Bagels for Saturday

So it’s probably time that we talk about some of the great places that Chris and I like to eat at. The first of many is Eltana, a wood-fired bagel shop. We discovered this gem a few weeks after moving here, and eating there has become a Saturday breakfast tradition.

Eltana is a Mediterranean-inspired bagel shop in the heart of Capitol Hill, sitting between Pike and Pine. They have the cutest little bagels – yes they’re small – and the most flavorful spreads. Their list includes: scallion cream cheese, fig apricot compote, almond butter, harissa hummus, spicy garlic cream cheese, etc. Now I need to be honest with you, I do not like cream cheese. I don’t even like being near it, but my love for bagels runs deep. Eltana is the perfect place for me and all you cream cheese lovers.

When we go we always stick to our favorites. We never go outside of the comfort of our perfect bagel combo. For Chris, it’s a plain bagel with scallion cream cheese (he hates onions but loves this spread). And for me, it’s  a sesame wheat bagel with almond butter. Their almond butter changed my life.

Probably my favorite part about Eltana, and what truly keeps me going back, are the weekly crossword puzzles. I love puzzles -jigsaw, sudoku, you name it – but until I went to Eltana I had never come close to getting one clue right on a crossword. Now I’m hooked, and not just on the easy-peasy ones at Eltana, but the beefy, NY Times ones too. That’s right, I’m really smart.

After we finish eating / around the time Chris gets bored of crosswording, we head a few blocks down the street to Stumptown. It’s not our favorite cafe in Seattle but they have delicious mochas! They use a liquid chocolate mixture so there’s none of that chocolate pool at the bottom of your cup and then they dust the top with some chocolate powder. Mm!

Last Saturday as we were making the trek to Stumptown we noticed that Mighty-O-Donuts is putting a new shop smack dab in the middle of Eltana and Stumptown. All great food outings include 3 stops, am I right or did I just make that up? Needless to say, pretty soon we might just have the perfect combination for a food-coma-filled Saturday: bagels, mochas, donuts.

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Meal Planning

My favorite part of the day is mealtime. Yes, I mean mealtime. Not breakfast or lunch or dinner  – all of them. I love every meal! I love to eat and, thankfully, I married someone who is equally excited about food.

Back when Chris and I were dating, all of our dates were planned around good coffee and good food. When we got engaged and made our first budget together, we skimped on every category we could in order to put as much money as possible toward eating out. And I’m not ashamed to say that that hasn’t really changed. For us, nothing could be better than a great meal!

Together we have lived in 3 distinct and very food-savvy places: Los Angeles, Louisville, and Seattle. I know that you’re all thinking, “LOUISVILLE?!” Take that attitude home and go to Louisville – you won’t be disappointed. (I’ll share some of our favorite places to eat out another time.)

More recently, we’ve decided to save money by eating out less and cooking at home. So far, so good! But, cooking meals at home takes lots of planning and that’s what were here to talk about: how to plan healthy, easy, AND delicious meals. It feels daunting, but it’s doable and even fun! We scour magazines, cookbooks, and the Internet each week for new and old recipes.

The easiest meal for us to plan is breakfast (though making it has become a little more complicated). A few months ago we stopped eating cereal and started eating more wholesome foods (no, we’re not paleo, vegetarian, vegan, you name it): eggs, bacon, fruit, oatmeal, or even muffins, waffles, or toast from scratch. That’s not all for one morning but it’s an assortment that we rotate through.

Lunch is our least favorite. What do people eat for lunch?! For us, it usually ends up being left overs.

Our favorite meal? Definitely dinner. There are so many options and it’s the most fun to cook. We both work full time, though, so right now the challenge is to find dinners that are quick. There’s almost always Indian food on the menu and “Fish Fry Friday” (we have yet to actually fry it).

Once we’ve gotten our meals figured out, we’re off to the stores – yes, more than one. We usually get a few things from one of the farmer’s markets and then shop around at  2, MAYBE 3, grocery stores. It sounds crazy but each one has unique things to offer and some things at better prices than others.

On Sundays we’ll prep a few things for the week, like chicken stock or English muffin bread. Then we’re off! We cook together every few nights, try to make enough for leftovers.

So what’s been on the menu this week?

Pork Tamales (Joy of Cooking)

African Peanut Soup (The Oregonian Cookbook)

Pesto Chicken Power Bowl (made up dish)

Brussel Sprout and Sweet Potato Hash (Love and Lemons Blog)

Fish – we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it

With the exception of the tamales, these are some easy and tasty meals! I’ll keep sharing our weekly menus for you to try, as well. In the words of Julia Child, “bon appetite.”

Autumn is for Lovers

Autumn has arrived and this New England native couldn’t be happier. Ever since I was a young girl I’ve been enthralled with the beauty and freshness of Fall. With this season comes a wardrobe change, crisp air, colorful leaves, wool scarves, pumpkin-flavored everything, and warm gatherings with friends and family. Am I missing anything? I didn’t think so – and that’s what makes this the best season.

It’s a bit crazy to think that Summer has already come and gone, but in reality I don’t mind the quick change. Nothing beats cold, dreary weather that keeps you in bed a little longer in the morning and forces you to layer up when heading out the door.

I’ll try to stop gushing, but Autumn brings a bit of nostalgia and a lot of freshness to a season that has felt stagnant and lacking. There is the hope of potential with this season, hope that all the change and difficulty will unfold into the good gifts God wants to share with us.

So what sorts of things am I looking forward to this Fall? I’m glad you asked…

For one, neighborhood walks! As I’ve said before, Chris and I love exploring the many neighborhoods that make up Seattle. Each one has something special to offer. We live in Queen Anne now and enjoy walking to the Space Needle, to get ice cream, or to a coffee shop. Now that Autumn is here I’ll be sure to step on every crunchy leaf that I find along the way.

Second: shopping! Before moving to Seattle I lived in California for about six years, where the seasons don’t change much. So it’s been awhile since I’ve had to put my summer clothes away and grab my fall clothing “capsule.” I remember when I was a kid every Fall we would grab a big tub from the attic with my cold weather clothes. We’d put away the shorts and tees and take out the fluffy jackets and sweaters for Fall and Winter.

This year will be a  little trickier than normal because of a flood in January that took almost all of our possessions – about 90% of our wardrobes! So this Fall, Chris and I have been putting a bit more thought (and money) into building a Fall / Winter capsule. But don’t let a budget think you can’t have nice things! I’ll share more on my Autumn buys later.

Third, we will be hosting Thanksgiving in our apartment this year! For the past two years I, with my sous Chef, Chris, have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends. I was born on Thanksgiving Day so it’s more or less my destiny to cook this amazing meal. It’s been fun to share each of our families’ recipes with each other – and to create new recipe traditions!

Fourth, Autumn calls for knitting! Maybe more than I love to wear hats and scarves, I absolutely love to knit them. I have found so many great hat and scarf patterns from Purl Bee. If you enjoy knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc. check them out! Here is what I’ll be working on this season:

Color Dipped Hat
Classic Cowl
Color Tipped Scarf (I made this scarf pre-flood and loved it!)

None of these are for Chris though. He’s lost both a hat and a scarf that I made. 😝

And last but not least, all the fall themed music and movies! This means Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits, You’ve Got Mail, Ghostbusters… Okay it’s a short list for now but, if you have any suggestions, don’t be shy.

 

I hope you feel inspired to welcome the cold weather (unless in you’re in Southern California) and enjoy the season you find yourself in.

Rested

Do you ever feel like each weekend you say to yourself, “I’m just going to relax,” and then Sunday night rolls around and you feel more exhausted than you did on Friday? For the past several months, Chris and I have been telling ourselves that we will rest, but when the weekend comes we fill it up with chores and errands. And no matter how fun fulfilling those chores are, they’re not relaxing. The few times we have tried to relax, we feel antsy and quickly look for things that make us feel productive.

I think that we’re missing something. Maybe resting doesn’t need to mean vegging out on the couch, only raising a finger to flip through Netflix. It seems pretty silly, but I think we get so hung up on resting because that’s what it’s often looks like for us. But really, when has TV ever been restful or rejuvenating?

This past weekend, we finally decided to stick to resting for one day – and not the sit-on-the-couch sort of rest. We took the day slow, started with a cup of coffee and let the day lead us.

AMY2

One of our favorite things to do together is visit the neighborhoods of Seattle, so we headed over to an unexplored part of the east side: Mount Baker. We stopped by the library to grab more books than we’ll possibly read and face a hefty fine for past due books (sorry!).

Side note: if you’re ever in Seattle visit at least one of the many libraries, they are all so beautiful! My favorite is the Central Branch, downtown.

Chris and I also love visiting new coffee shops; we both work in coffee so what else is to be expected? QED Coffee is a charming little shop with a stellar view of Seattle across the street. There are so many viewpoints to see the city from and this one is close to the best (pictured below)!

Then, a walk along Lake Washington and happy hour pizza with my boo to finish off a great afternoon.

Our day doesn’t look like fireworks and ferris wheels, but it was just the sort of thing we needed. This summer was long and difficult, so a day with a simple agenda and the two of us together couldn’t have been better!