It’s a cliché for a reason, but hindsight is often 20/20. I’ve struggled with feeling like I’m spinning my wheels, can’t get my head above water and all of the other phrases used to describe anxious fears. I know I’ll get through it, and I will come out stronger — but getting there is the hard part. So here’s what’s on my mind this week that’s been a welcome change:
- My Blue Apron Anniversary: Last Friday marked two years since I started using Blue Apron! I’ve enjoyed becoming a better home cook — one who knows more than how to boil water — and I’ve discovered countless recipes to add to my repertoire. Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing lots of friends and family to the service, which is a win-win-win in my book!
- Women March around the World: My heart swelled seeing the outpouring of peaceful protesting last Saturday, from SF to Sydney and everywhere in between. People of all backgrounds and varying perspectives are allowed to voice their opinions, and we aren’t all going to agree. But at the end of the day, to see millions of concerned world citizens come together… it truly took my breath away.
- My 100-day Meditation Streak: Speaking of breathing, I’ve dedicated myself over the past nine months to practice self-care with meditation. I use the Calm app, and just hit a 100-day streak yesterday! It isn’t always easy to find 10 minutes to myself, but committing to this practice has kept me far more grounded and centered than I could have imagined.
- Gasparilla Invades SF: We’re bringing Tampa’s finest tradition straight to SF! Tired of missing out on the festivities, a college friend and I have organized an event to celebrate as sea wenches and swashbucklers. We may not get a key to the city, but I have a feeling it’ll be as authentic as can be. Yo-ho!
There’s a phenomenon I hadn’t experienced until moving to San Francisco, known as Mercury in retrograde. This three-week period of time is said to wreak havoc on technology, communication and life in general … and it started today. Let’s try to put some balance back in our lives, shall we?
- Skellie @omgliterallydead: This viral Instagram takes all the millennialisms we love to hate and turns them into hilarious, filtered photos. This one’s caption? “Morning Yoga!! #yoga #yogaselfie #betterthancoffee #jk #nothingbeatscoffee #namastae #namastayinbed #om #flexible”
- Mr. Holmes Bakehouse: This SF bakery invented possibly the most delicious dessert craze ever — the cruffin. It’s a hybrid of flaky croissant pastry in the shape of a muffin, and the strawberries ‘n cream cruffin I had this weekend was pure heaven.
- Blue Apron: I don’t really know how to adult, but one of my goals this year is to gain more confidence in the kitchen (I can’t bake brownies for dinner forever). Enter this service, which delivers fresh ingredients and exciting recipes right to my door! I made my first meal with it last night, and I couldn’t be more proud.
- “Try” – Colbie Caillat: I can’t believe I haven’t featured this song yet, since it’s a constant star in my daily playlist. The video is powerful, and Caillat’s message is simple: You don’t have to change who you are, so long as you love yourself.
I stayed home sick from work today, which means I’m now wired because I slept off the intense nausea I had throughout the night. TMI? Didn’t think so.
So what else is there to do when bedridden all day? Clear the DVR, of course.
- “Drunk History”: What do you get when you mix drunk people talking about the past with celebrated actors reenacting those stories (and lip-synching along)? Answer: This hilarious historical gem.
- “Chopped”: Of course I love cooking shows, because I’ve used my oven once. This one is a weekly battle between four different chefs, tasked to reinvent mystery ingredients. Fascinating, to say the least.
- “I Love the 2000s”: Britney! Nelly! Balloon Boy! VH1’s iconic series takes on the new millenium, and the result is so ridiculously satisfying. Episodes are on demand … and kind of just on all the time.
- “Ladies of London”: I know, I know. I hate myself enough for all of us, but I’m HOOKED on this stupid Bravo show. The drama is so ridiculous, and I just can’t stop watching. God save the Queen, indeed.
Not sold on these obsessions? Just enjoy this segment from a recent episode of “Drunk History”:
WARNING: This post contains spoilers. Do not continue reading if you didn’t “Bravo,” AKA watch what happened!
I’ve seen every season of “Top Chef” without fail — even the Masters, All-Stars and Just Desserts spin-offs. I’ve bet my friend Cosmo the past few seasons, this time with a draft of chef teams (I won, natch). But I worry my dedication will change if it continues to be so gimmicky.
The finale began with a cheering crowd of 150+ diners. Host Padma Lakshmi greeted us to explain the remaining two chefs’ challenge: Create any five courses. The first chef to create three winning dishes will be crowned the 10th Top Chef — and only second female to do so.
Each plate served at Judges’ Table produced a round win before the chefs were sent back to cook again.
So why the need for a live audience? Why not just cook for the world’s toughest critics, plus the judges who’ve scrutinized them since the first week? It all feels campy and hacked.
The rest of the episode was chopped up with moments from this season and the past nine, something I’d rather be left for a reunion special than a finale. We’ve already watched each week; we know what went down. Showcase the techniques they’ve put into what’s now the most important plates of their lives.
I’d already scowled at the return of “Last Chance Kitchen,” which gives axed chefs the opportunity to rejoin the competition at semifinals — and in Kristen’s case, cook their way into the finale to win it all. Sure, she had to beat out the other losers. But the beauty of “Top Chef” for the first eight seasons was being sent packing for ONE bad dish.
Then, there was the #SaveChef competition, where Twitter users vote to have a chef try AGAIN in “Last Chance Kitchen” to possibly rejoin at semifinals. Someone could, in theory, win the whole shebang with three extra lives.
In past seasons, too much salt sent home a culinary prodigy. A frozen protein was the farewell ticket for others. The choices they make under pressure should be enough to speak for their decisiveness, and giving them another chance (or more!) is as infuriating as awarding participation trophies.
I still love Padma, Tom, Gail, et al. I know I’ll keep coming back, if only for the annual wager with Cosmo.
I’d just love to see it return to what made it such a likable show to begin with: chefs cooking for world-renowned judges, and not succumbing to the pressures of reality TV.
If you’re like me, you hear “A watched pot never boils” and would like to slam your head against a wall. Patience may be a virtue, but it certainly isn’t mine.
As such, I don’t particularly enjoy making dinner and standing over a boiling pot of water. Give me a cupcake recipe and the 18–22 minutes to spend doing other stuff while they bake, and I’m a happy girl. But, I digress.
Normally, I’m happy to “whip up” crackers and cheese for a quick and easy dinner. Classy, I know. Classier: the plate I use.
I’m going to be such a great housewife.
But for nights when I need a real meal — and still need to save money and time — this recipe from salted chocolate is perfect. It’s my easy dinner go-to, and it was exactly what I needed to start my week off right.
Full disclosure: This wasn’t tonight’s meal — I ate too quickly to capture it!
Mozzarella Caprese Pasta
Recipe created by salted chocolate
- 1 (8-10) oz. jar of mini mozzarella balls
- 1 container of grape (or cherry) tomatoes
- A few leaves of basil
- Extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover the dish, but don’t soak it)
- 1 box thin spaghetti
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, julienne chop the basil. Once pasta is cooked to al dente, drain. Add the olive oil to your liking, plus the tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and the basil. Don’t mix together.
- Then, dish into bowls – ensure each plate has a good amount of tomatoes and mozzarella. For each bowl, add salt and pepper to taste. The cheese will start to melt over the top of the pasta and seep down.
- My local store doesn’t carry mini mozzarella balls, so I use a block of skim mozzarella and cut it into chunks. Let’s be real here — cheese is cheese!
- Add 5-minute garlic toast (I love Pepperidge Farm’s Garlic Texas Toast) and a glass of red wine for a complete meal.
What’s your favorite dinner to create in minutes? This impatient lady would love more recipes!