Whilst in New York City last weekend I had the most delicious pasta at Becco–ever been? Oh! The fresh noodles, the flavorful sauces, the waiters bringing you endless “seconds”. This drizzly Michigan Monday I’m finding myself longing for that lovely hot pasta and the hustle bustle of that city I love! This fresh from scratch pasta will have to suffice…
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-32 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb cooked noodles of your choice
Saute chopped onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add minced garlic cloves keeping a close eye and only letting them cook for 1 minute or two until fragrant. It’s important not to let the garlic turn brown or burn! Add chopped oregano, salt and pepper, then let it cook another minute or so before adding crushed tomatoes. Simmer uncovered on low heat (careful not to let it burn!) for about 30-40 minutes occasionally stirring. Add the chopped basil and the Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Next add the heavy cream and stir to combine. The sauce should become a nice light red-orange color…remove from heat and combine with cooked pasta.
People. It’s summer. Summerrrr! June 21st marked the first day of this glorious skinny dipping, watermelon dripping, campfire songs season! Want to celebrate? Try one of my favorite summer traditions coupled with Mel’s (of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) Shrimp Scampi…a combo that will have you shouting for joy guaranteed!
Artichokes are beloved in our family–by all by the big cheese himself, my husband. How do I persuade him into enjoying them with the rest of us? Add a little protein baby. This shrimp dish is the best scampi I’ve ever had. It has me licking my fingers, dunking my artichoke leaves, and contemplating dunking my napkin in when all the bread is gone. Well done Mel. Salt water, toes in the sand, hot butter & sea food…Summerrrr!
We dip our artichokes in melted butter but the butter sauce these plump shrimp are bathing in is even better. Throw in a loaf of french bread and dinner is served.
Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Shrimp Scampi
& An Artichoke “How To”
1. With a serrated knife, cut off the tip (about 3/4 inch) of the artichoke.
2. With a pair of scissors, snip all of the tip off of the individual leaves layering the outside.
3. cut off most of the stem leaving about an inch on the base of the artichoke.
4. Place in a big pot of boiling water. Make sure the artichokes are as submerged as possible…mine always bob around so I shift them with a wooden spoon during the boiling process to ensure they are evenly cooked.
5. Cook in the boiling water about 25-45 minutes. Cook time will depend on the size of your artichoke. Check for done-ness by pulling on one of the bottom leaves, if it comes away easily, you’re ready to eat.
6. Peel & dip leaves until you get closer and closer to the “heart”. When all of the leaves are gone, scrape out the “hair”–the fuzzy part covering the base & stem–and dip what’s left into the butter. The heart is the very best part!
What a day for a party! Not only did we celebrate our rich history and the freedom we enjoy, but also honored those who daily protect and support that freedom which we are so privileged to enjoy. This 4th of July we not only celebrated Independence Day, but also the birthday of our friend who has served the Phoenix Police Department for 5+ years.
Here’s to all those who protect our freedom, both at home and abroad!
Gorgeous paper stars with translucent lining allowed the beautiful glowing light to shine through delicate patterns as the evening waned. These beautiful stars drew the guests out onto the patio where the party began, gracefully hanging from above and swaying in the wind and as the sunset slowly illuminated the night.
Debbie has so many gorgeous designs to choose from, and each is so versatile and fitting for any occasion! Check out her handiwork at ExquisitePaperDesign
Happy. Hero. Home. How can we show our gratitude? Let me count the ways. This perfectly patriotic 4th of July door-hanger hung out on the patio to be admired by all.
TheLittleChandelier creates dozens of personalized door-hangers and wreaths. Get your burlap and bows fix here!
Check out these classy and cool flasks! They were certainly popular among the guests. “Oh what a neat idea!” “How are they made?” and, “dang those are cute!” were the comments of the evening. They brought a touch of vintage history to the day and really tied the event together.
Check out LadyRene‘s shop and admire the unique designs and possibilities she offers! A personalized flask is just such a fun gift idea.
What is a party without food? And what’s better – patriotic-themed food!
We gathered our inspiration from Pinterest!
Relax, kick back and enjoy the summer! We used this fantastic sign to point guests toward a chilled and refreshing drink on a hot, sunny day. Printed labels wished guests a happy 4th of July in style and patriotic fervor.
GraceWarrenDesigns provided a simple touch that can add a lot to a party. This easy PDF file allowed us to simply print onto label paper, cut out and apply to whatever we liked. Visit the shop for more ideas!
And don’t forget to check out our other patriotic celebrations!
“Summer Breeze makes me feel fine”
What makes us feel fine? Well, for a hot and sunny 4th of July celebration it’s the cool mist of a water park enjoyed by little children, the great company of friends, and some delicious homemade treats!
- Watermelon Popsicles: Blended frozen watermelon. That’s it!
- Coconut Popsicles: 1/2 can of coconut milk, coconut flakes, milk (I used vanilla flavored soy), and sugar (optional), and freeze.
- Tilting Jello Cups: I used the “quick set” method, so the jello wasn’t too hot for the cups. I balanced them in a tupperware container (propped up by the empty jello box and each other) refrigerated, and then added some homemade coconut whipped cream and blueberries.
- Coconut whipped cream: I wish I had read the recipes BEFORE opening my can of coconut milk! It turns out refrigerating the can for several hours to separate the cream from the water is important in getting the right consistency. You can find the recipes I would suggest using by clicking on our photos which will take you to our 4th of July Pinterest page.
- Patriotic Red White & Blue Strawberries: White chocolate and blue sprinkles! The photo will take you to Pinterest as well.
- Blueberry water: I dropped some frozen blueberries in an ice tray, added water and froze. My daughter was entertained for quite a while waiting for the ice to melt so she could eat the blueberries… =)
Fun, Fresh and Nautical. Being fashionable doesn’t need limits! We took the extra step and switched out our iPhone cases for some summer swag. Phonecasedziners provided these pretty blue designs, which seem to say “keep it cool this summer!”
Nothing is cuter than dressing up a little angel in festive red, white and blue. We shared this sweet headband with some little friends too! Now all the mamas have some fun 4th of July memories to keep :) BabyliciousDivas has so many adorable designs at such reasonable prices – be sure to stop on by and get one for your little angel before the summer is over!
These fabulous fluttering butterflies created by Needlejob drew a lot of attention at the splash pad – we even had a friendly little girl come running up trying to “catch” them because she thought they were really flying! She was soon joined by her mom and grandma, who came over to admire our little get-together and 4th of July celebration and swoon over the impressive patriotic decor. How fun!
We’re staying classy this summer! Every girl loves a party: the love; the laughter; the style! MILSPECcouture provides feminine, festive accessories that would make any lady feel couture. Military wife Chelsea opened her Etsy shop after discovering how difficult it was to find cute and patriotic clothing and accessories. She now offers many beautiful items, including branch-specific apparel, to women who want to support their military spouses and loved ones in uniform. What a wonderful way to support our troops and their families! Thank you, Chelsea, and thanks to all those to whom we owe our freedom this 4th of July!
The party’s not over yet! We’ve got a 30th birthday coming up this 4th – what an awesome day to be born! And what better time to celebrate? We’ll be sharing more patriotic inspirations with you soon!
Have you done this before? Frito Pies? Pepper Bellies? Walking Tacos? Texas Straw Hat? Frito Boats?
Whatever you might call them, you definitely have to call them fun! A party favorite, this fun alternative to Nachos, or a giant sandwich, will spice up a large crowd gathering and is a great idea for a teen hangout. Not to mention all of our easy hosting checklist favorites…all ingredients are make ahead, guest engage in preparing their own food buffet style, minimum utensils, and little to no clean up. Fabulous!
1 small bag of chips per person (we like Frito’s but Doritos are yummy too!)
Toppings: shredded cheese, nacho cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped onion, guacamole, sour cream, salsa or pico de gallo, black beans, hot sauce, ranch dressing.
1. Prepare ground beef according to taco seasoning packet.
2. Open bag of chips and dump in a spoonful of cooked taco meat, followed by whatever toppings you might like.
3. holding the top of the bag tightly closed, give it a good shake to mix the ingredients inside together.
4. Grab a plastic spoon or fork and enjoy right out of the bag!
It’s a miniature version of the Taco Salad we served a our latest sprinkle shower! Yum!
This is not your average taco sir. It doesn’t come in a cardboard box and you don’t fill it with ground beef simmered with a packet of taco seasoning. Meet your new favorite dinner taco. Crispy, drippy, fresh & delicious, it may not win any health awards but this tasty little Mexican dish will please the masses–or maybe just the little monsters that surround your dinner table. It will also do the trick if you happen to be an Southwestern native living in an utmost Northern state with sad to say, no serious Mexican food to be found. Filliberto’s, Roberto’s. Aliberto’s…eat your heart out!
And if you’re in the mood for entertaining (and when are we not, on this blog??) This little taco will make an excellent center stage item for a dinner party. Did somebody say Summer Fiesta??
1 pkg small corn tortillas
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans diced green chilies
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 pinch of garlic powder
1 pinch of onion powder
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2-4 tbsp frying oil (I use vegetable oil)
1. Combine chicken breasts, seasoning, and chilies in a crock-pot. (low-4-5 hours, high 3 hours)
*cook time depends on how thick your chicken breasts are-chicken will be done when the juices run clear, chicken is tender, and is easy to pull apart with a fork.
2. Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken breast and stir to combine with the chilies, seasoning and juices left in the crock-pot.
3. Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil (you want it to cover the bottom of your fry pan) over medium heat until it’s fry ready.
3. Stick a stack of about 10 tortillas between two damp paper towels on a plate and microwave for about 30 seconds. This will keep the corn tortillas (traditionally pretty fragile and dry) from breaking apart when you fold them into taco form.
4. Load 1-2 corn tortillas at a time (leaving the rest nice and damp beneath the paper towel) with a couple of spoonfuls of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla and fold in half.
5. Using tongs, place tacos in the frying pan. Use your tongs to keep the top half of the tortilla folded over creating the “taco shape”. After a minute or two, use your tongs to flip the taco and do the same on the other side. Your taco should be golden looking before flipping and when it’s finished.
6. Again, using your tongs, tip the finished taco on it’s side to drain any excess grease. Place on a plate loaded with a paper towel. Top with lettuce, cheese, hot sauce…anything you like. Enjoy!
*Keep tacos warm in a 150 degree oven if not immediately serving.
*Side suggestions? Black beans simmered with salsa, Mexican corn on the cob, pineapple pico de gallo, or chips & guac!
Check out more of our favorite Summer Recipes!
A post to make your mouth water…
My amazing sister made the majority of these delicious chocolate treats for an afternoon Bridal shower for our sweets loving friend.
Here are some links to the fabulous recipes!
Be sure to check out the complete Bridal Shower HERE!