Jams, jelly or preserves? I’m a preserves kinda girl through and through. I like a little texture going on. Plus it’s less work. Truth. Strawberry is my preserve poison of choice. It’s what I gravitate to, well that and Fig Preserves, which is also the bomb diggity. Lately I’ve been on the strawberry rhubarb bandwagon. Adding the rhubarb to the mix adds another dimension, it takes it from casual sundress to cocktail dress but in the culinary sense. This preserve is giving my old favorite a run for it’s pole position in my pantry.
Now that the weather is warm we spend a lot of time on our deck, which is located directly off our kitchen and faces our backyard. We’re fortunate to have a decent size deck that houses our container garden, a sitting area plus a dining table with umbrella and chairs. When the weather permits, we like to enjoy our family meals on the deck as well as entertain in this space. The deck overlooks our backyard which is heavily wooded and I can pretend that I’m in a tree house. One that just so happens to have plumbing. I’m not really the camping type, have I mentioned that?
My littles get out of school NEXT week. I’m having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that it’s already JUNE and on top of that it is the end of school year. Pass the wine. While I will enjoy the laid back slow mornings, because y’all know that I am not, nor will I ever be a morning person (my dream of owning a farm complete with a big green tractor is held up because of this and okay a big fat down payment as well) I’m dreading hearing the “I’m BORED” or “What’s there to eat” every two seconds. Maybe it’s just my kids? Time to start cranking out the homemade snacks.
A few weeks ago we got our started our container using Miracle-Gro Gro-Ables. Gro-ables are seed pods that provide an ideal growing environment for your seed. Each ready-to-plant seed pod contains growing materials, plant food and a specially selected seed from one of 17 different varieties including basil, spinach, cilantro, dill, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and more. All you need to do is plant your seed, water and enjoy watching it grow into something greater. Easy right?
If you were to ask me to describe summer in a glass I would give you a sip of this cocktail. It screams summer. This cocktail reminds me of the spiked watermelon that we used to enjoy during our college days except now I can enjoy it in a glass. Because of course we’re way more refined. That’s it. We’ve also upped the ooh and ah factor by adding our HOMEMADE HONEYSUCKLE SIMPLE SYRUP. You’re going to want to keep this handy all summer long. You’ll find yourself using this simple syrup in all types of summer sippers (that can be spiked or not.) Sweet tea flavored with Honeysuckle anyone?
Work is getting harder and harder to focus on now that it’s SUNNY outside. Is anyone else having that problem? I believe I have a serious case of spring fever. By the time noon rolls around all I want to do is jump in my beetle, drop the top and go joy riding. Back roads, cow pastures (“If I’m gonna hit a traffic jam, well it better be a tractor man”) blue skies, hair in the wind equals happiness. Thank goodness I get good gas mileage because this is my most every afternoon lately. I also now am sporting quite the farmer’s tan. Be jealous. It’s hawt. LOL.
One bite of this balsamic roasted strawberry and rhubarb sorbet and I think you’ll agree that your spring and summer just got a whole lot zesty and zippier. If you’ve never tried roasted strawberries I’m going to have to insist that you do (in the non pushiest way possible of course). If you have then you know how absolutely intoxicating the berries are when they’ve been hit with that low and slow heat. I find that to be true of most things that go through the roasting process. In short, roasting rocks and you should and simply must try it.
Creme Brulee is one of my half dozen go to desserts (and my second favorite all time dessert next to Tiramisu). There’s a reason it’s on my short go to list. Besides being spoon licking good, It’s EASY. Yes it may sound all fancy schmancy (despite it’s literal translation of burnt cream) but it doesn’t require any special equipment. You of course CAN use a blow torch which is fun and all but you honestly don’t have to have one. You can use your broiler in a pinch.
I think spring made a guest appearance and then summer blazed in and sent her two stepping. Blazing as in it’s already been in the 90′s in my neck of the Southern woods. Which means, if there isn’t rain coming down, my rag top is down, shades are on and my crazy convertible hair (how do “those” girls keep perfect convertible hair anyway?) is flying all over the place. When I get home I’m always looking for something COLD to enjoy. Like a granita. A caffeinated coffee granita tops that list. What’a granita you ask? It’s pretty much an adult version of a sno-cone. They’re super easy to make and that gives you an excuse (as if we need one) to enjoy coffee without the heat.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going on a media trip to Vidalia, Georgia. Being a Georgia Peach myself I was naturally over the moon excited about seeing these sweet spheres in their natural habitat. One of the things I love about my job is visiting farms, getting to know the actual farmers and seeing how much love and attention goes into growing, harvesting and packaging the food that ends up in our grocery bags and on our kitchen tables (or breakfast bar because yeah sometimes the table is covered in photography equipment. It happens).
I kinda have a thing with lasagna. Not going to lie. I love it. It’s a classic and there’s a reason things become classics. They’re GOOD. Alright better than good. They’re G-R-E-A-T. Now Tony Tiger is swimming around in my my head and I’m sure in yours as well. You’re welcome. I make my Lasagna alla Bolognese in the fall and winter. It’s heavy, rich and begs to be made during colder weather when I need to be warmed up from my head to my toes. That doesn’t mean I don’t crave lasagna in the warmer months. I do. I just go a little different route.
I honestly can not fathom how anyone could ever get bored with pasta. Ever. The possibilities are endless. ENDLESS. Take this dish for instance, it was one of my clean out the fridge dinners. I picked up some gorgeous broccolini and burrata from Trader Joe’s earlier this week (when I was on my monthly gourmet jelly bean run – have you had them? oh my GAWsh) and cherry tomatoes from my local farm stands (which I do until my garden starts pumping them out, come on garden!). I knew those would make an excellent quick and healthy dinner so off to the dinner races we went.
My kids absolutely adore chicken tenders. They would eat them every day of the week if I would let them. Typically fried, chicken tenders although tasty (why are fried foods so good? Sigh.) aren’t the healthiest. We’ve hacked that traditional fried recipe and turned it into a healthier BAKED gluten free version that’s turned into a family favorite. We’re thinking it’s going to be one of your favorites as well. Yes we hacked a recipe. What the heck is a What the Hack? We’ve teamed up with Udi’s to share about their Udi’s Hackathon Challenge.
If you’re looking for a summer stunner to complete your meal (or just because you’re craving dessert) this is it. It’s a show stopper and best of all it doesn’t take too much effort to pull together. A Pavlova is simply a fancy name for a meringue based dessert. We’re not going to get into who came up with the dessert because well I don’t want to open that can of worms. Let’s just say thank you that it does exist and we can make and enjoy it. Okay.
It is finally spring! I can’t tell you how excited I am for sunshine, my garden and flowers! I’ve slowly been spring cleaning the inside of our house and now it’s time to focus on the outside. My front yard is let’s just say very natural. Our lot is extremely shady due to the amount of trees (practically a forest) we have. Trees mean lots of leaves to rake and limbs to pick up. On top of the piles of leaves and limbs, we also many many LARGE rocks (boulder size) peppered throughout the front yard. I’m thinking they were too large to move when the lot was being graded and someone thought they looked good (read not me). Sadly because of the shade we don’t have a ton of grass in the front yard besides a small patch by the mailbox. Cutting down trees (to allow more sunshine) is expensive so we’re looking into other ways to add pops of color and improve our curb appeal.
I can assure you that is a cocktail and not a glass of water. Although you might think you’re drinking flavored water because The Hummingbird is a smooth sexy sneaky little cocktail that’s made with three little ingredients: St Germain, Prosecco and Club Soda. I’m not sure how many years ago I was introduced to St Germain, because whenever I try to recall years I’m always wrong (my friends will attest to this). So we’ll just say 4 for the sake of argument.
Bread. Butter. Cheese. 3 simple ingredients come together to make this traditional sandwich that everyone knows, love and craves. Yes we CRAVE it! We have a few tips and tricks to help you get the best basic grilled cheese sandwich possible. For us it starts from the moment you bite into the sandwich. What we look for is CRUNCH. You need some texture (no one like soppy bread). Here is where the bread and butter comes in.
Pucker up! I hope you like lemons as much as I do. I’m a lemon head. Always have been. In fact, I was THAT kid that loved to eat lemons. I think my Dad probably thought it would be funny to watch a toddler try and eat a lemon slice and then was surprised when I didn’t spit it out and continued to eat it like it was candy (and yes lemon heads are high on movie candy list). If it has lemon in it I’m hoping on board the tart train. Period.
This usually surprises most people that don’t know me well, I’m a HUGE professional bull riding fan. It’s the truth. Okay fan really doesn’t describe how into it I am. I’m slightly obsessed. There I said it. I watch it just about every time it’s broadcast on television and I do my best to get to at least one live event every year. If you haven’t you really should. Good times people. Really good times. Not kidding. Whenever I get a chance to see bull riding I’m in. Period.
Homemade hot sauce is a good thing. Whether you like yours mild, medium or wild you can make it so your personal heat level is a happy camper. If you’re thinking it’s difficult, you’d be wrong. Ours comes together lickety split. It’s base is made from our OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES and home grown peppers. The hardest part about this recipe will be deciding what you’d like to use it on first. Hot sauce is a multi purpose condiment. It’s great on sandwiches, meats, veggies, eggs, and just about anything else you can think of. We can’t think of much it’s not good on to be honest.