Tag Archives: summer

Just like riding a bike


Question: how is it already Monday again?? This week is going to be the start of a very few busy weeks that I will have in August. There will be breaks here and there (Coldplay on Wednesday! Work conference in Dallas! Vacation w/ friends at the end of the month!)…but I have to make it through a few busy days and weeks before all that kind of fun can start!

In preparation for all the busy-ness that will soon ensue, I was adamant about having a fun weekend. And a fun weekend, I had! How about we take a moment to talk about it? :)

In the evening after work on Friday, I met Amber and got a much needed pedicure.

I wasn’t sure if a graphite color would look good on me since my skin is on the darker side, but I kind of dig it! I normally get greens and blues, so this was a fun change! Amber also introduced me to these flip flops…that I can’t remember the name of…but they’re so uber comfortable I’ve been wearing them all weekend. We got ‘em at Macy’s, that about all I do know.

She and I made plans to go to the farmers market on Saturday, so that’s exactly what we did. We got there about 8:30 and spent one good hour walking around the market, sipping on lattes and scoping out the goods.

We were both pretty hesitant since the crops weren’t super great this year due to the hot weather and lack of rain, but I was BLOWN. AWAY. by the spread at the market this weekend! You probably already saw the beauties on my Instagram, but here they are again!
I got some awesome loot and a bunch of sunflowers and spent less than $20! I got a whole box of bell peppers (about 5-6 peppers), box of mini heirloom tomatoes, a box of eggplant (three huge eggplant), a bunch of colorful carrots and two ears of sweet corn.

If you see in the picture, I saw some beautiful squash blossoms. I’ve only ever had squash blossoms once during a 7-course vegetarian meal with wine pairing at this restaurant in town, and one of the meals had squash blossoms. It was so delicious! However, I have no idea how to prepare them otherwise I would have bought them :(
If anyone has a recipe they can share, please do! I might go back to the farmers market this weekend and maybe I’ll pick up another box!

By the time I got home, it was about 10 a.m., and I noticed REB was also up! We took full advantage of the beautiful morning by going to a local park and doing a long walk with Gryff. We went to Nichols Arboretum. We go here a lot: the peony festival in May, letting the dog swim in Huron River, sitting in the open field reading, chilling, whatever!

An awesome pre-workout of running through the woods, up and down hills!

I say pre-workout because when we got home, the dog was pooped but REB and I were pumped with adrenaline. He went on a long bike ride (he’s hardcore cyclist man) and I decided to do Jillian Michaels and planks while he was gone.
I moved up in weights and my arms are totally feeling it. Oy!

But it was so totally worth it! I felt so much better after and was more than ready for the delicious dinner we were about to prepare! I prepped all our veggies while REB heated up the charcoal and got the grill ready. I made a quick bruschetta with the mini heirloom tomatoes and then sliced up the veggeis and gathered them together so they could grill, baby, grill!

It was such a beautiful evening, so we dined al fresco on the deck, enjoyed the breeze and the delicious dinner we prepared thanks to locals and mother Earth! /end hippy comment ;) Hey, no wait. I’m not sorry. I love this place! And I love the stuff that comes out of the ground. Shout out and props to the peeps who help make that happen. Buy local! /end plug

Since the vegetables didn’t provide enough protein (for our preference) we just plated them on top of some steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s (now an official staple in our fridge). It was perfect.

After dinner and cleaning up, REB really wanted ice cream. We don’t really have that kind of stuff in our house (I did buy some low-cal fruit and cream bars from TJ’s…but we weren’t feeling it), so we decided to walk up to the Dairy Queen and bring the dog for yet another long walk! But by the time we got up there, I didn’t want ice cream, so I walked across the street to Caribou Coffee to get myself a small vanilla northern lite latte (sugarfree, nonfat) and it totally hit the spot.

We had made plans to get up early to hit up another park in town to do another long walk…but when we got up, the dog was SUPER tired and wouldn’t move. We kept joking that we broke our dog, but he isn’t used to walking 5 miles a day, so we decided to give him a rest. We instead took advantage of the early morning to get some breakfast and run some errands before he went on a bike ride.

We went to a place near campus and the hospital called Angelo’s and it’s supposedly the best breakfast place in town and worth the wait. Well, there wasn’t a line out the door, which was a plus, and we hadn’t been there before we gave it a shot. REB and I are big breakfast people. We have brinner (breakfast for dinner) at least once a week, so we made a deal to try out the places in A2 that are known for good breakfast.

The one thing I can say about Angelo’s is that I’m glad they had some vegetarian options. When I want to splurge, I always get eggs florentine or vegetarian eggs benedict. So when I saw portobello benedict on the menu, I knew I had to give it a shot. I have to say….I was kind of disappointed. You can see from the picture that it was overly doused in the hollaindaise sauce. Once you scraped all that off, the ‘bella was flavorful and full of meatiness and the eggs were poached perfectly! Instead of using English muffin, they used some homemade wheat toast, but it was just too filling, I didn’t even finish the one half of it!

Needless to say, it was good…but we probably won’t ever go back. It wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve ever had and I don’t think it’d be worth waiting in line during the fall when they get really busy, just to get something from there. Glad we went, though! Another check off the list ;)

After breakfast, we ran by Trader Joe’s and  to the bike store and tried out a few bikes! I’ve been wanting a bike for a long time. REB is a road cyclist (I call him hardcore cyclist man Lance), and he rides 30-45 miles as often as he can. He really should do a race, but he doesn’t do it for that purpose. He does it to zone out, work out and enjoy the outdoors. I love it! So we checked out a few bikes for me. I quickly realized I didn’t want a road bike. While that’s his thing, I knew it probably wouldn’t be mine. So we looked at some hybrids for me.

Confession: I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 7 years old. Read: 22 years. I was scared to test some of the ones I did. But I did it…and I remembered how it! The saying is true! Learning to ride a bike again is just like riding a bike ;)

We figured out that a medium frame was good for me, but I need a very low step up and a seat that’s pretty low. I wasn’t comfortable using the pedals to push off and get going. I felt much better sitting on the seat, getting the feet adjusted on the pedals and then pushing off. Maybe that’s how my dad taught me to ride all those years ago?? Oh well. So next step: find a bike and purchase it!

We ended our Sunday with a delicious dinner of leftovers! We had roasted the corn the night before, shucked it and stored it in the fridge. I added some black beans, avocado, lime, red onion and peppers, s&p = easy peasy black bean and corn salsa! It was pretty delicious with some veggie & flaxseed tortilla chips from TJ’s!

For dinner we just took one of the loaves REB bought, sliced it in half, spread some herb goat cheese on half, layered leftover grilled veggies, then used the panini press to make a most delicious sammich!

Ended the night with the Olympics and getting ready for another week!
Like I said, a most relaxing weekend and just what I needed to get ready for the busy days ahead of me. Small goal: make it to Wednesday for the concert! Woo!

Did you have a good weekend? What did you do?

Friday with Friends


Well hello my lovelies!

It’s officially summer and it’s officially warm outside and officially the start of a what I hope to be a very fun few weeks!
We had our first house guests in our house this past weekend! It was so much fun, too. I’m sure some of you may have seen the progression of sloppiness on Instagram, but perhaps there should be a story or background to the fun.

Two of our best friends came over for the night and it was a beautiful night out so we took full advantage of sitting outside and wining and dining.

And do you see that yummy looking dip on the left side of the picture? That’s was my contribution to the spread of the appetizers we had before REB made his brother’s warm pasta salad. Delicious!

Now let’s talk about the dip! It was a black bean, corn and avocado salad that I had in Chicago a few weeks ago. It was so delicious so I searched the Pinterest board and saw a pin for it and decided to make it for the start to the weekend. I changed up a few things to our tastes, but it was absolutely delicious.

I did a lot of prep work the night before to save some time.

Can we take a second to look at the beautiful colors? This is one of the reasons I love summer for this reason! It helps to make this the night before because then you can add the avocado right before serving and they won’t turn brown. I added more lime juice on top just to be sure it wouldn’t turn brown. You can never have enough lime juice in a salad like this.

Bottom line: this dip was delicious and so fresh and light. We served it up with pita chips and tortilla chips and the evening was so much fun. I can’t wait to start having more people over! Entertaining is going to come so much easier with the extra space!

What are your favorite summer time dishes?

Recipe adapted from Once Upon A Chef

5.0 from 1 reviews

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dip, Appetizer, Vegetarian
Serves: 8
  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (frozen, then thawed)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 avocados, scored and scooped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 4-6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (zest 2 of them first!) — this took about 2-3 limes
  • Drizzle of olive oil to desired consistency
  1. Combine the black beans, corn, red bell pepper and cilantro in a bowl and mix.
  2. Add the garlic, lime zest, cayenne pepper, shallot, sugar, salt and lime juice and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours, or over night.
  4. Right before serving, score and scoop avocado into the salad, give it another squeeze of lime to help keep them green, and sprinkle some cilantro on top and you’re good to go!

Lemon Grilled Tofu with Mediterranean Chopped Salad


The winter blues. OK scratch that. We haven’t really had much of a winter here, but it’s gone back to the weird, annoying cold weather. I swear, one day it’s in the mid-40s and the next it’s in the 20s. It’s also sad that I find 40-degree weather to be warm. Ah, Michigan. So because of the cold we had today we decided to make a nice grilled dish with a side salad that just screamed summer!

So this site had a recipe for grilled tofu and a chopped salad so we decided to make it! There’s a whole marinading process, which really didn’t make sense to me since we weren’t cooking meat. I think if we hadn’t done that, it would have been fine. We probably could have just made the sauce and brushed it on as it grilled, but hey! What do we know?

I was mostly excited about the grilling part. I love grilled anything (well vegetarian anything). We used our panini pan (the bottom part) instead of busting out the huge grill pan. It worked like a charm! We also only made half the recipe, but I’ll leave the steps for the whole thing since you can use the same amount of “marinade” for two pieces of tofu as you would with four.

Patience is a virtue. But waiting for grill marks is a beautiful thing. The more you know.

And can I just mention the salad we had with it? It was simple, delicious and light! Like I said, summer on a plate. Om nom nom. Give this a try if you love tofu! I’m sure you’ll love it! Oh and the best part? This entire meal is right around 300 calories! I kind of wish I had made all of it. Would have made for a great lunch tomorrow. Blast!

Lemon Grilled Tofu with Mediterranean Chopped Salad:
•1/2 block firm tofu, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
•2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
•1 seedless cucumber (hothouse) coarsely chopped
•1/4 cup chopped scallions (like 3-4 stalks)
•1/4 cup chopped parsley
•1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced or coarsely chopped
For the tofu marinade:
•1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•3 teaspoons minced garlic
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•2 teaspoons dried oregano
For the salad dressing:
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
•1/4 teaspoon salt (but you don’t need that much if you add more olives!)
•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Seed both the tomatoes and cucumber and cut into bite size pieces. Put them in a bowl, add the parsley, scallions and sliced kalamata olives.  Add the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, toss lightly, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or longer if you want). I think the longer it sits, the better it tastes so the flavors have time to develop and become delicious!

Next in a shallow bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper until combined. Stand the tofu block on it’s side, and cut crosswise (lengthwise) into 1/2-inch cutlets. We only used half the block so we had two pieces. You could cut all of it into four pieces and make it all if you want. Take the tofu and put it into the marinade coating each side. Cover and let it refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

When it’s time, get your grill pan screaming hot. We just sprayed some non-stick spray to the pan, let it get hot and then put each piece of tofu on. Grill on each side for 5 minutes on each side. You can brush on the remaining marinade every few minutes to help create more flavor as it grills. Serve with the salad and enjoy!

I know it seems like there’s a lot of prep work, and there is, but it was definitely worth it! :)

Do you ever make summer-themed dishes in the winter?

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