Labor Day Weekend 2019 ♥

Can all weekends be three days, please?  I felt like I had enough time to do every thing I wanted, everything I needed, plus extra time leftover to semi-nap on our deck sofa, see a 3 hour movie and like every Telluride Film Fest-related tweet 😛


Wow, Friday feels SO LONG AGO.  I’d really been wanting to see Where’d You Go, Bernadette since I just read (and loved) the book, but it felt like I kept putting it off, for reasons that are probably Rotten Tomato score-related but also because it kept showing at either 6 PM (so early!) or 9 PM (so late!).  Can’t a girl get a 7:45 PM movie??  Anyway, after Joey told me to stop acting like I’m too old to go to a 9 PM movie, I acquiesced.  Look, the book is obviously better and there were major changes made (especially toward the end) that I felt significantly lessened the impact of the plot, but I still liked it!  Joey and I laughed a lot over the really badly edited photos of younger Bernadette and her husband.  Was it supposed to look so bad and fake??


Woke up Saturday and made us some banana bread buckwheat pancakes because, as Joey put it, “WE OWN EVERY FLOUR!” and buckwheat was one of them.  Turns out buckwheat not only looks like sand, but tastes like it?  No thank you!  Afterward, we hit the farmers’ market and two different grocery stores!!!  I was very proud of our stamina.  We were hosting a family BBQ on Sunday and weeks ago, when we planned the menu, I was elated over the prospect of buying fresh produce at the farmers’ market.  It was just as exciting as I thought it’d be 🙂


We spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, which is not exciting, then cleaned ourselves up and headed out for dinner/Rockies, which was exciting (until the game sucked).  We’re nearing the end of Rockies season, so I’m running out of time to try all the Biker Jim’s dogs, eek!  Joey and I traded halves so I could knock out two — Elk Jalapeno Cheddar and Rattlesnake & Pheasant — and both were great.  I fear I’m going to get to the end of this experiment and tell you what you already know — Elk Jalapeno Cheddar with classic topping is the best.

It was a perfect night at Coors Field weather/sunset-wise, but woof, that game!  We left early to go grab ice cream at Smith + Canon, only to find they had sold out and closed early, noooo!  Luckily, Ice Cream Riot is just down the street and though not quite Smith + Canon level, still very very good!


I remarked on Saturday that I couldn’t remember the last time we’d gone on a weekend run, so we woke up and did just that on Sunday.  My left quad is SO SORE and I have zero clue why, so we maybe walked a little, but “that’s what weekend runs are for” Joey says.  After cooling down for a bit and eating breakfast, we jumped right into BBQ prep.  Joey was outside cleaning up the front and back yard and I was in the kitchen whipping up potato salad and squash and corn salad, then prepping a tomato salad and burgers.  Go figure, I only got a picture of one of those dishes, but that tomato salad sure looks pretty!  Also, while I cooked, I had Titanic on and I’m never not blown away by that film!

This whole BBQ was supposed to function as a “Garage and Deck Christening,” thought up by Joey’s grandma, who wasn’t feeling well and ended up missing the whole thing, bummer!!!  But Joey, my parents, my sister, Wayne, Lori, Adam, Joey’s grandpa, Jory, Betsy, Lorenzo, and Ellie were all there and my heart was so full.  Lori got us the sweetest sign for our deck ♥  I asked my mom to bring a dessert, so naturally, she brought two.  I maybe loaded my plate with peach cobbler (MY FAVORITE!!!) and vanilla ice cream, plus almond cake with whipped cream and strawberries and my mom saw and said “I’m so proud of you!” HA!  Half the party went home around 8, but those that were left, watched A Goofy Movie on the deck and it was the best ending to the best day ♥


How great it is to host a Sunday BBQ, then get a day of recovery afterward??  Amazing!  We slept in till 8 (when did 8 become sleeping in??), then took ourselves to Weathervane for giant coffees and breakfast on the teensy front patio.  We wrapped our heads around September — we leave for Italy in one month and I do not feel ready, but we’ll get there… I think! — then headed to my parents’ to pick up our pup, who was not invited to the BBQ and it was so good to have him back… and then to leave him at home while we headed to Golden.  A day off, with nothing to do, felt like the right time to visit a brewery and I’d heard good things about New Terrain.  It wasn’t so busy when we first got there, but when we left a couple hours later, it was PACKED.  My Golden Haze was so so good and I only had a headache for a day and half afterward!  (Why???)  Also, what a view!


It was an actual 100° degrees outside, so we were looking for something cool and dark to do afterward and a movie sounded like just the ticket!  I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but we have the Alamo movie pass, so we pay a monthly fee and then we can see as many movies as we want!  The only thing A) we wanted to see and B) was showing at the right time happened to be Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, which yes, we’ve already seen but it was “free” and can I please endorse the concept of the re-watch?  You catch so much more on a second viewing.  We still really really loved it, but found extra lines to laugh at and maybe clutched each others’ arms when we saw Leo get out of the pool and head to the tool shed.  Also, shout out to Zoë Bell, whose brief but brilliant scene is just so good!

Back at home, we relaxed on the deck, walked the pup, ate BBQ leftovers (from now until forever), dreamt of not drinking beer or overeating and crashed into bed.  I loved every single second of this Labor Day Weekend and fear the post-holiday weekend blues that are sure to follow, but I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.  I hope yours was just as good!

Summer BBQ Recipes 2016

I first started drafting this post at the beginning of the summer when — after a BBQ-packed summer the year before — I was sure we’d be BBQ-ing all summer long.  Turns out we didn’t go to OR host many BBQs this year, but we DID turn on the grill plenty of times for ourselves and these were the things we made and loved.  I’m sharing with you in the hopes that it’ll help you (and I!) out NEXT year when we’re faced with that age old question: “WHAT DO I MAKE?!”


Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers // What’s not to like about mini bell peppers stuffed with cream cheese and fresh herbs?  For what it’s worth, I’ve also made these in the oven (400° for 25 minutes) and it worked like a charm, but if you have the time and the weather is working in your favor, definitely go for the grill.

Cranberry-Almond Broccoli Salad // Have you had the Broccoli Crunch salad at Whole Foods?  Because this tastes EXACTLY like it, except making it yourself is way way cheaper and much more satisfying.

Lemony Millet Salad with Chickpeas, Corn and Spinach // Except we always use orzo instead of millet and arugula for the spinach.  Leave the greens out altogether for make-ahead-of-time-without-fear-of-sogginess ease. (Note: Literally just cut and pasted that blurb from last year’s BBQ recipe round-up :P)

Charred Shishito Peppers // It was the summer of the shishito pepper for us.  But they’re so easy and all they need is a little oil, salt and maybe a sriracha mayo to make them taste incredible. 

Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli // I think I already made it clear how good this was.

Super Clean Broccoli Salad with Creamy Almond Dressing // The dressing was A+ but if we’re being honest, and I always am, I liked the Cranberry-Almond Broccoli Salad (above) better.



Grilled Chicken with Honey-Chipotle BBQ Sauce // Got rave reviews on this chicken, plus the BBQ sauce is quick and outstanding.  It’s fun to brag that it’s homemade.  Chicken thighs are where it’s at!

Spinach Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers // These were in one of my “Make This Now” posts but I made them a second time on a Friday night when Bob and Becca were over brewing beer.  I loaded my burger up with lettuce, tomato and onion which I almost never do and I was kinda sad that all the fixins covered up the burger and most importantly, the goat cheese.  So, in other words, these don’t even need any doctoring up to taste their best.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Shishito Peppers and Herbs // Can’t stop won’t stop with shishitos.  This was my first time ever grilling wings — actually Joey did the actual grilling — and though I didn’t LOVE them, I liked them A LOT.

Grilled Lamb // Simply put, this was INCREDIBLE!

Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs // Oh the advantages of always having a bottle of tequila on hand!  It’s a toss up between these and the honey-chipotle thighs for best chicken I’ve ever grilled. 

The BA Burger Deluxe // All summer, I wanted to make a classic cheeseburger and this was the one.  The “recipe” is insanely easy and you probably only need to glance over it once to know it by heart.  

Green Chili Chicken Burgers // A loooong time favorite.  But there’s cheese, a green chili topping and they’re really easy to whip up.

Grilled Steak and Tomatoes with Tofu Ranch Dressing // Tofu and steak together?  I know, I know, but hear me out.  The dressing is so good and goes wonderfully with the steak.  Especially if you cook the steak to that perfect medium-rare like Joey did when we ate this.  We used green tomatoes this year and they held up MUCH better, though the taste is different.

Grilled Margherita Pizza // Grilled pizza is so easy that you definitely don’t need an actual recipe, but this one was my inspiration for the couple of times we made one this summer.  Kind of loved the addition of pepperoni!



Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies // This is my go-to cookie recipe because it’s SO quick and the result is always incredible.  I brought these to a BBQ early in the summer and got a weird sense of satisfaction every time someone grabbed a second or third one 🙂  I usually skip the strawberries.

Blueberry-Pecan Galette // I’m all about the crust and this crust was INCREDIBLE!  Also, because a galette involves folding the crust over, you get a double layer and I was in crust heaven when I ate it.  Not complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Peach Cobbler // ALWAYS AND FOREVER.  If this was an alternate universe where I actually committed crimes instead of being a steadfast rule follower, this would be my Death Row dessert.  

Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata // Not gonna lie, this wasn’t my favorite thing I made this summer.  Why do raspberries gotta be so seedy??  But it was super quick and easy to make, so I’ll give it that.  


Guys, that’s it.  That’s the last of my “summer recap” posts.  So long, Summer 16.  You were good and long and full of good food.  Currently, we are en route to Washington, D.C. for a little weekend getaway/visit with Fletcher and the forecast says “feels like 100°” so I guess summer lives on for me!  Happy Weekend-ing, friends!