Cucumber Basil Cooler


Okay, okay so this recipe originally is not supposed to have any booze in it...but what's the fun in that?! Also, I clearly can't write a Spirit Saturday post with out that sinful libation!

Cucumber Basil Cooler serves 4 (makes a large pitcher)
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's, Super Natural Every Day

2-3 lemon cucumbers, partially peeled, chopped
1/2 cup vodka or gin
3 cups ice cubes (about 1 1/2 trays)
handful basil leaves
1/3 cup honey
juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

In a blender combine cucumber, spirit of choice, ice, honey, basil, lime juice, and salt. Pulse until completely smooth and frosty. Make sure there are no ice chunks. Taste and adjust lime and salt. Pour in a pitcher and garnish glasses with cucumber and basil leaves or flower. (Might even be good with a rock salt rim!)

Cod with Fennel and Potatoes


I am totally a Martha Stewart groupie. Whatever that lady is selling...I'm buying. I have to be Everyday Food's biggest fan because it really is my go to for quick, full proof, easy meals. I think it is a very rare thing that I make something from Everyday Food that isn't a hit. This recipe for cod over fennel and potatoes is no exception. Crazy easy, healthy, fast and delicious.

The recipe serves four, but I ended up getting less Cod for Will and I because, although I love fish, I don't need 3/4 of a pound of it! The recipe that follows serves 4, so adjust accordingly.

Check out this thief caught in the act!

This broth is tasty so make sure to grab some crusty bread for dipping!

Cod with Fennel and Potatoes serves 4
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flake
1 trimmed fennel bulb, cut into 1/2 in pieces, reserving fronds
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved length wise and thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth (or vegetable)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
orange zest from 1/2 an orange (peeled into 1/2 inch strips)
coarse salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless cod fillets (1 1/2 lb total)

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chili pepper flake. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft and garlic is fragrant, about 7 minutes.

Add chopped fennel and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, broth, tomato paste,  and orange zest; season with salt and pepper. Boil for 10 minutes.

Place cod fillets on top and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the fish is opaque throughout, about 10 minutes. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve with some crusty bread.

Wedding Wednesday: Dress Shopping!


Oops! This went a day early. Apparently, I should be wearing my glasses at night! Nevertheless, enjoy Wedding Wednesday one day early!

Don't worry. I have no plans of inundating you with a wedding post every Wednesday, but here and there it's fun to share our planning with you, and what better way than to start things off with wedding dress shopping!

I am a real planner. We've picked out our venue, started looking at vendors, and I have already found and purchased my wedding dress...a year before the wedding. My sister came to visit earlier this summer and we decided that my mom, sister and I would go wedding dress shopping. I have been wanting to visit Xtabay's Bridal Boutique since they opened. I love vintage and this bridal boutique is chocked full of beautiful vintage dresses and gowns.

We made an appointment for first thing in the morning and my sweet mama and sister got some goodies  to nibble on while I tried on dresses. Our host, Joanne, made us mimosas too!

Wedding dress shopping can be exhausting so here's my sister breaking it up with silliness, mimicking the mannequin.

Although lovely, none of the dresses I tried on were ones I took home. I am keeping my dress a surprise for Will. This first dress I loved and really fit with my 60s style. Unfortunately, it was entirely too warm for a late summer wedding.

I, initally, thought that I wanted a cute vintage tea length gown (I still do), but after trying this one on I felt more like I was in a prom dress than a wedding dress. It had a fun bit of sparkle to it thought.

This dress was actually a reproduction of a 20s pattern. It was my absolute favorite. When I put it on I definitely felt like a bride. It was simple, but the silhouette was oh so lovely. Sadly, it was just a little too tight on me. I would easily bust a seam if I were to shake my groove thang!

Thanks for reading about our journey and have a great Wednesday!

Grilled Marinated Artichokes


I don't know how I have gone so long without posting my favorite recipe of all time...GRILLED ARTICHOKES!!! If you know me at all than you know I LOVE artichokes. When I was in high school my family and I would go to Claim Jumper's and they had this delicious artichoke recipe. My mom adapted it and I have since made it a regular part of our Spring/Summer dining ritual. Artichokes always require a little more effort, and even more so with this recipe, but I promise you that you will be rewarded with a sweet, smoky and amazing artichoke!

First, gather all your ingredients, and then forget some of them to photograph (don't judge me, I always do this).

Begin by trimming up the artichokes of outer leaves and thorns and immediately using half a lemon rub all over to prevent browning.

I forgot to take a shot of some steaming action, but steam the artichokes till tender. Once cool, you can handle them to cut out the choke, being careful to not cut out the meaty heart.

Prepare a marinade of olive oil, balsamic and chopped herbs and brush all over and in halved artichokes.

Grill artichokes both sides until you get some nice grill marks and artichokes are lightly browned.

Grilled Marinated Artichokes serves 4

4 large artichokes
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (I used basil, thyme, and some chives for garnish)
11/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
-Your favorite dipping sauce-

Start by filling a large pot with a couple inches of water and place a steamer basket in the pot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, remove tough outer leaves of artichokes and snip off thorns and cut top crown of thorns. Rub artichokes with lemon to keep from browning. Place artichokes in steamer basket and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer until artichokes are tender when pierced with a knife, but not falling apart, about 20-25 minutes. Remove artichokes and allow to cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, in a smal bowl combine balsamic, herbs, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Gently cut artichokes in half and cut out choke, being careful not to remove tender inner leaves or heart. Brush artichokes with marinade. 

Grill artichokes ove a hot grill on one side until you have nice grill marks and golden color, flip and do the same. Remove and serve with your favorite dipping sauce (we enjoy them with garlic mayo).