Monday, April 28, 2014

pineapple orange iced tea

Three cheers for warmer weather, sunshine, picnics, and grilling season! Although in our family, grilling season never really ends. Rain? Sleet? Snow? Just like your trusty postman, our grill has seen it all.

While this pineapple orange iced tea recipe is traditionally made by my mom to accompany Thanksgiving dinner, I think iced tea is a reminder of all of things sweet, sunshiney, and bright. And so I'm sharing this recipe today in honor of springtime and all the get-togethers it brings. Truly the perfect thirst quencher for graduation parties, wedding showers, birthday BBQs, or a Mother's Day brunch.

Boil up some water. Let the tea steep. Add the rest of the ingredients and enjoy. That's it! An easy peasy crowd-pleaser! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

roasted strawberry farro pudding


I'm fighting a losing battle against my sweet tooth. "Oh, I'll just eat one piece" turns to "just a small handful" turns to "yum yum yum chocolate! yum yum yum!"  I purposely didn't buy any Easter candy this year, but yet somehow it came home with us on Sunday. I blame the parent-bunnies.

I'm currently attempting to trick my inner crazed sugar monster with this strawberry farro pudding. It's sweet and indulgent without that just-ate-a-pound-of-chocolate guilt. Have we talked about my obsession with farro? Maybe. I can't remember, so I'll repeat... It has all the whole grain, protein, and fiber-filled goodness of quinoa, but with a more comforting, nutty, chewier texture. Last week Wegmans had boxes of farro on sale for 99¢. I bought four boxes. And if my cracker jack kitchen could hold it, I would have bought more. 

We first fell in love with farro last year when Smitten Kitchen posted this recipe for One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes. It's become a go-to recipe for us especially during the summer when basil and tomatoes are overflowing in the garden.  It's the kind of 30 minute, one-pot meal that deserves a gold star and a permanent spot in your dinner rotation. The farro, tomatoes, onions, and parmesan simmer down into a lovely, comforting risotto. [Side note: the recipe is perfect for us, but if your family doesn't do spice well cut back on the red pepper flakes.] 

I've now taken to adding farro to many of our meals. It's wonderful tossed with sausage and peppers or thrown into salads in place of rice like in tonight's dinner. But today farro is getting the royal pudding treatment mingled together with strawberries, milk, vanilla, and a touch of maple sweetness. This pudding is adapted from Eating Well's recipe for Wheat Berry Pudding that we happily devoured a couple weeks ago. A wonderful way to indulge while keeping you from walking down the dark steep chocolate candy path of doom. Bonus: this pudding serves multiple purposes. A healthy dessert, a warm comforting breakfast, or a 3pm pick-me-up!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter greetings

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter! Here's a few photos from our beautiful spring weekend...

A Good Friday evening by the lake.

Beautiful sunset. Old giant trees. Hubster made dinner. Perfection.

Buzzzy bee! Ha.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter dinner link inspiration

Just a few more days to get your Easter menu set. Feeling the time-crunch? Never fear. I've pooled together some of my favorite links lately to help you create a fabulous Easter meal for your family. Read, browse, and make.

Easter Cheesecake {ZoeBakes} - Those buttercream roses look incredible! I'm sure it probably taste even better! Bonus: there's a surprise pastel swirl inside.

Pineapple Bourbon Butter Glazed Ham {Nutmeg Nanny} - I'm a sucker for glazed anything.

DIY Easter Basket Cake {The Cake Blog} - Impressive chocolate masterpiece. I'll take a slice [or three].

Hot Cross Buns {London Bakes via Food52} - Totally baking these on Friday.

Ham and Asparagus Strata  {Simply Recipes} - Brunch, lunch or dinner!

Spring Salad with Asparagus and Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette {The Organic Kitchen} - Refreshing and light side.

Carrot Chocolate-Covered Strawberries {Lil' Luna} - Perfect for the kiddos!

Roasted Potato Galette with Cheddar and Chives {Joy the Baker} - She had me at galette.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons {Smitten Kitchen} - You could turn these into the Easter macaroon nests that are all over the blogosphere. Or leave them in their wonderfully simple dark chocolate state.

No-Knead Overnight Parmesan and Thyme Rolls {Cooking Light} - I love a good no-knead bread recipe. With Parmesan and Herbs? Even better.

Ham Panini with Blackberry Mustard {Spicy Southern Kitchen} - Blackberries mashed into mustard and slathered on bread with cheese and ham. I'd call that the perfect leftover sandwich.

What are you making this Easter?

Friday, April 11, 2014

chocolate Easter egg cookies

What do you get when you mix these gorgeous flower pots, Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Valentines, and Gimme Some Oven's Easter truffles? These cookies!

You see I was simply minding my own business browsing through PW's cookbook when lovely decorated chocolate hearts caught my eye. My first thought was, "Ohhh, why did I not make these at Valentine's?" Then the chocoholic voice inside piped up, "They're chocolate! CHOCOLATE! Forget Valentine's. Make them now!" And so I reasoned with my chocoholic self [because she's kind of pushy] that I would make the cookies, but I'll cut them out with my egg-shaped cookie cutter and decorate them for Easter.

Then I was faced with the dilemma of how to decorate them. I toyed with the idea of royal icing in white and how pretty [but time consuming] they would look. And then I remembered the flowerly design on the Anthropologie flower pots and the simple designs Ali used to decorate her truffles and it all just clicked in that beautiful way. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

news from the book nook: feathered friends

I know it's been spring for a few weeks, but today it truly feels like spring. The windows are thrown open and a breeze that smells of mud and things that make me sneeze floats in. The sun is warm, but the air is cool. Blue herons fly low over the lake searching for murky, shallow waters. Geese honk and waddle about in pairs. In a few short weeks, we'll have a front row show to gaggles of goslings and all the ugly, cuteness they bring (even if it means listening to more honking in the middle of the night...).

So as tweets, songs, and honks fill the air, I think its time I revisit my news from the book nook series. Today in honor of all my chatty winged neighbors, let's talk about some of my favorite children's books featuring feathered friends. If you're new to the blog, visit here to find out the inspiration behind the news from the book nook series. Hope you find some old favorites and new ones to cherish in the list. 

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein {Preschool-2nd Grade}
Little red hen can't help herself. She constantly interrupts the bedtime stories her Papa reads. She must warn Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Grettel about their impending doom. Chicken Little needs to know that the sky is not really falling. If your a fan of Mo Willems, this is definitely a book for you! Your little one will adore little red hen. And she might even remind you of some interrupting children you may know ;)

Duck & Goose by Tad Hills {Preschool-1st Grade}
Duck and Goose have both claimed a gigantic mulit-colored egg as their own.  They each have their own dreams and plans for the egg. Neither wants to share with the other. Until they learn their egg isn't an egg at all... The first of many tales of friendship featuring Duck and Goose. 

Chicken Big by Keith Graves {Preschool-2nd Grade}
A hilarious take on the classic Chicken Little story. Out of a gigantic egg comes something large and all together not chicken-like. Maybe it's an elephant? Or a squirrel? Kids will cackle over the chickens' silly bird-brained reasoning and cheer when Chicken Big saves the day!

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman {Preschool}
A curious chicken watches the artist illustrate the pages of the book he's in. A bucket of blue paint is left out, and suddenly the chicken is no longer white but blue! The paint continues to spread across the pages and onto the other barnyard animals. Simple, rhyming text, but the magic here is in the illustrations. Great for little ones who love to imagine and anyone who enjoys the writing/illustration process. 

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker {Toddler-Preschool}
Color illustrations and simple, rhyming make this a great book for even the youngest of listeners. A storytime favorite of mine for teaching rhyming and counting. Bonus: the kids love to do the motions that go along with the rhyme.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman {Preschool-1st Grade}
Poor little baby bird can't seem to find his mother, but he's determined to find her. He asks a dog, a cat, a cow, and even a snort! In true Dr. Seuss style, this book is perfect for beginning readers.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell {Preschool-Kindergarten}
Three little owls are left all alone. Where has their mommy gone? The two older owls have some ideas, but the littlest, Bill, can only repeat, "I want my mommy!" The illustrations flawlessly convey three tiny, anxious, scared owls in a big, dark forest. But before anyone can get too scared, in swoops mommy!

Looking for other book suggestions? Check out spring favorites and frogs and bogs for more spring reading inspiration!

Friday, April 4, 2014

printable spring card

I'm craving spring colors, buds, and blooms. I'm sure I will be until the bulbs pop, the grass greens, and the trees bud. Hopefully that comes sooner rather than later, but until then I'll just continue making cheery flower projects. Judging by the top ten post list and that the billy ball flower gift wrap project is now the #1 post of all time [woah!], I think you also share my love for spring and simple diy projects. Or maybe you just like the color yellow? Or are you a sucker for classy [but cheap] gift wrap like me? Whatever the reason, thanks for all the blog love this week!

I've officially unofficially named it reader appreciation day! To celebrate you, my lovely readers, I'm gifting you a sweet printable card. I think the flower is from a joe pye weed. Hmmm. I'd like to call a friend...anybody? Mom?? Anyway, consider it a great addition to your stationary stash, a special way to say happy birthday, or the perfect little card to present to your momma on Mother's Day. Yes, Mother's Day. It's sneaking up on us.