Happy Friday everyone, I hope you had a wonderful week!
It was another busy one around here. Last weekend I was out of town for an Iowa bloggers conference where I got to meet up with a fabulous group of, you guessed it, Iowa bloggers. ;) It was a great learning experience and fun to see old friends plus meet new ones, too. On Tuesday I drove up to Cedar Rapids to speak on a panel about blogging for an Iowa tourism conference, and made a little pit stop on the way there – Fireside Winery in Marengo!
I met the owner and her daughter, Cassie and Rona, at an Iowa Food and Family Project event last month, where they mentioned their winery is a few minutes north of I-80 at the Tanger Outlets exit, and to stop in if I was ever in the area. Well, it happened to be en route to Cedar Rapids so I popped in to say ‘hi’ and enjoy a glass of white wine on their beautiful, gazebo and fire pit-studded patio for an hour!
Cassie, Rona, and their family are wine lovers who, after spending years traveling around the country visiting various wineries, thought, we should do this too. And so they did. HA! Love that! Bill, Rona’s husband, gave me a tour of their property then left me to enjoy some peace and quiet outdoors amongst the flowers and surrounding farm fields. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday afternoon!
Iowa wines are on the sweeter side and I always assumed it was because of the types of grapes that are grown here. That does play a part – Iowa-grown grapes have more acid so more sugar is needed to balance that out – but also, as Bill explained to me, Midwesterners simply like sweeter wine. Who knew?!
I scooted down to the conference afterwards, came back Wednesday, and can’t even believe the weekend is here once again. Summer: PLEASE SLOW DOWN. Sob! Our weekend plans are still up in the air as my brother and sister-in-law are expecting their third baby, uh, a week ago (!) and we’re the only family in town at the moment. I cannot WAIT to snuggle and smooch a newborn again. GIMME!!
Well wherever you are and whatever you do have a wonderful weekend and in the meantime please enjoy my favorite finds from around the web and beyond in this week’s Friday Favorites!
Favorite fresh: Kale Caesar Pasta Salad. Fresh, savory, chewy, crispy – what’s not to love? I think Ben might even willingly eat the kale if I paired it with pasta and Caesar salad dressing.
Favorite DIY: Cutout Silhouette Plaques. Bethany, the DIY blogger behind Sawdust and Embryos, hosted the Iowa bloggers get together at her incredible farm house plunked down in the middle of Iowa’s beautiful countryside. I spied this cutout silhouette plaque inside her house and had to share it with you here. So stunning!
Favorite combo: Root Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Tahini-Maple Vinaigrette. The colors of this salad are what first caught my eye but the mention of Tahini-Maple Vinaigrette really sucked me in. I can’t wait to try this dish. (And I bet if you don’t have tahini you could probably use the almond butter swap I used in my Kale Chopped Salad!)
Favorite fun: 160 Summer Fun List Ideas. Although this list is intended for kids, there are tons of ideas for any age here. Lincoln’s already got #81 covered. He picked a wildflower the other day, whipped it back and forth until the petals started falling off, and then refused to give it to me. I finally snagged the remains after he lost interest, pressed it between a couple pages of a magazine, and am considering it to be the first flower he ever gave me. #tragic
Favorite indulge: Artichoke and Spinach Enchiladas. Can I get a HECK YES? Spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, and cheese – I’m comin’ for ya’.
Favorite take-out fake-out: Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken. I’ve had this recipe on my must-make list for weeks. Doesn’t it look just fabulous?
Favorite tip: How To Style a Shelf Like Boss. YES! I just had to move a ladder shelf that we’ve had in our entryway for months and months upstairs because I couldn’t style it right and it was driving me NUTS! I absolutely love this layout – great inspiration.
Favorite treat: Lemon Curd Ice Cream (No Churn). It’s not hard to imagine the light and fresh taste, yet dense and rich texture of this ice cream from the photo alone. Num.
Favorite find: StylishMe.com. I recently stumbled upon this blog via a rabbit hole of open tabs and found myself still scrolling 20 minutes later. AWESOME photography, great lifestyle posts, and oh my gosh, can I have her skin!?
Favorite snack. My Mom’s rhubarb plants are growing like crazy this year and she’s always looking for new ways to use and eat them. I love this idea of pairing strawberry-rhubarb jam with The Laughing Cow cheese on bread or crackers!
Favorite bite: Cinnamon French Toast Bites. Be still my miniature-food-loving heart! How adorable!! I might try these bites with the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread I bought at Target last week. THANK YOU so much to the people that recommended it. The bread was so squishy and doughy that I nearly gagged on it. Contrary to how that may sound, it’s actually a compliment. I haven’t had squishy white bread for almost a year and a half so I wasn’t ready for the amazing texture!
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Have a great weekend, everyone, and happy Father’s Day to all the Papas out there!!