greek gazpacho

Add this to the list of things I thought I would never make at home.

Let’s talk cold soups.

Are you a fan? Do you love them, year round? Or are they just a summer dish? Do you like all cold soups, or just a few?

greek gazpacho

Until a few weeks ago, I never even thought I would attempt to make one at home. I’ve tried a few at restaurants before, but with cold liquids like this, I always expect them to be like smoothies….not cold, savory soups. I didn’t grow up eating them – even gazpacho (which, come on, it’s basically just a way to eat salsa without the chips) – so this is a stretch for me.

But! I have tried a few that I’ve loved (I remember a curried grape one from a few years ago), and I knew I could whip something up using all our summer produce and my favorite Stonyfield greek yogurt.

chocolate and wine pairing party

A chocolate and wine pairing party is such a fantastic way to try something new with friends and family, all while enjoying great food and drink!

Until a few weeks ago, I had never hosted a pairing party before, but it was so much fun! This will definitely not be my last.

chocolate wine tasting 1

Lindt’s Master Swiss Chocolatier’s unmatched expertise to perfectly combine the most refined intense dark chocolate and the finest ingredients into thin shapes, made for perfect melt-in-your-mouth bites during the pairing party.

chocolate wine tasting

Together, Lindt and J. Lohr created amazing pairings that push you to the ultimate chocolate experience. Lindt really has mastered the art of refinement with their chocolate. They even sent us a few new flavors, like coconut, caramel with sea salt,  lemon and pineapple!

Pineapple! I know. I wasn’t sure about it….but it’s officially my new favorite. I thought it would be in white chocolate, but nope! And it’s insanely good.

For the tasting party, we had several bottles of wine to pair with the dark chocolates, including some of their most popular varieties and the newest – the pineapple.

lindt jlohr wine pairings

And since this was my first “official” chocolate + wine tasting get together, I was really happy that Lindt sent some detailed fliers and place mats to guide us through the tastings.

My family and I had such a great time trying everything! The pairings really do bring out the flavors of both the chocolates and wine, and it seemed to be the perfect progression from light and sweet to the more robust and bittersweet.

Here’s how to do proper tasting of the pairings:

  • First, taste both the chocolate and wine individually.
  • Next, take another piece of chocolate and let it slowly melt in your mouth.
  • When the last bit of chocolate are all that remain in your mouth, take a sip of wine. Hold the wine in your mouth, coating your palate.
  • Finally, notice the complex changes in taste as the wine compliments the chocolate flavor. The pairing will intensify and elevate the taste experience.

Let’s get started with the pairings!

chocolate chip baked oatmeal

First things first – it’s Monday.

I don’t know about you, but I need chocolate on Monday. It’s no longer the weekend, I had to set my alarm earlier, I didn’t get to sit and linger over coffee or tea, or watch a few episodes of I Love Lucy before switching to the news.

Mondays….just aren’t the weekend anymore. And that’s just a little bit painful.

chocolate chip baked oatmeal

So, chocolate is always a good idea on Monday! Especially when it’s thrown into this double-duty baked oatmeal.

I love having dishes that can serve as a breakfast or snack. It makes planning for the week easier, and having something like this in the fridge makes busy mornings a little less hectic and also gives you an easy (and pretty healthy) snack or dessert for after dinner.

The only bad thing about making things that can be breakfast, snack, or dessert? They seem to disappear way faster than anything else.

chocolate chip baked oatmeal

I was on a kick with this baked oatmeal a few months ago, and was honestly making at least one batch a week, sometimes more. We would heat up pieces to have with fruit in the morning, or I would pack a piece as an afternoon snack to get me through the 3 o’clock slump.

strawberry rhubarb breakfast crumble

First things first: I think I’m going to start posting Nick’s comments on my dishes. And this is a good one to start with. One, because Nick loves any kind of sweet dish. And two, he especially loves anything strawberry + rhubarb.

When I asked for his review, this is what I got: “Delicious. Can you make some more?”. I don’t think I can get any better than that!

strawberry rhubarb breakfast crumble

Summer somehow always seems to escape me. This year, spring didn’t even show up – we went straight from winter to summer – and for the past few weeks, it’s felt more like fall even though we’re barely into August.

Ours jobs are year round – there is no summer break. There’s nothing in my normal day that says, “Hey, it’s summer!”

The one thing that reminds me that yes, summer is finally here, is produce. Especially berries and tomatoes. And boy are we stocked right now.

strawberry rhubarb breakfast crumble

When berries and tomatoes are coming in by the pound, it’s hard to not eat them at every meal. They take over everything. Our porch right now is covered in spaghetti squash and pounds and pounds of tomatoes, waiting to simmer down into sauce.

double chocolate overnight oats

I’m going to get right to the point.

Today we’re having chocolate. For breakfast.

double chocolate overnight oats

Honestly, it’s what everybody secretly wants.

Being an adult doesn’t mean we have to eat boring breakfasts everyday – being an adult means you can have whatever you want!

Overnight oats tend to be a spring/summer/early fall breakfast for me. I’m weird about temperatures of food in the winter, so all cold things get put away until there’s green on the trees again. Smoothies, ice cream, and cold breakfasts like this don’t happen for me in the winter. I need warm food to wake me up in the morning – oatmeal, eggs, pancakes.

double chocolate overnight oats

But this time of year is perfect for overnight oats. The long days of summer practically beg you to prep something for busy mornings. More daylight = more productivity. Or that’s how it is for me, anyway. I’m pretty convinced that winter makes me lazy….way lazier than normal.

In spring, summer, and fall, though, the weather is nicer, the days are longer, and I want to get things done and check them off my list.

Am I the only one who puts things like “pack lunch” or “prep breakfast” on their to-do list, every day? I hope not.

double chocolate overnight oats

I fell in love with overnight oats a few years ago, but I think this might be my favorite batch of all time! Using the chocolate almond milk and cocoa powder, along with the maple syrup, makes this taste really rich – but it’s really healthy for you! Besides a little maple syrup, there’s no other sweeteners.

bread and butter pickles

‘Tis the season!

Canning is back. Which basically means that our work days don’t end when we get home from the office, my back and feet are aching, and our pantry is filling back up. Thank goodness for summer gardens and farmer’s markets!

bread and butter pickles

A few weeks ago, when our green beans were coming in non-stop, we put up 18 quarts of beans in less than a week. I was exhausted that week…canning really can take it out of you sometimes.

But pickles are a different story. They’re easier! Well, most things are easier than green beans since they don’t include the pressure cooker. For some reason, it takes about a day for the cooker to get up to pressure on our old, inconsistent stove top. Super fun.

Either way, pickling things is the way to go if you want to start canning. It doesn’t take much time compared to other things (jams, tomato sauce) and you still end up with fresh, homemade goods to enjoy this winter.

bread and butter pickles

To be honest, I was not a fan of any pickles besides dill when I was growing up. My Mammaw made bread and butter pickles every year, and I would never eat them. How could I miss out on those?! Sometimes it makes me sad that my taste buds took so long to grow up and start liking things.

But I’m not missing out on things now.

bread and butter pickles

If you’re looking for a great bread and butter pickle recipe, check out this one I tested/updated from Dixie Crystals – it’s so easy! I’ve even halved the recipe, and it turned out perfect.

You’ll be happy you have these pickles in December. Trust me.