Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Soft Pretzels & Lava Salt

(This is a total contradiction and an admission.)  I am a morning person who occasionally fights being a morning person, especially in the winter.  The thing I have come to realize is those mornings where I manage to workout before work, bake before most people are up, or catch a sunrise, are always better.  They are the wake up on the "right side", mentally jump out of bed, while actually slowly rolling out of bed, trying not to wake the dog, good days.  Instead of being one of those days where I wake up somewhere in the "middle" of the bed, slowly dragging through the morning, a little less motivated.  

Recently though, there have too many days (especially this time of year), where the alarm goes off, and instead of "jumping" out of bed, I reset my alarm and wiggle a little but further under the covers.  However, with this new realization, I am hoping I will start "jumping" out of bed a few more days a week, and enjoying my morning me time.  And if it happens to be a baking morning, it means I will have my headphones in, with some happy tunes turned up, so as to not wake said dog or my sleeping husband...at least not with music.  I can't be blamed, if they wake up because of yummy smelling baked goods, can I?  

This week has been like...

oh, hello (yes I still like writing with old school pencils)

Life in pieces...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Did anyone say Snickerdoodle?

I have to admit this whole moving to a new city thing is hard.  It is hard to uproot, move away from friends and a city you love even if "change is good," even after almost an entire year in the new city.  You might be going, okay Lauren, where is this coming from...but I went to D.C. this past weekend to meet up with a few brides and grooms, and have some fun with friends.  And, well, it feels like no matter what, every time I drive over "the hill" on 395N and see the amazing view of the city, I get a little sad that I don't live there anymore. (Ya know that hill right before you get to the Pentagon?...if you don't know, see below...it looks a little something like that but better.)

Yes, I know that it takes time to get used to any new place.  That it takes time to make new friends (especially as an adult), but still.  D.C. just has this energy to it that speaks to me.  Besides missing my friends, I probably miss running around the monuments the most.  Oh and the food!  Richmond has great restaurants, don't get me wrong.  I mean there are a few places I wish I could eat at every week.  Just sort of divide the nights out, and I'm done, no meal planning needed, but I can't because that would be expensive. (Helen's, Acacia, Spoonbread, Kitchen on Cary, McCormack's Whiskey Grill...that leaves two nights a week to try something new.)  Sometimes though, I just miss my old easy to pickup on the way home, DC favorites.  Can an &Pizza please just open in Richmond already, oh and bring a District Taco with you please!  

Okay, okay I will stop whining here for a minute, because truthfully D.C. is so close and only a quick drive to see the city (if I time it right), to hang with friends, and well stuff my face with my favorite foods every now and again.  And when I can't be there I will keep trying out new to me restaurants in Richmond, and some new recipes in the kitchen.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

In a week of baking...Blueberry-Raspberry Cobbler

Can we talk about how I have been wanting to make cinnamon rolls since May?  That I have been standing in my own way and making up excuses for 8 months. 8 MONTHS!  Until this week when I finally made them.

Sometimes I am truly my own worst enemy when it comes to procrastinating about non-work things. I am just going to put it out there, but I am going to finish my kitchen tabletop soon!  I mean...I only started working on it 5 years ago...since then it has been covered with one table cloth or another.  Oops!

In all seriousness though there are definitely things I drag my feet on when it comes to my personal "to do" list.  Which is funny when my job requires almost everything be done on a deadline constantly.  And by constantly, I mean I used to work off a 20 week work plan, and in my new roll I created my own work plan so I knew what needed to happen and when.  I have been trying to get more organized in my personal life though.  I even bought a planner, and am trying to be a better meal planner now that my office isn't right next to a grocery story.  I have also been trying to get more done on weeknights, including cleaning and baking.  But so as to not set myself up for failure, I also completely understand that sometimes you just need to make dinner and then hangout on the couch and do nothing.  This week I have been pretty good though, and without having to run to the store pulled together this super easy and delicious blueberry-raspberry cobbler.  It turned out exactly as I hoped it would, and will be making this again soon!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cinnamon Chip Cookie Sandwiches

Do you ever feel like you have lost your voice, even for a minute?  That there is so much newness and oldness going on that you don't really know where to go or what steps to take?  When part of you still feels stuck in the past, while another part is trying its hardest to embrace the future and all that it holds.  That is not to say I don't want to bring back part of the past.  I want to get my voice back and start blogging again.  I want to find joy in baking again, in spending a couple hours in the kitchen instead of being lazy on the coach all day.

This year I just want to "do" more, achieve more, laugh a little more often, and focus even more on family and friends.  These are not resolutions, they are goals for 2018...I even have them typed up with a few other things so I won't forget them.  What are you planning for 2018, and I don't mean starting the year on a whole 30 diet.  Let's be real, cookies and all of the things I love don't fall into that so I won't be trying it myself anytime soon.  These cookies, well these cookies you should definitely give a try...the cream cheese filling is up to you.  The stack above was made for a friend's birthday (James), picked up by another friend who happened to be in Richmond (Mike), driven to my old office my another friend (Emily...Mike & Emily = husband & wife), and the birthday boy was 100% surprised.  Which I call a success, and I couldn't have done it without great friends!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Orange Scones

There are all of these quotes about change out there…and recently it feels like I need a calendar with one each day as a friendly reminder.  Like today's could be…”The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.”  And then tomorrows’ could be, “It’s amazing how drastically your life can change when you stop accepting s*** you hate.” Or “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.”

You see the thing is recently (well almost three months ago now...I am a bit behind) I made what feels like one of the hardest decisions I have ever made that was a BIG change.  After 9 years, at the same company, working with some of my closest friends, and with great colleagues, I decided to move on.  I decided to fully jump into life in Richmond with my husband and puppy, and take a new job that would allow me to actually be home more often.  The thing about it is that I don’t always love change in general.  I know, I know change is good; it is what challenges us, and helps us grow…but still it can be F*ing hard.  So, I am trying to jump feet first into my new roll.  To push back the tears that come when I miss my old team and work friends, and get excited about finally living in Richmond after 8 months of “living” here.  So cheers to new adventures, and more treats with new co-workers. 

This little lady is thoroughly enjoying her new home in Richmond.