Summer Game Plan

Am I the only one who doesn't like the term "bucket list"?  There's something sort of sadly morbid about it to me, even if it's something as simple as a seasonal bucket list.  So, in searching about for an alternative word or term for this posting, I wasn't having much success.  Summer Agenda?  Ugh.  Who wants an "agenda" for the summer?  And synonyms for agenda are: schedule, timetable, line-up, to-do list.  Hmm...all quite evoking the opposite of how you want summer to feel.  Then I hit on it - Summer Game Plan!


- SUMMER GAME PLAN - 

A game plan with no pressure to win, but just to savor the moments!

gardening
travel to California for a wedding
host guests several times
go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
gelato
hiking
outdoor concerts with picnic dinners
berry picking
homemade ice cream
sewing for the shop for Christmas
fire pit evenings with friends and s'mores
grilling
time in the hammock
4th of July parade
In-n-Out burger while in California
go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
finish reading "Crime and Punishment"
farmers' markets
Italian sodas

What's on your summer game plan?

Details and Sweetness

We're headed out west for a wedding soon, so this week's been full of pre-vacation details...returned the first new dress after finding one I liked better, needed jewelry to go with the new dress (if you give a mouse a cookie...you understand, right?), hubby needed new tennis shoes, last minute gift buying, a mad scramble to get the gift in the mail...and on and on.

And in the midst of all these busy details, there have been such sweet moments!  Like yesterday and today when I help Felicity with the new baby and my other three adroable, stair step grandkids!


And the peonies!  The pink peonies are finally blooming!  Don't they just take your breath away?



Simple Summer Grilled Dinner

Last night, we grilled our entire dinner on the barbecue...in true summer style!  Super simple. And the best part is: you get three meals from one grilling!  Here's how to do it:

MEAL #1:
1.) Marinate 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves in the morning.  Really, you can use any marinade recipe you like.  Marinades are not an exact science, so just use your best judgement and toss the following ingredients in a large Ziploc bag: olive oil, a vinegar (white wine works well), a spoonful of a good mustard, chopped fresh herbs, minced garlic, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper.  And if that's too much to think about, my other favorite go-to marinade is Girard's Champagne Dressing.  Italian dressing works well too.  Add chicken breasts and marinate all day.

2.) At dinnertime, fire up your grill and get chicken grilling while you work on the vegetables.

3.) For the veggies, you will need: 2 zucchini, 1 bunch of asparagus, and 1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms (I chose the largest ones I could find).  Slice off the ends of the zucchini, and then slice them lengthwise into 1/4"-thick slices. Scrub the mushrooms. Take all the veggies and toss them in a drizzle of olive oil.

4.) When the chicken is nearing done, add the vegetables to the grill, sprinkling them with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

5.) Take one loaf of garlic cibatta bread and slice lengthwise and butter lightly.  Add to grill until heated through and slightly charred.

Voila! An entire grilled dinner for four (reserving six of the chicken breasts for another meal).  You should have leftover bread and vegetables too!

MEAL #2 - Pasta meal using your leftovers:
1.) Start a big pot of salted water boiling, and cook penne pasta (enough to serve four) al dente.

2.) Chop all your leftover veggies from Meal #1 into bite-size pieces. Sliced three of remaining chicken breasts into bite-size pieces.

3.) Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the remaining 1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms (chopped) and cook until tender.  When the mushrooms are almost done, toss in about 2 cups of fresh spinach.  Then add all your chopped leftover veggies and chicken and heat through.

4.) Drain pasta.  Add hot veggies-chicken medley to the hot pasta and serve topped with large shavings of Parmesan cheese.

MEAL #3 - Make a chef salad using all your remaining leftover chicken, and adding vegetables per your taste.

Bon appetit!  Happy summer feasting!

4th of July Hats!

The classic newspaper hat just got updated and is in the shop in time for 4th of July! They are made to order, and three styles are available for you to choose.  But don't procrastinate, because I've got a vacation coming up and will get all orders in the mail before I leave.  So, please place orders by June 18th!  Click here to go see them in the shop!





Gardening Time

Last weekend, we powered through and got the garden all planted and ready to grow. Colette spent many, many days whacking down saplings in the lower part of the yard, stripping their leaves, and making some fine wattle fencing to border each garden bed.  We love how it looks!  All the plantings were either grown from seed by me, or purchased from local, small-scale organic farms.  Can't wait for everything to grow!


Growing this year: eating tomatoes and plum tomatoes (11 plants in all), yellow and green zucchini, butternut squash, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, lettuces, onions, carrots, eggplant, basil, chives, sage, and parsley.  And growing on the trellis beneath the deck: green beans, cucumbers, and jack-be-littles.

I'm hoping for a great harvest.  Technohubby just wants SALSA!

Walking, Walking, Walking

The weather has been so delicious this spring...mostly temperate with gusty breezes keeping the bugs at bay.  Perfect walking weather!  Walking is my preferred form of exercise...I do a bit of yoga and a bit of zumba, but mostly I like to walk.  This spring, I've really increased my distance.  Some days it's just an easy, one-mile walk with the dog. Other days, I decide on my route, and pick a 2 1/2-, 3 1/2-, or a 4-mile power walk, with the goal being a total of 8 1/2 - 12 miles over the course of the week.  Today, Colette wanted to go too, and she picked a different route of 2 1/2 miles.  The uphill part was a bit grueling, but the view was gorgeous!


Exploring Rockport, Massachusetts

Yesterday, Colette and I took off for another little day of exploration!  I had to make a trip into Boston for some supplies for the shop, so we started the day at L.A. Burdick...chocolate, pastries, and hot chocolate!



Then we headed north to Rockport, Massachusetts and its charming historic district, known as Bearskin Neck.  Quaint shops and tourist traps, fudge shops and lobster shacks, ice cream stands and art galleries, beautiful homes and sailboats can all be found in Bearskin Neck.  Enjoy the views!













Welcoming a New Grandson

Walter and Felicity were blessed with their fourth child this weekend!  Our fourth grandbaby!  Welcome to the world, little Ben!  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!


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