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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Thoughts of Autumn

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Well, I missed it by a day, but as of yesterday, it’s officially autumn. Yay! Welcome to my favorite season. It’s the season of my birthday, the start of the holiday season, and the most beautiful weather in Arizona. I get to start drinking hot beverages and wearing scarves. So in honor of this “second spring,” I made a list of a few things I’m looking forward to.

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What I’ll be eating: Orange squashes and root vegetables, specifically these sweet potato rolls (which were a hit last Thanksgiving), browned butter butternut squash pasta, and my go-to pumpkin-goat cheese-caramelized onion quesadillas.

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What I’ll be making: Giant knitted candy corns and other festive things. It’s also time for me to break out my knitted pumpkin for the front porch.

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What I’ll be wearing: My peacoat. So excited.

What I’ll be reading: Unfortunately, mostly stuff for school. That’s not very fair – my academic reading is quite interesting and somewhat festive. For example, my reading list for my magical realism class is a list of classic horror/fantasy short stories from writers like Poe, Kafka, Lovecraft, and Wells. It’s getting me really hyped up about Halloween, guys.

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What I’ll be watching: Fantastic Mr. Fox. In the past few years, I always watch this movie on or around Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite Wes Anderson film based on a book by one of my favorite children’s authors taking place during my favorite season. What’s not to love?

Drink Dreams

I just walked across campus and from the bus stop home, and I’m close to death. It’s been tortuously hot the past few weeks, not to mention the humidity that crept in today. I was greeted with a blast of cold air when I came in the house and immediately swallowed a glass of water. Although the Arizona heat is quite unbearable, it does make coming inside and having a drink that much more satisfying. Since I’ve cooled down though, I’ve just been fantasizing about all the sweet and refreshing cocktails I wish I was drinking right now. Or rather, I wish it was pleasant enough for me to lounge outside, read my book, and perhaps sip a strawberry basil lemonade. Instead, I’ll sit inside with my air conditioning and dream of these pretty drinks.

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1. Strawberry Grapefruit Mimosa: I love mimosas – or maybe just brunch in general – so I’m curious about substituting grapefruit juice for orange juice.

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2. Strawberry Basil Lemonade Cocktail: Summer in a glass.

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3. Peaches and Whiskey Ice Cream Float: Three things I love all meeting for one boozy float! I actually tried a beer float for the first time in Portland and really enjoyed it. This looks like an even tastier take on it to me.

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4. Eggnog Shooters: I think I’m just really excited for the holidays and anything seasonal. The heat has me daydreaming of Christmas. Also, I love how much care went into the presentation of these; they’re the only shooters I’d be interested in. Cheers!