Things I’ve Learned as an adult

In honor of my 33rd birthday (which was yesterday!), I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned by …well, just living. So, without further adieu…here goes!

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  1. Sometimes snarky can come across as bitter. If you know me, you know I love a good snark session…but over the years, I’ve realized that not everything requires a dose of snark, and that constant negativity (even if intended as humor) can be draining. I don’t try to be Mary Sunshine, nor do I post inspirational quotes on my Instagram every morning (or ever), but I’ve put in an increasing effort over the years to have a lighter, more positive outlook on life, and it feels refreshing.
  2. You really can fake it ’til you make it (to some degree). I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve started something (a job, a project, etc.) having NO CLUE what I’m doing…in fact, I feel this way when I start doing pretty much anything new. But I do my best to stay confident (and obviously ask for help when needed), and 9 times out of 10 I end up successful, or at the very least, competent. I guess the moral of the story here is: don’t be afraid to go for something that seems intimidating.
  3. You won’t necessarily lose touch with your friends if you don’t speak to them every day. In my late 20’s and even early 30’s, I had this thing where I’d panic that I wasn’t seeing my friends enough – I’d feel guilty that I wasn’t “maintaining” my friendships, and that all of my friends would move on without me. In reality, we had all just grown busy with our own lives – work, marriage, kids, etc. You know, adult stuff. And guess what? Almost all of those friends are still there – I may go months without contacting some of them (or vice-versa), but when we do speak, we’re able to catch up right where we left off.
  4. That said, it’s okay to grow out of some friendships. Not every friendship was meant to be, and it doesn’t have to be a big dramatic breakup…these types of friendships tend to fade out on their own. I used to try to hold on to every friendship with everything I had regardless of whether or not it brought me happiness, but I recognize now that it’s just not necessary (and the feeling is probably mutual on the other end). If a friendship is fading away, there’s probably a reason for it. It’s okay to let it go (and if it comes back later, that’s great)!
  5. Life can be about whatever you want it to be. When I was younger, I’d worry that I wasn’t invested enough in my career, or I’d feel like less of a feminist because I genuinely enjoy domestic things like cooking and keeping my home looking nice. But now I realize…it’s my life, and I can value whatever I want. Just because I love making dinner for my family doesn’t mean that I believe all women SHOULD be shackled to the kitchen. I’ve realized that I value family and home life more than I value having a high-powered career, and that’s okay – it doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone else, it just makes me me. Maybe someday that will change, maybe it won’t – and as long as I feel fulfilled with my life, that’s totally fine.
  6. It’s important to have views and passion, but it’s also important to know when to pick your battles. I have pretty strong political views and I care deeply about the state of our country and social issues, but I’ve learned to choose when to speak up – and social media is rarely (if ever) the place. It’s one thing to genuinely want to inform and educate people, but I’ve learned to pause and ask myself if what I’m about to post is truly for the good of someone else, or if I’m just standing on a soapbox and trying to sound smarter than everyone else. 9.9 times out 10, nothing anyone says on Facebook is going to cause someone to change their opinion, and it usually just leads to a ton of drama and hate speech. I find the better thing to do is to actually BE involved locally, show up for elections, contact your representatives, and speak up when you see something wrong IN ACTION, in the real world.
  7. But also, it’s not cool to be indifferent. 
  8. Genuine is better than “cool,” 100% of the time. This is one thing I’m still working on – my first instinct is to ALWAYS hide my excitement about things, not come across as too eager, not seem too “into” anything, not laugh too hard – basically just be chill AF, all the time. The problem is – that is one million percent not who I am. I’m extremely excitable, I get very into things, and I tend to be the one with tears streaming uncontrollably down my face if something’s funny. I don’t know exactly when I decided I need to be “cool girl,” but I definitely don’t pull it off and just end up seeming cold and standoffish. The real me is absolutely more likeable than this “cool” persona I try to pull off, and I’m putting a concerted effort into just being myself.

 

Happy Friday!

Plus some pics from the past few weeks.

Happy December! I’m kicking the month off with a three-day weekend (starting today), and I’m pumped to start decorating for Christmas. Aside from decorating, I have tentative plans to see Lady Bird with a few of my Lady Friends, and I’m looking forward to starting the yearly Raum tradition of cramming as many cheesy Hallmark holiday movies into the month as humanly possible. Have a holly jolly weekend, and here are a few pics I’ve snapped recently:

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Loving these little berry branches combined with a spring or two of eucalyptus

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The best old fashioned at one of our new (to us) favorite spots

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Thanksgiving tablescape

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Kicking turkey day off with a little cheese and boozy punch

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Thanksgiving spread (minus mashed potatoes, which were keeping warm in the slow cooker)

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Getting festive with some (very) boozy ‘nog

 

Easy solo dinner

Two recipes in one week – whaaaat?! You’d think I was some kind of food blogger or something. To be fair, this is more of a “non-recipe” than a recipe, and requires basically zero effort.

I eat dinner solo typically twice a week – on Tuesday nights, Jeff goes to Quizzo, which is near our office (we work in the same building), so he usually doesn’t come home before heading to the bar. And then on Wednesday nights, Jeff has a standing dinner date with his mom – I join them on occasion, but they typically eat before I even leave work, so I generally let them have some quality mother/son time alone.

I’m a huge fan of eating “non-dinner” when I’m by myself as discussed here (I love nothing more than a cheese plate, and I’ve been known to eat a full bag of frozen veggies and, like, some popcorn for dinner), but since it became a twice-weekly situation, I needed to figure out something a bit more nutritious and substantial. I went through a brief stint where I was working evenings on Tuesday nights and I’d usually stop by Honeygrow before heading home to finish work, but I’m back to working all days and I figure it’s a little wasteful to get takeout every week when we already eat out or order takeout at least once a week together, and I can just as easily whip something up.

Enter Trader Joe’s Cowboy Quinoa Burger. I originally grabbed a box of these as an impulse buy and didn’t expect much from them, but they’ve become my new favorite convenience meal. I rotate between these guys and turkey burgers (also from Trader Joe’s), but the cowboy quinoa burgers really hit the spot and are actually easier/quicker to throw together. Here’s what I do:

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Take a cowboy quinoa burger out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute. While it’s in the microwave, heat a little olive oil or cooking spray on med-high in a skillet (I like to use my cast iron for this). Separate a sandwich thin (Trader Joe’s makes decent ones, but I usually get the Arnold’s multigrain thins – I find the Trader Joe’s ones are harder to separate and tend to tear on me) and place it cut-side down in the hot skillet. After the minute is up, remove the burger from the microwave and place it in the skillet alongside the burger; season with salt and pepper. Remove sandwich thin to a plate (or paper towel, you do you) once toasted; flip burger after about a minute and top with a slice of cheese (my favorite for this is pepperjack, but I switch it up and use provolone or muenster every so often). Place 4 pickle slices on toasted bun; top with cheesed burger and avocado slices. Add a few dashes of hot sauce if desired. Devour.

I like to eat this with (defrosted) frozen edamame in the shells with sea salt, or sometimes I’ll nuke a bag of broccoli and eat that with it. It’s SO delish, it takes 5 minutes to throw together with practically no cleanup, and it’s relatively healthy. Win!

Instant Happiness

I swore that this week, I was going to start waking up early and hitting the gym before work. To the surprise of exactly no one, I haven’t succeeded in dragging myself out of bed in time to work out yet, but I did pull it together enough to suck it up and run to the gym for a quick workout during lunch today. And, you guys…it was like magic. Prior to leaving, I had been struggling to keep my eyes open and even felt like I had a cold coming on, but once I got moving, I felt like a totally new person. I’m still a tad bit sniffly (these things miraculously cleared up a cold in literally ONE DAY last week, so I’m going to whip them out when I get home), but I’m wide awake and in a fantastic mood now. I always forget how much simply moving my body can affect my mood and physical well-being until I do it, and after I’m always like, “duh!!”

A couple other things that can snap me out of a “blah” mood almost instantly:

– Listening to music

– Drinking a nice cup of hot tea or coffee

– Watching one of my “happy” shows (Sex and the City and The Kitchen are frequent go-tos, but I have a long list)

– A hug from Jeffrey

– Chatting on the phone with my mom

– Taking a long, hot shower and then wrapping up in my comfiest jammies

Pretty standard stuff, but exercise is generally the most effective – the hardest part is just getting myself to get up and get moving (that whole “objects at rest wish to stay at rest” deal is legit). Here’s to hoping I can keep it up throughout the winter to ward off the seasonal slump…

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Leftover Love

If you’re like me, you’re probably getting a liiiiiiittle sick of Thanksgiving leftovers by now. I could probably eat pie for the rest of my life, but I’m starting to feel a little weighed down by all the butter I’ve been consuming, and one can only eat turkey and green bean casserole for so long before turning the color of said beans.

Quick side note: not to toot my own horn or anything, but I make the best leftover turkey sandwiches on EARTH. My secret? Mashed potatoes. COLD mashed potatoes. Also, I keep things simple. I grab a leftover dinner roll (I never have sandwich bread in my house, and dinner rolls work just as well, if not better), split it, spread COLD mashed potatoes on that sucker, and top with cold turkey and a sprinkle of kosher salt. That’s it. I ditch the stuffing (I don’t like it…plus, why put bread on bread? I love me some bread, but that’s weird, right?) and I’ll occasionally add some cranberry sauce, but it’s perfection with just the turkey and taters. Yummmm.

Anyway…I hate to waste food, but Thanksgiving leftovers in their original form have a hard stop after about 3 days for me. After that, I need to get a little creative. My favorite way to use up leftover turkey? Turkey Tikka Masala. The warm, creamy, spicy sauce works just as well with turkey as with chicken, and I serve it over – you guessed it – mashed potatoes in place of rice. It’s delicious, it uses up a good chunk of all that turkey, and it tastes COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than Thanksgiving dinner! Not the lightest dish in the whole world, but I figure it’s better than loading my plate with scoops of mac & cheese and marshmallow covered, butter loaded sweet potato casserole night after night.

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Turkey Tikka Masala

Ingredients

3 Cups leftover turkey (I like to use white meat, but I’m sure dark meat would work just as well or better if you like it)

3 Tbsp butter

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated (I love Trader Joe’s ready to use ginger paste – it comes in a tube)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

Salt & black pepper, to taste

1 cup whole-fat coconut milk (you can also use heavy cream)

Leftover mashed potatoes, or cooked basmati rice

Cilantro, chopped – to garnish

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened; 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant; 1-2 minutes. Add sugar, spices, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes; add coconut milk and turkey and simmer until warmed through. Serve over mashed potatoes (or rice, but mashed potatoes are SO GOOD and you probably still have some sitting around, yes?) and garnish with cilantro.

 

 

 

A Black Friday Exchange

Jeff: Want anything from Dunkin?

Me: No thanks.

Jeff: You sure? Coffee, breakfast, hot cocoa…anything?

Me: Nah, I’m going to eat pie for breakfast.

Jeff: Did you say you’re going to eat pie for breakfast?

Me: Yeah.

Jeff: That’s sexy.

 

Ahh, the holidays. Let’s get this party started.

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Oh…and happy shopping! I’d do a recap of the best sales, but it’s way too late and also every other blog on earth did that. Google it, you’ll see!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The world is essentially a garbage fire in 2017, and yet, I am thankful. I’m thankful for my home, I’m thankful for my friends and family, I’m thankful for my livelihood, I’m thankful for husband who always keeps my smiling, and I’m thankful for my fluffy white little nightmare of a pup. I’m thankful for the enormous privilege that allows me to have it pretty damn good, despite everything going on around us.

“I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.”

Is it in poor taste to quote a Kevin Spacey monologue at this present time? Eesh. Anyway, I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to actually, y’know, be thankful. Because even though things may suck, they probably suck a whole lot worse for someone else. ❤ ❤ ❤

Official Thanksgiving 2017 Menu

Happy Monday, friends! I may be a bit on the absent side this week – lots of shopping, cleaning, pie baking, and cooking to be done around here. I figured I’d at least pop in to share my finalized Thanksgiving menu, though (with links to recipes, when applicable) – and then if I get a few free minutes, I may just drop in with a few other little things. So, without further ado, here it is: our 2017 Thanksgiving Menu.

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Simple Roast Turkey (NY Times – I’ve used this dry-brine recipe every year I’ve hosted, and it’s by far the best turkey I’ve ever had)

Mashed Potatoes (I’ve never previously used a recipe, but I’m going to try this method from The Kitchn this year)

Turkey Gravy (No recipe here – I just work from what my mom taught me)

French Onion Zoodle Bake (Climbing Grier Mountain)

Macaroni & Cheese (No recipe here, either – I tend to combine about 5 different recipes to taste.)

Green Bean Casserole (I’ve used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe every year until now, but I saw Ree Drummond make her recipe on this kitchen this year, and, well…she uses bacon. And cheese.)

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecan Streusal (I’ve tried fancier sweet potato/squash dishes, but everyone prefers the good old sweet stuff – who am I to argue with tradition? I’ll be putting in a couple little spins to elevate things a bit, though – orange zest and fresh ginger, to start.)

Cranberry Sauce (No recipe – I just throw in whatever sounds good at the moment.)

Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing (Stuffing’s difficult for me, because I don’t like it -*GASP* – and Jeff’s mom makes him his favorite stuffing each year. I always feel like I should make stuffing for everyone else though, because Jeff’s is a pretty specific recipe and it’s not for everyone…I’ve tried a few different recipes, but I figure I’ll just stick with this basic recipe from Averie Cooks this year. Can I say recipe again? Recipe.)

Rolls (Keeping it real – I usually use frozen parker house rolls and brush them with butter, herbs, and sea salt before serving. I’ve thought about making them from scratch, but…just, why?)

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Sherry Vinegar (Serious Eats)

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie (Smitten Kitchen – this recipe is a bit more laborious than other pumpkin pie recipes, but it’s so good that it’s the only recipe I ever use.)

Chocolate Pudding Pie (Dinner a Love Story – I may or may not spread a layer of peanut butter over the crust before adding the pudding. Shhhh!)

And that’s it! Well, minus one additional pie that’s yet-to-be-determined-but-needs-to-be-decided-on-within-the-hour-because-that’s-when-I’m-leaving-to-do-my-grocery-haul. I’m thinking some kind of apple crisp/pie/cheesecake combo. Also, I feel I should mention that this menu is to feed FOUR PEOPLE. I repeat, this menu featuring a 16 pound turkey, 10 side dishes, and 3 pies will be feeding FOUR PEOPLE as of right now – my parents may make a hail-Mary drop in, but even then it’ll only bring the count to six. God help us.

Off to buy all the groceries – if we don’t speak, have a happy, cozy, and delicious Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday!

And a great one it is! Today is my last day of work until next Friday, and I’m pumped to kick off the holiday season. This weekend will be spent mostly preparing for the holiday rush – deep cleaning and shopping and such – and I also hope to enjoy bit of relaxation before the craziness sets in.

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A couple friends & I went to Joe Biden’s book tour in Philly this week, and celebrated with cereal-flavored ice cream and cocktails.

I’ve also decided that instead of ditching the gym from Thanksgiving until Christmas like I usually do (which would be impossible, since I haven’t gone to the gym in months…oops), I’m going to make an attempt to head off the 15 pounds of cookies (and eggnog, and wine…) I’ll consume over the next 2 months by hitting the gym THROUGHOUT the holiday season. Maybe I’ll also try to get a few hikes/outdoor runs in before it gets too frigid. I figure this might set me up for success throughout the rest of the year, and maybe chase the seasonal depression monster away. Wish me luck (I’ll need it)!