Panzanella Salad

Throwback Thursday! With my end of summer Panzanella Salad. What better way to use produce than to make a Panzanella salad. Which is a traditional Italian “bread salad.” Crispy croutons made from toasted baguette cubes along with fresh, crunchy veggies bring this powerhouse salad together. Drizzle with a little dijon vinaigrette love, and you can’t go wrong. Gardening is such a joy to my family and me. Nothing beats growing something with your own hands and watching it flourish. We’ve created so many delicious recipes using various tomato plants, cucumber, zucchini, and watermelon.

Along with so many amazing fresh herbs. Start your own garden! It’s a fantastic way to get the kids involved too. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Xo- Ayesha

Panzanella Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
1 long baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
One orange bell pepper, seeded and cubed
One red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
One English cucumber halved and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons capers

For the vinaigrette:

1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.

Spread cubes of bread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Baked in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss well.

Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 25-30 minutes. (The longer it sits the better it gets!)

Happy Mother’s Day

I want to wish all of the fantastic moms out there an extraordinary Mother’s day! Being a mother is the hardest but most rewarding job that there is. And yes there may be crying, whining, tantrums and endless messes. But the perks of sticky kisses, warm hugs, and unconditional love are priceless. Happy Mothers Day!

Now for any loved ones looking for an easy and thoughtful (DELICIOUS!) way to spoil your mother this year check out the recipe below. It’s an easy to make and stunning apple pie. No judgment zone. If you want to use store-bought pie dough then, by all means, do it. I’m sure mom will be happy either way. Whats your go-to mothers day dessert to serve? Share in the comments below.

Have a blessed weekend!

Xo- Ayesha

 

Easy Apple Pie

3 pounds apples, cored, peeled, and sliced. (Granny Smith apples)
Two tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled.
One tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
One teaspoon cane sugar, for sprinkling over top of the crust.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch kosher salt (About one teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pie Crust (You can make your own or buy store-bought)
Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water lightly beaten)
Flour for dusting.
Heart shaped cookie cutters (different sizes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust a clean area with flour. Roll out half pie dough for the topping. Use cookie cutters to make cutouts of the dough and set on a parchment lined pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In large bowl combine apples with lemon juice, sugar, flour, and spices.

Add the other half of your pie crust to a prepared pie pan and gently press into place.

Pour in your apple mixture. (Don’t pile it too high! Leave room for the crust.) And top with butter pieces. (make sure your butter is cold and cut into small pieces.)

Remove crust cutouts from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.

Top apple mixture with dough cutouts by scattering them over the top.

Brush with egg wash before sprinkling with a teaspoon of sugar.

Place pie on a large baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 60 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Allow to cool and serve! (Hopefully with ice cream!)

Morning Roasted Pear Oatmeal

Morning Roasted Pear Oatmeal

Now I am always looking for ways to spruce up our household favorites. So I wanted to share with you a quick and flavorful take on an oatmeal recipe that the adults and kids will like this coming weekend. I pair Irish cut steel oats with a little cream and brown sugar and roasted pears. The house will smell like the holidays all over again as you roast your pears away! For the kids, I sometimes just take the roasted pear and just pour the yummy oatmeal over top. It’s like a pear bowl. The kids will love it. It truly amazes me all the things you can add and mix in to truly transform a plain old bowl of oatmeal. I hope that this becomes a new household favorite.

Xo- Ayesha

Morning Roasted Pear Oatmeal

3 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy cream
One tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch sea salt

Add cinnamon and oats into a pot and bring water to a boil. Stir well and cover. Adjust heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Do not overcook! Remove from heat and add butter, sugar, cream, and pinch of salt. Top with roasted pears and a drizzle of pear juice from the pan. Serve immediately.

Roasted Pears

Three pears, cut into halves.
Two tablespoons butter, melted.
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Quarter and core the pears. (Use a melon scooper or small spoon.)

Place pear halves in baking dish. Brush pears liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top evenly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Allow to cool and transfer to a cutting board. (Reserving sauce in pan)

With or without skin on chop into cubes.

Serve over top of oatmeal.

Enjoy!

Chicken And Mushrooms With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Chicken And Mushroom With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Hey everyone! It’s been such a chaotic week. Filled with lots of visiting friends and family. And  I managed to pull off the most fantastic surprise party for my husband Stephen’s 30th birthday without a hitch! Thank GOD!! And I’m excited to end the week by sharing this delicious recipe! Chicken and mushrooms with a creamy tomato sauce is a dish that is packed with flavor but cooks in no time. I love to use chicken thighs in my recipes as they are super juicy and flavorful. Not to mention inexpensive.

The sauce is filled with mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, heavy cream, and cheese. And I just love me some mushrooms! Not only are they in season all year long. But they are incredibly flavorful and have this meaty texture that makes them perfect for dishes like this. Then we add a little heavy cream, cream cheese, and parmesan to turn this dish into something fantastic! I’m so ready to sit down with a big bowl of this and a glass of WATER! (Obviously, wine is out of the question right now) Hope you have a blessed weekend! Share your thoughts on the recipe in the comments below.

Enjoy

Xo-Ayesha

Chicken And Mushroom With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Six chicken thighs, boneless-skinless.
One cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
One clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped.
1 tablespoon parsley, roughly chopped. (optional)
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced.
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained. (I used tomatoes that mixed with green chiles for some heat!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. (Plus more for topping.)
salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add in olive oil and butter. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to the pan. Cook on both sides for about 5-6 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a large plate or platter.

Into the hot pan add garlic, shallot, and mushroom. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in tomato, stock, cream, chopped parsley and both cheeses to the pan. Season with thyme, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine well and bring to a boil. Stir until it begins to thicken into a creamy sauce. About 5-6 minutes. Add chicken back into pan and coat well. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and fresh basil. Serve hot on its own or with your favorite pasta!

Celebrate on a budget!

I love to entertain. But my favorite people to entertain are my KIDS! Which is why I am so in love with the dollar section at Target. I’m able to get a bunch of cute and inexpensive items to make my kid’s faces light up. You can even create an adorable Valentine’s inspired breakfast for dinner, using inexpensive heart-shaped cookie cutters in various sizes and milk jugs.

Share pictures of you and your loved ones celebrating Valentine’s Day! Our favorite picture will be sent a signed copy of my book “The Seasoned Life”.  (contest entry deadline February 15th at 12 pm (PST.)

Heart Shaped French Toast and Eggs

3 Eggs.
3/4 Cup of milk or heavy cream.
1 Teaspoon cinnamon.
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1 Teaspoon granulated sugar.
Pinch salt.
Any type of bread. (3-4 slices)

*Tip* Mix together 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in a separate bowl and sprinkle on each side as cooking.

Beat eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in shallow dish. Stir in milk.

Use heart shaped cookie cutter to make your shapes.

Dip bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. (Don’t be the victim of soggy bread!)

Cook bread slices on greased nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides. (Butter baby!)

For the eggs. I simply sprayed a heart shaped cookie cutter with non-stick cooking spray. Put it in a heated skillet and crack an egg inside of each one. Cook it to your liking! And season with salt and pepper.

*Tip* Placing a pan lid over the top ensures fully cooking your egg. Usually about 2-3 minutes.

Hope you all have a great day celebrating LOVE!

XO Ayesha

 

Pumpkin Patch 2013

We had the pleasure of going to our local pumpkin patch this weekend as a family. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. It sounds corny but I think i’d been subconsciously waiting for this moment for a long time. No, not to go to the pumpkin patch. It’s that moment of building or starting a tradition. We’ve sort of just started our little family and we’re figuring things out day by day just like any other family. To have that special first moment with Riley and my husband over the weekend was such a joy and warmed my soul in such a way that could only be described as pure love. I’m very sentimental and I cherish moments and building traditions with my family. To see the look on Riley’s face when she saw everything was priceless.

Okay enough with the cheese ball, romance, sap… I’ll spare you, for now. 😉

Needless to say we had an amazing time at the patch. We enjoyed fresh slow cooked brisket sandwiches that were nothing short of perfect and caramel apples that I am still slowly devouring (with large glasses of water ;)). They had a small animal farm that could’ve used some more animals, but got the job done for Riley. We rode an adorable little train around the patch and went through hay mazes. Then, we topped off the afternoon with Riley picking out the cutest pumpkin that was just her size. We plan on decorating it later this week. 🙂

How was all of you weekends? What did you do? Comment below.

Here are a couple of photos from our day. Enjoy!

Walk In LOVE !

We attended a wonderful Easter Sunday church service last week and the message was just what I needed. Simply to walk “in love”. Keep your head held high, and know that you are where you are supposed to be. We are a reflection of God and it is our duty as servants of him to display his love and be a reflection of him. Ultimately letting our “little lights shine”!

No sin is greater than the next. We all have sinned and all have our faults. At the end of the day we should lend our advice in times of need, a shoulder to lean on, and praying hands for one another. We MUST walk in LOVE at all times. Free yourself from the judgement of others and simply pray for them if you feel that their ways are not of the Lord. I feel we are so quickly to judge and talk about other peoples wrong doings (we’ve all been guilty of this i’m sure), but aren’t as quick to pray for them. Lets start praying and loving and stop gossiping and judging. WALK IN LOVE.

Make it a point to display God’s love through both our actions and words. The tongue is a powerful thing. Lets use it for the good of the Lord and not for the negativity of the world.

“Follow God’s example, therefore as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5: 1-2 

Ayesha and Stephen