Big stuff happening over here this past weekend! I had to go into my About Kara page and delete the “twenty-something” description about me. Yep, this past weekend I had a big birthday! It was a lovely weekend celebrating just how I like it — simple, special, and shared with close friends. :)
While I didn’t celebrate with a cake, I think this Parisian Hot Sipping Chocolate more than makes up for that. Philip surprised me on Saturday with a trip to the Chocolaterian Cafe. They certainly live up their name. While all of their chocolate creations look delicious, this sipping chocolate is one of my favorites and is served in a 4-ounce cup with tiny spoons (so adorable!). It’s literally like drinking a dark chocolate truffle. Mmmm, I’m practically drooling just thinking about it. ;)
Also, I got an Instant Pot for my birthday (after over a year of debating about whether I needed/wanted yet another appliance in my kitchen, I decided it was time). So far, I’m obsessed! I’ve had it less than a week and I’ve already cooked butternut squash, steel cut oats, and yogurt. I’m three for three with successes, so I’ve decided it’s pretty much fool proof. ;) Let me know if you’re interested in Instant Pot recipes and I’ll try to get a few posted as I start to use it even more.
Whether the weather agrees or not, I’m declaring it officially grilling season! While this weekend has been less than stellar for any outdoor activities, last weekend when I was in Iowa visiting one of my best friends from college and her new little baby, the weather was absolutely perfect (I’d have to say this little guy was also just as perfect ;))!
Which also meant that we were grilling burgers. My mouth is watering just thinking about the burgers my friend whipped up on the fly. My gosh, were they good! It was a probably a combination of the beef coming from their own cows, my friend being awesome at making burgers, and me getting my first taste of a grilled burger of the season. There’s nothing like it!
While I don’t have my friend’s burger “recipe” to share with you (yet), I do have another delicious recipe that is just as easy to make and get on the table: Marinated Grilled Chicken with Asian Slaw. I just love this food season; everything is simple, fresh, and quick to prepare, so you don’t waste more time in the kitchen than you need to. It’s funny, people always ask if we “eat healthy” at home. Well, yeah, I guess? But I think what they really mean is if we eat boring and tasteless healthy food. I’m telling you, that is definitely not what we eat at our house. This recipe is case in point. So much flavor wrapped up in this meal!
Am I too late?! Is soup season officially over? Have you had one too many soup variations this winter and are already dreaming of grilling anything that can possibly be cooked over a flame? Even if you thought you were over soup (don’t worry, I hear ya!), I have full confidence this soup will persuade you to give soup one last chance before you officially declare yourself done with soup for the season.
I think it was around late February when I thought I was over soup. It seemed like I was making soup on a weekly basis. My problem is that I have so many favorite soups I want (need?) to cram into a short season. Plus, the ease of making soup can’t be beat, especially when everything goes right in the Crock-Pot. Still, I was thisclose to scratching off all soups from our weekly menu planning. After weeks on end of one soup or another, it’s easy to call it quits.
Except, of course, when you spot a recipe that has Italian in the title (because, you know, anything Italian catches my eye these days), it’s a dreary spring day (ahem, like this entire past weekend), and the ease of a Crock-Pot soup after a busy day is too good to pass up, Crock-Pot Hearty Italian Quinoa & Vegetable Soup will have you making soup at least one last time no matter how many soups you’ve devoured this season…and it likely will win you over. It definitely did for me.
Hey there, everyone! Were you getting worried I wasn’t going to show up in the New Year? ;) Well, whether you were concerned or not, never fear, it just took me a while to get back in the groove of things after an amazing holiday with family. I ended out my #yearoffun with one last trip of the year to Denver to be with my husband’s family. It was so much fun—our days were filled with hikes, a brewery tour, a whiskey tour (while interesting to learn the process of making a good batch of whiskey, I’ve decided whiskey just isn’t for me :)), and lots of good family time to bring in the New Year!
Have you ever been so excited to go to a new and different place but, while absolutely loving the excitement of it all for the first bit, after a while you start to realize how much you miss home and all the things you loved about it? That’s kind of how I’m feeling about the change in seasons. While I’m so excited for fall with the cooler temperatures, sweatshirts and leggings all day-everyday, and all the fall foods, a part of me is longing for those long summer days, easy shorts and a t-shirt, and warm weather. I mean, summer was just here! And now…it’s not. :(
Perhaps the dreary weather has me feeling wistful, but one thing that has reminded me again just how wonderful fall can be is this Chipotle Turkey-Apple Chili. Your classic chili can sometimes seem more fitting for a cold, winter evening, whereas this turkey-apple chili could not be more appropriate for fall. I’m coming at you with yet another apple recipe this week! This was another of the many recipes I made using the apples Philip and I picked a couple weeks ago.
Hello again, everyone! I’m coming into the work week with a little extra summer glow (re: burn) on my face, a very satisfied stomach, and the feeling that I have officially experienced summer. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen that this weekend Philip and I made a trip to Iowa to experience the Iowa State Fair. It was a picture perfect day for the fair—mid 80s, sun shining, slight breeze, and absolutely no humidity. It was like we were meant to be at the fair that day. It was warm enough to want the delicious nitro ice cream there (think extra smooth ice cream that’s frozen quickly with nitrogen), but not so hot where our appetites left us…we definitely had our appetites! :)
Does anybody else feel like we were just celebrating Memorial Day weekend and now it’s almost the 4th of July?! How did this happen? Growing up, I loved looking forward to the 4th of July, knowing it was another summer holiday. But then after the 4th, “Back-to-School” items started flooding into the stores again and I had that dreaded sense that summer was going to quickly end.
That’s not necessarily the case anymore, but I still hate to see the summer go by so quickly. Thankfully, we have a lot more fun things planned for the summer! One of those things was this past weekend when I completed my first triathlon of the summer. It was a calm day, albeit hot, so it was the perfect morning to go for a swim, bike around the hilly Wisconsin countryside (and when I say hilly, I mean hilly!), and run a few loops around the town close to where we live.
I ran this same race two summers ago, so I knew a little bit more of what to expect this time and felt more prepared going into it…although I had somehow forgotten just how hilly that bike course was. ;)
After the triathlon, it was a lazy day around here, including naps and getting the grill out for another meal on the grill. I wasn’t kidding when I told you we’ve been grilling non-stop around these parts! We had one of our favorite meals last night, Beef Fajitas, but another one that has quickly become our favorite is Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Lime Salsa, which I’m sharing with you today!
Whew! I don’t know about you, but we’ve had a few hot days around here. I’m really not complaining, though, since I’ve been able to make the most of the hot weather and actually enjoy it. Last weekend my two best friends from college and I got together again and decided to spend the afternoon going river tubing outside of Minneapolis. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a hot day! Floating down the river with drinks in hand…sign me up!
This past weekend, while it was indeed warm outside, Philip and I had a fun time biking around Madison and enjoyed a cold ice cream after the hot ride. Every bike ride should end with ice cream, imo. :)
Another way I’m handling the hot weather is by grilling as much as possible! I don’t even know the last time I turned on the oven, which has definitely helped keep our house a little cooler. When I do my weekly meal planning, I try to have at least one or two recipes for that week that involves grilling. Not only does grilling help me stay a little cooler while prepping in the kitchen, grilling makes it so easy to get supper on the table quickly without sacrificing flavor. In the summer, like I mentioned in my last post, I’m eager to get outside and soak in as much evening sun as I can, so the last thing I want to be doing is spending time preparing dinner.
One of our most recent favorites is this Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut-Lime Sauce. Oh my. I know I told you the peanut sauce from the Spring Pad Tai was almost drinkable and could be used on anything, but I may have another new favorite. This peanut-lime sauce has so much flavor. It’s bright and citrusy from the lime and orange, has a tinge of heat from the red pepper flakes, and yet still has depth to it with the peanut-base. It totally made the meal.
If your weekend weather was anything like what we were having, I hope you were able to get out and enjoy it! Talk about beautiful weather. In fact, as I type this, I’m sitting outside on our deck, enjoying a La Croix on ice (because that’s about as fancy as I get), and taking in as much fresh air as I can before rain moves in this week. This weekend has been full of fun activities from bike riding with Philip on Sunday afternoon to playing Red Light, Green Light with the littlest members in our small group from church Saturday evening. Gosh, it’d been a few years since the last time I’d played that! :)
While the weather has been consistently nice more frequently lately, it still has its moments of 70s one day to rainy and 50s the next day — the very definition of spring, right?! Even with the swings in temps, I absolutely love spring and all the vibrant color it brings with it. After a dull winter, the lush grass and budding trees is always a welcome sight for sore eyes.
This Spring Green Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce is the perfect resemblance of spring — fresh, vibrant, and full of all shades of green. Not to mention, a good helping of all those spring vegetables in season right now. :) If you even just sort of think you like pad thai or stir fry, then I know you’re going to love this recipe!
Can we be completely Midwest for a minute and talk about this weather?! Above freezing? I’ll take it! Above 50 degrees? Heat wave!
Even just last week I was trying to soak in all things winter by going cross country skiing again in the fresh powder that had fallen last weekend. But now. Now I want puddles and warm weather and spring jackets. One taste of spring weather has me wanting all things spring. While a part of me is saddened that the season of winter activities is coming to an end, I am so ready for some warmer weather. Going for a run this weekend without 4+ layers or mittens you would think you’d only need in the arctic tundra felt so freeing!
Alas, if I’m being realistic, it’s still only February. I’m trying not to get my hopes too high. Although, I’ll admit, I haven’t brought myself to look at the forecast this week, because I already know I will most likely be disappointed.
In this in-between weather, it’s hard to know what recipe to go for — do I make a hearty, comforting stew or a light and fresh spring-inspired dish? I found a happy balance with Maple-Dijon Chicken & Quinoa 30-Minute Skillet.