The Little Things Newsletter #370 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

Welcome to the weekend, my friends! My two youngest kids are at opposite ends of the country visiting family this week and next. I’m so glad they were able to do this, but man, the house sure has been quiet this week! I miss having them home.

I’m headed out of town myself for a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip, so Sean and my oldest are going to have to hold down the first and keep Oscar company this weekend. It’s hard to imagine a time when the boys won’t all be living at home, but I know that day is coming.

ON THE BLOGS this week: A colorful medley of garden-fresh vegetables is tossed in a light oil and vinegar dressing to make this tangy pasta salad a surefire hit at your next gathering.

Sweet onions, fresh zucchini, and grilled corn along with a bit of chicken and plenty of melting cheese made these some of the best vegetable quesadillas that I have made recently.

Roasted peanuts, ginger, garlic, and spicy red chilies give this easy kung pao chicken a kick that makes it quite unique. Kung Pao chicken is savory and sweet with as much spiciness as you might desire. The peanuts provide an additional nutty flavor that really brings it all together.

The robust flavor of artichoke hearts is perfect with the fiery kick of fresh jalapenos in this endlessly snackable artichoke jalapeno dip.

Learning how to roast beets is something that I am so glad I took the time to figure out. Getting those purple rocks soft and delectable is much easier than I imagined!

Sweet and earthy beets dance with tangy goat cheese, crunchy candied walnuts, and a drizzle of rich balsamic in this roasted beet salad.

Sweetly tart and tender rhubarb is baked to perfection under a crisp topping of brown sugar and oats in this easy rhubarb crisp.

There is nothing – and I do mean nothing – that compares with steeping whole spices and tea leaves to make an authentic pot of fragrant, spicy, sweet homemade chai. I’m warning you now, once you’ve made real chai you will never be as happy with the other versions.

Fragrant cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves are steeped with black tea leaves to infuse each scoop of this chai ice cream with the classic flavor of chai tea.

Sweet strawberries meet tart rhubarb, baked into a bubbling delight under a glorious cinnamon sugar crust in this strawberry rhubarb cobbler.

What I’m CRAVING: All the fresh vegetables! I can’t get enough fresh asparagus, zucchini, and tomatoes right now. My friend Meseidy’s grilled Mexican street corn is on my list to make as soon as fresh corn is available this summer.

What I’m WATCHING: Peanut Butter Falcon. My boys stumbled on this movie a while back and watched it on their own. Last weekend, they talked me into watching it with them. I had no idea what to expect going into it and I’m glad I didn’t.

While it is a comedy, and we laughed really hard at a lot of it, there are serious and sad elements woven through it as well. It’s a story of an unexpected friendship that has been described as a “modern-day Mark Twain.” I highly recommend it. 

What I’m LISTENING to: Look Up Child by Lauren Daigle. My brother Karl introduced me to this artist while he was visiting and I’ve been listening to this album nearly every morning since then. I absolutely love it and I just downloaded her newer album to check out. Her voice is incredible and I’ve mistaken her for Adele a time or two – if you want a reference for her sound.

 What I’m READING: I’ve started three new books this week and added countless new ones to my library list. Thanks so much for all of the great recommendations! I’ll be sure to give you an update next week after I’ve finished one.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 ESV

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!

Mary

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