“Everything” Flatbread with Curried Zucchini Butter

"Everything" Flatbread with Curried Zucchini Butter

Each summer there seems to be a point we reach where there is an overabundance of summer squash everywhere.  A plethora, if you will.  Gardening friends and familiy try to pawn it off on one another, CSA boxes go through a heavy squash period, and farmers market tables overflow with all kinds of squash varieties.  Some people wonder, “what the heck am I going to do with all this squash?”  I got ya covered.

Cast-Iron Cherry Cobbler

Cast-Iron Cherry Cobbler

Stop what you’re doing right now and make this cobbler.  You will thank you me, I promise.

So the story goes, I had a bunch of cherries on hand and was in a baking mood the other morning.  I hadn’t made cobbler yet this summer, so I decided to whip one up.  I figured I’d get this made and have a nice dessert ready for later that evening and the rest of the weekend.  I didn’t mean for it be breakfast that morning.  After all, it IS a dessert.  I didn’t mean for us to eat nearly all of it one sitting.  After all, there are ONLY 3 of us.

Roasted Cherry & Brie Baguette Sandwiches

Roasted Cherry & Brie Baguette Sandwiches

In July of 2005 my husband went to London for a few weeks.  He was doing research for a college art class he would later be teaching.  The first day he was there the 7/7 bombings occurred.  The bombings targeted public transportation.  He was scared.  I was wigging out!  He spent the rest of the trip going everywhere on foot.  He walked and walked and walked.  He wore his shoes out, got many blisters, but he was safe.  And he saw much more of London that way; the nooks and crannies of the city that you only experience by chance while walking down an alley or stopping to look at graffiti art or noticing the curiosities of passers by.

Spring Veggie Pasta w/ Cilantro Pesto

Spring Veggie Pasta w/ Cilantro Pesto
Summer is nearing and we need to make room for the hot-weather veg about to grace our tables.  This is a fantastic way to use up any spring veggies you have on hand.

This pasta takes advantage of the spicier spring produce available: peppery arugula and piquant radishes.  The cilantro pesto — made with garlic scapes, toasted almonds, red pepper flakes, lime juice and avocado oil — compliments those flavors and steers us in the direction of the Southwest.  Fiber-rich black beans and fresh, milky mozzarella round out the dish for a hearty, healthy meal.  To add an additional kick of spice and flavor, drizzle on some sriracha!  Let’s get the party started!

Strawberry Bruschetta w/ Nutella & Whipped Coconut Cream

Strawberry Bruschetta w/ Nutella & Whipped Coconut CreamI’ve been making this ultra simple dessert for years and I look forward to strawberry season specifically for this treat!  Grilled bread, topped with Nutella, sliced strawberries and whipped coconut cream is the perfect ending to any springtime meal, especially when you’ve already got the grill fired up.

In years past, I topped the strawberries with homemade whipped cream (the dairy kind), but this year I decided to give whipped coconut cream a try…and all I could think was, “Why the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks didn’t I try this sooner?”  It’s good.  Darn good.  So stinkin’ good.  I. like. really. lots.

Dill Pickle Grilled (Goat) Cheese Sandwiches & Creamy Tomato – Dill Soup

Dill Pickle Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches & Creamy Tomato - Dill Soup
Winter is over (’bout dang time!).  Spring produce isn’t quite ready (asparagus, I’ve got plans for you).  But I’m already craving the familiar flavors of summer…tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and dill to name a few.  Lately, I’ve really needed a hot-weather food fix.  So I decided to seek solace in the comfort of my pantry and freezer.  Last summer my dad taught me how to can tomatoes and pickles.  This is a life skill no Bloody Mary-loving, spicy pickle-obsessed gal (or dude) should be without.  It ranks right up there with knowing how to change a car tire (which I don’t) and knowing when to pull the pot off the heat before the sugar burns when making kettle corn (which I do!).   Priorities, amiright?

Glazed Pear Donuts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Glazed Pear Donuts with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Throughout the week, I stick to a pretty consistent, healthy breakfast routine.  Yogurt and granola, oatmeal, fresh fruit, or a breakfast smoothie…something along those lines.  And then, Saturday rolls around…and…DONUTS.  It’s really quite simple.  Weekends were made for donuts.  And donuts always make weekends better.  They’re the type of breakfast food that says, JUST CHILL.  Enjoy the morning, stay in your pajamas a little longer, linger at the table with your steamy cup of coffee, favorite magazine, and eat that second (third?) donut.  Just because.  It’s the weekend.  Besides, they’re baked donuts, soooooo it’s ok.

Some baked donuts can be rather dry or too dense, but these donuts are fluffy and super moist from the finely diced pears.  Spiced up a bit with cinnamon and ginger, then dunked into a pear-cream cheese glaze and topped off with decadent gooey salted caramel sauce.

Blood Orange Honey Bread with Sunflower Seeds

Blood Orange Honey Bread with Sunflower Seeds
Blood oranges are deceptive.  They look all orange-y on the outside and then when you cut into one, it’s like BAM!  Deep burgundy red!  It’s straight up trickery.  Their flavor?  Another little surprise.  They’re not as in-your-face sweet as “regular” oranges; they’re more complex.  It’s kind of a grapefruit + cherry situation going on, with subtle floral notes hanging out in the background.  They’re sorta magical and a bit wicked; I’ll definitely be making a cocktail with the juice…hello, bloody martini anyone?  YES!

But on a more proper note, let’s put them in bread, a quick bread.  This healthyish bread is made with greek yogurt, applesauce, honey, white whole wheat flour and sunflower seeds.  No refined sugar.  No butter or oil.  It makes a great breakfast topped with sunflower seed butter and a little drizzle of honey.  You could also toast it and put a scoop of ice cream on top for a simple dessert.  Or, do as the British do and serve it with tea in the afternoon…ginger tea would pair nicely!  Brilliant…bloody brilliant!

Power up! Chocolate-Espresso Granola

Chocolate - Espresso Granola

We’re all about 2 weeks into our New Year’s resolutions, right?  They’re the usual eat healthier, exercise more, drink less, yada yada yada.  Each year I try not to have the same resolutions as the year before, and sometimes I try to not to have any at all- it’s just so cliche.  But, this year, I really do need them.  As is too common, I do need a reset.  In fact, my whole family does.  Although, overall, we eat a pretty healthful, balanced diet, we’ve gotten into some bad habits lately and need to get out of them.  We do need to eat healthier.  We do need to exercise more.  My husband and I do need to drink less…or maybe just eat healthier and exercise more, let’s not go overboard.

One of the best (and easiest) ways to make the adjustment to healthier eating is to start with your first meal of the day:  breakfast.  It’s often an overlooked meal, but really is the most important one.  It starts you off and lays the foundation to how your day will go.  It has the ability to alter your mood, energy level, and therefore attitude and eating habits for the rest of the day.  If you eat a nutritious, satisfying breakfast, you’re less likely to grab that unhealthy midmorning snack.  You’re also less likely to experience the midmorning slump, which can then lead to poor lunch choices.  When we feel sluggish we tend to want comfort food:  salty, fatty, empty carbohydrates.   But if we feel satisfied in the morning, if we feel energized and good about ourselves, we want to keep that feeling going and end up making healthier choices throughout the day.

Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Pizza

The truth of this recipe is…I just wanted to put caramelized onions on something.  Anything.  I think about them all the time.  Some (normal) folks think about where to plan their summer vacation or what book they’d like to read next.  Me?  I daydream about crisp, robust onions cooked so slowly and softly that their internal sugars give up and melt down into a sweetened, intensely aromatic, amber-colored puddle of savory fascination.  I might be in love with them.  The problem is, I’m always wanting to make them but can’t seem to commit to the hour it takes to develop their insanely sweet-savory flavor combo.  That’s some precious daylight, if you know what I mean.  So, here’s the deal.  Just do it.  Make a double batch.  They’re worth it.  So, so worth it.  You can spread it like a jam onto sourdough, stir it into pasta, load it on a baked potato, or even mix it with cream cheese for a dip.  But first, try it on pizza.  While the onions are doing their thing, you can roast the sweet potatoes, make the sage brown butter and get the dough ready.  Then, it all comes together like one happy, cheesy family.  And your house will smell like a dream.

Caramelization…the process.

caramelizing onions