Make This Now

So much of life is a Catch -22.  I like planning ahead, but I like to match things to my mood and you can’t plan your mood ahead of time, can you?  That would be nice though!  Good moods every Friday please!  Anyway, this is all to say spring is so up and down and I find it hard to match pre-planned meals to ever-changing weather.  I feel like grilling a burger when it’s 80° and sunny and curry when it’s rainy and gray, but those things can happen in the same day!

I guess this list is comprised of meals that managed to match my mood and the weather.  Those make me extra happy and are the reason I continue to chase that feeling.

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One-Skillet Lemon Pepper Shrimp and Orzo

Do you every just HARD-sear some zucchini coins and then realize they look bad in pictures?  Me neither…  Anyway, we made this skillet dinner a few weeks back and were delighted when the orzo cooked perfectly and tasted wonderfully decadent but still light and citrusy.  Also, we bought a bag of Meyer lemons to make this and I legitimately full on ate the other six?  Joey thought I was insane, but they tasted like candy to me!

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Banh Mi Burgers

Okay, I maybe said “next time I make these, I’m definitely adding more salt to the beef” something like 10 times the night we made these, but they were still REALLY GOOD.  Then again, I’m a sucker for banh mi anything.  Joey asked me “what makes these banh mi burgers??” and I was so confused, because… everything?  Those quick-pickled veggies, that fiery sriracha mayo, all that cilantro!  I loved them.  Also, I’ve tried SO MANY sweet potato fry methods and then I just tossed these in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them for 30 minutes and I think they were the best ones I’ve ever made, ha!

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Tomato-Ricotta Pizza

Per my Dinner Diary (yeah, I still keep that!), I made this pizza two years ago and not since.  Which is a shame, because it is delicious!  It has a pesto-ricotta and roasted cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of feta and basil.  So many flavor bombs that just really sing together.  Plus I ate a cherry tomato while prepping this pizza and it had NO RIGHT to taste as good as it did this early in the season.  Not mad about the leftover ricotta I have in the fridge either because it means ricotta pancakes are in my very near future!

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Black Bean and Tempeh Tacos with Cashew Cheese Sauce

These tacos were a breeze because I had leftover cheese sauce from burrito bowls the week before and black beans I’d already cooked from scratch in the freezer.  Look, I’m not really one to enjoy a veggie taco because you know what’s good?  Steak, chicken, shrimp, carnitas!  But these were honestly so good and satisfying.  Also, how good are those corn-wheat blend tortillas?  Thank you, La Tortilla Factory, for this little gift.

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Skillet Poblano and Pumpkin Enchiladas

Two skillet recipes in one post?  You know it!  And let me tell you, skillet enchiladas are way way way easier than real enchiladas.  Joey and I are still traumatized by the time we made enchiladas from scratch (cooked the meat, made the sauce, individually fried the tortillas, milked a cow and made cheese… okay, maybe not that last one) and it took HOURS, but this recipe basically just requires you to stir some tortillas strips into a skillet and that I can do!  Plus all the garnishes just make this meal feel extra special.  There’s a lime yogurt sauce, a sprinkle of salty Cotija and those spiced pepitas.  We loved it!

I hope that you’ll find some inspiration here and that you have a wonderful weekend!

Recently Consumed

A list of things consumed by my head, heart, eyes, ears and stomach lately.

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Fish N Beer

It’s back!  This little restaurant that we adore caught fire last October and has been closed since, but they just reopened and we’re so happy to have our spot back!  We stopped in for all night happy hour, shared Buffalo blowfish tails, a shrimp po boy, jambalaya, a wood-grilled artichoke and a mini fish n chips basket and it tasted better than ever after not having it in our lives for months.

Russian Doll

I don’t know how to talk about this show.  There was so much I genuinely loved about it.  Natasha Lyonne for starters.  She is SO GOOD in this!  It sort of blew me away.  It is also funny, creative, thought-provoking and though the premise may not be realistic, the emotions are.  Also, this show just has a real sense of style.  But.  Multi-dimensional, time loop stuff is difficult for me.  It always seems to operate on a “this is confusing, don’t try to fully understand it, just go with it” basis, that I can’t get past.  Why was the fruit moldy?  Why were people disappearing and how did they reappear?  How did Nadia and Alan get into separate dimensions?  I felt like the versions of them that had lived and learned and grown and dealt with stuff were better versions of themselves, but what about the versions of them that HADN’T done any of that?  My sister and Joey both told me I thought about it too hard 😛

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If Beale Street Could Talk

I’ve been wanting to read this book since seeing the movie, and though that may sound like a risky move, it’s actually my preferred order for things that exist in both movie and book versions.  I’m rarely disappointed.  The book is so beautiful and heartbreaking and after reading it, I am fully convinced that Barry Jenkins’ adaptation is PERFECT.  All the emotions I felt watching the movie were the same ones I felt reading the book.  Just wow.

Jenny Lewis’s On the Line

This is a story about how I knew who Jenny Lewis was without realizing it.  Because she opened for Beck last summer and when I heard her sing, I realized I’d heard her sing before and then I learned she was the lead singer of Rilo Kiley and hey, I know that band too!  So, anyway, I saw some mentions of her new album on Twitter and decided to give it a listen.  I love it!  Specifically, “Heads Gonna Roll,” “Do Si Do,” “Little White Dove” and “On The Line.”  I’ve also been walking around all week singing, “I wasted my youth, on a puppy” to my dog, so this is me.

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A River in Darkness

A wrote a rather unfavorable review of this book on Goodreads and then, after going to book group and also seeing a picture of the author, who looked so sad and alone, felt guilty about it.  I’ll just be up front and say this writing is prosaic.  It is also from a non-writer and it’s been translated, so there’s that.  The story is an important one, but it is a tough depressing read.  I had no idea just how bad the conditions were (and maybe still are) in North Korea and I was horrified to hear the details.  For what it’s worth, this made for some impassioned discussion among our book group members.

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Spring Pea Veggie Burgers

I’ve never needed fresh herb-y flavors more than when I was already feeling so over winter and then we got a nasty snow storm.  WHY??  It was at that point that I decided it could continue being winter, but I was going to eat like it was spring.  These veggie burgers have spring in the title, so they were an obvious choice.  Plus, I made them last year and remembered how delicious and flavor-packed they were!  We loved them again and wow, how good is a burst of heat from a sriracha mayo??

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Dept. of Speculation 

I love when a book is short but still able to capture your heart, endear you to the narrator and just feel real.  I felt a little mislead by the synopsis, which said something about a woman writing letters to her husband and only being identified as “the wife.”  There is a section that slips into third person, but for the most part, it’s told from the first person and certainly not as letters.  I liked the way it told small pieces and random moments/thoughts, that together, gave you a good look at someone’s life.  And that all those small details felt honest, believable and even if you haven’t lived these exact moments, the emotions in it were relatable.

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New Garage

Okay, this is a cheat.  I have not consumed a garage, but I’m too excited to not fit this into the post.  Our new garage is all finished and it only took a little over a month to build!  We love the color, we love being able to park both our cars inside, we love all the extra space inside and we love the huge mess it made on the other side of the yard, where they tore down the old garage.  Except not that last part.  Joey loves an outdoor project, but we’re actually entertaining the idea of hiring someone to fix it up because you know what’s better than spending your entire summer trying to make your backyard nice?  Having someone else make it nice in a fraction of the time and then getting to spend the entire summer actually enjoying the backyard.

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Taco Tuesday at Dos Santos

I love so many things about Dos Santos.  Their House Margarita, they’re outdoor patio (especially on one of those first warm nights on spring), their chips and salsa and of course, those tacos.  But, why does the service have to be so bad every time?  It’s slow or disinterested or a combination of the two.  Despite the 20 minutes it took to flag down our waitress for the check, I still love a 75 degree night eating tacos and sipping a marg.  Please let it be summer soon!

In other news, the Rockies can’t win a game, we had another snowstorm yesterday, we’re going to Vegas tomorrow, I can’t put down the book I’m currently reading (The Shadow of the Wind!) and every moment I’m not reading, I’m thinking about Game of Thrones.  What are you reading, watching, eating, enjoying right now?