an ode to a childhood summer

an ode to a childhood summer

The other day, I was at my parents' house in Virginia. It was a beautiful evening so we decided to take our dog, Gatsby, out for an evening walk. We took the bike road, which hilariously enough, is not actually a road for bikes. Everyone just calls it "the bike road." It's more of a narrow path in the middle of a lot of green and weeds disguised as flowers. On our way back home, it dawned on me that I've walked on this bike road for over twenty years. It was so familiar but at the moment, so different. The closer we got to the end of the road, it hit me. 

Hey, remember when it used to smell like honeysuckles? Remember when we used to pick them and eat the sweet nectar? 

Remember this field used to light up with fireflies? Remember how we used to run and catch them and then peek at them in our cupped hands to see them light up? 

I have no idea how long its been since the honeysuckles have disappeared or when the fireflies stopped lighting up the field but man, were those the best part of being a kid. And it just felt right to pay tribute to them now that its summer and I'm missing them so. I look back at the fun things I did as a child growing up without computers or ipads and iphones. All the trees that were climbed, all the worms that we dug out from the dirt, all the turtles we would find at the creek (and the angry mom who would have to bring them back because no, I couldn't have them as a pet), the pink roller skates, the bike rides, and water gun fights... they were the best summers. No iphone, computer, video game, or ipad would have ever measured up.

And now, I'm an adult, flying back and forth between DC and NYC. My summer these days mostly revolve around uber cars and being sweaty. So here's to you,  honeysuckles and fireflies. Hopefully you're still out there making some kid happy. 

Summer Spaghetti

Summer Spaghetti

Summer is definitely my most favorite time of the year for plenty of reasons but the best reason is the farmer market. Who else lives for the farmer markets? If you're from DC, then you definitely know someone who spends one of their weekend mornings going to yoga and then heads straight for the farmer market for those fresh goods. I'm sometimes that person. Most times, I'll just go straight to where the food is at if I'm being honest. Bonus points if you're that person too. 

Here's something easy and delicious that I whipped up the other night using the vegetables I got at the market. It is the perfect picnic dish if you're into the whole pack-a-basket-and-blanket-and-lay-out-with-someone-you-like deal. If that sounds like something that interests you then keep on reading! 

Summer Spaghetti

1 green bell pepper diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 cucumber diced
2 zucchinis (on the smaller side) diced
1 onion diced
1 pint of grape tomatoes chopped in half
1 lb of spaghetti 

For the dressing: 
1 bottle (16oz) Italian salad dressing
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp garlic powder


*If you want to make your own zesty Italian dressing, here is how I make mine:
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2  tsp thyme 
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano 
1 clove finely minced garlic
pinch of salt and pepper 

Mix all ingredients in jar and shake well. And ta-da! Your own zesty Italian dressing! 

Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse in cold water. Dice vegetables then add cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green and red bell peppers, and onion in a large bowl. 
Whisk together Italian salad dressing, Parmesan cheese, paprika, and garlic powder. Pour over salad and toss until coated.

And that's it! It's so simple and so good that it would be a crime not to make it for someone you love. So go on, make your stomach happy and love some people.