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! 😉
I’m thinking that I need to up the Daily Life posts to two or three times a month because things have been changing quickly around here!
We’re about a month into living in the new house now and I can honestly say that it truly feels like home (and as you see above, Punk feels the same). We had our first family dinner here on Sunday and it was really wonderful to have everyone together in this space. I didn’t want a house just to have a house.. I saw it as my place to gather family and friends, entertain, cook, and share our space with them. When you want something for so long, you find yourself in disbelief and overwhelming gratitude when you realize it’s finally happened. I guess this is just my general PSA for you to stop in this moment and to look back at all you’ve accomplished and overcome.
If you follow along on Instagram you may have seen the news I shared earlier in the week..
We have our first farm dog!
Chris and I had just had a conversation about animals, particularly about getting a dog, to which I said, “No way!” At least not right now since we have so many house projects we need to get done. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the very next day I was home on my day off and look out in the backyard to see this big white dog running around. She was super friendly and I figured must be our neighbor’s dog that lives just down the road, but he said she was a stray. She hopped right in my car and we drove around to nearby houses trying to find her owner, but didn’t have any luck. She stayed overnight for two nights in our walkout basement until Chris had a day off to take her into the vet to check for a chip.
Sure enough she was micro-chipped which was disappointing news for us since we had gotten a little bit attached, but good news for her and her family. Chris contacted the owners, but they were out of town until Sunday so we happily agreed to keep her another day. After they showed up and we got to talking, we discovered that we’re neighbors AND I had actually started following their Instagram about a month prior. They run an amazing and inspiring flower farm called Pepper Harrow (go check them out). They said they had been trying to find a new home for Kita, but hadn’t found anyone yet. They offered to let us adopt her and I think we both thought they might have been kidding so I didn’t say yes right away. When we realized they were serious we accepted and went in to tell our family the good news.
Before we knew her name I started calling her Wednesday since she has a fondness for dead things, so we call her Wednesday, Kita, or Cha-Kita Banana. She’s a Great Pyrenees and Black Mouth Cur mix so she’s an amazing guard dog and I already feel safer having her here. She likes to bring us a slightly alarming amount of deer legs, furry hides, deer tails, and skulls. I of course, love her immensely already.
I’ll do my best to share a Daily Life in a few weeks instead of a month from now because who knows what animals we’ll have adopted by then! 😉
It’s taken me a little bit longer than I thought to get settled and find routine in the new house. My days off are now being consumed with house projects (which you can see more of over on Instagram!) and trying to squeeze in some face time with friends and family. When my plate is full and the juggle struggle is real, a good strong drink at the end of the day always helps with the unwind process. These spicy dirty martinis did just the trick too! I had dried serranos from last year’s garden and used them to make a small batch of serrano infused vodka. I skipped the Vermouth considering ours was about 10 years old and I honestly didn’t feel like the martini needed it anyway. Just a splash of olive brine and a garnish for a smooth yet bold martini where the heat of the pepper slowly creeps in.
A few years back I did a cookbook review for Taste of Home’s Simple & Delicious Cookbook and I recently rediscovered it while I was packing. I had dog-eared the pages of tons of recipes I wanted to cook and decided to revisit a few of them for inspiration. One was for a simple appetizer of cranberry-brie tartlets where they used pre-made refrigerated crescent rolls. Since my days off have been consumed with packing/cleaning/moving/painting, any recipe that saves me a little bit of time is a win in my book!
For my tartlet combination I went with mushrooms sauteed in butter, garlic, and fresh thyme, a sweet and savory caramelized onion jam, and goat cheese crumbles on top of an airy buttery biscuit. Every element can be enjoyed separately, but throw them together all together and you’ve got muffin sized delicious perfection!