Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Watermelon, oh how I love thee

More than ever before, we’ve been eating a lot of watermelon. Watermelon used to intimidate me: how to cut into it? -and- how to eat so much before it gets weird?

Ever since I learned this tip (slice off one end of the melon, stand it upright and then slice off the sides and other end--this makes slicing and dicing the melon a piece of cake) and perhaps more importantly, now that we eat fruit in droves in our home, any watermelon anxiety is long gone. We’ve been using watermelon in salsa, pairing it with feta and mint (delish!) and just this month, I’ve been making watermelon gazpacho.

Gazpacho—practically the only soup that sounds remotely appetizing to me in the summer, is a traditional Spanish cold soup. If you have never tried gazpacho, you really ought to give it a try. Besides being delicious, it is super healthful, easy to make and fast, fast for a week night dinner.

The sweetness of the watermelon blends beautifully with the flavors of fresh peppers, cucumber and herbs. The splash of lime and vinegar give this soup just the hint of acid to make your taste buds ting with flavor.

Watermelon Gazpacho

2 ½ cups cubed watermelon
1 cup peeled cucumber, diced
½ cup yellow, orange or red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeno (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
½ teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a large bowl or blender, reserving a ¼ cup cucumber and 1-2 teaspoons parsley and cilantro for garnish.


Keep Blending

Serve in chilled bowls with the remaining cucumber and herbs:


Makes 4 servings.

Peas and love,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Wine and Bad Muffins

This weekend SPH and I opened the bottle of wine I gave to him on our wedding day more than 11 years ago. It was the wine of the year the year we got married, and its Vintage Year was when we met. For months we'd been saying, "we need to open that bottle before it goes bad."

We opened the bottle and...

It was amazing. Too amazing. May have raised my standard for wines a wee bit too high.

Other than enjoying a fun meal alone, opening the bottle made me realize how much things have changed since the bottle was purchased: we're married, we have two boys, we live in another state, we're...older. But as SPH said as we tasted the bottle for the first time:

"Here's to things that only get better with age." Here, here.

I also tried my hand at creating a new zucchini muffin recipe, one using buttermilk. Let's hear it for the incredible non-rising muffin:

Time to go back to the drawing board on these. But go I will, since our zucchini plants are shooting out zucchini at an almost alarming pace!

In the meantime, I tried to fit in a few recipes this week to use the quickly growing produce in our backyard:

Grilled Asian Marinated Fish, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob
Lemon Dill Couscous with Cashews
Falafel, Ann's Zucchini, Hummus
Salad Caprese, Tortellini

Peas and love,

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's so hot, you could _____________

Can you fill in the blank?

Here are two appropriate subtitles:

"How to occupy your boys on a lazy hot afternoon when you're not in the mood for the pool"


"Hope our neighbors behind us who we barely know don't think we're odd"

Yes folks, it is hot, hot, hot. (Go ahead and cue the music and get ready to form a conga line: "Ole, ole! Ole, ole! Ole, ole! Ole, ole!")

So hot in fact, we thought we'd give the ole' (in this case a shortened version of "old," not the Spanish word for "bravo!") adage, "It's so hot, you could fry an egg," a try.

So first, R placed the cast iron pan outside in the hot sun for about 2 hours, then G poured 1 tablespoon oil into the pan:

We waited about 45 minutes (to let the oil heat up), then R cracked an egg:

About 5 minutes later:

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Darn! So we tried to see if this would work:

Nope. Which lead R to exclaim, "It's so hot, you could try to fry an egg, but it won't work."

Life is sweet,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On sale at Target this week

We're at about T minus one month and counting until school starts in Sweet Peaville. We're going strong on our summer bucket list, making sure we hit all our favorite spots as summer slowly, slowly, starts to wane.

In the back of my mind, I'm already mulling last year's lunch box ideas and some new approaches to school lunches. But for now, I just wanted to share what's on sale at Target this week:

Or perhaps in your family, this is more up your sweet pea's alley:

Whatever your favorite, all Thermos Funtainers are on sale until Saturday at Target. Go and check them out, 'cause if you wait until the week before school starts, they will most likely be sold out. And they rock for getting healthy lunches to school.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Having a Laugh

My favorite birthday card...'cause if you can't laugh at yourself, you might be taking yourself too seriously:

Our meals for the week:

Grilled Tuna, Easy Italian Summer Vegetables, Berries
Ham and Cheese Potato Salad, Pineapple
Grilled Tofu and Spinach Salad
Greek Seven Layer Dip and Pita
Pasta with Zucchini and Peppers in a Goat Cheese Sauce

Stay Cool in this Heat-

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Herb Grilled Chicken

Here's an easy and tasty way to jazz up your basic grilled chicken, using things you probably already have on hand in your kitchen and garden.

Are you growing herbs this summer? I venture to guess that herbs are probably the most popular thing to grow at home. Even avowed brown thumb-ers can grow herbs in a pot and if you just don't care to grow some your own, ask a friend, I bet they have some on hand. As a last resort, head out to the grocery and pick some up.

Balsamic Glazed Herb Grilled Chicken

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (we used thyme, rosemary and basil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of fresh pepper
1-2 pounds chicken

Mix the vegetable oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Stir well to combine.

Add the chicken and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

Grill over medium high heat, about 5-8 minute per side, depending on the cut of chicken you choose (boneless, skinless chicken will cook much faster than chicken on a bone). Your chicken is fully cooked when it is no longer pink inside.

Serves 4-8, depending on the amount of chicken you cook (count on about 1 pound per person).

Peas and love,

Monday, July 11, 2011


I realized today that by week's end, we will be more than half-way through R's summer break. When we returned home last week from a trip to the beach, our mail they had held while we were gone included a PBK "Back to School" catalog. And if you haven't noticed, the advertisements and stores are ready with their "1 cent folders" and "two glue sticks for $.20" type pricing.

Whoa, this summer is going quick!

We've had a busy summer, and the idea that it is already half through blows my mind. Time to hit the pool and all our favorite summer hang-outs with gusto, since the second half of the summer always goes more quickly than the first.

In other words, time for some more quick summer meal ideas! Our meals for the week are easy, make-ahead type of dishes:

Mama Mimi's Pizza, Cut Up Veggies, Cherries
Bacon Ranch Pasta, Watermelon
Curried Chicken Salad in Pita, Chana Masala (from Trader Joe's), Naan and Mango
Rice and Bean Salad (side note--one of my favorite summer salads!), Tostadas
Birthday Dinner

Yes, my birthday is this week, so whatever the birthday dinner ends up being, I know it will be one thing: not cooked by me. :)

Need a specific meal inspiration for the week?

This is a SPH favorite dinner:

Greek Orzo Pasta paired with a panini:

Another summer time menu idea!

Peas and love,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quick and Easy Breakfast Tacos

I have a tendency to get lazy about making breakfast. It's usually earlier than I wish to be up, the boys are hungry, and since R and even G to a certain extent can make their own cereal breakfast, I usually choose the path of least resistance.

Last week I happened to have some delicious blue corn taco shells leftover from dinner, along with some chopped cilantro and an avocado that needed to be used (nothing worse than an overripe avocado). I was already scrambling some eggs for R, when I had a "eureka!" moment and made him this instead:

Breakfast Tacos

4 taco shells
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine (optional)

Place the taco shells on a plate.

In a medium size skillet over medium heat and coated with cooking spray, scramble the eggs, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent any browning of the eggs as they cook.

Place 1/4 of the eggs in each taco shell.

Top with 1/4 of the cheese and salsa.

Slice the avocado and add a few slices to each taco. Sprinkle with cilantro, if using.

Makes 4 tacos.

A great and tasty way to start your day, with hardly any more work than just regular ole' eggs. And R? Thrilled, as he is a huge taco fan.

Peas and love,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Hope your Independence Day is delicious!

Have a sweet holiday,