One Day this Summer

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Since I served bagels and cream cheese to company for dinner today, and since I went to church with very unwashed hair today, I think I'll tell you about how we crossed #94 off our summer list.  That makes sense, right?  Well, it's summer time and it's hot and we've been eating way more than our fair share of ice cream for dinner, so the way I see it, I don't have to make any sense.

Into the woods we go . . .

There you have it: Us, loving the great outdoors with homemade pies cooked in the Jemez Pueblo Indians' ovens, and a whole lot of dirt in our shoes.   I am feeling so good about getting a blog post done in this lazy summer heat that I think I will actually go wash my hair eat some more ice cream.

P.S.  Recognize those tunnels?  Probably because they were in this movie  , and I even made an exception to my "I don't watch movies with horses in them" rule just so I could see my favorite part of the mountain's film debut.  Now, no more movies with horses.

12 Awesome Chalkboard DIY Projects

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ever since I posted the chalkboard place mats I made for my "Brunch Soyree," I've received a lot of questions about how to make them.  They are so easy to make and so fun!  Here is the basic (and I mean basic) rundown on how to make the place mats, along with 11 other awesome DIY chalkboard paint projects - this is one trend the kids and I are thoroughly enjoying!

Easy Chalkboard Placemats

These place mats are incredibly simple.  I used ugly cork place mats for this project.  They are dime a dozen at the thrift store!  Make sure they are clean and the surface is smooth, but don't sand them down at all.

Once you have the place mats, all you need is a small paint roller, like this one, and some chalkboard paint, I used this stuff.  It took two coats and I let them dry overnight before use.  Voila!  We've been using them for about a month and they are holding up well despite all the food dribbles and washing.

These can be decorated in a thousand different ways. They are even educational - I've been labeling the different place setting locations and the kids love setting the table now!

Here are more great Chalkboard Projects that you will enjoy:





Chalkboard Rock Vase (via b3 Home Designs)

Chalkboard Wine Glass (via Just Short of Crazy)

BLT Pasta with Garlic Toast Bread Crumbs

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I am enjoying this summer so very much!  The kids and I have been working our way through the summer list, but we are also leaving plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying some lazy summer days.  Really, this summer is going along swimmingly and I hope it doesn't end too soon.

There are a few things, however, that I am finding really difficult right now.  Waking up before 9 AM. Wearing shoes.  Doing anything but a top knot with my hair.  Sitting down to the computer, a.k.a. blogging and editing pictures.  And cooking - why turn on the oven when we could just eat watermelon and peaches all day long, right?

But, my kids' enthusiasm for another watermelon meal is waning.  So, over the weekend I made a BLT Pasta, no oven required, and it was, dare I say, a perfect summer meal!

This BLT Pasta with Garlic Toast Bread Crumbs is quick, easy, and incredibly tasty - the kind of dish that will impress both company and the kids!  Carmelizing the tomatoes and then deglazing for the sauce creates a rich, deep flavor with a hint of spice and sweetness.  Plus, there is bacon - need I say more? I'm really glad I dragged myself into the kitchen for this one!

BLT Pasta with Garlic Toast Bread Crumbs

(Printable Recipe)


5 strips bacon, diced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine, or white grape juice
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
7 oz dry spaghetti noodles
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 teasppon dry thyme

For Garlic Toast Bread Crumbs:

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 cups French bread, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Whisk together minced garlic and olive oil.  In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and garlic.  Stir, making sure bread is thoroughly coated with oil.  Toast coated bread crumbs in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring often.  Season with salt and set aside.

Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook until crisp, then set aside on paper towel.   Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, and drain off remaining oil.

Caramelize the tomatoes and sugar in the bacon drippings in large skillet or sauce pan, over medium heat.  Cook until tomatoes begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the leeks and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until leeks soften.

Deglaze with wine and allow sauce to simmer until the wine is nearly evaporated and sauce is thick.  Add the broth, vinegar, and pepper flakes.  Simmer until reduced by 1/3, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the spinach, thyme, and bacon to the sauce, then add the cooked pasta.  Toss lightly until pasta is well coated with sauce.  Season with salt as needed.  Top each serving with garlic toast bread crumbs.

Makes 4 servings.  Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home.

What do you cook when you really don't want to cook?

Muddy Muddy Mud!

Monday, July 2, 2012

We have crossed quite a few things off of our Summer List already, but we have a unanimous favorite so far:  #14 - Play in the Mud.   Better than ice cream, better than museums, better than swimming pools the girls declare!

Happy Holidays this week to all my American friends!  If you're really lucky, maybe you'll find some mud too!
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