Happy November! I’m just as shocked as you are 🙂 Finn just hit two months (and celebrated his first Halloween as the snuggly hippo sidekick to Lilly’s Cookie Monster) and time is moving at a scary pace. I know that the year will be over before I can blink. I’ve been coping by using my 5-minute journal to mark the small and wonderful things that happen each day—like Lilly telling me she didn’t like wine because it was “too spicy” or Finn smiling for the first time. Also: friends delivering Peter Pan doughnuts (see below), enjoying my first post-natal negroni, and squeezing in a workout during naptime.
Also amazing: writing this while my parents hang out with Lilly and Finn. Here’s what I’m excited about right now:
Marathon spectating: My incredible sister Annie is running the NYC marathon this weekend (her fifth!). Rob has mapped out an excellent cheering plan, while my mom has the sign and cowbell covered. I’m making sure we’re ready to celebrate with bubbles (Annie’s picks: Ferrari for budget, Pol Roger for mid-priced, and Billecart-Salmon Rosé for all out), as well as negroni fixings (my favorite version: equal parts Plymouth, Campari, and Cinzano, on the rocks with an orange twist).
Nothing Fancy, obvi: I’m sure you’ve heard of Alison Roman and her famous cookies and stew. I’m here to tell you that while those are both great, you actually need her cookbooks (Dining In and the brand-new Nothing Fancy) for her brilliant-lazy approach to cooking for yourself and others. The recipes are completely approachable but also exciting (ex: roasted cauliflower with dates and tahini or pasta with broccoli rabe and chorizo breadcrumbs). I also +1 her attitude about entertaining: first, don’t call it entertaining; two, don’t make everything from scratch; three, always have tiny fishies on hand.
Reverse-engineered snacks and chill: Rob is a devoted viewer of Bon Appetit’sGourmet Makes video series, where the brilliant Claire Saffitz reverse-engineers packaged foods. He finally convinced me to watch with him, and we turned it into a silly date by eating Pop Tarts (Strawberry, though I was tempted to go Brown Sugar) while Saffitz made an unbelievably delicious high-brow version. Next on watch list: Cheetos.
A better English Muffin: Speaking of things that are worth updating, I discovered Dam Good English Muffins at the latest Pop Up Grocer and they really are that good. I have a soft spot for nooks and crannies but I’m always disappointed when I eat a regular one; they just taste wan. Not these—they’re made with sourdough and are hand-cut and griddled, giving them gorgeous flavor and texture. They’re not the easiest to find but you can order online and freeze some—highly recommend the whole wheat and multigrain versions.
Oatmeal season: It finally feels like fall, which means I’m dusting off our steel-cut oats. I like a good banana-walnut-maple combo but increasingly I’m drawn to savory versions; I linked to a few favorites in this old newsletter, and am also into this greens-and-yogurt approach.
Labne on everything: Devoting an entire bullet to labne may seem like overkill but maybe you’re like me and have always seen it in the market but never thought to buy it. Well, we’ve been missing out. It’s a thick, creamy cheese that is milder than yogurt but more interesting than sour cream, and is absolutely ridiculous with your eggs, stirred in soups, and turned into dips.
Fits-all-occasions kale salad: I’ve mentioned this Smitten Kitchen kale and quinoa salad before and it’s worth revisiting. I made it for Hayley as part of her new-parent food care package and was reminded why I love it so much. It’s healthy feeling without being boring and keeps well for a few days (add more dressing and nuts if you need to perk it up). It’s the first thing I make when we come home from vacation.
Guilty pleasure reading/napping: When Lilly was a baby I felt guilty letting her nap on me because I thought I should be productive. Now that I know how quickly this stage passes, I’ve been taking advantage of snuggly nap time as much as possible (also Finn hates sleeping in his bassinet so there’s that). And since my brain is tired, I’ve also been leaning into easy-breezy books starting with American Royals, which was completely silly but fun. Now I’m deep in The Lost World, which is proving to be just as addictive as Jurassic Park. (Sidenote: If you’re looking for zippy, satisfying reads, may I direct you to Crazy Rich Asians? I sped through the whole trilogy but the first is by far the best.)
Not losing pacifiers: Pacifiers are slippery devils and seem to disappear as quickly as we buy them. I’m endlessly grateful for this cute and useful pacifier clip that our friend Ro sent us in a new kid care package. It also has silicone beads that will be great for teething, whenever that stage happens.
Rainy day art projects: On a recent rainy Sunday, I embarked on my first arts-and-crafts adventure with Lilly. It was a huge success thanks to a) covering our entire dining table in newspaper and b) two fun helpers: this foolproof and completely washable Djeco marble painting set and this easy-to-navigate Kids Made Modern jewelry making kit (thanks, Tamara and Hayley!). I’m planning to stock up in anticipation of future snowy days.
Looking slightly less tired: No, we’re not sleeping enough, and yes, I am spending too much money at Blue Bottle. In addition to caffeine, I’m a huge fan of EltaMD’s daily SPF 46 for its light feel and subtle tint. I pair it with my favorite cream blush, Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Perk, so I look fresher than I feel. And one of these days I’ll remember to use my favorite mask, Herbivore’s aptly named Brighten, to freshen up my skin—until then, more blush.
Last thing! I was recently a guest on my friends Grace and Becca’s podcast, Bad on Paper, and I had way too much fun sharing my opinions on cooking, skincare, co-parenting, and more. I love what they’re doing and am extra excited about their monthly Bad on Politics episodes—each one will feature an expert helping break down a key aspect of the 2020 election. Highly recommend checking them out, and catching a live show if they’re coming to your city!