Odds & Ends – Dec/Jan 2018

Taiwan sneak peek

I will start off by admitting that I made zero New Years’ Resolutions, especially not ones related to the blog. I did, however, take on “Drynuary” (dry January) – no alcohol for a month. I’ve never been a heavy drinker, but all those corporate happy hours add up!  Feeling self-conscious about not having a drink in my hand at work events and casual get-togethers was the hardest part. I mean, what else are you supposed to do while watching basketball? (Answer: eat artery-clogging food instead…) While I’m relieved to no longer have to justify my lack of drink-in-hand, I definitely don’t feel like I missed much in the month of January. I was just glad I wasn’t on the Whole30 train!

Here are my odds & ends of the last few months:

  • Khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) 

My senior manager is extremely well-traveled, and she suggested Supra, DC’s first Georgian restaurant, for our team’s holiday dinner. I knew nothing about Georgian (the country) food, but Supra has received overwhelmingly positive reviews since its debut in Shaw; I’m 100% here for it.

Blurry phone pic because I can’t be that girl with no chill at work dinners

While waiting for the rest of our team to arrive at dinner, we started with an order of khachapuri. Khachapuri just might be my new favorite variation of bread and cheese around the world. First you mix the runny egg into the cheesy center with a fork, then you rip off a piece of the crust (a cross between pizza dough and naan) to dip in the cheesy mixture. Mmm. I was surprised to see the resemblance of another Georgian staple – khinkali (soup dumplings) – to Chinese/ Taiwanese soup dumplings. I will say that I personally prefer the Taiwanese version with its thinner skin, juicier filling, and more bite-sized portions. That culinary cross-pollination is super interesting to me, though!

  • 730 DC – Wake to Washington

I’m so guilty of wasting time on social media when my alarm goes off every morning. Instead of foregoing screen time altogether, I’ve found a somewhat productive middle ground: skimming the 730DC email instead of scrolling through Instagram first thing when I wake up.

The newsletter (kind of like the Skimm) is sent at 7:30 every morning, focused on local Washingtonian happenings with witty headlines. It also includes a “What to Do” section with all sorts of events happening around the city – they really run the gamut, from the standard beer/wine/chocolate tastings and performing arts shows, to “Take Off Your Pants and Safetrack It,” masquerade balls, and “Intro to Birdwatching”.

  • Kaya toast

My little souvenir bottles of kaya jam that I brought home from Singapore have been making regular appearances in my weekend breakfasts. Having time to boil the egg, grill the bread, and enjoy the unique combination makes me happy because it reminds me of vacation and makes me feel extra lucky that I get to travel the world and try new things and experience different cultures!

Courtesy of Coconuts Manila

  • sheet masks

They started off as a joke about my Asia trip because of my layover in Korea (AKA land of sheet masks/skincare), but I actually ended up getting some that I really liked in Taiwan! Especially with how cold it’s been this January, my skin has never needed the extra hydration more. I try to remember to use one at least once a week – I can’t say I’ve seen any long-term changes, but my skin always feels really smooth the next morning.
Taiwanese brands aren’t easily accessible here, but Amazon carries several(a) Korean(b) brands(c). I’m even seeing Korean beauty products at TJ Maxx and other drugstores now. When Sarah and Katie came to visit, I picked up some fun animal sheet masks to mess around with and we had a ridiculously good time. We all looked absolutely crazy and could not stop laughing! Highly entertaining in lieu of a night out, in my opinion.

  • old family photos

Hanging out with my grandparents in Taiwan included reminiscing over old photos that they have around their old house, some of which I’d never seen before. Photography will always be one of those everyday things I can’t believe humans were able to figure out. Freezing a moment in time forever? No way.

Unamused since 1996?
  • Trader Joe’s Fig & Olive Crisps

I brought some of the raisin & rosemary crisps for Joycelyn at her request when I stayed with her in Singapore, but I noticed the fig and olive variation next to it when I got back. The purple box is what caught my eye first, but I love figs and fig on anything. (Still waiting on Trader Joe’s soft-baked fig biscotti to come back in season!). I thought these crackers would be good for wine and cheese night in the meantime… I’ve never seen cheese and crackers go faster.

  • Kodiak Cake banana bread

I tend to forget about Pinterest when I run out of meal prep ideas, but the one situation I always turn to Pinterest for, is when we have brown bananas. My go-to healthy banana chocolate chip muffins have had their time to shine, but I needed to mix it up! I found a recipe for banana bread that uses the Kodiak Cakes protein pancake mix, and it’s basically chocolate cake. I’ll share the recipe once I finalize the version I like best, but here’s to bringing Pinterest back (even though I never have the ingredients half the recipes call for…)

  • On my nightstand:

I am steadily making my way through every single Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult book. They are sort of all starting to blur together, but I know they can deliver a good read. Sweetbitter is one I’ve heard a lot of buzz about, but really did not see the hype. Decent Proposal was a Little Free Library find that I took on the plane so I could ditch it abroad – not a great work of literature, but something mindless to pass the time.

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