Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Favorites: Summer edition...

It has been WELL (x's infinity) documented on this blog that I am NOT a fan of summer.  In years past, I've been known to close my eyes, bow my head and pray for it to speed by till my beloved FALL rolls in.  And while I'm STILL not a huge fan of walking out of my house at 7pm and the temperature still reading 96 degrees (This actually happened last night) or standing in ONE PLACE and feeling like you're doused in sweat from the 100% humidity rating (ALSO yesterday), summer & I have been changing our tune about each other.  Well, we HAVE been since Katie's 2nd summer where we realized the beach was her absolute happy place, but now I am waving the white flag for making time STOP.  The kids are just at such fun ages, I don't wish one moment away anymore (ok, ok...SOME days are still a crawl-through-barbed-wire till bedtime, let's be realJ) and have really tried to EMBRACE ALL THE SUMMER THINGS and enjoying all it's perks as much as possible.  (I sure as hell ain't hatin' on the late sunsets...a fan of pitch-dark at 6pm, I am not)  
Not that I'm not compiling with Katie's wish to still listen to the $5 Kohl's Disney Christmas CD on the near-daily....and maybe or maybe not letting it play even if she's not in the car.  But, ya know, TOTALLY embracing the restJ

And with that said, we've also been (OF COURSE) embracing all of the good summer eats.  From cool lettuce wraps to bacon-stuffed smores (WHATTT??), it's all-day-everyday seasonal around here!  So I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite recipes we've been making lately and a few more I just CAN NOT WAIT to tryJ

Favorite Burgers: (yes, plural)  Cheddar & Bacon filled burger & Cream cheese & green chili burger
Friday nights have been "summer classics" in our house since Memorial Day...where we get to have ALLTHEBURGERS&HOTDOGS and side salads in the name of summer.  I tried this tradition a few years ago and it lasted...hmmmm, 3 weeks?  This year, however, we are GETTING IT DONE (#lifegoals) and here have been 2 of our favorites thus far.  (until TONIGHT'S!  Tonight's should be EPIC!  More on that later...)

Favorite way to eat the rainbow:  Couscous Salad
A long time favorite in our house for both taste and because it's SO DARN PRETTY!  This Southwestern version is ACES too.

Katie & I have been making Popsicles almost weekly since summer began and these babies are still the favorites out of the bunch (especially when we used our fresh picked strawberries...swoon!)  We also made these with blueberries, but the strawberry tops the charts for me.  Other favorites include these Cappuccino pops (Scott's favs) and these secretly healthy fudge pops.

Favorite healthy breakfast (or snack):  Tone it Up Berry Bright Chia Pudding
This is such a coooooooool way to start the day on a hot morning.  I've made this in both strawberry (for me) and blueberry (for Scott), and we both LOVE it.  Especially while blueberries are at a SEASONAL $$ LOW right now.

Favorite TOOHOTTOCOOK:  Watermelon Caprese
This isn't rocket science, but you'll forgive me once it takes .4 seconds to make dinner and your oven stays O-F-F.  PERFECT for these dog days.

Favorite FAVORITE FAVORITE:  Lettuce wraps
Lettuce wraps.  Lettuce wraps ALL DAY.  I LOVEEEEEEEE em.  I truly do and could eat them 4-5 days a week.  They're light, usually fairly healthy and pretty quick.  MY FAVORITE right now is this chicken satay variation, which we've eaten 3 times in as many weeks.  We also LOVED this Jamaican Jerk Chicken variation.  And to keep your kitchen even cooler, throw all the ingredients for these Honey garlic chicken wraps in the slow cooker in the AM and have a full cooked meal ready by dinner time (sans stove!).

Favorite sneaky way to get healthy:  "The Life Changing Magic of the Veggie Box"
I'm trying my best to keep this as a permanent fixture in our fridge.  All it takes is under-15 minutes of prep to chop up a week's worth of veggies so you have em at your disposal all week.  I can't even tell you how many times in the last few weeks that I've snacked on veggies & hummus, PURELY because they were THERE.  And they make an awesome pack & go snack for your busy days (yes, I'm the gal in the parking lot eating veggies with hummus while going from gym to gym to teachJ)  Now is as good a time as any to customize it with ALL of your favorite summer fresh produce.  Last week we had cherry tomatoes, radishes & pea pods (which I don't even LOVE, but DID like them with hummus) and this week it's rainbow carrots, celery & pepper slices.  A little prep work always goes a long way in eating healthy.

Favorite dessert:  Dirt cake
I've had Oreo dirt cake probably less than a handful of times in my life, but that didn't stop me from DYING for it last night and then proceeding to leave my house at 7pm to get all the ingredients (hence, why I noticed it was still 96 degrees) and come home to whip this up for Katie lickity split.  She actually squealed when she tasted it and yelped "I LOVE THIS STUFF!" (#worthit)  I just bought some gummy worms to add to it tonight to really make her crack upJ  PS- This was all an experiment in my 'eat what you want when you want it,' and I definitely felt satisfied and complete with my small portion.


This has been on my list to make for a couple years and what better excuse than the OLYMPICS IN RIO for finally putting that recipe to use!  Weeeeeeeeeeee....  (I'm not excited at allJ)

Once peach season is in full swing, IT. IS. ON!  
I also want to get on board with this homemade ice cream business with this honey ricotta version for decadence & this Tone it Up Mint chip ice cream for health (that may or may not also be breakfast one dayJ)

Let me know what you guys have been LOVING cooking and, of course, ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!

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