Ginger chicken noodle soup.

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Look, guys, I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but in the next few months, you’re probably going to get walloped with a cold that just won’t die. You’ll pop Sudafeds like they’re tic-tacs. You’ll end up with a little raw patch under your nose from excessive tissue use. Sleeping and breathing at the same time will become a science you just can’t master. Your coworkers will shoot you withering looks and lather on the Purell as you spew pestilence sneeze for the 498329420th time. But it’s okay, because I’m giving you a really delicious chicken noodle soup recipe that will CURE YOU when the inevitable strikes. Well, probably cure you. Maybe. I certainly believe in the healing magic of homemade chicken soup, but I’m sure the dish has its naysayers. Including Colin, I’m sure, who was not magically healed of his weird flu-thing after eating multiple bowls.

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French onion soup

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I don’t know about you, but I looove me a bowl of French onion soup. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than cracking through that crispy lid of cheese, creme brulee style, and diving into a (scalding hot, often) bowl of buttery, caramelized onions in a savory, well-seasoned beef broth. And I’m not too picky about it, either. Sure, you can probably screw up French onion soup, but I generally enjoy even the most lackluster bowls. There’s a saying about pizza (and sex) that implies that even when pizza is bad, it’s still pretty good.

That’s a filthy lie.

However, when French onion soup is bad… well, it’s still pretty okay, and I’m still probably going to enjoy it. (My father is probably tremendously disappointed in me right now for saying that, and Dad, if you’re reading this, I’d like to remind you that pretty much all the other wisdom and good taste you’ve imparted on me has stuck. Except for MacArthur’s Park. I’m on Mom’s team in that department.)

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Eating (sort of un)seasonably.

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So it’s looking like we skipped over spring entirely (well, temperature-wise…the whole horrendous-allergy aspect of spring is in full swing) and jumped right to my favorite time of the year … summer! Yesterday it reached about 90 degrees in my neck of the woods, and, as usual, I did seasonally inappropriate things.

First, let’s talk about what I did right.

Listened to some surfy-sounding O.A.R.!

Drank some seasonably-appropriate beverages!

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Wore flip flops!

…and that’s about it. Because despite the temperature in my apartment lingering around 88 degrees (because I’m not ready to start sobbing/become catatonic over my electric bill just yet), I made a very late fall/winter appropriate dinner last night: beer & cheese soup, and roasted vegetables.

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I know. I willingly turned my oven to 375F. For an hour. And ate some hefty, hearty soup. But hear me out! I had good reasons for doing both of these things

First off, for Memorial Day, Colin and I had an impromptu barbecue. Seriously impromptu. Like, went out and bought a grill around 4:30 p.m. that day because we wanted grilled meat, dagnabit. We also bought entirely too much food, and even though the four other people we fed in addition to ourselves put a good dent in our supplies, we still had a ton of stuff left over. The meat was no problem; we could just freeze that. The veggies, however… we needed to do something about those. Especially before going away for what’s sure to be a crazy-fun family reunion this weekend. (No, no sarcasm. Colin’s family is truly awesome, and thus their annual reunions are always a good time.)

I know what you’re thinking: Jeez, Lauren, why didn’t you just throw them on that grill you impulse-bought three days ago? And you’re right; I could have. But Colin had just finished washing, disassembling and storing it. I feel like taking it and dirtying it all up again probably would have been kind of trollish.

And as for the soup… well, Colin had a tooth yanked out of his head on Tuesday (fun!), so soft foods have been on the agenda all week. And I’ve been dying to make beer and cheddar soup for years, ever since randomly receiving a “Cooking with Beer” cookbook from a friend in college. So since I knew I had a surplus of beer (again, thanks, MDW), and a considerable amount of cheese (because I always have a considerable amount of cheese on hand), I decided to try my hand at this recipe from Food and Wine.

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Spicy soups make winter tolerable.

Originally posted February 2013.

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Every year, I do this thing where I get tired of winter and start doing things that one has no business doing during winter. For example, this weekend I made a side dish of sauteed zucchini and tomatoes to go with my salmon. While pretty much perfect during July and August, they’re a discolored, flimsy disappointment in February.

And today, I decided that I’d wear a dress. Not a sundress, mind you, but not something with sleeves, or made out of wool, and not something that came even remotely close to hitting my knees. In my defense, I did pair it with a cardigan and tights, although those tights were pantyhose and did basically nothing to keep my gams toasty.

I’m not sure if I’m just impatient, or defiant, or unconsciously trying to will the seasons to change early, but whatever the underlying cause may be (I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s an equal blend of all three of those things), whenever I start doing this, I always end up somewhat disappointed. At this point in the season, I’d really like to be able to fast-forward to June, when I’ll be over the hump of debilitating pollen allergies, able to escape to the beach after work (!!!), and go to a couple of sweet family reunions. However, I’d settle for being able to fast-forward to March 31, when the greatest show ever (with maybe the exception of Arrested Development) returns with what are guaranteed to be crazy-awesome episodes, and when I’ll be able to walk my dog for more than 30 seconds without wanting to run back into my apartment and wrap myself in a bathrobe, Snuggie and approximately 785,219 blankets.

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“I wish you made, like, a gallon of this.”

Originally posted March 2012.

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All last week I was craving the simplest of meals: cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Somehow, this staple meal has absolutely no place in my memory. Well, my dad used to make me grilled cheese all the time, but for some reason, at the age of six, after battling random bouts of croup, bronchitis and a chronic cough rivaling that of pack-a-day Marlboro smokers, I tested positive for a tomato allergy.

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THIS IS LIKE KRYPTONITE, APPARENTLY.

Which is weird, because I had been scarfing down pizza and meat sauces and all sorts of tomato-laden dishes, and never even came close to hitting anaphylaxis. But whatever. I just had to be the difficult kid at slumber parties who could only have white pizza. I later graduated to being the difficult kid at slumber parties who had to sleep on the couch because of her backbrace. Kidding. I didn’t GO to slumber parties when I wore a backbrace!

God, this is getting depressing.

Anyway, it’s been 12 years since I donned that supremely ugly plastic torture device-cumbersome corset, and even longer since I decided I really wasn’t allergic to tomatoes, thankyouverymuch, and I’ve developed quite the affinity for a good bowl of cream of tomato soup.

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Appetizer & dessert

Originally published June 2011.

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I continued my trend of making dinner for my wonderful dad on Father’s Day this year. The man went and got Netflix and a Nook, so I can no longer use my impeccable judgment of books/movies/DVD collections I know he’d like when selecting gifts. I tell you, the man is IMPOSSIBLE. Just kidding. He rocks.

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