yummy food, pretty walks

Before January went insane, I was doing a lot of cooking. Not a New Year’s resolution per se (I really don’t do it), just for health and money and self-care reasons. So here’s food (and a few activities) I enjoyed earlier in January.

Here’s something nice I cooked: savory butternut bread pudding (Trader Joe’s whole wheat tuscan pane, eggs, Swiss cheese, milk, Italian herbs, roasted butternut squash). Carbs! Carbs upon carbs! I had this for dinner with a friend with a lovely, buttery chardonnay.

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Poor woman’s belgian endive: cook Romaine like you’d cook kale chips (separate and wash the leaves, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and salt, bake in a hot- like, 450- oven. Note that this process is faster than for kale chips, so watch keep an eye on them).

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The edges get all golden and crispy, and the thicker parts of the leaves stay moist and have that pleasant buttery bitterness of braised endive. But romaine is substantially cheaper than endive!

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This recipe I got from Women’s Health magazine, of all places. Sriracha roasted chickpeas! Drain and dry a can of chickpeas, mix with olive oil and Sriracha, and roast in a super hot oven- flipping around some- until crispy and golden and heavenly.

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Soooooo decadent and delicious: Akmak crackers (lovvvve- short, whole grain ingredient list), topped with tzaziki (greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper, chopped cucumber) and smoked salmon.

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Once things started to go crazy in my life and family, I focused more on getting my nutrients as efficiently as possible, and spending the rest of the time on comfort food. This juice was… not very good. I am not a juice person.

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We’ve had a lot of exquisite weather (barring a few actually cold days, North Carolina seems to have more or less skipped winter). I did a lot of wandering around listening to Serial (late to the game, I know). I found a magic little secret pond that I hadn’t know it existed despite it being not terribly far from where I live. That’s a wonderful feeling, eh?

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Spooky old well, too.

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I’m still not 100% sure if I was trespassing at this point, but when I saw the swing in the gazebo, I went for it. This was in that weird time when my cousin was in the hospital and we were hearing all kinds of varying news (it was 12 days, I’m sure unbelievably exhausting ones for my aunt and uncle). It felt good, looking at something beautiful and trying to send a picture of it to Chris.

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Then on MLK day, Steve and I took a “Let’s clear the air” hike. It’s always good to have the intense conversations while getting fresh air and exercise. It was a beautiful day at Eno River State Park.

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I’ve also taken to have 8am weekend study dates with my classmate. (Clearly someone isn’t staying out and partying to the wee hours, eh? I’m so old). In the early morning hours, we are shockingly efficient, and the coffee shops are less of a zoo than they are later in the day on the weekend (though Open Eye is always a zoo, and the baristas are mean, and I’m not totally sure why we still go there).

My study buddy, Steph, has chickens (and is getting more chicks next month! So excited!) so when you study with her you also get to take home DELICIOUS eggs. She can name which chicken laid each one! (My favorite of her chickens is Bowie, who is black and white with a crazy mop of feathers on top of her head).

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They had the most beautiful deep yellowy orange yolks!

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I made a sauce in which to poach the eggs: I sauteed onion and garlic in olive oil, then added Indian-ish spices (garam masala, cumin), then added tomato sauce and thawed frozen spinach. Poached the eggs in that. Heaven!

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