3rd week // APRIL
TO READ (May): If you have spent any length of time with me in the last few months, you've likely heard me espousing the greatness of my new favorite cookbook, Dining In. Sure, you may call it "fangirling" over Alison Roman's style of writing (engaging and quirky!), or the way the food is styled (effortlessly cool!), or how most everything I've made from this cookbook is full of big flavors and completely delicious. No, I didn't join a cookbook club to cook through this book, you did! But really, if you'd like to do that, grab a copy and join me over here. Still not sold? It's okay, I am hesitant to get on many a bandwagon (i.e., Titanic, Stranger Things... I know, I know I'll watch them yeah yeah okay.). Sample a few of her recipes here and here, or check it out from your local library, then let me know what you think.
TO WATCH (Caroline): My last couple of months of seminary my favorite way to procrastinate was by watching a delightful BBC show called Father Brown. Murder mystery shows these days have gotten so dark and weird, but this show, based on a G.K. Chesterton character, is more in the vein of shows like Murder She Wrote or Monk. It is also one of the most generous portrayals of a Christian on television. Father Brown is wise, empathetic, and does not bend to the bureaucratic ways of his diocese. (Also my husband is obsessed with a fabulous character named Lady Felicia. He loses it whenever he sees she is going to be on the show.)
TO MAKE (May): Caroline can attest to the fact that when we lived together in grad school, she'd come home from the grocery store with a bag of brussels sprouts and lament the excruciating wait time between prep and plate time ("But I'm sooooo hungry!" she'd say, clutching her abdomen). You have to preheat the oven, trim the ends off each little sprout, put them on a baking sheet, then roast them for what feels like an eternity. Here's where your slow cooker comes in. Take a bag of brussels sprouts, trim the ends, toss into your slow cooker along with a tablespoon or two of oil, salt and pepper, and cook on high for about 1.5-2 hours. Voila! Instant dinner accompaniment. When they're cooked to your liking, add any seasoning of your choice, be it everything bagel seasoning, balsamic vinegar, shredded parm, toasted pine nuts, or any combination thereof. Want a legit recipe with measurements? Someone did that here, but jazzed it up with a balsamic reduction. Side note: I had some chicken broth that was nearing its expiration, so I poured about 3/4 cup in along with the initial seasonings. They came out perfectly tender, though yours will likely brown more sans broth.
TO LISTEN (Caroline): Vide Noir is the latest release from the band Lord Huron. Their music restores my faith in humanity. Their last two full length albums are total sonic ear candy, but this one is a bit more nuanced. I've never listened to an album where picturing the actual setting was so important. The band's lead singer and writer says that the songs are inspired by late night drives through L.A., but there is also an other-worldly feel. And, like all of their albums, there is a 60's garage rock/folk aspect as well. If you enjoy music with a very very specific narrative, try this one.
TO SUBSCRIBE (May): When I am not extolling the virtues of cooking from Dining In, I am evangelizing for Scott's Cheap Flights. What's so great about it? You get an email a day tailored to your departure city with crazy deals. I'm currently eyeing a $240 non-stop flight from Chicago to Mexico City. Subscription is free, though you can opt to upgrade to premium for a small monthly fee. Pro-tip: Most airlines allow you a 24-hour cancellation window with a full refund. Perhaps you're eager to lock down a deal but need to work out minor details like who's going to watch your house/dog/baby/plants while you're steeping in tequila on some shaded side street of Mexico City. You cancel within 24 hours (for most major carriers- read the fine print, okay?!?) if real-life adult obligations pose a hindrance.
TO USE: Mario Badescu skincare was always one of the things I promised myself I would buy when I made my millions. But my mom got me a gift card last Christmas to Ulta, and I decided to use it to get one of the Mario Badescu kits. All of the products are pretty great, but, you guys, the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser is UNREAL. I didn't even know a face wash could so drastically change the way my face felt! It's pretty powerful stuff- it even says to only use it 2-3 times a week. But everytime I use it my face feels baby smooth. This face wash is not messing around. (Also the drying lotion gets two thumbs up.)