Thursday Thoughts V. 7.

Happy Thursday!

It’s almost the weekend!!! And I am here for it! The hubby and I are headed up north for a couple days this weekend for me to do some work and to get away a little bit. It feels like summer is almost over and while I do love fall, I’m just not ready yet!

So until I need to wear a sweater outside, I’m going to continue sipping on rose, eating peaches over the sink, and deepening my flip flop tan lines. My husband starts classes again soon, so while I’ll have more time to work on blog stuff, I’m really going to miss our evenings together. Comment below with your favorite end-of-summer activity!

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Farmer’s Market Finds

I absolutely adore farmer’s markets during the summertime! The friendly faces, tables overflowing with summer produce, early morning fog, and often fresh coffee. My husband and I love going to the farmer’s market in Grand Haven and I love the Fulton Street market too. Since the peak market weeks are slowing down, I thought that I’d write a little guide to some of the best things I picked up last weekend and what to do with them.

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Yellow squash and zucchini: Squash and zucchini are two of my favorite vegetables to pick up for a side for dinner, so easy to dice and saute with some dried herbs. Also, you can slice them thin and layer them in a baking dish with a can of dice tomatoes Ratatouille-style. Or grill it!

Peaches: I absolutely adore Michigan summer peaches! They are so good, never been refrigerated, you bite in and the juice just explodes and runs down your arms. I hardly ever cook summer peaches and I prefer to eat them spur of the moment, standing over the sink, juice dripping down my face. But if you want me to cook them, I prefer to grill them and eat them warm with ice cold vanilla ice cream.

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Blueberries, raspberries, and blueberries: Berries this time of year are so delicious! Blend them up in a smoothie or a daquiri, or let them burst on your morning oatmeal with a bit of brown sugar, or better yet, toss them with some flour and top with your favorite crisp recipe and bake until bubbling.

Kale: Shred finely and toss with parmesan and caesar dressing, or saute lightly. Or enjoy it raw in this salad!

Basil: Chiffonade this finely and top literally every dish with it! Use the finer leaves for fresh applications and use the sturdier, larger leaves for pestos and sauces.

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Tomatoes: Summer is synonomous with fantastic tomatoes, especially Heirloom varieties. I was able to find some really great ones this week, not that I can tell you what the name of their variety is, but I can tell you that they were delicious and actually tasted like tomatoes.

Apricots: I might be alone in this, but I love fresh apricots. Don’t get me wrong, I also like dried ones. But there’s just something about the slightly bitter flavor at the end of biting into a juicy apricot that is so much better! Enjoy these raw, or make an apricot jam to preserve the flavor well past summer.

Plums: I picked up these plums because I’ve never heard of them before and then I promptly forgot their name. If you know what they are, please pass that information along!

Deep Maroon Baby Blanket

The featured Etsy listing this month is fairly new! I’m so excited to share this blanket, its so gorgeous and the yarn is so soft. If you’re new around here, I have an Etsy shop called Simply Woven Warmth that I share one of a kind, handmade creations to keep you and your loved ones cozy. Feel free to check it out here! —> https://www.etsy.com/shop/simplywovenwarmth?ref=search_shop_redirect

This adorable blanket measure 18 inches by 18 inches and is handmade with super soft polyester yarn. It’s available to purchase here! —> https://www.etsy.com/listing/725233887/deep-maroon-baby-blanket?ref=shop_home_active_1

I’d love to hear what you think! Please comment below or shoot me a message!

Watermelon Feta Salad

It just isn’t summertime without a killer fruit salad on repeat. And this is one of my favorites! Plus it’s basically only three ingredients, and no-fuss salads are always welcome around here.

I can’t remember the first time I had this salad, but I’m addicted! The cold, sweet, crisp watermelon with the creamy and salty feta, and that peppery arugula, come on! And now that you have the recipe, you should give it a try.

When picking out watermelon, make sure that the theres no soft spots, the watermelon feels firm and heavy. It should have a clean scent and it should have a lighter spot on the bottom. The lighter spot is what happens from the sun not hitting it while it grows. And when picking out feta, always go for the block if possible. It tends to retain the flavor and the creamy texture better than the packaged crumbles.

There’s not measurements in this loose recipe, but make sure to drizzle the arugula with good quality extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. You can also drizzle a bit of balsamic or berry dressing if you’re feeling extra saucy.

Maybe if we start eating this year round, summer will last longer…..

Thursday Thoughts V. 6.

I’m so excited that we are back! And in time to enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer! Kevin and I have been intentionally taking advantage of our summer. And while it feels like every single weekend is booked, we have still found time to relax and enjoy our matching work schedules. We have played a ton of golf, grilled out plenty, and gotten sun burnt a few too many times. And of course, we have gotten a lot of ice cream.

We’ve also been working our butts off! I started a new job a couple months ago and I’ve also been working a ton on this blog. Writing, photgraphing, and creating recipes for this site is my favorite hobby. I have so many great things coming your way and big dreams for this corner of the internet. Just wait until next year! You should probably make sure that you are connected with me so that you can read the posts as soon as they are live! So first, you can follow my blog on WordPress. I think that it gives you a notfication everytime I post. Next up, I use Instagram the most in terms of social media outlets. Be sure to follow me @mpunches23 to see exclusive behind the scenes footage and a lot of other content. I also post on my feed with every post. I also post to Facebook and Twitter. For Facebook, be sure to like my page called Nutmeg Blog and for Twittier, follow me @NutmegsBlog. Also, thanks for reading!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites

Photography by Allyson Regan

Guys. Sometimes I just crave something super indulgent and chocolatey but I don’t want to ruin my healthy eating habits. Enter this recipe! These are essentially no-bake cookies with lots of hidden goodies. I make so many different versions of these all the time, so look out for some future recipes!

Photography by Allyson Regan

Feel free to get creative with the mix-in ingredients, but I can only eat chia seeds in this recipe or crackers. It’s something about the texture and how they get so slimy… but I digress. This recipe is packed with flax seeds, peanut butter, oats, agave, dark chocolate chunks, and dried cherries.

Photography by Allyson Regan

I like to mix up a big batch and then scoop and roll. I almost always have a bunch of these in my freezer (they thaw super quickly but are also great frozen) and raw dough for these fantastic cookies.

Photography by Allyson Regan

You can use chocolate chips if you prefer, but I love chopping up a really great bar of deep, dark chocolate. The shards melt at different times when you’re savory the finished bites which adds texture and an element of crunch.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Chia Bites

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup good, natural peanut butter

1/3 cup agave

1/4 cup ground flaw seed

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup chocolate chunks

1/3 cup dried cherries

Combine all ingredients well and let chill for at least 20 minutes. Scoop and roll and then freeze. Let chill for at least an hour to let the oats absorb the liquids and the peanut butter. Then enjoy!

Photography by Allyson Regan

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

I’m not sure if you recall, but in a previous post of mine, I talked about being able to go back to my hometown of St. Joseph, MI to attend a book siging with the author of this book. I was totally fan-girling and I couldn’t wait to read this book! Anissa Gray, the author, was born and raised in St. Joseph and now she is currently a Senior Editor for CNN! This is her first book and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she writes next. She was so kind and listening to her read the first couple pages of her own book really set the tone for the rest of my reading experience. Thank you Anissa for taking the time to chat with me and sign my book!

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is the story about a large family, the eldest daughter of which suddenly gets arrested with her husband. As we see her past and speculate about her fate, we also get to look into her sisters, daughters, husbands, and even brothers persepective. All the while, we try to dig into the reason she got arrested.

Overall, I thought this book was extremely well written and really took readers into new territorry. I found myself feeling sympathetic for this couple who broke the law, and hoping for the best for some of the women she meets in jail. The themes of family and its complications are well woven, without over explaining. The strained connections between the sisters and the main characters two daughters is not a new concept, however it is brilliantly weighted by the arrest. This is one of those books that takes you on a deep dive into another family and shows you a rarely told perspective, one that is from a mother in jail. Definitely a must read!

Green Goddess Chicken Salad

Photography by Allyson Regan

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of chicken salad. I mean, sometimes I like it, but I don’t seek it out. But I love making this green goddess chicken salad for weekly meal prep. It’s the perfect update to a classic deli staple. Not to mention that it includes avocado which is having the longest moment in food right now.

Let’s talk about chicken salad for a minute. You can make this as easy or semi-difficult as you want. The easiest way would be to buy a rotisserie chicken or even shredded chicken and add a bottle green goddess dressing with a bit of mayo. Or, you can poach some raw chicken with a couple bay leaves, celery, carrots, onions, and garlic, with the dressing recipe below. Make sure to cool the chicken completely before mixing together. And be sure to gently mix to combine, there’s nothing worse than chicken salad that gets over mixed and turns into a paste.

Photography by Allyson Regan

Green Goddess Chicken Salad

2 large chicken breasts, poached and shredded into large chunks

1 cup parsley

1/2 cup tarragon

1/4 cup chives

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 avocado

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 tbsp garlic, minced

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients besides the chicken in a blender. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper if needed. Toss with the shredded chicken. Enjoy on a sandwich with thick slices of juicy tomatoes or on triscuits or even by the spoonful!

Photography by Allyson Regan

Pink Peppercorn Tom Collins

And just like that, we’re back!

If you haven’t noticed, I took a brief break from the blog earlier this year. I was able to land a new job at company I’ve wanted to work for for a very long time! I wanted to completely focus on being the best I could be in my new role for the first couple of months. After I became more comfortable in my new role, I realized that it would be a great time to step back and re-focus/re-structure the process of how I actually create content and executed this blog. So I took a couple of online courses, and watched lots of YouTube videos, and I even worked on my photography a bit. Now we are back, Nutmeg feels refreshed, and I’m excited to show you everything I’ve been working on!

First things first, we can’t have a blog re-launch without a celebratory cocktail! I knew I wanted to have my first recipe be some kind of bubbly delicious-ness that was also somewhat summery. I landed on a Tom Collins because its sweet, sour, balanced, refreshing, and pretty!

A Tom Collins is traditionally a drink made with gin, sugar, club soda, and lemon juice, served in a Collins glass. The flavor of pink peppercorns was the first thing that popped in my head when I read that strawberries are a common garnish. While I’m not a Tom Collin’s drinker on the regular, I did love that this drink was light, bubbly, and you can easily customize the amount of sweetness.

To incorporate the pink peppercorn flavor, I made a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, along with the crushed pink peppercorns, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, making sure to cool properly before using), which is a really great vehicle to flavor many different foods and drinks. The flavor in this recipe is really light and somewhat subtle, although that is par for the course with pink peppercorns.

Pink Peppercorn Tom Collins recipe adapted from https://www.liquor.com/recipes/tom-collins-2/#gs.qsgmx7

2 oz dry gin

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce pink peppercorn simple syrup

Club soda, to top

Measure all ingredients except the club soda to a cocktail shaker with a good amount of ice. Shake well. Add fresh ice to a tall tumbler, and pour the mixture over top. Top with club soda and stir lightly. Garnish with lemons and starwberries. Enjoy on a hot summer day with good friends!