Tomato Zucchini Bisque Soup

I sat staring at the screen of my phone yesterday morning, astonished and somewhat confounded, after my husband informed me via text that this coming weekend is, in fact, Labor Day weekend. You know, that extra long weekend that marks end of summer and the beginning of the steady march into autumn (and then the dreaded winter season…don’t even think about that four-letter “s” word that ends in “now”).

zucchini carrots celery onion

When did this happen?

chopped vegetables

Ok, so some of the early foliage is turning yellow. Sure, that could be a clue. And nights have been cooler. Back to School ads are everywhere and yeah, ok, it’s been a few weeks since I changed out my monthly contacts at the beginning of August, but who’s counting? Clearly I haven’t been. Read more →

cucumber-tom-collins-feature

We haven’t been home a lot this summer. What started as a simple pact to make a list of our favorite things to do in summer, put them on a calendar and then follow through has resulted in a very fun, very full sunny season.

cucumber mint

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. Noooo, no no. It’s mid-August and I’ve been to waterparks, Alaska, a northwoods cabin, a downtown concert and several challenging (as in arduous, formidable, strenuous…hard) mountain bike trails. Aside from the bruises that I’m finally getting better at avoiding due to fewer falls into trees, rocks and well, my bike, it’s been fantastic. Read more →

zuchini-fries-feature

There are so many things to love about summer. Long evenings, a plethora of outdoor activities, sun streaks in your hair and no need for an excuse to get ice cream. I also love the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are readily available at your local grocery store, or better yet, hand-delivered to your office by a regular mall walker.

sliced zucchini

flour panko egg

Imagine my shock and delight upon receiving not one, but two foot-long (plus!) zucchinis. I often purchase the ones in the grocery produce section that barely reach lengths worth boasting about. Read more →

Breakfast McJared Sandwiches

It’s been a weird week for driving. Maybe it’s the heat. Possibly a strange correlation with the moon phase. It could be that Call Me Maybe just came on again.

Egg English Muffin Salt and Pepper

I’ve had three unpleasant experiences in my car recently. Each incident was circumstantial with little to do with me other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but alas, resulted in the other driver succumbing to a form of road rage that involved curses mouthed in my direction, tailgating or a certain phrase loosely stated in sign language.

Red Pepper Green Pepper Red Onion

The most recent event really bugged me. I didn’t reciprocate the unkind gesture, partially because I was confused by the double arm waving (are you giving me the bird or taking flight? you’re not being clear). Read more →

jalapeno cheddar biscuits

I’m going to make a confession: dough used to intimidate me.

jalapeño chive

When I’m reading through recipes, aside from the “oh that makes me hungry” twinges, I’m often weighing whether or not I think I can succeed at making a particular recipe. Most of the time I feel pretty confident that an edible item will result, especially when the recipe is a relatively simple combination of good ingredients plus the addition of heat. Read more →

avocado-grilled-cheese-feature

There isn’t an easy way to exit vacation-mode. All of the carefree living, instant gratification, fun-filled activities, excessive spending and escape from the norm makes you feel pretty darn fancy-free. Going back to normal? Pfft.

Halved Avocado

We zoomed around the majestic state of Alaska for 10 days in continuous view of glorious mountain ranges, endeavoring on activities such as exploring a world-famous National Park, floating blissfully on a glacier & wildlife cruise and dining on specialty fare in an Alaskan yurt. We went hiking and biking each place we visited. We got comfortably close to moose, whales, grizzly bears, sea lions and orcas. We enjoyed the best French Onion soup I’ve ever had the pleasure to spoon up. For someone with a great affection for words, I feel at a loss on how to explain to you just how amazing this state is in the summertime. There is always something to do and see any time of day or night (which is also day). You simply must go. Read more →

lasagna-feature

Cooking isn’t unique to me within my family. My aunts, my grandma and my mom, who often claims to barely cook, are all exceptional at creating great meals. My mom is responsible for expanding my palate beyond the juvenile Happy Meal. Though, admittedly, I was sure that those golden arches stood for Melissa and begged for trips to my namesake on the regular.

My mom makes the best chicken soup. So good that there’s a brief moment upon taking the first bite where winter is no longer my least favorite season.

lasagna noodles onion garlic

She bakes a delicious zucchini bread with chocolate chips. It seems an unlikely combination when thinking about the two ingredients alone on a plate, but add a little flour, sugar and butter (and more…and yes, we’ll cover this one day) and magic happens. Read more →

sangria-feature

We were nervous that our parties wouldn’t be as much fun as anymore. We really really REALLY really were.
sangria-1
Jared and I talked about the big old boat and our small old house. It was oh so convenient to trot through the backyard and get right on the boat. Like this:

People show up.
They get on the boat.
Parties happen.
They get off the boat.
Parties happen for longer inside.
They die down.
People sleep, then wake up and get back on the boat to start all over again.
red wine-brandy-lemon juice
We sold that boat. We sold that house (pending home inspection…fingers crossed. You too, k? Thanks.)

We bought a new boat and a new house. We opted for smaller (faster) boat, bigger (BIGGER) house. We were having an opposite day. It happens.  Read more →

sweet-potato-fries

Hot, thick, seriously delicious french fries have been known to cause blissed out moments of joy. No joke.

Kind of like a warm towel fresh from the dryer.

Rolly-polly fuzzy puppy kisses.

Stretching your toes through flippy floppys on the first warm spring day.

New haircuts (Kari, thank you). Happy times.
sweet-potato-fries1
I love ordering fries at a restaurant, though that infatuation can be a bit on the scary-obsessive side. It’s not easy to mutter the vague, “what kind of fries do you have?” when what I really want to know is, “Are they so good that you’ll probably sneak one off my plate before you bring our food to our table?” Yes? Oh, thank goodness. I’ll take em.

olive-oil-seasonings
I know what you’re thinking. Sweet potato fries are not french fries. Read more →

Pasta Al Pomodoro

Let’s get something straight here: I like to read. Thrillers, comedy, cookbooks, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, bios of neat people. If it’s a good read, I’ll consume it greedily. Like french fries. I like to think I can read myself to sleep but then get so involved that suddenly it’s 2am and I need to get up for work in 5 hours.

Just one more chapter.

I mean it this time.
grape-tomatoes
Right now I’m reading this fantastic series. The less bookish know it as an HBO Series that immediately made me want more; the catalyst in firing up the Kindle to seek out George R.R. Martin with an urgency that in pre-Whispernet days would have gotten me a speeding ticket. Read more →