Grains

Caramelized Onion & Plum with Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread

Caramelized Onion & Plum with Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread

Do you ever have those weekends where you go, go, go and you finally come to a point where you have to take a nap or collapse before you try to do anything else without hurting yourself, getting overly irritated, or crying over spilt milk?

Yep, that was me this weekend. I knew it was going to be one of those weekends when on Friday night I stated how I couldn’t wait to “sleep in” next weekend…hello, what happened to this weekend?! Well, work on Saturday plus a very early triathlon on Sunday morning happened this weekend. Mixed in there were house and garden “chores”, a picnic with friends, and another get together with more friends. Yes, the busy summer schedule is upon us.

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Which means summer food is also upon us. And my Caramelized Onion & Plum with Prosciutto & Arugula Flatbread is a great and fresh meal to get us started with warm days and cool evenings that go far past my bedtime.

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Southwest Pizza with Lime & Cilantro

Southwest Pizza

Welcome back to the start of another work week after a long, fun-filled weekend! Boy, did it feel good to have an extra day added on to our weekend. Philip and I both agreed that we could get used to having a three-day weekend all the time…if only that was possible.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Memorial Day weekend. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday morning, so Philip and I started off the weekend by heading to the Madison farmers’ market, which surrounds the Capitol square. We picked up some plants and herbs for our garden and had an enjoyable time strolling amongst all the people. So many people!

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My friend, Sarah — who might as well be my sister — came into town on Saturday. We’ve been friends since freshman year of college when we were randomly assigned as roommates (we lived with each other for 4 years and still came out as close of friends as ever). It’s sometimes eery how similar we are…and we love it. :)

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We chatted into the night and woke up bright and early to run the Madison Half Marathon on Sunday. Somehow I convinced her that she should do her first half marathon in Madison and had so much fun sharing the experience with her. There’s nothing quite like completing your first half or full marathon. Thankfully we both outran the rain and were finished by the time the downpour started.

Madison Half Marathon

Monday started out looking gloomy, too, but by the afternoon, it cleared up enough for Philip and me to take our first bike ride of the season together. I’ve fallen in love with Madison during the spring through fall (it hasn’t won me over for it’s winters yet). The wild flowers were blooming and wild life were everywhere along the bike trails.

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To finish out a great weekend, we fired up the grill and had the perfect summer meal — Southwest Pizza. Seriously, yum. I barely have words to describe how tasty this was. So many flavors coming together to create a flavor explosion in your mouth. Philip was pretty much speechless and couldn’t get enough of it — which is always my gage to see if recipes make it to the blog. Based on his reaction, I knew this recipe was one I needed to share with you ASAP, so you could enjoy it as long as possible through the upcoming summer months (and beyond).

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Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

Spicy Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

Welcome to another week, friends!

My weekend included a good balance of work and relaxation and enjoying the gorgeous weather we’re continuing to have! The only downside is I came down with a nasty cold over the weekend (due to my inability to slow down), leaving me sniffling and watching the clock for the next time I can take some DayQuil.

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I should’ve known I was maybe a little feverish when I was at the grocery store on Friday, embarrassing myself at the seafood counter. There to pick up some salmon that was on sale, I commented on the fresh salmon that was arranged into a “W”. I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out what it may mean, totally not thinking that I live in Wisconsin, in the same city as the University of Wisconsin, or the fact that the UW Men’s Basketball team was playing in the championships that day. What’d I come up with? “Wild Caught” for wild caught salmon (because everybody would come to that conclusion, too, right?). I quietly took my salmon and walked away…

In my defense, the salmon were wild caught.

Anyway, moving on… Since spring weather has been staying around for awhile, it has me in the mood for some light and refreshing meals that are loaded with fresh vegetables.

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This Spicy Pineapple Stir Fry is just that. It’s light, not heavy like some sauce-ladened stir fries can be. It’s fresh, with the lime juice and pineapple chunks along with the peppers, carrots, onion, and snow peas. And it has a touch of heat that compliments the sweetness from the pineapple perfectly. Plus, the vegetables stay slightly crisp, giving this stir fry a great texture.

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(Crock-Pot) Fall Harvest Chicken & Barley Stew

Crock-Pot Fall Harvest Chicken & Barley Stew

Woah, talk about a weather change! Compared to last weekend, I think we’ve dropped about 40+ degrees in less than five days. Yep, that’s the Midwest for ya. For once, my plans coincided with the weather patterns—all my fall-outdoorsy adventures happened last weekend when it was so nice out and this past weekend I had full intentions of staying indoors, making use of the apples we picked last weekend.

I had this past Friday off from work, so I spent a brief part of my day dumping the ingredients of this Fall Harvest Chicken & Barley Stew into my Crock Pot and used the rest of my day canning homemade applesauce and making our biweekly batches of granola (let’s just say, our home spelled aaa-maaz-ing). In the eyes of a dietitian who loves to be in the kitchen, this was pretty much a perfect day.

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And the best part about finishing up a day in the kitchen? Having time to relax, put up my feet, and enjoy my first mug of something hot for the cold months upon us. It’s the small things in life. (Don’t mind the puzzle in the background of the picture below; a few weeks ago I had the strong desire to put together a puzzle…we’re still working on it—slowly).

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Protein-Packed Energy Bites

Protein-Packed Energy Bites

Raise your hand if you’re ready for this crazy weather to calm.down. Both hands flailing wildly in the air…ahem.

If you live around the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well, for the past 5+ days it’s been a full blown sauna outside…wet, heavy with humidity, and hot. Walking outside, I instantly feel my hair get 10x bigger and it feels like I’m breathing in a lake. Fortunately, I work in a super air-conditioned building and only have to experience this extreme weather for about 20 minutes each day…but still. #firstworldproblems

Before this extreme weather, I was lingering on to any bit of summer left that I could. I was dodging back-to-school talk as much as possible (which is pretty tough considering my work is talking nothing but back-to-school) and holding on to watermelon, grilling, and lazy summer days as much as possible.

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But now…now I’m ready for fall. I’m accepting the fact that school is here for most people already and everybody’s thoughts are already geared towards apple and pumpkin picking (okay, I admit, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, too), and most of all, I’m accepting the fact hoping that cool weather will be here soon.

One recipe that always makes me think “back-to-school” are Protein-Packed Energy Bites. There are so many variations of this simple creation—all of which are probably delicious—but I’ve been making variations of this one for years.

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Cherry-Almond Farro Salad

Cherry Almond Farro Salad

Don’t you just love summer? The days are long, the worries are few (or at least I like to pretend that’s true), and short road trips are abundant.

This past weekend began our three-weekend stretch of road trips. As I type this, we’re currently somewhere in the middle of Iowa as we make our one-day trek across the entire state back to Madison.

Although this weekend will have consisted of a total of 16 hours on the road by the end it, it’s been so much fun! The whole reason for the trip was to see this pretty lady and her man get married in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Kate was a fellow intern, now dietitian, who loves food as much as me—her food selection and cake (oh my gosh, the cake!!) was proof of that. The food was tasty, the party was lively, and the whole wedding itself was stunning. I’m so glad we could help Kate and John celebrate their special day.

Although the trip was essentially all about the wedding, the trip had so many other fun, unexpected perks along the way. Philip and I got to catch up with my parents in Ames, Iowa, on Friday night and Sunday for the perfect halfway pit-stop to and from Nebraska. It’s always fun to be back at my old stomping grounds, even for a short time.

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Corn & Black Bean Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

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Sheeeee-ee-rry, Sherry baby. Shee-ee-rry, Sherry baby…

This song. It seriously won’t leave my head. As soon as I think it’s gone, it comes back. For those of you who didn’t grow up with the oldies being played around your house like I did, this is “Sherry” (fitting name, right?) by The Four Seasons.

Philip and I went out on a date night on Friday and saw our second movie in the theatre since we’ve been together (I know! We just like our homemade popcorn and M&Ms too much, I guess). The movie? The Jersey Boys—a movie all about the struggles and successes of The Four Seasons.

We were probably the youngest ones there by about 20 years, but nevertheless it was entertaining, had lots of music and dancing (have I told you I absolutely love musicals?), and music that evidently gets stuck in your head for the entire weekend. For me, it brought back memories of riding to school every day with my mom, listening to her cassette tape (I was very young, of course :)) of The Four Seasons. Good memories, I tell ya.

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Leaving the movie theatre, Philip and I started talking about our differences in “movie theatre going”. I couldn’t believe he only went to the movies a handful of times during high school. I was practically in shock, because coming from a small town, the only thing to do was to go to a movie.

The movie theatre and I probably saw each other on a biweekly basis. Perhaps it was the excitement of leaving our small town and driving 30 miles to the next “largest” town that had not just one movie theatre like our town did, but a mere seven! Or maybe it was the Wal-Mart we’d hit up first to stock up on the dollar boxes of candy (since we had no Wal-Mart, that, too, was exciting). I think I better stop now…

Whatever the reason for my high movie theatre attendance, I almost always had Karen, my partner in crime, along for the ride. Which brings me to this post (poor transition, I know). She asked me months ago to do a recipe with quinoa in it and I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to putting my first quinoa recipe on here. I tell myself I was waiting to start with the best, and I think I did. This one is a keeper, folks!

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Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza with Fresh Basil & Mozzarella

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza

I got a good one for you guys today! Everybody loves pizza, so this one is for sure a crowd pleaser. Plus, it’s 100% whole wheat, so the health-conscious people can be happy, too.

But first, I have to give you a quick update on my weekend. Now that it’s finally nice out and summer is officially here (in my opinion), my weekends are filling up with fun things, unlike the winter when it seemed like nothing was really happening (besides it snowing daily). So, in other words, get ready for some regular updates!

I headed back to the heart of the Midwest—Iowa—to see family for the weekend. It was beautiful (and hot) weather. Of course, that meant another trip to DQ for me. #everythinginmoderation

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My aunt and uncle (the ones that introduced me to this quiche) made the trip to my parents’ house and we had a fun day of playing games, eating, and catching up since it had been way too long since I’d seen them.

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It was a fun weekend, but it sure was nice coming back home again and getting outside between during scattered rain showers to catch Philip up on my weekend.

So anyway, back to the recipe that I know you’re eagerly waiting for. :)

This pizza crust recipe is a family favorite—for Philip and myself, but also for my brother’s family. My sister-in-law is the one who originally gave me this recipe several years ago and it has been my go-to pizza crust recipe ever since. It’s simple, fast, and delicious—could I ask for anything more?

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Orange Chipotle Chicken with Cilantro Rice + Girls’ Weekend Recap

Orange Chipotle Chicken with Cilantro Rice

I hope all you mothers had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday and got pampered, loved, and appreciated! Thanks for all you do!

This weekend I wasn’t with my mom, but I was having a fun-filled weekend with my friend, Karen, who I’ve known since…well, forever. Literally. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know her. We both grew up in the middle-of-nowhere Iowa—her on a farm and myself on an acreage with about 7 miles of farm land in between us (I know this because we lived on 310th and 380th Streets…yeah, Northwest Iowa is pretty predictable when it comes to roads). We both went to the same church since birth and were practically inseparable from middle school until we left for college (we even drove to college together!..I know). We’re not kidding when we say that we responded to either Karen or Kara since people were almost always mixing us up.

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