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Friday, August 31, 2012

hello, three day weekend!

we're super excited to have a day off on monday.
we plan on packing our weekend full of 
good food, a county fair, a local festival, 
and some relaxation time too.

have a wonderful labor day weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, August 30, 2012

cucumber dill chicken salad in tomato cups

while my parents were visiting over the weekend, ryan and i made cucumber dill chicken salad for lunch.  in order to save a few calories, we served the chicken salad in tomato cups instead of on bread.

the fresh dill adds such a nice flavor to this chicken salad, and the tomato cups act as perfect little edible bowls.

cucumber dill chicken salad in tomato cups
adapted from yammie's noshery
prep time: 10-15 minutes
yields: 8 servings

3-4 chicken breasts, boiled
1 medium cucumber
1 small onion
3 stalks celery
1/2 cup fresh dill
3/4 cup mayonnaise
7-8 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 medium tomatoes

dice the chicken, cucumber, onion, and celery into small pieces.  in a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well.  cut the tops off the tomatoes, and hallow out each tomato using a spoon or an ice cream scoop.  fill the tomatoes with the chicken salad mixture, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

love, laurie

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

a visit to the butterfly house

on sunday we took a trip to creekside gardens with my parents to check out their butterfly house.  it was amazing.  i have never seen so many butterflies in one place in my life.  there were hundreds of butterflies and so many beautiful flowers too.

we learned about the butterfly life cycle, and saw several butterfly chrysalises.  we were even able to feed a few butterflies with cotton swabs dipped in red gatorade . . . who knew that butterflies love watermelon and red gatorade!

love, laurie

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

raspberry and blackberry picking

i had so much fun when ryan and i went strawberry picking in the beginning of the summer.  ever since then, i have been looking for other local farms where you can pick your own fruit.  so, i was excited when i recently came across a small nearby farm that lets you pick your own raspberries and blackberries.

on saturday, we took a trip to the farm for some berry picking.  we went early in the day, so there where hardly any other people there.  the weather was perfect and the berries were delicious.  (we had some for dessert over the weekend with our ice cream sandwiches.)

i have so many different ideas of what to make with these berries, but they have been disappearing from the refrigerator at a pretty fast rate, so i guess i better hurry before they are all gone!

love, laurie

Monday, August 27, 2012

our weekend looked a little bit like this . . .

{perfect weather and pretty blue skies}

{a very messy cheese steak at a fire company picnic}

{soft-serve ice cream from the ice cream truck}

{saturday morning breakfast at a new diner}

{berry picking at a nearby farm}

{bird watching on the screen porch}

{sunday lunch with my mom and dad}

{butterflies at a local butterfly exhibit}

{ice cream sandwiches with our freshly picked berries}

. . .

hope everyone had a great weekend!
love, laurie

Friday, August 24, 2012

fun links

hip, hip, hooray!  it's friday!  to kick off the weekend, here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

the coolest driveway ever, no question about it.

a very smart pen that would make drawing so much fun.

a clever baby monitor for tech-savvy parents.

the cutest little pea.  oh, i mean car.

a refreshing dessert for the summertime.

one hundred incredible views from airplane windows.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, August 23, 2012

bread and butter pickles

while we were at the farmers' market, we saw the cutest little baby cucumbers.  we brought them home, and i used them to make bread and butter pickles for ryan's birthday party last weekend.

pickles are seriously the easiest things to make.  i have no idea why i have been buying pickles at grocery stores for all these years.  after you make these once, you will see that there is no reason to purchase a jar of pickles ever again.  they were the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, and they had a great crunch too!

bread and butter pickles
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
marinating time: 24 hours
yields: approximately 4 cups

1 pound small pickling cucumbers
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
water (as needed)

slice the cucumbers (thick slices will give the pickles a better crunch) and place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.  in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices.  over low heat, bring the vinegar mixture to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  pour the hot vinegar mixture over the sliced cucumbers.  if the cucumbers are not completely covered by the hot vinegar mixture, add water until all of the cucumber slices are submerged.  let the cucumbers stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  transfer the mixture to a jar with a lid and allow the cucumbers to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  the pickles can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

love, laurie

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

our weekend in raleigh: part two

you can see part one of our weekend in raleigh here
love, laurie