Laura Rennie

Cooking, reading, and watching, lately (v.2)

Laura RennieComment

I hope your (almost) summer is off to a great start! After a weird stretch of cold and rainy days, we're finally experiencing sun and OH HEY 98 DEGREE WEATHER. One of my favorite things about summer is how my body craves movement and fresh fruits and veggies. I'm going to barre classes 2-3x a week and I feel like a superhero every time I leave class.

Here's a bit of what I've been up to lately...

COOKING

I've been mostly sticking to quick meals or even throwing random things together and calling it dinner. (Naan pizzas for the win!) We've been eating a lot of salad — this one is our current favorite. It's easy to put together and perfect for serving friends, especially if you're serving someone who doesn't eat meat. You can keep it simple and serve it as a side dish or add protein to turn it into a meal.

Apple, Feta & Pecan Salad
Butter lettuce (or a Spring mix)
Crumbled feta cheese
Diced apple (use 1/2 for two people, a whole apple for 4)
Chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Balsamic dressing (our favorite)
Optional add-ins: dried cherries or cranberries, crumbled bacon, chopped chicken breast

A friend posted about this Korean Beef Bowl and I knew we had to try it. (Plus, I'm a big fan of Chungah's recipes.) IT WAS SOOO GOOD! And she's right — it takes all of 15 minutes to make, if that! 

I also gave this Maple-Glazed Skillet Chicken Breasts With Sweet Potato Hash a try, and despite the fact that I burned the maple glaze so much the smoke alarm went off and I had to throw it out, it was delicious! (I remade the glaze, but with much less syrup since I ran out, and I drizzled it over the chicken and sweet potatoes without reducing it down.) I chopped some of the leftovers up for Chloe and she loved it.

READING

I've been doing a rather fabulous job of setting my laptop aside at night and sinking into the tub with a book. I leave my phone in another room and pour in my favorite bubble bath. It's a much healthier form of "me time" than binging Netflix on the couch with a plate of cookies in my lap (though I do that now and then, too).

I got on the Liane Moriarty train a few months ago, and I'm not getting off anytime soon! I read "Big Little Lies," "What Alice Forgot" and "The Husband's Secret" and I have "Truly, Madly, Deeply" next on my list. Moriarty's books are fun and easy reads, but they're cleverly written. She does a great job of creating a variety of complex female characters and captures the female brain PERFECTLY. (If you're wondering about the content, I'd rate it PG-13.)

Another book I recently finished: "God and Jetfire" by Amy Seek. It's a memoir about a birth mother's experience with open adoption and both regretting her choice while knowing it was the right one. I listened to Seek's essay on the Modern Love podcast last month, bawled the whole way through and immediately checked her book out at the library.

“One afternoon we sat together on my futon and cried, knowing we were crying for our own exclusive concerns, and out of compassion for each other. We were tragically enmeshed; each the source of the other's pain, each the threshold of the other's future. We stood like tired boxers, clinging to each other to stop the beating. I could end her suffering, some of it, but only at my own expense. She was the only one who could see the magnitude of what was happening. She wasn't telling me it was somehow good for me. She knew what was at stake; she was weighing it every moment. We were two pieces in a puzzle that were negotiating the exact shape of the cut that would at once connect and divide us. We were pressing at each other through a curtain to establish the precise profile of our grief.” 

It wasn't an easy book to read, and I found myself torn between being annoyed/frustrated with Amy and feeling sorrow and compassion towards her. Let me know if you read it!

Also, I somehow missed this post on passion when it was published back in February, and I'm so glad I came across it the other day! This is another thing I'd love to discuss with someone... hint hint!

WATCHING

I'm reading more than I'm watching TV these days (ahhhh, it feels good to say that and mean it), but my "me" show of choice right now is Top Chef. I'm re-watching past seasons and loving it just as much as the first time around. I can watch five minutes of it at a time and not feel torn about pausing it.

I'm also watching "The Handmaid's Tale" because the book took my breath away as a teenager and remains one of my favorites of all time, but GUYS. This show is rough. It's a little too much for me to handle — thank goodness for fast-forward. It's not a feel-good show in any way shape or form, but I think it's an important story, now more than ever. The show is really well done, but I'd much prefer to recommend you read the book. (Seriously, read it.)

As a couple, we're watching "Better Call Saul" on TV and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix. Titus Andromedon is my spirit animal. Kimberly! Use your key! I'm Lemonade-ing!

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What are you cooking, reading and watching lately? I'd love to know!