Does anyone else feel like they're eating healthy when they add vegetables to a dessert? Somehow I've managed to convince myself that when I add carrots, sweet potatoes or zucchini to a recipe, they counteract the negative effects of the fats and sugars and therefore - the dessert becomes healthy. All you carrot cake lovers know what I'm talking about. How can any food loaded with vegetables, possibly be unhealthy? 🤣
Now that my garden is in full swing, it's officially healthy eating season. Bring on the zucchini bread, the carrot cake and the sweet potato brownies. (hehehe) I actually loving the bounty of produce from my garden this month but I can only eat so many salads. The excess vegetables are being turned into scrumptious delectables like cakes, cookies and muffins. After all, I don't want good vegetables to go to waste. 😉
If you find yourself with an overabundance of vegetables too - you might want to consider making my Zucchini Walnut Cake. It's quick and easy to put together. It's super yummy AND your family will never know that they're eating vegetables. After all, the nutrients in the zucchini trump all of the sugar, oil and butter. (Okay so that's not completely true, but it IS delicious. )
Zucchini Walnut Cake
2 medium zucchini
2 cups flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 strips lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
Brush top of cake with lemon syrup. Cool in pan.
Cut into squares.
This is the time of year that kids are getting restless and starting to get on the nerves of mothers everywhere. 💁🏻♀️ We're closing in on the start of school but which means increased anxiety and stress levels for the whole family. Family baking days are a great way to keep those kiddos busy and out of trouble. (Not that my kids were ever in trouble. 😂😂😂) This zucchini walnut cake is a perfect recipe for kids to help with. It's very forgiving. Have fun with it and hang in there moms. You'll be putting those kids on the bus before you know it.
When I first started my blog, I felt like I was publishing posts that no one ever read. The only comments that I got were from my mom. (No kidding) I would share posts on my social media and all I heard was crickets. My blogging community was very small. Mostly comprised of people that I was related to or that I knew personally.
Professional bloggers offer all kinds of tricks and tips for getting more blog followers and increasing traffic to a website. I've looked through the list of tactics even though my goal isn't necessarily to increase traffic OR reach the ten thousand followers mark. If you ever need a good laugh though - google "blogger tips". It's guaranteed to crack you up.
The blog community is in agreement that adorable pictures of babies, travel photos and cute puppy pictures are sure fire ways to generate more interest in a website. So here's to testing out the theory. We'll see if this blog post with beyond adorable puppy pictures gets more interest than blog posts without puppy pictures.
This is not only a test of the effect of cute puppy photos on blog traffic, it's also my shameless attempt to incorporate pictures of our grand-dog onto my blog. 😂🐶 I think that we can all agree that this is just about the cutest little German Shorthair Pointer that there ever was. He's a water loving, curious, adventure seeking puppy that doesn't quite know how to control all of his legs yet.
It feels random to transition to the recipe of the day after posting these beyond adorable puppy pictures but according to blog "experts" this is what increases followers. 🤷🏻♀️
I can't think of anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice cold mojito. If you're not into day drinking though and the sound of mojitos before noon makes you cringe - you may want to try these Mojito Marinated Chicken Kebabs instead. It's all of flavors that make mojitos so irresistible - fresh mint, lime juice and great rum - in a much more family friendly food version.
Mojito Marinated Chicken Kebabs
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoon oil
2 Tablespoons rum
2 teaspoon agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 1" rounds and quartered
Serve with more mint and lime wedges.
Looking for more great summertime recipes? Use the categories on the right to search through some of my favorites. And for those of you who love to grill in the summer, you can also search Big Green Egg recipes.
For the those of you who haven't already heard - my son and his beautiful soul mate got married last month in the most magical and whimsical wedding ceremony ever. Can you tell that I was beaming with pride and joy over this blessed union? I know that I'm biased but it truly was a magnificent day.
One of the hardest things that I had to do to prepare for their wedding day was to purchase a mother of the groom dress. 😬 When I started my search, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I underwent a comprehensive search of all malls, dress shops and boutiques in the greater Atlanta area without finding anything even remotely close to what the dress that I had pictured in my mind. Completely exhausted and frustrated, I turned to internet in pursuit of a proper dress. (A process that lasted at least 2 months)
If you've ever searched for a mother of the groom dress, you know the struggle. First of all, I'm not a hundred. Second of all, I didn't want to wear chiffon or sequins. Thirdly, I'm only 5 feet tall so there are very few dress styles that are actually flattering on my small frame.
When I finally found a dress that I was happy with, my next challenge was to find someone who could cut a several FEET off of the bottom so it would fit me. (No kidding. What kind of giants are these designers making these dresses for?) Luckily, I found a wonderful person to alter and hem my dress several weeks before the wedding and all I had to do was to maintain my weight until the wedding.
You see where this is going, right? I was on track and then May hit. We celebrated Mother's Day with food. Three days later we celebrated my birthday. Four days after that we celebrated my birthday with friends in Atlanta. Three days after that we celebrated my birthday AGAIN with some other friends. I was feeling all the love but I wasn't feeling like I was going to fit into my dress anymore.
I had two options really. I could go back to the alterations person and have her let the dress out to fit my cake belly OR limit my sugar intake on the few non-birthday celebration days. I opted for the second - much harder choice. That means that this yummy Challah bread had to be put on hold until AFTER the wedding. There is no way that I would have been able to resist the temptation to eat this delicious homemade bread if I had made it in May. It was worth the wait. It was amazing.
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons bread flour
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Bake 35-40 minutes at 350.
Let cool 20 minutes on pan. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 2 hours before slicing.
I grew up on a little island in the middle of the Sandusky Bay. It was on this "rock" that I learned to water ski, ride a motorcycle and jump off of ridiculously high cliffs into the water. It was an amazing place to spend my summers and since my parents still live on this tiny island, I try and spend a week of my summer there every year with my family. I think that it's my favorite place on earth to relax and rejuvenate.
During our visit to the island last week, we fished, kayaked, paddle boarded, biked, tubed, sailed, swam at the beach, took boat rides, flew in a plane over the islands, watched fireworks, and built beach fires. Doesn't that sound relaxing? At least I've given up on the cliff jumping and motorcycle riding. 😂
My summer just wouldn't be complete without a trip to Ohio to visit my parents on the island. There's a lot to love about this special place and the people who live on the "rock".
What is it about being on an island that makes me crave rum? The night that Ben and I arrived in Hawaii last September - I had an undeniable urge to drink a Mai Tai. Never mind the fact that we had been travelling for 15 hours and it was 4:00 in the morning. (eastern time) That didn't stop us from going to the hotel bar and ordering a Mai Tai before we went to bed. That was my very first taste of the deliciously tropical cocktail and to be honest - I haven't had one since I left Maui.
Being on an island last week made me think about this recipe for Rum punch that's been sitting in my blog que for 2 years!!! I was given a bottle of Bermuda Rum from a friend back in 2017 and it's perfect for this punch recipe. (Everyone needs to find themselves a friend who will bring you rum from his travels.) 😉AlanHoward I have no idea why in the world I've waited so long to make this delicious rum drink. It's the perfect drink for a hot July afternoon - even if you're not on an island.
1/4 cup Gold rum
2/3 cup pineapple-coconut juice (R.W. Knudsen)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 Tablespoons ginger ale
Fresh lime slices
Stir 1 1/2 Tablespoons ginger ale into each glass. Garnish with fresh lime slices.
I was home alone when I decided to experiment with this delicious rum punch recipe for the blog so I cut the recipe in half. It was so refreshing that I may or may not have enjoyed BOTH glasses. 💁🏻♀️ Good thing I didn't make the full recipe. 😂
I'm going to tell you something that might surprise you - I've never eaten sloppy joes out of a can. I know, I know - it seems un-American, but it's true. My mom wasn't a serve "dinner out of a can" kind of cook so in my defense - I never even knew that such a thing existed until I married a manwich fan. My husband did his best to try and sell me on the ketchup based meat product but after growing up eating my mom's homemade sloppy joe, nothing about meat in a can sounded appealing. Despite his best efforts, my meat loving husband never managed to convince me to sample the canned sloppy joe that he so adored. Instead, I made it my mission to convert HIM to a homemade sloppy joe fan.
I started with the simplest of ingredients and sautéed and simmered for the better part of an afternoon before offering him my delicious tomato based ground beef on a bun. Unfortunately, he was underwhelmed by my attempt at homemade sloppy joe. Being a girl who thrives on disbelief, I took that as a challenge. I was more determined than ever to create a recipe that would convert a canned sloppy joe consumer to a homemade sloppy joe lover.
So I'm counting on this America's Test Kitchen recipe to be the life changing sloppy joe recipe that turns my husband away from canned sloppy joe FOR GOOD. The sweet and savory combination with a dash of spicy red pepper is really hard to beat.
Classic Sloppy Joes
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 hamburger buns
Spoon mixture into buns and serve.
The verdict is in - my manwich loving husband is a fan of these homemade sloppy joes! Success!
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