Orzo Salad with Pesto and Tomatoes

I mentioned  I spent Monday night whipping up batch after batch of basil pesto- yum! So of course pesto made an appearance on the dinner menu this week. After getting home from the gym last night I through together this super quick and easy Orzo Pasta salad for dinner.
I started by grabbing a container of pesto from the freezer that I made on Monday. I left it sitting on the counter while I headed to the gym. NEVER defrost your pesto in the microwave. It will wilt the basil and cause the oil and parmesan to separate from the basil. Below is the pesto recipe I used.
Basil Pesto
2 cups basil leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic
½ cup grated Parmesan (use the real stuff)
Scant 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until lightly brown, about 5-6 minutes (make sure you watch them-pine nuts are way too expensive to chare). Add all ingredients and half the olive oil in a food processor. Blend together and then drizzle in the remainder of the olive oil while the food processor is running. Blend until smooth. I usually have to stop and scrap down the sides with a spatula once. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste. I typically add about ¼ teaspoon more salt.
Now for the Orzo…
Orzo Salad with Pesto and Tomatoes
2/3 cup orzo
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4-5 tablespoons basil pesto
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups romaine (or lettuce of your choice)
1 cucumber, rough chopped into bit size pieces
Cook the orzo according to the package’s directions. While the orzo to cooking, wash your vegetables and prepare the base for your pasta salad. I made a bowl of salad for dinner and another bowl for lunch the next day. Toss your lettuce and spinach together and then top with the chopped cucumber.
When the orzo finishes, drain the water and then add the pesto and tomato halves to the orzo. Give it a stir, add more pesto as needed and test your salt and pepper. When you are ready add a scoop of the orzo to the top of your salad and voila- instant dinner (plus lunch for tomorrow)!
I think this would also be delicious to either sauté the tomatoes with garlic before adding them into the pasta, or to use sundried tomatoes.


127 Yard Sale

If you’ve never been to the 127 yard sale, or “The world’s longest yard sale” as it claims to be…you are missing out.

Some things for sale need to find a home other than mine!

 The 127 Corridor Sale is headquarters in Jamestown, TN, just a hop and a skip from the TN town I grew up in. For one weekend every August, 675 miles of Hwy 127, all the way from Hudson, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama sprout tents and tables of everything you could ever imagine buying(or not buying). I actually grew up on Hwy 127, so the yard sale must be in my blood. But it’s not just for locals, people from all over the country attend, pulling u-hauls’ to transport all their finds back home. I love hunting for unique items for my home, and year after year I am never disappointed.

The last couple of years my friend Meg and I have braved the heat and sporting event like traffic to shop the yard sale.

This year’s find included…

This necklace that I am super excited to wear.

This ikat blanket throw that is now at home on my ottoman.

This teal hobnail glass.

And my best find this year was this wheat sheath side table. A similar dining table was featured in the current issue of Lonny Magazine. 

*image courtesy of Lonny Magazine
Here is the full article in Lonny

 I struck up a conversation with the vendor after she saw me take a photo of the piece, and mistook me to be a picker or a designer (how flattering). She had hands down some of the most beautiful items I ran across at this year’s sale with tables full of florentina trays and boxes and GORGEOUS sets of sconces and alabaster lamps. When I asked how she gathered all her inventory, she explained that she worked with pickers who knew what she was looking for, and she even sold lots of florentina to Rachel Ashwell- Miss Shabby Chic herself. She also mentioned that the day before she had shot a segment with Cari from HGTV’s Cash and Cari... where Cari was shopping the yard sale for finds. I know HGTV typically does a special on the yard sale every year, so I’m be looking forward to the episode which should air sometime in October.

Florentina Boxes

Meg and I stopped for lunch at the Pig-N-Catch in Pikeville, TN right as some heavy afternoon rain showers where setting in. We got our “carb-on” with some fried pickle spears and BBQ sandwiches (and I didn’t even take a picture). If you are ever in the area you should stop in to eat. The catfish is also great. It is owned by some good family friends of mine, The Kellys. Vicky Kelly is a very talented photographer, and her daughter Rachel is my very best friend all the way back from my grade school days.


Goodbye B'ham and Hello NYC!!!

It’s been a busy couple of weekends, and I feel like I’ll just now catching up on things, and I have so much to share!

Two weeks ago I finished up a huge project at work, said Adios to hot and sticky B’ham, and headed to even hotter and stickier New York City.
I know, why would I go to NYC in July???

To meet up with my wonderful college roommates of course!

Jess, Melody, Sally, and I all graduated from UT together and we all hold degrees in Architecture. Amazingly (or maybe not so much) we are all living in different states doing completely different things with our degrees (and lives).

We all spent five days in NYC sardined into Jess’ upper eastside studio apartment laughing and eating and catching up (and shopping). And while staying in a studio apartment with three other people might make others a tad bit claustrophobic, the four us of have survived many a TINY sleeping arrangement in hostels while we studied abroad in college.

Here are a few highlights…

On the Highline

 View from the Staten Island Ferry

Rotunda in the Guggenheim

Outside 30ROCK!  

My first time at Fish's Eddy- Thx to Ericka over at Urban Grace Interiors

We stumbled across this espresso bar on Madison Ave one morning- it was divine. I would definitely go back for breakfast.   


Hands down some of the best thin crust pizza...but according to Jess you have to eat at the one of 87th st only

Modo had a little issue with her luggage. Thankfully it was at the end of the trip.
 It is amazing how some people you can fall right back into place with, as if no distance or time has passed at all. I’m so thankful for these girls, because that is who they are for me.

In other news…

I made a quick trip home (to my parents house) this weekend to meet up with one of my best friends Meg, and shop the annual 127 yard sale-I will share my killer finds from there tomorrow.

What I also scored while I was home included an awesome (don’t tell my trainer) home cooked meal as well as all the fresh cherry (tommy toe) tomatoes I could carry, and this…

The JACKPOT…Fresh basil my sweet baby brother planted in the garden. I came home with a TRASH BAG FULL of the stuff. Needless to say I spent all of Monday night toasting pine nuts, grating Parmesan, and whipping up pesto to freeze for the winter months. I might just have to have a pesto party soon!