Happy Monday! I hope you had a fantastic weekend and your week is off to a good start! The weather in Chicago this weekend was absolutely beautiful again, allowing us to spend some quality time outdoors. For this weekend’s active adventure, we head to Swallow Cliff in Palos Park, Illinois- a beautiful forest preserve with many trails that also has a huge staircase (it used to be a toboggan hill). Many people do laps up and down the stairs, but we only ventured up once to get to the trail route.
We ended up at Swallow Cliff because we had a family party out in the area and I had heard great things about it- we definitely did not have as much time as I would have liked to explore, but we got in a decent hour-long walk. The trees were gorgeous- I feel this year more than previous years, I’ve really paid attention to the changing leaves and as we walked this trail, not only did I make sure to enjoy the colors, but also the fact that leaves were falling every second- a true testament to the season.
The highlight of the trip for me was seeing a Blue Jay up close and personal…it’s been years since I’ve seen one, so naturally I was like a little kid when I saw it, but really, regardless of how many times you’ve seen one, they are pretty spectacular.
If anyone has thought about venturing to Swallow Cliff- a good thing to note is that there is a bathroom facility (at least by the staircase parking lot) and some picnic tables, so it’s definitely a spot you could spend a good amount of time at if you wanted to make it a full-day excursion. We will probably try it out again, either in the next couple weeks, or maybe come spring – Matt didn’t feel he was properly dressed for the hike and now has thrown out the idea of investing in some hiking boots.
After our trip to Swallow Cliff, we headed to my aunt’s house not too far away for a family party. My cousin and her new husband were in town and it was wonderful to see them and catch up with our entire family. We spent almost the entirety of the gathering outside- enjoying wine on the deck and chatting and laughing the day away.
And now for the weekly dinner menu- I’ve got some repeats on here this week as I attempt to perfect a few recipes I’d like to share in the coming weeks. One thing I’ve noticed about myself as a cook…I do not pay attention to measurements when I’m playing around with flavors and combinations, so when something turns out good and I want to share it- I have no idea exactly how much of this or that I used. I’ve admitted the problem and now here’s hoping I fix it…But, for now, I’ll re-make a few things and WRITE down what I do so I can be sure to share all the goodness with ya!
- Monday: Pumpkin Sweet Potato Chili- I made this last week and LOVED it, but then when I sat down to type out the recipe, I realized, I couldn’t quite remember how I did it. Cross your fingers this batch turns out as good as the last, and you’ll be seeing this one soon.
- Tuesday: Brown rice pasta with sauteed spinach, red onion, roasted tomatoes, toasted pine-nuts, and sliced organic spinach chicken sausage from Whole Foods.
- Wednesday: Pan-seared scallops with lemon and garlic over spaghetti squash.
- Thursday: Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole (found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website). I’m really excited to try this one out!
- Friday: TBD (Date night in with homemade pizza or date night out).
Speaking of date nights…as Matt and I were heading out for a quick dinner date on Friday night, a woman in the elevator asked us if we were going on a date. When we replied “yes,” she said, “Good. That’s so important, something to really look forward to.” And I think this is so true- carving out specific “date” time really is such a special part of a relationship- it pulls you out of your routine, allows you to catch up without the distractions being at home can bring (like feeling the need to clean something up, do the dishes, T.V., etc.) I always try to really appreciate the moments Matt and I share together, but this woman’s reminder made me appreciate our date even more!
On that note, have an awesome week and be sure to take time to appreciate the little things! 😉
Question: What meal are you most excited to make this week?