Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Quick Grilled Dinner

Strawberry Lime Chicken
Chicken Breast, cut into cubes
5 strawberries, sliced
1tbs crumbled Feta cheese
3tbs lime juice
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Crushed black pepper
Olive oil

Place cubed chicken pieces on kabob skewers. Pour 2 tbs of lime juice over the raw chicken. Sprinkle with pepper, salt and garlic powder, to own liking. Place on the grill and cook through. Remove cooked chicken from skewers and place in bowl. Add the strawberries to the chicken and sprinkle Feta over the top. Drizzle with a small amout of olive oil and the remain 1tbs of lime juice.

Sweet strawberries, salty cheese, tangy chicken...nom nom nom!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Grilled Dinner

I have been busting my butt the last week now that classes have begun, and today was no exception. I had class from 9-10am and then was at the library studying until 4pm. I had to leave to go pay my rent...almost forgot!....and then come home to grab a quick dinner before heading back to the library. I was looking for something a little different..I'm sick of salads, etc; they are easy to grab, but not much imagination is involved. Tonight I decided to do some grilling and the results were deee-lish!
Grilled Chicken with Tomato, Basil and Spinach Relish
Chicken breast, thawed
10 cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
5-8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Sea salt
Garlic Powder
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, shredded

Place chicken breast on the grill, set to high heat, and cook through. While waiting for the chicken to cook, drizzle 1tbs olive oil in a sauce pan and heat to medium. Cut the tomatoes into halves and add to the oil. Add the basil, and spices to taste. Allow to cook on medium until the tomatoes are soft and they begin making a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and allow to cook through, about 2 minutes. Plate the chicken and cover with the tomato relish. Top with some shredded Parmesan cheese.
So yummy and sooooo quick!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Antique Tub Photo Shoot

Thursday night was our PA Girls' Night at the Casino...we rented a room, got dolled up, had some adult beverages, and boogied down....oh and had a major photo shoot with the antique tub in our room. LOVE that tub!

All the girls....
Bry and I
Me in the tub...
Katie in the tub...
Maddie in the tub...
Bryanna in the tub...
Keri in the tub...
Party in the tub!

Such a great tub.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, I survived....I went camping the in the U.P. and was not eaten by a bear, nor did I fall off a cliff....though both things were possible. Keri, my friend from the PA program, and I drove up to Marquette to meet our classmates, Dan and Luke. Both live in the U.P., but Dan is from Marquette, so we met at his house. When we arrived, we dropped off our stuff and promptly headed out to tour the town and go hiking. The area is so gorgeous and the day was perfect for outdoor exploring. We hiked about ten miles back into the woods on hiking trails and then climbed a peak called Hogsback; the peak is about 1600 feet up...just a couple feet short of killing my sorry, out-of-shape butt. The climb, (and muscle cramps, profuse sweating, and near vomitting), were soooo worth it though...the view was incredible!

Looking back toward Marquette.

So glad to have made it to the top...loving the breeze!

Between Luke and Keri....Happy hikers!

Looooooong way down!

Almost rested enough to head back down....almost.

After we climbed, carefully, back down the hill and hiked back out to the car, we headed into town. We headed to a local microbrewery. We each had a beer and decided to do an impromtu bar crawl. We hit four more bars, having a beer at each, and then had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We then headed back to Dan's dad's house for a bonfire. When we got there and got all settled on the edge of the yard near the woods, Dan and his dad told us all about the bear they saw in the yard the morning previous; I spent most of the evening jumping at every noise. Worries of being a bear's midnight snack aside, it was a really fun evening. By midnight, we were all pretty pooped so we put the fire out and headed to bed.

The next morning, we got up bright and early (i.e. 10am) and packed up to head out. Luke drove and stopped along what looked like a nice wooded area. Dan and Luke marched us out into the woods to check out our camping spot. We followed along behind and stopped short when they showed us where we would be camping...a gorgeous beach surrounded by sandstone cliffs....the only problem: we had to climb down the cliff to the beach....a 1200 foot descent. We picked our way down the hill to check out the beach, without breaking any bones or sacrificing any dignity by tripping and rolling the whole way down. The beach was even more gorgeous than we thought....sunny and warm with just a little hint of breeze. The boys, gentlemen that they were, offered to climb back up to the car and transport down all of our gear while we soaked up some sun. Honestly, it was probably a smart move on their part, because two treks down the hill for me and Keri probably would have resulted in at least one broken ankle, but a sweet gesture none the less. They managed to haul our 50 pound duffel bags, sleeping bags, pillows, and other various crap along with their bags and our camping gear, down to the beach....even made it look easy. We set up camp, changed into our swimming suits and then Keri and I layed out towels to soak up some rays while the boys ran off to explore and swim.
The beautiful beach!

Loving the U.P.

Waiting for the boys...

<3 sandy toes <3

Yay for tans!

Hatchets and machettes...good for chopping firewood...and bear protection.

Dan gathering firewood... "I am man...hear me roar!"

Luke and Dan

Tucked in a hole in the sandstone cliff

We wandered the beach all day and enjoyed the sun. I was really nervous about the bug situation....I was warned that the bugs and flies were REALLY bad this time of year, but there were hardly any. I think the slight breeze was enough to keep the bugs at bay....or it might have been my super-de-dooper heavy-duty chemical-based bug spray. Either way, there were a few flies, but nothing to worry about.

We built a campfire on the beach and roasted hotdogs and made s'mores for dinner. We sat around the fire and chatted over some adult beverages, and took in the beautiful night sky....so many stars! We finally crawled into the tent around 1 or 2 and all promptly cashed out....busy day made for easy sleeping. We woke early this morning to a light rain, but waited it out and were able to pack everything up and head out by 11am. The trek back up the hill laden down with our stuff was quite interesting. We finally made it back to the top and took our dirty, greasy, unshowered selves into public for some breakfast. We went to a great little restaurant that makes all of it's dishes fresh from local sources; it was sooooo good.

After breakfast, we headed back to Dan's house, unloaded Luke's car and reloaded our stuff into our car. We exchanged goodbyes and Keri and I headed out. We took the scenic route home, along the west side of the state, hoping to stop off for the afternoon at a beach, but we left a little too late and had trouble finding a public beach. We finally scrapped the idea and headed home; we got back into town around 8 and I promptly hopped in the shower...mmmm hot, running water. I loved the U.P., but wish it were closer...I want to do some more hiking and climbing, but don't think driving 6 hours to do so is very practical. I'm sure I could do some hiking around here, but I don't think it will be the same..rather flat in these parts. I guess I will just have to wait for our next roadtrip to the beautiful upper peninsula!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ping! Ping! Ping!

On my way home on Friday, I stopped at Papa's Pumkin Patch...I love that place. I love that the produce is local, just picked, the prices are right, and the people are sooooo nice. I CAN'T wait for Applefest there again this fall...woo! Anyway, I stopped in to buy some tomatoes for canning. I bought 50lbs of tomatoes and canned half of them today. I still have lots and lot and LOTS of salsa and peaches left over from last year, but I blew through the tomatoes I canned last year within a couple months. I love me some stewed 'matos! It's been a hot steamy day here in my apartment and a lot of hard work, but it's so worth it. I love being able to pull out a jar of tomatoes in the winter and use them in sauce or chili or even just eat, and have them taste so fresh.
Some of the tomatoes...getting ready for their bath...
Bath time!

Even Indy wanted to help....checking out the produce

Cleaning up dishes...
Even though he knows he's not supposed to...

Napping on the job.

It got too late to can the other half, but it will give me something to do tomorrow. I'm now sitting here, watching a movie and listening to the "ping" of my sealing jar lids....man, do I love that sound!

The Art Of Brick

Mom and I had a culture date yesterday. We went to see an exhibit, The Art of Brick, at the Midland Center for the Arts by Nathan Sawaya; he is artist who creates sculptures with Legos. The exhibit it's self wasn't very big, but the pieces were incredible. The pieces were so intricate that from far away, they didn't even look like Legos any more.

We also walked around the other art exhibits and saw a lot of really great pieces....and some not so great. I can't understand how people can ask for hundreds of dollars for a print that a four year old can do...dumb. Anyway, here were a couple of my favorite pieces that were up for sale...

We spent a couple hours taking in the art and then headed out for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's....yummy yummy salad bar. Perfect mother/daughter date!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Girl Should Be So Lucky....


...to have such wonderful men in her life.

Trip Down Memory Lane...

I wen home yesterday to spend some quality time with Mama. We got pedicures and went to lunch...it was lovely. When we got home, we spent some time going through old photo albums; I just love looking through the old photos and seeing what comes up...
Such a good mommy....
And a babe too!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Scrumptious Summer

Hooray for fresh produce! I guess the first harvest from my garden was only a hint as to what was to come; I'm up to my eyeballs in summer squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes....yum, yum, yum. I went out and picked all the ripe veggies this morning and when I came in to wash them, I noticed just how many I actually had. I was trying to think of a fresh, summery dish that would use a lot of zucchini and tomatoes, so here is what I came up with:

Saucy Summer Salad
3-4 ripe plum tomatoes
2 medium zucchini
6 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoon real mayo
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Mix the sour cream, mayo, lemon juice and spices together, and place in fridge to cool.
 Cut the zucchini into thin slices.

Cube the tomatoes.

Place veggies in a bowl and cover with the sauce.

Stir well and serve chilled.

This salad is SO good! The zucchini are crunchy and the tomatoes are super sweet. I thought of using it as a side dish, but it with a small piece of garlic toast, it makes a great light summer dinner.

One word of caution however, this is not, I repeat NOT, a date night dinner....your garlic breath with burn the eyebrows off each other's faces.