I’ve been a bad, bad blogger, but a busy busy bee!

Hello, all! It’s been over two weeks since my last post–terrible blogiquette, freely admitted.  Between coming home from California and the big fourth of July weekend, things got a little crazy, and, well, after that I got a little distracted.  SO MANY exciting things to report though!  Lets start where we left off–sunny cali times and one adorable baby.  I had the best time visiting E and her family, its always great catching up with an old friend; watching said friend embrace an amazing new chapter of life is positively priceless!  And this baby is ridiculous cute:

While I was there I did some *inspired* cooking, though I neglected to take pictures of my creations to share with you (oops!).  First up was a refreshing Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with Lime-Cumin Dressing.  I found a LOT of quinoa in the pantry and this is what came to mind. It’s pretty simple and adaptable to what you have on hand.  For this one I cooked up two cups of quinoa (half regular, half red which really made the salad look cool!), added one can of rinsed black beans, one red and one orange bell pepper diced, one bunch of scallions thinly sliced, a nice big handful of cilantro, chopped,  juice from 3 limes, a few glugs of olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste.  Yum!  I also whipped up Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, which turned out crazy tasty–stay tuned for a post on these, I’ll be making them for hubs & myself next week.  I rounded out my visiting chef act with a creamy basil pasta dish that was a total experiment that luckily worked out really well.  A hodgepodge of ingredients on hand–some whole wheat spaghetti, a hefty amount of chopped garlic and chopped basil, some sun-dried tomatoes, the remains of one near-empty jar of Trader Joe’s pesto and the crazy key ingredient: greek yogurt!  I was a little unsure at first if the greek yogurt would make a decent creamy pasta sauce base, but it worked great!  I think it slight tanginess complemented the other flavors and helped give a little lift to the whole wheat pasta.  I thinned everything out with a little half and half, and voila, Creamy Yogurt Pesto Pasta.

For the fourth festivities, we had hubbie’s family over for a cookout–dessert was my responsibility, and I decided to go full-on patriotic with this little number:

Forgive the crummy pic, had to hastily use my phone to snap it.

I used the Wave Your Flag Cheesecake recipe from Jell-O.  Love the berry-flag idea, not sure I love the recipe; it was alright but not spectacular.  I was really in the mood for something fruity/cheesecakey; otherwise I probably would have just done this application to a nice iced white cake.

As note of interest, this is not my first time recreating a nation’s flag in fruit.  I made a Union Jack Fruit Pizza a few years ago for a friend who was going on assignment to England. Unlike my July 4th cake (um, 5 red stripes?), for this one I had made a concerted effort to be true to the original.

In other ‘things I did while I was ignoring my blog’ news, I made a huge mess of my sewing room, learned how to freecycle, procured an awesome vintage Viking sewing machine on craigslist for a steal, finally dusted my living room, went through all the boxes of stuff I packed up from my grandma’s house back in May, spent a lot of time online researching new cameras, and a frustrating amount of time finding a store where I could test out the models I was interested in, and at the current moment, I’m enjoying the perfectly pleasant weather that rolled in after last night’s storms.  I think Humphrey and I are going for a walk.