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Alley

Happy Weekend!



We're off in an outdoor adventure this weekend... camping, paddling, fishing, and hiking!  So no recipes to post this week, but check back next week for some fun campfire recipes!  Have a great weekend! ��

Weekly Menu

I'm going to start doing bicep curls in the garden with my zucchini... these giants weighed in close to eight pounds a piece!  I love that it keeps raining a couple times a week so I don't have to water the grass or garden at all (although if mother nature could keep the rain to times I'm at work or sleeping, that would be best).  With all the rain, my garden is growing out of control.  What used to be a nice clear walking path now has tomato branches, chard leaves, melon vines, and green bean shoots all over it!  (... not that I'm complaining!)

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I don't know what is about balloon flowers, but I just love them.  I think it is cute the way they grow like a bubble (or balloon, whatever) and then pop open with this gorgeous purple color in the shape of a star.  And my butterfly bush is finally blooming!  I love this time of year when our yard is full of color and fragrance!  :)

Speaking of fragrance... they need to bottle up the smell from Jazz & Rib Fest because as soon as we got out of the Jeep, the smell of barbecue hit me and I was instantly hungry.  I only eat ribs once or twice a year just because I have to be in the mood to eat with my hands and get super messy... and when you have all the best rib joints from around the country, you have to indulge.  

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Went to support the Crew last night and they won (finally)!  The game was sold out... so it looks like the World Cup has had an impact and soccer... ahem... futbol... is gaining some popularity here.

Alright, so the menu this week has a repeat from last week since I didn't get to it... but now I have ripe tomatoes to make fresh sauce for my zucchini lasagna!  So procrastination results in a win this time.  :)


zucchini enchiladas 
grilled rosemary chicken and corn on the cob
zucchini lasagna (oops, didn't get to this last week)
fajitas
stuffed onions

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes - total time 50 minutes


One of my friends made this awesome chocolate cake from zucchini and I remember being so surprised that something so sweet could have three cups of zucchini in it.  Seriously!  That's a lot of zucchini to be in a cake!  That was... like... seven years ago.  Now I find myself with more zucchini than I want zucchini bread and I thought back to that cake.

This cake is a bit different... it is triple chocolate cake with three cups of zucchini.  :)  The zucchini makes the cake really moist and you really can't taste it (there was a little bit of a shredded texture, so if you're worried, just shred the zucchini extra fine).  But don't tell people they are eating vegetables in their dessert.  It seems a lot of people avoid vegetables altogether sometimes.  So just leave it at "tripe chocolate cake" and everyone will be happy!

Zucchini Stuffed Shells - total time 45 minutes


If you have a vegetable garden, chance are you are swimming in zucchini right now!  Ours are coming in spurts... I don't notice any in the garden... and then all of a sudden there are a dozen... and half of them are giants!  Eep!  What to do... what to do?  

The great thing about zucchini (besides the fact one plant could feed a neighborhood) is that it doesn't have a distinct flavor, so it works well "hidden" in a ton of dishes.  

So of course I'm going to put zucchini in some stuffed shells.  I always feel just a little bit guilty eating stuffed shells with all of that cheese.  This recipe subs out half of that cheese for some shredded zucchini.  That's a great way to reduce the dairy and increase the vitamin A and C, potassium, and fiber.  Plus, it's a green veggie... extra healthy points!  And you really don't taste it... it's just like normal stuffed shells.  You have to try this, it is win-win!

Weekly Menu

After an off-and-on stormy day, it ended with a full rainbow while I was making dinner tonight.  A colorful reminder that there is always a silver lining, you just have to wait and be looking for it.

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On the weekends we like to go out to eat, mostly because we're already out and about.  So to get out of our same-place-every-Friday rut, we have been trying new restaurants every week for a couple months now.  It's great to find new favorites and dishes to recreate at home.  This week we went to Cork in Gahanna.  It is a cute little wine bar with Italian tapas, entrees, and desserts and most of the dishes incorporate wine in them.  The chocolate berry lava cake was delicious!

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Enjoyed some sunshine this weekend reading the first issue of Stock & Barrel and out on the kayak (maybe a little too much sun, ouch).  Tomatoes are starting to ripen and the mint is telling me it is mojito time!


Spent some time in the garden in between the storms today and found some zucchini I hadn't noticed before.  They are huge!  So to get back in control of the harvest, we'll be catching up by eating zucchini nearly every night including some zucchini bread in there too.  What was I thinking when I planted enough seeds for SIX zucchini plants?!?

pizza night
stuffed zucchini with green beans
zucchini lasagna
okra corn cakes with sauteed zucchini
creamy salmon pasta

extras: zucchini bread and baked peaches

Loaded Shredded Chicken Nachos - total time 20 minutes


So before I started reading about nutrition and really learned how to cook, occasionally I would just make some nachos for dinner which involved some chips, lots of cheese, and a little bit of salsa.  It was quick, of course.  Only about one minute in the microwave.  But had no nutritional value what-so-ever.  

After reading a couple books about digestion and the ways what you eat can cause certain annoying symptoms, most of which you might blame genetics on like unclear skin, stuffy nose, or trouble concentrating... I realized that there was more to food than just tasting good.  Food is really about nourishing your body because it takes a lot just to keep our heart pumping, lungs inhaling, and brain thinking.  I started to make a conscious effort to make sure vegetables always had a spot on my plate for both lunch and dinner.  I started to cut back on meats and gluten.  I tried to limit how much dairy I ate, but I just couldn't give up cheese.  It is little steps that make the difference.  Going to the extreme will leave you hungry and feeling deprived.  Being too strict makes it nearly impossible to enjoy a meal out with a friend.  With most things, a happy medium is best.

It's been several years since those old microwaved nachos days, but sometimes you just want what you want.  I follow a couple bloggers that plan out their meals as well and one of them posted that they were making nachos for dinner one night.  I've been thinking about whether nachos are really dinner food ever since.  I decided to make my version of loaded nachos and it was quite filling and loaded with veggies (and cheese!).  This makes a great quick meal that you eat with your hands.  Perfect for a casual weekend dinner or to have with a couple drinks tailgating.  

Green BEAN Update

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Eating healthy can be hard.  I mean, if I were given the option of a kale salad or some chocolate chip cookies... I would definitely choose the cookies.  So it's about surrounding yourself with healthy options.  Keeping the house full of food also keeps you from going out to eat... that's healthy and saves you money.

So how do I keep fruits, vegetables, and local grocery items always in stock in my home year round?  I get them delivered weekly from Green BEAN delivery!  

You may have seen my earlier post about Green BEAN, but they just revamped their online store today to make things even easier!  With produce pictures (which helps identify those lesser known items like plumots), category tabs, favorites icons, and order status bar it makes filling your weekly bin so much more visible.

Green BEAN is offering $15 off your first delivery!  Use offer code 15ARBml when you sign up (offer expires July 17).  Remember to meal plan based on what you order and you will use all of your great produce!  :)


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Weekly Menu

Hope you had a fabulous 3-day Fourth of July weekend filled with friends and fireworks!  I wish every weekend could be three days... we were able to pack in so much more fun stuff with just one extra day!

Had some delicious lasagna at Carfagna's while catching up and a little wedding planning with my sister and mom.  Apparently we need to do this more often because we stood outside the restaurant talking for another 40 minutes after they closed.  Made some chocolate chip banana muffins and took them into work before the long weekend started.  


After a few years of talking about it, we finally made it to the Doo Dah Parade.  Pretty funny to watch.  Definitely some characters.  

        

Our dog, Snoop, loves to go for a ride.  Little did he know it was going to be on water (which he hates being wet)!  He didn't like trying to maintain "sea legs" so he jumped off the kayak and liked that even less.  After a bit of a struggle getting him back in the kayak and calmed down, we went around Hoover and he had fun sniffing and chasing ducks around the reservoir.  

Any way... on to this weeks meal plan...

burgers and broccoli
shredded chicken loaded nachos and potatoes
shrimp tacos
blackberry bourbon chicken and mashed potatoes and sauteed carrots
roasted tomato and garlic pasta

Happy Independence Day!


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Happy Independence Day!  A day to appreciate our freedoms and be thankful to those who secure that freedom.  Secondarily a day to watch fireworks, spend time with friends and family, and grill out.Usually we think of burgers and hot dogs when we grill out... but here are some great vegetarian options to get on your grill today (or any time this summer)!

Grilled Caesar Salad warm lettuce?  who would have thought!
Grilled Zucchini Nachos replace those fried chips with zucchini from the garden
Veggie Burgers (of course)
Grilled Peach Salad mmm... caramelized peaches
Stuffed Grilled Peppers love roasted peppers, such great flavor
Grilled Fajita Tacos use skewers to prevent slices from falling in the grill and easily portion individual tacos
Grilled Veggie Flatbread so close to how the Italians do it
Veggie Paninis so many options!

Have a great Fourth!

Weekly Menu

This weird sudden downpouring weather has been perfect for my vegetable garden, it's growing out of control and it's not even July yet!  Unfortunately, it also means a lot of delayed plans too.  We got out to ComFest on Friday night before the weekend thunderstorms.  It meant everyone has hot and sticky though.  Love seeing Cbus show its inner hippie with streets shut down, people lounging in the grass, fun crafts being sold, local foods eaten, and sustainable methods on display (using solar to power some of the food trucks).  

We always end up getting the jerk chicken every year because it's the only time know we can get pretty authentic jerk.  After perusing the merch tents, we grabbed a spot on the lawn for some people watching (always fun at festivals, but particularly fun to see what kind of outfits come out at ComFest).

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I swear, the breakfast sandwich at North Star has to be the best ever.  So much so, I had to make my own version the next morning because I was still thinking about it!

My dog has a rain jacket.  He hates the rain and will not go outside without it.  He is such a weirdo.

  

With all of the rain we have had this June, the garden is doing amazing.  Of course now that I have said that, a hoard of insects will devour everything overnight.  That or we won't get rain for the rest of the summer and it will be 100+ degrees while I'm standing out there with the hose.  Let's hope the trend continues with a couple nice downpours a week.  I like it the monster banana peppers and giant chard leaves we're getting right now.  Perfect for topping pizzas with!  :)

Since it's the week of Independence Day (wait, where did June go?!) we have a lot of plans that involve us not eating at home.  So the meal planning this week is pretty limited at best.  But to sort of make up for it (and because I had some super ripe bananas I forgot about), I have chocolate chip banana muffins in the oven right now.

chicken and green beans
zucchini enchiladas
more salads (still not tired of them yet)
blackberry bourbon chicken and green beans (check out these marmalades we found at Celebrate Local made in Reynoldsburg!)

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