I don’t know why, but I’ve been all over the Pinterest app lately. Here are my new favorite finds.
*It’s a big day here at a glass of milk, because CV(D) is here with a guest post. I have heard tell about her whiskey river chicken wraps (on the menu at Red Robin) forever, and I’m so glad she’s sharing her secrets today. As soon as this post appeared in my inbox, I went out and bought all the ingredients we didn’t have and made these for dinner the same night. This is a winning recipe!*
This was going to be a post about how I finally found a go-to appetizer to serve at any function I throw. But a good post writes itself and that was sitting in my drafts folder for over two weeks, not going anywhere.
And in those two weeks I started seeing lettuce cups popping (back) up everywhere. I mean, they were a thing years and years ago, right? But I guess they’re making a comeback.
I’m here to tell you, this is the recipe you need. Lettuce cups are fine when stuffed with chicken salad, but they shine with this unique mixture of golden raisins and almonds. A friend brought them over for a pre-lunch snack, and I turned around and served them to AGOMYR the very next day.
What’s best is that you can make them without turning on the oven at all!
To make lettuce wraps with ricotta and golden raisins, you will need:
In a small bowl, combine the almonds, raisins, chives, oil, salt, and pepper.
Arrange the romaine leaves on a plate and top each with a dollop of fresh ricotta and a generous spoonful of the almond mixture.
*A note – This could be scaled up to feed a crowd easily. Do it!
Summer is always a season of reading for me, and this summer, it seems like there are so many great books on the horizon. Here’s what I’m hoping to get to. I have a ton of these titles on hold from the library right now, and I promise to swing back and keep you posted on what pans out.
(All titles best enjoyed with an ice-cold glass of Joy the Baker’s summer water.)
Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub – I loved The Vacationers, and I bet this will be equally fabulous. Straub has a way of writing about people today that makes you feel like she’s rolling her eyes at us, while smiling at the same time
The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – This has been all over Instagram because the cover is so darn beautiful. Modern Mrs. Darcy says this is “a rare bird–a literary page turner.” I can’t wait.
Opening Belle, by Maureen Sherry – Reese Witherspoon bought the rights to this one, so I’d better get started before it becomes a movie.
The Island House, by Nancy Thayer – I read The Guest Cottage last year solely because the girl on the cover looked like she could be me. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to breezing through this one, and pretending I’m on Nantucket.
My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante – Have you heard of the series? I hadn’t until my aunt mentioned it, but then it started popping up everywhere. I wouldn’t have picked this up otherwise, but I’m interested to get my hands on it. Now I’m next in line for the first book, and realizing if I like it, it’s going to be a couple months before my number comes up for book two. Should have thought of that ahead of time.
Here’s to Us, by Elin Hilderbrand – I’m going to confess something, and I hope you won’t judge me. I’m not a huge Elin fan. I love the beach, I love chick lit, and I have nothing but sweet, sweet love for Nantucket. I’ve started a bunch of hers, but they haven’t held my interest. My hope for this one comes in the form of Jess, one of my favorite bloggers, who wrote some recipes for the books.
In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume – This one came out last summer, which means you might be able to score it without having to wait at the library. I am a huge fan of Blume’s Summer Sisters, and hope this novel for adults holds me just as much.
*Speaking of which, Reese is turning Big Little Lies into an HBO series. I flew through it in a weekend about a month ago. As someone with an in-depth knowledge of an elementary school, I found it hysterical in that it’s not too far-fetched to think something like what happened there, could actually happen. I’ll leave it at that, and tell you I hadn’t loved any of Liane Moriarty’s books until this one. I adored it. Time to try What Alice Forgot.
Last year, I took PopSugar’s reading challenge. Didn’t finish. Didn’t care. It wasn’t really about trying to fill in each of the categories as much as it was about seeing how much what I was reading was or wasn’t particularly varied. PopSugar came back with a reading challenge vengeance in 2016, and I am, of course, along for the ride. We’re just over halfway through the year, and I know I promised you a summer reading post, and I really will get that to you, but first, here is how I’m doing. I’ll be back at the end of the year with a final update on this list.
And as always, you can keep up with my reading as it happens on Instagram.
And the stuff I’ve read that doesn’t fit these categories:
Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave; Peace, Locomotion, by Jacqueline Woodson; Stella by Starlight, by Sharon Draper; Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton; Small Victories, by Anne Lamott; George, by Alex Gino; I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron; Sparkly Green Earrings, by Melanie Shankle; Little Victories, by Jason Gay; Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Dear readers. When you are clutching each piece of clothing that you own to your chest, asking yourself the age-old question, “Does this bring me joy?” allow me to introduce you to a site than can help you with the pieces that sadly, do not.
Have you heard of it? It’s an online thrift store that accepts name-brand clothes from people all over the country. Myself included. And now maybe you. Here’s what you do. You go online, and ask them to send you a clean-out bag.* And they do. It’s a big plastic bag with polka dots. You take it, and fill it with your gently, gently used items from places like JCrew, Gap, and Anthropologie, and you send it back at no cost to you.
ThredUp will go through your clothes, and take only the very best of what you send. They tell you in big letters on their site that they take less than half of what people send. But if they take some of your items, that’s great. Because they’ll give you credit for them. Like a consignment shop, but all online. Whatever they don’t use, they “responsibly recycle.”
I have held onto a bunch of clothes for a while–things like Vera Bradley bags I’ve barely touched, or J.Crew clothes that still have tags–because I know I could get some cash for them. I could list them on eBay. But I’ve been sitting on them for years, and haven’t done a thing. Hello, ThredUp. You are the answer to my problems.
I sent my first bag to see how things worked a couple months ago, and tried desperately not to get my hopes up. It took the ThredUp team a few weeks to go through my items, but then I received an email that about half of my bag was accepted. Even better, I had over $60 credit to use on the site. As Gooplet is bulking up like it’s his job (which I suppose, it is), I took the money straight to the kids’ side of the site, and spent money on clothes for him.
Again, ThredUp really only takes name-brand stuff, so it was easy to load my cart. I even sneaked a new, white J.Crew sweater in for myself. It still had tags! Everything shipped right away, it was clean, and I’m thrilled I have a jumpstart on fall clothes for Gooplet. The whole experience was so great, I went through my closet again, and have a new stash of clothes ready to send. My next bag shipped this week, and I can’t wait to fill it and ship it as soon as it arrives. And in the meantime, if you’re so inclined, give them a try.**
*ThredUp is taking off right now, so while they sent me my first bag as soon as I asked (a couple months ago), I had to wait about 3 weeks to get the one that’s on it’s way to me right now. I don’t care. Worth it.
**If I did that right, that link gives you $10 to spend, and gives me a kickback if you spend it.
(Mackenzie’s killer closet picture here)
On the sixth.
I made a vow to myself that aglassofmilk was not the place to come gush about my child. That’s why we have Facebook. But I will spend a minute here to tell you about Mom Brain, which is very real, and is an affliction from which I am currently suffering. Those impacted by this condition simply cannot be held responsible for their actions.
For example, my little crew of mom friends was getting together the other day, and, per usual, I was tasked with making dessert. One of our cohort is off dairy for the time being so I proudly found a recipe I deemed dairy free. One of those Cool Whip pies you dump and stir, and pour in a store-bought crust. Cool Whip has to be dairy free, right? It’s so artificial. Like non-dairy creamer.
Cool Whip is not dairy free. It contains skim milk (you go, Cool Whip). I didn’t figure that out till I set about making the pie and decided only then to check the list of ingredients. But here’s the worst part, and remember dear readers, that pride cometh before a fall, in all my excitement to have found something we could all enjoy, I neglected to notice that said pie contains a cup of milk and a block of cream cheese. How nice that one ingredient of the pie is relatively, sorta , kinda dairy-free, when you’re about to dump a veritable shit storm of milk products into the mix.
CV(D), I’ll make it up to you.
And in the meantime, you all should really make this pie. There’s nothing fancy about it, but there’s also no rule that says the best desserts are fancy.
To make two pies, you will need:
Beat confectioners sugar and cream cheese together using a mixer. Beat in peanut butter and milk. Fold in almost all the Cool Whip, reserving a little bit for the top of the pie. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze two to three hours.
After that, remove the wrap, spread a thin layer of Cool Whip on top, and garnish with chopped peanut butter cups. Serve cold, but not frozen.
Back at the beginning of May, I gave Ali’s Week in the Life another go ’round. The funny thing is, I rarely complete my Week in the Life album (yup, last summer’s is still up on my desk), but I love the idea of taking pictures here and there to document what life looks like at any given moment.
So this year’s Week in the Life looks hella different from 2015. But, in a funny twist of fate, the two weeks couldn’t have been better planned (thanks, Ali!). At the beginning of last year’s week in the life, I had just found out I was pregnant, and kicked things off with my first ultrasound. This year’s week finds me typing this post one handed while holding a napping seven-week-old, who doesn’t like me to put him down. The times, they are a’changing.
And I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point of things. Ali says, “The truth, my friends, is that we never know when our “everyday” will change. Capture what it is real for you right now.”
She also tells me to look for rhythms and routines. Oh, to live a life with those again!
Some highlights from the week…
What our living room looks like right now. I thought I knew clutter before.
And our coffee table.
Enjoying meals that friends and neighbors have been so kind to deliver. And the ones who make enough so that we have leftovers are my favorites.
A typical weekend involves mowing the lawn. And now that there is a baby involved, we run out to the porch to catch a white-noise nap.
Always reading, every day.
The only thing we’ve managed to cook so far is Buitoni tortellini with store-bought pesto. But I can envision the day we can make it a la Deb.
Always internet scrolling. Usually during the first nap of the day, which is short, and doesn’t give me enough time to do anything productive.
Bouncing around the house, in hopes of keeping someone happy.
Success! We match more days than I’m comfortable admitting.
So much porch time since we’ve had a rainy, cool spring. Love that.
Impulse purchases at Target.
And the reason for the trip, my new planner. I bet I will always plan in school years.
Every evening (read: witching hour), we stroll, in the name of keeping someone calm, and in hopes of catching one more quick nap.
Starting work on my album.
If you’ve been around, you know my husband’s standby comment with regard to what I make is, “It’s pretty good.”
Anything more than “pretty good” and I know I’ve hit the jackpot.
And when I get a compliment better than “pretty good” for a meal that is absurdly easy to make, it’s like winning the dinner lottery.
Or in this case, the breakfast for dinner lottery. I’m easing back into the kitchen with what you, long-time watchers of the Food Network might consider a semi-homemade meal, and it’s working so far.
On last night’s agenda: ham, egg, and cheese biscuit bake.
To make it, you will need:
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a casserole dish, or spray with baking spray. Place biscuits in a single layer in the dish. Beat eggs with a whisk. Stir in cheeses, ham, onion, garlic powder, and lots of fresh ground black pepper. Bake 35 minutes or till eggs are set. Top with chives and scallions.
*A note that ham steaks are in the meat section of your grocery store, and are already fully cooked. They’re like giant slices of the ham your family cooks for Christmas or Easter. A smaller side note that I have never successfully recooked a ham. I can’t ever get it hot enough. Or glazed in a way I like. A challenge for another day.