Monday, February 20, 2012

A Whiff...

This is one of my favorite cold weather recipes. It smells heavenly!

Roasted Squash Soup

1 acorn squash
1 butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
2 large onions
6 garlic cloves
½ T. cinnamon
1 Tbsp onion powder
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. cumin
2 T. oregano
2 T. paprika
2 T. chili pepper
1 T. salt
1 T. black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup small pasta

Cut squashes in half and remove seeds. Cut sweet potatoes and onions in half. Put all the pieces in a roasting pan, flesh side up. Sprinkle with spice mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Turn flesh side down, placing garlic cloves under cavity of the squash. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until fork tender.

Cool, then scoop flesh into a pot. Add pumpkin and blend with an immersion mixer. Still blending, slowly add stock. Add heavy cream. Bring to a boil, then add pasta.

Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Little Bit of Heat

To go with the rice...

Jalapeño Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
½ t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup corn niblets
1 cup cream-style corn
1/4 cup Oil
4 Jalapeño peppers, chopped
2 eggs
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour batter into a buttered, hot, cast-iron skillet or into a buttered 8x8-inch square baking pan.

Place in preheated 350-degree oven and bake for 55 minutes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Eating on the Fly

This goes with everything! And if rice gives you any kind of trouble to cook, you'll love this one. This recipe is foolproof.

Fast Red Rice

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups white rice
1 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups water

Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Brown the rice in the oil. Reduce heat to low, then add remaining ingredients. Stir once. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Summer Dreaming

It's that time of year again. If you're a gardener, you know what I'm talking about. That's right, it's seed catalog time. They come daily, glossy pages filled with gorgeous photos of produce that seems too amazing to be real. The lure of growing such wonders is strong, and I grab a pencil and order form and...


This summer I am not planting an enormous garden. Last year I planted four dozen tomato plants. That's right. Four dozen. A temporary lapse of sanity brought on my circumstances which left the pantry shelves heavy with jars of red tomatoes.

This year, a small garden. Tiny, even. A couple of peppers. Eggplants. Zucchini. And, okay, maybe a tomato. Or two. But no need to sharpen my pencil or fill out an order form for that.

Still...the pages speak to me.

What about you? Do you garden?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brownies for Lovers

Brownies for Lovers

3/4 cups melted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cups flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch pan.

Combine butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add cocoa, baking powder, salt and flour and stir until mixed. Then add chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I miss football! There, I've said it. I know it's not like I'm saying I miss something girly, but I don't care. This is the first time I've followed a football season, and I really enjoyed myself. So many tight could I not like the game? But now, no football.

Not thrilled.

Soon, though baseball will sweep the headlines. A Yankees fan from childhood, I look forward to the lazy, sunny days of summer with their home runs and seventh inning stretches.

But, until then I am sports challenged.

What about you? Any sports you follow regularly during a season?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Love. That's right, I've been thinking about love.

Want to make something of it? No, I didn't think you did, especially since I'm willing to share a few of the lines I've pondered recently. All good. All insightful. And all worth reading at least once.

There is no limit to the power of loving. -John Morton

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved: It is God's finger on man's shoulder. -Charles Morgan

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. -Henry Van Dyke

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead. -Bertrand Russell

To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever. -Henry Drummond

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Blown Away

Have you watched The Voice? I happened upon it totally randomly last season and watched it because...well, I guess I watched it because I was half out of my mind and it was on the television screen. At that point, anything to pass the hours.

I won't even tell you how many nights I watched reruns on the cooking channel. All. Night. Long. Yes, I just wanted to pass the time.

But now, just when The Voice's season two begins, I am not out of my mind. This time around, I'm watching on purpose. You know what? Last year it passed the hours. This year, the two hours it was on flew by. Flew.

I love the premise. Singers need to convince a judge to take them onto a team based purely on the way they sing. No flashy costumes. No wiggling hips. No measure of beauty...other than the voice.

The talent on the show just blows me away. Ordinary people with extraordinary voices and huge talent.

And an added bonus? Since it's mostly singing, I play Spider Solitaire without missing any of the action. See? Multi-tasking on a Monday night.

How did you spend your Monday night?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Oh Yeah

I am happy. Giants rocked that Superbowl and there are smiles galore here at Casa Leone.

Maybe the nachos and beer are contributing to the smiley trend. I don't know, but it's all good here. Loved the game, loved it that it wasn't a runaway but more neck-and-neck, nailbiting play. And, there were the nachos...

Did you watch the game? See Eli Manning lead his guys to victory? What did you think? Great game, wasn't it?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Superbowl Sunday!

I was a football virgin at the beginning of this season. Didn't know anything about the game, but wanted to cultivate a new interest. So, I watched. And learned. Today I'm tickled because not only have I enjoyed these last months, but the team I cheered on is actually in the big game!

I'll be watching the Superbowl. What about you?

Go Giants!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Confession Time

Got your attention, didn't I? You're looking for something juicy. Salacious. Nefarious, perhaps.

So disappointing when your expectations aren't met, isn't it? Sorry!

My confession?

First, I'll admit I'm percolating ideas for a new book. The second book in a series, so the characters remain but the situation changes. I have been considering, then discarding, plots for the past week or so. I think I've finally got it pretty much nailed down, so now the research starts.

And that's where the confession comes in. So often, readers comment on the details of stories, the bits and pieces that add dimension and interest. It's funny because people assume I just know all the stuff I write about. I don't. Really, I had no idea what the little lacy thing Regency women wore to cover their upper chests was called until I googled it. In case you're wondering, it's called a fichu. But I didn't know it before...well, before I learned about period dress. Now, I know.

But research, that's the key. I love learning, so this is a fun part of this writer's journey.

The new book? Some parts take place in a very old, very famous landmark so the research will be fun. I can't wait to learn the ins and outs, about construction snafus and past events which went well--or not.

So, a good part of my day will be spent researching. What about you? Any plans for this gorgeous Thursday?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Pattern? What Pattern?

What pattern are you? Hmm?

You Are Fun Because You're Unselfconscious

You are outspoken and quirky. There's nothing subtle about you.

You tend to motivate others and raise spirits. You are a natural team leader.

You don't worry too much about who you are or how you're perceived. You're happy to just be yourself.

Energetic and lively, you are always on the go. You're doing a million things at once and doing them well.