Eat. Drink. Love.

Pesto Tortellini Salad

Pesto Tortellini Salad

Next week is Memorial Day which means summer is here! It’s time for all of the BBQ’s. You guys already know that my least favorite thing about summer is really disgusting hot weather. My favorite thing about summer? BBQ’s. No doubt. I love sitting around with family and friends eating burgers and all kind of sides.

Today I have a ridiculously easy pasta salad recipe for you. It just requires cooking the pasta, chopping up a few veggies, and then just mixing everything together! Pasta salads don’t have to be super complicated. I prefer them nice and simple with a good amount of fresh veggies for added crunch and texture. I used tortellini instead of plain pasta. It makes the pasta salad a little more special I think. I then added in diced green bell pepper, peas, and cherry tomatoes for the veggies. To top it all off, I then mixed in some pesto. See? Not complicated here.

You can make the pesto from scratch if you prefer, but you can also buy the premade stuff from the refrigerated section of your grocery store and make your life easier. I love this pasta salad because it’s super easy to throw together and it’s perfect if you need a last minute dish to bring to a summer party! Since tortellini is a stuffed pasta, it’s more filling so it can feed more people. It’s also pretty versatile with the veggies because you can really add whatever the heck you want to add! Hello summer!

Fruit Infused Water

Fruit Infused Water

It’s officially triple digit temperatures here in Phoenix which means I hate life from now until about September! Hooray!

One thing you learn really quickly when living in the desert is that you have to stay really well-hydrated. As soon as the hotter temperatures hit, you start seeing people walking around with huge gallon-sized jugs of water. We know we can’t leave the house without a big bottle of water.

Sometimes I end up drinking so much water, that I actually start to get a little tired of it. We love sparkling flavored waters in this house so I started experimenting with my own fruit infused waters. I love these because they don’t contain any weird ingredients, food dyes, or any added sugar which makes it a much better alternative to sports drinks or sodas.

Fruit Infused Water

The Big Traveling Potluck

The Big Traveling Potluck House view 1

I want to start this post off by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this and I was not paid to write it.

A lot of non-bloggers don’t realize how much work and dedication must go into a blog. I spend a lot of time on this blog. I do it because I love it, but it is a lot of work. My evenings are always filled with editing photos or writing posts My weekends are always packed with cooking and photographing. Owning a blog is very much a business and it requires a lot of dedication in order to be successful. I mostly blog for myself. I love cooking and creating new recipes. My skills in the kitchen have really grown over the past 3 years and I have grown to love food photography, something I never thought I would say! I would be totally lying though if I said that I only blogged for my own enjoyment. I also blog because of you, my readers. Your support means so much and I love to create new recipes for you!

The problem with blogging for others and as a business is that it comes with added pressures and stress. There are days where I just have a hard time thinking of good recipes or when a recipe doesn’t turn out. There are days that I have no idea what to write. I have days where I feel totally overwhelmed by the “business” side of blogging such as keeping up with social media. And then I have days where I am just too exhausted to do any of it. Period. Blogging has a lot of ups and downs and feeling burned out can be really frustrating. I have kind of been feeling that way recently and was really looking forward to a weekend away with some amazing and talented food bloggers to get me feeling inspired again.

Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps have totally been my jam for the last few months. I’ll make a batch on a Sunday and portion them out to bring to work for lunch during the week and it’s the best lunch ever. Though I could eat them for dinner just fine, my sweet husband wouldn’t love that because of you know, the lettuce, so I bring them for lunch instead.

When I bring a really good lunch to work with me, I not tempted to say things like, “oh, my lunch is not very exciting, I’ll just go out and get something.”

Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

So, you’ve got ground chicken breast cooked with onions, red and yellow bell peppers, and green onions. All good things.

Oh, and did I mention peanut sauce? No? Well, there is peanut sauce and it’s so good, I could just eat it with a spoon. It adds such rich flavor to these wraps. AND THEN, I topped them with chopped peanuts for added crunch and texture and fresh cilantro. So much yum happening here.

If you are serving these as a light lunch or appetizer, I would say the recipe has about 4 servings. If you’ve got hungry peeps to feed, I would say this feeds more like 3 so consider doubling it for a bigger and hungrier crowd. Kind of like Pringles, once you start eating them, it’s hard to stop!

Citrus Avocado Salad

Avocado Citrus Salad

So I accidentally left my phone at work yesterday. I got home and it wasn’t in my purse. And it totally freaked me out. And I was too tired to go all the way back and get it so I left it. And then I spent the next 14 hours without my phone. I totally annoyed my husband with my complaining. I had Candy Crush withdrawal. Oh the tragedy!

Ok, enough about my technology addiction and onto this light and delicious salad.

Who says salads HAVE to be packed with greens? Not this girl. Salads can go so many different ways and this citrus avocado version is a summer favorite for me!

I love the sweet and tangy flavor from the orange paired with the creamy avocado. And then the lemon honey dressing makes it all even better! Nothing beats fresh citrus and perfect avocados this time of year. I would not say that this salad is super sweet despite using the orange and the honey in the dressing. If you are not a fan though, you can certainly omit the honey from the dressing!

I was a little lazy with segmenting my orange because I just wanted to get to the part where I got to eat this lovely little salad!

Citrus Avocado Salad

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Ohmagahhhhhhhhhhh.

These muffins.

They could pass as cupcakes in all honesty. Muffins that could be a cupcake? Um, yeah, sign me up!

My grandma used to make this amazing chocolate zucchini cake studded with gooey chocolate chips. It was so insanely good and then I went and grew up and moved far away and kind of forgot about that amazing cake until about a month ago when I was going over in my head all of the recipes I need to get from her for my personal recipe book.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

But then I started thinking about making that cake, but making it a little healthier and in muffin form. And it works. It totally works. These muffins might be my favorite muffin recipe I’ve made. My banana chocolate chip muffins have been sitting on top of my list for a long time, but these chocolate zucchini muffins might have just knocked them down a peg. The muffins are super…ok, I’m going to say the word that might make you cringe…moist. I said it, but that’s really the best word to describe these. They are also perfectly rich and chocolatey, which makes them seem more like they should be a dessert and not a muffin.

So what else is good about these muffins? There is no butter, just a bit of oil and unsweetened applesauce. They do contain sugar so I would consider them a splurge for breakfast, but I also have been eating them for dessert!