Saturday, June 27, 2015

Grand Rapids Life – Gravity Taphouse and Dave & Busters

A couple of weeks ago, on a relatively gloomy Saturday, Max and I decided to explore some of the new happenings of Grand Rapids. This was the day we were supposed to go strawberry picking, but for some reason the farm decided to close at noon. On a Saturday. Weird, I know, but what are you gonna do. Instead, we decided to do a little shopping then grab drinks & snacks at two new Grand Rapids hot spots, Gravity Taphouse and Dave & Busters.

Gravity is a new microbrewery in the North East part of town and are known for their delicious beer selection and upscale bar food. The place did not disappoint. My flight, full of fruity beers and ciders, was perfect and the white truffle tater tots were absolutely to die for! I’ve been doing really well with clean eating as of late, but that finger food was worth every single bite!!

Next stop: Dave & Busters, known to kids my age as the “adult Chuck E Cheese” (which I personally have never been to). The drinks were fun, and the arcade games even better! We did everything from play basketball to life size Connect Four, kung fu panda, Mario Kart and everything in between. All with cocktails. It was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back!

Just a couple more reasons to love Grand Rapids!  

{so intense}

Friday, June 26, 2015

Playing with Food: Pink Crunch Salad

If you admit from the start that you're just "playing with food", and that you don't claim to be a great chef, you open the proverbial playing field right up. You can also call your recipes whatever you want. 

I'm naming this salad Pink Crunch because those are the only parts that need to remain uniform. Any ingredients that bear a pink hue and make noise when you eat them will do. I promise you that the next time I make Pink Crunch, there will be different items in the bowl. But they will be pink and there will be crunch. 

This is a nice snack for after a workout because it's got a nice sugar/fat balance, it's super refreshing and, most importantly, it's got those restorative vitamins and minerals our bodies need after hard work. 

What you'll need...
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1-2 cups cubed (preferably seedless) watermelon
  • 1 handful lemon balm or mint leaves
  • black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes or lemons
  • 1 handful unsalted peanuts (TIP: pistachios would be a great alternative here...and the light green would be lovely treat to the eye)

I made this pretty little snack recently after an 18-mile bike ride in 90 degree heat. I was able to make it in the same amount of time it would take you to listen to this short, but amazing, playlist from The Civil Wars:

1. Disarm

Eat well, eat fresh, and have fun doing it, y'all! 

Friday Five!

{sneak peek... this weekends wedding outfit}

This week felt new. A relaxing previous weekend left me feeling energized and refreshed. It didn’t exactly speed by, but this week was full of productive days & nights, full of life and full of fun. This weekend I’m heading back to Kazoo for a wedding in my hometown! A ceremony at a local college campus chapel, and a reception being held where we had our senior prom oh so many years ago! I’m actually pretty ecstatic to go back to Rose Street Market. I haven’t been since High School, and can’t wait to see what types of memories flood my brain when I’m back.

Cheers to Sara & Will!

Friday Forte:

{sister FaceTime date on the patio!}

{an assortment of fresh salsas were a fantastic salad dressing substitute this week}

{sweet reds are my wine of choice as of late}

{creepy cover but I could not be more excited to read this book!}

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Playing with Food: Homemade Garlic Hummus

I know all of you have been out there holding your breath, waiting to find out what I'd do with my leftover chickpeas after the not-so-successful attempt at homemade veggie burgers.

Did anyone try to guess?
What would YOU do with said staple, just chillin' in your pantry, nothing to do?

Make hummus, of course. [Duh.]

Before I tried to get all gourmet and fancy again, I thought I'd just stick to a simple concoction...ok mostly simple. After a few very short and easy steps, I did decide to give the dish some sass by adding some Indian flavors, compliments of a dear friend...who happens to be from India...and an excellent cook...and who may have recently given me some seasoning that I had not figured out how to use yet.

It worked beautifully.
And--this time--my playful cooking was a success.

This yummy--and strong and spicy--dip has provided a protien-filled buddy to my afternoon veggie snack. I really think adapting this recipe to make a variety of flavors will be quite easy.

PS: The answer to your burning question is: Yes, drinking wine and watching an episode of Lost  is part of this hummus-making process. Don't hate, people. 

What you'll need...

  • 1 can chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
  • Juice from 2 limes (lemons would probably work as well)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (personal pref)
  • 1-2 tsp masala powder (personal pref)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (I totally made that measurement up. I have no idea how much I used. Just get those beans nice and wet so they mix up well.)
  • Spash (or two) of water, depending on your desired consistency.

Then, follow these steps...
STEP 1. Blend it all together.

You all should give this recipe a try! You'll be an instant hit at a "just-bring-a-side-dish" party. 

A Bachelorette & Father's Day Kinda Weekend

This past weekend was full of Kalamazoo fun! Friday the girls hit downtown to celebrate the bride-to-be! We had sangria and tapas at Fandango, followed by wine and dessert at the Wine Loft. It was all extremely delicious and a perfect low key evening to toast Sara’s last week as a single lady.
The rest of the weekend was spent with my family celebrating Father’s Day (and just being together!). Saturday I drooled over Parade Homes that we’ll never be able to afford, followed by yummy food, conversation and dare I say it… GOLF! I actually watched golf… anything for my dad!! Sunday was a relaxing day… starting off with a 3-mile walk around the neighborhood, then heading out to South Haven for a quick drink at the Idler (and taking a quick look at our family crest”). On the way home we picked up some fresh strawberries and salsa at a side-of-the-road farmers market (DELISH!) before heading home to relax, talk to Court, and make dinner.

All in all…. great weekend! I love summer!!