Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Penne with Sauteed Shrimp

So a couple weeks ago my local grocery store had shrimp - as well as some other great fish - on sale. I am trying to incorporate more seafood into our diet, which is hard to do because it tends to be a bit more expensive than other meats. So when it went on sale I stocked up.

I had several peppers - both red and green - available from my garden (and for those of you wondering, yes, green bell peppers will turn red if left on the vine for a long period of time - only IF they can hold out before the bugs get them). I roasted them off one day and put them aside in the fridge. I was craving something delicious, but not heavy and this little recipe just came about. Man, was it good. Since my conscience wouldn't let me get away without sharing the goodness with you, I snapped a picture and recorded the recipe. Here you have it!

Roasted Red Pepper Penne with Sauteed Shrimp
3-4 peppers (any color)
box of whole wheat Penne Pasta (I wound up using a little less)
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1lb shrimp - deviened and peeled
1/2 cup of shredded Italian cheeses
roast garlic (optional)

Roast your peppers on 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Let cool and then peel off the skins. Cut into small strips (you will need to do this a bit earlier. I like to roast mine off the day before just so prep doesn't take as long the next day). Start by cooking your pasta to the package directions. Place butter and onions in a large sautee pan and cook onions until clear. Toss in roasted peppers, garlic, and shrimp. Cook shrimp until pink - just a few minutes. Once pasta is done, drain and drop in with the other ingredients, coating the pasta with "sauce," peppers, and shrimp. Then sprinkle shredded Italian cheeses over and serve.
Servings: Approximately 4-6

Monday, August 29, 2011


I love my customers and they sure have been showing me the love over the last two months. I am wrapping up yet another wonderful month and my hands have been quite busy tending to all the love.

But one of my favorite things about my little business is getting to bring my customers' ideas to reality. This little singing in the rain shower invitation was the inspiration behind a recent customer's request. She loved the concept, but wanted something a little more fun. So the process began.

First I put three variations together of the invitation per her request. Guess which one she chose...

Next she wanted to create a return address label to go with the ensemble and this is what we came up with.

Finally, she requested that I put together a send to label that she could use with a mail merge document that also complimented her vision. And if this wasn't cute enough she chose a bright strawberry pink envelope with the teal cloud liner to finish off the whole thing.

So what do you think about her "alterations." I thought it was a fun, creative twist to an already lively design. (Oh, and in case you are wondering which invitation she picked I am sure you have figured it out by now. It was the one with the purple umbrella).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Singing in the rain...

So, sadly, most of the time when it rains around here - especially in summer - there is thunder involved - so no playing in the rain. But on this particular day the thunder did not come so I, along with the kids, ran out into the pouring rain. We had so much fun and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlotte kept asking me if we needed to put on our bathing suits. She didn't quite get why it was okay get her clothes wet (say something her ole Mom you think?). Only down side to our little venture, the kids didn't quite understand why they couldn't go out in the rain the next time it came around - one guess, thunder. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thai Lettuce Wraps

My first experience with a lettuce wrap was in Las Vegas and I wondered why I had never tried one before. Maybe it is because I am a carb loving fool, but the lettuce wrap, well, it blue my socks off.

I revisited this wonderful delight one evening while dining with my in-laws several years ago and my sis-in-law insisted that I try the Thai lettuce wraps at Cheesecake Factory. Again, I wasn't disappointed.

So, when I started getting strange lettuces in my Farmers Market Baskets last year I set out to create such a recipe. And while the prep can take a bit of time, these truly are delicious!

Thai Lettuce Wraps
Shred carrots, slice cucumber (did both of these in my food processor),
 wash and dry lettuce (butter lettuce is great to use), cut chicken into strips, pick leaves off cilantro stems
(set all these aside)
Salt and Pepper chicken and then grill until done
cook ramen noodles until soft - do not use seasoning
Sauce: In a small sauce pan heat up about a cup of Ken's Teriyaki Marinade. I added a clove or two of finely chopped garlic, about 1/2 a teaspoon of ginger, and a bit of sugar to tast. Bring to a simmer and let it cook down just a bit until it is a little syrupy.
Your done. Now just assemble and eat!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The many faces of...

Pouty/Mad face

Trying to stay mad...

Can't help it, just have to smile...

Douglass Charles. This sweet boy has been coming into his own. I tell ya, boys are a different breed. He is not like my people pleaser, Charlotte. I know her currencies and she is definitely motivated to do good especially when her currencies are involved.

DC on the other hand, well, I haven't figured him out. It seems that he doesn't seem to mind if dessert is on the table for eating a good dinner, candy for going potty, or a longer time out is necessary for a punishment. He just doesn't care.

All in all, though, he is a pretty good little boy, but we do have many moments like the photos you see above. He still tries to use the baby thing to his advantage and thinks that offering me a pouty/mad face just might get him what he wants. Sadly, it doesn't work on me anymore (Doug might disagree here because he still is my baby). I mean he is getting to be quite a big boy.

Regardless of the woes that come with sometime wild little boys, he is so much fun (both of them truly are) but this aggressive boy thing - well, it is a whole other ball game (like you that have boys know all too well).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School FREE Printable

Happy Friday! Just right click on the image, save to your files and print away. Hope you enjoy this little freebie. Use it leave notes in a lunchbox, make stickers for a folder, or sweet favor tags for a party (or a gift for your sweet teacher).
And if you are on facebook, join The English Pea for a Friday Night Facebook sale - a great way to stock up or get smaller quantities. I will start around 8:00 EST and end at midnight. Only select items will be on sale and there is a theme this evening - guess what it is. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School

Ahh, if you haven't started back to school yet - like we have around here - then it is just around the corner. And while I love me some summer and the transition is hard, I do LOVE me some school supplies. One of my favorite things every year as a child was shopping for school supplies - nothing beats a brand new box of crayons.

So to celebrate I have created a little line to help organize, label, and celebrate the beginning of the new school year. So... jump on over to my shop and Check out the new stuff and be sure to check back here Friday. I will have a FREE prinable for you to celebrate the occasion. You won't want to miss it!

Monday, August 15, 2011


In her (future) Uncle Rob's boots -
he's getting the kiddos ready for their adventure in Texas

Late night swim with cousins are fun -
DC has chocolate icecream on his face.
My two had a BLAST and stayed up
WAY past their bedtime - but that is what one does
when at Nannah's, right?

Uncle Owey getting them to laugh.
I won't mention what he did,
but if you know my brother
 it had to do with bodily noises and
the kids died laughing

If you have noticed my absence on the blog, don't be alarmed. I have been busy as a bee and then away for a few days to enjoy my precious family.

The college grad, little sis, Emily

Last Saturday the kids and I ventured down to Auburn University to celebrate my baby sister's college graduation. I am thirteen years her senior, so you can imagine how proud and how nostalgic I was of this accomplishment in her life. She's a smart girl and finished in about three years if I'm not mistaken. She is off to Austin, Texas.. and yes, for those of you counting that is sibling number four whom the great state of Texas has claimed. There is only my brother and I left out here in the East...

The sweet and happy couple -
doesn't my sister look beautiful here.
She is so happy and it thrills my heart
to see her this way. Can't wait for her big day!

I also was able to celebrate another sister, Sarah - as my parents threw a party for her and her fiance over the weekend. It was wonderful to see old friends and have my parents' home full again - of children, our family, and old friends. I miss those days.

The kids had a blast playing with their cousin Adeline and I had a wonderful time enjoying most of my family - all but five of them (they were unable to make it) - and holding my sweet niece, Leah Cate, who is the sweetest thing I have ever seen (seriously, if I could guarantee to have another one just like her I would probably have a third child).

The kids and I stayed through the middle of the week and enjoyed having Nannah and PaPa's undivided attention - this is a rare occurance as our time almost always must be shared. There are so many of us.
And finally, I am so grateful for this man. We celebrated nine years of marriage on the tenth. Seems hard to believe. Number nine was a hard one for us and I am grateful that we came out of it together on the other side. Ahhh, those bumps in the road, thankfully God can use them to grow bonds stronger and I think the two of us are all the better for it.

And lest I not forget a couple of other things I am oh so grateful for in the past few weeks... my kiddos (so glad that God saw fit to lend them to my care. I love those monkies), my business - just finished my best month ever, and my faith - seriously don't know where I would be without the love and grace my Father desperately gives me every day. I will never be deserving...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roasted Tomato Sauce

 I know you are probably sick of seeing pictures of tomatoes on this blog. Forgive me, but I LOVE their red color. And while they are not my favorite food, there are just so many beautiful aspects about them. Even cut in half and roasted, they are pretty.

I don't know how many of you have made homemade tomato sauce. It was a new experience for me several years ago, and while proud of myself I seriously questioned why anyone would go through the process because ready made sauces are really just as good and SO MUCH EASIER! Until...

I had to do something with all the lovely tomatoes I had been growing and I set out to make homemade sauce again. Ahhh, if you have ever made it you know that it is not difficult, it is the prep that takes so much time. I prefer skins off and so peeling tomato after tomato got just a bit old - and time consuming.

So I decided to roast them and the wonderful part about it is once roasted the peeling comes right off! And the prep, well, there is barely any. Just wait, you won't believe how easy this is!

First wash and cut your tomatoes in half. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with some Pam and place them skins side down in the pan.

Next, salt and pepper liberally and add any other Italian spices you like. I added garlic salt, a bit of ground red pepper, and Italian seasoning. Next drizzle Olive Oil over the tomatoes.

 Pop in the oven for 45 minutes on 425 degrees. Once done remove from the oven, cover with alluminum foil and let them sit for an hour or so until they are cooled. Once cooled peel the tomatoes - the skin will literally pull off and takes no time. Discard the peeling. Throw all the skinned tomatoes in the food processor - juices and all from roasting and...

You've got your roasted tomato sauce. See, I told you this was easy. I seriously have four to five cups in my freezer right now and enough tomatoes to make another batch. I'm thinking we have a lot of red sauce in a near future... Enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

how does your garden grow

We now have an abundance of tomatoes and peppers. I have grown tomatoes for the past three years and my crops have yielded more fruit this year than ever. I learned a few tricks this year - like using Miracle Grow weekly - thanks to my friend Anna's dad - and that tomatoes and peppers like lots of room for their roots - thanks to my neighbor Angela and the random stranger at Home Depot. I found that the plants that have done the best were the ones that I planted in BIG paint buckets. Doug laughed at me when I brought them home and they are quite the eyesore, but the plants have LOVED them. Next year we are excited about planting a raised garden and trying a few more things. It has been so much fun and the children have thoroughly enjoyed it. And you may ask, "what are you doing with all those tomoatoes?" Check back tomorrow - you guessed it a recipe - one of the many ways I am using all this homegrown goodness. (Oh, and for all you who don't believe you can grow anything - I couldn't either three years ago. So there is hope. Seriously, before I started tomotoes I killed any plant I was given.)