Friday, June 23, 2017

4 easy summer meals!

I've gotten so much good feedback on the easy family meals series I post from time to time.  You guys asked and I am answering... today I've got four easy summer meal ideas from my family to yours.  As if making dinner isn't hard enough all year, add in the heat and the kids' busy summer schedules and making dinner turns out to be the absolute WORST in the summer.  These are four easy meals that we have enjoyed recently and I think you will like them too.  Besides grilling (which is my husband's domaine) I don't cook meat as much in the summer - prefer lighter meals with lots of veggies that come together in a snap.  Ain't nobody have time for slaving over a stove in the summer!


Burrata and Pea Salad (above)
This is one of my favorite... my mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you have never had burrata it is a fresh mozzarella with a creamy/liquidy center and it's AMAZING.  I layer the spinach on a plate, top it with the burrata and then split the burrata with a knife so the creaminess opens.  Then I sprinkle fresh peas on top, a little chopped mint and top with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or you could use your favorite pre-made balsamic vinaigrette).  And oh man! It's good! The peas and mozzarella are packed with protein, so no meat needed.  In full disclosure, my kids aren't interested in this at all.  So it's a perfect night for them to go for cereal or chicken nuggets.  I can hardly get my kids inside for dinner these days any way so usually my husband and I eat together early and then when they collapse starving inside I whip something up for them. So it's a win for everyone. 

Quinoa Salad (above)
This meal is more of a formula than a recipe.  I cook up a healthy serving of quinoa and then mix in whatever veggies I have on hand.  Corn, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper and avocado were what I had in the fridge recently. I also love adding cucumber, diced apple, spinach or carrots if I have them on hand.  Then I let the quinoa cool a little, mix in chopped veggies and top with a vinaigrette and some cheese (feta works too!) and voila. Dinner.  So easy and so delicious.  

Bruschetta Pasta Salad (above)
I tend towards pasta and grains in the summer, but if you want a break from the gluten, we really loved these quinoa elbows. We couldn't even tell they were gluten free.  This pasta salad is perfect for making ahead and then having in the fridge for when you get home from the park, pool or beach. Or heck, bring it with you to the park, pool or beach!  Prepare the pasta and let cool.  Then dice up the tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken and basil.  Then toss with (you guessed it) a balsamic vinaigrette. My kids LOVED this, which is surprising because they tend to be pick eaters. 

Baked Gnocchi (above)
If I make gnocchi in pretty much any form my kids will eat it.  You could easily double this recipe by doing two packs of gnocchi because you will likely have extra sauce and meat.  Prepare the gnocchi according to the directions while you brown the meat.  Then carefully (the gnocchi can break) stir the finished gnocchi into the beef with sauce.  Then I take two 8x8 pans (or 1 if you are only making once batch) and fill them with the gnocchi/meat/sauce mixture.  Top with crumbles of goat cheese (or just shredded mozzarella) and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes.  You can also pop them in the freezer or fridge to bake up later in the week if you are a meal-prepper type.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

my everyday style: the summer one!

I've already professed my love for this top once before. It's proving to be such an easy and comfortable summer top... and the most amazing news is that it's on MEGA sale right now for under $20! I love it for a summer date night with jeans and a pair of sandals. I mean, talk about cute and comfy!

Truth be told I was going to wear this cute little bandana around my neck to head out... because I just think it's SUCH a cute look.  But oh that summer heat got in the way! My goodness is was sweltering when we stepped outside... so the perfect alternative was to tie it around my bag for a little pop of color.

This isn't the first time these jeans have showed up on the blog (here and here are some other times) and I've been wearing them a ton throughout the entire summer. I love the relaxed fit and the distressing.  They are casual and comfortable and just my style for summer.

Outfit Details:
Top - under $20!
Jeans - or here - ON SALE!
Sandals - ON SALE!
Similar Bag - 50% off!
Bandana - only $6!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

my everyday style: a day in Grand Haven!

One of our very favorite ways to spend a day as a family in the summer is in Grand Haven, Michigan.  We are so lucky to be close to the Great Lakes and there is nothing better than spending a sunny and warm day in by the water.  We love to grab some ice cream on the boardwalk, then head to the beach to play in the sand and water or read a book and then end the day with pizza at my personal favorite Fricanos - arguably one of the best pizzas ever (which is saying a lot from this Chicago native).  You just can beat the all American vibe of this amazing little town.  One day we hope to have a little condo there to be right in on the action, but in the meantime we love that it's only a 30 minute drive from Grand Rapids.

There are SO many amazing little beach towns on the West Coast of Michigan... everyone seems to have one they call their 'favorite'.  And since each small town each has it's own personality, it's no surprise that they are all great for their own reason.  If you've never visited Lake Michigan I can't recommend it enough. You will instantly fall in love and create so many family memories.  We've been bringing our kids to Grand Haven since I was pregnant with them both ;) so we have a long history here.

If you are in the market for kids swimsuits that are patriotic and cute (but not cheesy) I can't recommend this one and this one enough! They are both cute and a great price!

My outfit:
Dress (similar or similar)

My daughters outfit:

My sons outfit:

Monday, June 19, 2017

my everyday style: a black jumper for summer!

If there ever was 'the easiest summer outfit ever' this outfit would have to be it! A jumpsuit for summer is the perfect one-and-done outfit... and since it's technically pants, but looks kinda like a skirt you can really dress it up or down.  It's perfect for a girls night out, a date night, a graduation party or even a wedding - boom! Your summer event outfit is here.

Unfortunately, this exact piece sold out right after I bought it... but I rounded up tons of other great options below that I think you will love though.  I paired mine with easy sandals and a clutch for a summer date night look.  It was the perfect look for a warm evening and patio dining.

Outfit Details:
Jumpsuit (similar, similar or similar)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

on my radar... july 2017!

Oh summer, how I love thee!!  Late night ice cream runs, scooter rides, afternoons at the pool and the beach... nothing is better than summer, especially these first few sweet weeks. We are soaking it up with as much fun as possible and loving every minute of it.  There are so many fun closet staples this time of year too... here are a few favorites that are on my radar right now.

top row, from left: 
Quite possibly the cutest white ruffle top ever.
I'm obsessed with this defense refresh setting spray SPF - it smells amazing and goes on light with lots of coverage.
This summer I am turning to the denim skirt in lieu of shorts on the regular. Just snagged this one and love it.
I am loving this lightweight hoodie sweatshirt for cool mornings. It's super soft and the perfect weight for summer.

bottom row, from left: 
 I'm a big fan of the classics for summer, these wedge espadrilles are on sale & extra 25% off and perfect for everyday wear.
How cute is this floral dress? I am totally crushing on it.
I've been eyeing this straw tote and now it's on sale & and extra 25% off!
I just found my new favorite jeans - I love the nice ankle length (perfect for shorties like me) and the perfect amount of distressing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

my everyday style: all american!

Is it just me or does anyone else crave patriotic looks, not just for the July Fourth holiday... but pretty much for the entire summer?  I'm of course planning out a few holiday looks in advance, but I tend towards red, white and blue this time of year in general.  I couldn't pass up this adorable "All American" tee recently (plus it's SO soft!)... I went up a size to medium to leave room for tying a knot in the front. Which if you ask me can take any ho-hum tee and make it fun and special instantly. I love it paired with a classic white linen blazer for summer.

And if you aren't a jeans in the summer kind of gal, you can easily swap them out for a cute denim skirt or shorts

Outfit Details: 
Jeans (I went down a size, these run big)

Monday, June 12, 2017

my everyday style: summer basics!

Summer dressing definitely calls for highly versatile pieces on a daily basis.  I often go from getting work done, to driving the kids around, to running errands and even to the pool all in one day.  I either need to wear those super flexible pieces or I end up changing my outfit 5 times a day.  That is why I just LOVE easy tunics like this one. It is lightweight enough for everyday wear (i.e. in and out of AC  100x a day) and also for heading to the pool in too.  It's easy and comfortable and just what a busy summer day calls for.

These are the last of the photos from our trip to Hawaii... This past spring I really enjoyed bringing some of my travel outfits to the blog (you can see all my travel looks here).  We are already scheming about when we can get back to Hawaii - we loved our time on the Big Island, but would love to explore more of the islands in that amazing State.  It was truly a trip of a lifetime.

Outfit Details:
Tunic (old but similar, similar, or similar)


site design by kiki and co.