The Pecan-Pesto Mozzarella Burger

Let me fill you in on the biggest letdown yet most memorable thing about my weekend…

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For starters… it wasn’t this burger. This burger was definitely on the list of the top three things about my weekend, but more on that in a bit.

Kyle was FINALLY home for an entire weekend and it was marvelous! We celebrated his birthday as a family (a bit belated) and then he and I ran our usual weekend errands and even worked on some home DIY projects. Basically the recipe for a perfect weekend in our eyes!

We had to head over to a Home Depot store that we usually do not frequent because our location was out of floor flanges… boo. While perusing the paint section, there was a random man with his toddler daughter nearby while Kyle looked for spray paint down the aisle. The man, his daughter and I were approached as a family by a gentleman named Matthew from The Home Depot marketing department and he asked if we had plans to redo our kitchen anytime soon. The man with the daughter gave me a weird look then glared at Matthew. Matthew got the hint, realized we were not, in fact, together, and quickly apologized while blushing. Meanwhile, Kyle looked over and I was able to tell Matthew I was married to that fella shakin’ all the paint cans.

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Matthew proceeded to ask us if we had plans to redo our kitchen in the future. Let me just tell you, Kyle and I have been discussing a small little renovation in our kitchen this last week. With that being said, I didn’t want to be too eager to answer and get us into some “pitch” (I know, I’m awful… like really Stephanie? Would it be that inconveniencing? No, it would not be). Anyhoo, I looked to Kyle for an answer and when he said “we actually were thinking about it”, Matthew’s eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store.

Now here is the embarrassing thing. Clearly, Kyle and I watch ENTIRELY too much HGTV because come to find out later, after Matt’s initial question about the possibility of a kitchen reno, both of us admitted that we were looking around for the cameras and just waiting to hear how The Home Depot was sponsoring our kitchen reno over the weekend and we were the next couple on an episode of Kitchen Crashers. We had our hopes up so high that we even agreed to sign up for some free consultation where they come to your house and give you an estimate blah, blah, blah. I felt obligated after seeing how excited Matthew was. Kyle proceeded to shake paint while I followed Matt to the desk area to book the appointment.

This is where it gets good. As Matt and I are walking back to the desk, he asks me if we are originally from Phoenix. I explain that I am but Kyle is from Denver and he moved down here about 2 years ago then we bought our house and got married shortly thereafter. His response to this completely. blew. my. mind.

He looks at me and says with this overzealous look on his baby-soft face “Oh Denver? It is a nice place! My brother heads up there often. So, uh Denver, it’s like the summer up there right now, yeah?”

Like… WHAAAATTTTT? It is the summer up there?? Dude, this is Western United States and AZ literally touches CO at the Four Corners. It’s not like the city of Denver is in the Southern Hemisphere. I mean, I just don’t get it. Worst part about it… I respond casually with an “Oh yeah” and he didn’t even realize how ridiculous of a comment he just made.

Unreal.

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Anyways, we booked the appointment for this week. I canceled it today. We aren’t going to be on Kitchen Crashers and we were super let down. But we got our floor flanges and a funny one liner to quote to one another about the summer in a state just northeast of us so it was worth it.

Enough about that though… let’s switch gears to one of the best parts of the weekend, shall we?

I give you… (trumpets sound) this burrrrrrgggggeeeeerrrrrrr.

Inspired by the Fontina Burger at Joe’s Farm Grillthis burger is the business, my friends. Pesto? check! Mozz? check! Mushrooms? check! Roasted red bells? check! Arugula? check! On a toasty english muffin? check, check, check, check, check check!

It is so good and so quick for summer grilling. It is full of flavor and stars pesto with a small twist on my standard Arugula Walnut Pesto (I just switch up my greens ratios and sub walnuts for pecans) and you’ll have leftover sauce! Oh, and the whole thing on a toasty but soft english muffin… yeah, because that’s the way uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it!

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So thank Joe for the delicious idea then make this burg and love me long time for bringing you a knock-off recipe! K bye!

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Vanilla Bean Honey Dip

“I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go…

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If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy, I don’t mind ‘cuz you mean that much to me…”

A little Temptations on a Friday morning, huh? Yeah, I know you like it. I have lit’rally been singing that song ALL. WEEK. LONG.

I’m talkin’, in the shower, top of my lungs, on a Tuesday night with no one else home… prettttty sure the neighbors heard me but honestly I am not really sorry about it because it is just a good, quality song.

Now I am sure you are wondering what this song has to do with Vanilla Bean Honey Dip and I will say to you… pretty much nothing. But that’s a-okay because it is a good song and this fruit dip is a good dip and so that is my connection. 1 good thing + 1 good thing = 2 good things.

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“Ain’t too proud to beg, sweet darlin’, please don’t leave me girl, don’t you go…”

This stuff is seriously beyond. It is perfectly dreamy, creamy, honey and vanilla bean goodness. With the addition of the greek yogurt to lighten and tang it all up, the dip becomes reminiscent of my favorite honey Noosa yoghurt which makes me the happiest little lady because that stuff costs a pretty penny!

Ya know, I have tried a lot of fruit dips in my 23 years and I must say that the classic cream cheese marshmallow fluff has definitely been my go to. I have ALWAYS loved it. Made it at my parents a couple of weeks ago, as a matter of fact.

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But then, this Vanilla Bean Honey (VBH) dip happened and my life has eternally changed. I whipped up this bowl of heaven on Wednesday evening (in 5 easy peasy minutes, I might add) for a light dessert to serve up with some fresh strawberries and kiwi for Kyle’s return home from a work trip.  We wish we’d have had lots of pineapple and apples to get our dip on as well but we dealt with just strawberries and kiwi and were not upset about it at all. I truly don’t think I’ll ever go back to my former cream cheese & fluff days. I’ll forever be a VBH dip girl and I’d like to shout it from the rooftops while I’m groovin’ to…

You guessed it!

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“Ain’t too proud to plee-eee-ead baby, baby, please don’t leave me girl, don’t you go!”

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Fried Egg & Avocado B.L.T.

Have I ever talked to you all about breakfast for dinner?

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No? Okay, well now is time.

I like it but I really have to be in the mood for it. And when I am in the mood for it, seems like nothing else will really suffice.

So I give you this hearty little sandwich which can be breakfast or maybe it’s more brunchy… or dinner. Like it was for me!

It is loaded up with tons of thick applewood bacon, ripe tomatoes, mixed greens, buttery avocado, tasty basil and a fresh fried egg. Is that an oxymoron? A fresh fried egg? Oh well… it’s fried and makes me feel fresh-ish so I’m stickin’ to that description.

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These are the types of dinner meals I have to make when Kyle is out of town. Breakfast for dinner to me is not really in Kyle’s realm of finishing a day off right.

I recall my dad making dinner every so often when I was younger. He loves the idea of breakfast for dinner and his number one go-to was always biscuits & gravy. Let me tell you something about Rod Beeman. He doesn’t cook super often but the man seriously knows how to make his specialties. 1. Smoked brisket & pulled pork… don’t even try to challenge him 2. Tri-tip…duh and 3. Biscuits & gravy.

I LOVE biscuits & gravy but don’t make it as often as I would like to due to its rib-sticking nature which happens to add a bit to the love handles too, if you know what I’m sayin’. So what is my sensible solution? A BLT with an egg fried in bacon grease because that’s super waist-line friendly, amiright?

Who am I?

Who cares? Because this is quick and delicious and easy and I say make it when you’re husband is out of town. It’ll make your night at home a little less lonely. Is that sad it makes me less lonely?

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If it is… so be it!

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Sausage & Spinach Stromzone

Give me a S!

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SSSSSSSSSSSSS! You got your S, you got your S.

Give me a T!

TTTTTTTTTTTTT! You got your T, you got your T.

Give me a R!

RRRRRRRRRRRRR! You got your R, you got your R.

Give me an O!

OOOOOOOOOOOOO! You got your O, you got your O.

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I shouldn’t do the entire word, should I?

Alright, I will stop there, but I do have to at least talk about this cuh-razy word: stromzone! Ya know, a stromboli and calzone combined equals a stromzone.

At first, I thought I wanted to make this beautiful braided stromboli stuffed with sausage and spinach and mushrooms. My heart was set and I knew that was what I was making.

And then I remembered… ricotta. Classic for calzones. Not so classic for strombolis. So what do I do? I make a stromboli and shove that baby full of a ricotta and call it a stromzone. Then I make the easiest marinara ever because it is so necessary for dipping drenching and it is the hap hap happiest day ever!

Picture 19 Yep, I done did it and I’m super happy about it and you should be too!

I HATE making homemade dough. I am just not good at it. Gettin’ things all yeasty and perfectly frothy is not my forte. Kyle… great at it. Me… not so much. And since he is out of town, no homemade dough for me. Time to hit up the store to buy some dough. Safeway has great raw dough in the deli section. They make a traditional version and a white whole wheat version in store and sell them by the pound for about 2 bucks a pop. That’s a serious deal if you ask me, considering how much I hate dealing with the aforementioned yeast.

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It’s so easy to roll and stretch the dough out into a long rectangle, slit the sides, stuff the center and pull it all together for a pretty little finish.

I really was needing this cheesy, doughy goodness after a week full of several ups and downs. When life is throwing you some curveballs, ricotta and mozzarella stuffed into an ell-bee of fluffy dough is guaranteed to be a strike right down the middle that you can surely knock out of the park. See what I did there… the whole baseball thing. I know… so clever. It’s a gift. (Yes, I am annoying myself as much as I am annoying you. Moving right along)

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Isn’t she golden? And just a little oozy, in the best possible way?

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Ok another, because I took a gajillion pictures and I have a hard time choosing which ones to show you.

Stuff this stromzone with your favs and bake it up for a weeknight meal when you’re in need to stress-cheese or go the opposite way and use it as a celebratory dough fest when life is giving you the sweetest lemons of all time! Either way, you just gots to make it.

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Give me a M!

MMMMMMMMMMMMM! You got your M, you got your … oh, are we still not finishing this? Okay then, I’m done.

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Also, total side note and having nothing to do with this post…I don’t want to get all sappy on you but I do just want to encourage you to stop today and recognize how good God is. Through the best times and the worst in life, it’s amazing to see Him working through it all. Really makes me realize how wonderful my life is and how I can be nothing but grateful for all that I have. He is good all the time and all the time He is good. Blessings, friends!

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (& a weekend update!)

Sweet taters in the Summmma! IMG_4889 And an update of my weekend, of course.

It was a weekend of ups and downs and I felt all the feelings. I felt grateful, happy, loved, appreciative and sick… oh, so sick. The stomach bug hit me hard and shook me like a dawgggg.

From Thursday night to Saturday afternoon I felt awful! Conveniently enough, Friday morning, my Aunt Corina and cousin Brittany, along with her three littles, Maverick, Hawk and Noelle, came into town for a girl’s day with my momma and me. We went shopping and to lunch and I pushed through then we had an amazing BBQ out at Momma and Papa Bee’s house complete with a feeble attempt at swimming, basketball fun, burger bar galore and homemade waffle cones!

I say feeble attempt at swimming because within 10 minutes of being in the pool, we were swarmed by more freaking bees than you could ever imagine and we all spazzed to get out as soon as possible. Noelle was the only one who got stung and she was fine in a matter of minutes but I am not going to lie, going underwater then coming up and being attacked by bees while simultaneously trying to swat them off little Hawk is kind of scary as crap. Especially when you’ve seen maybe a total of 10 bees over the last 10 years at that pool. Ridiculous!

We didn’t let it get to us though. We played with the dogs and watched the kids play basketball and they even worked on their slam dunks! We ate burgers and chicken sandwiches topped with green chiles and chipotle mayo or sauteed mushrooms and peppercorn faoli along with all of the sides you need at a BBQ! Later, the night was finished with the giving of gifts to my Momma for her birthday. Brittany and her husband, Luke, along with the kids and Aunt Corina all celebrated my wonderful mother with Kyle and me, my brother, Ryan and my dad. Then we all ate the most delicious homemade chocolate dipped waffle cones ever.

Here are some sporadic photos of the kids throughout the night, followed by two photos of dinner on Saturday for my mom’s ACTUAL birthday dinner.

IMG_5048 IMG_5099 IMG_5086 IMG_5079 IMG_5076 IMG_5073 IMG_5037 IMG_5054 IMG_5047 They are beautiful children, right? I can’t handle them sometimes because I just love them so much! Also, them puppies up there. The little black mangey dog that looks like an old man is actual the youngest. His name is Greg and he belongs to my brother, Ryan. Then you’ve got Hank, the English Lab that looks like a walrus but is the best dog in the whole world and enjoyed his time sharing kisses on the little ones. Then the little frail Jack Russell terrier that Noelle is gently petting is our 16 1/2 year old, deaf, blind, rattlesnake-bite survivin’ dog Brandy. She was my first dog ever and is still kickin’. Gotta love her!

Oh, and my momma’s birthday…

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 *Sorry iPhone pics are so tiny

She is just the best woman I know and I am so blessed to have her as my momma and to be able to spend as much time as I am with her. Happy Birthday, you beautiful lady!

Anyhoo, so that was my weekend in photos along with a lot of sickness leading up to this b-day dinner on Saturday night. Thank goodness it had passed by then so I could get back to my normal food-loving self with the most fabulous blue cheese and roasted garlic topped filet mignon… yum!

But really, I am sure you are just here for that sweet potato right down there…

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Yep, that ^ guy. It is the easiest summer meal and can be fully prepped before hand then reheated and thrown together so quickly. Bake off some sweet taters and chicken, toss in some bbq sauce, open a can of black beans and layer it all up then top it with a poached egg and a whole mess of tangy greek yogurt. It’s got plenty of healthy goodness and flavor galore to make for a fantastic dish.

You can make any variation of this stuffed tater and add different beans or meat as you like. The options really are endless and if a poached egg is not really your thing, fry it up instead or I suppose you could omit it but I would certainly not recommend that because…

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Just look at that yolk. Get out of town and go make this. 

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