Viewing category ‘summer living’


Vegan Portobello Mushroom Wrap Recipe

Categories: Cooking, Food, summer living


I have been somewhat uninspired to cook lately. Want to know why? Could it be because I still do not have a working kitchen?


This is pretty much what my kitchen looks like right now, only my husband has finished putting the sink in. And the man making the template for the countertop has gone home. Thankfully, because I don’t need someone else to cook for around here.
Read the rest of this entry

Summer Pasta Recipe with Spinach and Tomatoes

Categories: Cooking, Food, summer living


Can you have too many quick and easy pasta recipes?

The answer is no, you can not. And you know what else… this recipe has no meat. Just for you Kristin. I love simple recipes like this that take advantage of the produce that is in season.

You will need:
1 lb pasta
bag of baby spinach
grape tomatoes, halved
olive oil
garlic, fresh or in a jar
freshly grated Parmesan cheese


If your bottle of extra virgin olive oil has an illustration of a young man picking olives, feel free to make all the inappropriate jokes you want about him being extra virginal.


I bought this jar of minced garlic solely because I liked the illustration on this one too. Aww, the little farm where my garlic was grown and then hand minced by kindly farmers, using methods that have been passed down for generations. That is what makes me feel better about being too lazy to mince my own.

Step One:.

Cook your pasta of choice. Drain and set aside.

Step Two:

Pour some olive oil into your big skillet. Then dump in your spinach.


Regarding the baby spinach, if you have never cooked fresh spinach before you need to know you will need much MUCH more of this than you think you will possibly want. The next time I make this recipe I am going to double the amount of spinach. But we are a spinach loving family.

A little side story, when we were eating dinner I mentioned us being like Popeye, and my children were all, “Who is Popeye?” And then I was sad that a cultural icon like Popeye the Sailorman has died a small quiet death. Where is the Spinach council? Although, the whole Popeye and Brutus fighting over Olive Oil was weird. And who was the father of her baby? Oh and there was the whole Popeye smoking like chimney. But see, these are things you have to consider when serving this to your children and promising it will make them strong JUST LIKE POPEYE!

Anyway, back to the recipe.

After a few minutes the spinach will have reduced to this:


After a few more minutes, this:


See? You will be all, “What happened to all my spinach? How will I ever get those freakishly large forearms with only this small amount of spinach.”

Step Three:

Toss in your pint of halved grape tomatoes and some garlic. I used about 1/2 tsp of the minced from the jar. I’d probably use 4 little cloves of the fresh garlic. You can use more or less depending on your personal taste and vampire repelling needs.


(Didn’t these used to be called cherry tomatoes? Why do all the stores and recipes call them grape tomatoes now? Is there some PC reason why they aren’t cherry tomatoes anymore? Are cherries offensive? Or are they different tomatoes? We could call them baby tomatoes, but that sounds so violent. Vegetarians don’t like that. Maybe we should be calling them those tiny little tomatoes.)

Step Four:

Heat thoroughly. The tomatoes will get soft and start to leak their tomato juice. After about five minutes it will be done.

Step Five:

Dump your pasta into the skillet . And mix well.


Note: I am STILL cooking on a camp stove.

Step Six:

Serve pasta. Grate cheese over each individual plate.



Chicken Hummus Wraps

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, summer living


Here is a perfect recipe for you to make with some of that extra chicken you grilled last week and then put into the freezer. Remember? Did you do that?

Even if you didn’t, you can grill yourself up some chicken breasts for this so-easy-it-shouldn’t-even-be-called-a-recipe recipe.

Read the rest of this entry

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

Categories: Cooking, Food, summer living


Can you ever have too many pasta recipes?  No, I think not. 

How do I love thee pasta? Let me count the ways.

Pasta is quick and inexpensive.  It doesn’t require you to use the oven and heat up the house. Adding different sauces can change the entire taste of the dish.  Also, since pasta is such a familiar food, kids are  usually more willing to try it.


This recipe uses broccoli and tomatoes, both of which are in season now.

1lb of pasta, I chose penne
1 package (approx eight) spicy Italian sausage links (chicken, turkey, pork…whatever you prefer)
1 pt grape tomatoes, cut in half
olive oil
freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese

Step 1:
Slice the sausage into discs. Brown them in a large skillet, takes about 8 minutes or so.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I grilled my sausages and then sliced them because I was prepping the food earlier in the day and trying to keep the time I spend cooking at 9pm to a minimum. I then added them already cooked to the tomatoes.)

Step 2: Slice your grape tomatoes in half and toss them into the skillet. They will take about 5 minutes to warm and soften up.


Please notice that I am cooking on a propane camping stove, because I still am in the middle of a kitchen remodel. It is a miracle that my children are not eating PB&J and cold cereal for every meal. I think I deserve some sort of award.


Step 3: Cook your pasta according to the directions.

Step 4: You can steam your broccoli, my preferred cooking method. Or you can toss your broccoli florets into the boiling water with the pasta, my lazy assed cooking method. They only need to be in the boiling water a few minutes. Once they are done, bright green still slightly crunchy, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them in the skillet with the sausage and tomatoes.


Step 5: When pasta is finished cooking, drain it and return it to the pot. Dump the contents of the skillet into the pot along with the pasta. Pour in a bit of your extra virgin olive oil and stir well.

Step 6: Serve into bowls grate cheese on top.


It really doesn’t look so yellow in real life. That is just my horrible kitchen lighting at 9:30 pm.

All of my kids loved this dish. And not just because they had been starved and then at football practice for hours. No, even the lazy couch sitters loved it.


No Cook Recipe - Yogurt Parfait

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, side dishes, summer living


Everyone loves a parfait. Isn’t that what Donkey says in the Shrek movie? And just think, you can use the movie tie in to actually get your kids to eat the healthy yogurt parfait.

But what exactly is a parfait?


Behold, the layered goodness that is the parfait.
Read the rest of this entry

No Cook Recipe - Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Food, side dishes, summer living



Oh my. When I die and go to Heaven, shut-up you in the back, this is going to be served everyday.

Back in the days before I had to go gluten and dairy free this was one of my most favorite summer meals. I think out of all the foods I have had to give up, it is the only dish I truly miss.
Read the rest of this entry

Summer meal planning - five tips for making it easy

Categories: Cooking, Crockpot, Food, Lunches, Meal Planning, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, side dishes, summer living


Nataly emailed me last week asking if I had any no cook recipes in my repertoire and could I pretty please share them.

My first thought was, “Well, I can pour a mean bowl of cereal!” Because who among us doesn’t try to convince our children that it was THEIR idea to have a bowl of cereal for dinner every now and then.

But I got thinking about summer schedules and the heat and how most of us want to be out enjoying the weather, not tied to our hot stoves once we get home from work. So I thought I would offer up some tips to making summer cooking easier.
Read the rest of this entry

The Summer Barbeque Recipes: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Spicy Butter

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Holiday Entertaining, side dishes, summer living


Who doesn’t love corn-on-the-cob?

My favorite thing to do with corn on the cob is to grill it.

Step One: Peel off the first few layers of husk.

Step Two: Soak the corn on the cob in water for at least 15 minutes while you warm up the grill

Step Three: After soaking gently pull back the layers of the husk and remove the corn silk as much as possible.

Step Four: Brush a little oil on the corn, then wrap the husk back around the corn, and wrap the entire corn on the cob in tin foil

Step Five: Put the corn on the grill over medium heat. Turn every couple minutes. Then move the corn to a more indirect source of heat like the upper rack of the grill.

Step Six: After about 15 minutes remove the corn from the heat.

Step Seven: Keep the corn wrapped in the tin foil to keep it warm on your buffet table.

Now, you can melt some butter and serve the corn with that. But how about making a spicy butter to give the corn on the cob an extra little zip? Your guests will love it.

In a small sauce pan mix together (enough for about 10-12 ears):

1 cup butter
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat long enough for butter to melt. Put a pastry brush out with small saucepan so your guests can brush the spicy butter onto their corn.

Once you have your corn cooked this way, you will be hard pressed to go back to regular plain, boiled corn.

The Summer Barbeque Recipes: Pasta Salad

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, side dishes, summer living


(I will add photos later. I am still cooking my food for this weekend, but wanted to get the recipes up since I have had so many requests for the Fourth of July recipes. I am also cooking entirely on my outdoor grill. Have I mentioned here that we are in the middle of a kitchen remodel? We are at the point right now where we have no appliances. Woooo hooooo. Or something like that.)

Along with the potato salad it is a law that you must have pasta salad. Yes, really. I generally make more than one but this one is an old favorite stand-by that everyone loves.

It conforms to the trifecta of a good recipe:

1) Easy.
2) Can be made in advance, actually it is preferable to make it the day before so that the flavors can meld together.
3) Loved by everyone.

1 (16 ounce) package of pasta, I like to use the tri-color ones

can black olives, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed*
cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 pound Genoa salami, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 pound pepperoni, pizza style, cut into bite sized pieces

3/4 cup olive oil**
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar**
ground black pepper to taste**

(fresh mozzarella is delicious, but you can use the regular kind too)

(*you can substitute your favorite Italian dressing instead. Buy an extra bottle to leave on the buffet table for people who want to add a little more zing to their pasta salad.)

Cook the pasta.

Drain the pasta and run under cool water.

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Refrigerate until your guests arrive.

The Summer Barbeque Recipes: Potato Salad

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Food, Holiday Entertaining, side dishes, summer living


Summer entertaining is my favorite. Probably because it is easy to prepare most of the dishes before hand so that you can relax and enjoy your company. Also, because men always seem to want to work the grill so if you plan your food wisely the menfolk will do the actual cooking on the day of the party. Men always look better standing at the grill in 100 degree weather, holding their bottles of beer. I just look hot and sweaty and borderline alcoholic.

This week I thought I would share some recipes for those of you entertaining this weekend. Everything can be made in advance.

First up today, the ubiquitous potato salad. It is a summer barbeque staple. Honestly, I think it is written in the Constitution that you must serve this at any and all Fourth of July functions, or else be deported.

My husband is currently eating his second helping of it and said, “You have to give me this recipe!” I guess in case I meet an untimely death he wants to ensure that he can still eat this potato salad.
Read the rest of this entry

Subscribe to blog via RSS

Search Blog