Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tastes of Summer

It's been over three weeks since we decided to reduce our grocery budget, let go of TV and simplify our lives to an even greater degree.  I have to say, that overall, it has been a pretty amazing experience so far.  Hard?  Yes!  Frustrating at times?  Yes!  But, on the flip-side of the challenges, the clarity I continue to experience is really exciting.  I'll explain in an upcoming post how giving up TV has sparked some new creative momentum in my life.  But today, I want to continue sharing my journey of being more creative in the kitchen.

Along with enjoying the fruits of our garden labor, I am also trying to be mindful about using similar ingredients and using the items I've stocked up on.  So the following two recipes use the basil from our garden, heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market, and the olive oil, garlic and beans that I bought in bulk. 

Please note: being creative in the kitchen means being willing to play.  I rarely measure my ingredients so feel free to change the measurements below.  They are meant to be a guideline, but just as I approach art and the creative process, I do the same in the kitchen...there is no "right" way to cook and we all have an inner chef - so let go of perfect and have some fun!

Tomato Basil Bruschetta
3-4 tomatoes 
handful of fresh basil
2-3 garlic gloves (minced)
1-2 T olive oil
fresh Italian bread (or any kind you like)
dash salt & pepper

Chop tomatoes and basil, mix in a bowl with minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Add more of any ingredients to your taste.  Let sit for 20-30 minutes.   

Slice the bread, top with a little olive oil and broil just until crisp.  Top your bread with the tomato mixture and say hello to summer.

Fresh Hummus
2 cans garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
2-3 T tahini
juice from 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
2-3 T olive oil
dash salt & pepper
2 t cumin 
1/4 cup water 

Place all ingredients in a blender (I use a Vita-mix.)  Add more water or olive oil to get the consistency you like.  I prefer thicker hummus and my husband likes it really smooth.  Experiment to find what works best for you!

I like to top my hummus with a little olive oil and cumin.  Serve with blue chips, pita bread, carrots or cucumbers.  It's high in protein and so delicious.  I also use hummus on my veggie sandwiches or wraps in place of mayo and mustard.

I'll announce the winner of a spot in my winter Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery e-course tomorrow.  I've extended the contest until this evening, so get on over to my last blog post and leave a comment for your chance to win!

Your Personal Reflection:  How does it feel to let yourself play and get creative in the kitchen?  Do you stick to recipes or try to experiment with the ingredients?  Can you continue to let go of perfect in the kitchen, and in other areas of your life?


  1. Shannon, both of these recipes look fantastic! The past year or so I have been able to branch away from recipes with more positive results. For me I had to nail down some basic recipes and learn how the ingredients changed the flavor before I could start making up my own. Now I have to keep a pad of paper around to write the recipe as I make it up so if it makes the grade with the family I will be able to make it again.

  2. Beautiful photos, Shannon, and yummy recipes. I admire your efforts for simplicity and mindfulness. You are amazing!

  3. Shannon, I love your kitchen experiments! Your beans and rice recipe was delicious! I will definitely try these two also. They look scrumptious.
    I experiment in the kitchen but I must admit I get anxious and feel guilty if it doesn't work out. This is a theme throughout my life that I am trying to change. I am looking forward to your posts about your creative momentum.
    Be well!

  4. Yummy! I can't wait to try that bruschetta!!

  5. oooh, that's exactly how I make my bruschetta except with an added drizzle of balsamic vinegar. My d-i-l loves it and was disappointed to find I won't make it in the winter. It must be made with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden. It's time...

  6. oh so yummy looking and so timely! i have had these on my "make" list for a week! thanks for sharing :)

  7. I love trying out new recipes in the kitchen! Especially if my friends make something, I always get their recipes and whip it up myself. I usually end up altering the ingredients a bit because, like you, I don't really measure.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  8. oh my, you are so creative in so many ways! Glad no TV is opening up more creative momentum. I don't watch TV anymore either, that's prob how I manage to get all things done :)


  9. I just had some bruschetta for lunch. French bread, with mozzarella and cheddar (like everyone else in my family) then I topped my precious small amount on my toasted cheese along with our first harvest of green beans with a small tab of butter. Yum!! Thank you!

  10. Yum... another great recipe.
    I tried the one with the black beans and rice and guacamole and loved it ;D
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. This is so my kind of food! Aaaah, but basil from the garden - I have never been able to grow basil. The snails have midnight feasts, and I am left with a selection of sad-looking stalks in the morning.

  12. This look soooo delicious! I will definitely be trying both these recipes (thanks for sharing them).

    I love to play around in the kitchen. Most of what I make is "freestyle." I try lots of different recipes to get a sense of taste and style and then go for it the next time adding this, deleting that.

    I am not as "playful" in my everyday life. I mean, I'm definitely loosing up a bit (having children has helped me with this) so, perhaps in regards to them I am. But the rest of the world isn't often privy to this part of me.

    I may need to remedy this....

  13. oh my, that brushetta looks delish!


Thanks for sharing!