TO WATCH (May): Chef’s Table: Pastry, Episode 1 on Netflix. Come for the cakes (and cookies, and pies, and ice cream). Stay for the quirky-cute outfits. Be inspired to make THE birthday cake of birthday cakes while your mind’s eye wanders to that pair of red high-top converse sneakers Tosi rocks so well. Needless to say, I am fan-girling over the headscarves and creative confectionery fireball that is Christina Tosi.
TO DOWNLOAD (Caroline): The bain of my existence since getting married has been meals. I have to eat like a Jared Leto prepping for an Oscar role in order not to be the size of a house. The husband needs carbs, carbs, and carbs. So in order to for everyone to be full and happy and a reasonable size, I have to meal plan. I heard about this app, Paprika, and dang- it’s powerful. It can automatically download recipes, create grocery lists for you, and (the piece de resistance) schedule meals. (The computer verison is $30, but the phone/ipad version is $5.)
TO MAKE (May): I recently plumbed the depths of the internet (you know, pages 3-5 of a google search) in a quest for the perfect brownie recipe. The criteria: crackly, glass-like lid, fudgy center, uncomplicated ingredient list, and yields enough for a crowd. I landed on this recipe with a few tweaks (reduced the white sugar by ½-ish cup, used 1 stick butter and ½ cup vegetable oil, and replaced vanilla extract with a few glugs of kahlua because vanilla shortage...because kahlua.). The result: a near-perfect brownie. Pro-tip: tempting as it may be to cut into them while piping hot, DON’T! For cleanest cuts, allow pan to cool for 15 minutes, then pop it into the freezer for about an hour, or until no heat emanates from brownies and pan is cool to the touch. Hopefully, you followed the directions to line the pan with parchment paper. Pop the brownies out of the pan (they’ll be a bit stiff), and slice accordingly. These freeze well, in case you’re the type that must send delicious treats into a cold and icy abyss for fear of going on a late-night brownie bender.
TO LISTEN (Caroline): For so long I wouldn’t listen to Neko Case because she’s was who all the hipster girls listened to in college. But I finally gave in, and now I’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing with my life. Her melodies are singable without being predictable, and her lyrics are so poetic you could ponder them forever. She just came out with a new album “Hell On” which I’m still digesting, but my other favorites are “The Worse Things Get…” and “Middle Cyclone.”
I’m the kind of person that thinks exercising on vacation is a special treat. Even if that means I am mildly torturing myself with mountain climbers and planks while friends are sleeping in, getting tan, or doing anything that is not exercise. I usually aim for something that takes less than 30-minutes and requires no equipment. One of my go-tos is 12 Minute Athlete. Best of all, you can sort by equipment-free, apartment-friendly or specifically timed workouts. You obv don’t need to be on vacation to try these, so start with this or this.
TO DRINK (Caroline): This is my ode to spiked sparkling water: Where have you been all my sugar-filled, bloated life? I used to have to mix La Croix with whatever clear liquor I had on hand (I call it a Tiffani and it’s not bad), but now I have you’re not too sweet, low calorie, sleak-canned self to hold in my ever-more slender hand. Even though I feel slightly basic with you by my side, I’ll never be ashamed to have you by my side.