Egg McMuffinYou may not have heard from us in awhile because of two very specific reasons: #1 – I’ve been busy backlogging and finishing up the formatting project from when the blog converted platforms (it’s done, huzzah!). #2 – we got a dog!!!! We’ve been considering adding a third (yes, third) furry friend to our family for some time now and the stars finally aligned with a generous landlord, financial prep and spotting the right little guy online. We adopted our new pal, Mr. Otis, from a group called Smidget Rescue, which is run by a wonderful woman that primarily pulls dogs from high-kill shelters in California. Our little guy came from Rialto City as a stray, which we find difficult to believe because he is so well-behaved and well-mannered! While it pains me that I didn’t adopt from the Humane Society where I volunteer and spend a good chunk of time, as one of the staff members reminded me, each shelter dog is a saved life no matter where they come from.

Bet you were expecting something a little more exciting than a homemade pickle recipe after the long weekend, right? Welp, you were wrong. But that’s okay! These pickles are well-worth your while. Not a big pickle person? Neither was Will, until he made these. And then all of a sudden, pickles became more appealing. They’re great by themselves but are equally as awesome in tuna or chickpea salads! Enough about pickles, though. We went camping this past weekend for the Labor Day holiday and damn if it wasn’t cold! We have never been that cold over Labor Day, much less in September. Helllllooooo Washington, we have left the Southeast. Overnight temps in the 30s/40s on Sept. 5-7? Say what? But despite the freezing temps (combined with not being allowed to build campfires in our campground), we still had a great time. We spent Saturday piddling around our campsite at Indian Creek in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and exploring the lake we were staying at, which was being drained into a dam for the season. Therefore, we could walk out to the island in the middle of the lake and do some exploring, which was cool. Saturday was by far the coldest day, but we prevailed with hope the weekend would warm up!

We had the best week last week, thus why you got no new recipes, faithful readers. On Wednesday, we went into downtown Seattle to watch the women’s soccer team, Seattle Reign FC, play their second-to-last season game against the Boston Breakers. Their games are right in the Seattle Center, so we had the privilege of getting to watch not only the game, but to see the sun set over the Space Needle as the night went on. The night was a special one at the pitch, too, because it was a celebration of women’s sports in Seattle. They had players from the women’s basketball team, the Seattle Storm, and gave out free scarves that supported both teams, emblazoned “ReignStorm.” Thankfully, we did not have a rainstorm that night, and watched Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo and the rest of their teammates take on and beat the Breakers. We’re excited to return to see them play in their first playoff game in a couple weeks!

Sooooo…..oops, still. I owe y’all like, 20 gazillion recipe posts. But probably the most offensive is that I STILL owe you one gloriously long, well-documented, beautiful post from our time taking a cooking tour in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa with our W&M colleagues. Like, whoa. It’s bad that hasn’t hit the internet yet. It’s been two months since our adventure concluded and unless you’re my Facebook friend (and even if you are), you have not been inundated with the entire story and experience. And an experience it was. We had the privilege of not only taking a tour of the historic neighborhood and learning more about a specific population within South African culture, but more importantly we were able to visit a family’s home to learn to cook a few traditional Cape Malay dishes. As a group, this was an awesome experience……and I’ll leave it there, so there’s some anticipation to read more when I get around to posting it!

Currently, I am playing in the pit orchestra of a production of Into the Woods. Not being a huge musical theatre person myself, the experience of being in a pit orchestra is always fascinating. You play the same music over and over again, recur the same melodies for characters, yet you constantly have no idea what is going on up on stage. Your hear snippets of dialogue and lyrics coming through the feedback, but otherwise you have no idea how productive the cast is being above your head. It’s an odd sensation to be that disconnected from something that you are intricately participating in. Sometimes it can be a metaphor for life, amirite? I won’t get to heady here, but it’s just an interesting situation to be in. That being said, if you’re local to me at the moment, we have three more shows on Wed/Thurs/Fri of this week so you should come check it out! I’ve heard it’s pretty well done (not that I would really know).

There is nothing that can greet you in the morning like a wonderful cup of coffee. As I write this, I’m still sipping on my first cup of absinthe-flavored coffee. There are few things that can start your day off quite like a strong cup o’ joe and it’s important to know how to do it right! Don’t be disillusioned – we don’t make French press or espresso every morning of the week. We’re normal and have a coffeemaker where we can preset the time it brews, the night before. Before that, we had a little 4-cup coffeemaker that wasn’t even capable of being preset. But we certainly do enjoy making more specialty coffees, particularly on the weekends! Below you will find the instructions for making a wonderful brew of French press coffee, with step-by-step pictures (don’t get used to that – this was easy to take pictures of along the way; I’m not usually that coordinated!).

As we wrap up the week with this final addition to our “how-to” series, I hope that some of the information we’ve provided has been enlightening and/or helpful to you in your day-to-day life. There’s so much more advice we could share on a variety of topics, but these were at the forefront of our minds when planning this little series. We just wanted to share more about where we’re coming from when we discuss certain aspects in the blog that are ingrained in our kitchen, but may be foreign concepts to you. We take many of these to heart because they are what helps our kitchen run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, which has really come to light while we’ve been living in two different cities! Together or apart, these same principles still apply. We hope you enjoy this last little nugget and as always, please feel free to leave us some feedback in the comments!

Alright, so you’ve planned your menu and done your grocery shopping. Now what? In your menu (especially if you’re following the notepad I shared in the first post), I hope you included something to pack for your lunch. If not, leftovers make great lunches! However, I’m personally not a fan of eating a hot, heavy meal in the middle of the day, which is usually what leftovers means for us. Instead, we prefer to have lunches that are ready to go or only need minimal preparation in the morning, to throw in a lunchbag and head out the door. For so many reasons, I encourage you to do the same. Controlling what you eat in the middle of the day can make a difference in your energy levels and productivity at work. Or if you’re still a student, it can take some of the stress out of making the time and finding where to grab lunch. No matter what stage of life you’re in, packing a lunch can be less intimidating and more creative than you imagine!

 

After taking the time to meal plan and create a weekly menu for yourself, the grocery shopping is the logical next step. It seems like a simple enough task – walk into a store, buy some food and other stuff – but it’s where even the best of us get tripped up. Temptations line the aisles and if you don’t go in with a plan, you are just begging the universe to point you in the direction of things you don’t need. Or perhaps there’s just that really tasty looking bag of chips on the end unit at Trader Joe’s…you just never know what traps you will fall into! Grocery shopping in an effective and efficient way is just short of being an art form. With some guidelines for yourself, you can turn it into a (fairly) painless process. Less time spent at the grocery store means more time to do other things that you probably enjoy more It can also mean more money in your pocket, but more on that in another segment of this series. Grocery shopping is one of those evil necessities you have to do, but most people typically don’t like (unless your weirdos like me and Will). Read on, friends, for tackling one of the most challenging types of errands you have!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to share this “how-to” series with you!! This is has been planned for a few months; Will and I have bantered back and forth about it, deciding what to include, what to say and whether or not we were qualified to do a series like this. After some initial hesitation and a few poignant conversations with friends, I think the time has come to share with you just how we operate our kitchen. I often reference some of our techniques (making a menu, packing lunches, etc) and I think it would be useful to those who read this blog, to understand why we do things the way we do and what works for us. It may explain some of our recipe choices and what I’m talking about in my little intro write-ups in each blog post. I hope that through this series, you will discover ideas and suggestions that will be useful to you!