Al Fresco.

Now that we’re in our new space, we’re taking full advantage of the backyard we wished for for so long.  Days are spent covering the deck and driveway in sidewalk chalk, splashing in the mini whale pool, and collecting rocks to fill up the dump truck.

Evenings are spent enjoying family dinners – most recently, outside!  Family dinners aren’t something we’re really in the habit of, as Casey old commute got him home far past Cullen’s dinnertime.  So I used to feed Cullen one meal, and then I’d just be starting to figure out what Casey and I were going to eat after C’s 7:30 bedtime.  It led to a lot of late meals and lack of creativity.

Now that Casey is getting home earlier and the sun is shining for so much longer, we’re able to enjoy meals as a family – such a treat!  I’ve been dragging Cullen’s high chair out to the back deck and Casey and I have been relaxing on the patio furniture. 

We’re still settling in and getting into a rhythm here, but I thought I’d share a few recent meals we threw together.

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First up – summery millet salad, cheesy baked kale, and simple sautéed portabellas. 

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I cooked the millet in the rice cooker, and then just tossed it with some fresh cherry tomatoes and arugula.  Perfect for summer.  I dressed the whole salad in a mixture of olive oil, orange champagne vinegar, salt, and a hint of maple syrup.  It was delicious, and reminded me I need to cook millet more often.

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The mushrooms were just sliced portabellas that I cooked on high heat to brown and wilt down.  Salt is key here.  I’m still adjusting to my new electric cooktop.  I feel like I can’t get the same browning and high heat effects that I used to, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out with more practice. 

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Lastly, I tossed a bag of kale with olive oil and nutritional yeast (and a heavy sprinkle of salt!), and popped it in the oven for about 15 minutes on 375 heat.  I’m still not really loving greens at this point in pregnancy, but I’m trying to be better about forcing myself to eat them.  They are so good for you!

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Watermelon for dessert every night.  Always a hit. 

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Dinner number two felt like the essence of summer.  All that was missing was a big pile of sliced tomatoes, but those haven’t quite made it to the Seattle markets just yet.  Soon, I hope!

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Simple sautéed tofu with barbecue sauce added in the last few minutes.  This is a summertime favorite in our house! 

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Baked potato.  Enough said.  My friend Nicki turned my onto Straus Family Creamery’s Greek yogurt, and it has since become my new favorite potato topping.  I load it on there with lots of salt, and rub the potato skin with lots of olive oil to get it crispy in the oven.  Perfection. 

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Corn on the cob.  Yum.

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Dinner is served!

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So that’s what we’ve been enjoying out in the backyard the past two nights.  We might be a bit behind, but summer has finally arrived here in Seattle, and we are soaking it all up.  The farmer’s markets are just getting better and better, and hopefully our meals will follow suit.