cauliflower "fried rice"

I've never been one to hide my love of snacks - especially ones that include fake cheese. For my birthday this year, my team gave me a giant box of Goldfish... so my love and dedication to snacking is clearly well documented. But recently I've been trying to eat my "pivot table" feelings less... and drink more water. I say "pivot table" because snacking always happens at my desk and then spirals into me eating multiple Reese Cups on my couch at night.

In the spirit of this, I've been trying to experiment more in the kitchen. On Saturday, I put blueberries on my english muffin and today I made cauliflower rice. Big wins. I'm not sure when I first saw this technique but I was intrigued. While I've previously stayed away from cauliflower, roasting it for soup changed my perspective. My sister has even turned it into a mock buffalo chicken situation.

Cauliflower rice could not be easier - provided you have a food processor. It also seems rather versatile. Good for "fried rice" but maybe also good for any other occasion you are trying to sneak vegetables onto the plate. If I had any children instead of a cat, I would be doing this immediately.

buttermilk blueberry almond loaf bites

Despite my general enthusiasm for cooking and sharing, I tend to avoid cooking for coworkers. By avoid, I mean I think I can honestly say I've never done it. I've been a working professional since 2005 and I've never purposely made anything and left it on the corner of my desk. Ever. Until this week...

It was a rather big week for my company. I'm not sure that I'll ever have the opportunity to experience something like it again. I think this is the first time that I've cared meaningfully about what I was doing in my ever-changing definition of work hours. So, it made sense to whip up a fun little breakfast bite for my desk neighborhood.

I searched a little for a recipe that would be good for the office - can be served room temperature, doesn't need a knife, nothing too weird for flavors. I stumbled upon a blueberry breakfast bread and used that as the base what we ended up with: buttermilk blueberry almond loaf bites. These are not muffins but the bite-size nature makes them perfect for pretty much anything. I wanted to include almond flour or almond slivers but was concerned it would make the bites too dense. Next time I try this recipe, I might opt for little mini loaves ... in which case those almond slivers are absolutely making it.

swimming in sauce

 During the heart of tomato season last year, I experimented with a lot of different options. Put them in a Tomato Corn Galette, served them under some roasted pesto crusted cod, in a tomato pancetta quiche, as an easy simple summer sauce, or just plain ole roasted on some naan "pizza". It was pretty great to push myself a little to try different things. 

This year? sauce. sauce. and more sauce.

To be specific, I think I've made 5 different batches... and I think I've finally stumbled upon the best option. It also happens to be the easiest.
- Batch 1: This variety from last year - mainly tomatoes, onion and garlic.
- Batch 2: Added in peppers
- Batch 3: Roasted tomatoes and garlic 
- Batch 4: Roasted tomatoes, garlic, and sprinkles of marjoram
- Batch 5: Roasted tomatoes, garlic, and onion

I feel a little bit like a fool for not getting into canning in previous years - if for nothing else than to reduce food waste from the garden. I can't even imagine how many tomatoes turned into compost (or chicken food) in the past few years.... and now will be sauce for the winter months. I'm pretty pumped about it.

poison ivy & dilly beans

Again this summer has been light on the writing. It's not that I haven't had things to write about, I just have been trying to not sit in front of the computer. Also ... life has been full. 

But what I want to document that I'm 31 and have poison ivy. And, that I've had it for 3 weeks.

Week 1 was easy ... in part because I thought it was spider bites. I had just been on a easy hike and chalked it up to that. Spiders. I hate them but it made sense. At the end of week 1, I was like "wait, this shit itches". Week 2 was annoying but honestly, I didn't really think much about it. Week 3? A seriously different story.

the longest gap... and a new recipe

This is officially the longest I've gone without writing.

It sounds very obnoxious to say that I was busy, but I was. And still am. I've actually recently decided to avoid the word "busy" because it feels a little obnoxious to describe things like that at times. So, I'll just say that life has been "full".

In the past 30+ days, I've done a fair amount of living:

  • I went to Miami and had a lizard in my rental car.
  • I worked 12 straight days and wasn't really mad about it. That happens when you like your job I guess.
  • I put a toasted marshmallow on strawberry shortcake. It was a phenomenal decision.
  • I made Roman shades for my living room... and kitchen. I also bought 3 new rugs for my apartment... including a hide rug. 
  • My Tumbling Tom tomato plant started to product baby tomatoes.
  • My sister is going to be moving back into the North End... and my direct neighborhood.
  • I lovingly refinished two side tables and gave them a new life in my bedroom.
  • I went blueberry picking three times.
  • I finally went to the Boston Harbor Islands... and it was moderately worth it.
  • My baby brother got his braces off!
  • I threw out 3 more moving boxes and found my Billy Curly jersey. 

I also turned 31 and made about 35 batches of pesto from my fire escape garden.

summer salads (pasta & otherwise)

One of the best things about good weather is quick summer salads .... that consist of less lettuce and more of pasta and everything else that is fresh. I've been doing a lot of cold pasta salads recently and really loving the results. To be clear, I am pretty much winging it every time ... so I feel pretty lucky. Summer salads are perfect for Sunday dinner on the fire escape. I'm pretty much in love with my little Sunday tradition.

let there be peonies

I'm not really a perfume person, but if there is one that consists of peonies and salt water I would buy it.

My parents have had these peonies for 20+ years. I used to remember coming home from school and finding neighborhood ladies snipping blooms off when they thought nobody would catch them. Silly ladies. Either way, the peonies bloomed this past weekend... and it timed perfectly with Father's Day weekend. 

I drove back to Boston today with cupholders filled with peonies ... and that seems perfect. My brother gave me some as a thank you for taking him to Dick's Sporting Goods. Super cute. They smell phenomenal and look even better. I cut the second bunch of peonies from the garden and I intend on taking them to work. I think they'll look great next to my dueling monitors and pile of Wheat Thin crumbs.
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