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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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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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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Bday Breakfast (& Bridezillas)

Any good relationship is about give and take – a balancing act at times, but a worthy one. As relationships deepen and grow, it’s easy to fall into habits and roles that make sense between you and your partner.

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For example, I love vacuuming, while my partner gets all zen doing dishes. I get some kind of weird nerdy high from balancing the checkbook and he is all about in-depth research on important purchases. He might not quite understand my fascination and enjoyment of every single Bridezillas episode, but he rolls his eyes in secret and that what counts.

T

Although we both are culinary titans in our own right, I do have do admit that my partner is a pretty fantastic cook. He is creative, patient, and pours love into the dishes he creates (total pizza wizard, among other things).

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Ever grateful to be the recipient of his cooking prowess, I really wanted to knock a meal out of the park for him on his birthday this week. After a bit of brainstorming, I eureka-ed on the perfect dish to properly celebrate my partner’s day-o-birth, as it’s one of his faves.

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BIRTHDAY COFFEE

Ingredients:
  • 10 spoons of ground coffee
  • Coffee maker
  • Water
  • Balloon w/relevant messaging
  • Milk / Sweetener (optional)
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Place filter in coffee maker

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2) Scoop or eyeball 10 spoonfuls of coffee up in there

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3) Pour water in coffee maker (I think the rule is to match the number of spoons to the number on the pot?)

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4) Brew coffee

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5) Pour in mug, add milk or sweetener if desired

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6) Add a festive balloon to the mug and enjoy!

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Summer Book Club, Foodie-Style

I’ve been seeing a lot of lists for summer reading. “Top Ten Beach Reads,” “Hot & Sizzling Summer Novels,” “The Best 5 Books to Fall on Your Face While Trying To Be Somewhat Sexy on Your Beach Towel,” etc.

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I am a library girl at heart. There is something so incredibly magic to me about the ability to walk into a building, pick out whatever strikes my fancy, getting to take it home with me FOR FREE, then return it and repeat the whole delightful process. No regrets here, except my personal book collection is slim, as I hardly ever purchase books. Seriously, it’s some Goosebumps, a lotta Theater Major stuff, and old school Nancy Drew (hi, Bess – you were always my fave).

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Looking at my book stock, the most books I own are cookbooks. Family and friends have been generous and awesome at picking out stellar recipe collections for me to own. Wanting to share the wealth, I invite you to read about some of my top recs from my increasingly extensive collection if you are looking for summer recipe book enjoyment.

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RECIPE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

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I really love Kris Carr. I find her personal story inspirational, and her approach to food sustainable and passion-filled. I haven’t made any recipes in this book, but I really would like to some day. This book is on the list for best photo spreads – I page through this book with the same affection and foreign wonder I use with Vogue in the supermarket checkout lane.

Skinny B*tch in the Kitch

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These ladies are full of sass and snark, which I appreciate to no end. This book earned a spot on the list because of title creativity and because I actually *read* the whole book at one point. Which is similar to the times I have actually watched entire Jillian Michael DVDs without getting up off of the couch to participate.

Vegan Bites: Recipes for Singles

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This book is on the list because I actually made a few recipes from it, and they worked out and tasted decent. The only issue is that the book is all “This book is for singles – portions are good for 1-2 meals so you aren’t making a ton of food.” Dumb. The best kind of food is tons of food. If you use this book, do as I do and double or triple all recipes.

Best Bet

So what is my best recipe book recommendation? All of them! And not like in a “everyone played in the tournament, so here is your participation trophy” way, but in a “when you stack them all up together they are the perfect height to balance your snack while you watch The Wire with all the time you saved not cooking” way.

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Tout de Suite Salad

One unchanging aspect about me is that I’m always behind on pop culture trends. Recently I heard a song on the radio I really liked, and was telling someone about it, hoping to track it down. After I skillfully hummed a couple of bars, they looked at me confused. “Um. That’s from No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album. From 1995.” Sounds about right. Almost caught up, then.

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I’ll probably start collecting pogs and beanie babies any day now.

TV-wise, I am getting caught up with 2002, and thus getting into the grittiness of The Wire. I am nearing the end of Season 1, and things are getting heated up in Baltimore (and not just because of Idris Elba, but daaaaannnng).

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The other day, I got home from work late, and knew I had limited time to get in an episode before my next engagement. I also knew I needed something healthy to eat (as my “next engagement” would hopefully involve whiskey and tater tots). Not having time for my usual salad recipe, I opted for one of my go-to dishes, the Ten Second Salad.

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TEN SECOND SALAD

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of broccoli slaw
  • Some salad dressing
  • Parsley for garnish (optional, but classy)
Directions:

1) Grab bag of broccoli slaw and dressing from the fridge [2 sec]

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2) Grab bowl from cupboard [1 sec]

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3) Tear open broccoli slaw bag [1 sec]

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4) Pour bag into bowl (portion at your discretion – how many tater tots do you need to balance out?) [3 sec]

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5) Open dressing [1 sec]

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6) Pour dressing on slaw [2 sec]

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7) Enjoy [duration of The Wire episode]

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