We tend to really switch our eating habits as soon as it starts to warm up.  I am a BIG fan of comfort food and/or anything I can possibly cook in my Le Creuset dutch oven!  But there really isn’t anything easier or yummier than grilled food in my opinion.  A friend recently asked what I like to cook once summer rolls around, so I thought I would share my top recipes with all of you too!

{via myrecipes.com}

Our very favorite…  Barbecue Roasted Salmon is a go to anytime of year.  During the summer however, I like to soak some cedar planks in water while the fish marinates and then grill the salmon on the planks instead of turning on the hot oven. This is a total winner! No joke…better than a restaurant. Definitely one for when you have company over for dinner.

{via instagram}

Another easy and oh so good recipe, Grilled Apricots with Arugala, Burrata and Country Ham.  I wing it a little more by sometimes using peaches or nectarines instead (whatever looks best at the store) and then I usually just drizzle good olive oil and balsamic on top. Oh and prosciutto…I always use prosciutto. Yum!

I’m married to a central Cali boy, so to say he loves artichokes is sort of an understatement.  This Grilled Artichokes with Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette recipe totally beats out any other way of cooking ‘chokes. Delicious!

 

 {via aphotographerscookbook.com}

I love making this dish when I really don’t feel like cooking or we’ve been at the beach all day and I’m absolutely beat. Roasted Shrimp with Orzo  is full of flavor and great to make for a large group of people!

And this one I’ve featured on the blog before, but Grilled Steak Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette is  SUCH a winner I had to share it again. My hubby demolishes this when I serve it and my kid actually likes it too and she doesn’t really like red meat or tomato!

 

{via Pinterest}

Oh and just a little something I pinned recently that has quickly become a morning staple in our house, this yummy Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie . Such a great post workout drink!

So, I hope I’ve given you some yummy new ideas for summertime eating! I’m sure I’ll be sharing more fun warm weather recipes in the next few weeks. 

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It’s no secret that I LOVE summer!  My little girl and I share a July birthday and combined with all the beach days, bicycle rides, bbqs, ice cream cones and outdoor concerts…well it pretty much encompasses all the things I love in life.

As far as our dinners around here, I have definitely been switching things up and making my menus a bit more light and grill friendly.  This yummy recipe was an older one I stumbled across in my recipe folder filled with lots of handwritten recipes and torn out pages from magazines.  You will NOT be disappointed!  The hubby and I SCARFED up our food, it was that good.

To make it a little kid friendly I just sliced up the steak, made her a simple salad of lettuce, carrots and garbanzo beans on the side and added a slice of the DELICIOUS grilled ciabatta . She was happy!

So get all the ingredients before this weekend and make sure you don’t forget a nice bottle of wine to go with! This is perfect for a relaxing dinner on the patio.

Makes 4-6 Servings

40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound hanger, skirt, or flank steak

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium tomato (about 6 ounces) halved

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup plus 5 teaspoons of olive oil, divided

4 spring onions or 6 scallions, bulbs halved, dark-green parts discarded

5 1/2- inch thick slices ciabatta

8 cups mixed summer lettuces (such as mizuna, baby mustard greens, and tatsoi) *I just used baby herb greens and it was great!*

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2 inch strips

Preparation:

Season steaks with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; set aside.  Grate cut sides of tomato on coarse holes of a box grater into a medium bowl down to the skin; discard skin. Add shallot and vinegar; whisk in 1/4 cup oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead.

Heat a gas grill to high.  Toss spring onions in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill onions until just tender, 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2″ pieces.

Grill steak until seared and cooked to desired doneness, 3-5 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on steak’s thickness.  Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make croutons.  Brush both sides of bread slices with remaining 4 teaspoons (or more) oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until dark golden brown and nicely charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side.  Set toast aside until cool enough to handle, then break into roughly 1″ pieces.

Thinly slice steak against the grain.  Toss lettuces, basil, spring onions, croutons, and some of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add steak and toss gently to coat.  Serve with remaining vinaigrette along side.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

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Late July Edition!
I sort of skipped what was suppose to be a monthly post of my favorite things last month (June).  This month has been so filled up with summer get togethers, trips out of town and whatnot that…well…I’m just getting to it now. But here it is! My July favorite things!
1.  San Pellegrino Aranciata
Found these on a trip to Costco just before Summer really got going.  They’re yummy, look oh so cute sitting in a tub of ice during a bbq, and they’re a nice alternative to soda. BIG, big fan of these!
2.  Santa Barbara Design Umbrellas 
I want all of them, every color, every style…I LOVE THEM!  They aren’t cheap, but man are they a lot of style for your patio.  A simple outdoor set would become WOW with one of these over it!
3.  Rikshaw Designs
I first learned about Rikshaw Designs from Alex over at the Rustic Rooster blog. I was hooked…instantly!  Catherine Fitzsimmons designs are right up my alley, bohemian, colorful, casual and beachy.  It’s no secret (well maybe it was on here!) that the other half and I are all for having another baby right now.  Guess what I’m putting in the baby’s room? Yeah, you guess it…this stuff!  But until then I am happily living in my cute kurtas…I just ordered two!
via Guidespot.com
via Coochicoos.com
 
4.  Felix Doolittle Stationery
I finally started using my cute Felix Doolittle return address labels this past month.  I can’t believe I had forgotten about them!  As per my usual, I got them, left them in a drawer I never hardly open and thus forgot about.  Our address labels feature a cute black labrador chewing on a ball…VERY our dog Zipper!  Ball crazy doesn’t even begin to explain how in love with tennis balls our creature is.  She’s insane.
In any case, the artwork is absolutely stunning!  Each drawing is so good you wish you had a full sized version to put on your wall.  They really are that spectacular.  I used them on a few thank you notes I sent out this past month and people actually called and/or emailed me to ask where I had gotten my labels! Seriously.
I also picked up bookplates for my little one featuring a monkey holding onto a LARGE baby bottle of milk.  We called Ellie “milk monkey” when she was born because she was such an avid eater.  That girl loved her milk!
 via Martha Stewart

5.  Grilled Steak and Summer Vegetable Salad- From Everyday Food
I’ve subscribed to Everyday Food since day 1 of the publication.  It is my go to for quick, delicious, easy food.  The mag really is a life saver.  They come up with week long menus which include a whole shopping list with everything you will need to make the food.  Very convenient!  This past month featured this meal which I thought may be a little ho-hum.  But we’ve been trying to eat light around here lately and this fit the bill.  I will tell you…HO-HUM it is NOT!  I’m a big fan of all sorts of veggies, so getting me to eat them is not normally an issue.  The hubby however…can be a bit picky.  He’s not super into squash, zucchini or eggplant. This dish had all three..BUT HE ATE IT!!!!!  AND, he loved it! It also looks super pretty when you plate all the veggies and steak together.  It’s a really nice presentation.
Grilled Steak and Summer Vegetable Salad
Serves 4
Time: 45 minutes
Try grilled bruschetta with this supper: Brush thick slices of crusty bread with olive oil, then grill until toasted on both sides.  Flank steak can be used in place of hanger.
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 springs of rosemary
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 lbs. hanger steak
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes on the vine, or plum tomatoes halved
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 sweet bell pepper (any color) cut into sixths, seeds and stems removed.
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1. Heat a grill to medium-high.  Clean and lightly oil hot grill.  In a small oven proof pot combine oil, rosemary, and garlic and place on grill.  Cook until oil begins to bubble, 2 minutes.  Remove herb oil from heat and set aside 3 tablespoons in a small bowl.
2.  Brush steak with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes per side for medium-rare (move steak to a cooler part of grill if it begins to over brown).  Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.
3.  In batches, brush vegetables with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, until tomato skins are split and vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes total.  Transfer to a serving platter, along with sliced steak.  Add vinegar and honey to reserved oil and whisk together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle dressing over steak and vegetables.
“5th Avenue” at Art Brokerage.com
Locomotive #4 via hometown-pasadena.com
6. Ray Turner
I discovered Ray Turner when I was about 18 years old in a downtown Fullerton art gallery (which has since moved locations), Sarah Bain Gallery .  I was immediately hooked on Turner’s style.  The exhibition was on a series of chefs in a kitchen.  They were stunning…and NOT expensive at the time. Now of course paintings that were once in the hundreds are in the tens of thousands.  No, I won’t be acquiring one soon. sad.  But I recently decided to check out some of his new works and as usual I was not disappointed. One day..maybe…I’ll get one of those chef paintings.
Ok, that’s my late July edition of “A few of my favorite things“! Hope you enjoyed!

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Last week we stayed quite busy with birthdays, fun field trips, concert in the park, surf contest, date night with hubby and World Cup finals (so sad Netherlands). Here are some photos from our fun week!

Birthday lunch  Monday at Cheesecake Factory
I’m smiling but inside I’m thinking, “I am going to have to do A TON of working out tomorrow to get this off my thighs!”. 

Birthday dinner (actual day of) at Taco Surf Sunset Beach
Friday night we headed to our local park for the summer concert in the park series. The concert is always fun, but a bit hectic getting all packed up and set up on time for the event. Of course I went and made homemade Roasted Potato Leek soup and Tarragon Chicken Salad sandwiches just hours before. So, I made the whole thing harder on myself of course. And wouldn’t you know it..Ellie wanted NOTHING to do with dinner and ended up stealing a friends’ cotton candy instead.
On Saturday Reed lined up a nice date night dinner up in Hollywood at a fabulous Argentinian restaurant. Probably some of the best steak I’ve ever had. If you live in the Los Angeles area you must try Carlitos Gartel .
via LA Times
Since we don’t go out fancy that often I splurged on a new outfit for the occasion. My shoes were MUCH trendier than I usually go for. Actually the fact that they were heels was a break from my usual buy of sandals and flats.
Date Night Outfit:
Dress:  Linne’s Boutique Seal Beach
Belt:  Linne’s Boutique Seal Beach
Earrings:  Banana Republic
Bracelets: J. Crew
Ring: Adina
Shoes: Mea Shadow

Sunday we watched our Dutch team go down in flames. Since I am now a Dutch girl by married last name I was sort of obligated to root for Orange. But to be honest, I was also secretly rooting for Espana! So it was a win win situation.

Hope you had a fabulous fun filled weekend too! Any day now Southern California MIGHT get Summer weather. It rained on our date night Saturday….go figure.

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