Thursday, May 21, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 5.21.20

  • Puppy Breath - We finally got to meet our friends' new puppy this weekend! Bella is a Cavapoo. She is very sweet, very sleepy, and very much the owner of my heart now.

  • Love Notes - We celebrated Mother's Day a week late this year. Some of the sweetest parts of the day were finding these little notes all over the house. I actually just found another one yesterday! So simple and thoughtful. Bookmark this idea for your loved one's birthday! (If you're interested in the reason we celebrated late, keep reading --otherwise, skip ahead). My husband had surgery the week of Mother's Day and asked me if I'd take a "rain check" on celebrating. He didn't feel "prepared to prepare" a fabulous day. Of course, I said it would be no problem. He expressed great thanks and insisted that it was supremely generous of me to agree to postpone --while I (secretly) thought the generous thing would have been to just roll with the situation and lower my expectations. When I (later) admitted this to him, he said it never crossed his mind that having a "not fabulous" day might be an option. Haha. You might be thinking, "Goodness! What on earth does she expect?" Here's my definition of fabulous: No plans, no dishes or picking up (but enjoying a clean house), handmade cards from the girls, my favorite meal. It's really not over-the-top. BUT the "favorite meal" part is critical and it requires my husband to grill. Grilling was not allowed on May 10th because of his surgery. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait.
  • Snake Huggie Earrings - I'm loving the style of wearing multiple earrings in my original piercings these days --after a break from doing just that (which lasted about 20 years). I was surprised to find that while my helix piercing had closed, my lobe piercings were still open. For now, (ha!) I have three piercings in one ear and one in the other. I've been wearing a combination of tiny studs and asked for a few small pairs of "huggie" hoops for Mother's Day. This Amazon link has lots of very fun styles to choose from and each of these 14K gold plated pairs is only $12. A huge bonus is the way these are designed to "click" open and closed. The hinges might wear out at some point, but it's worth it to me to not have to struggle to get the back wire inserted (as some hoop-style earrings are designed). In addition to the snakes, I chose these ones and these ones.  *affiliate links make me rich!

  • Mike's Hot Honey - We first stumbled upon this product in our favorite local cheese shop, Mere's. It has really got a kick! Delicious with cheeses, on avocado toast, pizza, or grilled cheese --it went fast. We've been "unable" to get our hands on any more (because I didn't bother checking for it on Amazon). Duh. In any event, we have it again and you might find it amazing as well! 

  • Pimento Cheese - It's a southern thing. It's necessary. Before we moved here, I had never even heard of pimento cheese. Now, if you visit us from out of town, we will make it a point to serve you pimento cheese and Cheerwine (also very much a thing). My friend, Anne, popped over the other day with a lovely little surprise: Chef Jaime's Pimento Cheese. I've had lots of versions of this southern staple and this is by far one of the creamiest --with just the right amount of texture from the curds and peppers. If you're local to the Charlotte area, you're in luck! Just order through an Instagram message and delivery is free! Spicier versions of pimento cheese are usually what I gravitate toward and I can't wait to order Jaime's jalapeƱo version. So I have to know (especially from my West Coast peeps): Have you had pimento cheese? Are you a fan? 

  • Garden Growth - We are having a very strange spring. It's been incredibly mild, as far as temperatures go. Some days are downright chilly! It rained all day yesterday and through the night. I had planned to make a big spring salad with grilled chicken for dinner and instead remained curled up and opted for Mexican takeout last night! Given/despite (?) the weather, the garden is going like gangbusters. These zucchini seemed to burst out of nowhere overnight and this sweet little cherry tomato, though not completely ripe, had fallen from the vine. The beans are taking shape. The banana peppers continue to amaze and the crook-necked squash are almost the right size. In case you've missed the many announcements on Instagram, I'm a farmer now. Obviously.

  • Meals We Loved - We continue to eat well during quarantine. My "Foodie Night" text chain is always full of ideas, recipes, yummy-looking plates, funny memes, and good news. If you read the TILT post last week, you know my friend, Carrie, gifted me yeast packets! If you have any, I highly recommend making a fun night of homemade pizzas. Everyone in our family enjoyed creating their own version of the "perfect pie." The recipe linked here makes 2 large pizzas or 4 generous individuals. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I will cut the dough into 6 pieces because the size of our 4-portioned pies was tricky to transfer onto the hot pan. I used the leftover grilled asparagus and red onion from my Mother's Day meal + shredded mozzarella and creamy ricotta in a very easy and versatile frittata this week. I've also linked a recipe for spring ramp pasta. If you can't find any ramps, then small leeks, green onions and/or shallots would be a good substitute (I'd also suggest adding some lemon zest to finish the dish). Pictured below, in order, and linked recipes here, are the highlights of the week: Carrie's Yummy Pizzas, Thai Basil Beef with Peanut Salsa (this recipe came from my Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook and is not available online; however, this HBH Thai Basil Beef is similar, "Mom's Favorite Meal" (rare filet, grilled asparagus and red onion, green salad, +big cabernet), Leftovers Frittata, Simple Ramp Pasta, and Coconut Chicken Tikka Masala.

  • Sourdough Strides - I have a new favorite sourdough recipe/technique and it's resulted in two beautiful, rustic loaves over the past week. Turns out, I had been over-proofing my dough and by the time it hit the hot oven, it was exhausted --which yielded a very wimpy oven spring. This new recipe from Sylvia of Feasting at Home (gorgeous blog --going to have to spend some time exploring soon) is even a "no-knead" method! In the sourdough bread post, you will find step-by-step instructions and videos about the different "folds" that are straightforward and detailed. If you're into the whole bread-baking thing --or you want to jump in, give this recipe a go. Sylvia also has a detailed methodology for making your own starter --though, the easiest way to get started is to find a baker friend in your area and ask for some of theirs. Seriously. Sharing your starter is a thing. Most bakers are very generous and love to celebrate this part of the "Bread Community."

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  1. Never had pimento cheese! How did I miss this when we visited? Guess we will have to come back!

    1. We let you down! I’m so sorry. Sounds indeed like you’ll need to come on back ASAP! xxoo