summer

summer and ice cream treats; the way to my pregnant heart.

hi friends! how was your weekend? i spent the whole thing balancing a bowl of ice cream on my belly bump while relaxing by a lake. it was as good as it seems, thank you for asking!

we spent our 4th of july holiday (well, the weekend leading up to it) at the cabin of our lovely family friends, and it was absolutely magical. seriously, what a treat to be able to be with family and friends in a gorgeous setting, doing absolutely nothing but enjoying ourselves for three whole days in a row. add in the fact that miss amelia was (mostly) an angel and it’s the recipe for a perfect weekend.

family time on the lake

[but seriously how about that view?]

if you know me, you know that there are a few things in this world that i love with a deep, deep passion. number one is my family (big duh there). number two is summer in minnesota. number three is ice cream. and ice cream in the summer with my family all at once? it’s enough to make my pregnant heart skip a beat. if you’ve been around for a while, you know that i basically kept our local ice cream store in business when i was pregnant with amelia. so get ready for some photos of real deliciousness from the past few days.

kemps cherry fudge chunk and mint cow tracks

kemps ice cream #itsthecows

we’re lucky enough to live in a place where kemps ice cream is readily accessible to us as a way to celebrate national ice cream month (which is apparently what july is, how did i not know this??), and it was the ideal treat to get while we were at the cabin. kemps has been around for a looooong time, and is known in a big way for their 40(!) flavors of ice cream. they literally have something for everybody. (click here to see if kemps is available near you. if it’s not, i’m very sorry for introducing you to this goodness but i had to, you know?)

kemps ice cream family treat

kemps ice cream family treat

in between all of our swimming and reading and relaxing over the weekend, we obviously did some serious eating, because summer weekend at the cabin, duh. we did the usual burgers, brats and fish fry, but for dessert, we opted for some mint cow tracks and plenty of cherry fudge chunk ice cream, and we were not disappointed.

after an informal poll, it was decided that baby zee preferred the cherry fudge chunk, while amelia liked the mint cow tracks a bit more. i’d like to lie to you and say that i only had one bowl, but i think we all know that wouldn’t be the truth. i’m only showing you one of my empty bowls though.

kemps mint cow tracks ice cream

kemps ice cream treat cherry fudge chunk

and now for the fun part…a giveaway!

because july is national ice cream month, kemps is letting me give away five $5.00 coupons for kemps ice cream to you guys! YES, I KNOW IT’S AMAZING. to enter, just visit the kemps website to take a look at all of their 40 ice cream flavors, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which flavor (or flavors) you want to try the most. it’s that easy. the giveaway will be open until July 19th, and i’ll pick the five winners randomly at that time. good luck!

elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

strawberry-lemon vodka soda.

raise your hand if you are super excited for all things fall but still just a little bit sad to say goodbye to the good parts of summer. *raises hand* yea, i hear you. it makes me a little misty to think that i have to go through another long winter before we can take warm walks after dinner, and then sit on the deck under the twinkle lights with my husband and a cocktail after the baby goes to bed. winter is just.so.long.

it’s been a while since i’ve shared a cocktail recipe with you all, but that doesn’t mean that i haven’t been drinking them. no, on the contrary, with all the weddings we’ve had and the fun houseguests and dinners (not to mention those evenings on the deck with Mister Man), i’ve had more than my fair share. i’m excited to start sharing more of the fun concoctions i’ve been throwing together, and even the ones that MM makes…he’s quite the mixologist, that one.

so as a farewell to summer, here is a sparkly fresh cocktail for you to send it off with.strawberry lemon cocktail

strawberry lemon cocktail

strawberry-lemon vodka soda recipe (makes 2)

  • ice
  • 3/4 C. fresh strawberries (thawed frozen will work too) + more for garnish
  • 2 large lemon wedges
  • 4 oz. vodka (substitute lemonade for a delicious mocktail!)
  • splash of grenadine
  • club soda

gently muddle quartered strawberries in two low ball glasses. squeeze one lemon wedge into each glass on top of the strawberries. fill the glasses with ice, then add the vodka and the grenadine (not too much or it will be too sweet, unless you like that sort of thing, then go for it) and stir. make sure to leave a little room in the glass. top it off with club soda, garnish with a strawberry and the squeezed out lemon wedge and enjoy, preferably on a sunny deck while waving goodbye to the last of the summer heat.

note: a standard american shot glass is 1.5 oz., so use a little over one shot for every 2 oz. the recipe calls for.

strawberry lemon cocktail

elsewhere with love: bloglovin’ || facebook || twitter || instagram

a little bit of this and that.

i don’t know about you, but this week was like whoa in terms of length and dragging on and just being generally difficult, as weeks sometimes tend to be. and i am 37 weeks pregnant, and don’t have anything interesting or useful to say about that. i’m guessing lots some of you are getting sick of the baby stuff too.

all that to say that today, we’re going to have a braindump. a little bit of this and a little bit of that. i never know what’s going to appear out of my brain on days like today, so get ready for a lot of lovely random thoughts. nothing better on a friday, right?

***

1. i received this email from my husband the other day and i don’t think you understand how hard i laughed/gagged at my desk at work. we used to write each other letters when he lived in iowa at the beginning of our relationship, and emails like this bring me back to that time, complete with the butterflies of a new relationship. weird, huh? it’s especially weird when you consider the content of this email.

Good Morning Madam,

You know have I never have stories, well I have one now! It took me a while to figure out the best way to tell you this story, because first I was going to call you, and then I thought that would be a bad idea. Then I was going to wait until you got home, but I also thought probably not the best, so I ended up on email sent to you at work.

So, on with the tale. You know how we haven’t seen the smaller bunnies around lately. Well, I found out why. How does one write this in a sophisticated manner? They gone!! And, by gone, I mean they died, dead, worm food..etc.! I can confirm this for two of the former little fuzz balls at least. How you may be asking yourself does my husband know that two of our little backyard companions have deceased? Well I will tell you how and I will spare you some of the details that aren’t so pleasant. [editor’s note: he did not spare me that many unpleasant details.]

Like any typical day at home I started off by kissing my lovely wife good bye and telling little Baby Z in her belly to behave today [editor’s note: awwwww, he loves us!], and then headed down to the office in the basement to work. It was a nice day outside, not to[o] warm, low humidity, so I decided to open the window in the basement office and let some fresh air in. The air that entered was anything but fresh, and stank of rancid decay. I knew immediately that something had entered our back window well, which is at least 3.5 feet deep, and was unable to get out. Damn I said to myself, and immediately closed the window, while trying to hold in the vomit that was trying to escape my stomach. Next step was to light a candle and turn a fan on the basement to get rid of the lingering odor. After I got the candle going I went outside to inspect what type of victim the window well had claimed. What I saw next was not the prettiest thing I had ever seen, but I will spare you the details. In the window well of death , that’s what I am calling it now, were two dead bunnies. One that had probably been there for at least two weeks and one that was probably in there for around 3 days. I am not a forensic expert, but one body was just bones with a little fur and the other was still mostly there. Not pretty, or a good way to start your morning. So, I got some garbage bags and picked up the remains that I could gather, while trying not to spew chunks from the smell all over the place. I proceed then to bleach down the area to somewhat sanitize it and then rinse it with hose for the final cleaning. It seems to have ridden the window well of death from the stench of bunny death for now, but I have a feeling those will not be the last victims it claims. I have unfortunately solved the case of the missing bunnies, but let that be a lesson to us to check the window well every day or two to make sure that no more victims are claimed. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.

I hope you have enjoyed this story, and I hope you have a wonderful day at work.

Love you very much.

i told him that he can now never leave me (among other reasons), because i could never have handled that on my own. also, our yard is apparently a death trap? also, also, i feel like Mister Man would be really good at guest blogging here every now and again?

2. i’ve got a wonderful cause that i am going to be talking about here in the next couple of weeks that is especially dear to my heart at this point in my life. for now, make sure to pay attention to instagram over the next few days for the introduction to that cause.

3. one of my dear college friends is getting married to one of the most wonderful ladies tomorrow, and i cannot wait to celebrate them as much as my big belly will allow. it’s the first time most of my best guy friends from college will see me pregnant, and can i just say that seeing young men’s reactions to the belly is one of my favorite things about pregnancy? the bugged out eyes, the not-very-well-disguised grossed out faces, the tentative questions…it’s all awesome and hilarious.

4. how do i put this without sounding like i’m complaining? i’ve been having a hard time walking the past couple of weeks due to my darling baby growing like a weed and putting all the new weight at the front of my body. yes, there is a downside to having a pregnant belly that looks like you stuffed a beach ball in your shirt. sure it’s adorable at first, then your body betrays you because that beach ball weighs 26 pounds. but the bright side of being laid up on the couch most evenings is that you get a lot of time to think thoughts. and one of the thoughts i’ve been thinking the most is this: can i get away with wearing these fake glasses in public?

fake glasses

5. let’s talk about freeze pops for a moment. my favorite flavor is pink. my least favorite flavor is orange (unless the yellow tastes like banana). i will eat any flavor if it’s in my freezer. anyone have weird preferences like that? if you ever want to feel like you’re back in your childhood, buy a pack, you will not regret it.

***

i hope that everyone’s weekend is just amazing. my little brother is home for almost three weeks, and i cannot wait for him to see my belly and get to feel the baby kick! he’s been living in maui since march (yea, for real), so he hasn’t really seen me PREGNANT yet, and i am so excited that he’s here. i may or may not be whispering to the baby that if it comes out on august 10, it will get to meet uncle patrick…incentives, right?

FIND ME HERE TOO: BLOGLOVIN || FACEBOOK || TWITTER || INSTAGRAM

strawberry lavender vodka lemonade (& a mocktail!).

summer can’t come quickly enough! no but seriously, it can’t. i need some sun, sandals and swimming in my life as soon as possible, or i just might shrivel up. maybe the problem is that we aren’t in a summer mood yet? maybe summer is waiting for us to get on board? so i thought i’d help it along by sharing a recipe for a summertime cocktail that will either make you feel like you’re lounging at the lake, or will be the perfect choice for when you’re there.

strawberry lavender vodka lemonade

i know. i know what you’re thinking. who’s going to trust a cocktail recipe from a pregnant lady? but just bear with me, because if there’s one thing i know, it’s drinks. and also, i happen to have a very willing taste-tester living with me, who is only too happy to taste the drinks i create. he says you’ll like this one.

the strawberries add just enough tartness and fruitiness (i’m also currently obsessed with them), while the lavender simple syrup adds some sweetness and a really unique flavor. i used pink lemonade in mine, just because it’s looks so pretty with the strawberries, but obviously you can use regular lemonade too. vodka adds a kick but lets the other flavors shine, and the result is a drink that looks as gorgeous as it tastes. it would be fun to try bourbon or gin for a different take on this, but i’m partial to this classic combo.

strawberry lavender vodka lemonade

strawberry lavender vodka lemonade

strawberry lavender vodka lemonade

and for anyone looking for a delicious mocktail, whether it’s because you’re pregnant like me, or because you’re just craving a refreshing summer beverage, just omit the vodka, and voila! a delicious, non-alcoholic twist on lemonade!

strawberry lavender vodka lemonadestrawberry lavender vodka lemonade recipe (makes 2)

  • 3/4 C. fresh strawberries (thawed frozen will work too) + more for garnish
  • 4 oz. vodka (omit to make this a delicious mocktail!)
  • 2 oz. lavender simple syrup*
  • 1-2 C. lemonade
  • ice

muddle quartered strawberries in a cocktail shaker with half the lavender simple syrup. add the remaining simple syrup and vodka and shake well. pour into 2 tall glasses** filled with ice. top with lemonade, garnish with a strawberry and enjoy, preferably on a sunny deck wearing flip-flops and fun sunglasses.

note: a standard american shot glass is 1.5 oz., so use a little over one shot for every 2 oz. the recipe calls for.

*lavender simple syrup recipe

  • 1 C. water
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 3 tsp. food-grade lavender buds

combine water, sugar and lavender in a small saucepan. bring to a boil and stir to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. remove from heat and let cool completely. when ready to use, strain the lavender out of the syrup. store in a small jar or other container in the fridge up to three weeks. (great in hot or iced coffee/tea as a sweetener, or in another cocktail!)

**i recommend tall glasses for this recipe because short won’t accommodate the amount of mix + lemonade over ice. however, if you want to experiment with amounts, or prefer a stronger cocktail, feel free to adjust the size of the glass or the amount of servings in this recipe. after all, cocktails are a very personal thing!

this post is inspired by the #redBar: summertime cocktail project for Red Envelope. they’re sharing favorite summertime drinks as the weather gets nicer. check out @redenvelope and #redBar on twitter for other great summertime cocktail ideas!

FIND ME HERE TOO: BLOGLOVIN || FACEBOOK || TWITTER || INSTAGRAM

when life gives you green tomatoes.

…make fried green tomatoes.

and people, i have a lot of green tomatoes right now. the lovely prior owners of our house planted bell pepper and tomato plants out back. and they are flourishing! i’ve even been able to pick a few peppers which have been delicious (there is just something about homegrown veggies).

the only issue is that the tomatoes just.won’t.ripen. apparently this is a common issue this year with the tomatoes, they just aren’t ripening, something about the weather and a late spring. so there are green tomatoes coming out my butt right now. i had to strip about 15 off the plants last night, and it was killing me that they were going to go to waste.

fried green tomatoes1

fried green tomatoes2

so last night while my husband trimmed up the crazy hedge in the backyard, i decided to buck up and make fried green tomatoes. which is super minnesotan of me. except not at all. i’m pretty sure i’ve never had fried green tomatoes in my life, mostly because i’ve spent very little time below the mason-dixon line, and it’s just not something we eat up in the northland.

fried green tomatoes3

fried green tomatoes5

i found a recipe on slate.com that didn’t require cornmeal, and modified it for what i had on hand at the time. and you guys. i totally get it now. i understand why they are a precious food, and i understand why they named a movie after them. fried green tomatoes are a perfect metaphor. you take something that isn’t at all at its best, and you turn it into something wonderful. slow clap for the south, you did something right with these babies.

fried green tomatoes6

fried green tomatoes7

fried green tomatoes (no cornmeal) – slightly modified from slate.com (serves 4)

  • 3 large unripe tomatoes, cut into ½-inch sliced rounds
  • salt to taste
  • 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 large eggs
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • black pepper to taste
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 C.) butter

put the tomato slices in a large colander and toss with around 2 tsp. of salt. place the colander in the sink and let the tomatoes sit for long enough to have the salt draw out the moisture (around 20 minutes or so), then gently pat dry with a paper towel and place them on a plate while you prepare the breading.

while the tomatoes are sitting in the sink, put the flour, the egg, and the panko in three separate shallow bowls and season each with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. beat the egg (or eggs) once you’ve seasoned it.

heat the vegetable oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. dip each tomato slice first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the panko, letting any excess coating drip off in between coats. with a tongs, place half of the tomato slices into the skillet. cook until golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook until lightly browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes. the first side of the tomatoes will take the longest to brown, and the next will go faster. remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. repeat with the remaining breaded tomato slices. these are best served hot.

fried green tomatoes4

|||

MAKE SURE TO CLICK THAT FOLLOW BUTTON OR THAT BLOGLOVIN BUTTON TO YOUR RIGHT OR ADD ME TO YOUR READER IF YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF TO ALL MY BRILLIANT LIFE MUSINGS. I TEND TO KEEP THINGS FUN AROUND HERE. PLUS, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE MY RECIPES THAT CAN ALSO DOUBLE AS METAPHORS.