Mary Beth Johnson is a photographer, blogger, and journalist with a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places and celebrating the everyday. Originally from the east coast, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children (dubbed “schooners”). From an office full of fingerprints and walls scattered with imperfect artwork, she’s writing her first book, a memoir of her parents’ journey in raising 14 children, and her own lifestyle blog, Annapolis & Company.

It’s funny to me that I photograph food and recommend recipes yet I, myself, have such a hard time getting creative and inventing in the kitchen. I can list for you my favorite food blogs and tell you what ingredients to look for to insure you’ll pick out dishes worth cooking, but leave me in the kitchen alone with a pantry and a refrigerator and I would probably make you an omelet. I have a million things I want to blame this lack of originality on, but mostly I think it’s that the right side of my brain gets used up elsewhere with my children and busy seasons in life at the moment.


I had a streak of inspiration and a flash of creativity when visiting my husband in Atlanta a few weeks ago. He took me to a Mediterranean restaurant that was filled to the brim during lunch hour (a sure sign you’re in for something good) and ordered his usual anything-with-meat dish while I ordered my usual anything-with-vegetables dish. I have to be honest. He almost always ends up winning with the better order.

This time, though, I think I won. 😉



I had a personal breakthrough and decided to recreate the tomato, basil, and feta sandwich I ordered using fresh multi-grain bread from the bakery and a perfect pesto recipe from Sprouted Kitchen. The pesto had just the right amount of spiciness to add flavor, but if you want to save time you can just use jarred from the grocery store. Due to the cold front, I’m not sure if you all have any tomatoes left in your gardens, but this is a good use for them if you do. My husband and I had these on a lazy Sunday night and literally talked about how amazing these sandwiches were for days. I hope you’ll give them a try!


 8 slices multi-grain bread

basil pesto (jarred, or fresh recipe listed below) 

 feta cheese, crumbled
 1 – 2 large, fresh tomatoes (sliced)



Basil Pesto: 

 4 cups Basil Leaves
 1/3 cup Olive Oil 
 8 drops Young Living lemon essential oil, or 1/2 cup lemon juice
 1/3 cups Toasted Pine Nuts
 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
 2 Large Cloves Garlic
 1 tbsp. Black Pepper

For the Pesto: 

In a blender or food processor, add the pine nuts, garlic and YL lemon essential oil or fresh lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add in half of the basil leaves and pulse to combine, add the rest of the basil leaves and pepper and with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Stir in parmesan cheese. Leave the pesto a bit chunky, does not need to be totally smooth.
Assembling the sandwich: 
Heat oven to broiling. Toast the bread for one minute, remove from oven, and flip the bread to the other side. Spread on each piece a generous helping of pesto and sprinkle feta cheese on top. Broil on top rack for about 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is browning. Remove and top half of your pieces with fresh tomato slices, top with the other halves.

Then make some more. 🙂

***  Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP. This is just how I make & do things. you must make informed decisions for yourself and your own family. 
“We are starting our journey with Essential Oils and have done our own research on the purity of oils.  I am confident in using oils in our recipes because we only use Young Living.  They are  beyond organic and never use pesticides, herbicides or any harmful chemicals. Their soil has never been exposed to them as well.  I don’t suggest ever using any other oil for ingestion because I don’t know of their purity. “


September 17, 2014


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