Cantaloupe Margaritas

Cantaloupe Margaritas.

Summer is coming to an end, but there is still plenty of time for celebrating!

And what is more summery than melons…. and margaritas?

Combined…….. they create heaven in a glass!

We were invited to friends’ house for dinner one evening this week, and I was asked to bring wine.

Well – I love my wine (and took a bottle with us), but I thought something a little more creative was in order for our little get-together, so I decided to make a pitcher of this amazingness!

We LOVED them!  (and can I admit I actually doubled the recipe provided below… which is already doubled from the original I found?)

Sooooo worth it!  Even if you don’t think so the next morning! <wink>

Create this beautiful sunshine in a glass before summer is over.   You will be the hit of the party!

Cantaloupe Margaritas*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 medium cantaloupe, seeded, skin removed, and cut into small pieces (to produce 2 cups of strained pulp)
  • 1 cup Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 cups Silver Tequila
  • Coarse Salt or Raw Sugar for rimming glasses
  • Cantaloupe balls and lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil.  Stir until clear to create a simple syrup.  Remove from heat and add the lime juice.  Set aside to cool.

In a blender (or food processor), blend cantaloupe chunks into a fine pulp.  (You may need to do in small batches.)  Pour pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a large measuring cup or small bowl and strain, lightly pressing the solids until you get 2 cups of liquid.

Combine syrup and lime juice with cantaloupe in pitcher.  Add triple sec and tequila and stir.  Chill.

Pour over crushed or cubed ice into glasses rimmed with salt or sugar.  Garnish with melon ball and lime slice if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Recipe Source:  The Brewer & the Baker

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

Zucchini Pizza Casserole.

Are you enjoying the abundance of garden fresh zucchini squash in new and creative ways?

There are oodles of zoodles.  There are breads and brownies.  There are soups and sticks,  fries and fritters  and frico.  There are even planks and boats.

Well – here’s one that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.  It is Hubby tested and two thumbs up approved here!

A version of this recipe was recently posted by a friend on Facebook in one of those hyperlapse videos that make everything look easy.  And in this case, it was!

This is a wonderfully delicious, cheesy, gluten-free, low-carb way to get your protein and veggies all in one wonderful casserole.

Serve it with a fresh green salad, and you will be all set.

We really, really, really loved this, and it made enough that we’ll be happily enjoying it for a few days!

Give it a try, and let me know if you like it as much as we did.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole*

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (do not peel)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15oz.) jar of your favorite pizza or tomato sauce
  • 1 medium sweet red, yellow, orange, or green pepper, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-4 leaves fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with about  1 tsp salt.  Let set for 10 minutes.  Squeeze out water.

In medium bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Mix well and press into a greased 13×9″ baking dish.  Top with half of the mozzarella cheese slices.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While that is baking, brown ground beef or turkey with onion and garlic, and salt and pepper in a large saucepan.  Add pizza or tomato sauce, and stir well.

Spoon meat mixture over top of baked zucchini mixture.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup cheddar, sliced mozzarella and chopped peppers.  Sprinkle with chopped basil.  Bake for 20 more minutes until browned and bubbly.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Slightly adapted from Taste of Home.

Late Summer Dreaming

"Late Summer Dreams" Abstract Floral Watercolor - 11x14

“Late Summer Dreams” Abstract Floral Watercolor – 11×14

Late Summer Dreaming.

Laying in the warm grass,
looking up at the clouds floating by,
listening to the cicadas sing.

Cool misty morning walks,
hot afternoon ceiling fans swirling,
earlier and earlier sunsets for bright star gazing.

Plump ruby red tomatoes fresh off the vine,
bushels of zucchini for spiraling and shredding and slicing,
roasted sweet corn, and fuzz covered juicy ripe peaches.

Late summer dreaming
inspired layers of transparent watercolor glaze
in varying combinations of Prussian blue, Azo yellow, and Quinacridone rose.

Wishing you sweet late summer dreams.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Homemade Dark Sweet Cherry & Basil Sorbet

Homemade Dark Sweet Cherry and Basil Sorbet.

What could be more refreshing on a hot August day than deliciously creamy sorbet?!

And who knew how easy it is to make?

No special equipment needed.
Simple ingredients.
Gourmet flavor!

You simply make a simple syrup from water and sugar and blend with fresh fruit (and herbs if you like).

I made mine yesterday with fresh sweet dark cherries and a hint of fresh basil, but imagine all the possibilities!  Cantaloupe, Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Pear, Watermelon, Honeydew, Pineapple, Kiwi, Mango…….  Maybe a  leaf or two of mint instead of basil.  Maybe a sprig of rosemary.  Maybe no herbs.  A dash of fresh lemon or lime juice would add a lovely kick.

Here is the recipe for this simple, refreshing, indulgence.

Homemade Dark Sweet Cherry and Basil Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cups pitted dark sweet cherries

Directions:

Make simple syrup by boiling water and sugar for 2-3 minutes in small saucepan until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, and add basil leaves.  Pour syrup into a small glass bowl or measuring cup and refrigerate approximately 1 hour until cooled.  Remove and discard basil leaves.

Place cherries in a blender.  Pour simple syrup over cherries.  Blend on high until cherries are fully blended into syrup and no chunks remain.  Pour into glass 9×13 dish and place in freezer.  After one hour, stir with spoon from outside edges to center and mash together.  Repeat after two hours.

Remove from freezer and place sorbet in blender again.  Blend on high until consistency is creamy.  Pour back into glass dish and place in freezer for another 2 hours or until ready to serve.  Scoop out with ice cream scoop or spoon.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

S’Mores Cookies

S’Mores Cookies.

It’s been a tough week.
Have you been feeling it too?

It’s time to have some fun!

And what s’more fun than homemade cookies?

Especially when they are loaded with milk chocolate and graham crackers and tiny bits of marshmallow yumminess?

It was s’more fun to take my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe and give it a s’mores twist.

Are you going to make s’more?
Hope you think they are s’more fun and delicious!

S'Mores Cookies

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
6 1.55 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bars, coarsely chopped
6 honey graham crackers, coarsely chopped
1 cup mini dehydrated marshmallows

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in 4 of the coarsely chopped Hershey’s bars, 4 of the coarsely chopped graham  crackers, and 3/4 cup of the mini dehydrated marshmallows.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Decorate tops of cookies with reserved candy, graham crackers, and marshmallows.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 5-6 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

S’more Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Zucchini & Broccoli Galette

Zucchini and Broccoli Galette.

So you know yesterday was #SneakSomeZucchiniIntoYourNeighborsPorchDay – right?

Of course you did!

So after picking three zucchinis from our garden, I snuck one to our neighbor on the right…

and one to our neighbor on the left.

Then I decided to use the third zucchini to make a revised version of Jenna from the Painted Apron’s recipe for Zucchini Galette.

Fresh zucchini, broccoli, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese all wrapped up in a golden, flaky crust……..

is surely a glorious way to celebrate this zucchini lover’s day!

How did you celebrate?

Zucchini & Broccoli Galette

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent rolls
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted*
  • 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and Pepper

Lay zucchini slices out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for 15-30 minutes.  Pat dry, then turn over and repeat on new dry towels.  This will help remove some of the excess water that naturally occurs during cooking of zucchini.

Caramelize sliced onion by cooking over medium-high heat in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and brown.  Add broccoli and  the other 1 Tbsp butter, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Lay out crescent roll triangles in a circle on a baking stone or baking sheet, pressing together and flattening with rolling pin. Squeeze out roasted garlic and spread over dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.  Top with 1/2 of onion and broccoli mixture and half of zucchini.  Repeat layers.  Top with cheese.  Fold dough up and over filling around the edge. Brush dough with an egg wash and bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes or until golden and melted.  Cut into 6 wedges to serve.

*Roasted Garlic:  Cut top off top of garlic head exposing the cloves.  Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap up and bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 1 hour.  This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese.

Summer is such a glorious time of fresh bounty.

Salads become meals made from fresh fruits and vegetables.  Like this yummy salad I made for lunch one day with some plump sweet and tart blueberries, crunchy pistachios, protein and fiber-rich edamame, and creamy crumbled goat cheese piled on a bed of greens.

All of this drizzled with a honey red wine vinaigrette is heaven in a bowl!

What is your favorite summer salad?  There are so many wonderful combinations and possibilities!

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Mixed Greens (Kale, Arugula, Spinach Swiss Chard – any of your faves)
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Pistachio Nuts, shelled
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Green Onions, chopped (optional)
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing (homemade or your fave – this is how I make mine – it will make more than you need for one salad) 
    • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
    • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
    •  Tbsp Honey
    • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

In a bowl, place a handful of mixed greens.  Top with fresh blueberries, pistachios, edamame, goat cheese, and green onions (if desired).  Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Magic of Moonlight

Full Moon over Scottsdale, Arizona - July, 2017

Full Moon over Scottsdale, Arizona – July, 2017

The Magic of Moonlight.

The full moon’s smoldering glow
illuminates the evening desert sky

Peeking and hiding amidst billowy clouds
in shades of creamy coral and milky opal.

Palm trees elegantly pirouette
with delicate fronds fluttering fluidly

While the wind whispers a soft lullaby
in hushed tones of serene tranquility.

Good night sweet summer day…
sleep peacefully in contented slumber.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob.

It is Fresh Sweet Corn on the Cob Season in our part of the world!

Corn is a vegetable we rarely eat – except in the heat of summer when it is fresh and sweet and bought the same day it was picked from a local farm stand.

After being in Arizona for a week recently, where it seemed everything we ordered had grilled or roasted corn in it (even a delicious deconstructed Caesar Salad), I had corn on the brain.

We had always boiled our sweet corn on the cob, but I fell in love with the magically charred kernels we experienced on our Southwest trip, so we decided to grill it this time.

O.M.G!  We LOVED it!  Oh how easy!  Keep the heat outside by using the grill.  And save clean up time with no pots of boiling hot water.

When I buy corn on the cob, even though is only the two of us now, I buy a full dozen.  We usually only eat about half of it, so we cut the rest off the cob and either freeze it in Ziploc bags for a fresh corn treat in the winter or save it for using in other recipes or reheating another day that week.

Here is how we did it.  Quick, easy, and oh so delicious!

By the way – I think the mistake many people make with corn on the cob is OVERcooking it.  Sweet corn on the cob truly tastes its best when you just cook it long enough to heat, but retain its wonderful sweetness, crunch and flavor.  Also, don’t look for the biggest ears of corn.  They could likely be tough.  Look for smaller, young, tender ears, and buy them from the farm or farm market – not the grocery store, where it could be several days old.  There is nothing like eating corn the day it is picked!

Roll it in some butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper for even more yumminess, but when you get fresh, sweet, seasonal corn, it barely needs anything else!

Here is how we made it.

Easy Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 1 dozen fresh ears of corn on the cob

Directions:

Heat grill to approximately 450 degrees F.

Husk corn, and clean of the silks as best you can.  Rinse under cold water.

Place cleaned ears of corn directly on grill for 5 minutes.  Turn and grill for another 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with sweet butter, salt, and pepper.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Chilling White Wine

Frozen Grapes in Pinot Grigio

Frozen Grapes in Pinot Grigio

Chilling White Wine.

I recently learned about this great tip for keeping your white wine chilled without watering it down.

Freeze a bag of grapes, and use them as “ice cubes.”

At the end of your drink, you have a wonderful treat of wine soaked grapes to enjoy!  And your wine stays full flavored to the very end.

I am definitely more of a red wine girl, but I sometimes enjoy a light Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp, buttery Chardonnay in the summer.

Dropping in a few frozen grapes makes it even more of a treat.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi