Supreme Baked Asparagus Fries

Supreme Baked Asparagus Fries Mis En Place

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A few birthdays ago, my friend Adel took me out to a lovely dinner at one of the new restaurants at the Americana at Brand. We ordered asparagus as an appetizer. Boy, what a surprise that was. Those asparagus were dripping in melted butter and Parmesan, and just delicious. I wanted to make them at home.

I had forgotten about them until I saw something similar on Pinterest, and pinned them to my Recipes I Gotta Try board. When I looked at the recipe, I knew that I could improve it, and I did.

The original recipe calls for and egg wash and a dip in flour, then dipping in cheese and Panko bread crumbs. I’m sure they are delicious, but asparagus CRIES out for butter. Butter also makes an excellent coating to which a variety of things will cling, so I decided to forgo the egg and flour, and go with butter.

These asparagus spears were supreme, and that is why they are called Supreme Asparagus Fries. My recipe is for 6 spears per person, but if you have asparagus lovers, you might want to increase the recipe.

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Organize Repurpose Reuse

Spring is here, so it’s time to start getting organized. I really like finding new jobs for old things. I figure if it’s not broken, use it so it won’t go into a landfill. I am continuously amazed at the things that I find that other people threw out, that I can use. My motto is “Organize Repurpose Reuse!”

Crates

Crate
Probably the biggest thing someone threw out is the giant wooden crate that sits bottom side up in my living room as a coffee table. I was walking around one day in an industrial part of the city when I found it just laying in the middle of the sidewalk. I called my friend, and he came and helped me get it home. I love it! It’s really sturdy. It’s all wood, all pine. I can stand on it, sit on it, use it as a table, and put store things under it.

Fun with CratesMy best friend, Amber, called me one day after I got the big crate and wanted to know if I wanted some smaller crates to go with it. I said sure, and she brought them by. Amber had already painted and decorated them. She did a wonderful job, and they got to live in my kitchen for organizing my small appliances. Then she called me and said she had still more, so they went into the bedroom. We got rid of the one broken dresser, and put the crates up against the wall. They are solid wood, and they’re not going anywhere. It would take a big earthquake to dislodge them.

Apartment Garden Drawer

Apartment Garden
Someone else gave me a dresser drawer. I don’t know why they gave me just the dresser drawer, but I definitely made use of it. I turned it into a gardening bed and have cabbage, onions, and herbs growing in it. It was so successful for planting that I am now actively looking for another abandoned dresser drawer for more plants.

Vines

Grape Vines
My neighbor had grape vines growing on his house. The entire roof was covered by them, and I imagine they got a little out of hand. So, one day, all this dried grape-vine was available. I brought in some of the nicest, tallest vines, and strung them together with wire. Then I went to Michael’s and bought two flower garlands and strung them on the grape-vine. It looks like a real plant in my house, I love it!

Plastic Bakery Boxes

Plastic Boxes
We live in an area where a lot of baked goods come in plastic boxes. I like those boxes because you can see through them, and you can close them up. They are small, and stack nicely. They’re great for storing small things, or keeping crafting supplies where you can see them.

Wash Cloth Holder

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Someone gave me a wash cloth holder as a house-warming present. I had plenty of room in the bathroom to hang wash cloths, but nowhere to really put jewelry. I have a lot of costume jewelry, and I think it’s a shame to put it into a jewelry box where it’s never seen and becomes forgotten. I like hanging my jewelry so it decorates not only me, but also the room. The wash cloth holder was perfect for holding costume jewelry. The higher part in the back is just high enough for necklaces, and the front part is just right to hang pierced earrings. Bracelets and rings live in little glass bowls on the dresser.

Fantasy Island Bars

Fantasy Island Bars

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It’s time for me to go to a high school reunion, where we will sit around and talk about all the good things that we remember for that time. One of the things I remember is going to one of my classmates homes over Easter vacation, and her mother had left a pan of Magic Cookie Bars in the refrigerator. As I was perusing the pantry this morning, I realized I had everything I need to make them.

I took out the stuff that I needed, and then it occurred to me that perhaps instead of making something that everyone might remember, I could make something that everyone will remember from here on out. It occurred to me that I could make some kind of tropical bar, considering I have coconut. Tropical bars led me to thinking about Pacific Islands, and the most famous Pacific Island of them all, Fantasy Island!

Fantasy Island was a television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company network from 1977 to 1984. It was on at 10:00 pm on Sunday nights right after Love Boat. It stared Ricardo Montalbán as Mr. Roarke, and Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize. Popular film and television personalities guest starred on the show. The premise of the show was that guests would come to the island to live out some kind of fantasy, aided by Mr. Roarke who would often warn them of the danger of some fantasies.

Well, there is no danger in these Fantasy Island Bars, unless you eat too many of them!

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Bathroom Organization

BathroomBathroom organization always seems to be a challenge. Usually, there isn’t much storage, so you are left with thinking of creative ways of storing all the things that have their home in the bathroom. In an apartment, you usually have a medicine cabinet above the sink, and some kind of storage under the sink. Often, there isn’t room to put much else. An over the toilet rack system is popular, but occasionally there isn’t room for one of those either. Things seem to get lost in the bathroom, even when you find a place for them to live, they still get lost, especially small things.

Under the Sink

The area under the sink always seems to get disorganized and since it’s dark and low on the ground, you never seem to want to deal with it, so it gets worse. My neighbor gave me a large dish rack that sat around waiting for an assignment. I knew there was something that dish rack was good for, and I was right. The containers for the cutlery work perfectly for holding my blow drier and large hair brush. The rack part is perfect for holding all the other stuff, bottles, rollers, etc.
Under the Sink

Small Things Get Lost

Having trouble finding the tweezers, or the nail clipper? No problem. I love magnets. You can stick them to the door of the medicine cabinet and put tweezers, nail clippers, or other small metal things on them. Now your small metal objects are easy to find, easy to put away, and take up virtually no room.
Medicine Cabinet

For Your Health

You might have noticed some of the things we have in our medicine cabinet, and think some of that might belong in the kitchen. Well, I am a great believer in natural and holistic healing. We keep olive oil in the bathroom to use on our skin.

  • Olive oil has all kinds of benefits for your skin, and it’s non-toxic. Unlike some other lotions, if you eat some, that’s good for you, too.
  • Eucalyptus oil is a wonderful thing to have in your house. Not only does it have a wonderful, clean scent, it’s also good for colds and aches and pains. Bugs really don’t like it – so a few drops in cabinets, on window sills and door jams will keep small creatures outside where they’re supposed to be.
  • Vapor rub – Not Vicks! Look in your pharmacy for an all natural vapor rub that does not use petroleum jelly. The one we have uses sunflower oil that is not GMO.
  • Almond Extract – I don’t keep it in the bathroom because I use it for cooking more often. If you have an acid stomach, look no further than almond extract. Just a small drop on your tongue will neutralize the acid in your stomach, almost immediately. One bottle of almond extract will last you at least a few months, so it’s much less expensive than over-the-counter anti-acid drugs, and does a better, faster job.

Chicken with Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Chicken with Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

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My best friend’s mother, Joan, used to make the best chicken. I was very close to Joan, and paid attention when she cooked. I think this was my favorite, and she was nice enough to give me the recipe.

I loved Joan for other reasons, too. Joan was the manager of a high-end gift shop in Beverly Hills, and she had very good taste. Her house was beautifully decorated, and well-organized. Everything had a place, and everything had a job, even the legs on the cast iron dining room table. It’s job was to bite us on the toe as we passed by it and weren’t paying attention.

Joan taught me a lot of stuff. She taught me the right jewelry to wear with what outfit, she taught me the importance of being organized, she taught me how to make the Hot Dogs with Mashed Potatoes and Cheese (Spane’s favorite), and she taught me how to make this chicken dish. She loved me like her own daughter, and I loved her like the mother I lost when I was 15 years old. When I moved out of her place, she gave me metal prep bowls and a stainless steel wok. Despite all the moving I have done, I still have those bowls and that wok, and use them frequently.

Fresh Water ChestnutsThe only thing Joan did not teach me was about fresh water chestnuts. My grocer taught me about those. They look like ginger fingers, and sliced thinly, they are very crisp with a nice flavor. I don’t know about you, but I always avoid water chestnuts when I find them in Chinese food because those have no flavor. But, the fresh ones? They have a very subtle flavor, almost like a potato. If you can find them, I highly recommend them.

Sadly, Joan died just before Spane was born, but I know she watches over us. I love you, Mom!

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Go Green for Saint Patrick’s Day

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Go Green for Saint Patrick’s Day Recipes

Going Green for Saint Patrick’s Day does not mean putting green food coloring in beer and calling it a day. There are so many more creative ways of eating green food, and no, it’s not all vegetables!

Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto
Spring is here and basil is in abundance. There is nothing like the flavor of pesto made with real pine nuts, good olive oil, good Parmesan and fresh basil. This will keep in your refrigerator for quite a while, if you even manage to have any left.
Avocado Fries
Oh my goodness! You don’t know what you are missing. Avocado fries are just the best little bites of heaven. Use avocados that are almost ripe, because frying them softens them up a bit.
Hot Tin Roof Salad
It looks impressive, and it is impressive. The Hot Tin Roof Salad is a composed salad that makes a complete meal with a nice glass of your favorite wine.
Guacamole
Here’s what I have to say about guacamole. Please don’t put garlic in it! Garlic has strong flavor that hides the delicate taste of the avocado. Don’t put a can of peas in to stretch it – people can tell they are eating peas! Since you are adding onions, cilantro, chili pepper and tomato, you don’t have to use Haas avocados. Try one of the other avocado varieties, like Fuentes.
“Snake” Pie
Please, please, there is NO snake in snake pie! It’s actually any kind of pie you want to make, with the top crust cut out in shamrocks and the sides shaped into a snake.
Kiwi Lime Cupcakes
Have you seen these on Pinterest? I’ll bet you have. I made these for Spane’s 3rd grade class, and they were quite the hit.
Veggie Potato Bake
Need to feed quite a few folks? This recipe for Veggie Potato Bake can feed a lot of people depending on how much you make. Enjoy!
Poached Salmon Cactus Tacos
No, the tortillas are not dyed green, they are made from cactus, and you can find them in some Hispanic markets, or believe it or not, the 99 Cents Only stores.
Colcannon
I make this famous Irish dish a lot. What’s not to like? Everyone loves mashed potatoes, add some sautéed cabbage to be healthy, green onions for flavor, and some white cheddar to make it special!