Girl Versus Dough

whole wheat chocolate chip zucchini bread

whole wheat chocolate chip zucchini bread

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.

no-knead grilled naan

no knead grilled naan on parchment paper

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).

avocado ranch grilled chicken

avocado ranch grilled chicken

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.

ginger peach granola

ginger peach granola

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).

easy shrimp salad bites

easy shrimp salad bites

Creamy shrimp salad. Crunchy mini fillo shells. Five ingredients. BOOM. That’s what I’ve got for ya today.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk real quick about the weather here in Minnesota because, well, that’s what we Midwestern folk do — we talk about the brutal winters and the sweltering summers, and how we are just about ready to move out of here to somewhere warmer where we don’t have to dig our cars out of piles of snow and ice or crank up the air conditioning when the sun is ablaze. But most of us never do. We stay put, right in our beloved, weather-crazy land.

Since I’ve been born and raised in the Midwest, I know a thing or two about how to cope with the seasons, especially when it comes to food (as most things do in my life). In the winter, I keep myself warm with big bowls of soup and mugs of strong coffee and hot cocoa. In the summer, I keep myself cool with big fresh salads and plates piled high with chopped fruit. Yet no matter the season, I want it all to be easy and stress-free. Wherever you’re from, I’m sure you agree.

malted chocolate fudge stuffed cupcakes with rainbow chip frosting

malted chocolate cupcakes

Question for you: What could be better than a malted chocolate fudge stuffed cupcake?

A malted chocolate fudge stuffed cupcake topped with RAINBOW CHIP FROSTING, that’s what.

It’s back, you guys! The frosting with the fun little rainbow-colored chips is back! I could do a jig about it, I’m so happy. But to save us all from that embarrassing display of affection, instead I will eat a cupcake in celebration.

Actually, make that two cupcakes.