How Green Is Your Garden? 6 Easy Steps For Drying Herbs

THM_DryingHerbs_1I love gardens, filled with beautiful and colorful flowers, but truth be told I don’t have much of a green thumb.

Either I don’t plant them properly such as not having the proper soil pH level or I commit the mortal sin of forgetting (or am too tired) to water them. That was even one of the reasons we got an automated sprinkler system!  So flowers at my house are pretty much regulated to the kind you buy at the florist  and put into a pretty vase and our landscaping consists of grass, trees and hearty shrubs that I can’t kill!

However, when it comes to my herb garden, I’m a whiz!

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A Berry Good (And No Bake!) Dessert – Blueberry Love

It’s no secret that I love to cook (you can see all my Harried Mom recipes here), but truth be told, I’ve never been much of a baker.  It’s not because I’m more of a savory over sweet gal – because anyone who knows me knows that I cannot resist a good sweet treat or dessert! I think it’s because baking is so precise.  Now while I use recipes when I cook, I tend to think of them more as “suggestions” in creating a dish.  I like to use my own culinary instincts to develop a dish and sometimes wind up improvising by adding herbs and spices or substituting ingredients to create a new flavor profile.  Apparently that doesn’t work so well when baking.  Adding a dash more or a splash of something to a baking recipe can make cookies turn into lumps of coal or cakes into bricks, both of which have happened to me many times.

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So when I was asked to create and share a dessert recipe using Reddi-wip® whipped topping, I decided to go with one that involve absolutely no baking on my end.

Right now there are lots of yummy and wonderful berries in season and they can make an easy and healthy dessert.

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Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups, A New Tra-Dish With Ragú

I’ve always loved my Italian heritage. To me, it means strong values rooted in both family and food and those are traditions The Hubs and I are passing to our own kidlets! Ragú® recently challenged bloggers to put their own spin on one of their classic dishes to create, what they call, a #NewTraDish for their families. I decided to take on their Eggplant Parmesan recipe and gave it a healthier twist by not frying or breading the eggplant.

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My Eggplant Parm Roll-Ups are super easy for either a kitchen vet or newbie chef to create! Using Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, which is made with 11 ripe juicy tomatoes making it richest, thickest recipe*, means you won’t need to slave over the stove all day to create a flavorful sauce. You can put this entire meal together in about an hour – so it’s the perfect weeknight recipe to make and enjoy.

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Make Dinner Tonight With Campbell’s Skillet Sauces #EasyPrepMeals

I am a member of Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions within this sponsored post are my own and not edited by Collective Bias in any manner. #EasyPrepMeals #CollectiveBias

 

I absolutely love to cook, but it isn’t always my favorite thing to do after a long day at the office.   Most weeknights The Hubs and I get home from work late time and we look forward to spending some quality time talking, playing and reading with our kidlets before their bedtime. Once we have them safely nestled into their beds it’s usually well after 8 pm.  While we’re both ravenous by that time, neither one of us is in the mood to start thinking about dinner ideas and making a meal that has a long prep or cook time.

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That’s why I love #EasyPrepMeals — fast and easy dinners that I can make on nights when I don’t have the time or energy to cook a meal from scratch. I always try to keep my pantry and fridge stocked with some food basics so I can always create a delicious meal on a moment’s notice.

This past weeknight I made an awesome and romantic dinner for The Hubs and I in under 30 minutes with the help of Campbell’s Skillet Sauces. This is a new line of Campbell’s sauces where all you have to do is pick your protein and/or vegetable, add a Skillet Sauce and you can have a tasty and healthy dinner for four (we had enough for leftovers the next night!) on the table in no time at all!

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All Good April

Since The Hubs and I started living the pescatarian lifestyle earlier this year, we’ve been experimenting with of new foods. I’ve learned all about vegetarian meat AKA mock meats — foods make to look like various meats, but made from soy, gluten, eggs, veggies or a combo of those ingredients — and that kale is the new spinach! Most recently I learned about the many health benefits of coconut oil and flax seeds to a persons daily diet, courtesy of a care package from Carrington Farms for #AllGoodApril month.

THM_CarringtonFarms_AllGoodApril_1My Carrington Farms “All Good April” care package included Liquid Coconut Cooking Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil tub & Organic Milled Flax Seeds

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Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks – Cookbook Review, Recipe & Giveaway

My favorite cooking appliance isn’t in my kitchen, it’s right outside, literally. It’s my gas grill! I love cooking meals on the grill and use it all year-long — in rain or shine, snow or sleet, as long as there is a clear path leading to the gill, I cook on it. It wasn’t until a few years ago though that I started to plank grill.

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Grilling with a plank is a lot like using a pan, except the plank has the ability to produce smoke. This method is great because it provides a stable surface to grill your food on while at the same time infusing it tons of flavor. It’s also healthier than traditional grilling, as dishes remain juicier and require less added fat and salt for flavor.

So when Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks by Dina Guillen showed up at the house, I was excited. Up until that point I’d just been pulling plank grilling recipes off the internet, not realizing there were whole cookbooks devoted to this cooking method. Plank Grilling – 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks is the perfect cookbook for a grill plank beginner or even an intermediate planker like myself. Continue reading ⇒

Meatless Meals – Veggie Quiche

Most weeknights The Hubs and I don’t get home until after 6:30 pm from work.   Once we do get home we try to spend as much time as possible hanging out with the kidlets before they go to bed.  That means we play board games, build LEGOs, play with Super Heroes/Disney Princesses, read books or if it’s Wednesday night, give the kidlets baths!  By the time 8 pm rolls around the kidlets are safely snuggled into bed and The Hubs and I are starving!  But who wants to start cooking a meal at 8 pm to eat at 9 pm and then go to bed not too long after?  Not this gal – so lately I’ve been making extra meals/dishes on Sundays that we can just re-heat during the week.

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One of my current favorites is making quiche.  This might be a little rudimentary, but I have had people ask me what it is — a quiche is an open-faced pastry crust with a savory filling thickened with eggs. I like quiches because they are so versatile. You can fill them with just about anything you have in the fridge — cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables — and you can serve it either hot or cold.   They are the perfect meal to make in advance, store in either the fridge or freezer and pop out when needed.

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Getting Ready For the Big Game – Super Bowl Appetizer Recipes

This year the Super Bowl is a big deal in our house.  See, The Hubs is originally from Colorado and grew up a Denver Broncos fan, which means he’s been united in orange his entire life and not just some guy jumping on the Peyton Manning bandwagon.

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The Hubs was a long-suffering Broncos fan until John Elway stepped onto the field in Mile High Stadium as a rookie in 1983 and eventually led them to 5 AFC championships and two Super Bowl wins. Continue reading ⇒

Meatless Meals – Easy Manhattan Clam Chowder

This year The Hubs and I jointly made a resolution and that was to take better care of ourselves.  For us that meant making a big lifestyle decision.  On Jan 1 we adopted a pescatarian diet.  That means that we abstain from eating all meat – beef, chicken and pork.  We are not vegetarians since we eat fish, eggs and dairy as well as fruits, vegetables, plants, legumes, nuts and grains. I guess it’s comparable to a what some people call a Mediterranean Diet.

As I write this, I haven’t had meat in 14 days and surprised at how easy the transition has been.  I’ll be honest, I did have a craving about seven days ago at work to eat in a big juicy cheeseburger at lunch but instead opted for a cup of vegetarian soup and a spinach salad tossed with hard-boiled eggs.  Yay for me!  I’m proud of myself for not giving in to my craving.  I haven’t missed meat since.

So with our new pescatarian lifestyle, I’ve been experimenting with a number of fish recipes/dishes.   This week I tried my hand at Manhattan Clam Chowder and I have to say it was a tremendous success!

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What Gets You Fueled Up And Running In the Morning?

What gets you running in the morning?  For some people, like The Hubs, it’s coffee – he likes it both hot and cold but it totally depends on his mood.  As for me, I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker.  While I love the aroma of coffee, my stomach isn’t a big fan, which is why I always opt for tea.  Now it doesn’t matter to me if it’s winter, spring, summer or fall – I always like to start my day (or for that matter, end my day) with an iced tea.

DD_LogoNow Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods is giving fans a sipping start to 2014 with a special deal for iced beverage lovers in the New York Metro area*.  From now through January 26, all Iced Coffee and Iced Tea in any size is just 99 cents at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants. Continue reading ⇒