No Bean Italian Chili

Nothing says fall to me like chili. But the problem is my husband doesn’t like beans, none of ’em. Okay, green beans don’t count, but any chili-related bean, he turns his nose up at. So I set out to find a substitute for beans to be able to make a chili that would suffice my craving.

bowl-of-italian-chili

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Roasted Beet, Heirloom Tomato Salad with Ricotta Salata

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It’s the peak of summer harvest here in the Pacific Northwest. Gardens are over-flowing with the bounty. Local farmers markets are saturated with the vivacious tastes, smells, and colors of the season. Co-workers bring in boxes full of produce, letting the bright colors seep into the office, laying out the summer bounty in the break room, making the donuts seem sad and desperate. Neighbors drop off baskets overflowing with greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and purples so deep and rich you can hardly believe it.

Your mind starts to race as you think of all the recipes to be explored. Your heart quickens as you dream of the canning to be done; to capture the tastes to be savored on a cold winter day as you open summer captured in a jar. You start to salivate as you think of sitting down to a meal, oh the cooking to be done! But instead of turning on the stove and tying the apron strings on, you slice a tomato and sprinkle it with salt, taking a bite of it raw. It is perfection on the tongue, so sweet and juicy; it makes you wonder what piece of plastic has been posing as a “tomato” the rest of the year in your grocery store. Yes, it’s time to enjoy the splendor of what the good earth has to offer.

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Classic Homemade Focaccia

There are many things I enjoyed about working in an Italian restaurant in high school and college. Chowing down on leftover focaccia after service was over was one of those things. Focaccia is one of my favorite breads because of it’s unique texture. It’s buttery and crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. The soft, spongey center makes it perfect for dipping in seasoned olive oil–the perfect appetizer for any Italian meal.

Classic Focaccia

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Easy Spinach & Veggie Dip with Old London Melba Toasts®

easy spinach and veggie dip

I absolutely love hosting get togethers. I’m not sure at what age I started enjoying being the host, but it’s certainly engrained in me by now. I love everything from setting the menu, to creating the invites (even if it’s just a Facebook invite), to decorating. I get that balled up nervous energy about an hour before but once guests start arriving, I’m in my happy place.

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