Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Greek Salad and A Picnic

Greek Salad a summer time favorite.
This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media and Wet-Nap but all opinions are my own.
#pmedia #showusyourmess  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
For one of our most recent date nights we decide the weather was gorgeous and a picnic at the beach would be the perfect way to enjoy our evening.
The last few months we've been trying to find a few times a month to go out alone as a couple to something other then the grocery store.
It really helps to reenergize our relationship and helps us connect on a level that is so difficult after you have children.
When the kids were small I always had such a difficult time leaving the kids with a sitter or family to enjoy a date with Colt, I always felt guilty for leaving them but after almost 15 years of marriage I've realized it's one of the most important things we can do for our family and it makes such a difference in our relationship.
We've also learned dates don't always have to be fancy to be special this picnic was an amazing excuse to enjoy some time alone and watch the sunset without a large expense.
A picnic at the beach.
We stopped by Walmart for their everyday low prices on our way to the beach to pick up a few picnic necessities like Wet-Naps.
We always keep a container of Wet-Naps in our Picnic basket and camping gear for easy clean up.
I also like to keep a few plastic plates in the picnic basket and cloth napkines to make our date night a little extra special.
We had decided to make cold fried chicken, Greek Salad and a fresh spring salad for dinner. 
On the way home we stopped and shared a slice of cheesecake at a little local restraunt.
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The Wet-Naps are such a life saver for wiping the plates clean and washing our hands.
No one ever said I love walking around with greasy chicken finger.
Here's a coupon to save .55 cents of Wet-Nap products http://wetnap.com/coupons/ while supplies last.
I wish we would have had these in the car years ago when we where just starting to date and took a road trip across Whidbey Island and I somehow spilt coke all over Colt's lap and he spent the next 2 hours sticky from the mess, paper towels just couldn't handle the situation..
Oddly enough he still tells me that was the day he knew he loved me.
Sunset on Camano Island, WA
Sometimes the simplest dates build the most memorable memories. The view was stunning! 
Catching the sunset at the end of our picnic.
Colt set the tripod up to catch a photo of us before the sunset.
Greek Salad a favorite summer time salad.
In case your looking for the recipe to the Greek Salad here it is:


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Greek Salad

Recipe by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

Greek Salad a summer time favorite perfect for gatherings and picnics.
Prep time: PT10M
Cook time: PT0M
Total time: PT10M
Yield: 8 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pint Sweet Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded and Chopped
  • 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded and Chopped
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 whole Cucumber, Chopped
  • 1 handful Parsley, Chopped Fine
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil
  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives
  • 2/3 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt or To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper or To Taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl mix together cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, parsley, basil, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, water, italian seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Mix until until well combined.
  3. Drizzle vinaigrette over the top of the vegetables and toss until well combined.
  4. Greek Salad can be served immediately but the flavor does develop if allowed to refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya


Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya a dinner time favorite.
I made Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya the other night after I was digging through the fridge looking for a snack and realized I still had sausage needing to be used.
What kind of person would I be if I let sausage go bad plus I had some shrimp I had bought on sale for this very occasion.
Jambalaya's so easy to make and this recipes been a little bit healthified over the years with the addition of some extra veggies and brown rice.
I like to sneak things like that in whenever I can so the kids have no clue what I'm up too.
This recipes probably not authentic since I'm not Southern and was raised in the Northwest but I can guarantee you it's D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! 
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Melt butter over medium-high heat and add onion. Sauté until onion starts to soften. Add the sausage and push the onions aside so the sausage can brown on the bottom of the pan because we all know brown sausage tastes AMAZING! 
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Then add your carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika (if you have it, if not omit, it's not the end of the world it just gives a little smokiness) salt and pepper. Mix until well combined and cook for about a minute to let the flavors meld.
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Add your bell pepper.. I like red bell pepper but I have used green, it's just one of those things you use what you have in the fridge.
Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, brown rice and hot sauce, mix well.
I used basmati brown rice because we have a giant bag from Costco but you can use long grain rice white or brown too.
I also used Tapatio Hot Sauce because somehow our house is running out of hot sauce and my Tabasco went MIA..
I know so untraditional.
It's one of those things sometimes you just have to make due with what you have available, it is what it is..
Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
Add medium-large sized shrimp and stir well. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink.
That's it dinners done! Gotta love it! 






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Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Recipe by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya is an easy dinner favorite with veggies and brown rice hidden in the recipe for a well rounded meal.
Prep time: PT10M
Cook time: PT50M
Total time: PT1H0M
Yield: 5 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Butter or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Andouille Smoked Sausage, Sliced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Diced
  • 4 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, Optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 whole Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 14 1/2 ounce Diced Tomatoes With Juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 1/3 cups Basmati or Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce Or To Taste
  • 1 pound Medium Sized Shrimp
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pan with a lid melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened. Add sausage and push onion aside to brown sausage evenly on both sides.
  2. Add carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  3. Add bell pepper, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, rice, and hot sauce. Mix until well combined. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
  4. Add shrimp and stir well. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lemon Lime Pound Cake

A moist cake perfect for spring with the bright flavors of lemon and lime. 


Lemon Lime Pound Cake made with 7 up.
I made this Lemon Lime Pound Cake to take with us on a Picnic over the weekend but the kids convinced us to cut a few slices for dessert the night before and then a few more slices later and it was devoured! 
So much for a slice of cake on our picnic.
I might just make another one of these beauties for Easter with some macerated berries and maybe even a little homemade whip cream. 
This cake is so easy to make I promise you can't go wrong with it.
I've been making this cake for most of my married life and the original recipe came from Epicurious.
 I have modified it over the years to be the perfect Lemon Lime Pound Cake.
The original recipe was a bit to sweet and really lacked the lemon flavor the name suggested but the crumb was gorgeous, so it was well worth perfecting.
Shall we get on with the show?
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