Palm Trees Please // Day 1


Welcome to Palm Beach! Or at least a slightly less amazing area 10 minutes to the west of Palm Beach. Whatever. The beach is still the beach. I’m down here for a few days chaperoning Jake on a school trip. Despite how much time we spend together in general, this is our first trip together… and I’m pretty excited about it.

Today was a travel day that was made longer because I don’t live 15 minutes from the airport anymore. That was a huge bummer to realize especially at 4:15 in the morning. I honestly had not even looked at the weather before coming down. It wasn’t as though anything I was doing could change so I just tossed a couple yoga outfits and sundresses in a bag and called it a day. After a rainy afternoon, I was a bit anxious about 4 days in the rain – but it looks like that was a false alarm.

Braised Chicken with Onions, Rosemary and Sage


If there were 3 things that made living in the burbs best, they would be: more farms, more people willing to eat my cooking, and more ocean. All three are rather important to me – and I managed to do all of them this past weekend. Jackpot.  

I spent the weekend going to various yoga or spin classes. I tried a new place in Norwell that splits a class between half row and half ride (e.g. spin). It was a nice change up – but the real benefit was that it took me past Hornstra Farms on the back roads of Hanover. It was just too picturesque to resist. Big ole barn. Cows. Fresh milk and cheese. Older couples holding hands picking out cinnamon bread? HEAVEN. Other hits? Walk through a marshy trail in Greenbush (2011 visit) and a morning walk for sea glass before yoga. 

Meet Marshall


I’m a big fan of the Timehop app on my phone. It might be one of the first things I look at each morning as I delay getting out of bed. These days my commute unfortunately propels me a little faster from the covers… and earlier to boot. This morning the app kindly reminded me that this is the anniversary of when my tree fell over last year.

I loved Mr. Tree from 2014. He was a gift delivered by my dad after we discovered they weren’t selling trees at Faneuil Hall anymore. So my Dad lovingly picked allegedly the smallest tree up from the burbs and delivered it to my apartment. I was a little late coming home and found Mr. Tree already firmly implanted in my living room… with the his top severed and in the middle of my kitchen floor.  He was just a tiny bit too tall for my North End apartment.  A few days after that, he fell over in my living room and I was alerted by my security camera in the middle of a workday. Modern technology is a beautiful thing.

Brussel sprout latkes with basil aioli


 With the move behind us, I was excited and maybe a little anxious to get in the kitchen and make my first meal. Technically my first meals were frozen pizzas, takeout chicken fingers, and the inaugural box of Kraft Mac and Cheese… but let’s not split hairs.

I’ve always wanted to cook seasonally and try recipes that were based on what was happening. My favorite holiday to cook for is Cinco de Mayo (2015, 2014, 2013)… and least favorite was the Philippine inspired dish for the finale of Survivor one year. But Sunday was the first day of Hanukkah, and one of my coworkers was talking about making latkes over weekend.  So latkes it is!

34 boxes ... more or less


I feel like I am going to jinx myself here ... But I am feeling very organized for this move. I mean unlike nearly every other move, I have labeled every box and none of them have "random shit" listed as the contents. Yes, some are very random. Please see above as evidence. Specifically the box that includes a trash can, umbrella, a fruit bowl and a college photo album. 

I didn't try and count the boxes like I did the last time. That seemed like a fruitless effort in self hate. But, I do know that I had 26 boxes from Lowes, 8 from Amazon, and several that I hoarded over the past few months. 3 boxes went as part of a housewares donation, a few went home and not into storage, and currently 1 is unused. I have learned that no matter how many boxes you buy (or hoard) you will use nearly (or all) every single box. A few days ago I still had like 5 small boxes left but I knew they'd disappear into this box fort I've been building.

The movers are coming tomorrow morning and despite how empty (and echo-y) this place currently is ... It still feels like my apartment. Still love the arched doorway. Still hate the plumbing that won't drain. Still avoid my crazy neighbor Debbie. Some things will never change.

To the burbs I go. 
As part of this purge and packing activity, I have taken the opportunity to throw out things that I don't want to unpack in an undetermined number of months - or that I've repaired with glue more than twice. When I was throwing out this 8+ year old perpetually crumb filled toaster, I noticed for the first time that there were directions on how to toast a bagel. It only made me wish I had a bagel left over to see if the directions would have impacted my bagel happiness between the years 2006-2015.

Homemade Popcorn!


When we were growing up, we had this air-popper for making popcorn. I only ever remember using it when we had a babysitter. There was this little tiny dish for melting butter that fit in the top. I have absolutely no idea how we never lost that dish. I feel like there were some hiccups with the air-popper, but I remember it being a fun project and I remember always wanting to put more butter in the dish. 

I've always heard how easy homemade popcorn is but never really attempted it myself. Since I'm moving (beating a dead horse by continually repeating that), I've been through my cabinets several times recently trying to determine what gets tossed, eaten, or moved. I ambitiously bought the popcorn kernels like last Winter and never got around to it. Before deciding to toss them, I figured I should at least give this a shot. Last weekend, the weather really lined up nicely for this. It was perfectly drizzly, cold, and ready to binge on some Netflix. 

sausage, spinach & artichoke lasagna

One of my favorite things to do is competitively use as many ingredients in my cabinets as possible. This lasagna is the epitome of that. The only thing that I had to buy was the ricotta. In hindsight, maybe not as much of a win that I now have to clean this pan... but still. I had slightly lower expectations for it given the assorted ingredients but it was really quite great. While I love lasagna, it often sits heavy after eating. There is no forgetting you just ate a bunch of pasta and cheese and sauce - but for some reason this is lighter. I didn't use as much sauce and maybe that helps.

Moving Status


So, the move is now nine days away. Of those nine days, there are several that will consume Thanksgiving... and as a result zero packing. Of those nine days, there are only two trash days. Trash days are hyper critical when you are moving - especially when you are purging as hard as I am.

My primarily goal is that I go into this move with less shit than I did the last time. And I really think I'm doing that. Granted I haven't packed that many boxes but my closet is a complete shell of what it used to be and I have 3 big boxes of housewares to donate. There were a few moments today when I just couldn't believe how many spatulas I had. Or why I have so many glasses ... and yet I drink out of water bottles, 1 wine glass, and disposable cups. I blame the fact I haven't had a dishwasher essentially since high school. 

hashbrown life


I'll start by saying that I know this picture isn't amazing. But trust me, the meal itself is amazing. I like my onions crispy and burned and that just doesn't ever photography well.

So the next month's worth of posts will probably all have some flavor of "moving"... including posts related to food. But this one is moving times two... because it is partially in honor of my friend Caroline moving back to the East Coast. See ya LA! Hello NYC! Caroline is super smart about making healthy food decisions which often normally means pulling back on all things I love: meat, cheese, and carbs. By some miracle, this recipe has all three.

farewell to my city garden


I won't quite forget the moment my Super told me the apartment building was for sale. He quite literally handed me a shot of Lemoncello as he delivered that crushing blow. That's being a bit dramatic but I'm a nester. I fall in love with where I live. I like the nooks and crannies of my apartment buildings. The idea of living in a "managed building" is ludicrous. The walls would all be straight! I wouldn't have a weird colored backsplash! The tub would drain regularly!

Faux Chicken Chili


Chili is one of my favorite cold weather cooking projects. It is perfectly filling and satisfying. You can put cheese on it. You can have some crusty bread. You can pretty much make your dreams come true... provided you aren't a vegetarian. However, in the spirit of eating healthier... and trying new things I did some research on "chicken chili" this weekend.

I ended up going with this Ina Garten option primarily because I have like 6 jars of diced tomatoes in my cabinet. I'm currently in the process of trying to cleanse my cabinets by either eating or tossing the contents. My previous amount of pride in 7 types of flour is gone. I only see it as hoarding now. 

This chili came together super easily and I would deduce that it is seemingly much healthier than my old favorite. That being said, I don't think I can actually call it a "chili". It lacks those things that I associate with chili. It does taste delicious and has very minimal salt. If you happen to hate bell peppers, you'll hate this. It is chock full of them. I'l have to keep this recipe in mind next year when the garden is overflowing.

Crusted haddock with apple, fennel and toasted pepitos


I can't believe how long it has been since I actually cooked in my apartment. Over the summer I made a handful of meals, but I'm really talking slightly fancy avocado toast, homemade mayo, and different iterations of naan pizza. No complaints really here... but as I was standing over my stove sautéing onion and fennel, it just fundamentally felt right.

In the past four or so years, I've targeted cooking 52 recipes a year... and I really made it like every year but this one. The wheels just fell off the wagon a bit. I'm not sure that I'll get back to 52 again but it is a nice goal... and gets me to try new things like this recipe here.

I picked up the original recipe for Apple and Fennel soup from a Whole Foods flyer in the South End. I was walking through on Friday night hiding from the rain and it caught my attention. I stuffed this sucker into my bag and pulled it out on Saturday morning. I opted to make this sucker two ways: (1) normal soup and (2) slight reduction of the apple/fennel base... and top it with a seared haddock.

Farewell Vienna // Day 14


With only two-ish days left in the vacation, things are beginning to slow down. The last couple days of this trip are a little different than initially intended. I had some hopes of getting to Hallstatt because … everyone loves a picturesque mountain side lake. However, with the border refugee situation it didn’t make as much sense to criss-cross the country.  That's fine. I'm not sure the next time I'll come back to Vienna but you never know. 

Today was a balance of two cities as we left Vienna and returned to Munich. Originally we had planned on an easy 4 hour train ride straight from Vienna to Munich.... but the border situation dramatically impacted that. While the trip from Germany to Austria is relatively organized... and even included a sponsored bus ride across the border, the reverse was the opposite. Although information has largely been sparse for this entire experience, there was even less for the return (Austria to Germany). Too many unknowns pretty much forced our hand into booking flights. 

Underwater Lakes + Door Decor // Day 13


I'm almost always most content and happy when I'm in nature. Clearly I've become invested in Vienna's city doors and architecture... but I was ready for a slight change of scene. My original plan was actually to visit Budapest - but our hotel concierge very quickly put a stop to that. Just because you can buy a ticket somewhere doesn't mean you should visit. Another hiccup due to the refugee crisis in Europe.

Dancing Horses // Day 12


When I first began thinking about this trip to Austria, the only thing I knew about was the Opera House and the dancing horses. I wasn't totally sure that I was interested in going but I very much changed my tune. I happened to walk past the stables yesterday and it just felt special.  Unfortunately, the horses only dance for real on the weekend... so I had to settle for a practice session. 

Much of the day was spent wandering the city, trying some cafes, and falling in love with the doors and patterns of this city... to the tune of 10.1 miles. At this point I'll be honest, crossing 10 is not only easy but kind of a point of pride. Vienna is a super walkable city.

I'm the guide now // Day 11


In the event you are wondering where all the world's cigarette money goes, it must be to Germany and Austria. I've never seen so much in my entire life. I've travelled to Asia, South America, Italy, etc... and none of it compares. I came back to the hotel today and just felt like it had begun to permeate everything about me. Vienna is still great. Smoking is the worst. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

After a few days here, I've really begun to get revisit favorites and hit things low on the list. Some of those end up as winners... and some are confirmed as low priority sights. I'm talking to you Votive Church. You were a waste.

Romance on the Danube // Day 10


After a week plus in Europe, I'd like to announce that I'm a newfound fan of ear plugs. I've used them in nearly every hotel so far (so that's 7 "hotels") and it's kind of life changing. When I get back to good ole America, I'm going to get myself a large Dunkin Donuts iced tea and a box of ear plugs. Hello peaceful nights.

Either way, after bidding K a fond farewell into a cab this morning, I spent the day with family in the Wachau Valley. It was not that long of a day either. We got picked up at 9 am ... and dropped off just before 6pm. I also snuck in a good bus nap - so that was a win. After running a muck around Vienna yesterday, a day outside the city felt like a good stretch of nature. Plus, apparently this region is declared a UNESCO world heritage site so another good reason. Although, it feels like everything we have visited in the last week has that designation so maybe it's not that cool?

Vienna is beige all over // Day 9


Vienna is a lot of beige - and I mean that in a nice way. The city feels distinctly like a European capital. When scooping out what to see, we felt like everything was actually pretty close together which is great since K didn't have nearly as much time to run around. After a relatively quick train ride from Salzburg, we had 6 hours to rack up some churches and miles before dinner. Although we had planned on going straight to bed with an episode of Friends... a little spontaneous city walk led us to the building above. I mean .... Vienna.... you are pretty.

Salzburg // Day 8


Having really handled the majority of the Salzburg city sights the day before, today was theoretically a lighter day. If by lighter you mean, more walking and to things further apart. Salzburg is pretty well known for being the home of "The Sound of Music". I really wish I had watched the movie before we came because it would have been a great primer. Another time - or maybe just the flight home.

While the rest of the family was off at Eagle's Nest (not a Boston College reference), K and I ran around the city to the tune of 9.6 miles. In a theoretically embarrassing turn of events, we ate lunch and dinner at the exact same restaurant with the exact same waiter... who was also our waiter the night before. What? We like what we like. Also, it was shockingly hard to get a table in Salzburg so that was part of the rationale.

Crossing the Border // Day 7


I'm a rather organized traveler on the whole. I plan some things and then let others work themselves out. I'm sure it drives my parents crazy but I rarely book hotel rooms more than like 48 hours in advance. That being said, when we realized crossing the border to Austria was a challenge I got a little stressed.

I had visions of us standing in some god forsaken train station without water and no Kinder Buenos surrounded by piles of luggage. All of the googling in the world wasn't going to help us either. I don't speak any German and it honestly didn't seem like anyone was writing about "how to help tourists get between countries during a refugee crisis". Shocker right? Anyway, it turned out to not be a big deal at all. It was an incredibly organized process of everyone getting off the train just before the border, cramming on buses, then getting off again at the intended train station. I pretty much took Dramamine for no good reason.

So a day that I emotionally blocked off as a logistical nightmare was rather easy. It was an easy midmorning train ride (~2 hrs?) followed by a day bouncing through Salzburg. BTW, Salzburg is rather adorable and a high recommendation.

Oslo to Munich // Day 4


I'm absolutely 100% still thinking about how good our dinner was last night. I mean that halibut ... so good. Another thing that is very overwhelming? Oktoberfest. That is no joke. A whole mess of people who care a lot about big ole beers, appropriately festive clothing, and thankfully pretzels. 

But before we could get to Oktoberfest, we had to actually leave Oslo. Despite not completely loving Oslo, I would absolutely come back to Norway. This may sound simple or crass, but Norway is like Maine on drugs. The principles are the same. Beautiful vistas, amazing coastline, little nooks and cranny towns. I think it's the kind of place where you could get in a car and bounce between towns for a week.

Historic trains + Just Oslo // Day 3


Today is a pretty light post to document - which is good because I'm tired.

Additionally, there were not a lot of picture opportunities today. That isn't to say we didn't see great things, it's just that somethings are super hard to capture. If I was to summarize Norway, I would say nice people, hot dogs, and great nature. That's what the tourism board wants right?

Always be Fjording // Day 2


For us, this trip to Norway was really about taking a small little trip before joining the family in Germany. We only a handful of days we figured the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour was our best bet for encapsulating the experience and views. The title sounds like a joke but the Nutshell is real and gets entire chapters in tour books - it is also how we spent our entire day.

Here's how the Nutshell breaks down:
1. train from Bergen to Voss
2. Bus from Voss to Gundvagen
3. Boat from Gundvagen to Flam
4. train from Flam to Mrydal

If you do the entire thing in one day, you don't get home for like 12 hours. That seems unnecessary ... so we intelligently elected to do an overnight in Flam before heading to Oslo (via Mrydal) tomorrow. We are geniuses. I know this because right now we are sitting on a balcony wrapped in blankets a stone's throw from the glassy fjord. 

Red Eye Flights & Wooden Houses // Day 1


It took 1 Uber, 2 planes, and a bus to get this view above. Maybe that isn't really that much, but man it felt like it.

We arrived in Norway this morning / afternoon by way of Amsterdam and ultimately Boston. I'm not sure of the person that can handle a red-eye international flight, but it really isn't me. I will continue to do it because it's just fundamentally efficient and normally less expensive. After traveling much of the day, we stayed firmly planted on an easy day of walking around Bergen. 

European Jaunt // Intro


As a quick introduction post, I am at this very moment getting ready to take off for two weeks in Europe. Yikes.

I've been talking about wanting to go to Norway for a few months and it's actually coming together. Norway is a "giant" country with many beautiful far-flung villages... and it would be lovely to visit them but we are focusing on the quick highlights. After that, it'll be joining a family trip in Germany and Munich. I'm not one for big crowds so Oktoberfest will be quite the event to witness... but I'm sure that it'll be great.

As a little expectation setting for the next two weeks:
- I've packed only leggings essentially and white t-shirts
- I have two types of Dramamine
- I'm traveling with my favorite travel companion.... my sister
- I anticipated a whole lot of train riding
- I will be very upset if my pretzel count doesn't equal my pizza count from Italy

So, here it goes!

Busy living.


My mom has now asked me / commented on a few times that I haven't been blogging. And that's absolutely the truth. I clearly haven't. I really value and love this blog. It is one of my favorite sources of history and documentation about my life - but I'm kind of busy right now. I'm living summer as best as I can. (If you think I wrote that sentence wrong, that is exactly how I meant it).

I'm doing everything I possibly can to do the following:
- walk in the garden
- walk on the beach
- sit in the sun
- eat outside
- go to Dunkin Donuts with my brother
- make cold brew coffee for my mom
- read the papers my dad buys me on Sundays
- eat sandwiches at my childhood pool
- dunk in the ocean
- collect seaglass
- go to yoga
- text friends
- go blueberry picking
- eat hot dogs

Things that feel like a waste of summer:
- twitter
- youtube
- email
- anything on my phone that isn't the camera app
- watching tv during the daylight

This party I've been living is ending next week and honestly that is probably when I'll get back to writing for real. I have some great memories that would be nice to write down - but until then, I'm going to be outside as much as possible.

raspberry smores pavlova


While I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, every now and then I get inspired to do something completely new. Not just like a variation of an old favorite - totally new. I felt this urge right around the 4th of July... so yes, this posting is nearly a month late.

I wanted to make something fun, different, and relatively seasonal. Just about this time I came across an Instagram of the perfect thing. A smores pavlova dessert. It would be relatively light but sugar sweet. Plus, it would give me the chance to use some of the fresh chicken eggs from my parents backyard. Fresh ingredients = best ingredients.

sweet sweet summer season

I honestly can't help myself when it gets to be Summer - or really even Spring for that matter. All I want in life is just to be outside, sun on my face, in a chair, iced beverages, and tending a garden. Is that asking too much?

If I'm being honest, sometimes I actually think twice about whether or not I want to attend a mid-afternoon meeting. That's the perfect time of day for sitting and reading. Or podcasting and walking. Or sleeping on a blanket. Or just about anything that isn't in front of a computer or by a conference room table.

refining the caprese salad


It's no secret that I love to cook. Not only it is often good for the budget, it also feels tremendously therapeutic. One of my favorite combos is to making a caprese salad and then eat it on my fire escape while I people watch. Hands down a magnificent evening for one. I say "for one"... because fundamentally my fire escape cannot accommodate more than just me given how many plants I have.

I used to get this amazing caprese salad from a place in the North End. Only one guy could make it so well... and it was just filled with mozzarella, tomatoes, balsamic ... and prosciutto. Seriously heavenly. I don't get it anymore because of a few reasons of which one is that I moved to the other side of the neighborhood so it's too far of a walk. But mostly if we are being honest, it's because the price went up from "$5 for a pretty girl" to anywhere between $8 and $12.

Little jaunt to Portland


I love Maine.

I honestly believe it to be the only other place I would want to live in America - besides Boston and my hometown. And if we are being honest, I don't really love living in Boston. I don't love handwashing dishes, constant noise pollution, or not being able to paint the cabinets. Sometimes I look at my kitchen and just imagine how cute it would be if the cabinets were not colonial brown with a butter acid yellow backsplash. Adorable right?

This past week I took advantage of a light day and scooted up to Portland for a little jaunt. It feels like everyone and their brother (or maybe it's just their boyfriend) had been... and raved about it. For a long time I've gotten a lot of "I can't believe you haven't been!". Portland is seemingly known for great eats, great beer, and casual charm. While I didn't take advantage of all the breweries, I did have a great little day trip.

3rd tallest ship in the world


It's no secret that I am a huge ocean lover. I love looking at it, standing in it, taking pictures of it, etc. The little trick here is that I actually get sea sick. When I used to sail in college, I would take dramamine every day before practice. I'm not sure if there are any long term effects of that - but I'll probably find out in a dozen years.

Despite this little hiccup, I love boats - especially really old ones. I'm sorry but there is nothing really cool about a giant yacht. Yes, it is great for getting around comfortably and luxuriously... but, it isn't "cool" in the same way that an old wooden boat is. In line with this philosophy, I could not skip a visit to the Juan Sebastian De Elcano.

farro kale salad + bacon + strawberries


I guess we could call this the season of trying new grains... and liking it. First, bulgar. Now, Farro.
There honestly isn't much to say about this - except that it is great. Kale isn't a win for everyone so that is balanced out nicely with the grain (farro) and other delights like strawberries, pepitos, and bacon. The dressing is a slightly tangy lemon base. If this doesn't sound complicated, it is because it isn't. Just a little bit of chopping, cooking, and prep and you've got a really refreshing salad.

coastal adventures in provincetown


Earlier last week, fates and calendars coincided to allow for a quick little day-trip to Provincetown. I had never been all the way to the tip of the Cape but it has been a favorite destination for my Mom. A few years ago I took a Winter day trip but stopped short of the tip... but I'm glad that I finally made it down there. Early summer is absolutely the season for Provincetown.

Provincetown is about a two hour drive from Boston with absolutely no traffic. Given the general propensity for traffic in Boston, we opted to take the fast ferry for a little adventure. While this was probably a little more than I would have liked to spend, the ferry was a great option for easy travel door to door.

There aren't many ways to do a photo dump... but here it goes. We had a really great 24 hrs and I would absolutely do it again ... but maybe by car. It honestly feels like a place you can't go wrong with a place to eat / walk  - and that just takes the pressure off a last minute trip.

Jennifer Aniston's Salad


While I would love to eat a BLT for lunch every day.... it is just a bad idea for your physical heart. Your emotional heart on the other hand will be really happy with you. In the spirit of my constant battle with bacon balance, I'm always looking for a quick little meal option. I was trolling Twitter a few weeks ago and saw this salad that Jennifer Aniston posted to Instagram

The salad itself looked pretty appealing but honestly, I was most drawn to the fact that Jennifer Aniston said it was "my perfect salad"... and since well, it looked pretty appetizing. She kindly listed out the ingredients which left me with few excuses. Despite the fact I consider my pantry well-stocked, I barely had any of the required ingredients to give this a shot. 

Overnight Oatmeal


I'm always looking for ways to make my life more efficient... and I guess healthy.

While I'm sure that I'd feel terrible, I'd love to eat bacon and everything bagels with cream cheese.... almost every day. In order to balance that out, I've tried a few different ways to make breakfast more exciting, cost effective, and healthy. A couple years ago, I decided to give overnight oatmeal a go. I had seen it flooding my Pinterest homepage far too much to not try it out. What I discovered is yet another versatile meal that can fit into the fold super easily. Not to create a mountain out of a molehill - it's just oatmeal - but here is how I go about making this.

that time of year...

It's peony season.

There is something amazing, perfectly romantic and feminine about the scent of peonies. Which means, it's that time of year I dream of constantly smelling the scent of peonies. It also feels like it's right about now that the ocean starts to smell like summer salt water. I'd like to combine these two... and then live in it forever.

I waited a few days too long to capture my first vase of the season... and they might be a little past their prime ... but don't worry, they still smell amazing. It's also slightly raining today - which gives us just enough reason to not feel guilty for oversize sweatshirts, indoor time, and lots of coffee.

A weekend in Boone


While I haven’t necessarily been writing as much, I’ve often found myself referring to previous travel posts when talking to friends. This weekend alone I was at a wedding in North Carolina and made reference to my Italy posts for Venice and Rome… as well as the Fall adventure to Mendocino in California. Although, I’m not necessarily writing as much about day-to-day hubub…. I would love to always make sure I keep track of these travel posts.

In the spirit of that… and the wedding attended… here is quick rundown on my jaunt to Boone, North Carolina. Yes Boone… as in Daniel Boone. It was also rated of the Top 10 places to retire in 2012… unfortunately, I’m far from that milestone. One of my friends - and the bride! - is from this tucked away area in the Blue Ridge Mountains so it was a natural choice for a wedding location. Fortunately / Unfortunately, I enjoyed myself too much with friends and festivities to take many pictures of the ceremony and reception but rest assured  - it was beautiful. 

Lime ginger chicken tacos ... with tomato corn salsa


 Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite holidays to cook for each year. I'm not quite sure why but I think it has something to do with the fact that tequila becomes a serious option as an ingredient... and I can't say no to that. While I've always been intimidated by a theme party, theme cooking is a whole other challenge that I love. For reference, tomato tequila salsa with seared cod (2014) and ginger margarita swordfish (2013).

This year I was a bit influenced by one of my favorite neighborhood finds - Tenoch tacos. They are seriously delicious and I can almost see their front door from my living room. It's a phenomenal $5 dinner - or maybe $6.50 - but whatever, you can get a great taco, chips and salsa. I wasn't quite sure how to get tequila into this meal - and honestly, probably could have tried harder. I got distracted by sunshine, new yoga pants and my new favorite yoga instructor.

In the spirit of trying to eat all the food in my house already, I only ended up grabbing a few fresh veggies to make some salsa and already had everything else for this adventure. I was about to run to the corner market for some tortillas when I figured I would try and make them myself. According to Pinterest, this was either a really easy task or a disaster and hard. I mean either way it's a lesson learned so I went for it.

lemon thyme haddock


I find it so comical that people don't like to cook for themselves - and by themselves, I mean "cooking for one". Some of my most favorite meals have been cooked in small batch style. Just me trolling the internet for an idea, roaming the grocery store, and then patiently waiting until the meal is ready. 

I've always loved cooking - and while I really appreciate cooking for a few people - there is something pretty great about making something just for one. Plus for people who lack self-control (that's me), it also means I'm not constantly going back to the pot for more mac and cheese. The fact that a box of mac and cheese is supposed to serve 3 people baffles me.

This week a new grocery store opened up in Boston and you would legitimately think they were giving away free groceries it was so crowded. As a family, we love going to the grocery store - especially a new one. This was actually my second new grocery store of the week having hit up Whole Foods in the Ink Block on Monday after going to the Flower Exchange. Roche Bros Downtown isn't as exciting as Whole Foods - but it is beautiful inside, the food is bright and fresh, and people are so damn nice it hurts. Plus, majestic subway tile everywhere and $5 tulips.

Homemade BLT


I haven't done as much cooking as I would expect recently... but this week I did make a beautiful BLT. I've loved BLT sandwiches since birth and truly believe they are the best sandwich. In honor of the sun returning to Boston with some degree of consistency this week, I imagined a great afternoon sitting at my kitchen table, noshing on a BLT and sending out some emails. Unfortunately, there isn't really a great place for a BLT in the North End. There are good places, but not great places.

The only obvious answer was to make my own bread and mayo for the event. 

In the past I've made a few different types of bread, but this time I attempted ciabatta. Whenever I'm looking up (almost) any recipe idea, I always add the word "easy" to the search. I'm sure there are hard ways to make ciabatta but I'm not interested in it now. While the initial steps could appear cumbersome, it is actually super easy to make (far easier than amazing scones). The bread turned out perfect as far as I'm concerned and I will definitely make it again. And soon.

In the event making bread wasn't enough of a challenge for one day, I figured I would add mayonaise to the docket. I've witnessed people making mayo before and it felt challenging but do-able. Certainly reasonable for a sunny afternoon in my kitchen - but then I found a 30-second mayo recipe and I was convinced. I'm sure there are more sophisticated and refined ways to do this, but homemade mayo in 30 seconds? Done.

The trick to homemade mayo is having the ingredients at room temperature. I obviously hadn't planned ahead for this - so I just put the egg on my fire escape in the sun.... and then went for a quick run. Success.
Here's how each of these come together. I honestly didn't take pictures of this process because I wasn't convinced it would work - but it did. Sorry about that :)
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