Thank you for all of your bug research and suggestions, from Wednesday’s post. I think that we have determined that it was a Wheel Bug (from the Assassin Bug family). The good news: it eats aphids and Japanese beetles. The bad news: it bites and the paralyzing enzyme that it injects makes it hurt “ten times worse than a hornet’s sting, and can take up to 6 months to heal.” The upshot of all that is that you can hope that you have them in your yard to control the pesky bugs, but steer clear of them yourself. (And use the zoom on your camera if you need to photo it.) I hope I never see another one.
I have two things to tempt your palate today. The first: THESE have got to be the very best caramels I have ever had in my entire life, bar none. (Yes, that’s quite a strong endorsement. And I mean every word of it.) The salted caramel flavor (Fleur De Sel) is unbelievable. I also ordered the English Tea flavor, and wondered how in the world “tea” and “caramel” could combine into something good. It does. Amazing. When you need a good caramel fix, try them out.
A couple of weeks ago I tried a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman’s Blog. (Digression: Do any of you read her blog? How in the heck does she have the time and energy to blog that much? I know that her blog is broken down into different sections, but holy cow. When I came home from the Sock Summit, I checked my Google Reader to see which of the blogs that I read regularly, had been updated while I was gone for a week. In that time, a couple of the blogs had been updated once, most had not been updated at all, and the Pioneer Women? 25 updates. TWENTY FIVE unread posts. In the 7 days that I was gone. The thing is, they’re all interesting and I do read them. She has a good thing going there.)
As with almost any recipe I make, I tweaked this. Not because it wasn’t good as is, but I’m a tweaker. I tweak. With this one, I added in cooked chicken breasts, a little more onion and cheese, and doubled the dressing. I also thought that it would be delicious (and colorful) to add in chunks of avocado. I might try that the next time. I hope you enjoy it!
Pioneer Woman’s Pita Chip Panzanella (tweaked by Loopy)
1 oz. bag Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (or the pita chips that you like)
5 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
3/4 cup medium red onion, sliced thin and chopped
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 Tbl. red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
(note to self: try adding in avocado chunks the next time)
Combine chips, tomato chunks, onions, Parmesan and chicken in a large bowl. Mix together oil and vinegar with a dash of salt, and pour over the ingredients. Add freshly ground pepper and toss to mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before serving.
It has been fun to read all of your comments from Monday’s blog contest! (If you haven’t added one yet, there is still time. We’ll draw for the winners on Monday.) We do one prize for every 250 entries and we’re up to 7 drawings for prize packages, so far. How fun!