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. 

Spicy Lentil TacosIt’s another taco truck! Beep beep! We’ve been having lots of fun in the kitchen trying out new vegetarian recipes and this was another winner from The Southern Vegetarian. While we’ve made lentil tacos before (I am hardcore cringing at those photos), we both definitely rank this recipe higher than the previous one. This had a distinct, smoky tex mex flavor to it that really played into the lentils well. It’s such a straightforward recipe and my biggest suggestion is to ensure that you definitely use the two different types of chili powders; I would even encourage you to add others in! It makes all the difference in the world flavor-wise for making this more exciting than “oh, we’re having lentils for dinner.” I would also like to point out that we ended up with more lentil mixture and toppings than we had tacos for, so we made some rice and made taco bowls out of them! They were equally delicious 🙂

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So the other day Will and I registered for a couple races. The first is a virtual race benefiting the National Parks in honor of National Park week. We just have to run a quick little 5K, submit our times and voila! We’ll get our super-fly National Parks week virtual race medal in the mail next month. Despite having totally fallen off the running train, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to accomplish. Otis and I have been running recently and while we’re working on pacing, he’s at least getting me up and moving. Will plays soccer weekly, so while that’s not designated running, it’s enough running to make a 5K no big deal.

Reese's Egg Cookies

Good morning and happy Friday! I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. For once, I have not over-planned myself and ended up with an almost entirely free day this weekend! What the what?!?! This is so strange for me, since I usually like to completely book myself each day. The only scheduled activity for me on Saturday is having friends over for dinner, so really, how difficult is that? My hope is that my little Emma-monster will let me sleep in (doubtful) a little bit before heading to my MIXXEDFit class at the Y. Then I might visit the opening day at the farmers market. Or not. Who knows. Sunday includes a soccer game then my Purr-time training at the Humane Society, which is my first day of officially being on the Purr-time team aka hanging out with allllll the cats. Then it’s just steel pan practice, so even Sunday is low-key! Hard to believe.

Vegetarian Gumbo

This is not the first time I’ve highlighted a vegetarian dish of Southern origin in the last couple months and it definitely won’t be the last. While the last trio of recipes was from Budget Bytes (the author lives in New Orleans), this recipe comes from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook, which we recently acquired after seeing it on the bookshelf of some good friends in Little Rock. The cookbook is based out of a blog called the Chubby Vegetarian, which is run by Southerners who try to enjoy “classic” Southern meals without compromising their ethical wishes. This was the second recipe we’ve made out of here (never captured photos of the first, plus we weren’t overly successful with it) and this one is a winner! I would make this over and over and over again. True in its Southern style, this gumbo is spot on and probably the best gumbo I’ve ever had, in the South or not.

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As faithful readers know, on this blog we share recipes that we make in our regular day-to-day life, meaning we often only make them once. Since we are recipe sharers and not curators, we don’t have to try a recipe several times to perfect the proportions before sharing it with the world! Instead, we try recipes, adjust them as we go and then report to you if/how we thought that turned out. Therefore, it is rare to make a recipe more than once in our household, much less to do so within the same month. This stew was just that good. I tried it on a cold week while Will was soaking up the sun in Trinidad and it fed me for the entire week. Best part? I never got tired of it. Every day, it improved. So when Will returned home, I bragged and bragged about this awesome stew that I made and he finally said, “well why don’t you just make it again for me so I can try it to?” DUH. So I did and chef Willis was impressed. This recipe seems soooooooo unassuming at first and I really just picked it because I hadn’t had wild rice in a long time. Even looking at the ingredient list I was like, “eh, whatever. It’ll at least feed me for a few days.” But the nugget in this one is the beautiful beautiful flavor of the mushrooms. Let those babies release their juices as long as you can possibly bear, because THAT is what makes this a gem. Sure, it’s creamy, sure there’s other veggies. But those mushrooms. Those are what you’re waiting on. Anywho, it’s still early spring and this is a good fill-you-up meal to have in your fridge while the weather is doing its thing outside!

Pike Place Mac n CheeseTo wrap up posting about Courtney’s visit, I wanted to share the recipe we made while she was here, with ingredients primarily purchased at Pike Place Market in Seattle! While the market was manic the Friday we visited, we still managed to get harassed by Pappardelle’s Pasta as we walked by, forced into trying some dark chocolate pasta. Upon discovering that was good, we tested some others and settled on getting some garlic and chive shells to make for dinner. Without much more of a plan, we kept shopping and thinking about what to make. We were planning to swing by Beecher’s cheese for the samples anyways, when it dawned on us to make a mac ‘n cheese from our ingredients! We picked up their flagship cheese, plus some Gruyère to round out the flavors. We had our plan and went about the rest of our day in Seattle.

IMG_4393Admittedly, this seems a bit odd that I’m writing an “on the road” post about our own town, Tacoma, but with Courtney in town, it felt like we were equal parts guests as we are locals! It was beyond fun taking her to all of our favorite local joints for food, beer and so much more. We knew Tacoma was a pretty cool city, but being able to show it off to someone over the course of a few days made it all the sweeter. I’ll keep the chitchat to a minimum and encourage you to read/view on to learn a little more about our adventure around town, primarily through pictures, because let’s be real: we’re millennials and we like taking pix of our food, k??
(PS – We’re always welcome to host visitors whether it’s for an afternoon or several days! Just hit us up to get on our calendar! *cough cough* family and friends *cough cough* #westcoastbestcoast)
(Also, cute picture of Otis looking longingly at his ball in the park up the street, Wright Park, while we were on a walk with Courtney. Ball is life.)

IMG_4367As many of you probably already figured out, you haven’t heard from us in a week because our friend Courtney was in town! We had a blast showing her around Tacoma, Seattle and Mount Rainier and we definitely ate all the things. Had we not kept a running Instagram log of what all we were consuming (#courtneysees253), I don’t know if I would remember it all by now! We only cooked once (!!!) during the entire weekend, so instead we took her to a bunch of restaurants we love, as well as some new joints. We will be sharing our Pike Place Market-inspired recipe at a later date!

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This past weekend was a doozy for me! I spent over 12 hours volunteering time for the Humane Society and the Point Defiance Zoo, before finally crashing to just hang out at my zoo at home. Will had a productive weekend too, as he picked out the wood for the kitchen table he is building us. He found it at this cool shop, Earthwise Salvage; it’s old mill wood that’s been painted many colors on the edge, most recently blue. We got lucky because we had them haul away some items found in the basement of our rental house and we got a great store credit that covered almost our entire purchase for the table. The piece is a huge piece of lumber and Will spent a few hours working on sanding the pieces down. He’ll ultimately stain the top for eating off of with a beeswax coating. So far, the project is looking really cool! Sadly, the table won’t be done in time for Courtney’s visit this week.