Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Orzo with Zuchini, Feta & Dill

Oh how I love this salad. I can taste all of the flavors just looking at the pictures, and I am actually starting to salivate! I really do love orzo pasta so much and don't cook with it nearly as much as I would like to. Its just kind of one of those things that I forget about...that is until I make a few of my favorite recipes that include it and then I wonder why I don't use it more often! Orzo is such a meaty little grain that is shaped like a really big piece of rice and can be very hearty and satisfying as a main dish even without meat. This salad has a lot of loaded flavors with the marinade, feta and dill but they all work so cohesively together. Whats even better is that it makes great leftovers. Something about having all of the flavors sit and get to know each other for a bit longer makes it taste even better in the days to come :) 

Orzo Salad with Zucchini and Feta

1 box orzo
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/4 pounds small zucchini, cut into thin half moons
8 ounces feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

In a large zip lock baggie combine the oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add your sliced zucchini and let marinate, tossing occasionally, for a minimum of two hours or longer. To make dressing, combine all of the ingredients and set aside. Once the zucchini has marinated, sauté over medium heat with marinating liquid, briefly, making sure not to over cook your zucchini into mush. While the zucchini is cooking prepare your orzo according to package directions. To assemble salad, combine the orzo, zucchini, crumbled feta cheese and dill and taste for needed salt and pepper.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

San Francisco Zoo

We have continued our Friday excursions with a trip to the San Francisco Zoo. Again, Ben had never been, so it was an adventure for both him and E. It was an incredible day to go to the city, perfect weather and as an extra bonus, my parents came along for the fun!

The grounds of the zoo were truly just as impressive as the animals were!
Some of our favorite animals were the gorillas and the rhino.

E was taking cue from all the herbivores and became insistent on eating tons and tons of seaweed.

And then there were 3...apparently these two buddies wore themselves out pretty good!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

DIY Monogram Doily Tote

As promised in my DIY Ombre Heart Tote post I made an additional bag from the three pack that I purchased in the craft section of Walmart. Isn't it lovely! This time while I was perusing the craft department, I picked up a stack of paper doilies in the cake decorating section, as well as some cardboard stencils for $1 ( what a steal! ). 
I opted to use just my first initial for this monogram bag but you could use first middle and last or write a whole sentence for that matter! And this is a great, inexpensive and easy gift to make for the upcoming holidays, bridesmaid gifts, etc...go crazy!!
Lets begin:

Materials you will need:
  • Tote or bag of choice
  • Paper doily
  • Stencil
  • Paint brush
  • Paint

First prepare your paint. Then place your paper doily onto your bag. I placed mine over the corner of my bag but you could place yours in the center or opposite corner, be creative! 
Load your brush and dab the paint over the open holes of your doily being sure not to press too hard or apply too much paint and have it bleed. 
Once you have covered the exposed surface of your doily, pull it off and let dry(this will not take long). 
Next grab the stencil letter(s) you are using and place them in desired location on your bag and within your doily circle. Apply paint to brush and dab over stencil. 
Remove stencil and voila another great DIY bag idea and/or gift!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mexican Corn Soup

I feel so blessed to belong to a family of such amazing cooks. I can still see my grandmother in the kitchen whipping up incredible meals and creating recipes that have been handed down for generations. A few of her sought after recipes include dolmades and mince meat pie. Plates were always licked clean when grandma Jean was cooking a family meal. And just like her mom, my mother inherited her skills of creating meals that  leave you eating more than you should and begging for the recipe.

I am most thankful that at an early age when I showed an interest in cooking and baking that my mother indulged my novice efforts and with patience and love taught me the joys and fulfillment of cooking. Hopefully it is a love that I can share with and pass down to my children.
My mother is one of three sisters and they all have a love of food and cooking. So this recipe I share is from my Aunt. She was sweet enough to share it and it is a recipe I turn to every single winter. It has an incredible flavor and is so delicious. It's a loved family recipe and I know it can become one of yours as well. 

Mexican Corn Soup

3 chicken breasts, shredded
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2-2 pounds frozen corn
1 teaspoon dried oregano
(2) 4 ounce cans of Ortega chili's
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh cut tomatoes
1 cup jack cheese
1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
tortilla chips

Place chicken breasts in large pot and cover with water around two inches above chicken.Bring to a slow rolling boil then reduce heat to a simmer and boil for 1 hour. Once chicken is cooked remove from pan and let cool before shredding. Meanwhile place half of your corn along with 2-3 cups of your broth into a blender and blend until just smooth. Add oregano, chili's and chopped garlic into pot with remaining broth, let cook for a few minutes. Add the pureed corn mixture and let the soup cook an additional 5-7 minutes. Add shredded chicken, milk, cheese, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and tomatoes. Garnish each individual serving with additional cilantro and tortilla chips.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

And Then There Were 4

Dun da da da...we are crazy, super, head over heals, over the moon excited and  happy to announce that we will be expanding our family to 4!!!! Yes, we are pregnant and as happy as can possibly be!

We feel so incredibly blessed and thankful to be given an opportunity to be parents and raise a family. Our journey with E has been nothing but joy, learning, laughter and surprise and we cant wait to share the fun and memories with another Lichty. 
In a month we will have an ultrasound to confirm that we are having a baby girl. Yes that's right, even though my husband would have you believe that Lichty's only produce boys, I on the other hand am ready to prove his hypothesis WRONG and will be excited when the technician confirms that our household will be an even 2 boys and 2 girls.  Fingers crossed!! :)
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