Hearty & Healthy: Late-Summer Minestrone

A bout of gray, rainy and downright bone-chilling cold weather recently sent me scurrying into the kitchen faster than a coiffured damsel seeking shelter. With each day looking bleaker than the last, it was obvious that if I was to get truly warmed, it would require spearheading a kitchen project that involved plenty of soul food.

Fortunately, my quest to find the BEST zucchini bread was under way that week, with many batches being tested to ultimately declare a winner and a runner-up. That project kept the kitchen toasty, but it wasn’t quite the satisfying, nourishing meal that I was looking for. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was craving soup. Hot, wholesome SOUP! In August, no less.

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that I was singing the praises of cold soups? Had the summer really slipped away that quickly? Apparently it had, so I made a massive batch of this late-harvest minestrone using up all the gorgeous late-summer vegetables I had on hand. [Read more…]

Wordless Wednesday: Details to come…

Stop and Savor the Season

Written by Cheryl of Backseat Gourmet

We’ve been going hard here at Simple Bites about preserving summer. It’s all about saving those bits of sunshine to brighten a dismal January day. But what if you need to brighten a dismal August day?

Just because the weather is great, the kids are out of school, or there is green grass to tickle your toes, it doesn’t stop the realities of life. Days can be crazy, sad things can happen, or everything can happen at near the speed of light. And we just need to stop.

We need to stop and look around to see that hey, the grass really is tickling our feet, the cherries are so juicy they explode when you bite into one, or that the sprinkler is the best invention ever. [Read more…]

How to Make the Best Zucchini Bread Ever

One of my favorite narratives on zucchini is from Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ where, when faced with a unrelenting crop of the green squash, she devises many ways of using up the abundance them in her prolific garden.

She baked, steamed, fried, and froze zucchini, as well as gave them away to friends with such abandon that she freely admits: “Our gardening friends knew enough to slam the door if they saw a heavy sack approaching.”

I could completely relate to Barbara’s dilemma (if you can call an abundance of food a dilemma), and I, as a gardener, fully understand a zucchini’s capability to turn into a baseball bat practically overnight if overlooked on the vine.

Fortunately, I have a strategy to help me maintain the upper hand during the Great August Zucchini Invasion: Zucchini Bread. Around here this humble loaf is a favorite snack for the kids, a bake-sale best-seller, and alongside a tall glass of milk, has made it’s way into our ‘Guilt-Free Non-Suppers‘.

Now some of you probably think that you have the best zucchini bread recipe, others perhaps have never found a recipe they liked, –and chances are a few of you are thinking: “Zucchini? Bread?” And to all of you I say, I hope someone has shared their zucchini crop with you, because you’re going to want to make this recipe!

If you remember, I brought you the best muffin ever (which is still making new converts every day), so believe me when I say I have done my homework for this zucchini recipe. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading