Monday, June 30, 2014

Patriotic Wreath: Probably My Favorite Craft In the History of Ever

The military changes you.
At least it did me.

I don't come from a military family, and I don't suppose we were hugely patriotic- at least no more so than your average American out there.

I played a small role, I was never even deployed.
But I was part of something bigger than me.
I was part of a family.
I was part of America itself and the amazing group of men and women who protect Her.
It changes you.  It just does.

I don't look at flags the same way anymore.  It's not just an object.  It's such a graceful, stunning symbol of our nation.  It honestly makes my heart swell a little when I see the flag flying.  There's something about the red, white, and blue that inspires pride and reminds me what I was a part of.

I found this tutorial on Pinterest a few years ago for making a patriotic wreath and absolutely fell in love.
Like in love.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Amazing Muffin Cups with Zucchini Crust

This time last year I was swamped.
Trying to keep my head above the flood of zucchini my garden was throwing at me.

Boy am I glad I didn't plant four zucchini plants this year!  What was I thinking last year??

Anyway, even if you were smart enough to only plant one, you're most likely a little overwhelmed yourself right about now- those can be some CRAZY prolific plants.

There are only so many ways you can fix zucchini before you're just done, you know?

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to work Johnsonville again.  We were asked to make their popular recipe for Amazing Muffin Cups.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chicken Fajitas and A Silly Husband

Diets can be frustrating.
I've really found my groove with this low carb thing over the past couple of years, but I still have my moments where I would give ANYTHING for like, oh, I don't know, say maybe...an entire loaf of Hawaiian bread ravenously torn off in hunks until every last crumb has disappeared?  A whole box of cereal?  So much sushi that by the time I'm done I think my stomach will explode?

Yeah...carbs and I have issues...lol it's best for me to just stay away, and for the most part my body is happy and my mind is content.

My husband...well, he's been attempting low carb living for awhile now.  He's having a rough time of it.
Aaaand I get it.
It is SO frustrating when you're hungry, or you want to snack, and everything you want feels like it's off limits.
Bring on a big attack of hangriness!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spicy Peanut Sauce and Yummy Broccoli Slaw

I've been stuck on broccoli slaw lately- I love that it has a crispness that works well in slaws and a hardiness that stands up to cooking as well.  I've used it in everything from Broccoli and Ramen Noodle Salad to No-Noodle Pad Thai lately- it's safe to say it's having a moment in my kitchen that I don't see ending soon.
I had a couple of bags of it in my fridge that needed to be used before heading out of town to visit family and I turned to Pinterest for some ideas, stumbling across this recipe for Thai Broccoli Slaw Salad from Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing.

Super easy, just a package of broccoli slaw, honey roasted peanuts, and peanut sauce tossed together.

I got excited about this, not only because I could use up my broccoli slaw but because one of my favorite recipe creations in the history of ever is for my- rather boringly named- Surprising and Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Amazing Avocados

It's hard to believe, but my husband refuses to eat an avocado unless there is guacamole involved.
Now, don't get me wrong- I LOVE guacamole!

But it has so many other possibilities...
I talked before about avocado chicken salad, avocado drizzled with balsamic, and that refreshing salad with avocado and slow roasted tomato.

Well, this afternoon I found myself staring at 3 avocados sitting on my counter that were just perfectly ripe and I had no idea what in the world I was going to do with them.  

What is one to do with THREE avocados and no one to help eat them?  They're so creamy and delicious but they're also rich and I certainly couldn't see myself sitting down and polishing them all of by myself before they got too ripe.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Easy Family-Friendly Pasta Dinners

It seems like it's been forever since I've had a fun brand experience from Allrecipes to share with you (actually, I just went digging through posts, it's been since our last Johnsonville partnership in April!).  Last month our assignment was to help flesh out the Allrecipes Mexico site with photos of their recipes, but we came back strong this month with several fun brands.  This month, I got Barilla and was asked to make a couple of recipes from their collection on Allrecipes.com.
Click the picture to find the recipe at Allrecipes.com! 

I chose two that seemed fairly family-friendly because I have a pretty picky little 8 year-old to feed.

I went with Spaghetti with Broccoli Florets and Traditional Sauce and Elbows Mac and Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce.  They were both popular with my daughter, which is pretty impressive to say the least.

The sight of broccoli on a plate of spaghetti was enough to elicit an eyebrow raise and a "you think she's going to eat THAT??" from my husband the other night.
Surprise!  Not only did she eat it, she raved about it.
She ate every last bite and asked for more.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tastes Like Summer: Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad

I seriously can't believe I haven't written about this one before- it was one of the first recipes I had published over at Allrecipes.com!

Forgive the pic- it's an old one!
It's delicious, and- like several of the reviewers have mentioned- it's super easy to adapt to what you have on hand, as the vinaigrette does a lot of the work flavor-wise in this light recipe.

People who have posted reviews of my salad have done all kinds of things- boiled the corn instead of grilling, added all kinds of extra produce from avocado to zucchini, used cannelilni beans instead of black...it's SO easy to adapt!  And delicious- did I mention delicious?

Personally, I love to serve this with freshly grilled foods, it's a great potluck dish or quick and light side for BBQ.  It's also great with Mexican!