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We love paninis.  We love bread from Magnolia Bakery & Cafe.  We love basil, pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomato slices on freshly baked bread.

Caprese Sandwiches

3-4 tomato slices 
3-4 fresh mozzarella slices
small handful of basil leaves
balsamic vinegar
pesto (recipe below)
4 slices of whole wheat bread


  1. Spread pesto on 2 slices of whole wheat bread.  Place tomato slices, mozzarella, and basil on top of the pesto.  
  2. Drizzle balsamic over tomato slices.  Cover with other slice of bread and place on panini press.  Enjoy!
Makes 2 sandwiches


3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup basil leaves
1 clove garlic

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until desired consistency is achieved.  Enjoy!


When life gets crazy busy, make pasta salad

These last two weeks have seemed so busy.  
With teaching everyday, JSLB meetings, Frontlines, planning our Adult Bible Fellowship social, contacting a ton of spouses as the Family Readiness Assistant for Ben's unit, and being a wife, I feel like the the days are flying by! What's so awesome about this busyness, though, is that it means our time is filled with doing things that we love.  
I am really enjoying substitute teaching this year..although making a barometer in 4th grade science class was embarrassing/challenging (my nails ripped the first 3 balloons that I had to stretch over a plastic cup, the experiment ended with worried looks turned relieved faces and applause).  I am especially appreciating getting to come home on Fridays knowing that my weekend is my weekend, without having to grade papers, lesson plan, or worry about so-and-so's behavior.
As you know from yesterday's post, I am loving JSLB.
Frontlines is our church's youth group for teenagers that meets weekly for games, worship, a lesson, and discussion.  Ben and I are so happy to each be able to lead our own discussion group and can already tell it's going to be an amazing year with these teens and leaders.
I was pretty nervous about being involved as a Family Readiness Assistant since it means I have to contact a bunch of spouses that I have never met, but the idea that these spouses might feel more involved and find a place to fit in is what motivated me to volunteer.  
And for the 'being a wife''s the best one of them all!! It's what drives me to give 100% in every other area of my life.
We all know that when our schedules get crazy busy, the quality of food that we eat often takes a nose-dive and we opt for quick and easy.  Trust me, I can relate.  Ben was on the range last week, which meant he had to wake up by 3am so he could be out the door by 4. Talk about a long day!! I knew that if I didn't pack healthy food for him to take he would either starve all day or eat the unhealthy food offered on base.  

 This is what I packed most nights for Ben to take to work:

The pasta salad in the picture is something that I always try to make on Sunday if I know we are going to have a busy week. It's so easy to make a big batch and then we can both take some for lunch all week. And it's delicious! It's also our go-to dish for most potlucks that we attend, and people are always asking for the recipe.

What are some things that you make ahead of time when you know you are going to have a busy week??

Pasta Salad
adapted from

1 pound pasta (penne, seashell, whatever you desire!)
1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
1/4 pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1.5 tbsp of your favorite Italian-style seasoning
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package's instructions. Drain and cool under cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, meat, cheese, peppers, and tomatoes. Stir in the Italian-style seasoning.
  3. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Pour dressing over the pasta salad and mix well.
  4. Makes about 12 servings


Cleaning out your closets...

I am crazy excited to be a member of Junior Service League of Beaufort this year (thanks Colleen!).  JSLB is an incredible group that gives its members (all women) a ton of really cool volunteer opportunities, as well as hosts and organizes events to raise money for local charities and organizations. 
One of the volunteer opportunities that I can't wait to start is going over to the CAPA shelter to hang out with the kids (and teens!).  CAPA stands for Child Abuse Prevention Association and their visition/mission statement is: All children deserve to be loved, nurtured and kept safe from intentional and unintentional harm.  CAPA exists to break the destructive cycle of child abuse and neglect by equipping parents, children and their caregivers with necessary skills, knowledge and values.  What's not to love about this association?!  They welcome boys/girls from birth to 21 years who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.  Most often, the child/teen will go into a foster home after leaving the shelter--we were informed that parents seldom come looking for their children.  So hard to believe.
We also learned that a lot of times a child will be brought into the shelter in the middle of the night with only the clothes on his/her back--PJs.  If the police conduct a drug raid and there are children in the home, they will immediately take them.  The people at CAPA then go to the CAPA thrift shop to find clothes for the child. 
If you live in the area, remember CAPA when cleaning out your closets, and your children's closets!

CAPA's Closet
1340 Ribaut Rd
Port Royal, SC 29935


It's time...

I have some posts from when I first started my blog in 2009 and it was a private, invite only blog mentioning my adorable rescue kitties from Japan (this one and here's another), but I thought to myself it has been a while--these guys need some blog lovin. Anyone who knows me is probably thinking "Oh no, and so it begins.."
Hope they brought a smile to your face on this Tuesday morning.


Goodbye summer

 As you can see, we had a jam packed summer.  And that's just the way I like it.


Can't get enough..

..of this naan!

The best thing to make as a side for the delicious chicken curry is this unbelievably yummy naan.  It's the closest thing to Indian restaurant naan that I have found--it is not as fluffy but it is sooo good!
Making it is an all day project.  It is not an everyday bread, unless you plan ahead and make a big batch and freeze the dough after the second rise. It's still just as delicious when the dough comes out of the freezer!
The toughest part of this recipe is rolling out the dough because you want to try and get it as thin as possible!  We have a tortilla maker that is great for tortillas, but cannot get the dough thin enough for naan.  We use a rolling pin (I have this habit of saying 'we' when I'm really only referring to Ben) and sometimes even shred cheese and roll it into the dough.

Adapted from
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let stand for about 10 minutes (until frothy).  Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour.  If using a stand mixer, mix together on speed 1 for 3-4 minutes using the dough hook attachment.  Once the dough forms a ball, knead the dough on speed 2 for 6-8 minutes (until it passes the indentation text...push down the kneaded down with two fingers, if the dough springs back immedately and does not leave an indentation, keep kneading!).  If the dough does not come together as a ball, continue to add either flour (if it's too sticky and won't leave the sides of the bowl) or water (if it's too dry and not sticking together) as needed by the tablespoon.  If not using a stand mixer, form the dough into a ball using your hands (make sure to put plenty of flour on your hands) then manually knead the dough for 10 minutes.  We found a youtube video showing the proper kneading method before we owned a stand mixer.
  2. Place dough in well oiled bowl, cover with a warm damp cloth, and set aside to rise for 1 hour (dough should double in volume).
  3. Punch dough down, watch it deflate, then knead in garlic. Pinch off golf-ball size handfuls of dough, roll into a ball, and place on a tray.  Cover the tray with a warm damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes. This is the best time to freeze the dough if making in bulk.
  4. Heat grillpan to medium-high heat (or use regular grill). While heating, roll one ball of dough at a time into a thin circle (ours are usually oval shaped).  When heated, lightly oil grillpan and place dough on pan for 1-3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned.  Brush uncooked side with butter and turn over.  Brush cooked side with butter and cook until browned, another 1-3 minutes.  Continue process until all the naan has been prepared.
Makes about 14 servings (depending on the thickness).

Ya'll, I know it seems like a lot of work, but if I can do it--the girl who used to only eat grilled cheese, cereal, and pb&j's--you can do it too!! You won't regret it!

yeast after 10 minutes

Once the dough starts coming together and looks like this, switch to speed 2.
Knead on speed 2 for 6-8 minutes.

Place dough in well oiled bowl for 1 hour.

1 hour later!

I always let Ben punch the dough..

Risen golf-ball sized dough

It's a good workout!

My job is pretty strenuous too...buttering the naan

Going in for the flip......

up-close buttering

up-close kneading

Hey friends!!