Tag Archives: 4th of July

Weekend Recap: Rally, Ravinia, Run

Maybe it’s the short work week. Perhaps it’s because I just realized it’s July first and I’ve yet to don a swimsuit, go to a pool or lay on the beach. Or maybe, just maybe, this is a rare moment when I really don’t have much to say.

Whatever the case I’m not feeling very motivated today. I know it’s hard to believe. And I’m sure by the end of this post you will be all like ‘woah that’s a pretty long post for a girl who claims she has nothing to say today.’ And you’ll probably be right because I somehow have a way of filling the space with words even if they don’t have accurate context behind them. In my world even a few words are better than no words. Give me periods of silence and I’ll probably shift in my seat until I’m allowed to ask you why we are sitting in silence. Or what you are thinking about while you sit in silence. And likely at which point we are going to be done sitting in silence so we can talk again.

I had dinner with a girlfriend this weekend and we were reminiscing about our shared love for communication. Her husband brought up a few instances in which he came home after she was alone for a period of time and was taken aback at the sheer volume of words that came at him in a matter of minutes. We’re talking near record-breaking word counts. I think for a moment he thought I could commiserate, but he quickly caught himself, ‘Oh why am I telling you. You know exactly what I am talking about.’

And he was right. Having lived with my fellow communicator for a number of years, I experienced it a time or twenty. But for the two of us, that was just a good day’s conversation. We both came from families of talkers. And talking is what we do.

And so we chatted. About the craziness that was the Blackhawks parade and rally on Friday.

chicago blackhawks stanley cup champions parade 2013 simply social blog

And about my Chicago bucket list trip to Ravinia Friday night where we picnicked, listened to the sounds of Darius Rucker and made further use of our ponchos.

ravinia chicago darius rucker chicago fire simply social blog

The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. Finn got a new toy and hasn’t let it out of his sight ever since.

greater swiss mountain dog simply social blog

We made the most of post-Ravinia recovery and cooler temps and delayed our 10-miler until Sunday. Typically I prefer to get it out of the way early Saturday morning, but what a nice surprise to meet some of Chicago’s finest along the way, just resting up for a long day of work at the Pride Parade.

Afterwards, we brought Finn with us to the lake and took him to the dog beach afterwards where he proceeded to only enter the water if there was paraphernalia (aka tennis balls) nearby. And as you can see the run and swim hit some of us harder than others.


Finn “Swims” from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

As usual, I have a random recipe to leave you with today. I made these pesto chicken skewers last week for dinner with my girlfriends along with a triple berry trifle. They turned out well so when I needed something that we could throw in the cooler for Ravinia, I made another batch Friday afternoon. Simple, fresh and perfect for a summer party.

pesto chicken tomato kebobs simply social blog

Pesto Chicken Skewers

  • 1/2 C fresh basil leaves (I added spinach and arugula as well)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2-3 TBL chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb skinless chicken breast or tenders, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • grape tomatoes

In a food processor, add basil, garlic, walnuts and parmesan cheese. Pulse until combined and add salt, pepper and olive oil until desired consistency is reached.

Using kitchen shears, cut chicken tenders or breasts into 1-inch cubes. Place chicken in a large plastic bag and cover with half of pesto mixture. Refrigerate overnight.

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Starting with chicken, alternate chicken and tomatoes for each skewer.

Heat grill to medium (350 degrees). Add skewers to grill and cook approximately 5 minutes on each side or until cooked throughout. Let cool. Serve with remaining pesto.

pesto chicken tomato kebobs simply social blog

Prefer the original? Visit skinnytaste.com.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week celebrating our independence with family and friends. As for me, I will continue my annual tradition of trying to avoid severe burns and severed digits due to my love of fireworks. If all goes well I will be back at the end of the week to recap the holiday. If you notice more typos next week, you’ll know why.

Happy Birthday America!

4th of July cake, sparklers, independence day

Triple Berry Trifle

Remember when I used to post recipes? You know, actual recipes of real food. Between the juicing and the travel, I’ve been on a bit of a cooking hiatus. And I’ve been informed as of late that not everyone is a fan of my juice cleanse posts. So fortunately for all of you the cleanse is over and I actually cooked this week.

We had a few birthdays to celebrate this June so after a few scheduling attempts, my girlfriends and I were able to get together for a casual summer dinner last night. Even Ella joined in on the celebration.

triple berry trifle simply social blog

I’m ready for solid food, mom!

But before I get into the recipe details let’s catch up on the other excitement happening this week. In case you’ve been living under a rock (or don’t live in Chicago) you might not have heard that the Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in 3 years on Monday night and the city has been buzzing with excitement ever since. And seeing as how I live down the street from the United Center, I did what only felt natural after the final horn blared, I banged my new cast iron skillet while standing on my balcony and then dragged my boyfriend (half-shaven playoff beard and all) outside to join the celebration. Because that’s just what you do when a team wins a championship. You take it to the streets!

blackhawks stanley cup champions simply social blog

As you can see from my photos the West Loop got crazy. Not really. This was the extent of it. It was nothing like the madness that would soon occur in Wrigleyville but fun nonetheless. The biggest problem cops in our neighborhood ran into was people standing on top of the planters in the middle of the road to get a shot of the crowd. Not that I did that or anything. You can also see from the photo how thrilled Matt was to have accompanied me down to the festivities. Perhaps stopping him in the midst of shaving the playoff beard had something to do with it. Or the cast iron skillet banging. Whatever the case he was a good sport and he’ll thank me for it later in life. Or in another life. At some point he’ll thank me.

Tuesday was just your average workday until one of my co-workers nonchalantly mentioned that the cup was downstairs in my building. Say what? A couple of higher-ups brought it to an event down at Phil Stefani’s and word spread fast. Mostly by me. Just minutes before I had mentioned to my sister that me sending her the cup-tracker google map link did not mean I was stalking it like a Bieber fan, but rather that I thought the feature was cool. I believe my exact words were, ‘Besides, it’s not like it would ever come here’.

stanley cup blackhawks chicago phil stefanis simply social blog

photo on the left is mine, right courtesy of Tim Kline

And whaddya know, it did.

All of the cup excitement rubbed off on Finn too as he decided to 1) obstruct my only method of spying on him throughout the day and then 2) throw a party. Kids these days.

greater swiss mountain dog beer can simply social blog

We have a little break in the excitement before the big parade tomorrow so it left just enough time for our birthday dinner. Since we were having the dinner over at one of the guest of honor’s condo, I wanted to make something easy to transport and light for the summer. So naturally, I made a 8+ layer trifle, stopping halfway up because I was only feeding 4 people. Ha.

triple berry red white and blue trifle simply social blog

Triple Berry Trifle

  • 4 shortcake cups, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint raspberries


  • 6 TBL sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 C cold water
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding
  • 9 oz fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a medium bowl, whisk water and sweetened condensed milk until combined. Add pudding mix and stir for another minute or so. Let mixture set for 1-2 minutes. Layer on top of cake and then scrape it off after realizing you forgot cool whip. Fold in cool whip. Now you’re ready to layer.

red white and blue trifle simply social blog

Start with a layer of cake and then alternate blueberries, pudding and sliced strawberries. Repeat until you reach desired height, run out of ingredients, or just become disgusted at just how large that trifle dish is. Top layer should be an attempt at a pretty pattern of strawberries and blueberries.

triple berry trifle simply social blog

Don’t worry it never looks as good as the pictures predict it will. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. I did mine the night before and just took it out to bring it to room temp before serving.

Prefer the original? get the full recipe from Skinnytaste.com 

triple berry trifle simply social blog

It just so happens that this triple berry trifle would be a great addition to an upcoming 4th of July BBQ. Get it? Because it has red, white and blue berries? Trust me I didn’t plan it this way. Lord knows I don’t typically get around to posting a 4th of July recipe til at least Labor Day. But hey, sometimes things just work out.

Way to go Hawks!