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.
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 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.
Who loves lemon cake? I sure do! I love everything about homemade cakes – baking them, decorating them, eating them. That’s probably why I don’t make them as often as I’d like! (Too much temptation in the house)!
Two of my favorite flavors are lemon and rosemary. I suppose many people wouldn’t normally pair the two together unless they were eating fish or something – but for some reason the two were calling my name – so I decided ‘what the heck, I’m going to put them both together in a cake.’ It wasn’t the first time that I had used rosemary in something sweet. A year ago I created a rosemary simple syrup and enjoyed a fresh cranberry rosemary mimosa.
I decided the best placement for the rosemary was in the icing. I wasn’t sure if just finely chopping the the rosemary would be enough to give the icing flavor, but it worked well. The icing was made while the cakes baked and by the time I was ready to frost all of the rosemary flavor infused nicely.
I went ahead and made the cake rustic, and only frosted between layers, leaving the sides unfrosted. The cake is dense and rich enough, that I think just a little bit of icing goes a long way. Of course if you like more you can always just double the recipe.
The best part about this cake? Introducing my children to new flavors. Sure they’ve had rosemary in the past because I bake with a lot of herbs, but it’s always fun to experiment together with new-to-us combinations. While they were hesitant at first, they were quickly pleasantly surprised after the first bite!
Have you ever used any herbs in sweet treats? Do you have any other flavor combination ideas?
Lemon Cake with Rosemary Icing
Lemon Cake with Rosemary IcingPrint This
- For the cake:
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup of butter
- 21/2 cups white sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- For the icing:
- 8 cups of confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two round cake pans (I used a standard size and a smaller size for tiers.)
- Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the eggs, sugar, and butter together. Stir in the vanilla. Alternate pouring in the flour mixture and the milk until everything is combined. Add lemon juice and zest.
- Pour ½ of the batter into the 2 pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool on wire racks before removing the cake from the pans. Repeat with the last ½ of batter.
- Next, make the rosemary icing by combining the confectioners’ sugar, butter, rosemary, and milk.
- Level the tops of the first two cakes, then using a serrated knife, slice horizontally. Fill each level with icing and layer all four layers together.
Can you believe that up until last year I had never made shortbread before? It was something that I guess I never really thought about baking because I never cared for the store-bought shortbread that I had tasted in the past.
I purchased this amazing little recipe book called the Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook. Since I adore anything bite sized and love creating party platters this book quickly became one of my favorites. It has 225 simple recipes with lots of tasty photos. One of the recipes inside is for shortbread, so I decided to give it a try last summer – with my own spin on it of course!
They were delicious! Nothing like those hard and barely inedible versions I had tasted from the store. These are buttery, savory, crumbly, and go oh-so well paired with meats, cheeses, and fruits on a snack platter.
I served them last August alongside some red onion jam and cheesy green onion scones for our picnic brunch that I created during our family Eclipse viewing up in the vineyard. We noshed on tasty bites and sipped on sparkling cider and mimosas while we watched in awe as totality hit and we viewed the once-in-a-live-time phenomenon.
For these shortbread cookies I wanted them to be a bit sweet and have savoriness to them. I made the basic shortbread recipe and then added chopped up dried apricots and freshly chopped rosemary. The nice thing I’ve learned about shortbread is that you can pre-make up a few batches with different flavors and then freeze them into logs and store. When you have last minute guests or just feel like baking something quick you can remove them from the freezer, slice, and bake!
Apricot Rosemary ShortbreadPrint This
- 3/4 softened unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
In a large bowl mix the softened butter until creamy. In a smaller bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the apricots and rosemary. Slowly mix in with butter until dough begins to form. Place the dough onto plastic wrap and and shape into a log that is approximately 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for a miniumum of 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from the freezer and slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until shortbread is golden brown. Cool them completely on the baking sheets before transferring to an airtight container.
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Hello! I hope all is well. It’s been a few days since I’ve said hello on here and so I thought I’d take the time to sit down and say hi – and share a little recipe too. This week I’ve helped some friends move, volunteered at the school, watched a few soccer games, and spent a little extra time with the family. We dug out all of our Halloween decorations and the kids carved pumpkins. We played some board games like Scrabble and baked bread together. After such a busy month in September I’m happy to have a slightly slower October.
Emma has already came up with her Halloween costume. She found an adorable black dress that works perfect for a witches dress and she’s going to wear it with boots and a hat. Noah is still indecive on what he will be, and Anika? Well, she’s so busy trying to figure out what to wear for the Halloween themed Homecoming dance this Friday that I doubt she’s even thought much about the actual holiday!
This next week we’ll begin filling our hundreds of trick or treat bags for all of the ghosts and goblins that will arrive on the 31st, and we’ll wrap up the soccer season. Next up: basketball and wrestling.
With the fall weather settling in I’m finding myself wanting to do more baking, so I thought I’d share a little recipe with you. I made these cheesy green onion scones for the first time back during the day of the solar eclipse in August (along with this red onion jam).
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Remember that solar eclipse last month? It was a pretty big deal. 😉 That day was pretty memorable for me. We spent the day up where my husband works – just the 5 of us. We were in the path of totality. It was an amazing experience. It happened mid morning, so I went ahead and packed a brunch for all of us to enjoy. I packed meats, cheeses, fruit, savory shortbread, homemade scones and red onion jam. I had never made onion jam before, but I had recently purchased the Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook from a local store and it sounded so good I had to try it – with my own spin on it of course.