Friday, August 31, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party and GIVEAWAY!

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to another party!  This week we have an amazing prize for three randomly selected winners!  Robyn's View is giving away her AMAZING dry ranch dressing mix.  How fantastic!  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Penne alla Vodka

This may be my family's all-time favorite pasta.  We only make it when fresh local tomatoes are available because it makes all the difference.  This pasta is packed with 10 tomatoes and loads of garlic.  It does take a bit of prep because you have to peel and seed the tomatoes first, but if you can spread the work out over the day, it isn't so bad...and it is so worth it!  :)

This dish has become a summer staple and something we look forward to all year round.  That is a big part of the fun that comes with seasonal cooking.  When you leave certain meals to be cooked only when the main ingredients are locally available, your food tastes better and it gets you excited about the change in seasons.  I hope this pasta becomes a summer favorite in your household too!

1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
10 tomatoes
1/3 C olive oil
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 C vodka
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 C heavy cream
2 tbsp parsley, chopped


  1. Peel and seed the tomatoes, then dice.  If the tomatoes are very juicy, let them drain in a colander for about 10 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. In a large fry pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until slightly golden, about 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the stove and add the vodka.  Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook until alcohol is evaporated and the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain.  Add the pasta to the fry pan.
  4. Add the cream and cook, stirring often over medium heat, until the pasta is well coated, about 2 minutes.  Add the parsley and toss briefly.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homemade Granite Cleaner

I am someone who spends a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen (making a mess!), so if there is one thing I have learned, it is how to clean a counter!  Sure you could buy a granite cleaner, but do you have any idea what chemicals are in them?  There are a number of nasty ingredients that you would be spewing onto your counter (where you prep and serve food!) and into the air in your home.  That "clean" smell?  Yup, it's a chemical derived scent.  Since when does clean have to smell like a pine forest?  That's not clean!!

I have a wonderful alternative to clean your granite counters.  It is a simple mixture of water, isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), and dish soap.  That's it!  And it does a fantastic job!  I use an old spray bottle and just keep refilling whenever I run low.  I hope you give it a try and get one more conventional cleaning product out of your house.

Homemade Granite Cleaner
1/2 C water
1 C isopropyl alcohol
15-20 drops of dish soap

Combine these ingredients into a spray bottle.  I give it a little shake each time before I use it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Island Kale Salad

Kale is a staple at our house.  I just love how healthy it is and my daughter loves to eat it!  We make our parmesan kale chips every few weeks because they are such a great snack.  I had been trying to find another way to enjoy fresh kale and I created the most delicious salad!  If you are lucky enough to live near a Veggie Grill restaurant, it is inspired by their All Hail Kale salad.  (side note: if you can, go eat there!  The food is fantastic!!)

The salad consists of fresh kale tossed with quinoa and a ginger papaya dressing.  Then it is topped with a fresh corn salsa and crunchy walnuts.  What's not to love?  It is crisp, clean, and delicious!  Corn season is coming to a close, so go pick up some fresh sweet corn and make this salad today!

Ingredients (serves 6 as a side)

For the Salad
2 bunches of kale, washed, removed from stem, torn into 1 inch pieces
1/2 C uncooked quinoa, cooked and cooled
Fresh Corn Salsa (recipe below)
Island Dressing (recipe below)
chopped walnuts

For the Dressing
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 C fresh papaya, chopped
1/3 C lime juice
1/8 C rice vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 C canola oil
1/4 C agave nectar

For the Fresh Corn Salsa
2 ears sweet corn, kernels removed
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp lime juice


  1. Put all the dressing ingredients (except canola oil) into a blender and pulse until smooth.  With the machine running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified.
  2. Place the kale, quinoa, and dressing into a large container or sealed bag and shake to evenly coat.    Refrigerate 6-8 hours.
  3. Make the fresh corn salsa by combining all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  4. To assemble the salad: plate the dressed kale and top with 1/2 C of the corn salsa.  Add the chopped walnuts as desired.  

Inspired by Veggie Grill's All Hail Kale

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekly Menu

We are enjoying the last few weeks of summer.  My oldest baby will be starting pre-school in 2 weeks, so I am relishing the last of my days having her all to myself.  We are making great food and having a blast.  On our trip to the farm we picked up some basil, kale, red watermelon, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet Maui onion, tomatoes, and corn.  We will also be using some more cucumbers from out own backyard.  With this produce we will be enjoying the following meals:

  • Greek Pesto Pizza and Island Kale Salad
    • using the basil, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, and kale

  • Penne alla Vodka and a Marinated Zucchini Salad with Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese
    • using the tomatoes and zucchini

We will be enjoying the watermelon for dessert.  Hope you have a great week!