Summer meals can often feel like one BBQ-based recipe after another. Sure cooking outside is glorious (and relatively easy) but you can still have a little fun actually being in your kitchen too. I’m feeling particularly inspired after soaking up all things cooking during my first trip to the Aspen Food & Wine Classic last week (such an epic experience – my full recap of all ah-mazingness coming soon!), and since my return to sea level I’ve been frantically banking fresh summer recipe ideas.

Here are five dishes that are currently topping my gotta-try list. In fact, I actually already tested one over the weekend – a winner (deets below) – and I’ll be giving the rest a run-through over the 4th of July weekend. Be sure to check out Snapchat (I’m apartment34) if you want to see my verdicts in real time!

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Kale Pesto is a bit of a super sauce. You can add it to just about anything, but I love the look of this raw summer zucchini noodle salad topped with watermelon radishes, avocado, lemon and that soft boiled egg. Genius. Lunch is now on lock.

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I have memories of stealing green beans straight from the vine as a kid – it’s one of my favorite parts of the summer season. This green been salad, topped with a light vinaigrette and accompanied with nice block of fresh feta.  This could be an appetizer, a lunch or a great side dish to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

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Is there anything better than berry season? I think not. I kill a flat of berries a week, no problem. But rather than just gobble them straight from the carton, I want to try to fancy them up for a tasty dessert. I’ve never attempted to make a Pavlova. It seems pretty simple – bake some whipped egg whites and top with cream and berries. Even as a dessert novice, I think I could tackle this. I just can’t promise it’ll look as pretty as this one.

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Ok, I know burgers are often on the typical BBQ menu, but I don’t think anyone will think these Salmon Burgers with Lemongrass & Ginger are boring. They include not only lemongrass and ginger but also roasted red chili paste, cilantro cream and quick pickled cucumber and red onion for an amazing mix of flavors and textures. Trying immediately.

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This last dish a refreshing summer salad that I actually attempted over the weekend. It’s perfect for toasty warm summer evenings and bonus – it takes about 15 minutes to make – faster if you’re really good at chopping. The super easy recipe is below for you to give it a try.

Watermelon with Avocado, Cucumber & Jalapeño Salsa

Ingredients

1 Hass avocado, peeled & chopped
1 C finely diced hothouse cucumber
3T fresh lime juice
1T minced fresh jalapeño
1/4t ground cumin
1/4C extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2C cilantro leaves
1/2C fresh dill sprigs
1 watermelon cut into slices

Directions

Gently combine all the salsa ingredients and let sit to marinate for a bit. Lay your sliced watermelon out on a platter. Spoon salsa over the watermelon and enjoy. This salad is super refreshing, with a nice spicy kick. A summer salad doesn’t really get any easier!

What are your go-to summer recipes? I’d love to a couple more to my list.

PS, It’s also Popsicle Week. Have you heard of this phenomenon? I feel like popsicles really had their moment last summer (we made these), but I’m ready to give them another go. You can check all the bloggers, (there’s over 100!) right here.

recipes via the delicious life / running with tweezersdaniel faro / tending the table / recipe adapted from food & wine mag, made by me!

Now that it’s officially summer – aka the season of summer love – I thought it was high time to bring back our semi-regular relationship series. And this go-round our love guru Megan McCarty is tackling a topic we can all relate to – how to divvy things up after a break up. There’s the dividing of belongings, perhaps the question of who gets the apartment, maybe even pet co-ownership, but what about your favorite haunts?

I’ll let Megan explain – I strongly suspect you’ll understand where she’s coming from!

Somewhere along the way, probably between the day my braces came off and, well, yesterday, I learned the difference between for now and forever. Most relationships come with an expiration date, and I get that, so I’m fairly rational when it comes to breaking up. No long-winded, wine-fueled texts. No begging for you back. No bashing you to my friends.

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However, come my next “this isn’t working for me,” I’ve considered setting one little ground rule that may seem less-than-rational: a certain restaurant – the one I’ve worked at for years – is now off-limits. I get it, I get it. The brunches are Insta-worthy, that shrimp dish is truly life-changing, it’s a go-to for a late-night sip of something.

But when a man I dated a couple years ago came waltzing into my work on a bustling Friday night, his seemingly lovely girlfriend on his arm, my eyeballs just about popped out of my head. WHY. It felt alarmingly akin to him barging into my home and then expecting me to serve them dinner.

He has every right to go there. But why would he want to? There’s simply zero zilch no way he thought of going to this restaurant out of all of our city’s James Beard-y restaurants and didn’t consider the possibility that I’d be there.

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Did he not think it’d be a big deal? (We ended things on a good-ish note, after all.) Was it his girlfriend’s idea and he didn’t want to make their date night awkward by saying no? (“Who’s Megan? You’re over her, aren’t you?”) Did he cross his fingers that I’d have the night off? (Not the worst strategy.) Did he want to show off his new girlfriend, like a prideful peacock? (Yes, she’s very pretty, we all see.)

I put on my big girl pants and said hi, how are you, you like the wine? and other chit chatty baloney. Thing is, I don’t expect us to tip-toe around each other forever. Even the biggest of cities can turn into the tiniest of towns once there’s a collection of ex-boyfriends to avoid. Inevitably we’ll brush shoulders at the same crowded concert, or our mutual friends will get married or I’ll pop into the grocery store after a particularly hot yoga session and we’ll bump into each other in the ice cream aisle, because the universe finds that sort of thing hilarious. It’s bound to happen and that’s fine, because we’re grown adults who can be kind and civil, particularly to the fellow grown adults who have seen your behind-closed-bedroom-door faces.

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But why would he purposefully put himself (and his sweet, innocent girlfriend!) in that awkward situation? I surveyed friends. “That’s how you know they’re still hungry,” said the ultra-wise Nora Purmort. “They are like, ‘Megan, look how good I’m doing’ *dying inside.*” A guy friend, speaking from experience, concurred with Nora. I still think he was just trying to stick it to me somehow.

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Nearly every day on my way to work I drive past a coffee shop that another ex and I would crawl to most mornings while we were together. I miss it, sure, mostly for nostalgia’s sake and partially for the chai, but I would never ever ever (ever ever ever) go in. That’s his coffee shop, he won custody of it in the breakup, and I can take my caffeine-deprived self to literally dozens of other ones. And how stalker-esque would I feel if I ran into him there?

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So tell me, though ultimately it’s still our city, is it fair to assume some custody: my restaurant, your coffee shop? Or am I less of a breeze than I like to think I am?

To catch up on our entire relationship series, CLICK HERE. For more of fabulous insights on life and love, you can also follow Megan here and here

photography by daniel faro

Apartment 34 on Instagram

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Summer is officially here and man oh man do I feel it. All I’m in the mood for is long lazy afternoons, copious amounts of rosé and doing very little. Sadly, life is quite cooperating. I’ve actually been frantically running around all week – hence the light blog posts. Can you tell I feel guilty about that? But there are some exciting projects in the works. I can’t quite spill the beans yet, but if you check out Snapchat you might get a hint or two.

And if you checked out Snapchat you may have caught we did a break for it and are in wine country for the weekend. Sonoma is officially my happy place. I’ll be sharing sneak peeks on the Instagram all weekend – and while I’m reluctant to give up my hidden gems, I’ll be recapping this spot on the blog because it is just too good.

So I’m off to actually enjoy a little wine and pool time, but I didn’t want to leave you empty handed. I did manage to find five fabulous things you should check out this week.

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My girl Cassandra launched her all-new site design and let me just say I’m suffering from some serious site envy! Congrats chica.

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The off the shoulder trend. I’m this close to buying in. This top, this top, this top and this top are all calling to me. Do I do it??

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Since I’m likely to indulge in too much wine this weekend, I will make up for by drinking these awesome veggie based…cocktails! Talk about having your (liquid) cake and eating it too!

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If you didn’t spot our weekend house’s kitchen on Instagram today, then you might not understand why all I want to do is cook this weekend. But all I want to do is cook! I’m going to hit every wine country farmer’s market and I can and feast away on all of these recipes. You can drink more rosé that way.

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Speaking of food, here’s a foodie’s guide to Seattle, my hometown (which I popped into for 24 hours this week and it did make me rather nostalgic.) I’m excited to be back up there for a week later this summer. I need a good dose of Northwesty-ness.

Next week I’ll be recapping my most recent foodie experience – my time at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic!

image via here

It’s summer people! SO forget hanging inside – it’s time to take the party to the yard. Or the deck. Or the roof – really whatever you have. No matter the size of your outdoor space you can make the most of it. Here are some of my favorite ideas.

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1. Build some DIY furniture.  If you’ve got the space, create an entire living area outside. But you don’t have to invest in all that pricey outdoor furniture. Some old packing paletes (which you can often get at the back of a Home Depot) topped with outdoor seat cushions are a great way to create low-key lounge-y seating. A vintage coffee table or even just stack more crates side by side give you spots to set drinks. Tons of throw pillows, a couple lanterns and hodgepodge of glassware feels relaxed, but elevated all at the same. If I had an outdoor area like, I don’t think I’d hang out anywhere else.

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2. Create a shelfie. Styling doesn’t end at your backdoor. Creating pretty vignettes is the perfect way to add personality to your outdoor space. And you can do this on a tiny deck or in a massive backyard. You can create any kind of collection. Stack your outdoor pillows and throws. Corral your collection of candles or lanterns. Or simply group a bunch of potted plants. It’s your opportunity to show off your personality – and have a little practical storage as well!

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3. Decorate like you would indoors. If you really want to take your outdoor space to the next level, put some fabulous indoor furniture on your patio space. This chic patio feels like an extension of the a kitchen with the Saarinen-like marble topped table and tulip chairs. Some potted greenery and more great throw pillows makes this cute little deck feel finished. You just want to make sure you have a covered area or really good weather to make sure your pieces stay in good shape.

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4. Put a hide on it. Need a super quick way to elevate your outdoor furniture? Grab one of  your sheepskins and toss it over a bench, lounge chairs or even your outdoor dining chair. This is a perfect look for an evening party. It adds a nice cozy touch.

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5. Create the best seat in the house. Hanging chairs are having a bit of moment. But they really are such a fun thing to add any outdoor area. They immediately give any space a total vacation vibe. Even a tiny entry, patio, deck or backyard could accommodate one.

While I’ve only made a cursory attempt to style our own backyard (which you can see here), I’m dreaming and scheming about how I might spruce things up before the 4th of July weekend is upon us. Here are just a few things I’m currently coveting!

 

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lounge chair / hanging chair / cream throw pillow / coffee table / tulip chair / sheepskin / outdoor rug / lanterns / olive tree / pot / candle sticks / glassware / trays /

What about you? Whats your favorite way to spruce up your outdoor space? For even more outdoor styling ideas don’t miss this post, this post and this post!

SHOP THE POST


sources: image 1 / image 2 / image 3 / image 4 / images 5

I’ve also had a thing for white clothes. Practical? No. Fabulous? Absolutely. And now that summer is officially here (woot!), it is the perfect time to break out your  summer whites. When I spied the White Collection by Elizabeth Suzann I immediately wanted all the things!

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Jumpsuits, dresses, crop-tops – oh my! The collection is actually intended to be bridal. I can totally see how a modern bride might rock any one of these looks. They’d even be great for a rehearsal dinner, the reception or as a getaway outfit, but I also want every single piece in my wardrobe. There’s nothing more classic, or easy to wear. You just have to carry a tide stick with you at all times.

What do you think? Is white a staple of your summer wardrobe too?

Here’s a few more summer style ideas!

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Hi friends – sorry I’ve been a little MIA this week. There’s been a lot of commotion – in the world, in my personal life. I needed a hot second to regroup. But this weekend I’m taking a 48 hour reprieve into a dream world – a world of food and wine – at the Aspen Food & Wine festival! After my first year of motherhood where I lived off of Munchery (and left over Munchery), and had a tiny human glued to me most hours of the day, I’m excited to partake in a little something for myself. And there’s little I love more than really good food and wine. When you put in a gorgeous setting like Aspen it is the ultimate trifecta. I’ll be snapping and grammin’ my entire experience so be sure to follow along with all the delicious fun.

> As I mentioned I’m snapping. Or at least attempting to. This New York Times article really inspired me to fully embrace the Snap.

> My friend Eric has created this amazing magazine and podcast, Together, all about the real behind the scenes nitty gritty of relationships. As a former divorce lawyer, Eric knows of which he speaks. His recent interviews with my other dear friends Kelly and Tim (part 1 & part 2) are a spectacular listen.

> If you’ve got the itch to add yummy smells to your house and create beautiful bottles in the process, you’ve got to check out this DIY.

> I’ve been coveted a white shirt with show-stopping sleeves but if they’re as easy to make at home as this DIY purports, maybe I’ll forgo the purchase.

> I’m so excited to hold more outdoor parties this summer. This set up is pitch perfect.

image via here

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