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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

summer salad with strawberries, feta, pecans, and poppy seeds

in the summertime, meals should involve fresh ingredients and very little effort.  so, salads that do not require standing in front of a hot stove are perfect.  one of my all time favorite salad combinations has to be strawberries, feta cheese, pecans, and poppy seeds, over a bed of romaine lettuce.  it is so simple, yet so refreshing.

we have made this salad several times in the past week because we just can't seem to get enough of it.  we have been packaging it up in to-go containers and taking it to work for our lunches too.

we topped our salads with this raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.  the flavor of the raspberry balsamic dressing compliments this salad perfectly.  plus, it is all natural and has only five calories per teaspoon!

summer salad with strawberries, feta, pecans, and poppy seeds
prep time: 5 minutes
yields: 2 servings

4-5 cups romaine lettuce
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

rinse the lettuce, then dry it with a salad spinner to remove all excess water.  in a large bowl, toss the lettuce, strawberries, feta cheese, pecans, and poppy seeds.  plate the salad and top with your favorite salad dressing.    

love, laurie

Monday, July 30, 2012

our saturday bbq lunch date

on saturday, we had quite a bit of time to kill while my car was being serviced at the car dealership.  so while we waited, we decided to try a new bbq restaurant for lunch.  i thought it was pretty cool that the restaurant gave us a bowl of pickles and peppers before our meal instead of a basket of rolls or bread.  we both ordered bbq pulled pork sandwiches with fries and coleslaw.  the portions were huge, and everything was so good!  (you really can never go wrong with pulled pork in my opinion.)

in other news, yesterday my parents came home from their vacation.  i'm happy that they made it back safe and sound.  i missed them during the past week, and it was weird not being able to talk to them while they were gone.  (they didn't have cell phone reception.)  so, i am really excited to see them soon and to see all of the amazing pictures that they took while they were on their trip.

hope everyone had a great weekend!
love, laurie

Friday, July 27, 2012

happy friday!

this silly little guy loves to sit in my big yellow pasta bowl whenever i leave it out on the dining room table.  the problem is, he doesn't quite fit in it as well as he once did.  silly kitten!

here's something fun for your friday . . . google the word "askew" and see what happens.  very clever, google.  

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, July 26, 2012

a little ice cream date . . .

. . . believe it or not, that was the "small" size!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

caprese salad skewers

caprese salad is my all time favorite italian salad.  even though there are so many different variations of caprese salad, i always come back to the traditional: tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese, covered in minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  so simple, yet so good.

to change things up a bit, i decided to serve my favorite italian salad on skewers.  this fun twist on a traditional favorite is great for a picnic or a dinner party.  drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, these caprese salad skewers are sure to be a hit at your next gathering!

caprese salad skewers
yields: 6 skewers

3-4 vine ripened tomatoes
12 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
25-30 fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
balsamic vinegar (for drizzling)

cut the tomatoes and the mozzarella cheese into 1 inch cubes.  skewer the tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil.  drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.    

note: this recipe can also be made with cherry tomatoes.

love, laurie

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

oh, happy day!

back in may, my sweet friend kelly gave me an amazon gift card as a graduation present.  i was so excited, because i knew exactly what i wanted to buy with the gift card . . . emily schuman's new book and joy wilson's new book!  i have been a long-time fan of both emily's blog and joy's blog, so i was beyond thrilled to get my hands on their new books.

when i got home from work yesterday, i saw that my package from amazon arrived in the mail with both books in it.  needless to say, i am a very happy girl!  i started thumbing through the books last night, and i can't wait to read them and to try some of those amazing recipes!

love, laurie

Monday, July 23, 2012

a walk around the lake

over the weekend, ryan's parents came up to visit.  while they were here, we took a 3.5 mile walk on the trail that goes around lake scranton.  lake scranton is owned by the local water company, and supplies all of the water for the city of scranton.  boats are not allowed on the lake, so the water always looks so peaceful and still.  even though it was overcast for most of our walk, it was still so nice to look out and see the beautiful views of the lake along the trail.

hope everyone had a great weekend!
love, laurie

Friday, July 20, 2012

snapshots of life lately, according to my iphone pictures

. . . and ryan's iphone too.

{iphone pictures via the instagram app}

Thursday, July 19, 2012

happy 91st birthday!

today is ryan's grandmother's 91st birthday!

over the weekend, our families got together to celebrate by going out to lunch.  after lunch, we all went back to ryan's parent's house for dessert and presents.  for this special occasion, ryan and i made a three layer marble cake with cannoli filling, covered in fluffy whipped cream.  we topped it off with a fun banner that we made too.

we are so very blessed to have ryan's grandmother in our lives because she is such an incredible woman, and we are grateful for the time that we are able to spend with her.

happy birthday, mom-mom!  
love, laurie and ryan

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

a little biking video

{music: here comes the sun by the beatles}

we made this video when we went biking over the weekend.
(it was my first attempt shooting video with my digital slr camera!)

. . .

happy wednesday!
love, laurie

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

grilled bbq chicken pizza

it's no secret that we love pizza at our house, but in the summer we never feel like standing in front of a hot oven.  so, grilling pizza is a great alternative to baking pizza.  it's super easy to grill pizza, and of course the topping options are endless.

we topped our pizza with bbq sauce, grilled bbq chicken, turkey bacon, onions, red peppers, green peppers, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese.  the pizza was absolutely delicious, and it was the perfect dinner for a summer evening!

grilled bbq chicken pizza
prep time: 10-15 minutes
grilling time: 15-20 minutes
yields: 1 12-inch pizza (6-8 servings)

pizza dough (our go to pizza dough recipe can be found here)
3-4 chicken tenders, grilled and diced
4-5 pieces of cooked turkey bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
5-6 tablespoons bbq sauce
olive oil (for the grill grates)

preheat the grill to a medium heat.  on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a 12-inch circle.  lightly brush the grill grates with olive oil.  place the pizza dough on the grill grates, and cover the grill lid.  allow the pizza dough to grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom has grill marks.  flip the pizza dough over.  spread the bbq sauce on the pizza, and top with chicken, bacon, onion, pepper, and cheese.  cover the grill lid and allow the pizza dough to grill for 10-12 minutes.  once the cheese is melted, remove the pizza from the grill, and allow the pizza to sit for 3-5 minutes before cutting.  

love, laurie

Monday, July 16, 2012

biking around our local state parks

our bikes sure have been getting a good deal of use lately.  on saturday, we spent most of our day biking around two local state parks in our area.  first we went to gouldsboro state park, then we went to tobyhanna state park.

we had such a good time finding new biking trails, spending time together, and enjoying the outdoors.  some sections of the trails were nice and easy, but most of the sections gave us a good workout.  in total we biked 15.8 miles!  all of the hard work was worth it though when we came across several amazing views and a few butterflies too!

{at one point we came across this sign.  uhhh, explosives . . . what?!}

. . .

hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!
love, laurie