Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

About two weeks ago, Austin and I decided to get rid of our TV service.  It happened at the exact moment when I opened up the bill and found that for the second month in a row, they charged us almost twice what we were paying before.  We  spent a little bit of time and energy figuring out how to get all of the shows that we like to watch streamed online.  We'd convinced ourselves that no, we did not actually need the HD DVR.

Austin called to cancel.
Then they called him back and said, "what can we do to keep you service."  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Actually repeat that same story six times.  They have called at least twice a day since the first day that he called to disconnect to win us back.
Long story short: we still have our DVR, plus we got free movie channels, and a package with more channels than we had before.  We're also paying significantly less now.  Even though we feel victorious after the long fought battle (#firstworldproblems), more than anything it just makes me wish they could provide the same service when you start as they give you when you threaten to leave.

Even though it is a complete luxury to have  to haggle with DirecTV providers, it still made me pretty grateful that not every thing is so unnecessarily difficult.
I have no suggestions for you when you decide to call up your TV or internet provider, but here's dinner.  It's a no-brainer combination of spinach and artichoke.  Oh yeah, it's really easy too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Peaches 'N Cream Smoothie

Are you the type of person that will listen to a song on repeat for a week straight until you never want to hear it again, or are you the type that exercises restraint and only allows yourself to listen to your new favorite every once in a while, so you'll still like it a month from now?
Austin and I were talking about this yesterday.  He was complaining about how the radio ruins every good song because they latch on and overplay it until you hate it and have no choice but to change the station.  I, on the other hand, want to hear it again and again and again.  You literally can't play it enough.

Right now I have a playlist on Spotify with 20 songs and I will continue to listen to this mix until I know and hate every word of each song.  I'm not going to mix it up at all.  And in 6 months or a year when I hear Same Love again, I will sing along and love it all over again.

I do the exact same thing with food.
For a month straight, I'll eat nothing but popcorn and smoothies.  Eventually, I'll burn out and move onto my next pattern.  And about every 6 months, the rotation starts again.

I realize that I have posted a lot of smoothie recipes on this blog and that's because I get in a kick and am forced to innovate with ingredients on hand.  You're also forced to innovate when you buy a whole flat of peaches at Costco and there are only two of you to eat them.
Sidenote: Every time I see peaches at Costco, I will think of the time Austin and I were shopping at the Northern Virginia Costco and we watched this woman walk up to the cardboard stacks, grab a single peach, put it in her purse and walk with determination to the doors.  I think that was the tipping point - that was when I knew for sure we needed to leave DC.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Project 365: Week 30

July 22 | I got rainbow chard delivered in my box this week so I had to learn how to cook it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Strawberry Mojito

I've been thinking a lot about quarter-life crises lately.  It's a real thing, I swear, BuzzFeed is confirming it for me every day.
You know what else is confirming it for me?  Facebook.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like I want to get married or have kids like all of the people I went to high school with are doing, but I'm not gonna lie - I wouldn't mind the honeymoon bit.  Whenever, I go to my feed, I see lots of tanned toes digging into the sand, some people are snorkeling and SCUBA diving, others are doing zip line tours through the rain forest.

Not a single one of them looks hot and sweaty.  No one looks tired or run down.  Everyone just looks completely radiant.
So I guess I'm not really asking for a honeymoon, but I could go for a beach vacation.  Just an easy read, a fruity cocktail, the sand and the waves.  

I really really like living in the mountains and I try to take advantage of all of the things Colorado has to offer, but there is just nothing quite as relaxing as the beach.  And there's only so much pretending you can do.  Only so many fruity drinks you can consume.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blueberry Rhubarb Pie

Did you know it's Pie and Beer Day today?  Unless you're from Utah and not Mormon, you probably did not know there was such a thing.

I'll explain.  In Utah (and other states?), Mormons celebrate Pioneer day on July 24th.  There's a lot that goes into it and I'm not going to pretend to be an expert.  All I know is that some people dress up like pioneers and they walk along trails with covered wagons.  Also, for the most part, it's a paid holiday from work.
So naturally, a new holiday had to spring up.  Enter "Pie and Beer Day."  Say it fast.  It kinda sounds like Pioneer Day right?  That's what they were going for.  Even though Utah's liquor laws get a bad rap in the rest of the country, there are some pretty amazing microbreweries popping up.  I don't claim to be an expert on beer, but I do like to try as many different kinds as I can, and some of my favorites are still from Utah breweries.  (Here's some more info. on Pie and Beer Day.)

That being said, I also do not claim to be an expert on pie, but I definitely like to try as many different kinds of pie as possible.  And after I did a quick search on my site for "pie," well...maybe I am a pie connoisseur.  I don't know if there is some standard to measure myself against, all I know is I like pretty much all pie (except Mincemeat - which I don't know if I've actually tried, but it sounds weird).
If you've never thought of combining blueberry and rhubarb, start thinking about it!  The tartness of the rhubarb balances out the sweetness of the (mid-summer) blueberries perfectly!  If you need an excuse, just remember it's Pie and Beer Day - what more of an excuse to eat pie and drink beer do you need?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Salmon Tacos

You know how a lot of vegetarians actually eat fish.  So they're not really vegetarians, they're pescetarians.  I am the exact opposite of that.  I eat all meat except fish.  All seafood really.  I'll attribute this to the fact that I grew up in two land-locked states, but in actuality, I just don't like it.
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that fish was going to taste completely different than what it does taste like.  I always think it should be sweet and buttery - maybe because when people say flaky, I instantly flash to thoughts of croissants.  

Either way, I don't like it.  Austin, on the other hand, loves it.  So, in an effort to be a better girlfriend, I will try it.  As long as I don't have to actually cook it, I can usually make it through a few bites.  After two or three mouthfuls, I've had all I can handle.  
The exception is these fish tacos...I can eat a few of these.  I think it's now safe to say that I like all tacos.  Probably anything is good on a tortilla right?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Peach Rhubarb Cobbler

I know that on Monday I went on and on about how good peaches are and how amazing a fresh tomato can be.  I know that that was all information you already knew and you definitely didn't need to be told again.  I also, know that not everyone is swooning over peaches like I am right now.  But actually that last one, I don't get.  Why aren't you swooning?
Are you not into salads?  Is that it?

How about desserts?  How about fresh fruit with a sweet doughy cake over the top?  Maybe if it was served warm with vanilla ice cream melting over the top?  Yeah, I thought that would do the trick.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Peach Caprese Salad

Sometimes I don't have much to say about a recipe.  I don't have a story about the ingredients or the finished product.  I don't even have some crazy connection between the food and some nostalgic moment in my life.
I like caprese salads and sandwiches.  I also like peaches.  Tomatoes and peaches are in season and I'm growing basil on my deck.  So there you have it.  The motivation.  It just sounded good.

The ripe peaches sitting on my counter were soft and sweet.  The tomatoes smelled earthy and tasted totally different from the tomatoes we get in the middle of the winter or even spring, for that matter.  A recipe where I had everything I needed on hand and the setting was just right.
I watch the show 'Food Network Star,' and they always want the contestants to have a personal story or some sort of attachment to the ingredients they are cooking with, but can't we all just appreciate food for the sake of the food?  Peach Caprese Salad is a salad for the sake of using fresh, summer ingredients that taste exactly the way they are supposed to taste.  If you want to attach an emotion to it, go ahead, but make sure it's a good one.  And if you don't, just enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Project 365: Week 28

July 8 | On our way back to Colorado, we stopped in at the Little America for our 50¢ ice cream cones - definitely a highlight of the trip.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pasta Salad

I know that the 4th of July is the holiday for barbecuing, and maybe you're thinking you're done hosting dinner until it cools off, and you don't want to think about grilling or potato salad or even berry trifles.  Well, sorry but you're going to have to get over it.
The fact of the matter is, we've got a long ways to go before the leaves start changing colors.  Nights are still long, days are still hot, and barbecuing will continue on strongly.

We don't really know a lot of people here in Boulder, so we don't have to spend a lot of energy thinking about what to bring to parties.  We also don't have to ever get dressed up.  There are positives to not having friends where you live, I promise.
Point is, if I was invited to a barbecue, I would bring pasta salad.  First of all, how many potato salads do we really need?  Second of all, food at barbecues almost always sits out for too long and I do NOT want to be the one to blame for food poisoning.  This pasta salad has no mayonnaise so if anyone gets sick, you just blame it on the jerk that brought the 3rd bowl of potato salad.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cherry Banana Smoothie

I've been out of town for a few days (sorry for the lack of posts), and it's been great.  Really, really great.  I got to spend time with my family and Austin's family.  I visited with old friends, ate really good food, and watched a lot of fireworks.
And now, it's back to eating at my desk, staring at a computer screen, and missing the drier, cooler air of home.

Everyone always says you need a vacation after a vacation and I've always kind-of thought that was greedy.  Now that I'm home though, all I want is to not have an agenda.  I want to spend my mornings slowly drinking my coffee and reading a book.  When people ask me, "What are you going to do today?"  I want to be able to say, "I don't know - don't have any plans."
I guess I could pretend like I'm on vacation by enjoying a fruity smoothie and taking my time to get ready in the morning.  I know, I know - it's not the same!  Hope you had a great 4th of July (if you're an American reader and know what I'm talking about)!!

Project 365: Week 27

 July 1 | Rhubarb Peach Cobbler a la mode - tastes like summer to me!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Peach and Chicken Sausage Kebabs

Have you ever had a kebab in Europe?  Like the kind where they have the large piece of mystery meat spinning in the window (basically the same thing as a gyro).  They put it in a pita and top it with all sorts of veggies and sauces.  When we lived in Germany, Austin ate a lot of those.  I ate some, but I just couldn't deal with the major tummyache every day.
I don't know why this type of kebab and that type of kebab share the same name.  Meat on a stick?  Shouldn't a corndog be called a kebab then, too?  I don't get it.

This type of kebab does not give me a tummyache - first major benefit.  Second benefit - the food is already bite size.  I like any food that allows me to be super lazy.  Third bonus - it's hot out and you don't have to turn on an oven or a stove to make these!  Plus, they're pretty and people will like them and they will associate you with them, so then they'll like you!
Kebabs are a total winner for outside eating with friends.  Since the chicken sausage is already cooked too, all you're really doing is heating them up and putting pretty grill lines on them.  No risk of overcooking certain parts of your kebab and undercooking others.  So let's not stress over dinner.  Let's not stress even if we're having people over for dinner.

Monday, July 1, 2013

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