Beer-Braised Pot Roast Smothered with Onions and Portobellos

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Research has shown that families who sit down together to share a meal have children who are healthier, have better self- esteem, higher GPAs and have better chances at being more successful in life(http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/resources/faq/).  Coming together around the table fosters a sense of togetherness and security.  It is a time to recharge, reconnect, spark conversation and take an interest in each other. With today’s busy lifestyle it is sometimes difficult to find the time to share a good homecooked meal.  This recipe comes together pretty easily and you can forget about it while it cooks for 3 hours.  It fills the house with an incredible aroma as the roast braises in a rich beer-based onion and mushroom sauce.  The result is a fork tender roast with a flavorful sauce.  It is a forgiving recipe which can sit until ready to serve.  At the last minute all that is needed is a side vegetable and some mashed potatoes to sop up that irresitible sauce.  Believe me by the time this is ready, your family will be clamoring to eat.

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Winter Blues~ An Indoor Floral Vignette

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“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with the dream.” Josephine Nuese

Come January, I am ready to fill the house with fresh flowers.  Because I always turn to the garden to see if there is anything I can use in floral arrangements first, I was lucky to find branches of witch hazel  ready to cut and bring indoors.

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Grapefruit, Salmon and Avocado Salad

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Nutrition fads come and go as fast as that kale in your fridge.  The researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey have compiled a list of the top 41 powerhouse fruits and vegetables.  At the top of the list?  Watercress, with a score of 100!  Who knew?  The next 4 on this elite list were Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens and chicory.  Kale was way down the list with a score of 49.

Combining that other power food, wild salmon, along with the good fat of avocado and the vitamin rich and in season Ruby Red grapefruit, this is one winning winter salad. It is really delicious and easy to assemble.  The salmon can be roasted a day ahead.  A simple vinaigrette of lime juice and olive oil brightens the salad and any winter day!

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Baked Cranberry Turkey Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce

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Easy to throw together, these flavorful and moist meatballs make a great weekday supper and they are low cal. Served with a dollop of lemony yogurt with a salad and some pita bread, dinner is ready in 30 minutes. To serve as a party appetizer, make the meatballs smaller and reduce baking time.

IMG_4609.JPGCRANBERRY TURKEY MEATBALLS makes 16

1 lb lean ground turkey meat
1/4 c finely diced onion
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c whole wheat bread crumbs
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
2 T dried cranberries
2 T fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all ingredients and form into 16 heaping tablespoon-sized meatballs. Bake on a parchment lined sheet for 20 minutes. Then broil for 5 minutes more to brown.

LEMONY YOGURT SAUCE

1/2 c non fat Greek yogurt
1/2 c grated cucumber, drained
Juice of half a lemon
2 pinches of ground cumin
2 T fresh mint leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve a dollop over the meatballs.  Makes 4 servings.

Lemon-Ginger Scones to Celebrate Downton Abbey Season 5!

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Happy days are here again!  Downton Abbey returns tonight for the much anticipated season 5.  Set in the Roaring Twenties, the costumes are sure to thrill.

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I can barely contain my excitement!  Beloved by more than 120 million passionate viewers worldwide, the series has captured our imagination and hearts.

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To celebrate and to while away the hours of anticipation until the 70 minute opening episode of this beloved period drama,  I have made a batch of scrumptious lemon-ginger scones that I think even the exacting Dowager Countess of Grantham would enjoy. If you are a lover of ginger you will adore these scones which are bursting with big chunks of crystalized ginger.   The scones offer tantalizing bits of spice in every bite, just like the spicy drama in every episode.  The recipe is adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from La Brea Bakery.  Did you know you can catch up on past episodes of Downton Abbey directly on the PBS site?  Click on the “watch online” tab.

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Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet and other Uses for Leftover Champagne

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Got leftover champagne?  Don’t throw it out!  It can be transformed into a refreshing sorbet.    I have served this sorbet as a palate cleanser in between courses at dinner parties.  Guests are always surprised by the bright flavors and love it.  It could also be served as dessert.  Because of the alcohol content, the sorbet will never freeze solidly and is best consumed right after serving.   If made without an ice cream machine,  It has more the texture of a granita, which I happen to like.   You can substitute  any type of sparkling alcohol in the recipe and even a bubbly that has lost its fizz is fine.  Of course if you don’t have any leftover champagne, you can always pop open a new bottle and sip a glass while you wait for the sorbet to freeze!

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Fiesta Friday #49

My mom’s meat pie won a coveted feature spot in the talented community of Food Bloggers at Fiesta Fridays today! Food bloggers from all over the world come together for Fiesta Fridays each week and share outstanding recipes. Founded and passionately led by Angie at The Novice Gardener, this weekly gathering showcases incredible cooking talent. Take a look at this week’s enticing offerings!

The Novice Gardener

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @

Hello, fun-loving, fantastic, fabulous Fiesta Friday friends! It’s the first fiesta for 2015! Are you as stoked as I am? You’d better be. I have Mr Fitz @CookingwithMrFitz and Kaila @GF Life 24/7 as my co-hosts! And you know what they say. Ain’t no fiesta like a Fitz & Kaila fiesta ‘coz a Fitz & Kaila fiesta don’t stop! I’d say we’re starting the new year the proper way. It feels happening already over here. You had better join us soon!

And if you were here last week, you’d know how impressive all the contributions to the party were. If not, just take a look at the sampling.

Egg Curry, Dhaba Style from Sonal @simplyvegetarian777.

I was completely bowled over by Sonal’s egg curry and her photos. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever had eggs in curry before. The idea is totally intriguing. And how astoundingly beautiful are…

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