Mother’s Day Fare

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Last weekend, Emily and I went to our parents’ house to celebrate our lovely and incomparable mother. She’s one of the kindest ladies I know, who will unfailingly stop on her way to work to rescue a lost dog or sneak into my house on the morning of my birthday to decorate the bathroom mirror with lipstick. (In the picture above, she’s that cutie in the middle. Shoutout to my Aunt Linda and Uncle Bob, too.)

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After attending church with my grandparents and enjoying a mimosa-infused brunch, the three of us headed home for a ladies’ day. We snuggled with the dogs (nothing unusual about that though), painted our nails, watched Wild (which is just beautiful, by the way), and took a break for afternoon tea. I made chocolate-orange popovers and little tea sandwiches for the occasion. Of course, it was a bit of an ode to my mom’s mom, the tea and petit fours queen.

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For dinner, I made individual vegetarian pot pies, a beet and goat cheese salad, and grapefruit bars for dessert. My cooking at home has waned significantly in the past few months, so I go a little crazy when I get the chance. It was a day of eating, but what holiday isn’t? Here’s my recipe for veggie pot pies. (adapted from this one).

Individual Vegetarian Pot Pies // makes 4

Ingredients: 
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. of butter
1 c. reduced-fat milk
3 Tbsp. flour
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
salt + pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, whisked

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté the broccoli, covered, for a few minutes. Add the carrots and onions, and sauté for several more minutes, until they’re beginning to get soft.

3. Combine milk and flour in a large saucepan over medium heat by whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3-5 minutes, until mixture is thick, continuing to whisk. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese slowly. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Don’t worry – it’s supposed to be that thick. If you’re struggling with the consistency, you can add a touch more milk. Fold in the veggies.

4. Cut the puff pastry sheet into four equal squares. Cut an X in the middle of each piece of puff pastry to vent. Divide the veggies-cheese mixture into four ramekins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Top each with puff pastry and brush with egg wash. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until puff pastry is puffy and golden brown.

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10 Ideas for an Alternative Valentine’s Day

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1. Make an indulgent breakfast and laze around all morning. I recommend these strawberry buttermilk doughnuts.

2. Print some sweet valentines to pass out. I love these ones from The Black Apple and these Downton Abbey-themed ones.

3. Knit a stuffed anatomical heart. Or if you don’t have time, knit a quick heart hair clip.

4. Stay in and watch a great, classic romantic movie like Funny Face or When Harry Met Sally.

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5. Make this hilarious and punchy “bang me” valentine for your special someone.

6. Go on a bike ride to your favorite book store with your date and pick out a book for each other.

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7. Participate in a cool, collective project like the One Sheepish Girl heart bomb. I did it last year and it was great fun.

8. Bring some love to your office with these super simple valentines for co-workers.

9. Fill someone’s car/closet/cubicle with heart-shaped balloons.

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10. Have a Galentine’s Day brunch with your gal pals.

This year, Domenico and I are probably going to repeat our Valentine’s Day plans from last year by watching the Oscar-nominated short films at Camelview 5. We’re not going to eat out this time to avoid the craziness, but will make dinner together and probably do some kitchen dancing. Of course, we might go out to split a milkshake or a slickable.

Eat Here: Bragg’s Factory Diner

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This weekend, Domenico and I treated ourselves to a little brunch at Bragg’s before his weekend work shift. It’s a vegetarian/vegan diner that was a family-owned pie factory in its first life. It’s quaint and cozy inside, full of homages to Phoenix and good-old Arizona. Between the two of us we shared pancakes, eggplant bacon, biscuits and veggie gravy, and a coconut-curry waffle. Maybe it’s because it’s a pie factory at heart, but the pancakes and waffles were top notch. Bonus points: They had a weekend special in honor of Leslie Knope and her waffle love.

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The weather was perfect, so after breakfast, we briefly explored Grand Avenue, which is full of mosaic-tiled planters, colorful galleries, and trees strung with pompoms and tinsel. I’m serious. It’s a technicolor dream of kitsch. I even found a yarn-bombed palm tree scattered with crocheted granny squares.

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As a side note, on my way to a little hike this morning, I had a super tasty smoothie from 24 Carrots that featured avocado, coconut and lime juice. Plus, I got to visit with my sweet friend Rachel, who works there, briefly. I love how many wonderful and exciting vegetarian/vegan restaurants there are in the Valley. I think my next stop will have to be Nami for some soy ice cream.