Saturday Small Talk

Saturday! This is the weekend in which spring arrives in Northern Michigan–it’s supposed to be in the mid-60s and sunny! I intend to soak up all the vitamin D. We have a pretty busy day today, but tomorrow is blissfully unscheduled. Bring on the hammock and a book and a nap. I live a wild life, friends.


If you read nothing else this weekend: The #unfollow experiment. How intentional are you about the people you follow on the internet?

Scientists say it’s time to reinstate the brontosaurus. Thank goodness. That’s all I have to say about that.

Do you have a bunch of hard boiled eggs left in the fridge? Might I suggest this delish looking egg salad?

Now is a great time for Americans to travel to Europe. Thanks, exchange rate!

One woman wears the exact same thing to work every day. Would you dare?

I need to up my grilled cheese sandwich game. This made me laugh. And want grilled cheese.

If you were obsessed with the podcast Serial, rejoice! Coverage of Adnan Syed’s story will continue in a podcast produced by PBS.

Do you set yourself up for failure before you try something new?

I fell in love with Canva this week. If you have any graphic design needs, and don’t feel competent in your skillz, this is for you.

I love this clock.

What are you reading these days?

Egg Nog!

Happy Christmas Eve, friends!

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited over to help some friends procure a Christmas tree. Side benefit: egg nog. I confess, I wasn’t particularly excited. I didn’t think I liked egg nog. Oh boy, was I wrong. The second the creamy, cold, boozy deliciousness hit my lips, I knew I had to try my hand at the homemade variety.

20141224_140843 I can just hear you now, “But Rachel, raw eggs?” Yeah, yeah. This is the cooked version. No salmonella here!

Egg Nog

Based on Alton Brown’s recipe. Serves: 6 (1 cup servings)

You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites. Tutorial HERE.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of spiced rum or bourbon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. sugar

1. Separate your eggs into whites and yolks. Put the egg whites in a small bowl, and put them into the fridge for later. Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and beat them with a mixer until their color changes from a shiny and bright yellow, to a duller, more-like-cake-batter cream. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

20141224_1251032. In a medium pot over medium high heat, combine milk, cream, and nutmeg. Bring to just a boil. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Add a small bit of milk mixture into your eggs as you beat with a mixer. Once combined, add another small bit. Continue until all of the milk is incorporated into the eggs. You add it bit by bit to avoid scrambling your eggs. Which is to say, you just tempered eggs. Congratulations!

4. Pour the eggs and milk mixture from the bowl back into your pot. Over medium heat, bring the temperature to 160 degrees (not higher!), and remove from heat.

5. Add 1/4 cup of your booze of choice, and put mixture into the fridge to cool.

20141224_1316406. After it is sufficiently cooled, whip your eggs whites into soft peaks. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk the whites into your egg nog. Serve whenever you’d like! If you want it a bit more boozy, feel free to play bartender and add as you go, customizing drinks based on the tastes of the person.

croppedMerry Christmas!

What’s for dinner? Winter Edition.

A few weeks ago, I shared some basics of meal planning. I’m a firm believer, simply because it saves me time and money, and we (almost always) have something delicious and wholesome on the table for dinner.

20140114_084943All my theories and tips are all fine and well and good, but how do they play out in real life? Both the husband and I work full time. We often don’t get home until 6:30 pm, so don’t have infinite amounts of time to make dinner. Here’s what we’ve been eating recently to work around our time constraints:

Tacos or Fajitas. They’re so easy, and can be prepped ahead of time if you’re on top of your game. Bonus points for making your own taco seasoning or fajita marinade–it’s not hard!

Italian Wedding Soup. Make your meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. If you do, this is a very simple weeknight meal.

Jambalaya. One of our favorites, because it’s so versatile. I often leave out the shrimp to keep the cost factor manageable.

White Chicken Chili. Just had this one last night. So delicious. To make it even easier, dump everything in the crock pot before you leave for work, put it on low for up to 10 hours, and dinner is served right when you walk in the door. If you do it this way, you don’t have to cook your chicken first–just add two raw chicken breasts, and it will be juicy and cooked to perfection by dinner time. Shred and serve.

IMG_5723Meatloaf. Another great one, though it requires you to be home an hour before you eat. In order to cut down on prep time, I make this recipe the night before, and cover with saran wrap in the fridge. Then all I have to do is slide it in the oven.

Chicken Fingers. 30 minutes start to finish, and you’re done. Serve with a veggie side and some ketchup for dipping.

IMG_5915Pea Soup. Maybe not one for the masses, but we like it. Another recipe that’s easily made ahead or quickly made on a weeknight.

Loaded Nachos. This has become something of a Sunday night tradition. And I like it.

IMG_6116Chili. Ever faithful, traditional, meat and beans chili. Comfort food at it’s finest right here.

IMG_4537Barbeque Chicken. Take the desired amount of chicken breasts or thighs. Put in baking dish. Slather with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Salmon. Thaw desired amount of salmon. Sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper. Saute in 1 Tbs. olive oil for 4 minutes (or so) a side. It’s done when it flakes.

Whole Roasted Chicken. Nothing like it. Like the meatloaf, this one is very little hands on time, but does require you to put it in the oven 1.5 hours before dinner.

IMG_2021It takes some planning, but eating well on a weeknight is doable, no matter your schedule!

What have you been eating recently? Have any quick, weeknight meals I should add to my list?