Cooking with LuLu – Roasted Tomato Salad

I am really fortunate to have a husband that does most of the cooking. He handles a majority of the nightly dinner cooking for which I am really grateful. My cooking is mostly limited to Sundays, baking and entertaining. We recently celebrated my oldest son’s birthday by inviting over close friends and family. I made homemade pizzas and something new I created, Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad. It was really delicious if I do say so myself. Here is the recipe I created…

Ingredients:
2 pints cherry tomatoes
12 ounces small mozzarella balls, cut into quarters
3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (1/2 teaspoon if you like it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the tomatoes and place onto a large cookie sheet. Pour 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roll the tomatoes around on the sheet to coat them evenly with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain off any liquid. Place back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. The tomatoes should be nicely roasted with most of the liquid gone. Let them cool to room temperature.

After the tomatoes have cooled place in a serving bowl. Add the basil, parsley, red pepper, oregano and 11/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Mix well combining all ingredients. You can serve immediately or place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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It didn’t look as pretty as I hoped. Next time I will try placing on a platter with some fresh basil and parsley leaves on the platter.

I hope you enjoy it.

What I am Wearing

So I thought I would start blogging about what I am wearing and my fashion choices. As a 46 year old woman I try to make choices that are still fashionable without looking that I am trying too hard or younger than my age. I don’t always get it right but I have a lot of fun trying.

I recently bought a pair of pants from the Gap. They are the broken in straight khakis in an olive green color. I created a few outfits, for work and casual, using shirts, shoes and accessories already in my closet.

First up an outfit I wore to work on a casual Friday. I wore this awhile ago when the weather was cooler. I probably won’t wear the shoes again until the fall. The vest is a lightweight knit that I purchased from American Eagle a few years ago. The scarf was a gift from a friend. The silver hoops are a staple in my wardrobe I wear almost everyday.

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Next up a dressier work outfit. Same pants teamed with a white linen blazer and a white tank top underneath. I wore the jacket buttoned up for a more polished look. Lots of silver bracelets, silver earrings, nude belt and nude platform sandals.

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Third up another casual outfit. I wore this out to dinner with friends. I just switched out the linen jacket for a denim jacket. The denim jacket is from the Gap. I purchased it this spring and it is really soft and comfortable. I may not have lots of opportunities to wear it in FL over the next few months but if I travel anywhere else I will bring it. Plus, you can never go wrong keeping a great denim jacket in your closet.

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Finally, I wore the pants today with a plain white t-shirt and this scarf:

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Sometimes you need to kick it up a bit, even if your husband says the scarf makes you look like a pirate. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts and for you to tell me what you are wearing.

What Happens When…

What happens when you wake up one day and realize that all of the goals you set for yourself as a young woman are mostly complete?  You are now in your 40′s and have checked the boxes you set for yourself in your early 20′s.  Things like:

Attain a bachelors degree – check

Get married – check

Start career and climb up corporate ladder – check

Buy first home – check

Buy 4 door, practical car for future family – check

Have first child – check

Work on climbing corporate ladder more – check

Have second child – check

Buy larger home – check

Continue climbing corporate ladder

You realize you’ve checked all the boxes.  Everything seems to be going swimmingly.  Your oldest is approaching the end of high school.  Your youngest, still in elementary school, but growing quickly.

What now?  What goals do I set now?  I am interested in setting goals?  I have had a good career and while I’ve done well I haven’t attained all the career goals I have thought I would.  But is it worth to reach for more?  Will it fulfill me?

This is where I am at in my life.  And so far I discovered that this has been a wonderful time to discover more about me.  Who I am, what I’m doing and as Oprah would say, how to live my best life.  I’ve spent a lot of time working on myself and it’s been a tough but satisfying journey.

I have re-discovered friendships.  For so many years we were all so busy raising children and running them around that we didn’t have time for friends.  Now we are all starting to free up and we actually get to socialize with them more.  The teenager can babysit the younger one on occasion.  We can meet for dinner.  We can meet on a Sunday afternoon to listen to a band at the local watering hole.

I have time to work on my relationship with my Savior.  I get to think deeper thoughts and explore where I want to go with my relationship with Him.  I am learning to surrender myself to His will.  

You also get to find out that your children are pretty cool.  You can start to have real conversations with them.  Talk about their hopes and dreams.  Enjoy their sense of humor, which is for me is the most amazing thing.  I love to laugh with them about stupid stuff and family jokes.

This is turning out to be a really awesome time.  It’s making me look forward to my 50s.  I am hoping that I’ll get to travel more with my husband and continue to watch my children grow and start to fulfill their own dreams.

What happens when you reach your late 30s and early 40s and you realize that you accomplished most of your goals?

I am pretty sure I don’t have the definitive answer for it.  But for me, so far, it’s been about re-discovering who I want to be, to have the luxury of more time for friends and watching my children blossom into young adults.

You know you’re old when…

You know you’re old when…

This will take a minute to have me set the scene so hold on.

My husband and I went out to dinner in the historic downtown section where we live. It’s recently come into its own and has several cool restaurants, bars and a lively scene. We love to go down there on a Saturday evening. However, we’re normally off the street by 11 because it gets a little young. What do I mean by young? Well, let’s just say it’s a bunch of people that I can’t identify with and leave it at that.

On this night, we were down there later than normal due to series of accidents. We were wrapping up our dinner around 9:30 when one of my husband’s young co-workers and his wife ran into us. They are really nice and cool. They invited us next door to a bar that we had never been into. We’ve never been in there because they allow smoking. Ugh.

Anyway, we accepted their offer and met them there about 10 pm. After arriving and grabbing a couple of beers I looked around and noted to my husband, “Uh, we’re the oldest people in here.” My husband said, “No way!” Then he looked around and realized, yes, we were the oldest people there. At least we were for about 15 minutes until some older looking dudes walked in – thank goodness!!!

But here’s the topper. The bar had a live band and I broke out a couple of my best dance moves. You know, Downtown Julie Brown like. I was HOT. Until I looked over and saw my husband’s young friend and his wife looking at me like “Oh, isn’t the old lady so cute trying to bust a move.” Although they probably didn’t think “bust a move.” They probably thought something way cooler.

It was a watershed moment for me. And our cue to leave – STAT!!