My garden this year was delayed by Spring rains and moving into the house, so here it is mid-September and I’ve got an abundance of green tomatoes still on the vine. I’m incredibly impatient, so I put them to use in this fresh and Spicy Green Tomato Bloody Mary mix! Cooked down with fresh herbs also from the garden and then pureed, this non-traditional concoction is bright with flavor and a lingering heat from a spicy salsa verde! [Read more…]
Today might be the official launch of pumpkin spice everything, but I wanted to leave my summer lovers with one last cocktail to enjoy the end of the season with. A mix of fresh pineapple, lime, basil, and mint steeped in white wine and rum for several days makes for a fruity and potent summer sangria. I topped mine off with a little champagne for a nice crisp finish and of course the best part is eating all the booze soaked fruit at the end!
Photo by Raelyn Ramey Photography
I kept feeling like somehow summer passed me by this year, but after writing this post and going through the hundreds of photos I took over the last 3 months, I realize I’ve just been incredibly busy! I actually feel like I really made the most of the free time I did have in between house projects and work. The one thing I was disappointed about was letting writing and creating new posts fall by the wayside. I’ve been doing this long enough now though to realize it isn’t the end of the world (or your blog) if you take some time off (planned or unplanned). It’s also sometimes completely necessary so that you can spend some time recharging and dreaming up new content. With fall being my favorite season, it’s also when I feel most creative, so I can’t wait to get to work on some brand new projects and recipes for you!
As I said, I did make sure to schedule in some much needed fun between all the crazy times and Hinterland was at the top of the list! We spent the weekend with friends and enjoyed the killer line ups they had both Friday and Saturday (Kacey Musgraves, Hozier, The Dead South, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Colter Wall, & Jason Isbell to name a few). We spent Sunday in recovery mode, but it was well worth it.
We also made some time for a little park date night and explored Clark Tower finally. I can’t believe we have so many cool parks and places to explore just minutes from our house!
Most nights we spend outside either running around with Kita, picking flowers, having a little bonfire, or trying to sweet talk the new “neighbors” that moved in. Yes.. we have cattle neighbors right now. One I’ve nicknamed Houdini because he continues to slip through the fence and we have to get him back over… except that one time he came charging at me and took off down the road. It’s been a learning experience to say the least!
In June we walked down to the field behind our house to see what was growing and discovered an unexpected amenity. In Iowa it’s typically corn or soy beans growing in a field, but this was something completely different. It honestly looked like acres and acres of weeds until the next week it bloomed into beautiful pink cone flowers. We learned that a seed company plants huge fields of wildflowers around the county, then harvests and sells them. Another friend that lives nearby (hey Raelyn!) discovered more of these wildflower fields and we actually did a photo shoot in one of them (I’ve linked all the gals that made the magic happen so check out their pages for more photos).
Also growing like crazy is my tiny little garden! The cucumbers are consuming the stair railing and my pepper plants are thriving despite some damage from storms… oh and me falling on top of one of course. I was pretty disappointed when I realized I wouldn’t have the time to set up a big walk in garden like I did in the past at my parent’s home, but it goes to show you that you can still produce a lot with just a little space.
Since I feel like I’ve got a bit of a fresh slate heading back into a more regular posting schedule, I open it up to you… What is it that you enjoy seeing or reading more of? House before and afters? Cocktails? Quick dinner ideas? Daily Life posts? Home DIY’s? Leave a comment below or shoot me a message through Instagram and let me know! 🙂
Have a great weekend!
I haven’t attempted to grow any berries yet in my summer garden, but I think next year is the year because I want to make berry sorbets all summer long! The best part is that you have to freeze the berries anyway so you can make this long after the growing season has ended. I added in a basil syrup for a sweet herb flavor and it was the perfect complement to the berries. Serve up a few scoops in a bowl or make champagne sorbet floats for a brunch gathering (or just because you feel like it), either way, this five ingredient treat is a simple and delicious way to cool down on those hot summer days!
Last year I grew tomatillos for the first time and was quite surprised at how many just one plant can produce. Not knowing that before I planted though, I had started FIVE plants. I made tons of salsa verde and used them in chilis, but I was starting to run out of recipes. Everyone always raves about fried green tomatoes so I thought, why not fried green tomatillos? I made a simple beer batter, dunked them in, and then fried them to golden perfection. I also picked a few serranos out of the garden and blended them in with some garlic and Greek Yogurt for a spicy dipping sauce. This is now my favorite way to enjoy tomatillos and a summer appetizer I look forward to making again this year!
Turmeric has long been revered as a powerful medicinal herb with it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So why not mix this wonder ingredient into a potent cocktail so you can get your health benefits while enjoying a drink or two? Not only did the turmeric lend a bright and beautiful hue to this drink, but it provided some bright and bold flavor as well. I started with fresh ginger muddled in the bottom, freshly squeezed navel oranges, honey for a little sweetness, turmeric, gin of course, and ginger beer to top it all off. It was like a fresh pressed juice from a fancy juice bar, but with a healthy dose of gin and no pretentious a-holes to wait in line behind. Double win.
While it may sometimes seem like I’ve fallen off of the face of the Earth, I’m very much alive, kicking, and moving things along as best as I can.
April and May seemed to blur together with a 70/30 split between work and family. Chris’s brother, Andrew, moved to Texas at the end of April so we made sure to get a lot of quality time in. Taco nights are not the same, no more snuggles with Bella the Basset, and I already miss Andrew’s big teddy bear hugs. Texas is lucky to have him and we are already looking forward to our first visit to see him.
I also made the decision to go after a store leader position at another store within my company… and I got it! I was pretty nervous about stepping into this new role with a brand new team, but the transition has been smooth and I’m so happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone and just went for it. I still had to finish out the shifts at my old store and then went straight into the new store without any days off.
My time for the blog and my health suffered. I’m still trying to rid myself of a nasty cough that came as a parting gift from the cold I had for over a week and also had to admit I finally needed a real doctor and not WebMD when a persistent pain in my left kidney didn’t seem to be going away. I had blood work done and my first ultrasound and I’m happy to announce that my kidney is a boy! Just kidding… Everything checked out good and there’s no baby… no tumor.. and nothing out of the ordinary. The kidney pain remains a mystery for now, so I’m trying to workout regularly and eat a bit better to see if that helps.
That’s the last 30-ish days in a nutshell. Sometimes you’re forced to take a bit of a break while life is shifting and your body is telling you to chill out for a bit. I also believe a lot of my stress came from a lack of clarity. I always have big lofty goals I’m working on and after buying the house, it left me with just a ton of little goals. I sometimes find myself paralyzed and not making progress on anything because it feels like there’s so many moving pieces and things to work on all at once. I’m sure many of you can relate.. I can’t even imagine juggling kids and their schedules into the mix so I just want to congratulate all of you out there making it work with a plate more full than mine.
Any free time lately we try to go for long walks with the pup and enjoy the good weather and spring blooms while it all lasts. Since today was rather rainy and gloomy, I spent my day off running errands and working on a few cocktails (one was a fail aesthetically, but still quite delicious), so after taste testing both it seems like a good time to finally tackle the bathroom remodel. Gin always helps when attempting to bust down a plaster wall right? 😉
I don’t really care if it’s a total cliche to do a carrot cake recipe around Easter because it’s a cliche delicious enough to keep perpetuating. Rather than stress about the perfectly formed cake or cupcake, then frosting, and decorating it, I chose to disassemble it into these easy to make dessert cups. A handful of bite size spiced carrot cake pieces topped with an airy whipped cream cheese frosting, and a bit of chopped pecans for crunch. These are perfect to serve up at your Easter brunch AND everything can be made in advance!
Spring tends to be a little late here in the Midwest, so instead of waiting for all the spring blooms, I added them to my cocktails instead! Suspended in ice, the flower buds and petals add a nice pop of color in this bright and citrusy cocktail I mixed up. I started out with a small batch of homemade lemon and thyme infused vodka, added a bit of simple syrup for sweetness, and topped it off with ginger beer for a crisp finish. This is a great make-ahead cocktail for parties so I’ve included the recipe for a large batch too!
When I found myself with one whole day off, I thought I would create several new dishes, spend the rest of the afternoon editing, and then maybe get a few house projects accomplished. No such luck… This is the day our dog showed up. I had just finished photographing this dish when I spotted a dog in our backyard and then spent the next several hours trying to find her owners. You can read the whole story in my recent Daily Life post and how this stray pup has become a permanent staple of our home now.
Even though the day didn’t go as planned, I’m grateful that we now have a wonderful new addition to our fur family and that the one dish I did get done turned out damn delicious! My inspiration for it was my favorite sandwich, the BLT. In this skillet you’ve got cheese tortellini smothered in a rich tomato and cream sauce, chunks of thick cut bacon, caramelized onions, and then fresh parsley and arugula on top. Just like the sandwich, every ingredient is good on it’s own, but amazing when combined together. Make this at your own risk though.. stray dogs may appear after cooking it! 😉