Grill

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.

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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The Perfect Grill-Out Steak & Vegetable Marinade

Steak & Vegetable Marinade

I’ve come to realize more and more over the past 2 years how blessed I am to have the husband that I have. Not only does he willingly do all the dishes that I regularly dirty up while cooking, help with laundry and house chores, and cross things off the honey-do list with no complaining (although he’s jokingly warned me not to ask for a 20+ frame collage on the wall), he also is pretty easy to please in terms of meals.

He willingly accepts almost anything I make him – no matter how “healthy” it is or how foreign it is from his childhood “meat and potatoes” meals. In the past 2 years, I can count on one hand the number of dishes he hasn’t been a big fan of…and he still ate the meal and the leftovers anyway.

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Although I wouldn’t mind if he did, he also doesn’t have a long list of meals he grew up with that he requests me to replicate – he lets me freely experiment with new recipes and make my old favorites how I wish. Plus, talk about pressure to bring back a childhood favorite! Nothing ever tastes the same when somebody else is trying to copy it.

Howeeeeever, there is that one recipe. The one I hear about every summer: Grilled steak and vegetables that have been soaked in a saucy marinade accompanied by grilled Texas toast (because there has to be Texas toast to complete the meal, according to Philip).  It was the only recipe card he had when we got married, stashed away in one of his cookbooks his only cookbook.

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