Summer spinach salad

 

summer salad

This salad could be the perfect, weekend lunch and I wanted to share in time for your Saturday midday meal!  It’s a bit indulgent and a lot umami, and even based off of one from a restaurant right here in Chicago.  The recipe is below and very likely sounds a bit odd – in the interest of full disclosure, Laura was the one who ordered this salad, I thought it sounded too weird! – but trust me when I say that it’s a great combination.

Summer Spinach Salad:

  • Baby spinach
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Walnuts
  • Feta cheese
  • Red onion (optional!)
  • Warm sesame oil
  • Honey mustard salad dressing

It’s the sesame oil that really makes this salad unforgettable – heat a few tablespoons and drizzle directly on the spinach leaves to wilt and soften them a bit.  I add the remaining ingredients after the oil and toss it well.  Enjoy!

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Happy Friday!

 

How beautiful is that picture? Via esraroise.com, thanks Pinterest!

Wellllll like everywhere else in the U.S. of A., it’s awfully hot. But, we’ll survive and make the most of it, twist our arms. It kind-of-sort-of feels like a holiday weekend because of the upcoming 4th of July, but we both have a supershort week next week (Mon + Tues work week!) so we’ll hold off on the real festivities until the official holiday and impending long weekend.

Some reads for your commute home – stay cool, stay hot, whatever floats your boat (or just float in a boat)… have a great weekend!

Baseball games and street fairs…

On Friday I have a glorious day off of work.  These days come few and far between, and fewer even when it’s a warm summers day.  I had planned a day at the pool, lounging and relaxing, but was given a last minute invite to the Cubs game – poor me!  Jokes aside, this presented a bit of a wardrobe dilemma.  The largest block party in the US happens annually right here in Chicago and coincidentally, occurs this Friday night.  Known as Old Saint Pat’s Block Party, this yearly street fest is known for it’s drinking and dancing, but actually has a lesser known good side: proceeds support the mission and outreach activities of Old St. Pat’s including the Education Center, the Outreach Group, Horizons For Youth, Career Transitions Center of Chicago and Global Alliance for Africa.  I however, am attending for the 5 drink tickets included in the admit price :)

Jokes aside, this packed day of Chicago fun  caused me to stop, think and shop for an appropriate day to night outfit on a Friday that promises to bring the heat and the walking.  How do you typically go from an afternoon baseball game to a lets-try-to-look-impressive-after-being-out-all-afternoon-no-no-I-only-had-one-beer-what?-okay-fine-three-sue-me! type evening?  Here’s my choice and stay tuned for results!

Summer

For those counting – the ring reads: Be free spirited, Live, Love & Laugh.  I intend to do just that. 

Running Revelation

via Pinterest, unable to identify original source

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve started to not hate running. One of my closest friends is one of those confusing people that just LOVE to run,  and two years ago she helped me train to run a 15K. For the record, it’s called the Hot Chocolate 15 and you literally run towards a chocolate fountain, so you can imagine that my level of motivation was particularly high. It was a cool experience, but I definitely finished that race thinking that I never had any desire to run again, chocolate fountain and marshmallows waiting for me or not.

I have recently ended up gym-membership-less as the gym closest to me upped its rates like CRAZY, and I refuse to pay out of principle. This means I’ve taken to the great outdoors every morning and most of my newfound non-hatred is due to the fact that Chicago has the best running path along the lake ever, and it’s pretty much impossible to be totally miserable with views like this one.

Picture via Me!

But don’t get me wrong, it’s still not awesome. So this morning, I about died when I realized that my headphones weren’t working. I always feel like I need really upbeat music to keep me both motivated and distracted from pain/misery/intense boredom/exploding lungs. Since I was already up and dressed, I figured I’d just go for it and feel extra superior all day for being one of those runners that just heads out the door with nothing but keys… and I totally surprised myself. It was basically the best run ever. Besides the birdies tweeting, I was totally alone with my thoughts which, frankly, was kind of terrifying at first. But then as I chugged along, I realized that that literally never happens.

Here’s what my typical day looks like:

  • 6:30 – wake up, turn on Good Morning America
  • 6:45 – head out for a run, listening to Spotify on my phone
  • 7:30 – back home to get ready, listening to/watching Good Morning America (I told you, I really love GMA!)
  • 8:15 – commute to work, listening to more Spotify on my phone and catching up on my Google Reader
  • 8:45 – 6ish – work; listening to music, listening to calls, staring at a computer screen
  • 6:00 – commute home or to after-work destination, listening to music and checking Facebook on my phone
  • 7-10 – hopefully out and about, but if not, home on the laptop working and playing while watching tv
  • 10:00 – read my Kindle before bed

YOU GUYS! I am listening to something or staring at some variation of a screen ALL DAY LONG.

The run FLEW by and I realized I kiiiiind of like my own company when not totally plugged in. I ended up planning my outfit for the day, remembering seven things I forgot to do at work yesterday, and picking out my future children’s names. I realize that I sound like I’m 100 and bashing the generations of today, but trust me – I love my music and all of my screens with all of my heart. However, I do think I’ll be running from here on out technology free – just a little bit of time in the morning to hear myself think before the day really gets going and I’m back to rocking out to not-dorky-at-all playlists, checking email and furiously untagging photos from the weekend before.

Life lately

 

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Gorgeous sunset for Laura’s birthday picnic.

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Baked zucchini chips with white cheddar popcorn seasoning – to die for!

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Chicago skyline from the edge of Navy Pier.

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The iconic Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

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An amazing Mexican meal, complete with themed patio and twinkly lights.

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Belmont Harbor at sunset.

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Tuesday evening’s Caesar salad and sauvignon blanc on a perfect summer night.

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Motivation :)

Seriously, get on it, readers.

Hey Breslanta.com, since you’re the only to give a flying fu….hoot about our amazing chickenlemonbacongarlic creation, we thought we’d dedicate this post to you in a sad, pinterest-reliant attempt to inspire the rest of our readers to trust us on this chicken.  Or really any of our other recipes.  Please enjoy this pinned post courtesy of our ONE commenter, our love of this chicken for not one, two but THREE meals in a row and also, just because we love to cook.

Sarcasm aside, we love each like, comment and repost….you guys keep us motivated Smile  Thanks for your loyalty and comments!

squash chips, coconut shrimp with pineapple dipping sauce, baked eggplant/tomato/feta, black bean quasodillas, pasta with chicken and tomatoes, ginger potatoes latkes with herbed goat cheese, lime-honey chicken skewers, veggie spring rolls, Greek chicken salad.

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Lemongarlicbaconchicken

 

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I’d like to caveat this whole post by saying – this picture just doesn’t do it justice!  I read Chrissy Teigen’s recipe for this chicken with lemon, garlic and bacon last weekend on sodelushious.com, and have been thinking about it since.  I omitted a few ingredients and tried to avoid a blatant bacon fat OD (no offense, girl!) and couldn’t be happier with the result.  The chicken is moist, the bacon crisp and the lemon could be the perfect bow to tie it all together.  While the recipe is adapted whole-heartedly from her blog, I can personally vouch for the version that follows.  Trust a sister.

 

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Wash and pat the chicken dry and space evenly in a baking pan with at least a 2 inch lip.  Slice the two lemons into quarters and generously squeeze the juice onto the chicken pieces.  Leave the lemon rinds in the baking pan.  Mince the garlic cloves.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and rub the chicken with the garlic.  Lay the bacon pieces flat over the tops of the chicken.  Place the bay leaves in the bottom of the pan and carefully pour the chicken broth in the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Crisp the bacon under the broiler for 5 minutes or until bacon is well done.  Enjoy!

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Beach Party

 

beachparty

Today we will be celebrating a smattering of birthdays that fall in June at the beach with friends, cocktails and a ton of sunshine!  It’s a beautiful day here in Chicago and though we’re busy fluffing the beach towels and applying our favorite Clarins sunscreen, we wanted to wish you a happy Saturday!

 

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Sister sushi night

Sometimes all you need is an oyster.  It’s almost surprising that’s not a real saying! No?  The other night we ducked out of work early (read: on time for once!) to stroll through our toasty city up to the oh-so-cool Union Sushi and BBQ Bar.  Despite rave reviews from my favorite food critic, this was my first visit to the recent River North addition and we had a great time!  Sampling the oysters and indulging in a few happy hour cocktails, we managed to chat our way through a few delicious maki rolls and walk out a few hours later with our wallets intact and our stomachs very happy.  We’ll be back soon, Union!

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The ever lovely Laura, signing off for the evening to enjoy an adorable pink drink made with Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, Aperol, Blood Orange, Agave, Lime and Hopped Grapefruit Bitters.

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Oysters on the half-shell, topped with red tobiko, crispy shallots, green onion and a cilantro/jalapeno ponzu sauce.  We – of course – dressed these little ladies up with a dash of siracha and enjoyed not one, but two rounds of goodness.

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Beef filet skewers with ginger soy sauce – seared on the robata grill Union made newly ubiquitous in Chicago.

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Shrimp tempura roll (bad in that ohmygoodsooooogood way) and the crispy, smoked salmon skin roll.  A wise chica I know once referred to salmon skin as “pretty much like fish bacon,” and while said chica will remain nameless, I absolutely vouch for the analogy!

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Hippo Birdie

 

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Tomorrow is Laura’s birthday, and maybe I’m getting sappy in my old age, but I just wanted to say that….wait, I’m not getting old, that’s Laura!  Well in that case, happy birthday, kid.  You’ve been an influence in my life – good, and bad in a good way – for twentysomething awesome years and I’m so excited to witness all of the amazing things this year brings to you.  Love.

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