Summer Radish Salad

Summer Radish Salad

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Summer is almost over?! Is this a joke? This summer flew by in the blink of an eye for me.

With the wedding planning and then the wedding and then our magical trip to Italy (remind me I should do a post on that) I feel like summer just began. But Autumn/Fall is my favorite season by far so I’m ok with it 🙂

With the end of the summer season comes Labor Day. Labor day is filled with family and fun and barbecues and cookout and food and drink! This year we don’t have many plans, Jake coaches football so the Labor Day weekend won’t really include traveling or big parties for us.

Buuutttttt

If you have Labor Day plans and need an awesome side dish, I’ve solved your problem for you!

This Radish Salad is patriotic(it’s red) delicious(anything with lemon and parsley is ok in my book!) and it’s healthy, oh and one more thing, b.e.a.utiful!

ALWAYSSUMMERTada.Super duper easy peasy.

A super helpful trick is that I use THIS handy dandy tool to chop all the radishes up nicely and evenly (not to mention insanely fast) and it works like a charm.

wpid-wp-1440960244291.jpgWe will definitely be making this again soon. Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog and I hope you had wonderful weekend!!!

xoxo

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{Bachelorette Weekend}

{Bachelorette Weekend}

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OMG I swear I’m still hungover from last weekend. kidding.

It was my bachelorette party weekend. Me and my bestest friends went to Door County for the weekend. We stayed in this adorable cabin near Egg Harbor. Our itinerary went something like this:
Friday Night
– all arrived  around 7 pm
– went out for dinner in Egg Harbor at Mojo Rosa’s (Kim who owns the place is also catering our wedding she is an absolute blast to be around and so fun. Not to mention she cooks some killer food!)
– Drinks and games at Mojo’s and then Casey’s. Which was great fun. Go to Casey’s and try to guess the number of pennies on the bar! I know the answer and I’ll tell you if you’re right 🙂
– Hot tub shenanigans back at the cabin. Seriously when you let 6 girls who don’t let loose often out on the “town” shit’s getting cray
– sleeping in THE MOST comfortable bed in the world. I was snuggled in a HUGE king bed with my sissy and bff. Heavenly.
Saturday
– had a good ole’ fashion reminisce session about the night before. Seriously we did this all the time in college where we’d all snuggle and laugh and talk about shit that went down the night before. It was so fun to do it again.
– bloody’s and brunch (aka i was too excited for the day and had like 10 grapes)
– all panicked that we had to leave soon and rushed to get ready
– arrived at Stone’s Throw Winery  for our personal tasting course. At this point my soon to be sister’s in laws met up with us!
– tasted 7 awesome wines with Deb who made the day so great! We also met Russell who by some small crazy chance knew my godfather Mike who is a well known wine aficionado if you will, in Napa.
– Sat outside and drank great wine by the fire and talked and laughed for ours. While we were outside two very nice gentleman (Dan & Scott) came over and bought us some wine and chatted with us. We got to talking and they have a blog that they run together as well! They live in the Fox Valley area and run Platter Talk a fun and friendly blog filled with reallllllyyy delicious looking recipes and ideas! They are so fun! You need to go and check them out!
– Went back to the house and played some games and hung out
– We went out to dinner at the Cookery and I would like to publicly apologize to them for how loud and crazy our table got. Thank you Annie for being an amazing server to us! And big shout out to our other server and I don’t remember his name which primarily why I want to apologize!
– 7-10 pm, no clue
– kidding but really just back to the house and playing games being crazy girls and probably hot tubbing it up!
Sunday
– woke up wanting to die and had my bff drive me home which was a slow trip as we stopped approximately 10 times for various reasons most of which were me, and needing to vom.
– arrived home, napped on the couch and went to bed at 8pm.

Even though it went by WAY too fast, I had the best weekend ever and I’m so lucky and thankful to have such great friends and family in my life. Here are a few pictures to share!

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Friday Night Crazies. Lord knows why there was a bronze pig on the street, but we liked it!

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Soon to be sisters!

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Bridesmaids ❤

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gangs all here!

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love them all!

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These were just some little hangover bags that i made the girls as a thank for you making the trek and hanging out with me. They just included like a little granola bar, advil, engery shot, gum, and other cute knick-knacks.

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I just used a paper cutter to cut the paper bags on the ends, and I bought the cute bag topper things at Michaels and used a little hemp to tie them up, tada!!!! Adorbs.

So there you have it. A high level glimpse into the weekend! If you’re ever in DOCO (Door County, WI) which I HIGHLY suggest you make time for in your life, then make sure to hit up the places in mentioned in this post!

Hope you all have a good memorial day weekend! I’ll be relaxing, catching up on sleep and NOT drinking alcohol! 🙂

xoxo

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Staying Healthy This Summer!

Staying Healthy This Summer!

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Hi readers! This is a kind of a different post than what you’re used to from me but I’m excited to share something a little outside of the box with you! I’m also featuring a guest blogger in this post 🙂

A few weeks ago I got an email from the gorgeous Kendra Thornton. She reached out about the possibility of doing a collaboration post on various way to stay active and healthy during the super busy summer months! I was super excited and obviously said yes. Being healthy, fit, active, and making smart choices are things I strive hard to do and love helping others do the same!

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Kendra is quite the impressive lady. She left a job as Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz.com to persue her dreams and do exactly what she loves. Currently she is travel guru (travel industry publicist) and runs her own PR business.  She has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC and CW affiliates across the country sharing her wealth of knowledge on various things!

You should definitely check her out on Twitter.

Kendra has shared her top secrets for staying fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on vacation(which we all know can be pretty hard to do sometimes!)


My Top Secrets For Staying Fit on Vacation

Following a healthy lifestyle is always challenging, but when you’re traveling you have to be extra conscientious. Now that I’m going to be having family members visiting me in Chicago next month, I’m trying to think of some useful tips I can share with them. After all, I do try my best to keep my immediate family as fit as possible throughout the year, whether we’re at home or on the road. Hopefully some of what I’ve learned can be helpful to you.

One of my secrets for keeping my whole family energized when we’re traveling is to keep a good supply of healthy snacks on hand. This is something that takes some preparation, but it’s not difficult at all. Items such as energy bars, trail mix, containers of yogurt and fresh fruit are so much better than junk food you might find at a concession stand or in a vending machine. I really notice the difference with my kids, who are less cranky and hyperactive when they munch on these natural goodies rather than sugary snacks. Whenever we pass a farmer’s market, which you can now find in many cities, I always pick up some items for either immediate or future consumption.

When we’re on vacation, I’ve noticed that there’s usually a choice between a physical activity and a sedentary one. I always make sure we get in plenty of exercise rather than spend the whole time doing passive things like watching performances or sitting in tour buses. Sometimes we even rent bikes, which can often be arranged with your concierge at the hotel. Making little choices such as taking stairs rather than elevators means getting in some extra activity. Luckily for my family, Chicago offers a number of hotel options that have great gyms. Not only do they have great facilities, but they are also close to all the sites.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use your vacation as an excuse to try out new and exciting sports. For example, kayaking, snorkeling, rock climbing or zip line courses are not only more interesting than typical tourist activities, they keep you moving. You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to have fun participating in adventure sports. When planning our vacations, I always check out what kind of sports and activities are available and arrange for us to do something like this. Even big cities now offer opportunities to experience such adventures, such as indoor rock climbing walls.

One way I stay fit when traveling is to always choose hotels that have good fitness centers. I find that starting the day with a vigorous workout gets me is the best possible way to get myself energized for a day of sightseeing. Many hotels have gyms, but it’s good to check before you book. If there’s also a swimming pool, you could finish your workout with a few laps around the pool. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. Even a half hour workout makes a big difference in how you feel the rest of the day.

I do my best to keep my family as healthy as possible, whether we’re at home or on vacation. This takes a certain amount of concentration and planning ahead. For example, I buy nutritious groceries and prepare healthy snacks for my kids. I also encourage them to be active in sports and to play outdoors rather than spending all of their free time online. I try to keep these principles in mind and will be encouraging my extended family to do the same when they arrive in town next month.


Thank you SO much Kendra! Those are some great things to keep in mind and remind us that with a little planning and prepping we can help facilitate healthy choices with ourselves and our loved ones.

When thinking about what I do to stay active while vacationing and during the go-go-go months of summer it’s very much the same as Kendra. We try to plan vacations and trips that involve activities. Camping, hiking, biking, swimming etc… we make sure to bring re-usable water bottles to make sure to stay hydrated and we bring plenty of good drinking water with us if we are unsure of the quality of water at our location. Water can’t ever go to waste and as I’ve sadly learned before, better safe than sorry!  We prep and bring plenty of healthy food too. Just because you’re camping or on the go doesn’t mean you have to eat fast food or over processed food! I prep veggies(Peppers, celery, carrots, cucumbers) and fruit(oranges, grapes,apples) to bring along and KIND bars are a favorite around here too 🙂

Lastly, thinking of summer and traveling, here are some places I would give my left leg to be at right about now:  🙂

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Glacier National Park- Montana

 

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Camping “up north” somewhere 🙂

 

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Italy ❤

 

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NO clue where this is but I’d like to get there…now.

 

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Heaven?

 

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Beaver Island, Michigan. My favorite place on earth.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have fun, safe, and healthy summers!!

xoxo

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*Many of the pictures above, I do not own and have taken from various websites.

 

Fresh Veggie Greek Pasta

Fresh Veggie Greek Pasta

Ahhh, look how pretty this one is. Screams summer time BBQ to me.

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NEWS FLASH-I live in Wisconsin (ps. GO BUCKY!)

NEWS FLASH- it’s basically April and it snowed last week……

NEWS FLASH- I’m freaking sick of it!

I was desperate for something that tasted like summer and I came across this recipe.  It seemed so fresh tasting, and it was. 🙂

I made a dinner out of this and topped it with some chopped up chicken breast. We ate it warm. But I believe the recipe was originally intended to be a cold pasta salad. Like the ones you bring to SUMMER barbeques with friends when you wear shorts and tank tops and can sit outsiiiiiide and enjoy a cold beverage and possibly see some lightening bugs…ahhhhhh the good times. CAN. NOT.WAIT.

Anyway, we both really liked this dish. It was also a mini-milestone for me beeeecccaauuuse it contains kalmata olives and my Beau ate them! OK – he sort of picked around them while serving and it’s not like he said “these taste GREAT!” but after you hear this story you’ll realize why I’m so happy.

Jake and I have been together for about 6 and a half years. We met in college. Around our 1 year anniversary I decided to make him dinner. Back then it was a rare occurance as we lived in dorms or college housing and no access to a kitchen and we’re poor so there’s that. ANYWAY I choose to make a dish my mom always made called Medditeranean Chicken. Super simple and tasty. Basically 4 ingredients. Chicken breasts, cherry tomotoes, capers, kalmata olives- and then baked. Looking back, I have NO idea what I was thinking. Jake didn’t grow up eating as many diverse flavors as me and his palate was a little, limited shall we say. This was just too much.

Here’s the down and dirty version: I cook. I plate. We sit down. I take a bite=heaven. Jake takes a bite= run to bathroom, spit out food, brush teeth, gargle with Listerine immedietly.

How we are together to this day you ask? I don’t know. My feelings were so hurt but I tried to understand that it was “weird flavors!” for him. Anyway at the time, he pointed to the capers as being the death of him but after that it was both olives and capers that I had to hear about how he dispised them everytime they were in a 5 foot radius of him. I’m taking this dish a sign that almost 5 years later his palate has grown and adapted and they can slowly become part of our grocery repitiore.

But enough about me- Here is how you can make this deeeelicious recipe for you and your family!

Ingredients:
2-3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped parsley(I prefer Flat Leaf Italian)
1 tablespoon chopped basil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound penne pasta (or whatever pasta you want)
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons garlic, minced

Instructions:
– In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, olives, feta, herbs and spices, salt and pepper. *If you want to serve this dish cold, you could add this mixture to the fridge at this point to chill
– Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain in a collander.
– In the same pot, (with the pasta in the collander) heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes without letting it turn brown and cripsy.
– Put the pasta back into to the pot and toss with olive oil mixture.
– Add the tomato-olive mixture and toss until the fresh vegetables are thoroughly mixed with the penne.
– Serve!

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Hope you enjoy! And I also hope the weather is warmer by you, but if it is please don’t tell me about it. I’m bitter, however I can’t complain tooooo much as it’s about 50 today. SPRING IS COMING!

Thanks for vewing !

xoxo

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Eggplant and Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

Eggplant and Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

eggplant bruschetta 2When people ask you what’s your favorite season, most people answer with Fall, Summer, Spring, or Winter. Well honestly I’d be hard pressed not to say my favorite season is tomato season.

Laugh all you want, but there is no other time in the YEAR where tomatoes taste as good as during the heart of summer. You just can’t get it any other time.

I’ve been known to give myself belly aches from eating too many at one time, didn’t stop me, but it happened.

Sometimes it can be challenging to use up all the tomatoes in new ways.Enter this delicious bruschetta with roasted tomatoes to save the day. Not only are the tomatoes delicious and because you roast them down, you use quite a bit of them.

But tomatoes aren’t the only star of this dish. Because #EGGPLANT. Ohhh eggplant. You weird little veggie. Who decided to name you eggplant? You don’t look like an egg at all. Other people call you aubergine, or brinjal, which are also weird. But whatever your name, you are delicious and nutritious.

There are so many health benefits of adding eggplant to your regular diet. Many of which I did not know until reading Helen from Well Being Secrets post about this veggie’s awesomeness. Two of my favorite facts are that 1) eggplants are actually berries!(say what?) and 2) eggplants are over 90% water! If you want to read more about this, check out this post HERE.

This recipe is one of my favorite go to’s for summer and when we have guests over or need a dish to pass. So easy to make and healthy to eat! Enjoy!Roasted Eggplant & Cherry Tomato Bruschetta CSA RecipeYou can serve with toasted bread, not toasted bread, crackers, just eat it by the spoonful(the last method is my preferred way to eat it) In the hot summer months serve with a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy!!Eggplant Bruschetta 1Embarrassing Fun fact. Here’s the original blog picture from when I first made this recipe for the blog back in 2013…. aren’t we all so happy my food photography has come such a long way 🙂 🙂eggplant

xoxo

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*Original Post published 5/19/2013 and subsequently updated on 11/22/2016