Current favorite views

The shine of new herbs, ready to plant:

A jar of drying paintbrushes ready for their next artistic adventure:

The view from our front porch right after it rains:

A circle of friends (who have know each other since they were babies) playing Uno:

J’s hair, unbrushed:

My favorite summer meal, simple and delicious:

A’s freckles, each one absolute perfection:

And a surprise treat from B:

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Chicken spaghetti

This is my take on a Pioneer Woman recipe. I substituted the items the boys don’t like (olives, mushrooms), and cut the recipe in half (or more). It was still more than enough for four!


2 chicken breasts poached for 20-25 minutes in boiling water (save the water)

1/2 lb of spaghetti broken into pieces and cooked until al dente in chicken poached water (after chicken is done)

1 diced pepper

3 tbs flour

6 tbs butter, divided

1 1/2 cup cooking liquid from chicken water

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided

3 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350. Poach chicken until done, then remove 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid. Chop cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Then add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain. While the spaghetti is cooking, melt 2 tbs butter in a sauté pan and then sauté diced pepper on medium-high until cooked (3-5 minutes). Remove pepper and add the remaining 4 tbs of butter. Turn heat to low, then melt butter, then whisk in flour. Once flour is melted into butter and the 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid and whisk. Then add milk and whisk. Finally add in Parmesan and stir until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss cooked spaghetti, pepper, parsley and chicken in Parmesan sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Then pour into a greased 9×13 dish. Add Parmesan on top and cook until bubbly, about 25 minutes.

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Eggs on a waffle

One of our favorite weeknight (or lazy weekend day) activities is to watch cooking shows. Our current favorites are any baking championship, Chopped, and Iron Chef. The boys are so inspired by the shows that they are more willing to try new foods, and have come up with ideas of their own. Hence, J’s latest concoction; eggs on a waffle.

He declared he wanted to make eggs on a waffle one night during Iron Chef Gauntlet and, of course, remembered this the next morning:

And he helped make it as well! My hope is that when the boys go to college they’ll have a stack of food items and recipes they can make on their own. Eggs are a good start.

As you can see J was quite pleased with his finished eggs on a waffle. He decided that he likes eggs “a little bit”. Next time he wants to make the waffles from scratch, too, so we’re off to the kitchen again!

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Crab cakes

We splurged on our Saturday night dinner cooking and upgraded our typical tuna or salmon (from the can) to fresh crab cakes. I kept it really simple to focus on the crab, only panko, eggs, fresh chopped parsley, lemon zest, and a bit of salt & pepper. I only mixed enough of the extra five ingredients to hold the crab together. Then I fried it in a bit of canola oil (about 4 minutes per side), and we served it on fresh bib lettuce and arugula (from our garden!). It was amazing! So tasty. And I made honey rolls to go on the side:

A delicious Saturday night dinner! And we watched a Saturday storm roll in and debated if the power was going to go out while we ate every last bite!

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My favorite summer meal

This is going to quickly become my go to summer dish! It’s so simple and tasty!


1lb uncooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp

The kernels from 4 ears of corn

1 container of grape tomatoes

1 bunch of arugula

salt, pepper, olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine shrimp, corn, tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pour out onto a large foil lined pan. Roast 15-20 minutes until shrimp is cooked through and tomatoes begin to burst. Remove from oven and toss on pan with arugula. Serve with warm, crusty bread. (See tips below!)

Tips: Slice tomatoes in half to cut down cooking time (and chance of spraying the tomato across the room). If you want to roast the veggies longer than the shrimp, place them in the oven 5-10 minutes before adding the shrimp. Need to make it even easier? Use frozen corn.

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Favorite trail mix

The boys declared this their favorite trail mix, ever, so I figured I better remember what I made for next time. My idea was simple, grab items from the pantry that were not chocolate or cheese covered, and would be both a treat and something filling.

Other items on our list for future trail mix is dried fruit, white chocolate chips, and granola clusters! They definitely enjoyed their snacks on the trail!

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Taco potatoes with chicken

This meal is really about the potatoes, friends. I have been trying for years to convince the boys that oven cooked potatoes are as good as french fries from the bag. They never believed me. Until now! So I whipped up a batch of taco potatoes (two large russet potatoes were plenty for my family, so adjust accordingly), and served it with store bought rotesserie chicken. I used our taco seasoning for the potatoes. I topped it with BBQ sauce (however, you could do ranch or sour cream), and sprinkled it with cilantro. The boys ate it up, and asked for seconds. Mission accomplished.

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Cherry Crumble

This is the easiest dessert to make, and so delicious! A bag of frozen cherries, a Meyer lemon, some pantry ingredients, and an hour of bake time is all it takes!


12 oz frozen cherries (pitted)

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 stick of unsalted butter diced

1 Meyer lemon

Pinch kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8 glass pan with canola oil. Spread cherries in bottom of pan. Grate Meyer lemon peel over top of cherries, and then squeeze juice over cherries. In a medium bowl combine, flour, sugar, salt, then mix in cold butter until it resembles sand. Place bowl with combined ingredients in fridge for five minutes then spread over top of cherries. Place in oven and bake for one hour or until bubbly. Let cool for five minutes (it’ll be super hot!) and serve with ice cream.

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Avocado hummus

I made this as our side dip for dinner on Saturday night. It’s not easy to find a dip that my whole family can and will eat. I served it with pita chips and the boys ate it up! It has a guacamole quality to it, but without the salsa. Here’s the recipe!


2 avocados

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 lime

1 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)

1 small bunch cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil


Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary!

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Using our herbs…

So the boys’ favorite new spaghetti sauce is…

Herb filled! A requested spaghetti on Friday night and I obliged with this quick recipe. A couple springs of fresh rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, a can of tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, tbs of tomato paste, a sprinkle of garlic powder, pepper, and kosher salt.

Blend it all up:

And of course I forgot to take a picture of anything else. I cooked it over low to medium heat for a good thirty minutes while we prepped everything else. And it was awesome! Definitely on our rotation.

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