When it rains it pours. Literally. Right into our master bedroom closet. 💧We've known that our roof was in bad shape for quite a while now but honestly, we've been trying to ignore the not-so-great looking patch repair jobs and hoping that our HOA would also turn a blind eye to the mismatched shingles covering the giant holes in our roof. We've even tried praying for hail to come and finish it off so that our insurance company could help with some of the cost of replacing the roof. 🤣
Well, after this latest leak, we were forced to deal with our roof problem head on. It was either that or start wearing wet clothes everyday. As much as we hated to spend the money, we bit the bullet and shelled out the cash to replace our roof. (At least this major home expense is above ground so that we can actually SEE where our money went. 💩)
So while I wallow in self pity over our money pit of a house, I will console myself with my favorite foods. I'm not sure why the consumption of decadent food makes me feel better about spending money on costly home repairs but somehow it does. Maybe I feel like I'm actually SAVING money that we would otherwise be spending on restaurant meals. OR maybe food has always been my way of comforting myself. (Phycologists would have field day with me! 🤣)
I made this Sicilian Caponata to serve alongside some grilled chicken breasts. It was super easy to put together while the chicken cooked on the grill. I also prefer this stovetop method to roasting vegetables because I didn't have to heat up the house by turning my oven on in the middle of summer which is how I normally roast my vegetables. I think this Caponata is going to be a side dish that I make a LOT this summer.
6 Tablespoons oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil
Stir in basil just before serving.
The good news is that our new roof is on and it looks amazing. The bad news is that the forklift driver that was delivering our shingles, knocked out irrigation system by driving over the power box. 🤦🏻♀️ Oh well, it's time to move on to our next repair job anyway. 💁🏻♀️
You can debate me on this all day long but I'm absolutely convinced that I was raised on the most delicious, home cooked meals EVER. My mom was a master of taking a package of chicken breasts, a can of soup and a dash of spices and creating something spectacular in under and hour. She had an uncanny ability to take the most unappealing of meats (liver, squirrel, etc) and turn them into tender, juicy delectable fare. This is a genetic trait seems to have skipped right over me, unfortunately. I have a knack for taking the most choice cut, beautifully marbled steak and turning it into snow tire consistency. 🤷🏻♀️
The magic that my mom could perform on a roast beef was nothing compared to the wizardry that she could work with vegetables. She was an expert at taking a vegetable that was absolutely intolerable to her children and turning it into something that we all begged for. Believe me when I tell you that I was not a kid that loved broccoli but I can't even begin to add up how much of my mom's cheesy broccoli casserole I consumed as a child. Thank goodness for a mom who could disguise vegetables as appetizing, flavorful sustenance.
There was nothing fancy about my mom's broccoli and cheese casserole recipe. (A recipe that I'm fairly certain was handed down to her by her sister.) Frozen broccoli florets, Velvetta cheese, butter and Ritz crackers were the keys to successful broccoli transformation. The recipe was simple but the results were extraordinary.
If you were lucky enough have grown up eating home made cheesy vegetable casseroles, you know exactly what I'm talking about. All it takes is brief walk past the Velvetta cheese display at the grocery store and I'm instantly transported back to my childhood and Easter dinners with my family gathered around a table filled with ham, potatoes, freshly baked rolls and of course broccoli cheese casserole.
There's absolutely no point in trying to compete with my moms beloved broccoli casserole but I have a feeling that this recipe for Three Cheese Broccoli and Cheese Casserole will appeal to an entirely different audience than the Velvetta version. It's not that I don't think that children will like this recipe, I just feel like it appeals to a more mature and refined palate. Broccoli and cheese casserole for grown ups - if you will. I'll never stop craving my moms version - just adding this to my vegetable repertoire as well.
Three Cheese Broccoli Casserole
3/4 cup panko
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
2 pounds broccoli florets
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped American cheese
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Bake 15 minutes at 400. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
This is the stuff that makes summer cook-out memorable. Broccoli casserole goes with everything from burgers and fried chicken to apple stuffed pork tenderloin medallions like the ones in the picture. I don't think that this dish was ever intended to be picnic fare but I think broccoli casserole tastes even better when eaten outside on paper plates - old school. Fancy or casual - broccoli casserole is just about the most perfect side dish.
I was wrapping up a routine trip to Wal Mart the other day when I found myself caught up in the middle of one of the most unusual conversations that I've ever been a part of. I had 2 cases of eggs in my basket and as the cashier scanned the bar code and handed the large box of eggs to the second cashier to load them back into my cart, she commented to me that I should be sure and get them home quickly so as not to leave them in my trunk too long. I started to giggle and immediately, a third cashier chimed in with "My mom left a package of eggs in her trunk for too long and she got chickens." 🐓😳
I have to admit that I didn't quite know how to respond and while I was trying to figure out the best way to react without offending anyone, the first cashier piped in with "Trunks are like incubators. My friend bought some eggs, they hatched and now she got some chickens." It was painfully obvious that all three of these employees truly believed that my 120 eggs would indeed hatch into chickens if I left them in my trunk for an extended period of time. And I must say that the thought of opening my trunk when I got home to find 120 tiny yellow chicks running around made me laugh out loud.
I was trying to avoid going into the whole egg fertilization discussion at the checkout line at Wal Mart and also looking around for some someone to jump out and tell me that I was being punked. I'm not a poultry scientist and I'm sure that the occasional fertilized egg does slip into the grocery store shelves but the thought of hatching chickens in my trunk on the way home from the store had never even crossed my mind until that day. 😂
You'll be happy to know that I did NOT find chickens in my trunk when I got home. 🤣 I pulled out 2 eggs for my berry scones and immediately put the remaining 118 eggs in my refrigerator.
Some of you are thinking - wow, that's a ridiculous story and others of you are thinking - why in the world is she buying 120 eggs at a time? I see the looks you people give me when I fill up my grocery cart with eggs and butter every week. I'm used to it. I've get all kinds of comments on my massive egg purchases but if you saw how many eggs, I go through in a week - you'd understand.
Two of those eggs went into the making of these yummy scones this weekend. They are not the prettiest thing that I've ever made but they were tasty. (That's the most important quality in a scone anyway.) If you're a scone fan, you need to give these mixed berry scones a try. They are DELICIOUS!
Mixed Berry Scones
1 3/4 cups frozen mixed berries
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
3 cups flour
12 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons whole milk
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Tablespoon honey
Brush warm scones with glaze. Return to oven and bake another 5-8 minutes until browned.
Some mornings I'm just not in the mood to make muffins and I don't feel like going through the trouble of making biscuits but I still crave a little sweet treat to get my day started off right. Hello scones! They're the perfect little breakfast treat that doesn't take a lot of fussy prep work or tons of ingredients. They're simple to put together and they pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Simply delicious.
Summer nights at the Davis house mean engaging in epic corn hole tournaments and board games competitions. We love late night movie marathons, ice cream shop visits and evening swim sessions. The three of us have to go our separate ways most days but when we come together in the evening, we make the most out of these warm, humid summer nights.
I know that I've hit full blown summer mode when I start staying up past my usual 10:00 bed time. (Normally, my body just shuts down at precisely 10 pm every night - regardless of what I'm doing or where I am.) 🤣 For some reason, I'm oddly energized and invigorated by summer nights I find myself wide awake and making smore's on the grill at 11:30 at night. 🤷🏻♀️ These late summer nights are amazing but they make it harder and harder to drag myself out of bed before 7:00 AM with each passing day.
Hold on to your hats folks, because if you struggle to get yourself out of bed in the summer like me - I'm about to make your morning a whole lot easier. Meet your new incentive to get your butt out of bed - the magical Breakfast Cookie. I'm willing to bet that if you have a batch of these in your freezer, you'll wake up thinking about them and dare I say - leap out of bed to get one, the minute that you wake up.
Since I've started making these cookies, I've gone from dragging myself out from under the covers in sloth-like fashion to springing out of bed kangaroo style. What can I say? I'm motivated by food. 😂🤷🏻♀️ Feel free to adjust my recipe to suit your own needs. Swap out the pumpkin seeds with walnuts or the raisins for dried cherries. The key is to make them your own.
1 carrot, grated
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir together with a wooden spoon.
Scoop onto into rounds on a silpat lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly.
Bake 25 minutes at 350.
I wrap these cookies individually in plastic bags and put them in the freezer. Freezing them is a great way to keep them fresh but it also stops me from eating all of them in one day. (You know a cookie is good when I have to hide them from myself!) A quick 30 seconds in the microwave is all the you need to defrost these little treats. I recommend making a double batch - you'll be glad you did.
Do you have any idea how many zucchini a single plant can produce in one season? It's a ridiculous number. I would go as far as to say a single zucchini plant can yield more zucchini than my entire neighborhood could consumer in a summer.
I didn't realize how prolific zucchini plants can be and I foolishly put 4 plants in my garden one summer. 😬 Needless to say, I became a door to door zucchini saleswoman that summer - pushing my wares on anyone who would accept them. When I wasn't able to give away my vegetables anymore, I started disguising my zucchini in delicious baked goods like breads and muffins. Not too many people turned down my freshly baked zucchini treats. (There's more than one way to get rid of extra zucchini.) 😂
I ate so much zucchini that summer that I thought I was going to turn green. I scoured the internet and cookbooks for new and interesting ways to prepare it. I only wish that I would have had this grilled zucchini recipe in my repertoire when I was drowning in the long green vegetable.
The delicious Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is the perfect compliment to this Grilled Zucchini. I love how delicious this zucchini really is without adding sugar or fat or cheese. A healthy zucchini recipe that tastes amazing. This might even be worth planting a single zucchini plant next year.
Check out this beautiful pepper that I found. (Is it weird to describe a vegetable as beautiful?)
Grilled Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 1/2 Tablespoons + 1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
1 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
Arrange zucchini over sauce and drizzle with remaining sauce. Serve.
I have a feeling that this grilled zucchini was meant to be a side dish, but I turned mine into a main course. I served it alongside a spoonful of whole wheat couscous and triangles of toasted flatbread. It was a delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into our diet.
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