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    Inspiring Pretty is a home for all the things in which women find beauty. From raising a family to planning a wedding to finding creative crafts and recipes and everything in between, we are here to share the things we love the most while beautifying your life as well. Read our site biography and our writer biographies in order to find out more about who we are!

Unusual Foods You Should Try on the Grill

We’re deep in the heart of summer and embarking on the hottest month yet: August. Everyone grills in the summer, but it can get monotonous just serving up hotdogs, hamburgers and BBQ. After all, who says that the grill is just for meat and vegetables? And who says that it is only meant for lunch and dinner? Poppycock! To remedy this, I have found some of the most unusual foods you should grill before the summer ends.

Fruit

photo @ Really Risa

If you have not yet had grilled pineapple, you should get with the times and try it out. Some people like to coat it in honey or brown sugar, others like it with a dash or lemon or lime juice and other like adding some pepper and/or hot sauce. I prefer it sweet, because it makes a fresh and naturally sweet unique dessert.

photo @ Chicago Tribune

Fried banana is common, but grilled banana not so much. It is delicious when grilled though, especially in honey, sugar or cinnamon and when served with yogurt or ice cream. Grilled banana is also killer in a banana split. You just have to get the timing correct when grilling and remember to keep the banana in its peel while grilling.

Grilled peaches are truly one of the joys of summer. This seasonal fruit is delectable when covered in cinnamon, honey, balsamic vinegar or just plain old sugar/brown sugar. It’s also paired well with yogurt, ice cream or blue cheese.

photo @ Extraordinary BBQ

You have probably had baked apples during the winter, but have you tried grilled apples? Just toss apple slices, halves or quarters in lemon juice, cinnamon and/or brown sugar and grill. It’s not my taste, but some people like them with melted cheddar cheese. You can grill apples in tin foil and or put them straight on the grill. Test both ways out and see which you prefer!

photo @ Pinterest

Watermelon when grilled turns from a mildly sweet snack to a savory appetizer. Many people coat it in olive oil and them smother it with a combination of sea salt and pepper and/or balsamic vinegar. You can also add more toppings such as honey, blue cheese, feta, chevre, salad dressings or your choice of meat. Grilled watermelon of this caliber goes great with salads or by itself on a kabob.

photo @ La Receta

Citrus fruits are often ignored on the grill, but I think they offer the biggest taste change of all the fruits when grilled. Grapefruits lose their sourness a bit and taste very sweet when grilled (especially with a bit of brown sugar and/or honey.

photo @ Food Network

Grilled lemons make for a scrumptious lemonade. Try them out for a distinctive flavor that you can’t get any other way. Grilled limes in limeade is mighty delicious as well.

Vegetables

photo @ Meat Wave

Cucumbers can be given a burst of flavor when grilled and seasoned properly. You can try coating them in vinegar, sea salt and red pepper after grilling it or just slice it up and add it into a salad. Be attentive when grilling, though, because cucumbers can dry out quite easily.

photo @ La Domestique

Green onions are already quite flavorful, but they can take on a robust change when grilled. Many people marinate in garlic, black pepper and olive oil before grilling. Try adding this to a salad or omelette for a change of taste.

photo @ Meat Wave

This may sound odd, but you can grill romaine lettuce and it will actually taste good. Grilled romaine lettuce can be chopped up and tossed in a salad or made into its own entree.

photo @ Seventeen and Em

Kale is extremely good for you, but it must be prepared in order to make it palatable. Just coat it the kale olive oil to preserve its moisture and add what you’d like. Some like lemon juice, others salt and/or pepper. Grilled kale makes for an excellent ingredient in a salad or a delicious condiment on hotdogs and hamburgers.

photo @ The Joy of Organics

Artichokes are usually boiled, which is too bad, because they are delicious on their own and have the potential to be even tastier. Coat the artichoke with olive oil and then grill as you wish. Some like to use just lemon juice, others like to add an array of spices and/or dressings. Either way, it is guaranteed to be better than just boiling the artichoke.

photo @ Biscuits and Such

There are so many ways to make potatoes. It may be the most versatile food. You have probably already eaten baked potatoes, but try grilling them without tin foil or using grilled potatoes to make a potato salad. Also try grilled potato scallops and grilled french fries. You will definitely notice a difference in flavor when cooked on the grill.

Grilled avocados are pretty popular right now and there is a reason for it. They are a delicious addition to BBQ meals and easy to make as well. Try using grilled avocados to make a salsa or guacamole. They also make a great burger topper. And, if you’re in a culinary connoisseur mood, you can try making them as their own dish.

photo @ The Dinner Files

You have probably grilled many common vegetables on the grill when making a kabob (onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, radishes, carrots, etc), but have you tried beets? Make Dwight proud and try some grilled beets with spices and vinegar or make a beet salad topped with chevre, shallots, sea salt and balsamic vinegar or any toppings of your choice.

Breakfast

photo @ Vancouver Observer

French toast is great. Grilled french toast is a whole new kind of delicious. There are so many different ways to do this. Just be sure to use a thick slab of bread when grilling. Challah is a great choice, but french bread works as well.

photo @ Half Baked Harvest

The only thing better than a donut is a hot donut. A when grilled, caramelization occurs on a sugar donut and it is delectable in a way that no other donut can be. Plus, warm bread is always good. You can bake or fry your own donuts and then grill them. Or, you can buy plain donuts from the store and jazz them up anyway you like. You can also take the lazy route and just get a ready-made donut from and simply grill it to get it nice and hot.

photo @ Home is Where the Cookies Are

There are many good reasons to cook bacon on the grill. Grilling allows the fat to drip off, the aroma of bacon not to linger in the house, there is no grease popping out of the pan (and no grease to clean up) and you get a more charred taste to your bacon. Try grilling bacon for breakfast or for a burger topper.

Sweets

photo @ Noble Pig

Pound cake is one of the those desserts that tastes better when warm. You can either make your own or simply buy it at the store, but try grilling it and adding a few berries or summery fruits on top for a twist of taste.

When you don’t want to fire up the grill and the oven at the same time, try cooking cookies on the grill. Just cook them on a cookie sheet or tin foil and be sure to put the grill cover on.

photo @ Delish

Candy bars are delicious when frozen, but they are also scrumptious when grilled. Wrap a candy bar of your choice and a few marshmallows in tortilla and you’re ready to grill. Some cover the candy bar concoction in tin foil to avoid dripping, but you can put the tortilla straight on the grill as well. Now, this is a something that can blow smores out of the water.

photo @ The Cheesy Kitchen

I don’t how to explain why it’s better, but grilled peanut butter and jelly is just plain better than regular peanut butter and jelly. You have to try it at least once.

And once you try a grilled PB&J, you’ll want to try out all of the other sweet sandwiches from your childhood such as bananas and peanut butter and peanut butter and honey.

Main Dishes

photo @ The Fresh Princess of Bon Air

I find burrito tortillas to be better when grilled. Grilling gives it a different texture and taste, which affects the taste of the rest of the burrito. This is best achieved when you grill the entire burrito as opposed to simply the tortilla.

photo @ Sea Salt with Food

For the exact same reason as above, try grilling your quesadilla. The difference in texture alone makes it worth a try.

photo @ The Cook Book Chronicles

Grilled pizza is becoming more and more popular. Try it out to avoid using the oven in the summer and for a change in taste in the bread.

photo @ Kalamazoo Gourmet

We’ve all had grilled cheese, but have you actually had grilled cheese? It blows other “grilled” cheeses out of the water. Grilled cheese on an actual grill makes a childhood favorite more grown up and you’ll find yourself trying new cheeses and breads after your first try.

photo @ Meat Wave

There are many recipes to make a meatball, but few ways to cook one. Try grilling them for a twist on your favorite recipe.

photo @ Sippity Sup

I advocate grilling seafood whenever possible. Summer is the best time for seafood, so grill all that you can. Try mussels and oysters on the grill for an easy meal. If you’d really like to taste summer, try grilled octopus. Takes me back to Greece every single time.

photo @ Cooking Channel

Truly, any sandwich is better when grilled. A focaccia sandwich is infinitely better when grilled, because focaccia is just made that way. So, try making your lunch tastier just by putting it on some focaccia bread and throwing it on the grill.

Sides

You can make cornbread in the oven or you can make it in a skillet. So, when you are grilling and want to avoid using the oven, cooking your cornbread in a skillet on the grill.

 

photo @ Fiddle Dee Me

It seems counter-intuitive to grill cheese, but it is possible. Caprese can be grilled and doing so gives it a charred taste that can’t be beat. Usually, this is done on a kabob with vegetables and possibly bread. Just be vigilant when grilling, because it is a cheese after all and it can easily melt.

photo @ Food Network

Grilled provolone offers a smoky taste of the otherwise mild cheese. It’s a common appetizer in South America and comes seasoned with many spices.

photo @ Awesome Cuisine

Halloumi is a Greek cheese, and if you have not heard of it yet, you must try it. Grilled Halloumi is easy to make and once you try it, you’ll understand why it has been eaten for centuries.

photo @ DVO

You can season nuts just the way you want by grilling them. Just throw peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, almonds or any other nuts you’d like to use in tin foil, add your spices and cook on the grill. There are many great recipes just a click away on the internet for both sweet and salty grilled nuts. You can also add some berries to sweet nuts for a dessert.

photo @ Primal Palate

Like the nuts above, choose your favorite olives and toss them in tin foil with seasoning and cook on the grill. It’s a delicious twist on an ordinary food that’s eaten everyday.

Do you have any unusual foods you should grill that are not on this list? Let us know below!


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Summer Fun and a Lemonade Punch Recipe

Fortunately for us here in California this summer has actually been pretty mild weather-wise. My family {on both sides} love the out of doors. At a wine-tasting in Napa Valley last week my side of the family enjoyed a gorgeous view, the shadiness of trees, a picnic lunch and my adorable nieces without the scorching sun melting us to death. It’s been so beautiful. The best summer weather in years!

Lily and her Daddy Geoff

 

Alice and her Pampa John

All and all, I have been in weather heaven, because I am someone who despises the heat {as in if I could punch it and tell it to get out and never come back, I would}. So, I have been able to thoroughly enjoy these last few months and I have been really into cool, refreshing, sitting-out-on-the-porch-with-a-nice-breeze kind of drinks. And boy do I have a drink recipe for you! Sweet and cool lemonade punch. It is delish. This may be my new summer drink.

You’ll need:

3 frozen cans of limeade drink

2 frozen cans of lemonade drink

2 liters of lemon lime soda

3 tsp. of orange extract

Pour your soda in a punch bowl or pitcher

Then pour your frozen concentrate in {I was minimizing my recipe to fit in this cute little pitcher so I only did one can of limeade and 1/2 a can of lemonade} and then add the extract.

Bam! You are done. I added some lemon slices to jazz it up a bit and give the drink some visual appeal.  But whoo-wee! It sure tastes good. I must admit that it is pretty sweet, but oh, so tasty. If you do not want your punch to be too sweet, you can always add more soda or less juice until you get your ideal flavor.

Enjoy the rest of your summer fun!

 


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My Plan to Get My Life Back

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve  written anything about just plain life.  And I’ve been thinking of a few things lately that I just want to talk about. Maybe you care, maybe you don’t. But this is my outlet so you have to listen. Just kidding, feel free to click on over to a crafty post if this doesn’t suit your fancy :)

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Do you ever feel burned out? Like you have had so much on your plate and been running ragged for so long that when life finally calms down you don’t want to do anything? You just want to chill out. Yes? Me too…. Ugghh… My job can be pretty exhausting and the last year or so it’s been tough. I start work around 6 am {sometimes 4 or 5 am} and by the end of the day I’m usually so sleepy. I also run this lovely little website with my sister-in-laws and there are times when things are a little stressful and hectic. And then there’s just the things of life like finances, family and random events. Well, the past 6 months have been a real doozie for me. And I’m now finding the last few weeks that things are starting to slow down and I just can’t get myself into the swing of normal life again.

I’m so tired and am having trouble desiring to do the things I normally love. That’s one of the reasons why you might have noticed my writing has been a tad light lately.  In order to get to the bottom of this, I’ve got to be real with you. So know that even us Pretty Girls need a writing break from time to time. Now don’t get me wrong, I love this website and everything I write means something to me but sometimes….. I just don’t want to write.  There are also a lot of other things I’ve been “Eh” about. My crafts and home decor projects have been on hold for some time, some recipes I’ve been wanting to try are still sitting on my Pinterest board uncooked. And my scrapbooking? Well, let’s just say I’ve only scrapbooked when my sister had a gathering of friends that I’m able to attend {this year, I could only make 2… sad}.  All this to say that there’s got to be a way to get that desire back. Really, I want my life back.

So, here’s my plan!! {and I hope if you are in the same boat that they will work for you too}

First off, I need to make sure that if I need a longer break, I take it.

-Sometimes we really do need a break and when that is the case, we just need to take it. But if not and it’s time to get back into the swing of things then lets move on!

I have to force myself to do the things I know I love.

-Right now, my desire is gone but it won’t last forever and these things are definitely things I know I love. That said, I’ve got to be organized and carve time out of my day to devote to these things. Even if it’s only a half hour everyday, it will get me doing something. And hey, I might even end up having fun. But it will definitely help increase my desire.

And I really have to force myself to do the things I don’t love.

-I don’t like exercising. Some people love it. Not me. But my whole life I was overweight and after losing A LOT about 4 years back, I know I need to workout or the weight will just creep back up. The last year or so I’ve reeeeaaally stopped slowed my workout. It’s hard to get started again after stopping but I’ve got to force myself or I’ll be in trouble.  Plus, exercising gives you more energy and will help me to be happier. I think my desires will really start returning this way…. boo.

I need to spend time browsing my favorite websites and blogs.

-Pinterest is a great motivator. You can’t help but jump out of your seat and start creating once you’ve gone one round on Pinterest. And then there’s my favorite blogs like One Good Thing By Jillee, Elizabeth Kartchner, U Create and sooo many more. They usually have some really great crafts or cleaning ideas that get my creative juices flowing. If I spend time browsing, I’m sure to get excited about something.

I need to turn off the TV.

-Many times when I come home from work, I need to unwind. My favorite way to do that is by watching a little TV or popping in a DVD of one of my favorite shows. But what I should really do is walk my dogs, exercise, put on some music and get to craftin’, writin’ or cleanin’. This way I don’t get myself stuck on the couch falling asleep in 20 minutes.

I know there is more I can do but I think this is a great way to get me started.  Hopefully, you will start to see a lot more of the wonderful things I’m up to here in the near future.

Are you ridin’ along in this boat with me? If you are, what are you doing or what have you done to help yourself get motivated? I’d love to know!!

 


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Lindsey - August 11, 2013 - 9:43 am

Oh Stacy! I am so glad to know I’M not the only one either! I’m going to have to update this to let you all know how I’m doing. Will you do the same? Hopefully it gets better for you. Thanks for stopping by :)

Stacy Rhodes - August 10, 2013 - 7:56 am

Wow! You pretty much nailed how I’ve felt lately. I’m sorry you have overwhelmed but it is comforting to know I’m not the only one. I feel guilty for being so lethargic about doing the things I normally love and the things I know I need to do to take care of me and my family.
Your plan to get your life back has inspired me and I plan to make an effort to do the same!
Thanks for the encouragement!

No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert

First off let me say, O.M.G.

If the title here didn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. I came across this no-bake dessert recipe on Pinterest the other day and was like, “Oh that looks good and super easy. I’ll ‘Pin It’ for later.”  Then Moviestar and I went to the store for our weekly grocery shop and with the mega sweet tooth he has, he began scouring the baking aisle for dessert options.  It got me thinking about my pin. So, I grabbed the ingredients and as soon as we got home, I got to work.

Now, we are two people. Not a whole family with kids and all so sometimes I see recipes and they are for like 5-6 people. Seriously, if I made desserts that fed 5 people they wouldn’t last more than 2 days {who am I kidding, they wouldn’t last the night…} and that’s not particularly good for our waistlines which are already growing with each passing week. But that’s a whole other post. So, I have to cut them down. At least by half. So, instead of using the 13×9 in. dish this recipe calls for, I used a loaf dish and halved all of the ingredients.  I know a loaf dish seems A LOT smaller than a 13×9, but it is also significantly deeper which meant I could either do more layers or more cream. I chose more cream :)

**If you end up following my lead on downsizing, you are going to find the graham cracker layering a tad tricky. As you can see below, I had to break my crackers up quite a bit in order to make them fit in the dish. But hey, no matter, you won’t see them when it’s all finished and it tastes perfectly wonderful anyway!**

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before really doing anything, you need to mix your Cool Whip and Pudding.

Now Stop. Wait right there. Hold it.

I’m not even joking. Go through my post, have fun reading it and looking at my pics, but READ the recipe instructions first! Because you could have a brain fart or just be in a rush to get this thing in the fridge so it has time to harden. {I was the former} and straight up mix the dry pudding powder into the cool whip. Though this creates a pretty yummy cream that might be nice for another dessert, it is extremely difficult to use in this one. Mostly because it won’t spread.  Like a dumb-dumb that’s what I did, and when I started to spread I realized that I didn’t have enough cream and it looked a lot thicker than the pics from the recipe on TheKitchenIsMyPlayground.com. Then… and only then… did I decide to read the recipe. It calls for you to make the pudding {duh! Milk is one of the ingredients!} and then mix with the cool whip. So, having already mixed the pudding mix in the cool whip I just added some milk and it turned out just okay, just a little lumpy. So don’t follow suit! Read, Read, Read.

Then I started layering away! Again, you’ll have some fun with the graham crackers but it all turns yummy and beautiful in the end. The last thing you’re going to do is make the chocolate topping.  Since I was cutting down her recipe and halved all of the ingredients I ended up with a little more chocolate than I think I needed for such a small radius. But hey, it’s chocolate. Can you ever have too much? Don’t answer that.

Once completed, you are suppose to then refrigerate overnight. But I didn’t have time for that! So, what did I do? I popped it in the freezer for a couple hours {about 3} and then shifted it back to the fridge until we were ready for dessert. It worked out just fine however preparing this the night before is probably best or if you have about 8 hrs. of time before you are going to eat it so that it can harden in the fridge. The reason for this? You know how cool whip hardens and crystalizes in the freezer? Yeah, so the cake will do that too.  Not as appetizing as it was the next day after sitting in the fridge softening. So, I recommend the fridge.

Doesn’t that look soooo yummy?! Well, It was. It was awesome. Moviestar and I even tried to come up with a way to give this a Tiramisu update…… Might share that with you soon. Mmmmm…..

For the recipe and full list of ingredients with much prettier photos, go over to The Kitchen is My PlaygroundTracey has not only this fantastic No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert, but so many other awesome recipes I have saved for later cooking adventures.


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bunny - August 5, 2013 - 1:36 am

I also want to try to do a cake like you.

OKBRIDALDRESS - July 24, 2013 - 5:53 pm

Its Looked Extremely Delicious

Dollar Store Home Decor!

I don’t know about you but I am cheap. Okay, I’m not like a Scrooge or anything it’s just that Moviestar and I go through these phases of being broke {in between his jobs} and when we are in one of those phases, I have no choice but to be very very frugal. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t continue to have my decorating urges. And what better place to satisfy those urges than with inexpensive purchases at the dollar store! All you have to do is have a little creativity and you can turn something basic into something awesome. Like these ladies did!

Antiqued Mercury Mirror Glass from 17 Apart

 

Spray Painted Decor Balls from Creations By Kara

 

Summer Candle Decor from Organized Island

 

Flour Sack Pillow Cases from Shabby Sweet Cottage

 

Mason Jar Solar Lights from Keep Calm and Decorate

Sharpie Mugs from A Beautiful Mess

 

Dollar Store Pantry Makeover from The Social Home

Have you turned anything from the Dollar Store into an awesome home decor item? I’d love to hear all about it. Please leave a comment below with all the dollar details!


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Cliff - April 24, 2014 - 10:55 pm

Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after
going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new
to me. Anyways, I’m certainly happy I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!
Cliff recently posted..CliffMy Profile

Kara - February 18, 2014 - 12:44 pm

This is a fun round-up. It’s amazing what you can do with simple dollar store items! :)

Lindsey - July 16, 2013 - 2:53 pm

Of course Raquel! I was happy to do it. It’s so inspiring. I’m already planning a dollar store trip for later this week to scout out some great finds ;)

Raquel - July 16, 2013 - 11:00 am

Thank you so much for featuring my candles. I LOVE the dollar store. Great round up!
Raquel recently posted..Buttery Craft Beer BreadMy Profile

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