May 28, 2015

moroccan bean salad


Salads, salads, everywhere!  There is something about summer, sunshine, and salads... it's like snow and hot cocoa... they just go together.  To end this week, here is another salad staple at picnics and cookouts, and since this has been a week full of family cookouts and friends gathering around the grill, here is a delicious version that you are going to love.  The most important part of a bean salad is to vary the texture and have plenty of flavor.  No one wants a bowl of mush!

The most standard bean salad uses vinegar, but here is a version using olive oil and spices.  You will also have to decide between canned beans and cooking your own.  I always prefer to cook my own for a couple of reasons.  One, being that they are healthier, BPA free, and are not sitting in a liquid with preservatives.  Second, they tend to be less mushy because you control how long they cook and they are just fresher.  However, sometimes... there just isn't time and you have to buy them canned.  I totally get it!

May 26, 2015

tarragon potato salad


Everyone loves potato salad.  It is one of those dishes that comes standard at cookouts and family picnics.  There are so many different versions of this dish that I won't even try and count!  This just happens to be one of my favorites and I will add that my husband agreed (which says a lot because his mom makes an amazing potato salad).  

AND... drum roll please... we are scheduled to close on our new house this Friday!  Yay!!  Just in time for the kids to get out of school and summer to begin!!  I will say that the past month, yes I said that correctly... MONTH since we have lived in our home, has given me a huge heaping dose of perspective.  The next time I feel like complaining about something, whether it be a wall color I want to change, a counter top I would like to replace, or that vase that I "need" to buy, I hope to feel just a bit more content with what I have.  It doesn't really matter if some dirt gets tracked in or there are a few dirty dishes in the sink, because I have a house... with a kitchen... that has everything I need...

May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day


"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."  John 15:13

May 23, 2015

simple kale salad


I love kale and this salad is delicious!!  For being so simple the flavor is anything but, with the sweetness from the currents, nuttiness from the pine nuts and parmesan, and then you add the lemon juice!  Amazing.  I know some people have put off trying it or aren't quite as "on board" with it as I am, but I actually prefer it to normal lettuce.  I think it holds it's texture much better, without becoming soggy and has great flavor.  I often use it instead of lettuce and here is another reason why....

Kale, also known as a super food, is rich in potassium, folate, vitamin C, and phytochemicals.  It is one of the many cruciferous vegetables (in the same family as broccoli and cabbage) which has been shown to fight cancer with it's complex chemical composition. 

See... it doesn't get any better!:)

May 20, 2015

pav bhaji (vegetable stew) with naan


This Indian stew is amazing!  Pav bhaji is a mish mash of vegetables that is simmered in onion and tomato sauce and spiked with a variety of spices.  This version is a bit healthier than the traditional one, replacing the butter with olive oil.  It is hearty and full of so many different vegetables that you won't even miss the meat, however if you would like to add some... lamb or chicken would be perfect.  The recipe serves more than usual, but I wanted the leftovers and it just made things easier with some of the veggies like the cauliflower. 

Prep is important, because once you start cooking the recipe moves quickly, so make sure that you have everything chopped and diced before beginning.

May 16, 2015

southwestern pasta salad


I don't know about the weather where you live, but the weather here couldn't be any more perfect.  It's sunny, 75 degrees, and a slight breeze.  Perfect for grilling out with family and friends!  Here is a pasta salad that will compliment any meat or seafood, but can also stand alone as a vegetarian entree. 

Since I don't have a whole kitchen full of gadgets and tools I needed something that not only came together quickly, since I was short on time, but also something simple.  This pasta can actually be made even simpler with canned beans and frozen corn, but if I have the time I prefer fresh.  If you have a busy evening of ball games or meetings, make this ahead of time and pop it in the fridge.  Then when you get home... dinner is ready!:)

May 14, 2015

What's for dinner...

Tonight is our last night in the hotel... unfortunately it's not because we are moving into our house.  One of our wonderful friends has a great-aunt that is in Florida which equals empty house.  So, we will be spending the next two weeks in a house before we closing on our new home.  On a positive note... it has a back yard (which equals happy dog) and is only 10 minutes from school verses the 40 minutes we are currently driving (which equals happy me and happy husband).

For dinner I will be making cold sesame noodles and vegetables with peanut sauce.  My favorite part is that I can make it while the kids get their homework done, stick it in the fridge, and then after we all go swimming... dinner is ready.  This quick and easy, cold noodle dish is perfect after a day in the pool, summer picnic, or dinner on the patio.  It goes great with grilled chicken or can be eaten as a vegetarian main dish.

May 11, 2015

grilled mexican corn on the cob


I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!  Mine consisted of pool time, grilling, reading, relaxing, etc. etc. etc.  It was amazing.  As you can tell it was also delicious! 

This corn is similar to what you would get from the food trucks in Mexico and perfect to serve alongside just about anything, but I love it especially with BBQ.  Corn on the cob doesn't have to just be butter and salt and after eating this... you probably won't do it the same again!

BBQ rub


In the south, it is quite daring to add anything "BBQ" to my blog.  Down here in Georgia, where people are serious about their BBQ, you'll find some of the best around.  Like mind blowing, didn't know it existed while in Indiana, good!

So as daunting as it is... here is a rub recipe.  I used to think BBQ meant slather the sauce on and then grill it.  I know some of you are laughing and some of you are probably thinking "yeah... so... that's what I do".  However, the sauce will cause the meat to burn before it's cooked and also not penetrate the meat to season it.  So... grill it with a dry rub and then add the sauce at the end... if you must!:)  This recipe is by far better than any of the bottled stuff at the grocery store!     

May 07, 2015

curried sweet potato and rice skillet


My favorite part of this skillet is the "cover it and leave it" part.  So, instead of being busy in the kitchen, like I usually am, I was able to practice my long division with my daughter.;)  I can tell you that being busy in the kitchen might be more fun than math (at least for me), but I'd always take time with her over the "busyness".

Hotel life... oh where to begin... let's just say that I feel sorry for the people below us!  My son, who is a active 7 year-old, hasn't grasped the fact that people live below us and he can't jump, run, stomp, etc.  I think you get the picture.  I must say 100 times a day "stop jumping/stomping/running"!:)  Silly boys... so much energy.  I still haven't gotten used to the fact that I can't just send him outside with his younger sister, while the older one does her homework.  Unfortunately our closing date keeps getting pushed back...wish me luck...

May 06, 2015

chocolate coconut bars


I made these bars a couple of months ago with two of my favorite things... chocolate and coconut.  If that's all I said, I think you'd get the picture.  These bars are similar to Hello Dolly Bars, a southern dessert, that may sound familiar.  To put it simply... they are amazing.  Straight from the oven they are warm, gooey, and have toasted coconut on top.  Are you heading to your kitchen yet?

When my husband ask me to make a dessert for a meeting I replied, "of course" after about 30 seconds, knowing that it would give me an excuse to make these bars.  I have been eyeing them for some time, but needed an excuse, because if they were just sitting around my kitchen I would eat a couple... or a lot of them!  Let's be honest.

May 03, 2015

grilled steak and peach salad


So, staying in a hotel is an odd combination of feelings.  On one hand it feels like vacation and is exciting, but on the other you aren't on vacation and can't live like you are (going out to eat, shopping, eating more dessert than usual ;), staying up late, etc. you get the idea!).

I will say, however, that it has been a nice break from the everyday "tasks" that keep us all busy.  You know the list:  laundry, organizing, cleaning, decorating, etc.  Last night as a family we played tag on one of our hotel's green spaces (yes, there were some people peeking out that probably thought we had lost our minds) and had so much fun!  Why?  Probably because the usual to-do's aren't there to keep us occupied.  So, even while we know all the work we have ahead of us in a few weeks, I am thankful for this time to relax and have fun.

This salad is unbelievable!  The flavors come together beautifully and the peach is the "cherry on top".  Perfect for any summer day or evening when grilling is the plan.  Your time in the kitchen is minimal, letting you also have fun outside!:)