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Charred Corn & Summer Squash Pilaf with Creamy Pesto Dressing

A mouthful, yes?  But a delicious one, I assure you.  Somehow the idea of a yogurt-basil dressing had cemented itself in my brain, but when I tried it, the dish just didn't...pop.  It tasted plenty basil-y on its own, but mixed with the rest of the ingredients, it was just sort of blah.

So I tinkered with it and made it into more of a yogurt pesto to pump up the flavor, and oh, the flavor, it was pumped.  I love that the yogurt made it moist and cool without being overly heavy for the 90-degree-and-humid temps we've had this week.  With the addition of the beans, it was a perfect one-dish meal, but is also great alongside a big green salad and baked potato.  Delicious hot and cold and probably with any random CSA veggie of your choice.

Charred Corn & Summer Squash Pilaf with Creamy Pesto Dressing
Inspired by this

2 cups of brown rice/quinoa/a mix, cooked
2 cans of corn, drained (or if your season isn't as late as ours, kernels from a couple of fresh ears would be even better)
3 T oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium yellow squashes or zucchinis
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch greens, chopped (I used chard)
1 cup black beans, cooked

1/4 cup almonds
1 clove garlic
1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup yogurt
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat half the oil in a large, heavy skillet on high heat until smoking.  Add corn and stir to coat.  Let cook without moving for a couple of minutes, until lightly charred on one side.  Toss and stir until evenly charred on all sides.  Stir in onions and cook until translucent, about 1 minute.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 additional minute.  Transfer corn mixture to large serving bowl.

2. Return pan to high heat and add remaining oil.  Heat until smoking.  Add zucchini, stir, and let cook a couple of minutes until charred on one side.  Toss until charred evenly all over.  Season with salt & pepper and add to corn mixture.  Mix in rice, beans, and greens.

3. Blend all dressing ingredients together in a blender or food processor (I just stuck my immersion blender in my big 2-cup measuring cup).  Pour over pilaf and mix together.

A Favorite

 Shirt: Old Navy (printed by me); Skirt: Target; Cardigan; Belt: J.Crew Factory; Wedges; Whistle necklace; Love necklace; Watch c/o

Just a favorite little outfit that I wore on my birthday.  This skirt really is the best because it's roomy and comfy and the most flattering cut and doesn't wrinkle and twirls and will be my BFF on all our summer trips.  And dots, let's not forget dots.  There's not really much more one can request form a piece synthetic fabric, is there?

Also, I'm loving these pretty, cheapy little F21 necklaces.  I mean, the one is my name's meaning and the other actually functions to call unruly children to order.  I'm oxymoronically all set.

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy


Grace has her hilarious and wildly popular "Conversations with Julia" and we've had a few nat gems over here lately so I'm blatantly copying.  Mimicking and flattery, or something?

Reading a book with a lion in it:
Nat: “He’s from California.  Or Target.  Or Trader Joe’s.  Or Home Depot.  Or Ikea.  Did we get the oatmeal at Aldi?”
Maybe we should venture out to not-grocery stores?

Kina chatting in her crib at naptime...
Nat: "WHY isn't kina going to sleep?"
My question, too.

Successful listening...
Preethi: "Is there something in your mouth?"
Nat: "I didn't eat a bear."
Preethi: ... 

In which I am a mean mom...
Nat: "I'm eating a trawberry."
Preethi: "Oh, a trawberry?"
Nat: "No, a TRAWberry!"
Preethi: "A trawberry?"
Nat: "No, a TRAAAAWWWWberry!!" 
(Volume escalation until I finally show mercy and say "strawberry.")

Nat: "We're going to eat dinner first and THEN go on a helicopter."

After blind mommy squinted into his room contacts-less and concluded that he was fast asleep..
(to Daddy): "Mommy was looking at me in my bed."

Looking at a sticker of a pencil...
Nat: "Look, a pencil!  Like Pennsylvania!"

Teaching moments...
Preethi: "I need to go to the bathroom."
Nat: "I'll hold your hand and take you to the potty so you don't go pee-pee in your underpants."

Memorial Day...
Nat: "I'm wearing shorts and we're eating shortcake.  They match!"

Viewing a snake in a terrarium at the nature center...
Nat: "We can't go in there."
Preethi: "You're right."
Nat: "Because there's not a parking lot in there."

Summer Travels: Camping & Roanoke, VA

This weekend, we headed out to Shenandoah National Park for a little camping night, a morning of hiking, and then down to Roanoke, VA.  Camping with the smalls is always an adventure; so fun and lovely and cozy and yet generally so sleepless.  It's hard getting them down when it's still so light out, and they're up with the sun the next morning.  But it's worth it...I think?  Yes.  I mean, there were s'mores involved.

 My little hikers

From there, we headed down to Roanoke.  Oh, Roanoke, you pretty little thing, you.  It just epitomized everything about southwestern Virginian charm.  Gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains, cows & tractors, quaint shops, and fun music.  We have some delightful friends who spoiled us with excellent food and even better conversation and it was just the most lovely little 28 hours.

On Friday night, we headed over to Floyd, where this darling little country store has been hosting a Friday night bluegrass jamboree for 80 years.  There's dancing and candy-eating galore on the main stage, and gorgeous sunsets and cool breezes with the many other little bands that have set up outside.
These two were quite the hit on the dance floor.

And so was he. Oh, this kid.


The evening light was to die for

It is a hard-and-fast rule that any teeny little shop advertising homemade ice cream must be patronized.

Saturday involved park time and THE most charming little diner/soda fountain where they had upwards of 10 different kinds of grilled cheese.  Including jalapeno popper.  And there was coconut soda.  YOU GUYS.  Life=changed.

We finished off the day with a stroll through the pretty little downtown (old brick, swoon) and some MORE ice cream at home.  Hey, thanks for having us, friends & Roanoke!  It was a blast!

Roasted Green Enchiladas with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

We love enchiladas over here.  And they are a rather excellent way of using up large amounts of CSA veggies.  And infinitely customizable (don't like mushrooms? don't use them.  have some random hakurei turnips like I did? throw them in). 

(Are you seeing a theme lately?  Use up as many CSA greens as possible.  That is the theme.  I lead a tres exciting life, you see.)

And this sauce?  Is...really good.  Really really good.  And healthy!  And you should probably go make it for dinner right now.

Roasted Green Enchiladas with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

4-5 cups of whatever greens you want, chopped (I used a mix of chard, mustard greens, and collards)
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small zucchinis, cubed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 T olive oil
Sea salt

2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced (depending on how kicky you like it)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups plain yogurt
Salt to taste

2 cups black beans, cooked
1 T cumin
Sea salt to taste

12-16 corn tortillas
1 cup cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Place greens, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, and onions in large roasting pan.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Mix with fingers until coated.  Roast until firm-tender (about 15 minutes).

2. Heat 2 T oil in saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until fragrant but not browned.  Add chiles and mix together.  Add in flour and mix until well combined.  Let cook for additional minute and remove from heat.  Stir in yogurt and use an immersion blender to mix.  Add salt to taste, or more chiles/adobo sauce if desired.

3. When veggies are done, mix with greens and beans and add cumin and salt to taste.  Lower oven heat to 350F.

4. Drizzle a bit of sauce over bottom of 9x13 pan and spread to coat.  Lay several corn tortillas over bottom to cover.  Drizzle bit of sauce over tortillas.  Spread layer of bean/veggie mixture and drizzle with a bit more sauce.  Repeat layering until mixture is finished, ending with tortillas on top.  Pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese.
5. Bake in 350F oven until cheese is bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.