Grill

Grilled Blackberry BBQ Pork Chops

Hello again! Summer is well underway and I’ve been trying to soak up as many summer moments as I can. Philip and I have an ongoing “wish list” of some summer activities we’d love to be able to do right here in Madison, including nights on the terrace, the farmers’ market, Concerts on the Square, and sitting under the stars with a fire pit and s’mores (in our driveway, but we’ll ignore that part ;)) just to name a few.

While we haven’t gotten to those things yet, we definitely have been staying busy: From our weekly Sunday morning bike rides (they’ve kind of become “our thing” and I’m so excited we started doing them at the beginning of the summer rather than the end, which is so often the case when you stumble across a good thing) to picking strawberries at a local strawberry farm and doing plenty of updates to our landscape (more of that to come!).

It’s been a good mix of fun and work and all things outside. With so much going on and my desire to be outside more than inside these days, when I’m making dinner for us in the summer months, I want it to be quick to make and preferably one we can cook outside. Double bonus if it includes produce that’s in season and bursting with fresh flavor. These Grilled Blackberry BBQ Pork Chops cover all of the requirements!

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Marinated Grilled Chicken with Asian Slaw

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!

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Garlic-Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini + Adventures from Wisconsin to Colorado

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How is it already over half way through July?! I feel like a broken record saying this, but summer is seriously flying by. I feel like I need to catch you up a bit on what we’ve been doing the past few weeks as it’s been awhile since I posted. Where to start…we’ve been doing a lot, hence the lack of posts coming your way lately.

Over the 4th of July weekend, we took our main summer vacation to Colorado to spend time with Philip’s family. We crammed in as much as we could during that short, extended weekend! And boy, did we live up our #yearoffun on that trip! So many good memories were made.

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Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Lime Salsa

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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.

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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. ;)

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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!

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut-Lime Sauce

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Steak & Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola & Balsamic Glaze

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Spring is officially here! Thanks to Facebook, I was reminded of that yesterday and I could not be more ready or excited. I have a spattering of spring decorations up to help set the mood — that, ahem, have been up for a few weeks now, I have a brand new bike just waiting to take its maiden ride, aaaand we have snow in the forecast for this week. Go figure, right?

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I’ll keep waiting patiently for spring to actually feel like spring, but in the mean time, I’m long past wanting to make rich, comforting, and cozy meals and am all about making fresh salads with wanna-be-grilled steak. This Steak & Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola & Balsamic Glaze is the perfect example. While we haven’t fired up the grill this season, this steak is just as delicious seared on a hot cast iron skillet.

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Mango-Curry Chicken Salad

Mango-Curry Chicken Salad

Hi, friends! Umm, can anybody tell me how it became the last week of July?! Where has this summer gone? With family visiting and trips being made, our weeks have flown by! It was nice to slow things down a little bit this weekend and not have anywhere we needed to be besides home. Whew! It had been a hot minute since we had time to sit out on our deck, put our feet up, and watch the sun set in the horizon. Life really is good.

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While today I feel caught up for the week (thanks to our catch-up weekend), last Monday was a completely different story. Trips always throw you off your schedule, don’t they? It was well worth it, but come Monday after being gone all weekend, I knew I had an empty fridge that needed to be filled and a meal to throw together after said fridge was filled up. By the time I came home from work and getting groceries, I was huuuung-ry. Going out to eat is usually not a default option for us, especially not when we’d been eating out at various places all weekend long.

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To wrap that all up: I needed something light & healthy (after a crazy weekend with lots of food) and fast & simple (because I needed to eat 5 minutes ago). My solution? This flavorful, slightly-sweet Mango-Curry Chicken Salad.

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Spinach Salad with Steak & Blueberries + Family Weekend Recap

Spinach Salad with Steak and Blueberries

Hello again, everyone! Last week we had a busy (and very fun!) time with the whole family in town visiting us. My brother and his family arrived the day before the 4th of July, my parents drove into town the day after the 4th, and the fun continued well into the week. I couldn’t have asked for a better mini-vacation with family! I mean, how can you resist these faces?!

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I don’t know how we fit in so much fun, but somehow we managed. :)

We splashed in the water at the local splash pad…

Danced to music (one of my niece’s many talents)…

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Celebrated my nephew’s first birthday (!)…

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Visited places of work…

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Worked in the kitchen with my little chef-in-training (we made these energy bites)…

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Had fun outside…

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Had more fun outside…

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And enjoyed a night out on the town kid-free. :)

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Gosh, Madison is beautiful.

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Whew! And that’s just a glimpse.

Everybody headed their separate ways on Thursday morning and we’re now a kid-free house again. Only the sidewalk chalk shows any sign of children being here.

After an eventful week, Philip and I were ready to take it easy this past weekend. And I was ready for a quick and easy meal. This Spinach Salad with Steak and Blueberries was just perfect!

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Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad

Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad

Welcome, friends! After a couple of busy weekends (doing this and this), it was nice to have a calm(er) weekend this past weekend. It was a good weekend to get caught up, I guess, because I spent my day off spending two hours at Target (yeah…you can only imagine what the bill was when I left Target, considering I can spend 15 minutes in Target and still spend too much. All that time spent and the most exciting thing I got was a new hair dryer…). And while I worked on the weekend, Philip spent another 1 1/2 hours at Farm & Fleet…yes, we are officially homeowners. :) In addition to those errands, we had grocery runs (yep, that’s plural) and a little bit of time to just kick up our feet and relax.

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What wasn’t calmer was our weather…remember how I said last week that I had fallen in love with Madison in the spring and fall? Well, except for when the weather mixes up those two seasons and the spring feels more like fall. Even though I had to break out my hat this weekend to go on a morning run, I still have faith that the weather is going to turn itself around soon. And what better way to encourage it than by turning up the heat in the kitchen with Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad.

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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.

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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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