Make This Now: Summer Time Recipes!

It’s summer and every meal must be eaten outdoors!  Okay, not every meal (sometimes something really good is on TV!), but as many as possible.  Mainly to escape the heat of our house, but also because sitting at an actual table without our distraction, surrounded by natural light and the lovely sounds of summer — aka, the kids next door setting off fireworks, but also birds chirping and a slight sweet breeze through the trees — is the epitome of happiness.

IMG_0409

Simple Flaky Crab Cakes + Roasted Carrots and Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with Buttermilk Herb Dressing

Two recipe repeats that I had been dying to make again since last spring!  They were every bit as delicious as I remembered them being.  Get that good crab from Slidell, LA and maybe put some of that buttermilk dressing on the crab cakes too then let that wave of euphoria wash right over you.  Because Katie Lee is my food spirit animal, she is a trusted salad recipe resource!

img_0485

BBQ Chicken Burgers

I’ve had these burgers pinned for SO LONG and we just finally made them.  What a mistake that was!  I should have made them so so long ago and I could have been enjoying them for so much longer.  DO NOT MAKE THIS LIFE MISTAKE.  They could not have been fatter or juicier or more BBQ flavor-packed.  We loved them SO MUCH!

IMG_0425

Sesame Soba Noodles + Ginger-Miso Grilled Asparagus 

I’ve made about 50 iterations of sesame soba noodles in my life but I really and truly loved this version!  The ingredient list was short and I had it all on hand, plus the noodles were perfectly coated.  Also, soba noodles only need to cook for something like 3 minutes, which is key if you’ve yet to install your window A/C unit and are looking for things that minimally heat your kitchen.  All sesame soba noodles aside, THESE ASPARAGUS!  I love a ginger-miso situation and I’d never grilled asparagus before so it felt life-changing.

IMG_0499

Summer Bliss Bowls with Sweet Potato Falafel

I’ll be upfront and tell you this recipe does not provide clear falafel frying instructions.  Is it a pan-fry?  A deep-fry?  How hot does the oil need to be??  Ahh!  But relax, because I’m here to guide you to sweet potato falafel success.  Put a 1/2″ of vegetable oil in your cast iron skillet, turn that heat HIGH, then fry each falafel for 3-4 minutes, flip to the other side and repeat.  But these babies are just half the fun because jalapeño ranch, grilled corn, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes and a sprinkle of fresh dill = a bowl of pure summer… uh bliss.  Okay, this recipe is aptly named!

Curried Grilled Chicken Thighs + Curried Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt

Remember when I came home from a weekend facial and Joey was in the kitchen, making yellow curry paste from scratch and I was like “who are you and what have you done with my husband?!”  This is where that curry paste went and HOLY MOLY so worth making from scratch and so very delicious.  Chicken thighs for president!  It’s maybe not cauliflower season but whatever because these two recipes went together so well.  We were both so delighted by this dinner.

In conclusion, Summer ’17 is off to a delicious start.  Where can we go from here?!

Weekend Things: Family Time in Estes Park

This weekend was just so so good.  When it comes to vacationing, I find I always have my sights set on far off locations and forget about the places, like Estes Park, that are only a few hours drive away, in our very own state.  And I always forget just how refreshing and re-energizing that fresh mountain air and time spent with loved ones can be!

IMG_0701IMG_0702

We stopped in Lyons to grab a beer at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew and look, I thought I didn’t like Oskar Blues beers, but then I had the Nooice Saison and loved it so much.  So I guess I don’t know who I am or what I like 🙂  They have an old school video game arcade that Joey and Adam were pretty into but my childhood mainly consisted of Mario Party on Nintendo 64 so I guess the nostalgia was kind of lost on me.

IMG_0618IMG_0703IMG_0724IMG_0723

Once in Estes (we saw three elk on our way!), we checked into our BEAUTIFUL condo, maybe locked ourselves out within three minutes of being there — four adults should be smarter than this, right? — made a very important beer run then had dinner at Tavern 1929, because when the lodge you’re staying at has its own restaurant and 18 microbrews, you obviously make a reservation.  We all dubbed Joey’s elk chops the best dish of the night and considered ordering dessert but then decided to retire to our condo for some hot tub/puzzle/sad sad Rockies game time.

IMG_0709IMG_0710IMG_0711IMG_0712IMG_0689IMG_0714

Saturday morning waffles for all!  Remember how I mentioned Joey made a bunch of buttermilk waffles last weekend?  Purposely, because we froze the extras then packed them up and just popped them in the toaster for everyone on Saturday morning.  I’d never tried this re-toast and revive method but they were great!  Plus, drinking coffee outside in the crisp mountain air is MY FAVORITE.  And I never pass up a coffee-mug-with-the-mountains-in-the-background picture 🙂

At 10, we made our way into town for the event of the weekend: The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival!  I didn’t even know A) Joey’s family had Scandinavian roots or B) that those painted horses are called Dala Horses and are a Swedish thing!  We totally had one of those in our house, growing up.  In all seriousness, the weather was beautiful, the festival was packed and it was cool to see all the Scandinavian culture.  We had lunch, made a stop at the taffy store and grabbed ice cream in town before heading back to our condo to rest up before dinner.

IMG_0715IMG_0716IMG_0717IMG_0695

We had a bit of a dinner party at our place later on.  Everyone came over with food and Joey and I cooked salmon with a recipe we’d never used at a size we’d never cooked but it all went swimmingly (sorry, had to make a fish pun) and this beet salad always impresses.  And I learned what potato bologna was and even got to try it for myself.  Had many Swedish learning experiences this weekend, guys!

IMG_0699IMG_0721

Okay, all I have are food photos from the beginning and the end of Sunday, but in between was a bunch of good stuff, like a quick and painless drive back from Estes, lunch at BriDer, couch lounging, garden surveying (my parents watered for us while we were gone and I love them for it ♥), running (amen for a quick weekend cool off in Denver), kombucha brewing and dinner cooking.  It felt like there were 10 extra hours in the day and I was not mad about it!  Joey made garlic scape pesto with scapes from the farmers’ market and, get this, chard from our garden.  Yes!  It was so good and we used it in some pasta for dinner and all was right in the world.  Except the Rockies… WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE SUCH PAIN??

Please tell me what you did this weekend, I’d love to hear!