Mandarin Bruschetta with Goat Cheese

OLIVE the other appetizers you could try tonight may not be as mouth-watering as these little CUTIES. CRUST me, there is nothing like a good bruschetta. Give it a GOAT and let me know how you like it...

Photo credit: Kathy Casey

The flavors of mandarin, calamata olives and fresh basil along with the creaminess of goat cheese all play off each other nicely in this easy entertaining appetizer.

Makes 20 pieces

1 artisanal baguette
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
kosher salt as needed
4 Cuties or mandarin oranges
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped vine-ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped pitted calamata olives
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 oz. chèvre-style fresh goat cheese (if you aren't a goat cheese fan, try cream cheese)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut baguette into 1/4-inch slices—you want about 20 nice-sized pieces. Lay out on a baking sheet. Lightly brush or drizzle bread with olive oil then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake for about 5–7 minutes, or until toasty. Let crostini cool.

Meanwhile, peel Cuties and dice 1/4 to 1/3-inch. In a medium bowl, toss Cuties with 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, olives, and pepper flakes. Set aside.

To serve: Smear each piece of crostini with a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese. Place on a platter and immediately divide the Cuties mixture between the crostini (drain off any excess juice).

Note: Top crostini right before serving so they do not get soft.

This recipe was made by Kathy Casey at the 2010 BlogHer Food Conference... passed along to me from my brother Justin Hackworth who photographed the event.


Keep swimming...and blessings for a joyful and prosperous 2011!
Ms. Fish


Fish Finds

I'm not sure I would ever wear this necklace. Not because I don't like it, but because I rarely wear anything around my neck except hair and hickies. BUT, I think it would look soooo sexy and GREAT on somebody else's neck. It's totally fun, bold, chunky and unique.

 Speaking of sexy, I think my little sis should also buy this. Can you say turn heads?

This would be fun to own. Though I'm not yet entirely sure why.....

Anyone going to order this book? Freshly written, you can pre-order it to arrive just in time for Valentine's Day.

Dill pickle flavored products make frequent guest appearances on this blog. I've raved about dill pickle cashews. Now I finally found me some dill pickle potato chips that are 67.9 times better than Lay's. The pickle flavoring is true and subtle. In fact, I'm crunching on one right now in ultimate multitasking style: chewing and typing and moaning.

I found the chips at Wal-Mart. I hate Wal-Mart, and yet I continue to find good stuff there, dang it!
Like these babies below, which I like even more than the chips. My next mission, should I choose to accept it (and I do) is to duplicate these in my own kitchen. I can't afford to keep feeding my addiction.

This Christmas CD is so fun! Especially tracks 1 and 2. We've already worn it out at our Holiday house.

I bought this orange oil at Sur La Table and loooooooove it. That's 8 o's in love! That's some serious lovin'. This oil makes chocolate chip cookies sing with sunshine. It's the secret ingredient in the Bear Country Cookies at the Gateway mall in SLC.

Sometimes, I take the oil out of the cupboard and open it even if I'm not cooking. I just love to smell it. My name is Ms. Fish and I'm addicted to sniffing orange oil. I need help.

Found an excellent recipe for Cinnamon-Sugared Almonds. Daisy made them at Thanksgiving and my mouth hasn't quit watering for more.

Photo Credit: Sugarlaws

With kids in college and friends getting married and being small on space myself, I am digging these stacking kitchen tools.

These boots are as scrumptious as black licorice.

And for the grand finale, feast your eyes on this lovely holiday skirt. Do you ever see things with bling and pockets on the same bolt of fabric? Hardly. Finally a place to put your lip gloss without having to take a purse. That's a deal cincher.

Thanks for coming along on this tour of things I love right now. Happy holiday shopping and eating!

Keep swimming. And keep enjoying lovely things.
Ms. Fish


Twenty Totally Random Thoughts for Tuesday

  1. I have an email in my Inbox from the inimitable Landon Donovan.
  2. Please do not faint with jealousy. I cannot be held responsible for any blog-reading injuries.
  3. Did you know Landon Donovan was actually named after my son?
  4. Unless of course you actually know who Landon Donovan is...and in your astuteness, you realize he was named 10 years BEFORE my son was even born.
  5. I really hardly ever tell fibs. Truthfully.
  6. Landon is the name for the coolest of cool soccer players. Both Landons I know of are hoping for a 2022 USA Fifa World Cup bid.
  7. Decision Day is only 2 days away. Excitement is building like rolling thunder.
  8. Except that I've never really agreed that thunder rolls, Garth. It crashes.
  9. Hurricane High Basketball season starts tomorrow. I CAN'T WAIT to watch #11 - double toothpicks.
  10. There is no subliminal relationship between thought number eight (crashes) and number nine (HHS basketball). That's why this post is called Random Thoughts.
  11. I ate a 1/2 pound of quality Parmesan cheese in two days. All by myself.
  12. See! That came out of nowhere. Random.
  13. Cyber Monday made no hostage out of me.
  14. I love my sister one million Hot Tamales. I love other people too, but I'm dedicating #14 just to her and hot red candy.
  15. I love my daughter Daisy, who is quite possibly the only other person in the world who shares my passion for cheese and banana bites.
  16. I finally finished the quilt I was making for Daisy. It feels so good to finish something other than a Parmesan cheese wedge.
  17. Thursday will be my final trip to SLC for school. That makes 22 trips in 18 months. My tires have whispered to me how excited they are about not having to drive 600 miles every three weeks.
  18. I don't really talk to tires.
  19. I have been craving this salad lately. It's a Christmas dinner tradition, but I don't think I can wait.
  20. This Sunday (Dec. 5) is our annual Christmas Sing-A-Long and Cookie Exchange. Are you coming?

T-shirt Memory Quilt for Daisy. Every square tells a story!

Keep swimming,
Ms Fish



What or Who do you think is AWESOME?

Keep swimming, and keep being awesome.
Ms. Fish


Social Media Wordle

This is a Wordle I made from my Delicious bookmarks. Can you guess the subject of my doctoral project?

Keep swimming,
Ms Fish

You can try out your own Wordle here.


Why I Got a Doctorate Degree

My awesome brother wrote a really great post today on why he takes pictures. I loved it for many reasons. One: he's a GREAT storyteller. And another, he is wise. And another, his chosen profession has so much meaning and value, and helps both him and his clients really focus on what is the most important thing in our lives + leave such a lasting legacy. I'm so proud of him.

It got me thinking about what I do. So I decided to write a response post on Why I Got a Doctorate Degree.

It can be summed up in four words:

I have no idea.

Now ask me in three weeks when I've graduated or in 3 months when I hopefully have a job. There is a statistically good chance that I'll have a different answer.

Keep swimming and keep learning.
Ms. Fish


Layered Salad

This is one of my all-time favorite salads. Don't be turned off by the simple Mayo dressing. After it sits overnight in the fridge, it totally transforms into something delicious. Dumbledore would be proud.

You can find a lot of variants on the Internet. Here is the version I make over and over:

1 head lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup celery, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 T sugar
1 can sliced water chesnuts
1 pkg bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pkg frozen peas
2-3 boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise

Place chopped lettuce in large bowl (it's pretty in a glass bowl). Layer celery, onions, water chestnuts, and peas. Spread mayo over top. Mix together parmesan cheese, garlic and sugar. Sprinkle on top of salad and let stand overnight in fridge. Next day, top with bacon and boiled eggs just before serving.

Photo credit: My Favorite Recipes. This salad is a little different than the way I do it.


Living Grateful

Welcome to November: the month of gratitude. I love this time of year when we pause to reflect on all the things in our lives for which we are grateful. It's like getting a little pre-load of oxygen before the December shortness of breath.

Two years ago, every day in November, I blogged about something I was especially grateful for. It was great fun. This year, I'm in the middle of my dissertation, so I don't have time for anything that time consuming. But I still like to reflect, so I compiled all those earlier gratitude posts and put them into one handy location under the tab Living Grateful.

What are YOU grateful for?

Keep swimming,
Ms. Fish

In Honor of Elections

In honor of the mid-term elections this week, I am reminded of this.

Please God.... Bless our Nation.


Murder Mystery Dinner Party + Halloween Ideas

It was a night of bribery, stealing, murder and lying....pretty much everything we've taught our kids not to do. 

That's what happened at the Immortals Annual Costume Ball. My son was murdered...by his very own brother. But just like in the movies, my son came back to life, and the two brothers kissed and made up. Well, they made up anyway.

Now, let's take a tour....

This is the outside of the house by day

and by night....

welcome into the entryway....

take a peek into the living room...

enter the living room...

 where the fireplace is alight...

and a black cat waits to pounce

Look over to the kitchen....

and see the Table of Evidence

the food is ready

spiderweb eggs

brains with a lethal tumor

who doesn't love cookies and worms?


deadly morsels

bubbling brew

now the guests arrive

and the mayhem began.


Party details

Window posters: here and here
Goblets: Spirit Halloween store
Leather bound classic books: Wal-Mart
Chalkboard with Edgar Allen Poe Poem: black foam core / white chalk
Mice and Black ravens: Martha Stewart 
Bats: hand-drawn and hand-cut
Glass candy jars: Tai Pan Trading
Candy Jar Labels:  Martha Stewart
Brain Jello Mold
Black cat: Tai Pan Trading

Spider web eggs
Bloody fingers
Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
Guacamoldy with Bat Tortilla Chips
Spider cupcakes
Crudites with Buttermilk Herb Dip

Dinner and Murder Mystery Party Games

Keep swimming, and if you are going to smoke, do it with candy cigs.
Ms Fish



My brother, Jordan, sent me this link of incredible, awesome photos of the new bridge at Hoover Dam. Do yourself a favor today and check them out.

Speaking of bridges, look at this incredible functional, green and aesthetically gorgeous bridge to be built in Korea over the River Han. Designers are really tapping into form, function, sunlight, space, glass, and the Jetson's.

All photos credit: Planning Korea

Keep swimming,
Ms Fish

PS: You can read more about the bridge here. Or here.


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