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

P I N this to pinterest

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!

P I N this to pinterest 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.

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! }

P I N this to pinterest7. 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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  • Like like like your post… busy busy busy bee…

    Eminem bit made me laugh – I have probably three followers, so all I can say is that it’s a good thing I don’t suffer from self esteem problems 😉

    congrats on swimming a straight line, and WOW on the painting. I envvy people with artistic inclinations, as I have NONE. ZERO. NADA.

    I can do 45 pushups, man style – does that count for ANYTHING? 😉ReplyCancel

  • I saw that you won the book at my friend Barb’s blog, and I was jealous! Lucky you! We chopped down our tree on Sunday and I hope to have it decorated tonight, but I have come down with a bad chest cold and possibly a sinus infection, so we’ll have to play it by ear. The orzo looks lovely, although I have to say that is one pasta I am totally conflicted about. If I wanted rice, I would have asked for rice ;-)!ReplyCancel

  • What a delightful post Smidge! Hope things settle down for you soon so you can have a little more time for yourself.
    Have a beautiful and happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xoReplyCancel

  • Eminem likes Smidge….that’s almost enough to make me like Eminem. I’m picturing what will result when your eye for composition and beauty in the kitchen meets your brushes and oils…I can barely wait to see it here! Love (and am thoroughly jealous) that you can swim even an almost straight line. Love Alice Hoffman and am ordering Dovekeepers! Don’t know Boscoff spread, but you think I should? And your salad sounds fantastic, Smidge! I’m quite sure that will be seen on our table within the week. wonderful post! xxReplyCancel

  • Great post. I’ve read The Dovekeepers. I loved it.ReplyCancel

  • gastrogardener

    wow eminem! that would get me to wondering… And you HAVE been busy! Which is good considering the alternative!ReplyCancel

  • Loving your post – #2 – ha! – love Alice Hoffman and have this book on my reading list:) You have been busy – Have a Great One:)ReplyCancel

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Smidge. Eminem. How about that? 🙂 The orzo salad sounds delish.ReplyCancel

  • I think that spread is called ‘Speculoos’ in France and Belgium, but is hard to find here in Ireland.
    ‘Eminem’s new single featuring Smidge’… has a good ring to it 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Speculoos is addictively amazing and Alice Hoffman is a wonderful author, so it all sounds like a great combination to me!ReplyCancel

  • Emilie

    You are seriously overachieving! Not only did you do new and notables but we got a recipe? I barely squeaked out my “hey my nephew is cute so you don’t get a real post because I am playing with him” post…. ACK!!!ReplyCancel

  • Nice to get caught up with you, Barb. 😉 What is Biscoff, exactly?? (I’m off to do a Google search!)ReplyCancel

  • Gracious, Barbara, Eminem. The boy has taste…ReplyCancel

  • I like to live in fantasy land, so I am going to pretend that’s the REAL slim shady!! SWEET!! This yummyness looks so good I need to start using orzo more.ReplyCancel

  • Haha my friend you have been more than busy of late and seem to be on a winning at life streak 😀
    Keep it up!

    Choc Chip UruReplyCancel

  • You’re reminding me that I need to get moving on the Christmas decorating which I haven’t even started – your tree looks lovely 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I really love this post. You’re so busy, but I love that you’ve written about it. I feel less overwhelmed….in that I’m not the only one 🙂 Thanks for this recipe too. I seriously need to make better food like this. ASAP. I’m blaming Ina for the extra few pounds that found me these past couple of months. Speaking of Ina! Congratulations Smidge!!!! I know you wanted this one. It’s fabulous, and I can not WAIT to see what you try first from it.

    Eminem? That’s cool! And it trumps the fact that David Hasselhoff is following me on Twitter….which I will not get over any time soon, lol.ReplyCancel

  • I just read Sarah’s comment and I like to say ditto on all fronts. Things feel hectic right now, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’ve also gained a few pounds thanks to Ina and those salted caramel brownies. (The downside of blogging.) Thanks for the shout out. I’m delighted that you’ve won Ina’s book, which I’ve just ordered for you. It should be there on Dec. 4th according to the shipping estimate. The ponytails said “Mom, how can you win this?” when they saw the name Barb on the little slip of paper. So, from one Barb to another “congratulations!”ReplyCancel

  • I really love this post – hearing bits of your busy life. Your Christmas tree looks splendid – I have this mad self-imposed rule that I don’t put up decorations until the 1st December but I think I might break it this year. Please never worry if you are busy about reading my blog – feel free to skip it. Life’s so busy sometimes – especially at this time of year. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Who knows? Someone named Eminem is following you!ReplyCancel

  • Darling, I would ADORE seeing what’s in your kitchen, should you ever feel like playing. But it’s just as fun catching up on what you’re up to – swimming is great (I’m lousy at it), and Eminem as a follower is very very cool! 🙂 And this is now the third time Biscoff has been mentioned to me in the past few weeks..ReplyCancel

  • mjskit

    A lot happening in your life! I do understand how books something unconsciously make us act different, but I haven’t gotten down on the floor to clean the grout yet. 🙂 Love the orzo dish! Healthy and tasty!ReplyCancel

  • I love this “all over the place” post. I’m sitting here nodding my head like one of those wobbly dogs to everything you’ve written. Except Biscoff … Google and I will be sorting that out soon enough!

    PS I must remember never to read you blog when I’ve skipped dinner … Yum. Just YUM.ReplyCancel

  • I think you most certain should make some M & M cookies for your new fan! What a riot! Maybe he likes your poetry? You have been a very busy girl and even though life is quite crazy at the moment I wanted to do more than just ” like”, but let you know how much I look forward to your posts. Have a wonderful holiday season Smidge. BAMReplyCancel

  • I’m also behind on blog reading! Thank you for sharing Smidge 🙂ReplyCancel

  • eminem must have lost himself in the music and now he’ll never let you go. What a great little share. I’d be happy if I could paint a lemon too. I’ve got stick people down but that’s about my limit (oh and box houses and the sun).
    At the moment I’m reading the Young House Love blog book which has me running to DIY every time I read a few pages. Nothing like a book to kick start the action!ReplyCancel

  • Swimming in a straight line with efficient strokes is always going to be easier than the strokes needed to paint still lives in the manner of Dutch and Flemish masters:)ReplyCancel

  • I’m behind in my blog reading too! Life just seems to get busier and busier. I was going to comment on all your other photos but then I couldn’t get past your Christmas Tree. It is absolutely stunning and so beautifully decorated. We buy a real tree and so we can’t buy it until about the 15th of December otherwise, with all the heat, it just dies. It’s such a shame because our decorations are only up for such a short period of time xxReplyCancel

  • Barbara, absolutely beautiful and elegant; as always! I love your blog. Barb and the pony tails are wonderful!! Love her blog. The orzo salad is perfect!! Congrats on Eminem! That is pretty cool!!ReplyCancel

  • Fun post! I have yet to even check out Instagram. Not on Twitter either. I wonder if I’m missing out on something. So much to do already! Looks like a good book – thanks for posting – I love to read, but it’s one of those obsessive things that keeps me from being productive :). What does Biscoff Spread taste like? It looks like peanut butter! Good luck with your painting – if your other aesthetic talents are any indicator, you should ace that in no time! You have inspired me to take pictures of my tree. I am always behind in my reading AND posting, but I always enjoy your posts and think that they are all comment-worthy – at least the ones I see!ReplyCancel

  • Ahhhh, I love a post like this. Scrubbing, funny follows, good books, dried stuff that ends up being scrumptious…. I have a jar of that Lotus spread sent by a friend in France. I’ve single handedly consumed it spoonful by spoonful. It is hidden from the rest of the household. It’s called Speculoos in France. Such a funny word to see on the label while I sneak another spoonful.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous

    Eminem? I’m jealous! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Sorry, the above comment was mine. I didn’t intend to be anonymous!ReplyCancel

  • 1) I have never liked Slim Shady. But since he likes you… that improves my opinion of him a him.
    2) I have never heard of biscoff spread. What kind of flavor is it?
    3) Congrats on the win.
    4) The salad looks divine! I can’t wait to make it!ReplyCancel

  • My kind of salad! Congrats on the cookbook and on all you’ve accomplished with decorating, painting, etc. Way ahead of me so far this year. 😉ReplyCancel

  • When do I get to read about this Wild Rum-Infused Eggnogg???? 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I just loved this post, Barb. I might be short on time but I always want to read your posts. They are always beautiful and so well done…and this one had me laughing out loud! You struck my funny bone! I have some of those pre-holiday dreams, too, just like your Wild Rum-Infused Eggnog tree-lighting party! Except my dashed dreams are going on 40-years worth! Ha! And I have enjoyed Alice Hoffman in the past…not sure about this book review you’ve offered. I don’t know if I can take the pressure. 🙂 And painting lemons for bitterness? You are many things, but I sure don’t see you with any bit of bitterness in you. Your lemons would represent something really delicious, I know! I’m still chuckling…and I really love this recipe. It’s another winner! oxoReplyCancel

  • Lovely. Hold on to that Biscoff (never heard of it, but if you say it is THAT good, I believe you wholeheartedly).. don’t share any with eminem (sorry dude), but having a bite with your lost and found friend would be appropriate. It could seal some sort of friendship oath. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I just found a jar of Bischoff, my tree is up and I’m behind on my blog reading as well. I hate to hit the like button instead of reading and commenting…so I’m catching up with your posts I have missed now. Love orzo salads and yours looks terrific.ReplyCancel

  • Wow, Smidge! That was so fun. I love you more the more I learn about you. 🙂 Cracked up about Eminem and am cheering hard for you and your painting. Some day, some day…ReplyCancel

  • Lovely salad!ReplyCancel

  • Adore your salad comment at the end Barbara – too apt and I think I heard that recently from a blogger I love 😉 That orzo salad looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • I found Speculoos Cookie Butter at Trader Joe’s in the U.S. and it is imported from the Netherlands. I went looking for it after I read a description on a blog that said it was like “crack in a jar”. I think that’s an apt description. I think it tastes like those Biscoff cookies that you get from some airlines – a nice spice cookie but in a delicious spreadable form. Glad you found time to write about what’s keeping you busy. By the way, any idea where November went?ReplyCancel

  • You’re such a busy lady…and a ‘fit’ one at that and such a good cook…I think I’ll come and live at your house..lol DianeReplyCancel

  • Wow, lady! Where do you find the time?! I love how Eminem’s profile says “I am not Eminem. I am not Eminem. I am not Eminem.” What a follower for you to have! Be careful with that cookie butter… I bought the Trader Joe’s version and almost finished off the whole jar in 2 days using nothing but a knife… 😉ReplyCancel

  • Fun post … I like all snippets you shared! Congrats on winning the book from Barb’s Profiteroles and Ponytails blog, even though you beat me! ReplyCancel

  • Isnt it nice when some celebrity follows you, whether its really him or his staff. I remember I had the similar situation last week when Jamie Oliver contacted me (not) it was is marketing arm to promote some seafood productsReplyCancel

  • That is hilarious that Eminem popped up on your instagram! Too funny! I would have to put down any book that got me on a house cleaning kick – I do enough of that as it is. 😉 And your oil painting is phenomenal. You are an amazingly talented woman Smidge!ReplyCancel

  • This one was a little different… I loved it!ReplyCancel

  • As you can see, I’m behind too! But found a little time today to catch up and so happy I did. Your tree is BEAUTIFUL! I’m going to put the Dovekeepers on my reading list, I must have missed the Biscoff revolution…what’s in it? Eminem – hilarious!! Love Ina (now), although when I first started watching her I thought she was a snob and her constant references to “Jeffrey” drove me nuts…LOL I whole heartedly agree with you on the salad thing and your orzo salad looks divine!

    Hugs and kisses ~ AprilReplyCancel

  • I do ‘like’ you. And I’m always trailing about a week behind on my reading 🙂ReplyCancel

  • lovely post and I could have some of that orzo salad now… it’s -15 here, how there? cheersReplyCancel

  • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Oh my Goodness… your tree is up and decorated? Your home organized? You have eminem in your life? That does it. I simply need you to move to Ottawa to put me and my disorganized life in order!! :).ReplyCancel

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