Hello, food-loving friends! Ready to check out another collection of blog-worthy meals and snacks and whatnot? You better be. I'm one-month-deep into summer and it feels like heaven on earth - I'm sleeping in (and by that I mean roughly 7:30 AM at the latest), I'm working on the cookbook (!!!), I'm making progress on finishing This Is Us, and I'm continuing to learn more and more each day how to just relax. I'd say it's been pretty fantastic so far.
The most basic meal ever that just so happened to also be one of the most delicious was this one - garlic roasted Japanese sweet potato cubes + tempeh + mixed greens + avocado + feta. SO GOOD.
I told you we love happy hour! This spread is from Milestone Tavern in San Luis Obispo - a few of my friends and I treated ourselves on a Monday night to some appetizers and drinks and loved every bite. My favorites were the pretzel and cheese dip and the pulled pork slider (you should've seen that one coming)!
I wasn't much of a wine drinker until I discovered rosè - holy moly guacamole. Whenever my mom and I drink wine together, we love to add some fresh chopped fruit. The flavor isn't much different than wine without fresh fruit, but I'm convinced the small addition makes us feel... cooler? Fancier? Funner? Something like that.
One of my best friends recently married her college sweetheart, so my friends and I drove up to Northern California for the wedding a couple weekends ago. Our lunch, post four-hour-car-ride, was a stop at a cute local sandwich shop that was far too crowded for my liking, but the sandwiches were far too yummy for me to care that much about the line I had to wait in to get my hands on said sandwich. Speaking of that, it was something with garlic roasted turkey breast, brie, fresh veggies, and a spicy pepper aioli I think.
And the wedding dinner was chicken with veggies and mashed potatoes. The bread was a disappointing take on cardboard, but hey, we still love the bride and had plenty of food and cake for hours of dancing. Peep the adorable jar of homemade jam!
The girls and I had these breakfast burritos planned for the morning after the wedding about a week in advance and I could not have been more excited. Once we pulled out the breakfast sausages, I think my heart skipped a beat. Okay, but really, this was our last time together as roommates and it was both infinitely joyous and tear-jerkingly sad at the same time. We've all lived together for at least two years, so saying goodbye was harder than... hard. Gotta' do what ya' gotta' do. Sorry - I don't have any uplifting advice for goodbyes.
I usually pack a lunch or at least some snacks for work everyday, so here's one of them - some chopped nectarine (white ones are my favorite) and an RX Bar nut butter packet, which was p h e n o m e n a l by the way, and then a big ol' salad of mixed greens + chopped carrots and cucumber + black bean burgers + a hard-boiled egg + mayo whisked with salsa for the dressing. MMMM!
Every so often, I'm lucky enough to take home some leftovers of whatever the chef made either that day or a few days prior, and this time it was a thick slice of jalapeño cheddar cornbread! He offered it up and I graciously volunteered to take this chunk of his hands. I'm so nice. Later that evening, I heated it back up and ate it alongside some roasted veggies and tempeh.
Grace and I treated ourselves to a new ice cream place in town - Nite Creamery. I don't remember exactly what we got, but we ordered the same thing and I think it was vanilla ice cream + cookie crumbles mixed in and a caramel drizzle. HELLO. So good. Well, like ice cream is delicious and all, but if you ask me, what really makes ice cream special is eating the ice cream with loved ones in the warmth of a summer Sunday night.
Dad and I couldn't decide what to do for dinner his last night in town, so I found a grill, bought some meat + veggies + burger buns and invited my friends over for the ideal summer dinner. We had burgers, roasted sweet potatoes, salad, fruit, and wine and capped the night off with a few rounds of banana-grams, which is hilarious and my new number one recommendation if you're looking for a simple yet effective game to keep a fun night extra fun.
After a magnificent brunch at Lido in Pismo Beach, I HAD to go back for something else... just to make sure the menu is consistent, ya' know? It is. It is consistently good. This was the nicest meal Dad and I have had in what feels like forever, for as long as we can both remember, and it was my gift to him for Father's Day (a whole month late) when he flew out here to spend a few days with me. He ordered the carbonara, I ordered the vegan pizza with a little cheese on top, and we split some roasted cauliflower. Everything was unbelievably good!
For whatever reason, I think it's worth mentioning here that this wedding-centered weekend - from not being able to squeeze in a workout two days in a row, to snacking on leftover cake and wine at midnight (let alone cake in and of itself), to making breakfast burritos with sausage and white tortillas - would have stressed me out for weeks in advance and even more so during the event had it been three or four years ago. And this still hurts to say but even some of the time with my dad would've been spent planning meals and workouts and scheduling our day around when I can workout and where I can eat this or that. I've learned A LOT since then and I'm not saying that to brag, but rather to let those of you who aren't as happy as you might want to be in your relationship with food and/or body image that there is a way out of that mind-clogging, fun-sucking state. It can be a long, strenuous road with some disappointments and setbacks here and there, but it is worth the drive. The freedom to enjoy cake and breakfast burritos and the brain-space and energy to chat with friends and dance for hours instead of working out for 30 minutes is absolutely worth it. The freedom to savor a pizza and sip some damn good rosè overlooking the ocean with Dad by my side and the brain-space to discuss faith and our challenging questions and to reminisce on family memories and his college years and beyond is absolutely worth it.
It's more than food.