Thursday, July 11, 2013

Farm to Table

Every Saturday in the spring, summer and early fall my town holds a "Farmer's Market" in the park, located in the center of town.  Local farms from the area set up to sell their seasonal fruits and vegetables, people are selling homemade baked goods along with crafts, various groups are holding fundraisers and there are even people giving away free pets too!  It is a great time to walk around the park sipping coffee, visiting with friends and other residents of the town and letting the kids run free (by that I mean walking ahead of the stroller!)

Last Saturday I went to the Farmer's Market and came home with a lovely bunch of produce.  I did not have a plan before going the market, I just decided on the spot what to buy based on what was in season and looked pretty!

When I got home, I then washed the produce and decided my "farm to table" game plan.  This is what I did:

Tomatoes:  Served each night with dinner as side.  Sliced with a dollop of mayo and sprinkled with coarse salt and fresh black pepper.  This is delicious and one of my favorite summer treats.  It taste the best when using tomatoes fresh from the garden, or in this case, the Farmer's Market!

Cucumbers: Served each night with dinner as side.  Sliced in circles and places in bowl with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water.  My take on creating a fresh and crunchy pickle.

Beets:  Served as a side with dinner.  Cleaned and sliced and boiled in water.  Greens cut off and saved for another night.  Strained the beets and sprinkled with salt. 

Kale:  Fresh kale salad

Peaches:  Homemade peach crostada, served as dessert after dinner.

It is enjoyable to go and pick produce on the spot and then come up with a dinner plan based on what has been purchased.  What are your farm to table favorites?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Easy Pasta on a Busy Night

Oh no!  It is a busy weeknight and you have no clue what to cook for dinner?  I have your solution and it is super easy and pot pasta!!  It took about 15 minutes, tops.

I have seen variations of this recipe floating all over the internet, thanks to our very special and talented friend, Ms. Martha Stewart.  If you search Pinterest by using key words "one pot pasta," many different recipes will pop up.  I decided to use the Martha Stewart recipe, with a few minor changes.

Here is the recipe with my additions.  My changes/additions are in italics. 
One Pot Pasta
12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large, I used one can of diced tomatoes with liquid
1 onion, thinly slices (about 2 cups) I used about 2 tablespoons of dried, minced onion instead, had no fresh onion on hand
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 springs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Combine pasta, tomatoes, dried minced onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls and garnish with basil.
3. Serve with oil and Parmesan.
Everything all in the pot

This meal was a crowd pleaser.  It was quick, easy and full of flavor.  What I like best about this recipe is that the kids liked it, husband loved it AND there is only one big pot to clean after dinner!

What is your quick and easy weeknight dinner?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Independence Day Decor

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.  I love the red, white and blue color combination.  I love how there are cookouts, picnics, parades, fireworks and everyone is having a fun time celebrating a love for our country. 

At my house, the 4th of July decorations go up right after school ends in the middle of June.  Here is a glimpse of the outdoor d├ęcor.

The holiday and weekend was a lot of fun.  It included warm weather, swimming and spending time with family.  Despite the rain, we still had a great fireworks display that we watched from our house! It really does not get any better!

How did you spend the holiday?
Hope it was filled with lots of fireworks!!