Friday Food Round-Up!

This week, we tried all new recipes from the giant stack of untried recipes that I found tucked the folder pockets of my recipe binder.  It was a roller coaster, but it was a really great way for us to stretch ourselves, cooking-wise.

Sunday – Arepas with Corn Salad, Black Beans and Avocado

Sunday

I preface this by saying that I totally cheated with this dish.  I used a combination of masa harina and cornmeal because that is what we had around.  But even with that massive cheat (vs. arepa flour) in mind, arepa making was a disaster.

Do you want to know how I knew this recipe was ill-fated?  When I was mixing the dry ingredients and the amount of water to mix into the dry ingredients was not written on the ingredients list.  The amount of water listed (2.5 cups) totally drowned the dry ingredients, even after I left it to sit, so I added an additional full cup of masa to the mix to dry it out.

Other treacherous things: I burned my hand while frying them and I cut my hand while trying to slice them in half.  It was terrible.

This is to say nothing of the toppings.  bon appetit suggested the simple toppings of black beans with cotija and cilantro and a salad of corn+red onion+lime juice+parsley.  I am sure if you are on a No Seasoning diet or if you just really want to taste the flavor of the Earth, that would work.  To fix this flavor problem, I added cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne and olive oil to the corn salad and I made my own black bean recipe.  Both of these decisions were deeply redeeming.

Verdict: I am throwing this recipe away and no one should ever make it.

Monday – Lola’s Roast Chicken with Sambal Chimichurri, Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Parsley Dressing, Rice

Monday

Monday AKA More New Recipes Day!

The roast chicken came to us from Food and Wine.  Tasty, but not life changing.  I could list a number of other chicken recipes I would make before this one, so I think that is a sign.

The roasted cauliflower was from bon appetit and while I don’t feel like we need someone to teach us how to roast cauliflower, the parsley and lemon zest gremolata-arrangement was a really nice twist on the usual in my opinion.

Wednesday – Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach

Wednesday

  1. I made this meal with breakfast sausage instead of chorizo because that is what we had.
  2. I didn’t broil it with breadcrumbs because that struck me as excessive.
  3. I added a healthy shake of red pepper flakes.
  4. OH MY GOD THIS WAS SO GOOD AND IT IS A KEEPER.
  5. I actually ended up going to my parents’ for dinner on Wednesday, so I made this on Wednesday, with the intention of bringing to work for lunch.

 

Styling Strategies.

Wardrobes have been a topic of hot discussion amongst my girlfriends lately.  With a few of them starting new jobs, and all of us engaging in massive purges of possessions, we’ve all been assessing what has been working for us and what has really not been working for us.  We may also be at the point where what works for us now is 100% different from what worked for us immediately post-college graduation and again that brings us back to all of the decluttering.

As we continue to swap strategies, it’s interesting to hear different perspectives on how our closets should look and how we should be dressing ourselves.  Emily, after attending one wedding, left with a friend counseling her to only purchase her clothing from one store, and after establishing a base wardrobe, to add 2-3 new pieces each season.

At first, I was taken aback by this strategy, because it seems so limiting.  One store only?  Even though this is not a strategy that works for me in a narrow way, I would agree that my closet is filled with clothing from some stores (Old Navy, Gap, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Target, Ralph Lauren), while there are others I know to stay away from because they just won’t fit right (Limited, Express) or others I can’t shop at because the selection is too overwhelming (Macy’s, Nordstrom).  So while on the whole it is not for me, it’s not so crazy after all.

The strategy I have employed since graduating college is the strategy of multiples.  Love it?  Does it feel good?  Does it fit well?  Does it look nice?  Awesome.  Buy it in more than one print/color.  To see this carried out in a practical way, here is a quick list of some of the “multiple” pieces I own:

  • J Crew Tanks (5)
  • J Crew Perfect Fit Long Sleeve Shirts (7)
  • Merona Nautical Striped Shirt (2)
  • Ann Taylor Cardigan (2)
  • Merona Cardigan (2)
  • J Crew Cardigan (2)
  • Merona Perfect Fit T-Shirt (10)
  • Merona Tunic Length Blouse (2)
  • LOFT Ponte Pants (2)
  • Old Navy Jeggings (2)
  • C9 Shorts (3)
  • JCrew Chino Shorts (4)
  • Merona Pencil Skirts (4)
  • Old Navy Wrap Dress (2)
  • LOFT Sheath Dress (2)
  • Lilly Shifts (5)
  • Brooks Half-Zip Running Top (3)

Which is to say that I have essentially given myself a uniform.  There are different colors/patterns/textures (and yes, I have more clothes in my closet than those I listed above), but at the end of the day, I just don’t have to think that much about getting dressed because it’s all sort of the same.  I can see how this totally wouldn’t work for people who derive a real joy from picking out a completely new outfit when they get dressed each morning.  For me, it’s enough not to worry about whether or not I’ll be comfortable at the end of the day.

What I’ve Been Reading

Happy Monday, kittens!   Here are a few of the latest books I’ve read.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken

Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things To Me

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian

Orhan4_pg2-HCjkt.indd

Waffle Maker Joy

You guys, I like waffles.  I won’t say I love them, because they are not my most favorite food of all time.  But, I really really do enjoy eating them and I think they make an excellent carb-y base for many a meal.  Real talk: Until yesterday, whenever I had an urge to make waffles, I’d text Galina and we would set a date pull out her waffle maker and do it.  This year, I had it in my head that I would order us a waffle maker as a Valentine’s Day gift, since we didn’t buy any new cookbooks.  Then we went to Italy and we got home and we still didn’t have a waffle maker.

This week that changed!  I ordered the Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker for $26.98 on Amazon (I’m just laying that all out there in case you are similarly inclined to bring a waffle maker into your life).  That seemed like a reasonable outlay for a tool we might not actually end up loving in the end.  If nothing else, the amount of excitement generated by the arrival of the waffle maker was worth the purchase price.

Our first foray into waffle making?  Chicken and waffles.

Waffle 1

Perfect for a Friday night dinner, right?  We were already planning a date night “in” and we had to eat something!

Lis and I were also scheduled for our monthly brunch today and so I asked her if she would have any interest at all in making waffles.  Thank goodness, she did.

Waffle 2

Clearly I assembled the waffle with little or no regard for how the toppings would photograph.  Related/unrelated: Jennie-O turkey sausage links are completely tasteless and I should have just thawed some of the pre-mixed turkey sausage I had in the freezer.

Even though I don’t see us making waffles again for at least another week, I’m excited for us to have another ____ and eggs dinner option available.  Plus who knows, it might actually be nice to make them again for breakfast on the weekends!

Obviously, if you have any favorite waffle recipes or favorite waffle toppings (I am especially curious about savory options!), please tell!

Friday Food Round-Up!

Time got away from us this week before we could even get started.  Marcus has a few evening commitments that will carry through summer and we’re still adjusting to that schedule, and making sure that we’re actually home at the same time to eat dinner together.

Miscellaneous – Warm Cauliflower and Herbed Barley Salad

Misc

Since I DIDN’T really have time to cook this week, I made a cold salad on Sunday that I could enjoy for lunch throughout the week.  This cauliflower salad is a classic.

Tuesday – Pan Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas, Rice, Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday

We have not made this pan roasted chicken in ages and it is absolutely one of our favorites.  Since this was a cooler spring week, it was a great weeknight dinner.

Domestic Dispatch

You guys, I just cannot stop with the hardcore spring cleaning.

The KonMari-ing continues.  Put your hands up if you have a graveyard of old electronics in your house.  Us too!  While I was away last weekend, Marcus took care of getting rid of two old cell phones and an old laptop.  Even though those things don’t take up a lot of space, it’s good to have them gone.

I don’t even want to type this next part, but I have to because The Blog is all about honesty and us finding common ground because our lives are the same in some ways even though we are from all over.  Right?  Right.  So.  I realized last weekend that we did not address a few drawers during our first round of purging.  Fine.  Whatever.  It was not a big deal until Sunday when I got home and Had To Deal With It Immediately.  Between Marcus and I, we came away with a full garbage bag of things to discard, which to be said plainly, is horrific.    On Monday, I did a review of each of our vanity cabinets.  In the basement bathroom, I found a roll of wallpaper that matched the stuff we had removed six years ago.  I honestly have no idea as to how we can continue to find this much unnecessary stuff when we have purged so much already.  It’s embarrassing, really.

On a more uplifting note, a pass through the pantry yielded a bag of food for the food sheld, so that was nice to get together. 

From the department of cozy things, for Mother’s Day, my mother-in-law gave Marcus and me a reverse-gift.  She crocheted us this afghan and I love it sick!

Afghan

Y’all know I have a serious weakness for handmade things, especially when they are from people I love.

Finally, do you remember when we slashed our cable bill last year?  Well, Comcast finally raised it on us.  And Marcus saw the bill and said, We Will Be Addressing That This Weekend.  There is nothing more painful than fighting with the cable company, dealing with the prospect of cancelling our service and then re-establishing it (and our internet – yikes), but for the amount of money it saves, it’s necessary.

On the bill-slashing front, we’re also re-assessing whether or not it would make sense for us to join-up with one of our families’ plans or not.  The last time we considered this it was not going to save us money, but this time it might and that is worth investigating.  Even $10 a month would be $120 over the course of a year.

Books I Would Read Again

Last time I blogged about what I was reading, Mads commented that she wanted to know how I liked the books or at the very least, what books I would recommend.  So I went through the blog and combed my posts to review the full list of books I have read and then I made a list of the ones I want to tell you to read!  Without further adieu:

  • The Red Tent  by Anita Diamant
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  • let’s take the long way home by Gail Caldwell
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • firefly lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  • The Yonahlossee Riding Club for Girls by Anton Disclafani
  • World Without End by Ken Follett
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • Young Money by Kevin Roose
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Bond Girl by Erin Duffy
  • Leisureville by Andrew Blechman
  • Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  • Euphoria by Lily King
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt

What’s on your recommended reads list?