It’s Game Time, Baby!

With this post, I’m finally caught up after all of my blog difficulties last week. Don’t go expecting every day posts anymore. I know, you’re crushed.

Football season is upon us. To me, it is a time of lazy Sundays on a couch, friends, and of course some pretty fatty though totally delicious comfort food.

Chili. Sliders. Chips and dip. Wings. Pizza. Yum.

To kick off the NFL’s first weekend, I thought I’d share some yummy recipes I saved to make the next time I host a football Sunday.

Always first in my mind at any football gathering: chili.

Here’s a great recipe for a white chicken chili, to change it up from the same old beef and bean chili.

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I’m also a big fan of bite sized snacks for game watching.

These taco cups using wonton wrappers certainly fits the bill.

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As do these pigs in a blanket (easy to make with hot dogs and crescent rolls).

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I also think these buffalo chicken bites are a great idea.

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Way less messy than traditional wings. For ease, make the chicken mixture from scratch, but just use store bought pizza dough (I really like the kind from Trader Joe’s) instead of homemade.

Finally, and probably the easiest of all, set out a ton of chips and a variety of dips.

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Guacamole, salsa, spinach artichoke, chili con queso, taco, etc. Don’t be afraid of store-bought stuff either. I love to cook more than most, but on game day, I spend my time watching the games and not in the kitchen.

I can’t wait for Sunday’s game. Bear Down!

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Summer’s End

Just like I believe Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of it. I can’t believe summer has come and gone.

I thought I’d do a final review of my summer checklist and see how I fared in getting through my to do list.

In my original to do list, I thought of 23 summer activities that I hoped to do before fall rolled around.

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In three updates (here, here, and here), I tracked my progress.

All in all, I accomplished most of the activities.

Ones I didn’t get to:
Bike path
Make limoncello
Summerdance
See fireworks
Bonfire/s’mores

Oh well.

I did do a bunch of additional warm weather activities that I never thought of while making the list.

Over the Labor Day weekend, I headed to the Walworth County Fair. Goats, cows, emus, fried food and all.

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I even tried a fair staple – deep fried Twinkies.

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It wasn’t for me.

For my friend Lauren’s birthday, we attended a classical concert in the park at Millennium Park.

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I had a wonderful birthday party on our back patio.

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I went to more Movies in the Park than I expected. Final count: 4 (Wizard of Oz, The Lorax, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, North by Northwest).

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And we spent at least one morning each weekend at the dog beach.

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I’d say I made the most of my summer. Did you?

As my final nail in the summertime coffin, check back next week for a new to do list this fall!

Open Face Grilled Tuna Salad Sandwich

Continiung on with the catch-up posts due to the blog issues I was having last week, I’m sharing with you the open face grilled tuna salad sandwich I made from our delicious Farmer’s Market finds.

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I’ve had this sandwich before (Dan’s parents are big fans and have made this for us), and it tastes so good every time I have it. I’m wondering why I don’t make it more often.

It’s a simple dish.

Start by making tuna salad as you usually do. I prefer it with mayo and celery to give it some crunch. Once you have it made, set aside.

Next, start up your grill and brush olive oil onto sliced pieces of bread.

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I have to warn you, I don’t think there is any bread better than the kind we have. It really makes the sandwich. The bread is from the Wheaton French Market, which is a Farmer’s Market. The bakery itself is Great Harvest Bread Co.

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Once the pieces have been oiled, put them on a hot grill. It only takes a couple minutes to get each side nice and toasted.

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Add the tuna salad on top of the grilled piece of bread and anything else you might want on there too (cheese, tomato slices, etc.). If you want to melt the ingredients, put the sandwich back on the grill for a few minutes. I skipped that step.

We ate it with some fresh sweet corn (also from the same Farmer’s Market) that was tossed on the grill at the same time as the bread. A light warm weather dinner that is sure to please.

Late Luau

I hosted my annual luau last Thursday. The post title is apt in 2 ways. One, it was a last minute decision to have a luau this year (somehow, the summer got away from me and I almost forgot about it). Two, my blog website has been having issues since last week, and I have been unable to post since last Tuesday night. Finally, it seems to be working again.

Back to the luau. To keep things easy, I set it on a Thursday evening, when my friends and I usually get together anyways.

As it was low key, so are the party details.

First of all, the scaled down party made it’s first appearance in attire. Last year, we wore sun dresses.

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This year, not so much.

For decoration, I re-used the paint chip bunting I made for my start of summer party with Dan’s family last year.

To go along with that color scheme, I dug out some of the leftover paint chips from the bunting project. Using my trusty flower hole punch (also used for the wedding pomanders), I made a bunch of mini flowers.

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I decided to create an ombre-like effect for the table centerpiece using the flowers and some short white candles.

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I originally thought about creating a whole table runner, but (1) punching out that many flowers would take a really long time, and (2) the table is pretty small, so keeping the centerpiece small seemed best. Still, I really like the way it turned out.

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For food, it was mostly potluck. Friends brought veggie/fruit trays, cheese and crackers, and homemade wine. I rounded it out with some fresh guacamole and chips and made coconut brownies for dessert.

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The coconut brownies are quite simple. I started with standard brownies made from a mix (don’t tell anyone). I did liven them up with some vanilla extract and extra baking chocolate, so I guess they’re semi-homemade.

The thing that really made these guys delicious was the frosting (recipe is from here).

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And finally, the drink of choice for the evening: skinny strawberry daquiris.

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I started out with a skinny mix (less sugar added) and some white whiskey. Yes, whiskey. It’s a fine substitute for white rum. Throw the alcohol, daiquiri mix, and ice in a blender and you have a delicious cocktail.

And finally, here’s the obligatory group photo.

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Thanks for a fun night, ladies!