Honeysuckle Simple Syrup

Honeysuckle Simple Syrup

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.

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Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet

Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet

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.

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Coffee Caramel Creme Brulee

Coffee Caramel Creme Brulee
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.

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Coffee Granitas

Coffee Granita www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Burrata Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza

Burrata Prosciutto and Carmelized Onion Pizza www.bellalimento.com

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).

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Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach Shroom Lasagna

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.

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Strozzapreti with Burrata and Broccolini

Pasta with Burrata and Brocolini www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Coconut Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa

Coconut Crusted Chicken www.bellalimento.com
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.

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Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berry Compote

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berry Compote www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Front Door Decor

Front Door Decor www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Hummingbird Cocktail

Hummingbird Cocktail www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Grilled Cheese 101

Havarti Grilled Cheese www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Homemade Lemon Curd

Homemade Lemon Curd www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Houston: This Ain’t My First Rodeo

boots
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.

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Homemade Hot Sauce

Homemade Hot Sauce www.bellalimento.com

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.

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Inside and Out Mushroom Swiss Burger

Mushroom Swiss Burger www.bellalimento.com
Sometimes you just need a burger in your life. A big, fat, juicy mushroom Swiss burger to be exact. Now that spring has finally arrived we’ve busted out our leaf blower, cleaned off the deck and brought the grill back out. Now if it’s still too chilly in your neck of the woods you can always use a grill pan. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this cheesy shroomy goodness.

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Herb Cubes

Herb Cubes www.bellalimento.com

I’m kinda into herbs. ‘Tis true. I am quite fond of almost all of them. Fresh herbs bring so much to both dishes and drinks (basil lemonade – swoon). I grow as many varieties as I can during the spring and summer and soon enough I’ll have them coming out of my ears. I will have too much to keep up with even as much as I cook. But I’m okay with that. Some I dry for later and some I preserve in olive oil (herb cubes) for those cold months when they’re not readily available or cost an arm and a leg at the market for 2 sprigs. Gasp.

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Parmesan Scalloped Potato and Ham Stacks

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes and Ham www.bellalimento.com
There are very few people I know that don’t like scalloped potatoes (and let’s just say we’re not close). Creamy soft potatoes swimming in a cheese sauce. Pass me the pan people. Carbs I love them. What can I say. I could eat them every day. Of course I’d probably have to eat them while walking on a treadmill if I did. Okay scratch that walking on a treadmill while eating is really not advisable, don’t ask me how I know. Sigh. 

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Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze

Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze www.bellalimento.com

A good glaze is a like a good black dress for food. When tasked with whether or not to glaze I say glaze away.  Next weekend is Easter and hams will be gracing tables near and far. Ham is what most people think of first when they hear glaze but it’s great with chicken too. This is our classic go to glaze, brown sugar mustard. You can’t go wrong with this flavor combination. We however throw a little something something in for extra measure. Sweet heat if you will.

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Italian Steak with Grilled Radicchio Salad

Italian Steak with Grilled Radicchio Salad www.bellalimento.com

Would you be amazed to know that I had everything delivered to my door to make this incredibly tasty Italian Steak with Grilled Radicchio Salad. Each ingredient pre-portioned (no measuring people). The delivery box also included an 8 x 10 recipe card complete with step by step photographs with clear and concise cooking directions, cooking tips and glossary of terms. Pretty much every thing is done for you but the cooking and the dishes. I’d say that’s pretty amazing and that I’m sorry I didn’t think of this incredible service myself.

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