As we’re all going through the same global pandemic with various levels of “stay the F home,” I thought it would be fun to highlight the good things in each week, instead of dwelling on the negatives, the unknowns, and the uncertain future. I tend to do some kind of wrap-up or rundown of my week/month/etc. on Fridays each week (often linking up with Friday Favorites/Currently) so this isn’t too much of a diversion from that.
I’m back after taking last Friday off for my Bookmark Lit Bulletin monthly wrap-up, so here are two weeks’ worth of good things!
✨ Brad Leone / Bon Appetit
I know I’m behind on the craze but our latest obsession of cooking-related YouTube has brought us into the wonderful world of Brad Leone and the Bon Appetit test kitchen. We were already watching Epicurious (under the same company umbrella) so this has added another fun element. Brad’s “It’s Alive” videos are SO funny and genuinely all we watch most Friday nights. His tomato ricotta toast is something I spotted a few bookish friends eating recently and was wondering where it came from… and now I know! I quickly added tomatoes and ricotta to my grocery order to test it out. It was so tasty! I can’t believe how much flavor tomatoes have when you cook them just a little bit??
Chris and I have really been diving deep into cooking shows lately and one of the main things we decided to try is pickling! We followed the basic ratio of one part water to one part vinegar, with 2/3 tbsp. of salt per cup of liquid (we did 2 cups water, 2 cups vinegar, 2.5 tbsp. of salt). You can add aromatics like garlic, dill, peppercorns, fennel, etc. , so we did that too. This amount of liquid allowed us to fill a giant pickle jar with our speared cucumbers and a normal sized mason jar with red onion slices, so we’ll have some tasty pickled veggies!
We also had been doing some research on planting herbs and other veggies, so we went ahead to a garden center and bought a bunch of stuff for it. We have some lettuce, spinach, arugula, cilantro, and parsley. We also bought a tomato plant! We’re still working out how to manage the frequent weather changes in New England with bringing the planters in and out of the house though. Anyways, we’re excited to see how our things fare!
I’d been wanting to get back into shopping at Aldi because their prices are so cheap, but the store layout is so terrible that I didn’t want to go there during all of this. I can actually get them delivered via Instacart so I decided to take the plunge instead of hitting the store soon. We still had some meal delivery things available (I freeze the meats ASAP when they come in) for the last week of April, as well as other frozen meats, so my grocery trips have still been focused about fresher items and dairy. I was able to replenish all the things I needed and get some good snack foods we’d been running low on too. It was nice to not leave the house, since we went out over the weekend to the garden center. I wanted to limit further exposure and keep any “going out to a store” activities to once a week at most. I didn’t get 8 out of the million items I requested, so it worked well! My only issue (small complaint – I promise this is still a ~bright~ post) is that the person delivered it 30 minutes early and didn’t contact me when it arrived, so it sat on my front porch in the sun for like an hour before I could bring it in. Luckily everything was okay!
✨ New Hammock with Stand
I ordered this cute little hammock with a stand a few weeks ago and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of everything! The hammock chair thing came in basically a week before the stand so I was itching to get it set up. I just wanted another space in the yard to hang out! I assembled everything myself the minute it arrived last Tuesday. I put it next to the deck so if one of us is using it and the other is nearby on the deck, we can still hear each other and chat. The pillows are actually quite comfy, so I’m excited. Really a bright spot in my week that will continue through the summer!!
✨ Cravings by Chrissy Teigan Whole Day of Eating
I have a whole post about this cookbook coming next week, actually! I finally took the plunge and bought it instead of stalking her website. We’ve been so into cooking lately that I thought it’d be fun to add a new cookbook to my pile. I love flipping through them when Pinterest recipes are boring me. We also spent all Sunday eating Cravings recipes – breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
✨ Cinco de Mayo
We had a little Cinco celebration, like most people! Sometimes it’s nice to find something to lean into during quarantine, right? We made jalapeno margaritas (so good!) with OJ and lime juice, along with chimichangas. I wrapped up some meat mixture (refried beans, corn, ground turkey, and black beans) into a tortilla and popped them into the air fryer until they were crispy. I also had queso, salsa, guac, and sour cream to go along with our chimis and chips. So good and a lot of fun!
✨ New Products at TJ’s
I actually haven’t been to Trader Joe’s since the end of March and it has been breaking my heart. I love this damn store. I’ve done grocery shopping closer to home and gotten things delivered through Instacart (as seen above) multiple times since then, but I knew I had to refresh on some favorite TJ’s products soon in my next trip out to a physical store. And boy, did I stock up. They had so many new products I was dying to buy and try. Here are the ones I set out to find:
- Dill Pickle Hummus
- Pretzel Pieces
- Springle Jangle
- Watermelon Spread
- Cheddar Focaccia Bread
- Many Things Snack Mix
- Raspberry and Lemon Yogurt
- Chocolate Mousse Flowers (or whatever seasonal one is out there)
- These Sprinkles Walk into a Sandwich Cookie
Unfortunately they didn’t have the hummus, which was truly my main goal, or the cheddar bread. I got everything else that I chose to get at the time but made the decision to pass on the mousse and cookies. I realized we have some baking-related plans coming up so it makes more sense to avoid the premade stuff. I also skipped the watermelon spread for no reason other than the fact that we do have other jams and jellies already. It was good for my heart to go to the store but honestly I won’t be going back for a while, probably not until things are slightly more normal in a few months. People in the store really irritated me lol.