Hey everyone! I hope life has been treating you well. I’m loving all of the fall weather changes and am excited to cook lots of tasty, hearty meals – however sometimes I still crave a delicious salad! Salads are great because they are truly quick meals to make, which is perfect on busy school nights. Pair it with some toast or even a bowl of soup and voila! Dinner is served. I also enjoy eating them for lunch too. I’ve recently been cooking with Mazola® Corn Oil more frequently and created a honey vinaigrette with it that I’m going to share with you today. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post about musical education. As always, all opinions are my own.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to a wide variety of music. Country, top 40, pop, easy listening, jazz, and music from the big band era. From about the age of 12 I’ve absolutely loved music, and musical instruments.
I never learned to play one though.
In 5th grade Anika ( my eldest) had an opportunity that I never had, the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument. She’s now in 10th grade and on Friday night’s you’ll find her playing on the sidelines cheering our local high school football team on.
For whatever reason I seem to enjoy baking and freezing meals so much in the fall time. The other week I took one Saturday and just messed up the entire kitchen prepping things and cooking them. I made 3 lasagnas, meatloaf, 2 chicken pot pies, and 2 scalloped potatoes. It took a while, but it whenever I get on a cooking kick it almost seems like therapy to me. My mind relaxes and I don’t feel so stressed out.
I don’t always have time to cook though, so I love to have things pre-frozen so that on nights that I’m too busy to create something. I use my FoodSaver® FM5330 Vacuum Sealing System A LOT. When I’m not freezing meals, I’ll freeze up other things like horderves and uncooked shortbread; things that can easily be taken out of the FoodSaver® Heat-Seal Rolls and FoodSaver® Heat-Seal Bags and then sliced and placed in the oven for just a few minutes. It’s great for when you have unexpected guests over or are preparing for a large dinner party, because you can have everything ready in advance!
Hello dear friends. It’s been a while. This summer was rather challenging for me as I tried juggling several jobs, the kids schedules (plus them home all day) and some health related stuff. I’m happy to officially be in a new season. I’m ready for a good routine, all things fall, and a fresh start.
The last grand thing we ended up accomplishing this summer was Anika’s 15th birthday party. She was very indecisive on what she wanted to do for her birthday this year! She finally chose a backyard party less than two weeks before her big day. Her and I both quickly began preparations for what we decided to call a backyard movie glamping party.
She had a vision – and we tried to implement it the best that we could on a budget.
Last fall a few co-workers and I decided to have what we called a “Sampler Sunday” – meaning that each of us brought in something to eat that day. One co-worker brought in fruit, another chips and salsa, homemade baked goods, and I brought in an appetizer platter.
How I make snack platters:
Fast forward to last month, where one of the employees from another department who had been there on that “Sampler Sunday” announced that last weekend was her last weekend being employed there as she was moving to another state. She told everyone that she’d like to do a little potluck at work with whomever would like to participate. Then she told one of her co-workers how I make a great “charcutterie platter”. Well then I of course had to bring something to cheer her on to her next venture.
I didn’t have a lot of time, so I had decided to just make some caprese bites. As I knew that this employee was gluten-free.
But, I should have known myself better, because and hour prior to the time I was supposed to leave for work I found myself rummaging through my refrigerator searching for other snacks to fix alongside them.
I slowly sank down to a sitting position on the bathroom floor. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I had been feeling overwhelmed for quite some time, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
There were numerous reasons for me to be under a higher level of stress. To start I had three kids in sports which kept me chauferring someone every day of the week. My husband started a new job, which should be a good thing, but he took a 25% pay cut and had been working 10 hour days, 6 days a week for 2 months straight. In those 2 months we had only had 3 days off together. I only work part-time as a nurse, but between that and freelance work that I do online I was working 30 hours one week, then 70 hours the next.
The world was flying at me in speeds that I couldn’t keep up with. My house was a disaster, which only increased my anxiety. My extended friends and family were no where in sight. You see, it seems as if I was the rescuer for everyone else, and when I was at my breaking point no one was around.
I leaned my head back against the wall and wiped away my tears with my forearm.
Summer is here! The kids have been out of school for a couple of weeks, and we’ve been enjoying transitioning into a slightly slower paced week. It’s still pretty structured in the evenings because Emma and Noah will play softball and baseball for several more weeks. With Anika in highschool she always keeps busy with soccer practices and games (the high school team is playing in a summer 4H league). She is also raising a lamb to show at the county fair again, which will take up all of our time the first week of August.
The weather has been absolutely perfect these last few days and I’m currently working outside in the shade at a park while the kids are playing in water and exploring the area. It’s warm, but there’s a slight breeze.
When the weather gets warmer I find myself leaning towards fresh and simple dinners that don’t take long to prepare. I’m also a sucker for making things that are pretty. After all, we all want to eat something that’s pleasing on the eyes, right?
So the other night I made chef salad for dinner. Not just any chef salad though, I decided to deconstruct it.
Deconstructed food: taking food that is normally combined, separating it, and then plating it in a unique way that can still be placed back together.
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I never knew my grandma very well. I recall going over to her house after school on several occasions and she’d make my sister and I an after school sandwich and potato chips and we’d get to watch cable TV (it was a luxury!) while my Mom and her chatted. Afterwards we’d head outside and explore their large property and gardens.
We’d frequently head out the back door which was right off of the kitchen area, and would pass a shelf full of books. Cookbooks to be exact. Long story short I never knew what happened to all of those books after grandma died, but recently I came across several of them. I spent the afternoon glancing through them, looking at all of the dog eared pages and notes next to ones she had altered.
In the back of one cookbook I found an old piece of paper taped on with a BBQ sauce recipe. I decided to make this recipe for an outdoor meal, to see if it was as good as her note suggested.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Constellation Brands. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #CelebratorySips #CoronaSummer #CollectiveBias
Friends, summer is just around the corner. Are you as excited as I am? Just thinking of sitting out on the back deck soaking up the sunshine on a beautiful day and sipping on a beverage makes me happy.
This summer we’ll be staying close to home and hopefully having many moments like that. My husband is starting a new job, so he won’t be able to take much time off for a while. But that’s okay. Sometimes summers at home are some of the most memorable, and like they say, Saber Vivir (“knowing how to live”). Having friends and family over for BBQ’s, backyard campouts, and outdoor and/or board games.
Good food, good company, and good drinks = a great celebration.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SousVidePerfection #CollectiveBias
I have been stuck in a cooking rut lately. When life gets busy it seems I tend to just stick with dishes that I know…and I’m trying to change that. So I recently purchased a sous-vide machine. Have you heard of cooking with this method before? I had heard of the name before, but up until a few months ago wasn’t very familiar with the term. A co-worker of mine who also enjoys cooking began mentioning theirs, and how it cooked their meat just ever so perfect, even and tender. Needless to say I had been thinking of purchasing one since that conversation.
What is a Sous-Vide?
Cooking food the sous-vide method is something that a lot of cooking professionals do. It entails sealing your food in a bag, then submerging it in the perfect water temperature. The sous-vide machine circulates and keeps the water consistently at the appropriate temperature.
It’s not meant to be a fast cooking method, however, once you’ve began you can then forget about it while it cooks. It’s definitely not just for meat either. You can cook vegetables, side dishes, desserts, eggs, etc. It’s certainly something cool to play around with!
I’ve use mine a couple of times now and have had a lot of success.