Summer Meal Inspo

I love looking up recipes…I probably spend way more time than I should reading, researching, watching and trying to figure out what to make!  I do find cooking kind of like my therapy.  I find it so relaxing to sip on a cold glass of Pinot Grigio while whipping up a nice meal on a hot Summer day!  (Red wine, when it’s the dead of Winter!)   However, sometimes I forget even where to look so I wanted to share some sites that have my eye.

For when it’s almost too hot to cook, or you just got a new grill or smoker, here are some great sites for you to check out! I look forward to testing some recipes out and reporting back here as to what we liked, or didn’t!

Hot Summer Dinner Ideas

Summer Weeknight Dinners

Skinny Taste

Food and Wine

Smoker Recipes

 

Happy cooking!

Toronto Trip

We go up to Toronto every few years and always have such a great time!  We were so excited to bring the kids and they did great! It did rain pretty much the whole weekend, but we still made the best of it.  We tried to get photos, but it’s not easy with two littles and living in the moment.  Memories were made and that was the most important!

We left on Thursday afternoon and made it to about 40 minutes outside of the city before we were all starving.  We stopped at a Japanese restaurant and ordered sushi and noodles.

We arrived at the hotel a little after 8 and the kids were blown away at how beautiful it was.

Our view from one of the windows.

The first thing I did was slip on that amazing Ritz Carlton robe and made myself some tea!

Brooke loved the robes too!!

Bradley took this photo!

I took a video and some blurry photos of the kids enjoying some warm cookies and milk delivered for them!

The man who delivered them told the kids to dunk them in the milk.  They loved it!

Friday morning I scheduled a Hydrafacial (another post coming on that!) so hubby ran and got me a quick Starbucks breakfast and of course a Matcha Latte–Canadian soy milk tastes so different! This drink is not sweet at all up here.  I still loved it.  I also took a few minutes to work on my coaching!

Although it rained, the kids and Joe had a ball exploring a bit!

The kids could see the CN tower out of their side of the suite which was pretty cool.

Joe ordered an Uber and the kids had their first experience riding in one.  They found a really yummy breakfast place (so good we went back all together on Saturday!)

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Mama was still hungry since I didn’t eat anything for lunch, so we walked the wind and rain to this little restaurant/bar Gabby’s.  I had a yummy goat cheese salad and Joe loved their wings.

Bradley is really getting into his selfies haha!

After our mini walk in the rain, we came back to chill in the hotel until our dinner.  I stopped at the hotel bar and grabbed a glass of delicious rosé, threw on my robe and relaxed in bed. It was glorious!

We put on our fancy clothes and I was determined to get a family photo of the kiddos looking so adorable.  The hotel had this beautiful Easter egg display that the kids loved.  We were heading to dinner at East Thirty-Six.

I mean, come on!! I know I made them, but how cute?!

Always let them take a silly photo too!

They’re something else.

Saturday we went back to Cafe Landwer so that I could experience it!

The kids had pizza and it was really really good!

I went with an Eggs Benny Florentine—yum!

Nutella Hot Chocolate = bomb!

The boys had homemade vanilla ice cream

The kids & Joe loved the daily candy bar!

My little shopping spree at the mall consisted of a fun new black coat, sunnies, earrings and some skincare products. After shopping we did go swimming in the pool.  Brooke loved it but Bradley wasn’t a huge fan…hoping to change that by the next vacation!

Brookie and the CN tower.

For dinner Saturday night we returned to Rodney’s.  This place RUINED us for oysters the last time we were in Toronto!  They were so fresh and never once do you get a shell.

We were proud that the kids at some butter noodles with scallops.

Joe enjoyed a Bloody Mary and a lobster roll. I had some really tasty Thai seafood soup.

On the walk back, Bradley cried because he wanted to Uber (LOL!) and we stopped so they could get a little mango ice cream which helped ease the crying a bit.

Sunday was Easter morning and the bunny sent Joe a photo text saying he hid the baskets at home, but the kids had a few eggs and some ears in the hotel waiting for them.

We went to Fran’s for breakfast–it’s right by the mall and super tasty!

Little rabbit ready for the ride home.

Once we got home they found their goodies and played a bit, before we hit up a restaurant for a quick dinner.

We didn’t end up at the Aquarium or the CN Tower, mostly because we didn’t have a ton of time up there, we wanted to relax a bit and enjoy our hotel, and it takes a long time to eat out at restaurants! We figured we will return again soon (maybe later this Summer or early Fall?!)

Overall it was just so nice to escape the everyday life, not have to cook every day, and most importantly spend some great quality time with just us four. Brooke and Bradley both loved the big city, the different foods, the fancy dinners and hotel.  We can’t wait to explore many more places with them.

Weekend

Happy Monday! Both kiddos are off this week and I am not bad about it! Our dog has also gone to “puppy training school” so that is an added bonus around these (quiet) parts.

Friday was GORGEOUS! It was the first day where it truly felt like Spring.  It was sunny, warmer and not too terribly windy.  It did rain later at the bus stop, but we soaked up every moment of enjoying the nice weather until then.

I hit up the gym for a 9:15 Zumba class and it felt so great to move and shake.

We checked out this delicious taco joint in the city and holy guacamole it is a MUST do! I honestly love Fridays with my guys.

I tried the get the ‘cleanest’ thing on the menu, which was the Becca bowl.  It was loaded with veggies, lettuce, some rice, pico de gallo, beans, and I got both the baja fish and the shrimp to try.  Joe and Bradley ended up eating my fish, but it was a HUGE portion and so very tasty!

We took a little drive to look at houses and then ended up on a few walks around downtown.  High Falls is pretty cool looking from this pedestrian bridge.

It gets rather windy out on the bridge, but we got to see a train go by too so it made this dude’s day!

 

We were making the “Dino” roar noise here…haha!

 

We also took a quick walk down on the river.

Friday evening we ordered sushi via Grub Hub, booked our SUMMER VACATION plans wooo!!  The kids had a “picnic” dinner in the living room and it was very chill.

Saturday morning I hit up the gym for a quick sweat sesh.  I tried this new coconut water electrolyte drink.  It was pretty tasty!  I am usually not a fan of coconut water, but I enjoyed it.

Saturday night we had a fast dinner at The Rev, as we had plans to see a comedian at 7:30.  Cheers to the good life and all our big plans!

Tammy was HILARIOUS and my stomach is still a bit sore from laughing so hard!

After the comedy show we stopped by Radio Social next door.  There’s a bowling alley and some fun games to play.  The boys had quite the Jenga game going!  It was nice to get out and have some fun.

Sunday was rather uneventful, other than Joe dropping off Bailey at the trainer’s.  I whipped up a quick dinner with some ground venison. I kind of just googled “pasta bake” and added whatever I had left in the fridge. Result?  We loved it! The kids don’t seem to love pasta mixed with sauce and meat, but they did eat it.  I added cheese and pepperoni on top and call it “pizza pasta” in hopes they eat it haha.

After dinner the boys played legos and Brooke read her Kinder take home book to us.  After the kiddos went to bed, we wanted to watch a movie. (Note, we are the 1% who has never seen Game of Thrones!) We ended up with Wolf of Wallstreet, ya know because we have not seen it 50x already…but it’s all good because, you know, #leo.

It’s a chilly 39 today, overcast and rainy.  I guess it will warm up later in the week though!  I have some plans of working on my Life Coaching (more coming on that soon!) and spending some QT with the kids and I plan on hitting the gym later on.  Are you on Spring break? What are your fun plans?

Toronto: Must See & Do

We may have booked a little family getaway!! We are so excited to take the kids up north to one of our favorite cities.  We will be staying right by the CN Tower and the Aquarium, but what else is fun for little ones?  I am sure we will spend some time at the pool for sure!

The last time we were up here, we celebrated Joe’s 40th birthday. 

We most likely will be hitting up Rodney’s Oyster House once again– best oysters ever!

The kiddos will get their own area on a pull out couch, so we will have plenty of room for all four of us.

3 years ago we were up in Toronto in May and had a ball.  We could not for the life of us find this amazing restaurant–we must have walked by it a dozen times before we saw it.

Lunch over in the ‘fancy’ area … Bloor/Yorkville.

I know it won’t be quite this warm, but we are hoping for some warmer weather for sure!

We did travel up here with Brookie back in August of 2013; it was tricky with a stroller and her being a baby, but still was fun! She was great until our last nice dinner…she wanted nothing to do with it!

It will be about a 2.5/3 hour drive so that shouldn’t be that bad with the kids.  They will be totally fine I am sure.  Once we are there, we can’t wait wait to take them to some nice restaurants, do a little shopping and certainly some site seeing.  We’ve started experimenting and taking them to ‘fancier’ restaurants around here and they’ve been doing really well!  They’re starting to not eat off the ‘kids menu’ (aka chicken tenders/pizza/hot dogs) and boy do they sure love a good steak!

Most of all, I look forward to making memories!  It’s been awhile since the 4 of us packed up and traveled.  There’s something refreshing getting out of the house, seeing all walks of life, experiencing different cultures and living.  We will be sure to take tons of photos and videos to share!

Book Club: More than a Book

What started out as a few of us girls sharing a love for reading, has honestly turned into such a beautiful thing!!  Last year a few of us talked about starting a ‘no stress book club.’  One where we didn’t even necessarily have to read the same book, but just get together, out of the house, away from the kids and chat about books, life, marriage, whatever!

What started out as 4 of us has grown into this:

You may have caught my posts about the wine bar book club.  We realized that it was a little more fun to all have read the same book!  These ladies are all so sweet and we are all at different stages of life.  Some are working moms, some are grandmas, some stay home, some of our husbands work together, some I’ve met because of my kids.  But somehow, we all bonded over words written on pages, a few drinks and tons of laughs.

Do you know what’s hard? Life.  Mothering.  Thinking that you’re alone, struggling or failing at this beautiful thing called motherhood.  Hearing each other’s struggles, triumphs, complete fails and utter disappointments has helped lift each other up and truly see what matters most in life.  Friendships, companionship, relationships…women are such different creatures.  While I LOVE being home and do consider myself a bit of an introvert, get me around the RIGHT group of girls and I feel so alive.  I hope these girls had as much fun as I did!

We had a fantastic dinner at Edibles downtown Rochester and I’m a bad blogger who forgot to take a photo of my scallops & brussels sprouts!  The Truffle tots were to die for as well.  Not to mention the brut champs…

The book that was chosen for February was this one:

It wasn’t beautifully written, so if you’re looking for a great piece of literature, this most likely isn’t for you. It was however, very gripping and kept me turning the page literally — this was the book where I was on page 77 and then couldn’t put it down until I finished at 1am.

It’s about a girl who stops at a rest stop due to some extreme bad weather.  She is trying to race the clock, as her mother is dying in a hospital bed.  She pulls off at a truck stop and ends up seeing a little girl kidnapped in the back of the van.  There are only a few people there, so she has to figure out who she can trust and whom she cannot, as the life of this little girl is in her hands.

I won’t lie, there were parts when I literally had to skim through…I can’t handle blood, guts and gore very well.  Nor did I like the awful situations mentioned, but they were brief and overall I enjoyed the book.

I’d give it 3/5 stars.

Oh and as for going out on a Tuesday night?  I most likely did not need the very last drink, “In da Club,” but it was so worth it.  Next time it’s a Thursday evening, so that won’t hurt so bad in the morning!