Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mom's Pasta Salad

My mom has been making this pasta salad for my family for as long as I can remember. It has been a part of many family gatherings, cook-outs, and weekends home from college when I wanted to fill up on all my favorite home cooked meals.

Whenever I think about this salad I can't help but think about my best friend Jennifer. Throughout junior high and high school Jennifer practically lived at my parents house so she was very familiar with my mom's infamous pasta salad. During college and the years after when we lived together Jennifer would often times put in a request for "Mom's" pasta salad. So in honor of Jennifer that is what I am calling it.

Jennifer and I on my wedding day

Nothing says summer like a good old pasta salad so I decided to make this last night for our wine book club. After all these years I can practically make this with my eyes closed so for blogging purposes yesterday was my first time measuring the ingredients. You can always add other vegetables in as well such as peppers, olives or tomatoes but sometimes I just like the simplicity of the basic recipe.

Mom's Pasta Salad

- 1 box whole wheat Bow Tie pasta
- 1 cucumber (peeled and chopped)
- 1 medium red onion (chopped)
- 3 tablespoon's McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning
- 2 cups Zesty Italian Dressing

- Cook pasta noodles according to the package directions. Drain noodles
- Add the chopped cucumber, onions, seasoning and salad dressing to the cooked pasta.
- Serve at room temperature or store in fridge until ready to serve. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Jason and I spent our Memorial Weekend by celebrating our one year wedding anniversary. We got married at Westglow Resort & Spa in Blowing Rock, NC, and decided to celebrate our first year of marriage by spending the weekend back there to relax and take advantage of all that Westglow has to offer. It was a weekend of pure bliss.
(If you want to read more about our wedding weekend check out this article that was featured in the High Country Wedding Guide.)

We arrived on Friday with just enough time to shower and grab a cocktail before our dinner reservations at Rowland's, the restaurant located inside of the mansion.

Our meal included a four course dinner so we started off with a few appetizers (not pictured) before our entrees arrived. Jason ordered the Fillet with Pine Nut Risotto and I got the Grouper topped with a beet puree with Blue Cheese Corn Cakes. Both were fantastic.

Selection of salt's


For dessert we split the Pound Cake and Smores (the coolest dessert I have ever seen).

Saturday we spent most of the day at the spa working out, reading and napping in the relaxation room and an hour long massage. My parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin were spending the weekend at my aunt and uncles mountain house so we met up with the family for another amazing dinner at the Best Cellar. Sunday and Monday we joined the rest of the family at the mountain house where we spent the rest of our weekend hiking and enjoying time with the family.

Last night when we arrived home Jason and I enjoyed a delicious reminder of our wedding day as we sliced into the top tier of our wedding cake that we had saved. It was as good as it looks, even after being in the freezer for a year.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins

By reading my blog you can clearly tell that I love muffins and breads, especially when they are healthy and nutritious. Blueberry muffins will probably always stand as my favorite as they take me back to my childhood. My dad used to take me to Hardee's when I was a little girl and I would order a blueberry muffin that was insanely huge and loaded down with all sorts of fat and sugar. But it was good! And in my 6 year old mind the bigger the muffin, the better. Bring on the sugar.

Now in my almost 30 year old mind two things have changed. I still love blueberry muffins but the healthy and nutritious ones are now better and I no longer eat at Hardee's. :)

These lightly sweet, super moist muffins are low in calories and fat, and high in fiber. I decided to add the ground flax seeds at the end for an additional nutrient boost. Nothing like a healthy breakfast that is bursting with blueberries to get your day started. I prefer these muffins served warm out of the oven or I reheat them for a few seconds in the microwave and eat them along with some fruit.

Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins
Yields 12 Muffins

- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

- In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and sugar.
- In a separate bowl mix together the milk, egg, applesauce, vanilla, oil, and lemon zest.
- Add the wet ingredients in with the dry then fold in the blueberries and ground flax seeds.

- Add dough into a greased muffin tin. Bake on 400 for 25 minutes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Strawberry Cool Whip Pie

This is a perfect, easy summertime dessert because it is both light and refreshing. It is a great way to enjoy the seasons freshest fruit.

Strawberry Cool Whip Pie

- 2 cups fresh strawberries (quartered)
- 1/2 cup lite cool whip
- 1- 3.4 oz. package Vanilla Jello instant pudding
- 1 9" ready made graham cracker pie shell
- 1 1/2 cups of skim milk

Put 1 1/2 cups of milk into a bowl. Stir in the pudding mix; Put in fridge for 5 minutes or until thickened. Blend in 1/2 cup cool whip and strawberries.

Mix well then pour into a baked pie shell.
Chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Orange Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

A few weeks ago I was in Kiawah for my best friend's wedding. Most of the weekend was filled with wedding festivities so a few of us decided to hang around on Sunday to enjoy the island. While the men spent the day on the golf course me and two of my girlfriends headed to the Marina for lunch. While waiting for a seat I looked up and saw my friend Sarah, who recently moved from Charlotte to Charleston. While we were talking she mentioned that she has been following my blog and wondered if I could come up with a recipe for healthy Orange Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Ask and you shall receive.

After doing some research on the Internet I took different ingredients from a few different recipes to come up with this delightfully nutritious yet sweet a chewy cookie. Trust me you will not feel guilty about eating these.

Orange Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 24 cookies

- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
- 1/4 cup Trop50 orange juice
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

- In a small bowl add the cranberries to the orange juice and soak for 10 minutes.

- Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, apple sauce, orange zest and the cranberry mixture.
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Add the wet ingredients in with the dry and mix well.

- Lay parchment paper down on a cookie sheet and spoon about  tablespoon of the cookie dough on the paper. Bake cookies on 375 for 8 minutes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fiesta Day

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Today we are celebrating both Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. We are putting on our big hats, mixing up some guacamole and cheering our horse to the finish line. In the blink of an eye the race will be over but the fiesta will just be getting started.

If you are looking for a festive recipe to celebrate this holiday check out my
Shrimp Taco's or Fajita Unwrapped.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dump Cake

There are certain foods that hold a sentimental value to me because they remind me of certain events or holidays. For example, when I wrote about the Banana Pudding that I made I mentioned that it reminded me of my grandmother because she would always make it for us knowing it was our favorite. Whenever I see Rice Pudding I am immediately taken back to my Honeymoon with sandy beaches and crystal blue water. I love that certain foods give me a feeling of closeness to special memories.

The first Easter Jason and I spent together I asked him to tell me one dessert that he would have growing up that he would always have on Easter. Without hesitation he told me his mom would make a  Dump Cake, which also happens to be one of his favorite desserts. I wanted to be able to carry that memory on for Jason so every Easter since then I have been making Dump Cake. Not only is this a delicious recipe but it is so easy to make. You literally dump the ingredients in a pan and bake in the oven for one hour.

Dump Cake

- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 1 can crushed pineapple- not drained
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 stick of butter

- Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray
- Pour in the cherry pie filling and cover the bottom. Pour in the crushed pineapple.
- Sprinkle the yellow cake mix over top of the fruit until it is all covered
- Sprinkle the pecans on top of the cake mix then pour in the melted butter making sure it evenly coats the top.

- Bake on 400 for 1 hour.

Best severed warm. You can also serve it with ice cream or whip cream if you choose.

And just to show you that it is indeed his favorite here is a copy of Phyllis's recipe card. Look at the writing on the top right.