Friday, August 1, 2014

Blooming!

On Monday, I talked about the state of our vegetable garden...and today, I figured I'd share some pictures of the blooms around our house.  I love fresh flowers and the fact that I have some all around to enjoy or for a vase makes me really happy! 
 
First up, our lilies!  We have 3 different color lilies that I planted when I first moved here, seven years ago.  They are in desperate need of dividing but I honestly don't know where to start.  I love the colors in this pinky- yellow lily.  I should research to find the variety, it might be a pink tiger lily but I'm not certain.
Next is the Tangerine Orange Ruffle Lily...
Our Zinnias which I've talked about before and that I love.  They are just starting to pop up but I can't wait to pick a bunch to enjoy inside!
This also is the first year that we've tried Dahlias and they have been blooming all Summer long.  I adore these sunshine yellow ones and the pink ones as well!  They are beautiful and BIG!
These pink dahlias are huge and my favorite this Summer! 
Hope you enjoyed a walk through my flower garden!  What are you growing this Summer that's been a favorite?  Oh and HAPPY AUGUST 1st!  Time is flying!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

World Foods Feature

This past week, with yet another outbreak of Listeria, I was reminded yet again about how important it is to put good, quality, local and clean foods into our bodies.  It's so important!  The truth is, I don't always have time to make an entire meal from scratch.  Life gets busy.  Even in the Summer, we seem to be running one place or another.  Sometimes I just want to grab some convienent food or a sauce that will make my evening a little easier.  Unfortunately, the majority of the cooking sauces and condiments in stores are loaded with artificial ingredients that are just not good for us.  I was pretty thrilled to get an opportunity to review World Foods line of all natural cooking sauces.
Usually, I have to create my own sauces and condiments using fresh ingredients, however, it is always nice to have a few natural brands to rely on for the days when I just don’t have the time to make my own.  World Foods currently offers 65 different cooking sauces, marinades and dips.  Their mission is to create all natural cooking aids that fuse flavors to create unique dishes. They are influenced by the flavors of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, China and India. All of their sauces are made with all natural ingredients, herbs and spices including coconut milk, tamarind, kaffir leaves, ginger, chili, onions and garlic.  None of their offerings contain artificial additives, GMOs, flavor enhancers, or gluten. What's more, their sauces are packaged in curbside recyclable glass jars!  Love that!
I received their Thai Green Curry Cooking Sauce, Rendang Curry Cooking Sauce, Thai Galangal Lemon Grass Stir-Fry Sauce and Indian Tandoori Marinade and Stir-Fry.  First, I can speak first had how labor intensive it is to make an authentic Indian sauce.  I've made several over the past couple years and although they are delicious, they take hours to perfect.  I was so happy to have a short cut method and the Indian Tandoori Marinade did not disappoint.  It was delicious on grilled chicken and had the perfect blend of spices and flavor. With the minimal ingredients uses, I was thrilled to have such a wonderful balance of flavor that wasn't overpowering or bland.   Next, we tried the delicious Galandgal Lemon Grass Stir Fry sauce on some fresh veggies from our garden with chunks of chicken.  It was delicious.  I didn’t have to add much of anything else to bring out the flavors, and my family and I really enjoyed it.  I haven't tried the other two sauces yet but I have tasted them, and I am excited to cook with them.  Just have to pick the protein to accompany them!  I also LOVE that these are gluten and dairy free - so something our entire family could enjoy!
To find out more information on World Foods, visit their website here.  You'll find some great info about their company and great recipes too!  Additionally, you can follow them on facebook and Twitter to be in the know!  Snag your $1 off coupon code here.
 
I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Medai Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

In the Garden...

It's amazing what some super hot and humid weather can do for a garden!  If i'm being honest, I wasn't entirely sure that we'd have a successful one this year.  We had a late Spring and cooler temperatures to start so I wondered if we would even get a harvest.  Thankfully, I was wrong and pretty excited to see a lot of delicious vegetables getting bigger overnight!  Here are a few pictures to see what's going on there!
 
First up, our green peppers seem to be in their "happy place" and I'm thrilled about that!  Never, ever have had luck with peppers in the past and I'm not sure why since my sister in law has mountains of peppers every. single. year.  I'm happy to report this year, we seems to be doing well and have enjoyed some fresh green peppers in our salads! 
We also have started getting zucchini.  We had loads of it last Summer and although we are off to a slower start this year, it seems to be doing better now that the weather has been better.  I'm sure I'll be sick of it by the end of the Summer but I LOVE grilled zucchini so we are enjoying it now!
The tomatoes are also coming right along and my cherry tomatoes are already starting to ripen!  It won't be long now!
I think that's about it, we've been getting green and purple beans all this month, so we have enjoyed those!  We also have PLENTY of fresh basil, cilantro, parsley and oregano.  Nothing like a fresh, homeade, herb pizza! 
 
How are things in your garden growing?  As we approach the every end of July (how did THAT happen) I'm sure they are doing well!

Friday, July 25, 2014

No Excuses + Fruit Salsa

Have you ever had one of those weeks...or months...or Summers?  You know, the ones that you picture yourself having lazy, low key days and then suddenly you are on the run?  Running everywhere?  Well, our week has been a tad like that.  I mean, we're typically busy people but this past week has been full of fun Summer activities, playdates, swimming lessons and add a puppy into the mix and things can get out of control quickly.  I found myself folding two giant loads of laundry at 8pm last night.  On a side note, am I the only one who things Summer laundry should be lighter?  I feel like sundresses and flip flops logically mean less work for Mama but then again?  Swimming + Friends + Sprinklers?  Well, maybe not so much.  Anyway, we are looking ahead to a more low key weekend which I think we all need.  Not too many plans other than a campout with Dad in the backyard (a Summer tradition), some s'mores with our new firepit, dog walking, bike riding and lawn mowing.  Sounds good to me and fingers crossed Mother Nature agrees!
 
So, on that note...I didn't ***exactly*** have a post ready for today.  And I sort of realized that around 7am when I was sipping my coffee.  So, instead of skipping a post, I decided to re-share one of our favorite Summer snacks.  I hope you love it as much as we do!
 
We are HUGE fruit people around here!  There is no better time to enjoy Fruit Salsa paired with Cinnamon Chips, then in the Summer!  My kids love it and it's so easy and healthy, you'll fill good about it!
Ingredients:
Fruit Salsa:
The fruit of your choice!  We used pinapple, kiwi, strawberries, peaches and added chopped bananas at the very end.  Anything goes!  I've seen recipes that add sugar or fruit juice but I don't think it's necessary with the added sweetness of the bananas and cinnamon chips.  All you do is chop all your fruit up into teeny tiny pieces and mix.  Add a teaspoon of lemon at the end to prevent browning.
Cinnamon Chips:
10 flour tortillas
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar in the raw
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Brush tortillas with butter, cut into chips (strips, triangles - anything!), in a seperate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over chips.  Bake on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
Pretty Perfect for Summer entertaining - easy peasy and everybody loves them!
 
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