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The School Lunch Round-Up: End of Summer Fast Approaching

Summer may be coming quickly to a close, but the lunches just keep coming! With a soon-to-be-1st-grader in summer day-camp and a preschooler doing his thing in preschool, every evening means taking a few minutes in the kitchen to ensure they are well-fed little ones the next day. With one swimming sometimes twice a day and the other being a 3-year-old… they both have a lot of energy they need kept fueled.

After sharing these first five lunches and then this update with five more, I noticed a trend and decided to just go with it. Thus begins a series of school lunch round-ups, brought to you at the end of every month when I pick five fab examples and share them with ya’ll.

As always, I’m using Easylunchboxes, the Mini-Dippers by the same brand, and Wilton Reusable Baking Cups. Heart them all so much!

School Lunch Round-Up: blueberry oatmeal muffins,  colby jack cheese cubes, a banana half, Kashi 7 Grain crisps, and baby-cut carrots | Painting Sunnyblueberry oatmeal muffins,  colby jack cheese cubes, a banana half, Kashi 7 Grain crisps, and baby-cut carrots

School Lunch Round-Up: mix of white and blue tortilla chips, seasoned black beans, colby jack cheese cubes, kiwi slices, and red grapes halved | Painting Sunnymix of white and blue tortilla chips, seasoned black beans, colby jack cheese cubes, kiwi slices, and red grapes halved

School Lunch Round-Up: whole wheat English muffin PBJ (or PB alternative), Chobani yogurt tube, blueberries from the local Farmer's Market, and thinly sliced cucumber | Painting Sunnywhole wheat English muffin PBJ (or PB alternative), Chobani yogurt tube, blueberries from the local Farmer’s Market, and thinly sliced cucumber

School Lunch Round-Up: mini-bagel with butter and strawberry jam, baby-cut carrots, Chobani yogurt tube, watermelon chunks, and cucumber chunks | Painting Sunnymini-bagel with butter and strawberry jam, baby-cut carrots, Chobani yogurt tube, watermelon chunks, and cucumber chunks

School Lunch Round-Up: slices of naan bread, hummus (in container), string cheese, sliced peach, and baby-cut carrots | Painting Sunnyslices of naan bread, hummus (in container), string cheese, sliced peach, and baby-cut carrots

I’m going for at least one vegetable and fruit every day, whenever possible, as well as getting a solid protein in there. These lunches are vegetarian as Haven doesn’t eat meat and they are both fine without it for lunch anyway.

Noticed there are three snacks there too? Haven’s day-camp asks that we send two snacks (one for morning, one for afternoon) and Diallo wants one in his lunchbag too, just for the sake of fairness. He usually eats his cereal bar in the morning on the way to school, since his preschool actually provides snacks twice a day – usually grown in their own school garden or from a local farmer or bakery!

Want more inspiration? Check out more lunches with me on Pinterest or peruse the EasyLunchBlog!

Anyone else go through naan bread in their family like crazy? Eating three peaches a day while they are in season? Cutting up cucumbers in a variety of styles to entice your children?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Links to products on Amazon may be affiliate links. Keepin’ it real.

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Read & Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Who loves cookies and humor about taxidermy? I’m estimating at least 6% of the population, that’s who. Doesn’t that pique your appetite? Let’s read and eat with my all-time-favorite-and-I’ve-tried-a-lot chocolate chip cookies (they are even healthified) and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Both are delicious.

Read & Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | Painting SunnyLet’s whip up these cookies based on Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe at Eating Well and then settle down with a good book. Maybe make some tea or grab some milk? Or tea with milk? Do people really do that still?

The only real differences between the original recipe and my version are:

  • I used quick oats instead of rolled oats, because I had some and can never tell the difference.
  • The I use whole wheat flour as the recipe calls for, but I usually use whole wheat pastry flour, or sometimes “white whole wheat”. The pastry flour makes them much more light and delicate, crispy around the edges but still substantial. Mmmmm. It isn’t always easy to find at the grocery store, though.
  • I used a bunch of random types of chocolate to use up my stash and to change it up.
  • I TRIPLE the recipe. Go big or go home – I’m not playing games here.

Read & Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | Painting SunnyThe first step of the recipe calls for grinding the oats in a blender or food processor.  Honestly, it’s prob not necessary to do if you don’t have one or don’t feel like it. Still, when I do I food process the oats into a course meal as shown in Exhibit A the picture above.

Read & Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | Painting SunnyDid I mention I used a bunch of random chocolates? Yep. Different recipes call for different things, and I end up with bits of everything. Since I tripled the recipe I needed 3 cups of chocolate. This included milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, another brand of semi-sweets, and chopped up baker’s semi-sweet chocolate. The melted chunks in the cookies are always so nice from the chopped stuff… mmm.

Read & Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | Painting SunnyIf you make an obscene amount of cookie dough (I’m pretty self-aware) there are several methods for what to do with it. Sometimes, I just spend an afternoon baking them all, cool them all thoroughly, and then freeze them in freezer bags with the air sucked out of them. Other times, I freeze the dough.

You can see above my method for what to do with the dough when freezing it. I keep in the bowl what I want to bake that day, then portion the rest into pieces of saran wrap which I wrap tight around the dough until it looks like a tube, then twist the ends. The dough-tubes can now be placed inside a quart-sized freezer bag. Just stick them in the fridge to thaw the night before you want to cookie-it-up.

BTW, I usually use a plastic straw to suck the air out of the bags. It’s high tech.

Read & Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | Painting Sunny

Strange bed fellows?

Yes, the above picture was posted to Twitter in May, from an airport lounge where I was waiting on a flight to take me to a job interview. I got the job – so I guess I may owe it partially to Jenny Lawson… and Junot Diaz. Probably not sharing the salary, but a sincere thanks seems to be in order.

Travel is totally exhausting, for me. I always have a hard time staying focused and energized. Usually I’m not that person who is reading several books at once, but on an airplane I like to pick two and switch between them. A combination of one book that is intense/serious and one book that is hilarious/irreverent seems balanced and provides some perspective when you’re considering a 5 dollar bagel while breathing in recycled air. Try it out sometime.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

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She is funny, and so is her book. So let’s just get that settled right at the start. Jenny Lawson is irreverent, charming, mildly concerning, and very entertaining. She makes your weird family feel at-least-normal-level-weird. Jenny somehow both self-deprecates and ego-inflates herself. It’s weird and sounds impossible, but makes for some well-rounded story-telling.

I’m not going to use the word “quirky” or say she is the “female David Sedaris” because everyone else has a million times. I will say it is just a good book, all comparisons aside. If you’re a fan of her blog (The Bloggess) you know how she works, and I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

If you aren’t a Lawsbian (the name given to her fans, though I’m not clear by who…) be honest with yourself before reading. If you like the idea of “edgy” but cringe at swear words or morbid dead-animal jokes, this is probably not your cup of tea. I don’t know why I keep talking about tea today either, let’s put that aside.

Loved the Let’s Pretend This Never Happened? Check our Laurie Notaro (my favorites are this one and this one). She has been a fav of mine for years, and while a little less morbid and a little more raunchy than Jenny Lawson – it’s good times, for sure.

You can find the book here, or The Bloggess at her blog and on Twitter, where she is sort of omnipresent. If you’re just starting, try with this post – it’s a quick and accurate introduction.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Links to products on Amazon may be affiliate links. Keepin’ it real.

PSS: If you’re interested in more Reading & Eating, check out this post.


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Let’s Do Lunch Again Sometime

Like, today. Or even better, every day this week!

Consider this the third installment of my learning-to-pack-school-lunches trilogy. Kind of like Mockingjay is to the Hunger Games, or Breaking Dawn is to Twilight. Let’s not even get into Harry Potter, those things go on and on. Didn’t their high school last 8 years or something? Can you imagine basically living through high school twice?

Okay, let’s put that nightmare aside and get back to business. When I realized I was about to begin packing lunches for the kids for the first time ever, I did my research and planned compulsively accordingly, then I went ahead and jumped right into it with my first full week. Since then, I’ve tried a couple things again, found some things that didn’t work and a few that were quite successful, and remembered to a few photos along the way. I think it’s best if we start with the successes. Let’s the games begin!

More School Lunches:  PBJ on whole wheat English muffin, string cheese, diced watermelon, and cinnamon Chex cereal | Painting Sunny

PBJ on whole wheat English muffin, string cheese, diced watermelon, and cinnamon Chex cereal

More School Lunches: Blueberry oatmeal muffin, cubed cheese, wheat crackers, baby carrots, diced cucumbers, and ranch dip | Painting SunnyBlueberry oatmeal muffin, cubed cheese, wheat crackers, carrots, cucumbers, and ranch dip

More School Lunches: Cheese quesadilla, salsa, sliced grapes, and cinnamon Chex cereal | Painting SunnyCheese quesadilla, salsa, sliced grapes, and cinnamon Chex cereal

More School Lunches: Bagel sliced with butter and jam, blueberry oatmeal muffin, Greek yogurt tube, diced watermelon, and baby carrots | Painting SunnyBagel sliced with butter and jam, blueberry oatmeal muffin, Greek yogurt tube, diced watermelon, and baby carrots  More School Lunches: Naan bread slices, vegetable hummus, baby carrots, string cheese, and sliced grapes | Painting Sunny

Naan bread slices, vegetable hummus, baby carrots, string cheese, and sliced grapes

Yes, one of the challenges is keeping the kids hands out of the lunch boxes the night before. Those grapes go missing so easily…More School Lunches:  | Painting Sunny

Those blueberry oatmeal muffins have been a hit. Remember when I baked them? I froze about half of them still in the silicone baking cups, and when I’m packing lunches in the evening (to be eaten the next day) I just pop them into the lunch box and they have thawed the next morning. Voila!

I almost always accidentally write viola and then have to correct it to voila. It would make no sense to be talking about violas right now.

As always, these lunches were made with EasyLunchboxes and the Mini-Dippers containers by the same brand (those are Amazon affiliate links). I’m not paid or perked to mention any brands, I just really have loved using them! They work out perfectly for our family. Check out their blog for a mega-ton of ideas, too.

Another success has been the No-Nut Pea Butter – the boy totally eats it! So far as I know he hasn’t noticed it’s not real peanut butter. When it runs out, I am totally trying out a few other things, though… thank you all for the awesome suggestions! You are my mentors on this journey.

What has not panned out the way I hoped? Just one thing that was so overwhelming disdained by the children it shall never be repeated. Cold macaroni and cheese. You would have thought I’d sent lumps of charcoal and stewed spinach by their reactions. In my defense, it was homemade delicious mac and cheese and personally I like cold mac and cheese. That, apparently, is not a hereditary trait.

Someone asked me what lunch bags I use. Good question, my friend! There is a link to a similar one to the type I picked up at Target right here. Ours looks a bit different (the front pocket Velcros rather than zips). I bought three of them, two blue and one black so we would have a spare in case a grown-up in the household wanted to pack a lunch or if one didn’t make it home. It’s worked out awesomely. Like, the boxes fit easily but snugly inside, nothing shifts around, the front pocket holds snacks and the top mesh compartment fits an ice pack. It’s like I designed a cooler bag just for my purposes, which never happens for me!

Anyone else tried to feed their kids cold mac and cheese? Others weirdos like me who prefer their pasta or pizza less-than-hot?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


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Read & Eat: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins & The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

I really love to read. I also really, really love to eat and the two end up coinciding frequently. I believe I obsessed over The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon while cuddling one of those giant cardboard boxes of Goldfish Crackers. I pretty much devoured both.

Considering a book can be paired with a snack like you can pair a wine with a fancy cheese, I thought it would be fun to try something new over here. I’ve done food recipe reviews and I’ve done book reviews, but never at the same time. So, let’s read and eat.

Read & Eat: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins & The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner | Painting Sunny

For me, Jennifer Weiner novels are a comfort food and a sweet indulgence, all at once. They are the quintessential beach reads, but also perfect for a cozy night in with a cup of tea and some sort of baked good. I think The Next Best Thing pairs very nicely with these warm, blueberry oatmeal muffins that are also indulgent, but from the Cooking Light website aren’t quite a guilty-pleasure. The paperback copy of The Next Best Thing was part of my Mother’s Day gift from Mr. Sunny – thanks babe, love you!

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

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I’ve long been a Jennifer Weiner fan, and my bookshelf serves nicely as evidence. Any time I read multiple books by an author, over time, I always connect more with some books than others. Among an author’s complete works, some books just feel fresher, sweeter, and more true to the writer as well as the topic. This is one of those books. Not since Little Earthquakes Everywhere (yes, my all-time favorite by Weiner) have I enjoyed one of her novels so much.

Ruth provides a new perspective, with a new set of challenges than the usual characters within Weiner’s books, or the genre for that matter. Like Little Earthquakes, it had light and funny moments and yet still retained a poignancy and insight into some very real hardships for women in our lives. The one note that fell a little funny for me were the antagonist supporting-characters. While Ruth is easy to love and can be the underdog you truly hope to see succeed, the starlets felt hollow and very much like the Hollywood stereotypes I’m accustomed to. Then again, Jennifer has been in real Hollywood and I haven’t – so maybe those stereotypes are more tackily true that I want to believe.

Speaking of Hollywood, when I read the Q&A and made the connection between Jennifer Weiner’s similar experience and the novel, I almost wished I had stayed in the dark. The storyline felt so original and effortless to sink into, I wanted to preserve it that way in my mind and not begin comparing it to any real-life drama. So, don’t Google it too fast, okay? The novel’s insight into the television-pitch process is fascinating enough, I promise.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins by Cooking Light


The original draw of this recipe was to find a healthy-ish addition to my kid’s school lunches and snacks that they would still find tasty. You know, they made a pretty tasty snack for myself as well! Warm out of the oven, the blueberries work well with the heartier density of the oatmeal and wheat flour, so don’t skimp on the berries. I make it a point to follow a recipe to a T the first time I make it, and tried to do the same here. The only change is that where the original recipe recommends using all-purpose flour and wheat flour separately, I went ahead and used “white wheat flour” for both amounts – it’s what I had on hand and I was in a bit of a hurry.

The batter comes out thin, but the muffins come out surprisingly springy and filling. The lemon zest was pretty crucial, I found – it added a fresher taste that kept the muffins from feeling too heavy, and made them smell divine.  They don’t have the lightness and sweet bliss of more indulgent, bakery-style muffins so keep in mind that to add that healthy quality, sometimes you have to adjust your expectations a bit. Still, I’ll be making them again.

Read & Eat: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins & The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner | Painting Sunny

Anyone else believe that zest can be like the glue that holds the recipe together? Read Jennifer Weiner’s latest release? Eat those goldfish crackers shamelessly straight out of the giant box?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Links to products on Amazon may be affiliate links. Keepin’ it real.


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The First Five: School Lunch Updates, Celebrating One Full Week!

We survived our first week! Surprisingly well, I might add. Well, at least when it comes to lunches… we are figuring all the rest out, too. I received a couple of requests for an update when I had some lunches under my belt… well, the kid’s belts anyway. JK, kid’s don’t wear belts. Or at least mine don’t… except for seat-belts, obviously. I hope that was obvious. Anyway, I feel completely off track now.

Here is a break-down of what I put together for the first five days, and at least for the most part they seem to have been a hit with both kids! That almost qualifies for a miracle.

BTW, I’m using Easylunchboxes brand boxes and loooooove them! The Mini-Dipper containers are pretty nifty too. (Those are Amazon affiliate links). I’m not paid or perked to say nice things about them; they are just working out really well for us!

Day 1: Monday

School Lunch Idea, Day 1: Cheese, crackers, watermelon, muffin, dried mango | Painting Sunny

Cheese, crackers, watermelon, dried mango, and an apple-cinnamon oat-bran muffin

The muffins… well, did not turn out well. I went back and read the reviews and apparently the original recipe left out a couple things that would have helped, so I’m determined to try again. Also, notice those snacks set out along the side? My daughter needs two snacks sent along for her day camp, too. Those are a fruit & grain bar (generic brand) and some goldfish crackers/pretzels mixed together.

Day 2: Tuesday

School Lunch Idea, Day 2: Tortilla chips, salsa, berries & grapes, yogurt, dried mango | Painting Sunny

Tortilla chips, salsa (hidden in the little dip holder), berries & cut-up grapes, Greek yogurt, dried mango

I love those Chobani yogurt tubes, and so do the kids – and honestly, if they are on sale they can be more affordable than regular yogurts. I buy the big 16-pack at one time. They just barely folded in half to fit in the boxes!

Day 3: Wednesday

School Lunch Idea, Day 3: Mini Bagel, hummus, apple, string cheese, carrots | Painting Sunny

Mini Bagel, hummus (hidden in the little dip holder), apple, string cheese, carrots

So, I read a few somewheres that if you tossed apple slices with orange juice until they were lightly coated, they would not brown. I wasn’t there at lunch time when the kids got them out, but I can vouch that it appeared to work in the morning; I tossed the slices in the juice and they immediately stopped browning an stayed fresh looking through the entire packing process. Cool, right?

Day 4: Thursday

School Lunch Idea, Day 4: Quesadilla, watermelon, peas, muffin | Painting Sunny

Cheese quesadilla, watermelon, peas, muffin

This was a quick one to make! The kids had watermelon and peas for dinner the night before, so it was easy to put some in the lunchboxes at the same time I added it to their dinner plate. They don’t mind eating any of the stuff cold (they can’t heat their lunches at school, so it is all straight from their cooler bag). I made the quesadilla the night before with just some shredded cheese and a tortilla, and they each got half of one.

Day 5: Friday

   School Lunch Idea, Day 5: PBJ (or nut free butter), string cheese, apple, carrots, red peppers | Painting Sunny

PBJ (or nut free butter), string cheese, apple, carrots, red peppers

Lo’s has a blue note visible in the photo (later stuck to the top of the lunchbox) explaining that it is not peanut butter but “No-Nut” brand butter made from peas. I know, crazy, right? We will see how he likes it… I’ve never used it before! His preschool is nut-free, so I wanted to try out an alternative. The jar is expensive, but it is only him eating it for an occasion lunch, so I think it’ll be alright. Haven likes red bell papers and Lo doesn’t (honestly, I can’t stand them either) and since we had half of one in the fridge I added that to just hers.

You might notice that there is no meat in any of the lunches; Haven doesn’t eat meat (her own adamant choice when she was five) and Diallo does, but it is just easier to pack the same lunch for both of them. He can have meat at dinner, and I don’t think he really needs it more than when he is at home. It’s mostly just because it’s easier this way, and he doesn’t seem to miss it.

Anyone else trying out peanut-butter alternatives? Heard of this apple-dipped-in-orange-juice phenomenon? Hate a food that your kid loves? Please, share any other lunch ideas! I’m bound to run out eventually…

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Links to products on Amazon may be affiliate links. Keepin’ it real.


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Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish

Anyone else have issues spelling zucchini? I seriously never get it right. That one little n seems so lonely, I just want to add another one… Anyway, this dish was so easy, so affordable, and so healthy – I was pretty skeptical at how it would taste. It was, in fact, delicious. The black beans are a boost are protein in the otherwise vegetarian dish.

Both the hubs and I went back for more. I won’t say it was a hit with the kids, because to be honest they just will not get on board with anything they can identify zucchini in. Kids are weird.

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish | Painting Sunny

I pinned this recipe from ReadySetEat ages ago, and immediately forgot about it. So glad to have rediscovered it this weekend!

I changed it up a little bit to suite our taste and pantry, so the recipe shown right here is not quite the same as the original one. I normally try to give the original recipe a shot first, but I try to switch out white rice for brown rice and I don’t eat bell peppers (slight allergic reaction to the green ones which makes me disdainful of all the bell pepper varieties.)

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish | Painting Sunny

Let’s raid our pantries! Concise recipe at the bottom of post.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbl canola oil
  • 3 medium zucchini’s, quartered lengthwise and then chopped.
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup instant brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar jack, just ‘cuz)

Note: The taste is really, surprisingly good… but I like things kicked up a notch, so next time I will add more seasoning. BTW, I really do think Hunt’s fire-roasted tomatoes have the best flavor, and the least weird-tomato-parts in the can.

The reviews at the original link had a bunch of suggestions for things to add or alter, and they sound delicious! This is a great recipe to experiment with.

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish | Painting Sunny

Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until it is shimmery but not smoky.

Add your zucchini and stir to coat it in oil. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish | Painting Sunny

When the zucchini is mostly done but not-quite-cooked-through, add the black beans, tomatoes (without draining), and the water. Stir well.

Increase the heat to high, and allow it to come to a boil.

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish | Painting Sunny

When it has come to a boil, add the rice and stir well.

Cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Let it stand for 7-9 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Sprinkle with cheese! Isn’t that always the best part?

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish | Painting Sunny

Anyone thinking of a good acronym for this dish? ZBBR does have a fun ring to it, I think. Anyone else avoiding those weird tomato parts in cans? Nothing is worse, I swear. Ideas for veggies to toss into this dish?

Zucchini, Black Bean & Rice Skillet Dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbl canola oil
  • 3 medium zucchini’s, quartered lengthwise and then chopped.
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup instant brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar jack, just ‘cuz)

Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until it is shimmery but not smoky. Add your zucchini and stir to coat it in oil. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the zucchini is mostly done but not-quite-cooked-through, add the black beans, tomatoes (without draining), and the water. Stir well. Increase the heat to high, and allow it to come to a boil. When it has come to a boil, add the rice and stir well. Cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Let it stand for 7-9 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with cheese!


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Lemony Spaghetti

I almost made a Lemony Snicket reference, but it really felt like a stretch, you know? Like, “Lemony Spaghetti’s Series of Tasty Ingredients” or something. Nope, really didn’t work.

This recipe sort of worked, and sort of didn’t. I believe some people will love the tart and different flavor. Others will find it slightly strange if you’re used to red sauce, pesto, or other more common pasta sauces in the U.S. I was looking for some lighter summer pasta recipes, and found this recipe on Food Network, from Giada. This post is not sponsored in any way, BTW.

I will say, it was easy and affordable; so why not give it a shot sometime when you’re in the mood to experiment?

Lemony Spaghetti | Painting Sunny

NOTE: I halved the recipe from the original source, and omitted the basil as I sensed my children would reject it. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti noodles
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbl unsalted butter (this is my own addition)

Of course, choose some yummy sides to go along with it!

Lemony Spaghetti | Painting Sunny

Start your pasta to boil, and cook according to instructions to achieve al dente status.

Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

After the spaghetti is finished cooking, drain the spaghetti and stir into the oil/cheese/lemony sauce.

I found that the lemon stood out a bit too much, so I stirred 1 tbl of unsalted butter into the noodles and it gave it a softer taste.

Lemony Spaghetti | Painting Sunny

Viola! That was easy, wasn’t it?

Lemony Spaghetti | Painting Sunny

Of course, having a good vegetable side is key with pasta. I grabbed some baby portobello mushrooms I had on hand, and a handful of asparagus.

Lemony Spaghetti | Painting Sunny

I heated about 2 tbls of olive oil in a pan, and tossed the asparagus and sliced mushrooms in with the oil. I then let them cook on medium heat for about 6 minutes, turning them once during cooking to get them nice and crisply cooked through.

Lemony Spaghetti | Painting Sunny

If nothing else, it sure looks pretty.

Anyone else try this? Please let me know how you respond to the taste! I couldn’t decide, I think I really just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Any other light summer pasta dishes I should try? Please share! There is only so much pesto a girl can eat! Okay, that’s not true. There is never enough pesto.

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

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