Spaghetti squash gremolata.

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I think it’s safe to say that anyone reading this blog knows that I am not, and will never be (barring some sort of life-or-death illness) the kind of person who gives up her carbs. I love my sandwiches, and pasta, and dear god, do I love my potatoes. (You’re probably sick of reading about it.) I’m not giving them up for anything. You’d have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. That being said, I’m also not averse to trying low-carb/carb-free substitutes to carbtastic, starchy goodness, because I like having my cholesterol in check, and because I’m open to trying just about any food that isn’t an insect. (Or durian.) A few weeks ago, I tried making a cauliflower pizza crust – and no, I’m not going to tell you that it tasted JUST LIKE PIZZA CRUST OMG 4 REAL because I am not a big fat liar. It tasted…quiche-y? Maybe? It was good, but it was in no way similar to actual pizza crust.

On Friday, I tried my hand this recipe, because my mom, my sister, and apparently everyone on Pinterest, ever, has gone spaghetti squash crazy.

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“It tastes like and has the texture of spaghetti!!!”, the Internet says. (To her credit, this blogger never claimed spaghetti squash tastes like spaghetti. So thank you, A Family Feast.) “I call shenanigans, Internet,” I replied. (Yes, I talk to inanimate objects. You do, too, so stop raising those eyebrows.)

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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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This will convert you into a macaroni salad fan. If you’re weird like me and didn’t already like it, that is.

Originally posted June 2012.

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Dear Macaroni Salad,

If you don’t mind, I’m going to be frank with you — I never really liked you. Now look, I’m not saying this to hurt your feelings, but I’m just trying to establish an honest relationship with you.

It wasn’t your fault, really. I’ve just never really thought that macaroni should be served cold. Macaroni, in my eyes, has always been at its best served hot, slathered in tomato sauce and topped with two or three big ol’ meatballs. Or baked in a plethora of cheeses. Heck, I even enjoy macaroni on its own, with just a bit of melted butter and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

But cold? Macaroni had no business being served cold. And especially not with celery. The starch salad that always won my heart was that of the potato. I know you’ve had your fans, Macaroni Salad, but I was not one of them.

Not until this came along…

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This delicious, spicy, smoky, COLD macaroni dish that I would happily make on a weekly basis. This macaroni salad that I made last night and just polished off the leftovers of for lunch. This macaroni salad that you must try to make on your own. Seriously, I demand it.

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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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