I scream, you scream, we all scream…for BRUNCH!!! Ha ha, that one didn’t end the way you expected it to, did it? Don’t get me wrong…I love ice cream. In fact I could totally get behind a giant scoop of vanilla bean atop this amazing dish I’m about to share with you, but then that might be a little over-the-top.

Coconut Caramel French Toast w/ Macerated Berries | Bites of Life...Read full post

Has there ever been a food that you never really cared to try, or perhaps even once hated, but now love? Well, for me…that’s guacamole. It’s not something my mom made when I was growing up, so I was never really exposed to it. Then as an adult, I would see it on the table at parties, or in the selection of toppings at Chipotle…and I just ignored it. But then a few years ago, I began volunteering at a local interactive cooking school/shared commercial kitchen called Kitchen in the Market. I had no idea my life was about to change FOREVER! During our orientation, we made some snacks to share, and I was on Team Guacamole. Not only did I learn the perfect way to cut an onion that day, but I learned a couple other valuable lessons.

The Best Damn Guacamole on Earth | Bites of Life...Read full post

As most of you know, Island Boy and I took a trip to the southwest a couple months ago where we visited a variety of natural attractions including a National Monument, 2 Indian Reservations and 3 National Parks—We drove, or shall I say…my partner in adventure drove (while I planned and navigated) over 1100 miles in 5 days! It was insane, but amazing and I think I can speak for us both when I say we’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Cedar Breaks Amphitheater | Bites of Life

We landed in Las Vegas and started our journey northwest towards Cedar City, Utah…that is after we spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how to turn on our rental car—darn modern technology! Just inside Utah, we stopped to get a cooler so the homemade food I packed wouldn’t spoil, and experienced the most unexpected act of kindness. It’s not a huge deal, but I feel like sharing it because it’s things like this that restore my faith in humanity…
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I started complaining about the cold Minnesota temperatures back in November, which seems silly now that we’ve gone from cold to down-right frigid!

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Island Boy and I spent Christmas in New York City, where it was an average of 50°F, so the 45 degree swing in just a few hours was a bit shocking. I’ve started to settle in again though (and by settle in, I mean only leave the house for necessities), and I hear there are even some above-freezing days on the horizon! Ok, so why all this cold weather talk? Well, adventure seekers here in the Midwest have a very specific reason to hope that it stays below-freezing a while longer—so we can experience the natural wonders that are the Apostle Islands Ice Caves!
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I’ve been making a lot of “spoon-required” dishes lately, and today I thought I’d share one of my new favorites and a huge hit at my most recent dinner party…Shrimp Udon Noodle Soup!

Shrimp Udon Noodle Soup

This soup is another “concoction” {as I like to call it} developed out of a desire to recreate the amazingness that is the 30+ ingredient broth in Noodles & Company’s Thai Hot Pot and to incorporate the organic udon noodles Island Boy and I recently discovered at Costco. After chopping nearly every vegetable I had in the house, throwing them into a pot and adding a tablespoon of this and a dash of that 5 times over, I surprisingly ended up with a very tasty soup that is a true fusion of Japanese, Chinese and Thai elements.
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While I’m still in denial that it’s not summer anymore, there are signs abound this week that will likely require me to accept the seasonal fate soon. The “official” start of winter is just around the corner after all, so I suppose I should acknowledge at least a week of Autumn before then. 🙂

Spicy Italian Billiard Zucchini Boats | Bites of Life

Haley (our pooch) seems to be in denial as well…on walks she runs around like a maniac tracking bunnies while paying no attention to the fact that it’s so cold her owners could turn into icicles at any moment. She has also failed to notice the disappearance of the 8 foot cherry tomato plants trees from our front steps. You see, just like the humans of this house, she got quite accustomed to the abundance of tiny, juicy, flavorful, red and orange balls we used to pluck from the vines each day this summer–in fact, she would refuse to enter the house without eating one after each walk. Sadly, it’s been 8 weeks since our last tomato harvest, but we did manage to save a bunch of green ones and bring them inside in hopes they would eventually turn. Amazingly, many of them did, and like the loving dog owners we are…we saved every last one for Haley. The stash is almost gone now, and when I opened the fridge the other day, I also discovered we were down to the last of one of our other favorite summer staples: zucchini.
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A couple weeks ago, I shared one of my favorite recipes from our recent vacation, and after receiving inquiries about some of the other pack + go foods that kept us fueled during the long days of hiking, today I am sharing with you one of my new favorites that single-handedly transformed what could have been boring bag lunches into flavor-infused gourmet fare.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

While I was preparing food for our travels, I tried to think of a flavorful spread to use on sandwiches that would keep well in a cooler or daypack. I was going to whip up a batch of traditional basil pesto when I realized we had that on our last trip and thought it might get a little boring after a few days. Since Kashmir and I love our spicy foods, I decided to craft a very non-boring roasted red pepper pesto with some bold southwestern flavors (and everything but the kitchen sink). What I absolutely love about this pesto isn’t just the fact that it was an experiment {concocted at 2am}, or the fact that it turned out AMAZING…but that just like a basil pesto, it is incredibly versatile. On vacation, we used it as a spread on grilled chicken sandwiches, but it makes a fantastic pasta sauce and perfectly compliments a variety of appetizers {one of which I will share later this week…so stay tuned!}.
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Is it really almost Thanksgiving?!…it seems like just yesterday we were frolicking about the lakes, chasing waterfalls and soaking up the summer sun! Although, it certainly doesn’t feel like summer amidst one of Minnesota’s coldest Novembers on record, so alas…I must accept that the days will only get shorter and colder for now. Do you think it’s too early to start counting down to summer? I suppose so, but it’s never too early for a countdown to Carnival in Trinidad—83 days baby! So when it was time to make a dish for a friend’s pre-Thanksgiving party this past weekend, I decided it was time to break out the rum, turn on the Soca and dream of warmer days!

Herbed Cranberry Apple Couscous wih Maple Vinaigrette...Read full post

It’s that time of year again…when temperatures drop, snow falls and we all begin dressing in endless layers. It’s officially scarf season [finally appropriate for me to wear them daily] and most importantly…it’s SOUP SEASON!!

Salmon Shrimp Chowder With all the different varieties, I think I could actually live on soup alone for the entire winter. As a kid, I didn’t fancy seafood [I know…blasphemy!], but I made 2 exceptions: tuna salad sandwiches (yes, that would be fish from a can), and my mom’s amazing clam chowder. You won’t find me chomping on a tuna fish sandwich these days, but I guarantee you can catch me daydreaming about that chowder. You see, my mom usually makes it just once a year—on Christmas Eve. So the other 364 days are usually spent anxiously awaiting that salty, bacony, potatoy goodness. I know what you’re thinking…I should just make my mom’s clam chowder to get my fix whenever I want, but I can’t help but feel like I’d be committing some sort of sin by serving it up on any day other than December 24th! It does feel a lot more like December around here after 9 days below freezing, so I whipped up the next best thing to keep us warm…a Salmon and Shrimp Chowder inspired by my mom’s Christmas Eve staple. 
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Welcome friends! If you’re reading this, chances are I know you in “real life”…so let me first say thank you for stopping by! With the incredible support of my family and friends I {FINALLY} took this giant (and scary) leap of faith today and started my very own food & lifestyle blog! Many of you know I have toyed with the idea for years, but without your encouragement it would likely still be just a paddleless row-boat in my ocean of ideas. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your part in helping me get here. Sink or swim…I’m in the water!

The Magic of Beginnings

This Meister Eckhart quote pretty much sums up my mindset today. Source: Free People’s BLDG 25 Blog

I have a lot to do before I officially “launch” Bites of Life, and although it is somewhat overwhelming, I couldn’t be more excited! My next few weeks will be filled with hours of HTML, CSS, WordPress and Photoshop (when I’m not developing new recipes or tending to our urban garden that is), so please bear with the constant changes as I bring this blog to life. If you’d like to follow my behind-the-scenes journey or see previews of upcoming posts and recipes, come visit me on Instagram!

Thanks again, and see you soon!