Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad

Who does not like a picnic? Whether it be in a park or on your back porch, this is the perfect time of the year for al fresco dining. In the summer, I try to eat my dinner on my back porch every night. I just love it. Listening to the birds and taking my time with every bite; it has really become the best part of my day.

This recipe was made out of things that I had in my fridge and was supper simple. Feel free to substitute any alternative ingredients that you like. If you don't have capers, add fresh herbs. It was filling and fresh and I think quite pretty. I ate it for dinner on my back porch then took the rest to work the next day to share. Enjoy!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Frosty Cups Treats for your Favorite Pup

Happy First Day of Summer to everyone! I hope that you made it a great day. It is a beautiful night here in SC and Charlie and I are doing a little back porch sittin'. We worked all week and are just taking some down time to recharge and relax. I have a large glass of iced tea (unsweet of course) and he just had his Frosty Cup for dessert, made especially for him by his Mom. Yes that is me!! I am one of those weird people that is a "dog mom" but I wouldn't have it any other way.  He is my baby and he gets to celebrate the first day of summer as well. As a matter of fact, at age 13, he gets to celebrate anything and everything he wants. 

To get him to wait for this pic was difficult. As my Dad says, he is the most food driven dog anyone has ever seen. This trait has given us some pretty funny times.

So the story of Charlie... I could tell it for days. But for those of you that are not in the know. Charlie was a rescue.  Here in Greenville, SC we have an amazing rescue group called Foothills Golden Retriever Rescue and in 2002, after a lengthy application process, I was the fortunate one chosen to be Charlie's Mom. At that time, they were calling him Spencer, but fortunately for us, no had told him that was his name. He quickly became Charlie, after Charleston, SC. And due to his huge, laid back, silly personality, that name has fit perfectly. Charlie's past is pretty unknown. The only thing we know is that this huge guy with perfect manners and a huge personality was between 2-3 and was left in an apartment in Charlotte, NC. Then he became mine. And the rest is history....

Heading to the beach.

From August 18th, 2002 until now Charlie has been my best friend. He has been included in all aspects of my life.  He goes to work at the office every day where he is the local celebrity and people come just to see him. He has gone on every vacation and stayed in numerous hotels across the east coast. He is welcome in all of my family's houses. He has been to the beach and to the lake. He has been through everything and been everywhere with me. It doesn't matter where we are, he is my ever present support and has the most devoted love. This past 2 years he has helped to carry my burden... And I don't know where I would be without him.

Office Hero!

And now I am helping him carry his. Charlie is 13 years old, as far as we know, and for a big dog that is a lot of years. He is definitely slowing down and it breaks my heart. The time is coming when he will be walking over the Rainbow Bridge. When that time comes, he will be celebrated by so many people, myself included. He has given and taught me so much and right now we are embracing his later years. We are eating ice cream on a warm summer night on the back porch. We are eating fresh warm tomatoes from the garden (my dad taught him how to pick his own.) We are watching fireflies land on his paws. We are listening to what his body needs and not asking too much. And we are sharing lots of hugs. We are celebrating every moment....

My "Big Man"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cherry Blondies



Hi Ho Cherry O! These blondies are delish! As we have already established, cherries are my favorite fruit and always make me think of my Grandma Clarke.  When I saw this recipe and the combo of cherries and chocolate, I knew this recipe was for me. And the best thing about it: "It is EASY." I had all the basic ingredients in my cabinet, had just been to the store and was the victim of good product placement; there were huge bags of Bing cherries displayed as soon as I walked in the door. Sucker!! So, one night after work I made these and I have to admit, I ate 3. I know, I know... I have to go to the beach in 1 week... But don't worry, I quickly  had 2 ideas! I wrapped the rest of this batch up and hid them (from myself) to take to work the next day. They were raved over and did not make it past lunch time. And then, the next night I made a fresh batch to freeze for the beach. Evil?? How?? Muhahaha!!!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Strawberry Nutella Milkshake

It is hot here in South Carolina today. So what better recipe to celebrate our last day of Strawberry week then with an ice cold Strawberry Nutella Milkshake. Yes, I said Nutella. I am currently sitting on my porch right now sharing this recipe with you while I sip, sip away.

It has been a great week of local produce and favorite recipes. If you just need more strawberries make sure you check out our older strawberry posts: Strawberry Riesling Slushies and
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream.

Strawberry Prosecco Jam


It is summer and fresh fruit abounds. This allows for one of my favorite activities: jam making. Every year I tackle a new jam recipe or two as well as make my usual favorites like my Bourbon Peach Jam. As I have told you before, ever since my teen years I have been making jams and jellies. 
There is one story I always think of when I make jelly. When I was young, my sister and I would go to have weekend visits with my Gram and Pap. We would do all the things that grandparents and grandkids did together; we played putt putt, ate ice cream, and stayed up later than we are allowed at home. We were spoiled at Gram and Pap's. In the summer, we would sleep on the porch and look at the stars. During other times of the year, we would sleep in the guest bedroom in our little single beds. When we would get all tucked in, my Gram would light a candle and tell us a story. One of my favorite stories that she told was of her Mom, my Noni making jelly. She would start by telling us about how hard Noni worked and what a strong woman she was, then she would begin to talk about the jelly. Noni was making grape jelly and as she was stirring the pot she looked out of the window to see the family cow had gotten out of its fence.  She went out into the yard in such a hurry, she forgot about her jelly. By the time she corralled the cow and got back into the kitchen, the jelly was burned in the bottom of the pot. Back in those times, that was a big loss for a family who was on a very fixed income. I can imagine her disappointment.
I am not sure why but I was always so enthralled by this story.  Maybe I saw the grown-up me being like my Noni. Maybe I saw my jelly making days ahead. I am not sure, but that is one story that I never got tired of hearing. Of course, my grandma was a great story teller and kept us hanging on every word.
After her story she would stand up kiss each of us and head downstairs. As she went, she would say "Good Night Mrs. Calabash." And my little sister and I would reply, "wherever you are." To this day my sister and I say this to each other! Although I don't see them everyday, my family is my staple.... wherever any of us are.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Brie Sandwich

OMG! This might be the best thing that I have ever made!!

Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a "sandwich kind of girl." I know that sandwiches are portable and convenient to eat almost anywhere, but it is just not my thing. Give me good bread, some cured meat (ie prosciutto or salami) and a little cheese and I am in heaven.  I think one of the reasons that I do not like the common sandwich is because most everyday sandwiches or "sandwich places" use lunch meat / cold cuts / deli meat or whatever you want to call those slivers of fatty sliminess. A slice of deli ham makes my skin crawl in ways that most people can only contribute to creepy crawly things. Can you say fatty, salty, chemical laden and most important of all, did this really come from an animal?

But this sandwich, now this sandwich... I can eat everyday. It has simple ingredients and simple tastes. The sweet strawberries, crusty bread and the creamy, buttery cheese are amazing together. The little tang of balsamic really adds depth and a dynamic to the whole thing. This was the sandwich of my dreams! If Subway would start pumping out something this fresh, I would be the first in line. But instead of holding my breath on that thought, I will make my own strawberry sandwiches. I think I am addicted.....

In this post, I want to pay homage to my Dad who made me this awesome baking board and carved the wooden spoon in the picture. I have toted this board around with me for the past 10 years. It is huge and smooth and perfect for rolling out any dough. It is one of my prized possessions. Remember our motto here at Bonbons and Biscotti- Love Begins In The Kitchen.  I think of this board as a little piece of love I keep with me in my kitchen. It is heart warming to have a little of my family's love around always.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

5 Minute Strawberry Cobbler

I have personally declared this Bonbons and Biscotti's Strawberry week. I am sooooo excited!! This weekend I bought a huge basket of strawberries at a local farmer's market and I have been busy in the kitchen. This afternoon after working all morning in my veggie garden I set about the task of making Strawberry Prosecco Jam. I know.... sounds awesome huh? You should have smelled it!!!

After finally cleaning up all my sticky jelly covered pots and utensils, I realized that I had not eaten anything since about 10 am. I quickly remembered this awesome single serving mug of strawberry delight that I had made before and absolutely fell in love with. Yeah.... I know it is dinner time!! Real food?? What is more real than warm strawberry deliciousness all for me. Sometimes we need to celebrate ourselves and everything we accomplished. Here's to Me and a day well spent!!!

Oh... I almost forgot, stay tuned for that Strawberry Prosecco Jam. It is coming soon....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spicy Taco Soup

I love soup!! As you can probably tell. I always have but now I have more of an opportunity to eat it whenever I want. I love the versatility of soup with a salad, a sandwich or alone. It is simple and one pot can feed one person for a very long time. One of my favorite thing about soup is the fact that most of them I can freeze into single serving containers and pull out as needed. With my busy work schedule of teaching and seeing patients, some days I want to come home and have no prep or cooking time. I want to plop down on my couch with a bowl of soup in my lap and watch nonsense TV. Yes, here is my confession: I will watch Real Housewives of Anywhere. Watching these tucked, coiffed and bedazzled "reality" (loosely stated) stars have cat fights and party till their wigs fall off , makes me feel grounded and amazingly intelligent. And best of all after a day of decision making and being responsible, these shows do not require me to think. These modern day "soap operas" are one of my secret obsessions, but a girl has to draw the line somewhere right??  Never, never will the Kardashians be seen on my screen. Sorry, just saying: even tacky can be taken too far!!

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