Summer Recap

Holy smokes!

Hello!

I still exist, and I’m happy that you do too. We had an action-packed, relaxing, invigorating, magical summer. Hence the silence on my part.

Umm, apparently June 4th was the last time I visited here, but I swear it was only two weeks ago.

For real, June 4th?

Don’t worry, I’m not sorry at all. I soaked up every ray of sun, every giggle, every trampoline flip and fish caught. (Well, I ate the fish rather than absorbed them.) I just couldn’t remove myself from life enough to post about it, and I think that’s pretty awesome.

Now that fall is settling in and the mornings are chilly, I feel like we’ve slowed down a bit.

Want to look at my summer?

Emmett Cake

Collin turns 9!

The boy turned 9!

I got my hair cut. (You’re so excited, I can tell)

I caught my first real fish! (I caught a fish once when I was 16, but it was teeny and we didn’t keep it.)

Driving!

Father and Son

Sunset Fishing

We drove boats. And played in boats. And fished from boats. And tried to ski behind boats.

Boats. Lots of boats. Can you tell that I’m obsessed with boats? I would totally live in a boat.

We went zip-lining.

All of the cousins were together for the first time ever.

My first rodeo. For real

I went to my first rodeo! Can you explain to me how I’ve been in Montana for my whole life and never once been to a rodeo?!?

My first real beer

And you guys! I drink beer now! This is a thing! I can’t even tell you how happy this makes my husband. You know him? He’s the homebrewer that I talk about all the time. Don’t worry, beer drinking was completely my decision. And in case you’re wondering  whether or not I was replaced by a pod-person, I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll ever, ever, drink an IPA. Ick!

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Daisy

Clouds

Eagle

Loons!

Inspecting the lines

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So as you can see, I was busy.

How was your summer?

Survival Salad

We’ve had a long spring this year. A long wet spring.
Great for the grass and my water bill, not so great for morale.

So I’m overjoyed about 80+ degree weather. It’s seriously my favorite time of year. I may have mentioned it once or twice. (Or everyday of my life.)
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But even though I’m seriously a happy camper, turning on the oven when it’s 85F in my kitchen is just asking for trouble. And melted popsicles.

So what’s a Jo to do? Make a giant salad! With chicken! And vegetables! And no oven!

Summer Survival Salad
Serves 4-6

4 unfrozen chicken breasts (I like boneless and skinless, but use what you’ve got)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas (you can leave them whole, but I cut them in half for easier eating)
your favorite mix of lettuce

Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes, up to a day, in your favorite Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette (I’ll give you my favorite recipe at the bottom).
Grill the chicken (outside! not in your kitchen!) until fully cooked, adding more marinade each time you turn the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest covered in tin foil before you slice it into strips.

In the meantime, assemble your salad. I like to do it in layers, ’cause it’s more fun that way. Then plate and serve.

Grilled Chicken Salad
See? No melted popsicles.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Start with lettuce.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Add bell peppers.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Another layer of lettuce and then cucumbers.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Another layer of lettuce and then tomatoes and sugar snap peas.

Grilled Chicken Salad
All plated and ready to eat!

My favorite salad dressing/chicken marinade
from Emeril Lagasse

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 clove pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients into a lidded container. Shake or whisk until everything is combined. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

What are your favorite summer survival foods?

Summa

I can’t admit how much it saddens me that summer is almost over.

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Hold on, yes I can. And I’ve been telling everyone for the last week.

So rather than focusing on how dark it’s getting in the mornings/evenings, and how much I hate being cold, I’m trying to squeeze every last drop of summer onto my vitamin-D soaked skin.

I’m taking advantage of weekend festivals and farmer’s markets.
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We’re eating shave ice and watermelon for lunch.
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We got a dog!
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Because what says summer more than taking your dog to the river to make friends?
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We are totally in love with Britta! She was a stray, in line for euthanasia before an absolutely lovely woman introduced us. If you’re even thinking of adopting a dog, I’d highly recommend driving over to Corvalis and visiting the MT Companion Animal Network.

I know that fall can be lovely,
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but I’m just not ready to give this up!
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How are you feeling about the end of summer?