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.
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!
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.
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.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeYourSummer #MADEFORDOERS #CollectiveBias
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 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.
Who has plans for this weekend? There are so many fun excuses to celebrate – Cinco de Mayo, The Kentucky Derby, springtime + sunshine, baseball, pre-Mother’s Day weekend… if you can’t think of a reason to get out and do something well, that just makes me sad! What will I be doing this weekend? Unfortunately, what I seem to do best lately – work. But, then I’ll have a bunch of days with a flexible schedule again to make up for it.
Whenever we are hosting a gathering or even just relaxing at home, I like to set out some snacks for everyone. Often times it’s simple and nothing spectacular, like chips and dip. Most of the time it’s store-bought dip, but occasionally I’ll get brave and make some myself.
A couple of months ago I was on this fresh fruit kick where I was purchasing ‘exotic’ fruits for the kids to try, and dragon fruit (or Pitaya) was one of them. The texture is similar to kiwis and their flavor is very mildly sweet. They have become popular in smoothie bowls and cocktails.
I decided why not add them into a salsa.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Mazola® Corn Oil. All opinions are mine alone. #SimpleSwap #CollectiveBias
I love cooking simple foods that when blended together create amazing flavors. Today I wanted to share a filet mignon recipe that I created for dinner a while back. All you need is a couple of filets, red grapes, pearl onions, garlic, rosemary, swiss chard and Mazola® Corn Oil. A recent study has found that adding Mazola Corn Oil to one’s diet resulted in lower cholesterol levels than Coconut Oil. A previous study found that corn oil can also help lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about the study, see Mazola.com
This meal is great because by using the filet mignon (instead of a cut higher in fat), the Mazola Corn Oil (instead of butter), and the swiss chard (instead of potato fries) are all options that make this dinner better for you. Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy choice for your family! Mazola has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F and performs well in a variety of cooking applications, including stir-frying, sautéing, grilling and even baking.
Well my friends, the Big Game came and went. While our household doesn’t obsess over football, I still enjoy watching the game (and the half-time show). I enjoy any excuse that I can to make some fun little memories with the kids. Since it was just the five of us we kept it really low-key and made a little party spread. I cooked a few things, bought a few snacks, and set everything out on the table for us to nibble on. I really enjoy any excuse to do this really, it’s like a casual lunch/dinner buffet.
My husband Wayne went to work for a few hours in the morning, so I spent the earlier part of the day cooking and watching the Puppy Bowl with Emma and Noah. They really got into it! We each picked a team to root for and they made sure that our cat Smores had the best seat in the house for the kitty half-time show. It was pretty cute and quite funny.
Life’s been pretty grand lately – all because of a shift in my thought process. At the end of last year I told myself that in 2018 things were going to be a little different. In 2018 I was going to be selfish. I know that sounds terrible, but I’ve spent way too many years feeling guilty for not taking care of myself, both mentally and physically. In the past I’ve jumped to take care of others and have neglected myself in the process. For some reason I’ve felt guilty for taking afternoons off to spend with friends, or for spending a day doing nothing productive. In our society I feel that we are expected to always ‘be productive’ and that we aren’t really good enough if we aren’t ‘doing’ something.
I vowed in 2018 I wasn’t going to worry about all that. Tired? Take a nap. Don’t want to go do something? Say no. Want to spend the afternoon wine tasting with a friend? Why not.