Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  Here are some of my favorite things lately...
If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen some of my sunflower photos already.  I'll definitely be sharing more in the future. It was such a dreamy spot.
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Turkeys in our yard!  I never get tired of the critters we spot in our yard.
 I planted morning glories from seed this year. It's something I've been doing on and off for years. It's always kind of bittersweet when they bloom. I'm happy to have some new color in the garden but it usually signifies the end of summer too.
 An empty Trader Joe's!

 I don't know who recommended this book to me but it was a page turner!
 Frozen cotton candy grapes!
 This was the opposite of a favorite. Yikes!  I'll be happy when it's back in season. If I was shopping that day it would not have come home with me. Just sayin'.
This cute bracelet that my niece made for me!
I'm just getting back into Project Runway now that it's back on Bravo.  I'm catching up on Season 17 and loving it!


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

{Summer Dinners} Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I love using my crock pot but it's especially nice in the summer because it doesn't heat up the kitchen on an already hot day.  I started with this recipe because it didn't require soaking the beans.  #lazy
 Ingredients:
1 pound dry pinto beans
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno - cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
Optional toppings: chopped tomato, cilantro, avocado, diced red onion, sour cream, cheese...

  • Rinse the beans in a colander and pick out any damaged or misshapen beans or rocks. Transfer to crock pot.
  • Sauté the onions and peppers (bell and jalpeno) in some water (or olive oil). Add 1/2 tsp of salt and garlic.  Cook about  2 minutes until fragrant.


  • Add cooked vegetables to beans in the pot. Add seasonings. 


  • Add water and broth. 

 The recipe said to cover and cook for 8-10 hours on high. Mine cooked in about half the time so keep on eye on your crock pot.  When the beans are done (it makes a lot!) you can serve them over rice.  You can drain the beans but I like them a little soupy if I'm having them over something.
I also like them over a baked potato (regular or sweet).
Refer to the original recipe for how to make them into refried beans and freezing instructions.  I've made these twice already this summer and I'm still loving them!


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Monday, August 12, 2019

August Daily Goodie Box

{Disclaimer: I was given a Daily Goodie Box to review but all opinions are my own}

August's Daily Goodie Box arrived and I could not wait to open it!
 Daily Goodie Box-It's more than  just free samples.  Let's see what was included in this month's box.   There were a lot of items in the food/drink category so I split them up.


Bubba’s Fine Foods - Grand Garlic Parm ‘Nana Chips 
https://bubbasfoods.com/collections/single-serves/products/grand-garlic-parm-nana-chips-single-serve-8-pack
Chips made out of bananas for a healthier snack. I couldn't  believe they were vegan....the parm taste is very convincing. These savory snacks hit that crunch craving.


DRY Soda Company - Culinary-Inspired Sparkling Sodas

https://www.drysoda.com/dry-sparkling/
I've had DRY sodas before and they are yummy.  They're bubbly and not too sweet.  Some of the new flavors are fuji apple, lavender and blood  orange.

Evo Hemp - Mocha Chip Hemp Bar

https://www.evo-hemp.com/product/mocha-chip-hemp-bar/13?cp=true&sbp=false
This was so good..it didn't taste like a protein bar to me. The smooth cashew butter makes the bar creamy and the little bits of mocha added a nice crunch.



Foods Alive - Nutritional Yeast 
https://foodsalive.com/products/nutritional-yeast-vegan-non-gmo?variant=5933720436775
This is a non fortified nutritional yeast because they don't add any synthetic B-vitamins. It's got that cheesy flavor vegans love.

Flathau’s Fine Foods - All Natural Shortbread Cookies

https://flathausfinefoods.com/products/shortbread-cookies
Sweet snacks in portion controlled containers.  This are award winning shortbread cookies.

Natralia - Heel Balm 
https://natralia.com/foot-care/heel-balm
This came at the perfect time for me! This natural balm contains a blend of rosemary, tea-tree, safflower oils and shea butter. My heels are feeling better already,

Aqua Biome™ - Fish Oil Classic Strength
https://enzymedica.com/products/aquabiome-fish-oil-classic-strength
From their website: "The world's first fish oil with DPA, "the missing omega". The crucial omega can be converted to DHA or EPA by your body in an instant."

SolarDerm - After Sun Facial Moisturizer
https://solarderm.net/shop/
This also came out a great time for me.  I am looking forward to trying it since I just got home from the beach!

You can get your own Daily Goodie Box by clicking on the link and signing up. No credit card is ever needed.



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Friday, August 9, 2019

Fourth of July Weekend

We had such a fun 4th of July weekend this year!
Our friends came to watch the parade with us at our favorite viewing spot.
 This is it!
The town was abuzz with activity waiting for the parade to begin.
Being patriotic!
Speaking of patriotic, our neighbors  made this huge flag on their lawn. I love it!
We had a great bbq-Beyond Meat burgers, corn, roasted veggies, homemade pico de gallo....yum!
My plate.
Both of the girls were home (yay!) and we went  to dinner in Philly at our favorite vegan Latin place.  Too hot for many photos but the drinks were good!
 I spent time out on the deck, reading and relaxing.  (Testing out the bug repellent incense from this post).
We celebrated my niece's 21st birthday (if only this filter followed me around IRL!)
I made this big salad for a family party. I'll have to share the recipe, it was SO good!
My ❤️❤️!!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Garden Updates

My container veggies and herbs have been loving the sun and flourishing.
Our little veggie patch has gone from this...
...to this! It's even bigger now.
It's so exciting to see a flower turn into squash.
We have a few peppers too.

Now if we can just keep the critters away!

We have harvested lots of cherry tomatoes, a few peppers and...
...one summer squash so far this summer. Hoping for more!

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Monday, August 5, 2019

{Summer Dinners} Cool Summer Pasta Salad

We had a heat wave recently where the temps stayed in the upper 90's for a week  (and felt like they were in 100's!).  Salads were on the menu and this one was hearty enough for a meal.
 I started with this recipe and gave it a few tweaks.
Ingredients:
Salad
6 oz uncooked pasta (I used whole wheat macaroni)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped (I used 1 cup of grape tomatoes)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large cucumber chopped
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped(I used the whole can)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers packed in water, drained and chopped
1/2 cup scallions
1/4 cup sliced black olives (I omitted these)
Dressing:
1/3 cup fat free Italian dressing(I used Bragg Apple Cider Vinaigrete)
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
2 TBS sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and chopped (I used foil packed tomatoes).

Optional: salt & pepper
  To make:

  • Prepare pasta according to directions on box, drain and set aside in large bowl.

  • Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl until well combined. Set aside. 


  • Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl with the pasta. Add dressing and toss to coat. 


  • I upped the protein by adding a can of chick peas.  
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour until completely chilled
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • I added some vegan parmesan on top too!

Enjoy!
This makes a lot (8 heaping cups) so it's perfect for a bbq or picnic for sharing.


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