Make This Now

Even though it is the end of July and I’m already (sort of) jokingly lamenting that “summer is over,” temperatures in the upper 90s, nightly dinners in the backyard and the pain I suffered when I wore black pants outside earlier this week means we are truly in the thick of it now, friends!  Please enjoy some of our very favorite recipes from this summer, and just remember there are plenty of tomatoes, corn and peaches and eggplant to come.

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BBQ Salmon Cobb Salad

Katie Lee does not mess around with a good salad and neither do I!  Perfectly cooked flaky salmon, salty bacon, egg that is boiled to my liking (help, I recently developed an aversion to soft egg yolks), in season corn and tomatoes, a creamy avocado and most importantly: homemade croutons!  We really dug this meal.

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Juicy Grass-Fed Beef Burgers

What’s summer without a really good burger, though?  Get this, these ones have mayo MIXED INTO THE PATTY!  Why have I never thought to do this??  These were SO GOOD.  So juicy that they were dripping everywhere and I was sad because I wanted those flavors in my mouth and not on my plate but what can you do?  Also, Joey claimed these were better than the BA Burger Deluxe which had previously been our go-to classic burger recipe.  Reader, I gasped when he said this but… he’s right!  P.S. Please season the outside of your patty with salt and pepper, regardless of whether this recipe tells you to or not.

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Loaded Summer Chili Fries

Switching gears entirely, we now enter the vegan portion of this post.  I make this cashew cheese sauce often and always have so much left over — I’ve tried halving it and my blender says NO — so I have to find ways to use it up.  Enter these chili fries, which already called for a similarly-made cashew sour cream, so it seemed like an easy substitution to make.  I was not prepared for how delicious this meal would be!  It was light and fresh but still hearty and satisfying?  I was FULLY in my happy place.  Plus, even though it seems like a lot of components, it was pretty quick to whip up.

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Peach Crisp for Two

Okay, this actually served four but that means two nights of dessert for each of us, instead of one, so I’m calling it a win!  A gluten-free vegan peach crisp is, in fact, NOT Betty Crocker’s peach cobbler but I just can’t make it like Mom, so why even try?  I actually don’t know how this tasted as good as it did considering there was no butter or white flour involved but IT DID.  I would 100% make this again!  And that’s the end of the vegan portion of this post 😛

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Grilled Salmon with Whole Lemon-Sesame Sauce

I made Joey watch a video of the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen making this recipe then said “I don’t care what you think, I’m making this!”  He’s maybe not quite as into lemon as I, a person who will eat the lemon slice that comes in a glass of water, am but don’t let the idea of cutting up a lemon skin scare you because when mixed with shallot, olive oil and honey, it’s really mellow and lovely.  I really love the easy salmon grilling technique used in this recipe too and scattering basil over anything just feels so fresh and summery, doesn’t it??

Please tell me what delicious things you are whipping up this summer!

An Alternate Summer Bucket List

I originally wrote this post earlier in the summer, when I had barely made it through any of the things I had imagined myself doing that season.  Since then, we crossed off a bunch of “Summer Bucket List” items, but I wanted to share it anyway, as a reminder that it’s completely okay to take summer at your own pace and maybe not get to all the things you thought you were going to get to.  There are plenty of future summers for those things and in the meantime, you might just discover happiness in a whole slue of unplanned activities 🙂

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When I looked at my Summer Bucket List, hanging on the magnetic board in our kitchen, with just two items crossed out, I felt sad.  But then I thought of all the wonderful and fun things I did this summer that weren’t on that list and I felt sad no more.  I didn’t fail, I just wrote the wrong list!

What if, instead of spending most of our time trying new things, we just fine tuned/perfected/cemented our love for old things/routines/habits/experiences.  Getting better at stuff you already know you love is totally an accomplishment to me.

We went to the Farmers’ Market every Saturday we could and knew the best tents for tomatoes and just how much we could fit into my bike basket (even if we still bought more than that every time…).

We watched Dirty Dancing at Film on the Rocks and knew you forego the tailgate in favor of a amphitheater picnic because it means getting in earlier and grabbing a better seat.

I went to Yoga on the Rocks, not once but twice!  We went to so many good concerts and even upped our tailgate game by buying an actual table to sit at.

I baked ALL THE THINGS.  If weekly pie/cobbler/cake is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.  But don’t worry, we still made time for a trip to the ice cream parlor too.

We dined al fresco so many times and didn’t take a single backyard dinner for granted because they are, arguably and low key-ly, the best part of summer.

I read and ran and relaxed.  Uptight might be my middle name, but when there’s corn to grill and hammocks to read/nap in, who has time to worry about how clean (or dirty) their kitchen floor is.

I got a new grill and we found that sweet spot between BBQing for a group and just grilling up a quick dinner for ourselves.  In the end, that mostly means we just ate a lot of good things this summer.

Don’t even get me started on our little garden that I love with all my heart.  We were so much more organized and prepared this year and it was so fun to see new things grow and have that 10-minutes to water and admire all those cute little vegetables after work.

And let’s not forget weddings and vacations and weekends spent with our families that could have been stressful but ended up being relaxing and rejuvenating and a good reminder that despite all the bad things in the world, you have your people and they have you.

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So today, we say goodbye to Summer 2017 and hello to the official fall season and I’m feeling really good about it all ♥