Wisconsin Weekend Part II

Let’s get back to the weekend!  I think I left off with the group heading up to the house to make dinner after a fun and exciting day of biking and boating!

 

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While everyone was getting cleaned off and pitching in to make dinner, the BOY and I decided to introduce the gang to our favorite appetizer, Grilled Feta!

 

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Nobody had ever heard of it, but they were more than willing to try it out.  We put a plate on the table, and people moved in and out of the room, stopping for bites of this warm gooey cheese.  They were very impressed, and by the time dinner was ready, there were only a few crumbles remaining!

 

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Our friends are doing a CSA this year and they brought up this week’s share.  It included these sweet and delicious strawberries that I just had to snap a picture of!

 

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My Mom and I were in charge of the dinner veggies.  Quite possibly, I spent more time eating berries and cheese, but I did manage to wash and cut a few veggies as well.  We made a huge fresh salad with the lettuce from the CSA.

 

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Meanwhile, the men were in charge of the grill, with some assistance from this furry friend (most likely looking for handouts)!

 

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I must say, there was a lot of excitement and chatter going on near the grill area.

 

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Our dinner turned out fantastic…especially this basket of stirfry CSA vegetables!  And the teriyaki salmon was mouth watering perfection.  I told the BOY to take notes because cedar plank salmon is my FAVORITE grilled fish!

 

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After dinner, we headed outside for some wine and the sunset…two things that you know I LOVE!

 

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It looked like it was going to be a promising evening!

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We all gathered around the pier to watch the sun setting and my dad play with this fun new toy!

 

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Which he almost lost under the pier, but DID loose under the aqua patio!

 

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The rescue mission provided us with some much needed entertainment as the sky was cloudier than I realized and the sunset was a little bland.

 

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I did manage to take a few pretty photos, but the conversations and laughter were the highlight of our night!

 

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That is until we all loaded back into the boat for some ice cream!

 

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There is an adorable little ice cream parlor on the other side of the lake, and we eagerly trekked in excited to try all of their unique flavors!

 

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Everyone loved their ice cream (and the chocolate turtle that we purchased)!  The BOY ordered a caramel sundae, which I must have eaten half of, and my Mom got this cotton candy ice cream that tasted EXACTLY like cotton candy.  I was a bigger fan of the chocolate fudge ice cream hiding underneath.

 

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We all piled back into the house exhausted after our long day of eating and activity.  I happily flung myself up onto the top bunk above the BOY were I crashed immediately.  I was so happy and relaxed after a fun day in Wisconsin and feeling so grateful for the close friends and family that I have.  I was looking forward to our next morning together before the BOY and I had to return home to the real world.

 

Did you miss it???

Here is the first Wisconsin Weekend post!

 

And you can read about our 4th of July trip to Green Lake last year too!

Cupcakes and Soup

Marathon training has been much tougher than I expected!  I obviously knew about the long runs but scheduling these runs turns out to be even harder. There was the weather (remember when I was rained out of this run) and last minute traveling. Now I have a nasty sinus infection.  Boo!!!  I have felt a bit lost without a detailed training plan (what can I say…I’m slightly OCD), so I was happy to learn after chatting with some coworkers that I only need to do one long run each week (I had thought I needed to do two in a weekend), and one mid-week run at about half the long run distance.  I am happy now that I got a copy of a training schedule, and I have all my workouts plotted on the calendar attached to the fridge.

 

Unfortunately, I started with a sore throat last weekend, and I came home Tuesday night with the beginning of a sinus infection.  I’ve been feeling pretty crumby all week.  But, check out what I came home to find on the counter…

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I have only heard of Sprinkles cupcakes, but never had one. The BOY has a new law school Sprinkles connection, and he brought one home to share with me. It looked like a Hostess cupcake, but better. Even with the stuffy nose, I was able to enjoy a taste of this fabulous frosting!

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Chocolate always puts a smile on my face!  And now I am hoping that these (not so little) blue pills will kick in and get me feeling better stat.  Until then I am home sick today resting on the couch and hoping to be feeling better soon.  I have outings in the city and long training runs to complete this weekend.

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Since today is a chilly and grey day, it feels like autumn.  It is the perfect day for a nap and some soup.  Having already taken care of the nap part (Emmy and I fell asleep on the couch), I was ready for some soup.  It was my job to pick up the CSA this week, so I had plenty of fresh produce available in the house.

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I modified a sheet pan soup recipe that I found in Clean Eating to create this CSA Soup with root veggies that I had in the house from last week and this week’s crop share. 

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I chopped up eggplant, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, onion, garlic, and celeriac.  For info and prep on celeriac, check out the CSA Post.  I had never heard of this vegetable either, but apparently it is great is soups and mashed with potatoes or parsnips.  What an odd looking vegetable!

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I roasted the vegetables with olive oil and sea salt.  They turned out so good that it was hard not to munch on the veggies while they were cooling.

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I placed the slightly cooled veggies and low sodium chicken broth in the food processor.  I started with about half the veggies and one cup of broth.  I added more veggies and streamed in the broth as the mixture thickened.

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And created this phenomenal seasonal soup.

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This recipe is so quick and easy that you can prepare it even when you’re not feeling 100%.  Just use whatever vegetables you have in the house.  It’s perfect for a cloudy sick day or any cool fall day!

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CSA Soup

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine March 2011 Sheet Pan Soup 

Makes 6 servings

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Ingredients

~8 cups root vegetables, peeled and chopped (I used eggplant, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, and potatoes)

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic

3-4 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

 

-Peal and chop vegetables into 1 inch cubes

-Place vegetables in a bowl and toss with olive oil and sea salt until covered

-Roast vegetable on a sheet pan in a single layer at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes, tossing occasionally

-Let vegetables cool on wire rack

-Add cooled vegetables and broth to a blender or food processor in batches and puree until desired consistency is reached*

-Garnish soup with sage leaves or seasonal squash (optional)

 

*Note: I was able to get all the vegetables and broth in my 7 cup food processor. I started with ~1 cup of broth and then streamed in the rest of the liquid as I added more of the vegetables.  You can add more sea salt as desired.  The original recipe suggests straining the soup and discarding the solids.  I like a thicker soup so I omitted this step.

What did I do with CSA Week 8?

Good Evening!

I am still working on using my produce from week 8’s CSA.  Tonight, I used the onions and garlic to make a super simple and tasty stir fry.  Stir fry is my usual ‘go-to’ dinner on a busy night. I use the frozen hodgepodge mix from Trader Joe’s (I steam it first) and then add it to my wok.  Tonight, I used chicken with a ginger soy dressing.

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Check out the onions!  They are delicious!

 

While I worked on dinner in the kitchen, the BOY gave our next door neighbor a golf lesson in the backyard.

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The two proceeded to hit whiffle golf balls against the side of our house while the cat meowed at the screen door hoping they would let her play.  I am sure you can picture it!

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Over the weekend, we grilled up another fabulous dinner with our fresh veggies.

Balsamic Cauliflower

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Grilled Peppers and Onions (with some extras sliced up for lunch)

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The BOY’s Special Shrimp

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Everything together making an amazing summer meal! 

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Check out two of my seasonal fruit recipes for Grilled Stone Fruit and Fruit Salsa.

Have a Treat!

Every Tuesday in my office is Treat Day.  We all take turns throughout the year which means biannually, it is your job to bring snacks for everyone.  We have a table set up in the back (that is usually used for paperwork), but is transformed into a picnic on Tuesdays.  Everyone has a different way of doing things…some people buy their snacks while others (like me) like to make and bake things.  Some days are themed depending on the time of year.  This week for treat day, I made some different dips and summertime sweets.  Check them out…

 

Edamame Hummus

I found this recipe in Shape Magazine back in 2010.  Whenever I make it, someone always asks me for the recipe. It is super easy…the food processor does all the work.  I bought shelled edamame and steamed them briefly before adding them to the chickpeas.  I used the fresh garlic from the CSA.  The cloves are huge and so flavorful.

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I served the hummus and black bean dip with two of my Trader Joe’s favorites!

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Black Bean Dip

I doubled the black beans and added some fresh corn from my CSA to increase the size of this recipe (it was a big hit last time).  I also added some extra lime juice and cumin.

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Fruit Salsa

Adapted From Annie’s Fruit Salsa

This recipe is always a hit!  When I have time, I like to make the cinnamon tortilla chips, but if not, then I buy the Trader Joe’s with Cinnamon and Sugar pita chips.  I use my salsa maker to slice up all of the fruit and then stir it together.  You can add any fresh seasonal fruits (I used blueberries, peaches and plums) but always keep the apple for some crunch.  AND, the recipe is sweet enough…no sugar or fruit preserves needed!

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Cake Batter Blondies

I found this recipe on the Girl Meets Life blog.  I love anything cake batter so I made them right away.  I had a Rainbow Chip cake mix, so I used that and added extra sprinkles and of course white chocolate chips.

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Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake Dip

Adapted From How Sweet It Is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip 

I was looking for a sweet dip to make and found this Cookie Dough Recipe.  I followed the instructions, but my dip tasted just like cream cheese.  I added in some extra chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup and the result was pure cheesecake perfection!  This dip was a HUGE hit with my coworkers!  I served it with graham cracker sticks.

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Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

From Iowa Girl Eats

I have been looking for a reason to make this recipe.  Although my pictures are not as pretty, the PB cups turned out delish! Next time, I will use more chocolate chips on the bottom and leave them in the oven a few extra minutes to fully melt.

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A Whole Lotta Fresh Food

On a typical week, I have friends and family that split up my CSA with me.  But this week, with everyone out of town, the CSA is all mine.  That is a whole lot of responsibility.  Considering that as of yesterday morning I still had some produce left from last week, I had some cooking to do!

Yesterday, I started my day with an intense outdoor training session.  To fuel up for the day, I made a Peaches and Cream Dough Boy Smoothie.  This is a regular dough boy with a chopped up peach, my last one left after making THIS incredible dessert last weekend.  I did use a full banana for an extra doughy texture.

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Night Before Prep

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The Morning’s Breakfast (with scrambled farm fresh eggs)

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I still had a Japanese Eggplant left and a need to turn it into dinner. I had this recipe for Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian cut out from Cooking Light last summer and since the BOY wasn’t home, I was excited to make a meal using three of my favorites (non of which he will eat).

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I didn’t have all of the ingredients in the house, so I improvised.  I also only made half the recipe (since it would be just me eating the leftovers).  The first step was slicing up the eggplant and zucchini to bake for 15 minutes.  I have never eaten Japanese eggplant before, so it was my NEW food of the week.

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I did not have the French bread recommended for the recipe, but crusty bread…that I could make.  I toasted up some Ezekiel bread from the fridge, tore it up, and ground it in my mini food processor.

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I cut up a garlic clove from this week’s CSA, the largest clove I have ever seen and added basil, parmesan cheese, and thyme.  I couldn’t find the oregano in my pantry and don’t usually keep the parmesan-reggiano cheese on hand (although I really should).  To be honest, I didn’t measure everything out…just tossed it in and tasted along the way.

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The result…a delicious Italian flavored blend of breadcrumbs that I will use in future recipes. I layered the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes (I didn’t have a big one, so I sliced up some little ones), drizzled the veggies with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp olive oil and then added the breadcrumbs.  I repeated these steps and added some extra parmesan cheese on the top.

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I poured 1/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth over the top and stuck the dish in the oven uncovered for ~40 minutes.  The kitchen smelled amazing. I was quite impressed!

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While I waited, I poured myself a glass of a new favorite Trader Joe’s wine (which I learned is also the favorite of the guy ringing me up yesterday).  Just a note, I don’t claim to know anything about wine pairings…just that a good wine pairs well with a tasty home cooked meal any day of the week!

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I pulled my dinner out of the oven and the warm tomato with the parmesan breadcrumbs looked so amazing that I had to eat it right off the top!  I enjoyed my vegetable mixture as a side with some leftover grilled chicken.  I must admit, it was delicious!  The dish is hearty enough that it could stand alone as a vegetarian entre, but also works as a summer fresh side with your choice of protein.

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You can find the full recipe and nutrition information by clicking the link below:

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

 

Now that I had some extra room in my fridge, I was ready to check out this week’s CSA…

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Even though I get an email each week with a list of the foods, it is always super exciting to open the box!  See full listing HERE.

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And from our fruit share…peaches, blueberries (not pictured) and the most amazing plums you’ve ever tasted!

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The ideas are already flowing…now I just have to do some menu planning for the week.  I think I will enlist the BOY to help on the grill.  The CSA has been such a fun addition to this summer. I LOVE always having fresh fruits and unique vegetables in the house and each week’s box serves as a new challenge to find season recipes.  It is amazing to me how many bloggers also participate in their local Community Supported Agriculture and how different the food is each week based on the region.

Happy Weekend!

CSA Inspired Dinner

The BOY and I made a fabulous fresh dinner tonight, which was perfect after a busy weekend of training and sports.  Did I mention that the BOY picked up a new hobby?

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We took are first golf lesson on Saturday.  We are both newbies to the sport, but the BOY has been wanting to learn for awhile.  We found a very nice and patient pro, which is good because hand-eye coordination is not my strength!  We are all signed up for another lesson next weekend!

For Dinner tonight, I got a jump start on my August goal to use fresh and seasonal produce.  I made a crisp salad using the lettuce, cukes, and tomato from this week’s CSA.  I sliced up the green pepper we got along with some yellow and orange to grill as a side to the Santa Fe and Mediterranean premade Turkey Burgers we picked up from Whole Foods this afternoon.

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As an appetizer, we had grilled feta with my new favorite Kashi pita crisps.  They were sampling them at the Super Target and they are fabulous.  I also saw them at Costco this weekend.  Even the BOY approved as he dug right in to the feta.

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Our grilled peppers turned out good. I loved the taste of my Santa Fe turkey burger, but it was a little dry.  The BOY enjoyed his Mediterranean turkey burger on a toasted sourdough roll which was incredible!  Along with a new beer (for him) and an old favorite for me.  I am still replenishing carbs after this mornings workout.

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But the star of tonight’s dinner was definitely dessert.  We got a lot of peaches and plums in the fruit share this week.  They were all ripe and I was worried whether the two of us would be able to eat them fast enough.  So I decided to turn them into a dessert.  There are tons of grilled stone fruit recipes out there, but I made up my own and kept it simple.  I sliced up the fruit and spread it out over foil coated with cooking spray. I drizzled on some maple syrup, cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins.  Then tented the foil turning it into an enclosed little packet and handed it off to the grill master.

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I’m not sure exactly how he cooked it, but he left it on the grill for about 12 minutes.  When he brought the packet inside, it smelled amazing!  We ate our grilled dessert warm sitting side by side on the couch with everyone’s favorite topping (Reddi Whip).  Can you see the steam coming off the plate?  The fruit was soft and warm and the maple and cinnamon were a fabulous combination.  I was stuffed from dinner, but dessert was so good, I couldn’t stop eating it.  The only feedback from the BOY was that he wanted more raisins next time.  This is definitely a repeat dessert!

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Thank you to the CSA (and Whole Foods) for providing us with a spectacular three course meal. After a busy and productive day, it feels great to sit back on the couch and unwind before the work week.  I am also looking for something to do with the two eggplants I got in this week’s CSA box.

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Any Suggestions???

Savory Wheatberry Salad

We had a busy day of errands and laundry today.  Afterwards, I had some time to play in the kitchen.  I made a Savory Wheatberry Salad using some of the fresh ingredients I got from the CSA and the farmer’s market.  I followed Isa’s suggestion on how to cook the wheatberries on her website Post Punk Kitchen and they turned out perfectly.

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I had some fresh white onions from the CSA.  I sautéed some farmer’s market organic garlic in 1 tsp of olive oil and added the chopped onion.

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I searched the fridge and found leftover peas and roasted red peppers.  I added them to the onions with basil and thyme.  I only had dried spices, but I am sure fresh would be better.  Like the food network stars, I tasted as I went and I was pleasantly surprised with how well the flavors worked together.

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I was making butternut squash fries for dinner so I chopped up some butternut squash, added it to the onion mixture and stirred  everything into the wheatberries.  I love a bright and colorful summer salad!

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I am always so impressed with all of the creative salads at Whole Foods.  Many of them are vegan and oil free and still taste so flavorful.  So, I decided not to add any dressings or extra oil.  I figure I can always add some later, maybe even with some feta.  The flavors meshed well and I’m sure this salad will taste great cold or warm.  I plan to have it during the week, since I will be busy packing and getting ready for our trip.  The BOY and I are doing a long weekend in Door County leaving Wednesday afternoon, so there won’t be much time for cooking this week.

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For dinner, the BOY grilled some beautiful pork chops.  I made a salad (with tomatoes and avocado on the side for me)using fresh lettuce from the CSA and a side of butternut squash fries.

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For dessert I made some cocoa krispy treats and I finally had time to try Angela’s No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (although I substituted dark chocolate for the vegan chocolate).

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This weekend flew by (I guess because it was only one day).  It was nice to spend some time with the BOY and get some time to play in the kitchen.  And even better to enjoy all of this fresh produce!  I am off to finish getting ready for this busy week ahead.  Enjoy your Sunday night!