Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Black Bean-Mushroom-Tortilla Casserole

Here is a simple, quick meal you can prepare on a weeknight after work. The nice thing about this dish is that it provides leftovers for the next evening (it's just me and my husband so we get two meals out of it). If you are vegan, you can make it using non-dairy cheese. It's also vegetarian and gluten-free. The mushrooms make it "meaty" and substantial while the beans offer protein. Enjoy!

Black Bean-Mushroom-Tortilla Casserole
Serves 4

Olive or avocado oil
1 lb. button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
8 corn tortillas, halved
1-1/2 cups salsa
4 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat a few teaspoons olive or avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Add the black beans and stir to combine. Cook until beans are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2) In a 2-quart baking dish, arrange 5 tortilla halves, overlapping slightly. Top with half the mushroom-bean mixture and 1/2 cup salsa, then sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortilla halves, bean mixture, salsa and cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, salsa and cheese (add more cheese if you like it cheesier). Cover with foil and bake until center is hot, about 10 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 to 8 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs

Indoor/outdoor rugs are a wonderful invention. They are especially good to have indoors when you have pets, as they can be taken outside, scrubbed and hosed off when needed (and when you have dogs, it will be needed!).

This 5' x 8' rug -- the Damen synthetic kilim rug by Pottery Barn -- is a new addition to our porch. I really like how the colors coordinate with the paint color of our house and the existing accessories on the porch. It has a nice softness to it -- doesn't feel synthetic at all.

The dogs like it too. Before we put it on the porch, we had it in the studio over another synthetic rug. We liked the look of it indoors too, and almost didn't put it on the porch, but I'm glad we did. It's the perfect finishing touch for this outdoor room.

The other synthetic rugs we have in our house are meant to look like sisal. We have them in each of the three bedrooms and the mudroom for practicality because of the dogs. They are durable, washable and feel nice underfoot. They are inexpensive and easy to replace if needed. Do you use indoor/outdoor rugs in your home decorating?


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Honey & Maple Syrup

There's a new store in town that sells supplies for beekeeping, chicken raising and hydroponics/gardening. They also sell a wide assortment of honey and some locally made foods and soaps, books, baskets and other items. It's a charming little store!

All the honey they sell on tap is available for sampling, as are most of the bottled varieties. We tried every single one that's on tap, from African to bourbon-infused. One of our favorites was the Tupelo honey. I also liked the coffee-infused; it didn't taste like coffee, but was interesting and different. The African is very dark and similar in taste to molasses. There were so many varieties, and I liked all but maybe one of them.

My husband loves honeycomb, so he chose a large box from Cloister Honey out of Charlotte, NC. I don't care for chewing or eating the wax, so I just enjoy the honey and discard the rest. Paul likes to eat the whole thing. Some say the comb has health benefits.

When I tasted Trees Knees Cinnamon Maple syrup by Bushwick Kitchen, below, I fell in love. I am a huge fan of maple syrup, and this stuff is amazing. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Bushwick Kitchen also has an assortment of honeys, from plain to salted to spicy. And they have a spicy maple syrup and sriracha sauce, too.

I couldn't wait to make pancakes on Sunday morning so I could enjoy our new cinnamon maple syrup! These pancakes are made from Trader Joe's gluten-free buttermilk pancake mix.

Are you a fan of honey or maple syrup -- or both? How do you use these sweeteners in your cooking and beverages? Share your ideas! I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

7 Perfect Cocktails for Summer

Summertime is cocktail season. When we were at the beach in early June, we enjoyed gin and tonics and Tom Collins cocktails nearly every day (you know you're on vacation when 3 in the afternoon rolls around and you start fixing gin and tonics!). I thought I'd share some new cocktail recipes with you (that feature a sparkling red wine called Rosa Regale) as well as some favorites I've featured on the blog before.


Bella Rosa (pictured above)
Mix 1 oz. raspberry vodka and 1 oz. pineapple juice in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with 2 oz. chilled Rosa Regale wine. Garnish with pineapple spear.

I haven't tried the next one, and would have to buy more wine in order to make it, but it sounds really good.

Rosa Mimosa
Mix 2 oz. chilled orange juice and 1 oz. triple sec (orange flavored liqueur). Pour into flute glass and top with 2 oz. chilled Rosa Regale. Garnish with a strawberry

Find more Rosa Regale recipes here.

One of  my favorite summer cocktails is the Tom Collins (gin is my favorite liquor).

These blueberry margaritas are pretty yummy, too.

This cocktail has Pimm's, gin and St. Germaine elderflower liqueur. It is one of my very favorites. Go here to see the recipe, which was given to me by a bartender at the restaurant that invented it -- very generous of her!

This next drink, thyme lemonade, can be served nonalcoholic or spiked with gin. I forgot about this one -- I need to make it again. It's delicious!!!

And summer wouldn't be complete without watermelon margaritas. This recipe is unique and delicious (though, as I mentioned in the post, a bit labor intensive).

What is your drink of choice -- alcoholic or not -- during the sweltering months of summer? Leave a comment here and share your favorites! Thanks for visiting My Little Bungalow.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Simple Summer Entertaining

Summer entertaining is all about keeping it simple. For me, that means reducing cooking time (not having to turn on the oven) and choosing foods that are light, fresh and healthy.

Last night we had friends over for dinner and I chose a simple, French salade Niçoise as the main course. For an appetizer, I served black peppercorn pâté, a delicious dill goat cheese, organic red grapes and black Mission figs with mini wheat crackers and gluten-free almond crackers.

For the salad, the only foods that required cooking were the eggs, green beans and potatoes -- all cooked on the stovetop. The platter, from top left, featured: boiled yellow potatoes, peppadew peppers and pitted Niçoise olives, cornichons (in white bowl), capers (in small glass bowl), tuna, steamed green beans, hard boiled eggs and sliced farm-fresh tomatoes. Super simple, super healthy. On the side was a bowl of organic balsamic vinaigrette from Whole Foods. Not shown here was a bowl of fresh mozzarella ciliegine.  

For dessert, I served organic vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate toffee sauce by Stonewall Kitchen -- delicious!

I set the table with a natural fiber runner that I bought years ago at Pottery Barn. Surprisingly, they still sell it (it's called the nubby table runner). A vase of white hydrangea,  black plates and black cloth napkins rounded out the table. Candles in black and gold votive holders were lit during dinner.

What are you plans for the July 4th holiday? I have to work on Monday but will enjoy having Tuesday off. We may attend church service in the morning, and in the evening we'll take in a fireworks show that a nearby country club puts on every year. It's less than a 10 minute drive from our home. Fingers crossed, the weather will be good! 

I hope that whatever you do to celebrate this Independence Day holiday, you stay safe and enjoy a wonderful day. Thanks for visiting MLB!

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