Monday, February 19, 2024

New Pan, New Recipe


New Pan - New Recipe

Life is back to normal after the dishwasher leak and the loud machines from Serv-Pro drying out our kitchen floor.  The good news is that the flooring people found some of our floor in their warehouse and we are going to try replacing just the boards that are rough or lifted.  The floor does look a lot better now that it is dried out, but it feels rough.  When I finally got to mop up after all the machines were removed I could feel the microfiber mop catching on some of the uneven places.  So...we are waiting to see if the new floor will match and we can avoid replacing the entire floor in the apartment. about a "first world problem" when there are so many other terrible things going on in the world.  Such a little thing in the scheme of things. 
It is great to have the kitchen back - and try a new recipe with my new pan.  I never had a cast iron skillet - always would look at them in the stores and then never got around to buying one, even though I love to cook.  While watching HSN the pan above was advertised at a great price and with some great features. Here is the product description that had me ready to order - 

PFAS-, PTFE-, PFOS- and PFOA-free diamond-infused ceramic nonstick coating.
Can withstand high temperatures up to 840 degrees F.
High abrasion resistance: 2.75 times stronger than a 2-layer ceramic coating.
This was a Today's Special at a great price so I decided to order it.  I chose the pan in the black color as I thought it would hold up better and not get as messy looking.  I love that it has  a "helper handle" and came with the silicone pads that I can use with my other pans.  
Once the kitchen was open for business I wanted to try a new recipe with the new pan.
I saw a great salmon recipe on Instagram but wanted to make it for I found this recipe on YouTube - 
Salmon in Creamy Boursin Sauce
Ingredients: 2 salmon fillet 75g Boursin Cheese 2 shallots, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced a handful of fresh chopped spinach 250ml milk 1 tbsp butter 1 tbsp olive oil salt & pepper to taste 1. Season the salmon fillet with salt & pepper. 2. Heat the pan with olive oil and butter on medium low heat. 3. Sear the fillets on both sides for 3 minutes or longer, depending on the size of fillets. 4. Set aside and Saute' shallots and garlic until translucent and fragrant. 5. Add Boursin Cheese, and flour. 6. Stir to combine. 7. Add Milk and stir until it thickens 8. Add Spinach. It will only takes a minute for the spinach to wilt or cook. 9. Put the salmon fillets back on the pan. 10, Give those fillets a little bath with the Boursin cheese sauce that you just made, serve and Enjoy!

I started with one large piece of salmon that I sliced into two pieces.

This recipe sounded like it would be good over pasta so I started the water for some whole wheat Fusilli

The box said boil for about 13-16 minutes so everything should be ready at the same time.

The pan heated up quickly...

and did a great job browning the salmon...about 4 minutes on each side.
When the salmon was finished I added the onions and garlic to the pan and cooked until they were golden...

I used ready made minced garlic...
I did not have shallots so I used onions...and chopped them in this little mini chopper ( also purchased on HSN ) that works great for a small amount of onions.

I had the cheese on hand...

When the salmon was finished browning I put the pieces in a low oven to keep warm...

I used only half of the cheese...

Add the cheese and stir till melted, add a little flour and mix well, then add the milk...

Once everything was melted and blended I added a handful of spinach that I had in the freezer...

Then put the salmon back in the pan, let it warm through, spooned some of the sauce over the salmon...

then placed the salmon on the pasta and spooned the sauce over.

It turned out GREAT!   We loved it...and will make it again.  I also think it would be good with a chicken breast.
SO glad I purchased this was super easy to clean up and nothing stuck to the pan.  
Do you do a lot of cooking in a cast iron pan?
Any favorite recipes?
Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you!
Enjoy the rest of February!

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Life Lately


Life Lately

I have been meaning to post for a few days, but then the above happened!  Our dishwasher was having a slow leak due to a cracked connection...but this was happening under the dishwasher and under the floor and we did not know until one day the hardwood floor looked bubbled and rough.  The water was seeping up underneath the floor.  Luckily we live in a retirement community where maintenance is included.  I called and they immediately scheduled the appliance repair to come  - they found the leak and fixed it.  The maintenance manager came and looked at the floor and said "this floor was put in 6 years ago, it is probably discontinued, and if it isn't we might have an issue matching the color and finish.  He said we had choices - 1) get an entire new hardwood floor with no cost to us.  As great as that sounded that would mean moving all of our furniture out, living in the Guest Suites for 5-7 days, and seemed a lot of work for everyone...or 2) have Serv Pro come in, suck the water out of the floor, then have the flooring people come in and see what they can do.  If it does not look good to us we could always choose to have the entire floor replaced.  So...those machines have been running, and will run a few more.  They just used a nifty meter to test for dampness today and it is still beeping that there is water under there.  The thing is - these machines are LOUD.  We can't really use the kitchen, and can't use the living area to read or watch television because it is so loud.  We can sleep...when in the bedroom it sounds like white noise, so we are good there.  

Bottom line....this is such a minor issue when you think about all the trouble people all over the world have.  We are enjoying eating out and trying new places.  Our building has a wonderful library where we can sit and read, a television lounge if we feel the need, and the maintenance staff could not be more helpful.  Watch for more updates on what happens....

Last week we saw this show at the Fulton Theatre here in Lancaster, PA.  We are so blessed to have the Fulton so close.  Broadway quality shows - with actors from Broadway shows - and wonderful plays.  This is the first year we got tickets for the entire season.  
This show...It Happened In Key West was done in London West End, and on it's way (hopefully) to Broadway.  It is based on a true story of a man in the 1930's who fell in love, his true love dies, and he took her body and kept it in his home for seven years !  And this is a musical...but SO GOOD.  The songs are fantastic...especially "Believe in Undying Love".  If you get a chance and it comes your way, see it!
That's it for now...hope everyone is having a fabulous February!  

Monday, January 8, 2024

Home in January


Home in January

The holidays were wonderful, and it was amazing to be in Paris on Christmas...but so good to be home!  It did not take too long to pack away Christmas as we did a "basic Christmas" since we would be away.
I love the peace and calm of January...cozy tea, good books, a fire, a comfy throw, and good movies.
While a lot of people don't decorate for January, I do - and find it fun and a nice change from all the holiday colors.
My chair is all set for reading and watching the snow fall.  The pillow is old - after Christmas sale at Hobby Lobby.  The silver bird from Target, and the Winter book by Mary Englebreit has been mine for years.

Some Christmas balls purchased at K-Mart years ago - a steal after the holidays - fill a tray from Dollar Tree on our coffee table.  I cut up some winter berry picks from JoAnn Fabrics to liven it up, then added a votive with a snowflake ornament ( also from Dollar Tree) on top.

Switched out the red holly for some white and blue picks on the mantel...

added a snowflake and winter bird to my ivy...

and made a simple centerpiece for the dining table.  The white "snowballs" are Martha Stewart ornaments I picked up after Christmas at Lowes years ago...the blue candle is new.  All of my candles looked more cream than white so I just ordered this one - a set of three - from Amazon.  I really like it because they were very inexpensive, and come with a remote, making it easy to light when we have dinner.
You can find them here - Blue Candles

Some snowmen and a snowflake in the kitchen corner...

and the snowmen are enjoying some wine, too.

This snowman was an ornament gift from a friend...I use it for January and used some nail polish to make the wine glass look like it holds a nice red blend!

Our foyer welcome guests with a winter greeting and another snowman...

as well as the snowman on our door.  It usually snows as soon as I take down the Christmas wreath and put this up...and this year did not disappoint.  Not much snow, but enough to feel cozy watching it while it fell.
Yesterday was Epiphany and it is our tradition to bless our home on that day.  When I was a child our parish priest would visit every home sometime after Christmas and bless the house for the coming year.  The door is marked with the year, a cross, and the initials of the Three Kings - Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar.  My mom was a wonderful cook and our parish priest always seemed to be at our home right before lunch - so my mom would invite him to stay for something to eat.
That tradition is fading away, and priests have not visited homes for many years....but we carry on the tradition by blessing our home with holy water and praying that everyone who enters our home is blessed.  
Today is our 47th wedding we do feel very blessed to have all these years together.  We are going out this evening to try a new restaurant  - and glad the weather is going to cooperate.  So many anniversary dinners have been snowed out over the years!
Love this meal for lunch or dinner during the cold winter very cozy!
Do you decorate for January?  Are you a fan of the winter - or are you longing for Spring?  Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you !
Have a cozy winter!

Monday, January 1, 2024

Paris is always a good idea!

 Paris is always a good idea!

That Audrey Hepburn quote has always inspired me...and yes, Paris was a great idea and the perfect way to celebrate my dear husband's 70th birthday and Christmas combined.
We even made our Christmas Card "Paris themed" by taking this photo in our guest bath!  That is our Paris shower curtain in the background and it worked great.  Our guest bath is "all Paris" - as you can see here - We'll Always Have Paris

We set out on a Viking River Cruise called "Christmas on the Seine" with a few days in Paris before the start of the cruise.
Our hotel - Hotel Rochester - was just a few blocks off of the Champs Elysees and perfect for exploring the city.

I took WAY too many photos...having a phone that takes photos makes it too easy to keep snapping shots.  In the past - when you had a camera with real film - I was so careful to make sure I did not use up all the film before the end of the trip.  Then came digital cameras, and I was a little careful not to fill up the memory card.  But now, even though I want to be in the moment and not take so many photos, it is so easy to keep snapping away.
Here are some highlights from our wonderful trip...

A beautiful morning walk through Le Marais  -  past beautiful shop windows and buildings filled with history.

We walked all over the day logging over 24,000 steps - riding the metro, eating crepes, visiting the Christmas markets, museums, the amazing department store displays, and a very moving ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe that honored the Unknown Soldier and all veterans.
After all that walking we were happy to board the Viking Radgrid for a trip up the Seine, but the river was swollen with too much rain so we had to board the ship about 10 miles away from Paris.  Viking did a great job in shuttling us into Paris so we did not miss anything.

I have some great video of the Eiffel Tower sparkling - as it does every 15 minutes - but having trouble loading the video!

I decorated our cabin door for Christmas, we had the first of great meals on the ship, then headed back to Paris for a boat ride around the city to see the lights...MAGICAL!
We got to make ornaments to decorate the tree in the ship's lounge...

Hear fabulous organ concerts in old cathedrals in little towns along the Seine...

Have delicious food and wine...

See amazing old cities...
And even hiked to see Richard the Lionheart's fortress!

Several trees on the ship to make the holidays festive!

Christmas Eve Services at the American Cathedral.

A Happy Birthday toast to John!

What a wonderful adventure and great way to celebrate Christmas and a special birthday.  Now we are home again, ready to begin the New Year of 2024, and excited about all that is to come.
Thanks so much for coming along on our trip.  
Have you traveled over the holidays?  Would you do it again?  
Please leave a comment below - I so enjoy hearing from you!
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year filled with health, happiness, and peace!

New Pan, New Recipe

  New Pan - New Recipe Life is back to normal after the dishwasher leak and the loud machines from Serv-Pro drying out our kitchen floor.  T...