Backyard BBQ Recipes: Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewers

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewers

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I am so excited for this weekend- not only because I need a little break from what proved to be a rather busy and hectic work-week- but also because the weather is supposed to be really nice and I’ve got a lot of outdoor stuff I want to do around the Valley!

One of those outdoorsy things may include some grilling- and I recently came across a super simple, super quick backyard BBQ recipe that combines fruit and cheese (a great pairing in itself, really)– but in a fun and unique way.

Meet watermelon and feta skewers- the Summertime recipe you didn’t know you needed in your life ’til now!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • About 40 (1-inch) pieces cubed watermelon
  • About 20 (1-inch) pieces cubed feta cheese
  • ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil (optional)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Set your grill to high heat. Thread a piece of watermelon, a piece of feta and a second piece of watermelon onto a 6-inch skewer. Repeat with the remaining pieces of watermelon and feta.
  2. Once the grill is hot, brush the skewers on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Grill until lightly charred on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and cool slightly.
  3. To serve, mound 1 cup arugula onto each plate and top with 5 skewers per plate. Drizzle each salad with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped basil. Serve immediately.

Even though the original recipe calls for some extra ingredients for presentation purposes- my skewers were well-received even without being placed on a bed of arugula or sprinkled with basil. I put them out with a little bowl of standard cream cheese fruit dip and another little bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt and my friends devoured them just the same!

The sweetness of the watermelon with the saltiness of the feta was an unexpected flavor journey as I ate a couple of these skewers myself- but it was definitely delicious and something I will absolutely make again- although I think the next time I might leave them on the grill for a little longer to get a bit more of a charred surface. I was admittedly afraid of melting the cheese too much during this go at the recipe!

That just about does it for me this week. I’ll be back on Monday with more recaps of my time around the Valley, another look at my Summer wardrobe and maybe- just maybe- a custom-made Summertime soundtrack to share! You’ll have to check back to find out!

Here’s wishing you all a sunny, safe and fun weekend ahead. Be good to yourselves and each other!

xx

– Ashley –

Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today at work is our impromptu Bruins celebration/pep rally in preparation for Game 7 tonight- so I’ve essentially been forced to wear the only black and gold ensemble I had stored in my closet. I don’t mind too much, since the weather is shaping up to be nice again today- but I’ve admittedly been pretty lax on keeping up with hockey this year so I feel a bit like a bandwagon fan right now!

I’m sure I’ll swing by the bar near my apartment tonight to grab a beer and tune in if it’s not too crowded, though!

This past weekend, hot and humid and filled with sunshine- was also filled with lots of work for PaintBox Theatre since our 16th season kicks off near the end of this month! I spent some of my afternoon(s) writing e-mails, putting together show advertisements for local publications- and designing social media content to get us through the next few days. It might sound pretty simple- but it’s a lot of work with a lot of different people and processes involved! Everything has to be *just* right.

The cast are cutting some radio ads this morning, and I am anxiously awaiting the behind-the-scenes photos to share- but before I do that- this recently edited video we launched across our platform can give a little hint of what PaintBox is all about and how much energy the crowd packs into every performance!

That is seriously one of the cutest things ever and I’m so thrilled with our audio/video team for capturing it!

If you live in or around the Pioneer Valley- I really hope you’ll come say hello and enjoy a show with us. All dates/times and ticketing information are available on the website linked above!

Apart from continued work with side projects, lots of iced coffee, and some bedroom ballet/stretching- this weekend was also spent lounging lazily with friends in the area and ordering takeout. Not a bad way to beat the heat- if I do say so myself.

A little later on this week (Friday) I’ve got a super quick and easy recipe to share that is perfect for your next Summer BBQ/Get-Together- before we once again reach the weekend and I get to do a little more exploring/photographing around the Valley. I’m super excited about the places I’m planning to visit!

Here’s to a quick and painless “Hump Day” . We just gotta’ get through the next couple of days, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Blondie Birdie Turns 2!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Although it’s never fun to return to work after the weekend- especially this past one where the weather was perfect and I had a lot of fun- I’m excited to get back into my office and push through this week as quickly as possible so we can get to Friday again!

This past weekend, which I’ll recap a little later on in the week- was also a commemorative one as it marked “Blondie Birdie’s” second birthday/anniversary/blog-iversary/etc! I started writing this little corner of the web two years ago on 6/9/17- and while some of my content has changed over the years (I no longer review subscription boxes, for example-) much of it has stayed the same in terms of delicious recipes, peeks inside my closet at my more fun wardrobe staples, and lots and lots of pictures from around where I live and when I travel!

It’s been a wild two years filled with adventures, surprises, eye-opening moments, self-discovery, major life changes, friends and family and so much more- and I’m so honored and thrilled to have so many of you along for the ride. I hope reading “Blondie Birdie” makes each of you as happy and eager to travel/cook/try new things as it does for me when I’m writing it- and I hope to give you all another two years (and many more after that!) or quality posts I take pride in publishing.

Of course, no birthday can go noticed/acknowledged without a little bit of site maintenance. I’ve updated my ABOUT ME and CONTACT pages to reflect more accurate and up-to-date information- and I’ve gone through to make sure there are no broken links/images in posts from the pasts. A daunting task, for sure- but a fun little stroll down memory lane regardless!

I’ll also be making some changes to the design/layout of the blog over the next several days- which I’m excited to see rolled out in completion as the preliminary testing is wrapped up!

And while last year’s 1-year anniversary saw a fun, Summertime-themed giveaway up and running- I’ve opted to wait until the Fall (my favorite season!) to put together something really, really special for you all that you can enter to win. I want to make sure it’s perfect and truly represents me and the person I’ve become over these last two years- and so far I think it may be one of my best giveaways yet. Be sure to keep an eye out in the coming months for more information!

All in all I’m really proud and grateful for these last two years and the progress I’ve made personally, professionally, and in terms of the quality of Blondie Birdie. I’m excited for the future- but if you’d like to peek at the past as I’ve been doing- here’s a handy link to some of my most popular tags:

* RECIPES *

* OOTD *

* TRAVEL *

* BEAUTY *

I’m off to get started on my e-mails, voicemails, etc. I’m going to be back a little later on this week with a look at my weekend and have a super easy, super refreshing Summertime recipe to share now that the temperatures are starting to rise again!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week and a peaceful few days ahead! Thank you all again so, so much for continuing to support Blondie Birdie and yours truly. It means the world!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Now It’s All Covered in Flowers…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the weekend!

It’s been such a busy- but wonderful- week and I’m excited to spend some time with my mom and my brothers tonight at our bi-weekly family dinner, head into Boston for a few hours to do my radio show tomorrow afternoon- and then soak up a little sun back at home while I’m out and about on the town running errands and just exploring my neighborhood!

And while I’m doing that, I’ll more than likely be wearing one of my favorite Summer weekend ensembles- a sundress or romper with bright and fun sandals. Much like I did last weekend when I took my best friend to visit the Bridge of Flowers while he was visiting from the city!

I love a good, simple, comfortable and loose-fitting sundress with a cute print. This one, adorned with hot pink flowers- also has an open back to it- so to keep myself from looking like I was going out to the club when I was really just walking around the more “sophisticated” Shelburne Falls during the afternoon- I opted to wear a pale pink tank top underneath the dress to look a bit more modest and not show off too much skin since there were plenty of families and small children running around!

And if these sandals look familiar- it’s because they’re the ones I had picked up at ModCloth last year and wore for pretty much the entirety of Summer 2018. After pulling them out of my closet and bringing them to my new apartment with me- they are officially back and ready for more (and are still ridiculously comfortable!)

And, as cute as this dress and these sandals are- it’s Shelburne Falls that was the real MVP of this “Outfit of The Day” post. No matter where I turned, the entire village itself was the perfect backdrop for photos and selfies. Look at that wall of ivy! Look at the Deerfield River behind me! They made the dress look even better, honestly!

And that just about does it for me this week. I’m going to be back on Monday with more warm weather clothing, some Summertime recipes, peeks around the Pioneer Valley and celebrating Blondie Birdie’s second year here on the web (!!!)– but here’s wishing you all a lovely, safe weekend ’til then!

Now get out there and go have some fun!

xx

– Ashley –

Stop and Smell The Flowers…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

While I prepare to launch myself into what will undoubtedly be another busy day at work and an evening of post-office plans- I wanted to look back on this past weekend- which was actually super relaxing, sunny, and warm!

I had mentioned last Friday when I was wrapping up the month of May and how it had been for me that my best friend Sean- who still presently resides just outside of Boston- was coming to spend the weekend with me so he could see my new place for the first time and be introduced to the Pioneer Valley with an impromptu tour. I had an idea of a couple of the places I wanted to take him while he was here (weather permitting)– but the rest was very much a spontaneous adventure!

I knew that after showing Sean my apartment and the surrounding neighborhood that I wanted to take him to Northampton- which is sort of the hub of the valley. We spent the entire evening walking around looking at all the shops, artwork, and scenery- and made sure to grab a bite to eat at Mama Iguanas and iced maple lattes at The Roost (we even had a special appearance from Troy who stopped by our table at dinner to say hello!)

Sean was blown away by just how much there was to do and see around pretty much every corner- and when our feet started to hurt from walking so much- we popped by the Tunnel Bar for a nightcap before it was time to return home.

On Sunday morning, we opted to stay a little closer to my neck of the woods and had brunch at the nearby Hope & Olive– where I had the best frittata and home fries of my life and met some of Troy’s theater friends- who he’d quested via text to find me and say hello since they were also having brunch in the same restaurant. It was a pleasant surprise and everyone was very, very kind.

Afterwards, with the sun shining bright and the temperatures (and humidity) rising- I took Sean to the two locations I had planned early on. One was the Montague Bookmill, which I had blogged about during my last visit there on a rainy day in April– and the second was the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls.

It’s been just about a year since I last visited the Bridge of Flowers- give or take- but what I love about it is that every time I come back- there’s something new and different to look at. The flowers are beautiful and the views of the Deerfield River are breathtaking. While we were there- I managed to snap some really great photos of the scenery and some of my favorite blossoms.

If you’d like to enlarge any of the photos below- just click on them!

By the time a couple of late afternoon thunderstorms began rolling through the area- Sean was already en route back to the city and I was back at my apartment doing laundry and cleaning. Perfect timing!

I’m hoping to visit a couple more destinations on my “to do” list now that I’m becoming more established in the area- and if the weather is as sunny and bright as the forecast is predicting- then this weekend is looking like a good time as any to check them out!

But before we get to this coming weekend- we have to finish up the actual weekdays, first. I’m off to get started at my office and have some much-needed caffeine- but here’s hoping you all enjoy your “Hump Day!”

See you again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –