Pumpkin & Olive Oil Pull Apart Rolls

Skip the store-bought package of buns– these soft Pumpkin & Olive Oil Pull Apart Rolls are easy enough for anyone to make. As slider buns, as your new go-to dinner date, or even dipped in a hearty bowl of your favorite soup– whatever incarnation you enjoy them in, they’re perfect. 

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Healthy Peanut Butter Apple Dip

It’s that time of year again. No, not the one where the world’s dressed in white and everything you hear sounds like Christmas. The one before that. The one that starts right after Labor Day. The one that is harkened by different shades of purple, orange, and black. The one with candy, fruit, and gourds a plenty. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of posts featuring apples and oranges orange.

Healthy peanut butter apple dip

Even when it’s not Apple-picking season at our local orchard, we go through *at least* 10 lbs in a regular month. It’s one of the sons’ go to after school snacks. Pair it with a scoop of peanut butter, and they’re in heaven. BUT serve them with this dip? And you’re both going to be feeling great, because A. It’s delicious, and B. You know that it’s as nutritious as it is yummy.

The Best Ever, Healthy Peanut Butter Dip

Healthy peanut butter apple dip 2

Peanut Butter (we prefer using homemade, organic, or an all natural style since they’re of a thinner consistency)
Greek yogurt
Honey

Directions

  1. Mix together 1 part peanut butter, 1 part Greek yogurt, and 1/2 part honey, stirring until smooth and the dip’s a uniform consistency. Serve with sliced apples for dipping. The sons like apples, pretzels, and grapes with this dip. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks, just give it a good stir before serving as some separation is bound to happen.

Esquites ( Mexican Corn Salad )

Do you have a Mexican food stand at your local Farmers Market? Or a local food truck claiming authentic Mexican street fare? If the answer is yes to either of these, then you’ve probably come across this dish before. If not, you’re in for a treat.

The name literally means ‘toasted’ corn.

 Etiques (Mexican Corn Salad) 2

And it’s the smokey, sweet, spicy, and tangy off the cob cousin of elote (creamy, cheese coated corn on the cob), and it’s packin all those same feisty flavors. So, it does not disappoint.

Were just loving all these de-constructed versions of things recently, aren’t you? Convenience is priceless.

Even better this corn salad can be served hot or cold, so it’s perfect for a toasty, comforting side dish in the Winter months, and also easily adaptable for a cold corn salad to bring to any Summer barbecue.

Esquites ( Mexican Corn Salad )

Etiques (Mexican Corn Salad) 3

2 tbsp butter
2 cans corn, drained or 4 ears fresh corn cut off cob
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp Cojita cheese, finely crumbled (or shredded Mexican blend cheese)
1/8 tsp chili powder, to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
    2. Add the corn to the pan and allow it to slightly char on the bottom of the pan, then give it a good stir and let it char one more time.
    3. Stir in the jalapeno and remove the skillet from heat.
    4. Transfer the corn mixture into a medium/large bowl and add in the mayonnaise, garlic, onions, cilantro, lime juice, cheese, chili powder and avocado.
    5. Gently stir everything together just until evenly incorporated.
    6. Serve immediately (warm) or cover and refrigerate, serving when chilled, your choice. Both ways are great.

Apple, Red Onion, & Cheddar Panini on Naan Bread

There’s nothing quite like the fresh air of the mountains, and living in Virginia we’re fortunate enough to be only a hop, skip, and a jump from the nearest range. A kind of peace comes over me and my heart is so full when I watch my boys be boys, especially the older they get. And our local (ish, it’s only 40 minutes away) orchard offers them every opportunity to embrace everything innately boyish about themselves.

apple picking 2015 7

Running up and down mountain sides? Check.

apple picking 2015 4

Climbing trees? Check. (bonus points for ones over looking or over hanging mountain sides)

apple picking 2015 3

Eating fruit fresh picked from the vine? Check.

apple picking 2015 6

Dad letting you carry and use a (very dull) pocket knife to cut your own fresh slices of fruit? Check.

apple picking 2015 5

(and obviously extra, extra bonus points for the use of sharp objects)

apple picking 2015

Every year we have a blast, and I love being able to look back on our memories forever captured in photos, but ever year we come home starving, and that’s despite the fresh cider and fresh cider donuts we gorge on while there.

This year, I dug right into one of our several bushels and had a piping hot batch of grilled naan-witches ready to serve in no time. Meltty, tangy sharp cheddar, the bite of red onion, crispy, sweet apple slices, and a bit of sass from our favorite honey mustard made this the perfect grilled cheese sandwich to celebrate one of our favorite Fall traditions.

Apple, Red Onion, Cheddar Panini on Naan Bread

Apple, Red Onion, & Cheddar Panini on Naan Bread

2 pieces of naan or other bread (use four pieces if the slices are small, I had 2 large naan pieces)
1 Apple, cored and sliced
sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced
your favorite honey mustard

Directions

  1. Place a layer of cheddar cheese slices on the bottom piece of naan. Layer on sliced apples, then the sliced red onion, and then top that with another layer of cheddar cheese.

2. Spread a layer of honey mustard on the inside of the top piece of naan and then place that on top of apple, onion and cheese, closing the sandwich.

3. Place the sandwich in the panini press until heated through, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwich in half (if you’re using larger slices of naan) and serve.

Greek Quiche

I could easily eat Greek (or Mediterranean flavored ) food all day, every day. Not even joking.

I have yet to come across another flavor pallet, that is not only bursting at the seams and win robust favors jam-packed into every single bite, but all-around pretty healthy as well.

(I’m sire they’re out there, I just haven’t fallen for em yet.)

Greek Quiche

Quiche for dinner, you say? But with all that egg-y ness how can it be? The salty feta, the tangy olives, the juicy, sun dried tomatoes, the marinated artichoke, and all the traditionally Greek seasoning palette make for a Mediterranean flavor fest in every bite.

Greek Quiche 3

The egg is just the glue that binds it all together, and it doesn’t detract or disappoint. Far from it. Somehow it manages to get even better with every bite.

Greek Quiche

Greek Quiche 2

1 pre-made Quiche/Pie Crust
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
a heaping 1/4 cup of Sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), roughly chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, or regular black olives, roughly chopped
1 cup Artichokes,marinated in oil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup of milk
4 eggs
3 tbsp fresh Oregano, diced, or 3 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions

1. Unroll/roll out the people made pie crust and place it evenly into a 9 ” pie pan. Use your fingers to gently crimp the edges. This step is purely meant to be aesthetically pleasing, and totally optional!
2. In a medium-large skillet, add the olive oil over and heat over medium to medium high heat. Once hot, add in the diced onions and cook until they just start to turn translucent, or about 6 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and let them cook together for a few minutes longer. Remove the skillet from heat, add in the olives, artichokes stirring everything together, and let the mixture rest.
3. While the veggie mixture is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices. Add the cooked veggies to the prepared quiche crust. Top with the crumbled feta cheese.
4. Gently pour the egg mixture over top of the veggies, and don’t worry if it doesn’t quite completely cover everything or if it swamps the veggies, either way it will turn out fine.
5. Bake the quiche at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the top just starts to brown. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, everything is completely cooked through.
6. Remove the cooked quiche from the oven and let rest for a minute or two before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Do you share our love of all things Greek? Or Mediterranean flavored? Here’s a few other ideas you might like:

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with pickled red onions and a lemonmint yogurt dressing 3

Greek Chicken Burger Sliders with Pickled Red Onions & Greek Yogurt Sauce

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Greek-Style Oven Fries

Greek-Style Oven Fries

Asian Cucumber Salad

We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled program. Ice Cream/Frozen Treat Week ( # 2 ) will return bright and early Monday morning. Until then, we’re going to leave you with these snack-tactic cucumber recipe. You’re not gonna want to miss it.

This quick and easy recipe makes the perfect summer side salad. Seriously. Even better? It only uses a few simple ingredients, but it’s chock full of crispy, crunchy cucumbers and packs a ton of flavor with just the right amount of kick. It’s a great addition to any end of summer bash.

Asian Cucumber Salad

  Asian Cucumber Salad

2 English cucumbers, finely sliced

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil

dash of red pepper flakes

1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, oil, and red peppers flakes (if using) until evenly incorporated. Pour the dressing over the slo Ed cucumbers, tossing to coat. Let the cucumbers ‘marinate’, chilled, for about an hour.
  2. Before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Serve chilled, but the longer these sit they will eventually turn into Asian-flavored pickles 😉 We make sure to use them within 24 hours.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

I’m just gonna go ahead and call this the week when I decided to share all the ice cream. Summer’s coming to an end, and will fade into Fall before we know it. And I have so, so many yummy frozen treats to share with ya’ll that I don’t even want to waste another second dragging it out. So you’ve been warned! Stay tuned the rest of this week and next for some totally tasty refreshing snacks and desserts coming your way.

Grilled Peaches 2

And there’s no better way to kick this bonanza off than with Grilled Peaches and Vanilla Ice Cream. Peach picking season is in full swing around these parts at all of our local orchards. And if you’re skeptical at the idea of grilled fruit, or even grilled fruit as dessert, let me stop you right there.

Grilled Peaches

Grilling these babies is quick and easy, and caramelizes the sugars in a way that can’t be described, just tasted. Add a pinch of brown sugar to the mix, and they make the perfect ‘bowls’ to hold a hearty scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Peaches 3

It’s like the ice cream and pie of 2015, minus the crust, and well … pie. But I’m sure you get my meaning. Just like the granny smith apples and flaky crust in my Mama’s apple pie, these two were meant to go together.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

2 ripe peaches
canola oil
brown sugar
vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium high heat. Brush the peach halves with a touch of oil, sprinkle each half with a pinch of brown sugar, and place them on the grill for a few moments and then rotate 90 degrees and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes, grill marks will be present and the peaches will feel softer.
    2. Remove from the grill with a pair of tongs and serve with a generous scoop of your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream in the center of each peach.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

Is there anything quite as ‘refreshing’ as a good blend of some yummy fresh fruits or veggies into a good salsa? I’m not sure, but around here a good, fresh salsa always hits the spot. And this fruity, pineapple mango version is a family favorite.

Pineapple Mango Salsa 2

It’s perfect served up with our favorite or tortilla chips. Served over top grilled fish, or other seafood? Yes sir-ee! We even like it paired with grilled chicken. Serve the meat over a bed of rice with a hearty scoop of  salsa on top, and dinner time is a fresh, healthy hit.

Pineapple Mango Salsa 3

Put a little pep in your step and some groove into your meal with a heaping helping of this refreshing salsa.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 (heaping) cup pineapple, diced
1 cup mango, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, diced
1/2 whole red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
juice of one lemon
pinch of sugar, optional
pinch of salt, optional

Directions

1. In a large bowl, gently stir together the pineapple, mango, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and cilantro until evenly incorporated.
2. Squeeze the lemon juice overtop the salsa mixture. Again, gently stir to mix it in.
3. Add salt and/or sugar, if needed, and stir to incorporate.
4. Serve chilled with tortilla chips, or on top of grilled chicken or fish.

Grilled Caesar Asparagus

I always find myself trying to keep things simple in the summer time. Maybe it’s the way everything seems to slow down, and for the most part, take a more leisurely pace. Of course, that could just be the heat. Or the fact that all the kids are home, and for people who don’t drive they sure do make a lot of plans to go all over the county, and everything takes us twice as long to get our little butts around to doing. And that we essentially throw our traditional school year schedules out the window. So yeah, summer meals. I’m in no rush, but everybody’s still got to eat.

In the evening’s, I’d much rather be sitting around outside with a good book, their play and laughter the perfect back ground music, than inside in the kitchen.

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That’s where asparagus enters into our meal-time picture. Grilled with a little oil, salt, and pepper, asparagus makes for a simple summer side dish. Top that beautiful grilled green bounty with your favorite caesar dressing, croutons, and some shredded Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a perfect meatless meal that’s filling without weighing you down, and ready in a breeze. Serve stalks as is, or chop them into quarters for a more traditional, ‘tossed-salad’ type dish.

Grilled Caesar Asparagus

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
croutons
shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Toss the asparagus spears in the oil, salt and pepper them, to taste, and grill them over medium-high heat (turning once or twice) until crisp-tender and slightly charred.
2. Serve topped with the caesar dressing of your choice, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and another round of fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Enjoy!