I'm happy to announce that as of July, the love of my life and I are BOTH working from home. 😬 Working from home isn't new for me. I've been running the show (and my business) out of our house for 26 years.😅 I thrive on the quiet stillness of the empty house during the day and unlike my extravert husband, I cherish the time that I spend alone. Working from home is an ideal situation for me.
This whole work from home scenario is something totally new for my hard working husband though. Safe to say - there's going to be an adjustment period - for both of us. 😂 I'm cooking - he's working on his computer. I'm whipping buttercream in my mixer and vacuuming spilled salt up off the floor at the same time he's taking conference calls with overseas colleagues. I'm trying to bake a couple dozen cupcakes.🧁 He wants to use the kitchen to make his lunch.🍝 Adjustments.
Now that we're 7 or 8 weeks in to this whole co-working from home situation - I feel like we're getting into the groove though. My industrious spouse made himself a work space in the basement and even though I make frequent trips down there for extra baking supplies throughout the day, it's worked better for us to conduct our business on separate floors.
I'll only speak for myself, but it's really been more of a joy than a disturbance to have my hubby home during the day. I actually really enjoy his company during the day. As a girl who hardly ever stopped to make lunch in the afternoon, having someone to eat with me everyday at noon, has been one of the biggest changes. It's honestly been one of my favorite things about having him home though. Our lunches aren't fancy. We usually eat leftovers or sandwiches but it's a chance for us to connect and talk to each other without having to wait until the end of the day when we're both tired and worn out.
Safe to say that I'm slowly working my way up to making lunch. Right now, I'm comfortable heating lunch.😂 I don't love the word "leftovers" but I'm still trying to intentionally prepare "extra" food when I make dinner. I'm learning which meals make great second day lunches and which ones aren't so great.
Pastas have always been a favorite in our house. We love pasta dinners so much that we actually argue over which one of us is gets to eat the extras for lunch. 🍝 And when I combine fresh basil and the cherry tomatoes from my garden and some of my favorite cheese into a deliciously simple pasta dish - I know I better make a lot because we're going to be fighting over these leftovers. This was a favorite pasta dish, for sure.
Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes and Burrata
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 Tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound pasta
8 ounces burrata
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
Cut burrata into 1" pieces and sprinkle over pasta.
Drizzle with 1/4 C. oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil.
Seeing this pasta dinner makes me want to make it all over again tonight. I still have fresh tomatoes and basil in my garden so I'm thinking that this meal is going to be on our table again in the near future. 😉
The term "stay at home mom" has always seemed so misleading to me. "Work from home" mom would be a more accurate job description, in my opinion. I feel really blessed to have been able to be a "work from home" mom for a long time. Some of that time I was doing full time mom duties and some of those years I carved out time for catering jobs in between carpool, soccer practices, baseball games and homework tutoring sessions. I honestly wouldn't have wanted to do it any other way.
For those of you that don't know - I run a cottage food business out of my home. I started my business at home, 12 years ago and to say that I had a lot to learn about being a business owner back then, would be an understatement. I did zero advertising, I was terrible at promoting myself or even talking to strangers and I didn't like to sell anything. (It's truly amazing that my business ever took off. 😅) And if I'm being honest, I was perfectly fine with taking on the odd baking job here and there so that I still had the flexibility to be involved in all of my kids activities.
There are advantages to a business that grows slowly instead of becoming an overnight success. Over the last decade, I've gained new culinary skills, learned how to better communicate with customers, how to keep more accurate business records and just how many things I can/should juggle at one time.🤹🏻♀️ I had to learn the hard way that I shouldn't take on a wedding reception and a graduation party in the same weekend. 🤪
I've picked up a few tips and tricks over the years to make my business, more efficient. Things like storing cookie dough - in portions - in my freezer, has been a game changer. When I make a batch of cookies, I always make extra dough, portion it out into dough balls, pack them into ziploc bags and put them in the freezer for another day. You have no idea how many times I'm thankful for ready-to-bake cookies at my fingertips. #lastminutedinnerinvites
If you keep a batch delicious M&M cookies in your freezer, you can pull a few out at a time for an after school snack, for afternoon tea with a friend or for a festive Tuesday night dessert. Oh, and if the mood strikes you, these cookies also make amazing ice cream sandwich cookies. 🤗
Soft M&M Cookies
2 cups + 2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup mini M&Ms + 2 Tablespoons for topping
Portion into 18-20 cookies and sprinkle with additional 2 T. M&M's. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Bake 12 minutes at 350 on silpat lined cookie sheets.
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Have you ever gotten to the end of a day and thought to yourself, "I don't think I ate a single vegetable today"? 😶 #hopingitsnotjustme 😅 I would like to tell you that my diet is plant based and consists primarily of vegetables. But... if I'm being honest, most of the time, I struggle to eat enough vegetables everyday. It's not that I don't like veggies - I just like carbohydrates and sugar better. 😅 🥖 🧁
If you're like me and you struggle with vegetable consumption, or if you have veggie-phobic kids - this recipe in for you. Summer vegetable pasta is a sneaky way to incorporate more vegetables into your meal. The 007 of the veggie world, if you will. And we can all agree that sometimes, undercover vegetables are the best vegetables. 🍆
This vegetable based pasta sauce is amazing. It's loaded with garden fresh zucchini and eggplant. Pair those with some canned tomatoes and whole wheat pasta and you've got a delicious, healthy dinner that comes together in minutes. Sneaky Summer Vegetable Pasta.
Summer Vegetable Pasta
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/2" slices
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
Season with salt and pepper and adjust consistency with reserved water. Top with remaining basil, olives and drizzle with oil.
Serve with ricotta salata.
Garden Update: I got exactly 0 usable cucumbers off of my cucumber vine this year and my sunflowers were a bust. On the up side: I still have bushels of cherry tomatoes from my single tomato plant and I've picked no less than 9 eggplant from my single eggplant plant. (Eggplant plant sounds weird but I'm going with it.) This is my way of saying send me all your eggplant and cherry tomato recipes - I love picking produce from my own backyard. 🍆🍅
Well, the 2022-2023 school year is officially underway. Georgia schools don't mess around - most students and teachers have been back in the classroom for over a week already. And I don't know about you, but the first sign of school buses driving around the neighborhood, signals the end of summer for me. 🚌 😫 I have mixed emotions about this. 🙃
This post is officially dedicated to every teacher, parent, bus driver, administrator, janitor, therapist and cafeteria worker in the schools this year. Thank you for your commitment to investing in the lives of these precious children. Although it's most certainly not reflected in your pay check (if you get one) - your job matters and you're making a difference in the lives of children. Just keep that in mind. I appreciate you.
I don't remember what time I used to get on the school bus in the morning but I know that the sun had been up for a while.🌞 The kids in my neighborhood are being picked up in front of my house at 6:15. 6:15!!!😴 Does that sound ridiculously early to anyone else?
As a girl who spent far too much time trying to achieve maximum hair height in high school, I can't even imagine what time I would have to wake up in order to catch a 6:15 bus. #80sgirl 😂 I also can't imagine that anyone catching an early bus or leaving for school that early would have time for a proper breakfast. That's why this Lemon Muffin recipe is perfect for everyone starting school this month. Whip up a batch of muffins for an easy morning treat to send with your kids on their way to school or while they wait for the bus. 🚌 They're also great for packing in a lunch box or serving as an after school snack.
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsps butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Bake 17 minutes at 375.
I love a bite size muffin. Sure a giant, larger than life, bakery sized muffin is great but there's something special about a tiny, two bite snack. I wish I could say that mini muffins help with portion control.🙅🏻♀️ But in reality, I feel like I actually consume more muffin calories when they're small than when I see a single giant muffin sitting in front of me.😅 And even though I eat more of them - I will forever love mini muffins.
Tan, bossy, competitive, detail oriented, fierce - I've been called every of those things this summer. That last one is my favorite, by the way. 🤪 I admit that they're all accurate descriptions of me - but that doesn't mean it's any easier to hear someone call me "bossy." It's just semantics but somehow, "commanding", "authoritarian" or "assertive" would be easier for me to digest than "bossy". 😂
Sometimes it's all in the name. You have to agree that Pollo A La Brasa sounds way more sophisticated and elegant than "beer can chicken." 🤪 The latter conjures up an image of something you'd eat with your hands at a back yard barbecue. 🍺 The exact same chicken renamed Pollo A La Brasa transforms the same meal into something you'd be served at a fancy French bistro. 🇫🇷
The choice is yours. If you're an unpretentious, casual cook - call it "Beer Can Chicken." If you want to wow young children and impress your dinner guests, refer to your juicy and delicious bird as "Pollo A La Brasa."
Pollo A La Brasa
12 ounce can beer
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1 whole chicken
Carefully remove chicken from can, transfer to a platter and let rest 15 minutes.
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