Touch of Nectar

{December 26, 2011}   Down to the Wire! Last Menu of 2011

Whew!! Project 365 really has been a project! I’ve learned a lot. And we’ve eaten a ton of great food this year. I’m a little tired of my cookbooks though… And there’s a few that are not going to be staying on the shelves.  And I’ve discovered a handful of new books that I’ll be adding to the collection in 2012. Yes, I have a problem. lol. 

I am looking forward to being able to cook whatever I want, without the pressure of having it “count” toward the project.  We’ve found a lot of new favorites. I think about half or more of the recipes that we tried I will be making again.

I did a RIDICULOUS amount of cooking for Christmas… I was at 21 recipes and 9 days to go. Panic!!  Now I’m at 354/365, so 11 to go and 6 days to to it. I can DO IT.  Problem is… I have a refrigerator full of yummy leftovers!

So this week’s menu is things that can be stored for awhile (salad dressings) and some things that can be frozen. AND recipes that use up leftovers in creative ways.  As usual, these are in no particular order.  There’s more than 11 recipes here to finish, but I predict that I will not get to all of them.

There’s a Lichi Martini recipe I want to try and I bought vodka for xmas. I need to find which book it is in. Yum!

Rounding the dinners out are leftover vegetables and crackers with a big variety of dips and cheeses. It will be fun to have “appetizers” before dinner every night.

Mon 26: Shrimp with Green Beans, Tomato and Feta – 365 One Dish

Tue 27: Polish Noodles and Cabbage – Frugal Gourmet Ancient Ancestors
Leftover Prime Rib, SunDried Tomato and Goat Cheese Dressing – 1001 Low Fat

Wed 28: CORN/Leftovers night

Thurs 29: Beef (leftover) with Red Wine Tarragon Sauce – Cooking Light 2003
leftover twice baked potatoes, salad

Fri 30: Parmesan Vinaigrette (salad) – 1001 More Low Fat

Sat 31: Happy New Year!  Cioppino – 1001 More Low Fat
Maple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – Xmas Kitchen

Sun 1: I ain’t cooking nothin! 

Lunches: Orange Cabbage Salad – Bento Boxes
Crunchy Cabbage and Carrots – Bento Boxes
Orzo with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms – 1001 More Low Fat

Other: Beef and Barley Soup (leftover beef) – 365 One Dish (eat one for lunch, freeze rest)
Carrot Raisin Nut Bread – Xmas Kitchen (freeze in small portions for lunches)
Korean Style Honey Marinade – Xmas Kitchen (freeze)


{November 16, 2011}   Project 365 Update!!

I’ve been working like mad to get caught up with my numbers for project 365.

As of this morning my count sits at 304/365 with plans for two (easy!!) recipes tonight.  I put a Navy Bean Soup with Ham in the crock pot this morning (recipe from 1001 Slow Cooker). 

Thanksgiving is coming, and while I’ll be doing all of the ordinary things, I have a few great looking recipes to try out too.

Here’s a few of the latest creations…

Chuckwagon Beef and Beans from 365 One Dish (the biscuits are cooked in the liquid) Brilliant!

Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce from Asparagus to Zucchini. Wicked easy.

Oven Crisp Chicken from 365 Ways to Cook Chicken – the coating is made with stuffing mix. Soooo good. This will be going on the regular rotation!

{November 12, 2011}   Marching On

Okay as of this morning Project 365 sits at 297 recipes done. Gonna have to double up quite a bit to finish on time. At least I have the holidays (I host) and Christmas baking coming up. I’ve been working on creative new ideas for bento lunches.  We’ve had enough leftovers lately, so I’ve worked in two leftovers night. I will likely run the bread machine again this week too. Both hubby and the kidling like having bread with dinner.

There are grapes and satsumas in the fridge, so those will be heavily featured in the bentos this week.

Here’s this week’s menu…

Sat 12: Navy Bean Soup with Ham – 1001 Slow Cooker, Mini Corn Muffins with Prosciutto – 365 Appetizers

Sun 13: Chuckwagon Beef and Beans – 365 One Dish

Mon 14: Ravioli in Butter and Sage Sauce – From Asparagus to Zucchini, Pickletini – Food Fest

Tue 15: Leftovers

Wed 16: Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach – Cooking Light 2004

Thurs 17: Knitting group night. Leftovers

Fri 18: Chicken Vegetable Pesto Stir Fry – 365 One Dish, Hasselback Potatoes – 300 Great Potato Recipes

Lunches: I have a variety of chicken salads picked out (using up leftover chicken),  Curried Lemon Mayo – 365 Appetizers (to be served with carrot and celery sticks), Sage Roasted Squash – From Asparagus to Zucchini

Other: Banana Oat Energy Bars – Trail Food (for the kidling’s 2nd breakfasts), Oatmeal Nut Waffles – Food Fest 365, Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cones – Food Fest 365.

{October 30, 2011}   More on 365

Since we are talking about my (ahem, extensive) cookbook collection I thought I’d share one more with y’all.

Food Fest 365 – The Officially Fun Food Holiday Cookbook By Yvoun D. Lemoine © 2010

I got this fun book as a surprise present from a friend. So far, for Project 365, I have only made one recipe. Blueberry Popovers.


This book lists national food holidays with a corresponding recipe for each day. They are listed in chronological order, starting with January 1st. Each calendar date and recipe has a little food fact or history note to go along with it. This appeals greatly to my nerdy side. The author obviously has a quirky sense of humor. She includes food origins and political history relating to various dishes.

It is such a fun book. I started looking at specific personal dates to see what foods were listed for them. My birthday is Apple Dumpling Day. My daughter’s is Chocolate Cake Day. Our wedding anniversary is Raspberry Tart Day.

Then I skimmed to find some of my favorite foods. June 19th is Dry Martini Day, but she uses gin, not vodka. Okay, just use the stuff in the blue bottle!

Some other fun examples: January 19th is Popcorn Day. It is one of the oldest snacks. It became the official movie snack during the depression. The recipe she includes is for Salted Caramel Popcorn.

February 6th is Nutella Day – Nutella and Banana Crepes (yoooo hooo! Spindle, this one’s for you!)

April 30th is Raisin Day – Carrot Raisin Salad The book is interspersed with gorgeous photos of yummy food. Some of the recipes are the author’s family recipes, some are very simple and some are classic dishes with a new twist.

Who knew we needed an Escargot Day. May 24th. The recipe is for Escargot Hush Puppies and Pesto Mayo. I don’t know that I’ll be trying that any time soon, but it’s still fun.

May 27th is Grape Popsicle Day. I can’t think of a better excuse to turn my tongue purple, can you?

If you can’t decide what to cook today, check the date in the book and see what the theme of the day is. Fun!

Just for the record, today, October 30th is Buy a Doughnut Day and the Recipe is for Classic Cake Doughnuts with Maple Bacon Glaze. (Hey Pickle Gulch friends! Think LameBeaver would make this for us next year to go with the Bacon Martinis? I think he needs to. Yes, yes he does.)

{October 30, 2011}   Eat Well Stay Well

Eat Well Stay Well

Let me tell you about one of the books I am using for Project 365. One of my favorites.

The Project 365 recipes I have made from this book so far are Lentil Pear and Goat Cheese Salad, Swordfish Kabobs with Lemon and Garlic, Maple Pork Chops, Old Fashioned Mushroom Barley Soup, Orange Banana Breakfast Smoothie, Teriyaki Salmon,

Greek Style Romaine Salad

Strawberry Ricotta Crepes

Pork Piccata

Chunky Beef Chili

Other recipes I have tried include Cauliflower with Deviled Cheese Sauce, Fresh Fennel Salad with Lemon, Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Turkey, Baked Rolled Sole with Lemon and Oregano, Ricotta Stuffed Turkey Breast, Chicken Normandy and Blueberry Scones.

The book starts out with nutritional information on a wide variety of foods, nutrients and food components. It talks about minerals and vitamins and why each is important. 

The chapters are organized by type of food, not the type of dish; Vegetables, Dairy & Eggs, Fish & Shellfish, Lean Meats, Fruits & Berries. Then each of the chapters is organized alphabetically by ingredient. Artichokes and asparagus begin the vegetable chapter for example.  This is good if you “read” cookbooks compulsively like I do, but it may be a bit frustrating if you are simply looking something to make for dinner. The index in the back, however, is very useful.

That said, I really like this book. It is one of the first books I added to my collection. We won’t talk about how many years ago that has been.  The recipes are simple, creative and healthy. This book is so loved that it is beginning to fall apart. A good sign for a cookbook!

About half the pages have super quick recipes down the side of the page with gorgeous photos. Unlike the full page recipes, these have the ingredients incorporated right into the directions.  Not every recipe has a photo, but every page does. The photos are beautiful!

et cetera