Instant Pot Vegan “Bolognese” (With Beyond Beef)

I'm trying to make the switch over to Beyond Beef (or similar products) whenever possible, because...you know...environment. I'll be honest: I resisted for awhile, because something about the concept freaks me out (although why plant-based protein should freak me out more than actual ground beef is beyond me). But then I tried Burger King's Impossible Whopper, and it tasted...like a Whopper. The taste was virtually indistinguishable from the OG (cheese and sauce, basically), and the texture may even have been an improvement.

Next experiment: Seeing whether I can swap in plant-based protein for the primary ingredient in one of my family's all-time favorite dishes, pasta bolognese. We make one version of this dish or another virtually every week, so this is not a change I make lightly - and not one I especially accepted my children to get on board with.

So? I didn't tell them. Sue me; sometimes children are on a need-to-know basis with these kinds of things.


A Very Malibu Makeover

sunset with my loves

CLEARLY the point of living in Malibu is to enjoy all that beach-adjacentness as much and as often as possible, which means creating a lovely outdoor space was fairly high on my priority list from the second I moved in. I got rid of all of my outdoor furniture when I moved - it was so old that moving it would have been more expensive than it was worth - which left me in the market for some new stuff. But my wraparound deck situation perplexed me a little. It's very long, and quite narrow, and the only area big enough for a table is next to the front door.

Here is where having a friend like Audrey is a blessing from the home decorating gods: I asked Audrey what she thought I should do with the deck, and do you know what she sent me?


Instant Pot Chinese Takeout-Style Beef With Broccoli

Fun fact: There is no Chinese takeout in Malibu. There's barely even any takeout, period. Postmates? Nope. Grubhub? Doordash? Freakin' Instacart?!


On the plus side, the absence of Postmates is saving me a boatload of money (my habit of ordering Sugarfish delivery whenever Kendrick had the kids was giving my financial planner palpitations). On the negative side, it means I cannot get Chinese takeout, and this is not an acceptable way to live.


The Adultiest Things I Do

Officially an adult...still take bathroom selfies tho

My mother once said to me, "You always kind of feel like you're 22 years old." And she was right, in some ways. For example, I don't know that you ever truly adjust to the fact that you are now capable of injuring yourself by bending over too fast. Or putting on a jacket. Or sleeping. (I have hurt myself doing all of these things.)

But she's not completely right; in some ways I feel precisely the age that I am. My 22-year-old self specialized in the fields of watching Elimidate marathons and entitlement, and while I still dabble in both of those (rather enjoyable) endeavors, the knowledge that I have acquired in the 16 years since falls into the realm of "enormous." I wasn't totally irresponsible as a twentysomething - I'd had a job since I was 12, so I was decently familiar with the idea of money management and taxes and such - but I couldn't have told you what a HELOC was on pain of death.

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