Spartan Olive Oil – you could be a winner!

If you have been reading my posts on a regular basis you will remember that I have posted two recipes using Spartan Olive Oil.  It is one of my favorite oils and both of my recipes below have generated great traffic and many great complements.  I received a note from Perry Konstas regarding their one year anniversary promotion to share with my readers.  What fun it would be to win Spartan Oil for a year!  If you do, please let me know.

Carol, I wanted to let you know that we’re doing a pretty amazing promotion for our 1 year anniversary in October. The promotion starts this week and includes several daily winners of a bottle of olive oil and 1 grand prize winner of a year’s supply of Spartan Oil. Might be something your readers would be interested in. Here’s the link with some of the details;

olive oil orange bread

 citrus olive oil cake



My Life as a Food Blogger

There are a few times that I just have to reflect on what my life is like as a food blogger.  I have to admit that I have been to some fabulous locations, tried marvelous foods, learned everything from bottling bourbon to farming oysters, learned new cooking techniques and toured wonderful markets.  However, the day to day life is what I cherish the most.

I love hearing comments and hearing from my readers….

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I love cooking, even at rainy tailgates…

carol tailgate photo

and – I even have to smile even when my recipes don’t exactly go as planned!


Did I mention – I just love being a food blogger!  I am always on the lookout for a great food adventure, creating new recipes and having fun every step of the way!



My take on a Shake Shack burger

On our recent trip to New England, we stopped at a Shake Shack in Connecticut for lunch.  I just had to try a Shake Shack burger and I must admit is was delicious.  So, I thought it was time to recreate a Shake Shack burger at home.  Their sauce is very good and a great example how a burger can be enhanced with a delicious sauce.  

burger sauce

Burger Sauce
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  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1 tablespoon ketchup
  3. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  4. 1 heaping tablespoon dill relish
  5. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  6. Pinch of cayenne pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients (if you prefer a smooth sauce, blend until smooth). Refrigerate until serving.
  1. I cooked my burgers on a flat top grill. Topped each burger with cheese, one slice of tomato, lettuce, and sauce. Delicious!
A Passion for Entertaining

Blueberry Chutney

Looking for that perfect accompaniment to pork, chicken or ham?  Blueberry chutney is perfect to serve.  It is also wonderful with soft cheeses on a cheese board with crackers.  This will also take a turkey or ham sandwich over the top with flavor.  Add a dollop on your favorite sandwich.  I had an abundance of blueberries since they were on sale, buy 1 – get one free.  I have made so many desserts, pies and breads with blueberries this spring, I opted for a sauce that I could serve with savory dishes.   You can also refrigerate 1/2 of the chutney and freeze the other 1/2 for a later day. 

Blueberry Chutney


Blueberry Chutney
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  1. I apple, peeled and diced
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup orange juice
  4. 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  5. 1 stick of cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  8. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  9. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  10. 4 cups fresh blueberries
  11. 3 tablespoons red raspberry vinegar
  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine apple, sugar, orange juice, orange rind, ginger, red pepper flakes, pepper, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 40 minutes until thickened. Stir occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze.
A Passion for Entertaining

The Great Paper Plate Debate

My close friends know that I am very hesitant about using paper plates. It is very hard for me to consider using paper plates for many occasions. Even if it means staying up late into the night washing dishes (luckily my wonderful husband always does clean-up duty when we entertain), I have an aversion to paper plates. When I host our hot dog happy hour party, I use plastic hot dog baskets with wax paper liners and we are thrilled when the clean-up is so easy. Paper plates however are a different matter. Well, I might be turning the corner on using paper plates for certain occasions. We hosted a casual card playing night and I found these great paper plates at the local party store. This is going to be a slow change for me. Seeing the great looking paper products on the market today, I might be opening my horizons to something new when I entertain. Henry David Thoreau had a great quote “Things do not change; we change”, looks like that might be happening to this entertainer! (in moderation)
paper plate debate

Triple Berry Champagne Sherbet

Think spring, think strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  I am always a fan of make ahead items when entertaining.  A frozen dessert is wonderful because you can prepare it ahead.  I used to have an ice cream maker but through the years I am not quite sure what happened to it.  When I was shopping a few weeks back, I picked up an ice cream maker.  I thought it was time to try making ice cream, sorbets, and sherbets.  I purchased the type where you freeze the internal canister and then put it on the motorized base.  It works wonderful and was under forty dollars,  To me, that is one appliance I will use.  I thought berries with champagne, what a delightful combination.

triple berry sherbet

Triple Berry Champagne Sherbet
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  1. 3 cups strawberries, hulled
  2. 1 cup blueberries
  3. 1 cup red raspberries
  4. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 1/4 cup champagne
  7. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. In a food processor with the steel blade, combine strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Add champagne and cream, purée until smooth. Add blueberries and red raspberries, pluse a few times. I like to leave some fruit pieces.
  2. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
A Passion for Entertaining

Grilled Lamb Chops with Plum Balsamic Sauce

One of our favorite dishes is grilled lamb chops.  This recipe is so easy and the results are so spectacular.  It is great to grill a rack of chops, individually cut.  They are quick to grill and always a company favorite.   I must admit that I tried a mint bourbon sauce but resorted to this plum balsamic sauce which is just delicious as a dipping sauce with these chops.  The fresh rosemary infuses the lamb when cooking and imparts a wonderful taste.  A perfect spring dinner.

lamb chops

Lamb Chops with Plum Balsamic Sauce
Serves 2
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  1. One rack of lamb chops
  2. Olive oil
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. Fresh rosemary, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup plum jam
  6. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  7. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  8. Salt and pepper
  1. Cut lamb rack into individual chops. Drizzle olive oil over chops and season both sides with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.
  2. Prepare grill, over medium high heat, grill chops one side for 5 minutes, turn and grill an additional 3 - 4 minutes.
  3. For the sauce, mix remaining ingredients. Serve along side the lamb chops.
  4. Plan one rack of chops serves 2.
A Passion for Entertaining

Roasted Pear Salad

I was in the produce department and picked up a few Bosc pears, baby spinach, and goat cheese. I then thought I would create a roasted pear salad. I have baked pears previously, however this time I thought a salad with a warm pear would be delicious. I am writing this the morning after I served this salad, it was so good, I don’t want to forget how I made this salad. The goat cheese melts on the warm pear and the result is wonderful.




Roasted Pear Salad
Serves 4
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  1. 2 Bosc pears
  2. 1 tablespoon honey
  3. 1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
  4. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  5. 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon roasted red pepper flakes (add amount according to your preference)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. fresh baby spinach
  8. Goat cheese crumbles
  9. Dried cranberries
  10. Maple dressing
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cut pears in 1/2 and remove core. Place flat side up in a baking dish. Mix honey and bourbon together and drizzle over pears. Drizzle butter and sprinkle with red pepper and cinnamon. Bake 15 minutes, turn pears over and bake and additional 5 minutes.
  3. Prepare salad plates. On plates put a layer of spinach leaves. Top with warm pear, goat cheese crumbles and dried cranberries. Drizzle with maple dressing. Salt and pepper, if desired.
  1. Maple dressing
  2. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  3. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  4. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Mix well.
A Passion for Entertaining