What I'm Into - March 2016

Evening sun at Union STation with my boys

March was full of all the things I love - friends eating around our table, a wedding celebration (at an art museum!!!) of two beautiful people, and lots of time at the zoo (thanks to our new family membership). And my anemones, planted last fall, poked their little green heads above the ground and said, "Spring is on its way. I promise."

So here's a little recap of what I've been into in March...

 
Yay for the return of backporch dinners...

Yay for the return of backporch dinners...

Eating

If you didn't catch my blog post a few weeks ago, you might not have heard about my resurgent interest in Asian food - eating, cooking, and reading all about it. I finally trekked down to the huge Asian supermarket in the suburbs for special ingredients and supplies, and I was not disappointed. Declan especially appreciated the rows of glistening fish and tanks of live crabs.

One of my current favorite recipe combos that has been a huge hit for dinner with adults and kids alike was posted by Budget Bytes - cilantro-lime chicken drumsticks with chili roasted sweet potatoes. They are delicious, cheap, and easy to throw in the oven while you pop open a bottle of wine to share with your guests. For the sweet potatoes, I subbed some of the chili powder with Spanish sweet smoked paprika, and it added a nice nuanced flavor without being too spicy.

Date night at Tom's Town, a new distillery and cocktail bar downtown...very fancy-schmancy!

Date night at Tom's Town, a new distillery and cocktail bar downtown...very fancy-schmancy!

And where do I get such fancy spice, you ask? I discovered my new obsession this month, thanks to a friend's suggestion - Savory Spice, a local bulk spice store. They sell freshly ground spices, in whatever quantity you desire, and their prices are surprisingly affordable. I found some elusive Indian spice mix (chaat masala) I'd been hunting for since cracking open my new Indian cook book, as well as multiple varieties of regular spices. 

So if you're looking to "spice up" your cooking routine, try popping into your local bulk spice store - sniffs are free.

 
Dowstairs at Prospero's Used Bookstore, KCMO

Dowstairs at Prospero's Used Bookstore, KCMO

Reading

I had to give up on two different books this month (so I guess I should label this "what I'm NOT into this month"). 

I read Chris Pavone's past two international spy thrillers and loved them. When I heard his new book The Travelers was coming out, I immediately put my name on the hold list at the library. It came in this week, and it was so disappointing. I made it through the first 60 pages and kept hoping it would clean up its act. But unfortunately the "explicit adulterous licentiousness" (as I described it to Andrew) didn't go away, and I decided I didn't want to spend 400 pages cringing. I'm definitely not a prude, but I have no interest in reading about someone fantasizing and performing adultery. Enough said.

The other book was lent to me by my sister - The Martian by Andy Weir. And I decided scientifically technical space-based novels are just not what I want to read in my leisure time. I think the last space-themed book I read was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if that tells you anything about my tastes. This might be a situation in which the movie is enjoyable and I can feel justified in passing on the book. Anyone have thoughts on that?

Otherwise, I've been listening to another Deborah Crombie mystery, starting a collection of the Harry Potter hardback novels, and jumping in to my advanced review copy of Joshua Becker's new book The More of Less on minimalism.

 

Watching

Andrew and I have started watching Madam Secretary - how have I missed such a suspenseful, strong-female-protagonist-driven series? I don't typically enjoy political drama, but Tea Leoni has caught my attention.

I'm still enjoying Worst Cooks in America - it's gotten better as the season progresses, and surprisingly, Declan enjoys it, too. He keeps asking to watch them make noodles and meatballs again. He should be careful - as soon as he can hold a knife properly, he'll go straight to work in the kitchen - at my side, of course!

Best Hair ever... (image source)

Best Hair ever... (image source)

I'm also in the middle of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - the nineties version with Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman. Somehow, I completely missed the news of Rickman's death back in January. He is one of my favorite actors to watch on screen. I remember watching Robin Hood as a pre-adolescent child. Now, watching it as an adult, so many questions flood my mind: why in the world did my parents let me watch this (think creepy sorcery, violence, and off-color jokes)? How did I not recognize Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham? And will I be terribly disappointed when we actually go to Nottingham in a few months for our England trip? I'm chalking it up as pre-travel research...

 

Planning

Our trip to England and Ireland is only two months away (!!!), and we are way behind on our planning: no hotels, in-country transportation, or sightseeing booked. But we have at least decided on our major stops and overnight stays:

  • Galway (Ireland)
  • Nottingham
  • Hiking in the Peaks District
  • Oxford (with possible trips to the Cotswolds, Highclere Castle of Downton Abbey fame, and lots of Inklings tours)
  • London

If you've been to any of those places before, I highly covet your recommendations and travel tips! We're sussing out sleeping arrangements through Airbnb and Couchsurfing and hopefully will get on top of it all soon.

By the way - if you click on this link to try out Airbnb (which we have used before and LOVED), we both get $20 towards our stays. Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

What have you been up to in March?

What I'm Into

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