Greek salad couscous.

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I know. I know. It’s been like, three weeks since I last posted. I was away for a week, then I was simultaneously busy and lazy for another week, and now… I’m getting back on track.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that at my old job, I was spoiled by our cafeteria. It was staffed by two very sweet women and one very nice dude, who just so happened to have been trained at the Culinary Institute of America (and shared some recipes with me, which was awesome). There were fresh soups and salads every day, with “deli” sandwich specials and hot meal specials, and everything was delicious, all the time.  This iteration of Greek salad was featured pretty often, sometimes with chickpeas and other times with Israeli couscous. I always made room on my plate for a little scoop of it. I finally got around to buying a canister of Israeli couscous a few weeks ago, and made my own version of it. You should make it too, especially if you have an olive thing. I…have an olive thing. I’m not proud of this, but I ate a whole can of pitted green olives this weekend. I keep buying them with recipe-related intentions, and then I just scarf them all down and wonder how I got here.

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Summer saute

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Ok guys. So it’s clear that I really, really love food. Not only do I (semi-regularly) write a food blog, but I’ve also been known to take it into some weird territory by writing love letters to pot pies and what not. I’ll be the first one to push any dish that features gobs of cheese or crispy bacon, but this – this healthy, vegetarian, cheese-free (ok, I caved and added cheese last night) meal – might be my new favorite dinner. I’ve made it the past two nights, and I don’t really see myself wanting anything else in the near future. I get like this with music, too – when I really, really like a song, I listen to it about five dozen times in a row. I’m not (too) ashamed to admit that, currently, all I really want to listen to “Blurred Lines.” I’ve been in this place for about a month and a half. You’d think I’d be ready to stop, but … no.

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(Red) wedding fare.

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Alright. I know it’s June, and June is hardly the time of year for comfort foods here in Jersey, but I (and about seven million other people, I reckon), are in need of some comfort after last night’s long-anticipated (by book readers, anyway) episode of Game of Thrones. Obvious disclaimer: There are spoilers here.

I devoured the entire series in the summer of 2011, shortly after the first season of the show wrapped up, so I knew what was coming in episode 309, aptly (and chillingly) titled “The Rains of Castamere.”

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Since first finishing the series, I’ve become somewhat obsessed, and have read the books at least two times each. I’ve read the passage in which Game of Thrones’ penultimate scene transpires several times. I braced myself. I was smug. I listened to this on repeat. I was anticipating the Internet-wide meltdown that would inevitably take place around 10 P.M. I knew what was coming, and after the obligatory book-chucking that comes with reading that particular chapter, and working my way through the Kubler-Ross Model (and laughing when my dad sent me an email after reading the chapter with the subject line “HE’S KILLING EVERYONE!”), I was prepared.

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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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Summer fare. Because it’s SUMMER.

Originally posted August 2012.

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Dear Everyone,

You are out of control and need to be stopped. Freeze. Wait, don’t freeze. That’s the opposite of what I’m trying to convey. Put down the pumpkin beer. Stop pinning football recipes. Step away from the displays of Halloween decorations. And for the love of bacon, don’t even think about pulling on that wool cap.

People, it is August. It is AUGUST 20TH. It is still summer, and will still be summer for another month. Please, just let me revel in this for awhile. I saw this comic the other day and wept a little on the inside because I think I can count the number of times I’ve been to the beach on one hand and the days are getting shorter and I want it to be summer forever. And you people, all of you, are pushing fall WAY TOO EARLY. Fall, it’s not your turn yet. We still have 33 days of summer. Just let it be. We’re all going to be miserable, pasty crankypants counting down the days till spring soon enough. Can’t we just enjoy the sunshine? The warmth? The abundance of zucchini?

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