Eggplant & Halloumi Burgers

Halloumi cheese is dense, salty, and it grills like a block of tofu – as in fast and easy. I highly suggest you try it in some capacity, if not on these delicious burgers that I scooped from Veggie Belly.

We all know the importance of layering when it comes to the muli-tiered burger. You put the tomatoes on the pickles, and bam – everything falls apart on your plate (if you’re lucky), and you have no choice but to pick of the pieces with a fork and knife (gasp!).

SOME TIPS:

  • Cut the eggplant a smidge thicker than I did to give it more of a “burger” feel
  • Try the Summer Shandy beer. Not only is it the perfect beer for a warm weather cookout, it could not have complimented this meal any better. (Thanks B.N. for leaving those behind!)

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful weather. Give your papa lots of kisses today.

Brit

The Pink House

We are officially all smiles and sore backs here at the Pink House! While there are still a few home improvement-related projects in the works (a new kitchen ceiling fan, and some organization fixtures [aka hooks]), I am happy to report we are settling in quite nicely.

Every moment from when we started packing until this very one was absolutely exhausting, and it’s so nice to finally be here. I’ve always loved the inspiration that comes from living in a new space.

[And yes, that is a picture of a trashcan. It is, quite possibly, my most favorite possession now. Am I old?]


For our first night alone we grilled marinated vegetable kabobs, and after days of carry-out, it sure did feel good to get back into the kitchen.

Well, outdoor kitchen anyway.

I hope you all had a glorious weekend full of not carrying large things and home-cooked meals. To those of you who helped us put together furniture, hang pictures, and unpack – we love you. We’re totally busy the next time you move – but we love you!

Brit

This Is What I Know

True friends get genuinely excited when you try on wedding dresses.

True friends chase you down the sidewalk with napkins to dry your overwhelmed and anxious tears.

But most importantly, true friends don’t care if you double dip in the sweet Thai chili sauce.

Occasionally, the right words escape me. Right now is one of those times, but let me try my best:

Today I danced, with fervor, in the true meaning of friendship.

Thanks to you all for making this seemingly imperfect day turn out so perfectly.

I love you forever and ever and ever. And ever.

Or at least until our faces get chewed off in the Zombie Apocalypse.

Oh, and a special ‘thank you’ to my fantastic mother – who, for reasons I might never understand, will do just about anything to make me feel special, loved, and happy.

Love, Brit

What I’m Reading

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Set during a remarkable time, the same period as Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises, Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife brilliantly captures the voice and heart of Hadley Hemingway as she struggles with her roles as a woman—wife, lover, muse, friend, and mother—and tries to find her place in the intoxicating and tumultuous world of Paris in the twenties. (Random House)

Images via Google

This would be a great book for those of you who are, say, hot off a two week dominatrix binge with Christian Grey. The Paris Wife is romantic, ominous, and beautifully written.

So, for today:

Step 1: Buy this book.

Step 2: Find a pool.

Step 3: Shake your fist at the sky and ask, “Where did spring go?”

Step 4: Enjoy the day, but you know, always remember why you have it…

Reading is always good for the mind (even if it is NYT best selling smut porn).

Brit

Tri-Color Quinoa

Tri-color quinoa is like green and orange bowtie pasta. It doesn’t necessarily taste that different, but it sure is pretty.

Ever since I (finally) got a handle on making quinoa I’ve been preparing it in batches on a weekly basis. It’s perfect for lunches, cold or hot, and actually helps with that 2:30 in the afternoon slump. Everyone suffers from that, right? Ok, good.

In the meantime, a compilation of my (mostly food-related) favorite things from the Internet as of late:

Making lists and discovering an emerging theme is like therapy…

So, wine and dessert it is. Awesome.

P.S. I really enjoyed this article about the psychology of eating animals. Explaining why I don’t eat meat to people is still incredibly difficult for me – mostly because I’m terrified of coming off preachy. But, there it is, in all it’s well-written glory if you care to read it for yourself.

I hope you are having a better-than-average Wednesday. Come on, long weekend.

-Brit

Mother’s Day: Eastern Market

Have you ever been to Eastern Market in Washington D.C.? It’s a smorgasbord of jewelry, food, art, tchotchkes, furniture, clothing, and more (it also has it’s very own metro stop). I myself like to go at least once a year, and no matter how hard I fight it, the temperature is always north of 80 degrees every time. I only mention this because every time I go I say to myself, “This would be a lot of fun in say, September.” And then I kind of never go back.

During this particular trip, I:

  • Tasted the most amazing, buttery buffalo mozzarella. Like hands down, the best I’ve ever had. I don’t even have a picture of it – that good.
  • Found a pink hat. Put on a pink hat. Realized I had too much hair (and fashion sense) for said hat.
  • Almost bought pickles out of a barrel.
  • Inhaled a strawberry, banana, and Nutella crepe.
  • reveled at an entire table of antique salt & pepper shakers, but did not buy any.
  • Waited 45 minutes for a metro train. Weekend D.C. Metro is the worst.

A lot of my fun revolves around food. Off the cuff lists always help me come to that realization.

But most importantly, Mama had fun.

And if you were a good little offspring too, you’re tired as all get-out from showing your mama a good day as well.

(click on kid with the aviator sunglasses for slideshow)

-Brit, “my mom once brought a cutting board (with knife), artisanal cheeses, and grapes into a movie theatre so my brother and I wouldn’t eat junk food.”

I bet almost none of you can say that.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Instagramification: The Weekend, Avenged

Sometimes I begrudge busy weekends because I find they go by faster without the proper amount of relaxation. For some reason, be it the weather or sheer amount of fun I had, this weekend was the exception to the rule.

On Friday, Steve and I did a walk-through at our wedding venue, and subsequently (finally) set a date for September. Everything about planning seems more exciting now that things are coming together. Afterwards, we met a couple of friends for pizzas, beer, and fancy cocktails to ring in the weekend. The four of us together make for an especially inappropriate bunch, so suffice it to say we shared a lot of laughs.

Bright and early on Saturday morning I assembled 30 of my closest co-workers to privately screen The Avengers. I punched the air, yelped with anticipation, cried (yes, that’s right), and fell in love with Hawkeye. It was amazing.

Then later that evening, I watched one of my dearest friends from high school tie down his fiancé.

What I mean to say is he got married.

The weather was magnificent – a slight breeze during the outdoor ceremony, the sun peaking through the clouds on it’s way down to the horizon. The reception was equally beautiful. We ate, we drank, we danced, and celebrated yet another awesome couple taking the plunge.

During one of the last songs of the night which was some fantastically classic upbeat love song (that I can’t remember), I chatted up the newlyweds while they bopped back and forth on dance floor happily. Jill laughed and said “this was actually supposed to be our wedding song.” Turns out, the DJ had played the wrong song for their first dance. It was in that moment I just knew she was perfect for Mark, because I know tons of women (myself included) that wouldn’t get through the first verse without telling the DJ to change the song. She was just going with the flow and accepting the  inevitable glitches of the day. I really appreciated that about her, and I know Mark will too.

Sunday was more… slow moving. Needless to say, I’m still currently trying to get through it. I’m tired, perpetually thirsty, and chalk full on Indian food. I have 100 different to-do’s swirling around in my anxious Sunday mind, and I’m trying to pull it all together before Monday bites me square in the bum.

First order of business: Vegetable Noodle Soup with Peanut Butter & Jelly. Spending part of my Sunday making food might seem unproductive considering all the laundry there is to be done, but I’ve got this bag of wheel-shaped noodles just calling my name.

And I know, I know. What happened to Pancake Sunday? Pancake Sunday has been postponed one week. I like to listen to my body when it comes to food, and today it’s been telling me screaming, “Feed me veggies!”

And maybe also, “Maybe not so much wine next time, deal?”

Deal.

-Brit

** Steve just said the song was Your Song by Elton John. Aww.

Salsa: Three Ways

Or what they came to be called: “Regular, Green, and Fruit.”

Chopping is an incredibly calming and even therapeutic activity for me, especially with a low-stress recipe like salsa. Steve and I migrate to our respective chopping spots in the kitchen, divvy up the work, and get to it – he, the hot peppers, and me everything else.

So after making the Tomatillo Salsa with Black Bean Quesadillas about a month ago with much success, we got ballsy and made two more variations on the classic dip.

[All three salsa recipes are from Mark Bittman’s book, of course. Because it’s the absolute best.]

Pico de Gallo, Tomatillo, and Pineapple Salsas:

Four hand cramps later we took about 11 pounds of salsa over to a friend’s house to watch Round 2 Game 1 between the Washington Capitals and N.Y. Rangers.

The bad news is we came home with zero salsa, and two stomach ulcers.

The other bad news is the Capitals lost. And it was ugly.

I suppose if there was any good news it would be how excited we are to make different kinds of salsa all summer, with any luck using ingredients from our very own garden. (Herb Garden Round II, I’m coming for you this year)

Now, invite us to your parties. We’ll even bring chips.

The recipe for our favorite (we voted):

Pineapple Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • copious amounts of salt
  • sprinkle of pepper

– Brit

Instagramification: Death By Squirrel

I wear my green pants a lot.

I also eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly.

Quiet often, both at the same time.

I had to go to The Hill on Friday to renew my press pass (I’m a Capitol Hill reporter, didn’t you know??), and though windy, it was a much-needed break from the office shuffle. I honestly don’t take advantage of our proximity to Washington, D.C. enough. It really is such a beautiful city.

OK, enough about that. I was almost eaten alive by squirrels.

Do you have any idea how ambivalent the D.C. squirrel community is to human danger? They’re positively mad, I tell you! There I was, taking a sweet shortcut through a Senate park on my way to Dirksen when I came upon what can only be described as a town meeting – of backwoods murder squirrels.

A strange, unfamiliar fear washed over me. I said to myself, “Brit, walk through the squirrels. They will surely scatter. You’re giant and human!” I took another nervous step forward when one (let’s call him El Jefe) looked me straight in the eye (NOT A HYPERBOLE)… and walked towards me. Like, “Walk, away lady. Walk away,” but with a Jersey accent.

He was holding a juice box. And a small serrated plastic knife. (POTENTIAL HYPERBOLE)

Oh, the droves of oblivious people all around me! They had no idea the danger they were in – making the fact that I turned on my heels and sprinted out of the park that much more comical.

I called Steve at his office, panting, squeaking inaudibly about how there was “NO WAY those were normal squirrels, right!?!”

I shake as I type this.

The goods news is I made it out alive. The bad news is I look like a deranged graduate student with a propensity to stalk male professors and set houses on fire in my new press pass picture. It’s all in the eyes, I think. And no, I won’t show it to you.

The great news is I came home to this awesome new Elephant Shirt sitting on my doorstep. It comes complete with Elephant Dance, but that’s more of an “in person” thing. Just ask my co-workers. 

At what point have I gone overboard with the elephant stuff? Oh, now? Noted.

I know we are already almost halfway through this week, but I hope you had a nice relaxing and squirrel-free weekend.

-Brit, Amateur Squirrel Hunter

Creamy Wheat: A favorite (+lumpy) dish from my childhood

I don’t know a lot of people who have the same deep appreciation for Cream of Wheat as I do, but my hope is to bring you to the dark (as in brown sugar) side with this post.

And last I checked it’s unreasonably cold outside, the wind is a blowin’, and the precipitous sprinkle has just started. Hence, the perfect meal to tide you over until the light spring breeze and warm sun are back again.

Growing up, my mom would often make Cream of Wheat for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner (not all in one day – she wasn’t that lazy, come on). It was a very haphazard and non-specific process. She would prepare it on the stove-top or even in the microwave (using standard box instructions), and the only thing that truly mattered in the end was the lumps. There had to be lumps.

Once it was ready we would scoop the sticky mess into our bowls and top it with brown sugar, butter, and maybe a little more milk. Whatever, and more importantly, however much we wanted.

As I got older (and coming home way too late), I would drag my lazy butt downstairs wake up early in the morning, eat mother-prepared Cream of Wheat, and go right back to bed. I’m sure my mother appreciated my dedication to rest. Teenagers just love themselves some “rest.”

I’ve made Cream of Wheat for a lot of my friends and I’ve found they really love it. I watch as the haze sets in, the eyes roll back into their head, and the inevitable creamy wheat coma commences. Then, I steal their wallet.

P.S. Cream of Wheat dishes are the absolute WORST to clean up. You should really try and have a mother around for those.

I happen to owe mine a lot of clean cream of wheat bowls.

-Brit