8.18.2014

Roasted Zucchini Bisque


Yep.

Another recipe attempt at proving zucchini can work in any way, shape, or form, and you know what? This veggie has been working overtime in my kitchen for the cause. Thankfully, soup is kind of the easiest medium there is, and I was able to create this recipe on the fly, using up not one, not two, but three of those lovely veggies begging to be used from my garden. 

Usually when I hear of people using up zucchinis from the garden in mass quantities, I hear the words chocolate zucchini bread fly out of their mouths at the drop of a hat. In my opinion, chocolate and veggies together kind of makes me angry at the universe. I'm not saying zucchini bread is gross, just chocolate zucchini bread. I bet there are recipe out there that totally rock, but this gal isn't going for it. 

It's kind of like making me eat pickles. Everyone and their dog loves it, but darn it, it 'aint happening in the blondie kitchen for a second. 

Now that I've lost half my pickle-and-chocolate-zucchini-bread-loving readers, let's read on about this velvety bowl of heaven, shall we? 

8.12.2014

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder



Soup in the summertime. You must think I've officially lost my marbles.

Nope. 

When you have summer squash and zucchini flying out of the garden, you've got to find a way to use up as many as you can in one dish to keep up! Soup is a delicious and super efficient way to knock down a few of those veggie giants sitting on your counter or out in the garden. If you don't have either of those going on right now, I'm sure they're super cheap at the grocery store or local farmers market. 

Once again, though, I'm faced with the constant challenge of a husband and son who can't stand this stuff. They won't eat the zucchini or yellow squash if they had the choice. I remember my husband even saying that squash and zucchini were weeds. 

Yes, weeds. 

Good grief, man. America is weeping. 

Fortunately, something called cream and bacon can easily bribe these dear men in my life. 

8.11.2014

Black Bean Mango Salsa



Okay, guys. It's the beginning of a brand new week. What's on your plate? Busy week ahead? 

One question: Do you customize your dinnertime meals to fit those plans? I have done this since we got married almost 7 years ago, and it has made such a huge difference in getting a great dinner on the table =no matter how busy things get. 

I do one grocery run a week. Just one. So I know that when I do that one trip to the store, I've got to fill my pantry and fridge with every ingredient I'm going to need to make the 6 meals until the next grocery day (we do Papa Murphy's $5 Pizza every Friday night). Before I plan out that grocery list, I look over my schedule. How many nights are swamped? How many are mostly free? This always determines what meal I'll make that day for dinner, and what ingredients I plan to purchase to prepare those meals. 

If it's going to be a super-busy night, I try to plan a meal that's either in the slow cooker, or very easy to make in under 20 minutes start-to-finish. If it's a more relaxed evening without the crazy rush, I take my time and plan something that may require a little more time. Planning ahead saves us so much money! We don't go out to eat unless it's a special occasion, and our "date night / entertainment " budget doesn't get blown before we even have a chance to plan something special. 

This black bean salsa was a quick make-ahead treat I used in one of those crazy-busy dinner nights. 

8.08.2014

My Go-To Morning Green Smoothie



I know. I know. The world doesn't need another green smoothie recipe. But let me tell you this - I've tried a bunch of different ones since I started on the craze last December. Some have been super-loaded with all kinds of boosts-of-awesome, health-soaked-super-foods, and pumpin'-and-packin'-all-the-protein-you-can-physically-cram-in-the-blender varieties. They've mostly all been alright; some have been the grainiest glasses of nast I've ever chocked down, and some have been a little too sweet for breakfast. But let me tell you right here, guys, this is my go-to. I crave this glass of green when I wake up every morning, and the ingredients are always the first on my grocery list. I can't go without it. A lot of tweaking has gone into this glass. When I can have the same glass of green nearly three months straight in the morning, and still crave it, you know it's going to be a good one. 

8.06.2014

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps



Ryan and I have gotten in the habit of going to the park a couple times a week. Right after he gets home from work, I load up our dinner, a picnic blanket, and a frisbee and we head over to the park. There are dozens within short driving distance, so we usually let our son pick which one he wants to go to. He doesn't call any of the parks by their normal names, but has given them all nicknames by what he remembers most about them. We end up going to parks named "the blue park!" "the new park!" "the sky park!" and so on. It's been so wonderful to just sit on a blanket and eat dinner together as a family, and enjoy the last month or so of the gorgeous summer weather. 

Ry called me on the way home one day, and said he wanted to do our park picnic that evening. I had already made dinner, so we just packed everything up and headed straight for the park. These lettuce wraps were PERFECT to eat at the park as a family; kind of fun, actually. We loaded up our lettuce with piles of this incredibly addicting turkey and rice mixture, and immediately wished I had doubled the batch. 

8.04.2014

Easy Baked Alaska


Today's recipe is one of my favorites. I love recipes that combine the warm with the cold (brownies and ice cream, for instance, is one of my go-to desserts for guests because it's just so darn tasty). Baked Alaska is really fun to eat because of all the textures you can sink your teeth into. First, you usually have a cake layer, and ice cream layer, and a cookie layer; all smothered in a thick layer of toasted meringue. For this version of baked Alaska, I pumped up the "easy" by cutting out the cake layer and doubling up the cookie layer.