Monday, back at it

It’s already Monday again? My weekend was so full of fun activities that it feels like I haven’t been to work in a week!

Thursday night, I was incredibly happy to eat a very summery meal of a half of a BLT with fruit, veggies and a few chips. See that sweet corn? It was my last ear from a batch I received from Iowa. Possibly the best sweet corn of my life. So sweet and tender it made my heart sing.

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Friday night we picked up our wedding invitations and envelopes. Eeek! It’s coming so soon. I’m so excited! Brian and I grabbed dinner at Native Foods. He had a curry bowl and I had the indo salad. Both were amazing. We loved our own choices and each other’s so much that we switched bowls half way through. Sharing is caring. After running some more errands, I got home and collapsed on the couch for the night.

Saturday I got up early, did laundry, worked out and watered the garden before heading to a bridal shower in the burbs.  I had a surprise strawberry waiting for me when I got there to water:

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Brian and I had a nice breakfast together before I left for the day. I made him cinnamon streusel French toast with caramelized bananas for breakfast. I had eggs and toast.

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I got to hang out with some fun Hawkeyes at Sarah’s beautiful shower:

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The rest of the day was full of bachelorette fun.

Sunday morning I slept in and headed to water aerobics. Only one more weekend left of getting to be in an outdoor pool and get exercise. Booo! I wish I could have this weather and schedule all year round. The rest of Sunday was filled with making food for the week and folding and putting away laundry. As much as I hate laundry, I love starting out the week with a full and clean closet.

I made another round of macro bowls(spinach, kale, zucchini, quinoa, lentils, beans and sweet potato) for us to have for lunches this week:

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Took a break to have a lunch of leftover pizza, salad, tomatoes and chips.

 

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I felt like I haven’t made us a proper dinner in a few weeks. When I said this, Brian gave me a strange look like I was a crazy person. I just felt like I hadn’t put a lot of time or effort into a meal lately. Which is the direct result of it being summer and using a lot more fresh food that doesn’t need as much preparation. Anyway, I having a strong yearning to do a little more cooking and use our early wedding gift. Look at her. She’s a beauty. I named her Camille, because she’s French, you know. And she can make honey, almond, rosemary roasted carrots with the best of them.

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I also made a simple and quick tomato sauce, which had tons of great flavor:

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With some seasoned green beans, the meal came together kind of like this:

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Brian gave the carrots two thumbs up. I really like the almond carrot combo. Delightful. It would probably be a recipe better reserved for cooler temperatures, but those are probably right around the corner. And the tomato sauce on the chicken really jazzed it up.

 

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Weekend recap: It’s August?

With temperatures in the 70s all weekend and a tan that is starting to fade, it’s hard to believe that it is August. Aren’t we supposed to be in the dog days of summer?

Knowing that we had back to back to back activities lined up for Saturday, I took advantage of Friday night by doing some grocery shopping and spending time at the garden. I picked a bunch of kale, fennel, carrots and cherry tomatoes. My cherry tomatoes are growing like crazy. They are all over the plant in giant clusters like I am growing grapes.

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The fennel smells wonderful. I can’t wait to cook it up and possibly use the fronds in a savory bread.

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Saturday started bright and early with a double yolk egg(those are good luck, right?) then off to help a friend with a yard sale.

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The weather was  perfect and it nice to sit outside for a few hours. When the yard sale wrapped up, we high-tailed it across the city to do the cake tasting for our wedding.

So many design options.

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We felt the presentation of the cake flavor options was a little odd, but that didn’t stop us from eating cake. In the end, we decided on a non-traditional flavor combination that we are both very excited about.

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We needed a mid-afternoon boost and stopped at Starbucks before heading to try on wedding bands for Brian. He tried the new Valencia Orange refresher. I thought it tasted just like Tang!(gross)

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After that we headed to a party at Challenger’s Comics to celebrate it winning an Eisner award. We had a ton of fun.

Sunday morning came far too quickly after Saturday’s busy day and late night. Despite the chilly 70 degree weather, I headed to water aerobics with a friend for some much-needed exercise. The water felt frigid at first but we forgot all about it once we started moving and chatting. I continued the outdoor theme for the day as I walked to the grocery store to pick up the last few things I needed to get food ready for the week. The weather was just too gorgeous to be inside. Then I piddled around in the back yard trimming my potted plants. I had a red bell pepper and a tiny San Marzano tomato ready for picking!

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After putting away the groceries, I used up some zucchini to make a batch of delicious chocolate zucchini muffins.

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It was a lazy Sunday dinner of salad, fruit and a take and bake pizza.

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Two weeks, one post

This summer is going way too fast, but it sure has been a lot of fun!

Last weekend, I had a girls weekend at a friend’s lake house and they surprised me with a mini bachelorette party. We had a lot of fun, took in a lot if good food, drink and time in the water. I love to build a nice fire.

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While having our coffee out on the dock Sunday morning, two trumpeter swans swam right past us.

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This week I made my second batch of homemade Greek yogurt. This batch turned out even better than my first batch. I really need to blog that recipe. While I was making the yogurt, I also started the base for some homemade ice cream.

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I took a night off from the kitchen to celebrate National margarita day with my friend Katie.

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Thursday night I spent making really good banana bread and the homemade ice cream.

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My parents came into town on Friday and we introduced them to ice cream at Margie’s Candies after dinner. We all left with full and happy bellies. Saturday morning we participated in the Big 10 5k. After last years sweat fest, this years cooler temperatures were much appreciated.

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We spent our afternoon making important decisions on our wedding food menu by trying lots of food. It was all really delicious.
I spent Sunday creating a meal plan for the week with the goal of having to buy as few groceries as possible and use up what we have. I am a visual person, so I had to map it all out in writing.

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Being that my parents brought me a bunch of tomatoes from their garden, I knew that BLTs were in my near future. I spent $8.37 on groceries for the week(most of that was on bacon) plus leftovers we had from buying groceries this week and we should have stuff for more than enough meals this week.
Today’s lunch for me was a mustard, feta and veggie open faced sandwich, chips and fruit.

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Supper was an AMAZING BLT, pretzels, fruit and super 7 salad. This meal made me incredibly happy.

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I’ve also been enjoying the fresh flowers my parents brought to us out of their yard.

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And I spent time at my garden multiple days this week. I’ve started getting cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pulled the last of my radishes, gotten a few carrots and am continuing to get kale. I’m getting really anxious for my full-size tomatoes to ripen after indulging in my parents home grown tomatoes.
Fresh food in the summer makes me incredibly happy!

Strawberries, thievery and assault

I believe it was just two days ago that I blogged about how well the garden is doing and my excitement to turn my cabbage into sauerkraut.

Well, the situation turned sour tonight. After dinner Brian and I rode bikes to the garden to water. Upon arrival, I noticed the back third of my garden was alarmingly empty. Someone had stolen my cabbage. Left the outer leaves and had taken the cabbage!

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Thieves!!!

To add insult to injury, while I was standing the morning the loss of my cabbage, I got nailed in the back of the neck with a tennis ball from the neighboring tennis courts! Ouch!

The highlight of going to the garden was the strawberry plant.

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Brian and I happily ate the strawberries when we got home. I wasn’t going to wait around to get hit by another tennis ball!

Garden update

I have steadily been getting a few things from my garden this year: kale, tomatoes, strawberries, radishes, spinach, onions and herbs. Just a few things here and a few things there, so far.

I am eagerly awaiting my first cucumber and bell pepper. And my lone head of cabbage that I’m growing. Perfect for making homemade sauerkraut.

I had a tomato ready in one of my potted plants in the back yard, so I ate that for dinner on a veggie burger.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much more flavorful homegrown tomatoes are than store bought.

After dinner Brian and I biked up to the garden where I got oregano, more tomatoes, some of my second planting of radishes, an onion, kale and some sort of peppery lettuce that is growing in our community garden community plot.

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My tomato plants are doing incredibly well this year, just loaded with tomatoes. My carrots and fennel are coming right along and my kale keeps giving me kale. My strawberry plant has been much more productive than I would have guessed it to be and will have a few more strawberries ready tomorrow.

All of this makes me incredibly happy. How are everyone else’s gardens doing?

A gift of chervil

I am again participating in the local park district community garden program. We each have our own bed to garden as we please and a larger plot for everyone to care for. I almost didn’t do it again this year as I yielded so little from my plot last year. Mostly due to the homeless in the park taking the produce. At the last minute, I decided to reserve my plot again. Thank goodness I did. At our park there is a 70 person waiting list to get a bed. The longest waiting list in the city.

Tonight was the first community work night. We all got together and cleaned up the area and worked the compost. For those who hadn’t planted their gardens yet, they did so. Even though I planted a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist adding more. I added a Serrano pepper plant, another cherry tomato, two more kale, parsley, onions and cabbage.

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Our first strawberry is almost ready!

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And a plot neighbor gave me some of her chervil. I munched on it the entire walk home!

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Are you gardening this year? What do you have growing?

Weekend round up

This past weekend I had a much needed weekend away in Ann Arbor to visit my friend Mel. After arriving on Friday and getting settled, we headed out to dinner at Isalita, a very delicious tapas style Mexican restaurant. We had a short wait where we enjoyed a delicious whiskey drink by the bar.

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One of my favorites among the food ordered were the baja fish tacos, which they made look like a fish stick.

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Saturday we spend the day frolicking down town, on campus and at the farmers market. Mel gave me a tour of the library, showed me the hidden door and toured me though several floors of stacks:

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After indulging on Friday night, we decided we needed a lighter dinner on Saturday and make some nibble platters of pita, hummus, falafel, olives and veggies.

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We enjoyed these down by the pond while watching the geese.

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We decided that for having been friends for 14 years, we haven’t aged too badly.

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After returning home on Sunday, Brian and I worked in the garden, rode bikes and had dinner on a patio. I even got to pick a few stems of kale.

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One of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time and I even got a tan! Hello, summer! I’m ready to spend my days outdoors.

Lynn Abbey

Lynn Abbey is my new cruiser. She’s a Schwinn Breeze. She was given to me by a very dear friend after expressing interest in getting a bike. She said she had a bike that hadn’t been ridden in a few years and thought if I would ride it she would give it to me…because bikes are meant to be ridden.

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After work today we rode up to my garden plot and watered the plants. They are needing a lot of water these days with the relentless heat we are experiencing.

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Since we were without power for a while tonight and it was still a cool 95 degrees out, we stopped or an ice cream cone on the way home.

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Those are the first of many adventures for Lynn Abbey and I.