recently loved recipes

My mom is a recipe organization genius. When I was growing up, she always had tidy binders of recipes she’d clipped from magazines or got from friends. More recently, she reorganized all of these, along with newer finds from the internet, into larger binders. One for each type of dish.

Then there’s me. I mostly use Pinterest. And don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest as much as the next gal on the internet. I find it a great way to keep heaps of content organized. But, sometimes, I get concerned about those heaps. What if Pinterest crashes? Where will all my recipes go? How will I ever cook again? I suppose I do also have a box of recipe clippings that I never remember to look in. I am actually not even sure where it is.

So. In an effort to bypass Pinterest (but not exerting anywhere near the impressive effort my mom does), here are a few of the recipes we’ve been enjoying in the past few months:

IMAGE_3108^^Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa^^

IMAGE_3155^^Slow Cooker Coconut Green Curry & Pork^^

IMAGE_3254^^Homemade Pizza with “Lazy Pizza Dough”^^

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PICTURE-LESS DELIGHTS:

1 Can of Chiles in Adobo, 5 Dinners
Both the Kale and Pasta and the White Bean Chili recipes are surprisingly delicious given the minimal effort they require!

Summer Grilled Mexican Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad
Bookmark for next summer! Lots of work, but so good.

Caponata Panzanella

Shaved Brussles Sprouts and Sweet Potato Salad

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SWEETER TREATS:

Cranberry and Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread
(So good, but definitely a dessert! I’m adding cream cheese frosting when I thaw another loaf from our freezer.)

Flourless Apple Pie Pancakes

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 What about you? What dishes have you been enjoying? And how do you keep your favorite recipes organized?

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trick or treat streets

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When I was a kid, we went trick or treating once. On Halloween. I have vague memories of it happening on a slightly different night because of how the weekends fell or something, but it was just one day. One big event.

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Now, as a parent living in a city, it seems the opportunities to celebrate Halloween are endless. There are all those fall farm activities, events at the aquarium and the zoo and the butterfly pavilion and the…and then most neighborhoods hold a trick or treat street where kids can visit the local businesses. And that’s all before Halloween! I’m not being a curmudgeon here — I figure the more opportunities to rock the costume and to celebrate the better. (However, I do have some concerns about how we’ll manage all that candy someday. And I am a bit exhausted from the multiple festivities this weekend.)

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We went out both Saturday and Sunday this weekend to trick or treat. It was so fun to watch Willa figure it all out. Last year she barely got it, but did look darn cute in her toucan costume. This year, she was so excited to hit the streets, and you could see her brain whirling as she took everything in. She was a bit timid to approach each person, but after thinking it over, she would often make her way up. She liked having mom or dad hold her hand, but a few times she was brave enough to approach on her own. She more or less got the hang of it. I’d say she’s ready for Halloween. Next week.

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fall outings

Yesterday, someone posted on Twitter: “Did anyone NOT go to the pumpkin patch today?” Loved it. Because it was so true. Between Facebook, Instagram, and the blogs I read, it seemed everyone was getting their fall festival on. We, actually, did not hit up anywhere over the weekend, but that’s mostly because weekend crowds scare me. But not to worry. We’d done our fall outings on weekdays earlier this month.

In addition to driving out of the city for some pumpkins and farm animals, we’ve also been doing our best to enjoy time in Denver with just one crazy toddler (vs. a crazy toddler and an infant).  So here’s a recap of recent fall fun in pictures!

DSC04916 IMAGE_3175 DSC04912^^a couple of weeks ago, our playschool met at sunflower farm in longmont, co. what a place! there were so many animals to meet and feed, and plenty of other fun activities like swings and a campfire and a silo turned into a giant sandbox!^^

IMAGE_3159 IMAGE_3166^^i FINALLY decided about what to do for a double stroller situation, and so after a long drive to the ‘burbs during tuesday night rush hour to pick up a craigslist find, we stopped at star kitchen for dinner. we’d had takeout before and had been underwhelmed, but this time two of the three dishes we got were superb. my absolute favorite chinese dish is dry-fried green beans (干煸四季豆 gān biān sìjì dòu) , and they did an awesome version; without meat too,  which is rare! also, as willa tried to use her chopsticks to pick up a piece of tofu, she kept saying under her breath: “come here little guy.”^^

IMAGE_3182 IMAGE_3191 IMAGE_3194^^knock on wood, but we always have the best luck at uncle. we decided to try to get in a couple saturday nights ago, and didn’t have to wait at all. it was willa’s first trip and she was miraculously well-behaved. an open kitchen is always a toddler pleaser. and of course we had to hit up little man for ice cream afterwards.^^

IMAGE_3239 IMAGE_3247 IMAGE_3249^^a pre-baby to-do not to overlook: use up about-to-expire groupons! dan and i did just that on a date night last week. my groupons took us first to abyssinia ethoipian resaturant where we enjoyed a sampling of their vegetarian dishes as well as some lamb. and then, despite a high level of fullness, we went to high point creamery for an ice cream “flight” (genius idea!). the winner was the basil with blackberries, which we selected for our take-home pint. gotta love groupons. things you don’t even know you need! (sidenote: i think the theme of this pregnancy is lots and lots of ice cream.)^^

DSC04973 DSC04977DSC04981DSC04995IMG_3799 (1)^^we hit up rock creek farm with friends last week to pick our pumpkins. there were animals too (which willa loved) and bouncy houses (which scared her), as well as sugar pumpkins to purchase (so much pie in my future!). it was fun to pick out pumpkins, and luckily i had kind friends to carry them for me. it was a beautiful, fall day that started out cold and was in the 70s by the time we were leaving midday. willa was most pleased with that dead vine she found. it’s currently disintegrating in the back of my car…^^

 

a donut desert in denver

When we moved to Denver, I knew I would miss so much about the city of Seattle. Not so much the rain and the grey (although I actually do really miss that sometimes!) but lots of other things. One thing I didn’t anticipate missing, however, was donuts. Artisan donuts. To get even more specific, vegan donuts. Basically, Mighty-O Donuts.

Before moving to Seattle, I’d always liked a sweet baked good, but I’d never really dabbled in the donut scene beyond a Dunkin’ Donut or a Krispy Kreme (why so much alliteration in the donut world, btw?). But on a cool, rainy, Seattle morning, there’s really nothing like a donut and a coffee to get you going. Mighty-O is where all my loyalties lie, but the city’s other big purveyor, Top Pot, is pretty much just as delicious. We’d frequently stop by one or the other for donuts on our way to a hike or a walk or a ski trip.

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Then we moved to Denver. A donut desert. There were great restaurants to be enjoyed, craft beers galore, and sufficiently (although not exceptionally) delicious cupcakes. But where could a girl get a donut? No where, it seemed. I asked around, and most people didn’t even understand my need for a fancy round treat.

Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking (Voodoo!). There are exceptions to this complaint. Mighty-O sells their donuts in a few Whole Foods. (Not all of them though, so it took a lot of asking and hunting. Cherry Creek is your best bet.) Voodoo Doughnuts opened on Colfax earlier this year. And another place joined the donut game as well: Glazed and Confuzed. It’s a bit of a haul from our ‘hood, but we made the trek last weekend to see what they were serving up.

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Unfortunately, despite the excitement shown in the above photo, I’m still left missing “Seattle-style” donuts. I’m hard to please, I guess. Voodoo, Glazed and Confuzed, and others certainly make delicious donuts. But here’s why I’m still not satisfied:

1. High-quality ingredients vs. Wow Factor
The craziest donut you’ll find at Mighty-O is something like chocolate raspberry. They make delicious and unique flavors, but they’re all pretty tame. French Toast is one of their standbys. This means whatever you choose for your breakfast treat will be indulgent and sweet, but not overly so. You (most likely) won’t feel ill. I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but because Mighty-O uses only vegan (+ non-GMO) ingredients, their donuts are never going to be as over the top as Voodoo’s. Same goes for Top Pot. Their donut case has shades of browns and beiges. Not so much a rainbow. And that’s just fine with me.

2. Coffee. Maybe this is another Seattle vs. Denver thing, but both Mighty-O and Top Pot offer stellar coffee alongside their donuts. (I’m talking about a full-service espresso bar that uses locally roasted beans. Not a thermos with some random variety drip.) It seems like a no-brainer. Does anything go better with a donut than coffee?

3. Cake vs. Yeasted
Which type is your favorite? I’m with cake, all the way. And that’s what Mighty-O and Top Pot do well. They usually have a couple yeasted options, but not too many. Voodoo and Glazed and Confuzed on the other hand, offer up several yeasted varieties.

4. Lines. This is where only Voodoo fails. I don’t even want to get started because I might not be able to stop. I have a serious problem with the omnipresence of the line outside all (most?) of their stores. Sure, there’s a long wait when something new and exciting opens. But months and months later, the line is just evidence that you’re not doing something right. You need a more visible menu! And perhaps you should carry a few less varieties at a time so people can order more quickly! Or staff some more people!

Ok. I have to cut myself off. From this post, that is, not from continuing to demand what I think is a better donut. It must be coming? It exists in so many cities. Come on, Denver, make me proud.