Smitten Kitchen’s bolognese was one of the better things that came out of spring 2020. Highly recommend. (I goofed and got a can of whole tomatoes instead of tomato paste and there were no adverse effects whatsoever).
I do recommend making it the night before you eat it just because rather a lot of beef fat collects at the top and it gets a bit greasy. (Note that I got 85% lean beef- she tells you to do 80-85% so if you do the former it will be even greasier). But the fat is easy to scrape off once it’s chilled.
Spaghetti and meat sauce and salad is really one of life’s perfect meals. My boyf is indifferent to pasta but likes meat sauce very much.
My boyfriend has kids so he always has maraschino cherries and reddi whip at his home. CAN YOU EVEN?! I went through a phase where I was having like, daily, albeit tiny, ice cream sundaes. V thrilling.
Speaking of sugar I went and did a backyard hangout with my friends who have two young kids. Their youngest has been losing her mind a little bit (she is a frenetic extrovert). She was thrilled to have a visitor and had tons of fun making loud announcements to me, such as, “I HAVE A BELLY BUTTON.”
The mama of the family just graduated with her masters (!) so I made the whole crew a batch of these nutella muffins. Dreamy!
Another day I had lettuce from the boyf’s deck (!) plus some herbs and snap peas from my friends’ garden (!) so I made the loveliest freshest little salad and had it with some cheesy whole wheat crepes. I did not hate this classy French-ish meal! (Went back for another crepe or two I think, and knowing me spread it with peanut butter).
Farmer’s market kale makes lovely salad. Tried this one from Smitten Kitchen. Garlicky bread crumbs are never a bad idea.
A more basic salad (a kit from Trader Joe’s I think), a veggie burger, and some roasted sweet potatoes. Not all meals are glamorous haha.
Smitten Kitchen crispy rice bowls, the dish I make more than anything else.
I had an avocado turn brown and nasty so I threw it out into the bed at the side of my back patio. An informal composting system (lol) I’ve created. The squirrels LOVE me and turn out to love even brown and mushy avocados.
My friend had a small backyard gathering (!!!) and the world felt almost normal for a little bit! A hot dog on the grill! A Coke Zero! Such treasures I never have in my house!
I was suuuuuuuch a dietitian and brought two types of salads. In my defense they were great. Summer squash ribbons with oregano, basil and lemon (a long time favorite which is yellow squash’s highest calling) and a basic arugula salad with homemade vinaigrette and walnuts.
On the fitness front, I took a barre class with my friend Lesli.
The setting was absolutely lovely- we had some unseasonably pleasant days and with shade and breeze the outdoor class was perfect. It’s in a random shopping center by a highway that has the most beautiful courtyard ever that all the surrounding businesses share.
And there is a CAT COLONY! I lovingly observed them before the class started.
As in previous times I have been suckered into taking barre classes, my hip flexors began spasming uncontrollably not long after starting the ab work. There’s something about holding myself in a boat pose that my hips just hate. Argh. The class was still good though.
Other exercise has happened in the park. I already knew to be vigilant for little snek friends, but an enthusiastic neighbor has made (and laminated!) these very wholesome signs.
A tangent: my employer, Duke, in the light of George Floyd’s death and ensuing events, held a Living While Black event. Duke students, profs, staff, etc. shared their experiences and we heard from some really badass speakers.
Some visuals that stuck out to me:
For the people who don’t believe in white privilege:
If you think being color blind is enough you aren’t paying enough attention.
Now for something very different and very cute…
the boyf’s lil girl graduated from preschool. He made her a unicorn cake.
And for the proud big brother, a lego cake.
I can’t even. He sent me pictures of them with a #nailedit hashtag 😂
A fun evening with the boyf… collaborative dinner!
I brought all the random leftovers from my house. Another incarnation of the sale kale salad as above, roasted sweet potato wedges, mac n cheese with roasted tomatoes, red lentil dal, roasted golden beets.
He made turkey sandwiches. They were BY FAR the best part of the meal hahaha. I need to stop being so extra sometimes and just stick to the basics.
Another amazing basic the boy makes:
Homemade Caesar dressing. SWOON! Plus croutons (which he made from frying stale BISCUITS, oh boy. He’s a true Southerner) and diced hard boiled egg.
Aaaaaand… the lettuce was grown on his balcony!
I sent him this post from Wholefully on starting a pandemic garden and he friggin ran with it!
It is now too hot and the lettuces have bolted but the peppers are still crushing it.
And the squash blossoms which are just the cutest.
Another day I was sort of losing my mind freaking out about missing out on the joys of summer- my favorite season!- due to this friggin pandemic.
So I made N have a picnic with me.
Chicken salad, 1/2 a tofu banh mi, watermelon feta salad, ants on a log, corn on the cob. YES.