Weekend at home

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Waffles are easily the best way to start off a weekend. My roommate and I made these almond-chia seed waffles from Eat This Poem, and they were incredible. The chia seeds gave the waffles a slight crunch and the delicate almond flavor is a perfect backdrop for summer fruit. I topped mine with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of yogurt.

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We drove down to my parents’ house and made them this vegan peanut butter cup pie from Minimalist Baker as a thank you. Everyone loved it, including my mother (who had claimed not to like peanut butter desserts).  20140528-153100-55860637.jpgCrepes with strawberries, peaches, and fresh whipped cream for lunch. There is an awning over our back patio, and the dappled light in the picture above is in every single one of my childhood birthday photos. Note my roommate, who couldn’t wait for me to take the photo before reaching for a crepe.

On the way back to school, we took a detour to the top of Mt. Diablo. It has one of the farthest views in the continental US and is definitely well worth seeing.

Two of my favorite hooligans at the top.

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First pasta salad of the summer

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Awful lighting, dying grass, but we were too hungry to take a decent photo.

I met one of my cooking goals for the week and made this pasta salad from The Kitchn. Definitely a success. I was happily surprised to find that the garlic flavor wasn’t too strong and the salad tasted delicious both that night and the next day for lunch.

I like my pasta salad with about a 1:1 ratio of pasta to veggies so next time I make this, I’m going to add in more tomatoes. I mixed in a handful of arugula the next day and loved the extra flavor.

If you’re looking for a fresh and creamy pasta salad for the hot summer nights ahead, give this one a try!

At risk of sounding like a broken record…

…it really is time to start cooking agin.

I’m going to start small – no need to get too ambitious. Maybe one or two recipes to try this week. Nothing too crazy.

We’re in the home stretch of the quarter and everything is flying by. In some ways, I love the hustle and bustle. But part of me wants to dig my heels in and hold on for just a few more minutes.

Graduation is around the corner and while I’m sticking around to finish up a few classes for grad school, things are definitely about to change in a big way. It’s crazy how fast these four years have gone. Everyone told me it would feel this way but I never quite believed them. Well, they were most certainly right.

Change is always bittersweet. I’m so excited for all of the opportunities ahead of us. I’m also terrified of the uncertainty that this next phase will bring.

I want to soak it all in and enjoy these last few weeks (while still doing well in my classes), which means more meals out with friends and less time behind the stove.

However, cooking is one of the things that makes me feel like myself. Maybe, a few hours in the kitchen will help me to slow down and enjoy it all.

On the menu for this week:

1) Pasta salad

I’ve never been a huge pasta fan (bread is generally my carb of choice) but a big cold bowl of pasta salad sounds better and better as the temperature begins to flirt with the 90’s.

I like the sound of this no-recipe pasta salad from Food 52. It’s simple and looks like it would be delicious with some grilled veggies thrown in.

I also can’t get this roasted garlic, olive, and tomato pasta salad from The Kitchn out of my head. Like pasta, garlic has never really been something I love but when it is roasted and whisked into a gorgeous ricotta/yogurt sauce, I think I can handle it.

2) Something sweet to share

Chalk this one up to the pre-graduation mushiness. In my family, food has always been a way to express love. I really want to take the time to give something, however small, to the people that have helped make this place into a home.

I want something that I can easily shove into a backpack. No cupcakes, piled high with frosting. Still sweet, of course though. And different enough to be interesting.

Cookies are the obvious choice, but it can be hard to find a good cookie recipe. I’ve had too many cookies that don’t live up to expectations – they are too dry, too sweet, too plain – so I’ve learned to be picky when I’m choosing a recipe.

These almond linzer cookies with cherry jam by Oh Ladycakes remind me of my mother’s Christmas cookies.

And this spiked chocolate chip cookie from The Vanilla Bean Blog has just enough sass to keep things interesting.

I love crumb bars, like these strawberry rhubarb crisp bars from Smitten Kitchen. Her dating advice is spot on too.

I think my favorite might be Joy the Baker’s lemon raspberry pie crust hearts though. Told you I was getting sentimental.

Pasta salad and cookies. Two things. That’s all. I’ll be back with updates on how they turned out.

 

Quick message from outer space

I know, I know.

A little bit of what I’ve been up to lately:

20140523-012002-4802826.jpgWalks through the fields, and a near run-in with a rattlesnake.

 

Trying to get out of my breakfast rut. So excited for summer fruit to be everywhere.

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On a hunt for artisan cider at the most unexpected of places.

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And lastly, the cutest face you ever did see.

Not pictured:

  • A whole lot of midterms. Not fun.
  • A decent amount of good beer. Much more fun.
  • Sunsets from the fields.
  • Farmer’s market dinners.
  • Celebrating graduations and seeing old friends.
  • Internship interviews.
  • Eating out, way too much.
  • Helping out at the Whole Earth Festival.
  • Rarely cooking.