Tag Archives: cooking

Lemon Honeydew Sorbet

So, lately, my husband and I have been super into sitting in our Adirondack chairs in our front yard, just socializing and eating ice cream cones.  By super into, I mean we do it every night, which in theory is great, but if you’ve ever been served an ice cream cone by my husband, you’ll know that his portions are large.  As much as I love our new evening routine, I wanted to create a lighter frozen treat and with a frozen ice cream maker canister and a pile of honeydew, this sorbet was born.  It’s light and only slightly sweet with a burst of fruity flavor.  It’s not something I would serve on a cone, but luckily it can be served on a spoon pretty well. 🙂

IMG_4787 Lemon Honeydew Sorbet

4 cups honeydew melon, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (I used bottled, but if you use fresh lemon, you would need 2)
zest of 1 lemon

Prep work: Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is thoroughly frozen.  My bowl usually takes a full day to freeze completely.
1. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and blend thoroughly.
2. Transfer blended ingredients to a covered bowl or quart sized mason jar to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
3. Pour chilled blend into prepared ice cream maker and process until frozen.  My ice cream maker usually takes 20 minutes to freeze.
4. The sorbet will be extremely soft after processing, so I recommend transferring the sorbet to a freezer-safe container to freeze more solid.

Enjoy!

Summer Panzanella Salad

Hi!  Have you ever had panzanella salad?  It’s a hearty salad made with crispy (usually day old) bread cubes, assorted vegetables and a vinegar based dressing.  It’s refreshing, but filling enough to serve as a meal if it’s too hot too cook, or you’re too tired after a long day.  It also is a great way to use up old bread and clean out your crisper drawers in your refrigerator.

 IMG_4854  For today’s salad, I made my own bread & used the oven to crisp it up and also grilled some summer squash that I had sitting in the fridge as an addition, but you can obviously make things much more simple on yourself by buying a loaf of a crusty bread such as ciabatta & using vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers that you’d normally have on hand.  I’m sharing today’s recipe below, but use that as a guideline and make it your own!  Panzanella is best served the day it’s made.

IMG_4851IMG_4848

Summer Panzanella

6-8 cups crusty bread, cubed (few days old or toasted in the oven to crisp) I made my own using this recipe.
2 summer squash, grilled & chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped (I used one large tomato and a handful of cherry tomatoes)
1 cucumber, chopped (peeled & seeded if you prefer)
1/2 onion, finely chopped (I recommend red or Vidalia)
basil leaves, thinly sliced and parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (red wine vinegar is fine too)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt & pepper to taste

1. If you’re going to grill vegetables (such as summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms or onions), prepare those first.  For the summer squash, I cut them into thirds lengthwise and drizzled each side with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Grill over high heat for just a few minutes until you see grill marks on each side, but you don’t want the vegetables to be mushy.  Remove to a plate and let cool completely.
2. Prepare the bread,  If you’re using day old bread, you can just cube the bread and toss it into a large bowl.  If you have fresh bread, cut into cubes and toast at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or so to dry it out (a drizzle of olive oil can help with browning, if you want your bread to be browned) and then place in large bowl after it cools down.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
4. Add vegetables to crusty bread in large bowl.
5. Pour dressing over vegetables and bread, toss together to coat. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the dressing to absorb a little and soften the bread.
6. Garnish with thinly sliced basil (and some parmesan cheese if you’re feeling it!) and eat! 

We had our panzanella alongside turkey burgers with feta sauce & it was a perfect summer evening meal!

11108228_10204287488210505_1139016625066127123_n Enjoy!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

My husband is an eater.  He prefers things featuring high spice levels, meat, cheese and basically anything wrapped in a tortilla, but I’m pretty lucky in that my husband will eat basically anything put in front of him.  Last night we compromised by having sausage burgers on homemade cheese buns, grilled potatoes (oh my goodness, so good!), and this delicious quinoa salad.  I thought it was delicious, and apparently so did he because he also had it for breakfast and a post-run snack today.  Which is all well and good, except for the fact that there’s no more left for me!  So I’ll be making this again, and you should try it too!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette 

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

1 cup quinoa, dry
2 cups water or broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (equivalent to 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen, thawed
1 large tomato, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs & seeds removed (optional)

1. Bring water/broth to a boil.  Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover.  Quinoa usually takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes to cook.  It should be soft and water should be absorbed.  Let quinoa cool slightly.
2.  Add beans and corn to medium sized bowl.  Mix together.
3. Add slightly cooled quinoa and vinaigrette (see below for recipe), mix together.
4. Fold in tomatoes and pepper, if using.
5. Eat!  Can be served cold or room temperature.

Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (white vinegar would be fine)
1- 1.5 tbsp lime juice, to taste (I used 1.5 because I like the zing!)
1.5 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
hot sauce, to taste (optional, I used chipotle Tabasco)

1. Whisk/shake together all ingredients.  Taste and season accordingly to your preference. 
(I like to make my dressings in mason jars, so they can be quickly shaken together)

IMG_4735

Enjoy!

Eeeep!

I moved to Virginia.  We moved for my husband’s job and even though I knew the move was coming, and I was excited before we left, I don’t love it (yet).  I’m sure I will eventually, but right now, I just want to be home.  As I tell my husband – I don’t have a job (yet), I don’t have any friends (yet), I have no life other than grocery shopping and hanging with our dogs, and I miss my “New England life”.  I love where I’m from and usually, I love moving around, but this time I find myself in a funk, bummed out, and with no real inclination to change that.  I know it will work out and sometime our in our 4-5 tenure here, I will find my niche and I will love it.  We’re going home next weekend for Memorial Day and I’m really excited about that, and my best friend is coming down for most of the summer so that’s good too!

In the meantime, I have been buying a lot of groceries (it’s sort of my happy place), cooking a lot (and eating out a lot), and exercising a little.  Right when I start to feel in my exercise groove here, something shifts and I take 4 days off.  It’s all good though!  So, what I have been cooking?

Yesterday, I made Gruyere Rolls & Raspberry Chia Squares.  They were both delicious.  I ate a roll for lunch and a roll for dinner with a homemade veggie burger.  And, I had a toasted roll for breakfast.  I like to make the rolls much smaller than the recipe suggests, so they are more like sandwich buns or dinner rolls.  The raspberry squares are nice because they’re a little lighter than the average dessert bar (and slightly less sweet), but they do taste delicious with a little ice cream on top!

unnamed (1) unnamed

Other things I made since we arrived (a month ago, oh goodness!) were cinnamon rolls (for my husband’s 30th birthday), a Bavarian feast, an impossible amount of salads (to combat the heat), vegan stuffed shells, empanadas, foccacia and so many meals on the grills (kabobs, burgers, veggies, shrimp, pork tenderloin).

IMG_4612 IMG_4627 IMG_4641 IMG_4571 

We’ve also been making a fence a.k.a doggy prison for the pups.  My skills at using a level are basically unmatched.

unnamed (2) Anyway, I’m hoping now with my incredible amount of free time that I can use this space as a place to unwind and share all of the recipes and food that I always meant to.  I’ll try to keep my whining to a minimum. xo

Lists of 5.

I always have the best intentions to blog more often, but they never come to fruition.  Rather than dwell on that, I’ll just say hello, happy 2015!  I’m a sucker for fun surveys and I liked this one a lot.

5 recipes I’ve tried lately

1. Puffles.  Life changing.  We made sweet (Nutella) and savory (Ham & cheese, and chipotle cheddar) and they were all fantastic. puffle

2. Rosemary Sea Salt Soft Pretzels (I made these for the super bowl and they were a hit)

pretzels

3. Braised Pork Belly (I added kale at the end, and used cider instead of beer.  I would cut the spice in half, but it was deeelicious)

4. Chicken Tikka Masala (subbed coconut milk for the heavy cream)

5. Moroccan Spiced Quinoa with Broccoli & Chickpeas (I like this better with cous cous, but it’s quick and hearty either way!)

5 things I am looking forward to

1. Our move to Norfolk, VA in April.  The temperature when I woke up this morning was –19, so I’m ready for some warmer temps.

2. Completing my practicum for my M.Ed during the month of March.  I will be working at a large medical center in the employee wellness department leading smoking cessation classes, shadowing for health coaching and assisting with focus groups.

3.  Eating dinner (ok, I look forward to this every night) tonight because I made corn chowder and it smells delicious.

4. My “food tour” of home before we move to Virginia.  On the list – Thai food, Indian food, brunch, and King Arthur Flour so far.

5. D’s command awards banquet at the end of March.

5 of my favorite exercises

1. Running!  #1 love

2. Body Pump.  This is my new “thing” and I am obsessed.

3. Yoga

4. Push-Ups

5. Spin Class

5 things on my wish list

1. A fully furnished house in Virginia (we had an arson incident 2 years ago and everything needed to be replaced).

2. A tortilla press (Darren got me one for Christmas, but it was only a 6” so we returned it.  We like to go big or go home with tortillas.)

3. A female black & white Newfoundland puppy!  Summit needs a girlfriend.

4. An air popper for popcorn to feed my popcorn addiction (and make me feel a little better when I pour melted butter over everything).

5. A day at the spa (complete with a massage, manicure, pedicure, waxing, hot tub, etc).

5 photos from my instagram feed

valentine Valentine’s from my school kiddos

 weather The really awesome weather we’ve had this week.

compass My newest Alex & Ani from work friends.

flashback Flashback – my brother and I in first and second grade.

summit The man and (one of) the dog.

Lately.

Lately…I’ve been busy.  I have this crazy urge to write and blog and share my life, but at the same time, I picture these wonderfully photographed recipes and life events for blog posts, and I have no time for that.  That being sad, I started this blog over a year ago and I have posted in it exactly 15 times.  Depressing.  I recently started using HabitList though, and one of my goals is to write one blog post a week!  So, what’s been going on since April…

  • Our “puppy” is huge.  Summit is 10 months old and weighs 110 pounds! 
  • I spent the summer working as a 1:1 aide for a little guy with autism, and then started at a new school in September.  I really like my new school so far, even though my commute and hours are longer.
  • When we weren’t working, we spent the summer jet skiing and playing out on the boat, having campfires, enjoying nights out at trivia and
  • I’ve been cooking a TON – I even rendered my own lard from pig fat!
  • I finished my spring classes (4), took summer classes (2) and am almost done with my fall classes (2).  Only 2 more classes & a practicum left – so exciting!
  • My husband got orders for April to his new aircraft carrier.

And probably countless other things.  There’s too much to document between then & now to bother using photos in this post, really, but I promise I’ll be back soon, with something more exciting to share or a delicious recipe!

My St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Party

Hey!  Happy Saturday!  I’m feeling pretty happy because I was supposed to babysit tonight (after graduate school most of the day) and they ended up rescheduling so I get my evening back.  Dinner is in the oven, I have no homework, and my husband isn’t home yet, so I thought I’d share about my St. Patrick’s Day dinner party.  (And then my husband came home and now it’s Sunday morning and I am finishing this post)

One of my 26 by 26 goals was to have a dinner party and the other was to make corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy’s day (because I do every year and I love it).  Two birds, one stone people.  We ended up only having my husband’s parents and grandparents over because other people canceled or couldn’t make it, but it was still fun.  Here’s what we had:

Bread:  I made Irish Oatmeal Soda Bread, which is one of my favorite easy quick breads, and I made it last year and Darren’s 82 year old grandfather was still talking about it in July.  In fact, there was nearly none left over, so I will probably make another batch soon – it’s so nice with breakfast too!

Main:  Obviously, corned beef and cabbage.  To make it, I put about 6 lbs of lean corned beef in a large stockpot covered with water.  I added peppercorns, bay leaves, salt and mustard powder (the corned beef I bought didn’t come with a spice packet, but if yours does, you can skip the additional seasoning).  Brought to a boil, then simmered about 2 1/2 hours.  I added about a pound of carrots, potatoes and onion and cooked for 30 minutes more.  Added chopped cabbage and cooked a few minutes more.  Scooped out veggies into a bowl, sliced the corned beef and feasted!

Dessert(s):  I made chocolate stout cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and they were a huge hit – my father in law ate 3.  Darren’s grandma brought this chocolate mint dessert (which I looooove), so that was exciting too,

image image (1)

Overall, it was a successful endeavor, though sort of a copout as far as dinner parties go!  Smile

Do you like to have people over for dinner?