Braise restaurant local farm dinner outside of Milwaukee, WI

Have you ever experienced a moment so idyllic, it felt as if it should come with its own theme music? This was my entire last weekend here in Milwaukee.

I sound hopelessly romantic and overly enthusiastic, do I not? I heartily accept the verdict! From Friday through Sunday, my girlfriends and I were together almost nonstop, checking off items from our assorted summer bucket lists. The farm dinner and lazy river float trip we’d had planned since June. The champagne cruise happened super last minute, but who were we to refuse such a bubbly opportunity?

After nearly 72 hours of togetherness, I am pleased to report that we are still on speaking terms. As far as I can tell, my selection of country music on our drive to and from the river didn’t do any permanent damage either. I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful girlfriends and to be able to share many joyful hours with them.

We’re half way through August and, all shock/awe/WHERE DID SUMMER GOOOO???? aside, I’d love to check in and hear how things are going with you!

Are there still summer events and activities you are hoping to squeeze in before the dog days end? Things you tried, loved, and vow to repeat every year? I WANNA KNOW.

For a little mid-August musing, here’s my latest list of favorites and a look at what’s up next on the blog, and as always, I’m showing off what you’ve made and posted on Instagram too.

Most popular recipe on my site right now: Crockpot Mexican Casserole

Upcoming blog recipe I’m most excited to share: No Bake Vegan Cookie Dough Bars. I don’t care if you are vegan, vegan flexible, or consider bacon its own food group. Get your chocolate chips ready, because you + this dessert are meant to be, forever and ever AMEN.

Summer Bucket List items I have yet to complete: #11 and #12.

How I plan to check off #12: CAN’T EVEN. These look seriously delish too. #12 may need a double check.

On this week’s meal plan: The Best BLT of Your Life. For real. We are hooked and eating these at least twice a week! Here’s how to make it:

  • Use this foolproof method for How to Bake Bacon to make 2 or 3 slices of bacon per sandwich.
  • Next: Stack good quality sourdough bread with thick, juicy slices of summer tomatoes (heirloom if you can find them!), arugula (better than lettuce), and fresh basil.
  • Add an irresponsible amount of freshly grated mozzarella.
  • Optional: avocado. The avocado is not actually optional.
  • Toast on a panini maker, your grill, or in a skillet on the stove over low heat. If using the grill or stove, put a heavy pan or pot lid on top to help trap the heat and melt the cheese gently. Toast until golden. Devour.

Waffle and Syrup Oreos: Along with these crazy flavors. Which would you pick?

Living in: These comfy tees (adore the v-neck too). I consider myself a connoisseur of basic tees, and these are by far my favorites. They fit nicely, are super soft, and don’t pill or do anything else weird when I wash them.

Reading: The War of Art. If you are in any kind of creative practice, if you dream to be, and/or if you have a tendency to procrastinate in general, this book is a must read!

The Best Ways to Save Money on Groceries at Target: I noticed this article did not address the other $50 worth of merchandise that mysteriously works it way into my cart. It needs a #6: Close Your Eyes and Don’t Look at Anything Else in the Store.

If you want to be a chef: Start washing dishes.

Elevating the Humble Cookie: Written by one of my all-time favorite cookbook authors Dorie Greenspan, this article makes me miss Paris. Le sigh.

INSTAGRAM: Time to show off what you made! Here are a few photos of Well Plated recipes you’ve made and posted. I can’t say enough how happy this makes me. If you’d like to be featured, see details below.

A note on featured Instagram posts: I can’t feature what I can’t find. If you simply type @wellplated in the photo caption, I am unlikely to see it, because my alerts do not show every comment tag (so frustrating!). The hashtag is the best way to make sure I see what you post. OR you can tap to tag @wellplated in the photo itself (NOT the caption). Thank you, THANK YOU for making and sharing my recipes. It means more than I can express!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. My summer bucket list is just to wake up every day.  Nothing in particular I want to do other than spend more time out at the park we volunteer at.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a real summer bucket list in my life.