Fresh Finds – Bring on the Sunshine!

If your like me, the guest potty is the perfect opportunity to shine as a host. I love to add pressed hand towels that reflect the season coupled with homemade hand soap. It’s a nice touch with a little vase of freshly picked flowers from my garden, to show your guests that you care about their experience while visiting you.
My garden is a major priority during the summer months because tending to my vegetables and cuttings now means a better harvest and opportunity to can and put away for the winter months to come. Healthy living happens with a diligent practice of conscious good choices and so does a good garden grow with thematically taking the time to care and tend to those herbs and vegetables by keeping the weeds that suck up there nutrients out! My “Auntie A’s Special Weeds NO MORE garden spray” will keep those bugs away without creating an environmental unfriendly mess both with your plants, our bees and your gut!
There’s nothing that tastes more of summer than my blueberry, basil and goat cheese pie. The plump blueberries take me back to hanging onto an old fence in the mountains of North Carolina and picking fresh berries right off the bush and gobbling them down before they ever made it to my granny’s kitchen.
An impressive dish that’s easy to make is my BBQ strawberry chicken! Everyone loves it and making it allows my strawberry garden (all the hard work I have put into it I might add) to shine! Lastly if you’re like me and love a crisp salad poolside with ahem…a cold glass of white wine you’ll love my bacon, avocado and gorgonzola salad. You’ll find all the recipes here! 

The Best Hand Soap EVER! 

What I really think you’ll love about this recipe is the flexibility. During the spring and summer months you can add a few drops of rose or geranium essential oils and to stay in tune with the seasons you can make a batch with cinnamon or clove or peppermint in the winter. Your guests and yourself will feel a little extra pampering at the small attention to detail! 
You’ll need:
  • A soap dispenser preferably glass 
  • 1/2 cup of castille soap
  • 2/1/2 cups distilled water
  • 10-15 drops of essential oils (choose those that reflect the season) 
  • 2 tablespoons of vitamin E oil
Fill your container with distilled water followed by all the other ingredients. Place on the sink in the guest potty and enjoy a moisturizing and fantastically scented experience! 

Auntie A’s Special Weeds NO MORE  Garden Spray

You’ll need:
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of castille soap
  • 5-10 drops of cinnamon essential oil
  • spray bottle
Mix in a spray bottle and very carefully aim this at the weeds only. This mixture does best when used on a sunny day so that the vinegar’s acetic acid can use the sun to effectively kill those weeds. Be warned though that you must not spray the vegetables or flowers with it because vinegar kills everything! 

Alisa’s Blueberry Basil and Goat Cheese Pie

You’ll need:
  • Pastry puff dough
  • 2 cups of the plumpiest gorgeous blueberries that you can lay your hands on
  • 2 tbsp plus a handful of sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp minced freshly picked basil from your garden
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the oven for 375, Spray your pan and place the puff pastry down
Combine plump berries, sugar, cornstarch, and basil. spoon that into the center of the dough and fold the pastry around the mixture leaving it open in the center. Take the egg and mix with water to make a wash and brush that over the edges of the dough. Toss a handful of more sugar over the top and bake for 30 mins. Remove and top with the goats cheese and bake some some more…around 10 mins. When cool add more basil leaves freshly cut! 

Best BBQ Strawberry Chicken

You’ll need:
  • 4 chicken breasts or 8 thighs (I chose thighs because that’s what my family likes but either will do fine)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce ( I like FOOD TRK  Dang ‘Jang BBQ Sauce with peaches and molasses)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup freshly sliced strawberries
Preheat oven to 350. In a large oven proof skillet brown  the chicken. Remove from pan and add in onions. When minions are a little tender add the BBQ sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and honey and let boil to thicken for about 6 mins. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for 15-20 mins in oven. When done remove and add the fresh strawberries! 

Auntie A’s Bacon Avocado Salad

This salad is so popular it is often requested when having a gathering. The children eat it no questions asked and I think it’s because I use fresh bacon and a lot of it! 
You’ll need:
  • 1 bunch of romaine chopped into squares
  • 8 pieces of Wrights brand hickory smoked bacon cooked and torn into chunky pieces
  • 3 medium tomatoes ( to make it even more beautiful try using one heirloom, one red and one yellow)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 3 medium rip avocados peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 
For the dressing: 
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic-minced
In your jar add all ingredients for the dressing and shake it up baby! In another bowl dice up all those avocados and add the lemon juice. In another big bowl place the romaine, bacon, tomatoes and onion. Add to that big bowl the lemony avocado cubes and Gorgonzola cheese. Pour the dressing over it all and stir til completely covered. Enjoy! I have found that this salad is so filling it can be used as an entire meal.
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