Tag Archives: cooking

Garden Goodies

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Garden Goodies

Hi! I looove having lots of fresh fruits and veggies at my apartment and, during the summer, I am never lacking in that department. My dad as well as all of the families of my clients have gardens and I always seem to be returning home from work with surplus veggies. It’s freaking awesome and I haven’t been without cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, and green beans in weeks.

I know that all of the families I work with are up to their ears in produce and they have entire gardens but, shit, I am too! I can’t even get to the bottom of my crisper drawer until it’s filled up again with all of the garden goodies I am constantly being gifted with. The last thing I am doing is complaining about it, though!!

My appetite changes drastically in the summer because I get nauseous when it’s really hot. I find myself craving light dishes as I think I would keel over even thinking about eating a heavy meal in my hot ass apartment. Having a never ending supply of veggies has been a game changer because I can snack on them all day totally guilt free and it has added a lot of variety to my cooking.

This past week, I had an overflow of produce that I needed to purge from my fridge – cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, lemon, and lots of garlic. So, I decided to prepare a cucumber salad with the ingredients I had available. My recipe went as so:

Lemon Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers with the skin peeled and cut in slices
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Multicolored grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • Juice from one lemon, with some of the pulp added too
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

I am obsessed with the salad I whipped up and have been eating a few servings daily. I just love the tart lemon mixed with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and when it’s poured over crisp veggies it is an absolute treat. Get creative with your cooking and try making a salad recipe of your own next family dinner!

How has your garden been doing? What do you have growing? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Summer Spaghetti Recipe

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Summer Spaghetti Recipe

Hello! On our last day of staycation in Lexington, Kentucky we had a great big cookout. My sister’s boyfriend, Ramon, was the grill master for all of the guys and I was in charge of the vegetarian dish for the ladies: Spaghetti. At first, I was fine with just heating up some sauce and calling it a day. However, Ramon was creating grill magic and I wasn’t going to be caught dead just serving spaghetti with red sauce!

So, I got to work. And, I must say, thanks to the friendly competition, I think I created a masterpiece that I would definitely serve for myself and Johnny again. My entire family loved it and I think all of you will, too! Check it out:

Ingredients:

  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1/2 of a large, red onion
  • 2 lemons
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, parsley, oregano

Directions:

We all know how to make spaghetti so we are going to talk about the saute I made to put on top of it. I wanted the dish to be really light so I didn’t want to go with a heavy sauce. So, I created a dressing in the vegetable saute by doing the following:

  1. In your frying pan, add butter and olive oil and season it with the herbs of your choosing. I kept it light with salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano.
  2. Once your mixture is all melted, add the vegetables. Then, squeeze the juice from one full lemon over top. If the mixture still looks dry like mine did, add more butter and olive oil. To top it off, add five to six splashes of red wine vinegar and continue seasoning to your heart’s content.

By now, your vegetables should be frying away in its own sauce, which is going to make them literally burst with flavor. I kept mine cooking on a medium to high heat until the last five minutes or so when I brought it down to a simmer. I wanted to make sure they were all thoroughly cooked but I also didn’t want them to shrink away into nothing!

3. Once your pasta is cooked, simply add your saute to it and mix it well. Then, you’re going to take the juice from another full lemon to add in as well as any additional seasoning to taste.

The end result? A light, lemony pasta dish that is amazing on its own or, according to the meat eaters in my family, fabulous with chicken over top. I would have snapped some pictures of my creation but, by the time I thought to do it, the pasta was long gone. Lol, WHOOPS. 😀

My entire family agreed that another cookout needs to happen this summer and, this time, Ramon and I agreed that he will make the chicken and I will make the pasta again because it was such a hit. Bon appetit! ❤

How do you like to get creative in the kitchen? Have you had any cooking success or failures lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

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Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

Hello! For the past few months Lil Red has spent a majority of her time indoors due to the coronavirus. When you have no access to the outside world, it is way harder than you can imagine to create daily content! Ever since lifewithlilred began over five years ago, I have always encouraged guest bloggers on my page – especially now!

This is why I am so grateful to my sweet friend, Alice, from Alice Rambles for reaching out to me with a tasty recipe for butternut squash risotto. This recipe combines a bunch of my favorite things and I am looking forward to trying it myself. After checking this post out, do be sure to give Alice’s page some love and if you are interested in guest posting on lifewithlilred, please email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com .

Now, let’s get to it:

Butternut Squash Risotto

Hi everyone, my name is Alice (from Alice Rambles). Sarah has very kindly offered to let me write a guest post for her blog, and I thought today I’d share one of my favourite easy recipes – butternut squash risotto!

In the UK, butternut squash are harvested throughout summer and autumn, so this dish not only uses fresh, seasonal vegetables, but it also reduces our food air miles which is always a great thing to consider. This recipe is also easy to adapt for vegetarian and vegan diets and serves four people.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 50g butter (or vegan alternative)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 300g arborio risotto rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 50g Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian/vegan alternative), finely grated
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of sage (fresh or dried)

 

Equipment:

  • Large baking tray
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large wide saucepan or deep frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle

Method:

  • Heat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 7. Mix your chopped squash with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage. Spread it over the baking tray and roast it for 30 mins, until it’s soft on the inside but slightly coloured on the outside. Mash half of the squash into a rough puree, and leave the other half whole.

  • Next, heat up your stock in the medium saucepan – bring it to the boil first, and then lower to a simmer. In the wide saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat, then add the onion and cook it slowly until it is soft, but not coloured.

  • Stir the rice into the buttery onions, and keep stirring until the rice is shiny and the grains are starting to become transparent.

  • Pour in the wine, stir it through and simmer until it has all evaporated. Turn the heat down to low, then start adding the stock (one ladle at a time) and stir continuously.

  • Keep going until you’ve used up all of the stock – at this point the risotto should be thick and creamy, with the rice still retaining a bit of bite to it.

  • Stir the squash puree through the risotto, then add the grated Parmesan.

  • Serve, and garnish with the remaining chunks of roasted squash.

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And there you have it, so simple! This recipe is great for when you fancy a nice warming meal and, of course, you can mix it up by adding your own herbs, spices, and flavours if you wish. If you’d like to see more of my posts then do check out my blog (Alice Rambles), and let me know if you give this recipe a try!

Thank you so much again to Alice for sharing her delicious recipe with all of us! What is your favorite kind of risotto? What is one of your favorite seasonal dishes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fine Dining At Home: Soup & Sandwich Combo

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Fine Dining At Home: Soup & Sandwich Combo

Helloooo! One of my most favorite foods in the whole world is SOUP. I friggen LOVE it and find myself craving a huge bowl of French Onion even during the hot summer months. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? Always. While in quarantine, I have become increasingly fond of the soup and sandwich combo for lunches at home on the weekend.

Although, nothing beats my mom’s homemade soups, I have had pretty good luck finding vegetarian friendly canned soup at the grocery store. Normally, I’ll heat up whichever soup I feel like on the stove top (I’m partial to Progresso’s Butternut Squash) and make a grilled cheese or bagel sandwich to go with it.

I am a huge fan of Everything bagels and recently went with the following for an easy and filling lunch:

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The Amy’s Southwestern Vegetable was definitely not as good as their Black Bean soup but it was alright. Although, I can’t say I would want to get it again. Meanwhile, on my sandwiches, I love to have a leafy green on it like spinach, lettuce, or sprouts. Then, to break up the dryness of the bagel, I apply hummus and a spicy mustard for that extra special little kick. 😉

We are in a very weird time right now and, purchasing food that you can stretch out will really help you limit your visits to the grocery store. The beauty of the bagel sandwich? You could get yourself the ingredients for about ten bucks and it would provide you with lunches for an entire week!

I have grown very fond of packing myself a bagel sandwich for my longer days at work and it always nips the hunger pains right in the bud. It has been a solid month since I have gone grocery shopping for myself and my boyfriend so, hopefully, this fondness will continue as I eat my way through this bag of bagels. 😅

What is your favorite kind of soup? What is a food that you can eat any time no matter the weather? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fine Dining At Home: So Much Spaghetti Edition

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Fine Dining At Home: So Much Spaghetti Edition

Hello! My method of grocery shopping has always been to just do one big monthly haul and be set for the next four to five weeks. This technique has proved especially beneficial while in quarantine because it minimized the amount of times that Johnny and I have been in a grocery store exponentially. But, once we get to the point of needing another trip to the store, it is super slim pickings in our kitchen. And, in those trying times of feeling like I have “nothing” to eat at home, I say a special little thank you to the spaghetti and noodle family.

Johnny and I will make a pot of spaghetti with garlic bread once or twice a month. It is never not delicious and it also gives us a lot of leftovers, which is always nice. And, it’s also nice to share a bottle of wine with your Italian dinner! My pantry has a ton of spaghetti staples to help complete the meal and I love trying out different sauces when I go to the store. We currently are working with the following in our pantry:

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Spaghetti has been a Mushenheim family go to meal for as long as I can remember and it has forever been one of my favorites. I never say no to Alfredo, pesto, or tomato sauces and tend to have at least one of each kind at the ready in my cabinets. There is nothing better than plain old spaghetti with sauce but the best part of the noodle family is all of the delicious pasta salads that you can make!

When I have fresh veggies at home, I love to chop up a selection of colored bell peppers, zucchini, onions, and garlic to saute over the pasta. Then, I add fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar for a tasty summer salad that I enjoy throughout the year. 😉 Don’t forget the garlic bread, bread sticks, focaccia bread, or baguettes. And only the finest Barefoot Peach Fruitscato wine (which is my obsession right now) for a delicious, easy meal.

What are some of your favorite simple dinners to make? Which meals can you make stretch for infinite leftovers? (Mine is baked ziti!) I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Stay Sane In Quarantine With These Hobby Ideas

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Stay Sane In Quarantine With These Hobby Ideas

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that we are living in scary times. This global pandemic has pushed most of the world into lock down and quarantine, and even when working from home, it’s pretty boring! You’re unable to see friends and family, and you can’t even bounce off of the fun of the office to feel better about things. Instead, you get the chance to sit, twiddle your thumbs, and wait for life to resume in some kind of normality.

The thing is, this is not how it works. It doesn’t work like that because you have to consider your mental health. You need to keep busy, and for that, you need a hobby. This is especially true if you are in quarantine alone. So, let’s take a look at some of the best hobbies you could take up to stay sane through these unprecedented and unnerving times:

Visit National Parks – Virtually:

You may be desperate for a change of scenery, but you cannot leave the house. So, you need to get out virtually, instead. Make the use of your WiFi and get online to national parks and glaciers. You’ll be able to travel the world and view national parks without having to leave the house. Sure, it’s not quite the same, but it’s going to take the mystery out of the world you can’t explore properly!

Enjoy Puzzles:

You need to exercise the mind to keep the brain busy, and that starts with a PennyDell Puzzles crossword puzzle subscription. Puzzles are going to help you to keep your mind sharp and teach you new things. It’s also going to give you the chance to enjoy something in this quarantine that will continue long after.

YouTube Art Classes:

Did you know that there are drawing tutorials on YouTube? Most people aren’t aware of them and yet there they are, ready and waiting for you to learn from them. You may not be much of a drawer, or you may be an artist that requires a brush up on skills. Either way, drawing tutorials on YouTube are going to help you to hone your skills.

Concert Films:

The musicians out there are going to love the chance to enjoy available concert films like these online. You can choose to go through the entire Netflix collection, of course, but consider branching out a little. Concert films and other musical elements are going to be the most fun option for you in quarantine!

Learn To Bake:

While the shops are selling out of basic baking ingredients, you can still learn to bake with any number of online video tutorials. You can also learn how to cook elaborate recipes that you can batch and freeze for later. It’s so important that you choose a course that inspires you, whether that’s lunch or cakes you want to bake.

Hobbies are important to help keep you sane right now so try some of the tips above while you’re stuck at home!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Dinner For Two Pt. 2

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Dinner For Two Pt. 2

Hi! On April first, Johnny and I celebrated seven months of PASSIONATE LOVE with each other. Thankfully, neither of us said April Fools and it was easily the best day I’ve had since all of this self-isolation business. If you recall from previous posts, I love cooking for my boyfriend. And if you recall from a very previous post, Johnny surprised me with dinner he made a few weeks ago when I came home from work.

Just when I thought that he couldn’t top himself, he raised the bar as he always does. On our seven month, we both got dressed up and when I got home from work I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the door. As I stepped in, I heard music playing on our record player, smelled garlic bread, and saw a fireplace screensaver burning brightly on the TV.

The best sight of all, though? Definitely seeing Johnny standing in the kitchen in a button down top and skinnies stirring a huge pot of spaghetti. We ate a delicious meal that he got stressed out cooking at our coffee table that he cleaned off special for the occasion. Then, we drank champagne and listened to all of our favorite songs. I lied when I said it was one of the best days of self-isolation because it was one of the best days of my life.

This has been a very stressful time for both of us and it was so nice to escape those feelings of unease for the day to celebrate our relationship. Johnny’s theory was that he wanted to make the dinner special because he couldn’t take me out to a restaurant. He succeeded with flying colors and, to me – a night in like that trumps going out on the town any time.

How have you celebrated special occasions in self-isolation? How have you kept your spirits up during this difficult time? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Passing Time In Self-Isolation Pt. 2

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Passing Time In Self-Isolation Pt. 2

Hello! Crazy times, amiright? And, amid all of this craziness, it is so important to keep yourselves safe and healthy. This means limiting your time in public as much as possible. And, you know what? That’s fine by me! I have been having the best time hunkered down with Johnny (my boyfriend) playing Rock Band, watching Band Of Brothers, and indulging in our new obsession of Magic The Gathering. As much as I enjoy an evening at the bar, a quiet evening in is definitely what I prefer.

I had to laugh at a meme that said something like “when you realize your normal lifestyle is considered a quarantine” because that holds quite a bit of accuracy to me! But, if you’re still struggling to find ways to keep yourself occupied, allow me to suggest the following:

Learn Something New:

Sure, you could spend your time in self-isolation binging TV… And, believe you me, I’ve had my fair share of America’s Next Top Model marathons. But, you could also use this time to learn something new. Take a virtual tour of a museum, which is now being offered through a lot of establishments. Try your hand at a new language. Give a craft on Pinterest a shot. You’ll be amazed at where you end up once the self-isolation recommendation has lifted if you chip away at a new skill every day.

Cook A Great Meal:

I am so thankful that I went grocery shopping a week before all of the closings started happening because my pantry is fully stocked. And, since going out for dinner isn’t possible right now, I have enjoyed cooking in my kitchen every day. I love making breakfast over the weekend for my boyfriend and revel in when I can have dinner ready for him when he gets home. It is never not satisfying to me to lay out a meal that I made.

Open up a recipe book and give a few new ones a go, cook an old favorite, or bake and decorate a cake. An afternoon helping mom or dad bake cookies always goes down well for the little ones, too!

Exercise:

Unfortunately, all of the skating rinks in my neck of the woods are closed so I cannot have my weekly skate sesh. This sucks but it also doesn’t mean that I can’t still be active, which is so crucial when you’re stuck at home and being more sedentary. Do some crunches during your TV time or lift some weights. And, although community hangs are frowned upon – going out for a brisk hike or walk around the neighborhood isn’t.

Rearrange/Redecorate:

If you’re beginning to feel the effects of cabin fever, try rearranging your home or the room that you spend the most time in. Switching out knick knacks, changing the position of the couch, or reorganizing your book or movie shelves can breathe a whole new life into a space. And, if you’re on the hunt for something brand new, order online and make sure you love it since you’re going to be seeing a lot of it for a while. 😉

Although things feel scary right now don’t let it get in the way of enjoying yourself as you try out the ideas above!

How has the coronavirus effected you? What have you been doing to stay occupied? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip EVER

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The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip EVER

Hi! One of my favorite snack foods has to be spinach artichoke dip with tortilla chips or Wheat Thins. I love the cheesy goodness along with the crunch of your dipping utensil and I enjoy it so much that I can eat it by the fork full! One of my client’s moms just so happens to make the best spinach artichoke dip that I have ever tasted and I am going to share it with all of you. The secret ingredient? Water chestnuts! Prepare to drool in five, four, three, two, one…

Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 bag of fresh spinach (Think the size of a salad mix)
  • 1 bar of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 can of water chestnuts
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts
  • 1 small bag of shredded mozzarella cheese

Chop up the veggies, mix everything together, and bake until light brown on top.

This recipe for spinach artichoke dip surpasses any kind that I’ve ordered at the restaurant or bought at the store by a landslide. The variety of cheeses combined with the crisp crunch of the water chestnuts makes my taste buds do a dance for joy every time. This is the perfect treat to make for a party or game night with your friends (I’ve already made it quite a few times for my “crew” and it has been a hit.) … But you might want to double the batch as it will go quick!

What is your favorite snack food? What do you like to cook for entertaining guests? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Make Your Home Feel Like Christmas

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How To Make Your Home Feel Like Christmas

It’s winter, the days are shorter, and the feeling of wanting to stay inside and watch movies is getting stronger by the minute. Not to worry, most of us have had the winter blues at some point. Christmas is an excellent opportunity to get into the festive spirit, decorate your home, and invite friends and family over to enjoy the holidays with you. Here’s how to make your home feel like Christmas for your celebrations:

Make it smell nice:

Having scented candles around the house can do wonders for getting you into the festive spirit. Feel free to change candles throughout the week, and try pine-scented candles as well as clove and cinnamon. Along with candles, if you have a real Christmas tree, the natural smell of pine will go beautifully with other Christmasy scents. Feel free to make your own candles if you’re feeling particularly adventurous!

Make warming recipes:

A delicious way to dine this Christmas is to create wholesome dishes that will keep you warm this winter. While you may want to save yourself for the big day, the Christmas period is a time for indulging so don’t feel bad for having a few extra treats. Recipes that taste particularly good when it’s cold include soups, stews, and roasted vegetables. Traditional recipes and comfort food can be enjoyed in abundance during this time. Try to cook this recipe for homemade chicken and drop dumplings, a delicious recipe that is both seasonal and harks back to grandma’s cooking.

Light it up:

Placing lights around your house will automatically give it a Christmas feeling. Keep the lighting warm and low, with soft lamps and candles rather than overhead lighting. Outdoor lights will go wonderfully in your backyard, especially when the sun has set and you look outside your window in the evening. There are many kinds of lights that you can go for, but consider using energy-saving lights, as the cost of lighting decorations and electric lights over Christmas can be very expensive.

Set up treats around your home:

Setting up bowls or jars around the house filled with Christmas goodies is a nice way to enjoy some sweet treats while also functioning as decoration. Cute ideas include filling these bowls or jars with candy canes, chocolate coins, and marshmallows. Having these treats on hand is great when you’re making hot chocolate, as you can grab a couple of marshmallows or chocolate pieces to add on top.

Blankets, throws, and cushions:

Staying cozy at home with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate or mulled cider automatically makes me feel Christmasy. Having blankets and throws on your couch adds a nice winter feel, especially if you are lucky enough to have a natural fire. Thick knit blankets and woolen cushion covers are both comfy and fashionable additions to your interior design.

Spending time with loved ones is the best way to enjoy Christmas. After all, that’s what the season is all about. How ever you choose to enjoy the winter period, keep it festive with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pixabay