Monday, February 28, 2011


On a meandering drive this past Sunday, we stumbled across the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen – St. Peter’s by the Sea in Cape Neddick, Maine, est. 1897.

It’s exactly what a church should be – strong, beautiful, unique, and welcoming. And nestled in the snow in the dead of winter, the majesty was even more magnified. And the red front door was exquisite.

St. Peter’s describes itself as …

an Historic Summer Chapel located in Cape Neddick, ME, minutes from Ogunquit, Wells and York. We offer the opportunity for worship and fellowship during the summer months, welcoming people of all faiths, whether they are full-time residents, part-time residents or visitors to the Southern Maine Coast.

How beautiful and perfect. I’ll be attending at least one service this summer, and my heart is full even thinking about it – worshipping by the sea in such an historic part of our country.

I’m certain it will be memorable.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

{ lunch with a view }

We took a cold, snowy drive up the road to Maine today and had a super lunch with a spectacular view at Jackie’s Too Seafood & Grill in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME.

Mussels, wine, falling snow and a churning ocean-front table (indoors, of course) made the experience just about perfect. And when the friendly wait staff oohed and ahhed over Paige, insisting on holding her so we could eat, I almost wept with gratitude (as I ordered another Chardonnay).

I can’t wait to return during the summer months ... again and again. What a fantastic spot in an awesome little town.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

scotch and cigars

I love both.

My daddy had three girls and no boys. The result was three daughters who love baseball, fishing, scotch, and cigars.

But here’s the thing -- I’m a scotch snob, and my favorite bottle has forever prejudiced me against anything but something of the same caliber, or better.

I can sip a glass, on the rocks, of Aberlour A’bunadh (Scotland: Speyside) for an evening, and be about as happy as is humanly possible. Aberlour a'bunadh is a natural single cask strength malt whisky. Taken directly from specially selected sherry casks, it’s bottled simply without the use of modern filtering methods or the addition of water.

The palate, for me, is vanilla, apple, sherry, smoke, caramel and butter … and the butter lingers. It’s glorious.

It’s pricey (about $70), but I’ve informed Ty that for the rest of our lives, our home must never be without at least one bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh.

Even if you’re not a scotch lover, this smooth bottle of heaven will leave a future guest singing your praises (and owing you big-time for the party of the senses).

Buy it. Seriously. Buy it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

{ child’s play }

My living room has been taken over by Baby Einstein and Hot Wheels.

And I couldn’t ask for better interior designers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

{ solid }

… food, that is.

Paige is transitioning into the wonderful world of steak, lobster, caviar, and Twizzlers.

But for now, we’re starting out with rice cereal.

Nom nom nom.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

{ capellini with mushrooms and garlic shrimp }

Another simple and light pasta recipe, made with ingredients that are likely already in the pantry and fridge.

I actually used frozen shrimp (defrosted by running under cold water in a colander for five minutes), which makes it that much easier. I keep a jumbo Sam’s/Costco bag of medium-sized cooked shrimp in the freezer, so it’s handy when I want to throw together a quick and yummy shrimp (usually pasta!) dinner. I also lightened things up in this dish even more by using Barilla Plus pasta.

This fast and easy recipe can be prepared and ready in 15 minutes.

Next time I think I’m going to add some lemon zest and lemon juice -- the added tang and freshness would be excellent with the shrimp and garlic.


- 2 cups of cooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1 lb. mushrooms, roughly chopped (ideally, Portobello, but just about any will do)
- 5 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (I use a good amount)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 box/package of Barilla Plus Angel Hair Pasta
- 3 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
- Shredded parmesan cheese, Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling. Drain and dry well.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add the sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté about 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook another 3 minutes. Turn down heat and add shrimp. Cover and steam at a simmer until shrimp is heated through (about 5 minutes).

Serve over capellini and top with shredded parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{ goat cheese & thyme-stuffed chicken breast }

If you’re a goat cheese fan, here’s a simple dinner worth making … again, and again.

The ingredients are few – fresh thyme, goat cheese, four chicken breasts, bacon (8 slices – I used peppered) salt, pepper and olive oil.

Cut the breasts length-wise, butterfly open like a book, and pound thin (not too thin, just evened out some).

Season both sides with salt and freshly-cracked pepper.

Fill chicken with crumbled goat cheese (as desired), and sprinkle with chopped, fresh thyme. Close, wrap with two slices of bacon, and lightly coat with olive oil.

Place in greased dish and cook at 400° for an hour.

I served the chicken with sliced potatoes, baked with rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil, topped with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

for my southern belle

Even though she was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and has yet to visit the Alamo or take a bite of Blue Bell ice cream, my little girl is a southern belle, through and through.

As such, I couldn't pass up on this little wardrobe item in a size '12 months' from Gold Rush Outfitters.

I can't wait to see her wearing it this summer while we're teaching her the words to Texas, Our Texas and smoking a brisket out back.

Friday, February 18, 2011

50 easy crostini toppers

My sister is having a small cocktail party tonight and called me for a quick and easy warm appetizer recipe idea. In the process of my quick research (she was calling from the car on her way to the store), I stumbled upon this list from Food Network Magazine and found it too irresistible not to save (and share!).

Oh, and she decided on item #26 for her get-together tonight.

Step 1: Slice 1 to 2 loaves of French bread into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

Step 2: Brush each slice with olive oil or melted butter.

Step 3: Place the rounds on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees until crisp throughout and lightly golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.

Top This...

1. Spread with goat cheese; top with finely chopped canned beets, an orange segment and fresh mint.

2. Spread with fig jam; top with gorgonzola cheese and prosciutto.

3. Spread with fig jam; top with goat cheese and chopped walnuts.

4. Spread with butter; top with thinly sliced bread-and-butter pickles.

5. Spread with hummus; top with olive tapenade.

6. Top with sliced figs; drizzle with honey; sprinkle with sea salt.

7. Mash avocado with salt and lime juice; spread on toasts; top with shrimp.

8. Spread with ricotta cheese; top with chopped roasted red peppers; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

9. Rub with a garlic clove; top with sliced plum tomatoes; sprinkle with sea salt.

10. Spread with butter; top with thinly sliced radishes; sprinkle with sea salt.

11. Toss canned tuna with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, chopped parsley and salt; spread on toasts.

12. Spread with gorgonzola cheese; top with sliced pears.

13. Top with chopped grapes and wrap with prosciutto.

14. Top with pesto and shaved parmesan cheese.

15. Top with pesto, crumbled bacon and chopped tomatoes.

16. Top with pesto and chopped sun-dried tomatoes (pictured).

17. Spread with mashed avocado; top with crumbled bacon and sprouts.

18. Spread with ricotta cheese; drizzle with olive oil; add a dash of salt and pepper.

19. Brush with olive oil; add a thin slice of manchego cheese; top with chorizo.

20. Chop rotisserie chicken meat and toss with barbecue sauce; spoon onto toasts;
top with chopped pickles.

21. Combine mayonnaise with wasabi paste; spread on toasts; top with lump crab meat.

22. Combine mayonnaise and wasabi paste; toss finely chopped sushi-grade tuna with sesame oil; spread wasabi mayo on toasts; top with tuna.

23. Whip cream cheese with chopped dill; spread on toasts; top with thinly sliced smoked salmon.

24. Spread with taleggio cheese; top with candied pecans or walnuts.

25. Spread with apple butter; top with crumbled blue cheese and chopped fresh sage.

26. Sauté finely chopped mushrooms in butter and season with salt and thyme; spread on toasts; top with shaved parmesan cheese.

27. Sauté thinly sliced onions in butter until caramelized; spread toasts with brie cheese; top with apple slices and caramelized onions.

28. Top with thinly sliced apples and grated cheddar cheese; broil until melted.

29. Spread with butter; top with thinly sliced ham and a cornichon slice.

30. Spread with cranberry sauce; top with thinly sliced turkey; sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

31. Sauté thinly sliced fennel and golden raisins in olive oil until soft; spoon onto toasts.

32. Combine cream cheese and chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce; spread on toasts; top with thinly sliced smoked turkey.

33. Top with fresh tomato pulp; sprinkle with sea salt and fresh basil.

34. Combine refried beans with chopped green chiles; spread on toasts; top with pepper jack cheese and broil until melted.

35. Combine equal parts sour cream and cream cheese with horseradish; spread on toasts; top with thinly sliced roast beef.

36. Halve asparagus tips lengthwise; steam until al dente and season with salt; spread premade egg salad on toast; top with an asparagus tip.

37. Wilt baby spinach and toss with crumbled bacon; spoon onto toasts; top with chopped hard-boiled eggs.

38. Toss finely chopped romaine with Caesar dressing and grated parmesan cheese; spoon onto toasts; top with an anchovy.

39. Spread with brie cheese; top with thinly sliced ham and a dollop of grainy mustard (pictured).

40. Spread with mascarpone; top with crumbled bacon and chopped grapes.

41. Whip cream cheese with lemon zest; spread on toasts; top with fresh raspberries.

42. Spread with Nutella; top with orange marmalade.

43. Spread with mascarpone; top with thinly sliced melon and prosciutto.

44. Spread with orange marmalade; top with thinly sliced smoked deli turkey and smoked mozzarella cheese.

45. Sauté thinly sliced apples in butter until soft; spoon onto toasts; top with thinly sliced ham.

46. Spread with creamy peanut butter; top with thinly sliced bananas; drizzle with honey.

47. Whip peanut butter and marshmallow fluff; spread on toasts; top with shaved chocolate.

48. Spread with cream cheese; top with hot pepper jelly.

49. Spread with ricotta cheese; drizzle with honey; add a dash of pepper.

50. Whip mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar; brush toasts with espresso and spread with sweetened mascarpone; top with shaved chocolate and cocoa powder.

i've been unfaithful

... to Costco.

Yes, I've been cheating. I’ve been shopping at Sam's.

If you know me (or my mother) at all, you know of my love for all things Costco. Christmas decor, panties, wine, laptops, and my personal fave -- giant wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano ... you can find it all at Costco.

The problem du jour is that the nearest Costco to us up here in NH is an hour away. We made the drive twice, and it was annoying as hell.

Sam's, on the other hand, is about 5 minutes from our house -- so it's easy to do the math -- hence my problem with fidelity to my long-time love, Costco. Ugh.

So Sam's it is for the time being, as far as bulk purchasing in the Farrell household.

I do however, feel somewhat better about the whole thing since I recently found some cute outfits for Paige at Sam's -- the types of outfits I'd usually find at my beloved Costco.

Oh, and they also have big wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano. Score.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

appreciation in aggieland

My Fightin’ Texas Aggies will be sporting camouflage jerseys tonight at Reed Arena when the men's basketball team takes on Iowa State.

All veterans or active duty military personnel may receive two free tickets to the game and can purchase additional tickets for only $10.

Following the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off at Proceeds will benefit the USO.

-- until everyone comes home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

tulips for a flower

Paige received her first flowers from a man yesterday – Valentine’s Day tulips (mama’s fave) from her daddy.

Lovely, both -- pink tulips and pink baby.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Better than Christmas.

According to the good folks at Whataburger (best “fast food” joint on the planet), today through the 20th is free jalapeno week. They'll add whole or sliced jalapeños to any entrée purchased for free. Add 'em to your Whataburger®, Whatachick’n®, or even a Taquito! Just mention you want free jalapeños when placing your order at any participating location.

I haven’t found a Whataburger in New Hampshire yet, but I’m still looking.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

{ vday preparations }

So much to do.

So much pink, so much red, so many hearts, so many cards, so much sugar, so much ribbon … and so much love.