Apartment Magic = Gone


In many ways I consider this North End apartment to be my first real apartment. It's the first time that I've thoughtfully considered furniture before buying it. I made most of the curtains. Most of the wall art was made for each room specifically. But, I'm packing it all up. I just bought boxes on Amazon so that makes it pretty official.

On Monday, I hired my first exterminator. There are many things that I can deal with in life - but mice are not one of them. I. Just. Can't. We've been having "issues" here since January-ish. Issues that I tried to both ignore and get action on all once. It's hard to ignore the polite little scratching that I was hearing while watching Sunday night TV. Apparently exterminators are only allowed to be hired by landlords? This seems implausible but several companies turned me down despite my begging. "Johnny B from Southie" most definitely heard the desperation in my voice ... but thankfully didn't charge me a desperation inspired price.

beef bourguignon is not as hard as you think


Sometimes I make better decisions than others. 

But, if the most questionable decision I made this weekend was attempting beef bourginon at 8 pm on a Sunday ... then my decisions were a million times more responsible than the passed out drunks on the street this weekend. Holidays like St. Patrick's Day were never really my jam. I'm not quite the type to enjoy waiting in lines at bars, crowds of people wearing sarcastically matching knee socks drinking out of suspiciously colored water bottles, and watching people play Frogger with themselves on crowded city streets.

Beef bourguignon is essentially really fancy beef stew. You feel a bit like Julia Child and there is an open bottle of red wine ... so it's totally cool to just take a few swigs from it in between rounds of cooking meat. At least, I hope it's cool cause that's what I did. As you can see from this picture, it did result in just a whole lot of meat being cut up and seared in my kitchen.

maple syrup day at the farm


Today I found myself on essentially a children's field trip ... as an adult. I was oddly comfortable in the whole experience. Last weekend, I stumbled upon a posting for the "First Annual Maple Syrup Festival". Obviously this piqued my interest... and I bookmarked it rather quickly.

The idea of spending a couple hours traipsing around a farm felt like a way to ensure Spring was coming. The last time I went out to this farm was a phenomenal Fall farm day. I bought butter at the dairy and gawked at some leaves. This time around, I had plans to watch sap drip from the trees and then subsequently watch someone boil nearly all the water out of it. Dreamy day. 

In hindsight, it would make sense that this event was targeted at small children but I really didn't realize it until I showed up. After paying my admission fee, I sarcastically asked the volunteers if there were any adult activities or if the day was purely for children. The response? They have decorated 3 whole rooms in the historic house with respect to the time period. Uh, no thanks. So instead, I did all of the children's activities. I visited the cows and chickens, I had cotton candy and maple flavored yogurt, and stood in the front of the tour with the rest of the children. I didn't cry or drop my snack in the dirt, so big victories there.

Endless Strawberries


A couple of months ago I stumbled upon a recipe for strawberry loaf and was immediately intrigued. It just kind of looked "happy". You could see the bright red strawberries peeking out from the loaf. I saw it and just rather immediately wanted to make it ... and then never got around to buying strawberries. I would see them at Whole Foods - but the idea of spending $4.99 on a container and it being a potential disaster prevented me from pulling the trigger.

On Friday I was walking home from work and brainstorming what I wanted to bake this weekend. I have all the ingredients for a few things currently - including boeuf bourguignon. But, my walk home takes me through the legendary Haymarket Market where a good deal can be had on produce. It's how I ended up with a whole bunch of tomatoes, broccoli, and leeks on several occasions. This week, it was a lot of strawberries. And by a lot, I mean 4 pounds of them. Normal Friday stuff folks. For future reference, 4 pounds of strawberries will translate to 2 giant loaves of strawberry loaf and about 2 cups of jam.

the best homemade bread ever


I honestly felt like I had already written this up to be honest... but it deserves another post.

Last weekend amidst prepping for a couple days in LA, I pumped two loaves of homemade bread out of my kitchen. One was more of a wheat loaf, the other just plain ole white. I had wanted to mail something to my grandfather since I hadn't sent much his way in a few weeks. The other loaf was to bribe my sister to visit Eleanor while I was out of town.

While I had made the white bread before to accompany the Country Beef stew, the wheat bread was a new experiment. I had a bag of wheat bran on hand from the healthiest muffins ever a few weeks earlier. I haphazardly swapped one cup of regular flour for one cup of wheat bran and just hoped for the best. I barely got the bread out of the oven in time to take it to yoga and then the post office. Pretty sure it was a terrible thing to have the smell of fresh bread wafting out of my bag at a yoga studio.

Tender Meatballs


I've documented my love of meatballs several times probably. I realized a few weeks back that I had completely cleaned out to my freezer stash of meatballs. It may seem like a weird dinner, but sometimes just a few meatballs is perfect are a long day with a grumbling stomach at the ready.

Instead of making the same recipe again, I did a little sleuthing to come up with a different variation to try. The essence of a meatball is the same: meat, breadcrumbs, roll into balls, bake, and eat. But the variety and creativity comes in what type of meat you pick and anything else you add into it.

I had bought all the necessary supplies about a week earlier, but just couldn't pull my act together. So when last Sunday rolled around, I pulled all my ingredients from the cabinets and freezer and got to work. My memory noted few similarities between the old and new editions - but I really like how these came out. I will say, these meatballs need to be accompanied with a sauce. There is something about them that necessitates being rolled around in tomatoes to fully complete them. Lastly, they are "less salty" more "herby" ... if that makes sense to you. I feel like my original recipe leans salty so this is perhaps better for you? Who knows. Just make them and eat them.
© WHAT JEN DOES • Theme by Maira G.