fresh finds for your taste-buds

I’ve been searching for summer-friendly recipes that don’t require me to fire up my oven and heat up the house. Once 70 degrees rolls around (and I should note — when it actually stays, unlike the freak May snowfall we had this year), I crave cool fruits, spiced up salads, and grilled favorites at all hours of the day. Below are some of my recent favorite discoveries. Enjoy!

  • Easy Sesame Noodles from Let’s Dish: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Simple Sesame Noodles, Danelle offers a few suggestions for those of us who may not have hot chili oil or canola oil in our cupboards: substitute olive oil and hot water, along with red pepper flakes. I also added a dash of sriracha sauce — a delicious hot sauce that I discovered during a trip to Noodles and Company. I love it and even put it on pizza!
  • Healthy No Bake Granola Bars from Minimalist Baker: 5 ingredients. Yes, you’re reading correctly: 5! I had never worked with dates before, but found them by the dried fruit in our produce area at our local Hy-Vee. My boyfriend works at another Hy-Vee and commented that they’re located in the baking aisle in his, so be sure to check both locations. These were incredibly easy.  I didn’t have salted peanut butter on hand, so I just added some sea salt to the top before popping them in the freezer. I also added a few pinches of cinnamon as I’ve been trying to get rid of the 78 cinnamon containers on my spice rack (I seem to forget that I already have cinnamon on hand when a recipe calls for it). They’ve definitely changed my breakfast life. I’m not a fan of breakfast food, but it’s important to eat a little something to avoid the embarrassing stomach grrrrowling at your desk. I’ll never buy store-bought granola bars again. Really.
  • Healthy Peanut Butter, Banana, and Honey Milkshake from An Edible Mosaic: If I could eat ice cream every minute of my life, I would. This is a delicious chilled treat that has the consistency of ice cream, but is much better for you. I added a few chocolate chips to the top and, bingo, my Game of Thrones viewing just became that much better. The serving amount is plenty, too.
  • Grilled (or roasted!) Cabbage from Green Lite Bites: My mom makes stove-top fried cabbage with vinegar and this is the next best thing! I often forget about cabbage being a grilling vegetable, so this was a wonderful reminder.
  • Raspberry Tiramisu from Sophistimom: A great no-bake dessert for summer! This would be perfect for a 4th of July celebration (you could use raspberries and blueberries to fashion an edible flag — ugh, I’ve looked at Pinterest too much recently), a pot-luck, or just forever at home within your refrigerator.

Let’s not forget liquid recipes! I purchased a new Infuser Water Bottle (note: at time of purchase, it was cheaper to order on manufacture’s web site vs. Amazon) a few days ago and am looking forward to trying raspberry, mint, kiwi, and strawberries in my water. Goodbye, Propel Grape Water! I will not miss you. Find over 50 ideas of what to flavor your water with on over at 52 Kitchen Adventures.

things i found while looking around

I waste too much money on my dogs:

  • Island Mutt: I find their idea of using creating dog leashes/collars/toys with the nylon rope that’s used on docks really economical. I’d think keeping their Monkey Fist Dog Toy as an outside dog toy would be nice for the summer and dog park adventures.
  • Parapup and RuggedByDesignME: Etsy shops that offer leashes/collars made out of parachute cord. I’ll likely try this out for my next round of collar buying. It seems they would be far more durable than what I currently use which isn’t holding up to a rambunctious puppy.
  • Bergan EZ Steps Big Dog Dual Leash: I normally try to buy items such as this on Etsy or from a Farmer’s Market vendor since they always have such great patterns that stores do not (and they’re often cheaper or very similar in price — chain stores are such a ripoff for collars!), but I haven’t found anything similar in my searches. I need something that’s durable and tangle-free for both Quinn and Riggs and, while I’ve never, ever tried a dual leash, this one looks to be one the best I’ve found in terms of reviews.
  • ID4Pet: Unique, durable dog tags. I’ve purchased two already (one for Quinn and one for Riggs) and will definitely be returning to this shop in the future. They ship quickly and come with a really shiny gloss on them that doesn’t peel off.

Since we’re approaching spring, I definitely have “spring cleaning” on my mind. This includes getting rid of all the cans that have been in my pantry for weeks (just kidding — months!).

Deeeelicious recipes that have helped me do so:

  • Lazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole: I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream and a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes & Diced Green Chilies for the salsa and diced green chilies. I also threw remaining bits of the packages of shredded cheese we had in our fridge. No corn, either. This was fast, easy, and definitely ohmygod-I-have-so-much-crap-in-my-fridge friendly.
  • Lemon Yogurt Sugar Muffins: Minimal ingredients that I normally have on hand. This has been my go-to recipe if I feel the urge to bake.
  • Spicy Sausage Pasta: Um. This tastes like a dish I’d get at a restaurant and my “I swear I followed the recipe!” meals never come out to anything resembling that. I usually steer clear of any type of sausage, but this is really quite tasty.
  • Mexican Chickpea Salad: Why did I have three cans of garbanzo beans in my pantry? For this recipe, of course! I used red onion and RealLemon lemon juice from my fridge. I also didn’t include the avocado that’s suggested — that wouldn’t keep well. Divided into one cup containers and I had lunch made for work for three days. Warning: it’s really that good.

Random handmade goodies: