We have had a great season in the community garden so far this summer! We have been so busy and traveled quite a bit that it has been challenging to use up or preserve all of our garden harvest. Good problems, I know, but still challenging. We have been able to share some of our surplus produce with friends which is always nice and it has been wonderful to see the boys working in the garden and realizing the fruits of their labor.
I started making this Caprese pasta dish last summer when we had lots of cherry and grape tomatoes to use. It is one of our favorite ways to use an abundant tomato harvest.
I know that balsamic vinegar is an integral part of a good caprese salad, but I don't use it here and I still call this a caprese pasta because of the tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil. You can always add a little balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze if you like, but it is good on it's own.
We love this dish with all the wonderful flavors that compliment each other and the sweet Italian sausage is amazing, especially with fresh sweet basil. You can use plain Italian sausage if you like, but we prefer the subtle sweetness of sweet Italian sausage which is more kid-friendly. Our kids think regular Italian sausage is on the spicy side, but love the sweet.
I have made this pasta dish with orzo and with ditalini pasta and both are delicious. You could use any small pasta. Here is a picture from a pan made with orzo and fresh cubed mozzarella.
I have used fresh and frozen spinach when making this dish and don't think it makes a whole lot of difference. Usually it comes down to what I have on hand.
Enjoy this delicious summer pasta! Need more meal ideas? Here are a few of my favorite dishes for using fresh garden produce.
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
Easy Weeknight Chicken Fajitas
Italian Sausage Caprese Pasta
1 lb. ground Italian Sausage (we like sweet Italian sausage)
8 oz. Ditalini or Orzo pasta
1 package 6 oz. fresh Spinach or 1 box 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 to 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Cubed fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced (optional)
1. Heat a saucepan of water to boiling to make pasta.
2. Heat skillet to medium. Drizzle hot skillet with a little olive oil. Brown Italian sausage in skillet until cooked through.
3. While sausage is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain pasta.
4. Next add spinach to skillet (with sausage) to wilt. If using thawed frozen spinach you can add it here too. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed. Then add cooked pasta.
5. Stir in tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to soften the tomatoes slightly. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Top with some fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella if you like.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
To be honest, I am usually not that happy with my hair. I have tried all kinds of shampoos and conditioners over the years, some natural, some expensive salon products, and lots of average products from the drug store. No matter what I use, my hair usually seems lackluster and frizzy. In more recent years, I have been using more natural products, especially when pregnant and nursing. After trying several natural shampoos and conditioners and not getting the results I wanted, I went back to expensive salon brands. They worked better for me, but still didn't give me the results I wanted.
So apparently I have double chins when I take selfies, ha ha. But in all seriousness, I have been very happy with Dessert Essence Anti-Breakage shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask. I have been using Dessert Essence products for about a month and have noticed that my hair feels softer and is more manageable. Even in the high humidity of June and July in Kentucky, I have noticed my hair looking shinier and less frizzy.
A few years ago, after my second son was born I decided to stop coloring my hair, partly to save money and partly to avoid the chemicals in hair color. To my surprise I really liked my natural color without hi-lights. Now I am adding Dessert Essence natural shampoo and conditioner to my regular beauty routine for healthier, stronger hair.
Dessert Essence Anti-Breakage products are infused with an exclusive blend of Country Life Maxi-Hair® plus Biotin, formulated with Keratin and Pro-Vitamin B5 to help reduce breakage up to 61%. It is also rich in nourishing Jojoba and coconut oils, aloe, and saw palmetto, which smooth and fortify hair cuticles, and revitalize hair strands to minimize breakage. The botanical oils and radish seed extract provide incredible shine. The aloe and moisturizing shea butter in the Anti-Breakage Conditioner help detangle and condition hair.
I love the Dessert Essence line and have used the smoothing products too. They are all great products that I will continue to use for healthy, beautiful hair.
Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner is available to purchase at Natural Grocers, Luckys Market, MOM’s Organic Market, and many other local natural food stores. To find Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner in your area, visit: desertessence.com/store-locator.
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When I think of summer food, I think of grilling and one of my favorite things to grill is kabobs. I love kabobs because you can easily grill so many wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables along with flavorful morsels of meat.
Our favorites are onion, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes, but you can use any combination you like. Another favorite is mushrooms, red, yellow, or green peppers and onion. Zucchini and squash rounds would also be delicious. You could even try skewering small wedges of cabbage with onion, although they would probably take longer to grill.
And the marinade! Wow is it good! A simple teriyaki made from just 5 ingredients, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic. I love using honey in marinades. It gives it just the right sweetness. It takes a little longer to mix in the honey, but it is so worth it.
Yuuuummm! The flavors of summer slowly roasting on the grill. What more could you want? Maybe a glass of wine and a babysitter? Sounds good to me!
Actually, one of the best things about grilling is eating on the patio. When the kids are finished we usually let them play and we get a minute to ourselves to enjoy a glass of wine and a quiet moment together.
Honey Chicken Kabobs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 boneless chicken breast halves, cubed (Use as much or as little chicken as you need for your family. I would use approximately one chicken breast per person.)
An assortment of fruit and vegetables:
Onion, cut into wedges
Red, yellow, or green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
Canned or fresh pineapple chunks (I don't marinate pineapple)
Zucchini or squash rounds or chunks
Cherry tomatoes (I also don't marinate the tomatoes)
Metal or bamboo skewers (If using bamboo, soak them in water for a couple of hours before assembling.)
1. In a large zipper seal bag or covered container combine oil, honey, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic.
2. Add the chicken and vegetables and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more.
3. Skewer the meat and vegetables.
4. Preheat the grill and lightly oil the grill grate.
5. Grill until chicken looks done and juices run clear.
Have you heard of CBD oil? I have seen it advertised for a couple of our local stores, but had not tried it until now . I was a sent a box of CBD oil products to try and since I am always interested in nutrition and health, I decided to try it out for myself.
CBD interacts with our innate internal system called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is composed of specialized lipids, their receptors, and the enzymes that produce and degrade them. Through direct and indirect actions, endocannabinoids are known to modulate and influence a variety of physiological systems, including appetite, pain, inflammation, thermoregulation, intraocular pressure, sensation, muscle control, energy balance, metabolism, sleep health, stress responses, motivation/reward, mood, and memory.
I didn't realize this before, but hemp is very nutritious providing essential fatty acids that our bodies need, but don't make on their own and must be consumed from food.
As a busy mother of four juggling all of my roles of wife, mom, homemaker, blogger, and graduate student, I tend to get a little stressed. I often toss and turn at night thinking about all of the things on my to-do list. I started trying a little CBD oil in the liquid form using the spray or the dropper before bedtime and thought that it did help me to relax and sleep better. I then tried the capsules during the day for a more relaxed and balanced feeling which I do feel helped me to be more patient with the boys. Having four boys is an awesome gift, but there is a lot of activity, noise and dirt and it's really easy to lose my patience. If any of you are boy moms, I'm sure you can relate.
Finally, I tried the CBD oil balm which smells amazing! It feels so good on my skin. It is relaxing just to put it on and take a moment for myself. I find it very calming.
I love that CV Sciences is supporting agriculture and hemp farming in our home state of Kentucky. Our very own Murray State University is even listed in this brochure. I am excited to see what the future holds for hemp farming in KY!
To learn more, check out pluscbdoil.com where you can save 15% off online orders with the code momsmeet17.
Mornings are tough for us. Saying "we are not morning people" is an understatement. During the school year, we have to be out the door with the boys and on our way to school early, like by 7:15 to try to make the morning news and not be tardy. Breakfasts have to be fast in our house and these ham & egg muffin cups are one of our favorites.
I can put this together pretty quickly and pop it in the oven before the boys get up and by the time they are ready we have an easy and delicious breakfast.
Plus they LOVE these simple ham and egg muffin cups! My boys will eat these any time of day. This has been one of our summertime favorites since the boys have been home from school and seem to eat all day long.
One thing I have learned from making these so many times is that you want to use muffin liners. It is no fun scrubbing egg out the little crevices in the bottom of muffin a pan. My favorite muffin liners are the "If you Care" brand and parchment liners like "Paper Chef" Culinary baking cups. I recently bought a box of parchment baking cups at Kroger for $1.99 so they are affordable. I like these because they don't stick to the egg muffins and don't transfer color to the pan. I used decorated muffin liners once when making these and they transferred some color to my muffin pan. You may still get some egg in the pan, but it won't be bad when using paper liners. My mother-in-law just gave me a scrub daddy (from Shark Tank, my affiliate link at bottom of post) which works really well at getting any leftover egg out of the pan.
These are so easy to make! Simply place ham inside the muffin cup then crack an egg into each cup. Sprinkle with fresh ground salt and pepper then garnish with fresh herbs or spinach leaves. I used dill and basil from our herb planter in this batch.
Enjoy these perfectly cooked ham and egg cups on busy mornings or any time of day. Good enough for guests, easy enough for everyday.
These ham and egg muffin cups are great reheated too, although we don't usually have many leftover. You can refrigerate leftovers and pop them in the microwave for a yummy snack.
Ingredients for 12 ham and egg muffins:
Muffin liners (my favorite are parchment liners)
12 slices ham (round shape fits in the muffin cups easily, but any works)
1 dozen large eggs
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh herbs or spinach leaves to garnish (pictured, basil and dill)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
3. Place a ham slice and an egg in each muffin cup.
4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
5. Garnish with fresh herbs or spinach leaves (optional)
6. Bake for 20 minutes until eggs are set.
Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Dad's out there! My husband and I have two of the best Dads you could ask for and they are amazing Grandpas to our boys. We are blessed! I also want to send a little shout-out to my wonderful husband. The boys and I love ya and we're so thankful to have you in our lives!
Today I am re-sharing an old post that I recently updated. We love these simple, frugal, hearty mouthwatering good potatoes! Roasted to perfection...crispy golden edges...soft tender bites of yum.
I love how easy these potatoes are to prepare and with a house full of hungry boys that's a good thing for this busy mom. I try to limit processed food and these are an easy option that taste way better than store bought frozen potatoes or fries.
These are perfection and so simple. You can easily change the flavor by changing the seasonings and potatoes go with just about everything. Kids love them too. I have always used olive oil to make these until recently I reviewed Malaysian red palm oil. I made this batch of potatoes with a mix of olive oil and red palm oil which was delicious.
You have a lot of flexibility when making such a simple dish so you can really get creative and have fun with this or just enjoy the simplicity of crispy, tender, salted potatoes. Leftovers are really yummy reheated with shredded cheese melted on top.
5-6 Russet Potatoes
Olive oil or Palm oil
Freshly ground pepper
1. Cut potatoes into chunks and place in a single layer in a 12 inch iron skillet or a 9 X 13 baking pan. Toss with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Don't forget, you can change up your seasonings if you like.
2. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about an hour or until potatoes are fork tender and lightly browned. Stir them halfway through the cooking time to help them brown evenly.
One of my favorite things about summer is grilling and one of my favorite things to grill is cabbage.
Our relatives Don and Ruthie shared how they make grilled cabbage with us a few years ago and we have been making it ever since.
This is so simple...a head of cabbage, butter, a little onion if you like, and salt and pepper.
You simply wrap it all in foil and grill till tender and caramelized on the edges.
Simply delicious...buttery tender cabbage with caramelized edges.
This simple, delicious recipe for grilled cabbage is as easy as it gets. You can grill a whole cabbage or cut it in half and grill two sections. I started cutting it in half to try to cook a little faster and to get more caramelized edges.
You will need:
1 head cabbage
salt and pepper
Cut out the core of the cabbage. Cut a deep whole into the center of the cabbage so that you can stuff butter and onion into the cabbage.
Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the cabbage. Stuff butter and small onion chunks into the center of the cabbage. I use 1/2 stick butter or more. You want to use enough butter to give it flavor and moisture.
Fold foil up around cabbage and seal it before putting it on the grill. Grill directly on the grill rack at a low to medium heat for an hour or more until the cabbage is tender. You can turn the heat up at the end if needed to cook meat along with the cabbage. I don't turn the cabbage or flip it because I want to keep all of the butter inside.
Have you tried cooking with red palm oil? This was my first time using it. I was sent a bottle of Carotino Malaysian Red Palm oil to try so I made one of our favorite things...popcorn!
Since I am new to cooking with palm oil, I am guessing many of you are too. Did you know that Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil is a healthy replacement for partially hydrogenated oil because it is trans fat free and rich with nutrients? Palm oil is also non-GMO and ideal for high-temperature cooking making it perfect for homemade popcorn.
Want to learn where palm oil comes from?
Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree, which can only grow near the equator. These trees have been producing abundant oil-rich fruit for decades. A one-acre palm oil plantation produces 11 times more oil than a one-acre soybean field. In 2008, Malaysia became the first to produce and export certified sustainable palm oil.
What about nutrition?
Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil comes in golden and red varieties. Red palm oil is particularly rich in nutrients such as vitamin E (tocotrienols). In fact, bread baked with palm oil has nearly ten times the vitamin E of bread baked with canola oil. Plus, palm oil’s uncommon vitamin E form (tocotrienols) has 60 times the antioxidant power of the more typical form (tocopherols). In addition, Red palm oil is loaded with carotenoids and potent phytonutrients also found in squash, carrots, oranges, and apricots.
My parents always made oil popped homemade popcorn on the stove so naturally I do the same. In fact, when I was a kid the first thing that went on the Christmas tree was the homemade popcorn garland. We watched Christmas movies and strung popcorn with a needle and thread, of course eating some in the process. We haven't carried on the tradition of stringing popcorn garland in our home, but we continue to make oil popped homemade popcorn.
I have been making my homemade popcorn with coconut oil which is really good too, but now that I have red palm oil it is perfect for making popcorn. It tastes delicious, handles the heat well, and has many nutritious benefits.
Look at the gorgeous golden color of the popcorn popped in red palm oil.
It tastes delicious too. My little "helper" just couldn't resist helping himself during my photo shoot.
Who can resist fresh homemade popcorn?
1 Tbsp. Malaysian Red Palm Oil
1/2 cup popcorn seeds
3 Tbsp. melted butter, optional
Salt to taste
1. Heat a stovetop popcorn popper or a large pot with a lid to medium high.
2. Pour about 1 Tbsp. Malaysian Red Palm Oil into the popper or pot. I don't measure this since I have been making popcorn forever so you can estimate about a T.
3. Pour in 1/2 cup popcorn seeds. I do measure the popcorn seeds since about a half cup makes the perfect amount for my stovetop popper. You may need to adjust this amount if you are using a large pot.
4. Next you cook the seeds until they pop making sure to shake or move the seeds while they are cooking. With a stovetop popper, you turn the crank on the lid to turn the stirring mechanism inside the popper. With a large pot with a lid, you will need to shake it intermittently while cooking to keep the kernels moving so that they don't burn.
5. Pop until most of the kernels have popped and you can count several seconds between pops.
6. Remove from the heat. Pour into a large bowl and pour half the melted butter over it and sprinkle with salt. Toss, then pour the remaining melted butter over it and sprinkle with salt again.
Bacon wrapped asparagus...need I say more? It's hard to describe how truly delicious it is. When you take two amazingly delicious things on their own and put them together it's like a flavor explosion!
Of all the vegetables I have ever tried, asparagus has to be my favorite. And bacon, well bacon is just plain awesome! When you put the two together, the flavors compliment each other and come together to create an amazing flavor explosion.
Want to experience this little flavor explosion? It takes a little time to prep (wrap bacon around asparagus spears), but then all you do is pop it in the oven and in a little over half an hour you have your very own bacon wrapped flavor explosion good enough to share. You can prep this ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake. Perfect for almost any occasion from graduation parties to anniversary dinners.
I am kind of partial to crispy bacon so I bake them on a cooling rack over a sided baking pan to get more air flow and crispier bacon. The baking pan underneath has to have sides (like a jellyroll pan) to keep the grease in the pan. I also line the pan with foil as shown to help with clean-up.
When prepping the asparagus, wash, then break each spear where it naturally breaks off at the cut end. Throw away or compost the two to three inch end pieces that break off. Then wrap the asparagus spears in bacon. I cut the bacon lengthwise with kitchen shears to make long thin strips that easily wrap around the asparagus spears.
1 bunch asparagus spears
1 package bacon (not thick cut)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Prep asparagus (above paragraph)
3. Prep pans with foil and cooling racks (you will probably need 2 pans)
4. Cut bacon slices in half lengthwise then wrap around asparagus spears.
5. Place bacon wrapped asparagus on cooling racks over pans as pictured leaving a little space between each one.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until asparagus is tender and bacon is getting crispy.
7. Then put under the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish crisping the bacon.
One of my favorite things about summer is the food. These hot days call for cool crisp salads and slaws. This is one of our old favorites. We love vidalia chicken slaw!
No need to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen. I use a can of cooked chicken or slow cook a chicken breast. Delicious as a main dish or a side. You can also leave the chicken out and just make a delicious vidalia onion slaw. The ramen noodles add the yummiest crunchy texture with the cabbage but soak in the dressing so they aren't too crunchy.
Vidalia onion slaw needs to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to blend the flavors so it is a great make ahead dish and always goes over well at potlucks. The leftovers are great the next day too, great for packing in the lunchbox.
Two 10 oz. bags angel hair shredded cabbage or about 9 cups shredded cabbage
2 packages chicken flavored ramen noodles
1 chicken breast cooked and shredded/diced* or 1 can chicken, drained
12 oz bottle (1 1/2 cups) Vidalia onion dressing
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Break up ramen noodles. Mix all ingredients together including ramen noodle flavor packets. Chill in fridge to blend flavors.
*I cook a chicken breast in the crock pot all day. Simply cover with water and cook on low in slow cooker.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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