Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grilled Peach and Nasturtium Summer Salad

Salads are one of my favorite summer meals.  They're refreshing and cool, and with all of the fresh produce becoming available from the garden and farm stands the possibilities for combinations are really endless. The addition of fruits to your favorite greens is a great way to keep things exciting and tasting wonderful. For this simple summer salad, it's the peaches and edible flowers that bring the wow-factor, adding color and surprising sweetness. The Nasturtium adds the bite and spiciness. Not only does it look beautiful, but the flavors are extra special.
Grilled Peach and Nasturtium Summer Salad

-1 Med ripe peach, halved.
- Red leaf lettuce (washed and loosely chopped) and a sprinkling of butter lettuce
-1/4 Cup chopped walnuts 
- 1/4 Cup crumbled feta cheese
- Nasturtium leaves and flowers (washed and dried)  (homegrown or purchased as "edible" only)
- Balsamic Vinegar

Grill the two peach halves, face down on an open grill for 5 - 10 minutes. Slice the grilled halves into thinner pieces and and combine with the greens, walnuts, feta, and  top nasturtium leaves and flowers.  Drizzle plate balsamic vinegar.

This is a wonderful salad to serve to guests.  It adds an air of excitement to any summer meal, whether paired with other dishes or as a stand-alone dish with a glass of crisp white wine.  

The butter and mild red-leaf lettuces partner nicely with the nasturtium to balance the spiciness, while the grilled peach brings a light sweetness.  Finished off with the earthy nuttiness of the walnuts and the saltiness of the feta, it's sure to please the palette.  I just love the way the colors come together on the plate, don't you?


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Monday, June 8, 2015

Homemade Honey & Cherry Frozen Yogurt

After the DIY Doggy "Ice Cream" recipe I shared, a lot of us commented on how WE were eating a bit of the Doggy Ice cream, it was so tasty.  I thought it might be nice to follow up with a healthy frozen yogurt recipe just for us humans!
This cold frozen treat is the perfect alternative to ice cream this summer (sometimes!), and only requires 3 healthy ingredients.

Honey Cherry Frozen Yogurt:

2 Cups pitted sweet cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 Pint whole-fat yogurt
2 Tbs organic honey

In a large bowl combine 1/2 cups of cherries (reserve remaining 1 1/2 cups), yogurt and honey. Transfer to food processor and blend until smooth.  Fold in remaining 1 1/2 cups cherries and pour into container(s) or popsicle mold for freezing.

Since we aren't using an ice cream maker for this recipe, I suggest serving when just frozen. (This method produces a more frozen, less creamy result, ice cream makers ensure creaminess, but can be a bit more involved). 

After 24hours the yogurt will freeze into a solid block (if you've used a popsicle mold then no worries here).  If this happens, transfer to fridge to lightly thaw a few hours before serving time.  I also had some fun slicing this (carefully!) with my big knife and serving it in thick slices.  Can be stored in airtight container for up to one week in freezer.

This frozen yogurt has just enough sweetness to be tasty treat, without so much sugar as to be a guilty indulgence! Yum.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY Doggy Ice cream

It's only May but the temps have been pretty high already.  When it's in the upper 80's even the dogs find a cool treat to be just the ticket. These adorable paw print frozen yogurt "ice cream" bars are super easy to make, they only require 3 ingredients - and a freezer!  Here's how you can make them in just a few minutes for your canine friends...
You will need:
-2 Ripe bananas
-2 Tbs raw, cold pressed peanuts (you can use regular peanut butter here if desired.  I love the raw, pressed    version for the dogs because it contains only peanuts with no additional salt, oil, or sugar)
-2 Cups plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
-Cookie/muffin tray , like this Paw Print Mold ( Dixie cups work great as well)

Combine bananas, yogurt, and peanut powder in a food processor. Mix until well blended and smooth.  Pour into Paw Print Mold for freezing.
Once frozen (I froze mine overnight and they were ready the next morning), wrap in wax paper to store in the freezer. Wrapping them individually allows you to pull them out one at a time during treat time.
Bug was so excited for her "ice cream" that she would barely hold still for a photo.  So yummy!  Even I liked them!  I  also like that I can break them into smaller pieces for our little dog.

*Always check with your vet before adding new foods to your dog's diet.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

DIY Mother's Day Gift :"Flower" Basket

I'm so excited that I can almost wish you all a happy "May"! What does May bring? Mother's day!  Today I'm sharing a quick, but beautiful, little spa basket for Mom's that need a little pampering this year.  I don't know about you, but I'm all about potted gardens and spring flowers right now and this sweet basket is pretending to be just that.
You will need:
-Small wooden garden box or basket
-Assorted nail polishes and manicure tools
-Wired flowers and a few sprigs of greenery
-Crinkle paper for stuffing
-Small staked plant marker
-Glue (optional)

Wrap the wire-stemmed flowers around your gift items.  You may use a dot of glue here of you find the flowers to be finicky.  
Use minimal amounts of any glue so that the flowers are easily removed and the gift item isn't damaged.

Fill your box or basket with the crinkle paper and then place the flower-topped gift items. Weave in a few sprigs of greenery. Write Mom's name or little message on the "plant marker" and you're done!

Happy crafting!  


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to Decorate a Cake Like a Pro!

Decorating cakes can be tricky.  I can't even tell you how many times I've ended up covered in frosting and close to tears over a grand idea for a pretty cake, so I'm always on the look-out for shortcuts that make simple cakes look special and fancy.  You can't get any simpler than this quick vanilla cake decorated with Necco Wafers.  It's as easy as frosting the cake and sticking the sweet pastel wafers right onto the icing.  The end result is going to seriously impress your guests. 
You will need:
-2 Bags Necco Wafer rolls
-Fully Frosted vanilla cake (make from scratch or mix)

Unwrap the wafers and sort by color , then stick them on to your frosted cake in neat rows. I stuck to 4 colors and the whites for the top, but you can do any color combo you like!
This would make a sweet baby or bridal shower cake, or even just a spring birthday cake! Don't you love how simple this was?  I was so pleased with how finished the end result looks.

Do you have any go-to cake decorating tricks?


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Monday, March 30, 2015

Turn Plastic Dollar-Store Eggs into Keepsake Easter Eggs

Sometimes little tiny plastic eggs just don't cut it for holding treats and Easter surprises.  Growing up, we would hunt for the small eggs and also for a few of the big German paper mache eggs filled with the bigger surprises.  I found some super large plastic eggs at the dollar store (also saw them at the craft store) and they totally reminded me of our big childhood Easter eggs. I had some fun transforming them from a cheap plastic eggs into something a little more special that makes a great goodie-holder or Easter decor egg.
You will need:
-Large plastic eggs
-Decorative paper/Scrapbook paper
-Mod Podge
-Hot glue gun
-Rick Rack and Ribbon

Trace the shape of your egg onto the backside of the pretty paper and add one inch all the way around.  Slit the paper, fringe-style, all the way around.  Coat the first egg-half with mod podge and press the paper on, working all little flaps down all way around and brushing a top coat of mod podge on as you go.  Repeat on second half of egg and allow to dry.  Trim edges.

Add a decorative rick rack border along the edges and embellish with stickers, bows, or ribbon!

Much prettier, yes?  I have ours on display in my old egg basket on the kitchen table as we wait for Easter to arrive this weekend!


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Saturday, March 7, 2015

4 Simple Ways to Brighten Your Home for Spring

Obviously we're all starting to get a little antsy for spring.  One thing I start to notice when I've had enough of winter is that I start to crave pops of color around the house, a need for a bit of freshness.  If you're like me, and you're looking for ways to bring some color, warmth, and spring into your home, here are 4 quick and easy ways to do it!

No.1 flowers
The first and most obvious way to bring in a little cheer is with flowers! Having flowers around the house doesn't have to break the bank.  Being selective in the floral section of your local supermarket, or springing for few nicer stems at the florist would do just fine.  Making several small arrangements and scattering them in different rooms of the house is an easy way to get more bang for your buck as well. Place them on end tables, atop bureaus and tucked into bookshelves...

No. 2 Scents & Soaps
One of my other favorite ways to chase away winter blues is with scents & soaps. I love hand soaps and candles that have light floral fragrances, especially when the container itself has a bit of color to it too! Scents like geranium,basil and privet are light refreshing smells that remind us of spring and summer.  These cheer me up every time I wash my hands, or walk past a candle and catch the fragrance. 

No.3 Pillows
Throw pillows are my go to vehicle for introducing pattern and color mainly because  they are so interchangeable!  I'm a bit fickle with prints so I love that when I tire of certain pattern I can simple change the cover or swap it out for a different one.  Around this time of year I put the hues of winter into storage and bring out our cheerier couch pillows.  What a difference a strong splash of color makes!

No.4 Wall Art
Nothing screams personality like colorful wall art and when you already have a few frames laying around, swapping images out for bright swatches of fabric or homemade paintings can be the quickest way to add some oomph.  Have child use bright colored paints to create a special piece of art or visit your local fabric store or paperie to pick up some bright bold patterns!

Making small changes around our home never fails to raise my spirits and remind me that spring is indeed on its way!

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