Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken sausage & broccoli pizza

Somewhere in the middle of all of this summer fun and travel, we totally lost sight of one of our favorite weekly traditions -- Friday night pizza.

Well, maybe not completely; we did devour two tasty pies on Friday but they weren't homemade; I'll get to those bad boys in a second.

Continuing the recent trend of pack, unpack, do laundry, repeat, we ventured out of the city this weekend to Deep Creek, Maryland.  Our goal was simple: have a good time with good friends.  Mission: accomplished, despite mostly foggy and rainy weather.  The skies parted and the sun peeked out for a few hours on Saturday, which was perfect for an afternoon of hiking and scoping out a few spectacular waterfalls.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal plan: Week of 8/17-8/23

Happy Monday to all of you!  And, to some of you, happy first day of school!

Whether it's you, your kids, the neighborhood kids, or all of those rowdy college students populating what was an otherwise peaceful city this summer -- ahem -- it seems like everyone is in the spirit of things.  Matt heads back to school for teaching and coaching, and we're both looking forward to the start of college football season.  Hail to Pitt!  Speaking of, how gorgeous is this sunset and view of the Cathedral of Learning we spotted from our apartment last week?  Totally makes me nostalgic for college life.

Here is last week's meal plan featuring two Deep Creek restaurants and a new pizza recipe coming your way later this week.

Week of August 17th - 23rd
Sunday: Grilled chicken & corn on the cob
Monday: Zucchini squash & quinoa salad with goat cheese
Tuesday: Beef taco salads with chunky tomato dressing
Wednesday: Chicken sausage & broccoli pizzas
Thursday: Garlic rosemary pork chops with peas & smashed potatoes
Friday: (Traveling - Brenda's Pizzeria)
Saturday: (Traveling - Archie's BBQ)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer squash & quinoa salad with goat cheese

That husband of mine, let me tell you -- he's a gem!

He's funny and smart (and a smidge nerdy, which I adore), patient and selfless, and so handsome that I sometimes have moments when I check him out and think, "Man, that guy is hot!"  And then I remember that I'm married to that guy.  He's legally bound to me.  How did I manage to trick him get so lucky?  Best keep quiet before somebody notices and cries foul play.

Aside from all of those wonderful meaningful traits, there are so many superficial and silly things I love about Matt.  Like how he giggles like a schoolgirl at the sight of pugs.  And how his hair gets this crazy cowlick on one side of his head.  And how his appetite for goat cheese knows no bounds, especially when it's paired with zucchini.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

15 Zucchini recipes for every appetite!

It's that time of year again.

Not back to school time or Halloween candy time (though I spotted shelves being stocked full of candy corn at a local Rite-Aid this weekend... I can't!).

It's zucchini time!

That glorious time of year when everyone who planted zucchini in their gardens is going to great lengths to use the excess crop of summer squash.  Ask a random stranger on the street if he/she has a zucchini plant and, if so, I bet you'll be offered a fruit or two by the end of the encounter.  Speaking as someone who wishes she had a zucchini plant of her own (and a husband who wishes he had a garden for said zucchini plant), I can't get enough of those gorgeous green zukes and will buy/accept them any chance I get.

Whether you're on the harvesting end or the receiving end, here are 15 of my favorite zucchini recipes to satisfy any savory or sweet craving you have!


Small bites & side dishes

Big plates

Sweet things

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meal plan: Week of 8/10-8/16

Week of August 10th - 16th

Sunday: Walnut-crusted chicken with salad
Monday: Sirloin caprese burgers with baked beans
Tuesday: Rosemary & garlic salmon with broccoli
Wednesday: Salami, spinach & mozzarella calzones
Thursday: Fiesta bean salad with chips
Friday: Out to Taj Mahal
Saturday: Out to Pizza Cono (spoiler alert -- delicious novelty but won't return)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Caprese sirloin burgers with balsamic mayo

Almost a month after my birthday, and people are still asking me, "How does it feel to be 30?  Do you feel old?  Or even different?"

I don't know what they're expecting me to say but, based on their reactions, I know it's not this: "Feels good.  Exactly the same!"  Maybe they wanted to hear of my new affinity for "simpler times" and subscription to AARP magazine?

I'm only sort of kidding.

Truthfully, though, what I've seen of 30 so far has been nothing short of outstanding.  And, more importantly, what I've tasted has been outstanding, thanks to one of my birthday gifts -- a meat grinder!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meal plan: Week of 8/3-8/9

Now THAT was what I call a summer weekend!  How was yours?

Matt and I took full advantage of the picture-perfect weather and hopped from one fun adventure to the next.  We went to a local orchard for a peach festival, enjoyed a public art pool party, celebrated a friend's 30th birthday, kayaked on the Allegheny River, and indulged our sweet tooth with my new favorite ice cream in Pittsburgh (Antney's!).  Somewhere around 9:00 Sunday night, we both collapsed into a heap o' humans onto the couch.

As much fun as we had on vacation, it was nice to get back to our normal summertime routine, including weeknight rituals of making dinner together and taking an evening stroll around town.  Yep, you read that correctly -- I've removed the iron gate and invited Matt into the kitchen to cook with me.  It may have something to do with a new gadget I received for my birthday that has both of us bursting with excitement.  Spoiler alert: Get ready for an epic summertime burger recipe later this week ;)

Week of August 3rd - 9th

Sunday: Traveling (800 Degree Pizza in LA)
Monday: Huevos rancheros
Tuesday: Chicken meatballs with pesto & zucchini "noodles"
Wednesday: Cheddar sirloin burgers with roasted green beans
Thursday: Rosemary garlic parmesan pork chops with steamed peas & broccoli
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out to birthday party (Steel Cactus)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Five: Best foods I ate in LA

There's a one woman dance party going on over here, and it's all in the name of Friday.  TGIF!  Dance with me, won't you?  Or, you know, humor me and let me believe you're dancing, too.

Even though I only worked four days this week, I'm practically giddy that the weekend is finally here.  I blame the fact that I totally thought Wednesday was Thursday, like, all day long.  But, it's Friday, and a fun-filled local weekend is peaking around the corner.  That being said, I couldn't help but take one more chance to relive our West Coast trip, which is the inspiration for today's Friday Five: the best foods I ate in LA!  Whatever you do and wherever you are this weekend, I hope it's delicious :)

Honorable mention - In-N-Out Burger - It's truly un-American that I've been to LA so many times and hadn't visited the famous burger chain until this trip.  We stopped at In-N-Out after our friends retrieved us from the airport.  Matt ordered two "Animal Style" burgers (from the not-so-secret menu) and fries.  The fries were just meh, but the burgers were freaking delicious!  We agreed the beef patties had a great taste and texture and seemed much more substantial than other fast food burgers.  I had only three bites, but that was enough to know that In-N-Out burgers are LEGIT, y'all.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fast Friday: Jalapeno cheddar corn muffins

You guys!  I cooked with a jalapeno pepper -- a jalapeno! -- and ate the results and lived to tell about it!  But I'll get to that in a minute.  First things first.

TGIVF!  In other words, Thank goodness it's vacation Friday!

We're currently in Los Angeles on vacation.  Though we're 3 hours behind EST, my goal is to get up early and squeeze in a workout before we head to Universal Studios for the day.  Call me crazy, but I find it's so much easier to return from a West Coast vacation if I stay on EST, especially returning midweek and going back to work the very next day.  Despite early mornings, I end up staying up pretty late anyway in order to maximize time and fun with our friends.  I can sleep when I'm dead, right? :)

Speaking of making the most of your time, I've got a fast-as-a-speeding-bullet recipe for you to try ASAP.   So, let's get back to these muffins and this jalapeno business.