I love a clean house.

Merry Christmas readers!  Today was my first day of my "Winter Holiday" thanks to Mississippi State!  This is one of the biggest perks of my job - 2 weeks off of paid vacation at Christmas.  So thankful for the time off after a VERY busy fall semester.  I have so enjoyed being home... sleeping in, cleaning house, doing laundry, wrapping Christmas presents, running errands, and hanging out with the hubs and pup. While I was cleaning today, I thought I should share some recipes with you... however, they are not recipes that will make your tummy happy, but your wallet!

1.  About 2 years ago we started making our own laundry detergent. If you follow the blog, you know this isn't the first time I have raved about making your own detergent! It is amazing how much money you save. By making your own detergent, you end up spending roughly 3 cents a load.  I never realized how much laundry detergent cost until I started making my own.  There has been one time that I had to buy some at the store because we were out and didn't have the time to make some, and it was shocking to me how much I had been paying before and had never thought twice about it.  I have posted this on the blog before, but here is the recipe again in case you missed it!

Laundry Detergent
- 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like, keeping in mind this is the scent your clothes will have)
- 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle at the store - I bought the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and found it at Kroger)
- 1 box of borax (i also found this in the laundry detergent aisle at Kroger.  The brand I bought was called 20 Mule Team)
- 5 gallon bucker with a lid
- 3 gallons of tap water

Step one:  Grab your cheese grater and grate the entire bar of soup into a bowl.  While grating, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small pot.  Stir the grated soap into the boiling water and continue to stir until the soap is completely dissolved. 

Step two:  Put 3 gallons of hot water into the 5 gallon bucket (the easiest way is to fill up a gallon milk jug 3 times).  Then stir in the hot soapy water from step one and add 1 cup of the washing soda.  Keep stirring for another minute or two, then add 1/2 cup of borax.  Stir for another couple of minutes, then cover and let the mixture sit overnight to cool.

Tada!  You are done. When you get up in the morning, you will have a bucket of gelatinous slime.  The consistency will be a mixture of watery gel.  I usually stir it again in the morning.  We use 1 cup of the detergent per load, sometimes a little more or less depending on the load size.  According to the website where we found this recipe, you should get about 48 loads of laundry.

2.  More recently we found a recipe for making our own countertop cleaner... and my first thoughts while using it was "Man, I feel like an idiot."  Why?  Because it works just as good as any that you buy at the store for fractions of the cost.  If you are like me, you are constantly wiping down the counters after cooking dinner, or making any kind of mess. I love a to cook but I also love a clean kitchen (and house for that matter).

All-purpose Cleaner
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon borax
- squirt of dish detergent
- hot water
- spray bottle 

Combine the vinegar, baking soda, and borax with a little bit of hot water in a spray bottle.  Swish around until the baking soda and borax have dissolved.  (Be very careful to not create a "volcano eruption" like you did in 4th grade science with these same ingredients!) Add a few squirts of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with warm water, and you are good to go!

We've learned that by keeping a few items around the house, it is very easy to make your own homemade cleaning solutions.  If you have vinegar, borax, and baking soda, you are pretty much good to go.  I'm interested in trying out more recipes for cleaning solutions, so if you have any recommendations, please comment and share!


Banana Nut Bread

It's been a while since I have posted a recipe on here... so here we go!  I had some bananas that were way too ripe to eat, so of course that means its time to make banana nut bread!  Other than how good it tastes, I think one of my favorite things about making banana nut bread is how the entire house smells AMAZING while it is baking.  And since it takes an hour to bake, you get to enjoy the aroma for a while!  After trying out multiple recipes, we have landed on this one and can't seem to try any others.  It is so. so. good. Try it for yourself and see what you think!

Banana Nut Bread
Makes 3 loaves

1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 oz) sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but why would you leave them out??)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease 3 loaf pans.  In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Dust pans lightly with cinnamon sugar mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar.  Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Mix in salt, baking soda, and flour.  Stir in nuts.  Divide into prepared pans.

Bake 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Unless you "accidentally forget to eat 6 bananas" as I usually do,  you can always stock up in the freezer as you have ones too ripe to eat.  Just thaw before mashing!


Happy Thanksgiving from the Mississippi Delta!

Hello blog world!  It has been a while since I last posted... the semester is winding down, which means that travel season (for work) is over and that I graduate on Friday!  I have one stats test left and then I am done with grad school! Jesse has a final design project he is finishing up, as well as some projects for his grad assistant position and then we can wrap this semester in maroon and white. I decided that I am going to walk on Friday.  If you had told me in December 2008 that I would be back at December graduation in 2011 getting another degree I would have laughed in your face.  But, here we are!  All that Jesse has left next semester is his thesis... "all"... haha.  No classes (!), just thesis hours and his grad assistant position... oh and welcoming Baby English into the world, no biggie.  He will graduate in May and are very anxiously awaiting the Lord's timing to reveal where we will be come May.  Sweet home Starkville?  Somewhere else?  We shall see... 

We had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving this year.  My parents, Kristian, George and Ashlyn, and Jesse and I went to the big city of Yazoo City on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We have done this almost every year of my life... the years that we don't come to this house don't really feel like Thankgiving to me. 

This is my Aunt and Uncle's house on the farm in Yazoo...

...and this is my favorite room in the house.

 I love everything about this room.  The wood on the walls is from an old barn and I love the brick floors, wooden beams and big fireplace. Being in the delta, it is complete with a deer head on the wall.  In the first picture, you can see the net of a basketball goal.  I love that there is a basketball goal in this room.  I have many memories shooting hoops in here (with soft balls, of course).  You can see it better in this picture:

After Thanksgiving, Aunt Marie (affectionately known as "Gam") hides elves all over this room.  It is tradition to visit Yazoo City to go count elves.  If you get the number right, you get a prize!

And this is where the after lunch naps happen on Thanksgiving day.  I am especially thankful for the two men in this picture.  I wouldn't be who I am today without either one of them.

Every year, Aunt Marie (Gam) always has a beautiful table arranged.  She is on the left, here with my mom.  

Hands down, Thanksgiving Day could not happen without these two ladies!

Close up of the table:

Here is the beautiful place setting.  This is where my love for McCarty's pottery began. We always eat on this every year.  It will always remind me of my family, which is why I wanted to collect it.  This is what I got instead of china when Jesse and I got married.  I wanted to always have a piece of the Mississippi Delta with me no matter where we live.  From their website, "McCartys pottery can be identified by the trademarked "river," a small black wavy line representing the Mississippi River on most functional pieces, and by the trademarked McCartys signature which is hand signed on the bottom or back of each piece."

Thanksgiving corn:  In the picture above, you can see three kernels of corn just above the plate.  This is a big tradition of the Cato family.  Each year, three kernels are placed at each place setting.  Once we are stuffed with the wonderful family recipes, we make room for dessert and coffee and gather around the table again.  As we feel led, we all take turns saying three things that we are thankful for from the year.  Each year, I usually get emotional, simply because it is so special to hear how the Lord has blessed my family.  We remember family members that are no longer with us, who used to have a seat around this very same table... we remember the good times and the hard times of the year... we remember how amazing the Lord's presence is in our lives... and how if we didn't have His salvation, we would have nothing.  I am so very thankful and blessed to have a family that takes the time to recognize and verbalize these things... and especially one that is so open to share how the Lord has worked in their lives.  For some reason, Uncle Bob (affectionately known as "Pop") thought that this year Jesse and I might have something we were especially thankful for and asked us to go first.  :)  He was very right.  We are so thankful for this baby.  It's crazy to think that at Thanksgiving next year, we will have another person at the table! 

Here's the Cato family!  The group was actually small this year... we missed everyone who could not make it! The original Cato's in this picture are my Mom and her brother, Uncle Bob (Pop) who are both seated in the middle.  The rest of us wouldn't be here without these two!

It looks like my Mom, Dad, and I are dressed for gameday. We were just getting ready for Egg Bowl, that's all.  :)  Here we are with my sister Kristian, her husband George, and their daughter Ashlyn.  

After our late lunch, Jesse went hunting with the guys and I joined my parents in picking up pecans in the front yard.  For some reason, we thought we were hungry again that night and had taco soup and turkey sandwhiches on homemade bread.  Yum.  All in all, it was a wonderful day on the farm. 

On Friday, Mom, Kristian and I did some shopping and made a big purchase for Baby English's nursery!  Jesse and I headed back to Starkville by way of Tupelo (what???) and picked up another big purchase along the way for the baby and a special happy for Maggie (no, we haven't forgotten about her).  We originally had no intentions on participating in Black Friday, but ended up getting three great deals - all in the afternoon.  Who says you have to get up early to get a good deal?  Once the semster ends, I will share the latest on preparations for Baby E!

I think everyone knows what happened on Saturday.  The Dawgs whooped up on the Black Bears and kept the Egg Bowl trophy in Starkville!  3 years in a row!  Even in the pouring rain, the game was so much fun.  GO DAWGS!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you are getting ready for Christmas!  We are planning on putting up our tree on Monday.  Can't wait!


Baby English

Saturday was MSU's Homecoming as well as the day of the big reveal of Baby English!  In case you don't know, Jesse and I chose to not find out the gender of our baby at the doctor's office. The day that we could have found out the gender, we asked for the results to be placed in an envelope, rather than finding out the news at the doctor.  I took the envelope to the State Fountain Bakery on campus and ordered a cake - pink on the inside if it was a girl and blue if it was a boy.  We really wanted to do something special with our friends and family all together.  This past weekend was the first chance we had to get both of our parents together.  

As you can imagine, there was MUCH anticipation leading up to this day. In the weeks that passed, there were so many times that I wished I already knew the gender... especially with everyone and their momma asking me if I knew what I was having. Even though we knew we wanted to find out the gender prior to the baby being born, I can definitely see why some couples choose to not find out.  It was special to have a little mystery inside of me. As we got closer and closer to the big day, however, I was SO READY to know!  The reveal was set for 3:00 at our tailgate.  Time surprisingly flew by until about 2:30 and then it felt like 3:00 would never get here. 

THE CAKE which teased us all at the tailgate for about 3 hours.  

My mom made these tissue paper flowers at work on Friday, since she couldn't focus on anything else but baby. She surprised us with pink and blue cowbells Saturday morning.

The last few moments of mystery baby!

So excited!  A baby BOY!

There was no mistaking the color of the cake.

This makes 5 grandchildren for my parents.  They already have 3 boys and a girl. This makes grandchild number 1 for Jesse's parents.  

Disclaimer:  I have NEVER in my whole life seen my Dad eat dessert.  Even he had a piece of cake to celebrate!

Price Family (We missed you Kristian, George, and Ashlyn!)

English Family


Needless to say, it was a VERY memorable day and we are so glad that we waited to find out the news this way!  Thank you so much to everyone that was able to make it.  We were very overwhelmed by the love and support of our friends and family.  This little baby boy has a lot of people who love him already! 

Proud parents!


My Prayer This Week

Jesus cast a look on me,
Give me sweet simplicity
Make me poor and keep me low,
Seeking only Thee to know

All that feeds my busy pride,
Cast it evermore aside
Bid my will to Thine submit,
Lay me humbly at Thy feet

Make me like a little child,
Of my strength and wisdom spoiled
Seeing only in Thy light,
Walking only in Thy might

Leaning on Thy loving breast,
Where a weary soul can rest
Feeling well the peace of God,
Flowing from His precious blood

In this posture let me live,
And hosannas daily give
In this temper let me die,
And hosannas ever cry!


Turkey Black Bean Chili

I made this chili last week and several people have been interested in the recipe, so I thought I would post it here!  Kelley introduced me to this chili recipe and it is delicious! Its kind of a combo of soup and chili in consistency.  Fall is here which makes me excited for fall/winter foods!

Turkey Black Bean Chili
total time: 30(ish) minutes
serving size: 6-8

  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3 (15 oz) cans of black beans
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
Saute the chopped onion and ground turkey with the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often, 8-10 minutes, until the turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. Stir in chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper; saute 1 minute.  Drain and rinse 2 cans of black beans, but do not drain the 3rd.  Stir in drained and undrained beans, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Delicious with freshly grated cheese and fritos! 

This is a busy week for us in the English family - Jesse has a ton of design work and a 3d model to complete along with a final and a 20 page paper.  I have my comps, which I must pass to graduate.  Eeek.

Also, my sister sent me this rug and I LOVE IT.  This might be the inspiration for the baby's room! We go to the doctor this WEDNESDAY and will get to have another ultrasound.  Very excited! Maybe it will give us the inspiration to finish the week strong.  I hope everyone has a great week!


20 weeks

Quick update for all of my readers: We have made it to 20 weeks! I can't believe that I am 5 months pregnant.  When did this happen? Baby English is the length of a banana this week.  My belly is definitely growing as proof.  I can officially say that I am showing and that people notice (and will usually say something to me about it) and I love it!  People placing their hands on my bump has started and I really don't mind at all.  My mom did this every chance she could this past weekend.

I am loving being pregnant and I am so thankful that I have felt well pretty much the entire 20 weeks (minus about 4-5 days).  I have been feeling the baby move, mostly at night, which is so exciting! I am so looking forward to our next doctor's appointment on October 19 and I can't wait to find out the gender of Baby E on November 5!  Yes, this is about a month later, as we could find out this week, but I am excited to share the news with our family and friends. I am definitely in need of more maternity clothes, so Kelley and I are hitting up some stores this weekend.  It's fun to have a reason to buy new clothes!  For now, my favorite maternity item has been my BeBand.  I got mine at target and love it.  It has been such a saver to allow me to wear my regular pants, even though they won't zip... oh and I kissed buttoning them goodbye a while ago.

So, there you have it!  Baby English the banana and Momma AC the growing belly.  I hope everyone has a great week!



I just wanted to share the lyrics of a song that we sang at Intermission Sunday night.  I had never heard it before, but the words spoke to me, especially the chorus.  Through all of life's good times and bad, through joys and trials, the Lord is there.  I am so thankful for his provision in my life!


My foes are many, they rise against me
But I will hold my ground
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

Troubles surround me, chaos abounding
My sould will rest in You
I will not bear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always


a chicken and a turnip

Hey guys!  Yet again, it has been way too long since I have updated the blog.  The semester has kicked off and hasn't stopped!  Travel season at work has begun and I will be gone at least 2 days every week until November visiting my high schools.  It's crazy how fast time is flying by. Are we really already halfway through with September??  I'm taking a stats class this semester, have to do a directed individual study, pass my comps, then I will graduate with my masters in December!  I get a little stressed out when I think about the directed individual study and comps, but I'm trying to take it one day at a time.  I applied for graduation last week.  It feels like just yesterday I was trying to decide if I should start my masters or not... and here I am, less than 3 months away from graduating.

Speaking of how fast time is flying by, I am in my 17th week of pregnancy!  Week 18 begins on Tuesday. That means a little over two weeks to halfway there! I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and got to hear the precious heartbeat again.  That is so amazing. I wish I could hear it everyday. Instead, I pray for this little life every day. This week my baby weighs 5 ounces this week and is 5 inches long, head to bottom.  Its the size of a turnip!

Baby English is making itself more known to me and to the world, as my belly is growing!  People have been telling me that they don't think that I am showing yet, but I just think they are being nice.  I can definitely tell.  Jesse can too.  He is sweet to place his hand on the bump, put his ear to it (as if he can hear anything), and say, "Hello Baby!"  I'm really looking forward to the next months of pregnancy!  I'm excited to feel the baby move for the first time, watch my belly grow, and find out the gender of the baby.  We're planning to have a "reveal party" at our tailgate on November 5 at the Homecoming game!  If you are on campus that day, stop by!

Here are the most recent photos I have.  Please ignore the articles of clothing in the background.  (You have to get more of those too!)

Just kidding!  That was me trying on the baby bump pillow at Motherhood Maternity. Here are the real ones:

I'll do my best to update you with photos as we go along! I've been buying some maternity clothes... one pair of jeans and this shirt in the picture. I had to, it's MAROON! I don't really need the shirts yet, but I am definitely in the jeans!  Mine don't button anymore... My sweet cousin has lended me some of her maternity clothes that she no longer needs.  Praise God!  It is so amazing to have basic needs provided by the Lord. It's expensive to have to buy an entire new wardrobe!

Well, I've been enjoying having this weekend with NO PLANS.  I love college football, but I'm glad our game was Thursday, so that this weekend would be chill.  I slept in and spent what was left of my morning in the kitchen making our favorite chicken salad recipe!

Homemade Chicken Salad.   I'm not sure if I should say where I got this recipe from, however, it is a VERY POPULAR place to get chicken salad in MADISON or RIDGELAND.  It is particularly good on a BAGEL.  If that doesn't clue you in, then you have never been there.

  • 3 boiled chicken breasts
  • sliced grapes
  • sliced almonds
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. mayo
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • Let the chicken cool - put it in a food processor - until texture of breadcrumbs.
  • Hand mix the "sauce" and add to the chicken
  • Add grapes and almonds
  • Let chill in the fridge/freezer before serving
I follow these instructions, almost exactly, but here are some changes that I make.
  • Instead of boiling chicken breasts, I buy a rotisserie chicken already cooked at the store. Call me lazy. This time I bought the lemon pepper chicken.  Remove skin, and pull chicken from bones.  I just tear apart the chicken with my fingers, and separate into small bits.  No food processor needed!
  • Instead of specifically almonds, I use whatever nut I have on hand... almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.   I put grapes, and recently have started adding craisins to the mix as well... adds texture, flavor, and color!
  • Note:  when you first mix together all of the ingredients, the mixture looks pretty wet.  It is really important to chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving, because in that time, it firms up to a nice consistency.  

Yummy!  We had the chicken salad for a late lunch.  Jesse likes with with a piece of lettuce on bread.  I prefer it on crackers.  I like the crunch of Ritz!

I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you will give this recipe a try!  Enjoy the cooler weather and have a great weekend!  


Purple Potatoes & Baby Update

Last weekend while visiting Jesse, he took me to the DeKalb Farmer's Market.  So, I'm thinking it would be like any ol' farmers market like others I had been to.  I was kind of confused that we were going on a Saturday night to a building that looked like Sam's club with a large parking lot.  It's actually a world market that is open every day.  We walk into this huge warehouse (I kept comparing it to Ikea, but for food) that is full of every type of food from all around the world.  It was so cool!  They have everything that you can imagine.  We probably spent at least an hour just walking around.

One of my favorite things about the place was all of the different kinds of people that were there - who were also from all over the world.  I bet it is amazing for them to have a place to go to buy the ingredients to make their favorite dishes from home.  I loved how many children were there... sitting in the buggies surrounded by all of these colorful fruits and veggies, fresh breads, etc.  They got to pick out the exact fish from the tank they would have for dinner that night and watch it be butchered.  This might be strange, but I want my children to understand and know where their food comes from... that it's not always perfectly packaged in the meat cooler.  If I ever live in Atlanta, this is where I want to shop for food.  We bought some spices, macadamia nuts, french brioche, coffee, and purple potatoes - all for really good prices.  I have seen recipes that call for purple potatoes, but have never cooked with them before.... until tonight!  We made Purple Potato Au Gratin.  It was really yummy!  I found a good recipe on www.allrecipes.com.


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 8 purple potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until it starts to brown. Stir in leeks and cook until just tender.
  3. Toss potatoes with flour and stir into leek mixture, coating thoroughly. Pour in milk and stir in goat cheese. Cook until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly. Pour into a 7x11 inch baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender.

BABY UPDATE:  Jesse and I went to the doctor today for my 12 week checkup. Let the 2nd trimester begin!  The last time we were at the doctor we had an ultrasound to see the baby and see the heartbeat, but it was still too early to be able to hear the heartbeat.  Well, that all changed today!  It was amazing to get to hear that little sound.  For some reason I was nervous just before the doctor put the sensor on my stomach, but it all went away when I heard the precious pitter-patter.  I'm so thankful that Jesse was able to come home early so he could hear his baby's heartbeat.

It's amazing that the Lord has blessed us with this gift - this incredible life that will be our responsibility to raise, teach, love.... all for His glory.  Please be praying for us as we prepare for this huge responsibility as parents, as it is scary!


Everybody is home!

Gosh - where do I even begin to update?  Once again, I have been a terrible blogger, but am excited about all of the fun things to blog about over the coming months!  

In most recent news, JESSE IS HOME!  He originally wasn't supposed to come home until this Saturday.  I went to visit him in Atlanta this past weekend - to find out that he would be following me home! I was so happy when he told me that I cried.  Imagine that.... hormones?  Maybe so, but I was THAT ready for my man to be home. We packed up the UHaul on Sunday and made our way back home.  I can't tell you how good it was to be home with him that day and do simple things like go to the grocery store and cook dinner.  My world is at peace when he is here.  Everything is how it is supposed to be. Life is easy. And FUN.  Gag me?  Sorry, it's how I feel.  

In other news, WE ARE HAVING A BABY! I know this has already been announced on the blog, but sometimes I just have to say it because it still doesn't feel real.  I am 12 weeks this week and we head back to the doc on Thursday for a check up.  We should be able to hear the heartbeat this week.  So exciting!  Baby English is the size of a lime, is just over 2 inches long, and weighs half an ounce.  tiny.  My clothes are all still fitting fine these days, so I'm enjoying that while it lasts.  I haven't been sick, but man have I been tired.  Oh, and my nails and hair are growing like crazy thanks to my prenatal vitamins.

Everything at work is going well.  I have been traveling a little bit to Send Off Parties, hosted by the Alumni Association.  It's exciting to officially welcome my students into the Bulldog Family! Move In Day is this Wednesday.  Starkville is about to explode with over 20,000 students.  Which means we all got raises in the Admissions office. Praise God!  I am very excited about this fall - especially football season!  If you need a reservation at the English Bed & Breakfast, let us know.  This is the last season it will be open for guests (unless you can deal with a 7 month old baby).  

I'll leave you with a recipe that we made tonight.  Every now and then, you find that recipe that you made one time, fell in love, then somehow forgot about it.  I found an old post last year where I posted about this particular recipe. BUT, this time I have pictures.  Oh yeah.

Summer Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes, and Cheese


  • 2 pounds vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced  (from our garden!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (from our garden!)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves (from our garden!)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry  (we used balsamic vinegar and it was amazing)
  • 12 ounces spaghetti (we used whole wheat angel hair pasta)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 cups fontina cheese, shredded (we used Gruyere - also amazing)


1. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, basil, mint, salt and black pepper, hot pepper flakes, olive oil, and cream sherry. Let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but firm to the bite.

3. Drain the pasta, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Drain 1/4 cup of the liquid from the tomato mixture, and toss with the pasta to coat. Add cheese, and toss until it begins to melt. Add the tomato mixture, and toss until mixed.

Talk about AMAZING.  Love the fresh herbs from our garden.  Tonight we had it with hamburgers and it was delish.  

Not the best plating picutre, but I wanted you to see the final product.

We planted some zinnias from seed in our front flower bed this spring and they are beautiful! I love having fresh flowers in the house - and the more you cut them, the more the plant produces.  My kind of flower.

Much love from the Englishes!