Easy Bruschetta

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Living in the midwest affords us plenty of farm-fresh fare. This year, my family re-joined a CSA (community-supported agriculture) at Millsap Farms. We belonged a few years ago, and it was such an amazing experience. Each week we’d receive a box of fruits & vegetables. To offset the cost, we’d work the farm a few days over the season, which was an eye-opening experience. I mean, who even knew what Kohlrabi is!?

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This year, we are more hands-off, and the box of produce is delivered to our house, and we paid extra to skip the work hours. But the vegetables still taste oh so delicious! And each week, we’ve been receiving a giant bag of basil and a pint of multi-colored cherry tomatoes. That means one thing: BRUSCHETTA!

Now, I’m no connoisseur. But I do know that I like my bruschetta garlicky, oily, and full of flavor. So here’s how I make mine:

INGREDIENTS:

  • cherry tomatoes (pint)
  • about 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • handful of basil
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • can of artichokes (drained)
  1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Put in a bowl.
  2. Roll up the basil leaves and cut them into thin strips for a chiffonade. { –> How to Chiffonade Basil via The Pioneer Woman }
  3. Add basil to tomatoes, drizzle balsamic vinegar to quickly coat the tomatoes. Start with a little, you can add more later.
  4. Chop the drained artichokes into bite-size pieces or smaller. Add to bowl.
  5. Mix everything together.
  6. In a skillet, add a few tablespoons olive oil and the garlic, and heat until just brown. Pour the garlic and oil on top of the tomatoes. Let marinate.
  7. EAT!

I love slicing french bread, buttering it, and toasting it in the oven Or prepare a big bowl of linguini and add this to the top, with a shaving of parmesan cheese. Or just grab a fork and eat straight out of the bowl. Serve with nice mineral-y white wine (I love J’s Pinot Gris), and you got yourself a summer dinner!

Do you have a favorite recipe that you use during an abundance of tomatoes? We’d love to hear!

Namaste, Mfers

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to start yoga. So I bought an old paperback from the 1970s, called Richard Hittlemans Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan.

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It…is definitely from a bygone era. As in, entire chapters devoted to the housewife and her daily chores. But it was a great self-paced introduction, and I spent about 30 minutes every day doing the routines. For an entire month!

The next logical step for me seemed to be yoga videos, but I absolutely hated them, and so I gave up. I need accountability, but I hate other people being near me when I exercise* (*sweat and groan). After about a 3-year hiatus, I did it. I worked up the courage. I bought a pair of yoga pants and a new t-shirt, and I went. To. A class.

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Also not me. Photo from Unsplash.

Good Health: The Ultimate Luxury

Every month this year, I’m focusing on a specific theme of gratitude. In January, it was hygge. In February, it was women artists I admire, and in March it was books that impacted me. April will be on ways I am able to take care of myself.

Note: I am unhealthy. I eat poorly, I drink too much alcohol, I barely exercise, and I have mental health and thyroid issues. Hey guess what!? Did you hear diet and exercise help make you feel BETTER!?

If you’re like me, though, it’s hard to take care of yourself, when you’re busy taking care of kiddos, husbands, your jobs, your hobbies, your passions, etc. Taking care of yourself is a luxury and good health is something to be EXTREMELY grateful for.

What are ways you take care of yourself? Morning jogs, bullet coffee, vegan diet, regular massage? We’d love to hear! Over the month of April, I’ll be chiming in with ways I add a bit of self-care into my routine, and I’d love to try some of your suggestions! (Below I have listed a few things I regularly do.)

–Nicole C.

Book Roundup: The Cozy Cookbook

Having recently finished Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, I realized I have a thing for cozy, story-driven family-centric cookbooks. I devour them like novels, and keep them on shelves faaaar away from the mess of my kitchen. Here are a few in my collection:

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Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook – This delightful book is divided into recipes based on color. My favorite: the hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream. GUH so good. I’m sad I’ve never had a chance to flip through her other books, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes and Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life. Author Tessa Kiros is also a delight to follow on Instagram!

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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time – Hands down, one of the best books ever published. It is so inspiring, and makes me want to have beautiful, sit-down dinners with my family on a nightly basis. With contributors like Tom Hanks and beautiful recipes for the whole family, this is one of those books that’s actually very rarely in my house because I loan it to everyone.

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Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips – Stephanie is one of Ina’s biggest fans. When we found out she was doing a book signing and Q&A in Kansas City, we left our babes at home and eagerly drove up to see her. It was my first real introduction to her, and oh what a charmer. I went home with this book and have tried almost every recipe in it. Every single one of her books is ten thumbs up.

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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses – this book is more about if you want to *start* a family (wink wink, nudge nudge). It’s a cookbook that’ll make you blush. I first read it while working at a cafe where we hosted an annual “Aphrodite’s Feast” romantic dinner. The courses all had aphrodisiac properties, and this book was our ultimate resource.

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What are some of your well-loved and well-worn cookbooks, whether you create the recipes or just love the imagery? We’d love to hear!

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

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That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

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Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

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Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

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My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

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Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

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Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

Everything is Coming Up Bagel Salt!

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Avocado toast. Put it on!

Fried egg sandwich? Add it!

Roasted vegetables? Sprinkle that stuff all over the place.

I’m talkin’, Fishs Eddy’s Everything Bagel Salt. Your culinary world will never be the same. There’s something about this particular mix of sea salt, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, and poppy seeds that’s just extra everything. I’ve purchased quite a few different types of Everything Bagel Salt, but I keep coming back to this one.

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the little caraway seeds look like faces on my fried egg and avocado sandwich!

Enjoy!

Golden Milk

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Flu season has been no joke. Having kids in elementary school and an office job is practically the same as living inside a petri dish.

I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want my kiddos to get sick, so I’ve been eating raw garlic until my breath bursts into flames, and then cool it down with clementines and water. When I want something *really* wonderful, I make Golden Milk. It’s a sweet and spicy chai-like creamy drink. It’s golden, because of the turmeric, which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It does wonders. Make it. Drink it. Brag about how earthy you are. Recipe below.