Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Salad

I love a good pasta salad. This delicious salad is quick,easy,versatile  and festive too! I was able to find purple cauliflower at my local farmer's market, but any color will do. The kids will love the colors and the flavor! It is a great way to get your kids to eat veggie pasta as well as new,colorful vegetables.Feel free to substitute any shape of pasta or different  vegetables. This makes a great addition to any Halloween party table. The dressing is also wonderful on a green salad.

Salad Ingredients:
1 lb. pasta(I used both orange veggie and regular penne pasta)
1 small head of cauliflower,blanched in boiling water for minute
1 small head of broccoli,blanched in boiling water  for approx. one minute
2 carrots,peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
1 red pepper,chopped
1/2 small red onion,sliced thin
1/2 small sweet onion,chopped
1 clove of garlic,chopped
black olives,sliced(as many as you like)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh mozzrella,cubed
1 scallion, chopped
fresh basil,chopped

1 clove of garlic,minced
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. of good olive oil

- Mix all of the dressing ingredients together.Whisk well, set aside until ready to use. Store any extra in the refrigerator for up to one week.
** I like to mix mine in a mason jar. Just toss in all the ingredients, put on the lid,shake and pour onto the salad. Then just put the lid back on to store any extra in the refrigerator.

-Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's directions,approximately 5 minutes.Drain and place in a large mixing bowl. It should be al dente.
-While the pasta is cooking, mix the red pepper,sweet onion,carrots and garlic with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a 350 degree oven and roast for ten minutes.
-When they vegetables have finished roasting, mix them and any oil left in the pan with the pasta,cauliflower and broccoli in a large bowl. Add in the mozzarella,scallions,red onion,basil,olives and grated parmesan. Drizzle with the dressing while pasta is still warm so it absorbs the flavor. Toss well. Enjoy immediately or cover and refrigerate for later use.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Earn Holiday Savings with Sur la Table

   I always like to share when I find great recipes,products or a great deal. This is a great way to save some money this holiday season. Sur la Table is currently offering a way to save on your Holiday shopping. Their "Earn Holiday Savings" program allows you to earn points from all of your purchases between now and November 23rd. You will then be sent an email with a savings code on November 29th, which will be good between 11/29-12/12. If you need to make any purchases for your Thanksgiving gatherings,or you are setting up a new home or even attending some bridal showers, this is a great way to save some money for your later holiday shopping. See the Sur la Table website for all the details. Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What's Been Going on in my Kitchen

It has been a while since my last post. I have been busy enjoying the last of our summer days, and getting everyone back to school. Now the house is quiet again, and I have an opportunity to catch up on some work. Here are a few pictures of what I've been working on over the past few months.
   The Peanuts themed platter above was for a young lady's 21st birthday. She also happens to be a fan of Charlie Brown and the gang. This was a fun one to decorate!

   Typically, I slow down my baking during the hot summer months. However, I did make this beach themed platter,along with chocolate covered pretzels for my friend's daughter's birthday celebration.


I also made birthday favors for another party. Each guest received three pretty cookie candles to take home.
This platter was an assortment for a fun backyard BBQ.
A lovely lady was celebrating her 93rd birthday and was looking for some sweets to bring to her local church coffee hour. I made her an assortment of muffins,scones,cookies and mini tarts. She loved them!

This past week, emojis were on the menu. These were the three favorites of a sweet young girl for her party favors.
   I also made some banana-chocolate chip muffins for my family. Now that the weather is cooling down,I love to turn on the ovens and bake! Those are also mini baby boo pumpkins from our garden in the background!
This week I will be working on cookies I am donating to the GoBo Foundation.Very excited about that, and I will post the pictures of my decorated goodies before I ship them!

Have a sweet week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Last of the Graduation Cookies

   Another graduation season has come to an end. I wanted to share a few more of the fun platters I created for some very special graduates. Here are a few of the smaller platters I put together;

I also had a request for chocolate covered pretzels. I love making them (and eating them) !
When school ends, I always like to give the people who help us throughout the year a little something in addition to gift cards to thank them. I put together these adorable cookie filled jars for the bus drivers. They contain my cookies and  cute tags I found online. I did the same for some "Good Luck" gifts,as well as gifts for graduates.

I am now spending a little less time in the kitchen and a lot more time in the garden. I look forward to sharing some gardening tips as well as pictures of the fruits and veggies I am growing and beginning to harvest! Check in again soon!

Have a sweet week!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Garden

I love when spring arrives and it is once again time to get my hands dirty. My son and I started a very small garden years ago, which consisted mainly of a few potted plants. As time passed, our garden has evolved and become slightly more sophisticated. My husband built us two raised bed(each about the size of a twin bed), and we still use pots and grow bags because we keep planting more and more fruits and veggies! It has truly become a hobby we are passionate about. Many people ask me how we do it, where  we find the space, etc. I am here to tell you that it is really not difficult, and you can always find space,even if you live in an apartment. All it takes is a pot,some soil, and a tomato plant. Anyone can do this, and growing your own food is not only great therapy, it is good for your health  as well!
   I am sharing some of the things we are growing this season in this post, but I will also be sharing posts that tell you how,when and what you need to grow various vegetables and fruits. Here is what has been happening in my yard.
    Every year, we start out by planting lettuce seeds. We like to plant a variety which usually includes romaine,butter,spinach,arugula,mesclun mix and kale. We start with good organic soil, some seeds, and I let my son do the planting. His lines may be crooked, and the lettuce may get crowded, but he enjoys planting, we raise beautiful greens, and he is learning as he goes(we all are). Here is how the lettuce bed progressed.

We went from dirt and seed, to a few greens to an overabundance of fresh, delicious salad choices.
It wasnt long before we had our first salad.
We also grow radish each year along with the salad greens. This year it was a french variety.
  The weather was cold for a ridiculously long time this spring, so the lettuce thrived. Once the heat kicked in, it bolted(grew rapidly) and turned bitter. We ate most of it prior to this happening, then pulled what couldn't be eaten, and planted summer veggies like melons,zucchini and cucumber.

 Another spring favorite is peas. Here is the beautiful plant and the lovely fresh peas.
Last fall, my son planted some garlic, which we honestly forgot about. What a a great surprise we found this season! Beautiful garlic scapes,followed by beautiful bulbs of garlic.

 We are also growing a few fruits. I purchased a peach tree, nectarine tree, two lemon trees and a lime tree, and am growing them all in pots. I've had the nectarine tree one year, and it is fruiting so I am super excited. My meyer lemon tree is fruiting as well. The peach tree is still young and will not fruit this year,and we are patiently waiting for fruit on the other lemon and lime trees.We also have blackberries,blueberries, strawberries and grapes!

 I also purchased a ginger plant last year and recently did a little digging to check the root. Looks great! Now whenever I need a bit of ginger for a salad or a smoothie, I just dig a little piece up. It really doesn't get fresher or easier than this, and the fragrance of the plant is intoxicating.
This is just the start of our garden. Please check back often, as I look forward to sharing all of the things we will be growing and experimenting with this season! I encourage you to go out and plant something, you will love it!


This Week in the Kitchen

It's been a busy few weeks. Lots of cookies being made, and a few other treats as well. Here are a few of the goodies.
   I had the pleasure of making this platter for a 21st birthday party.

This platter was fun to make. Celebrating the end of a another successful year of dance for a lovely young lady.

I also had a few graduation platters to make. This one was for a friend's son who is graduating high school shortly. They were also celebrating another family birthday, so I made them a coconut cake too!

Now, we are at the end of the school year, and we can't forget the special teachers who worked with our kids throughout the year. These cookie jars, filled with a delicious variety and adorned with ribbon and pretty tags found online, are the perfect thank-you gift.

Next week will be busy as well. So many things to celebrate, and that is a good thing. Have a sweet week!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My Latest Cookies

It has been another busy few weeks! Lots of celebrations. I am always humbled when people serve my sweets to their families and friends when celebrating life's momentous occasions. Here is a look at a few recent creations.
   These cookies were made for a sweet baby girl's baptism. I loved making these. Love the colors.

I also attended a baby shower for a cousin who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of a sweet baby girl. I always enjoy making baby themed cookies.
Spring,of course, means it is time to play ball. These were made to celebrate the end of a successful softball season at our local high school. The girl's had a fun year and finished with a win!
One of my favorite things to make was this basket I put together for our cousin's high school graduation. We are all very proud of his accomplishments and wish him all the best in his future endeavors!
Well, that wraps up another fun week. Next week, I'll be making more arrangements for birthdays,dance recitals, graduations and  other celebrations!

Have a sweet week!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

This Week in Cookies

It has been another busy week! I started by sending cookies to a Marine in Japan as part of the Operation Cookie Takeover program. It is a great program that recruits volunteers from around the country to bake and ship cookies to our troops. I have participated several times, and will continue to do so as a way of thanking those who serve and protect. The next one will be  in the fall.If you are interested ,visit their facebook page for updates. Below is a picture of the box I sent. My assigned Marine will have 6 dozen cookies to share soon!
This week I made many cookies for Mother's Day, a Communion, A DIsney Cars birthday party and a Superman  party. Here are some pics of the goodies. This was a platter for a special Mom.


Next, I made the favors for a special boy's First Holy Communion.

This one was fun. A Disney Cars themed platter. I decided to add character candles for this special 5 year old.

My last project for this week was a birthday party for a young boy with a Superman theme. Instead of an "S" cookie, we used his initial , "M."

Now,it is time for some gardening. I will be posting about our garden soon!

Have a sweet weekend!