Tuesday, April 23, 2013

From Shoveling Out to Grilling Out

Today's walk into work looked like this:

Beautiful, snow-covered campus. Despite the residual frustration with this prolonged winter, it was lovely to take a few moments to appreciate the serene setting. 

The photo below is my favorite...a visual representation of how our spring has gone so far. 

By the time I left work, the sun was shining and had melted all the snow off these bikes. There is something about spring sunshine that lifts your soul and just makes things better. On the drive home, I was overcome with the desire to do summer things. That desire, combined with general hungriness led me to stop into the grocery store for ground  beef and fixings for cheeseburgers. 

Lean ground beef patties simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. 

Yay for being able to use the grill. Hubs was in charge of grilling the burgers. 

In the meantime, I worked on our burger accoutrements. Whole wheat buns with mayonnaise, butter leaf lettuce and onions; pear slices, and ketchup and mustard in small dishes. What you can't see in this photo are the tater tots that were baking away in the oven. Yes, you read correctly...tots, the most delicious childhood (and let's be honest, all times) snack ever. Cascadian Farms makes a great organic option called "spud puppies."

I bought these small dishes at a local asian market. A fun and classy way to display simple condiments. 

The whole meal, tots and all :) Looks like a happy spring day on a plate. 

Cheers to sunshine, 

-The Delicious Dabbler

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spinach, Pineapple, Mango Smoothie

I've been feeling a bit under the weather the past week, so we have been doing quite a bit of juicing and smoothie making around our house.  Tonight, this yummy recipe was born and it is one of my favorites. If you are new to green smoothies and find them a bit daunting... hubs' reaction after tasting it was "it's not as scary as it looks." He also just finished his as I am typing this and gave the recipe a thumbs up, so give it a whirl!

Spinach, Pineapple, Mango Smoothie

1. Add the following ingredients to your blender:
-2 handfuls (roughly 2 c) of spinach
-1 banana
-1 c frozen mango
-1 c frozen pineapple
-1 c orange juice
-1 c water
-1 tbsp honey

2. Blend the ingredients until well-combined (my measurement of this is that you can no longer see spinach pieces). 

3. Pour and enjoy :)

Green and powerful :) The sweetness of the fruit and honey is delightful. So is knowing that the nutrients of the spinach and antibacterial properties of the honey are working to my immune system's benefit. 

What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

-The Delicious Dabbler

Saturday Simple Happinesses

A sunny Saturday is one of the more wonderful things to wake up to. It is so nice to see the sun after a long week of snow and clouds. Planning to make the most of it by taking the girls for a long walk. How are you planning to bask in this beauty today?

1. With the exception of tennis balls, there is nothing Bailey loves more than a good sun beam to nap in. She is keeping me company while I work on final papers (hence, the disgusting amount of multi-colored post its). 

2. As mentioned here, my plant sale loot! The first tray is full of herbs and lavender, and the second are the 10 arborvitae trees that will soon (fingers crossed mother nature) grace our fence line. 

3. & 4. A paper writing snack of Pirate's Booty and my new Klean Kanteen. I absolutely adore this brand and somehow in the midst of the blizzard/plant sale mania, I misplaced my black one (a major crisis considering this is the main transport vesicle for my morning tea). This new one is a happy grey. You can check out their products here. I just discovered they make baby bottles and they are irresistibly cute. 

Have a great weekend, 

-The Delicious Dabbler

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Snook Inn, Marco Island

What a truly funny weather day we are having. The comedic-highlight for me occurred this afternoon on the St. Paul U of M campus. I happened upon the U of M plant sale as I was leaving work and during the last hour of the sale, everything was 50% off. 10 arborvitae trees later, I was hauling a flat of 5 foot trees 1/2 a mile to my car with swirling snow and minimal visibility. My future plant privacy fence is now happily resting in our dining room next to the window, waiting for winter to end and the ground to thaw. 

Perhaps finishing up my series of Florida posts will bring about the end of the blizzard we are currently experiencing...? 

Let's go with that theory. 

Enter into our blizzard-ending theory, the Snook Inn...my favorite, quirky, delicious, best-dine-in-scenery, location in Marco. 
The Snook is located right on the water and if you happen to be traveling by boat, you can pull right up to the dock for dinner. 

That view is pretty hard to beat. In the background is the bridge onto Marco Island. 

Hello friend. 

I absolutely love a good-sized water glass. 

We started with calamari, one of my all-time food favorites. I loved the simplicity of this version. Light batter, a healthy dose of black pepper,  and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice...wonderful :)

I went with the broiled seafood combo: shrimp, grouper, scallops, and mahi-mahi surrounded a delicious portion of crab stuffing. 

Crab + stuffing = happiness. 

Despite the waterfront-setting, hubs went with his typical: steak. 

After dinner, we sat along the dock and took in the view. 

Just floatin'. 

We saw three dolphins  and naturally, we named them and created background stories for their fishing and swimming patterns. Just as hubs was trying to convince me we had seen enough, we saw a fish jump out of the water only to be caught mid-air by the open mouth of one of our storied dolphins. It was quite the thrilling end to our dining experience. 

This sign made me laugh at the time. In light of today's weather, it is even better. 1 inch...cars will be towed!!

Happy blizzarding, 

-The Delicious Dabbler

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quinn's on the Beach, Marco Island Marriott

I can't help but laugh as a look at the picture below and then look out my own window at the continuous stream of wintry precipitation. Let's all close our eyes and envision warm sun beams, a soft lounge chair, and fabulous iced tea... 

So much better. 

A few weeks ago, I shared with you all that the hubs and I celebrated our wedding in Marco Island, Fl, at the end of March (first post here). This post picks up where that one left off and is allowing me to relive those warm, sunny days :)
I woke up to this stunning sunrise. The whole island appeared encapsulated by a low fog and it reflected the sunshine so beautifully. 

That sunrise gave way to this beautiful day. We did lots of beach walking, poolside lounging, and book reading. We opted to stay at the hotel for dinner that night and made the short walk to Quinn's on the Beach (you can the roof of Quinn's in the above photo). 

House-made potato chips with stout cheese sauce, bacon, and green onion. The perfect combination of crunchy, salty, and cheesy. 

I went with the grilled grouper sandwich, accompanied by fries, coleslaw, and a pickle. It was a wonderful ending to a day in the sun. 

Hubs went with a grilled chicken sandwich. I love the small metal baskets for the french fries. A fun way to display and serve the food that made a very traditional menu offering  feel special. 

Sending you warm and sunny wishes for a great start to the week,

-The Delicious Dabbler 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Simple Happinesses

Today's simple happiness reflections are wrapped in a great sense of relief...the comprehensive exam for my graduate program is over, as of 10:58am this morning. Hooray :) 5 weeks left in the semester. I am so looking forward to having a bit more time in my days for baking, blogging,  and enjoying some Minny sunshine (spring will come eventually, right?). 

1. Being sick whilst taking the comp exam is no fun, but having the best mom in the world who will come over to make you chicken soup is pretty amazing. 

2. The "Old Skool Balls" meatball sandwich at Hello Pizza. The hubs and I stopped in as a treat after long days of work and snowy commutes. 

3. Hello gorgeous. House-made soft-serve with chocolate sauce and sea salt. A bonus shot of hubs' hands... he was so excited, I couldn't get him to move them out of the shot (you can see his spoon is ready to go). 

4. This gorgeous new table runner made by incredibly talented grams. The colors tie in with a painting that hangs in our dining room and having her work around our house is so special. 

5. When snow is still in the forecast through next week, you have to take spring humor when it is given to you. The only patch of grass thriving right now...due to the heat from that vent. 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, 

-The Delicious Dabbler

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Simple Happinesses

Last night, the hubs and I joined up with our Gopher Baseball Family to celebrate the first game at the new Siebert Field. True to Minnesota form, the game was suspended in the 5th inning due to snow and cold temperatures. Spring, where are you? This weekend will be full of studying for me, as the comprehensive exam for my grad program looms near. I am hoping the sun and warm weather  makes a brief appearance so I can take my stack of study guides outside. 

1. Tea this morning in my favorite running mug. Also pictured, the invitation that just came for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law's (so many hyphens) wedding shower. These stunning invites were made by my aunt. 

2. Apple, pineapple, and carrots prepped for the juicer. 

3. Post-juicing pulp. That combo is destined for carrot-cake inspired muffins later today. 

4. A delicious breakfast. I loved the sweet addition of the pineapple. 

Wishing you a great weekend, 

-The Delicious Dabbler