What I'm Into (January 2016)

declan & i trying to get ten minutes' of sunshine in freezing weather

declan & i trying to get ten minutes' of sunshine in freezing weather

As January wraps up, I'm thinking about all the things that made it such a good month. Biggest news: I finally was given permission to reduce my hours at work, from five days a week to three. This means I'll have more time at home with my son (playdates, anyone?), mopping my kitchen floor, and creative pursuits - all the best things!

So I'm doing something new and linking up with Leigh Kramer about what I'm into this month. 

Listening

One of my favorite bloggers, Modern Mrs Darcy, started a new podcast this month that I am loving. What Should I Read Next? is a delightful, informative "literary matchmaking" podcast of people talking about the books they love, hate, and want to read next. 

One of my favorite podcast episodes this month was Jamie Ivey chatting with Rachel Hollis on The Happy Hour. They talk about life as working moms, fostering-to-adopt and surprising facts about babies in foster care, and great recommendations for books on the creative life and letting God interrupt your plans. It made me want to have my own happy hour with both of them!

I've been revisiting my Andrew Bird albums, as we got tickets to see him live in Kansas City in April. If you haven't heard of him, I'm not sure how I can communicate his artistic, experimental style of music - except maybe sharing one of his videos. Genius stuff.

Eating

I've renewed two cookbooks from the library about three times in the past few months - Made in India: Recipes From An Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha and The New Sugar and Spice Cookbook by Samantha Seneviratne.

putting my mortar & pestle to work making chana masala

putting my mortar & pestle to work making chana masala

Andrew and I fell in love with Indian food while living in Cambodia - ironic, I know, but our expat friends loved to cook it, and we loved to it. And it's so much easier than you would guess. Made in India has gorgeous photographs of delicious food, and we have been eating weekly bowls of curry and chana masala. 

The New Sugar and Spice Cookbook is a baking book written by an American of Sri Lankan background, which shows up in her recipes. Exotic spices like cardamom, ginger, and saffron fill the recipes. One recent favorite (which I made twice in one week) was coconut-pistachio-dark chocolate cookies. Oh, heaven save me, they are good.

We also stopped by one of our favorite restaurants in KC for lunch one weekend. Happy Gillis is a neighborhood cafe and hangout in Columbus Park (just east of City Market downtown) with perfect sandwiches, soups, and brunch items. If you live in KC and haven't been there (or their new venture, Columbus Park Ramen Shop, which is AMAZING), please go there today. Below is the line cook's lunch sandwich with pork terrine and shaved fennel and a bowl of mushroom soup with truffle oil and pickled shiitake mushrooms. It is beautiful food that demands to be devoured.

lunch perfection

lunch perfection

Reading

I read eight books this monthhow?! I have no idea. I'll go more in depth during my monthly reading round-up, but I will say that three of the books were on audio, which makes the commute and kitchen clean-up so much more enjoyable. See if your local library has audiobooks via a phone app, like Overdrive. It is free and definitely worth downloading.

Besides books, I've also found a fascinating article online. "How we used to die vs. how we die now" is a thoughtful essay that questions the do-everything-you-can mentality that drives medical professionals to traumatic, invasive efforts to prolong the lives of the elderly who just might be better off at home with their loved ones. It makes me wonder what will finally make our culture change, if so many of us agree with the writer.

Watching

As I already mentionedBroadchurch and the BBC mini-series And Then There Were None were total binge-watches for us, although so, so depressing. (why do I love depressing books/TV shows? I don't know. My life is too happy.) I haven't been able to find a replacement for either yet, so please recommend any British murder series you would like to me.

Thanks to hola.org, we watched the recent Sherlock Christmas special, which was dizzying and mind-boggling, and the final episode of Downton Abbey (is it finally over? I just need a happy ending, people). I've been watching bits of The Worst Cooks in America, which is surprisingly informative and interesting - it actually taught me that I have no idea how to cook a sunny-side egg. There's always room for improvement!

What have you been into this month?

What I'm Into

Note: Affiliate links used. Full disclosure here.