELLING you that you had done what he was asking if you had done.  This tone was not, as 'ole Martha Stewart would say, "a good thing."  No.  No ma'am.  No way No how.  This tone was a very bad thing!

I looked at my Dad for a few seconds and in those few seconds I decided my fate.  "No Dad" I said.  Well, that was just not smart - not smart at all.  I was then taken outside where my Dad pointed to the tan colored circular marks on the side of the house covered in white siding.  I remember standing there with my Dad staring at the side of the house covered in white siding and realizing I would not be throwing any more snowballs in Iowa.  I remember realizing my record player was about to be taken away.  I also remember thinking....well who KNEW snow had dirt in it and would leave marks on the side of the house covered in white siding.  WHO KNEW??   Well, my Dad sure knew!  I sure know now!  To be perfectly clear....I denied, denied, denied.  Present date, I have never admitted to my Dad I threw snowballs against the side of the house covered in white siding.  Present date, my Dad still tells that story.  I think it's in hopes that I'll one day eventually confess.  No way!  No ma'am!  No Way!  No How!  Well, at least not to him.  I am, however, confessing to ya'll!!  (lol)   (I loved, loved, loved these!!)

So I've created endless concoctions and below is one of them!  I don't remember when I concocted it.  I confess I sometimes get carried away with the fresh garlic.  Not a lot of kisses from Chris those nights.  (lol)


2 bags of quick cook brown rice
chicken, turkey or beef (ground or chopped)
3 fresh garlic cloves (minced)
1 small handful of parsley (chopped)
1/2 of a small wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano (grated - reserve half)
1/2 of a purple onion (chopped)
1 small container of fresh portabello mushrooms
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
1 small container of cream
couple of pours of chicken broth (be careful not to make this dish too "thin")

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Cook the rice per the instructions on the box.  In a pan, thoroughly cook the meat.  I cook / season mine with extra light olive oil, sea salt & pepper.  Combine the rice, meat and other ingredients in a large bowl.  Spray a baking dish with PAM and pour the mixture into the baking pan.  Sprinkle with the reserved Parmigiano Reggiano and cover with foil.  Bake at 350F degrees for 30 minutes.

I's really, really good!!

Always "Push The Parsley!"
~ A Girl Cook