We have SO. MANY. TOMATOES. The other day, I was at the farmers’ market and one of the local vendors was trying to get rid of a surplus of big, beautiful tomatoes. I filled up a bag with about 12 tomatoes before leaving. SO. MANY. TOMATOES. Not a bad problem, though. I love eating fresh summer tomatoes with mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Another easy way to savor summer tomatoes is to make gazpacho! Yes, when life gives you tomatoes, make gazpacho (or something like that)!

We posted a gazpacho recipe about two years ago, but we’ve removed some unnecessary ingredients (like the tomato juice, sugar, etc.) and have made it an even more simple, flavorful, and healthy recipe.

Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 0 min.


1 cucumber, peeled
4 homegrown tomatoes
1 red pepper, deseeded
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeño, deseeded (optional)
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 handful basil leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


Deseed all peppers. Roughly chop all vegetables and place in a large bowl along with all other ingredients. Use a hand blender to purée all ingredients until smooth. Taste, then add any additional ingredients as desired. Chill for at least 1 hour. Flavors get even better overnight!

Top with additional fresh basil.

Serves 8

Cuisinart: The Griddler Deluxe (Recipe: Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches)

I literally did a summersault when I read the e-mail from Cuisinart asking us to be guest bloggers for a year. Cuisinart is one of our favorite brands. Whenever we have friends registering for wedding gifts, when we’re giving gifts, or just shopping for the latest and greatest addition to our kitchen, Cuisinart is our go-to, because of the continual positive experiences we have with their well-made products.


The Griddler® Deluxe by Cuisinart® does everything. It could practically write this blog post about itself. With six different cooking functions, the possibilities are endless. Grill, sear, cook on a flat top, press, and more with this versatile grill. I wish we would have discovered this product back when we lived in our 750 square foot loft in Kansas City. Although the box is big, it really doesn’t take up too much space on the counter. Perfect for a loft dweller to host a summer cook-out (or cook-in!).

To show off some of The Griddler’s cool features, we decided to take our jalapeño pimento cheese and use it in three different ways to give you an idea of what this baby can do! We even used The Griddler when making the jalapeño pimento cheese itself.


Using the griddle pans, cook the jalapeños until they are soft and blistered.


Simply combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The pimento has a nice amount of smoky heat from the roasted jalapeños, thanks to The Griddler.


With a nice big bowl of this in the fridge, you can make a variety of dishes. Use the flat grill pans to make burgers! Be sure to top them with our pimento cheese and use the top melt to get the cheese gooey and delicious. You can warm the buns on the flat top as well!


Another delicious dish you can make are pimento bites. Roughly the size of a chip and the consistency of a cheesey biscuit, these small discs make the perfect snack, or to accompany lox and bacon in the morning. To make the dough, combine 1 cup of our pimento cheese with 1/2 cup of flour. Roll into small balls and place on the heated flat grill. Then, press and cook until outside begins to turn golden brown and crispy.


And of course, The Griddler has a panini function. Your mundane grilled cheese will get a major face lift thanks to using both griddler plates and the panini press. Pimento grilled cheese? Sign me up. Now.


Overall, we are blown away by The Griddler. Its versatility, sleek design, compact size, and impressive level of power are unmatched. We never knew what we were missing!

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Prep Time: 2 min. Cook Time: 7 min


2 pieces crusty Italian bread
2-3 tablespoons Roasted Jalapeño Pimento Cheese (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons butter, melted


Place griddle pans on both top and bottom of The Griddler. Heat to 400°. Brush melted butter on one piece of bread, flip, and spread a generous portion of roasted jalapeño pimento cheese. Place on grill buttered-side down, then top with another piece of bread and brush again with melted butter. Close the top of The Griddler, and lightly press. Cook for 5 minutes.

If you desire a more dark bread with noticeable grill marks, turn The Griddler’s upper and lower sear function on. As it begins to heat, press the handle down with some pressure. Check often as this can quickly burn. Don’t sear for more than one minute.

Remove sandwich from The Griddler and slice in half. Serve warm, while cheese is still gooey.

Makes 1 sandwich.


Roasted Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 0 min.


4 jalapeño peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed
4 teaspoons yellow onion, grated
1/2 lb. mild cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/2 lb. + a pinch extra extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup tablespoons pimentos, drained and minced
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste


Place griddle pans on both top and bottom of The Griddler. Heat to 350°. Lightly coat the jalapeños in olive oil, then place them on the grill for 5-6 minutes, locking the top grill close to the jalapeños to provide additional heat for cooking. Then, flip and continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes, until grill marks appear and jalapeños are soft. Remove from The Griddler and turn The Griddler off.

Dice the jalapeños finely, and place in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.

Cuisinart sponsored this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own. 

Caprese Wreath (aka- the easiest appetizer ever)

DSC_1011I love that moment in the summer when I go out to water the herbs and tomatoes in the back and say to myself, “Hey! They’re growing!” (like I’m surprised every year). I always grow extra basil because honestly, it’s one of my favorites. Pestos, tomatoes with basil, basil in pastas, basil infused oils, and basically basil everything gets my approval. I love having herbs on hand in the summer to add quick, fresh flavor to my dishes. Speaking of quick, sometimes when guests are on the way I’m in need of an appetizer that I can throw together in a flash. You’ve been there, right?

You’re running errands. You’re making dinner. You’re rushing home from work. You’re at the zoo with the kids. Then, you get the call that (surprise!) people are on the way over to your house earlier than expected. Don’t freak out- we got your back. This impressive wreath will hold over the crowd until your main dish is ready. It’s delicious, fresh, and easy to prepare.

The classic flavors of a caprese salad come together on individual skewers to make this impressive dish. Simply skewer mozzarella pearls between two cherry tomatoes, top with basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Boom. You’re done, and your guests are happy. So, whether you’re rushing to feed a crowd, or just want to use some of your fresh herbs, serve this fun caprese wreath and savor the flavors of summer.

Caprese Wreath
Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 10 min.


20 mozzarella cheese pearls
40 cherry tomatoes
1 handful basil leaves, chiffonade cut
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Black pepper


Using small skewers, stack one tomato, one mozzarella pearl, and another tomato up to the end of the skewer. Arrange the skewers in a circle to form a wreath.

Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vinegar has reduced by half. (NOTE: Watch this closely as it’s easy to burn. Depending on the size of your saucepan, you may need to reduce cooking time)

Sprinkle basil and balsamic reduction on the tomato and mozzarella wreath. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper.

Makes 20 skewers