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Peach Basil Salad

Peach Basil Salad by Vania Kinney at Serving Up Fort Collins

It’s been an emotional week for me. I never thought I’d be THAT mom who has a hard time letting go. I mean, it’s only kindergarten, right? That being said, I think I might be getting used to this Dexter being in school business. Not only did I get to leisurely meander around the grocery store yesterday with zero Dexters in tow, I actually remembered to purchase everything I went to the market to retrieve! WITHOUT finding a random package of cookies or fruit snacks that mysteriously appear in the cart when I am in line to check out! I’m not playing around when I say, that hasn’t happened in 5.5 years. I even made a trip to my favorite peach stand in Loveland to buy yet another flat of Palisade peaches without feeling like I needed to hurry back or get somewhere else. To honor this fantastical accomplishment, I decided to treat myself to a delicious lunch. The kind that I got to sit down and enjoy without interruption. The kind that is made with fresh peaches, fresh basil from the garden, fresh mozzarella (made by me and a gaggle of girlfriends… details coming later this week!) and aged balsamic from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil!

Maybe it’s just me, but over the past few years I’ve found that I don’t prepare my favorite meals unless there is someone around to share it with. Instead, I opt for the quick and easy and wait until the evening or weekend when the whole family can enjoy it together. I can’t even remember the last time I made myself an incredible breakfast or lunch that I wasn’t splitting with a 5 year old. And though I’d like to say that Dexter is one of those rare kids that enjoys complex flavors, he just isn’t. That means that I tend to “dumb down” the meals we share so they won’t be “too spicy” or whatever other thing that he’s deemed unfit for consumption. SURE I could gussy up my portion or add a bit of flair but by the time I get to sit down (or hover over the kitchen counter) to eat, I just want to get the food into my body and get it over with. Typing those words makes me sad. I’ve never bought into the school of thought that says food is just fuel for the body. I realize not every meal needs to be a holistic experience, but I know I used to spend a whole lot more time making and eating food just because it made ME happy and because it tasted really f*cking good. I don’t want to discount the attributes of a quality peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cold glass of milk but… oh no, I am feeling an Oprah “aha moment” welling up inside me…

I’m taking back lunch time!

And why not? Don’t I deserve a delicious meal? Don’t we all? Sure we’re busy, but shouldn’t that be reason enough to treat ourselves to a mid-day food sanctuary? Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Why hasn’t she been doing this all along?” Well, because… I forgot. I forgot what it was like to do things just for me. I forgot what it was like to sit down and relax without listening to some sort of clatter or chatter coming from the next room. I forgot what real, honest to goodness solitude is like. I forgot how to not be busy. I think there are a lot of us out there, parents or not, that have simply forgotten how to enjoy things for ourselves without posting a photo or needing someone there to validate the experience or our worth. So, I’ve decided to jog my memory with lunch. And who knows, maybe the joy of lunch will spread its fingers and massage its way into other parts of my day until I realize that I am allowed to enjoy things that have nothing to do with being Dexter’s mom. Being Dexter’s mom may be the best part of me, but it certainly isn’t the ONLY part of me. I sat down to write a blog post about Peach Basil salad and now my eyes are watering instead of my mouth!

And on that note, I’m going to go make myself some lunch…

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Peach Basil Salad (serves 1)

What You’ll Need…

  • 1 fresh Palisade Peach, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 4-5 small basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons GOOD Balsamic Vinegar (I use Rocky Mountain Olive Oil’s aged balsamic)
  • fresh cracked pepper, optional

What You’ll Do…

  1. In a medium bowl, toss peaches, basil and mozzarella together until they are mixed well.
  2. Plate your salad and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Finish with a bit of fresh cracked pepper if you wish.
  3. ENJOY!

 

XO, Vania

Peach BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Balsamic Slaw

Peach BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Balsamic Slaw

Whew! Dropped Dexter off for his first day of kindergarten this morning so if this post sounds like a rambling mess, it is due to the emotional pile of goo that is currently trying to type this post. Now that THAT’S out of the way, let me tell you about this outrageously delicious recipe! You guys, it is seriously good. SERIOUSLY. Now that school is back in session, easy weeknight meals are the name of the game (oh yah, this makes the perfect game day meal too!). Serve this up with mac and cheese a fresh, green salad and watch this stuff disappear.

You all know by now that I am celebrating peaches all month long and that means my house is fully stocked with fresh Palisade Peaches AT ALL TIMES. Adding peaches to your bbq might sound kind of weird, but I assure you, it is fabulous! I was going to make a bbq sauce from scratch but then I thought, “Why make my own when Horsetooth Hot Sauce can do it for me?!” So, I high tailed it to Beavers Market and grabbed a bottle of their Aloha Mr. Hand. I had intended to get their Hot Mess but this was a happy accident. Sweet with a hint of spice, Aloha Mr. Hand is delicious and if your haven’t tried it, I am hereby ordering you to do so. While at the market, I grabbed a 2 lb pork shoulder and a large yellow onion, and just like that, I had everything I needed for this melt in your mouth pulled pork. Incase you last count, that is 4 ingredients. FOUR INGREDIENT! A bottle of bbq sauce, one large palisade peach, one large yellow onion and a 2 lb pork shoulder. BAM!

This recipe is PERFECT for any over-ripe peaches you have on hand. Honestly, I can't believe this peach sat around long enough to get over-ripe in our house.

This recipe is PERFECT for any over-ripe peaches you have on hand. Honestly, I can’t believe this peach sat around long enough to get over-ripe in our house.

Because I felt guilty about not making my own bbq sauce, I went ahead and made my own slaw. Well, my own slaw dressing. Look, it was a Sunday and the thought shredding cabbage and slicing carrots was giving me the fear. So I bought a bag of prepared cole slaw mix and tossed it with my homemade dressing. You can find the recipe HERE. I used Rocky Mountain Olive Oil‘s aged balsamic vinegar because it is too good not to have in your kitchen and at the ready. Have you ever drizzled balsamic on your cereal? One taste of this stuff and you will seriously consider it. Anyways, you can make your slaw ahead of time and store it in the fridge to let the flavors get acquainted or you can stop by your local deli and buy some ready-made. I will not judge you either way and if you put the ready-made stuff in a pretty bowl, no one will know the difference.

I really can’t think of anything else to say about this recipe except that you shouldn’t tell anyone how easy it is. ESPECIALLY if you are bringing it to a party or making it for a Broncos game. Everyone will “ooh” and “ahh” and you can revel in the accolades. The layers of flavors are complex but the preparation is NOT. And really, isn’t that what a great meal is all about?!

Here's what it looks like before you slap the lid on and let it cook all day. The smells emanating from your house will make your neighbors green with envy.

Here’s what it looks like before you slap the lid on and let it cook all day. The smells emanating from your house will make your neighbors green with envy.

 

Peach BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

What You’ll Need…

  • 1 cup Aloha Mr Hand BBQ Sauce (from Horsetooth Hot Sauce)
  • 1 Palisade Peach, peeled and roughly chopped (I use any bruised or over ripe fruit we have on hand)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 2lb pork shoulder
  • Balsamic Slaw
  • Your favorite sandwich rolls

What You’ll Do…

  1. Place 1/2 of your chopped onion in the bottom of your slow cooker and put pork shoulder on top.
  2. Spread the rest of your onion and chopped peaches on top of the pork and smother in 1 cup of bbq sauce.
  3. Cover and let it cook low and slow for 8-10 hours.
  4. Remove meat from slow cooker 30 minutes before dinner time to remove remaining fat and shred with a a couple of forks. Put pork back in slow cooker, toss to cover with bbq sauce and let it sit for another 30 minutes.
  5. Serve it up on your favorite sandwich roll with a heaping helping of slaw.
  6. ENJOY!

 

XO, Vania

Must-Haves For Your Inner Peach Freak…

In lieu of the typical Midweek Mix-In, I am curating a collection of items that will make your inner peach freak feel all warm and fuzzy! You can find just about ANYTHING on Etsy… and I mean ANYTHING. So, take a moment or an hour (or all afternoon) and fall down the Etsy Peach Paraphernalia rabbit hole with me.

How about THIS Vintage Colorado Peaches Crate with a fierce, peach-loving mountain lion from luca bales vintage?

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Or THIS Peach Pie Plate from aprilleialoha complete with Peach Pie recipe!

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In the market for a super retro Peach Pitcher? Hen and Chicks has you covered!

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Squeeeeee… look at these vintage Decoware Canisters from Grantcitycreations!

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Yes, another crate. But LOOK at the sweet ride on the side of this one! It’s enough to make us forget that these peaches came from Carolina, right? Thanks CasettaRustica.

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mmm… peaches… my sentiments exactly! This was printed on an antique dictionary page by HelloUwall.

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Allman Brothers Tee? Don’t mind if I do ReVintageBoutique!

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Want a replica of this badass Joan Jett tee? No problem! GirLLoot is all over it!

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Maybe you’re in the market for this… thinnnnng?

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This acoustic amplifier from PMGWorks doesn’t look like a peach, but it’s made out of peach wood and that’s the next best thing!

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Yep. I’m getting this.

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Love this retro ad from DustyDiggerLise!

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Look at this Antique Peach Ice Cream Mold from samjams3. Because if you’re not eating peach ice cream shaped like a peach, you’re doing it wrong.

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Aww… this adorable, vintage kitchen towel from LovelyLinensandMore would be a wonderful addition to your decor. And the fact that the peach looks like a voluptuous derriere is a total bonus!

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Perhaps you’d like to smell like peaches all year long! MelodiePerfumes can help you with that.

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And because I have to stop somewhere, I give you these vintage Peach Salt & Pepper Shakers from SarasVintageCorner! Hurry up on these bad boys because I’ve got an itchy trigger finger hovering over the “Add To Cart” button.

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XO, Vania

P.S. Alan, our anniversary is coming up and I don’t have any hand-carved mother of pearl Peach Brooches… just sayin’.

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