Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The New Forest, and the beginning of April

The last post marked the big finale trip of our European travels. We don't have any more trips planned until our big move to New York at the end of this summer.
And this makes me sad. I love Europe. I would permanently move to Europe, if that was a feasible possibility. But I digress. The main point of telling you all that Iceland capped our travels, is that the next few posts may be a bit boring in comparison. Travel-less life just isn't as interesting, fact.
However, life goes on even when travelling hasn't happened. And Ben and I always manage to go on an adventure of some sort...

To start off this post, I'm happy to say that I have a draft of my ENTIRE thesis. It is all written, all finished. I just need last minute edits from my supervisors/ readers before the official submission. And I am RELIEVED! The thesis writing remained relatively okay until a month or so ago, then it got horrible. Now that I'm at the end of my writing experience, I'm actually really proud of my thesis! I wrote a book, a science book, on everything I've been working hard at for the past 4 years. Having something tangible to represent all of the work done is actually quite nice.

Many of you probably don't care about that, so I'll go ahead and get to the part of the post you all want: the pretty pictures! Ben and I went to the New Forest for a day trip this past weekend. The first beautiful spring day of the year. And it was GLORIOUS. We cycled from Brockenhurst to Burley, drove from Burley to Beaulieu, and walked from Beulieu to Buckler's Hard. The forest was beautiful and the exploration was fun, even though I was exhausted by the end of the day. Also, there are wild ponies and donkeys in the New Forest. This obviously automatically makes it awesome.

 Yeah yeah, I know I'm not riding the bike correctly. But for it only being my second time riding in my adult life and third time riding ever, I'd say I did a pretty good job.


 Buckler's Hard!

The New Forest is awesome! Everyone should go visit it!

Besides that, nothing too exciting has been going on. I finished reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. And it was great!!!! I've now read two books by her and she really is a fantastic author. My only criticism is that the book dragged at the end a little bit, which was a real shame because the book was otherwise really great. I'd recommend her as an author to anyone.

Finally, I owe you guys two posts worth of new recipes. Time to get fully immersed in the deliciousness.

Red beans and rice from Joy the Baker. Now, I've made a lot of red beans and rice in my day. This one was the best I've ever had. And I loved her mention of throwing a ham hock in there. (cheap and delicious, can't go wrong)

Steak with Asian slaw from Barbells and Bellinis. Now, Ben and I are working on decreasing out meat consumption (specifically red meat, and now we are working on cutting down pork as well). Besides the health benefits (which, lets be real. That's not why we are doing it), the amount of beef and pork eaten in the Western World is unsustainable and not helping with the climate issues. So we thought we should start being mindful of that. But every once in awhile, we will eat steak. And this was a fantastic choice for our rare treat. Bonus points for the slaw (I love cabbage) sans mayo (I despise mayo).

Creamy spinach lentils from Pinch of Yum. I love lentils. They are cheap, healthy, and quick.

Coconut shrimp patties from The Healthy Foodie. These patties, you guys. These. Patties. Words can't even express my love for these. I made enough for 4 and Ben and I polished off the lot. Quickly followed by Ben stating he wished there were more. Now, these bad boys are shallow fried so they aren't the healthiest. But we ate them with greek yogurt and avocado, wrapped up in a lettuce leaf. So... does that balance it out??? I'm going to say yes so that I don't feel bad making these again.

Coconut banana cream chocolate truffle pie from Half Baked Harvest. Ben and I made this pie together, in honor of his birthday. (even though I'm the one working from home and have 24 hour access to the pie) The chocolate didn't fully set, so watch out for that!!! It really does need to fully set before the cream topping can be added. Also, let me just say how much I love this food blog. It has officially taken place as my favorite food blog. Every recipe of hers is amazing and it always has multiple components that take meals to the next level.

Cheesy black bean quinoa taco bake from Half Baked Harvest. This was heaven. Really. Eat it with extra tomatoes!!

California chicken veggie and avocado rice bowl from Half Baked Harvest. One of the benefits of working from home is that I can make stuff like this. Now that its spring, I can actually grill ALL THE THINGS instead of just broil them. But these bowls. Chicken, veg, cheese. Avocado!!! So bomb

Butternut squash kale florentine lasagna from Half Baked Harvest. Let me just say- most lasagnas that you find on a food blog suck. And by suck, I mean they are pretty basic and not worth the effort/time. But this lasagna was a breath of fresh air. Sage. Butternut squash. Pine nuts. Bechamel. Of course, Ben made the bechamel because I am horrible with anything flour. But this lasagna is really worth making.

Paleo chicken tenders from Allergy Free. Usually, I'm not into foods like chicken nuggets. But that's only because chicken nuggets are processed crap/ super lazy. Next time you feed yourself (or your child) something simple, make it something actually worth eating. Make these.

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