sweet and simple pumpkin bread

Yesterday, my mom texted me to say that it was very fall-ish in Portland and that she accidentally-on-purpose bought a pumpkin loaf from New Seasons (a wonderland of a grocery store with an irresistible bakery). I wrote back to say that I had pumpkins on my front stoop, but it was hitting 90° in Springfield this week. Hardly fall-ish. But this morning on my walk, before the sun could crank up the temperature, I caught a faint scent of fallen leaves and noticed that the light was just slightly different than it was a couple of weeks ago. And suddenly I needed to get myself a pumpkin loaf, too.

sweet and simple pumpkin loaf

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keeper shrimp + grits

I’ve talked before about my sister’s ability to find awesome recipes, and about her “keeper” board on Pinterest. I’m always psyched to see a recipe move from her general food board over to “keeper,” because that means she’s tried it and loved it. When I saw a recipe for shrimp and grits make the move I was especially excited, since shrimp and grits is one of my very favorite foods and one that I had never cooked myself. And I was especially especially excited because I knew regular ole shrimps have been a little hard to come by in her Swedish life. Strange, right? She says they’re getting easier to find, but during her first year-ish in Sweden when she went looking for shrimp she mostly found the wee little salad variety–and they are EVERYWHERE, including on top of hot dogs–but had a harder time finding the kind of I can grab so easily in the grocery store. So I knew that if she had found a keeper recipe worth tracking down shrimp for, it was gonna be good.

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four years of favorites

Today, September 6th, is the fourth anniversary of our very first butter poached post. 180 posts later we’re going strong and still loving blogging together. We’re cooking in different kitchens and taking pictures with much better (almost always iPhone) cameras, but so many of our goals are the same as they were when we got our start in 2012: to keep growing and stretching in our cooking, to find as much joy as possible in the quotidian meals that make up our regular eating lives, to try new recipes and build up our collections of faves, and to share it all with each other here. To celebrate our blogiversary we thought we’d update our 2014 lists of recipes we return to again and again with some of our latest favorites. Thanks so much for reading!

laughing and cooking and laughing during jessica's visit to springfield in august

laughing and cooking and laughing during jessica’s visit to springfield in august

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back of the bottle key lime pie

When I’m looking for a recipe for a particular dish, it usually takes me a while to find the one that I want. I’ll flip through my cookbooks, Google, read reviews, Google some more, and then settle on something. This key lime pie is the exception that makes the rule. I’ve always made it the same way and the recipe came from the most basic of places: the back of the key lime juice bottle.

key lime pie

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post about toast

In my last post, I mentioned a peach bruschetta from my fabulous Springfield trip that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It was on the menu at one of Laura and Ed’s favorite local restaurants, American Harvest, a farm to table spot that had me thinking about how dang close the farms actually were. Everything we had was delicious–I would be very happy to have a plate of their “organic cheese curds” in front of me right now–but the standout was definitely the peach bruschetta. And I’m still thinking about it! So much so that I suggested it to a friend who was looking for something to round out a rotisserie chicken dinner last weekend, and finally made it myself this week. It absolutely lived up to my happy memory, and made for a perfect summer dinner.

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salad of the summer 

It was beyond fun to have Jessica in town a couple of weeks ago. Even though I wish she were still here, we did an excellent job making the most of our time together (as she so perfectly described in her cobbler post). Cooking on Saturday night was a definite highlight and even planning the meal was fun. Jessica, ever generous, offered to let me post the recipe for the grilled corn and halloumi salad we made, even though she gets all the credit for finding it.

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the joy of cobbler

I loved absolutely everything about my visit with Laura and Ed in Springfield–getting a glimpse of their everyday, reuniting with their sweet pup Tenley, tasting some fave local tastes (a super slim burger, a Route 66 diner club sandwich, a perfect chocolate+vanilla swirl cone that I got all over myself, and a peach bruschetta I’m still thinking about especially stand out), finally seeing their gorgeous house, eating dessert twice before dinner, tagging along for La’s weekly trip to the farmers market, talking and talking and talking, watching the carefully DVR-ed premier of Bachelor in Paradise, and laughing til I cried at least once a day. But one of the very best parts of the visit was cooking together. And if I do say so myself, we put together one heck of a dinner. Laura boiled perfect little fingerling potatoes with thyme and butter, Ed grilled deelish steaks, and Laura and I tried a really knock your socks off new to us salad (that she’ll blog about soon!) and put our own blackberry spin on my very favorite peach cobbler.

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only the best chefs match their desserts to their centerpieces.

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