My 5 Summer Essentials

summer-essentials

Summer is in full swing and in Morgantown that means it’s hot a humid a lot of the time! I’ve been taking advantage of our apartment’s pool, my little deck, and the West Virginia recreation as much as possible. With only a few months left of this gorgeous season, I’ve put together a list of my 5 summer essentials for 2015.

Fruit salad

fruit-salad
There is truly nothing better than fruit salad right out of the refrigerator after being chilled for a few hours. This fruit salad has berries and pineapple with a little lime juice, honey and mint for flavor. Super simple and best right out of the fridge!

Cool cocktails

tropical-vodka-lemonade
This Tropical Vodka Lemonade is a little twist on one of my absolute favorite summer drinks. Usually you can find me sipping vodka mixed with plain lemonade, but for this cocktail I added some pineapple juice, grenadine and a cherry for color.

Good Friends

fruit-salad-and-cocktails
I’m not what you’d call and outdoorsy person, but I like to be outside in the summer as much as possible. I like to sit on my deck or sit by the pool or visit any of WV’s parks to do a little hiking with Molly. While I love visiting new places, I also love when my good friend Lenna comes over on random weeknights to to talk about girly stuff and laugh. Plus, she’s willing to sit in awkward photos with me if I ask her to (thanks Lenna)!

Sunglasses

Salt City Optics Ray Ban
So I actually took the plunge and got contacts this summer! While I love the new look and the options it gives me, I’m not always crazy about having a lens in my eye, so I still stick to prescription specs for some of the time (especially sunglasses). I like to swap out my styles and I’m always looking for new sites with options. Check out this site called Salt City Optics the next time you’re in need of a new pair. They offer 20% off with code SUNNY20 and you can get a pair of classic Ray-bans with prescription lenses for $126!

Sunscreen

coppertone-clearly-sheer
The last thing my twenty year old self would expect my… later-twenty-something self ;) to add to this list would be sunscreen, but I now wear sunscreen every time I’m in the sun. I love Coppertone Clearly Sheer in both the lotion and the spray. For my face I have to credit my friend Melia who told me about EltaMD facial sunscreen. After I made a horrible sunscreen recommendation to her, I feel forever grateful that she shared this little treasure with me. You can get EltaMD sunscreen at my THE BEST online skincare store out there: Dermstore.com.

I was asked to participate in a Sunny Essentials project by Salt City Optics. I was offered no payment for this post, but I wanted to let my fellow prescriptionistas know about another site to shop!

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Rosemary and Garlic Drop Biscuits

rosemary-garlic-drop-biscuit-recipe

I think when I look back on this summer in a few years I’ll consider it my ‘Herb Phase’. I have been growing basil, thyme and rosemary in little planters on my deck. Well, to be honest I was also growing cilantro, but I killed it. RIP cilantro! If the death of my cilantro means that my basil will flourish (which seems to be the case) then so be it. I’ll just make do with the herbs that want to grow and not die on me.

Even though it’s summer and really humid, I had this urge to bake, but was not in the mood for sweet. Getting back from 4th of July vacation where I acted like a complete and total glutton for 10 days straight, I promised myself I’d stay away from sweets for a while because I ate two elephant ears in two days, y’all. And a corn dog and some nachos. It was the county fair, I don’t even feel ashamed. So anyway, I wanted to bake some biscuits because I just replenished my baking powder supply and these little babies came to fruition.

Rosemary and Garlic Drop Biscuits

1 stick cold butter
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary – divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup milk
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cloves garlic

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400-degrees and lining your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together your flour, salt and garlic powder in a large bowl.

homemade-garlic-biscuits-dry-ingredients

Transfer your flour mixture into a food processor and add cold butter chopped into small-ish pieces.

homemade-garlic-biscuits-recipe

Turn your processor on and let it mix your flour mixture and butter until it combines and looks a little like slightly wet sand. You can also use a pastry blender, but I don’t have one (it’s on my registry, hint hint!) so I used my handy food processor.

homeade-garlic-biscuit-recipe

Pour your sandy mixture back into the bowl from earlier. Chop up your rosemary and add 2 teaspoons of it (reserve another teaspoon), along with your grated Parmesan cheese, to the flour mixture.

chopped rosemary

garlic-rosemary-biscuits-ingredients

Add your milk to the mixture and use a fork to gently combine.

garlic-rosemary-biscuit-ingredients

You don’t want to over mix it, just stir slowly until a sticky dough forms.

rosemary-garlic-biscuit-dough

Using a tablespoon measure, place heaping scoops on your parchment paper.

garlic-rosemary-drop-biscuit

drop biscuit recipe

Bake for 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

While those are baking, you’ll want to chop your garlic. Chop it up as finely as you can and then sprinkle it with salt. Use the side of your knife to smash it into the cutting board until you have a wet paste. Set aside

smashed-garlic

Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter on medium-low heat. Add your garlic and leftover teaspoon of rosemary to the melted butter and sauté for one minute until the garlic softens.

garlic-rosemary-butter

After the biscuits have baked for 10 minutes, take them out and spoon the melted butter and garlic mixture over each one.

garlic-rosemary-biscuits

garlic rosemary biscuit

Place them back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

garlic-rosemary-drop-biscuits

homemade-garlic-rosemary-biscuits

I stored these in a zip top bag for when my fiancé gets back from a trip. He’s still trying to eat low-carb so I’m sure he’ll be mad. But then he will eat one and all will be forgiven!

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Creamy Bacon and Gruyère Orzo

creamy bacon gruyere orzo recipe

Comfort Food Alert! I made this over the weekend because I had a half box of Orzo pasta in my cupboard, half a package of bacon and some Gruyère cheese that I’d been craving last time I was at the grocery store. Lucky for me, all of this came together in a creamy, dreamy one-pan meal! Did I mention it only takes about 20 minutes to make?

Creamy Bacon and Gruyère Orzo Recipe

8 slices bacon – cooked and chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves – minced
1-1/2 cup uncooked Orzo pasta
2-1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup Gruyere cheese
4-5 basil leaves

I start this by getting my bacon ready. Pre-heat your oven to 400-degrees.

If you’ve never baked your bacon then you’re really over complicating your life! To make mine, I actually lay it flat on a metal rack which is placed on a foil lined baking sheet. Less cleanup and the metal racks can just get thrown in the dishwasher!

uncooked bacon

Bake your bacon at 400-degrees for about 15-20 minutes until it’s just at the crispy point.

cooked bacon

Once your bacon is cooked, let it cool then chop it into small pieces. Set aside.

Start the pasta by melting your butter on medium high heat. Add in your chopped garlic and cook for one minute.

Add your uncooked orzo and cook while stirring for about two minutes.

raw orzo

Add your chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and cover your pan.

orzo recipe

Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You’ll still have some liquid leftover even after the pasta is cooked and that’s great! It will be a nice starchy liquid that serves as a sauce.

cooked orzo

Next you’ll add your cheese, bacon and basil and stir until combined. If it’s a little thick, add a bit more chicken broth. And that is IT! You’re done!

bacon gruyere basil orzo

gruyere bacon orzo

creamy bacon gruyere orzo

We ate this as a quick lunch, but it would also be good with some chicken breasts and a little veggie side. Try this Grilled Basil Garlic Chicken from A Family Feast. And since your oven would already be pre-heated to 400-degrees, I recommend some Roasted Green Beans.

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