There’s nothing more summer-like than fresh green beans. So green and fresh and crisp. YUM! We’re growing green beans in our backyard…the rabbit that keeps popping up around our yard appears to enjoy them. There are lots of blooms on our green bean plants. The baby green beans look like they have great potential. Usually the day after I notice a couple green beans that are close to full grown we find some nice stems that were eaten clean by that very sneaky bunny.
However, I have to say that I did save 1 green bean from said rabbit and it can be seen here in these pictures! Yes, one single green bean. A little sad, but still, I’m like a proud parent. I have no idea which lonely green bean is ours unfortunately, but it’s in there! The rest came from my mother-in-law, who brought them from VanScoy Farms, so I could still be assured that they would be fresh and delicious.
This recipe is little different from other green bean recipes with its slightly Asian inspired ingredients. I guess you could say I’m embracing the spirit of the Olympics and thinking more global. Plus they’re delicious. Let’s be honest, delicious is my main concern here. Also, slightly spicy, which adds a new and interesting flavor to the green beans. I’m so used to the typical salt and pepper take on fresh green beans, which is also delicious, I may add. This just seems like a great way to “spice” up your green bean eating experience…no pun intended. Ok, pun intended.
Speaking of the Olympics, have any of you been sucked into the games like I have? I’ll start by saying that I don’t know much about sports. The only sport I ever participated in was cross country. If anyone knows the rules to cross country you know there aren’t any really. Pretty much just stay on the path and run the fastest. However, I somehow legitimately feel like I’m a sports expert all of a sudden for every summer sport ever. Travis and I have no problem doling out scores on gymnastics and diving, talking about who has the best chance for swimming or cycling based on their turns and form, and watching beach volleyball like our lives depend on it. I’m pretty sure the irony only grows when you think about the fact that I’m almost 9 months pregnant, sitting on the couch, and eating ice cream while this occurs. Maybe I’m living vicariously through the athletes, remembering what it was like to touch my toes…
Bring large pot of water to a boil. While it is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath by adding ice to a large bowl of water.
Add the beans to the boiling water for approximately 4 minutes (a little less if they are small or more if they are large). Remove beans from the water with tongs and place directly in the ice bath. This will help stop the cooking and keep the beans bright green. Let them sit about 5 minutes in the ice water.
Drain the beans and pat dry with a towel. You can refrigerate them at this point to finish later, if desired.
Mix the honey, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha in a bowl.
Pour sauce mixture into a large saute pan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the sauce becomes bubbly (about 2 minutes).
Add in green beans. Heat until warm. Add in peas and salt and pepper, to taste. Saute until peas are heated through. Top with sesame seeds.
What better way to cool off in this summer heat than ice cold lemonade? What if you could kick it up a notch and really impress yourself with a simple WATERMELON lemonade?!? I’m talking homemade, let’s have a party since I’m so cool (or maybe just drink it all myself) goodness. If the watermelon and lemons don’t have you excited, add a little mint into the simple syrup and you’re on your way to a beach somewhere to soak up some summer sun. At least you can pretend…
I love lemonade but unfortunately, if you’re like me, you usually get it out of a can, bottle, or maybe in the form of a strange powder that magically becomes lemonade. Every once in a while (a GREAT while), you go to the local fair or amusement park and can get that good real stuff. You know, the lemonade in the cups with the pictures lemons on the side that they shake up in front of you. You even get the extra kick of sugar at the bottom once it all settles there. Best leftover sweet ice ever! Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about, in which case, just know that the real stuff is WAY better than the stuff out of a container.
Now, I’m making mine with a simple syrup, which means you won’t be eating sugar ice since the sugar all dissolves in water prior to being added into the lemonade. But, it’s ok. We all know that I don’t need that extra sugar at the bottom of the cup anyways. Plus, with the watermelon addition, you are already halfway to the perfect sweet and sour drink.
The mint was something I added since I had it in my backyard and I love the flavor of mint and watermelon. It just brightens the flavors up even more and makes summer taste even better. You can make this without the mint if you don’t have any, but definitely give it a shot if you can. Also, it’s not a super strong flavor as written in the recipe so add more mint if you want to punch up the flavor even more! Do it! I dare you! Peer pressure always works.
Heat the sugar, 1 cup of water, and mint leaves (roughly torn to help infuse the flavor better) in a small pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. This is your simple syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Blend the cubed watermelon and lemon juice in a blender until pureed.
Strain out the mint from the simple syrup and add the syrup to the blender. Pulse the blender to blend everything together. If it tastes too sour at this point, blend in a little more watermelon. If it's too sweet, add in a little more lemon juice (keep in mind the mixture will be diluted with water).
Pour mixture into a pitcher and add in 4 cups of water. Stir.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes, or until chilled.
Serve over ice.
You can make this without the mint, though I love the additional flavor.
If you want this lemonade completely smooth, you can strain the lemonade mixture prior to adding the 4 cups of water. Otherwise, it will have a slightly "pulpy" texture from the watermelon.
If the flavor is too strong for your taste, add a little more water at the end.
By Flavor From Scratch
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
Let’s start with the good stuff. I was able to make this delicious rosemary cheddar squash bread recently which was AMAZING! I’m so used to seeing zucchini or squash in sweet cakes or breads. This recipe was quite the welcome change and totally worth it! When my in-laws came to visit recently my mother-in-law brought me some gorgeous squash from VanScoy Farms in Ohio so of course I immediately started thinking of options. After eating some of it plain because, yum, I used about half of a yellow squash to make this bread. Also, yum.
The rosemary adds that lovely earthy flavor that I adore. I am obsessed with the fact that our rosemary is finally growing in our back yard so I was super excited to put it to good use. You can certainly mix up the herbs in this recipe to fit your taste or use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh (but try the fresh if you can!). Chives seem to always be in abundance in our yard and it’s a perfect pair for this savory bread. Also, let’s at least mention how the olive oil is SPOT ON in this recipe and adds more earthy, savory flavor that can’t be replicated without it. Scrumptious!
Now to the not so good stuff of the week…the worst thing that could possibly EVER happen to a food lover happened this week. Yes, my oven broke. Dun dun duuun. I was making Travis his birthday dinner (steak and mac and cheese, of course) when all of a sudden my oven popped and sparked and then it started beeping and beeping more and beeping louder and LOUDER and then the dreaded “error” suddenly appeared on the little screen. *Sigh* Keep in mind, the beeping kept going. And of course this entire time I was panicked from the loud pop and spark and was absolutely CERTAIN the oven was about to explode. I can be a little overdramatic at times. But hey, an oven freak out is not something that happens everyday.
After I got my head a little more together, which was hard with the beeping from the oven that would not go away, I decided the best route of action was to turn off the electrical fuse. Travis was running an errand so I was pretty proud of myself to think of this…even if it’s fairly obvious. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the right fuse so I was becoming more and more panicked as everything else seemed to turn off EXCEPT the oven. And the beeping. just. would. not. go. away!! Luckily as I started to reach maximum panic, Travis showed up and took over the situation. Thank goodness for handy husbands that can read panic on their wives faces.
I am happy to say that dinner was mostly done at this point, so we were still able to eat an unfortunately somewhat average birthday dinner due to all the issues. Nonetheless, it was food and it was cooked. Also, in other good news, my handy husband was able to order a new electronic panel (which apparently is what shorted and popped and sparked) that showed up magically fast and the oven is working very nicely again. No explosions did occur in this situation despite my panic and all is well in my kitchen again. We only ended up with a few days thrown together leftover meals until the oven part came, so I really can’t complain that much. Let’s just say, I love my oven when it works. Especially to make things like this squash bread!
Veggie fried rice has quickly become one of my “go-to” recipes. It’s quick, healthy, and pretty darn delicious. Travis and I started eating it fairly regularly for lunches with some leftover grilled chicken or pork on it. Best. Lunch. EVER! Also, really easy to transport since it’s not liquid-y or anything. That’s a good thing since Travis tends to throw his lunch container in his work bag along with everything else important. Anyways, we also eat it as a side dish, which one may argue is probably it’s main purpose. However we do eat it for dinner…as a main dish. I eat it for 7th meal (pregnancy does that to you). We basically eat it nonstop.
I think the best part of this dish is that it’s so simple and so versatile. The vegetables included in this are vegetables that I almost always have and if I don’t I can leave something out or switch it up with something else. The other ingredients in here are staples in my house so I almost never have to get more than 1 or 2 things total for this recipe. And if I do have to get something, it’s easy because it has become one of those recipes that I pretty much have memorized. That’s something that happens rarely for me so it says a lot.
I’ve also gotten my family addicted to this recipe. I’m not sorry that I’m such a good influence on them all. I made it for my sister and brother-in-law who loved it and then they went back home to Ohio where they promptly made it for my parents. My 15-month old niece is a fan. What can I say? It’s a dish for everyone!! Note that the serving of 6 is more for a light meal or side. I heard rumor that for 4 people and a toddler my family might have doubled the recipe and eaten almost all of it for dinner. Just a rumor. I have not verified this officially.
If we get down to business, there is one thing to point out. The rice needs to be refrigerated before using it in the recipe. This just ensures that the rice doesn’t get all sticky and clump together. You can try the recipe with fresh made rice if you’re short on time or a person who doesn’t read directions well. *hint, hint…read directions well first* I find it’s super easy just to make some rice when making dinner the night before I make this then refrigerate it. Also, another note…if you use vegetable broth in place of the water to cook the rice you have MEGA flavor. It’s worth a shot, but I’ve also used water for my rice many a time and it’s still scrumptious.
Veggie Fried Rice
Fried rice packed with vegetables and everything delcious
1 cup diced bell pepper (I used a combination of orange, red, and yellow)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Add the diced carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute about 3 minutes.
Add the broccoli and bell pepper and saute an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables start to become tender.
In a small bowl, scramble the eggs. Push the vegetables to 1 side of the pan and pour the eggs in to the pan. Stir the eggs until cooked and scrambled.
Add in peas, corn, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown rice and stir everything together.
Cook until the rice and frozen vegetables are warmed through.
*To get the right amount of brown rice I used just over 1 1/2 cups of dry brown rice with about 3 cups of water. I have used vegetable broth to replace the water for the rice and it was delicious! It works best if the rice is refrigerated overnight or at least for a couple of hours so it doesn't all stick together.
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not sure what the difference between sorbet and sherbet is. I think sorbet is typically dairy free while sherbet has some dairy in it…I think. This recipe is dairy free, but also has the added benefit of coconut milk to make it smooth and creamy. First of all, yum. Second of all, I’m not sure what that does to the sorbet/sherbet debate and what this actually should be classified as. I say classify it as delicious and move on with life. Done and done!
You will need an ice cream maker to make this recipe as it is written. However, don’t count yourself out if you don’t have an ice cream maker. I’m pretty convinced if you freeze this stuff right after blending it, you could make something pretty delicious. Maybe not as light or airy as when you make it with an ice cream maker, but I’d be okay with that. Or maybe just take a spoon to the mixture and call it a day. I almost did. It’s good…be warned.
Mango is supposed to be really good for you. Like, eat-it-every-day good for you. So…in my infinite wisdom, that has to mean this mango strawberry sorbet should be eaten often. If you’re not buying the whole “it’s good for you” thing, pretend that you’re on a tropical island vacation because the mango + strawberry + coconut mixture = vacation without leaving your house (except maybe to go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients). Everyone loves a vacation.
If you don’t want to use strawberries or want to try something different you can definitely mix it up. The original recipe I adapted this from used raspberries instead of strawberries. Sounds good to me! I could imagine all sorts of options depending on what your favorite fruits are. As a general rule, I would stick with 4 cups of fruit total to make the recipe work but otherwise make it your own! Also, use delicious, ripe fruit. If you wouldn’t want to eat it before it became a sorbet, chances are the sorbet won’t be as delicious as it could otherwise be. Also, if you’re using a super sweet fruit, cut down on the sugar when you blend it and then taste it. You can always add more!
Mango Strawberry Sorbet
Simple and sweet sorbet that will leave you wanting more
Place ice cream maker in the freezer the night before making the sorbet. At this time, also blend together all the ingredients until smooth in a blender on high. Refrigerate sorbet mixture overnight (or at least 3-4 hours). This would be a good time to adjust flavors (i.e. if you need more sugar or lime).
Pour chilled sorbet mixture into your ice cream maker and use ice cream maker as instructed. Mine took about 30-40 minutes to become a soft serve consistency, which is what you are looking for.
Transfer to a freezer safe container. Cover and freeze 4-6 hours.
Let slightly thaw (about 10 minutes) before serving to make scooping easier.
Will keep 7-10 days frozen.
You will need an ice cream maker to make this, though the sorbet mixture was delicious and possibly can be frozen as is. I haven't tried this but I imagine it would turn out slightly more dense.