Monday, July 29, 2013

mom's summer salsa

I have to say that looking at this recipe initially, I was slightly apprehensive.  I've tried fruit salsas, but more of the mango or peach varieties.  I couldn't quite wrap my head around watermelon.  But then I took the plunge, and I am so glad I did.  This has got to be the most beautiful dish I've made!  And the flavors were magnificent, to say the least.  

I urge you to make this in the very near future while watermelons are perfectly ripe and mint, cilantro, and basil are in abundance.  The colors play off each other beautifully.  The crisp veggies and spicy hits of the jalapeños couldn't be better.  And if salty/sweet is your thing, this needs to be your next starter!  Scoop up!

Mom's Summer Salsa
makes 8 1/2 cups

  • 4 cups seedless watermelon, diced
  • 2 cups sweet peppers (I used yellow, orange, and red), diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peedled and diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
~ Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Friday, July 26, 2013

high five for friday

I'm hoping you have had a great week!  I am in complete shock with our weather over the last few days.  If anyone had predicted there would be low humidity and mid-80's in Nashville at the end of July, I would have said they were nuts!  We had a youth event last night, and we spent part of the time outside.  I had to slip on my sweater.  Of course, to my co-workers who watch me turn on my little heater in my office at least once a day - whether it's July or January - this should come as no surprise.  But, seriously.  I really needed the sweater.  What a gorgeous evening it was! 

Here's to hoping it's a beauty of a weekend, too!  Time with family along with my mixer and stove... couldn't get any better in my book.

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!

1. Mimi came down for a visit and brought a HUGE surprise!  Cousin Abbey!  The boys haven't had any fun at all, as I'm sure you can tell.

2. John has kept super-busy this week between football practices and preparing for school to spiff up our place for a possible near-future house listing.  SO thankful I married a hard worker!!!

3. Talk about multi-tasking!  Daniel was talking to my grandfather and totally impressing me with the one-handed action.  As long as he doesn't practice this come driver's license time.  

4. At the end of dinner earlier in the week, with full sun beaming, the skies opened up with rain and beckoned us all out to play.  What a blast!!!  Wish you could've seen the rainbow!

5. My excitement for church camp last Friday night was well warranted.  The stars were numerous, the night was cool, the singing around the campfire at Chapel in the Woods was perfect.  I couldn't make these memories up on my own, my friends.  God. Is. Good.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

mini-bagel caprese sandwich

What do I get when I cross mozzarella, with pesto, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and salad greens?

Joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, I tell ya.

Pure. Joy.

Way back in the first week of the blog, I posted about my favorite sandwich, the Summer BMT. A combination of some of my absolute favorite flavors.  The ones just mentioned, actually. You'll find that this post is a bit of a spin-off.  A cold version.  A cute one, for sure.  A perfect lighter lunch.  A delightful addition to a summer patio party spread.  A great appetizer.

And could it be more simple?

I love these little mini-bagels, because you could do a million things with them.  Well, maybe closer to 20, but you get what I'm saying.  This stackable sandwich has Summer written all over it and could help you pull off casual or fancy.  Whatever you decide, it'll be a hit, I assure you.


Mini-Bagel Caprese Sandwich
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, slicked thick
  • pesto
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • baby salad greens
  • homegrown tomato, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mini bagels
~ On bottom half of bagel, spread pesto.  

~ On top, layer mozzarella, tomato, vinaigrette, greens, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Top  
    with other bagel half. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

cooking light, cooking right - key lime pie ice cream

This was my first love...

This one runs a close second.  

Meet my indoor ice cream maker.  

The Cusinart Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Maker.  You keep the bowl in the freezer at all times, and it's always at the ready when you're in the mood for a frozen treat.  I actually got this around my birthday using a gift card my kind co-workers gave me from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I have had my sights set on this beauty for a while, and let me just tell you, it has not let me down!

I shared with you in my Frosty post that I started my addiction to ice cream at a very young age. My grandmother only reinforced it every time we'd go to an ice cream shop, and her tiny 4-foot, 11-inch self would ask a server for "the biggest ice cream cone you've got."  I should also tell you, she was not afraid to send it back for more if it didn't meet her expectations.  

I acquired my love for the frozen dessert honestly.

I came across this recipe a couple of years ago looking for something a bit different.  John loves Key Lime Pie anything, so I was eager to give this a go.  It's such a treat with its definite tang balanced nicely by the creaminess of the milk and crunch of the graham crackers.  And with this whiz of an ice cream maker, you can have it in no time flat.  That's actually the only downfall to the machine.  It's so perfect in every way, I'm using it way too much.  No going to a local shop and ordering the biggest cone they've got for me.  No siree...  I'll settle for 1.5 quarts in the comfort of my home and p.j.'s, thank you!  

One year ago: Co-Cola Cake(Not just any) Chicken Salad

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
makes 1.5 quarts
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup bottled Key lime juice (I use Nellie and Joe's; you can find it in the juice drinks aisle)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 (14-oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 graham crackers (3 cookie sheets), coarsely crushed, divided
~ In a mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients, minus the crackers, whisking constantly.

~ Pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer directions.

~ Stir graham crackers into ice cream, keeping back some for garnish.

~ Spoon ice cream into freezer-safe container and freeze one hour or until desired firmness 
    is reached.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light - July 2005.

Friday, July 19, 2013

high five for friday

Crazy how another Friday is already here.  I'm excited about this one.  The four of us are heading to Fall Creek Falls for a night in a cabin and to pick up the youth group from camp. I've heard it's beautiful.  And I'm really looking forward to (hopefully) clear skies and at least a million stars! They're not nearly as bright in the city... something I really miss, not living in "Smalltown, IN."    

I hope everyone has a great weekend planned.  I'm crossing my fingers I can spend some quality time in the kitchen in between trying to figure out what to do with our house.  We're looking to move, and so lots needs to be planned and considered.  At any rate, enjoy a restful two days, and now... how about a High Five for Friday!!!

1. Charley's underground fence was on the blitz earlier in the week, so we had to do the 
    crate thing until it was fixed.  This is Luke being empathetic.

2. Daniel has been in football camp all week.  We've put flag football behind us, and it's on 
    to pads.  He. Is. Pumped.  (not sure about mom)

3. We can't get enough of Sonic's 1/2 price shakes after 8:00.  We have a fantastic location 
     right across from church... best customer service, ever!  We've hit it most Wednesday 
     nights this summer, usually with several friends to join.  So fun!  Chocolate-Covered 
     Strawberry and Coconut Cream Pie are my faves for now.

4. I'm not sure how I didn't know about Wet 'n Wild's Megalast before a month ago.  The 
    top left, Candy-licious, is what I'm wearing now.  With the wide pro-brush, it goes on 
    super-quick and lasts super-long.  Way out-performs some of the others I have in my 
    stash and for only $1.99.  I'm looking forward to trying the one on the right, I Need a 
    Refresh-Mint. (photo by Gorjess Nails)

5. The highlight of the week was this year's Vacation Bible School, Creation.  Monday 
    through Wednesday nights we got to spend valuable time with these sweet children 
    talking about the wonder of God's fascinating world.  The hearts of young ones, so 
    innocent and open... they teach me lessons daily.  

"And then God looked over all that He had made, and He saw that it was good."
Genesis 1:31

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

citrus berry trifle

OK, folks.  This might be the best-tasting dessert I've ever made.  

Outside of something chocolate, of course.  

I knew it was a winner after John (from across the room at a recent church gathering, no less) raised his eyebrows with the first bite and mouthed, "This is good."  That usually means it's a keeper.

I mentioned in the last post that the pound cake I shared was a great base for various desserts. This is a perfect example.  

Citrus Berry Trifle.  

Light, fresh, and tangy, but creamy and sweet at the same time.  It's an absolutely wonderful Spring or Summer dessert.  It most definitely gets better as it sits, and it really has a beautiful presentation.  Not to mention, it's a breeze to put together.  Can you ask for more?

My mind is spinning with so many things I want to share with you, and yet we're gone every night this week with VBS and two more youth events.  I'm hoping to cook up some ideas Saturday evening and Sunday.  Until then, be looking for another High Five for Friday in a couple of days and enjoy my posts from this week, one year ago.

One year ago:  Ginger TeaOld Fashioned Pot RoastSalmon Salad Sandwich
                             Amerigo's Bow Tie Pasta Caesar Salad  

Citrus Berry Trifle
makes 16-18 servings
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 6-8 oz. container lime yogurt 
  • 1 6-8 oz. container raspberry yogurt
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tsp. lemon and lime zest
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pound cake, cubed
~ Mix together lemon juice, yogurts, milk and zest; fold in whipped topping.  Set aside.

~ Stir together berries in another bowl and set aside.

~ In large trifle or glass bowl, place 1/3 of the pound cake cubes in a layer.  Top with 1/4 of 
   the yogurt cream and 1/3 of the berries.

~ Repeat with another 1/3 of the cake, 1/4 of yogurt mixture, and 1/3 of the berries.  

~ Add the final layer of cake, followed by another yogurt cream layer and remaining 

~ Top with the remaining yogurt cream and a light zest of lemon and lime for garnish.

Recipe from The Lazy Daisy Kitchen   

Monday, July 15, 2013

old-fashioned pound cake

It's always good to have your go-to recipes in mind, and it never hurts to have as many dessert go-to's as possible.  The hardest thing for me over the years has been expanding mine past chocolate options.  I just automatically default to them.  

Surely I'm not the only one???

This recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket.  It's simple, moist, full of great flavor alone but a wonderful base for other recipes as well (one coming to you this week).  I love it with fresh whipped cream and fruit best, but a quick glaze or icing would work beautifully too.

By the way, Congratulations to Kay A. for being the winner of the giveaway.  I look forward to doing more in the future!

Have a blessed week! 

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake
makes one 10-inch cake
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
~ Beat together butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer at 
    medium speed; gradually add sugar and salt.

~ Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; set aside.

~ Combine milk and vanilla; add too butter mixture alternately with flour.

~ Spread into a greased and floured 10" tube pan.

~ Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out 

~ Remove from pan; cool completely.

Recipe slightly adapted from Gooseberry Patch Big Book of Holiday Cooking.

Friday, July 12, 2013

high five for friday

This is my first HF4F, linking up with a fabulous blog I've been reading lately, Lauren Elizabeth.  I love the idea of giving snippets of the five best highlights of the week.  The only problem?  Narrowing it down to five!!!

1.  Took the youth group to Holiday World.  It's come a long way from the push-start
     roller coaster I grew up riding!

2.  $90-plus suit for right under $10 - big-time score!

3.  Licking chocolate buttercream frosting from the beaters while playing in the water
     equals perfect Summer day.

4.  One of three bass I caught at Mom's and Dad's lake.  Brings back tons of memories.

5.  Sunset over the lake just one of the nights we were there... God sure didn't have to do 
     that, but I'm so glad He did!

Happy Friday!

Monday, July 8, 2013

happy anniversary TLDK; a favorite ice cream recipe and giveaway to celebrate!

As hard as it is for me to believe, it has been a year since I began the blog.  In fact, it's been a year and four days!  Its anniversary actually fell on the 4th of July.  And although we weren't able to celebrate in big fancy style (fireworks were ousted by the torrential rains), we partied hard in the den eating my absolute favorite frozen dessert and playing Mario Cart!  Truth be told, I didn't play but let our guest, Kendra, use the remaining remote and cheered on John as the boys made fun of my, "Oh look, Honey, you're in first place!"-es.  Kendra, at nearly a week with us with only a couple of days left, was clearly mourning the impending departure from our family.

Or was she just doing her best to block out our crazy chaotic selves, willing herself through just 36 more hours...

Who knows?!?  At any rate, we had so much fun that night playing, and while at it, ate a ton of FROSTY!  

Yes, friends.  I said, Frosty.   

Legend has it that when I was not even three weeks old, my family took me to DQ late one night to have my very first taste of ice cream.  Ma testifies that the following night I was inconsolable and she is - to this day - convinced I was begging for another bite.  I have no idea how often I really got the frozen treat as a newborn, but I can tell you, I've had ice cream more nights in my 38 years than not.  And although I love a good Dairy Queen Blizzard as much as the next guy, my love for ice cream grew ten-fold when I was introduced to the Wendy's Frosty.  Especially with a side of fries for dipping.  

So why wouldn't I want to celebrate The Lazy Daisy's special day with this quick, simple, and tastes-just-like-the-original version of chocolate ice cream perfection in a cup?  I, personally, can't think of a single reason.    

Oh!  And wait.  Only one last thing would make the celebration complete... 

A giveaway!

I looked back at my stats for the blog and found one of the most viewed posts, with thousands of clicks, was the Amish Sandwich Bread.  So after reviewing several options, I thought it might be fitting to give away a highly reviewed and extremely authentic Amish cookbook (not to mention the companion item to a PBS cooking show series hosted by the author) to add to someone's repertoire.  

Cooking from Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens can be yours by entering below.  Being raised in the Midwest, particularly Indiana, many of the recipes from the book take me straight back to community fairs, church potlucks, and childhood happenings of all kind.  You'll really enjoy it too, so celebrate with me and enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One Year Ago  - tasty mac 'n cheese and spice (RE) mix

Homemade Frosty 
makes approx. 1/2 gallon
  • 12 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate milk
~ In canister of 2 quart ice cream maker, thoroughly mix whipped topping and condensed
~ Add chocolate milk to fill line and mix.  
~ Freeze according to ice cream maker manufacturer's directions.    

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

sautéed mushrooms

I warned you in my last entry that I might not get a chance to do too much this week in the way of posting recipes.  I was so right about my prediction of the anticipated (very) busy days.  It's all good, though.  Between youth events and attending Summer Celebration at my alma mater, I feel like I've been to church camp on steroids since Saturday morning.  

Spending moments in extreme awe of God's creation on top of a mountain....

Enjoying the wonderful company and spiritual discussions with this week's houseguest and dear friend, Kendra...

And I've gathered with my family to worship and praise in song for the last two nights with hundreds of believers.  Absolutely extraordinary.  Tune in tomorrow evening if you want to hear just a taste of what we've experienced.   

Video streaming by Ustream
I thought I might do a quick post of one of my favorite, easy sides to any grilled meal.  In light of the upcoming 4th, and to offer just a suggestion for one way to amp up the flavor factor with whatever you're preparing to throw on the charcoal or over the flame come Thursday, I want to highly encourage you to try these sautéed mushrooms.  

I don't remember exactly when I had these the first time, but I distinctly remember proudly ordering them around six or seven years of age when we'd take a Friday or Saturday night jaunt to Bonanza or Ponderosa.  

Mmm-hmm.  You heard me.  Can I get a big shout out for the 80's steakhouse?!?!?  Complete with the red plastic cups and 99 cent refills, baby.  We were big time!

I could eat my weight in those mushrooms, and so I've reinvented my own version.  It's really a to-taste kind of thing, but I'll do my best to get you "officially" there. 

Sautéed Mushrooms
  • 8 oz package mushrooms (I love baby bells), sliced thick
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire
  • splash of red cooking wine
  • chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, optional
~ Heat skillet over medium-high on stove or place cast iron skillet on heated grates if using 
~ Melt butter in pan until foaming.  Add mushrooms.
~ Stir mushrooms, sautéing until slightly softened but not shriveled.
~ Stir in Worcestershire and cook about 30 seconds more.
~ Add wine and swirl around pan, being sure to scrape up any browned bits on bottom.  
   Let cook until thickening begins.  
~ Throw in chopped herbs, if using, and adjust taste as needed.  
~ Serve to the side or atop burger or steak.