Hey friends, hope you are well.
I've been a bit slow to catch up on this these past few weeks with work being super busy and recovering from covid and all that, so I wanted to say a belated THANK YOU to those of you who answered my questions about what types of kitchen tools you've got and the kind of content you hope to see here in 2022.
Seems like many of you have Instant Pots and Air Fryers, many of you appreciate meal prep recipes and one pot or one pan dinners, and many of you appreciate the occasional healthy-ish treat. So I get the impression that I should just keep doing what I'm doing and we'll be good 🙂
Speaking of Instant Pots, I've got an Instant Pot recipe that I've done a couple of tests on, but before I publish it I'd love for it to be tested again in an Instant Pot that isn't mine. My device can be a bit cranky at times, especially with starchy recipes, and one of the times I tested this recipe the vent was letting out a tiny bit of steam the entire time.
So if you've got an Instant Pot and would like a sneak peak on an upcoming recipe (this likely won't be published until March) then shoot me an email. I'll also be using the leftovers of this recipe to form the basis of another recipe, so if you've got an Instant Pot AND an Air Fryer you can try both parts! Please note that this recipe does contain dairy, and I would need testing notes back by the 20th of February at the latest.
It was my birthday this past week and I turned 43.
Historically I have always enjoyed being odd numbered ages more than even numbers, although the pandemmy has definitely messed with that rhythm. Nevertheless, I think that 43 is going to be a good one.
I had what I described to my friends as a very mom-ish mom birthday. Paul and I had plans to go out for dinner on Saturday to celebrate, so Wednesday, my actual birthday, was geared towards the kids who were very excited to celebrate.
I went into the office on Wednesday morning and had a ton to get done, especially since school was closing early for a staff meeting that day. I was planning to eat lunch at my desk, but during a meeting with my team leads they said, "Hey, it's your birthday! Can we take you out for lunch?!" and they were so enthusiastic about it that I couldn't say no.
So we went to a restaurant close to the office and had a nice lunch. But when it came time to pay, everyone just paid for themselves!
I mean, it's fine. It's not like I can't afford a lunch out, and I also know that I make more money than they do. But what exactly does "can we take you out for lunch?" mean on your birthday? Simply an escort out of the building?
I think part of it may be the dynamic, since when I take team members out for a meal I'm always the one who pays, since I've got a discretionary budget and I can expense it. Or, maybe everyone was waiting for someone else to suggest they should split it three ways? I don't know, but I thought it was strange.
Still a nice lunch though!
I had suggested to Paul that we should take the kids out to a family-friendly restaurant on my birthday, but he said that given the current spread of covid in the community and the fact that we're going out for dinner on Saturday, he'd prefer staying in at my place.
In the midst of all this the babysitter texted to let me know she has covid (freaking everyone has covid right now!) so we'd have to postpone the restaurant dinner I had been looking forward to.
So I grumpily set about making myself a birthday cake (I made this tiny chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen) which I stayed up very late the night before making so that the kids could help decorate it the next day.
I also picked up the ingredients for Emmeline's Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos, and if you haven't tried these yet what are you even doing with your life?!
I don't like cooking on weeknights unless it's something that's really simple or based on leftovers, so having to pick the kids up from school, stop to pick up cake decorations, make the frosting and help with the decorating all before I could start cooking dinner for everyone on MY birthday got me into a right funk.
I'll admit that in retrospect, I didn't read Paul's email very carefully and he HAD suggested getting takeout, which would have been much better.
Anyways, in the end it was a lovely evening and both the tacos and the cake were very delicious. The boys gave me small gifts of chocolate and olive oil (I think Paul took them birthday shopping to the grocery store) and Niko gave me a pillow that he'd made at school. It says "monster jump" on one side and "43" on the other.
Dear readers, can I ask YOU to do something for my birthday? It's totally free and won't take but a few moments of your time.
If you've made a recipe on this site and enjoyed it, could you pretty please go in and leave a comment and star rating? It doesn't seem like much but it helps tremendously when it comes to ranking for keywords and getting our content visible on Google.
And the Google gods seem to be extra drunk lately, so those comments and ratings would really help a sister out!
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
First up, this Vegetarian Ravioli Bake. It's like lasagna but without all the fiddling around with layering things. Carby, cheesy, and packed with flavour, you want to give this quick and easy meal a go.
This week I also shared this recipe for Spicy Instant Pot Red Lentil Soup. It's actually one of the oldest recipes on this site that got a well-deserved glow-up. Stovetop instructions are of course provided for those of you without an Instant Pot.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
1. 10-Minute Vegetable Ramen Noodles. Again and again and again.
2. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. A HNL classic.
3. Red Lentil Dal. Such an easy and cozy recipe.
4. How to Cook Adzuki Beans. Love these sweet little red beans!
5. Savory Cottage Cheese Muffins. These babies are PACKED with protein!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
As soon as I saw these I knew I had to try them and I’m so glad I did. They are actually the best pancakes I’ve ever had. And I don’t throw that around lightly. I used white spelt flour because it’s what I had but would be keen to try with whole grain next time. Thank you Katie! My family had their most favourite pancake Sunday thanks to you & we can’t wait to make them again next Sunday.
This comment made my day! These pancakes have been on weekend rotation in our home for ages, so I'm thrilled you love them as much as we do.
THIS WEEK’S MENU
This week is a mostly regular week, but happily I've got a ton of leftovers to get through.
HERE’S WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
Monday: Leftovers from that IP / AF recipe I've been testing! We also have leftover Savory Dutch Baby that needs eating so I'll probably put that out as well.
Tuesday: Quick and easy ravioli with broccoli and halloumi.
Wednesday: I have plans with a friend, not sure if we're eating in or out!
Thursday: Another new recipe I'm testing.
Saturday: Going out for a make-up birthday dinner!
Sunday: Pizza night! Making my Spelt Pizza Dough, of course.