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I like to think I’m open minded.

I like to give people and things a chance.

I like to think that if something new comes along, I would not write it off immediately.

But Holy Wow.

These babies illicit a different response from me than what I normally give.

What in the world would ever possess someone to own these shoes?

People, these atrocities can be purchased and worn.

By whom?

Oh my word, I cannot even begin to imagine.

So, the main man shared those hoof-like shoes with me, and to be honest… they piqued my curiosity.

If people want to wear hooves, what other foot fashion disasters exist?

And so I went on hunt.

And I found some doozies.

I found these:

These hot little numbers are like a barstool for your feet.

Truth be told, that long toenail is the worst part of this picture to me.

Sick.

These next fabulous numbers will only set you back $100.

The website that I found these guys on called them Pimpin’ Office Shoes.

Pimpin’ Office Shoes.

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

And I’m going to say it, wear these and you’ll look like a moron.

They hurt my eyeballs.

Next, I present you with these:

For the animal conservationist stripper.

Who? Where? What?

For what occasion would these ever be appropriate?

Now, men… I don’t want you to feel left out.

If you love comfortable shoes, the color white, and technology, these guys are for you:
]

Nothing says fashionable quite like a computer logo on your footwear.

Now, one might think that for men it could not get any cooler than the shoe above.

Not so fast.

How about these?

The Z-Coil shoe.

Oy.

I understand that these are meant and made for people that are on their feet all day.

But seriously.

These are worse than those shape up shoes that are popping up everywhere.

And while we are on that topic, do you really believe that by wearing heinous tennis shoes you are going to have a more shapely rump than you would wearing any other pair of supportive tennis shoes?

I don’t buy it.

In this crazy mixed up world of ours… all of the shoes above exist.

And they exist because someone somewhere is buying them.

And they exist in the same world as Louboutins.

I need to cleanse myself after viewing those by feasting on these:

Good gracious. I love Louboutins.

Who wants to buy me a pair?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller? Bueller?

Ah well.

I had to ask.

XO,

Leah

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After a two week bout with bronchitis, I’m starting to feel alive again.

And two weeks of bronchitis meant a two week hiatus from working out.

Not that I’m complaining.

I hate to work out.

I hate everything about it.

Except that I do like how I feel when it is over.

And I like that it allows me to eat some indulgences from time to time yet still fit in my pants.

This is the hardest workout I have ever done.

I hate it.

More than baking.

More than picky eaters.

More than an acorn that gets stuck in my dog’s intestine.

Yet, in some sick way… I kind of love it.

It makes me more sore than one would think is humanly possible.

You know a workout is tough when the people in the video can’t finish it.

It lives up to its name.

Maybe some day, if you are lucky, I’ll post a picture of myself on the brink of death after finishing this awful masochistic hell-hole work out.

Or maybe I’ll just post a picture of the pool of sweat I finish in.

Thank God that bacon and cheese exist to make it all worthwhile.

Happy Hump Day my friends.

XO,

Leah

Note: Click on the recipes tab above this post for the full catalog of Seven Hills Recipes.

I don’t know why, but I have an aversion to quiche with crust.

Perhaps it is something that happened to me as a child.

Mom, Dad… what did you do?

As a result of some traumatic crust encounter, I never make my quiche with a crust.

Or maybe it is because crust making involves baking.

And baking is the devil’s work.

After a few weeks’ break from the eggy goodness, I’m back to the weekly quiche.

This week, I thought I would make the classic Quiche Lorraine.

It is sinfully good.

And when you see the ingredients, you’ll see why.

I didn’t make up the recipe- it is actually printed on the bottom of my quiche baking pan.

Here is what you’ll need:

12 slices of bacon

1 c. gruyere or swiss cheese… if I have a vote in your house, I vote for gruyere

1/2 of a medium-sized onion, chopped

6 eggs

2 cups of cream (PLEASE NOTE: the recipe calls for 2 cups… out of fear of falling over dead from the richness of the dish, I just used just a splash- sue me)

salt and pepper

crushed red pepper flake

It feels as if it has been far too long since we have talked about bacon.

If you could marry bacon, I would leave Brad.

To marry said bacon.

Sorry, Brad.

I would.

We would live a happy life together.

Bacon and me.

Fry up a dozen slices of bacon.

And while you are by the oven, turn it on to 400 degrees.

Next, grate 1 cup of gruyere.

If there were something that would cause me to have an affair on bacon, it would be cheese.

And gruyere is up there in my top 5 cheeses of all time.

Please note that I blurred out the price.

It is expensive.

And it’s only Tuesday.

I don’t deal well with judgement on Tuesdays.

Put that grated cheese in the bottom of your pan.

And then crumble your bacon on top.

Spread your chopped onion on next.

Lets get our eggs together.

6 eggs in a bowl.

Salt and pepper.

You don’t need a whole lot of salt.

Because bacon is salty.

And so is gruyere.

And too much salt causes swollen ankles.

And no one likes a swollen ankle, right?

Add in some crushed red pepper (I threw in a little cayenne red pepper too). 1/2 t. of the crushed red pepper

Now a splash (or 2 full cups) of cream… whatever floats your boat.

Stir it up, little darling.

Because I’m wildly rebellious, I decided that this quiche needed some spinach.

I think it is some sort of strange, girl justification.

If I eat a quiche that is cream, bacon, and cheese heavy- it isn’t so good for me.

But add in a healthy vegetable like spinach, and I can eat the dish guilt free.

Have I mentioned that I’m crazy?

Cause I am.

Pour your egg mixture over the top.

Pop ‘er in the oven for 20 minutes.

And it comes out like this.

Salty, savory, bacony, quichey goodness.

Happy eating friends!

As always, thanks for stopping by.

XO,
Leah

I made chili.

And while making chili, for some reason I found myself thinking about the movie The Favor.

Remember that classic hit starring Brad Pitt?

It is a fine piece of cinema.

When I was in 9th grade, I watched this movie basically on a loop with my friend Jill.

Jill loved the movie because she loved Brad Pitt.

Let’s be honest.

Who didn’t?

In the early nineties when he splashed onto the scene, he stole hearts of women everywhere.

Including mine.

He is a beautiful man.

Jill loved The Favor because there is a line in it where Brad says “Just Chill”.

She was convinced he was saying “Just Jill”.

I think we wore out that section of the VHS tape.

And lucky for you, I found this clip to share.

I told ya.

Cinematic masterpiece.

Believe it or not, it gets better when the lumberjack Tom enters the scene.

So, today in honor of Brad Pitt, I give you Just Chill Chili.

It is also in honor of the start of football season.

And the start of sleeping with the windows open season.

And the start of slippers in the morning season.

This is the easiest chili.

It is done in a crock pot.

The crock pot is God’s gift to the busy home cook, non?

I made this on a Sunday, but other times I have prepped everything and loaded up the crock pot the night before a work day. I stick it in the fridge, and then before leaving for work- pop it on the counter and turn it on.

Here is what you’ll need for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people):

1 lb ground sirloin (go for the lower fat stuff here, you can get away with it)

1 14 oz can chili beans

1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 onion

1 large green pepper (or 2 small)

1-2 jalapenos (depending on how hot ya like it)

2-3 cloves of garlic

chili powder

cayenne pepper powder

cumin

salt and pepper

Brown your beef.

And chop up your onion, green pepper, jalapeno/hot pepper, and garlic.

Dump that into your crock pot.

Now, for our chili beans.

Beans, Beans… the magical fruit.

The more you eat…

Well, you know the rest.

Add in your crushed and diced tomatoes.

Lets spice it up!

2-3 Tablespoons (my handful below is about a tablespoon).

Cumin. Mmmm. Smoky. Savory.

Lets do 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Ready for some heat?

How about some cayenne red pepper?

Yes, please!

About a teaspoon. It adds a little heat, but it is not overwhelming.

Finally, salt and pepper.

About 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and one teaspoon of pepper.

Stir it up, little darling.

Put a lid on it.

Put it on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

If you have a super sonic crock pot like me, you may need to add in extra liquid.

I think my crock pot gets hotter than the average crock pot, so if I were making this on a week day I would add in a beer or 12 oz or water. That way, some of the liquid can cook down throughout the day.

There ya have it.

Just Chill Chili.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you what the main man and I always eat with our chili.

I first experienced this treasured treat when my mother-in-law made it for us.

Cheesy bread.

Oh, cheesy bread.

Cheesy bread unlike any cheesy bread you  have ever had.

And like everything else I make, this one is pretty simple too!

Here is what you’ll need:

A loaf of french bread

A stick of softened butter- did I mention this bread is extremely healthy?

One jar of Old English cheese- this is usually found near the processed, non-cheese cheese (think Velveeta) section

Put your butter and the cheese in a bowl.

Look at that cheese.

Doesn’t it just look like it is good for you?

It tastes good.

Promise.

Use a fork and start mashing the butter and cheese together.

Keep mashing and mixing until it is combined.

Now for the bread.

Slice it in half like this:

Slather it with your sauce.

Mmm hmm.

That’s right.

Just like that.

And put it back together again.

Now cut it in half again like this:

And now slather that with the cheese sauce.

Oh yes, you heard me right.

And put it back together again.

You may think that it can’t get any better than this.

But you are wrong.

Cause here we go.

Lets slice the bread:

You know what I think this bread needs?

Yep, you guessed it.

More cheese.

Pick up the first slice.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Slather away.

Both sides, if you please.

Keep on going through all of the slices.

And then put the loaf all back together again.

Carefully transfer it to some foil.

Wrap it up, and put it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

While that is cooking, serve up your chili.

I like mine topped with some cheddar, sour cream, green onion, and avacado.

Pull that bread out of the oven.

Take a moment to marvel at your masterpiece.

Ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

Throw some of that bread on your chili, near your chili, in your mouth, on a plate… wherever!

Yum-Yum-Dang-Diggity.

Just Chill.

And eat chili.

And maybe think a little bit about B. Pitt.

Yep, he’s still got it.

Happy Monday!

XO,

Leah

‘Cause that is my hands down most favorite fall scent.

It is warm and homey scent, a little cinnamon-y but not too sweet, and somehow it smells just like fall.

This glorious scent comes out in late summer, and I always stock up because it is the loveliest candle in existence.

I have more of these little guys than I care to admit.

I have some in the dining room, living room, kitchen, and maybe even the family room.

I have issues.

If shopping is on your to-do list for this weekend, make a stop in Bath & Body Works or White Barn Candle to load up on your favorite scent.

Or load up on my favorite scent.

Leaves.

You’ll be glad you did.

Even this old curmudgeon enjoys the smell of fall in the house.

Happy Weekend!

XO,
Leah

Note: Click on the recipes tab above this post for the full catalog of Seven Hills Recipes.

Summer tomatoes.

I’ve talked about them before, and I may just mention them again.

I love them.

Juicy. Red. Perfect.

Winter grocery store tomatoes are G-R-O-S-S, gross.

Riddle me this.

Why is it that in the middle of summer when tomatoes are at their peak, does the grocery store still only offer weird winter tomatoes?

Something is wrong with that picture.

I digress.

Summer tomatoes make me happier than a fruit should.

The only challenge in the summer is what to do with all of those tomatoes so that I don’t get burned out.

This little side dish is perfect for the slightly cooler weather that we have been having lately.

And it is so super simple.

And  I love a super simple recipe.

Slice up some tomatoes and lay them on a sheet pan (with sides so that the tomato juice doesn’t drip all over your oven causing your kitchen to stink to high heaven).

I used parchment paper because it makes life so. much. easier.

Parchment paper keeps whatever is resting on it from sticking to the pan and from over-browning on the bottom.

One warning- on the box, there is always a heat limit (usually 400 degrees)… so just take note.

You don’t want to flambe your tomatoes.

Or anything else for that matter.

I took the photos with a flash without natural light- so the tomatoes look a little more florescent than normal.

Give those ‘maters a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Want to know why I like the extra virgin?

No, not because of the name.

Well, a little because of the name.

But mostly because extra virgin means the olive oil is the least processed form of oil making it the most heart healthy.

So, you can feel good about this dish.

Give them a sprinkle of course Kosher salt.

Just a light sprinkle.

And a little fresh pepper.

Please note that none of my pictures show me actually grinding the pepper.

I take all of the pics on this blog.

And for the life of me I can’t figure out how to grind pepper and take a picture.

I need three hands.

Next come breadcrumbs.

You can use fresh.

But that is a lot of work, so I don’t recommend it.

Or you can buy breadcrumbs from the grocery store.

They are in the baking aisle, and generally stores have both the Plain and Italian Seasoned variety.

Either would work here.

I’m using Panko for my breadcrumbs.

Have you ever had Panko?

It is usually found in the Asian foods section of the grocery store near the soy sauce.

And they are the crunchiest, best textured crumb you’ll ever have.

Plus the graphic design on the box is top notch.

I like em.

Sprinkle some of those on your tomatoes.

And now some parmigiano reggiano.

I’m getting on my soap box.

Watch out.

Parmigiano Reggiano is worth the investment. A hunk of it, like the one pictured below, is about $6-$8.

Although you can find much more expensive versions.

It is worth it.

It lasts forever when wrapped in plastic and placed in the fridge.

With parm-regg, there is so much more nutty, salty, delicious flavor than what you can get from the strange parmesan concoction that is often found in a green can.

Please use this.

You’ll know it is the real deal because on the rind of the cheese it will actually say Parmigiano Reggiano.

Stepping off my soap box.

I feel it is necessary to be generous with the cheese.

Because it is cheese.

Stick those bad boys under your broiler (set on high) for 5 minutes.

If you want them slightly more browned, keep an eye on them and add another minute or two.

They come out looking like this.

I served them up with a breakfast-for-dinner throw-it-together-with-what-ya-got meal.

A simple berry salad alongside of homemade hashbrowns topped with turkey, cheese, and a fried egg.

But these ‘maters would pair well with just about anything… chicken, beef, fish, pork.

The possibilities are endless.

Happy cooking.

And Happy Friday!

XO,
Leah

I want to show you some pictures.

I hope you’ll indulge me here just for a second.

This is our sweet puppy Lola Belle when we first brought her home.

Perfect, non?

Her big furry sister, Miss, taught her to explore the backyard for unexpected treasures.

Miss taught Lola how to find the perfect spot on the deck to sunbathe.

Or nap.

How to sit prim and proper at the table.

And how to forage for fun things to gnaw on like a stick.

Now, here is where Miss failed Lola.

She should have issued a stern warning.

To avoid these guys.

Everyone knows that an acorn is evil.

And Miss really should have pounded that fact into Lola’s tiny brain.

If she had, Lola wouldn’t have decided to eat one of these bad boys as a snack.

And it wouldn’t have gotten lodged in her intestine.

And she wouldn’t have thrown up a dozen times.

And she wouldn’t have had to go to the vet.

To get two sets of x-rays.

And an IV.

And an overnight stay.

And a hefty bill.

We picked Lola up tonight after work.

The vet told us Lola would need surgery in the morning if the acorn didn’t make its way out tonight.

An expensive surgery.

Lola came home.

Ate a little.

And promptly went and did her business.

And out came the acorn.

Lesson learned.

Actually, sadly, probably not.

But I can hope.

Lola forgave Miss for leaving out the acorn section in her “how to have fun in the yard” lesson.

They are back to being the best of pals.

Dogs.

Guh.

XO,

Leah

First, can I just say how much I appreciate you all stopping by.

And caring even just a little bit about what I have to say?

Or maybe you don’t care.

Either way, thanks.

I mean it.

This blog makes me very happy, and you reading it and even enjoying it a little bit makes me even happier.

So, keep coming back.

And if you ever want to drop me a line with how to make the blog better, I’ll listen.

Promise.

Or, if you have a specific cooking issue or challenge that you’d like for me to tackle- I’ll give it a try.

Anywho.

I got a little organized.

Check out the new tab at the top of this post under my Seven Hills header.

The Recipes Tab contains all of my recipes to date.

Take a look around and try something new.

Again, thanks again for stopping by.

And thanks for listening.

And stop back soon to see what happened to this ding-a-ling.

Potato and corn, to be exact.

This year, for the first time, Brad and I joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. It has been an awesome experience. Once a week, we go to the farmers market and pick up a bag of assorted farm fresh fruits and veggies. We also get a half dozen organic farm raised eggs.

It is always a treat to peek in the bag and see what the good folks at Bergefurds farm have picked for us.

We have received an abundance of corn and potatoes.

Every week for about 6 weeks, we received 4-8 ears of sweet corn.

Now, I love me some corn.

But for 2 people… too much.

I have been giving it out at work.

I have been handing it out on street corners.

I have been selling it on Craig’s List.

I have been racking my brain with clever things to do with corn in the kitchen.

And when one of those cooler late summer days happened upon us, I decided it was time for some Corn and Potato Chowda.

Yummers.

Like any good recipe, this one starts with bacon. However this is an optional step. If you leave the bacon out, the rest of the recipe is vegetarian. If you leave the bacon in, it is not.

That last sentence is my obvious statement of the day.

Throw a tablespoon of olive oil into a pan over medium heat.

Chop up 4 slices of bacon and throw them in a pot. I happened to use uncured bacon here, which is another story for another day.

Anyone out there have an opinion on or experience with cured vs. uncured bacon?

I don’t know a whole lot about it.

However, the man at the farmer’s market selling the bacon made me feel like a sinner for using cured bacon.

So, I caved and bought the uncured.

It was very very delicious, but you have to add in your own flavors (salt/pepper/liquid smoke).

I’m not sure it is worth the extra work.

Someone tell me what to do here.

For, I am lost.

Once the bacon is all browned and delicious, remove the bacon and put it on a paper towel to drain a bit.

Then, toss out some of that extra bacon fat.

Leave 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.

Chop up 4-5 potatoes (I used red potatoes- on the smaller side. If you are using larger baking potatoes, you will only need 1-2).

Throw ’em in your pot.

And stir ’em around.

Now we shall prepare a leek.

Do you ever cook with leeks?

I love them.

They add a lovely mild onion flavor to a dish without overwhelming it.

This is a leek:

It kind of looks like a giant green onion.

Chop off the white end.

Then chop off the thick woodier green part.

Now slice it in half lengthwise.

Then, chop it into little half moons.

Now, in between those delicious little half moons of oniony goodness, there may be some dirt.

Why?

Because these are plants, and they were grown in the dirt.

That’s why.

Fill up a bowl with cold water.

Throw in your leeks.

Let the dirt fall away.

In the meantime, cut the corn off of 5-6 ears of corn.

Or open two cans of corn.

And toss the corn in with the taters.

Drain your leeks.

And throw them into your pot.

Also toss in a teaspoon of dried thyme.

Put in a little salt and pepper.

And then some wine.

I used a drier Sauvignon Blanc, and I added about a cup.

The wine will help you to scrape all of those delicious bits of flavor off of the bottom of the pan.

It will also help you reduce the stress level in your life.

When consumed from a glass.

I recommend pouring yourself one if you are feeling a little stressed today.

I should also note that if you don’t groove on wine, you can leave this step out.

Use some vegetable stock to deglaze the bottom of your pan.

After the wine and vegetables have hung out for 4-5 minutes, add in some vegetable stock.

Enough to cover all of the vegetables… about 4 cups.

Throw in a bay leaf.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low.

Now, cream.

Oh, cream.

Yummy creamy cream.

So, I add in a splash of cream (about 1/4 c) for the rich flavor. Then, so that I can sleep at night, I add in about a cup and a half of low-fat milk.

To make a chowda properly, you should use all cream.

But I would like to state for the public record that cream has been known to cause husbands to swoon children to eat all of their food.

So, add the cream at your own risk.

Mmm, savory, creamy deliciousness.

Now, you could stop right there and put this in a bowl.

Life would be very good.

And your belly would be full

However, I do have a way to bring this soup up a notch.

You will like it, I promise.

What if you added jalapeno/cilantro cream to the top?

It is amazeballs. Can I say that word?

It is the only word that seems appropriate.

Here is what it looks like:

And here is how you make it (the jalapeno cream is a Wolfgang Puck recipe, by the way):

Combine all of the following ingredients in a small bowl:

-1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

-1/4 cup sour cream

-1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and minced

-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

-Salt, to taste

-Freshly ground pepper, to taste

-Lemon juice

*Note: This cream is at its best when the flavors have some time to meld together. I had a leftover bowl of soup for lunch the day after I made it for dinner, and the cream was about 100 times better than the night before. So, if you are a plan ahead type of person, I recommend making the cream at least a couple of hours before the soup will be ready. But if not, still make it! Please.

Top your soup with a dollop of the cream and some of those saved bacon crumbles.

Serve with a green salad.

Ooooo-eeeee.

I like the chowda.

Enjoy my friends,

LW

My big brother got married this weekend, and it was the happiest weekend.

So many dearly beloved friends and most of our family gathered to celebrate the bride and groom.

I brought my camera and took a total of ZERO pictures.

Oopsie.

All Photos courtesy of Jane Mowery Photography

The Groom with his sisters.

At the rehearsal with the bride

The big day!

The Clarke girls with our mama

Loved the bridesmaid dresses!!

To J&J,

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips,
a twinkle from your eye.

And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.

May the gracious God hold you both in the palm of His hands.
And today, may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts.

I’m beat!

Back tomorrow with a new recipe…

XO,

Leah

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