Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I got the idea to make this pasta salad while babysitting one of my favorite families. Looking for a quick snack, I went into their fridge and saw a huge tub of this salad from Zupans. I had to try it, and it took all of my effort not to finish off the entire thing. The next day I tried to replicate it, but used way too many onions and olives (I really want to like olives, but it's just not in me) Anyways, my second attempt was a lot more successful, and the addition of sun dried tomatoes made all the difference!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

 1 package orzo
1 cup sundried tomatoes
1 1/2 cups feta
1 tomato
1/4 cup red onion
1 cup arugula
3 cloves garlic
salt, pepper
olives (optional)
olive oil
white balsamic vinegar


Make Pasta. Rinse with cold water until chilled. Set aside.
Chop tomatoes, arugula, onion, garlic, olives to desired size. Add to pasta. Add feta, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar and toss. Enjoy!



Sparkling Blood Orange Soda & Peach Plum Cobbler

Now declared our Favorite Dessert, Bryan and I made this Peach Plum Cobbler to finish off our Fondue dinner last night. We have made Plum Cobbler before, but the addition of Peach made it extra-incredible. 

Peach Plum Cobbler Recipe
Adapted from this recipe

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Plum Filling:
2 cups thinly sliced plums
2 cups thinly sliced peaches
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease Casserole/Baking dish and set aside.
2. To make the crisp, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix until mixture is moist. Press half of the crisp topping into the prepared baking dish.
3. For the filling, put the peaches, plums, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until fruit is well coated.
4. Spread the fruit evenly over the bottom layer of the crisp. Sprinkle the remaining crisp over the plums. Gently pat the crisp topping down.
5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the crisp is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

We found a great deal on Blood Oranges at TJ's and had to juice them. I had never had a blood orange before, and was surprised at how delicious they were! And how bloody-looking. We added the juice of one orange to some sparkling water...it was beautiful!



Spinach Walnut Pesto Grilled Cheese

I can't believe I have never thought of putting Pesto on my Grilled Cheese before. After a few minutes of searching for a Spinach Pesto recipe I came across a picture of Pesto Grilled Cheese that I could not get out of my head. This sandwich is the marriage of two of my favorite food items, Melty Delicious Gruyere and Cheddar Cheese and Lemony, Garlicky Pesto. 

 Spinach Pesto Recipe

2 C Spinach
3 Cloves Garlic
6 tbsp Olive Oil
4 tbsp Walnuts
Juice of 1 1/2 Lemons, Zest
Salt, Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to Processor and Blend


Key Lime Pie

Today was the first sunny day Portland has had in a while. In celebration, I decided to bake a Key Lime Pie (Actually, just a Regular Lime Pie) to keep with the Summer-y theme. I made the graham cracker crust by hand using Trader Joe's Graham Crackers, which happen to be extra delicious. 

I used this recipe and decided to just top the whole thing with whipped cream, instead of just a dollop. Besides having sort-of burned the crust, its not bad for my first Key Lime Pie!


Pork Chops with Strawberry Balsamic Honey Sauce, Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

These Pork Chops were delicious!! We Southern Fried the Pork and topped it with home made Strawberry Balsamic Honey Sauce.

2 Cups of Strawberries
1/4 C Balsamic
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Sugar

Heat ingredients over high heat until Strawberries are fully cooked; mash remaining chunks.  Bryan thought the sauce was too 'Vinegar-y'. I disagree. A lot.

We decided to use up our extra Candy Canes by chopping them and adding them (and 1/2 C Peppermint Syrup) to Home Made Chocolate Ice Cream. Yum!


Monster Sammies & Caramel Apple Ice Cream

but first...

The Legend of Monster Sammy

The perfect combination to make you feel good about life at this time of year. Like the legendary sasquatch, the monster sammy is hard to photograph. Though it remains shrouded in mystery and local legend, we hear it involves sloppy joe beef, muenster, gouda, guacamole, baby greens and basil jalapeno ranch on a french hoagie roll...

This one appears to have a dangerous guacamole infection.

Spiced Apple Ice Cream

I was wondering what kind of ice cream we could make that would go well with the caramel sauce that I made the other day. I talked with my mom briefly and she mentioned that she was making a caramel frosting for an apple cake. I realized that a sweet cream ice cream accented with flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar would be a perfect match for the thick, syrupy caramel goo.

Make the apples first, they must chill completely after cooking.

Apple Swirl

2 or 3 Large apples of your choice, peeled and diced
(We used four very petite Pink Lady apples diced about 1/4" thick.
This can be varied based on your preference.)
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (also depends on preference)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine ingredients in a medium cooking pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until apples are tender and water is evaporated to the point that the apples are immersed in a thick brown sauce. Chill about two hours. I like the freezer for this.

Spiced Sweet Cream Ice Cream

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup cream
1 cup half & half
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla flavor
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine sugar, eggs, flavors & spices in a large mixing bowl, beat until light and fluffy. Add cream/half & half and beat well. Chill thoroughly, and use according to your ice cream machine's instructions. I like to add just a touch more cinnamon and nutmeg halfway through the process.

Remove from ice cream maker. In a separate serving or storage container, fold apple mixture lightly into ice cream. Freeze at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Serve with caramel sauce. Tell me what heaven tastes like to you...


Chocolate Almond Ice Cream & Caramel Sauce

Last night we tried out our ice cream maker for the first time, and though it was absolutely delicious (only six ingredients: cream, eggs, milk, cocoa, sugar and flavor), I ended up lying awake thinking about caramel sauce. I looked up a recipe, and first thing this morning I set out to make it for myself. 

This fantastic recipe is not only easy to follow, but it is accompanied by some gorgeous pictures. I was a bit worried, since sugar turns brown very briefly before burning. Everything came out great though, I followed my instincts and it worked like magic! 

I pulled some of the ice cream out and it is now a perfect consistency after a night in the freezer, whereas before it was more like soft serve. 

The ice cream is a simple chocolate recipe, but since Kelly has recently acquired an adoring love affair with almond extract, we used that instead of vanilla. 

I can't wait to try this sauce on more things, it is soooooo much creamier and more flavorful than the store-bought kind.

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