For some reason, our basil crop is growing extremely well this season (and the only herb in our garden actually growing at all, for that matter). We realized last weekend that we need to start eating it.

So, we made a basil-focused dinner of grilled chicken with homemade pesto with a tomato and mozzarella salad and a side of grilled garlic bread.

Grilled Chicken
Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with a little s&p. Grill 5 mins each side.

fresh basil leaves
1/3C olive oil
1/2C parmesan cheese
1/8C toasted pine nuts
small garlic clove
Place ingredients in the Magic Bullet (or blender) and mix until ingredients comes together.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad
2 tomatoes
fresh mozzarella
chopped basil
Slice tomatoes, place on platter and lightly salt. Slice mozzarella and place on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with freshly chopped basil.

Grilled Garlic Bread
loaf of french bread
3T butter
chopped garlic
garlic powder
Cut loaf in half length-wise, place bread side down on oiled grill. Once bread is at desired crunch, flip over and coat with butter/garlic mixture. Heat on grill, crust-side down until desired crunch is achieved.

This quick basil-focused meal was just delicious….perfect for a mid-week, light, summer dish!

Wedding Thank You’s

Sure, Emily Post requires all Wedding Thank You notes to be sent within 3 months of receipt of gift. But, when it’s a gift from your husband’s friends, thus requiring HIM to write the note…I think getting it out the door no matter what the time-frame is a success!

We received a lovely wedding gift the day before our First Wedding Anniversary from 3 couples (Emily Post rule followed by the skin of their teeth!). I make all of our Thank You notes by hand and remembered a year ago rushing through the construction of 100+ Wedding Thank You notes as soon as we returned from our 2-week honeymoon. I didn’t love how they turned out, but I did get them all out the door within the 3-month rule, phew!

Well, I was inspired after we received this last gift to spend a little more time on this round of notes, I only had to make 3 – and I knew I had the time since it would be a good 2 months or more until my husband felt motivated enough to actually write the notes.

In keeping with our ocean/beachy wedding theme of starfish and incorporating our wedding colors of tangerine orange and ocean blue, I came up with these:

Let’s be honest, I think I am still feeling a little wedding planning withdrawal (a year later) and this project allowed me to revisit even if it was just for a bit…

Back Deck Mexican

To me, summer dining at home equals a light meal on your back deck with a delicious ice cold beverage. There’s nothing more enjoyable than this Homemade Mexican Dinner for two…


Main Meal:
Grilled shrimp Tacos
Mix shrimp (3 to 4 shrimp taco per taco) with olive oil, s&p, and cumin. Grill 2 mins per side. Serve in a warmed tortilla.

Homemade Toppings:
2 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime
a little minced onion
a few chopped cilantro leaves
a bit of minced garlic
chopped jalapeno to taste
dash of salt
Mash avocados, combine with all other ingredients.

Pico de Gallo
chopped tomatoes
diced onions
chopped cilantro leaves
olive oil
lime juice
Combine with a dash of olive oil, squeeze of lime, and s&p.

Home-edited Side Dishes:
Warm black beans
1 can of black beans
1 garlic clove
Put beans in a pot with the garlic, heat for 10 mins until the liquid has reduced.

Mexican Rice
Box of Goya Mexican Rice
Prepare according to box directions, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves for added freshness.

Beverage: Sangria (of course)
2 or 3 pieces of fruit
1 bottle Spanish Red Wine
about 1/3C Sugar
about 1/3C Triple Sec
Club soda
Night before: cut up desired fruit (we use 1 green apple, 1 orange, 1 lime) and place in a pitcher with red wine, sugar, and Triple Sec. Let sit overnight in the fridge.
To serve: pour club soda into fruit/wine mixture, stir, garnish with leftover limes and oranges! I also like to garnish each individual glass for an extra touch.

Ambiance: Even it’s just the 2 of you…add a touch of style by lighting a few candles, set out a vase with flowers, set the table nicely, and ENJOY!

Some recipes adapted from GOOP and my sister’s delicious guacamole recipe.