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November 2014

Thanksgiving leftovers in one bite

OK, this might be the easiest thing to make ever using your Thanksgiving leftovers.  These little topped cakes are simple, and so tasty I sometimes make extra at Thanksgiving just to have them.  

Thanksgiving Leftovers in One Bite

All you need is:

  • leftover stuffing
  • leftover turkey
  • leftover cranberry sauce
  • leftover cole slaw
  • an egg

In a bowl, mix up about 2 cups of leftover stuffing with the egg.  Make them into little cracker size patties and cook them in a pan with a little oil until they are browned on both sides.  Top each little cake with a bit of turkey, a dollop of cranberry, and a smidge of cole slaw.  Done.  You're welcome.

Woo-Tang Clams ain't nothin to shuck with! Review of 'Adventures in Comfort Food' cookbook and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I received this cookbook to review free of charge. No additional compensation was given to me.  All opinions are my own.  Spoiler alert: My opinion is that it's awesome.

When we first got married, I told my husband my dream kitchen would include an entire bookshelf full of cookbooks.  Thanks to blogging, my dream is slowly coming true!  I've been given some really awesome cookbooks to review over the past few months.  One of my favorites is Adventures in Comfort Food by the owner of Cafe Miranda in Rockland, Maine, Kerry Altiero (with Katherine Gaudet).

What drew me to this book is definitely the choice of names for each dish listed.  From Steak Bombs to Vacation in Your Mouth to my all time favorite... Woo-Tang Clam.  I smiled the whole time reading it!  But what KEPT me reading was the way all the recipes made my mouth water.  Kerry Altiero has a great way of taking comfort foods to the next level.  Every picture is beautiful and the recipes are very easy to follow.  If I ever get up to Maine again, I will definitely be stopping by Cafe Miranda.

I have only tried one recipe so far: Woo-Tang Clam, but plan on trying as many as I can.  So without further ado, here is the recipe for...


Woo-Tang Clam

  • 8 hard-shell clams (mahogany or similar), well washed
  • 2 oz/57 g pork loin, cut into 1⁄4"/6 mm strips
  • 2 oz/60 ml fermented black bean and garlic sauce (look for it in the ethnic section of your grocery store, or check out your local Chinese grocery)
  • 1⁄4 cup/42 g red sweet pepper, seeded and ripped into 1"/2.5 cm pieces
  • 2 scallions, cut on the bias
  • 6 tbsp/90 ml fish stock (vegetable stock is a fine substitute)
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 lemon wedges

In a 3-quart/3 L saucepan over high heat, mix the clams, pork, bean sauce, red pepper, scallions and fish stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer. Cook until the clams open, about 8 minutes.

Pour into a bowl and top with the cilantro. Give the lemon wedges a squeeze.

I left out the cilantro and used vegetable stock, and guess what?  My daughter and I loved it!  She ate the clams and I ate the pork.  I only wish I had some white rice to pour the whole thing over.

Now that we've tried and loved one recipe, I can't wait to dig into the others.  And I want you to, too!  I have been given the opportunity to give away a copy of Adventures in Comfort Food to one lucky reader!  

Due to technical difficulties, the Giveaway is extended for ONE MORE WEEK!  Now ends 12/8/14 at noon EST! Just leave a comment answering "What's your favorite comfort food?" and you will be entered to win!*

But don't worry if you don't win this time.  Adventures in Comfort Food is available through Amazon.  Here is my affiliate link, if you would like to use it.  ( That just means if you click the link and decide to purchase the book through it, I might receive a tiny commission for which I would be grateful.)  


Recipe and photos by Kerry Altiero and Katherine Gaudet from Adventures in Comfort Food: Incredible, Delicious and New Recipes from a Unique, Small-Town Restaurant printed with permission of Page St. Publishing.

*Open to US residents 18 years or older only.  Prize not guaranteed.

Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing AKA: Mom's fave salad of the month

You know when you crave a certain taste and once you get it, you can't get enough?  That's how I've been feeling lately about this spinach salad with warm bacon dressing.  I never, ever, ever thought about warm bacon dressing before because honestly?  It sounded disgusting.  WARM salad dressing?  Ew. 

But because I am now 40, I seriously think my entire physical being has changed.  I crave things I never even LIKED before.  Coconut.  Peanut butter.  Cake.  And apparently warm bacon dressing.

Even though I had never eaten it before, I had this idea of what I thought it should or would taste like if I ever did have it...and I then NEEDED to have it.  I looked around the internet to get a basic idea and came up with this:

Spinach salad
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

  • 1/2 pound of sliced bacon
  • 5-6 small white mushrooms sliced 
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • salt
  • 11 oz fresh baby spinach washed and dried throughly

Cook the bacon in a pan until it is crispy and then remove it to a paper towel lined plate to cool.  Once cool, crumble the bacon and place it into a large salad bowl.  Save about 4 Tbsp of the bacon fat in a glass bowl.  In a fresh pan, add about 1 Tbsp of the reserved bacon fat and saute the mushrooms and onions together on medium high heat until they are slightly browned. Once they are done, add them to the crumbled bacon bits in the large salad bowl.

For the dressing, add the remaining bacon fat to the pan you just cooked the mushrooms and onions in.  Turn it down to medium low.  You do not want the heat too high or it will splatter when you add the ingredients.  Stir in the sugar until it is fully incorporated.  Stir in the vinegar.  Let the mixture cook down a bit and then stir in the mustard.  Give it a taste and add salt as needed.

Add your washed/dried spinach to the salad bowl with the bacon, mushrooms and onions and drizzle with the warm dressing.  Toss it lightly altogether and serve it immediately.

Traditionally, hard boiled eggs are added to this salad, but not everyone in our family likes them so I left them out.  

Hope you like it!

Wandering thoughts before vacation...

Last week, my family and I went on an awesome vacation with some friends.  About two weeks before we left on our vacation, I vowed to not grocery shop unless we absolutely needed something.

So the day before we were about to leave, I only had a few last minute things to clean up around the house.  Like most homemakers tend to experience when planning the last remaining moments before leaving for a trip, my mind wandered.  Here's what ran through my thoughts:

-Must drink all the beer or it will go bad.

-What can I make with 15 tubs of yogurt?

-Dang, I really overshot that yogurt purchase.

-What else is in here?  Carrots.  Carrot cookies sound great! I'll just whip them up when I'm done packing for 4 people.

-Oranges never really expire, right?

-How about potatoes?

-What are the chances I'll actually make it out of here with a clean sink?

-This is the LAST load of laundry I'm doing.

-This is the LAST dish I'm going to wash.

-Should I pack tea? Sugar? The beer?

-Screw this noise. I'm throwing everything in the garbage.

-What was I thinking?! What a waste!

-Maybe I can mix up a bunch of stuff and call it trail mix. If I dump some chocolate chips in there, the kids might actually eat it.

-Can I freeze lettuce?

-How about protein shakes? Nah, they'll be good in the fridge. Besides, how would I know if they went bad? They can't taste much worse.

-Where did this pile of laundry come from?!  OK, THIS is the last load I'm doing.

-I should sweep this floor. Or get a dog.

-If I just leave all these tomatoes on the counter near the window, will I come home to some nice sun dried tomatoes or will my kitchen become a resort town for fruit flies?

-Why did I buy so much freaking yogurt?

Thankfully, our vacation went off without a hitch and we came home to fresh milk, eggs, and a couple of subs in the fridge courtesy of Granny who was watching our house.  If it weren't for her, we would probably have had to eat those tomatoes I forgot about.  Oh, to answer your question, they did NOT turn into the sun dried beauties I had hoped.