things 11.15.16

Attempting: Mooncakes (because today is the Chinese Moon Festival and this is my favorite dessert)

Reading: The Girls + Small Victories

Watching: Mr. Robot

Craving: Lebanese Fish with Herby Tahini Sauce + Vegan White Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Compote

Bucket list: Machane Yehuda Market

Chosen words: The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale + Bone Deep: East Meets West

Above: A couple nights ago we lost our dear friend Lucy to a short, but vicious battle with stomach cancer. This is the last meal I cooked for her. It was a version of Deb’s Chicken Gyro Salad with sauteéd squash and eggplant and a honey-mint vinaigrette. It was the definition of a simple summer meal, which was perfect because Lucy was pure sunshine. <3

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(v.) Literally, the Darija (Moroccan- Arabic) word for eat

Sesame seeds are one of my favorite spices. I check my teeth for remnants about five to seven times a day, as I’m always looking for an excuse to add their toasty crunch to everything I eat. I love them in every form, from Middle-Eastern sesame paste (tahini) to sesame oil to those seedy little candies bound with honey. My latest obsession is gomasio, a Japanese toasted sesame salt that tastes amazing on white rice, soba noodles or fish.

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I’ve only ever been to Denver on my way to somewhere else and never when there wasn’t snow on the ground. Jen and I decided to make the Mile High City the focus of our Labor Day weekend after our friends raved about how gorgeous it is in the summertime. They were so right, and I never wanted to leave. Most of the time we spent urban hiking in various neighborhoods, but my favorite was Five Points. Apparently it’s nicknamed the”Harlem of the West” because of all the jazz hubs that used to be there, attracting musicians like Billie, Louis, and Ella. We took a couple day trips, one to Boulder which I highly recommend, and another to the historic town of Idaho Springs (where the gold rush started!) for some ziplining over the Colorado River. People were noticeably kinder, days seemed longer and the food even seemed to taste better and not just because of reasons you might think 😉 Here’s some of the place we loved:

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near and far

I discovered Heidi’s blog 101 Cookbooks when I was in high school and longing for a change to my nutritionally devoid cafeteria experience. Domino’s pizza on Fridays. Popeye’s fried chicken on Wednesdays. It was pretty pitiful and not at all a wonder that I was a certified couch potato with little energy for anything but a Charmed marathon. Maybe a week after discovering the site I told my parents I was becoming a vegan.* Weekly field trips with my mom to the Wild Oats in Orlando (about a 45 minute drive away) became the most exciting part of my week. Stocking up on brown rice cakes, as it turned out, was way more exciting than buying a prom dress.

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I recently rang in my 26th year with a birthday road trip to Maine with my love and two best friends. FYI, I can be very stressful to travel with due to my obsessive planning, itineraries and burning desire to do as much as possible in very little time. I’m working on this. Due to the impromptu nature of this getaway, I can truly say I’ve never felt so unprepared for a trip in my life. Portland, as it turns out, is the perfect kind of town to be unprepared in. It’s small enough that you can walk around and casually bump into all those places you read  about on that travel blog that one time. Below are some places we loved/dream about returning to:
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so granola

My love for granola runs deep. As a kid I would pile it on peanut butter toast as a midnight snack. I preferred this over cookies, ice cream or any typical indulgence. In college bowl after bowl of crunchy, golden oats drowned in almond milk was my drug of choice. This got me through many all nighters. Making granola at home is so simple, quick and deeply satisfying. Not to mention it makes your kitchen smell amazing. This weeks blend is a sweet and savory coconut-curry-cashew concoction.

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(n.) Spanish term for the conversation at the table that continues after a meal is over

I begin this blog with a snapshot of one of my favorite moments as of late. A quick dinner of calamari and squid, pan con tomate, gazpacho and of course enough vino to keep the sobremesa going for hours. We savored every bit of both, the conversation and the food, on the rooftop of this new-ish home of ours. Here’s to many more nights like this.

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