Weekend Things

The bad news is my iPhone 5S (guys, not to be dramatic but it’s from the Stone Age and it looks so small and dinky compared to the more recent versions of the iPhone!) seems to be on its last leg.  Meaning I can’t take pictures on it, both because the camera has a permanent fog filter and because there’s NO room for any (ideal when you write a blog that heavily relies on pictures from your daily life), my alarm has decided to stop working (ideal when you have a Sunday brunch reservation) and I can’t open my emails.  I don’t get my upgrade till May and even though that’s less than two months away, I’m not sure we’ll make it.

The good news is it was 70° on Friday, I had a chance to soak up some “me time” this weekend — which included reading at a coffee shop, eating vegan donuts and watching too many movies — and we now have extra light at the the end of the day, but the best news of all is that Joey is home from Vegas and I don’t have to talk to myself anymore 🙂

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Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I was kind of looking forward to a few days by myself.  I totally could have lined up some lady dates or had dinner with my family every night, but in true introvert fashion, I mostly played hermit.  Fine by me!  I started Friday with coffee, almond butter toast and a book then cut out of the office extra early, went on a run, read in the backyard, poured myself a beer, cooked dinner and watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  I’ve had Huckleberry Hound stuck in my head ever since.

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Saturday started out kind of rainy and cloudy so I stayed in my pajamas as long as possible but eventually went to the grocery store then ran a very important errand.  Aka picking up a donut snack from Beet Box.  I wasn’t overly impressed the first time I had those vegan donuts, but they’ve grown on me.  THEY’RE SO SOFT!  I brought some for my family and was all too happy to spend the afternoon/evening hanging with my sister.  Eventually took myself home to cook dinner for one (I made cauliflower rice and I don’t even know who I am) before watching Crash.  Joey picked out some movies for me to watch while he was gone and he picked well.  Except that he also left out Speed and after watching it last night, I’d like to put in a request for a refund on those two hours of my life.

P.S. I saw a church for sale near Beet Box and wondered if that’d make for a creepy house.

P.P.S. I feel like those pork tenderloin medallions look gross, but they really were good!

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I picked Joey up from the light rail station just after midnight on Saturday, finally got to sleep around 1:30 AM then woke up 30 minutes before our brunch reservation on Sunday (see aforementioned phone alarm complaint) but we made it and there were 3-berry muffins with vanilla-miso butter (!!!), steak and eggs and a huevos rancheros benedict so it probably doesn’t matter that I had to wash my hair in the sink and put my make up on in the car.  We were super lounge-y after brunch but then I spent something like 3 hours making lunches for the week and I’m never ever doing that again.

Sunday ended with a chillier-than-I’d-hoped walk through our neighborhood, salad dinner, that movie (ugh!) and a lot of moaning and groaning about having to go back to work.

Best Tastes of 2016: From Our Kitchen

Nothing like writing all these year-end recaps, then cramming them all in during the last few days of December, right?  2016 was the year of pancakes, LOTS of summer grilling, salads-in-a-jar and adventurous meat cooking, but there was also a lot of amazing stuff in between.  Here’s the best of the best!

Best Family Recipe:

Red Beans & Rice from my uncle’s recipe (February 9)

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Best Pizza:

Cast-Iron Pan Pizza from Bon Appétit (March 2)

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Best Baked Recipe:

Mini Vegan “Brioche” Buns from Take a Megabite (March 29)

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Best Side Dish:

Creamy Chive Potatoes from Bon Appétit (April 4)

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Best Burger:

Spinach Goat Cheese Burger from Eat, Live, Run (June 9)

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Best Grill Meal:

Grilled Lamb from Cooking Light (July 4)

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Best Summer Pasta Dish:

Spaghetti with Tomato and Walnut Pesto from Bon Appétit (August 9) — made 110% better by the fact that Joey made it for me ♥

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Best Pancake:

The Easiest (Vegan) Pancakes from Oh, Ladycakes (October 15, but also many times after that)

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Best Salad:

Fall Squash & Fig Salad with Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing from Yummy Beet // thanks to our salad-in-a-jar habit, we ate a lot of salads this year, but this one was my favorite.

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Best Winter Pasta Dish:

Garlic and White Wine Pasta with Brussels Sprouts from Minimalist Baker (December 15)

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 Best Cookie:

Two-way tie between:

Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Displaced Housewife (October 13)

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And The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from Pinch of Yum (February 25)

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Best Granola:

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola from Edible Perspective // If you had asked me my favorite granola prior to this fall I would have told you nothing could come between me and the Lightened Up Summer Granola from Oh She Glows but then I decided to give this one a try and it instantly became my new favorite.  I think it’s those dates.

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Best Cooking Success of the Entire Year: Christmas + Our First Turkey!

Don’t get me wrong, I was blown away by the lamb we grilled ourselves for the 4th of July, but that was so low pressure compared to cooking a 20-pound turkey for 15 people on Christmas.  The days leading up to it, I kept wondering if this meal would end up on this list or on the other list.  Thankfully, it’s here.  The turkey was juicy perfection, the rolls were puffy mini cloud status, the rice/sweet potatoes/mashed potatoes/gravy/cranberry sauce all went off without a hitch and people went mad for the raw Brussels sprout salad (?!).

In other words, this meal was the crowning glory of my culinary life thus far.

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Food forecast for 2017?  Hopefully more pizza!  In all seriousness, culinary growth (even if it’s just in my own kitchen) is one of the biggest, most fun and most unexpected joys of my life.  Here’s to its continuance in the new year!