On My Plate This Week

Whooooooooof.

Why is it that a long holiday weekend makes coming back for a full week of work seem next to impossible? Getting back into the groove of things is such a struggle, especially after a relaxing weekend. That’s alright, it’s already Wednesday. We can do this.

Plus, it’s Shark Week!

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Yeah, I know. That onesie.

Truth be told, I haven’t been cooking up much these days. Last week I got hit hard with some kind of flu/fever/stomach gremlin situation and didn’t eat much of anything. Then it was 4th of July so mostly I was eating things that came out of a package and went straight onto a grill. (Because ‘Murica).

And I’m headed to Denver next week to visit this one for a little girls’ trip so my guess is that food will be of the indulgent sort.

But good news – Sara rented a condo with a pool, and the weather looks like it’s going to cooperate!

weather captureBut I thought I’d pop in anyway to fill you in on some goings-ons and things I’m digging lately.

For one, cabbage. I like coleslaw. I like braised cabbage. I like cabbage as a garnish or mixed into a salad.

Lately I’ve been really into this:

  1. Big handful of shredded green cabbage (I buy the pre-shredded bag at Trader Joe’s)
  2. Add a smaller handful of shredded carrots (again, pre-shredded)
  3. Sprinkle lightly with salt and toss it around with your hands (or better yet, throw it in a food storage container and shake it violently), and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Add a splash of apple cider (or white) vinegar, and a big-ish pinch of plain ol’ sugar. Toss again.
  5. Add a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and a pinch of black pepper, toss again.

Ta da! Easiest cabbage salad ever. And the mayo-haters will appreciate your efforts. Although, we all know how I feel about mayo-haters. They’re unnatural beings and should be shunned from society.

No? Too strong?

Ok, what else.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been trying to clean up my dinner game (see above: we can all tell how well that‘s going), and a current favorite is prosciutto wrapped around green veggies and roasted.

Again, super easy: just wrap a slice around a small bunch of asparagus or green beans and roast at 400° for about 20 minutes.

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And if you line your baking sheet with foil – look Ma, no clean up!

I’ve also been really into ground turkey lately, as evidenced by above photo. Not sure what that’s about, since I usually like ground beef better. I’ll blame the summer…since you know, turkey’s lighter. And it’s hot out. Yep. Makes sense.

Alright, I’m out of here. I have some serious shark week viewing to attend to.

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Boy, do I love Country Music

A little known (OK, widely known) fact about me is that I am truly, unwaveringly, borderline-psychotically devoted to country music.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s summer and I feel like it’s time to mention it again seeing as summer really means “concert season” at my house. Donnie and I are just a wee bit obsessed with spending all of our discretionary income on tickets. All of it, you guys.

Side note: I started a Google doc spreadsheet a while back to start obsessively monitoring my spending because grad school is friggin’ expensive, and I literally have a line item called “Discretionary” with a note next to it that says “concerts and other”. Obsessed.

I think the grand total of country concerts we attended last year was 11. I’d have to go back and confirm FOR SURE, but I’m sure you’ll take my word for it, right?

This year has been a bit slower on the concert front because we opted out of the Country Mega Ticket (6 shows over the summer) since we saw most of the artists last year…so that was pretty responsible. But we did see Kenny Chesney IN Nashville, which was killllller.

So this past weekend was the inaugural Windy City LakeShake at Northerly Island. 3 days. 2 stages. Many, many hours of music. Fun fact for the non-Chicagoans: Northerly Island is located right next to Soldier Field/Museum Campus and used to be a small airport called Miegs Field. And now it’s a concert venue!

I mean, it’s not ugly, amiright?

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(No filter! xoxo)

The first night Dierks Bentley was the headliner. This was my fourth time seeing him perform (yeah, I know. ALL MY MONEY, you guys), and he was just as good as the last time. I’m so glad that he’s finally headlining.

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PLUS, he had some special guests show up at the end of the show with a VERY special surprise.

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I meeeeannn. I got to see the Cup twice in one week? Pretty unreal. Now I just need to see it up-close so that I can get my picture with it. (Life goals)

Brad Paisley got rained out on Saturday, but he’s just the best and agreed to stay on last-minute to close the fest on Sunday night. Such a class-act, that one. Of course that also meant that I was up far later than my bedtime (which is an embarrassingly early 9:30pm on weeknights), but it was totally worth it.

Here’s a tip from me to you: if you’re at an all-weekend music festival, just go ahead and order yourself a pizza the size of your body on your way home the first night. You’re going to need it and you’ll be happy for the leftovers.

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This was after night two (when we got rained out), hence the really awesome hair.

And there you have it! First concert festival of the year under my belt, and I lived to tell about it. Yeeeeehaw!

Can we call it a dynasty yet?

If there was ever one thing that I could be accused of hoarding, it would be vacation days (and, OK…girl scout cookies). I tend to save them up like a crazy person so that I’ll be able to go on that long, dream vacation someday. I do, however, tend to take some days during the summer. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: summertime is what keeps Chicagoans put. We’ve got 3 months, give or take, to go to all the street fests, baseball games, and beach parties before it’s right back into those knee-length down coats.

My hoarding tendency is a good thing, though, because I could actually afford to take a last minute day off on Thursday for the BLACKHAWKS RALLY!!

If you live in the area, you know that the city/team decided to move the rally to Solider Field (the home of the Chicago Bears) rather than Grant Park because all of the rain we’ve been inundated with lately has made the park a field of sloppy muck. The implication of making this move, however, is that Soldier Field has limited capacity.

So when tickets were released on Ticketmaster Wednesday afternoon, we were ON IT. My friend Jenny managed to get us some killer seats (mostly luck) and off to the rally we went!

image1Although it would have been pretty cool to be on the field, I was actually really glad that we got assigned seats. With probably about 65,000 people there, it was nice to have a little slab of plastic to call your own.

The day itself was amazing. The sea of black and red was really something to see and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. A good day to be a Chicagoan, for sure.

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[that flag up there is the Chicago flag – 4 stars for the city’s most prominent historical events and two blue stripes for the Chicago River and Lake Michigan]

image6The cap’n, hoisting that beautiful cup.

image5It was a good day, indeed.

Now I just need to get the tracking app so that I can see Lord Stanley’s cup up close and personal.

Wow…that sounded way dirtier than I meant it.

Anyway. Go ‘hawks!!