The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Heat Wave. July 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:56 pm

Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. It is hot. I really haven’t done much of anything besides lay on the couch reading books & drinking iced coffee. There has been some gardening, some visiting, some swimming, an attempted campfire, some dog lovin’┬á & even tai chi in the park with my grandma too. One thing there hasn’t been much of is cooking. We honestly haven’t even wanted to eat a couple of nights because of the heat & there have been salads, leftovers and take out the other nights. I did finally want to/have to cook tonight. In the effort to not add any more heat to the house than nescessary, I came up with 3 new quick to prepare, no oven needed recipes. I made Browned Butter Tilapia, Swiss Chard with Garlic & Red Wine Vinegar and crock pot Italian seasoned potatoes. Lots of flavor, minimal effort & ingredients. In other words, the perfect summer dinner. Recipes to come soon!

Anyone read any good books lately? I am flying thru my list! (Hopefully starting my new part time job at the library tomorrow will bring some book inspiration my way!

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Fresh from my garden chard ­čÖé

 

Strawberry Blueberry Crisp. July 13, 2013

Filed under: Dessert,Uncategorized — Jessica @ 7:20 am
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Nothing says weekend like dessert. Don’t let me fool you, I also think Wednesday or a good hair day or a Sex and the City marathon with your best friend (or yourself) is a┬áperfectly good excuse for a dessert.

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This one just screams summer with fresh local strawberries and blueberries. You could easily substitute any berry. I had actually planned on just making a blueberry crisp until I saw my strawberries needed to be used ASAP. I was very pleased with the results. It is great on it’s own but a scoop of good vanilla bean ice cream certainly wouldn’t hurt anything.

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Strawberry Blueberry Crisp

Filling-

2 cups strawberries

2 cups blueberries

1/4 c sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cornstarch

Topping-

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c all purpose flour

3/4 c old fashioned oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp allspice

1/8 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter- chilled & cut into cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350*

2. Butter (or use cooking spray) and 8×8 inch pan

3. Mix filling ingredients until berries are coated

4. Pour filling into 8×8 inch pan

5. Mix topping ingredients thru allspice

6. Cut in butter with fingers until  incorporated into pea size clumbs throughout

7. Top berry filling mixture

8. Bake at 350* 30-40 minutes until top is golden brown

9. Enjoy!

* I apologize for any typos, I have had a few glasses of wine this evening in the name of #goodlivin’

 

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Shrimp Tacos with Sesame Lime Slaw, Feta & Avacado. July 10, 2013

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood — Jessica @ 6:00 am
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There isn’t really too much to say about this recipe that isn’t already obvious from the title. They were delicious. They were both hearty and fresh at the same time. A great summer meal for sure!

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Shrimp Tacos with Sesame Lime Slaw, Feta & Avocado

Serves 4

1 lb shrimp (fresh or frozen)

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

8 corn tortillas

half head of cabbage (shredded)

medium red onion (finely chopped)

2 Tbls cider vinegar

3 Tbls sesame oil (seperated)

2 Tbls honey

salt & pepper to taste

2 limes (one cut into wedges)

2 avacadoes- diced

1 cup feta

1.Combine cabbage, red onion, 2 Tbls of sesame oil, juice from one lime, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper in medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tbls of sesame oil in pan, add shrimp (tails removed) & Old Bay. Cook until done- this only takes a couple of minutes.

3. Top corn tortillas with shrimp, slaw, feta & diced avacado. Serve with additional lime wedges.

4. Enjoy!

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Super Easy Olive Tapenade. July 9, 2013

Filed under: Appetizer — Jessica @ 6:00 am
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This is my go to appetizer recipe whenever I forget to plan ahead (parties always seem to sneak up on me). My grandmother made something similar years ago and I have been making my version ever since. It is easy to keep a couple jars/cans of olive in the pantry and I always have fresh garlic and olive oil- and that is all it takes! It comes together in less than 5 minutes and can be made a day ahead or at the last minute. It keeps in the refrigerator for a week. Serve with pita or tortilla chips, sliced peppers or my favorite option- crunchy little  bread rounds (crostini).

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Olive Tapenade

1 jar green olives

1 can black olives

2-3 cloves garlic (depending on size)

2 Tbls Olive Oil

1. Drain Olives.

2. Toss everything in the food processor, pulse until combined. You can make it into almost a paste like texture, but I tend to stop when it is in uniform little bits.

3. Enjoy!

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4th of July! July 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 10:53 am

How was your holiday weekend?  I hope it was filled with laughter, people you love,parades, good food, sunshine, campfires, ice cream and of course fireworks. I was lucky enough to get to enjoy all of these things as well as just some time relaxing at home, grocery shopping and a birthday party for my nephew. The honey was off from job number #1 so we were able to spend some much needed time together as well. Despite all of the fun over the weekend, there are very few pictures. I have been really into just experiencing life instead of recording it so often. It feels good.

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There is a lot on my to do list this week. Some of it fun stuff, some of it work stuff, but I am excited to be productive after so many days of just relaxing. I like balance.

What was your favorite part of the holiday weekend?

 

5 Ingredient Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers. July 6, 2013

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner,Uncategorized — Jessica @ 9:39 am
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Sometimes I actually enjoy delaying trips to the grocery store because it forces me to get out of my comfort zone & use up some of the random ingredients I have purchased but never used. This recipe is exactly that. It involves only 5 ingredients ( excluding salt & pepper) and requires very little hands on time. The honey & I were both happy with the results & decided it would definitely make it onto the menu plan again.

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5 Ingredient Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers
Serves 2

2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips (I used kitchen scissors to do this)
1 can coconut milk
2/3 c panko bread crumbs (I seem to be on a roll with these lately)
1/3 c sweetened coconut flakes
Coconut oil (can substitute olive oil)
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Dump coconut milk into gallon freezer bag, put chicken strips in bag & marinate 2-12 hrs
2.  Preheat oven to 375°
3. Place metal cooling rack on cookie sheet (this helps the fingers bake up crispy all around)
4. Remove chicken fingers from bag & drain off excess milk. Salt & pepper chicken fingers.
5. In second gallon bag, mix coconut flakes & panko. Add chicken fingers 2 at a time & shake to coat.
6. Once all chicken fingers are coated & placed on rack, drizzle the tops with coconut oil
7. Bake at 375┬░ 20-30 minutes depending on size of chicken fingers
8. Serve with condiment of choice. We have this spicy mango coconut stuff we get at Wegman’s and it was perfect.
9. ENJOY!

 

Bacon Cheddar Squash Bites. July 5, 2013

If you have ever grown zucchini or summer squash, or even know someone who has, you are likely to have it piling up around the house mid summer. As much as I like it on the grill or turned into bread, I still had to come up with some other options. This is one of those options I came up with. They are great as an appetizer or a healthier alternative to tater tots as a side dish.

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Bacon Cheddar Squash Bites
Makes 24 bites

1 c grated zucchini
1 c grated summer squash
2 eggs
1/2 medium onion – diced
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
5 slices crisp cooked bacon- crumbled
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400┬░
2. Coat mini muffin pan with olive oil or cooking spray
3. After grating zucchini/squash, place into dish towel & squeeze out excess liquid- This is very important!
4. After zucchini is drained, mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well combined.
5. Press mixture into mini muffin cups
6. Bake at 400┬░ for 20mins. Let cool slightly & serve.
7. Enjoy!
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