Stuffed Portabello burger with Grilled Asparagus and Sweet Potato Fries!

After a few weeks of evening thunderstorms, we were definitely eager to get outside to grill! We kind of threw this meal together with stuff we had in the kitchen and it was so delicious, I wanted to share. Have a six-pack of summer ale on hand, and enjoy this simple, grill-friendly feast on a warm summer night!

Stuffed Portabello Burgers 
w/ Grilled Asparagus & Sweet Potato Fries!

2 hamburger buns
2 large portabello caps
1/2c bread crumbs
1/4c fresh herbs, chopped
1/4c parmesan cheese
olive oil
chili powder
salt, pepper, to taste
top with:
swiss cheese
fresh spinach
red onion
mayo, dijon mustard  (i mix equal parts together for a yummy burger sauce...also yummy for dipping fries!)
8-10 stalks fresh asparagus
sweet potato fries (we love Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries!)

1. Pit portabello caps, set scooped-out middle aside for stuffing. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper to marinate for 30 mins.
2. Start the grill! Mix mushroom pit, bread crumbs, parmesan, chili powder, and herbs- stuff into mushroom caps. place on grill for 10-12 minutes, until hot all the way through. 
3. Place asparagus on tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 10 mins, till soft in the middle. 
4. Prepare fries. Lightly toast buns on the grill, then top burgers with spinach, red onion, swiss cheese, and dijon/mayo. 
5. Serve hot with a cold beer on nearest porch, patio,  picnic blanket, or lawn chair! 

yum yum!


Monday's Music to My Ears: Look So Easy

I'm not going to lie~ I don't always handle stress super well. I have a bad habit of compartmentalizing; shutting everything out and just jumping from one thing to another without actually coming to any resolutions, until... BAM!! - I have a full-blown break down and I feel as though the whole world has crashed down around me. I'll admit I've found myself in fetal position on the floor once or twice... and I ain't proud, but it's true. But please, don't pity me... it's my poor husband that has to pick up his lump of a wife and try to decipher what is flooding her vanquished mind.

Oh sweet, courageous, wants-to-fix-everything-instantly man of mine, who looks at me with utter confusion when I explain that, "sometimes, I just need you to say 'I know baby, I'm sorry life's hard', and not try to find a solution to everything". Even if he can't see everything through my eyes or totally understand what I am feeling, it is so comforting to hear him simply say "I know"... so that I know it's not all in my head. Even when he is probably going insane trying to figure out the situation, he makes it look so easy to just "snap out of it" and move on. The voice of reason in an unreasonable world; practicality in a practically inconceivable circumstance; stability at an unstable tipping point. He challenges me like no one ever has. I love him.

This Monday's music is a sweet song by Dave Barnes called "Look So Easy"... enjoy!

( this isn't the greatest clip but the best version I could find online...let it load completely, then skip to 2:25)


Thrifty Thursdays: Rigatoni with Glazed Salmon and Goat Cheese in a Brandy-Cream Sauce with Sweet Honey White Sangria!

Summer time is the season of the swinging door, as we find ourselves running from picnics to parties or welcoming friends and family over for fun and games. Next time you plan for a double dinner date "in", give this satisfying recipe a whirl and let the casual conversation unwind!

This is a rendition of the lovely evening we shared with friends at home last night... but instead of tea, we had deliciously sweet Honey White Sangria  and an amazing dessert made by this lil' lady!

Rigatoni with Glazed Salmon and Goat Cheese
in a Brandy-Cream Sauce
(with garlic-cheese toast and broiled tomatoes!)
$30 for 4 servings

1 lb rigatoni pasta
1 lb salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick)
2 c crumbled goat cheese
2 c wild mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 c peas
2 med. tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, (4 sliced, 4 minced)
1/2 c milk / half n' half
1/2 stick butter
olive oil for cooking
juice from 1/2 lemon
1tbsp brandy
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 c fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, oregano, thyme, etc)
salt, pepper to taste
1 baguette, sliced

1. In a square roasting pan, drizzle salmon with olive oil, mix 1/2 fresh herbs, brown sugar, salt, pepper in a small bowl, press into skinless (top) side of salmon fillet. Place garlic slices around. Let marinate at least 30 mins. Broil on hi for 8-10 mins, until moist and flaky but separates easily from skin. 
2. Slice tomatoes into wedges, place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to season. Broil for 5 mins.
3. cook pasta according to directions, rinse with cool water, return to pot on low heat.
4. while pasta is cooking, sautee onion and garlic with brandy and a pinch of brown sugar and salt and pepper in olive oil until carmelized (about 3 mins). Add to pasta.
5. Drizzle bread with olive oil, parmesan, and minced garlic. Broil until golden toasty brown.
6. Add peas, mushrooms to pasta. Stir in butter, half n' half, lemon juice. Remove from heat, stir in goat cheese. Top with salmon, roasted garlic, and a pinch of fresh herbs.

...don't forget that sweet sangria!

1/2c brandy
1/4c triple sec
1 bottle sparkling wine
1 bottle sparkling water
1/2c honey
1 tsp vanilla*
1 tbsp simple syrup*
1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 grapefruit thinly sliced

1. In a large pitcher, add brandy, triple sec, honey, syrup, vanilla, and fruit. Stir well, chill for 2 hours.
2. Before serving, add wine and water, and ice.

* my creative additions to the recipe, of course!