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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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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