Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts
Easy Lemon Risotto

Easy Lemon Risotto


It's no secret that I love risotto. Like loooooove risotto. It's such an easy and delicious comfort food recipe, and is the perfect side dish idea for pretty much any meal.

About six months ago I shared my Parmesan White Wine Risotto recipe, and you guys went crazy over it, and have been asking for more risotto recipes to try. So today I'm sharing my easy lemon risotto recipe!

This fresh and zesty risotto is the perfect spring or summer risotto recipe, but you bet I'll be making it year round! As a main dish, serve this lemon risotto topped with asparagus, peas, or zucchini! Or if you're serving it as a side, pair it with a roasted chicken or Lemon and Garlic Baked Salmon.




You'll notice that this recipe calls for a dry white wine. A few examples of dry whites are Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino and Chardonnay.

There's no need to splurge on a really expensive bottle of wine for this recipe, but I always recommend buying a bottle that you'll enjoy drinking, because you will definitely taste a hint of the wine flavor in the risotto. (Side note: the wine completely cooks out, so this a kid friendly recipe!)

I usually opt for a bottle in the $10-$15 range, like this Waterbrook Chardonnay, and pour two glasses. One for the risotto, one for me!


Ingredients:

1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cups dry white wine (see note above)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped

Directions: 

Bring chicken stock to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add shallot and garlic and let cook until translucent. I finally invested in this saucepan, and it makes such a huge difference!

Add the rice to the shallot mixture, tossing to coat. Toast the rice for about 3-5 minutes, then add wine. Simmer over medium-low heat until the wine is almost evaporated.

Add the broth one cup at a time, continuing to stir until all the liquid is almost absorbed before adding more. Once all the broth has been added and cooked into the rice, remove pan from heat and stir in parmesan, salt, pepper, thyme, cream cheese, and lemon juice and lemon zest. Serve sprinkled with green onion!






Love Risotto? (Me too!!) Check Out My Other Risotto Recipe: 



And If You Love Lemon, How About These Lemon Recipes? 



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Kirsten Bell
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The Perfect Summer Dessert: No Bake Oreo Cheesecake

The Perfect Summer Dessert: No Bake Oreo Cheesecake


We love summertime! Lazy days on the lake, hikes through the forest, and iced cocktails on the patio. Hot days are also the perfect time to give the oven a rest, and make an easy no-bake dessert! And these no-bake oreo cheesecake bars are perfect! Quick, easy and delicious.

Used In This Post: 



You'll notice in the ingredients that I used Organic Valley cream cheese and heavy cream. I am a big believer that the ingredients we use have a huge impact on the final product. It makes sense, doesn't it? Of course we're going to taste the ingredients that we put in our food. That's kind of the whole point! I love that not only are Organic Valley products organic (duh), but they also taste so rich and creamy. Totally necessary for cheesecake in my opinion!







Crust Ingredients: 

1 1/4 cups crushed Oreo cookies (cream removed). I crushed mine in my Vitamix, but you could also crush them with a rolling pin. 

Filling Ingredients: 

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 Oreo cookies (with cream), roughly chopped 

Ganache Ingredients: 

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup Organic Valley heavy cream

Directions: 

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper so that there’s an overhang on the sides. This will make taking the bars out of the pan much easier. Combine the crushed oreos and the melted butter, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish. Move into the fridge while you prepare the filling. 

For the filling: beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until fluffy and well combined. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with a spatula until evenly distributed. Stir in the chopped oreos. 

Cover the oreo crust with the oreo cheesecake filling. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze 2-3 hours, or refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight. 

For the ganache: Combine the chocolate chips and the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds, and stir until the chocolate chips are fully melted. Drizzle the somewhat cooled ganache over the cheesecake bars. 

Cut and enjoy!



Looking for some more summertime desserts? Check these out: 



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Kirsten Bell
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5 Tips For Hosting An Easy and Beautiful Summer Picnic

5 Tips For Hosting An Easy and Beautiful Summer Picnic


Happy official first day of summer! What better way to welcome the new season than with a summer picnic? I love spending as much time outdoors during the summer months as possible, to take advantage of the beautiful weather and scenery! So today I'm sharing with you my five tips for hosting a summer picnic!

Below you'll find links to my favorite Juliska outdoor dinnerware, my fun and easy picnic menu, and tips for a perfect picnic. Enjoy, and happy summer!

In This Post: 



Want To Remember These Tips For Your Next Picnic? Click Below!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/797840890217870937/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/75787206215593469/


1. Plan an easy and delicious menu!


I love picnics where all the items can be assembled before we leave the house, and are ready to go when we get to the park!

Last year when we visited Bordeaux, we had wonderful picnics with delicious and simple sandwiches. I made these with sliced baguette, salted butter, swiss cheese, turkey and fresh sliced tomato. So easy! I wrapped each sandwich in parchment paper, tied the paper with some twine, and tucked a stem of fresh lavender under the tied twine. Then I served them on this beautiful handled tray.

For our cocktail, I chose to serve my Fresh Strawberry Bellinis. It was so easy to mix ahead of time in the acrylic pitcher, and then everyone could serve themselves in their acrylic champagne flutes!

As you might imagine, dessert is one of my favorite parts of the meal! Since it was a beautiful summer day, I decided to serve Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes! This Sectioned Server was so perfect for it! I put divided the strawberries and shortcakes into the outside compartments, and served the whipped cream in the middle.

The Picnic Menu: 

Fresh Strawberry Bellinis
Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes
French inspired sandwiches: Baguette, salted butter, meat and cheese
Summer Salads



 

2. Invest In The Dishware!


In our house have been focusing on reducing waste and choosing eco-friendly options. That's why I was so excited to see that Julisak has an entire line of beautiful melamine plates and serveware, and acrylic drinkware! Using real dishes elevates the picnic, making it feel so much more special for everyone attending. As they say, nobody lingers over a paper plate! And it's not only nicer for your guests, it's also nicer for the environment and your wallet since you only have to buy it once!

I instantly fell in love with the Al Fresco Collection from Juliska. All the items are perfectly suited for outdoor entertaining, and they're all so beautiful! For this picnic, I used these gorgeous dinner plates, these salad plates, these tumblers, these champagne flutes, this melamine handled tray for the sandwiches, this Sectioned Server for the Homemade Strawberry Shortcakes, and this acrylic pitcher for the Strawberry Bellinis!


3. Have A Clean Up Plan


Since we're using real dishes, we've got to get them home somehow! I like to use a few big cardboard boxes. (We usually have lots from our trips to Costco.) I designate one box as the "dirty" box, and all the dishes go in there so they can be easily brought right to the sink when we get home. Then the linens and clean dishes can go in another box and not get dirty! Super simple, right?



4. Pick A Good Spot


When I was looking for a spot for our picnic, I wanted to find a picnic table so that I didn't have to worry about bringing my own table in. If you're not worried about a table, just bring a nice big blanket and set up a casual spot on the grass! Just remember some cutting boards or other flat surfaces for people to set drinks on. My other requirement was a spot in the shade so that everyone was comfortable. The sun gets hot pretty fast, and with my Northern European skin I'm a bit of a wimp haha! I loved looking out at the pond from the table, it was so pretty and our table was even visited by a little family of ducks!


5. Don't Forget To Plan For The Weather


You might have caught my wind fiasco on Instagram stories this past week! I didn't realize that it was such a windy day when I set out for this picnic, and forget to grab tablecloth weights. Oops! It all worked out just fine, but I wished I had taken a quick look at the forecast. So learn from my mistake! It's also great to know if you need a lightweight jacket or to pack the sunscreen!







Want To Remember These Tips For Your Next Picnic? Click The Image Below To Pin It!


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/75787206215593469/

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Kirsten Bell
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Red, White & Blue Fourth of July Cake

Red, White & Blue Fourth of July Cake


You guys, it is full on summer over in my part of the world! We had a really long drawn out winter, short and sweet spring, and I feel like I woke up one day and it was 90 degrees out! I love summer though, so I'm not complaining. As I write this someone is mowing their lawn, and the smell of fresh grass is coming through my open window. Pure summer, right there.

And you know what else is pure summer? This cake! I've always felt like 4th of July really kicks off the summer season. It's officially July, the weather is almost always hot and sunny, and everyone is full into their summer routines. Well believe it or not, the 4th of July is just three short weeks away, and it will be here before we know it. So today I'm sharing my ultimate 4th of July dessert - Red, White and Blue cake!



This delicious cake is beyond perfect for whatever 4th of July event you're planning, and is guaranteed to be the talk of the party. The very best part is cutting into it and seeing those fun colors pop through! Sure to delight kids and adults alike.

One of my favorite things about this cake is that it's so festive before, and after you cut into it. For the sprinkles, I used Sweet and Treats sprinkle mix Stars and Stripes. Very appropriate! For me, a 4 oz bag was enough to decorate the sides of the cakes as well as decorating the top!

 




Cake Ingredients: 

2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt (greek or regular is fine)
1/2 cup buttermilk
Red and blue gel food coloring

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:

2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks)
6-8 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed to thin out the frosting

Cake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, yogurt and buttermilk and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

For A Red, White and Blue Cake: Distribute the cake batter evenly into three bowls of the same weight - I used three large cereal bowls. Using a kitchen scale, distribute the cake batter evenly between the three bowls. Empty one bowl into a prepared cake pan (this will be your white).

For the other two, add red and blue gel food coloring. I recommend this kit! You will want to use gel, because liquid will change the cake consistency. The colors will strengthen slightly as they bake, but make sure that the red and blue look about the color that you want the cake layers to look.

Spoon the red and blue batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the cake pans, and then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack with the "top" of the cake down. This will help flatten the cakes. Once the cakes come to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before frosting.

Buttercream Directions: 

Whip the butter in you stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high, and mix about 2-3 minutes. Add heavy cream if needed.


If you want to see a video of this cake coming together, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@thiscelebratedlife)! I'll be posting it in the next few days, and you won't want to miss it!



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Kirsten Bell
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