Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend + Recipe for Grilled Vegetable, Black Rice Salad

We are still in the throws of finishing up the school year (final projects, picnics and a graduation ceremony for Andrew) but it feels like summer arrived this weekend and in its honor, I toted my camera around (on Monday at least) and snapped a few pictures.  I feel like as the boys have gotten older, I'm less apt to lug my big camera around than I used to be.  Crazy because before I had strollers and diaper bags and emergency snacks to contend with, so if anything, I should be more likely to grab my good camera than I used to be.  Maybe it's because no one is still long enough to capture on film?   Anyways, I'm always grateful when I do make the effort to snap a few shots here and there.  Here are a few from our weekend..   Summer. Bring it on!

On Saturday the pool opened and Charlie spent about 4 hours in the water.  It was bitterly cold and he had the time of his life.  He was right back at it on Sunday.  It's fun because he has so many more little friends from school this year and they all just run around in a big group together.  I did a lot of magazine reading and chit chatting with other Mamas.  As soon as I saw the roasted veggie grain salad in Bon Appetit, I was craving it.  I made it on Monday and will share the recipe at the end of this post.  Might just be my new favorite summer salad.  Sunday evening we went to a cookout at a friend's house and let Charlie stay up past his bedtime.  It's weekends like these, with every home waving an American flag, the smell of charcoal filling the streets at dinner time, the sound of kids playing outside all hours of the day, that make me so grateful to live where we do.  It's classic Americana at its very best.  A good reminder to give thanks to all those that have sacrificed their lives in order to protect it.

^^After the parade, shockingly, all jerseys still tucked in!^^

^^Our Town Crier^^

^^The smallest of all small town parades^^

^^Paying respect to our fallen soldiers^^

^^ Despite rather threatening skies, the rain held off, and we made a trip downtown to check out the new Smale Park on the river.  So, so nice.  It's so pretty to have the Roebling Bridge as the backdrop. It's my favorite Cincinnati bridge, designed by the same architect that designed the Brooklyn Bridge^^

^^We crossed the street to explore the new carousel.  Doesn't Jimmy look manly carrying my straw tote? haha.^^

^^Such a gorgeous carousel, filled with Cincinnati themed characters and art.^^

^^The highlight was playing in the many  fountains.^^

^^Luckily (thanks to the advice of a friend!) we brought a change of clothes!!^^

^^C didn't get the memo to wear patriotic colors...^^
^^We came home for a late dinner.  Grilled flank steak and the amazing salad below.  And of course what would a patriotic holiday be without a few pyrotechnics?!^^

^^This grill pan from Ikea is worth adding to your kitchen, handle folds for easy storage. I've had fancier grill pans before and they were a nightmare to clean up, I've had this one for a year and use it often.  I did the grape tomatoes in the grill pan because we don't have the right equipment to grill them on the grill without falling through the grates.^^

^^Fresh mint, one of my favorite herbs!^^

^^So filling, so healthy, so deeee-lish.  I skipped the steak altogether.  My boys, however...skipped the salad altogether.  I try.^^

Recipe | Grilled Vegetable + Grain Salad
(inspired by Bon Appetit, Letter to the Editor, June 2015)

1 cup black rice (I found the black rice at Trader Joe's)
1.5 cups grape tomatoes
1 bunch of scallions
1-2 ears of corn
1 bunch of mint, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Lemon Vinaigrette, see below

Cook the black rice, set aside to cool, then place in a large serving bowl.  Grill tomatoes, corn and scallions either on outdoor grill or indoors, on grill pan.  We grilled the scallions and corn outside. We grilled the tomatoes on an indoor grill pan, I tossed them with a little olive oil prior to cooking.   The scallions only take about a minute so don't go far.  Also, I like to brush the corn with mayo before grilling to make it extra sweet and tasty.  Remove veggies from the grill.  Chop scallions and remove kernels from corn. Add tomatoes, scallions, corn, mint, avocado and pistachios to the bowl.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and lightly toss all the ingredients together. Enjoy!

My Favorite Lemon Vinaigrette:
Whisk together the juice of one lemon, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and olive oil (use about the same amount of olive oil as you had lemon juice.  If is tastes too lemony, add more olive oil.  If it tastes too oily, add more lemon.  It's not an exact science.  I like mine pretty lemony.).  Add kosher salt and fresh black pepper.


  1. Looks like a fun MDW! Your boys are really growing up so tall and handsome. I make a very similar salad only with black beans or field peas in place of the rice. I'll have to give the rice a try--sounds so tasty.

  2. Where is your red gingham dress from? It is super cute and very patriotic!

  3. What a great weekend. Can't wait to try this salad (my boys will probably skip it too)!

  4. Great recipe and I love that it uses a lemon vinaigrette instead of vinegar (which I am not a fan of). The boys look adorable as always! Enjoy your week!