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Caviar, To Celebrate

I'll be alone this New Year's Eve, for the first time I can remember. I think for the first time ever, actually. I'm okay with that; I swear - Kendrick has always cared way more about New Year's than I do, and I never want to stay up until midnight anyway, so it just makes sense for the kids to go to his place for the weekend. Besides, even in "normal" years, oh my god do I ever not want to go out on New Year's - just the thought of it makes me want to nap.

But there's another reason I'm not only "okay" with being on my own, but rather actively looking forward to it.

When Kendrick and I divorced, I realized very quickly that I did not know how to be single. I’d moved fairly seamlessly from relationship to relationship my entire adult life (with a year-long foray into casual dating in my mid-twenties that I somehow survived, but probably shouldn’t have), so when my marriage ended I found myself completely at sea, and wanted someone – anyone – to save me. I wasn't sure I knew how to make myself feel better all on my own, because I’d never really had to do it.

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All the Cozy Recipes You Need Right Now

Hey, did you hear? California's in lockdown again. GOOD TIMES. So one thing's for sure: This year Thanksgiving will look very, very different for most of us. It's OK if you aren't feeling particularly celebratory, and decide to just skip it - those emotions are 1000% valid and understandable. Thanksgiving has always been sort of a crapshoot holiday for us - sometimes we were with Kendrick's family, sometimes we were with mine, sometimes were with friends  (and if you're wondering whether looking at those posts I just linked to made me cry, the answer is: yes. obviously), and sometimes we crashed other people's celebrations. So it's not like there are any huge traditions that we'll be breaking. But still: I miss my parents. You might be missing yours, too.

TL;DR, I think we can all agree that it's not an especially jolly holiday season.

But! Hunkering down with some carbohydrates until this cursed year is over isn't the worst idea I've ever heard, and Thanksgiving Week seems like as good a time to get started as any.

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Instant Pot Split Pea & Potato Soup (To Warm Up Your #Winter2020)

It's really a shame that split pea soup is so very unattractive, because for real: When it's made right (like, ahem, #thisrecipe) there are very few things more delicious on a cold evening. I made this soup on a whim on Sunday night, adding potatoes to make it heartier and to stretch the recipe even further, and then ate it constantly for the next few days (including for breakfast). Even my kids, who would ordinarily shun a meal that appears, upon first glance, to be far too healthy and vegetable-inclusive for their tastes, can't get enough of it.

Related Read: Potato Soup for the Soul

Related Read: Thanksgiving Recipe Rundown

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The Improvisational Egg Bake

Look at that stunner! 

Way back when Kendrick and I first moved to our little Upper East Side walk-up, I developed a thing for baked eggs - or, more specifically, oeufs en cocotte, which are eggs baked in cream. I just love how they take something so ordinary, and treat it like a luxury. It's how weekend mornings should be: slow and a little indulgent.

Which brings me to the baked egg dish I made this weekend: It's kind of similar the North African dish called shakshuka, except quite a bit milder because a) children and b) I was improvising with what I had on hand. (As an aside, I first started looking into shakshuka recipes because I keep hearing that Trader Joe's sells an amazing starter, and I keep wanting to buy it. Except the closest Trader Joe's is a solid 45 minutes away, soooo: no starter for me.)

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Easy Beef & Veggie Bowls (Plus My Current Dinner Hack)

These beef-and-veggie bowls are the evolution of a bulgogi bowl recipe I found online forever ago, and incorporate quick-pickled vegetables and soy sauce sweetened with brown sugar and ginger - it's a CRAZY flavorful dish - and so incredibly quick to make - and we've had this one in the rotation all summer long. *Important note before I continue: This is not an authentic Korean bulgogi recipe; it's simply a beef-and-veggie bowl spruced up with flavors inspired by the real thing.*

Curious about Korean food? This site run by a Korean mom has fantastic recipes to try at home.

Before we get to the recipe, here's a little hack I've been using, especially now that we're back to school: I keep a constant stockpile of assorted types of VeeTee rice on hand and use it to stretch out chicken, fish and beef dishes for lunch or dinner the next day. My kids are legit obsessed with VeeTee because 1) it's rice, and rice = always good, and 2) they can make it themselves in the microwave in just two minutes with zero fuss and mess. For this recipe I used Veetee Thai Jasmine rice, but I also usually have a whole bunch of Basmati and Wholegrain & Quinoa in my cabinets.


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