Roasted Vegetable Pesto Shells with Toasted Pine Nuts

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If you were to look in our fridge in the summertime, nine times out of ten you'd find a mason jar of homemade pesto. It is definitely a favorite of ours. Cam loves it just as much as I do, if not more. My good friend Meredith brought me a whole bag of fresh basil from the vegetable market last week, so I restocked our pesto supply. It's just too good not to eat all summer long! It's adds an amazing freshness and flavor to many different kinds of dishes. This time, I used my pesto on large pasta shells, stuffed with roasted local eggplants and tomatoes, and topped with fresh Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. It was simple to make and was such a delicious dinner + leftovers.

Miyajima Island, {Mainland} Japan

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Monday, August 27, 2012

From Iwakuni, we took a train North and hopped on a ferry to Miyajima Island, which is believed in the Japanese Shinto religion to be sacred. There are wild deer everywhere that freely roam the village streets and are also believed to be sacred. You can touch them {little kids were hugging them!} and walk around with them, and they come up to you and nuzzle your side. Because it's a sacred island in Japan, no one is allowed to be born there or die there...  It is a beautiful, mountainous island with the most darling streets and markets along the water. It's also home to one of the most famous sites in Japan - the floating Torii Gate. We loved spending the day in such a quaint place.
 {Local, fresh, grilled Oysters are sold on every little street}
The island's symbol is the Japanese Maple Leaf and you can buy Maple cookies throughout every street. We strolled around to the wafting, amazing smell of baking cookies. I of course chose the chocolate kind. I can hear you laughing, Pops!
...
I apologize for not posting sooner - the typhoon knocked out our internet, but -- it's over! -- and the sun is thankfully starting to come back out.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Travels on Mainland Japan {Part 1}

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

{taking the cable car up to...}
 {Iwakuni Castle}
{Stella is thee most angelic baby alive. Even while traveling!}
{Prayers hanging from trees and posts around the temple}
We just got back a few hours ago. Ah, it's good to be home! Now I'm just waiting for my honey to get back home too. We're all making it just in time - Okinawa is supposed to get hit Saturday by the biggest typhoon it has had in 13 years. If we don't lose internet this weekend, I will definitely keep you updated.

This was such an awesome trip.
Japan is easily one of my most favorite countries to travel in.  I've never felt so safe {or clean!!} or come across such polite people and fascinating landscapes and towns all in one place. We absolutely loved getting to see part of Southern Japan. As soon as we landed last Saturday, we headed for Kintai Bridge, which was built in the 1600's without a single nail {!) for Samurai. They lived in the village across the bridge and were the only ones allowed to use it. Today, you can walk across it and through their former village. There's an expansive, gorgeous park around it with tall Pines & Japanese Maple trees, streams and peaceful walkways. At the end of it, you can take a cable car up to Iwakuni Castle where the view was absolutely stunning of the surrounding mountain range and city below.

More to come... (:

Gush for the Birthday Boy

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Today is my sweet husband's birthday. 
If you're reading this from the field, my love, Happy happy birthday! I love you! 
I can't wait to celebrate you when we both get home!

To the AMAZING man who...
still gives me butterflies, 
loves Christ passionately, 
bear hugs me every single day, 
works as hard as he possibly can day in and day out, 
tells me the sweetest things I actually get tears in my eyes, 
cracks us all up,
is my adventurer,
can make my knees weak when his whole face smiles
happiest birthday!

I'm so so so so thankful to have been given another year with you, Darling. 
Your life is my life and home.

Travel Bug

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Friday, August 17, 2012

It's about that time again. (:
The travel bug that forever dwells in my tummy is fluttering like crazy.
My other half is away for work and instead of being miss lonely hearts without him {I miss you already!},
I'm trying to hop on a flight with two girlfriends to go travel to a new place. I'm so thankful to be able to do that and to have girlfriends who are just as willing to be sporadic and do one of my favorite things in this world - travel!
I'll let you know if we make it on a flight. I hope hope we do!

Happy weekend! xo!

Summer to Fall via Dessert on Our Back Deck

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When an idea pops in my head for a yummy meal, I have to make it right away to see if it's as good in reality as in theory. The idea this time was for something that would encompass both the end of summer and the coming of Fall. I love these two seasons and love that they can both be represented in one dish. The combination? Mango sorbet with fresh nectarines and dragonfruit with big molasses cookies to dip it in.  So so good.
I rarely make dessert, but Cam was a huge fan of this one, as was my sweet tooth.

The local dragonfruit are in abundance at our neighborhood farmer's market right now.

It's so hot here right now that I froze the molasses cookies after baking to make them crunchier and easier to dip into the sorbet. If you bake the cookies ahead of time, you have a dessert that would only take a minute or two to put together.
 In the few minutes it took to snap these photos, the heat turned my sorbet into soup.

{all photos Copyright Amanda Marshall}

Molasses Cookies for Dipping:
*Recipe adapted from All Recipes*

2 1/4 C Flour
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Water
1/3 Cup Molasses

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Stir together flour, spices & salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the water and molasses. Fold in the flour mixture.  Roll the dough into walnut sized pieces and roll them each in a small bowl of white sugar before placing on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and soft in the middle. 

Serve hot or freeze for later with mango sorbet & freshly sliced nectarine & dragonfruit or your favorite summer fruit. Enjoy!

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