DSC_0443Happy Monday folks! I hope everyone had as productive of a weekend as we did. Per usual, I spent most of my weekend involving cats! But we also managed to sprinkle in a good dose of concerts, friends and food this weekend too. It made for a particularly busy and exhausting couple of days, full of good people and good eats. Really good eats, actually. I look forward to sharing some of the things we made in the kitchen, in the future! Things like hash brown casserole and bourbon pecan chocolate chip cookies. You know, tasty, decadent, sinful foods. We saw an old friend (from grad school!), met new friends at a vegan potluck and celebrated the end of the Spurs season with our dear Spurs friends. We went to a choral/orchestra concert, a senior recital and a wind ensemble concert. I played with kittens and hung out with old cats. We cooked, we baked, we drank. All in all, a great weekend.

DSC_0201We had the most epic weekend this past weekend. I got to check two things off my bucket list: see a Beatle perform live and meet an idol. On Friday, we drove down to Portland after work to see Paul McCartney perform. It was an unbelievable production, lasting 3 hours. Of course the music was incredible, but so was the artistry of the lighting, graphics, media, pyrotechnics, everything. It felt surreal to see an artist as influential as Paul perform and he was truly a gentleman and a real class act. He told stories, paid tribute to friends, performed a variety of songs from all stages of his career and genuinely seemed grateful to still be performing sold-out concerts worldwide. I can’t fully describe what an amazing experience it was to see him. Let’s just say I cried. A lot. It was overwhelming.

Sriracha Deviled EggsI got to play with a kitten yesterday at the Internet Cat Video Festival and it was the best. On Sunday, I got to hang out with some cool middle-aged and older cats. Equally the best. I could go on for hours about why I love volunteering at The Humane Society, but now that I am officially at the level where I can handle/socialize with the cats, I am thrilled. You see, there are many steps you have to take over the course of several months, in order to be allowed to handle the cats, for safety reasons (and also to make sure you’re a serious/committed volunteer). You do a LOT of cleaning of cages and food bowls. You dump a lot of stinky litter boxes in the trash. You build lots of hidey boxes and the more exciting adoption boxes for kitties to go home. You feed lots of cats their dinner. You clean up the messes they make in their cages while they watch you with feigned interest. You talk to a lot of cats and start to question your sanity as you meow back at them while doing the dishes (so many dishes). There are so many steps before the glorious day where it’s just you and a cat or kitten, chilling in an adoption room, as you play, pet and observe them to give them a stellar write-up about why they would be the perfect home companion. But when the day arrives that they go home, it is worth it. Knowing that your personal attention with a 12-y.o. senior cat, who might have arthritis issues and not be able to jump up, but will purr like a motor and let you pet him for an eternity, helped to get him a home the next day? Priceless. 

Appetizerpalooza

Posted by Megan | Misc, Quick, Snack

We like to do an appetizers night, the evening before any major holiday. It should come as no surprise then, that in the evenings leading up to Christmas, my mother planned a bit of an “appetizerpalooza” by serving some old favorites and a new recipe or two (at least new to us). We had a little bit of everything as far as the spread went – classic Southern (sausage balls), typical party food (sticks ‘n stones), Mediterranean fare (baked feta with marinara) and my mothers famous Mexican 7-layer dip. We gorged ourselves on these dishes, not really leaving much room for Christmas dinner on Thursday, but satisfied with the end result. While the ingredients in some of these may not be within our “normal” realm, just live a little – it’s okay to indulge in moderation! Be warned in advance that several (okay, all) of these are very addictive, so pay attention while you’re eating to try and control yourself from overdoing! In particular, the 7-layer dip and the Sticks ‘n Stones go very quickly in a crowd!

We decided a couple weeks ago that we were going to run another half marathon. Let me show you the thought process:
Will: “I’ve been running pretty regularly this summer.”
Megan: “That’s nice.”
Will: “You should get back into it.”
Megan: “Yes.”
Will: “We should register for a race!”
Megan: “Okay, sounds great!”
Will: “Let’s do another half – that’d be great motivation.”
Megan: “Sure, why not?”

It’s the weekend! Hooray! And it’s a holiday weekend too, which is the best kind of weekend. I’m excited because my mom is coming down to spend the weekend in Williamsburg and we’re going to do fun things like horseback ride, shop, get our nails done and maybe even hit up Busch Gardens. It can’t get much better than that! She’s fitting me into her busy schedule between her 40th college reunion last weekend and before she jets overseas on a trip to Germany next week (and the Czech Republic? I can’t even keep up anymore!). Her visit also kicks off my surprisingly busy summer weekends – between visiting people, having people visit, work events and the last few rounds of yoga teacher training, I don’t have a weekend free until July! But oh well, that’s what will make it fun!

The time has finally come to when I have run out of “Will” recipes. You are now stuck with whatever I’m making in the kitchen, which will inevitably be less creative, bold and experimental. This recipe is the perfect “starter” one for the extent of my creativity – hah! However, what it lacks in imagination, it makes up for in practicality. While Will is gone, you will get to experience what I feel like is a little bit more average for the kitchen of a 20-something. Sorry Will, but you’re just too good of a cook for someone our age! Know that we recognize some of the impracticalities of recipes we cook, if you’re not as into cooking as Will is – trust us, we’re aware!

Well this one was a hit. I made this for the Higher Ed picnic last weekend and from what I could tell, people really enjoyed it! I know on a personal level, I was thrilled with this recipe and look forward to making it again and again as an easy dish to whip up for a potluck. It was the perfect balance of sweet and salty, especially when served with pretzels. I brought three different desserts to the potluck that day, but I have to say this was the one I was most excited about. I even caught a friend eating it with a fork, sans pretzels; I take that to mean that it was really quite good. This is another recipe from my girl Sally and it was the first that I made from her cookbook! I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t had the time to crack it open yet and get baking. But I caught up by making two recipes in one day from there and things are off to a good start. I’m hoping to have some free time in my evenings over the summer to bake. Will will be doing an internship elsewhere, so I guess my coworkers will have to be my taste testers while he’s gone! I’m sure they’re really dreading that…

We have received a lot of wonderful wedding gifts that have to do with the kitchen, but this may be one of the more decadent, random and fun products we’ve received – our molcajete! Now realistically, we could definitely live without having one of these in our kitchen, however what fun is it to make fresh salsa and guac like they should be made! After Will seasoned and treated this beast of a device (it’s really big and super heavy), we finally decided to try it out. We had wanted it’s first run to be with guac, but it is certainly not avocado season and we always think of making guac approximately two hours before we want to make it, which is not the time to buy ripe avocados. You would think we would’ve learned that by now, but we haven’t. However, we did have all the right ingredients on hand to make salsa, so Will decided to try making a roasted salsa for the first time. We figured this would be a good opportunity to try a new recipe AND our new molcajete, so off we went. Not going to lie – this was a pretty amazing salsa. Plenty spicy, lots of delicious roasted flavors, and a certain freshness to it that couldn’t be matched coming out of a jar. The molcajete was a hit and we’re ready to make some guac in it soon…once we appropriately plan to have in-season avocados on hand and ripened by the time we want to eat it!

I subscribe to Runner’s World magazine and occasionally they have some good looking recipes in there. In particular, the last issue was promoting the new Runner’s World Cookbook, so there was a special feature on a bunch of different things to eat! This recipe was one of them and I have to say, when I saw the name of it, I knew it was an immediate “must” for us. We usually have kale on hand, obviously we have plenty of basil from our herb garden, and we make hummus all the time. So to combine all of these ingredients into one recipe? I was amazed we hadn’t thought of it before!