A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane and went to a place I’d never been before: Burlington, Vermont. I was super excited. In my brain when I think of Vermont, I think of maple trees and green grass, clean air and rolling hills and lots of farms. My imagination was correct because that’s exactly what I experienced and I loved it so very much.
I was invited by Stonyfield to visit their network of organic family farms, learn about their history, present day goals and future. And let me tell you, it was a fascinating experience. Their co-founder, Gary Hirshberg, was so inspiring and warm and charming. (If you want to hear more about his fascinating story, here’s a link to his episode on NPR’s How I Built This.)
The first farm we visited was my favorite because it had what I love on any farm: baby animals. And lots of them.
When we arrived to Julie Wolcott’s farm, she was tardy showing us around because two cows were about to give birth (she assists their births to make sure mama is ok). We ended up meeting the baby calves and they were only an hour old. They were so beautiful, I maybe almost cried a little.
When my mama was pregnant with me, my dad was obsessed with BLTs. He’d make them all the time but there was a problem: my mom’s morning sickness made her nauseous every single time she smelled bacon. So eventually he had to stop. Or he had to go over someone else’s house in order to make them. Very random, fun fact about BLTs for you!!
Maybe this is the reason I love BLTs? I dunno…could be!
Truth is, I don’t eat a ton of bacon. I’m not one of those people who believes bacon makes everything better. Sometimes it’s too rich and too indulgent for me. But for some reason, when bacon is crispy and sandwiched between two soft pieces of bread with a swipe of mayo, crisp lettuce and soft tomatoes, the clouds part and…heaven.
BLTs are summer’s gift, they’re simple, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to give them special love and attention.
But sometimes I like to choose fun. And for me, that means adding pasta into the mix. Pasta salad is the best kind of salad. We all know this.
I also love the very American seven-layer salads. They look like traditional Americana dishes to me. Something I never grew up with. My mom didn’t make American foods like this, which obviously made me even more curious.
For this post, I teamed up with French’s. Their Classic Yellow Mustard is a summer (and beyond) staple that adds a pop of flavor into all kinds of summer dishes. I usually make dressings with Dijon mustard but this is proof that yellow mustard also has its place in dressings. This one is a creamy herbed dressing that can be used instead of ranch.
I like my pasta salads to have texture, texture and more texture. The radishes and sugar snap peas add lovely texture. It makes it super refreshing and on the lighter side, which might be surprising considering the fact that it’s a straight-up pasta salad.
True story: Josh was TERRIBLE to date. Especially in the beginning. He’d do that thing where you text someone and they start to text back so you see the bubble show up and then it stays like that for a few minutes, so you wait, expecting a long, meaningful message. AND THEN, the bubble disappears and no text is sent. For days.
When I brought this up to him and told him that I had other people who would be better texters and who actually liked animals (that was a lie, I had no one), he told me he wanted to apologize over cemitas. Everything with Josh was an excuse to just eat something that has been on his list. So I agreed. Josh and I worked everything out obviously. But my takeaway was that cemitas are delicious.
For this post, I teamed up with French’s. Their Classic Yellow Mustard is a summer essential, we all know this. You know how to make a grilled hot dog even taste better? Add yellow mustard. A pretzel? Salad? Yellow Mustard. I also love to add it to sauces and dressings and a myriad of other things for flavorful summer meals.
I’m not gonna lie, I actually didn’t even know how to use a grill until 6 months ago. I’ve always had a gas grill or no grill at all. I lived in Los Angeles for years and years with no outdoor space so please don’t hold it against me! But a few months ago, I got a grill. A bright, pretty red one and finally purchased one of those chimney things and learned how to use it properly. It honestly couldn’t be simpler so I have no idea why I was a little intimidated by it.
The best part of summer—besides copious amounts of watermelon and popsicles—is grilling. I love grilled foods. And I could eat a grilled veggie sandwich every single day. They are so good and light-feeling.
For this post, I teamed up with La Brea Bakery! I love their bread; in this recipe, I used their Telera Take And Bake Rolls, and you can find a coupon to purchase on their site and more summer recipes here. I baked the bread on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then sliced the rolls in half and grilled them.
In the second installment of….let’s go through my hard drive and find all the posts I haven’t posted, here is a summer-y pasta!!
Before we went to Japan, everyone warned us: THE JET LAG IS TUFF. I was scared. Will I be a walking zombie? Will I be able to enjoy my days? I assumed yes because I’ve been to Europe a few times and while I’m a little out of it and tired, I drink coffee and run off adrenaline because I’m on vacation and it’s fun!
When we got to Japan, I was a little tired. I ate some soba, walked around and then went to bed at 10pm and the next morning I woke up bright and early (I think 6am) and was totally fine.
I love a vegetable noodle dish. Real, gluten-filled pasta is my fave, but sometimes I crave the flavor of those dishes and want to skip the heaviness. (And then again, sometimes I like the heaviness haha!)
One thing I use over and over is my KitchenAid Architect Stand Mixer with Vegetable Sheet Cutter attachment. I got both of these things from Macy’s (my architect stand-up mixer is my favorite). I’ve made different iterations of this same dish, swapping out zucchini for butternut squash and even eggplant—it’s so good. The classic version of this dish used zucchini. It’s delicious and cheesy and when you’re craving something lighter, this is the move.
For this post, I teamed up with Macy’s Wedding Registry where I’m recommending that these two items have a place on it. Yep, they truly deserve a spot. As you probably know by now, I use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer daily. I bake a lot, but really it’s not just for baking. I make plenty of other things in my KitchenAid, including lasagna!
As you know, summer is usually a slow burn for me. It takes me a bit of time to welcome the unrelenting heat and mosquitos. I’m more of a winter person, you know this. But this summer I’m excited. I’m excited about outside BBQs and cubing up watermelon and maybe jumping in a pool. Summer is weeks away but we all know that Memorial Day is the unofficial kicking off point for summer.
For this post, I teamed up with ALDI, where you should go for all your summer food needs. They have everything from fresh meats to BBQ and fresh organic produce for pies. It’s a one-stop shop for summer!
I’ve been wanting to make hot chicken, but in slider-form for a while now, so I figured what better time than now to unofficially kick off summer.
My favorite part about this recipe is that it doesn’t require a fryer or a big pot of oil. This is in the oven, baked, the whole time. I know we’re not fans of lots of oil so this one is pretty simple.
Reaching balance is on my to-do for spring and summer. It’s obviously something that I’m not always great at. I love cake. I love pasta. And I honestly don’t see anything wrong with having those beautiful things in my life. They’re not going anywhere. But I also have been trying to eat healthier on a day-to-day basis. Having lots of fresh produce and ingredients on hand has been a huge game-changer for me.
Did you know May is also National Salad Month? To celebrate, I teamed up with Rubbermaid to create salads for my entire week! The FreshWorks Produce Savers keep produce super fresh and crisp in the fridge! The CrispTray at the bottom of the container elevates produce away from moisture and promotes airflow to help reduce spoilage. After 5 days of being in the fridge, the radishes were crispy, the arugula alive and well and the green onions were snappy! I love going grocery shopping and then storing everything away in their Rubbermaid home until I’m ready to use them.
Here’s what I like to keep on hand!
3. Cherry Tomatoes
4. Green Onions
6. Italian Parsley
These ingredients make it easy to make a bunch of different salads. I like variety in my routine and it’s way easier to do that when you start with about 6 or 7 different types of produce.
These bao buns are what my carb dreamzzzz are made of. They’re so delicious and soft and before now, I had no idea they were so, so, so simple to make at home.
If you make them the legit AF way, the way you’re supposed to, you’re going to take pork fat and render it and pour it into this bread dough. But, I found that butter (a bit easier to find and deal with) is just as good. I adapted this recipe from David Chang’s recipe.