Friday, August 22, 2014

homemade salsa for two + our 6th cooks in the kitchen link up...


Hi friend!

Welcome to our second to last month of Elah Tree and my Cooks in the Kitchen Challenge! Yep, you read right- after today's link-up, there is only 1 more link-up left! And friend, you just have to make sure to join us for our final challenge because we have something really special planned. Bwahahahahaha. So if you've been putting off joining the fun, now is certainly the time! 

Cooks in the Kitchen is an opportunity to meet new bloggers, readers, friends; and COOK. We provide you with your main ingredient to cook with, then you have the rest of that month to scour through your recipes and find the perfect one. Then, at the end of the month, we will have a link up on both of our blogs where you can submit your recipe and blog post of your cooking creation and see how others tackled the same main ingredient. Super fun.

This month's ingredient was one of my favorite things in all the land- TOMATOES! I love tomatoes like you wouldn't believe. And, being preggie- it has been a pretty consistent craving! I just love the freshness, the slightly sweet quality, the juicy and tart flavors, and the simplicity of a tomato. I literally eat them like apples! All I need is a good Roma or cherry tomato and a few sprinklings of sea salt. Holy cow, yum. 

Oh! While we're on the topic- did you know you're NOT supposed to store tomatoes in the fridge?! I bet you didn't! Nope, fresh tomatoes should be bought from the store (notice they're not in the fridge section there either) and stored at room temperature until you're ready to use. Store for up to 4 or 5 days. If stored in the refrigerator the texture can molecularly change and they can become mealy. Blech. I don't know about you, but there's nothing worse than a mealy tomato. If you buy a nice firm, bright tomato, store room temp and eat within that 4-5 day period, you should always have a great snack!


I just love that Samantha and I both made a salsa-like dish. I think it's because we both live in Southern California and right now guys, it's friggin hot. I couldn't see myself baking or cooking anything this time around and I think she was on the same boat. Hehe. Even though we both did similar dishes, they are both unique and totally different from one another. That's just the beauty of experimenting with ingredients, folks. You can find Samantha's recipe here

I make this recipe a LOT. Because right now there's only two of us, I decided to concoct a recipe that was perfect for two and super easy to make. I usually prepare one batch of this and we snack on it until it's gone. Which to be honest, is within 10-15 minutes. MmMmm. We love salsa! It's a good-for-you snack though- packed to the brim with vitamins and all sorts of healthy stuff! So snack on and snack happily.


HOMEMADE SALSA FOR TWO
Makes about 2 cups
For printable recipe, click here

  • 1 pint organic grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons very small diced sweet onion
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small bunch fresh organic cilantro, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • *optional* fresh minced jalapeño pepper or few dashes of favorite hot sauce

1. Cut cherry or grape tomatoes into quarters and add to a non-reactive bowl. Next, add your small diced onion and garlic. 

For this recipe I used about 1/2 of a small onion. I sliced the half in half horizontally, then made downward cuts along the whole thing, then cut down again perpendicular to create an even dice. 


2. Next remove leaves from cilantro and roughly cut up. For this recipe, you will need 1/4 cup.


3. Lastly, add your lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, honey, and if using- jalapeño or hot sauce. Mix together well and cover with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature, stirring every so often, for an hour before serving. This allows all the flavors to marry and juices to come out. 


So darn fresh and so darn good. This salsa is fantastic served with salty tortilla chips or spooned over grilled chicken or fish!


1. Link-Up your Cooks in the Kitchen post below. Please link to the post and not your home page.

2. Be encouraging. Comment on the post before you and tell them how awesome they are!

3. Hashtag your creations #cooksinthekitchen2014











Our final Cooks in the Kitchen link-up
Friday, September 26th: Pears
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

oh baby!...


All photos courtesy of Sentimental Heart Photography

Dear friend,

Hey there! What's new with you guys?? Oh us, not too much except we've been cooking up a little baby! Uhhhh....what? Yeah. Totally! 

Ahhhh I just can't keep it in ANY longer! Funny thing is...I've actually sort of daydreamed about this day for a loooong time. There have been many a day in the last few years, where I am sitting at the computer editing photos or writing a blog post and my mind just starts to wander off into Babyland. How will the blog post look? What types of pictures will we put up? Should we be funny? Serious? Cutsie? Should I write anything? Keep it simple? Oh the pressure! I've seen some pretty awesome pregnancy announcements on blogs in years past and always wondered what ours would look like if/when the time came. Ha! So here we are! And here it is. I am officially 13 weeks along.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

homemade blueberry honey butter...


Remember this homemade butter post? Well now we're going to take that extra step and make it into something truly magical. Almost too magical. You've been warned.

As stated in said last post, if you've never had homemade butter, guuurrrrrl, you better get on it. It's ridiculous. But in a super good way. It's like nothing you've ever tasted! Think of the best butter you've ever had and like multiply that amazingness by about one hundred million. That friend, is the glory that is homemade butter.

So maybe you've already had homemade butter (yay you!) and like me, you're a huge fan. But, you're also going, "Been there, done that..." Ok, ok I hear ya...have you ever made homemade blueberry honey butter?? Hmmmm have you?! I didn't think so. Imagine that awesome creaminess paired with subtly sweet fresh smashed blueberries, a hint of naturally sweet honey, and a pinch of sea salt. Yum, right?

Blueberries are still in season for a little while longer, so run to your nearest store or farmer's market, pick up a pint and let's get this baby made, shall we?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

12 beat-the-heat recipes...


Let's take a look at these 12 oven free ways to beat the heat this summer, shall we?

Homemade Blueberry Buttermilk Popsicle // These babies are refined sugar free, use simple ingredients and are packed with vitamins and good for ya stuff. All you need is a popsicle maker!

Eggless Coconut Ice Cream // Just like the title says, this stuff is egg free but just as tasty as the custard-based stuff. All you need is some heavy whipping cream, coconut milk, sugar and a dash of vanilla and coconut extract. 

Oreo Tiramisu // If ever there were a dessert baby made out of the marriage of my husband and I- this would be it. He loves Oreos and I just adore tiramisu. So, it's no surprise this happened. Put it all together and let it sit in the fridge for a bit. Then, serve cold. MmMmm.

Nutella Chip Ice Milk // This Nutella chip ice milk is much lighter than ice cream but still creamy and sweet. It's incredibly refreshing on a hot day or night. The Nutella freezes into little chips which harden a bit more than the base, so you're left with slight crunches of chocolate hazelnutty bits mixed throughout. Yum! 

Vegan Chocolate Milk // This drink almost reminds me of Yoohoo, but with waaaaay better ingredients. Remember that stuff? 

Spicy + Salted Coconut Milk Mango Popsicles // This is beyond easy! You basically blend coconut milk, mango, sea salt, honey, greek yogurt, lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper together, pour into your popsicle mold, and BOOM you're done. 

Organic Green Tea Ice Cream // Let's boost that oh-so-good ice cream with some green tea antioxidants, shall we? Dessert with benefits? Yes please!

Coconut Ice Cream // This is the old school, custard-based ice cream we all know and love. But coconut-a-fied. Because, coconut. 

Lavender Vanilla Lemonade // Surprisingly refreshing during a heat wave- vanilla, lemon and lavender were born to play together. Vamp up your summer drink staple, stat!

Sweet Corn Ice Cream // Summer always means corn on the cob; whether it's at a picnic or grilled during a BBQ. Why not take the beloved summer veggie and turn it into a dessert? Super delicious!

Peppermint Vanilla Bean Ice Cream // I know peppermint is usually reserved for the Christmas season, but it shouldn't! Peppermint adds that extra chill and coolness this ice cream needs to really cool you off after a hot one! 

Whipped Coconut Cream // Whether you're topping a store bought pie or angel food cake, making as a filling for pre baked cookies, or placing a dollop on freshly made milkshakes, this stuff is a delicious and non-dairy way to take you straight to Flavor Town. 

What is your favorite way to beat the summer heat?


Friday, August 8, 2014

chocolate + peanut butter chip cookie bars...

My husband and I are two totally different people when it comes to how we like to eat our cookies. 

He has this weird thing where he'll dip his cookie into a glass of milk and then immediately suck all the milk out of said dipped cookie. It makes this ridiculous sound that honestly, kind of creeps me out. Then he'll take a bite and do it all over again. I've never known the full point of eating a cookie that way. A tiny amount of cookie flavored milk, maybe? 

I, on the other hand, like to dip my cookie into a nice cold glass of milk for no longer than 5 seconds, immediately take a bite out of that milk-saturated bit, chew once or twice, and then take a swig of milk before finishing to chew bite and swallowing. Maybe that's weird too. I'll tell you why I do it my way though- it makes a delicious bite sized cookie mouth milkshake. And I love that. Haha. I'm so gross. Then I'll dip another bit of cookie into the milk and do it all over again. 

Bill HATES that I swig mouthfuls of milk after each bite. Maybe that's because we're ridiculous and share everything, including ONE glass of milk for all our cookies. You'd think we'd learn. Going on 13 years together folks.