balsamic spiced grilled chicken salad

I don’t know how things have been for you this year, but summer has been BRUTAL. It’s either pouring down rain or so muggy that you’re immediately sweating when you step outside.

These hot and muggy nights mean one thing in our house: we’re eating a lot of salads.

balsamic grilled chicken salad

I know I’ve talked about this before, but the bad thing about living in a small town is that there aren’t many shopping options. I mean, my town has one stoplight, so there’s definitely no mall nearby.

Thankfully, one of the options we have is a really nice Food Lion and it has a pretty rockin’ produce section. Have you been in one lately? They redid ours a few years ago, and it’s so nice and bright. It makes grocery shopping a little more fun, for sure.

This month, I had a chance to work with Food Lion and Clever Girls to try out Food Lion’s recipe portal and share my experience. Since I already love grocery shopping and cooking, this was a no brainer! Go shopping – make a meal – submit a recipe – easy!

balsamic grilled chicken salad

I’ve used other online recipe sites in the past, and I think the Food Lion recipe portal is one of my favorites already. It is really easy to use and has tons of options for searching to find exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, entering and sharing recipes is crazy simple! Some other options I’ve tried before make it so tough to upload a recipe, but not here. You don’t have to enter ingredients separately or take 12 different steps to submit anything. They made the system extremely user friendly.

For my recipe, I chose to do one of our favorite salad mixes right now.

This is so easy on a hot weeknight or as a light, late dinner on a weekend after doing things around the house all day and – ahem – taking care of a 3 month old. Sometimes, dinner isn’t the first priority! But meals like this make it easy to still eat well.

We love arugula, so we used that as a base, and then topped it with some of our favorites: a marinated and grilled chicken breast, tomatoes, green olives, red onion, artichoke hearts, and feta or goat cheese. If you’re not making a salad like this yet, do it!

My Balsamic Spiced Grilled Chicken Salad can be found on the Food Lion recipe portal here – make sure to check out all the other great recipes on the site!

balsamic grilled chicken salad

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

pesto and goat cheese greek yogurt dip

Summer is the perfect time for dipping. Dipping ice cream, dipping into the pool, and dipping fruits, veggies, and chips.

I love having an arsenal of easy dips to whip up as a quick, cool lunch on the weekend or an afternoon snack or speedy appetizer.

pesto goat cheese dip

This dip is everything I love about this time of year, made in minutes, and the perfect option for these Late July Sea Salt chips or any variety of veggies!

I love having hot dips or more hearty items during fall and winter (basically, football season) because those dips often stand in for meals while we’re watching the game.

But in summer, I want something lighter – brighter – and most importantly, cold.

pesto goat cheese dip

This dip honestly takes minutes to make!

I took a couple containers of Stonyfield plain greek yogurt and stirred in some salt, pepper, a few spoonfuls of pesto, and crumbled goat cheese.

That’s it! So easy, so delicious, so perfect with chips and veggies on a hot summer day.

pesto goat cheese dip

Pesto and Goat Cheese Greek Yogurt Dip

Looking for a new dip to serve poolside or before dinner for friends and family? Try this new spin on a yogurt dip - full of summer flavor thanks to the basil, and a little tang from the goat cheese. It takes minutes to make and disappears just as quickly!

Ingredients:

  • 2 5.3 oz. containers Stonyfield plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp prepared basil pesto (storebought or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix everything together.
  2. Chill for at least 10 minutes before serving

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield and Late July. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

You know you really like something when you find yourself craving it just by seeing a picture.

These muffins have been saving my mornings (and afternoon snacks) lately! I’ve been trying really hard not to snack on super sugary things, but honestly, that’s all I’m craving lately. This schedule of baby napping-feeding-trying to do things in the house while I can is so overwhelming. Overwhelming in the BEST way, but overwhelming regardless.

So having something – anything – that’s easy to grab is kind of necessary. Fresh fruit, nuts, trail mix, cookies, and these muffins have been keeping me sane. And….sometimes they fill in as lunch if I just can’t make anything that requires 2 hands.

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

But these muffins!

They feel so indulgent, but are really pretty good for you!

I use all whole wheat flour, and the they’re chock full of banana, healthy oil, and maple syrup as the sweetener so you’re not getting pumped full of sugar with these.

Plus, the chocolate I use is 60% dark (my favorite for baking), which means it doesn’t make me start craving more like milk chocolate does.

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

Fluffy, light, and just sweet enough. You can’t get any better than these!

Or, if you can, feel free to mail me a dozen. I’m always in need of extra food around here.

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins have been my saving grace lately. They're perfectly soft, light and fluffy, and full of banana flavor and melty dark chocolate pockets. There's just enough chocolate to make these feel a little indulgent, but they're completely whole wheat, so it all balances out.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup safflower oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium super ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour, or a mix of the two
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Either grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with cupcake/muffin liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full.
  5. Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of butter.

life lately

I have no idea where the last 7 weeks have gone.

Well, I do…but still. It has FLOWN by!

We are all doing great – hubs, me, and the mini muffin, plus the pets. We’ve had lots of family visiting to meet the little man, and he’s a champ. He’s the snuggly-est little baby, meaning most days I don’t get much of anything else done, and I am completely okay with it.

breakfast

There still isn’t much of an actual schedule, except that he does sleep really well at night, thank goodness. We usually get at least one 3-5 hour stretch, plus another 2.5-3 hour closer to morning, so I can’t complain! Plus, most of his crankiness seems to happen during the day – and not in the middle of the night – so it could definitely be worse.

snuggles

Besides getting used to having another person in the house – and one we have to keep alive – we’ve been doing good! The hubs has been back at work for about 5 weeks, so we’ve tried to get back into the habit of planning/cooking meals for ourselves now that meals from friends is slowing down.

When my mom was here a few weeks ago, we prepped and got some things in the freezer (which has been awesome). I’ve been trying to plan for simple, easy to prep/make meals since we’re both usually preoccupied with the baby and pets and house stuff.

And we’ve been eating pretty well!

On Nick’s birthday last week, little man was taking a great morning nap with Nick, so I made us some chocolate chip pancakes as a treat. Pancakes really are a good idea, any time. And this felt like such an indulgence. It was nice to have a big breakfast on his special day.

pancakes

A friend of ours also got us a gift certificate for Blue Apron, so we’re working through some of those meals this week. We made the arepas the other night, and they were so good! I love that they send everything you need – down to the seasonings – already measured out. It makes pulling a meal together super easy without having to think much or doing a bunch of prep when you really don’t have time.

arepas

And lucky for me, a farmer’s market opened up in the town next to us so I’ve been trying to get over there every weekend. The one I usually go to is about 35 minutes away, and I just can’t make the trip every week depending on what’s going on or who’s here.

I’m so happy to have fresh veggies from the garden again! We’ve been swimming in cherries this week and got the first of the peaches.

market

Another thing I’ve been snacking on a lot? Jessica’s Lactation Cookies (seriously addicting) and some banana chocolate chip muffins that I’ve made the past two weeks now. Recipe coming soon!

muffins