Chewy No-Bake Tahini Nut Granola Bars

The summer time clock is ticking and back to school is inching closer by the second! My goal this week is to ease myself into the transition by waking up a little earlier each day. So far so good, we’ll see how well I stick to that plan once we get to my grandparents house on Friday. They are early risers so hopefully I’ll do the same, but there is something about their guest bedroom that makes me revert back to high school and want to sleep in as late as I can.

Ren Golfing
                  So long sweet summer…

As I mentioned in my last post, my mother and sister are here visiting for a few days until we head to my grandparents. They got in late last night and I can’t wait to spend some quality girl time. If the weather cooperates we plan to get some time in at the beach. It’s been extremely rainy over the last week so if that trend continues we’ll just have to do a little shopping instead. Needless to say, I’m A-OK with both of these options.

mom and Haley
Wedding dress shopping… hence the wine glass 🙂

Robert informed me last night that he has chosen my birthday present and that I shouldn’t make any plans for the weekend after next. I’m not sure what exactly this gift could be, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t a trip to Thailand or a puppy sister for Renly (My top two gift requests always). It’s probably not the workout tops I picked out either as those wouldn’t cause me to block out any time on my schedule. I’m thinking it may be a weekend getaway, but to where? I have no idea! I love to travel any and everywhere so I can’t wait to find out what he has up his sleeve. Sweet sneaky husband.

Nuts  Dry

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Super Simple Side: Pan Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

And just like that it’s almost August! Summer, where have you gone? Anyone have any tips for prolonging these next few weeks? If so I’m all ears. Besides being the first week of August, next week is also my last official week of summer break. True to style, we have packed a lot into it already. Robert has an end of the summer party with his tennis buddies on Sunday, my mother and sister are tentatively coming for a few days of girl time Tues-Thurs and then we leave for North Carolina to spend the weekend with my grandparents. On top of all of that (in just the first week!) we also celebrate my birthday and the anniversary of our engagement in August Smile  Robert and I got engaged in Las Vegas while on vacation with my family and it was hands down the best few days of my life. Our wedding was absolutely amazing, but getting engaged in Vegas was SO MUCH FUN! I’ll be sure to recap that fabulous trip next.

 

It probably isn’t traditional to celebrate the anniversary of your engagement, but Robert surprised me last year and I sure hope it becomes a yearly tradition (hint hint). He set his alarm to wake me up after he left for work and I found a sweet card by the bed telling me to get up and get ready because he was on his way home to pick me up for a breakfast date! There aren’t many things I love more than a breakfast date, and the fact that Robert took an hour away from a busy work morning meant the world.

 Anniversary

It was such a sweet surprise and a nice low key way to celebrate the best “yes” I’ve ever given.

 Olive Oil

As summer winds down, I hope everyone is taking advantage of all the yummy produce it has to offer. I guess technically asparagus is a Spring vegetable but whatever, we’re still enjoying it in this neck of the woods. Full disclosure, I used to dislike asparagus. It’s got a pretty distinct flavor, it definitely makes your trips to the bathroom more fragrant and getting a thick, not quite done stalk is quite unfortunate. Luckily, as my taste buds have matured and as I’ve been exposed to fresh, well prepared asparagus, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the pointy green little guys.

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Slow Saturday Breakfast: Tropical Baked Oatmeal

And just like that it’s Monday again. They always come back around so quickly don’t they? Robert and I had a great, full weekend. We went on a dinner date Friday night, spent Saturday on the boat with friends and spent Sunday at the beach celebrating the first birthday of a friend’s darling daughter.  It doesn’t get much cuter than a baby at the beach. Except maybe a baby Renly at the beach Smile

 Renly-First-Beach-Trip.jpg

On a serious note, I realized today that summer break is half way over Sad smile Four weeks down, four to go. Most of last summer was so full of wedding craziness that this one has seemed so much more laid back and relaxing. A girl could really get used to this! I am always ready and excited to start the new school year when it is time, but I will definitely miss all the sleeping in extra time in the kitchen.

Sliced bananas  Layered Fruit

During the school year I typically go to the gym in the morning on my way to work. This means waking up VERY early and packing my breakfast to eat at school. I relish weekend breakfasts during the school year because I actually get to take my time making something a little more laborious, and enjoy it with my husband!

Oat Pour  Egg Pour

Baked oatmeal is a great dish to enjoy slowly on the weekend, fresh out of the oven, BUT it is also perfect for the work week because it re-heats beautifully.  Mangoes can be tricky to cut, so if you are struggling (and haven’t youtube’d it yet) let me show you how I do it. The easiest way I have found to cut a mango is to basically slice it into thirds. The pit of a mango is flat and in the middle. You will want to place the mango upright on the cutting board and cut along the sides of the pit (from top to bottom)  so you are left with three pieces. The middle piece which contains the pit, and the two outside halves.

 How to slice a mango

These halves are where you will get your fruit. I then like to score the halves, vertically and horizontally, taking care not to cut all the way through the peel.

 Diced Mango

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Slow Saturday Breakfast: Sautéed Onion & Kale Breakfast Scramble

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day yesterday. What a wonderful and so totally worthwhile holiday that one is…I mean really, does ANYONE work as hard and do as much for you as your mom?

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Judging from the outpouring of social media love I saw yesterday I would say the answer is no. I am clearly one of millions who thinks my own mother hung the moon, and as I’ve found with many things, I appreciate her more and more with each passing year. What is that old adage? With age comes wisdom? Something like that. It’s true though, as I get closer to considering becoming a mom myself, I wonder how in the heck my mom ever did it! When my sister and I were growing up my mother  kept our house spotless, did most of the yard work, did all the grocery shopping and laundry, had a home cooked meal on the table every single night, made sure neither of us ever wanted for anything including homemade, hand sewn Halloween costumes that she would whip up in the blink of an eye, attended all of our school and non-school events and shuttled us back and forth to whatever extra curricular activities or play dates were happening at the moment….oh yeah, and she worked FULL TIME! Superwoman, right?

Halloween
Proof of homemade costumes…this must have been the year Aladdin came out

My dad traveled for work 4-5 days a week when I was growing up so my mom was essentially a single parent, but she never missed a beat. Robert and I absolutely want children of our own someday but we’re not quite there yet. When I say we I really mean me, because if I’m being honest I sometimes find it overwhelming just to work full time, keep up our home and take care of Renly. If I can’t always find the time to walk my dog, how in the world am I going to throw children into the mix someday?!? Am I the only not yet parent who wonders this? To every working mom out there, I salute you! You are all superwomen! And to non-working moms, I salute you too because I can only imagine that being on call 24/7 is the hardest job of them all! I guess when the time is right for Robert and I, I can turn to my own superhero mom (and amazing mother and sister in law!) to help show me the ropes!

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Since I wasn’t able to be with my own mom, I spent yesterday celebrating the new mothers in my life, my in-laws! We had a wonderful day treating my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s mother (Did you catch all that…I know that was a lot of “in laws” to keep up with) to brunch. We took the boat to ELA’s, a seafood restaurant with yummy food and even better water views. Since I am a notorious planner I had already checked the menu out online.

I know, it’s a problem, I’m never going to change sorry  I’m working on it.

 veggies

I was glad I  checked it out because while delicious sounding, most of the options were pretty darn caloric. For example, Blueberry Stuffed French Toast – triple stacked cinnamon texas toast dusted with powdered sugar, stuffed with blueberries, cream cheese and walnuts, finished with whipped cream, fresh berries and syrup served with applewood smoked bacon strips.  Holy yum and holy heart attack, right? I decided I should make myself a healthy breakfast that would keep me from being ravenous at our 1:00 reservations and devouring all the stuffed french toast I could get my hands on.

 Ingredients

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Slow Saturday Breakfast: Smoked Salmon & Sweet Potato Hash

Happy Saturday! This might be the first time in a while that I’ve posted a “Slow Saturday Breakfast” on an actual Saturday. ASB2k15 allows you to be on the ball like that.

ASB2k15? Adult Spring Break 2015 (Hey-O)! You may be wondering how adult spring break differs from that experienced during your younger years. There is significantly less drinking, A LOT more sleeping and  since the weather has been positively terrible in Tennessee this week, a lot less sunburn. After a weekend in Hilton Head with my mom, we both packed up and headed back to Chattanooga on Monday. Since we’ve been back it has rained non-stop which means instead of playing outside with Renly, walking/shopping downtown and laying out like I planned to do, I have been napping, reading and playing lots of indoor tug-of-war with Mr. Ren and his favorite toys. I miss the sun but napping in my childhood bed like I used to do after a tough day of high school (hah) is not a bad alternative. File this spring break under ‘lazy’ ‘relaxing’.

Spring Break Renly
           Spring Break Renly

Another thing I have been doing a lot of this week is eating breakfast foods for as many meals as possible. It’s only fitting since I’ve spent the majority of this week in my pajamas (I know, I am SO fun and exciting, right?!?). If I didn’t have my darling husband to cook for, I could easily eat breakfast for all three meals a day. Robert doesn’t mind the occasional pancake dinner but he’s more of a traditionalist when it comes to mealtimes. Unfortunately for him, ASB2k15 is not one of the perks of his job. He’s been stuck home working all week while I’ve been binging on oatmeal and egg sandwiches. That of course means he’s probably been binging on all the unhealthy stuff I try to limit when I’m around, so he might actually be enjoying this ASB2k15 almost as much as me Smile

Hash 3

Before you start worrying about me actually turning into a pancake, I have made it out of the house a bit this week. On Wednesday my mother, sister and I drove down to Atlanta for some girl time. We shopped at some cute boutiques in the Virginia Highlands area and then made our way to the Westsides Provisions District for a little more shopping and some lunch. We ate at Star Provisions, which is more or less a deli counter/bakery in the front of Bacchanalia, one of Atlanta’s most beloved restaurants. We each ordered a sandwich, Reuben for mom, Muffaletta for my sister and I got the Banh Mi, my first. Holy wow, I wish I had stopped to take a picture of our lovely sandwiches but we were so hungry that they were gone before I even considered it. My mom declared her reuben the best she’s ever had and my banh mi was outstanding. We all liked the muffaletta the least and agreed it would have been better toasted. If you’re in Atlanta and into sandwiches (who isn’t into sandwiches?) I highly recommend Star Provisions. They also have some gorgeous kitchen wares and linens to peruse while you wait for your food, and last but not least, a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams across the street. Ice cream is my favorite indulgence and I have been itching to try Jeni’s. I took advantage after our meal and followed up my lunch with two scoops: brown butter toffee crumble and brambleberry crisp. Delicious. It was the perfect ending to a lovely mother daughter day. It also fueled us for our final stop, Ikea. If you’ve never visited an Ikea, I can best sum it up by saying that it’s an experience. A very large, somewhat overwhelming, maze like experience. I’ll leave it at that.

Egg Lid On

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