Welcome to the Beach Condo
I manage my mother’s beach condo out in Indian Shores, Florida.
I am out here a lot, usually staying between renters. Whether it be a few days, or a few weeks, I see this condo as my sanctuary, I always have.
It is where I recharge, replenish, and reemerge as a “new person” time, and time again.
But while I am out here I really do work on my eating and my health. As it is I am married to an off time Chef. Granted, Gordon has his real job that he works 5 days a week, but he is also an amateur chef making so many delicious meals that tempt me to stray from my regular eating habit’s.
That is why the condo is so important to me.
None of this food is heavy or fattening!
For this is where I can cut back, eat light, enjoy myself, and maybe lose a pound or two.
This is a light dinner for me:
Baked Herbed Goat Cheese with Red Pepper Corns, Olive Oil, and Thyme, on whole wheat bread and whole wheat crackers. Some almonds with sea salt, Green olives, Marinated Artichoke Hearts, and a Pasta Salad with my home grown herbs.
Just bake the goat cheese in a ramekin for about 20 minutes on 250F, with a drizzle of olive oil.
Add the Thyme and peppercorns when it comes out of the oven.
Now Just Dip Bread or Cracker Into It.
So Light, easy, and Healthy
This is actually a favorite pizza of ours. We especially love to add to it.
Leftover Marinated Artichoke Hearts and Herbs
I do love to Choke my food in Herbs!
Doctoring up a pizza is a great dinner.
So Very Delicious!
Greek Take Out at the Beach
We have a lot of excellent Greek restaurants out near the condo where we love to grab some take out and either eat it at the beach, or the back docks, or even back at the condo on the couch. Greek food is good and healthy.
I love to nibble! Here are some of my favorite nibble foods.
Feta, Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Greek Pasta Salad, Cheese Straws, and Olives.
This is called Heaven!
Feta Cheese and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Eating Italian with Chopsticks
I do eat a lot of Italian food. This was something I quickly put together to bring out to the condo for dinner. The jar of tomato sauce I found at a specialty store, and I could tell just by looking at it that I would love it! (I did, btw!) And the rest I just threw together. Some pasta from the pantry, herbs I brought from home, stopped by and bought some great bread from Publix..
I threw in a salad and it turned out to be an excellent dinner.
A Favorite of Mine From the Deli at Publix
Nothing I made myself, but everything I love to eat!
Obviously, a Favorite!
Nibble Foods and Memories
Whenever I go out to the condo I always love to take things with me to work on, or read, or some sort of projects. In the photo above I had the best time flipping through old photo albums while I nibbled on my Nibbles! In the photo are my usual suspected foods but I also have some Bow Tie Pasta Salad, Pickled Okra, Olives and I don’t remember what is in that square bowl top left. Hmm… Oh well.
And, if you haven’t noticed, most of the time I have my red wines with me. Not only are the reds loaded with healthy antioxidants, they also help with weight loss. Yes, I did just say that. 🙂
Herbs From my Herb Garden at Home
I always bring herbs with me from home. Fresh herbs are cancer killers so eat them as often as you can.
Italian at the Beach
As I said above, I do eat a lot of Italian foods. Italian food is everything desirable about food. It’s beautiful, it’s healthy, it’s tasty, and most of the time it’s easy to make.
Barefoot Red Wine, Nibbles, and my Beach Things
Pastas, Cheeses, Olives, Herbs, Artichoke Hearts, Sun Dried Tomatoes
Just doing this write up is making me very hungry to recreate this meal.
Eating Light can be Delicious!
And just in time for the sunset…..
My Baked Ziti
My Small Baked Ziti that I Took Home
I love to take my herbs out to the condo with me and what better way to transport them than in beach buckets?
Set them on the windowsill.
Basil, Parsley, Oregano…
My Baked Ziti
We had Gordon’s sister and her husband, and their 3 daughters coming to the condo for a visit one year. I was out there a week prior to their arrival and I wanted to make them something nice for dinner when they arrived, so I made my Baked Ziti.
This will easily feed an army, but that’s the point. It’s something delicious that most everyone likes to eat.
I originally obtained this recipe from someone I used to know when we were living in Hawaii. She was from New York and she served this to me one night. I immediately asked for the recipe.
For the most part I follow her recipe, but where I differ is in the sauce. She uses a store bought jar of spaghetti sauce, I do too, except mine is doctored up tremendously. So, first I will explain to you how I make my spaghetti sauce, before we get to the Baked Ziti recipe.
Julie’s Spaghetti Sauce
When the pot is this messy then you know it’s a success!
I start by using 3 jars of Classico Pasta Sauce. I then add 2 small 6 oz. cans of Tomato Paste. I then grind about 50 turns of freshly ground black pepper into the sauce. (I do use a lot of that!) At this point I have the stove on a medium low heat. This will start to bubble and squirt everywhere so you want to keep an eye on it and use the lid to help prevent it splattering everywhere. Also you want to stir often so that the sauce on the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn.
I then add about 7 shakes of Garlic Salt, and about 7 shakes of Tabasco Sauce.
It’s at this point that I just let it simmer away for the next hour on a low heat. After about an hour I add about 1 teaspoon of Turmeric and about 2 – 3, 6 oz. jars of marinated artichoke hearts that I have sliced up into small chunks. I add the marinade of 1 of the jars to the spaghetti sauce, and discard the rest of the liquid from the other jars.
I then let the sauce to simmer away, same as before, for another hour. Always keep an eye on it and never go far. Also, stir occasionally. It’s at sometime around this point that I add my fresh herbs. Fresh Chives and Fresh Oregano all nicely chopped up. I cannot even tell you how much I add. I do put in a lot of each but not so much that it chokes the sauce. I figure that you can just use your own discretion.
I probably let my spaghetti sauce to cook about 3 hours on a low heat before I think it’s ready. It will be very thick and that is how I like it.
Now that the spaghetti sauce is ready, it’s time to make the Baked Ziti. I did double the batch above because I was leaving behind a large amount for Gordon’s family, and I made a small one for me to take home. So, this recipe that I am dictating is for a regular amount.
1 16 oz. Box of Ziti or Rigatoni (I use Rigatoni)
2, 1 lb. Containers of Ricotta Cheese (I sometimes add extra)
1 Medium Ball Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded (I use about 1 lb. of the already shredded mozzarella cheese that comes in the bags.)
NOTE: I use a pound of the Mozzarella Cheese, sliced, and placed on TOP of the Baked Ziti before it goes into the oven. It looks very pretty too!
Salt and Pepper (I don’t add any salt. And I have lots of Pepper already in my Spaghetti Sauce so therefor I don’t add any more.)
2 T. Dried Parsley (I use Fresh Parsley and I use quite a bit more than 2 T. I place a layer of Fresh Parsley in the middle of my Baked Ziti, between a layer of sauce and baked ziti mixture.
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese to Sprinkle on Top (I omit this part and place my sliced Mozzarella Cheese on top.)
Boil the Pasta according to the package directions, then drain. In a large bowl you want to add all of the ingredients above and mix together. When everything is combined then you add your pasta to the mixture and stir together.
You can see my Spaghetti Sauce, and the Baked Ziti mixture above. You just want to first spread a small amount of the Spaghetti Sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then place a layer of the Baked Ziti mixture, then a layer of Spaghetti Sauce, then I place a layer of Fresh Parsley, then a layer of Baked Ziti mixture, then finally topping off with a layer of the Spaghetti Sauce.
This is how it looks when it’s ready to go into the 350F oven for about 45 minutes.
NOTE: Because I was leaving this behind for the guests to cook themselves, I set aside the sliced mozzarella topping so that they could add it when they arrived and were ready to cook it.
This is truly an excellent dinner. It will feed an army, with leftovers, and no one that we have ever served this to hasn’t liked it. (Judging by the fact that they go back for seconds and want to eat it the following night for dinner too.) 🙂
Another Great Sunset!
Home Made Pizza’s
Making these is so much easier than you think. We bought the pizza dough at the grocery store. It’s ready made. You just want to roll it out on a floured surface until it’s about a 1/2 inch thick. Or, you can just knead the dough in your hands and stretch it yourself, while you are holding it. For example, just hold the edge of the dough and let gravity pull it down. Then move your hand slightly to the left, or right, going in a circular motion allowing the rest of it to fall, while maintaining a circular or oval shape.
Next just add the tomato sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings you like.
Bake in a 400F oven for about 15 minutes and then you have a delicious dinner!
Another Beautiful Italian Meal
A vintage book I found at a thrift store of lovely Italian foods.
Bread, Wine, Cheese, Nibbles….
My Favorite Dinner
Focaccia Bread, Roasted Garlic, Olives, Feat….
Heaven is what this is!
Eat Light, Eat Right, Eat Delicious!
We have a lot of orange sunsets, don’t we?