If you’ve ever grown mint before then you know that once it starts growing it takes off like a weed. When it was overgrowing the pallet planter box it was in I decided it was time to take action and put it to good use in some recipes. Aside from mojitos and garnishing my other favorite cocktails I never utilized mint as the starring hero in my recipes, especially not in savory dishes. That all changed last week!
We planned a homemade pizza night with family and while my brother whipped up traditional sausage and veggie pizzas I pushed everyone out of their comfort zone by providing my take on a Mediterranean chicken pizza. The mint pesto I made as the base of the pizza is what really brought out the flavor in the rest of the ingredients. The mint wasn’t overpowering in flavor and provided more of a fresh garden flavor than a sweet minty flavor. Toss some fresh garlic, green onion scapes, and parsley into the mix for some zest. Then give it a squeeze of lemon for a lightened citrusy finish making this pesto perfect for your summer pizzas and dips.
Garden Party may be in the title, but it’s not the fancy garden party you may be thinking of nor is this cocktail. We’re literally talking about Bloody Mary’s in shot glasses and it can be a store bought mix that you add vodka to or you can use one of the awesome recipes I’ve got on my blog! It’s the extreme garnishing and vessel it’s in that makes this really garden-like.
My gentleman friend gifted me a tiny little succulent as a house warming gift when I first moved back to Iowa and the itty bitty terracotta pot it was in provided the perfect inspiration for a “plant” cocktail. I whipped up a big pitcher full of my signature Bloody Mary’s and snipped a handful of fresh herbs out of the garden to make this idea come to life. They make a great presentation for summer get-togethers and they’re as fun to make as they are to drink!
As promised I’ve got a sweet and spicy new cocktail for you to enjoy! Head over to Dream A Little Bigger to get my recipe for these Habanero Mango Mules. There’s a bold kick from some homemade habanero infused vodka and a mango habanero spiced rim, a little sweetness from fresh mango puree, and a crisp finish with ginger beer. Cheers to the weekend!
Spring seemed to just come and go with a whirlwind of road trips, concerts, work and garden projects. Things kicked off in April with a vacation to good ole Nashville (which I’ll share a separate post about) and then a few weeks later a quick 24 hours in Chicago. In between my mini-getaways and working I’ve poured the vast majority of my spare time into the huge 100 square foot garden I started in March.
It began as a place for me to create, work, and unwind, but it’s evolved into a beautiful and functional space that has allowed me to spend time with my family and bond over projects we’re working on together. My dad, Tracy, is an all around handy-man/wizard when it comes to… well, just about everything! He leveled out the ground we chose for the garden and built a retaining wall, complete with steps up into the garden so instead of raised garden beds, we have one giant raised garden! We installed a fence with additional chicken wire at the bottom to keep the adorable, but garden consuming, bunnies and squinnies out and used an old picket fence of my mom’s for the gate.
The next challenge was watering a space this big without running up the water bill every month. Tracy devised a simple and yet complex plan to redirect water that the pump in the basement would otherwise be pumping into the yard, into two 55 gallon drums instead. Clean, filtered, fresh, and most importantly, free, water every day to help the garden flourish.
I wanted to go vertical with my herb garden so we used two pallets and rebuilt them with shelves and weed fabric to hold in the soil and plants. We also added an archway that my mother gifted him several years ago that had rusted over. A layer of primer and some vibrant paint brought it back to life and attracts hummingbirds.
I built a trellis for the cucumbers out of leftover fence, used stones out of the creek to line the walkways, and now we’re in the process of slicing up some old trees that had been cut down to making stepping stones throughout the paths. We even found one that was slightly heart shaped! <3
I’m so proud of how much we’ve been able to re-purpose to make this garden come to life. I’m also very proud to have two loving parents that support and help me in accomplishing my goals and ideas.. even if they tell me I’m “off my rocker” when I first tell them my ideas. 😉
The garden is very close to being finished so I’ll share more photos once all the aesthetic parts are completed and stay tuned for some new cocktail recipes that will be rolling out this weekend!
We may not always have time in the morning for the proper breakfast we need (and deserve), but when we do.. we should make it count! I loaded up this breakfast bowl with spring greens, roasted sweet potato, quinoa, fried eggs, and a little bacon! It’s paleo friendly, but you can easily customize it to make it vegetarian or even vegan friendly. Head on over to Dream A Little Bigger for my recipe!
A few weeks ago on my Instagram I shared the before, during, and after of this vintage glider bench, so I thought I would share a bit more of the process here on the blog. When I initially decided to revamp this rusted bench from the 1950’s, I thought it would be a fairly grueling task, but the reality was that with a little bit of determination and a lot of steel wool and paint I was able to give new life to this classic piece.
Mother’s Day is tomorrow and there’s no better way to show your Momma Goose how much you love and appreciate her than by baking up some sweet treats for her to enjoy! If you need a good recipe, head over to Dream A Little Bigger to find out how to make these simple and scrumptious Honey Glazed Orange Chia Seed Muffins!
It’s been a little difficult for me to do any personal writing lately because when I do finally have a moment to sit down and process it all, it’s just an intense outpouring of everything all at once. It ends up being a little too raw and personal or the reverse and I find myself “editing” as if everyone is reading it live, so I have to make sure not to say anything I’ll regret later. I realize that in doing so I’ve been depriving myself of expression to be who I am. Life is not a perfectly edited and filtered Instagram photo and life is not a phony upbeat blog post trying to make things sound different than they are.
So here it goes.. raw and unfiltered.
Several months ago I made the choice to move back home, but I felt embarrassed and pathetic about the notion of being twenty-eight years and starting over at home again, so I chose not to talk about it at all. Now it just seems a little ridiculous to be embarrassed or to omit that part of my life because someone somewhere could be in the exact same boat and why feel shame over something that has actually been one of the smarter moves I’ve made?
When I moved back from Oregon I needed solace and solitude. I found a rental house way out in the country and it provided exactly what I needed at the time. The lease was month to month, but I intended on staying at least 1 to 2 years. After moving so much I just wanted a place that I could call home, even if I was only renting. Unfortunately there were several ongoing issues with the house and the arrangement with the property and I realized.. this is not my home.
I had two options: #1. Be the same old stubborn and proud asshole I’ve always been and just put up with it until spring when I could move into another place during a better time of year or #2. Swallow all of that pride, move back home, and save the majority of my income to purchase MY OWN home instead of paying for someone else’s.
Option #2 seems like the easier choice, but making that decision was far from it because it felt like another gigantic failure in a long line of them that I’d already been recovering from. Just the thought of saying, “I live at home with my parents.” immediately gives me the mental image of some 40 year old loser smoking pot and playing video games in his mom’s basement while she makes him meatloaf and does his laundry. Then I realized that I am none of those things.. and I hate meatloaf for the record.. I am ME in this situation. I hit these huge walls of failure and instead of wallowing in it forever (I still wallow a little), I focus on rebuilding my life, a little wiser, a little stronger.
After I got moved and settled in I still felt pretty down about my situation (wallowing), so I grabbed a notebook, pen, and calculator and jotted down my three major goals for 2018. I assigned rough estimations of the cost for these goals and then broke it down into a monthly and bi-monthly savings plan. I’m a little bit of a control freak so making plans like these help me feel like I have a better grasp on things when life is seemingly spiraling away from me. My plan not only helped me get out of debt very quickly, but it has helped me put a comma in my savings account, something that I have NEVER been able to make happen in the decade+ that I’ve been working. It’s a small feat, but it’s one I’m extremely proud of.
I catch myself growing frustrated or placing more pressure on myself to make this savings goal happen even faster, but adding unnecessary stress won’t make more money appear in my account. My entire life I’ve been in this big hurry to do it all, see it all, and live a fulfilled life, but my pride and stubborn ways of doing it the hard way or doing it all without help has only hindered me in accomplishing more. Accepting help, making small sacrifices and compromises, and maintaining even just a little bit of faith and patience are my lessons I’m learning.
So there you have it.. I’m a 28 year old “loser” who temporarily lives at home with her parents (not in the basement I might add) and I am damn proud of it!