just a smidgen

What Swimming, Eminem, Biscoff and Broccoli All Have In Common

I’ve always wanted to do one of those “In my kitchen” posts. But who am I kidding? I’m so “all over the place” that “In my kitchen” is virtually impossible. So, instead, how about “what’s new and notable”?

1. Well, I can swim in a straight line almost a straight line now, as long as I sort of run my hand along the side of the pool as I go. And I’ve just begun feeling some efficiency in my strokes, aka, my thrashing days are almost over. But today, I forgot to bring my towel…

2. Eminem followed Just a Smidgen on Instagram.

Apparently, Eminem “Likes” Smidge. Of course, I did the polite thing and followed him back. So the question is, is it just a fan, one of his staff, or was Slim Shady just losing himself in the music one day, scrolling through Instagrams, saw my baking and thought this opportunity might only come once in a lifetime, yo? I’m thinking some M&M Christmas Cookies are in order.

3. I’m reading this

for book club and Loving It! Alice Hoffman has written a tale of “bold, resourceful and sensuous women”  { like us, right? } I found it had a disturbing  effect on me, though. There I was, down on my hands and knees, furiously…. scrubbing the grout on our back entrance tile, when it dawned on me that I was doing so because I had been reading about these women’s hardships and their toiling in the dovecote. Strange, but true. Who knows what other sorts of things I’ve being influenced into doing, just by having read a book? I guess it’s not so unusual, but housework… Seriously I might have to stop reading this book.

4. I’ve ordered this online and I love it!

If Barb can’t get to the Biscoff, then the Biscoff must come to Barb. I was so excited to find my package today! At first glance, it looked so well, dried up and uninspiring.. but mon Dieu.. that flavor!! It’s a rare treat to discover a completely new taste!

5. I’m finally working on an oil painting that I started.. um.. 3 years ago, and I’m signing up for painting lessons after Christmas. Now I really want to learn how to paint the Flemish Still Life Fruit technique… those “Little Breakfasts” where robust loaves of bread, ripe, hedonistic peeled fruits and goblets are laden on a thick table in front of a black background.. almost tumbling onto the viewer’s lap.

de Heem

Apparently these Baroque paintings are filled with symbolism.. the soul (Butterflies), material wealth (knives) and lust (the oysters of course!)

I think I’ll just start with a lemon.. pretty to look at but a symbol for bitterness.

6. My Christmas Tree is up and decorated but my plans for a Wild Rum-Infused Eggnogg Celebratory Lighting of the Tree was dashed again. Bah Humbug to the Grey Cup! { To be fair.. we had guests visiting and homework always comes first:D There’s always next year! }

7. I’ve won a book!!

I’m sending love and hugs to Barb at Profiteroles and Ponytails for having an awesome contest! xxx I can’t wait to make something from Ina’s newest cookbook { I could have chosen 50 Shades of Chicken, but thought it best not, see #3 }! I wonder if Ina’s ever tasted Biscoff? { I’m thinking she must have a secret stash somewhere. }

Please GO visit my friend Barb and her two adorable little ponytails. At the moment she’s got lovely Charcuterie Platter suggestions for Christmas and a hearty loaf of Irish Soda Bread studded with raisins (hmm.. I could smear some Biscoff on that!)! Seriously, go add her as a friend, you’ll be so happy you did!!

8. I’ve made a Christmas wreath I saw over at Thistlewood Farms..
pictures to follow..

9. I’m behind in my blog reading.. if you are too, just hit the “Like” button, I won’t be offended!

10. And I’ve reconnected with another long-lost friend.. and that means.. Life is Good!

I’ve eaten way to many salads.. said no food blogger ever!
I found a small stash of Orzo.. so this joined us at the table last night.


Orzo Pasta Salad with Broccoli Pesto and Olives

Orzo Pasta Salad with Broccoli Pesto and Olives
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 5 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested and juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup créme fraîche
  • 1/2 cup marinated olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (handful) cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Boil the orzo as instructed in lightly salted water. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Heat water in a large pot of salted water, immerse the broccoli for about one minute (with the lid on), just until it brightens and becomes slightly tender. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool somewhat.
  3. To make the pesto, combine 2 cups of the broccoli, garlic, most of the pine nuts, parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and juice from half the lemon in a food processor or blender. Pulse the broccoli, drizzling in the olive oil and the crème fraîche until well blended.
  4. To assemble, just before serving, combine the orzo and broccoli. Pour over 2/3?s of the pesto (keep the remaining for another day). Squeeze the other half of the lemon over all. Sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and add the chopped olives and cilantro. Stir to mix well and serve.
Adapted from Heidi Swanson

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