Monthly Archives: July 2011

Watermelon Martinis

I did it! I set out to blog every single day for a month, and I did it!

When I heard about NaBloPoMo, I thought, ‘How hard can it be?’ Well, you know what? It’s kinda hard.

And now it is over, so to celebrate, Don Corleone and I sat in the backyard, watching the kids splash around in the baby pool, and sipped

Watermelon Martinis

from Bunkycooks

  • 1 cup fresh watermelon juice
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ice
  • sugar to rim the glasses


  1. Dip rims of martini glasses in a little water and then immediately dip into sugar. Set aside.
  2. Quickly mix ice, watermelon juice, vodka and fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Only shake two or three times or else it will become watery. Pour into sugar rimmed glasses. Tell the kids to go play.

Click for printable

Watermelon Martini

Now that my month of blogging is through, I’m going to take a little break. My poor family will probably enjoy at least one day of not hearing, “This is for my blog, what do you think?”

For those of you who read every single post in July, thank you!! You rock!!

And for those of you who are new here, don’t worry, I’ll be back after a short blog-cation with some new recipes!

See you soon 🙂

Black Bean and Corn Salad

I can’t believe July is almost over. My oldest baby is turning 9 in two days. I think I’m starting to turn into an old person. It’s a long transition, but it’s happening. I had the radio on while I was making this salad, and they played Huey Lewis and the News on the oldies station. I saw Huey Lewis in concert. It’s not fair. I felt a little bit better when the next song was Smokey Robinson, but not much. I’m still old.

And speaking of old, how about that black bean and corn salad, huh? Okay, fine, that was a poor lead-in. What can I say, I’m still feeling a little down about Huey. It’s the best I can do under the circumstances.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups corn
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-3 handfuls of fresh chopped cilantro, according to taste


  1. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix lime juice, sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Pour over salad. Mix well.
  3. Sprinkle with cilantro and mix. We like a lot of cilantro, so I probably used closer to 3 handfuls, but start with 1 and add more to your liking.

Click here for printable


Black Bean and Corn Salad

Curious George sat down to the table and said, “I already know I don’t like it.”

Elmo said, “I eat the beans, okay, Mommy?”

Batman and Sarah Crewe both said they liked it, but didn’t eat much.

And Don Corleone and I enjoyed every bite!

Whole Wheat Bread Machine Hot Dog & Hamburger Buns

Let me tell you about my small appliances.

I’m a sucker for small specialty kitchen appliances, but fortunately, my budget-conscious side prevents me from going overboard. So I don’t buy (or ask for) one unless I really, really, really want it, and really, really, really believe that I’ll use it.

I’m intrigued by these mini donut makers:

Sunbeam FPSBDML920 Donut Maker, Yellow

I drink too much coffee to make this worthwhile, but I adore the Keurig:

Keurig B-70 B70 Platinum Single-Cup Home Brewing System

Griddle me this: What small appliance can you use to cook burgers INside your house, in the dead of winter, faster than you can say, “Holy unnecessary purchase, Batman!”? Why, The Griddler, of course:
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

Two words: Fon. Due.:

Cuisinart CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker

I don’t really know why you would need a panini press,  other than to put those fancy grill marks on your grilled cheese, but who cares? It’s still fun:

Cuisinart GR-1 Griddler Panini and Sandwich Press

But even though they all look neat, I know they’d be a waste in my house, and just take up space I don’t really have. They just don’t seem practical.

However, as for my own appliances, I love them. I do. I’m not saying I name them or anything (well, it’s possible that in college I named my toaster Harry. And it’s possible that my roommate’s hot pot was named Sally. Just sayin’). Come to think of it, maybe I should name them. Hmmm… that sounds like a project for the kids.

Anyway, I love my crock pot, my waffle maker, and my bread machine. Okay, fine, I love my ice cream maker, too. Oh, and my stick blender. Love that thing. Wait… does a chocolate fountain count as a small appliance? I guess I better mention it.

Okay, so they don’t all get used all the time.

But my bread machine? That thing earns it’s keep.

I found this recipe for hot dog and hamburger buns one day when I got home from the zoo with the kids, and didn’t really have a plan for supper. I saw that we had veggie burgers in the freezer, but no buns. And after spending the day at the zoo, the last thing I wanted to do was to go back out to the store, with three kids in tow (one was at school). So I went online and did a search for bread machine buns, and here we are.

Whole Wheat Bread Machine Hot Dog & Hamburger Buns

adapted slightly from

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons yeast


  1. Place all ingredients in bread pan, select Dough setting, and press Start.
  2. When dough has risen enough, the machine will beep. Remove bread pan, and turn out dough onto a floured countertop. Gently roll and shape the dough into a 12-inch rope.
  3. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces for hamburger buns or 12 pieces for hot dog buns.
  4. Grease a baking sheet. Roll pieces of dough into balls and flatten for hamburger buns or shape into 6-inch rolls for hot dog buns. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm oven 10 to 15 minutes until almost doubled.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown (be careful mine cook pretty fast). Remove from oven and cool on racks. When ready to use, split buns horizontally. These will keep in plastic bag in the freezer for 3 to 4 weeks

Click here for printable

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

Major shadows in the picture. I don’t know what my problem is with photos lately!

These buns are amazing. Don Corleone says they’re way better than the cheap store-brand buns we usually buy, and whenever he sees them cooling on the counter, he comments on how amazing they look. The kids love them, too.

I’m not saying they’re easier than just buying a bag of buns at the store, but really, some days, I think they might be.

Plus, I have to make sure I show my bread machine some love. It deserves it.

Herb Oil for Dipping Bread

Hold onto your hats, this is a good one!

This oil goes best with a fresh loaf of Italian bread. It is so good. Don Corleone and I can make a meal out of the bread and oil alone. Forget a main dish.

Just kidding, Mom, we wouldn’t really do that. We definitely would have some veggies, too.

Herb Oil for Dipping Bread

adapted from cdkitchen

  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp minced dried onion
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Combine spices on a deep plate or bowl.
  2. Pour olive oil over spices and stir. Dip bread. Again. Again. Go ahead and double dip, I won’t tell.

Click here for printable

Herb Oil for Bread Dipping

Sorry for the bad picture. I was in such a hurry to eat that I didn’t take my time.

This is a little spicy. But it doesn’t seem to bother the kids. However. Confession: I make an even simpler version for the kids, with just oregano and garlic. Not because it’s too spicy. No. It’s because once I add the oil, I remember how good this is, and I don’t want to share with my children. So Don Corleone and I eat it all by ourselves, and then I give the kids the simpler one and tell them they can’t have ours because I made it extra spicy this time.

Confession number two: It’s also kind of salty. And every time I make it, I think maybe I should use only 1/2 tsp of salt. But then I don’t. Because I like it salty. Even though it is almost too salty. I know it doesn’t make sense. But I use so little salt in my cooking and hardly any at the table, that I let this one go. But you might want to try 1/2 tsp salt at first, and add more as needed.

Phew! Glad I got that off my chest!

This recipe is linked up at:

Mixed Berry Sorbet

Yummy! Sorbet!

I love ice cream so much that I often forget how good sorbet is. It’s such a refreshing after dinner treat, and perfect for the dog days of summer.

Mixed Berry Sorbet

adapted slightly from Cookin’ Canuck

  • 6 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used a mix of frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • juice of two large lemons



  1. Combine berries and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for 15 minutes to release the juices.
  2. Place berries (and their juices) and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve and discard solids. Refrigerate mixture 30 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.
  5. Transfer to an air-tight container and freeze for 3-4 hours. Serve.

Click here for printable


Mixed Berry Sorbet

I would like to make this with fresh berries next time, but I happened to have a huge bag of frozen berries in the freezer that I wanted to use up.

I probably don’t have to tell you that the Critics loved it. They always love dessert!

Grilled Shrimp and Arrugula Salad

We have really been grilling a lot. And that’s a good thing. I like having the heat outside and not in the kitchen.

Grilled Shrimp and Arrugula Salad

  • shrimp*
  • 1 bag arrugula
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • two limes, juiced
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

*Totally forgot to write down how much shrimp we used. Sorry! We had a big bag of frozen, medium shrimp, and used about half a bag. That’s all I know.


  1. Skewer the shrimp and grill just a few minutes, until done.
  2. Combine arrugula, tomato, and scallions. Set aside.
  3. Combine lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Pour over salad.
  4. Serve with shrimp.

Grilled Shrimp and Arrugula Salad

This was a wonderful, light salad- perfect for the summer heat wave we’ve been having. Don Corleone and I loved it. The kids… not so much. Curious George said he liked the shrimp but just didn’t want anymore. Everyone else had a small bite of shrimp and then filled up on salad and breadsticks.
I will warn you, however,  that this salad was so light that my husband and I were starving a few hours later, and ate way too many Cheez-Its while watching t.v.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Well, let me tell you, I have made many different banana breads over the years. I never get too excited about them. When I have bananas that get to that perfect banana bread ripeness, I just look at them and think, “Hmmm… I guess I could make banana bread… Nah, forget it. I’ll just freeze them and use them in a smoothie later.”

Fast forward three months to when I’m cleaning out the freezer and finding the now brown, disgusting things in the freezer that used to be bananas. Yuck.

But this time we just had too many bananas. I knew they’d go to waste and I had to try to save them. I did a search online for banana chocolate chip muffins, and I found this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Bread and Mini Loaves over at Food For My Family.

If you head on over there, you will see the beautiful pictures that convinced me I had to make this bread (in muffin form) straight away. And let me tell you, I am so glad I did.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I finally found a banana bread recipe I like. These muffins are soooo good! Don Corleone agreed that they are the best banana muffins he’s ever had. The kids all loved them, and so did the neighbor’s kid who was playing at our house. This recipe is a keeper. In fact I’ll be making more muffins tomorrow for the freezer, since I still have two bananas to use up.

And don’t tell anyone, but I just might have another muffin right now with a glass of milk. Shhhh!