Thursday, May 5, 2016

Strawberry Picking + Fresh Scones

I love strawberry season, it always reminds me of the first days of summer.  My mom and I always loved picking berries when I was growing up, and she'd make the best shortcake!  Last year, we found a great little farm to pick blueberries, but I totally forgot how much earlier crops are ready in the South.  When I went to look for strawberry farms in June, they were all already closed for the season.  This year, (thanks to Jacquelyn!!) we found another fantastic farm, this one for strawberries, Wadmalaw Island.  Mike, Erika, her son, and I went right at the peak of the season at the end of April and brought home 10 pounds of strawberries.  
Obviously we made shortcake every night, I added strawberries and pecans to my favorite salad, and every morning has started with a strawberry fruit smoothie.  There are still strawberries left... a lot of them.  Strawberry and lemon is one of my favorite flavor combinations (of yeah, I made strawberry lemonade, too!), so these scones were also made with those delicious berries.  They are so good!
Ingredients:
scone dough:
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter (cut into tiny cubes)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
egg wash:
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon whole milk
glaze:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and zest.
- Work the small butter cubes into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, then add to flour and butter, mixing until just combined.
- Add slices strawberries to dough mixture and pour dough onto floured surface.
- Work dough into 8 inch circle, and using a pizza cutter, slice it into 8 equal pieces.
- Separate scones and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
- Mix together the egg and milk for the wash and brush it over each scone.
- Bake in the oven for 15-16 minutes.
- While the scones are in the oven, combine the lemon juice and confectioners sugar for the glaze.  Wait 15 minutes after scones are out of the oven to drizzle them with glaze.
If you're looking for even more strawberry recipes, here are some of my past favorites: strawberry jam, strawberry mojitos, and chocolate-filled strawberries.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One-Pan Chicken Lasagna

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DinnerOnDemand #CollectiveBias
With Mother's Day coming up, I am (even more often than usual) thinking about my mom; she is amazing.  Growing up, she was an elementary school teacher, carted me (and my friends) around to school sports and activities, and somehow also made a full from-scratch meal every single night by 6:00PM - Wonder Woman, I know.  She's Italian, so the meals that make me think the most of her are pasta recipes, but since I began living on my own, I've always looked for ways to shorten preparation and cooking time of some of my favorites.  I still want all the flavor, but the fewer the steps, the better!  How she had time to boil and cook the pasta, layer the ingredients, and bake a full lasagna on a Tuesday, I'll never know!  Well, I've taken out all but one of those steps in my easy Chicken Lasagna.
With the help of Barilla Pronto Pasta, it's: One Pan. No Boil. No Drain. AND a dinner on demand is ready in less than 15 minutes.  Combine that with Barilla Marinara Pasta Sauce and you have an easy meal!  Mike and I have been working crazy hours lately, so this recipe starts with ingredients we can grab on the way home from work at Walmart, and whoever gets home first can whip the lasagna up quickly so that we can have more time to spend together.
Ingredients:
1 box Barilla Pronto Penne Pasta
3 cups water
1 jar Barilla Marinara Pasta Sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup spinach
1 pound grilled chicken (optional)
Parmesan cheese to garnish

Directions:
1. According to package instructions, add the box of Barilla Pronto Penne and water to a 12-inch sauce pan.
2. Turn heat to high and cook pasta for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Bring the heat down to medium and pour in the jar of Barilla Marinara Pasta Sauce.  Stir to combine.
4. Add in the cheese, spinach, and bite-sized grilled chicken (if you choose), stir until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted, and serve with freshly-grated parmesan cheese.
Barilla Pronto Pasta is so quick and easy that it even won a Better Homes and Gardens Best New Product award!

  • Category of Win: Best Food & Beverage Products 
    • Specific Winning Product: Barilla Pronto Pasta Specific 
    • Year of Win: 2016 
    • Based on the 2016 BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study of 38,000 voters nationwide. For more information visit www.BestNewProductAwards.com

 
So, Mom, I hope you know how much I appreciate all of the hours you spent making these amazing meals.  Someday I'll be the amazing home chef, multi-tasker, and time manager that you were, but in the mean time, I'll take short cuts with boiling and baking rather than flavor.
  • What's your favorite easy weeknight meal?
  • Anyone have a good gift idea for your mom this Mother's Day? 

Monday, May 2, 2016

...Bring May Flowers

Happy May, everyone!!  The last stretch in April was just so busy: I attended The Southern C Summit last week (and have a full week of recaps going up next week - stay tuned) and Mike's dad is in South Carolina this week, so you know we are walking and eating our faces off with him and his girlfriend as we show them everything Charleston has to offer!  While I spend some time getting back into the swing of blogland, I thought I'd share part 2 of my favorites right now.  You can see my "April Showers" part one by clicking here.
1 ||| 2 ||| 3 (top and bottom) ||| 4 ||| 5 ||| 6 ||| 7 ||| 8 ||| 9 ||| 10 ||| 11

Obviously, I had to share every floral print I could find.  I promised myself that I would buy a romper this year (it's even on my summer bucket list, if I don't buy one before then - haha), and Mike and I have that floral IKEA duvet on our bed.  I love it because it's perfect for every month of the year, and I just trade out the solid-color sheets (yellow, cranberry, sage green) each season.  I went to another Candlefish class on Friday and made a fantastic floraly scent to burn all spring and summer - I love their whole collection of springtime florals.  My goal for our new house is also to actually grow a garden, and how cute would it be to start with succulents - and a hedgehog?!

  • Do you have a favorite floral piece this spring?

 
Design Poppiness Designs