Slow Cooker Mexican Grilled Corn Dip | @girlversusdough

I have, admittedly, been writing this post in my head for the better part of July. I may have been physically absent on the blog, but my mind has been hard at work this whole time, cranking the gears along that generate all those ideas for recipes to share. Off the grid I’ve been chopping fresh vegetables, slicing juicy fruits, grilling meats and sipping on sangria and icy beers but inside, in my head, I’ve been blogging away all the while.

This month off was just what I needed: to relax, recharge and renew my sense of perspective, re-energize my creativity. But it’s also been a time to shift those gears that have been constantly turning in my mind. And, alongside those glasses of sangria and icy beers, to eat mountains of this slow cooker corn dip. So thank you. Thank you so much for giving me this time.

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Make Your Own Pasta Bar (with three homemade pasta sauces!) | @girlversusdough

I’ve got a lot of feels for today’s post, so bear with me.

Part of the feels comes from the excitement I have over this make your own pasta bar with alllll the yummy pasta sauces. I’ll admit it — I’m a pretty routine jarred pasta sauce buyer. I know, I know. I’m ashamed of it. Especially because whenever I make a homemade pasta sauce and take even one bite, I do a jig in the kitchen, slap my knee and say, “By George, I should be making this all the time!” Or something to that effect (I promise I’m not so weird that I say things like “By George!” At least not often. Ahem).

ANYWAY, I’ve got not one, but three delectable sauces here — including a roasted red pepper sauce, a creamy Parmesan chive mushroom sauce and a garlic alfredo sauce, all made in the blender! — for you to choose from for your next pasta dinner. Or, if you’re in the pasta bar partying mood, you can make all three at the same time along with a big spread of cooked pastas and have your guests go crazy on adding their own sauce and toppings to their pasta bowls. Serve it all up with lots of bread and wine and by George, you’ve got a great party going. AHEM.

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread | @girlversusdough

Why is it that weekends are always one day too short? Or maybe more like five days too short? If we can start a petition for full-week weekends, I would really rally for that one.

Until then, I suppose I’ll settle for the two days (or two and a half, if you start counting 4 p.m. on a Friday as the weekend, as I do) we have for now. And this past weekend was one of the more memorable ones: not only because we went with friends to their family’s lakeside cabin, but also because we had this whole wheat chocolate chip zucchini bread to snack on while we were there. Fresh air, pine trees, calm water, warm sun, cool drinks, babbling babies, grilled food, bonfires, Reese’s s’mores (!), good conversation — it was all there. The days went by fast, but I savored every moment — especially the ones involving slices of this bread.

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No-Knead Grilled Naan | @girlversusdough

I know you’re probably all sorts of excited about this bread you see here (as am I, always), but let me first call attention to the fact that I GRILLED AGAIN. (!!!)

I know this may seem like no big deal, as grilling is one of the easiest ways to cook things, but to me it’s always been a bit of a battle. How hot is too hot? Are the burners even on? How do I not accidentally drop any vegetables between the grates this time? Why does the steak always stick to the grill? There has been much hand-wringing by yours truly around a grill, as you may imagine.

But one of my goals this summer was to master the grill. And I don’t mean just plopping some hot dogs on there and calling it a day — I mean learning how to make a decent kabob, or not fear the idea of grilling bread. So far, both have been accomplished with ease (and with seriously delicious results, too).

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Avocado Ranch Grilled Chicken | @girlversusdough

Say hello to my new favorite way to grill chicken — that is to say, marinating it in an avocado ranch mixture, kabob-ing it and then putting it on the barbie.

Oh, and did I mention it takes approximately threeve seconds to put together? And then another approximately threeve seconds to grill? And then after it’s done you can eat it right away in all its tender, juicy, avocado ranch-y grilled glory?

Like I said — NEW FAVORITE of all the grilled chickens. And maybe even my new favorite grilled food in general.

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Ginger Peach Granola | @girlversusdough

Before we go any further, I should give you fair warning: This ginger peach granola has a side effect. And that side effect is the overwhelming and uncontrollable need to put it in and on everything.

At first, you’ll want to eat it by the handful, on top of yogurt or with milk, as we do. But then… then you’ll get a taste of the crystallized ginger, the sweet dried peaches, the touch of sea salt, the crunchy maple-baked oats and chia seeds, and suddenly you’ll be putting it on oatmeal, on toast, in waffles and pancakes, on ice cream, maybe even sprinkled on top of glazed doughnuts or on a frosted cake. Your imagination will run away with the granola and, well, good luck getting it back.

So what I’m saying is this: Make this granola, but don’t expect to eat anything else for days on end until the batch is gone. And it might even be best to have a second batch at the ready, you know, to avoid granola withdrawal (which is what I’m currently experiencing as I look at these photos of granola with MUCH DROOLING/CRAVING).

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