Friday, June 10, 2011

We have a New Addition to the Family!

And nope, it's not what you are thinking either. No bouncing baby boys or cooing baby girls, but a brand new English Labrador puppy! My grandparents (affectionately names Mommaw and Boppaw and will be referred to as such from here on out) have an affinity with "labies" and make sure that their acreage out in the country is kept company by a couple of them at all times. I personally could not be happier for them! Not only does that mean that they have more puppy love to pass around but I get to live the puppy life vicariously through them!

His name is Del's First Mate, or Mate for short. They live right on the river and it would be inappropriate to name his anything other than a swaggering sea name. I love it! Doesn't he look like a Mate to you?

These pictures are my sister's handiwork too. She really is phenomenal at what she does and you can certainly tell a difference between her photographs and mine. This one is my favorite of hers.

That is Mate with my dad, just chilling and loving the attention. He will be a lovely addition to our family. Fits in already!

Look at that cute little pink puppy belly. And of course he has already been in the mud, in true boy form.

Oh I can't get enough of him. There is nothing like a puppy to make you smile from ear to ear until it hurts... and then rub your cheeks a bit so you can smile some more. But this blog entry isn't just about new puppies. It is about food too! And what better time to make an entry about burgers and salads!? It is that time of the year that I can't wait to get to, savor, cherish, and then cry a bit when it is all over. Grill season. When I was still living at home we would grill almost every night when the weather was warm. We would spend the days at the pool, doing yard work (yes, we all did yard work together, even us girls) at swim meets, but we always seemed to have time to take a moment and grill up a tasty dinner. My dad is the true grill master in our family, and between him and I we have grilled pretty much anything. Veggies, fruits, pizza dough (you HAVE to try this and there will be an entry all about grilled pizza in the very near future,) angel food cake, and of course any manner of protein you can think of.

But of course, some of these "traditional" offerings get monotonous, so if you have hit the proverbial bar-b-q wall already, try this variation. I made a stuffed turkey burger with broccoli salad. It was different, packed with flavor, and of course, grilled up perfectly (though these will do just fine inside on a grill pan or in a skillet as well.)

A few notes about turkey burgers - Usually people choose turkey over beef to cut calories and fight back some fat. But unless you are buying all white meat ground turkey to make your burgers, then there is really no nutritional difference between beef and turkey. And I know there are probably a few of you readers saying "But dark meat has all the flavor and juiciness." That is precisely why I chose to stuff and season my burgers with mozzarella cheese, Italian breadcrumbs (extra credit if you make your own,) sage, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and fresh parsley. All of these elements come together to make one lip-smacking burger, and once you top it off with some juicy tomatoes and crispy lettuce, you might as well banish all those worries of "dry turkey."

And about that salad - No need to get burnt out of the same old potato, macaroni, cole slaw, or green salads. Pick out some of your favorite veggies and make it shine in a salad of it's own. Love carrots? Make a shaved carrot salad with tarragon vinaigrette. Squash more your taste? Saute up some with some garlic and fresh basil and you're good to go. This is a great way to experiment in the kitchen (something I am always trying to encourage people to do) in addition to using some of the plethora of fresh vegetables and fruits ripe for the picking this time of year. I chose broccoli but in order to keep some of the intergrity of the vegetable, served it raw with a plain yogurt and vinegar dressing. With a few raisins, slivered almonds, and diced red onion, it had me coming back for seconds.

Happy grilling all!


  1. PUPPY! i love it, the pic of him with ur dad is adorable!

    how did you make the broccoli salad?

  2. The broccoli salad was super easy, you should certainly try it! The dressing is just some plain yogurt, vinegar, a little brown sugar, fresh herb like dill and parsley, and salt and pepper. Use this as the base and then work from there. Not creamy enough? Add some more yogurt. Looking for some spice? Add some cayenne. Make it your own. The actual salad is just chopped broccoli, raisins, slivered toasted almonds, scallions, and red onion. See easy as pie also, and also something that you can play around with too. Switch up the veggies and flavor profiles and you're set for a unique and versatile side dish.

  3. black labs are adorable! i have three, one of them is a giant named bubbles. kudos to your sister for the pictures, they look gorg!

  4. aw, this post maks me think of summer! i hope your summer is going good; full of family and fun and, obviously, food.

  5. Aw, I'm LOVING this blog, it's so cute!

  6. GRILLED PIZZA?! i cannot wait

  7. Your sister took those? They're gorgeous! She really has an eye for it! She should start her own blog, haha!!

  8. Ah what a beautiful puppy!!