Well guys, I’m graduated!!! A couple weeks ago, I crossed the stage, didn’t even trip in my tallest heels, and I’ll be mailed my actual diploma in a few weeks time! It was great. The tradition at UNR is to go to the famous college bar, The Little Waldorf, before graduation and drink mimosas and maybe relive your most wonderful/awful times as a college student? Idk, because I had never even been to The Wal until that day, but I was able to get past the sticky, beer-soaked floors that I’m sure have never been mopped, and my friends and I drank cheap champagne on empty stomachs and it was perfect. After graduation, I stuffed my face with Thai food at our favorite local joint, and then after I attempted a nap, we had a huge graduation BBQ with my friends and family. My parents ended up playing rage cage with all of us young kids, and also it was my first time playing! Of course I had all of my college experiences the day I graduated. But it was a super amazing time, everyone drank and had fun, and I got to sleep the whole next day with a less-than-fun hangover (shoutout to Gatorade for getting me through that one).
I’m off to Europe in less than two weeks (!!!), so I’m trying to enjoy some of my favorite Reno summertime activities before I leave. Namely, Lake Tahoe, fun outdoor bars, and sitting at patios at cute local restaurants. Also, I spent the last weekend in San Francisco drinking lots of coffee and cocktails with my cousin. We even found a bar that had a “bondage” theme, and I was impressed. Oh SF, I <3 u.
Since I’m leaving so so soon, I’m trying to get all of my cooking in while I can. Although I’m soooo excited to eat at wonderful European restaurants for 4 months, I also will miss the luxury of a kitchen, even though I’m sure my airbnb hosts will be accommodating if I really get the itch. Namely, I’ve been taking advantage of my BBQ, because we just got a brand new sparkly one, and in the summertime, I’m pretty sure the only acceptable food is any that is BBQed. The other day I was craving burgers like no other thing in the world, but I wanted something a little more creative than my standard beef-cheddar-veg-bun combo I normally go for. I really love smashed burgers, but since it’s summer I have a difficult time cooking indoors when my brand new sparkly grill is in eyesight from my kitchen window. Also, I really wanted something with BBQ sauce but not ribs or pulled pork, so I just combined everything into one package and then added bacon for good measure.
It’s a little more work to make the homemade BBQ sauce, but it’s honestly a super easy recipe and totally worth the effort. However, if you really can’t be bothered, you can always buy some store-bought sauce, but you’ll probably miss out on peaches and bourbon which is not the kind of world I want to live in.
P.S. the BBQ sauce will make quite a bit, and you definitely won’t need all of it for the recipe. You can either put it in jars and seal it (if that’s your thing) or you can use it for another recipe, but I’d use it within a week (or two if you’re willing to risk it, which I am). This sauce would be perfect on pulled pork, ribs, or chicken.
Also, I served my burgers with wedge salad, but some oven fries would be amazing too.
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Warned You by Good Morning
Clearly, I’ve been having a moment with BLTs lately. This is the second BLT-related post in the past month, which some may claim is incredulous, but I think is completely justified since bacon + bread + in-season tomatoes = heaven. Also, can we take a moment to literally laugh out loud, because in that same Basic BLT post, I went on and on and on about how there are just some foods, such as BLTs, that should be left alone (I believe the direct quote was “BLTs should be BLTs and nothing more”) and then I turn around and turn a classic into a salad. Blasphemy. Who gave me this kind of power?
To make up for my intense hypocrisy, I may even forgive you if you decide to say, put something like turkey on your BLT, which I still believe is just a club sandwich, so if you’re going to get that far, you might as well add some good swiss to the mix. However, I do ask that you maintain your dignity while doing so. If I happen to come across a BLT utilizing ridiculous ingredients such curry powder or sauerkraut as an act of outright defiance against my Rule of Simplicity, we’ll have a problem here, people.
Since it’s Labor Day weekend a.k.a. probably the last BBQ weekend of the year (at least for us colder cities), I thought I’d share this salad recipe, which goes perfectly with Tri-tip and grilled corn, burgers, or brats. It only takes about 15 minutes to mix up, which leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your last late-night patio session of the summer before the fall creeps in. I’m already starting to miss summer and the fresh food that comes along with it, but I can’t wait to share some wonderful fall-inspired recipes that I’ve been testing lately. I hope you love pie, spices, and savory food straight out of the oven, because there’s plenty of that making its way to my little corner of the internet. Also, probably some good sweater and Tahoe pics, since you know I love sharing my fun trips and outfits with you all ♥ Stay tuned for more!
I hope you have an amazing Labor Day weekend with your friends and family!
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Life Itself by Glass Animals
Living in Reno means that I live a short three and a half hours away from the beautiful Bay area and amazing wine country, which has both its perks and its downfalls. Perks include relaxing weekend getaways, good wine being delivered straight to local mom and pop’s doors, and the influence of The City* trickling into the BLC**. And the downfalls? Weekend getaways are $$$. Good wine is $$$. Then there’s The City’s influence on Reno…
See, Reno’s culture has significantly changed in the last few years. Reno has gone from a failing casino city to a hip, local college town with amazing restaurants, bars, coffee shops, thrift stores, record stores, book stores, parks, events, music, etc. etc. etc. Not all people appreciate BLC culture, but damn I love it. However, with the influence comes the the traffic, and the increase in rent, and…the fusion. Asian fusion. Greek fusion. Italian-German fusion with a twist of California fusion. And, okay fine, fusion can be cool, but some things are just meant to be left alone. Including BLTs.
It seems as if every restaurant I go to lately has “their version” of a BLT, with 100 other letters attached to the end to show how different their bacon sandwich is from every other restaurant. BLTTC = Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey, Cheddar, which I’m sorry is just a club sandwich. BLTGC = BLT grilled cheese, which just shouldn’t be a thing. And BLTA?! A BLT with avocado?!?! Okay, that one’s fair, and it works, but I have a slight allergy to avocado, so it doesn’t work for me. BLTs should be BLTs and nothing more. Nobody asked for this madness.
Luckily, you have me to set the record straight. Here’s how you should be doing your BLT.
- Grab a loaf of good bread. I like sourdough, but white or buttermilk also work. Toast it ya’ll.
- Bake your bacon. I swear. You better do it.
- Find a good tomato. It has to be a good one. Slice it thinly. This isn’t a tomato sandwich.
- Freshly ground black pepper does wonders.
- Add avocado if you must, but please don’t tell me.
There’s definitely some gaps in there, but I’ll fill them in later. For now, I want to clarify what is deemed appropriate to serve with BLTs. Hint: it’s potato chips and beer. Iced tea if you don’t drink alcohol.
Okay, that’s it. Those are the rules. And here’s the recipe:
XO Sara Lynn
Song of the Day: Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg
*The City = San Francisco
**BLC = The Biggest Little City a.k.a. Reno
I know that it’s June. I know that it’s in the 90s and even reaches the 100s. But I can’t get over soup.
However, it was 75 degrees in Reno all day today, which is totally acceptable soup weather if you ask me.
Especially if you’re making baked potato soup. Baked potato soup is special. Believe me. I made it for a group of friends. One claimed it was “the best she’s ever had”. Now that’s a compliment if I’ve ever heard one.
On another note, do you fellow food bloggers ever notice random things in your photos? Like a reflection of you taking a picture in the spoon? Ha.
Before I give you this recipe, please note that I do not normally use “cream of anything” soups. I really prefer to make most of my food from scratch, but sometimes it’s nice to have a semi-homemade meal. If you also do not like using cream soups, just give it a chance, you’ll thank me 😉 (Also, this soup definitely should only be eaten on occasion, for the sake of your waistline!)
1-30 oz. package frozen hashbrowns (the cubed kind)
28 oz. chicken broth (may want more for thinner soup)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Toppings: bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions
In a crockpot, combine hashbrowns, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, cheddar cheese soup, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on low for about 8 hours. 30 minutes before serving, add cream cheese and stir until melted.
Top bowls of soup with bacon bits, cheese, sour cream, and green onions, or whatever you feel like 🙂
Serves about 6-8.
I personally like to add lots of bacon and cheese. Weird right? Also, I served these with pretzel rolls from my local bakery. Ah-may-zing.
As I mentioned earlier, this is not a soup for those on a diet. But it’s so easy, and so good for a crowd that you should make it for family dinner or movie night sometime. And then let me know how you like it (or love it?).
*Bonus: If made with gluten free cream soups, this recipe is perfectly gluten free! Remove the bacon and it’s vegetarian!*