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Back to School Haul

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I’m so excited to share this haul with you. I can’t help but feel that excitement/nervousness as we are in the back to school season. Thankfully, Anthony is still in daycare, but we are getting ready for a new classroom. It’s also a busier time of year. While I’m a food blogger and I do enjoy cooking/baking, there are times when you just need something simple. I love the Annie’s Homegrown products. If I can’t make it myself, this is definitely a product that I do not feel bad about giving my son. While this post is not sponsored, we simply love the product, I’d love to do a sponsored post about this. We love them that much!
Now we’ve been a bit under the weather here. My son got a cold a couple weeks ago, which mu husband got…..then me. Now it appears the little one is getting it again, or perhaps this thing is just lingering, but we needed a treat this weekend. Like seriously needed a treat. I’ve been taking vitamin D, drinking my spa water, taking Elderberry, ginger turmeric tea, you name it. But, I needed a comfort that was quick and tasty. So these cookies were it. So easy and my son got to help so win win!
Check out our video to see the rest of the goodies we got last week!

Spa Water

 

As my son always says: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. This water is something else. I love infused water. I’ve experienced a few that seriously look like someone took frozen fruit cocktail and dumped it into water. It just did not look appealing.  I was talking with a colleague last week about an event we did in Dallas. We stayed at the Crescent Hotel, which is absolutely beautiful. I was a nursing mom at the time I traveled, so of course when we arrived at the hotel, our rooms were not ready. I had to pump somewhere, so they sent me to the spa! There were no tears coming from this girls eyes…..well maybe happy tears… While I was trying to get situated a wonderful staff member offered my some spa water. Let me tell you, pumping never felt so luxurious. That water was basically the highlight of my trip. It was so darn tasty! So naturally, when this summer cold that’s been making it’s rounds hit our entire house, I needed something to cure my sore throat. Seriously, it feels like I swallowed fire ants. What better than a water that not only tastes refreshing, but provides some serious vitamin C. The hint of mint really makes this water refreshing. It’s so easy to put together and just let it sit. I let mine sit for about an hour before I started to drink it. I used still water, but you could definitely add some sparkling if you wanted to add something fun.

For this super simple water I added a handful of mint, 1/4 cucumber (sliced), lemon, lime, orange, and about 8 strawberries (sliced). First I added the mint to the pitcher and crushed with a wooden spoon. I added in the fruit and then filled the pitcher with water. I mixed it around a bit and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour before I started to drink it.

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Garlic Rice Pilaf

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Now onto today’s post!

Rice pilaf is such an easy yummy side that goes with pretty much anything you are serving. The boxed variety is a great/quick option, but it’s just as easy to make homemade. We make this a lot because it’s literally my husbands favorite thing that I make. Also, being Greek, it feels like a requirement to have a good rice pilaf recipe under your belt. I have to be honest, cooking rice was a challenge for me. I always find a way to make the rice just as crunchy as it was when it came out of the box. Even minute rice was an issue. When I found this recipe I was determined to make it and it came out fantastic. I shocked myself. I was amazed that I pulled it off. Apparently baking rice was just what I needed to do. I am happy to share, that I have now successfully cooked rice on the stove top and it has come out delicious. I think I just needed this confidence boost. What I love is the nice garlic flavor without overpowering the dish. Bonus, if you love garlic like I do, you can add a bit more. Also, you can substitute the fat and opt for olive oil to make it a tad healthier. I have also made this with brown rice, which for me tasted just as good. My husband does not like brown rice, so we typically use white rice instead. If you did want to substitute you may have to adjust the liquid/cooking time just a bit to accommodate for the denser texture of brown rice.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In an oven safe pot (with a lid) melt the butter, on the stove top, over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add in the rice and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the rice is golden brown. Add in 1 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Bake covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add in remaining chicken broth and stir. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes. The rice should be done cooking. If not, place back in the oven for 10 minutes. The original recipe calls for longer cooking times, but I have had better results with the shorter times. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and stir to combine.

Notes

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Sunday Funday Brunch

 

 

One of the things I love most, is living close to friends and hosting an impromptu brunch. What’s even better is making it a thing, and having something to look forward to each month. Brunch with fellow foodies is fun because the food selection possibilities are endless. For this brunch we opted for a frittata, breakfast potatoes, cinnamon rolls, and yogurt with granola. Mimosa’s were also a requirement. Good food bringing good people together is the best way to spend a Sunday morning. Sunday’s are so hard because it’s the end of the weekend. Usually we are cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead. Brunching made me realize how lucky I am to have such great friends and what a fantastic distraction it was to the usual routine. Good food, good company, liquor, and sun = perfect summer brunch.

What made this particularly fun is actually getting to cook food together. For me, it’s so fun to watch other people and learn from them. This delicious frittata was whipped up in my kitchen using some local produce. It was seriously delish! Though we were missing some of our other friends who couldn’t join, I’m looking forward to August brunch. In typical foodie fashion my mind is already reeling with ideas for the next one. Also, looking at these pictures makes me really excited for the next phase of our kitchen reno and not having these cabinets. Hello brighter kitchen!

 

Of course I forgot to take a picture of the breakfast potatoes. They were so darn good I just went for it. I didn’t think it was worth taking a picture of the few that were left. If you are interested, I used this recipe. You likely know by now how much I love Two Peas and Their Pod. I know, it’s not usual to test a new recipe the morning of a party, but I did and I’m so glad I did. These were super tasty. Some of the best roasted potatoes I’ve made. I also made my Easy Almond Butter Granola. I slightly adapted it to include coconut and slivered almonds. I omitted the chocolate chips this time around, but it was so good. Bonus, lots of left overs for breakfast! I also made some Cinnamon Rolls. I adapted this to not include the chai spice, just cinnamon and sugar. You can find the original recipe for those here. I simply adore Annie’s Eats. Her blog was truly my inspiration for blogging. Her recipes will not disappoint!

Brunch Frittata

Brunch Frittata

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet on the stove top. Chop the garlic scapes and add to the skillet, cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the kale from the ribs and wash thoroughly. A salad spinner works wonders for this! Add the kale to the pan with the garlic and cook until the kale wilts. Chop the breakfast sausage and toss into the pan with the veggie mixture to heat.
  2. In a medium bowl add your eggs, milk, and seasoning. Whisk together and add to the skillet. Mix the ingredients around a bit to make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed throughout the skillet. Cook until the frittata begins to set.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat your broiler. Make sure to move your oven rack up to the top. Once you see the frittata is beginning to set, sprinkle on the feta cheese. The recipe calls for 2/3, but who am I to limit your cheese. If you want more, add more!
  4. Cook under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

Notes

Sunday Coffee Talk

 

This crazy beautiful weekend. It was full of smiles, snuggles, stress, family and friends. Just as every weekend should be. We kicked off Friday evening with a serious snuggle sesh and some cookies that fellow blogger Chelsea’s Messy Apron posted on her Instagram. Literally, I think I have sound my spirit animal. I knew instantly that these were happening in my kitchen. They did, and they are amazing. I brought some to my family over the weekend and they did not last. They are seriously that good! Saturday we had a great morning. We went to celebrate my niece Sadie’s birthday and Anthony took home bags of popcorn. He, just yesterday, decided he likes it and now it’s literally he talks about. Thankfully he has a few  bags to keep him satisfied for a while. We ended the afternoon with a graduation party, Congratulations Jered! It’s always nice to spend time with family, though my 3 year old acted as if he downed about 3 pounds of sugar before we got there. He just about fell asleep on the ride over and when we arrived, you can just imagine the overtired energy that shortly ensued. It happens, as stressful as it is. We all survived! Sunday Anthony had a play date with “his favorite person” from school. It was so great to watch him interact with his little buddy and explore all sorts of fun things the museum had to offer. After the fun, it’s time to shift some serious focus to setting up my blog posts for this week. I’ve for that grilling recipe I promised last week that I plan to share tomorrow. I’ve got a sweet and boozy granita, a dip inspired dinner, and a classic soup that never goes out of style!