Scallion Couscous

Scallion Couscous ~ The Way to His Heart

Do you ever find yourself in a side dish rut? I feel like we’ve hit a wall with side dishes lately because we’ve hit a new stage with my “picky eaters.” I was in my pantry the other day and I saw a small container of couscous that needed to be used up and I realized it had been ages since I’ve made some. The kids aren’t crazy about it, but they enjoy the novelty of the “tiny balls” rather than rice. I remember making this side dish ages ago, before the kids were born, and thought I’d make it again and see if it stood the test of time.

The lime juice really adds a nice, subtle flavor which is helpful when feeding it to kids. Plain couscous is boring, spiced couscous is too boring. What they do love is my cilantro rice, so I thought I’d give this a try. While the kids ate it, I could tell this shouldn’t go on the twice weekly rotation, but it branched us out a bit and that’s all I need to get out of this rut!

This really pairs nice with lamb or kabobs. I really like the pairing of green onion and lime juice and I think any herb marinated meat would complement this as well. Grilled season is upon us now!

 

Scallion Couscous ~ The Way to His Heart

 

Scallion Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 scallions, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Stir couscous into boiling water. Cover and let steam, off heat, until tender, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add scallions, olive oil, and lime juice. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Source: Everyday Food, June 2009

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline’s 6th Birthday

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

Caroline turned six this year. Six!?! I still can’t wrap my head around it. I feel like only yesterday I was pipping that little 3D duck cake for her first birthday and helping her slowly unwrap her first presents. She’s grown into a wonderful, kind and funny young girl and I couldn’t be prouder of her. This year we went back and forth on where to have her party and what kind of theme she wanted. We decided on a mermaid theme because she has loved mermaids (and fairies) for the longest time. I’ve been surprised actually that this party hasn’t happened sooner.

So, with our mermaid theme we needed to decide on a location. My husband and I liked the ease of having it out of the house so we started looking around and I found a resort around here that rents their pool out in the winter fr birthday parties. Swimming for the mermaids? Perfect! We kept it small since the only lifeguard on duty was dad and it went swimmingly well. Our little guy, George, had lots of fun splashing around with the girls, as he was the only boy allowed.

After the swimming we headed upstairs for a light lunch and some cake. Since we didn’t have it at home and there was a slight drive to the location I really had to reign in my decor and food designs which was actually lovely. I’ve learned through the years and a lot of my projects have become easy for me, but it was nice trying a few new things this time around and keeping things simple.

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

So, to set the stage I had these incredible invitations made by Rachael’s Craft Shack. These invitations were beautiful and the craftsmanship was amazing. I joked that Caroline may have had nicer invitations than my wedding invitations! I printed the map of the resort on card stock and cut that out with a short note regarding some details on the back and off they went to our guests.

For the favor bags, we decided to keep it simple but sincere. During our February Florida vacation we found a bunch of small shells that had perfectly round holes that would make adorable necklaces for the girls. We added some glitter and a gemstone and voila! I made some of this beautiful and easy Sea Glass Rock Candy as well. Add some ribbon and a adorable favor tag and the favor bags were completed!

For the menu I wanted to keep things simple. Feed the kids with foods I knew they would enjoy, would fill their bellies after some swimming, but also realizing that all they really cared about was getting to the cake. I made some cute sandwiches, some adorable cookies, and a few snacks and called it good.

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

The main attraction was the cake of course! This cake was a lot of fun to make and I think it came out so nice. Caroline wanted a three tier cake after last year’s two tier but I told her no way! We traveled with that last year and I gained a few gray hairs because of it! She was very happy with how the cake turned out in the end and that’s all that really mattered. It was probably one of my most fun cakes to make since it was relatively easy and I could have fun with a few embellishments, but it was a lot less stressful compared to others. I added some purple edible glitter to the darker purple scales but it doesn’t show up in pictures very well. I made some chocolate shells to adorn the cake and then it was topped with an absolutely adorably cake topper by Rachael’s Craft Shack. Caroline loves this cake topper, which is actually two pieces, and has it in a plant in her room now.

The party was a success and lots of fun. The mermaid theme really has endless possibilities. There was so much I could have done, but we loved the results and how everything came together.

One last detail was saved for her classmates at school on her actual birthday. We brought in some Sea Glass Jello for the kids. The girls who were at the party loved it since they received the Sea Glass Rock Candy as well and the boys thought it was supposed to be Mine Craft so they thought it was cool as well. I’ve listed recipes and sources below and if you have any questions or want to chat kids parties or mermaid themes, leave a comment below! If there is interest, I believe I have enough pictures to do a tutorial on the cake process as well.

A Mermaid Party ~ Caroline's 6th Birthday ~ The Way to His Heart #kidsparties #rachaelscraftshack

Menu

Peanut Butter & Jelly Fish Sandwiches

Ham & Cheese Hermit Crab Croissants

Seaweed Grapes

Shell Cookies ~ Shortbread cookies with raspberry buttercream and white M&M’s

Pirate Booty

Goldfish

Cheese sticks

Watermelon

Veggie Platter with Ranch Dressing

Mermaid Cake ~ Three layer Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting covered in marshmallow fondant

Favor Bags

Shell necklaces ~ Shells we found on vacation with some glitter and jewels attached

Sea Glass Rock Candy

Invitations, Happy Birthday banner, Favor Tags, and Cake Topper made by the incredibly talented Rachael’s Craft Shack

Classroom Treat 

Sea Glass Jello

 

Chamomile Strawberry Orange Cold-Brewed Tea ~ The Way to His Heart

Spring is here and summer will be here soon enough, right? It’s time to put those mugs away and bring out tall glasses, tumblers for the beach, and mason jars for super cold and tasty beverages. This doesn’t mean you have to put your tea away though. Try this cold brewed method and toss in some fruit and honey as a natural sweetener and you have a delicious and cheerful drink. I simply can’t be grumpy when I am drinking out of a mason jar, drinking tea, or around this much fruit. It’s impossible. This also holds true for a mug of hot chocolate, but I’m putting that out of my mind for a while.

This is super easy to make you can whip up a large batch for the week or a party or break it down and only make one or two for you. That’s what I do since they are easy to make and I’d rather have the fruit as fresh as possible. Just remember to put some water out and let it get to room temperature before you get ready to actually prepare this. Enjoy!

Chamomile Strawberry Orange Cold-Brewed Tea ~ The Way to His Heart

Chamomile Strawberry Orange Cold-Brewed Tea

Ingredients

  • 8 chamomile tea bags
  • 12 cups filtered water, at room temperature
  • 2 small juice oranges (thin skinned), peeled, cut into slices, and seeded
  • 24 large strawberries, halved
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 4 tsp hot water

Place 1 tea bag and 1 1/2 cups water in each of 8 pint-size canning jars with lids. Place 2 orange slices and 6 strawberry halves in each jar. Cover with lids; refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.

Remove tea bags from jars. Combine honey and hot water. Divide honey mixture evenly among jars, about 1 scant teaspoon in each.

Serves 8

Source: Cooking Light May 2016

Buttery, Crispy Egg Noodles

 

Buttery, Crispy Egg Noodles ~ A great side dish that is easy to whip up and brings comfort food to side dishes ~ The Way to His Heart

Some recipes go way back and this is one of them. I have hesitated for years about posting this side dish because it was so simple and easy and then I realized that that was what makes it great. Why shouldn’t I share it? This isn’t some revolutionary idea, but I’ve never met anyone else who has made egg noodles like this so I thought I should share.

These noodles were one of the side dishes in my mom’s arsenal. Growing up I loved when she made these buttery, crispy noodles and would always vi for the crispiest ones. We never even had a name for them. They were just “egg noodles” to us. If a bag of egg noodles were in the cupboards then this is how they were served. I’m not sure where my mom got the idea for these, but I’m so glad she did. When I met my husband I made these and as he did with much of my cooking, he hesitantly looked on. One spoonful though and he was sold. The kids love these noodles as well. Caroline and my husband enjoy the softer noodles while I now have competition for the crunchy ones with George.

What I love about these noodles is that they are easy to make yet are a comfort food side dish. A lot easier than mashed potatoes, but serve that same warm, buttery comfort goodness purpose. I serve these with any kind of protein. No sauce is meant for these noodles, just a little sprinkle of salt and eat them just as they are.

Buttery, Crispy Egg Noodles

Ingredients

  • 12 oz package of egg noodles, I prefer Extra Broad
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. Drain.

Add noodles and butter to a large nonstick skillet and cook on medium-high until about half of the noodles are crispy, about 10 minutes. Stirring only occasionally so that the noodles set on the bottom and will crisp up.

Serve warm. I love sprinkling just a bit of salt on top for a great buttery, salty flavor.

The Way to His Heart