Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

2nd Annual Destination Unknown Road Trip

Like last year, we took advantage of our last free Saturday before soccer & school schedules set in.  We {ok, I} wanted to make a few stops in Birmingham, but other than that we didn't have any set plans.  We hit the road late morning & headed south.  

We saw this cool car as well as several others that day.  There must have been a car show somewhere.  

We also passed these SUVs.  When I first saw them, it looked like they were traveling together with the 2nd car WAY too close.  After they went blowing past us, we noticed that the 2nd car was being towed by the first.  And it was fully loaded.  And had bikes on the back.  Didn't seem very smart or safe for this person to be doing 80+, but what do I know?

Our first stop was The Summit for lunch at Urban Cookhouse {dee-lish!  I had a marinated steak sandwich with mac & cheese. Pete had marinated steak on rice with a salad.  And the kids had grilled chicken tenders - not fried.}.  We also got in a little shopping.  

After that, we headed over to 18th Street to check out a bench that we looked at back in the spring.  

The bench in the sunroom

Another view...the bench in the sunroom
Oh, and we picked up a few things at Savage's...I love their almond coffee cake {sorry, no pic!}.  Yum!  

We decided to go home via Gadsden so we headed that way and made a quick stop at Grand River.  

Once we made it to Gadsden, we decided to eat at Top of the River.  Pete & I ate there for the 1st time way back in 2001 when we visited a jewelry store a friend of mine worked at.  It was good back in the day, but I have to say that I wasn't very impressed this time around.  

We left Gadsden & headed towards home.  We drove through Boaz and saw the remains of one of the first outlet malls we shopped in.  Sad how times have changed.  Despite the kids being a little grumpy {read tired}, it was a fun day without a full agenda or timeline.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Doe Run Farm Grilled Cherry Tomato Salad

I have written about Doe Run Farm in the past.  This season, they added some "Food Lovers" shares to go along with the regular shares they offer. Pete & I opted for the salad share.  Early in the season, it was a mixture of veggies that you'd find in a typical tossed salad.  Once the weather warmed up, the variety changed and we were given recipes to go along with our veggies for the week.  We got the Grilled Cherry Tomato Salad recipe not long before our trip to the beach, so I added it to our beach menu.  I was excited about this recipe.  In addition to the cherry tomatoes we get with our CSA share, we usually plant some {along with other tomatoes} in our small garden.  We really like them, but it was nice to find a new way to use them.  I didn't realize at first that you need to marinate the salad for 24 hours, but we were able to grill the tomatoes while Pete cooked hot dogs & have the salad the next night.

Other than the planning ahead part, this recipe is super simple {notice a trend here?} and so yummy!

Doe Run Farm Grilled Cherry Tomato Salad

One pint Doe Run Farm cherry tomatoes
4-6 sprigs of fresh basil, finely chopped
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (fresher is better)
1 Tbsp vegetable or grape seed oil
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat grill to 500F.  Oil grates or grill pan.  Grill the cherry tomatoes, turning frequently until the skins pop.  Remove from the grill and toss with the fresh basil, minced garlic and olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Let marinate for a minimum of 24 hours for the best flavor.

We've had it with spaghetti as well as steaks.  And leftovers have been good with sandwiches.  So yum!

Doe Run Farm is registering for the autumn share, which will start in late September.  Check out their website for more info.

*I am a paying patron of Doe Run Farm and have not been compensated for this post.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sam is Simply Eight!

Sam celebrated his 8th birthday the day before we left for vacation.  He had some friends over & we set up our inflatable water slide along with some of the games/activities we made for Grace's party.  A water party has become a tradition for him.  

He wanted to have a Harry Potter party, so I made a Harry Potter invite, and we had a small HP Lego set as goodie bags.  Thanks to me being sick, that was the extent of the themed-ness of his party.  

Pete used his mad grilling skills & cooked burgers & hot dogs for us.  We kept the menu simple...burgers & dogs, pasta salad, baked beans, chips & watermelon.

Even Sam's cake was simple.  All he wanted was Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Simple enough.  And plenty delicious. {I actually made 2 - one with nuts & one without.  And we might have had extra to take with us to the beach.}

"Happy Birthday to you..."

We rushed to serve & eat cake and ice cream before it started sprinkling.  Once the kids were finished, we pulled out the marshmallow guns again.  How is that Pete always has the biggest toys?  Oh wait...he's the biggest kid.  The kids played in the water more and had marshmallow wars.  Then, we left the marshmallows for the rain to take care of.

Despite being one of the few girls at the party, Grace had a blast too!

On another note, I have to say that planning a party for Saturday when you are going on vacation on Sunday isn't such a bad idea.  It could be overwhelming, but with a little planning, it worked out great for us.  We cleaned as we packed to get ready both for the party and for being gone.  The menu was carefully planned so we didn't have a lot of leftovers to deal with.  After the party, it didn't take too much to get the house back in order so we didn't come home to a messy house.  Sweet!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Southwest Chicken Salad

We have a couple of places in town that serve a Southwest Chicken Salad sandwich.  At one of the places, the Southwest is among a laundry list of chicken salads available, but it is one of my favorites.  Being a picky fruit eater, Sam won't eat most varieties of chicken salad I make at home.  He has tried this one and liked it.  Looking for something new & different for lunch and knowing that Sam would eat it, I went to trusty Google to try to find a recipe for Southwest Chicken Salad.  I didn't have much luck.  Most everything I found was a SALAD with lettuce, grilled chicken, veggies, etc.  Not chicken salad of the sandwich or top of a cracker variety.  Time to experiment...and it turned out pretty well!

Southwest Chicken Salad

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked & chopped {or shred in stand mixer}
3 tbsp Taco Seasoning mix
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 small can corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Add more mayo and/or sour cream if needed.  Refrigerate several hours for best flavor.  Serve on croissants or with crackers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012