About Me

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My husband, Mike, and I moved from NJ to Southwest Florida in September 2006. I currently work at the Punta Gorda Library and fill my free time with crafts, reading and my experiments in the kitchen.  Our fur kids, Buddy the dog and Nibbles (aka Brutus) the cat, keep us entertained all day. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The BEST...

Mike and I like to watch "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". Recently they were talking about the best thing they ever ate at a Deli, but I've seen the best desserts, the best steak, the best breakfast. This show always makes me think about what I would say is the best thing I ever ate. So here goes...the best things I've ever eaten, in no particular order...

1. Buffalo wrap from Shakey Jake's in Stanhope, NJ. When Mike and I first got married, we lived in Netcong, NJ. One day we were out and about and got really hungry. We stopped at a small local bar near home and found our very first "favorite" place as a married couple. We have never had a bad meal there. The buffalo wrap had deliciously seasoned slices of buffalo, lettuce, and tomato all wrapped up in a tortilla. The juicy buffalo, which is difficult to do, keeps the wrap moist and delicious. A generous side of waffle fries completes the meal. We don't live in New Jersey anymore, so I'm not sure if they still serve the buffalo wrap. If it's not on the menu, make sure you ask your server. The owner, Chuck, will prepare off menu items for you.

2. Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish Grill, Ft. Myers, FL. Mike took me to the Bonefish Grill for our anniversary last year. It came highly recommended by several friends. We were told to make sure we tried the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer. It was great advice. First, I have to tell you that they also make an AWESOME fresh apple martini. Be careful though, they are STRONG!!!) The Bang Bang Shrimp came out and it was delightful. It was served on a bed of lettuce in a bowl. The shrimp was lightly breaded to a crisp. Then it was tossed in this spicy tangy sauce that was to die for. We WILL be going back.

3. Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps from P.F. Changs, Ft. Myers, FL. Mike and I love to visit Ft. Myers. There are so many restaurants down there and we are slowly working our way through them. Our visit to P.F. Changs was so wonderful that I'm actually writing the company to thank them. Our waiter was the best waiter I've ever experienced. Between the taste of Hot & Sour soup that he let me have to see if I would like it, to the FREE Chicken Lettuce Wrap appetizer that he treated me to because it was my first visit to P.F. Changs, he really went above and beyond to make our experience a good one. Now to the Chicken Lettuce Wrap appetizer - A plate of 4 huge crispy lettuce leaves came out with a delectable plate covered with crispy rice sticks was topped with a delicious mix of chicken, mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts. Take a spoonful of the meat mixture and put it on the lettuce leaf and wrap it up. On a side note, when the waiter wrapped up the leftovers, he included extra rice for my honey chicken AND fresh crispy lettuce leaves for the wraps. The food was delicious and the service was stellar.

4.  Sausage and Lentil Soup from Carrabba's, Port Charlotte, FL - What can I say about Carrabba's?  For an Italian chain restaurant, they never disappoint me.  A bowl of their sausage and lentil soup happens to be a bowl of happiness. From the spicy deliciousness of the sausage to the freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top, it is one of my favorite soups I've ever had in a restaurant.  I would be happy to just have a bowl of that soup and a glass (or two) of their blackberry sangria. Oh wait...I love their ravioli too.

5. The Shrimp Toast from Nine Dragons Restaurant at Epcot, Orlando, FL - Perhaps the most delicious, crispy treat I've ever eaten at Walt Disney World.  I can't even put the flavor into words.  If you go to Epcot, make sure to save room for this appetizer.

6. Bacon and American cheese omelet at Peter's Family Restaurant in Port Charlotte, FL - Peter's gets this omelet right.  I hate when bacon is chewy.  The bacon in this omelet is crunchy and delicious.  The flavor of the American cheese, bacon, and egg mix so well together.  Just the memory of the last time I had this makes my mouth water.  It think it's time to go visit Peter's.

7.  The Garlic & Butter Blue Crab Clusters from Pincher's Crab Shack, Fort Myers, FL -  I was dying for seafood and I asked Mike if we could try this restaurant one time when we were in Fort Myers.  I love crab, but hate digging the meat out of the shells, so I figured I'd get an order of crab cakes...until I read the description of this fantastic meal. Blue crabs are cut in half for easy access and sauteed in butter and fresh garlic.  So delicious and sooooo messy...but worth it.  I have to add that the crab and corn chowder was to die for.  I can't wait to go back for more.

8. Carrot cake from Publix - I noticed a distinct lack of desserts on my list.  I know that you were expecting something more exciting than a cake from a grocery store, but I can't help it.  Publix bakery has raised the grocery store bakery bar with their carrot cake.  The cake is moist and delicious and the cream cheese icing is to die for.  During "snow bird" season, I go through carrot cake withdrawal because the "two slice" carrot cake packages are usually sold out before I can get to them.  Only three more months to go!!!

9.  Apple Chimi Cheesecake from Applebees - This post is a sad one because Applebees no longer serves this delicious dessert.  Soft tortillas filled with apple pie and cheese cake filling, rolled, toasted, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  This was the only reason I ever went to Applebees.  I don't go there anymore. I did manage to find a copy cat recipe for these and I think I'm going to make them and, if you are good, I will post it in my blog with pictures.

10.  Fish Tacos from Bar Louie - I love these fish tacos.  The flavors all mix together to make my mouth and my tummy happy.  I found a copy cat recipe for this one and I'm currently working on lightening it up.  I feel another blog coming up.

What are the 10 best things YOU ever ate????







Once a month cooking...is it for me??

I have been toying with the idea of trying a monthly cooking day where I prepare a months worth of meals in one day.  I've been having a hard time sticking to eating healthy due to Mike's and my own work schedules.  My schedule is going to get even tougher with my job moving to a different library farther away from home with later hours. So, do I want to try to use up one of my days off and cook an entire months worth of meals in one day and freeze them?  I'm not sure.

I have found a really cool website that provides a monthly menu utilizing foods that are on sale that month.  You get a shopping list, chopping instructions, recipe cards, and printable food labels showing reheating instructions...all for free.  The website is http://onceamonthmom.com/. There are several menus to choose from: Traditional, Whole Foods, Gluten/Dairy Free, Diet, Baby Food, and Vegetarian.  Each menu has a downloadable recipe card that lets you change the number of people you are preparing for and adjust the shopping list and instructions for that many people.  On each of the recipe cards, they show the number and type of container you will need to put the meal in.  I have been exploring this website for about a month and I've been impressed with the recipes. They just started a "mini" menu which consists of 10 days worth of meals.  I may start with that one to see if I like it and want to do a whole months worth. If I decide to do this, I will post a full blog with photos.