Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

I’ve made versions of this salad over time, always with broccoli.  Today knowing that I had both broccoli and cauliflower on hand, I decided to do a twist on my go-to recipe and share it with you.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries – add to 1/2 c very hot water for 1o minutes, drain
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 c chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c pecans – chopped and lightly toasted
  • 4-5 slices crisp bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • red pepper flake to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cauliflower, cranberries, cheddar and red onion.  Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, pepper, dijon and red pepper flakes.  Dress the salad with the desired amount of dressing – you can always add more.  Add the bacon and pecans, stir to blend. Chill for one hour and serve.

Salsa Red Snapper with White Beans & Gremolata Topping

Not shown: green pepper

Last night I invited Mom to join me for dinner.  I surprised her by making a recipe she’d discovered a few years back.  It’s a showy dish that’s perfect for easy entertaining and chock full of flavor.  Loaded with healthy ingredients, this is only 4 1/2 Weight Watchers points per serving. I sent Mom home with a to-go box and have an ample serving left for myself.  I tweaked the original recipe ever so slightly, using only one can of beans, a bit more salsa and made more gremolata because it’s that topping that makes this dish over- the-top delicious.  If you have gremolata left it would be great with chicken, salmon or even tossed in with pasta, couscous or rice!

Salsa Red Snapper with White Beans & Gremolata Topping             serves 4

4 1/2 Weight Watchers points per serving

  • 18 oz salsa
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 1 small green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb red snapper
  • 1/4 c green onions

Gremolata topping:

  • 1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  •  1 1/2 t orange zest
  • 1 1/2 t lime zest
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine 12 oz of the salsa with the beans and green pepper and place in a casserole dish.

  Cut the red snapper into several servings and place over the salsa mixture.

Top the fish with the remaining 6 oz of salsa, followed by the green onions. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients for the gremolata and set aside.

Remove the casserole from oven and allow to rest uncovered for five minutes before serving.  Top each serving with gremolata and prepare to fall in love with this flavorful, healthy dish.

I served this with roasted garlic crostini, a fresh spinach salad with dijon vinaigrette with a lovely bottle of wine and lemon bars for dessert.

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A Street Cat Named Bob – the movie

Last year I discovered the most amazing true story of a cat named Bob who saved the life of the man he adopted. The book by James Bowen, made the New York Times bestseller list, was on the bestseller list in England for 52 consecutive weeks and is currently being published in 30 different countries around the world. An incredible story of redemption it explores the bond between a man down on his luck and the cat who found him.  Truly heartwarming it’s a must-read for every cat lover and frankly, everyone else.  One of my all-time favorite books, I blogged about the story last year A Street Cat Named Bob.

At that time, I’d learned a movie was being made and the cat playing Bob was none other than Bob himself.

The Movie
I started following A Street Cat Named Bob on Facebook. Anxiously awaiting the film’s US release date, I planned to see it on opening day – November 18th, 2016.  I’d asked my Mom to go, then looked up showtimes.  I couldn’t find it at any theater yet Facebook posts were announcing it’s release.  “What’s happening?” I thought.

Digging deeper, I found out what countless other had discovered – the movie was opening in only a few select locations around the US – and none were near me.  I was crushed, my hopes dashed.  I logged into Amazon to see if I could pre-order the DVD and set my Watchlist for any news of a streaming release. Then, as we must do as adults, I let it go with the knowledge that I would see it….someday.

Finally, a few weeks ago whilst in the grip of the flu a moment of happiness came my way when I found I could finally stream the movie via Amazon Video. I felt better already.

I gathered Tipper and Biscotti, a pile of pillows and blankets and we settled in on the sofa to watch this long anticipated movie.  It was everything I/we hoped. A beautiful ginger, Bob is not only an incredible feline but is an excellent actor as were the supporting players (after all, clearly Bob was the “star”).

If you haven’t read the book, I recommend doing so then seeing the movie.

Don’t we all need stories that leave us feeling happy, warm and fuzzy these days? 😸

Gilmore Girls, the series/Gilmore Girls: a Year in the Life


Gilmore Girls, the series

When the Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000, I didn’t watch it.  Not for any reason other than it slipped under my radar.  Several years ago I caught season one in syndication and was hooked, seriously hooked.  Not only did I watch the entire seven seasons, I bought the entire DVD set and have watched it more than a few times.

Yes, I’m a total Gilmore fangirl.  And my friends – I’m not alone.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the storyline:

Set in Star’s Hollow, a fictional, picturesque New England small-town its both charming and loaded with lovable, quirky and colorful characters.

The central characters, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are a spirited young mother and daughter. Fiercely independent, Lorelai had Rory at 16 and raised her as single mom. Rory is an incredibly bright 16 year old bookworm with a life-long goal of attending an ivy-league college. They’re closer than any mother and daughter you’ll see on-screen.

Lorelai’s best friend, Sookie, played by the adorable young Melissa McCarthy, is a gifted but klutzy chef at the inn Lorelai manages and later at an inn they buy to run together.

Luke, owner of Luke’s Diner, is rugged and a bit grumpy but is the guy who repeatedly drops everything for Rory and Lorelai.  Luke and Lorelai explore other relationships over the seven seasons but are always drawn to each other…..

There’s way more to the series that this “glimpse”.  I can only say if you haven’t watched the show you can binge-watch it right now on Netflix – and I hope you will.  Right now, when our country is divided and full of turmoil, the sweetness of the characters, the town and the story provide a lovely place where you can escape and immerse yourself.


Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

For those die-hard fans of the Gilmore Girls, there has been an groundswell of enthusiasm for a reunion since it ended in 2007.  Speaking as one of those fans, every nugget that hinted that it might happen renewed my hopes.  In 2016, it was confirmed that nearly a decade after it ended, the reunion was filmed for Netflix in four 90 minute segments – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

It was released on November 25, 2016, a date marked on my calendar. I was chomping at the bit to watch it.  But there was one wrinkle…..

Spence enjoyed the show but had caught syndicated episodes infrequently.  I wanted to share “The Year in the Life” with him but insisted we watch the seven seasons in their entirety first.  And he agreed! That took several weeks of binging. As we finished, he was needed to help his best friend, post-surgery and has been in Florida for the last few weeks.  And with an uncertain return date, I could no longer wait.

Picking up nine years later, it feels as though we’re reuniting with old friends we’ve missed.  Written by the Gilmore Girls creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, this was like a gift. Every character from the show (major or minor) showed up in meaningful ways and the trademark, fast-paced witty dialogue was back in spades. For super fans like myself, there were many nuances that nodded to the original series and warmed my Gilmore-loving heart.

The last two episodes were my favorites. There were several stunningly beautiful scenes that I watched with tears in my eyes.  In short, this was a successful sequel and a love letter from the show’s creators to those of us who longed to know what had happened to our beloved characters.

With a surprise at the end, I’m not alone in seeing an opening to another reunion in the future…fingers crossed!

And when Spence returns from Florida, I’ll be watching it once again and likely not for the last time.

Lion, the movie I’m recommending

Recently my lifetime BFF and I did a girl’s day out including a movie that I knew little about.  I’d only caught a few minutes of the Golden Globes (including Meryl Streep’s speech – awesome) and saw Dev Patel introducing the clip of his movie “Lion” up for Best Movie.  I remember thinking how I loved him in “Slumdog Millionaire” and was intrigued by this new movie.  So when my wise BFF suggested this film, I was in.

Accidentally separated from his family as a child, Saroo Brierley returns to India 25 years later to find them. (IMDb)

The movie based on an incredible true story, is both riveting and heartbreaking, the acting superb. The audience seemed enthralled; as the credits rolled no one moved to leave. It was overwhelming in the best possible way and an unforgettable story of love, loss and family.  If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to do so.