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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

One of my lifetime goals (read: never ending) has been to improve my photography skills. I have taken classes, listened to live workshops, read a few books and lots of articles, collected inspiring images, talked to photographers and continually pick at my photography student sister's brain. But the best way for learning how to take better pictures is (surprise) to take pictures! lots of them. I guess I am trying to explain the influx of unrelated (to food) visuals that have and will continue to show up.

Like these from the week..

summer squash and oatmeal cookies on zupas today.
happy weekend!

Some days, the only thing that sounds good for dinner is something that has been fried in oil; lots of it. You know those days. I also believe that if you have a lot of the same thing (read: summer squash) you are less likely to get sick of it if you have an army of varying dishes to use them in. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert..
This was my first time making summer squash fritters, and it definitely won't be the last. I have to admit it took me back to my grade school days when my friends would want to sniff my backpack because it had the best chinese fried rice aroma (read: grease).

Pair the fritters with a relish of fresh vegetables and you might forget about the grease splatters covering your oven.

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Our favorite peach provider opened last week. We have been anticipating peach slices, peach lemonade, peach pie, peach ice cream, peach leather, peach jam, peach everything. A favorite summer dessert has always been sliced peaches, some milk (or cream) and a drizzle of honey with a ginger cookie on the side.

Autumn has always been my favorite season, but late summer is a definite contender.

I love people that create meaning in their lives. Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora have done exactly that. As about to graduate college students, they took the idea of growing mushrooms in used coffee grounds and ran with it, creating their company Back to the Roots. I heard about their mushroom kits just over a year ago on Chloe Coscarelli's website. I thought it was a brilliant idea then, pinned it to my mental boards for the future (pinterest wasn't around then), and what do you know a year later they sent me my very own mushroom kit! Fate treats me well.

I'm now an official urban mushroom farmer.. or rather suburbian.

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(image source :: Hearst Ranch)

In our home, we seldom eat meat. On a normal day, our meals will more likely resemble a handful of side dishes full of seasonal vegetables, fruit, beans and grains rather than a centerpiece of animal. However there are exceptions, like when my father brings us his homemade wontons, or a premium cut to celebrate Father's day, when we eat out, and when we know that the meat we are eating has been raised the way it was supposed to. You know the pastoral images, green grass, sunshine rays, happy cows.

Hearst Ranch is one of those providers.

"Our cattle live a completely natural existence as foragers and grazers, the way they have lived for thousands of years. Grazing enhances a complex and balanced mosaic of native grasslands which in turn maintains vigor and distribution of these habitats, ensuring a sustainable food system. It keeps cattle on the range, fertilizes the land naturally, sustains a seasonal rhythm to the ranches and produces a remarkable meat whose flavor is the authentic taste of the American West."

Hearst Ranch has two ranches based in San Simeon and Cholame, California. They offer grass fed steaks, Iliamna Alaskan Wild Red Salmon, and Heritage American Bronze Turkeys, to name a few. They even sell their own sauces and oils, chipotle ketchup? yes please.

If the idea of cows having names and living quality lives seems a little Portlandia-ish to you, check out what Hearst has to say about the benefits of grass fed cattle.

Through the month of August, if you order $74 of their pastured and heritage meats you'll receive 2 free pounds of Hearst Ranch’s Grass-Fed Ground Beef, and your shipping is free

promo code: Free14

Click the Hearst Ranch logo in the sidebar to learn more!

You can also follow Hearst Ranch on facebook and twitter.

Here's a sneak peak of the hoisin burgers we made with their grass fed beef, recipe coming soon!

(image source :: Devin Higgins)

There is a class coming up next saturday! Everything (except for dessert) will be grilled and kissed with a bit of flame (or coal). The food will be from Jacob's Cove Heritage Farm, fresh and full of summer flavor, the venue will be hosted by the lovely Becky Rosenthal of The Vintage Mixer, and the recipes and edibles will likely cause you stop by the farmer's market on the way home. Hope you can come!

Summer Grilling Class 
August 13, 2011 :: 11:30a.m. to 1:30p.m.
class location :: The Avenues in Salt Lake City (address given after registration)
price: $40

the menu:

marinated vegetable kebabs
grilled corn in the husk
grilled pizzas
 (( pizza margherita // peach, arugula and combozola // roasted root vegetables with caramelized summer squash and smoked gouda ))
summer melon and grilled pineapple salad
cashew vanilla ice cream with strawberry tomato dessert sauce

We spent the the last couple weeks on vacation with family and friends, enjoying California sunshine, tying friendship bracelets with my nieces, running on long roads next to sun and safflower fields, eating yummy food, learning hawaiian vocabulary from my haole sister in law, sitting out front eating popscicles, chasing around a houseful of kids, and enjoying every moment. I didn't document much with a lens, unless you include the mental images I will remember forever.

Every time we come back from vacation, we do a small cleanse. This is an example of a breakfast smoothie we eat to get us back on track, although I think the little one will constantly be asking for otter pops and fruit snacks for the rest of the summer..

I'm okay with that.

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