Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ginger Cookie & Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

It, in my mind, is already fall. It might be 83° out right now. I might be sitting at my desk downing cold fizzy water and avoiding stepping out of the path of my fan for more than a few moments. It doesn’t matter, because none of this can counteract the mental shift that began last week, when my body sensed a chill in the air and the faint, unmistakeable smell of autumn. It’s that first hint of season change that makes my brain snap out of a its whiny I-am-so-over-summer-and-all-its-oppresive-grossness dormancy and come alive, in an unstoppable way. It feels like every little bit of me is vibrating at an alarming frequency, starting in my synapses, traveling down my spine, and radiating out through the rest of my body. I speak louder and faster. I fidget excessively. I get crazy eyes. I’m so edgy that I actually scream when I catch sight of a stray thread hanging from the dishtowel above the sink because I assume it’s a spider. (A spider that presumably intends to lay eggs in my face, because that’s a thing I’ve been afraid of since I was little — thanks a lot, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell.)

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Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

I’ve been having one of those weeks where I feel really out of touch. I blame most of it on last week’s heat wave, which pretty much rendered me useless mentally and physically. The heat finally broke Friday night, and I got to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with my friend Nicole. We went to nearly all of my favorite food and drink spots in the area, and I got to try my hand at some fashion-y photos too. (I won’t even pretend to be anywhere near as good as her usual photographer, Clint Mejia. But it was a very fun experience!) Yesterday meant a return to reality, which translates to unanswered comments and emails, along with a daunting list of unread posts in my rss feed and a silent-for-days Pinterest account. Nicole and I spent a lot of time laughing about our “first world problems” this weekend, so yeah, it seems the theme continues. But now, it stops, and we can talk about food instead.

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Veggie Quinoa Bibimbap

Holy smokes, it’s nearly July! Spring and June have simply vanished. And I’ve been a little neglectful of you all — I’m so sorry. I wish I had a sob story about mountains of work, but it’s kind of the opposite (for once!). I spent the past two weekends frolicking about with W, falling in love with the northeastern part of the state, and discovering the best, most-charming bakery in Vermont. Not even the oppressive heat of last week or my new-found ability to destroy essential devices with my mere presence has managed to offset my enthusiasm. But even so, I wish I’d spent a little more time here, especially since I promised you all giveaways! Those will still be happening, very soon. I’m stuck in rural upstate NY house/garden/cat-sitting for the next two weeks, which means productivity is my only option.

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Carrot, Snap Pea, & Greek Yogurt Wraps

So, not to rub it in for anyone that didn’t experience the same, but we had an amazing weekend here in the northeast! I had a feeling that the sunshower I was caught in while walking back from town on Friday might be a harbinger of amazingness, and I was right. The weather was gorgeous, with just the right amount of heat. I rode my bike a ton. I took care of some sweet kitties (my talented friend Aaron’s picture, not mine). I finished planting my garden (which now contains a somewhat bizarre hack-job teepee trellis made from fishing line and a big stick). I resoled a pair of shoes. (That might sound impressive, but if you watched me removing the soles from my destroyed shoes with a box cutter that occasionally came way too close to my body, the only thing you’d be impressed by is my stupidity!) And I re-watched all four Alien movies. (I’m going to resist the urge to launch into a detailed analysis/criticism of each one. [You're welcome.] I’ll just say that if you ever want to try out a recipe for very screwy dreams, watch Aliens and Alien 3 in the same night, then go to sleep in a room filled with shoe cement fumes.)

But really, it was the little things that made this weekend especially great. Things like the strawberry rhubarb juice I got at the farmers’ market and practically inhaled because it was so good, and the chocolate chip espresso angel food cake that I bought a quarter of once I managed to stop drooling. But the most exciting thing of all was the appearance of my most favorite spring vegetable of all . . .

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Shrimp & Alfredo Spaghetti Squash

Fact: This is one of the first dishes to spark my interest in cooking. Actually, the first first thing that set me on the path (other than my mother and all of her awesome home-cooked meals and treats that I took for granted as a young’un) was a Spanish tortilla my friend Whitney made after she returned from a semester abroad in Spain. I remember hovering over the stove watching her cook up a bunch of eggs and potatoes and thinking, “wow, that looks awesome, and really easy!” And then I tried to make one a few months later and totally screwed it up. :D Alas, there was not much room in my college life for cooking endeavors, and those pursuits were moved to the back burner.

But then, I graduated. And got myself a real, grown-up job. And the manager of my department just happened to be pretty awesome at food stuff. One day, she brought in spaghetti squash with alfredo, and I was in awe. “So you’re telling me there’s a squash that looks like spaghetti on the inside? And you cover it in alfredo? I need one. Now.” I found one. I made it. It was awesome. And it’s still one of my favorite dishes! Alfredo—amazing as it is—can be kind of heavy when paired with pasta, so using spaghetti squash is a great alternative. And when my friends at Wisconsin Cheese contacted me about doing a new guest post, I was more than happy to oblige with this. (Especially since it gave me an opportunity to rephotograph the dish, which did make an appearance in all of its icky point-and-shoot glory last year.) So head on over to Wisconsin Cheese Talk and check out the new and improved version!

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