I’ve been a little crazy busy this month.  First our trip to Austin to visit family (very fun, very HOT) and then our trip to Phoenix (not so much fun, very HOT).  I am ready to live out the final several weeks of summer with relaxation and back yard barbecues on the agenda.

For ideas and inspiration I visited the one and only Martha Stewart Living.

 Clever leaf coasters would be cute at a backyard barbecue.

I’m not sure I’d make these cute little envelop packets for my melon balls but you have to admit, they’re kinda cute.

This is more my speed.

With that in mind I thought I’d pull out a recipe I received at a friend’s bridal shower.  The hostess requested that everyone invited to the shower provide a favorite recipe in advance of the date of the event.  When we arrived she had printed out all of the recipes for each guest.  There were some really tasty recipes in this packet and this is one of them.

I haven’t used rosemary as skewers but I love the look, maybe this idea I will use when I fix these skewers.

Note, I cook these on the outdoor grill but as the recipe states, you can fix these on a grill pan in your kitchen…but why would you?

On the whole leaf theme, these votive and vases look great covered in leaves.  I also like the burlap table runner and plant to make one for my patio table.

The main goal is to relax for the remaining weeks of summer…at least I’m going to try!

And one last Martha idea…remember those handles you get from departments stores to make holding shopping bags easier?  That’s what this holder is…placed over what looks like a cardboard container.  Visit her side if you are interested in making this, I’ll be relaxing in the back yard.

Grilled Balsamic Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Skewers


6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless 12 cremini mushrooms, cleaned
3 cloves garlic, minced 2 red onions cut into eighths
3 T. basil, chopped 5 zucchini, cut into large cubes
2 T. thyme, chopped 3 red peppers cut into 2” pieces
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
3 T. whole grain mustard 12 skewers soaked in water
1/2 c. olive oil  

 (Note:  You can substitute other veggies if you aren’t fond of this list)

 Cut each chicken breast into six large cubes and set aside.  Place the garlic, basil, thyme, balsamic, whole grain mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk together to incorporate.  Pour 3/4 of the marinade over the chicken and reserve the rest to brush onto the vegetables while grilling.  Let the chicken marinate for one hour or more.


While the meat is marinating, cut up all the vegetables and place into separate bowls.  Once the chicken has marinated, take the skewers and place one piece of chicken, onion, pepper, chicken, mushroom, zucchini and another piece of chicken and place onto a baking sheet.  Repeat until all the chicken and vegetables are gone.  Sprinkle the skewers with salt and pepper.  With a pastry brush, lightly brush the vegetables with the reserved marinade.

 Heat a large grill or grill pan and place the skewers on the grill; cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn and cook until the meat is cooked through.  Remove from heat and keep warm in a 250° oven until ready to serve.  Place the skewers on a platter and garnish with fresh herbs.

 I serve this with the a mixed green salad and some fresh sliced melon.  Easy and tasty.  Enjoy.