The Summer’s Over!

When I was growing up, we’d spend nearly every 4th of July (or the 3rd or 5th) at my grandma’s house. Oddly enough, I can’t remember much of the food other than blueberry cake and watermelon! My grandma would tell us the story of how, when she was growing up, every 4th, her father would announce at the end of the night “The Summer’s over!” It was something about how prepping for the 4th of July was a ton of work for their little candy store in Brooklyn, and then after the 4th, the school supplies came in… but now, every 4th, we all say “the Summer’s over!” and happily go about our remaining 8 weeks of summer activities.

Last night, my mom and stepdad and my sister and her boyfriend came over for a BBQ… and it rained. ALL DAY. i was so worried that it was going to turn into a “broil in” instead of a “cook out” but just as I was getting out the broil pans, I looked outside. It had stopped raining! I quickly got the grill going and put the food on so in case it started to rain, it would still be a cook out!

Let’s rewind, shall we? The very first thing I did after detailing the kitchen, was to set the table. In 3 years living with Adam, this is the FIRST time I set the table! What do we think?

DSCN3297 We started the evening with my everyone’s favorite chips, guacamole, and salsa from Valli Produce (the best produce market EVER) served in our fancy schmancy chip and dip bowl from Pearl! Were your ears ringing yesterday?? I couldn’t stop gushing over how sweet you are!

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I made a huge salad with field greens, orange peppers, cucumbers, lowfat feta, avocado, and some Cardini’s Caesar for dipping.

DSCN3302 Since it was a cook out, after all, I grilled some BBQ chicken breasts and some of my summer burgers and had tomato and romaine for sandwich making.

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My mom was kind enough to bring her amazing potato salad! I don’t even try to make it because I can NEVER get it to taste right!

DSCN3304 There was some camera-shy corn on the cob, condiments for the burgers, and well… just see for yourself! Yes, that’s my mom giving me bunny ears :)

DSCN3309 Then came dessert! (what, you thought all that was it?) I made a blueberry crunch! Usually, that’s my mom’s thing, but when I saw blueberries for $0.99/lb, I had to make one! The recipe is simple, usually: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 stick butter. Make crumbs. Put enough fruit in the bottom of a baking dish to coat the pan about 2 berries high. Top with crumbs. Bake at 350* until the fruit is “pooped” and the crumbs are brown.

I did a little something different: I substituted 1/4 c. of the regular flour for some of the coconut flour I’d gotten from Tropical Traditions. It was absolutely delicious, and beautiful!

DSCN3298 My mom brought a nostalgic treat for us as well: huge strawberries with brown sugar and sour cream. Never had it? You must! Dip your strawberry in sour cream, then brown sugar, then eat. SO delicious! My very patriotic plate:

DSCN3310 We ended the night by heading to the green on the golf course right next to our house to watch our town’s fireworks. It was a great show as always!

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When we came inside, I pretty much crashed on the couch. Next thing I knew, it was 2 a.m. and I dragged myself to bed.

How was your Fourth?

I have a mall/pool date with my friend today, and I’m looking forward to just relaxing!


Posted in family, family recipe, grilling | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Cute Food Saturday!

Welcome back to the 18th installment of Cute Food Saturday! This is the first (and hopefully not only) Patriotic Edition of Cute Food Saturday. If this is your first time here, you can click here and see allllll the other cuteness!

Let’s get started, shall we? Enjoy the Red, White, and Blue!

Patriotic frosting doggies

Patriotic frosting doggies

You know how I feel about tiny things!

You know how I feel about tiny things!

These are vegan!!

These are vegan!!

More tiny cakes!

More tiny cakes!

These are on mini reeses cups!

These are on mini reese's cups!

I just thought these were cute and delicious looking

I just thought these were cute and delicious looking

These arent red, white, and blue but SO cute!

These aren't red, white, and blue but SO cute!

Of course, a little something from our favorite Chocolate-covered cupcake maker!



I hope you all…

Be safe!

Posted in Cute Food Saturday | Tagged | 12 Comments

My One Day

During the camp season, I get ONE day off and only one (ok, some years its 2). This year, my one day off for the 4th of July holiday was today! How did I spend said day off?

Let’s see…  I slept in until *gasp* 8:00 a.m! It was the first morning since school let out that I didn’t wake up with a stuffy nose and/or sore throat, so that put a great tone on my day. I wrote my post about last night (Congrats again Adam!), and then headed out to my local farmers’ market.

I’ve lived in this area almost 3 years, and I’d never been! The main reason? Well, it’s only on Friday mornings! I’m so rarely off on Friday mornings, so I took advantage. I’m so glad I did! It is a lovely, albeit small, market full of local produce, baked goods, flowers, and even dog treats! There were a lot of stands with this:

DSCN3288Only one with these lovely (and quite pricey!) Ranier cherries. They’re my sister’s favorite!

DSCN3289And a couple with these amazing red cherries. I ended up getting 2 pints of dark sweet cherries, and one pint of tart cherries for my mom.


I learned something while at the farmers market! There’s a winery in a suburb right near where I work! There was a very nice guy from the winery at the market, and he let me taste (at 10 a.m.!) a few of their wines and blends. I wanted to get something fun for our BBQ tomorrow, so I selected this delicious sangria:

DSCN3292Also, since I so rarely remember to do this for myself, I bought 3 beautiful bunches of gladiolas to have in the house. Fresh flowers make me happy! There were so many stems, I had to divide them between 2 vases… ok, one vase and one ginormous beer mug.

DSCN3293 While I was trimming the stems on the flowers, I heard a ruckus outside near the mailbox. Since there’s a carnival going on down the street, there’s a lot of people around, so I went to check it out. The ruckus was the mail carrier! She was trying to get a small package into the box! What was it? Anyone recognize this?

DSCN3294I was so excited!!! It was a package of 6 of the most delicious and amazing raw macaroons from Gina!!!!!! I seriously couldn’t even wait to finish opening the rest of my mail before I tried one two.

DSCN3295Please ignore the freakishly long hand and pay attention to the gorgeous coconutty goodness! Thanks SO MUCH GINA!!!

The rest of the day (literally, from the time I ate the macaroon until we left for dinner) was spent cleaning the house. We rented a Rug Doctor and steam cleaned the carpets, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, scrubbed the kitchen… it’s so nice to have a clean house! We were FAMISHED after the cleaning marathon, so we decided to have a traditional Sushi Friday!

We started with asparagus goma-ae. Usually, this is made with spinach, but this was a new menu item so we decided to try it. It was delicious, but we much prefer the spinach version. The 2 sauces are different colors of sesame seeds mixed with various other ingredients.

IMG00022-20090703-1953Adam decided to get hot food as opposed to sushi, so he got tonkatsu (a crispy pork cutlet) on top of Japanese style spaghetti. So beyond delicious!

IMG00026-20090703-2007I opted for sushi. I got a crazy roll (a huge roll with salmon, tuna, yellowtail, scallion, lettuce, avocado, cucumber, and masago fish eggs), a haru maki (a delicious crunchy spicy tuna roll), and Adam got a tamago (omelet on rice). Doesn’t that big roll look like my Blogroll button over there —> ????

IMG00027-20090703-2009 The cleaning will continue this evening as we scrub the kitchen in preparation for the BBQ tomorrow! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a patriotic Cute Food Saturday!!! Have a great Friday night everyone!


Posted in Asian, dinner out, sushi | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

TWO Teachers???

Sorry for the lack of post last night… Adam and I were out celebrating!

Celebrating what, you might ask?

Well, when Adam got laid off in October, he spent months looking for work to no avail thanks to this lovely economy. About 3 months ago, he really started thinking about what he wanted to do… and came to the conclusion that another corporate/office job was not what he wanted to do with his life. So what to do? The immediate answer was “be a teacher.” Apparently, it was originally what he had thought about doing, but went to college for business instead. After getting information about what he needed to do to get into a teacher education program, Adam registered for a 5-hour test that Illinois requires to GET IN to a teacher education program. He took the test on June 6.

He got the results yesterday.

HE PASSED!!! Starting in the fall, he’ll be taking classes to become a teacher, and this will become a 2-teacher household! I can’t even imagine the number of red pens and papers to grade in this house once he’s teaching full time… but I’m SO proud of him and beyond excited that he’ll be doing what he wants to do with his life. I love you, Adam!!

Needless to say, we had celebrating to do, and what better way than with food? There’s a seafood place near us that used to be a Joe’s Crab Shack but got sold… so now it’s Moe’s Crab Shack. They have a similar menu, no cheesy rolls (a good thing) and slightly smaller portions (also a good thing.) My camera and phone were both battery drained from camp, so Adam did the photography on his G1 phone.

Now, let me tell you all… we almost didn’t take a picture of our appetizer. It is not the usual thing we eat. But, part of this blog is accountability, so yes. We got crab balls (no, not THAT part of the crab… balls made OUT of crab) that came with fries. And they were delicious. And fried.

Yup. SO not good for us

Yup. SO not good for us

Then, we each got the same steamed dinner to counteract (ok, faulty logic but whatever) the friedness of the appetizer. Each of us had a SteamPot full of 2 kinds of crab legs, peel-and-eat shrimp, red potatoes, corn, and one small piece of Andouille sausage.

It was a lot of work to eat!

It was a lot of work to eat!

The whole thing was dusted with Old Bay (which immediately made me think of Rose) and all the hand-washing and wet naps in the world couldn’t get the smell out! I think I finally smell normal this morning.

Today, I’m actually off from camp, but I know you LOVE the camper quotes so much, so here ya go, as said by a 4-year-old while watching Ice Age 3 yesterday: “Hey Mara! If I draw faces on the eggs in my fridge, will they turn into dinosaurs too? Cuz that would be scary and cool!”

I’m off to the Farmer’s Market now (my first time to my town’s market!) and then Adam and I are in for a marathon cleaning session! There’s sure to be a post tonight, Cute Food Saturday tomorrow, and a BBQ recap Sunday morning.

Have a great Friday!

Posted in dinner out, family, fish or seafood | Tagged , | 22 Comments

My Hero!

This is going to be short and sweet, because well, as usual, I’m beat! Today, we headed to Miller Park in Milwaukee for the Brewers vs. Mets game.


Miller Park has a retractable dome

1.5 hours in a school bus each way, a game with 2 teams that I really don’t care about, and 6 adorable 4-year-olds? It was definitely a good time!

My campers zipped themselves (2 of them at a time) into my sweatshirt.

Faces have been obscured to protect the adorable

Faces have been obscured to protect the adorable

Over 2 gallons of nacho cheese was spilled by various campers, somehow finding its way onto pants, jackets, faces, fingers and hair.

I hung out with these guys (co-directors, friends, and bosses for the last 10 years)

Good Times Camp directors

Good Times Camp directors

But, who’s my hero? Why Adam of course! I came home to this deliciousness:



It had loads of veggies on it, as well as turkey… much needed nutrition after my ball park bratwurst today!



Toldja, short and sweet! Have a great evening and a fabulous Thursday!

Posted in dinner out, friends | Tagged , , | 9 Comments