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This dish is quintessential fall to me. The colors are gorgeous and remind me of beautiful autumn colors. The flavors don’t disappoint either, the tartness of the bright cranberries pair well with the earthy elements from the wild rice and vegetables. This salad looks like a treat, but is so healthy for you! It can be made ahead and used as a side dish or lunch, but I’ve adapted it slightly and can be served warm as well {see notes below}. Whether you’re preparing it for yourself, your family, or for a function it wont disappoint in taste or presentation! Feel free to add  your own adaptations to the salad dressing, as the salad itself can really handle many different flavors quite nicely.

Speaking of beautiful colors and presentation, can we discuss these beautiful linens? They’re from Hen House Linens and I absolutely adore them! I first stumbled upon Hen House earlier this year. I had purchased the Bargello Navy dinner napkin to simply use as a prop for my blog photos. I loved the pattern and the color is gorgeous in print as well as in real life. After repeated washings I realized that I loved this cloth napkin and must have more for my own personal use. The color never faded, the stains came out effortlessly, the feel of the linen was just a great as when I first bought it, and wait for it… I never iron it. Never! I’m an ironing addict. I iron sheets. I’ll admit it. That’s what happens when you grow up around a luxury resort. These napkins, they don’t need it. Also, when I love a product I like to do a little research about the company. It’s so easy to do now, so why not? I learned that not only do I like the product, but I also agree on  “The Hen’s” views of hospitality and “gratuitous living.” She writes, “It’s all about making the people you welcome into your home feel comfortable and cared for. (This includes the people that live in that home with you!) It’s that intangible that makes you want to linger at the dinner table or pull up a chair and visit. It’s about hospitality without feeling stuffy or too proper. It’s knowing that this time right now is special.” I couldn’t have said it any better. It’s how I was brought up and it’s how my home operates now.

So, why am I waxing poetic about Hen House Linens? Because through a funny little story (I placed an order, my blog was recognized, and then I gushed on and on to customer service) we realized that my readers needed in on these linens. So, one lucky reader is going to win a set of 4 dinner napkins in the pattern of their choice. I’ve gone ahead and given you six ways to enter, and if you use Twitter you can actually enter once a day for each day of the contest! For those that don’t want to take any chances and want in on some of these gorgeous linens {they do SO much more than just dinner napkins and table cloths!} from now until October 5th The Way to His Heart readers can use the code “HEART” and receive 15% off their order. I may be taking advantage of that for me, I mean for those on my holiday gift list!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hen House Linens provided me with samples of their dinner napkins and are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on October 1st, 11:59 pm EST. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes. You must be 18 years or older to enter.

Cranberry Walnut Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice blend (such as Lundberg)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, add water and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Rice should be tender. rain if necessary. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine carrots, parsley, scallions, and cranberries. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, ginger, salt, and pepper together. Set aside.

Heat walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once rice has cooled, combine with vegetables, walnuts, and dressing. Serve immediately or chilled.

{If you’d like to serve this warm, add cranberries, walnuts, and other vegetables to saucepan after it has set for 10 minutes and cover for an additional 5 minutes. Omit salad dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste}

Serves 6

Nutritional Information

Per serving, a generous 1 cup: 300 Calories, 42g Carbohydrates, 5g Protein, 15g Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 105mg Sodium, 6g Fiber

Source: Hannaford Fresh September/October 2014

Funfetti Almond Spritz Cookies

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I’ve always thought of spritz cookies and butter cookies to be pigeon-holed into the “Christmas cookie” category. December rolls around and you break out the cookie press and some green and red sprinkles and food coloring and go to town. What happens to that cookie press the rest of the year? It usually gets tossed in a cabinet and forgotten. When I finally purchased my OXO Cookie Press last year I was bound and determined not to let that happen. I’m against gadgets that I only use once a year, if that.

Well, it happened. Even though we loved using the cookie press, we kind of forgot about it. Then September rolled around and OXO and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer started promoting their “Be a Good Cookie” campaign to raise funds for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I’ve taken part of this wonderful fundraiser before. It’s one of my favorite fundraisers and one of the reasons I love blogging. Get the word out on awareness, raise some money, and bake!

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I started thinking of so many great spritz cookie flavors, which I’ll be sharing this year in my effort to keep that cookie press out of storage and in regular rotation. The recipe that we decided to share as part of the “Be a Good Cookie” campaign are these Funfetti Almond Spritz Cookies. The best part of spritz cookies are the sprinkles and why not add them to the batter, instead of just on top? My four-year definitely agreed! Since it is also my mom’s birthday today, we opted for a lovely almond flavor since that’s one of her favorites. We made some fun heart and buttercup shapes and it was a celebration in our house! These are perfect for any day of the year, especially the rainy day we decided to bake some up. I hope you all will keep reading and check out OXO and the rest of the great recipes that bloggers have come up with in support of the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer “Be a Good Cookie” campaign.

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OXO supplied me with the cookie press and baking kit, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own. OXO will also be donating $100 to every post dedicated to the Cookies For Kids Cancer Campaign in September.

For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000* pledge to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Look for specially marked OXO products at participating retailers in September. You can find the list of eligible products here. My recommendations are the cookie press and the cookie spatula. I never knew I needed a cookie spatula until one entered my life. Now, I can’t do without!

CFKC Sticker

* In 2014, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.

 

Funfetti Almond Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and almond extract and beat until just combined. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until the dough has just come together and is moistened. Slowly, with mixer on, pour sprinkles into batter so they distribute evenly.

Add dough to your cookie press and press dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until edges are sightly golden brown. Cool on pan for a few minutes and then remove cookies and place on a wire rack.

*If you don’t have a cookie press, roll dough into a log and slice and bake. This dough can also be frozen.

Yields 80 cookies

Slightly adapted from Food.com

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My daughter is attending pre-K three times a week this year and while I know that I have barely grazed the full-time school routine, our household has become a little chaotic as we adjust. This is only our second week in so I am hopeful that we will soon get into a rhythm. I’m fortunate to have some help with my little guy while I feel like a constant shuttle dropping and picking up my daughter after only three hours. I admire those that do it every day but also feel for you! I wake up every school morning groaning almost as much as my daughter, but getting it over with before she sees or hears me. I’ve also come to love the idea of the bus. It wasn’t too long ago that I swore my child would never ride the bus. Helicopter parent right here. Now, I wish for the bus. Please, come pick up my child so I can hang out in my pajamas for a little while longer!

So, while we try to get back into the grind of schedules and enjoy the fall season filled with fairs, apple picking, and putting away all of the fun summer toys in the yard, I need quick and healthy meals to put on my table. This recipe appealed to me because it used up a bunch of fresh herbs I have in my garden. I don’t have that many windows with great sun so I can’t keep tons of herbs growing in the winter. This also used tortellini which is one of my daughter’s favorite things to eat. It’s a great way to introduce some new flavors while keeping it safe in her eyes. Throw in some peas from the garden right into the mix and then everyone is forced to eat it!

This was really a delightful surprise. We all knew we would like it, but we didn’t expect to love it. My mother was over for dinner and even she really enjoyed it. It was light and refreshing and so easy to make!

Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto

Ingredients

  • 9 oz three-cheese tortellini
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Cook tortellini according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add snap peas to pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain.

Place mint and next 7 ingredients, through garlic, in a mini food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides once. Combine oiil and juice in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. With processor on, slowly pour oil mixture and process until well blended. Combine tortellini mixture and mint mixture; toss gently to coat.

Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Per serving: 351 Calories, 17.4g Fat, 13g Protein, 37g Carbohydrate, 5g Fiber, 26mg Cholesterol, 3mg Iron, 392 mg Sodium, 191mg Calcium.

Source: Cooking Light May 2014

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Last week we had very warm weather, which then turned very cold but I’m trying to still think *warm* thoughts, and I was kept busy trying to make the most of my garden harvest. We are inundated right now with tomatoes and cucumbers and lots of herbs. I don’t want any to go to waste and summers are so short here in Maine. I really would consider a green house, but I don’t think my husband would go for that.

What I love about this panzanella is that it has those sweet late summer tastes from the peach and tomatoes, but the crunch and warmth from the bread brings a feeling of fall. It’s just perfect for this time of year.We enjoyed it as a light lunch, but it can be served as a delicious appetizer or side dish as well.

Peach & Tomato Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 1/3 loaf of crusty whole grain bread (about 8 slices)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 ripe yellow peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Tear bread into 1 1/2 – 2-inch pieces and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Place baking sheet in oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

While the croutons are baking, combine the tomatoes, peaches, red onion, and thyme in a large bowl. Stir in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Remove the croutons from the oven and allot to cool for 5 minutes.

Gently fold croutons into salad and divide among serving dishes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: 293 Calories, 15g Fat, 7g Protein, 38g Carbohydrates, 5g Fiber, 13g Sugar

Source: Kiwi Magazine August/September 2014