Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ice Cream Contests and Cherry Pie

So, if you're keeping track, I've made something like five different kinds of ice cream this summer- and June isn't even over yet.

I'm actually at the point where I can't make any more until my family finishes off what I've already made because there just isn't room in the freezer anymore.

This month the Allrecipes Allstars were challenged to create a fun, interesting new flavor of ice cream- and my goodness did they rise to the challenge!  Brian came up with Raspotle Sorbet, Nikki created a number of fun varieties like Sriracha Lime Ice Cream, and Pat went another interesting direction with Earl Grey Tea and Lime Ice Pops.

I certainly have some creative fellow Allstars!

I threw my hat in the ring with a new ice cream creation too- though mine wasn't quite as out there as flavor profiles go.

Me?  Well I created this recipe: Cherry Pie à la Mode Ice Cream.
Doesn't sound too weird, does it?

It's not.  Lets be honest.
Flavor-wise at least.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lemon Ice Cream and Summer Obsessions

I have been going a little ice cream crazy lately.
Ok...maybe not just a little.  At this moment I have Lavender Honey, Banana Pudding, Rocky Road, Cherry Pie à la Mode, and this Lemon ice cream in my freezer...and I have more cream in the fridge just begging to be used.

I'm on a roll, guys.
I have mastered the art of tempering eggs for custard bases and have moved on to experimenting with my own recipes.

I have way more ice cream than my family can possibly eat in that freezer already!
It's just so much fun to play around with these recipes.

I've always wanted to try a lemon ice cream so when I saw this recipe I knew that I was going to have to give it a whirl- especially since I already had all of the ingredients on hand.
Once I realized that there was just no saying "no" to this recipe!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Easy Flautas and Flavorful Chicken

I warned you already that I had a few recipes to share with terrible pictures- sorry about that.

Every once in a while when that happens I find myself wondering if I should even bother posting about some great recipe that I've come across- I just can't stand the thought of not sharing a wonderful recipe just because I didn't get an equally wonderful photo.

This time around I'm wrapping up the fried recipes.  Remember when I said I'd made several fried things the other day while I had the oil out?

I made the Beef and Bean Chimichangas, the Deep Fried Jalapeño Slices, and I finished things off with these Easy Chicken Flautas.

In true Nora fashion, I couldn't resist the opportunity to up the flavor profile in this one just a touch, so rather than starting with plain cooked chicken I threw a couple of chicken breasts in the crockpot and covered them with salsa.  After cooking on low overnight they really don't even take any effort to shred since they're so moist and falling apart- running a fork through them just a little is enough to break them apart into shreds.  I drained off most of the excess liquid but kept all of the peppers and onions from the salsa mixed in with my chicken.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Delicious Fried Foods and Bad Photos

So, I have something to apologize for- I have several recipes to share with you that have less-than-stellar pictures to go with them.

Sorry about that.

Dinner was ready, the lighting wasn't great, and my family was hungry so I rushed through them.


I can be a bit of a perfectionist about things sometimes and it really irks me to share pictures that stink.

Just rest assured that the recipes they accompany do not stink.
In fact, they're pretty wonderful.

So just hang in there with me for a few posts, ok?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Beef and Bean Chimichangas and Successful Dinners

Mexican food tends to be a go-to in our home.
First of all, there's a good chance we have all of the ingredients on hand- canned beans I can doctor, rice, tortillas, beef or chicken in the freezer, etc.

At the very least, I've always got the basics, which makes for a quick and easy dinner when I'm drawing a blank at the end of the day.

Recently, I was having one of those moments where the day was coming to a close and I simply had no idea what I was going to throw together for dinner.  I could have just thrown all of the ingredients on the counter and proclaimed it taco night, but I felt like making something new.  It was then that I came across this recipe for Beef and Bean Chimichangas and decided to give it a go.

Now...this recipe is supposed to be somewhat healthy.  Healthy...ish?
However, despite my best intentions, I ended up frying dinner.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sweet and Spicy Chicken and More Fun Grilling

Two years ago I threw my husband a luau-themed birthday celebration.
It was kind of, well, amazing.

It wasn't big or anything, just wonderful family that came to visit- but it was a bit of a milestone birthday and I wanted to make sure that we did something special to celebrate.

I was, however, at a loss.
I seriously had no idea how to make this big day special for him in a way that he would like.

I don't know exactly when the Hawaiian theme idea struck me, but it was after months and months of stressing over what I was going to do.  I'm not good at this stuff.  I really wish I was, it seems like one of those things most women are born with.

All I know is, somewhere along the line as his big day approached the idea struck me, I deemed it brilliant, and I ran with it.

I pretty much bought Party City out of tropical decor.
I bought him a grass skirt, Hawaiian shirt, and coconut bra (yes, you read that correctly).
I made a very beach-y playlist on Apple Music.
I created a super tropical menu.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Banana Pudding Ice Cream and Underrated Desserts

I think pudding is a highly underrated food.

Has there ever been a time when downing a spoonful of that cool, creamy, concoction didn't make you happy?
I think not.

Chocolate pudding, pistachio pudding, tapioca pudding- all excellent.
Even custard.  Oh my do I miss that Jell-O brand custard I grew with!
I may have overindulged in that particular treat just a wee bit when I was pregnant with my son.  :-)

Banana pudding, though- that's something special.
While all of the other puddings are generally served with little fanfare, remaining largely under-appreciated in the world of desserts, banana pudding has managed to escape a similar fate.

No, banana pudding brings to mind recollections of family meals and happy times.  Nilla wafers and whipped cream.  Sometimes soft and sweet slices of banana- though you can keep those for yourself.
I'll stick with the pudding and Nilla wafers.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Easy Meals and Remembering to Plan

I often don't think to menu plan.  More often than not I find myself on a giant trip to the store- often rushed and frantically crammed in between the end of class and picking kids up from school- restocking things I need and buying whatever meats happen to be on sale that week and then backtracking from there to figure out what I can make with them once I get home.

The problem with that is that while it's great to have a freezer full of meat I often find myself having to make multiple small trips to the store for whatever other ingredients I need to go with it.

Do you ever feel like you live at the grocery store?
I do.  I'm there way too often.  They know me.

When I actually stop to think ahead and plan out menus and shopping lists life gets much easier.  I may not know exactly what I'm making each night but I do have a set of recipes for the week to choose from and already know that all of my ingredients are on hand.  I should really do that more often than I do!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Must Make Marinades and Summer Meals

Generally when we grill at our house we keep the meat fairly basic: Santa Maria style tri-tip, pork loin, link sausage.  Nothing too weird.  The meat is really for my family anyway so I tend to spare it from my ceaseless attempts at new recipes and just leave it the way I know they like it.  I get to play with the sides, and that's usually enough for me.

Sometimes, though...I like to mix it up.

When I told my husband about the marinades I had our meats soaking in the other day I was fully prepared to get a little push-back.
But I didn't.  Unexpected, but nice!

In addition to that delicious Chicken Club Pasta Salad, I marinated Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mango Glaze (more on that soon!) and this Scrumptious Korean Steak.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sunny Days and Loaded Salads

There's something about warm, beautiful weather that makes me want to live outside.
I want to soak up the sun, bask in it, feel it warming my face and arms.

I do not mind the heat.  Not one bit.
I absolutely drool over those beautiful, built-in outdoor kitchens one encounters on Pinterest and dream of warm days spent in outdoor living spaces.
One day.

While I don't have my dreamy outdoor kitchen situation quite yet (lets get me through school before we jump into another house- at least that's what I keep telling my husband...) I am definitely all for grilling out and fun summer-worthy meals as often as possible when it's as beautiful out as it has been lately.

After church on Sunday we came home and I got to work prepping side dishes while my husband got the grill going for the meat I had marinating.

One might think I get tired of trying new salad recipes.
One would be wrong.  :-)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Lavender Honey Ice Cream and Perfect Summer Desserts

The first time I drove over the mountains from Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina it felt like I'd come home.  It was more like what I'd left behind in California than anything I'd experienced in Mississippi or Tennessee.  Quirky, funky, foodie-filled, artsy.

Very Nora.

I could take a deep, mountain air-filled breath and feel my whole body relax in that same way it does when you slip into your pj pants and collapse on the couch at the end of the day.
It felt comfortable.

My husband and I quickly made it our weekend getaway destination when we had a day or two away from the kids.  We wandered the meandering aisles and cozy spaces of Battery Park Book Exchange, we followed very Nora-ish type lunches with grown-up beverages and giddily strolled the art at Woolworth Walk and scooped up fun hats and silly jewelry from cute stores.

Ok...all of that was definitely me enjoying Asheville, but my husband was generally a good sport about tagging along on my adventures as long as there was the promise of good food and adult beverages.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Warm Days and Fun Salads

I can't overstate the fact that I love side dishes.
So much.

Bring on that (often) carb-y goodness!
I want the pasta salads, the potato salads, and the grain salads.
I want the beans, the rolls, and everything else that you can fit on my plate.

My family might be dreaming of all of the grilled meats that summer barbecues bring, but me?

I don't remember what initially drew my attention to this recipe, but as soon as I saw it I knew that I needed to make it.  It's absolutely perfect for warm summer days, so light and refreshing.  In all honestly I had it for lunch yesterday, so it's definitely capable of holding it's own as a meal in and of itself, however I think it would also hold up to some grilled chicken or salmon if you don't have vegetarian leanings.