meatless monday — summer garden vodka sauce

nothing is better than a big bowl of pasta

as you all probably know steph and i are just a tad obsessed with paul newman’s vodka sauce.  it is not only the best vodka sauce that can be bought in a jar it is EXTREMELY hard to find.  we have been known to buy multiple jars when we stumble across it.  my favorite is when one sister finds it and calls the other sister going “i’m at this store, they’ve got it.  how many jars you want?”  so if there is a jar in the cabinet, of this sacred sauce, it has to feel just right to open it up and use it.

meatless monday last week just seemed to be calling out for mr. newman’s vodka sauce.  dad’s garden has started chugging out vegetables like crazy and those tomatoes, zucchinni, onions all just seeded calling for a pasta dish.  as i sat down and tasted my creation i knew i had been right……….. mmmmmmmmm



The worst meal I have ever made


Looks nice doesn’t it?
Hmm. Don’t trust it.

But why? It looks like a lovely lemon pesto with whole wheat linguine and a salad.
All I have to say is thank the Cooking Gods for the salad.

What went wrong?
Lynley was visiting for the weekend, so of course we needed to cook together. We made a pesto recipe (Linda McCartney’s, whom I love but I have found out has some, Paul forgive me, questionable recipes).

Granted, I don’t make pesto very often, maybe once or twice a year, so neither of us realized what was going wrong.
What might that be, you ask? Oh. Let’s just say the recipe called for 8-10 cloves of garlic.

Yeah, that first bite was a doozy.

NOW I know that normal pesto only has about 2-4 cloves of garlic AND that is plenty.

The taste was just heat and no flavor at all. I laughed at the delicate, gentle squeeze of lemon I had added to the sauce thinking about the citrus flavors. HA!
We both tired to fix the situation. I added tomato sauce, olive oil and more cheese.


Lynley went for more cheese and a heck of a lot more olive oil.


Nothing worked. It tasted awful. And the worst part was that the taste wouldn’t go away.
Frozen custard Sundaes with homemade whipped cream for dessert couldn’t even put out the garlic fire in our bellies.


The next step for me- Tums.
The next step for Lyn- a shot of whiskey.
Needless to say when we got up in the morning, Linda’s pesto was still with us.

Even good cooks have bad days. Did we laugh? Oh, yes we did.
I’m just glad we cooked our worst meal ever together.

(Lynley grinning and whipping up a hopeful antidote).

There’s no going back…

I’ve officially crossed a line…I am now a baker. You might say, yes, but you don’t have a degree and you’ve never worked in a bakery.
All true – however,I now buy all baking supplies in the largest size possible or in bulk because I am baking so much. To me this means only one thing- I am a baker.




There is no going back my foodie friends and I couldn’t be happier about it.

a havana kind of sunday

i had one big request when i was in knoxville last for a visit, that was to make a trip to asheville.  i love me some asheville, nc and its only an hour and half away with a beautiful drive through the mountains.  kind of a perfect way to spend a sunday or so my friends justin, erin and i thought.  while you really can’t go wrong wherever you eat in asheville, my favorite place is Havana, a cuban restaurant that is worth the drive.  cuban food is one of my top favs and if you aren’t in florida it can be hard to find.

i had a pork cuban bowl that had rice, beans, pork, topped with salsa and plantains.  erin got a plantain sandwich that had guac on it and justin went for a tilapia with a side of plantains.  have you noticed the them of the meal…..plantains!

that is what i call a bowl of food

justin and erin about to dig in

justin’s request for a “serious” photo

i’m on a catfish kick

in the last week i’ve eaten catfish twice.  i don’t know what has gotten into be but i can’t seem to get enough of it.

it started at the Bluegrass Restaurant in Ballard County Kentucky.  i have been eyeing this restaurant for some time on my drive between knoxville and springfield.  this time i actually stopped.  what made the restaurant so intriguing the sign that said they had their own pond raised catfish.

the sign that caught my eye

the bluegrass restaurant is worth the stop

i had to order the catfish at the Bluegrass, ya know the saying “when in rome….”.  it was the best catfish fillet sandwich i have ever had.  cornmeal breaded which made it flaky and crisp but not overly fried.  the catfish was the lightest, flakiest catfish without an overpowered catfish taste,(i feel i’m not conveying this to its worthiness).  while i ate i was entertained by a tv that flashed pictures of all things local that have happened in the last year, parades, proms, 4H competitions.  i’m thinking this is now going to be a regular stop on my tennessee-missouri route.

and the french fries weren’t bad either


i think the bluegrass got me a little addicted to catfish.  when the fam had lunch at cafe roswitha i had to get the catfish special.  her fish was a cajun seasoned catfish with mashed potatoes and a salad.  the plate looked like a ton of food, but shockingly it was light and not heavy which may have allowed some room for coconut cream pie!

mmmmmmm now that is lunch