So Long Sweet Summer


It’s been a picture-perfect week!


I think this’ll be the last one with temps in the upper 70s, so I went for a run in the sun then over to my parent’s house to snap some photos to last me awhile. (Don’t you love their tree-lined street? "Oak Alley" in the Midwest!)


Winter in Iowa is…rough…and I figure I’ll want some reminders of warmer weather to gaze at longingly during those bitter cold months.


The leaves haven’t fully changed yet, but they’re on their way.



There’s still a few blooms holding out,



but things are quieting down.


So long sweet summer!


In other news, earlier this week I asked if there were any foods you were intimidated to cook. Mine include anything involving yeast (seriously, it’s alive!) and risotto! I’ve seen chefs on The Food Network prepare it hundreds of time with ease, but it’s always seemed too difficult to try myself.


How much liquid do I to add? What if it tastes like glue? How will I know when it’s done?! My fears were compounded after I saw Chef Ramsey hurl a plate of a contestant’s risotto against a wall, calling it wallpaper paste, on the last episode of Hell’s Kitchen I saw. Double eeks! :lol:


Well my prayers were answered last week when I stumbled on this recipe for Microwave Butternut Squash Risotto. "Bingo!" I thought. "Let the microwave do the cooking!"


Ok, so I burned the rice in the early stages, I think because I used short grain brown rice instead of white, but overall – not bad!!!


I still want to try my hand at regular risotto, someday, so I can compare textures, but for now the sweet squash and savory parm will do juuuust fine. :D


To round out my meal, I made golden brown roasted brussels sprouts.


Talk about intimidating foods to cook! I grew up thinking Brussels sprouts were of the mushy, boiled variety you always saw on cartoons.


Little did I know that one day I’d grow up, go out on a limb, toss them with some olive oil and garlic salt and come to love them more than french fries.

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MORE THAN FRENCH FRIES, people! They are that delish! I think this may have been my best batch yet even! :D


Well Ben and I compared feelings about this evening and found that we are both equally giddy about the prospect of lounging on the couch and watching our favorite shows ever, 30 Rock and The Office. Thursday night is our NIGHT, baby!

Goodnight! :D


What’s the street like where you grew up?

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  1. Emily 09.30.2010

    I’ve made risotto twice…there is a lot of stirring involved, but it’s really not too hard. You just have to psych yourself up for it…and make sure your arms are feeling muscular! :) I also watched/helped someone make it before trying it by myself, which always makes me feel more confident!

  2. Liz @ Blog is the New Black 09.30.2010

    Pretty fall pics. Risotto is NOT that hard! I’ve made it once or twice and was pleasantly surprised- you just have to continuously stir. have faith in you, IGE! i can’t wait for The Office, either!!!!

  3. Lauren 09.30.2010

    I have never heard of microwave risotto! That’s such a great idea. You should also check out Aida Mollencamp’s recipe for Baked Butternut Squash Risotto. It’s super easy and fool-proof!

    Enjoy your night! :)

  4. Kristin from MN 09.30.2010

    Beautiful pics (as usual)! The street I grew up on is actually a highway that is sandwiched between corn fields and bean fields for as long as the eye can see!

  5. Katie 09.30.2010

    Hi Kristin!

    I also made risotto for the first time tonight, but I used a butternut squash recipe from Cooking Light. I had all the same questions and concerns and was a little nervous preparing it. I was mixing and mixing and hoping it would turn out okay. I love risotto, but it wasn’t a HUGE hit. I took note of the criticism and changes that would make it better next time. The butternut squash was awesome though and tasted like candy. My right arm was tired too!

    Love your site and follow you on a daily basis!
    Have a wonderful weekend!


  6. I miss the big, beautiful trees of the Midwest! I grew up on a farm, so we saw a lot of trees, corn/soybean fields, and flat land out our windows. Thursday night is comedy night in our house as well!

  7. Liz @ LBBakes 09.30.2010

    I’m embracing every last bit of warmer weather here in NY, too! Only 7 months ’til May. :)

  8. I’m actually happy to see summer go.. fall is my favorite season!

    And risotto is actually really easy!!! Just keep adding warm liquid and stir, stir, stir!

  9. heather 09.30.2010

    risotto is awesome; it’s like savory rice pudding(yummmm). my mom used to make this minestra kind with spinach and tomatoes and cannelini, it’s intense. i want some right now, actually.

    my street looked, and still sometimes look when i am at home, like a busy metropolitan street. i’ve never been able to cross the street barefoot and i’ll never call it quiet, but i do get to walk 30 yards to an italian market or a bowling alley bar whenever i want, and i like that.

  10. I’m (very hesitantly) considering venturing back into brussels sprouts…had them a few times as a kid and hated them, but I think I’d like to try them now…just for fun. And I mean hey, if they’re better than french fries…maybe?

  11. I love, love, LOVE the picture of the leaves! Seriously…I would frame it:) NJ is still deluged in humidity…let’s hope for a BREAK! Bring on the low 60’s! I’m READY! :)

  12. oooh I love risotto! Once you get the hang of it it becomes a staple!

  13. Dani 09.30.2010

    I love the street I grew up on! Well, it’s a gravel road with corn and bean fields lining it and neighbors over a half mile down the road both ways. Perfectly secluded yet only 10 minutes from town (small town Iowa for sure!). Going home to the quiet yard with the occasional truck or tractor going down the road really makes me hope to live just outside a mid-sized city some day.

  14. Kristen 09.30.2010

    That street is so picture perfect!

    I feared risotto like you did! I went to a class that Williams Sonoma on how to make risotto. I tried it out and it turned out pretty good. I did a post on it that gives step by step instructions. Hope this helps.

    Good luck!

  15. Jackie 09.30.2010

    I came across this blog a few weeks ago and haven’t commented yet. I love reading each post!

    I saw this link from come up on my RSS feed, and thought I’d share it with you. I’m domestically challenged, as my mother so lovingly calls it, so cooking isn’t exactly my thing, so I can’t say for sure if this method works, but its worth looking at! Maybe one day I’ll attempt cooking more than frozen meals haha

  16. Jillian 09.30.2010

    I used to be afraid of risotto, but once I got used to it, I realized it was super easy. And, it does not have to take forever, and you don’t have to stir continuously. I found that it started to go much more easily when I switched to a large, flat, heavy pan – the largest flattest one I own. The more rice is touching the surface, the more quickly it will cook. Second, to minimize stirring, I’ll dump in a few ladles of broth at the same time, not one at a time. Just stir to incorporate and let it simmer until the broth is absorbed. This gives you time to chop other things and prepare the rest of your meal instead of sweating over the stove. The big flat pan is really the key here. My favorite recipe is this one from Martha…

  17. Candy 09.30.2010

    I made butternut squash and brown rice risotto last week using this recipe – it was awesome! I guess I’m as scared of the microwave as you are of risotto :) There’s something therapeutic about a looong cooking dish. And you don’t have to stir this as much as you just have to wait. Well worth it.

  18. Emily 10.01.2010

    Beautiful photos! And, also, risotto really IS super easy… Just keep adding warm liquid to the rice and stir until it is cooked! I find it to be a perfect dish for entertaining because you can socialize while you casually monitor the rice AND people are impressed because they think risotto is complicated!

  19. What BEAUTIFUL pictures as always! Thank you for sharing! I miss the leaves changing and falling, they don’t do that here in Central Florida. =(

  20. Lauren 10.01.2010

    Your risotto recipe sounds perfect for fall!

    I was so frightened to make risotto for my first time, but this recipe made me a believer that anyone can do it! It really explains the process step-by-step and my risotto comes out creamy and delicious every time! Plus it’s a great base recipe for throwing in little extras – I like to finish mine with green beans, peas and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!

  21. Risotto is SO worth it, you have to try sometime! I’ve made it twice for the blog and both were delish:

  22. […] legit HOT out outside right now! The little beacon on my desktop is flashing 82. So long sweet summer…next week, […]

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  24. […] last attempt at Butternut Squash Risotto went well, but I made it the cheaters’ way in the microwave. Tonight I took a baby step […]

  25. Iowa Girl at Heart 10.16.2010

    Just made the Brussel Sprouts – and LOVED them. I’d never had them when they weren’t icky and squishy…. These were YUM!

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