Fresh peppers and tomatoes from the garden beats even the best salsa.
Speaking of basil, have you ever made basil infused oil? My husband’s aunt suggested it after I posted about my basil going to seed. Turns out there are multiple uses for this delicious plant.
Just put some of your basil clippings in a jar of cooking oil and allow it to sit on the counter for about a week. Watch for mold though in warmer climates.
Can’t wait to dip some homemade bread into this oil when it’s ready!
Have you ever infused oil? With what? If this turns out well, I’ll want some new ideas!
I used to not be a big fan of vegetables. Sure they’re good for you but they just tasted so blah. Maybe that’s because I always ate them from a can? Either way, I discovered a new love for vegetables when they’re grilled. Seriously. Sprinkle some olive oil, salt and pepper on any vegetable and pop it on the grill. Instant delicious.
I’m also a huge fan of frozen vegetables. They are just as flavorful and healthy as fresh, and often come pre-chopped. Can’t beat that if you’re in a time crunch.
This mac and cheese recipe was pretty good, and pretty easy to follow. I do love me some “fake” mac and cheese from the blue box (who am I kidding?) but homemade sauce really can’t be beat. This recipe contains no butter so it is certainly healthier for you (not to mention all the vegetables). But I was missing the butter. A lot. Hey, I’m honest.
Mac and Cheese with Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 diced red pepper
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for sprinkling veggies)
2 cups of your favorite pasta (I did shells. Mac and cheese always has to be shells.)
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1.5 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar (or really, any cheese you like)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp breadcrumbs (if you’d like to bake it)
1. Combine broccoli, red pepper and carrots in a grill basket and sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through. (Or you can bake at 400 for 20 minutes if you’re not a grilling person. Or it’s raining.)
2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Start heating your oil in a nonstick pan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add milk, stirring until sauce has thickened.
5. Take sauce off the heat and add cheese, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper. (Salt and pepper too if you like.)
6. Combine sauce, pasta and veggies. Eat outside with a glass of wine or a beer…or you can put everything into a 13×9 baking dish, cover with breadcrumbs and bake for just a few minutes in the broiler.
I thought this was a great seasonal transition meal. Get to use the grill to celebrate summer, but still has a comfort food taste of winter. Enjoy!
This was delish! And easy! And filled us up after a nice hike in the woods. (And that was too many grammatically incorrect sentences beginning with and.)
I don’t know about where you live, but it’s been raining for weeks here! (Not exaggerating.) We have had record rain and record river crests. Which unfortunately means lots (and lots and lots) of flooded homes and businesses. Our cute little town was completely sandbagged (is that a verb?) and all you can see for miles is carpets at the curb for trash pick up. We were very lucky and had no water in our basement, but others were not so lucky. But, as with all things, the sun has come out again. It’s drying up a bit and feeling more like spring. So much so that we went on a lovely hike in the woods last evening.
Cheesy Chicken & Rice
Adapted from Southern Plate
1 onion, chopped (I buy pre-chopped frozen onions – lifesaver, I tell ya)
1 red pepper, chopped
8oz frozen corn (or canned)
4 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 box Zatarain’s Yellow Rice, prepared as directed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*If you wanted to make this ahead for the freezer, just put everything into a ziploc except the rice and cheese. You can cook the rice up ahead of time and freeze separate or make the day of. I made the rice the day of because I tend to run out of freezer space!
1. Add chicken, soup, onions, red pepper and corn to the crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. It might need a little longer if its frozen.
2. At this point you can either remove your chicken and shred (use your stand mixer!) or you can cut it up into chunks.
3. Add cheese and prepared rice. Let the cheese melt and the flavors meld together – another half hour or so.
Did I tell you easy or what? The cheesy goodness was too hard to pass up seconds. Serve with a side salad. And beer (of course). You don’t think I did all that walking for nothing, did you?
I seriously need to stop doing this.
This bread is good. So good. If you haven’t made bread before just do it. For reals. (Pretty sure no one else who makes their own bread says that.) If I keep this up, it will become a regular expectation. I best be careful!
Here is the recipe again if you missed it.
No-Knead Artisan Bread
Adapted from Frugal Living NW
6 cups bread or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (I used all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon instant or active-dry yeast (I used active dry)
2.5 teaspoons salt
2 2/3 cups cool water (I ended up needing less)
1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in water slowly and mix together. Dough should be wet and sticky.
2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit out on counter overnight (12-18 hours) to allow the dough to rise.
3. When the surface is dotted with bubbles, is a darker color and smells yeasty, you are ready to form the dough! With well floured hands and work surface, shape the dough into a ball. You want to tuck ends underneath the dough until its rounded on top and there is a seam on the bottom.
4. Wrap dough in parchment paper and let it rise on the counter for 2 more hours until it has doubled in size.
5. You will want to preheat your oven to 425 WITH the cast iron pot and lid inside for about a half hour. A 5-8qt size will work fine. If yours has a plastic handle like mine, remove it. I covered it with foil, but it still popped off. (Seriously!)
6. Carefully remove pot from oven and plop (yes, that’s technical) your dough inside, seam side up. It will look ugly, but don’t worry!
7. Bake for 40 minutes covered. Remove cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the crust nice and crispy.
8. Remove from the pot and let bread cool on a rack COMPLETELY before cutting. Your house will smell amazing right about now, but don’t let yourself cut the bread too soon or it will be gummy.
*The bread freezes well too! You can also let the dough rise in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if you are not planning on baking right away. I have also split this recipe in half and made smaller loaves. Worked wonderfully.
When my cousin Liz was little she called all her hair bows and headbands hair prettys. Not sure how it started but the name has stuck!
I have also grown tired of searching for (and losing) hair bows.
Something better had to exist! I saw a similar idea for hair pretty storage on The Paro Post via Pinterest (check out how cute hers came out!) and thought it looked easy enough.
Like everything else, it was easier than I thought. I bought the plain wooden frame and caterpillar ($.50!!!) from Michaels and the rick rack and hooks from our local 5 & 10. (Yes! They exist! It’s seriously the most spectacular store!!)
After some paint and a scary tutorial on how to use a staple gun – finished!!!!
All for less than $10!
I love it, don’t you?!