Favorite things, April 2017:
- Wearing bandannas as neck scarves makes me feel like a cross between a Wild West bandit and an Old Hollywood film star. I’m not sure if it’s a look I’ll regret later (#tb to the time I had a bleached pixie cut with shaved sides) but I’m loving it right now.
- I always forget how much I love the Ultrabland facial cleanser from Lush. I started a new job not too long ago (!!!) and have been trying to be an ~adult~ with a ~skincare routine~ so I got out my Ultrabland again. It’s simple and glorious and it smells like baked goods in the springtime. Highly recommend. (Not sponsored, I just like having a soft face.)
- Roasted nuts on EVERYTHING. Seriously, just chop up a handful of raw almonds, stick ‘em in the oven on a high heat until they smell toasty and look golden, and scatter them all over your life. They make an appearance in most of my meals, especially the salads I pack for work lunches.
- The Man in the High Castle: Have you seen it? Do you love its mysterious plotline (Hitler wins WWII, crazy shit happens with parallel universes, Alexa Davalos is hot AF) and questionably shoddy acting as much as I do? I recently binged both seasons and now I’m mad I have to wait until God knows when to find out what the eff is going on.
I have a confession to make: when I was a kid, I HATED homemade mac and cheese. I had an aversion to cheesy things (and clearly some deep-seated issues) and would complain nonstop whenever Betsy announced we were having macaroni for dinner. She would make beautiful, super-cheesy baked mac and cheese, sometimes covered in breadcrumbs for that extra-crispy finish, and I’d turn my back on her like she killed my Tamagotchi.
Looking back on my younger self, I’m ashamed. Now, I spend long hours thinking of all the mac and cheese–eating opportunities I missed out on. I call my mom daily to console her heartache over the years of pain I inflicted on her from my homemade macaroni–hating ways. “Where did I go wrong?” she asks me, sobbing softly.
Through my own tears, I can only whisper, “That sh*t in the blue box.” ***
Earlier this year I decided to try out a vegan diet for a few weeks as a personal challenge. While I found it a bit difficult when eating out, I really enjoyed cooking vegan meals. Setting limitations on the ingredients I could use made me more creative, and I fell in love with a few dishes that I never would have made otherwise.
Before going vegan, I had never cooked lentils before (weird, I know). During the challenge, I made up for lost time, eating lentils nearly every day because they’re a great source of plant-based protein. One of the best things I cooked was a vegan shepherd’s pie that used lentils in place of ground beef. It was just as hearty as a traditional shepherd’s pie and I maybe managed to eat half a tray of it by myself because it was just plants, ya know?
I made nut roasts on Sundays, because Leo and I couldn’t bear to forego a Sunday roast. I stirred coconut yogurt into vegetable curry for extra creaminess. I even made my own pizza crust and sauce and had a vegan pizza night. Yup, no cheese.
I know what you’re thinking. Pizza without cheese? That’s not pizza. That’s just bread with sauce and vegetables. A few months ago, I would’ve agreed with you. But after I discovered vegan parmesan, the prospect of cheese-less pizza was much more appealing.
Now that over a month has passed since we got back from Australia and my “I just spent three weeks on the beach” glow has unquestionably faded, I think it’s time for a little more reminiscing on our honeymoon. I need a little reminder of carefree summer times to power through these last few months of excessive bundling up in an unheated flat.
When I last left off, we had just returned from our New Years adventures on a farm in Mulloon. After that, Leo and I hopped on a plane in Sydney and flew to Melbourne, just the two of us, for a few days of exploring the coffee capital. We stayed in a minimalist-chic Airbnb in Fitzroy, surrounded by colorful graffiti and too many cute cafés to count.
We ate our first meal at Industry Beans, which I had been obsessing over since I found it on Instagram a few weeks before (broccoflower, activated charcoal purée, pickled beetroot, avocado cashew butter, puffed grains, and a pea-dusted poached egg, all on one plate. Need I say more?). We explored the neighborhood on foot, stopping frequently to take photographs and drink Aperol Spritzes. The next day, we wandered through the Royal Botanic Gardens, then took a trip to St. Kilda to try to spot the penguins that waddle out onto the beach at dusk. We were a little too early to see them, but I did manage to drink a glass of wine at a bar overlooking the ocean. You win some, you lose some.
Favorite things, February 2017:
- The new season of the podcast You Must Remember This is finally out and it’s SO GOOD. This season profiles famous blonde actresses in classic Hollywood that died tragic deaths, and it’s dark and scandalous and delicious. Also, Karina Longworth’s voice makes me want to put on my finest housedress and sit next to a crackling fire drinking whiskey on the rocks.
- I’ve mentioned it on Instagram before, but I’ve been getting in the habit of making a big pot of vegetable stock every so often. I save up my scraps from the week in the freezer (carrot tops, the ends of onions, parmesan and lemon rinds, any vegetable that looks like it’s near its end), throw them in a pot, cover it all with water and let it simmer away for a few hours. If it needs a kick I’ll add some Marmite, and I usually throw in some peppercorns and fennel seeds, too. Basically, the stock contains whatever I have on hand at the time. I freeze whatever I don’t use in a few days, and it’s great to have around for weeknight dinners. (Yesterday I made a stock with a lot of veg and FOUR parmesan rinds that I had in my freezer. It was so rich—I highly recommend.)