Weekend Things & Christmas 2019

Is it my completist nature that’s making me feel like the world will end if I don’t post Christmas week happenings before this last day of 2019 ends??  Whew, here we are!  Those four days off after Christmas were wonderful and relaxing but also left me feeling disoriented and constantly wondering what day it even was.  You too, right?

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What a weird one a Wednesday Christmas is!  Our company decided to work Christmas Eve, then take Christmas through the weekend off, but we still managed to get out of the office early.  I left around 1, went home and made stuffing and salad dressing, then a little bit later, Joey came home and made corn casserole and spatchcocked a turkey.  Christmas lunch prep: check!

We made a pit stop at my parents’, maybe did a family photo shoot, then left our pup and headed over to Joey’s aunt and uncles for a soup spread and gift exchange.  Also, the apple pie bars we made were a huge hit and I couldn’t have been happier about it!

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Christmas Day!  In lieu of cooking one giant turkey, we decided to cook two smaller ones this year and we even saw a recipe on The Kitchen that called for two, so we went with it.  We popped them in the oven, ate cinnamon rolls, whipped up a few other sides and it all went off without a hitch!  The turkeys were actually done way faster than we’d expected.  Joey’s grandpa told me we get better every year we cook Christmas lunch and that’s the only present I needed.  Still, we were spoiled by both families!  It was the happiest time opening presents at my parents’ and then I forced everyone to take a family photo, so I win the night ♥

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The day after Christmas felt like such a whirlwind so it’s fitting that this is the only photo I have.  We woke up later than usual and perhaps spent too long messing around with out new espresso machine, then bought tickets to an afternoon movie, THEN realized we both had errands to run before that movie, oops!  It was Wayne’s birthday, so he and my sister joined us for the movie.  Uncut Gems is also a whirlwind!  It’s intense and anxiety-inducing and I was floored by Adam Sandler!  The more I think about it, the more impressed I am.  Afterward, we headed to Teocalli in Lafayette for a happy hour birthday celebration and then I convinced everyone to come watch Joey bowl with me.  Can you believe none of them had ever seen him bowl before??

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Friday, Joey got up early and headed to the mountains to ski and I had INTROVERT TIME.  Much needed, to be honest!  I made espresso machine progress, read, took myself to the gym, made a new batch of granola and baked some slider buns (I like to have them ready to go in the freezer!) and when Joey was finally back home for the night, we had dinner and watched Two Popes… sort of.  I kept looking over to find Joey sleeping, so I eventually ordered us to bed.  Isn’t it nice when you have a bunch of days off to just us one to rest and get yourself back in order?  I think so!

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A Saturday snow day!  We made waffles, finished Two Popes (my take was that it was really interesting and I liked all those shots of the two popes in their stark-white or black outfits against whatever background they were in, but it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever watched), cleaned up our Christmas mess of a house, watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (hey, it was funny!) and fretted over whether we should still go to Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo that night.  We decided to bundle up and go for it!  My brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew all came to our house to exchange presents and eat pizza before heading out.  I missed them all so much!  Zoo Lights was cold but fun and I’m so glad we got to go ♥

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We started our last day off at Weathervane and I seriously left my purse there and didn’t realize it until we were nearly home.  Do you think I’ll stop doing that in 2020??  Joey headed out to watch football and I finished the salads he’d started for us, read and went to yoga.  Back at home, we made this salad, which is mostly a vehicle for smoky salmon, goat cheese and puff pastry croutons.  I love it!  We also watched American Factory but my favorite part was watching the Obamas talk to the creators of the documentary afterward.  I love them so much!

I hope this post sounded less rushed than it felt to write it!  Please have a safe and happy end to your 2019 and I’ll see you again in 2020!

Make This Now

I go through phases where I love every recipe we make and phases where everything is “meh” and most of January felt like the latter, but things turned around at the end of the month and I was back in that “this is all delicious!” mindset.  I like it better here 😛

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Warm Chickpea Bowls with Lemony Yogurt

I made this for Joey one night but didn’t eat it myself until the following day and when I dug in, I was wowed!  I’m also a sucker for chickpeas, roasted cauliflower, full fat Greek yogurt and fennel, so I guess this recipe was made just for me.  It might have a lot going on, but it all works so beautifully together.  Swiping a bite of roasted cauliflower through that creamy yogurt was truly a wonderful moment in my life.

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Oven-Roasted Salmon with Feta, Asparagus & Cranberry Farro

We pan-seared this salmon because, in my opinon, it’s the best method but if you make this and you want to oven-roast, you do you.  The farro mixture was SO GOOD!  Cooking the grains in broth means they are really flavorful and then all the mix-in just make it even better.  Our grocery deliverer accidentally brought us two extra pieces of salmon, so I got to eat this meal twice and was NOT mad about it.

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Southwestern Tempeh Taco Salad with Chipotle-Tahini

Wow, this was good!  And made for one of those healthy filling lunches that gives you a burst of energy and happiness.  As I write this, this salad is waiting for me in the fridge for lunch and I feel very very excited about that.  I love how tempeh is much more permeable than tofu so the chipotle sauce you cook it in, really transforms it.  Plus everything topped with avocado is fine more than fine by me!

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Black Bean Plantain Enchilada Bake

It’s probably not recommended to have your groceries delivered if you need perfectly ripe plantains, but even though a couple of them were not quite there, this meal still turned out so so good.  This is the second time we’ve made this enchilada bake and we’ve loved it both times!  It’s saucy and hearty and doused in a “cheesy” sauce that makes use of Joey’s favorite ingredient: nutritional yeast.  It does take some time, but the result is more than worth it.  I highly recommend topping it with avocado and maybe eating some tortilla chips on the side.

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Zucchini & Pesto

It’s probably cruel to share this meal with you, without linking the recipe but it’s from a cookbook, so I guess you can’t really “make this now”… SORRY!  One Thursday night, I whipped myself up a dinner for one and not only was this gnocchi easy and quick (key when you’re cooking solo) but it tasted so dang good.  One slipped out of the pan as I crisped them up and I was all too happy to eat it off the stove.  Special mention to freezer pesto, making this extra easy to cook and bursting with good basil flavor.

Please tell me what you’ve been cooking and loving lately!