Love Long Weekends

I love long weekends. I mean, who doesn’t?

But for me, this long weekend came at just the right time. This was the first weekend in a while that B and I weren’t double booked and I was overdue for some relaxing, productivity and fun. So what did my long weekend and?

A few long walks. It was hot so I opted not to run (hello overheating pregnancy body!), but instead made sure to hit my step goal each day with a few walks. And the weather was perfect for them!

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A massage! I got my first prenatal massage at Massage Heights and it was GREAT for relaxing. I’ll share a review soon, too (update: here’s the review!).

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A visit to the West Side Market. Because we hadn’t been in a few weeks and I was seriously craving some fresh fruit.
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An Indians game! They ended up losing but we had amazing seats right behind home plate pretty much and it was a gorgeous evening. And they had post-game fireworks!

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Some productivity. I caught up on work and emails, did some meal prep (a few freezer meals for post-baby) and some baking.

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Ice cream. Because Masons is great and their peanut butter and jelly ice cream hit the spot (not pictured- the scoop of honey baklava ice cream).

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More relaxing- two beach days!

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Brunch outside! B and I enjoyed some crepes and French toast.

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And of course a Memorial Day BBQ.

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Cheers (nonalcoholic of course) to a short week!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you enjoy a Memorial Day BBQ? What was on your plate?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do when the weather’s warm? Go to the beach!

I’m linking up today with ErinKatie and the weekly wraps.

 

Can I have another 3-day weekend?

Happy unofficial start of summer! It was the perfect introduction of summer this weekend – a 3 day weekend filled with family, food and pretty much perfect weather. Prepare for a post filled with lots of photos!

Friday night my parents came into town from New York! They got into town just in time for dinner and we walked around downtown for a little (I got to show them the new Heinen’s!) and then headed to Uptown. We had reservations at L’Albtross and the food was soooo good. I seriously love Zach Bruell restaurants and my parents were impressed with their food. After dinner, we walked around Uptown for a second and got dessert at Coquette Patisserie – it was a French food filled evening, I suppose!

My parents enjoying dessert

My parents enjoying dessert

All the sweetness!

All the sweetness!

Saturday, we typically hit up the West Side Market, even when my family comes into town – but this weekend, instead, we decided to try something new – and this meant going for a hike in the ‘burbs. We headed to Squires Castle for a few photos and a nice cool hike in the woods. A little different than our typical more urban walk throughout downtown!

B and I - in nature!

B and I – in nature!

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After our hike, we stopped off in downtown Willoughby for lunch at the Willoughby Brewing Company – it was my first time there and we all enjoyed our meal.

 

By the time we got downtown again, it was almost time for our late-afternoon plans – Indians game! We didn’t have 4 seats tighter, but instead had 2 sets in the 2nd row behind third base and 2 seats in the upper deck. B and my dad got the good seats, and I got the super high seats with my mom. What a fun afternoon! My mom and I enjoyed watching the game, chatting and of course taking selfies.

our super high bird

our super high bird

Baseball game selfie!

Baseball game selfie!

 

We hadn’t been hungry for food during the game, so we opted for Vietnamese for dinner. I love me some Vietnamese cabbage salads – we also feasted on Bun, Pho, spring rolls and more.

ginormous salad

ginormous salad

My parents typically only spend one full day in town when they visit, but since it was a 3-day weekend they were able to also stay for half of the day on Sunday! We started off the day with a visit to the Sunday Market in Hingetown.

Dad and I at Cleveland Tea Revival

Dad and I at Cleveland Tea Revival

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After walking around and of course a few purchases, we hit up brunch in Ohio City at Heck’s.

Cheating on Phuel with another yogurt parfait!

Cheating on Phuel with another yogurt parfait!

And then my parents were off 😦 During the afternoon, B and I ran a few errands, spending waaaay too much time (and $) in Target, before feasting on leftovers and heading to the bar to watch the Cavs game. Thank goodness we brought home a win!

A porter during the game

A porter during the game

Time for  a win!

Time for a win!

I need a cavs shirt

I need a cavs shirt

Monday morning started off with a longish run – now that I’m not training for anything right now, it’s somewhat enjoyable not to have any scheduled long runs; however, I do miss them sometimes! I got in 7.5 miles before B and I hit the driving range.

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I don’t actually know what I’m doing when I hit golf balls … but B does!

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Then it was time to prepare our contribution to our Memorial Day BBQ – an appetizer from our Recipe Girl cookbook – and then it was cookout time!

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My plates from the barbecue – definitely enjoyed chicken, ribs, pork tenderloin, potato salad, and of course ice cream, cookies and local beer. Hope you had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

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my plate!

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New – from Platform!

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vanilla, strawberry, mint chip AND a delicious cookie

 

 

Some questions for you:

  • Do you golf?
  • Which flavors of neopolitan ice cream do you like? I love vanilla and strawberry – but hate chocolate!

 

Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip (no crock pot needed!)

Every Memorial Day,  B’s family gathers at his uncle’s house for your typical summer holiday barbecue. B’s uncle prepares the main dish, and everyone else gets assigned something else – a side dish, salad, drinks, appetizer or dessert. This year, B and I were told to bring an appetizer. After much debate, we decided to bring some sort of bean dip/hummus (we decided to make this SO good 5 Ingredient Garlicky Bean Dip) and B’s famous Bacon Blue Cheese Guacamole. But when we went to the grocery store Monday (yes, we went the Monday of Memorial Day, when everyone else and their mom was there), they had no ripe avocados. So, guacamole was out. So it was going to be either pizza dip or buffalo chicken dip. I quickly googled the pizza dip recipe, realized it would take a few more ingredients and a little more time (of course we were running a little late for that day’s bbq already) so the answer was clear – Buffalo Chicken Dip.

I’d made the dip before (honestly, what girl hasn’t brought Buffalo Chicken Dip to a party in a cute little crock pot for an appetizer before?) and knew it would be a hit. Especially if I bought those awesome Fritos scoops to dip with. And celery, because celery goes GREAT with buffalo chicken dip… and peanut butter.  But not together.

If you’ve never made Buffalo Chicken Dip, here’s the recipe I use. It’s a hybrid of quite a few other recipes I’ve seen but it’s my favorite.  I think I’ve got the ratio of buffalo sauce to ranch JUST perfect! Enjoy 🙂

buffalo chicken dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip 

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 cooked boneless chicken breasts (about 10-12 oz total) OR 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained. Yes, they make chicken in a can, not to be confused with Chicken of the Sea, which is tuna, as Jessica Simpson now understands (no idea what I mean? Check out this video. Sorry for the sidetrack but it’s very important you watch this video because you may understand what happened to Nick and Jessica’s relationship).  Anyway, I’ve made it both ways, and I hate to say it – but you can’t really tell a difference when you use real vs. canned chicken.
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Wing sauce
  • 3/4 -1 cup ranch dressing – I use full fat Hidden Valley Ranch because I can’t stand lowfat Ranch. I use 3/4 c but if you are sensitive to hot sauce (or can’t stand the heat) definitely use the full cup.
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature. I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese because I think it tastes just as good. Unlike lowfat Ranch (see note above).
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim cheddar cheese, divided in half

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat up chicken and hot sauce, until heated through.
  3. Stir in ranch dressing and cream cheese. Continue cooking and stir until well blended and cream cheese is no longer lumpy. Then add in half the cheddar cheese and continue mixing until melted.
  4. Transfer mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over top and then cook in 325 degree oven for 10ish minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve warm with celery and those awesome Fritos scoops. If you’re bringing to a potluck, you can save the cooking in the oven until you get there. OR you can just heat up in the microwave for 2-3 minutes when you get there. And sit back, relax, and watch everyone enjoy your amazing dip!

Some thoughts to ponder –

  • Do you like buffalo chicken? I love anything buffalo flavored! Buffalo chicken salad. Buffalo roasted chickpeas. Buffalo chicken wraps. Buffalo chicken soup. I once made B stop on our drive out to NY in Buffalo so we could try the original buffalo wings. 
  • What’s your go-to potluck recipe?
  • Do you like low-fat substitutions? I generally do, but I can’t stand lowfat ranch dressing. The smell makes me feel sick, too.
  • Do you celebrate Memorial Day with a cookout?
buffalo chicken dip

Heat chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese and ranch dressing in a skillet.

Add half cheddar cheese and cook through.

Add half cheddar cheese and cook through.

transfer into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

transfer into a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar.

enjoy! If you're bringing to a potluck, feel free to set aside a little for yourself to enjoy pre-event :)

enjoy! If you’re bringing to a potluck, feel free to set aside a little for yourself to enjoy pre-event 🙂