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Friday, February 29, 2008

The Best Pancakes on the Planet

Possibly in the universe. These are the most perfect pancakes I've ever had, and definitely the best ones we've ever made.

I first heard of these while reading last month's Saveur. It was the issue with the Saveur 100. I was happily reading, and came to the article about the pancakes. And guess what? The restaurant is right here in NH! Ha! We could have gone to the restaurant to try some, I suppose, but the recipe was in the article, too. Happy, happy!

We just got around to making them tonight for dinner. There's something fun about having breakfast for dinner, isn't there? And wow, are these delicious! They're very slightly crunchy on the outside, and extremely tender inside. Perfect.

These are served at Robie's Country Store in Hooksett, NH. Who would've thought a country store would have amazing pancakes? It's a historical landmark and has been around since 1887.

So, on to the recipe, as posted at We doubled the recipe, because there are 6 of us.

Robie's Buttermilk Flapjacks

**For a printable version of this recipe, click here.


The terms pancake and flapjack are used interchangeably; the "flap" in the name refers to the sound the cake makes when it lands in the skillet once it's flipped. This recipe comes from Frank Elliott, the cook at Robie's Country Store & Deli. To achieve the flapjacks' signature crisp and browned edges, he cooks them one at a time in a hot, buttered nonstick skillet.

2 cups flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fine salt
2 cups buttermilk
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 beaten eggs

1. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

2. Whisk together buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk together until just combined to make a thick batter. (For tenderer flapjacks, don't overmix the batter.)

3. Heat an 8" nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter and heat until the butter's foam subsides. Ladle in about 1⁄2 cup of the batter. Cook the flapjack, turning once, until deep golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total.

Transfer to a large plate; keep warm. Repeat process with additional butter and remaining batter to make 8 flapjacks in all. Serve hot, topped with butter and maple syrup and a dusting of confectioners' sugar.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Random ThursdayThoughts: Dinner, Free e Cookbook, and Dogs


I didn't take any photos of dinner last night, but it was pork chops. They were delicious, but my husband got home from work kind of late, and he was hungry, so I didn't worry about pulling out the camera and getting pics. I'll tell you how I make perfect, juicy chops, though.

I use a seasoning called Amazing Taste,
and it really IS amazing! They have one for pork, poultry, burgers, beef, seafood, and one called Malibu, which is an all purpose blend. It's the only thing I use on my chops. I also use the burger one in ground turkey, and it makes awesome burgers, and the poultry one made good burgers in a pinch when the store was out of the pork one.

So, here's how I make the chops (I always buy center cut boneless chops, and try to get them at least an inch thick):

1. Heat the oven to 375°.
2. Heat on oven proof skillet on med. high.
3. Rub the chops generously with the Amazing Taste Seasoning.
4. Add a bit of oil to the pan and get it good and hot.
5. Add the chops to the skillet and saute for about 3-4 minutes on one side, or until they're
browned enough to release from the pan.
6. Turn them over, and saute for about 3-4 more minutes, depending on thickness of the chops.
7. Now put them in the hot oven for about 3-4 more minutes.
8. Check the temp--they should be from 155°-160°.
9. Take them out of the pan and let them sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Ooooh looky, they have shaker containers with more flavor varieties!

Free e Cookbook for a Very Good Cause!

From now until the end of March, Barilla will donate $1 for every download of their celeb cookbook to America's Second Harvest. It has recipes from Stanley Tucci, Natalie Portman, Mario Batalli, Marisa Tomei, Debra Messing and Chris Daughtry.

Get your copy here!

You can help the hungry by just doing a few clicks--it couldn't be easier! I already downloaded mine, and it's a nice little book.

Thanks to Katy at sugarlaws for posting about it!


I had a little chat with Erin this morning, from,
about my Corgis. We have two of them, Hammy and Phoebe. We got Hammy, or Hamilton Bloo-regard Q. Kazoo last February. His name? I wanted to name him Hamilton, after the squirrel in Over the Hedge:

And my kids wanted to name him Bloo, after Bloo-regard Q. Kazoo, from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:

So we compromised. My (3 year old at the time) son wanted to name him Toast. I couldn't imagine yelling "Toastyyyyy" to call this dog in from the (fenced in) yard, so I let him down easy, and convinced him that Hammy was very cool.

I started thinking about what a little fuzzball he was when we brought him home. He's a tri-color-- black, tan and white.

Baby Hammy:

Soon, we decided we needed another Corgi. A pal for Hammy. In May, we went to Maine to get Phoebe. We met her brothers and sisters and her mom and dad. There was one little girl that looked just like Hammy, but she was already reserved. Not a problem, because there were lots of other little fuzzballs vying for our attention. Oh, and Hammy was with us. He was so sweet there--he just knew these were his kind of dogs!

We picked a sweet little girl who immediately loved us. She's a sable corgi. Baby Phoebe:

She even loves books, so she fit right in!

The night we brought her home, we were out in the backyard with the two of them, and Hammy pulled out all the stops trying to impress his new best friend. He was running around at top speed, and doing all of his tricks. It was like he was saying "Look! Look at me! Soon you'll be able to do all of this, tooooooo!!!!!" hehehe

Did she care? Not one bit. She acted that way that all girls know...hard to get. She didn't care one teeny bit what his tricks were, because soon, she'd be in charge, anyway. And she was. Now, when she wants to go out, Hammy has to, as well, simply because she wants him to. He's a good boy, and will...ahem..."generously" move so she can get the good spot in the sun. But he doesn't mind, because they are truly best buds.

You can read more about Corgis here.

And I'll give you a few more photos of my puppies:

They really are sweet little dogs, and I can't imagine not having them.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Breaded Chicken Topped with Ham, Roasted Peppers, and Provolone, or Lazy Girl's Cordon Bleu

I know, wordy recipe name. But I can't think of a catchy name for it. Can you? It is what it is. Breaded chicken breasts, partially cooked, then topped with roasted red peppers, provolone cheese, and ham, and then cooking finishes in a light pan sauce. Sort of like a lazy girl's cordon bleu. (Wait a minute...I think I just thought of a name! hahaha!) It's a quick, easy dinner to get on the table, and my husband just loves it. My oldest daughter will eat it if I leave the peppers off of her piece. sigh. If I must. Crazy kid.

It's also very versatile. You can change the cheese--sometimes I use mmmmuenster (I don't know why, but that's fun to say), but you could use any other one you like. Cheese is your friend, you know.
What would pizza and cheeseburgers be without cheese? They'd be crust and burger. Boring, right? You also don't need to use the roasted peppers. Sliced mushrooms are a good substitute. You get the idea, use your imagination and what you've got on hand.

Roasted red peppers, provolone cheese, and ham, waiting their turn in this recipe.

Sorry if the finished photo isn't the greatest, I'm trying, lol! And yeah, I need to make a shopping trip for props. That'll be hard work. Not.

So here's the recipe.

Lazy Girl's Cordon Bleu

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

It may seem like a lot of bread crumbs and flour, but you know...I hate it when I'm breading chicken,
getting messy, and I realize I need more to dredge the rest of the chicken in. By then, my hands are messy, and I have to call in reinforcements to measure out more stuff. So I overdo it now, and start with more.

  • 1 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, filleted so you have 6 pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • sliced ham
  • sliced provolone cheese
  • roasted red peppers, sliced (for 3 breasts, filleted, I use one whole small jar, about 6-8 oz)
  • 2-3 tsp cornstarch

  1. In a pie dish or plate, combine the bread crumbs and flour.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs.
  3. Combine the broth and wine, and dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of the broth/wine mixture. Set both things aside.
Here's the bread crumbs and flour before mixing.
Here we see the broth and wine, along with the cornstarch mixed in with a bit of it. The Hot Wheels car is an optional ingredient.
  1. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper, then dip the pieces, one at a time, into the egg, completely coating them, then dredge each in the breadcrumb/flour mixture, set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick pan, heat the butter and olive oil over med-med high heat.
  3. Add the chicken and cook 3 minutes on one side, turn them and cook for 3 more minutes, or until mostly done. It's ok if it's *almost* done, because you'll be putting them back in the pan, anyway.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  5. Add the broth/wine mixture to the pan, scraping the bottom to get up all of the good cooked bits of chicken. The bits of stuff in the bottom of the pan? Also your friend.
  6. Add the cornstarch that you've dissolved in a bit of the broth and wine, and stir for a couple of minutes, until you see it start to thicken. Reduce the heat.
  7. Add the chicken back to the skillet, and top each piece with some ham, sliced peppers, and then the cheese.
  8. Cover and cook until the cheese is all melty, about 2 minutes.
  9. Serve with some sauce drizzled over each piece of chicken.
  10. If you find you want more sauce, increase the broth and wine to about 1 cup each, but you'll also need a bit more cornstarch.
And here's the finished dish. I know, it could have used a green veg, but the peppers are a vegetable, right? Oh, and see up there? We got the green from the Hot Wheels car.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Food for Gossip Meme!

One of my best friends in the world, Nikki, over at
has tagged me for the Food for Gossip Meme! I'm new at blogging, so I said to her "Thanks! A What-me?" hahaha!

So she was cool and told me what to do. Like it's rocket science, right? But I had no idea. I've been living in a cave, I guess.

Here are my Food for Gossip Meme answers, along with some links below to people I'm tagging to do one. Happy reading!

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Wow, 10 years ago, I only had 2 kids! I was a stay at home, mom. Still am, in fact. I guess not much has changed, except that I have 2 more kids, and my cooking has improved. A lot.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

One year ago, we had just moved into our new house! That was, and still is, really exciting for me. We love our house, and have a really large yard for the kids and the dogs.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1. Chocolate

2. Grapes

3. Nuts (to go along with the chocolate and grapes—3 great tastes that taste great together!)

4. Cheese

5. Sun Chips, Garden Salsa flavor

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1. Take a trip to the Canary Islands to visit Canarygirl and family, and travel around to spend time with all of my bratty friends!

2. Pay off our house

3. Completely renovate my kitchen. It’s good now, but it could be fabulous!

4. Donate a bunch to charity

5. Feed my cookbook buying habit

Five bad habits:

1. Procrastinating

2. Putting off some housework (see #1)

3. Not sticking to budgets

4. Spending a lot on books and cookbooks (see #2)

5. Eating too much chocolate

Five things you like doing:

1. Talking to my Brat friends online

2. Cooking

3. Reading

4. Waching movies, which we don’t get to do often with 4 kids, unless it’s animated

5. Listening to music

Five things you would never wear again:

1. Neon colors

2. Banana Clips

3. Scrunchies (did you hear that, Shannon?)

4. High top Reeboks

5. A Swatch with no numbers on the face

Five favorite toys:

1. My KitchenAid mixer

2. Sirius Satellite Radio

3. My new laptop

4. My Nikon D40, the one I made an unusual deal with my husband so he’d get it for me ;)

5. My KitchenAid food processor

I had fun doing mine, and I'm tagging:

Bethany, at

Dan and Joy at

Shaye at

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Chicken Caesar Salad

This salad is one of our favorites. It's easy to make, and bonus! you can make the components ahead of time. That's always a plus for me! It also makes it a good choice if you're having friends over, because you can just assemble the salads right before you serve them. But please, be nice and rip the greens into small enough pieces so you don't have to watch each other trying to shovel huge pieces of lettuce into your mouths. It's not easy to look graceful while eating a salad, but with a simple step, you can avoid embarrassment, lol. And dressing all over your face. So here we go...

Chicken Caesar Salad

  • Dressing:
  • 10 TB olive oil
  • 4 large egg yolks (or about 4 TB egg beaters)
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced anchovy fillet
  • For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, and you’re done with that step. Now get started with the croutons...
  • Croutons:
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cut in ¾-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  1. For the croutons, heat the oven to 375.
  2. Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat.
  3. Bake about 12-15 minutes, until golden brown, tossing halfway through cooking if needed.
  4. Set aside, and they should look like this:
Now, for the chicken:

I always fillet chicken breasts. They cook faster, so they don't have time to dry out. Well, I suppose they could, if you really try to overcook them, but they only need a few minutes per side. If they're thin, 2-3 minutes per side is good, and if they're thicker, like the kind you get from "new and improved" mutant-sized chickens, they take about 5-6 minutes per side. And it's so easy to fillet them, too! Just put your chicken on a cutting board, get a good sharp fillet knife, and place your palm over the chicken breast, like the way you're supposed to cut a bagel but no one ever does? "Hello? 911? Bagel emergency! But please stop off first and get me a new bagel...I seem to have ruined this one..." So you've put your palm over the top, and then you slice the breast horizontally from the thick end of the breast, to the thin one. See? Easy, and injury free!
  1. For the chicken, fillet each breast for fast and even cooking. Trust me, they're better this way, and the chicken cooks so quickly that it doesn't have time to dry out.
  2. So you've filleted each breast, right? Now sprinkle each side of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Don't overdo, it, just enough to season the chicken.
  3. Heat your skillet to about medium high, and drizzle a little olive oil in the pan.
  4. Add the chicken and cook on one side for 3 minutes, then turn them and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden and no longer pink. (You've filleted them, so they won't take longer than this to cook.)

  1. Place the cooked chicken on a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice each piece into strips.

  1. Assemble the salads:
  2. Put the lettuce in the 4 plates, next put the chicken, then drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with croutons and parmesan cheese.

And that's it, you're done! Simple, right? Next time, we'll try shrimp, and see how that goes. How bad could it be? Shrimp makes everything better!

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Hampton Beach, NH

Hampton Beach is one of our favorite places to go. My first date with my husband, 19 years ago (!) was at Hampton Beach. It was March, so there was still snow on the ground, but it was still sweet and romantic. We had to snuggle to stay warm, after all. It was either snuggle, or get frostbite.

Fast forward 19 years, and we have 4 kids that also love the beach. We went this past Saturday, a) to get out of the house, and b) to go to the arcades and have some good old beachy fun. Not ON the beach, but a few feet from it. We went to Joe's Playland, (which is in Salisbury Beach, MA, right over the border) an arcade that's been there since I was a kid! Luckily, it's all updated, and it's really nice inside. We spent way too much money on games, then had ice cream cones. After that, we took a drive through Hampton, and up the coast, then home, where we ordered pizza. It w
as a good day.

As we were driving through Hampton, we passed the stage that they use in the summer time for concerts. There was one guy on the stage, playing a saxophone, and a girl standing on the ground in front of the stage, just looking up at him and listening to him play. I said "Awwww how sweet! He's playing a song for his girl!" Then I made my husband go around the block (well, more like 5 blocks, because the beach is loaded with one-way side streets) so I could get a shot of it. And after all, isn't he the one who said I needed to use my camera more? So around we went, kids in the back of the truck thinking "Oh man, what are we doing now?" When we got back to the stage, I had my camera ready, my window down...and she was walking away! I almost yelled for her to get back where she was, because she was totally ruining the shot. Not to mention probably destroying her man's ego, hehehe.

Anyway, here they are:

"Just playing for my girl...wait, she's walking I that bad?"

"I love him, but does he really need to bring that sax everywhere we go? Can't we have a real date for once?"

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Asian Chicken Salad

Alright, so this is probably isn't authentic Asian chicken salad, but it's got good Asian flavors in it. There's sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, water chestnuts and lots of other Asian style goodness. I had a wrap a couple weeks ago from a deli with salad like this in it, and I finally had a chance to try it out this weekend and get it down on paper. Well, not really paper. If we went 10 years in to the past, it would be paper, but not anymore. I've got my trusty lap top in the kitchen, so I got it down in a word document, lol. Ahhh, technology. I don't have a recipe box crammed with loose clippings of paper anymore. I've replaced that box with e mail accounts crammed with saved recipes and web links! Much more organized, right? *insert rolling eyes here*

So here's the recipe and a photo. Be nice, I'm still learning the whole digital photography thing. My husband bought me a really great (and expensive, but that's another story) camera a few months back, and he says I need to use it more, or else! hahaha.

Asian Chicken Salad

I had an Asian chicken wrap sandwich the other day that inspired this recipe. It's delicious! And not too bad for you, there's only 1/4 cup of mayo in it. These are the measurements I used, but as with any chicken salad, everyone has their favorite ways and different tastes, so use these as a guideline, and add more if you like. Try having this in a wrap with fresh spinach leaves, and take it from there--use your imagination.

Prep:10 minutes


* 1 whole boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
* 1/4 cup pineapple pieces (canned, in juice), drained
* 2 TB dried cranberries
* 1 tsp soy sauce
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 1/2 tsp sesame oil
* 1/8 tsp ground ginger
* 1/8 tsp garlic powder
* 1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
* 1/4 cup grated carrot
* 2 green onions, sliced
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise


1. In a medium bowl, toss all ingredients in and mix well.
2. That's it, you're done!

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

My first post!

Welcome to my new blog! My name is Elle, and I have lived in New England all of my life. In these posts, I want to share with you the things we like to eat--some are typical New England foods, some are not, but they're all good! I've collected a lot of recipes over the years, and this will be a good place to keep them all, and to finally take photos of them, as long as I can keep the family away from things long enough to get a good shot!

I live with my husband and our 4 kids, along with an assortment of pets. You can expect to hear about them once in a while, too, since I don't get a whole lot of peace and quiet in a house with five other people and six animals.

I'll also be telling (and showing) you about a lot of the places we love to visit, and there are a lot. We've got it all here--beaches, country, city, and mountains.

So I hope you'll stay tuned, visit often, and please introduce yourselves. Thanks!

I'll leave you today with a couple of pics from one of our favorite places on the coast. And while I adore winter and snow, summer in New England is gorgeous. These are from Great Island Common, in New Castle, NH. I took these a couple of years ago, and it's a place we visit all the time in the summer and fall.

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