Laura Rennie

Cooking, reading and watching, lately

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What a wild season of life we are in. It's been stressful at times to juggle opposite work schedules with evening work events and doctor's appointments and get-togethers with friends, not to mention mothering an infant and trying to keep up with a home and feeding my family. Andy has been an incredible partner and father and I'm proud of the way we've been working as a team. Plus, I know millions of people around the world are juggling the same things and we're all figuring it out in our own way. Thank goodness for grace and coffee!

Here's a bit of what I've been up to outside of working and mommy-ing:

EATING

I usually cook meals that I don't need recipes for (or we get Pizza Hut), but I've recently tried two dishes worth sharing:

This Coconut and Chicken Curry Soup was a new favorite the second it went into my mouth. I almost always tweak recipes, but the reviews are great for the original so make it how you like! I wanted more liquid and less chicken (one breast per cup of liquid seemed odd to me). I used only 1.5 cups of rotisserie chicken, added a second can of coconut milk, upped the curry powder, lime juice, ginger and S+P and used red pepper instead of green. I served it over jasmine rice.

We also loved this Game Day Beer Chili! My tweaks: I only used one can of beans (pinto), I used only one bell pepper (orange), and I used ground turkey instead of beef. For the sausage, I used spicy ground Italian pork sausage. I also left out the tomato paste, but that's only because I didn't have any. This chili was crazy yummy! The spiciness of the sausage plus the sweetness from the maple syrup made for killer flavor! I used a cream stout, but any dark beer should be fantastic in this. And in case you're wondering what chip to pair this chili with, the answer is Fritos. (Update: if you happen to forget the ground turkey at the store, there's good news! Just add another can of beans and you're set. We didn't even miss the turkey.)

I work with two other women, and we're all obsessed with Panera's Autumn Squash Soup. A friend claims this copycat recipe is just as delicious (if not more so). I can't wait to try it! 

READING

I'm not having the greatest year in terms of books. 2014 and 2015 were amazing "book years" and I'm wondering if the difference is that I'm reading less these days, instead of the fact that my books aren't great choices? I'm not sure. Anyway, the best book I've read recently is "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist. I devoured it! Niequist writes her books almost like blog posts — each chapter is a short essay of her thoughts. People either tend to love that style or hate it. 

If you have any book suggestions for me, please share!

Also, I continue to adore Erin Loechner's writing. This post really blessed me. I'm thankful to not feel like I'm drowning 100% of the time, but I certainly have "underwater days."

"If you’d ask me for proof of my current life, of recent existence, I’d point to daily artifacts: BOB books on the credenza, cracked egg shells in the compost, burp cloths piled near the washing machine.

Me and my smallness. Holding fast to the ledge, clinging to the brick."

WATCHING

I re-watched Downton Abbey on Amazon over the summer, so, this. What a great final season. I like to watch 10-15 minutes of a show while I feed Chloe her bottle and often have something already pulled up on my computer for easy access. After I finished Downton Abbey I watched the newer version of "Upstairs, Downstairs" and then "Home Fires," which isn't being renewed. I'm mad that I got attached to the show! Now I'm watching the 1995 "Pride and Prejudice" mini-series. What should be next?

You better believe I'm watching "This Is Us" and that I cried at the end of the first episode. I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who is taking their sweet time with catching up, but I will say this: bravo to the writers. I'm thankful certain events are part of the story and certain feelings are expressed. Vague, I know. Maybe I'll touch on that more at some point.

Project Runway is back! YESSSSSS! Make it work!

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While I have you... I'm on the hunt for cozy, affordable clothes for the chilly days ahead! If you have anything you love that's still in stores, let me know. And if you've been wanting to give Stitch Fix a try, use *this referral link.* 

k bye.