Summer is winding down. I’m not sure I’m ready to let it go yet though. I love the warm weather, riding around with the top down music blaring (yes I’m that girl. I do however turn it down at stoplights because otherwise it’s just obnoxious), long sunny days, flip flops, sun kissed skin, and the smell of food cooking on the grill. Pretty soon I’ll have to default to my grill pan but until then we’re going to keep the cover off our grill and the charcoal stocked. In fact (for those of us living in the states) I’m betting that a lot of you (us included) will be firing up your grills today and tomorrow to celebrate Labor Day. Work hard and play hard right? Right.
I think from now on I might actually put candied bacon on everything. It’s so good it’s should probably be illegal. So good I’m pretty much willing to put up with the inevitable sticky fingers that come with. A word to the wise, you’ll want to wait until your newly candied bacon is cooled before you go diving into a slice. Let’s just say I learned the hard way and I may or may not be speaking with a lisp today because my tongue is burned. Silver lining the cool panna cotta helped.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is my FAVORITE dish on the planet. Hands down. It’s not even close. Every single time you ask, that’s the answer you’re going to get. I do love food (hello food blogger) so naturally there are MANY MANY foods that I love. Dishes that make me swoon practically lose my balance fall off my chair and even roll my eyes back into my head but there’s only one that’s always twisted around the top of my trophy fork and that’s Carbonara. It’s not a complicated dish to make but it does take a little finesse. It’s about the timing and this isn’t a meal that you step away from when it’s done. It’s meant to be eaten straight away. Which for someone who doesn’t like to wait on much, is a very very good thing.
Next to pasta the most consumed food in our house is probably rice. We keep a variety on hand because you know how much we like options around bell’alimento land. White, Basamati, Jasmine, Yellow. You get the picture. We like to be prepared. That’s the girl scout in me. We didn’t even cover the fact that rice is incredibly versatile and can be used in a plethora of cuisines. Extra points for that (and for using the word plethora – too bad we’re not playing scrabble). It’s also kid friendly.
We’re celebrating today. It’s not any particular milestone or event we just felt like celebrating. Happy Monday. Happy End of Summer. Happy almost Labor Day. Happy Un-Birthday. Happy Happy Happy. Do you have that song in your head now. It’s kind of addictive. Know what other song is addictive? Kenny Chesney’s new one “American Kids”. That my friends might be my new favorite KC song. It’s snappy, and sassy. Kind of like me. Yes, since I’ve been developing recipes for Kenny Chesney’s Rum Company – Blue Chair Bay Rum, over the past few months we’ve developed this friendship (even if it’s only in my head but whatever just roll with it).
Next week it’s back to school for my kids. I! Am! Thrilled! You can probably tell by the exclamation marks. It’s been a long summer people. No judging. What I’m not looking forward to is waking up early after a summer of lazy mornings. I’m not a morning person. Never have been and I’m thinking that’s probably never going to change. Thank goodness for coffee is all I can say. For me though, it’s important to get the kids off with a full belly. This biscuits and sausage gravy is a shortcut breakfast that can be prepped the night before and then just heated up in the morning. That’s definitely a good thing.
I seem to be on a sweet tooth tare these days. No Bake Nutella Cheesecake. Espresso Ice Cream, Sweet Corn Ice and Blackberry Ice Cream and the like. Which is probably why I’m having to get reacquainted with my treadmill. It’s amazing how much reading and catching up on my shows I can do via my Kindle while I’m logging the miles. I’m a multi tasker what can I say. It’s also where I can dream about all those desserts I want to whip up. I make myself feel a whole better about inhaling eating them when they’re in individual portions. Totally rational right.
I love a good cheesecake as much as the next person. Let’s be honest though, sometimes I just don’t have time to bake one, wait for it to cool and then chill it down. That’s exhausting just to think about. Not that it’s not worth it, it is, but sometimes a girl needs a break. A no bake break that is. Can I get an amen? I’ve been feeling a little disappointed in myself that I haven’t shared a Nutella recipe with y’all since I don’t know when (I know, I know, for shame). I’m rectifying that today. Grab your forks friends, I think you’re going to love this one as much as we did.
It’s back to school month around our neck of the woods !!! Yes I used three exclamation marks. I’m excited. The kids, not so much. They do however get excited about back to school shopping. I must admit I kinda get going myself about calendars, pencils, pens and the like. I’m old school in that way. I love to actually WRITE things in my calendar. As much as I love technology (and I really really do as my iphone is practically attached to my hip) there’s just something about putting pen (ehem or pencils) to paper.
I know what you’re thinking CORN ICE CREAM. Has she lost her ever loving mind? No (well maybe summer is getting to me if we’re going to be completely honest). Sweet Corn Ice Cream it’s a real thing. Of course I didn’t know this was a thing myself until last year when I walked into the newly opened Jeni’s in Nashville TN. I saw it on the massive chalkboard amongst a sea of other delectable flavors and knew I needed to try it. I’m always up for trying somewhat off the wall flavor combinations. How are you ever go to know if you like something if not. Right? Right.
Last week I was in the Florida Keys (if you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you would have seen some of the aca-awesomness, and if you’re not, just why? Go ahead and fix that now. Okay? Okay.) I almost didn’t come home. Not even going to pretend that it was anything short of amazing. The food, the people the WATER. It’s ridiculous. I honestly bought an artisan made necklace off a gallery owner’s neck because it reminded me of the water. I had to have it, and this cocktail that I discovered while there.
Coffee, it pretty much gets me through my day (well that and wine but we’re talking about coffee today). You all know this. It isn’t a secret. I’m coo coo for coffee. That would make an awesome t-shirt wouldn’t it. I should look into that. Naturally when I found out that my birth month JULY was National Ice Cream Month you knew my first flavor to churn out would be a highly caffeinated perfect espresso roast ice cream. It’s pretty much the perfect way to enjoy coffee in the summer time. As much as I love ICED COFFEE this is better. Don’t hate.
We’re thinking pink in more ways than one today. I’m proud to be able to share with you about the 1,000 Cooks for the Cure program. This July, Susan G. Komen® and KitchenAid are partnering again for 1,000 Cooks for the Cure, a program that aims to enlist 1,000 cooks from the U.S. to host a get-together with friends, family or colleagues anytime from July 18-27, 2014. In lieu of a host gift, guests are encouraged to bring a donation in any amount to support the fight against breast cancer.
I’ve had a love affair with pasta for as long as I can remember. Pasta is pure comfort for me, it’s my culinary happy place. Making, eating, sharing it with others it’s what I crave. I spent my formative years in Northern Italy. It’s where I learned how to drive a Vespa, how to navigate trains and buses, how to speak like a native, how to say more with my hands without words than I ever imagined possible and very high on the list how to properly cook pasta.
Grab your polka dot straws and pucker up princess. We’re serving up a pitcher of luscious lemonade today. Not your classic either. This is not your Grandma’s lemonade. Although I do think my Grandma would have loved this version. Lemonade makes me think of summer time, hot sweltering days, riding bicycles and yes lemonade stands. I hosted many a stand in my time growing up. I’m not sure I ever made much money other than enough to buy a pack of hubba bubba (which was and still is the bomb diggity of bubble gum) but it sure was a good time. I thank my Mom for fostering my entrepreneurial spirit. It’s one I don’t think I’ve ever grown out of.
Slip and slides were a part of my childhood. Every summer we’d go through several of them. We were rough and tough and usually after a few days of hard core competition they were torn to shreds. I was a sparkly tom boy (if that’s even a thing). We had the best time slipping and sliding all across the yard. Seeing who could go the fastest and the furthest. More times than not I came out the winner. I had a mean competitive streak and would practice my sliding until I was a raisin. Practice pays off.
My eggplant is finally starting to come into my garden. Which means you’ll be seeing MANY more eggplant recipes here on the blog while our garden is cranking them out. I hope you like eggplant as much as I do. If not, don’t tell me because then I’d have to try and convince you what you’re missing out on and I’m stubborn and persistent and won’t let it go. Now you know. Eggplant Parmesan is a classic. What’s not to love about eggplant, homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Exactly. The traditional method can be a little heavy so we’ve taken the liberty of lightening it up a bit. Which means I can eat more. Win win. I think you’re going to go ga ga over these stacks.
Does anyone else think of fencing when there are kebabs on the menu? No, just me. Okay then. Glad we got that out of the way. I like kebabs. They’re fun to say, and better yet fun to eat. You can have an entire meal on a stick. You know my aversion to dishes loving self would be all over that. Yep yep.
I had my fair share of frozen banana daiquiri’s on my honeymoon in Jamaica (we won’t discuss how many years ago that was let’s just say I’m into the good gift numbers). Brought over by cabana boys to the beach, to the pool, to the lobby, you name it. They were so polite it would have been rude to have not accepted them right? Right. They were the best banana daiquiris I’d ever tasted. I’m not sure why I’d never tried to recreate them before now but I’m glad I finally did. What made me try after all those years? A beautiful bottle of banana rum.
I hope you’re ready for one pretty awesome NO BAKE dessert. Yes I said no baking and or cooking for that matter. Well unless you count melting in the microwave but let’s not split hairs about that when we have such a glorious and decadent dessert to dwell on. A chocolate pudding concoction that will have you making noises when you eat it. Yep yep. It’s silky, sweet (thanks to a little maple syrup) and smooth and just when you think it couldn’t get any better you feel that slight tingle and tickle of heat. Pure bliss.