Enter To Win Six Summer Beach Reads! [CONTEST]

Woman reading in summer

Tell Jathan and Heather what your favorite summer read was for a chance to win six free books! (Photo by Philipp, Flickr)

What can be more relaxing than spending a summer at the beach getting lost in a delicious novel? Even if you can’t make it to the beach, you’re going to want to win our collection of six free romantic reads!

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Harlequin to send one of our lucky readers a box of six books hot off the press by some of America’s favorite authors. Enter now! Read more of this post

Jalapeno Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn with Jalapenos

Savor the sweetness of summer with this tempting, creamy treat filled with cheese, onions and jalapenos.

When I was 19, I moved to New York City where I quickly made tons of friends, each hailing from a different corner of the globe. Life in the big city was fast, caught as we were on an electric current where everything forges more quickly than anywhere else I’ve ever been. Those friendships were no different, and most weekends we found excuses to do things together, including shopping in vintage clothing stores, catching sales at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman, exploring used bookshops where volumes were stacked to the ceiling, and sometimes getting lost in labyrinthine museums like the Met, MoMA or the Guggenheim. As fun as those times were, however, our favorite things to do were simple, like taking picnics in Central Park or driving out to the Hamptons, leaving behind the chaos and noise of our concrete jungle and seeking refuge at a friend’s summerhouse along the sandy shores of the Atlantic. There we could lose ourselves in the tranquil beauty of Long Island, where farmers markets and tiny roadside food stands dished up delicious treats and we could buy fresh produce to conjure up some of our favorite recipes in a spacious kitchen, unlike anything we had in the city. Our Jalapeno Creamed Corn is like one of the many dishes we prepared back then, packed with nutritious goodness, a touch of heat, and the sweet flavors of summer.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ white onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (discard seeds for less heat)
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels or 2 10-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a heated large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno. Saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Puree 1 cup corn or ½ bag of corn in food processor or blender. Add pureed corn and remaining corn to pan, cook 5 minutes. Add cream, water, and cheese. Stir and cook until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and serve warm.

YIELDS: 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Celebrate family and friends this July

Jathan and Heather's wedding cakesJuly 2011

Dear Friends,

July is always one of the busiest months of the year for us. To begin with, our wedding anniversary is July 16th, and we always do something special to commemorate the day we exchanged vows. One of our favorite traditions is that we splurge and buy a box of juicy chevron dipped strawberries (chevron dipped means that they are covered with both dark and white chocolate—YUM!) because these covered the top of our groom’s cake when we got married. Our good friend Val O’Dell made our cakes, and they were gorgeous with a basket weave design that took her countless hours to perfect. We’d looked forward to eating the cake that day with great anticipation, and yet the chocolate strawberries were the only part of it that we were able to eat! As you can tell from the picture shown here, they were to die for. Tell us what some of your wedding anniversary traditions are here. If you would like to view some of our other wedding photos, check out our new photo gallery.

This month is also the time we take our summer vacation. What will you do this month? Are you going to travel or have a “stay-cation” as many are doing this year? Since money is tight for everyone, we’re going to investigate inexpensive and free things to do with your family, then we’ll share our discoveries with you here. So stay tuned for money-saving vacation tips and reviews of the places we visit this month. If you have tips you’d like to share, send them our way as well.

As some of you may have noticed, June was not an eventful time in our “test kitchen.” However, we did dish up some tasty recipes that you will want to serve, perhaps for your very own barbecues this month. Scoop up our chunky guacamole with Serrano peppers with your favorite tortilla chips or dollop it on top of a juicy burger! If you love hummus, you’ll definitely want to try our simple and delicious recipe that goes great with our refreshing Israeli salad. And, if you want a sweet treat with breakfast, be sure to spread a little tropical sunshine on your toast with our homemade pineapple jam.

We’re also adding a Shopping section to our site. Here we will highlight companies we’ve done business with over the years who have not only delivered great products and customer service, but they do so consistently! New vendors are being added regularly, so be sure to visit our new Shopping section often.

Whatever you’re doing this month, we hope you find a great way to beat the heat, curl up with a good book, and enjoy time with friends and family. Have a safe and happy summer!

Love,
Jathan & Heather

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.

Summer is ablaze with activity

2010 University of Cincinnati graduates

June means more graduates, like those pictured here during the 2010 University of Cincinnati's Hooding ceremony and class of 1970 recognition.

June 2011

Dear Friends,

With the arrival of June, hot summer nights are officially here! After an especially wet and stormy May, I think we can all agree that we’ll take the warmer temperatures as long as the countless tornadoes stop their rampage across the country, like the ones that blasted through Joplin, Missouri and Woodward, Oklahoma leaving devastation and death in their wake. Having grown up in tornado alley, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when these storms appear without warning, so I’m always urging everyone to pay attention to the sirens and meteorologists when they say we need to seek shelter. Stop what you’re doing and go to the basement, the hallway, or wherever you need to go to be safe. Sure, it can be inconvenient to get up in the middle of the night and go to the cellar when you have to work the next day, but nothing is more precious than your life. So please pay attention!

In addition to the heat, June is always bustling with activity. A number of our friends are graduating from college this month with degrees in Journalism, Engineering, Organizational Leadership, and Dental Hygiene Technology, among others. It is always exciting to see where everyone goes after that long, hard-earned walk to accept their diplomas and start the next chapters in their lives. We have the best time cheering for them all, snapping pictures and exchanging hugs and well wishes before they move on to different cities, new relationships and exciting careers. So if you’re one of those new graduates, whether you’re graduating from college or kindergarten, we send you big congratulations and best wishes for all your future endeavors.

We also start planning for summer vacation this month. Whether you’re dipping your toes into the salty surf of the ocean, swimming at the lake, exploring a museum or hanging out in your backyard with friends, we hope you get some well-deserved time to relax and enjoy time with a good book (like May’s book club pick, Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris) and people you love. Like many of you, we’ve had to modify our plans somewhat and do some things a bit closer to home due to the high cost of gasoline this summer. Visit our Calendar page for some activity ideas that are inexpensive (some entirely free) and filled with music, food and fun.

Speaking of food, check out some of the awesome recipes we posted last month, including reader favorites like our light and fluffy Belgian Waffles or Blueberry Muffins. If your summer plans include a cookout, little goes better with hamburgers and hot dogs than our Slow-Cooked Baked Bean Medley and our Spiced Corn on the Cob. Summer is also the perfect time to serve up a vegetarian menu like our Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks served with Creamy Polenta with Mozzarella Cheese and Maple-Thyme Roasted Carrots. But the carnivores in your family will love a slow-cooked Cuban-Style Pork Roast and Yuca with Mojo Sauce. They can even use the leftovers to make hearty Cuban Sandwiches later in the week! Have a hankering for something sweet? Try our Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumb Cake, Mango Daiquiri Sorbet, or our classic Banana Pudding.

Whatever your summer plans include, make sure to kick off your shoes, sip something cold and delicious, lather on the sunscreen and make some lasting memories.

Love,
Jathan & Heather