What I’m lovin’ in June

Whatever happened to things slowing down when the weather gets warm? The only thing slowing down is my energy being zapped by this blanket of humidity that’s taken over Columbia!

June went by in such a flash my list of June-lovin’ wasn’t ready until July – I do hope you’ll forgive me!

june

 

1. Planning my imaginary vacation through airbnb’s Instagram feed.

There’s a such thing as #TreeHouseTuesday which led to me starting a “wish list” of all the treehouses I want to visit.

Like this one in Vermont:

treehouse

this one also makes me long for snow… 🙂

2. Vintage clothes.

This one should be pretty obvious by now, but as a short gal stuck between junior & adult styles who dislikes both, vintage clothing has saved my work wardrobe from looking very confused.

In addition, I love the way vintage clothes are constructed – sturdy, comfortable (and oh-so-soft!) and timeless.

I just got this fabulous shirt from Saint & Rambler Vintage a few weeks ago at the market:

S&R shirt

A few months ago after I made my first dress ever (the #OutAndAboutDress by Sew Caroline – you can see my picture here on Instagram), I found a tutorial for adding tulip sleeves which I added to my “make this!” list. Unfortunately, I haven’t made an Out & About Dress with Tulip Sleeves (yet!), but when I saw this shirt I knew I had to have it!

Aren’t the tulip sleeves just the best thing ever?!

sleeves

3. Succulents.

They’re everywhere right now! I see them all over Etsy in listing photos and on all the hip design people’s Instagrams.

Well I’m neither hip nor much of a plant enthusiast (after the time my cat knocked over my only indoor plant I vowed to never have an indoor plant so long as Mr. Norton is still alive & kickin’…literally). However, I saw this baby hens & chicks succulent at IKEA for $3 and fell in love:

theodore

I named him Theodore and took him to my office before Mr. Norton realized he had been in the house.

I’m happy to report that a month later, Theodore is still very much alive which is a significant improvement from the fate of Dutchess Jamie Lynn the orchid. Apparently hens & chicks are hard to kill (thank goodness!).

4. Garden fresh tomatoes!

The garden we planted at my grandparents is flourishing so of course, my appreciation for fresh produce goes beyond May. 🙂

There’s really nothing more tasty than a sun-ripened tomato sandwich on fresh baked bread (try Heather’s Artisan Bakery at the Soda City market!) slathered in Duke’s mayonnaise and sprinkled with a little sea salt & fresh ground pepper. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

tomatoes

Also lovin’ the fact that my sister is successfully growing lots of cherry tomatoes – and she doesn’t even like tomatoes! Thus, I have been getting little deliveries of tomatoes for the past few weeks 🙂

turtle

5. Light & fresh summer recipes from Cooking With A Wallflower.

Recently, she posted a recipe for a Cheesy Tomato Basil Quesadilla that I tried with a spin (I’ll post my spin on the recipe soon!) using the tomatoes from my sister’s backyard garden. It was heavenly!!

I hope you loved June as much as I did and Happy Independence Day!!

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here}

Tasty Tuesday: Trader Joe’s Harvest Summer Salad

Not too long ago, Columbia got our very first Trader Joe‘s and I’ve been smitten ever since! As a very indecisive gal, I really appreciate the simplicity of grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s – there are just enough choices so that you have one, but not enough to keep you stumped for 20 minutes deciding between brands of cheese.

Another thing I love about TJ’s: they always have samples! These samples are more than just slivers of something pulled from a box. They’re usually unique combinations of TJ-original items that bring out the kind of flavor that sends you in search of the ingredients to replicate.

Well, that happened to me and I had to share the recipe with you!

This “salad” is great for packing in your lunchbox because it does okay at room temperature for a few hours (or you can get fancy and use a freezy pack, but as I’ve admitted in previous posts: this cook is lazy…and I usually run out of room in my lunch box for those!).

Plus: it only require 3 ingredients! It’s so simple it’s hardly worth listing, but I’ll share the recipe nonetheless!

Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend
The blend includes Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans & red quinoa.

The blend includes Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans & red quinoa.

The blend includes Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans & red quinoa.

In case you’re a visual person (like me!), here’s what the bag looks like so you can find it easy at TJs!

  • Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix
The veggie mix includes broccoli, carrots, green & red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish and celery.

The veggie mix includes broccoli, carrots, green & red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish and celery.

  • 1/2 bottle of Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian Dressing with Balsamic Vinegar

dressing

 

Directions:

  1. Cook half the bag of the Harvest Grains Blend with water according to the package.
  2. Once the grains are cooked, combine with the vegetable mix in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle half the bottle of dressing over the grain and vegetable mix. Combine the ingredients until the dressing is evenly spread throughout the mixture.
  4. Taste and add more dressing as needed.

You can store the leftovers in the fridge for a few days and eat cold or at room temperature.

TJ couscous salad

I used Trader Joe’s ingredients because it was convenient (and after all, it is their recipe!), but you could adapt this recipe by using a different grain blend (or entirely Israeli couscous), chopping your own vegetables or using a similar chopped mix and a blend of Italian and Balsamic Vinegar dressing.

Enjoy!