Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Recipe Capsule

Oh, summer!

How lovely are you?! And HOT! But lovely. Who doesn't love laid-back, lemonade-sipping, pool-hanging, garden-veggie-eating, happy sunshine-y summer? :)

And with summer comes FRESH, delicious recipes. Oh man, I'm cheerful just thinking about them! So, to keep all my summertime favorites in one place, I'm compiling a list of the recipes that we love to make over and over again throughout the summer. You'll notice lots of tomato-centric recipes, since tomatoes are SO GORG during this time of year. Plus lots of other recipes with fresh fruits and veggies, because . . . summer! I also feel like a good summer recipe involves not turning on the oven, but I snuck a few oven recipes in there, just because their taste outweighs the lameness of turning on the oven on 100 degree days.

And now, with mouth watering, I give you our Summer Recipe Capsule!

This recipe is great for all those extra grape or cherry tomatoes you have laying around. It's simple, but that's what makes it so perfect. The red sauce that's created by the burst tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil is just lovely.

Yum! I'm a huge fan of traditional 7-layer dips. But look at this one! Hummus, greek yogurt, red onion, cucumber, tomato, olives, feta cheese . . . so many great flavors in one place! This one is definitely great for a party, but also great for folks who like snacky lunches, like myself. We serve with pita bread, pita chips, celery, carrots, or really anything great for dipping. A great recipe for using up some of those garden veggies currently hanging out on your kitchen counter.

Who doesn't love the Pioneer Woman?? This is one of our favorite recipes of hers. It's so easy to throw together and so tasty! We seriously eat it on repeat for lunches throughout the summer. We often add different things to this wrap depending on what we have in our fridge/pantry: quinoa, chick peas, tomatoes, mild peperoncini peppers, cucumber . . . this wrap gets better every time we eat it! When we're short on time, we skip the grilled onions and just throw them on raw. When we have extra time, we grill the whole wrap once it's stuffed, which makes the hummus even creamier if you can believe it. Mmmmmm.

You guys. THIS salad. This may be the summer salad to end all salads. I just don't know. It's awesome sauce though. Specifically the green goddess sauce that goes on it. Avocado, lime, cilantro, jalapeƱo, and pistachios are the main stars of the magical sauce. I could seriously put it on anything. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'd just eat it by the spoonful . . . if that was acceptable. You toss a bunch of quinoa, fresh tomatoes, and spinach in it, which just takes it all to the next level. YOU GUYS!! I'm telling ya. You need to make this NOW. We loved adding fresh mozzarella and some roasted Brussels sprouts. But I bet it'd still be stellar without. Bring this salad to your next summer party and you will not be left alone until you share the recipe. 

Yes, it sounds a little weird. But if you like pickles and creamy dips and potato chips, you'll love this dip. It's very simple to throw together and quite the crowd pleaser. Gah! I'm salivating just thinking about it!

Ok, so this salad might give the green goddess salad a run for its money. It's SO SO SO good. I especially love the CRUNCH of the uncooked ramen noodles. The asian honey vinaigrette is on point. And then all those fresh veggies. WOWS. I stole this one from Caitlin at A Joyful Duty last summer and it's been a favorite ever since. You know a good recipe when you taste one, Caitlin! Strong work. 

Another Pioneer Woman favorite! This salsa is probably one of the easiest things you'll ever throw together and it's so flippin' good. I bet there's a way to make this one with fresh tomatoes, but if canned tomatoes don't bother you, you can make this recipe year-round. Which, thank goodness! Because you'll crave it year-round once you get your first taste. It makes a HUGE batch, so be prepared to put salsa on EVERYTHING after it's made. Or you could put it in cute mason jars and share with friends.

Hang with me on this one. I know it sounds a little weird. Especially putting strawberries on a pizza. But, guys, this pizza is probably my favorite pizza ever. The saltiness of the bacon and cheese, the sweetness from the balsamic, strawberry jam, and strawberries, and the pops of flavor from the sriracha, cilantro, and onion. You've just gotta try it to believe it!

I always love a good lettuce wrap. This vegetarian version, which we've tried with both tempeh and tofu, is just perfection. It's jam-packed with fresh veggies and even more jam-packed with flavor. A lovely fresh summer meal!

Once you've had homemade tomato sauce, you really can never go back to the jarred stuff. This recipe does not disappoint. It's very easy to throw together and some of the tastiest sauce I've ever had! It calls for canned San Marzano tomatoes, but I bet you could use your fresh garden tomatoes in this one if you'd rather. Now, if you can get your hands on some fresh pasta, you've got yourself the makings of one tasty meal!

If you're a zucchini grower, you probably have more zucchinis than you know what to do with at this point. (You're probably starting to get sick of zucchini bread, amirite?) This recipe will use them up stat! And deliciously so. I like to double this recipe and get at least two nights out of it. I bet it freezes well, so you could always go that route with the leftovers. That homemade enchilada sauce plus all that cheese PLUS the crunchiness of the fresh zucchini . . . this dish is something special!

I recently made this recipe with okra in one jar and cucumber in another. The pickled okra turned out great, but the pickled cucumber . . . fantastic! This is probably my favorite pickling recipe so far, and that's saying a lot because I'm obsessed with pickles. I'm thinking the secret to this one is the use of rice vinegar. But I'm not a food scientist. Just a pickle connoisseur. :) I didn't actually seal these jars, by the way. I just put them in the fridge as soon as they cooled and started eating them a few days later. Easy and tasty!

This recipe is actually for Asian Turkey Meatballs, but I just make the mixture and turn it into 1/3-lb patties instead of tiny meatballs. Then we cook 'em up on the grill. I also make the dipping sauce, which is great for burger dipping. And if you want to make a stellar meal out of it, make the Crunchy Asian Ramen Salad on the side. Yum!

I couldn't put together a summer recipe capsule without a delectable berry-centric dessert to top it off. I'm a huge fan of summer berries and a huge fan of chocolate. You put the two together in a pie and oh my goodness! Watch out! I've not actually made the pie in the link above before, but I've made a this version and it was always great. The pie I linked to, though, looked even more delicious than the one I've made, so I'm going with it. 


And there you have it. Our 2016 Summer Recipe Capsule! What do you think?

Now tell me, what would you put in your Summer Recipe Capsule? What have you been whipping up in your kitchen the past few weeks? Bonus points for links to recipes! 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Sneak Peek at Our (Probably) Future House

So far, everything has been smooth sailing with the house we're trying to purchase.

Home inspection . . . CHECK!
Termite inspection . . . CHECK!
Radon inspection . . . CHECK!
Appraisal . . . CHECK!

And all passed with flying colors. Whew! Much easier than last time around. I think we might actually be buying a house FOR REALZ. 

If everything continues to go as planned, we'll closing in a few short weeks. Holy taco!

For all the curious out there, here are some (unfortunately low-res) pics of the (hopefully) new digs . . . 

The main entrance has these great high ceilings. And you can sneak peek up to the second floor there.

The kitchen is perfectly functional and wonderfully spacious! We'll probably update it eventually since it's a little stuck in the early 2000s, but for now, it's perfect. On the back wall not pictured, there are even more cupboards, another counter-top area great for serving meals for parties or perhaps setting up as a mini kitchen office. And of course, the fridge is hanging out on that wall too. Plus a small pantry.

Then we have this MASSIVE eat-in kitchen area. It's really lonngggg so we're thinking of just making that our formal dining area as well and getting a really long, fancy, hunk of wood dining table for entertaining.

The triple doors lead to the sunroom, pictured later.

Here's the formal dining room, right off the kitchen, which you can see if you peek through that doorway. Since we have ALL THE DINING SPACE in the world between the kitchen and the sunroom, we're thinking of making this a first floor play room for babies. What would you do with a spare, not-enclosed room like this?

 The sunroom! Complete with mountain views. *hearts for eyes*

The media room is right off the eat-in kitchen area. Loving the built-ins and fireplace AND projector with screen that the sellers are totally leaving behind for us. WINNING. Tell me this, though. Why have hardwood throughout the whole kitchen area and then TILE in this room?! Ummm.

And the backyard! Which is actually tiny-ish. But perfect because who wants to do yard work anyway?

Behind the fence is all land owned by the Church, including an awesome walking path that leads straight to our Church's front doors. YAS!

The bedrooms are just . . . bedrooms. Which are kind of boring to look at. So I'm skipping those pics. Imagine nicely-sized rectangular rooms, each with a closet. And there you have it. There are 4 of them. Two of them have a bathroom attached (fancy), the master has a MASSIVE closet plus a jetted tub in the attached bathroom (LUXURY), and the other two bedrooms share a hallway bathroom. Good stuff.

There's also a small laundry room off the kitchen, a formal sitting room that we'll probably use as an office area (because who formally sits anymore?), and a garage.

And there you have it!

Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll be able to say this is OURS!! Expect updated pics once we're all moved in and settled. But until then, prayers are very much appreciated for continued smooth sailing. What a roller coaster.

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