This summer has been the summer of the tomato. I have about 12 plants that are constantly growing fresh tomatoes, so there is no excuse not to have tomatoes for every meal. The simplest way to enjoy fresh tomatoes is with a little olive oil (splurge on some really good stuff), and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Sometimes if I am getting crazy, I’ll add a dash of balsamic vinaigrette and a piece of toast. Other favorites are caprese salads and sandwiches (also made with homegrown basil). I’m a big fan of putting my caprese over baby greens for dinner to make it really feel like a meal and not an appetizer.
Other favorites this summer include turkey sloppy joes, a recipe I promise to post soon, and lots of meals with mushrooms. I guess mushrooms are normally a fall staple, but for some reason my summer palette has been craving them. I usually saute them in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and then put them over brown rice, toast or with some asparagus.
And let’s not forget summer roasted potatoes. Nothing goes better with some grilled chicken then some rosemary roasted potatoes. I buy baby potatoes, slice them in quarters or halves, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper (see a theme here?!?), add some rosemary from our herb garden and roast for about 25-30 minutes at 375 (until fork tender).
PS all of these photos were taken with my iphone and posted on my Instagram. If you wish to follow me in real time, you can do so here: @kokolikes.
This is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It usually comes together with whatever veggies I have in my fridge and whatever meat I feel like. Shrimp is fun because it cooks quickly and can be defrosted in a pinch. I almost always have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer for this specific purpose.
For this recipe, I add my sauce in with my veggies and shrimp to really get a full and deep flavor. I’ve also tried just adding my sauce on top after I’ve cooked all my ingredients- this works too! The whole point of this dish is to be simple and one of those “whoops I don’t have anything for dinner” type of meals. Did I mention it is healthy? Always a plus.
15-Minute Shrimp Stir Fry
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 10 ounces uncooked, peeled shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Asian seasoning (I used this Victoria’s Gourmet Toasted Sesame Ginger)
- 1/3 cup chopped carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 an onion)
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli, cut into small pieces
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
- 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
- For sauce, in a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk until mixed together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil. Once oil is glistening, add shrimp, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and half of Asian seasoning. Cook until opaque, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Return pan to medium-high and add rest of canola oil. Once oil is glistening, add carrots, bell pepper, and yellow onion. Cook for 5 minutes until veggies are cooked through (or just about to be). Add garlic and rest of Asian seasoning to pan. Cook for additional minute. Add cooked shrimp to pan along with sauce. Bring mix to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes.
- Serve over brown rice and topped with peanuts and green onions.
Can we talk for a moment about how much I LOVE this J. Crew linen tank? I somehow scored it on super discount during our DC trip and have not taken it off since.
For a quick trip to the aquarium, I went with navy shorts and sandals. PS these Gentle Souls sandals are SO comfortable and a dream to walk in all day long.
And for a night out, I paired it with these adorable white Pom Pom shorts, a blazer and wedges. These shorts are a DREAM to wear (so, so, so comfy) and I can totally see myself putting them on before heading to the beach.
I love a good bed. A fresh, beautiful bed with nice clean and crisp sheets.
The funny thing is that although we have a great mattress (thank you college Q for buying a tempurpedic), we’ve always sort of used what we had for sheets. When we lived in Alaska, my mom got us amazing flannel sheets from Garnet Hill. These worked perfectly through the winter here, but when summer hit, Q requested lighter “more summery” sheets. Specifically, he wanted the American Apparel t-shirt sheets we bought for his first apartment in Georgia, which may I add had a double bed. So I made them work- stretching and pulling and stuffing until they sort-of-kind-of fit our queen bed.
And I was fine with our sheet situation. That is until we went to DC this past weekend. Our friends had the most heavenly, hotel-like guest bed with crisp white sheets and a great duvet. And when I returned, I decided I was sold and I wanted them. So I began the hunt. And BOY is it a hunt. I’ve never read so many different things about 600-count and 800-count and Egyptian cotton and organic cotton vs. percale (what IS percale??). And so I started marking things online and reading reviews.
Apparently THESE Land’s End percale sheets are the best. Although according to recent reviews, they aren’t as good quality as they used to be. Hmmm so do I risk it? I thought about it.
Then I wandered into Target for a shower curtain rod and took a slight detour into the sheet rows. And rows there were- 4 of them to be exact. After an hour of touching and stretching and reading reviews on my iPhone, I went with these ultrasoft cotton sheets. I washed them two times with fabric softener (which by the way, I had never used before), and last night we gave them a go. And I felt like I was in a HOTEL! I mean, I never want to see those ripped-twin-size-t-shirt sheets again!
The next big purchase is going to be a great duvet cover and some nice pillow shams to go with it. But we are holding off because we maybe/might be/probably will be buying a king sized bed within the next year and don’t want to pull the trigger on a great duvet until we know what size to get. (And just so you know- reviews point to THIS affordable one from LL Bean as being “the best duvet there is”).
PS If you are in the market for pillows- these are pretty great.
Are you a bed snob? Do you have great sheets and a fancy duvet? I feel like such an adult even talking about it!