Hello 2023!!! The year in which I already have all my PTO at work spoken for, and cannot wait to go on some trips!!! I am not yet bored with sharing these little newsletters every month, so I am going to keep at it. Let me know if you have any suggestions for how I can make this even more fun to receive each month?
Made this really tasty Sticky Ginger Tempeh with Coconut Rice for dinner, along with some steamed broccoli. It is really delicious and easy! My only tip is to use low sodium soy sauce, or cut the soy sauce with some water. This would be great with chicken or any other protein also. You could of course have this with plain rice, but coconut rice goes really well with the gingery sauce! I also never steam tempeh as this recipe suggests, seems to me an unnecessary step.
If you’re still looking for ways to use up butternut squash, let me suggest a quinoa bake. You may be thinking, wow that doesn’t sound very exciting, but this dish has a great contrast of textures with the crunchy breadcrumb topping, melty cheese, sweet roasted onions and squash, plus fresh herbs (sage is particularly great!). This is a very adaptable casserole that I consider on the healthier side, as the base is quinoa (a complete protein) rather than pasta, yet still has the comfort food vibe that I love. This formula is also a great way to repurpose leftover roasted vegetables, turning them into something new!
Feeling in a bit of a cooking slump, I tried this Roasted Cauliflower with Spicy Coconut Crisp that sounded interesting. Along with this delightful cauliflower, I made Christmas Lima Beans with Cumin & Coriander. This was kind of an odd match up, but both of these recipes are really wonderful and now saved as faves! Next time I am going to get a giant cauliflower and just eat that maybe add in some lentils or fry some tofu to throw in the mix. The beans are simply great on their own, maybe next time I would have them over rice and add in some greens.
Here is a super delicious and comforting soup that we made and loved! Sausage, Kale, and Gnocchi Soup. This is sort of like zuppa toscana. I used Impossible sausage and added some diced carrots, Instead of Italian seasoning I used poultry seasoning because that’s what I had on hand, and I only used half the amount of cream. This soup was so good I didn’t even need bread with it!!
We watched a crazy 3-part documentary on Netflix called Don't Pick Up The Phone. Not the most satisfying ending, but really interesting and definitely a story I never heard of before that is hard to believe is true!
ALERT! The Circle returned for a 5th season! This is my absolute favorite reality show. Matthew finds it very annoying, but I’ll counter that a lot of things may sound annoying if you aren’t actively watching and have no context!!! For example I now watch Real Housewives and I never thought that would happen because I found it very annoying when first exposed to a random scene of people shouting. Context is everything, and The Circle is wonderful.
We finally watched The Sandman on Netflix. Such a cool show! I definitely was not super into it until I think episode 4, but it is very unique and when the season ended it felt abrupt, right in the middle of a storyline, so I am looking forward to Season 2!
I want to mention this book, A History of Burning by Janika Oza, even though it is not out yet (pub date 5-2-23, available to preorder now). This book is really wonderful, and if you liked Pachinko, if you like multigenerational family stories, if you like historical fiction, if you like learning about times and places in history you haven’t read about before, I think you will like A History of Burning. This story starts in 1898 with a boy (Pirbhai) who is taken from India to Uganda to work on a railway for the British, and proceeds to follow his children, and grandchildren, and their lives in the capital city of Uganda under British Colonial rule, through chapters told by alternating characters. Uganda goes through a lot of changes, and under dictatorial leadership in the 1970s, the nation is divided, and the family (and most of their friends and neighbors) must flee their homes in Uganda. The characters in this book are very well fleshed out and I really grew to care about each of them. There is a thread of loss/misplacement, and the silence that comes family secrets that persists through the generations, but still a feeling of hope. The ending was perfect. Very happy I read this book and I will remind you all to pick this one up when it is officially published in May!
I went to see Women Talking in the theater. It had been quite a while since I have seen a movie in the theater, so it was fun! I read this book a while back and wasn’t sure how the movie would be, I thought it might be too slow, but it actually worked really well. A bit intense at points but well worth watching and isn’t too long.
I finished the puffy quilt! Finally! I started cutting all the fabric for this in January 2022, and worked on it off and on between other projects, and as time and mobility allowed. I used a lot of scraps from other quilts and bought a bunch of pretty florals too. I hand tied the puffy front to the back, without any stuffing in the middle since it was already very heavy, and did the binding by hand as well. I ordered and was waiting on a fancy leather thimble for two months which caused a delay in the last stretch. The quilt is very cozy, heavier than I expected, and I love it so much! I am so glad that this project is out of the UFO pile (unfinished objects) and I can move on to something else.
I used my fave shirt pattern and made it into a dress. Actually, I made two! It’s been quite a while since I made any clothing, and I am going to get back into this year.
I turned 42 on January 27! I feel like this year must be better than last year, but at the same time I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. Fingers crossed for a fun and joy-filled year without any scary surprises. I treated myself to a nice, long massage and sushi for dinner with Matthew, went to see a movie (Women Talking), and made dinner for a few friends. All of this was lovely!
I successfully completed CENTER - a 30-day Yoga Journey with Yoga w/ Adriene. I do not usually sign up for things like this, but I enjoy Adriene’s approach to doing yoga at home, and thought it would be good to kickstart the year and would force me to get into the habit, as one of my goals for 2023 is to do more yoga! Matthew did a lot of the days with me, and I recruited a couple friends (hi Naomi and Julia!), and I only had to skip and make up a few days through the month. I am proud of myself for completing this and aim to continue doing yoga daily or at least a few days a week!
I baked and delivered some cupcakes, my second baking task volunteering for For Goodness Cakes! I decided to do funfetti and bought the tiniest cookie cutters to spell out happy birthday in sprinkles on top. My cute idea didn’t work out but the cupcakes still turned out cute! My first time using a piping tip for the frosting, which was fun!
Poor baby had three teeth pulled this month. We had a day of near constant whining, drug administration struggles, and she had trouble navigating the stairs in our condo for a couple days which was alarming, but she bounced back to her usual goofy self quickly.
Goodbye, until next month!
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I am making the gnocchi soup tonight! will report back :)
And I haven't seen that documentary, but I know that story and it is INSANE!!!!! So, so wild.