A Squared: Weekend Recap: A Picnic, A Reunion, & A Lot of Nutella

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Recap: A Picnic, A Reunion, & A Lot of Nutella



Oh Monday, how quickly you always seem to appear.  And I am never quite ready for your arrival-- especially after a fun summer weekend.  Our weekend wasn't a crazy one, but it was busy and full of friends that we don't get to spend enough time with.

On Saturday we headed up to Montrose Beach for a BBQ with Alex's coworkers.  Our friend/Alex's coworker Tony organized it (and we lucked out with one of the most beautiful days of the summer) complete with food from Smoque, one of Chicago's best BBQ joints.
  That's Tony below in his BBQ appropriate Piggly Wiggly tee shirt.

 After a long afternoon out in the park we were ready for a relaxed Saturday dinner.  There's this little place called the Crepe Bistro that I pass everyday on my walk to work that has always picqued my interest.  It is tucked away in a part of the Loop that's pretty quiet on weekends, so we decided to it would be the perfect place for a low key date.  Banana Nutella Crepes.  That's really all I need to say about this place. 



Alex plays soccer on Sunday mornings and then that afternoon we dusted off the City Walk deck and ventured up to Southport Avenue.  I fell in love with the area and am now reconsidering all of my plans to move up to North Shore in a few years.  More on my inner housing conflict later though...




We ended the weekend in maybe the best way possible: a Skype reunion with (most of) our best friends from our days in Boston.  Technical difficulties aside (apparently none of us really knew how to use Skype properly in this capacity), it was great to catch up with everyone face to face (so to speak).  We haven't all been together in person since our wedding and of course that means that Alex and I barely saw them since we were occupied with our wedding guests and plans.  Our group is all over the U.S. now, but I think it's pretty special that we all put Sunday evening plans aside to log on from our respective locations-- Chicago (of course), Boston, New York, Charleston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (by way of Rhode Island)-- to spend some quality time together.  We miss you, friends!




I also got a little creative in the kitchen this weekend.  I had a ton of random (and very ripe) leftover fruit hanging around so I decided to incorporate it into a breakfast for Alex and me.  Instead of banana pancakes (which I am so tired of making whenever we have ripe bananas), I found a baked oatmeal recipe on Pinterest and adapted it based on the ingredients that I had on hand.  It's really filling, tasty, and actually pretty healthy.  And I still have enough left over to eat for breakfast tomorrow.  I added the Nutella element for Alex.  Little did I know we'd be enjoying Banana Nutella Crepes later that evening too!




Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Nutella

Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, zest, cinnamon, salt, hazelnuts, and half the berries. (Save the other half of the berries for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.
Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries and blueberries. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shimmy/shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. Meanwhile, microwave Nutella in a microwave-safe dish for 60-90 seconds until it just starts to liquefy.  Be sure to keep an eye on it as if you cook the Nutella for too long it will become solid.  Drizzle the Nutella on top of the baked oatmeal and serve.


Inspired by original recipe via Inspired Taste.

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