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Moving Blogs

Image of google maps my location to home with no routes found.
I have to find a new path and a new home in the blogging world.

I know I have not been here long, but I am sad to share I will be switching my blog from this location to another. I will be moving my food content to my Weebly blog. You may be surprised to hear that I have a Weebly blog, and to be honest I took a long hiatus from posting on it and started this one instead. The truth of the matter is that WordPress, the version I use has made it a real struggle to post recipes. The cost is too prohibitive to be posting recipes here so instead I will be using another set of tools at my disposal and be posting on that site instead. I am sad to go and I have loved this platform, but I want to be able to continue to cook and create and I am not able to do so here. I have loved getting to know each and every one of you who has followed me here and I am sad to go, but I love to create too much to let this site hinder my creativity. If you want to follow me there my site is https://alwaysmorepie.weebly.com/

All The Best,

Sarah

P.S. I have a great Stir Fry Recipe posting on my Weebly site soon and I hope to see you there!

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About, Blogging

Future Content

Image of a Japanese temple with a flared roof and trees in front.
We visited this Japanese temple a few weeks ago.

I am working to plan out future content and I figured who better to ask for thoughts than my current readers. What do you prefer I write about? Any topics you want me to cover? Here is what I have mostly written about in the past -food, books and reading, travel, exercise, and my thoughts on life. If you have any specific ideas please share them below. I just went to Japan and could write about that experience, I could also review local restaurants. I am working on more food and recipe posts but because I do not have an infinite budget and testing takes me quite a bit of time until I get it right, I do not share recipes daily, it just does not currently work for me, but I can work on specific recipes or share what I am cooking or working on? I also can share about other food or book related topics or about my life in general, just let me know below in the comments and I will work on it in coming weeks.

Any questions you want answers to or want me to look into, please leave them in the comments below!

Things I Love Thursday

Things I Love Thursday

What are you loving? Small or big what is making your life great! I find sharing this to be one of my favorite parts of the week because I appreciate all the little things that make my life great and I start to see the beauty in the daily.

Fresh Food

Image of salad with cherry tomatoes, red pepper, roasted sweet potato, avocado, roasted brussel sprouts, cucumber, pesto, roasted red onion, roasted cauliflower and quinoa over lettuce in a bowl.
Oh salads how I have missed you!

We went to Japan a week or two ago and although we ate some yummy food, specifically ramen and udon noodles. We came back home and all I wanted to eat was a salad. Upon arriving home we filled the fridge with produce and salads have been just want I want to eat on the daily.

Books

I am finding my love for reading again. It had not really gone, but I am just loving listening to audiobooks and reading books I currently own. At the moment I am listening to The Book Thief on audio and loving it. I am also reading How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, which I already owned and am finding is useful in daily interactions with everyone not just kids.

Friends

After our trip, we returned to LA with a long layover and an old friend of ours picked us up at the airport and hung out with us for many hours. I found it so comforting to hang out with friends who I knew and who I did not feel like I had to impress. I am finding that joy in just being myself and being accepted as such.

A Large Fridge

In Japan, grocery shopping happens every few days. I love having enough space and a large enough fridge to shop once per week, to cook and have leftovers to eat for days and to really be able to cook in bulk as I see fit. I am not sure how I would live in a place without the space for food, not that I do not cook often, because I do, but there is joy in simply knowing I do not need to cook.

Being Unplugged

One thing I learned from visiting Japan is that I do not need to have constant access to my phone. I had no cellular service the entire trip and I have found calm in not having to stay connected in that way. Taking the time to be just with myself has shown me that sometimes it is just as fun to sit down with a good book or just be with those around you rather than constantly trying to research (one of my larger obsessions) or trying to stay informed.

What are you loving this week? If you have any suggestions for me I would love to hear them below in the comments.

Travel

Preparing for Travel and Return

Traveling is hard enough. How can we make it easier?

CN Tower From Below
CN Tower

One of the things I have started to do is to prepare for traveling in advance. Depending on the scale of the trip this can mean different things.

No matter the trip I always start with the basics. Cleaning my house thoroughly so when I come home I do not have to do a thing. I clean out the fridge, make the beds, wash and put away all the dishes, and take out the trash. I find the calm of a clean worth the work of doing more before we leave.

For local trips or road trips, this means packing up the car and giving travel notices to the bank. We usually bring bags for separating laundry as it accumulates on the trip and for the car to contain the garbage.

For larger trips, this means securing tickets, exchanging currency as needed, and ensuring all items we need are with us before we go, these include outlet converters, extra batteries, charging packs, laundry bags, and ensuring passports are still valid.

We tend to leave packing to the night before because most of what we bring we use on a regular basis and we find packing all at once means less things are forgotten.

When we return, we immediately unpack. I love the feeling of having everything be back where it belongs and have no suitcase to unpack the next day.

How do you prepare for travel? What tips do you do before you leave or immediately upon returning?

Cookbook Review

Best of Cravings Cookbook

I decided two years ago to cook from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook cravings. I decided this on a whim because it was the best cookbook of the year according to Goodreads. I have in the past two years cooked everything I care to make from the cookbook and below I will share with you the recipes I see as worth having. Through this cookbook, I learned to trust myself in the kitchen, to modify recipes as needed to suit my taste, and that my taste is not the same as Chrissy’s. As I continue to cook, I am learning not to try being anyone other than myself. Out of her recipes the following are the ones I like as is without changes.

Pull-Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Biscuit topped with sausage gravy

Believe it or not this was the first time I had biscuits and gravy and I found the combination to be sweet and salty and delicious.

Prosciutto Crips

I do not have a picture, but I find this short recipe useful and the prosciutto turns crispy every time.

Cobb Salad with Honey-Mustard Ranch Dressing

Salad with bacon, chicken, corn, avocado, and dressing
This is the kind of salad that doesn’t feel like a salad.

This salad is amazing. I love the dressing and I would eat this everyday.

Pepper’s Scalloped Potatoes

I do not know what it is, but I just loved these potatoes and the way the ham and bacon meld with the potato is just great. My one piece of advice is this is massive so you may need more than one pan. I know I had to split it between two dishes.

Fried Sliced Garlic

I found this to be another useful recipe and you can use the leftover oil as garlic infused oil.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

I am pretty sure this one was so good, my husband barely got any. Oops. I found these to be everything you get at a restaurant in the comfort of your own home. I did much prefer the satay sauce to the other sauce.

Roasted Garlic and Roasted Garlic Oil

Another useful recipe I will come back to again and again.

Honey Balsamic Glaze

A simple way to spice up your balsamic and make all your salads delectable.

Sweet Potato Gnocci

We enjoyed this one quite a bit and made it more than once. I found them to be less scary and quite delicious.

What recipes do you love from this cookbook? Want me to cook through a different cookbook and give you my best of list, if so leave a comment down below letting me know which one

Asian Food, Food, Recipe

Broccoli with Asian Inspired Garlic Sauce

As a child, one of the vegetables we frequently order when we got Chinese food was broccoli with garlic sauce. I found it to be one of the only vegetables I remember that stood alone, not in fried rice or lo mein.

Broccoli with garlic sauce, wooden chopsticks in a blue bowl.
A little goes a long way with the sauce.

I am excited to share I have managed to recreate that experience at home which makes a simple side that takes barely any time at all.

Broccoli with Asian Inspired Garlic Sauce

Broccoli with Asian Inspired Garlic Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy (about 20 minutes)
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound chopped broccoli florets
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1. In a large sauce pan bring 1 inch of water to a boil. 2. Reduce heat to medium and add broccoli. 3. Cook for 5-6 minutes. 4. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix remaining ingredients together. 5. Drain when broccoli is done. 6. To that hot pan add sauce and bring to a boil. 7. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. 8. Serve broccoli with sauce on the side or stirred in.
This recipe makes much more sauce than you need.

What are your favorite vegetable sides? Any recipes you want me to recreate?

Books and Reading

What I’ve Been Reading Recently

The past month I have read a number of unremarkable books. I have read two though that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Image of foot in a red shoe with mechanical interior and title Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A novel spin on a classic Cinderella story.

The first book was one that had been on my list for quite a while. The book, Cinder, is a modern retelling of Cinderella with a dystopian element. I found the book to be different enough to still keep my interest and I just grew to love the characters. I could not put this book down and I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the sequel. I did listen to this on audio and really appreciated that part of it. Book Rating: 5/5

Image of half of Lauren Graham's face with mouth open and eyes wide title Talking as Fast as I can From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between
I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated.

The second book was also one I listened to on audio. The book, Talking as Fast as I Can, is a memoir by Lauren Graham. I was a huge fan of Gilmore Girls growing up and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This book is read by the author, which makes it wonderful. I found that surprisingly Graham seemed like someone I would actually want to know in real life. I appreciated her point of view and her strengths. I also found her writing to be a good mix of funny and real emotions and I loved reading it. Book Rating: 4/5

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed each book. Both had been on my to be read list for a while and I was glad I took the time to read them. What books are you reading lately? Any suggestions?

Food

Doctoring Recipes

Ever make a recipe and find it bland and boring.

Oh the number of times I have done this and been disappointed with all the effort I have put into my meal.

One of the things I have gotten good at is what I call doctoring recipes, meaning I adjust the ingredients at the end or add something else to make the meal more delicious. The following are what I reach for when I find my meal to be bland. There are times where a food simply tastes bad and it is not worth eating, but hopefully these tips will help with you budget and help you to enjoy your food.

Add Seasonings

I usually reach for garlic salt first, because I find it to be a flavor boost and typically cook with large amounts of garlic. You could also add simple salt and pepper, seasoned salt, everything bagel seasoning, taco seasoning or simply start adding spices from your cabinet.

When I was in graduate school and my former boyfriend now husband was living in Florida with all of our belongings. He would make ground beef in a skillet and simply test out all the seasonings.

I have always been something of a spice hoarder. Oh well, in this case I find it to be extremely useful.

Add a Sauce

Open fridge.
See the door and the back of the fridge sauces abound.

You can use sauces in your fridge to play with the way something tastes. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, toasted sesame oil, ketchup, oyster sauce, chili paste, salsa, and simply get creative with what already exists in your pantry or your fridge. Condiments can make a big difference.

Add Dairy

Cottage cheese and parmesan make this potato into something special.

Typically I mean sour cream. I find that if a sauce needs a bit of creaminess you can add yogurt or sour cream to enhance the flavor and give a bit more of a rich taste. I also sometimes to a pasta dish will add a dash of heavy cream to add that richness too. I will also add extra cheese, because I love it and I find the flavor to help most dishes.

Add Fat

Salad with carrots avocado and lettuce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and carrot ginger dressing.
Avocado makes this salad filling rather than just simple.

Fat also adds that richness like dairy, I usually add avocado, a bit of butter or olive oil can do wonders for a dish.

Add Sugar

I usually only use sugar to combat a spicy curry, but I find a pinch of sugar makes it taste a bit more edible.

Eat With Starch

Minestrone soup with bread and cheese
Soup is always better with bread.

Sometimes if a meal is too intense stirring it with some rice, or eating it with pasta or over a potato will make it lose some of it’s potency because you are spreading it over something milder. Keep in mind though if you do this you are likely to eat it for longer because you will eat smaller amounts at each meal.

What do you do with your meals that don’t come out as you expect? What are your tips and tricks?

Things I Love Thursday

Things I Love Tuesday

This is my weekly opportunity to share with you things I am currently loving and enjoying. I love using this as an opportunity to reflect on what I am grateful for in life and to find the best parts. This week we are doing this on a Tuesday because Thursday is PIE DAY!

Small Steps

One of my realizations last year was that I tend to have a rhythm of going all out and then falling apart because I overdid it and I find myself needing a break of a day or two before I am back at it.

This year one of my goals has been to make small sustainable changes. I have been trying to make changes I think can be permanent that will improve me for the long haul. In January, I started with drinking warm lemon water every morning. I have slowly added to that- increasing my steps by 1,000 each week until one week I will be up to 10,000, drinking enough water, giving up snacking, and paying attention to portion size.

My most recent goal is to eat vegetables with every meal. I am finding it to be more challenging than I initially anticipated. I do not reach for vegetables with breakfast, but I am finding if I am intentional about breakfast the rest of the day is easier. I feel like all these small steps help me realize I am in this for the long haul. I am not overwhelmed and needing to rest but am instead building better habits.

Fuzzy Socks

I have been wearing my especially fuzzy socks because my floors are cold and this simple act of self care has been making a world of difference. If my feet feel warmer I feel warmer in general.

Daily Writing

I have been taking the time to write daily, simply for myself. I write 1,000 words per weekday. I started this to cultivate the habit in a more serious way than in my journal, which I typically write in late at night and can be either insightful or rambling depending. I focus my 1,000 words in the morning around a topic if I have one although at times they can be rambling.

I have found as a verbal processor that surprisingly at times writing fulfills my niche. I am able to explore and ramble and ask myself questions about what I am doing. I question my motives or explore things that are troubling me. I am finding that this dedicated time is useful for finding answers. Even if it takes a few days of dedicated writing, I am able to get to the bottom of why I am doing what I am doing and how to change in areas that need it.

My Coat

Woman in navy toggle coat and jeans rolling her eyes.
Oh the snark, I do make the best faces.

I bought this coat this year and I really struggled making the purchase. I am pretty sure I have never spent that much on a coat before and although I loved it I questioned if it would be worth it. I have since worn this coat practically everyday and I love it. I find it so warm and it was ultimately a worthwhile expense.

Alternating Date Nights

This year I was inspired by Jordan Page to switch up how we do date nights. My husband and I have done a weekly date night for a few years now. We typically use it as our one meal out per week and we try new restaurants. I find not having to cook or do the dishes to be a nice time and it is a space for us to remember being just us.

This year though we made one change, rather than having us decide jointly we split the responsibility. I am responsible for choosing one week and my husband the next. I love the excitement of not knowing where we will go and I feel like there is less pressure because I am not making all the choices.

What are things that you are loving this week or things that are working for you?