Suddenly Summer BBQ

It’s summer! 

And with the thick, muggy weather, it finally feels like it!

I kept this weekend pretty low key on purpose and Saturday was saved for packing and a BBQ!

Around 1:30pm, I felt like I had a good handle on the packing portion of things and decided to go for a walk along the path.  I haven’t done much of anything in terms of exercise this week, so it was nice to get out and moving.




Meanwhile, the BOY was hard at work seasoning and smoking ribs.


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My BFF and her adorable family were coming over for a BBQ.  She brought some delicious appetizers (including grilled salami).  I threw together a summer salad inspired by this mouth watering post on Pinch of Yum.




I cheated and went with the store bought salad dressing, but maybe next time I will make my own!




The toughest part of making this salad was searching the fruit section at the grocery store for the ripest nectarines in the bin.




Luckily, I choose well and they sliced up perfectly for the salad.




The gang was excited about their flavorful, smoky ribs, and the BOY threw some chicken on the grill for me.  We had a side of roasted broccoli, and everyone dug into dinner.


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I almost didn’t have room for dessert, but I never say ‘No’ to angel food cake, cool whip, and berries.  It’s the perfect finish to a summer evening spent with friends!


What are you most excited for this summer?



Blueberry Nectarine Summer Salad

Inspired by Pinch of Yum



6 cups baby spinach

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1 cup blueberries

2 ripe nectarines, sliced

Grilled chicken (optional)

Poppyseed dressing



Place spinach in large salad bowl.  Sprinkle with almonds, blueberries, and then top with nectarines.

Serve with salad dressing and chicken.

Welcome to BBQ Central

The BOY and I had a productive morning and had already been to four stores before arriving home for lunch at 12:30.  Since lunch, our house has turned into BBQ Central.  My thought was to get as much done as possible today, so that I can make it to yoga tomorrow morning and then only have a few last minute things to do around the house before guests arrive at 1:00.  Needless to say, there has not been time for a nap.  I think that I am more tired from waking up so early than I am from our 11 mile run.  On our menu for tomorrow’s BBQ…ribs and chicken.  This is what happens when I tell the BOY he can be in charge of meat!




My countertop becomes completely covered in uncooked ribs!




The BOY did a little online research and then decided to prep half of his ribs with BBQ sauce and the other half with a dry rub.  Good thing we picked up two huge bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s at Costco this morning.




The ribs required the most work as the chicken we can just prep and grill tomorrow morning.


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When the kitchen was finally rib free and cleaned up, it was my turn to get started on food prep.  For appetizers, I made two of my favorites, Clean Garlic Hummus and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  Chances are if you have barbequed at our house, you have had one of these dips!  We decided to keep appetizers simple since there will be A LOT of meat for lunch.  I also prepped the dressing for this unique Sweet and Crispy Salad.  Interestingly, I will be making another side tomorrow that uses almost the same dressing.  Recipe to come!




Typically, we like to make potatoes when we BBQ, but since we know grill space will be scarce, we decided on cornbread.  Last night, as I was flipping through Rachael Ray Magazine, I came across this Blackberry Cornbread and decided that would be perfect for this weekend.

I didn’t have buttermilk, so instead I used regular milk. But the cornbread still looked great!




I bought some fresh blackberries at Costco.  They were really sweet, and I think they will taste wonderful layered in this cornbread.


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And sprinkled with a little sugar.


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It was so hard not to cut out a slice and try it immediately. 






Especially with the warm and gooey berries!




I will have to wait until tomorrow!


If you are avoiding the craziness that NATO has brought to Chicago and staying home for a BBQ this weekend, I recommend giving this bread a try (even though I haven’t gotten to yet)!  And, I have some more BBQ friendly (and dessert) recipes to share!



Blackberry Cornbread

From Rachael Ray Magazine



    1 cup yellow cornmeal

    1 cup flour

    1/3 cup sugar

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    3/4 cup buttermilk

    2 eggs

    7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    1 1/2 cups blackberries



      Preheat oven to 375 degrees . Grease 8-inch square baking dish. In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and butter, then stir into flour mixture. Spread batter into prepared baking dish. Scatter 1 cup berries over top and press them into batter until mostly submerged; scatter remaining berries on top and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake until golden around the edges and springy to touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.