Posted by: Lauren | June 16, 2011

grilling machine

Hi sweet ones! I know my posts are few and far between, I’ll try and work on that. 😉

Joe and I were given a grill by the family I nanny for when they got a new one. Our taste buds have been enlivened and we are totally grateful. Seriously, how do you not grill in the summertime? I mean, we would have grilled food at our family and friends’ houses, but now we have one of our own! So without further ado, I bring you some of our grilled creations, with some vegetarian meals at the end to balance things out.

But first, some of our lilacs from May. Because they’re just so pretty and I miss them.



Pulled Chicken Sandwiches


Here we have or All-star grilling champion recipe. Joe declared this (on numerous occasions) “the best chicken I’ve ever had.” The recipe is from Cooking Light, and I really didn’t make any changes, except a 1/4 tsp. of cayenne instead of ground chipotle chile powder because I didn’t have that. Also, I let the rub marinate the chicken for a few hours, because I had the time, but it’s not necessary. Go HERE for the recipe and make it soon!

The cole slaw is a lightened version similar to the broccoli salad (scroll down), in which most of the creaminess comes from plain Greek yogurt. Joe wasn’t a big fan, but I liked it. Half a bag of cole slaw, half a bag of broccoli slaw, Greek yogurt, mayo, white wine vinegar and spoonful of sugar and a few shakes of black pepper.


I learned a little trick about shrimp-skewer them through two sticks parallel to each other instead of one so it’s easier to flip. These were just marinated with some olive oil, garlic, S&P.


Have you ever had grilled romaine? I think we liked it! A little mist of oil from the misto, s&p, and splashed with some balsamic when finished grilling.


This one was kind of boring-the chicken didn’t wow me. BUT, can I just say how much I love grilling corn in the husks? First time we did it we just threw it on, second time, Joe’s parents came over with it soaked in water to steam the inside and prevent the husks from burning as quickly. Second way tasted even better. Don’t know if it was the kind of corn or what, but I think slowly cooking definitely helps. It’s so nice to not have to boil a big pot of water for the corn and not wash the pot either!

I love some cucumbers and onions marinated in sweetened rice wine vinegar. Trader Joe’s sells an already sweetened and seasoned rice wine vinegar, but you could really just use white wine vinegar with some sugar, watered down a bit, salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate, and you’re set.


We get organic beef from Costco. It’s really not that much more expensive. I usually make burgs with dried minced onions, pepper, a little garlic powder, and sometimes some Worcestershire. Ok, I just learned: don’t add salt! It pulls moisture from the meat! I will not be salting them anymore! Also, it really doesn’t need it, there’s enough flavor as it is. And we always like to grill some sliced onions with the burgers.

The broccoli salad was a lightened version that I went off of from here. Greek yogurt, spoonful of mayo, splash of OJ, and again, that seasoned rice wine vinegar. Mixed dressing in the bowl first, then added two chopped organic broccoli heads, finely chopped red onion, sunflower seeds, craisins, and bacon pieces.


I didn’t care for this fish recipe from Cooking Light. Called for hailibut, but I couldn’t find that anywhere, so I used salmon from Lake Michigan that Joe helped catch with Sam and his coworker, David. I think the fish itself needed more flavor. I HAVE to get Sam’s recipe for his salmon because it is crazy good! Once I do, it’ll go up here. The salsa got crazy spicy the next day from the half of habanero in there! I tried to eat it for leftovers, my mouth was burning, so I ate like a whole pizza instead. And I like spicy! Those little peps pack a punch!


I’ve been enjoying making different kinds of iced tea since the weather has warmed up. This cup was a mix of raspberry hibiscus, and a mix of tea leaves and dried fruit from Teavana, that my momma got me. I think the mixes were Blueberry Strawberry Lemonade. I brew strong batches of tea, then dilute with water and ice and give it a bit of sweetness with some stevia when the tea is hot.

IMG_7536 I love those aqua glasses from World Market that my friend, Sara, gave me for my bday.

IMG_7280As you can see, I’ve been keeping track of my tea to show you. 🙂 I also mix half green tea and half raspberry hibiscus.


I’ve also had success with making tofu twice now lately. Gotta go organic so the soy is non-GMO. I also prefer extra firm. Trader Joe’s organic extra firm: $1.99. That’s a cheap protein source.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain your block of tofu and wrap with a clean kitchen towel. Place a few heavy books on top to drain out extra water for about 10 minutes. Then cut into bite size pieces, coat in a favorite sauce or marinade, and bake for about 30 (on parchment so it doesn’t stick). The first time I think I baked far longer (50 minutes for the extra firm), second time I used only firm tofu instead of extra firm, and baked for 20 minutes. Both worked.

This was in spicy TJ’s bbq sauce with brown rice, frozen broccoli that I roasted alongside the tofu and fresh, sweet pineapple. So yummy and spicy—Joe approved.


This next tofu was the firm kind instead of extra firm, organic and sprouted (for easier digestion). This was also from TJ’s and $1.99. I coated the cubed tofu in their Island Soyaki sauce and coated the frozen broccoli in that as well. This was sooo good!!! Baked at 450 on parchment coated baking sheet for 20 minutes.


Oooh and a couple more things I must share!

My favorite warm-weather breakfast:


Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1 container Trader Joe’s chocolate yogurt
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3-1/2 cup milk (depending on how thick or liquidy-I prefer 1/2 cup) I also use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds (estimation)

Stir above ingredients together in a container and refrigerate overnight. In the morning top with peanut butter. It tastes like chocolate peanut butter ice cream! It is SO GOOD!

I also love to eat this out of an almost empty peanut butter jar. Like this giant Costco organic one.


Or overnight oats made with plain Greek yogurt in an almost empty jelly jar.




I hope everyone is having a great start to your summer! I can’t believe it’s already the middle of June. I’m excited about celebrating my sissy’s bday on Friday! Love her SO SO MUCH!

We’re so so so thrilled because KATIE IS PREGNANT!!!! She is due December 9th. I can’t wait to meet Baby EE! (His/her nickname right now…by the way, I think it’s a he.)

IMG_7436She’s going to be such a good momma. And look how big my nephew Dominic is! He’s so so adorable! That one isn’t hers-he’s my brother’s. 🙂 Katie and Sam are having their first!

Katie just got back from a trip with all of her college BFFs who I also love and who read my blog. 🙂 She just told me they’ve been bummed about no new posts, so this is a shout out to them! Love you, Brownies!

Joe’s sister Lora is having their second baby in October!! I don’t think I shared that yet! They’re going to have a boy! Woo hoo!!!

We had so much fun when Joe’s other sister, Emily, came to visit in May with our nephew, Sam.


Madelyn and Sam are SO stinkin cute!


Also looking forward to celebrating Father’s Day. I am blessed to have two of the best dads in the world. My padre and father-in-law.



Ok. We are beyond blessed. Our families are incredible. Thank you Lord!

Another verse and commentary from my Daily Bible Verse emails:

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. – Psalm 148:13 (NIV)

“This wonderful Psalm tells us that the proper position of the heavens and the earth is in praise. To praise brings us beyond our circumstances and sets us in alignment with our created purpose. Do you feel overwhelmed? Praise the name of the Lord. Do you feel victorious? Praise the name of the Lord. It is praise that deals with the self-absorption of victory and defeat. His name alone is to be exalted.” –Dave Whitehead





  1. Sweet food! Sweet babies! Sweet family! Yes, you are blessed, keep writing, I love your blog:-)

    • Thanks Dianne! YOU are so sweet. 🙂

  2. OHHHHH Thank you for your post AAAHHHHHH I just got my Lauren fix along with such beautiful pictures. Little D grows by the minute!!! I just love that picture of Katie and D. You are such a blessing to us all. You light up a room with just your blog. We can feel your love and joy.

    • Love you…..mamamamama G! I forgot to sign off hehehe

    • Mamamama G I love and miss you!!! You give warm fuzzies. D misses his Grandma! Thank you for your sweet sweet words. Love you!

  3. Ahhhhh congrats, Katie!!!!!

    We just bought a grill (after giving up our old one a few years ago when we moved). I haven’t experienced it yet but my parents have been using it almost every night! We’re planning a huge grilled meal for Father’s Day!

    MIss you and Joe LOTS!

    • We miss you, Allie! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since your visit in August. So crazy. I’m sure Peter’s grilled feast will be nothing short of amazing.

  4. Love your updates Lauren! The tofu is my favorite, and looks amazing! Next time, try freezing and thawing your tofu prior to cooking. It makes for a completely different texture. Both ways are good though.

    • Oh cool! I’ve never heard of that. Thanks Holly!

  5. Hi! I just found your blog on the healthy living blogs website. Your food looks so yummy! I can’t wait to read more!

  6. Great post, Lauren!!! Finally getting back to check on your blog. Love and miss you!

  7. omg i love trader joes soyaki sauce! i havent thought of baking tofu in it, i’ve mostly been using it for stirfries. thanks for the idea.

    gosh i miss bbq season!

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