Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Recipes

Summertime cooking is fresh, light, and delicious! I have two recipes I want to share that I have made in the last few days. One is a light, pasta dish that has seasoned shrimp. The other is an easy breakfast Blueberry Coffee Cake. The blueberry coffee cake is actually a recipe I have made many times over the past couple of years. It is a great breakfast dish to share with friends, or to give away. It is simple and fresh!

Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes, Lemon, and Spinach
*found on this blog

1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and devined
2 tsp. lemon zest, divided
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig oregano
2 fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (I used whole wheat)
course salt and ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.
2. Toss shrimp in a bowl with 1 tbsp. EVOO, red pepper, thyme, oregano, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and basil.
3. Spread shrimp on baking sheet in one layer and place in oven for 6 minutes.
4. Bring a huge pot of water to bowl and cook pasta according to directions on pasta box.
5. Keep 1/2 cup - 1 cup of pasta water before draining all the water from the pasta.
6. Heat 1 tbsp. EVOO in a large skillet and add the garlic and tomatoes. Add the remaining 1 tsp. lemon zest and some salt and pepper.
7. Toss the shrimp in the skillet along with the pasta and spinach.
8. Squeeze the lemon juice and add the reserve pasta water to create a sauce.
9. Serve with Parmesan cheese. 

Shrimp Pasta

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pie pan.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl: flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda. Set aside.
3. With a KitchenAide mixer, cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs and vanilla.
4. While mixing on low, add the buttermilk to the sugar mixture.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.
6. Pour half of the batter into the pie pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of blueberries on top.
7. Pour the rest of the batter on top and add the remaining blueberries.
8. Bake for 50 minutes.

 Top: Coffee Cake before and Bottom: After

  Slice of Blueberry Coffee Cake


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I've  been struggling with writing this post, but it is long overdue. You know the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" I do not believe this saying to be true at all. Words can hurt. Words, poisonous words, hurt. They can tear you up on the inside and cause you to question the type of person you are. I have been struggling with this for an entire year.

Without going into details, I will say that I was hurt by words. I was verbally attacked and treated unkindly. And I have been suffering. The words lashed out at me, just because I was being who I am: taking care of my family, being a good friend, daughter, mother, wife - really hurt me. These words caused me to question the type of person I was, and not in a positive way. I consider myself to be highly educated, smart, independent, strong, influential, and a giver in every sense of the word. I am a generous person. But I am not weak and I will stand up for myself and my family. These words made me hurt, and I cried more than I care to admit, for an entire year. I also felt incredibly alone, and at times, incredibly angry. To top off these feelings, I was pregnant with our second son and raising our toddler by myself, while my husband was away serving our country. So life has not been easy!

But I guess you just can't please everyone and do every thing to make others happy. Your happiness begins with yourself. It has taken me the better part of a year to accept this. I cannot change other people, I can only continue to be myself and to be strong for my family. I am an extremely busy mother of two with a husband who is Active Duty Army and not always home. But there is a silver lining to all this hurt and pain I have suffered through - realizing I have support. My support community is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I am eternally grateful for my husband, immediate family, and friends. Without them, I would not have been able to function or pull myself out of this downward spiral of hurt feelings. Crying to my husband, explaining how hurt I was to my mom, or even just allowing the distraction of a friendly play date with a friend, helped me through this.

My Community is so much more than people, they have become like family to me. They have all showed me they care about me. Went out of their way to send me messages asking how I was, or stop by with dinner, or took care of my plants while I was gone. I have formed beautiful, long lasting relationships with my "mommy" friends and our children play well together. I have even kept up relationships with friends who are long distance and, although, we do not see each other often, we do keep in touch. I am so lucky to be surrounded by this Community. 

I struggled with finding and maintaining my identity after I was so brutally bashed last year. But I have found it again and realized that I can help others and others can help me through our common interests and current phases in our lives. I am a member of a few online "Army Wives Groups" where support is offered. Women who are military spouses and have children, and who like me, have questions and need advice and support. It is such a beautiful system filled with hope. "You are not alone" rings clear in these groups, and they have helped me out more than they will ever know.

I feel like I am at a better place. The love and support of my husband is even more strong now than it was when we got married. He gets me and I get him, and we love each other. I am so lucky. We have two beautiful little boys whose faces light up when they see me. I am so lucky.

So I want to thank all of you out there who have touched my life this past year. You may not have known that I was struggling inside, but by simply being a part of my life, you have helped me get through this rough patch.

 My beautiful boys

 My sweet "Mommy" friends

Play date with "Army" friends

 My Family

 My Love


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roasted "White Trees"

'Tis the season (Summer!) of roasted veggies! I came across this recipe and changed it up a bit: Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower. It turned out to be a little spicy and it has cheese on it- so a true winner! My son declared them "white trees" since it looked like broccoli, ("green trees") only white.


3 cups cauliflower 
1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese 
1/4 tsp  garlic salt
1/4 tsp  pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp chopped parsley
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Grease a baking sheet. 
3. Toss all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Drizzle EVOO on top. Hand mix it all together. 
4. Bake for 17-20 minutes. 

Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower