How Do Bloggers Birthday? (Plus Recipes)

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Happy Birthday to Me!  So how does a food blogger celebrate her birthday?  Hint;  food will be involved, (too obvious?) and if she’s lucky, maybe some fun and games.  Last week I was in Maine for my birthday and a few of my peeps threw a goodmotherdiet party for me.  This theme was a sheer stroke of genius by friend and party planner extrordinaire, Kerri Eng (KGEvents) where all my guests brought dishes that have been featured on this blog. I was aware of the goodmotherdiet aspect but not what people were actually bringing, so each new dish was a surprise as well as a walk down memory lane.  I’m sharing the dishes that were prepared for the party as well as a link back to the original recipe, so if you feel inspired, feel free to make and send me a photo.

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Our evening began with a sunset cruise of Bear Pond on a pontoon boat featuring Mango Margaritas made by my friend, Rick from the original blog post: Mango Margaritas and Homemade Tortilla Chips with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

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While we cruised around the lake, we munched on a yummy Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart made by my friend, Karen, from the original recipe: Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart Karen was kind enough to make one without goat cheese for those who abstain (cough, my husband) which was also delicious.

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We also enjoyed a wonderful version of my Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip which had been ‘summerized’ by Kerri by substituting strawberries which are so sweet and delicious right now while cranberries are hard to find.  I love how the same recipe can be turned into a seasonal delight just by changing one ingredient.

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Alas, we finally had to leave the lake and head in to dinner where more goodies awaited.

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Dinner was a fabulous group effort. First up was deliciously spicy Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Garlic and Chile.  I believe that the crew of Kerri, Rick and Jason had to improvise with chile sauce since they didn’t have Chinese 5 Spice.  It was hotter and wetter than the original but delicious. Other substitutions for Chinese 5 Spice would be any combination of star anise, cloves, fennel seed, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and a dash of Creole Seasoning, red pepper and chili powder.  You can’t go wrong and this effort proved it.

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But the ‘piece de resistance’ was the Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon made lovingly by my son, Eric, and his sous chef, Hannah Grace.  I say lovingly because Eric is an experimental cook like I am, rarely following a recipe twice but this time he followed the recipe painstakingly in honor of the occasion with perfect results, even with our finicky oven.  This dish is a family favorite and a great main course to prepare for dinner parties as it take very little fuss and cooks quickly giving you time to enjoy your own party.

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Eric and Hannah Grace also served a platter of perfectly roasted veggies, including eggplant, red and yellow peppers, yellow squash, zucchini and mushrooms.

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No dinner is complete without a fabulous salad like this Caesar Salad made by my friend, Geof, who went to the trouble to make his own dressing and homemade croutons.  Yum! Marjie brought a delicious carrot cake which wasn’t from my blog but then I don’t make many desserts.  Hmmm, maybe that will change…

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Then the fun and games portion of the evening began with a hotly contested game of FAMILY FEUD hosted by our own ‘Richard Dawson’.  The ‘girls’ squeaked out a narrow victory over the ‘boys’ in spite of the fact that I missed the last of the ‘Top 7 Barnyard Sounds’ by answering Meow instead of Cluck, which if you know that I am also know as the Chicken Lady that is pretty funny. (Check out Mrs Vs Rescue Chickens )  In my defense, my mother in law had already said cock a doodle doo so I figured chickens were taken.  Sigh…  Then on to music.  This photo taken before fab musician, Peter arrived.

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During dinner, my son gave a very sweet birthday toast and then asked me how it felt to see so many of my recipes come to life and if it was intimidating.  Surprisingly, I found it very validating as a blogger, especially one who is not experienced at creating recipes (which is harder than you might think).  All of the recipes were a success, even those that were adapted to accommodate seasonal ingredients or availability.  Whew!  I suppose it could have been a disaster, but it was sure fun.  For someone whose Mom always had to scrape up enough neighborhood kids that were in town in July to make it seem like a birthday party, I feel pretty lucky. (I’m sure other summer birthday people know what I’m talking about) Maybe I’ll celebrate the whole month…

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Deviled Eggs – Three Ways

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Chickens and their lovely eggs are part of my childhood.  My Mom had chickens and I have fond memories of helping my Mom on the ‘farm’.  Now I’m following in her footsteps and have a small flock of chickens that were mostly rescued from slaughter at factory farms by Animal Place.  They are sweet girls who have lived tragic lives and I am lucky to have them live with me AND they make a lot of eggs! People ask me all the time when I’m going to make some egg recipes with this abundance of eggs.  Well, here you go!  I have always liked deviled eggs so decided to come up with a trio of deviled eggs that include the basic recipe plus one with Southwestern flavors, like cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper, and another taste sensation with lemon, capers and smoked salmon (just like you would put on a bagel but without the bagel)
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If you have been following goodmotherdiet for a while, I will apologize for repeating myself but I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about the eggs that we buy from the market.
Interesting fact:  In the US eggs for sale are required to be washed, pastuerized (with heat) and then refrigerated.  In the UK eggs for sale are not allowed to be washed, pastuerized or refrigerated.  The reasoning is that the eggs are born with a ‘bloom’ that protects them from bacteria and procludes the need for refrigeration which reduced the nutrition.  The UK also wants to keep their farmers accountable for creating conditions that are clean enough that eggs don’t need to be washed.  What a concept!  United States, are you listening?
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The Classifcations for eggs are purposefully misleading.  90% of eggs in America are from chickens raised in battery cages where they live crammed together with other hens, each with the space the size of an iPad, their entire short lives.  I am lucky to have a small flock of chickens that were rescued from factory farms, both from battery cages and ‘organic’ cage free.  Well none of them (even the organic ones) had ever had fresh food before because they didn’t recognize fresh fruits and veggies as food when I first got them,  AND the battery caged hens had never walked before. Think about that concept. I know that people are trying to make good decisions but it is difficult with the lack of oversight in labelling.  Living Homegrown has decoded the labels for us in real English.  Here is the deal:
  • REGULAR EGGS: These chickens are raised tightly together in cages stacked to the ceiling for the duration of their lives.  Their wings are clipped and they are debeaked to prevent pecking in such cramped conditions.  Don’t support these practices by buying these eggs. (See photo of my debeaked hen, Donette, below.  Her upper beak was cut off when she was a tiny chick and now she has trouble picking up food because she has been deprived of her most important tool. She is learning though and now she can RUN 🙂
  • CAGE FREE: This only means that the chickens were not in cases. They can still be confined in very close quarters inside a building where they are standing in their own muck and can barely move. They have little or no access to the outdoors.
  • FREE RANGE: According to the USDA regulation, “free range” only means that the chickens were allowed “access” to the outside with no specifications as the quality or the duration of that outside exposure. So unfortunately, this term is mostly used where the chickens are crammed in large warehouses that has a small door on one end that opens to a few feet of outside dirt space. Most of the chickens never even know that door exists and couldn’t get there even if they wanted to.
  • PASTURE RAISED: Although it does not have any current regulations, it is being used by sustainable farmers to mean chickens raised in the outdoors..in the pasture. Pastured raised eggs are what we think they are. This is what you want to buy if you are shopping for eggs.

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For those of you who are less concerned with animal welfare and more interested in nutrition, here is a photo of eggs from my hens who spend all day outside along with the paler yellow eggs from my newer hens who were just starting to eat ‘real’ food.  The darker yolks, not only have more flavor, they have a lot higher nutritional value. Regular store bought eggs will be even paler by comparison.

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Donette, my former battery caged hen, debeaked and dewinged as a baby

My chickens have their own Facebook Page if you want to follow them.  They LOVE getting LIKES! I named their page in honor of my Mom, Mrs V’s Rescue Chickens (just copy and paste into URL).

So, lets get back to making devilled eggs.  I have provided a recipe for traditional devilled eggs, followed by a spicy Southwestern version and one with smoked salmon, lemon and capers.  Choose one or make them all!

TIPS: Devilled eggs are usually made by slicing the eggs in half the long way but I have a tray that keeps them perched straight up when I cut them in half.  I think they look cute, so feel free to break with the norm.  You can spoon the filling back into the eggs, or if you want to get fancy, pipe it in.  If you don’t have a piping tool, you can put the filling in a small plastic baggie and cut one of the corners off for a homemade tool. Just squeeze gently into whatever pattern or design you prefer.

Traditional Devilled Eggs

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tsp vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
paprika (optional)
  • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add water to cover eggs by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.
  • Peel and rinse eggs with cold water.
  • Slice eggs in half, and carefully remove yolks.
  • Mash yolks in a food processor or with a fork until smooth. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper; stir well.
  • Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Garnish with paprika, if desired.

 

Southwestern Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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SOUTHWESTERN DEVILED EGGS

12 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilipowder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 Tbsn lemon or lime juice
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 Tbsn cilantro
1 red or green jalapeno pepper, sliced
1 Tbsn black olives, sliced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and add cold water to cover eggs by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.  Peel and rinse with cold water.
  • Slice eggs either vertically or horizonatlly and carefully remove egg yolks leaving egg whites intact.
  • Mash yolks until smooth in a food processor or with a fork. Blend together yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, cumin, chilipowder and salt.
  • Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into egg white halves.
  • Top with jalapenos. olives and cilantro. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
  • Serve cold

Smoked Salmon and Caper Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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12 eggs
2 oz smoked salmon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tbsn capers, drained
1 tsp lemon zest (plus more for garnish)
2 Tbsn lemon juice
1 Tbsn parsley or cilantro (optional)
  • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and add cold water to cover eggs by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.  Peel and rinse with cold water.
  • Slice eggs in half either vertically or horizontally, and carefully remove yolks, keeping egg whites intact.
  • Mash yolks until smooth in a food processor or with a fork. Blend together yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, 1 Tablespoon capers, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Spoon or pipe yolk mixture into egg white halves.
  • Top with smoked salmon, capers, cilantro and lemon zest.
  • Serve cold

 

 

 

 

9+ Superbowl Recipes

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9 Superbowl Recipes

If you are still looking for Superbowl inspiration, here are a few (mostly vegetarian ) crowd pleasers that might help you plan your halftime snacks.  For some of us, especially if our team didn’t make it to the final showdown, the Superbowl is all about the food and the commercials, maybe the halftime entertainment (although it will be hard to beat the gloriously fun Kati Perry extravaganza from last year). Yes, Buffalo Sauce is in here… Click through for recipes.

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/04/28/meatless-monday-asparagus-goat-cheese-tart/  4 Ingredients = yum!

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2015/01/30/buffalo-wing-popcorn-with-a-side-of-superbowl-fun/ Because Buffalo sauce…

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/01/31/buffalo-wings-two-ways/ Both Cauliflower “Wings” and Chicken Wings. ( This recipe is back from when I still ate chicken ) Now chicken is off my menu, but I would make the cauliflower ‘wings’ again.

Buffalo Wings 14

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/08/01/feta-chili-lemon-dip/  Just add crackers. Yum!

Feta Dip1

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/12/10/wheatless-wednesday-root-vegetable-chips-with-scallion-parmesan-aioli/ Fun alternative to chips and dip.

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2015/03/25/wheatless-wednesday-endive-salad-bites/ Three bite salads made with citrus, grapes, avocado and crumbly cheese.  If you can’t find endive, use any small headed green as a ‘cup’.

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2015/09/21/meatless-monday-barbecue-pulled-pork-sliders-with-spicy-slaw-vegan/ Delicious vegan sliders made with heart of palm.  Won my crew over!

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/10/27/meatless-monday-quinoa-stuffed-peppers/ This is a Vegetarian Times all time favorite.

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2015/09/02/wheatless-wednesday-black-bean-corn-butternut-squash-tacos-with-chile-lime-sauce/ Make a Taco Bar with loads of toppings.

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https://goodmotherdiet.com/2014/02/03/meatless-monday-black-white-chili-with-garlic-toast/ Everyone loves chili! Chili Bar?

Black and White Chili

https://goodmotherdiet.com/2016/02/01/meatless-monday-black-bean-chili-con-quinoa-2/ My all time favorite!

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Bruschetta with Leafy Green Pesto and Heirloom Tomatoes

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Pesto + Ripe Heirloom Tomatoes + Toasted Ciabatta = Perfect  Summer Appetizer.  Warning!  May not leave room for dinner…

You could say I’m on a pesto kick.  I posted a recipe for Kale Pesto Pasta earlier this week, for Meatless Monday, (Click link for recipe or scroll down for more pesto recipes) but I obviously didn’t get enough since I was still craving those yummy flavors. Plus, earlier in the day, I had gathered bunches of baby kale and arugula along with fresh tomatoes from my garden.  Add to that the fresh ciabatta loaf that I just bought, and all the arrows lined up resulting in Kale-Arugula Pesto spread on toasted sliced ciabatta and topped with fresh heirloom tomatoes=Heaven

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I made this pesto with kale and arugula but any dark leafy greens will work in any combination.  It’s a great way to use up large quantities of greens from your garden or CSA box, especially if you are tired of salads and casseroles.  Even though it tastes pretty decadent, this little bruschetta offers a sneaky amount of nutrition; fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein, but you would never know by the taste…

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For those adventurous readers, or just lovers of pesto, check out some of the other types of pesto I have already tried by clicking on the links below.  Loved them all!

Kale Pesto Pasta

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Bow Ties with Broccoli Pesto

TIPS:  Everything can be made ahead of time (up to 2-3 hours) and set aside to be assembled at the last minute.  Or make pesto a day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.  To store any leftover pesto, cover with a thin layer of olive oil before refrigerating to prevent it from turning brown.

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BRUSCHETTA WITH LEAFY GREEN PESTO AND HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

1 loaf ciabetta or sourdough
3-4 large tomatoes
1 cup pesto *recipe below

PESTO

3 cups roughly chopped dark leafy greens(kale, arugula, collard, mustard, etc.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup pinenuts (walnuts, cashews or pistachios)
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1 cup grated parmesan

TOPPINGS (OPTIONAL)
toasted pine nuts
sliced or chopped basil
shredded parmesan, goat cheese or feta

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  • Roughly chop the leafy greens and place them in a food processor with the pinenuts and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

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  • With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to form a smooth sauce. Add the salt, lemon zest and parmesan and pulse to combine.

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  • Pour the pesto into a large bowl and set aside.

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  • Chop tomatoes and place in a medium bowl, set aside.  You can always drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar, if desired, but if your tomatoes are ripe, they probably are sweet enough on their own.

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  • Slice ciabatta into one half inch slices.

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  • Place ciabatta on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Broil 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown, then turn brush with oil and broil the other side. Remove from heat and let cool.

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  • Spread a tablespoon of pesto on each slice of bread.

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  • Top with a spoonful of tomatoes and any desired toppings.

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  • Or set out a bruschetta bar and let your guests design their own.

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  • Serve at room temperature.

Bruschetta with Leafy Green Pesto and Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
20150820_201340

1 loaf ciabetta or sourdough
3-4 large tomatoes
1 cup pesto *recipe below

PESTO

3 cups roughly chopped dark leafy greens(kale, arugula, collard, mustard, etc.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup pinenuts (walnuts, cashews or pistachios)
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1 cup grated parmesan

TOPPINGS (OPTIONAL)
toasted pine nuts
sliced or chopped basil
shredded parmesan, goat cheese or feta

  • Roughly chop the leafy greens and place them in a food processor with the pinenuts and garlic. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to form a smooth sauce.
  • Add the salt, lemon zest and parmesan and pulse to combine.
  • Pour the pesto into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Chop tomatoes and place in a medium bowl, set aside
  • Slice ciabatta into one half inch slices.
  • Place ciabatta on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil
  • Broil 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown, then turn brush with oil and broil the other side.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Spread a tablespoon of pesto on each slice of bread.
  • Top with a spoonful of tomatoes and any desired toppings.
  • Or set out a bruschetta bar and let your guests design their own.
  • Serve at room temperature.