You know those days you wake up and are just overwhelmed with happiness because of everything in your life you have to be thankful for!? Maybe it is because:
I got to get dressed up with my husband and go to a dinner last night
Or maybe because I woke up to kisses from the dog (he was apparently ready for his breakfast- who can resist this face!? Also, pretend there is NOT a mess in the background…)
or that I have friends and family that I love dearly?
For these reasons and many more, today is a day I have pledged to just be thankful for all the blessings in my life. (my cheer may have something to do with watching this sweet video a
million few times)
Have a VERY happy Wednesday!
This past week, I attended my first homecoming, and I was humbled and honored to have been asked to take pictures for a friend. I consider myself lucky to have been a witness to some much joy and unconditional love. Even the atmosphere in the hangar waiting for the plane to land gave me goosebumps. To see a mother in uniform drop to her knees and her small children embrace her yelling “MOMMY IS HOME”, to see wives and husbands reunited with their loved ones, tears of joy shed by all who witness! This puts everything into perspective this Memorial day weekend. The reality is some of those mothers, fathers, sons and daughters do not come home.
This weekend is not about grilling, or parties or a free day off of work. This weekend is about acknowledging and thanking the brave men and women who served and have served our country. We need to thank them for the ultimate gift they give us, often the gift of their lives, to ensure we live in the land of the free. There are not enough words of gratitude to acknowledge our nations heroes.
Thank you to all the men and women who so bravely serve in our military. Thank you to their families who make sacrifices so that we may continue to live freely in the most wonderful country. God Bless the Men and Women in Uniform and God Bless America.
I have been fervently searching the internet for yellow squash recipes since my garden has been producing them at an exciting rate (4-5 a week!!!!!).
Pinterest came to the rescue once again and I couldn’t wait to try this recipe for squash chips. There were two issues I was worried about:
1. I love chips. So, I admit I was skeptical about enjoying these as much as I would a potato chip, but I did! They remind me of sweet potato chips. But they are healthy and practically free since the squash came from my garden! Win.
2. For me to have the oven on for 3 hours on in this lovely 90 degree weather, it has to be worth it. This was!
1 Yellow Squash (This would work with zucchini too!)
*I covered one batch in dill and Parmesan cheese (from the can, classy) and that was the BEST flavor combination (no salt needed since the Parmesan is salty). I sprinkled the other batch with Tony’s Creole seasoning, also good but not as tasty as the dill!
Find the original recipe HERE from Dig Into Books
Step 1: Preheat oven to 200. Thinly slice your squash. I used a mandolin on the second thinnest setting. You can certainly use a knife, just be careful. (don’t the slices look like little flowers!?)
Step 2: Liberally spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, and line up squash pieces close together but NOT touching. Cover those babies with seasoning of your choice. I think lime salt and chili powder would be good, or Italian seasoning, or RANCH. yum
Step 3: Place them in the oven and find something to distract you for two-three hours. I kept opening the oven and peeking and trying them. You can do this two, but wait until at least 2 hours have passed! Mine took the full 3 hours to become crispy.
Step 4: eat them all and feel ZERO guilt about it
This is NOT a low-calorie breakfast. However, it contains fruit, so therefore you only have to feel slightly guilty about eating it! It is so good we ate it ALL before I even had time to snap a photo!
The recipe claims to feed six, but whomever has the self-control to eat only ONE piece of french toast should be nominated for sainthood. I would say this feeds two hungry adults. (At the beginning of my marriage I used to be slightly embarrassed that I can eat the same amount as my 40lbs heavier husband, but now I own it- especially when it comes to something as tasty as this french toast!)
Recipe From Steamy Kitchen
3 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks (keep the egg whites for a frittata)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 slices (3/4-inch thick) your favorite bread (I used French, you can also use brioche or challah bread)
3 tablespoons (ish) unsalted butter
4 ounces (1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 bananas, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- Soak the bread: Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks in a large bowel to blend. Gradually whisk in the milk, cream and vanilla. Dip the bread slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat and soak until they are completely moistened with the custard. While the bread is socking up this wonderful-ness…
- Make the banana sauce: Melt the butter in a large stainless-steel skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk until it melts into the butter. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Cover and set aside while you cook the French toast.
- Cook the French toast: Heat a heavy, large griddle pan over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on the griddle. Working in batches, transfer the soaked bread to the pan with a slotted spatula and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Add more butter as needed for each batch. (keep the already cooked pieces on a baking sheet in the oven at 250)
- Add the bananas: Add the banana slices to the sauce and cook until the bananas are almost tender, tossing gently, about 3 minutes. Transfer the French toast to plates. Top each with the banana sauce.
- Enjoy without guilt. Maybe even plan to go to the gym later OR realize your time would be better spent making another batch of these for dinner!
This soup is rich and delicious and weighs in at 171 calories per serving! Have seconds I admit I felt so good after eating this I might have made these again but with GODIVA LIQUOR and almost died.
Healthy Coconut Curried Cauliflower Soup
Recipe slightly adapted from Food and Wine, and serves six
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons coarsely grated fresh ginger (I cheat and by a glass jar filled with chopped ginger!)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
One 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 baking potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium baking dish, toss the cauliflower florets with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper and roast on the top shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes, until tender but not browned.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, combine the cumin, coriander and toast over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne.
- In a large pot, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and spice blend and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped cauliflower, potato and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion belnder or, working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and silky. Return the soup to the pot and add the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro, jalapeño and lime wedges. Don’t skip the lime it really brightens the soup!
FOUR DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! AHHHHH!
Do you still have gifts to buy, presents to wrap and cookies to bake!? Fear not! These cookies, made from a box mix, will be done in a jiffy and are tasty to boot! No one will know you “cheated” and used a pre made mix!
Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe barely adapted from How Sweet It Is
Makes 2 dozen cookies
1 box Red Velvet cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chocolate chips ( I used 1/2 cup Semi Sweet and 1/2 cup ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350.
In an electric mixing bowl, combine cake mix, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium/low-speed until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop onto baking sheet in tablespoon sized balls – have this fabulous cookie scoop and it saves so much time and makes the prettiest uniform cookies! Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. You will know the cookies are done when they begin to crack on top!
Eat some hot out of the oven with a glass of milk. To.Die.For. Save the rest for Santa.
Christmas is a time that many of us head home for a week or two and often forget about all of the “to-do” items to prepare our homes for being gone for an extended period of time! Check out my 12 days of Christmas checklist to ensure you can have a safe trip home without worrying about leaving your current house for too long!
Do not get bogged down with the stresses of traveling. Remember that this time is about being thankful, giving and recognizing all of the things you have to be joyful for!!!
I cannot say that I don’t often count having a mushroom with dinner as a serving of vegetables. I will also say, I often describe it as my favorite veggie, although it is technically not a vegetable. It has no leaves and such so, it should be categorized as a fungi. Who wants to discuss their favorite fungi, unless of course we are discussing Steve Carrel. Fun guy = fungi… get it? I had to go there, bad joke was practically necessary.
Back to the point. I love mushrooms. Saute them, stuff them or grill them, each method has fantastic and flavorful result! My go to mushroom recipe is PERFECT for any dinner and delicious enough to serve to guests. Add to that it takes 30 min to prep and bake… makes it a menu staple.
Side Note: Serving things in heart shaped dishes make them taste better.
Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen who got it from Gourmet.com
1 pound mushrooms such as cremini or white, halved lengthwise if large
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately, and it is ESSENTIAL that you serve this with crusty bread to soak up the buttery garlicky juices.
The mouse will need to do some task they have never vaguely considered doing while their cat was home. For example, renewing the base decals, registering the vehicle and heaven forbid the toilet stops flushing (Google replacing the flapper, surprisingly not as hard as you would imagine)!
So, if you find yourself needing to renew you installation decals, your military ID, your drivers license or vehicle registration, I have put together a short how to for each of those tasks! I should have known how to do all of these tasks long ago… but in case you are like me and depend on your husband to take care of the “less” fun tasks, you may need help with this too!!!
Check out the full article on USAA’s Military Spouse Community! If you are feeling extra adventurous participate in one of the great discussions going on!
I have never been described as tidy. Growing up I would pay my sister to clean my room. Unfortunately she realized my loathing for cleaning and started charging more than I could afford to pay her…
My affinity to cleaning has not grown over the years and that is a shame since I married a neat freak. However, he has not complained about my method of dusting (it includes shuffling things around and blowing the dust off, maybe even using the long arm of the vacuum to do a quick dust grab). Enough about my lack of cleaning skills. Being organized and tidy makes moving MUCH easier. I try to remind myself about how much nicer our PCS would be if I didn’t just throw things in my desk drawers, or use the space under our bed to “store” stuff. Here are some more tips and tricks to organizing and purging some of your belongings before you move!