Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

August 28, 2014 by Ali

We’re 3 days away from September, and I finally went swimming for the first time of the summer last night.

About. Dang. Time.

I used to spend pretty much every single summer day at the pool when I was a kid! In the mornings, I finally “woke up” each day by diving into that chilly water for swim team. (Where, I must point out, I made my one and only notable athletic achievement in life, winning 2nd place in the city of Wichita for backstroke at age 8.) After that, my sister and I would stick around for synchronized swimming. (I have home videos to prove it, where you can also catch a peek of our hair slicked back with gelatin. Yes, it’s what those Olympic swimmers use to literally glue their hairstyles in place.) Then once I became a teenager and was so over those activities, I would head to the pool with friends to lay out for hours and hours and check out the cute lifeguards and get hopped up on sugar from giant Pixie Sticks and work on the perfect tan. Because, of course, I was part of the lucky Banana Boat generation that’s now paying for it today…

Still.

Those summer days are driftin’ away, so I was happy to splash around with friends at least once last night before life gets freezing. So for a fresh and tasty meal before pool time, I decided to make another quintessential summer classic at my house — Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa.

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Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

August 27, 2014 by Ali

This past Sunday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The Let’s-Be-Unusually-Hard-On-Yourself-About-Everything-Today side of the bed.

First of all, I woke up to the sound of my oven timer beeping loudly at me at 6:30am because Forgetful Here accidentally left my phone (a.k.a. the only “alarm clock” I own) at book club the night before. Lovely. Then I hopped in my car to head to church for early band practice, and got completely annoyed after something crashed in the trunk that I still hadn’t cleaned out the clutter in my car for a few weeks. Then, despite getting to play with the most encouraging and awesome group of guys in our band, I started getting super down about my singing and felt like my voice wasn’t strong enough or versatile enough or simply good enough. And then during church, my mind began to wander into the spiral of project deadlines looming and laundry piled up and friends who I hadn’t seen in awhile and a mega load of dishes waiting in the sink and books I couldn’t find time to read and on and on, and before I knew it, it was like – POOF!

Confidence = squelched.

Amazing how quickly those spirals can happen sometime, right??

Gah. Usually I catch (and zap!) them a little faster. But sometimes, they just getcha. And they can bring you down before you really even notice, as self-doubts always love to do.

BUT. I’ve learned over the years that life is way too short to let part of a bad self-confidence day overshadow the whole day. Heck no. If you want to reset your day, you can totally make the decision to do so at 3:28pm on a Monday afternoon at work. Or at 11:05pm on a Thursday night at home. Or at noon on a Sunday at church, like me.

So yeah! After I took a second to regroup and remind myself that I was, in fact, not defined by being forgetful, or lazy, or by my voice (which I know is just fine), or by checking off things on my to-do list, I decided to take the afternoon to reset my little brain and remind myself of who I am and what I love. So I cranked up the radio and sang at the top of my lungs all the way home. Then I called up a few friends and invited them over. And then I gathered together some super simple ingredients, flipped on a movie, made a huge glass of iced tea, and got busy doing what always seems to make me happy — cook. :)

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Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti

August 25, 2014 by Ali

This recipe goes out to all of you rad parents with kiddos heading back to school this week. You asked for quick and easy recipes in our recent reader survey here. And let me tell you, this one’s a keeper. If you were a child of the 80′s like me, you can even pop it in your Trapper Keeper to hold onto for busy school nights ahead.

Ohhh yeah.

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Easy Blueberry “Cheesecake” Bites

August 22, 2014 by Ali

I made you a new snackity snack!

And I hereby name them “cheesecake bites”. Aren’t they cute?!?

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Lemon Meringue Pie

August 20, 2014 by Ali

Last week, there was a birthday in da house at #neighbornights — my friend, Liam!

Talk about neighbors turned into good friends. I can’t really imagine life in our loft without this guy. Liam is a born-and-raised New Yorker who followed a job to Kansas City and ended up living across the hall from me. And during the past two years that I’ve lived in this building, he has been my #1 neighbor.

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Greek Fish Tacos

August 19, 2014 by Ali

Happy Taco Tuesday!

This day of the week (alright, and practically every other day) is usually reserved for Mexican food in mi casa. But today I’m taking a cue from my friend, Cynthia, and going Greek with these delicious fish tacos. In addition to being quite colorful, they are quite good.

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Tzatziki

August 18, 2014 by Ali

Random fact about me:

I can accurately pronounce Spanish, Italian, French, German, Latin, and just about any other language if needed.

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15 Gluten-Free (Easy!) Dinner Ideas

August 17, 2014 by Ali

Happy weekend, friends. I’ve been going through the results of our recent reader survey this weekend, which I will be sharing in full with you soon. And goodness, can I first just say that you all are amazing?!?

It was so (so) good to get to hear directly from you in the survey. And much more, to read through all of the thoughtful, encouraging, and just amazingly kind comments/notes that you all left. I was so humbled by the gracious things that you had to say about this blog, and to hear what the recipes and posts here have meant to you and your families over the years. It means so much to me that this site has been a part of your lives. So thank you for taking the time to write and share your feedback. You’re the best!!!

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