Girl Versus Dough

pumpkin cheesecake gingersnap ice cream

Pumpkin Cheesecake Gingersnap Ice Cream

You’re going to love me or hate me for this one.

I know. I know. It’s not even September yet and I’m talking about pumpkin.

But hear me out — I figured, since it’s ice cream and all, that it was kinda sorta the most perfect thing to share just before the weekend that officially marks the transition from summer to fall.

And now those of you still holding onto summer are giving me the stink eye. Heyyyy, now — ice cream!

girl versus dough turns four {giveaway}

GVD Turns Four

(This giveaway is closed.) I cannot believe that this week (tomorrow, to be precise) marks the four-year birthday/anniversary/blogiversary/blogobirthday (?) of this here blog.

So much has happened between then and now, it’s insane. When I first started I had no idea what I was doing, how to bake a loaf of bread, how to wield a camera or what this bloggy business had in store for me. There have been new jobs, new homes, a new kitten, a lot of kitchen failures (and successes), some sweat, some tears, some memories made and friendships built. In four years this blog has gone from a fun little hobby to a full-fledged career that I love.

Like I said, insane.

And awesome.

Now is when I get sappy and tell you that I couldn’t have gotten to this moment in this space without you guys. But I’m totally serious. There have been several times when I’ve wondered why I’m even doing this whole ding-dang thing, if it’s even worth it, getting ready to throw in the towel — but then I remember my readers, my blogging friends, the food blog community, all of you who inspire me. And I remember that this space is incredibly special to me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I wish I could meet you all in person and give you big ol’ bear hugs and tell you how much I love you (in the least creepy way possible). But instead, I shall give you a gift. Actually, several gifts. Because what says “thank you for being here and for being awesome and for putting up with my ramblings and my weirdness and for trying my recipes and liking them, really really liking them” than a giveaway of gifts, amiright??

mom’s classic heirloom tomato spaghetti sauce

bowl of spaghetti

This weekend was pretty special to me. Why? Because my mama came to visit.

You see, my mom (and the rest of my crazy/awesome family) lives near Chicago. And I live not near Chicago. So having my family over to visit isn’t just a “hey how you doin'” kind of situation — it’s a “hey this is special, let’s do special things!” kind of situation. And we definitely made the best of it.

Not only did we finally paint over the bright pink/purple walls in my office to a deep blue-green, we made flower arrangements for the dining room table, hosted a cookout, took a trip to IKEA, explored the cities and had ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s for the first time. Twice. (Raspberry chocolate chip, Iloveyouforeverandeveramen).

Oh, and we made spaghetti sauce. Because Mom makes the best in all the land, and I just couldn’t have her go back home without teaching me how to make it — i.e., make it for me while I try to sneak in bites. Some things never change.

blackened salmon + mango tacos

Blackened Salmon and Mango Tacos

There’s this thing about the new house I can’t handle, and that thing is landscaping.

Don’t get me wrong — the landscaping itself is b-e-a-oootiful (the previous owners had it professionally done #fancy), but you guys, it scares the crap out of me. Maybe it’s because I tried my hand at growing my own herbs for the first time this year and I failed miserably with the basil, but I’m terrified I’m going to wake up one morning and all the plants/pots/flowers/bushes/grass are going to be dead. I’ve had nightmares about it.

In other news, my husband thinks I’m insane. I can’t say I disagree (Type-A maniac, right here).

Here’s the kicker: We have an in-ground sprinkler system and these little drain spouts that go directly into the potted plants, so the whole thing takes care of itself. And yet I’m still sitting here, biting my nails as I stare at the landscaping praying it won’t die on me just when the old homeowners decide to stop by and question who these lunatics are to whom they sold their beloved, perfectly landscaped house.

I know this all comes across as a humblebrag, but I’m seriously not trying to make it so. If it were up to me, I’d have one tree and one pot of flowers in the yard and a garden gnome figurine and that’s it. But that wouldn’t look as nice. So into the landscaping fire I go.

But enough about my crazy paranoia over outdoor decorating. Let’s get to the tacos.

garden veggie burritos

Garden Veggie Burritos

I have a confession. Actually, two.

One is that I cannot photograph a burrito well to save my life, so, apologies. Really, it’s delicious. Promise.

And the other is I have been to the farmers market twice this year. TWICE. And one of those times was to an out-of-town market, which I don’t think really counts (it was kind of a vacation market visit, if you will).

The second time was so I could make these burritos. Because when life gives you fresh, locally grown spinach, onions, peppers and zucchini, you make burritos. At least that’s how I see things.

paloma popsicles

paloma popsicles and fruit

POPSICLES! Sorry, I had to get that out. You see, I’ve been pretty pumped to share these pops with you for a while now.

Ever since Billy invited me to make them, that is. Why did I have to be invited to make popsicles? I didn’t. I was probably going to make them on my own at some point anyway. But now I have a reason to make them other than the fact that I love putting cocktails and yogurts and fizzy lifting drinks in molds and freezing them and then eating them that reason is called Popsicle Week. Or #popsicleweek, for all you hipster folk who put hashtags in everyday writing (and me. I guess I do that, too).

That’s right. Twenty-six bloggers including yours truly are sharing popsicle recipes this week because… well, really, do you need a reason for popsicles? Because it’s summer (YES IT STILL IS) and we all love popsicles. And if we don’t? Well, you can come back later this week because I will have a non-popsicle recipe to share with you then (or maybe not. I might just make popsicles from here on out. #jokes).

Anywho, let’s talk Paloma pops!