Beets Me

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

A wonderful friend and I got together for lunch the other day at a place I had no idea served lunch. I had been there for some wine with another friend, but the food-thing somehow escaped me. Imagine that! 😀

Anyhoo, amongst the yummy offerings that day was this gem:

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A golden beet salad with hazelnuts and Chevre. I loved the crunchiness of the hazelnuts mixed in with the perfect texture of the beets, the punchy flavor of the goat cheese, and the spicy arugula…Ohmigosh was it good! Almost as good as the conversation and reconnecting with a dear friend.

I’ll definitely head back. Maybe next time, I’ll have food and wine!

What food surprises have you encountered recently?

Happy eating,
Melia

Musings of a Foodie Wannabe

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

Yes, the days are getting a bit longer and the weather warmer. It’s usually at this time of the year that I’m downright jumping up and down waiting for summer to get here. Why? It’s all about the food, babe! Fresh summer fruit and veggies. Grilled meats. Outdoor dining. Need I say more?

Yeah, okay, maybe I need a life, but then again, I’m a Foodie Wannabe, so food’s become pretty important to me these days. 🙂 Especially when I really stop and think about the flavor of a tomato now versus what it’ll be in five or six months. Don’t know about you, but I think there’s a HUGE difference.

Of course, we’re lucky to live in a part of the world with fabulous farmers’ markets, so the freshness is always a short drive away. Check out these pics from last year:

Gorgeous, huh? I can barely wait until our local farmer’s market opens up again!

Well, for however long the newly awakened foodie-wannabe in me lasts, I’m soaking it up. Life, it’s said, starts with food. And, wow, I can’t think of a better place to be than the good ole Pacific Northwest when it comes to good eats!

Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite time of (cooking) year?

Happy eating,
Melia

Foodie Wannabe

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

I blame it all on author-pal Tawna Fenske. She started me on this food kick ever since I spent the night at her place while we filmed four videos for our book launch last December. If you missed them, you can find the videos on her blog. (Because she’s so on top of everything!)

Anyhoo, if you were to ask my family, they’d tell you under no uncertain terms that chicken was on sale at our local grocery store this past week. How would they know? Take a wild guess what we’ve been eating most of the week? And, hey, at less than $1 a pound, how could I not buy the equivalent of what would feed a small army? 🙂

Course, that also means coming up with creative ways to prepare it so that it’d get past their lips and down the hatch. Tonight, I admit, I was stymied. After a week of chicken soup, roasted chicken, and chicken sauteed in butter, lemon, and parsley, it was time for something different. Something that would allow me to disguise that, for the fifth time in a week, we were having…chicken.

And then it happened. You know what I’m talking about. That moment when I’m going through the day, minding my own business, taking care of whatever recent crisis arises out of The Male Observation Lab, and then, KA-BOOM! Somewhere out of the ether comes the idea that’s been niggling in the back of the brain: what the heck am I gonna do about dinner tonight? The answer hit me like a lightening bolt out of a clear blue Pacific Northwest sky: Chicken Marengo.

Now, if you want the original recipe, you can find it here. I used it as a spring board…’cause I’m such a rebel that way! My variations included baking the chicken ahead of time (to make week day meal prep easier), using the chicken pieces instead of chicken cutlets (what the hell is a cutlet, anyway?), and using drippings from the baked chicken instead of beef broth. The results, if I do say so myself, were pretty awesome!

But since I can’t offer you a taste, or even a whiff, here are some pics:

Has cooking inspiration struck you in a similar way? How’d it turn out? Please share!

Happy eating, all!

~Melia

 

Celebrating a First Born

It isn’t every day that an author gets to see her first book published. Which was DSC_0429partly why I decided that a book launch party would be such a fun idea. ‘Course, I made this decision two days before MERGER OF THE HEART’s debut. AND, I decided to hold it the evening it released. Two words: Not. Smart.

I’ll attribute it to ignorance. After all, how was I supposed DSC_0428to know all the fine details of launching a story out into the world? Of the countless hours on social media, and of hitting the “refresh” key to get updates of sales stats on Amazon? Right? Right?

Midway through the afternoon I realized that: 1) People were due at my house in three hours. 2) There was no food and I had to make a grocery store run. 3) There was the whole set-up thing that involved tracking down platters and serving spoons (how did they get to be so danged dusty?), and 4) I had yet to bathe….

I have to admit I was impressed that it all got done – especially the bathing part! And as exhausted as I was, it was so much fun.DSC_0437 ‘Course, the first four guests were drafted into kitchen prep, but that serves them right for being on time! The cucumber got sliced, the salami was rolled, and the store-bought mini-cupcakes and cookies were artfully arranged.

The best part? People actually showed up!

Have you thrown a party together at the last minute? How’d it go?

Happy eating,
Melia

Little Touches

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

I love the fact that life at The Male Observation Lab includes some fun downtime at the end of the year. To me, it’s the little touches that make this party so special.

Our party favors at this year’s celebration was a pair of mini cupcakes. Dusted with gold. Seriously. 24-carat edible gold flown in from New York!

I’m kinda thinking topping this one’s gonna be kind of hard next year. Then again, there have been all sorts of wonderful surprises through the years. Like the magician. But that’s another story…. 😀

What wonderful touches have you seen at holiday celebrations?

Happy holiday eating,
Melia

 

The Big 8!

Those of you with December birthdays can attest to how hard it can be to keep the whole holiday thing out of your special day. So when I was invited to my nephew’s 8th birthday party, I definitely kept this in mind. Apparently, so did he. His menu choice for the evening? Pizza! Natch.

What I loved best about the whole thing was how truly chill it was. Let’s face it: there’s enough holiday craziness that some down time is more than welcomed. There was no formal dinner setting, no place cards, no menus at the table.

Instead, there was pizza out of the cardboard boxes, and eaten off of paper plates and napkins. We all sat around the dinner table and toasted the Birthday Boy. Candles were blown. Presents were opened. And the casual atmosphere only added to the evening. I loved every second of it!

Do you have a December birthday? How do you celebrate?

Happy eating,
Melia

Le Bake Off

One of the most fun traditions we have at The Male Observation Lab this time of year is the Christmas Bake Off. It’s a chance for the dudes to show off their culinary baking skills with something that doesn’t involve skinning or gutting an animal. Yep. We get a lot of entries from them….NOT.

Fortunately, we dudettes step in. 🙂 And so I present this year’s top three entries:

And, yeah, nothing Paleo eaters would want to nibble on, but they sure looked good!

Do you have fun holiday traditions were you work?

Happy eating,
Melia

The Battle of the Gingerbread House

Welcome to Food and Wine Wednesday!

‘Tis the season of celebrating the beauty and wonder that is life, and those people and things we hold most dear. Not the least of which is the gingerbread house.

Tonight, Niece 2 decided that the two of us would face-off in a gingerbread decorating contest, one whose winner will hold bragging rights (of nearly unbearable proportions!). that clearly means more to one participant than the other (the other being me. Ha!).

We spent a fabulous evening together, talking. I learned that 1) Niece 2 has decided she’s no longer vegetarian, but will not consume a large amount of animal protein; 2) According to Niece 2, Nash Grier is still super-hot! (way more than I needed to know. Trust me on this…) 3) There’s not nearly enough candy that comes in the enclosed packets when a fifteen year-old is swiping at them while decorating (and when you’re not looking!). Just sayin’…

At the end of the evening, care to guess which side had been decorated by moi?

Gingerbread houses – yay or nay? Tell us what you think!

Happy gingerbread decorating,
Melia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would You Like Fries With That?

I’m a Paleo eater. Basically. DSC_0541(Because ice cream, wine, and chocolate aren’t Paleo and I’m gonna eat/drink those anyway!) Which means it’s been years since I’ve had French fries. Like, seriously. No fries with my burgers.

So when a friend suggested Delicata squash as a substitute, swearing that when oven roasted it tasted just like fries, I have to admit I was pretty skeptical. Squash that tasted like fries? Did. Not. Compute.

DSC_0549But of course I had to try it.

After cleaning, seeding, and cutting into wedges, I poured olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic granules on it. Baked at 400 degrees until done. Then… try to stop yourself from eating just a couple…. I SWEAR THEY TASTE LIKE FRENCH FRIES!

Skeptical? Don’t take my word for it – try it yourself!

Happy Food and Wine Wednesday,
Melia