Build Me Up, Butterspoon

There are so many different emotions happening when you move into a new place. Excitement at how you haven’t spilled coffee on the carpet yet. Frustration when you are trying to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night and run face first into the wall that you forgot was there. Hope that with a new place will come new habits (this one is quickly dashed, but it’s beautiful as it is fleeting). Confusion at how your furniture has ever made it through doors before.

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Things that have increased the homey-ness of the new apartment so far include artwork up on the walls, playing cribbage into the night with my love (whiskey included, natch), finding time for dance parties every so often to really break the place in, and putting up pictures of family and friends around the house.

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Also, making meals in the kitchen definitely ups the feel-at-home ante. Luckily, I had time this week for one of my favorite recipes – so happy the ingredients were easily accessible in our new spot, and that the plateware needed for serving made it through the move. Whether you are easing in a new life chapter, or just want to celebrate all the goodness happening in your world, this recipe for Cookie Butter is ready and waiting for your enjoyment.

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COOKIE BUTTER

Ingredients:
  • Jar of cookie butter (I recommend crunchy, but that’s just because I know what’s what in the cookie butter world)
  • Spoon
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Procure a jar of cookie butter

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2) Open it and faintly hear the sound of angels singing a heavenly strain

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3) Spoon it up – I use a serving spoon because…butter made of cookies

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4) YESSSSSSS

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Comida Española

I somehow missed the gene for other-language-mastery. My mother speaks French fluently and beautifully, and I guess I thought that would just pass down the bloodline somehow. But after four years of taking French in high school and college, I still pronounce “croissant” with a “t” at the end (disclaimer: I actually spelled “croissant” wrong just now – even auto-correct has a language leg up on me).

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I do think it’s important to try new things, keep challenging yourself, get your brain moving, and all that jazz. So I am tackling learning a new language again, but trying my hand at Spanish this time, self-taught-style. My current lesson plans include DuoLingo paired with watching a show or movie I am kind of embarrassed to be watching (or re-watching), but dubbed in Spanish, so it’s PART OF THE LEARNING, OKAY?

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I’m also learning more about Spanish culture, and holy wow do they have some amazing cuisine. I wanted to share my Spanish learning experience thus far with y’all, and took a former recipe, which is an all time favorite of mine, but put a Spanish twist on it. Enjoy!

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MANZANA

Ingredients:
  • Manzana
  • Perejil para adornar (opcional, pero de primera clase)
Direcciones:

1) Conseguir una manzana

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2) Lavar o pulir en su camisa

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3) Usted puede cortar la manzana ahoara, o simplemente puede usar sus dientes para morder justo en (las manzanas están diseñados pensando en usted)

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Same Time, Next Week

Apologies, faithful Gastro-A-Go-Goers – no recipe this week. Turns out moving cross-country takes up a lot of time and energy. Who knew? So many good things happening, but consistent internet access and having all the things arriving at the new place are not among them. Yet. Pro tip, though? Empty apartments have excellent acoustics for singing.

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On deck: a birthday dish to kick off a new decade, as well as some Spanish-inspired cuisine. In the meantime, garnish lovingly and often, and looking forward to hanging out next Thursday!

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Rice Cake 911

There are these things that we do over and over, and each time we wonder why we allowed ourselves to repeat the same mistakes. Maybe it’s a relationship that always crashes and burns once reignited. Maybe it’s that “shortcut” driving to work that is never, ever shorter. Maybe it’s wearing that cute dress that you haven’t worn in a while, then halfway through the day remembering it has a hole in it, then hanging it back up in your closet at the end of the day and repeating it all a month from now.

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Maybe it’s buying rice cakes when you’re grocery shopping. What are these things? Why do I think they are going to be this delicious snack when they are just Styrofoam Frisbees with some artificial caramel drizzled on there to distract you from the fact that you are consuming something you should be stuffing in packing boxes?

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And yet, at least once a month, I throw them in my cart as a viable snack option. They sit in my cupboard until a late night snack desperation moment strikes, and then I stare them down with a slight snarl. This time around, I refused to let the rice cakes win, so I decided to go the extra mile and create a recipe to spruce them up. Good news for chefs everyone – peanut butter and jelly can fix almost any dish (more pb&j love found here).

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SAD-TO-HAPPY RICE CAKES

Ingredients:
  • Rice cakes (any variety – they’re all pretty bad)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Match your sadness to that of the sadness of the rice cake

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2) Gather up your faithful friends to rally

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3) Watch the happiness unfold

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Running Recipe

There was a shift in my exercise approach within the last couple years. Previously, the main motivating factor for working out was wanting to lose weight/look good/not have to lay on the bed to try and button my jeans.

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Which are all still very valid reasons for working out. But lately my main motivating factor is less about vanity and more about feeling good. My body (and brain) really *feel* the difference on the weeks I am able to sweat it out versus the weeks I act like the character in the soap opera that’s in a coma for like 5 episodes.

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To increase my motivation for getting up off the couch, I try and sign up for races every once in a while. It’s less “racing” and more waving amicably at all the participants as they pass by while I promise myself that I’ll get to that finish line somehow. But it keeps me going to have a goal. I signed up for a Halloween 10k as a kickoff to the upcoming San Diego adventure, and training has been underway.

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The best part about running/working out fairly consistently? Getting to eat more food and feeling pretty justified about it! The formula for this is fairly simple, and I encourage you to do whatever is best for you and your health – this recipe is my M.O.

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EATING SOMETHING AND REMEMBERING YOU ALREADY RAN TODAY

Ingredients:
  • Whatever you are eating
  • An extra
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Cook/prepare/arrange/order your meal

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2) Remember you ran that day

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3) Add more!

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T.L.C. (Tender Loving Chili)

I don’t know about other states, but in Minnesota there gets to be a sort of mania when the temps start to dip below 50 degrees. And not like an-in-a-panic mania, but like wide-eyed-exhilarated-rants-about-all-things-fall-and-how-it’s-the-best month mania.

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And I get it – my birthday is in the fall, so obviously there are some good things happening as the leaves are changing and we’re all showing off our cute scarf and sweater collections. But maybe it’s also that we have to throw ourselves into this state of gleeful autumnness because we know winter is coming, which is less about showing off cute clothing choices and making sure not an inch of skin is exposed to the air as you scrape off your car.

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Good news: there are some foods that just *taste* better in certain seasons, and once the degrees start to cool, these dishes start getting top billing and we are all the better for it. It’s already chilly in my apartment, and because I am cheap and refuse to turn up the heat until it’s below freezing, I am opting to bundle in blankets, fluffy socks, and hold a warm bowl in my hands. What’s in the bowl? One of my fave fall/winter go-tos: Chili.

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CHILI

Ingredients:
  • Can of chili
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Remember eating amazing homemade chili with your in-laws last winter and deciding that would hit the spot

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2) Also remember that you don’t have time or energy to figure all that out, and decide that good ol’ Amy usually has your best interests at heart in times like these

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3) Open can

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4) Pour chili into pot and heat until it seems like it’s ready

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5) Pour out of pot into bowl

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6) Realize you don’t have sour cream but you have cream cheese

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7) Decide not to possibly ruin everything at the last minute and just enjoy as is

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Veggies & Yum-mus

Although I’ve never had an aversion to eating veggies solo, I do enjoy adding a co-star when staring down a plate of garden goodness. Peanut butter waltzing with celery, salad dressing gracing the presence of spinach leaves, or hummus rocking out with a crunchy vegetable – I love it all.

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I’m not sure what my life was like pre-hummus. I’m actually not sure I want to think about it. Other hummus aficionados have regaled me with marvelous-sounding (and surprisingly simple) recipes to get those chickpeas nice and hummus-ed, which is awesome.

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Also awesome? You can just buy hummus and it’s all ready to go! Have fun enjoying this Veggies & Hummus recipe – your veggies will thank you for the company.

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VEGGIES & HUMMUS

Ingredients:
  • Assorted veggies
  • Tub of hummus
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Pick out a vegetable or two while humming a healthy tune

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2) Procure a container of hummus to your liking

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3) Dip those veggies right up in there

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4) Enjoy!

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