Showing posts with label Summer Lovin'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer Lovin'. Show all posts

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pasta Salad for the 4th.

check it. this pasta salad is amazing. the writers at bon appetit warned of taking pasta salads to bbqs. that they were too overdone and never that good, anyway.

whatever, bon appetit. i am totally disagreeing with you, much like i do about something in every issue. mid-west people are exempt from trendy-food rules anyway...except for that delicious looking blackberry buttermilk cake i am about to, we love our carbs.

anyway. it's good. and got gobbled up at 2 (two!) back-to-back bbqs. so there. and, it's gorgeous, no?

you should totally make it. here's how.

2 12 oz. boxes of rainbow rotini
1 bottle of kraft sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

1 onion, diced
1 lg. tomato, diced
1 green pepper, diced
pepperoni, cut up
2 small cans of slice black olives
...and really just about anything else you want to add...

boil the pasta, drain, and start adding. once everything is added, pour the whole bottle of dressing in and mix to coat everything. refrigerate until serving time. (and it is usually better the next day)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Keeping It Fresh

towards the end of may, i was secretly d r e a d i n g summer break. and not because triston was going to be home for the summer, but that i was going to have four home for the summer and sometimes they can become this entity of chaos if i don't have all my time organized. which, i seldom do. and i don't care what anyone says about the fourth baby just fitting right is hard.

but we've been keeping busy with some fun ideas and summer has turned out to be really fun so far. my kids like to help in the kitchen, so some of our fun ideas have to do with food. (which is the best kind of fun idea, right?)
we made these sandwiches for lunch last week. i call it the 'greastest pb & j you'll ever eat', and that is exactly what it would be listed as if i ever owned my own place. i toasted the bread with *real* butter in the skillet and then slathered peanut butter on one side, strawberry preserves on the other and topped it with thinly sliced strawberries. once the sandwich was put together, i sprinkled powdered sugar on top.

holey moley, it was good. the boys loved it and gave me praises like 'i'm the best mom' and so on.

today, we're doing it again. except i'm calling it a pb & b. peanut butter and banana (with honey). it will be a nice treat from helping me in the garden.

(they don't know that part yet, though)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Smoothie Yum Yum

Excuse my title, I am finding it difficult to transition from mommy-mode to adult conversation these days, and for the moment, it just sounded good. I am also hoping "mommy-brain" is responsible for all the weird stuff that has been falling out of my mouth lately. You know what I are talking and realize you should just shut up but for some reason you just can't turn it off? Yeah.

Anyway, to beat the heat we are stocking up on popsicles and smoothie supplies. I came up with a new one just last week and it is really good. (and healthy!)

So here is my Smoothie Yum Yum, which already sounds ridiculous.

The first ingredient is low fat vanilla yogurt. And we need to talk about yogurt for a second. A lot of people love yogurt and eat it for it's health benefits. But a lot of people may not realize all the yucky stuff some brands put in their yogurt, aspartame being at the top of that list. It is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to a whole myriad of neurological disorders and other problems like MS and Parkinson's disease. It is in nearly EVERYTHING that is labeled "sugar-free" (low-fat or low-cal, too) including gum, diet sodas, and just about everything else. Point being, prolonged use of this stuff is going to make your body all wacky.

Ahem. Sorry for the public service announcement, there.

Anyway, Great Value brand from Walmart has low fat yogurt that does not have aspartame in it!! (or high fructose corn syrup!) so, that is what I use. (and how much i hate walmart and shopping there is another post for another time)

vanilla yogurt
frozen fruit mix of strawberries, mango, papaya, and pineapple
apple juice
spinach....optional of course

the amount of ingredients is based on how many you are serving. use common judgement, i suppose. anyway, yogurt goes in first, followed by frozen fruit, and then just a splash of juice.

it's really one of the best smoothies i've made.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Peachy Crumble

This was just what I needed. Actually, I'm lying. With two! sticks of butter and two! cups of sugar, it is most definitely not what what I or anyone else needs. But, it was so good. Seriously--like the best ever.

I had a ton of peaches siting on the window sill trying not to go bad, but we just couldn't eat them all. I jumped on Foodbuzz and found this recipe on the blog The Brown Eyed Baker.

I stayed true to the recipe for the most part, but added more cinnamon. And it is clear that the crumble part of the recipe would be good with any kind of filling: blueberries, blackberries, or pumpkin. I can't wait to make it with pumpkin!

Here's the recipe. If you try it, let me know about it. How'd you like it?

And check out Foodbuzz, too. Lots of great recipes and foodie blogs. While you're there, click on Project Food Blog and check out my contestant profile. I'm entered in a contest that will start in September...I'm going to need votes, so hopefully you all will get click-happy.

And in case you didn't read my facebook status this morning....I spilled O.J. off the top shelf in the fridge. Jackson spilled a whole bowl of cereal on the table, which leaked over the edge into the floor, and Bryce got into my laundry detergent and powder is all over the basement floor. Feel bad for me?  .....please?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another Cabbage Salad

my Mom, Triston, me. Jackson, and my Grandmother Lillian  -Christmas 2007

If there was one thing to know about my grandmother, it was that she was an accomplished cook. Feeding nine children every day is no small feat, and from what I can remember, it was not just any kind of food. It bordered gourmet meals every. night. It was her passion in life and one of things most missed when she succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease, which she has battled now for 5 years.

My mom inherited many of her prized cookbooks, and found in one a handwritten recipe for a coleslaw dish. My mom didn't hesitate to make it and we found that it is, well....awesome. But, it's not a creamy kind of coleslaw you might serve with fried fish (although it would certainly go), but more of a light cabbage salad, a perfect accompaniment to any summer dish.

Anyway, I couldn't get enough of it and so I'd like to share....

Lillian's Coleslaw Salad

1  large head of cabbage, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dry mustard

After chopping vegetables, add salt and mix together in large bowl. Let sit in refrigerator for one hour, then drain excess water. Meanwhile, bring to boil last 5 ingredients until sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes, and set aside.  Pour liquid over vegetables and toss lightly to coat. You can eat right away, but tastes even better when chilled a couple of hours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Squash and Corn Chowder

A good way to use squash. That was what I was looking for when I came across the recipe in Cooking Light. We had more than we could eat and I really hate it when perfectly good produce goes bad because we didn't have time to eat all of it.

So I planned to make this and invited my in-laws over. My sister-in-law and her husband opted out. Can you guess why? Well, they said it was because they had to visit his parents, but I am guessing it was because I said I was serving Squash and Corn Chowder.

But, they missed out because this Chowder was really good. Really. And if you find yourself with an over-abundance of squash (or not), you should make this, too. I served it with homemade Bruschetta. A perfect combination.

Here's the recipe from Cooking Light.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

BLT, The Proper Way


Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. It's a seemingly easy enough summer-time sandwich to make. Toast the bread, slather with mayo, and top with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Right?

Wrong! There are several must-haves for this sandwich to be in a perfected state.

Wheat or white bread.
Garden fresh compromise here.
Big leafy Romaine Lettuce.
Quality Bacon.
REAL Mayo.
Salt and Pepper.
...and Hershey's Chocolate Syrup.

Start with your bacon. If you fry it on a griddle, you not only get evenly cooked bacon, you get straight bacon. No curled up gnarly looking pieces, and this is a good thing because you want it to lay flat across your bread. When the bacon is almost done, toast the bread. Slather real mayonnaise (and don't be stingy) on the bread as soon as it comes out of the toaster and generously sprinkle salt and pepper directly into the mayo. Top with romaine.

I choose romaine for several reasons. 1) It is healthier than its iceberg counterpart by having nearly double the amount of every vitamin and mineral they share,  2) It stays crispier in your fridge longer, and 3) It looks prettier.

After the romaine is placed, top with garden tomatoes and then your other piece of bread. We don't even eat BLT's unless we have fresh garden tomatoes. If you don't have your own garden, there are farmer's markets everywhere this time of year. Buy some tomatoes there if you have to, just don't buy them at the grocery store. Trust me on this one.

As for the chocolate syrup, we do not eat BLT's in our house without chocolate milk. I swear, it makes the whole sandwich even better. Is that weird? I just had the thought that that might be weird. But,'s awesome.

To make your BLT a dinner, add a fresh vegetable and fresh fruit for dessert. We usually do sweet corn-on-the-cob, cucumber slices, and fresh cantaloupe. Seriously, this is what I look forward to all year.

And that is how you do it!

Now go do it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

I found this recipe in the deep recesses of one of my cookbooks. My first cookbook, to be exact, so there's no telling where this recipe originated from or how long I've had it. It was scrawled out on an envelope. And it wasn't my handwriting.

But, I will say: I didn't love it. And here's why: I substituted 1 cup of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour. I did it on a whim. Maybe to make myself feel better just in case I ended up eating the whole would have been partly whole-grain.

What? Don't judge me. It can happen, you know.

 I don't know. It was okay, but not how I imagined. But, I think the original is quite good. And I'll be keeping with that one from now on. And here it is.

2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
2 c. zucchini, shredded (I use a cheese grater)
3 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. chocolate chips (I'm a dark chocolate fan, but use whatever kind you like)

Beat sugar and eggs until well mixed. Add oil and vanilla, mix, and then add shredded zucchini. Set aside. In another bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Pour dry mixture a little at a time into wet mixture until all is combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into 2 loaf pans and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seriously Awesome Bruschetta with a Side of Surprise

I got this recipe from Cooking Light. Ever read it? It is the best...but since my last day of work is today, I won't be able to snag them from the gym anymore. A subscription is in the works.

1 baguette
2-3 large tomatoes (garden tomatoes are the best!)
6 t. good quality olive oil
4 t. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
raw garlic cloves

Cut the baguette into thin slices and place in oven at 425 until toasted (about 8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, dice your tomatoes and place in bowl. Add oil and vinegar and toss well. The original recipe called for 2 T. chopped fresh basil, but I used dried. Just a few's hard to measure seasonings exactly. Salt and pepper, and stir to meld all the flavor together. Cover bowl and set in fridge. Once the baguette toasts have slightly cooled, rub your raw garlic clove over the top of one side.

When you are ready to serve, spoon tomato mixture on to the garlic side of the toast.Seriously awesome. My guests even thought it was fancy.  Yum!

As for the surprise...check out this fantastical cloud I saw hovering directly over the West side Wal-Mart.

It was so striking that I thought of the Second Coming, which is just...weird. But if Christ was going to return to Earth on a cloud, it would have look like that one.

I came out 30 minutes later and it had turned a most spectacular shade of pink.

But, then I quickly squashed the idea of Christ returning on this cloud...I mean, it was over Wal-Mart. (joke. joke. it was a joke...Christ loves the people from Wal-Mart, too...)

And just because it is fun, I will share this picture (even though I look hefty and hot).

We blew up 250 balloons at the Posey County Fair to hand out to children so their parents would read CLOWERS for PROSECUTOR and want to vote for Travis.

I hope it worked. Those balloons took FOREVER to blow up. It was a lot of fun though, as we looked out across the arena during the Demolition Derby, the first thing we could see were red and blue balloons bopping around. The kids loved it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Lovin': Zucchini Squash Pasta Toss

It's nearly August. People who have gardens are surely seeing their harvest's bounty by now.

We haven't been so lucky in the garden department. Last year, it was too shady. This year, we moved June 1st. I wanted to at least do a window pane herb garden, but I was consumed with spur-of-the-moment moving/campaigning details. You know.

But, we are lucky enough to have family members that have big beautiful gardens that like to share....and hopefully they will share their gardening tips when we finally buy our own house.

So we've had an abundance of asparagus, blackberries, sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, and now...tomatoes!

But, I have to admit...when you've eaten squash 3 days in a gets a little boring. And don't even ask what my boys have to say about it.

All this week I am going to feature recipes that include fresh garden vegetables. First up...

Zucchini Squash Pasta Toss

1 pound squash, chopped
1 pound zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
fresh garlic, minced
16 oz. whole-wheat pasta (I used spaghetti)
freshly shredded Parmesan
olive oil
fresh ground pepper and salt

Add oil to a saute pan and throw in the garlic. Saute for just a minute then add the squash, zucchini, and onion. Saute vegetables until tender. Meanwhile, boil pasta until done. Place in large bowl. When the vegetables are done, pour into bowl with pasta (including any the juice!) and toss well with tongs so that the vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the pasta. Top with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Put desired amount into individual bowls or plates and top with chopped tomato, parsley, and shredded parm. This is fabulous with garlic bread! Yum Yum!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Lovin: Pear Gorgonzola Salad With a Balsamic Vinegarette.

Let me tell you a story. This morning, I woke up (after only 3 hours of sleep that I sacrificed in the name of Edward Cullen...Eclipse premiere at midnight...which was amazing, in case you wanted to know) I was exhausted, but, as you know, your kids never care for this detail. And when you choose to watch a movie such as Twilight at the crazy fan midnight showing, neither does your husband. I digress.

So I woke up. I put a cartoon on for Bryce and let Triston and Jackson play a PBSKids game on the computer. Curious George, their favorite. I started to do my normal mom-routine - picking up from the night before, opening all the blinds, making beds, holding my skin up on my face in their mirror trying to conceal the bags under my eyes, ect. I made breakfast for the boys and called for them to come eat it at the table. At this point, 45 minutes had passed since the time we woke up, maybe 20 since I had checked on the kids. Triston  and Jackson came running to the table when I called, but Bryce was not trailing them, like usual.

"Bryce"? I called. No answer. I went into the living room, no Bryce. I checked in my room, the bathrooms - no Bryce. I immediately checked all the doors, they were all locked. I ran down to the basement,  no Bryce. I started calling for him more urgently, looking under beds and in closets. Triston and Jackson started to worry and joined me. I ran outside, even though there was absolutely no way he could have gotten out, and I ran to the pond. It was still. I ran back inside around the house screaming his name at this point. NO BRYCE.

This kid was no where to be found. He wasn't anywhere.Triston stopped me in my tracks and told me we needed to pray, so we did. In my panicked state, I grabbed the phone and dialed 9-1-1. I told the operator that my 2-year-old was missing, that I couldn't find him anywhere. She took my name and address as I walked back into the living room, my eyes darting in every corner.

I scanned across the room and stopped. I looked back to a recliner that sits caddy corner agaist a wall. There is thismuch space between the side of the chair and the wall. And I saw a tuft of hair sticking up over the left arm. I ripped the chair away from the wall and there he was. WITH A WHOLE TRAY OF ICE CUBES THAT HE SNAGGED OUT OF THE FREEZER, happily sucking and munching on them, away.

"I found him!" I shouted at the operator. I gave my apologies and appreciation and got off the phone. I kneeled down and asked Bryce, "Did you know we were looking for you?"

"MMM-Hmmm," he sang out. "Me eating ice cubes!" What could I do? I was so relieved, I just let him finish off the tray. And then I promptly said a prayer of thanks.
 The End.

Now, if that didn't give you heartburn....try this salad. I liked it when I made it. I did, but I didn't think I loved it. However, I have thought about this salad every single day, since. That sounds like love to me, don't you think? It's really very good.

Pear Gongorzola Salad.

2 Hearts of Romaine, washed and chopped
Handful of fresh Spinach, washed and torn
4 ripe pears, skinned, cored, and chopped
almond slices or slivers
Gorgonzola Cheese (I think Bleu or Feta would work just fine)

Toast the almonds in butter over medium heat until browned. Set aside. Place romaine, spinach, and pears in large bowl, tossing until combined. Sprinkle toasted almonds and Gorgonzola over top and combine. Make this Balsamic Vinegarette from Emeril. It's simple and sassy. I decreased the oil to 1/2 cup and I didn't add the sugar. Just pour over salad and toss to coat.
 And don't loose your kids in the house and call 9-1-1, like me.

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