Picture
Today's post is in honor of my dad, whose recipe this is! This sauce is very simple and delicious, this is all you need:
Picture
4 roasted red bell peppers, 3 garlic cloves, 4 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. That's right! No tomatoes, onions, cream, or basil, you don't even have to cook it! 

My dad insists on roasting your own red bell peppers. To do so, put bell peppers in a pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then place the peppers in a paper parcel (or bag). Roll up the end of the bag to seal it a bit and let steam for 15 minutes. After the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the seeds and peel the skin off.

Or, you could buy roasted red bell peppers, already seeded and peeled, in a can. You'll need two 12 oz. cans to equal 4 peppers. There are a few downsides to purchasing pre-prepared peppers. Primarily, the peppers will probably have preservatives and additives like sugar, which you can avoid by roasting the peppers yourself. Also, the sauce tastes better if the peppers are fresh.

I usually use the jarred peppers, just for convenience. I like to keep a few jars of red peppers handy so I can make this sauce whenever I want. It's a staple around here. 

Thanks for sharing this and many other recipes with me, Dad! I have so many great memories of preparing family meals with you. Thanks for spending that time with me. I love you!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce
serves 6+

4 roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Add the red peppers, garlic, salt and pepper to a blender. Drizzle in the olive oil and puree until it is the consistency you want. Taste and add salt and pepper (or more garlic) if desired.

This is phenomenal tossed with 1 lb of linguine and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan. I bet it would also be good in quinoa with basil and mozzarella, or even served with grilled chicken. 
 
 
Picture
We traveled to Seaside, Florida last weekend with Jared's family. It was so relaxing, I didn't take a single picture! Can you believe it?!  A blogger who doesn't take pictures on her vacation?! One of the reasons we love Seaside so much is because it is where Jared and I went on our honeymoon. Our 4th anniversary was only a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I would show you some of the pictures of our honeymoon in honor of both our anniversary, and our recent vacation.
Picture
Picture
Picture
The beaches had both white and black sand. It was beautiful.
Picture
Picture
Don't we look so young?
I wish I could write a moving, passionate paragraph about how much I love Jared and how wonderful our first 4 years of marriage have been. I'm not a good enough writer, but you get the idea!
 
 
Yesterday was a less than perfect day. It's funny how on days like those little bits of beauty are much more poignant and moving.
Picture
Like this sweet little guy! I stared out my window and watched this teeny hummingbird for a good 10 minutes. I'm going to miss him when we move!

Other little things that made my day.
-Jared and I spotted a little bunny which is plenty cute, but then Jared said, "wook at that wittle bunny wabbit!" Cuteness overload!
-Being given the freedom to vent at a book group I go to with ladies from church. And that they listened sympathetically and genuinely want to be posted on how things turn out.
-Going to Chipotle. We go there so often that the people who work there know us. I love seeing their welcoming smiles of recognition. It makes me feel like I'm living in a small town!

What little things can turn your day from bad to good?
 
 
Picture
Some things are better when you make them the hard way, like Mac N' Cheese. I'm still undecided whether this lemonade was as amazing as it should be considering how much work it required. Don't get me wrong, it was the best strawberry lemonade I've ever had, not too sweet, not too tart, very refreshing. But, it took me like a million hours to juice all those lemons, not to mention how sore my right arm was afterward. If you had an automatic juicer, then it would take you no time at all.
Picture
so many lemons!
But, I'll let you be the judge. This is a great drink for a special occasion. I made my batch for a picnic and had to make it a day in advance. Doing this made the lemonade lose all its fizziness, so I wouldn't recommend this. Also, be sure to drink the beverage within 2 days, lemon juice gets super bitter after that time.

Strawberry Lemonade
adapted from Annie's Eats
Yields about 1 gallon

Strawberry Syrup:2 cups chopped strawberries
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice (1 lemon)
4 tbsp water
Pinch of salt

Lemonade:2 cups very hot water
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (this required 17 lemons, buy 20 to be on the safe side)
9 cups cold sparkling water or seltzer

First you need to make the strawberry syrup. Put strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, water and salt in a processor or blender.  Mix until it becomes more liquidy than pasty.  Press the syrup through a mesh strainer to remove all the seeds and pulp. You will be left with a pure liquid and a lot of strawberry guts. (Those strawberry guts are delicious, so I wouldn't throw them away. I mixed them with water and made strawberry ice cubes out of them to serve with the lemonade. I later decided this was a bad idea because the strawberries seeds would get in the drink. But it was very tasty nonetheless!)

Set the strawberry syrup aside and start on the lemonade. First we need to make a simple syrup. Heat 2 cups water in a sauce pan. Before it boils, but once it's hot, add the sugar to the water, stirring until it is complete dissolved. Let cool before pouring the water into a pitcher. Do not pour very hot water into a glass pitcher! I lost one of my favorite pitchers this way, it shattered!Once water is safely deposited into the pitcher, stir in the lemon juice, sparkling water, and strawberry syrup. Enjoy!

Let me know if you try this! What are your favorite summer beverages? Share in the comments.
 
 
Hello! I just wanted to share the newest item in my etsy shop, Art of Ariadne, a lacy bookmark!
Picture
Aren't the flowers beautiful? They were a gift from a family at school. They smell sooo good! I don't know what kind of flowers they are. Would any of you enlighten me?
 
 

Before I start my review, I want to make it clear that I'm not recommending this book to a general audience. There is a lot of stuff that would make most people uncomfortable, so I would really only recommend it to a die hard Buffy fan, and even then with a few caveats. Okay, here's what I think!

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of reading Buffy Season 8: Volume 8, “Last Gleaming.” This is definitely a must read for any Buffy/Angel fan who is itching to find out what their favorite characters are up to now.  I’m still reeling from the unexpected death of a key character. In this scene, the extremely talented authors and artists somehow are able to instill dramatic pauses and timing, reminiscent of “The Body,” into the pages and artwork of this comic.  In this volume, the storylines of both beloved TV series Buffy and Angel culminate into a tragic, yet strangely appropriate finale. The developments in this comic are perfectly fitting when one remembers the years they spent with Buffy in Sunnydale and Angel in Los Angeles.  

However, remembering the series, especially Angel, with this bleak future in mind, is simply heart wrenching! A part of me wishes this volume had a sappy ending where Buffy marries Spike or Angel (I would have preferred Angel), has super powerful babies and trains them to fight the good fight against continuous waves of baddies. In fact, the writers dangle this sort of happy ending in front of the readers when Buffy recounts Angel’s sacrificial behavior “That’s not just the love of my life, that’s the guy I would live it with,” only to abruptly snatch it away.

In the TV series, Angel and Buffy battle with their self-serving desires to be together and their self-sacrificing duty to save the world. It was such a common theme it eventually became a running joke. Somehow, “Last Gleaming” forces the reader to recognize the tragic reality that the star-crossed lovers cannot be together, and does so without being redundant or melodramatic. Quite the feat! I haven’t given up hope yet that someday, Angel and Buffy might have that white picket fence life I’ve imagined for them, but it definitely does not seem as inevitable as I thought it once was.

Hope is the most interesting theme of this volume. Season 7 ends when Buffy and the Scooby-gang have unleashed the power of the Slayer, their potential to fight evil seems limitless. Hope has prevailed. But Season 8 begins with the sober reality that changing the world is not that simple. The entire season revolves around Buffy’s, the gang’s and the countless slayers’ struggle to make sense of Buffy’s monumental decision which, instead of revealing a powerful weapon against evil, unleashed an entirely new evil. So, how does Season 8 make sense of this disequilibrium? “The trouble with saving the world is…you don’t.” This shows a dramatic change from the Buffy at the beginning of Season 8 who says in “The Long Way Home,” “The thing about changing the world…once you do it, the world’s all different.” Has the world changed at all? Did Buffy et al. even leave a dent in evil’s armor? Were any of their sacrifices worth it? Here is her answer in the final pages of Volume 8: “…you don’t. Not all at once. You just inch it forward a bit at a time, and watch it slip back, like the Greek guy with the rock. And you hope that when you’re done, you’ve moved it up a little, changed it just enough. You hope. Let’s go to work”

Man, is this just a story or a philosophy!? What I love most about the Whedonverse is that within each plotline is the constant reminder that there is a difference between good and evil, and it’s huge. It may not be vampires or Reavers in real life, but it’s just as easy to identify and just as important to fight against. Life’s not about white picket fences, is it? It’s about self-sacrifice and hope.