Looking back at 2014

Let’s start off with a few numbers:

  • Zipcar rentals: 15
  • Untappd badges unlocked or leveled up at least once: 31 (I don’t know how many times I leveled up that stupid “you drank an American beer” badge.)
  • Workouts & bike rides: 107  
  • Jars canned: 70
  • Miles on the bike: 69.4 (I think there are some farmer’s market trips that didn’t get entered)
  • Steps on my Fitbit: 2,641,742 (1,181.31 miles)

And how did I do on the goals I set for myself for the year? Not great, but that’s OK. It was a fun year!

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The Month In Books & Year End Review

December 2014:

I read 38 books this year (same as 2010), which works out to one every week and a half or so. That feels about right. I continued to read a lot of magazines this year, though I have cancelled a couple of subscriptions, and I read a ton of stuff on the Internet. If Pocket’s analytics are correct, I’ve read just over 1.1 million words through their service alone, which they say is the equivalent of 25 books. I have definitely read a lot online this year – as online content is wont to be, it’s easy to consume a couple of posts or articles when I have a few minutes, and from pretty much anywhere.

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Recent Recipes

Roasted Chickpeas – I made these with the spice rub from my most recent Hatchery box. They’re pretty good, but mine didn’t turn out crispy. I guess I needed to bake them longer? This seems like it would be a great snack if I can figure out the trick to getting them crisp.

Chickpea and Spinach Salad – This is really just a very simple treatment of chickpeas with lemon juice and garlic. Warmed up, they’re quite delicious on a salad (I served them over arugula) or as a side in and of themselves.

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash – The extremely rare Smitten Kitchen recipe that I don’t care for. I felt that there was too much butter, and the whole thing was kind of blah.

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries (scroll down) – This was a super delicious and very easy Thanksgiving side dish. I made it with one acorn squash and probably about half of a butternut squash, as some parts of it just would not soften quite enough. I often find this to be true of butternut squash. Given that you puree this in the end, I would recommend chopping the pieces a bit smaller than the quarters called for, so that it cooks faster. Or just use acorn squash instead.

Bourbon Apple Cider – We brought the fixings for this to our Thanksgiving dinner, and it was quite tasty. I know bourbon and apple cider is not a new combination, but the orange was a really nice touch, and the cinnamon and rosemary made it a very fragrant and impressive looking cocktail. I would recommend cutting back the cinnamon and sugar to teaspoons, though. There’s really no need to make quite so much of it to just rim the glasses (or dust over the top if you’re feeling lazy).

Recent Recipes: Hatchery Edition

There’s still far more in the drawer than I’ve managed to use, but that’s OK.

Gourmegg Classy Classic Gourmet Seasoning - We’ve had this in eggs a couple of times. It’s quite good, adding an aromatic, herby touch and just the right amount of salt.

Golden Bay Chutney Mild Tomato Chutney - I wound up using this on a grilled cheese, which was a delicious decision. I don’t normally put things in my grilled cheese but this added a great slightly acidic, savory note that was a good contrast with the creaminess of the cheese. This is something I’d consider purchasing. I’ve also made a mental note to perhaps make a tomato chutney next summer.

Greenpoint Trading Co. Roasted Garlic Pepper - This was pretty good. I used it to marinade some chicken, which I roasted over potatoes. I also put some on top of the chicken as a rub and in the potatoes. That was a little much- it was harsh on the potatoes. Great on the chicken, though.

Reginald’s Homemade Nana Honey Peanut Butter - I had this in some yogurt. Quite tasty!

Ft. Greene Farms Charred Sriracha – I didn’t quite make the Honey-Sriracha Glazed Brussels Sprouts recipe with this, but I used that as my inspiration. I mixed the srirarcha with some brown sugar and a bit of olive oil, and then  added it to sauteed brussels sprouts and cooked for just a couple more minutes. Very, very yummy. This is another thing I’d purchase. I’d have to do a head-to-head to describe the differences, but the flavor profile of this roasted sriracha is is different than regular stuff, which is fermented.

Southern Okie Gourmet Peach Spread – Delicious, as peach jam always is. I enjoyed it in oatmeal.

November Hatchery Box

My November Hatchery box arrived the yesterday! I am still very much enjoying this, even as I don’t quite manage to keep up with using the samples. If you’re in need of a gift idea for someone who loves to cook as much as I do, I cannot recommend this enough. You can give a tasting box subscription as a gift, and if you use the code HOLIDAY20 you’ll get 20% off. They also sell full sizes of all of these delicious things (not to mention that I’ve seen some of the items I’ve gotten in this box pop up in stores that I’ve been in, which is really neat).

Anyway. On to November. Not a very good photo this  month, too bad for you.

November Hatchery Box

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