Friday, May 22, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

From Biologie's Kitchen With Lovin'

These guys are called Fries but in reality they are tasty Baked goodness.

I heard a rumor about Baked Sweet Potato Fries and how yummy and amazing (not to mention healthy) they were but I was a bit skeptical about the whole mess.

Plain baked sweet potato fries might be great but not exciting enough for me so I needed something more! How about adding a bit of finely grated Parmesan cheese, fresh rosemary, and a dash of garlic powder?

After pulling a batch out of the oven my first bite was taken with a moment of doubt followed by a quick "taste bud check" to evaluate the finished product. My taste buds said:
"More please!"
The recipe is simple and healthy. It's a sweet-savory treat!

Rosemary Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 5-6

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • Fine sea salt, to taste (hint: a little goes a long way)
  • 2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 Cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

3. Peel the sweet potatoes

4. Cut sweet potatoes into strips about 1/4 inch wide

5. Place cut strips into a large bowl and add oil, salt, rosemary, and garlic powder - toss to thoroughly coat

6. Set aside 2-3 T of grated Parmesan cheese in a small container to sprinkle on after they are baked

7. Add the remaining Parmesan to the bowl of sweet potatoes; toss thoroughly to coat

8. Spread out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer

9. Bake 10-15 minutes, then turn them over and bake an additional 10-15 minutes

10. Fries are done when browned around the edges (or until desired crispiness)

11. Sprinkle reserved Parmesan cheese on hot baked fries

12. Serve immediately

I'm telling you ~ these are Yum!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Morning Herb Gathering

Singing The Praises Of Fresh Herbs:

I planted a bitty container garden of herbs this spring. The plants are doing great and I'm reaping the benefits of fresh herbs in my salads, soups, sandwiches and pretty much any thing I cook these days! I love black bean tortilla soup and I always add chopped cilantro.

This season I have the following herbs growing in my backyard: rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, mint, Italian flat-leaf parsley, cilantro and sage. I also have holy basil but it's an ornamental.

Minted Fresh Fruit Salad is excellent and I adore making it in the summer using fresh mint. I'll be blogging about it the next time I make it so I will include the recipe. It's very simple and refreshing. I want some right now!

Something I learned in my Botany course in college that I've always found interesting about herbs: the ones in the family Lamiaceae (mints) have square stems rather than round cylindrical stems!

There are about 3500 species in the mint family including basil, rosemary, savory, thyme and sage. The family keeps growing, however, because mint can easily hybridize. Very cool.

In the morning after breakfast I go out and water my little green culinary buddies. I take a few clippings of the herbs I want to use for the day and store them on the counter top in a little jar with water. So pretty! It's just like having a little flower for your bud vase except with the little herb sprigs you can gaze at them and anticipate using them in your cooking throughout the day. My herbs add a level of bright and fresh yummy to my food that I don't get with dried herbs.

The "herbs of the day" in their cute little jar.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Special Delivery!

Yesterday the door bell rang and when I opened the door there was a little square package sitting on my front porch. I was delightfully surprised! Upon opening the box, this is what I found within:

Cajun essentials from Louisiana for me and my husband were packed inside the box. The care-package was from his mom and her husband. The last time they came to visit us they told us about these great Cajun products so we are excited to give them all a try. It arrived in perfect timing for the cookout we are having to celebrate my husband's birthday this weekend.

Bon CaCa!! seasoning: A homemade seasoning blend for Cajuns by Cajuns! The makers of this product live in New Iberia, Louisiana. After years of using their special blend to season their food at cookouts and having friends and neighbors beg for more of the "good stuff" they decided to sell it in the local markets. It's a great seasoning because it's blended as "not too salty, not too hot, just the perfect blend to use on everything!" That's some Bon CaCa!

"Slap Ya Mama" Hot seasoning: No joke, this stuff is HOT. If you are a fan of fiery hot sauces and enjoy eating hot peppers straight out of the jar, you're going to love this seasoning! I took a little taste on the tip of my tongue and said, "Whoo Eeee! That's hot stuff!" Here's a quote from their website:
Wilda Marie Fontenot gave birth to the creator of the award winning "SLAP YA MAMA" seasoning blend. Every time she uses it, she receives a loving slap on the back and a kiss on the cheek thanking her for another great Cajun dish.
Tabasco Spicy Pepper Jelly: If you ever visit New Iberia, Louisiana you have to take a trip to Avery Island and tour the Tabasco pepper sauce factory. The island is surrounded by swamps and is a nature reserve for indigenous plants and animals of southern Louisiana. Their pepper jelly is the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. We will be using it as a glaze for grilled chicken breasts this weekend! Yum.

Gumbo & Etouffee Mix by Louisiana Fish Fry Products: When you are pressed for time and want to whip up a quick one-pot meal, gumbo is the way to go. We enjoy seafood gumbo several times a month. When it's time to indulge, our absolute hands down favorite thing to make is crawfish etouffee. We also love shrimp etouffee! These mixes by Louisiana Fish Fry Products are staples in our house and the only store-bought brand we use for our gumbo and etouffee.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

These are a few of my...

Favorite things on Etsy!

The amount of talent found at is boundless. There are just too many wonderful artists out there! I can't even scratch the surface but I wanted to shine my little bitty blog spotlight on just a few of the favorites I've found on Etsy. Check it out!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I love sandwiches.

I absolutely love sandwiches. One of the simple pleasures in life.

The Sandwich.

One of my favorite masterpieces consisted of the following:

· toasted pumpernickel, very thinly sliced
· fresh guacamole
· sliced tomato
· salt and pepper to taste
· provolone cheese
· german mustard
· red onion, very thinly sliced
· cucumber, thinly sliced medallions
· smoked turkey, fat free deli sliced
· black forest ham, low-fat deli sliced
· green leaf lettuce

On the side:

· side salad
· big glass of ice water with a slice of lime

Okay, so to make the masterpiece:

Toast the bread slices and spread fresh guacamole on one slice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place tomato slices on the top of the guac. This is important! Tomatoes must snuggle up to the guac for the best flavor combination (in my humble opinion)!

Place the provolone on top of 'matoes and spread mustard on cheese. Layer the turkey and ham in folds (like how the deli does) on top of the cheese.

Lastly, add very thinly sliced onions and cucumber on top of the lunchmeat and top with the green leaf lettuce. Don’t use iceberg! That's not lettuce, that's bland water masquerading as lettuce and lacks most of the nutrients and goodness found in green leaf lettuces like romaine.

You now have a Masterful Sandwich of Yumminess!

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Wings

I check in with the off-duty policeman with the mustache, show him my park badge. His blonde lady-friend who visits him and flirts isn’t there today. He says hello and tells me to have a good day.

Two little boys at the broken water fountain: spraying each other with the high-powered nozzle and trying to drink from it. Their mommies are standing and chatting; paying no attention to them. One mom stands laughing with a baby on her hip. Between squirts, the boys discuss whether they will play in the sandbox again and look at each other before heading over there, dripping wet.

I start my jog, slow and steady. Smells good, fresh. I breathe in the scent of damp shaded, cool earth under the trees. It’s one of my favorite scents in the entire world.

Chiseled-face gentleman is there, looking like an ex-military general with ball cap and sunglasses; he is Man with 2 Dogs…now down to one. I’ve never spoken to him until today but he is a regular at the park. On the jogging track, I stop and unplug myself from my music to ask where the other retriever is…she’s passed away; leaving what I learn is her sister, also an old dog. He smiles sadly as he tells me how she took it hard when her sister died. I look at him and know that he took it hard too.

Back to jogging, I look at the trees; watch the squirrels…one digs in the dirt, little paws working quickly. He’s so busy he ignores me as I run by but keeps one cute beady little eye on me all the same.

British Man with English Sheepdog is there, walking his route around the perimeter of the park. I wave as I pass by when we make eye contact. He waves back. He’s a regular too. Maybe someday I’ll ask him what his name is so I don’t have to call him British Man with English Sheepdog. He has a yellow suede cap and looks very distinguished. He wears it everyday.

There are grackle birds pecking around on the soccer field, they hop away as I get near…I swerve into the field, chasing them and grinning. The field is damp and soft beneath my feet. The flock squawks and flies away like a black cloud. I laugh, knowing they will be back as soon as I return to the trail.

A new person drives up and parks. Gets out and heads to the courts with basketball and a little lunch bag. His baldhead is shiny in the sun. He shoots a few baskets, then puts the ball down and starts walking on the trail. He won’t look at me when I jog by going the opposite direction. He stares at my feet every time I go past. He’s strange and either shy or unfriendly. The third time I pass him he looks at my face quick then down to my feet. I chuckle a little when he’s out of earshot. I don’t know why I chuckle. He makes me uncomfortable.

Another new person arrives wearing grey sweatpants tucked into his socks. That’s funny looking! I dub him Man Committing Fashion Mistake. He looks like he’s ready for PT. He stretches by the track, and then does jumping jacks for a bit, then some pushups on top of the stone picnic table. He starts walking around the track, jogging a little. He has a big belly and is very tall. He wears dark sunglasses but nods a hello when I give him a little wave as I run past him. He only goes a few times around: walk, jog, walk, jog. He checks his watch and leaves. I think to myself, “That’s it?”

Man with Black Dog arrives in his red pickup. He walks the perimeter of the park like British Man. I can’t remember his face, just his dog’s face; it’s black with cute triangle ears and a white tuft of hair on its chest. It has a fluffy tail.

I’ve gone three miles, the last stretch my favorite song comes on and I begin to sprint. The blood rushes through my veins and my heart races as I feel as if my shoes sprout wings. I fly. The song crescendos, sending me into one last burst of speed before coming to a slow jog and then a quick walk the rest of the way around the trail. I float back down to earth and grin. Give a silent goodbye to the familiar strangers in the park and ride home, looking forward to another Jog In The Park.

Thursday, May 7, 2009 Mini-Grand Opening!

Come one, come all!

I'm pleased to announce the mini-Grand Opening of my new Etsy shop, featuring my creative adventures in handmade jewelry at

I love all things handmade.

My current collections are:

Clusters Series
Fishers Of Men Series
Mother Earth Series

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

What is Esty? It's an online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade. As stated on the site:
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell and Live Handmade.