WHITE CHOCOLATE PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD WITH RHUBARB GLAZE

Anyone else an occasional victim of the Sunday Scaries? I've been realizing more and more that they're sort of commonplace and totally and completely irrational. It'd be safe to assume the Scaries come on solely to those who hate their job. But I love my job! I do! I get to learn about new ideas, work with people who are thought leaders in their industries and be surrounded by tons and tons of colorful books. 

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BREAKFAST SWEET POTATOES WITH QUINOA GRANOLA

So I think my 27th birthday was one of the best days of my life.

Last Friday marked my 27th turn around the sun, and I got to spend the day with some of the loveliest humans I know. I walked from Morningside Heights to Midtown East through Central Park and saw a man walking 10 dogs at once. I walked from Midtown East to Chelsea and saw so many tourists. Punctuating all of this walking was coffee with new coworkers, brunch with best friends and drinks with my partner. It was already pretty damn lovely.

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CRISPY SPROUTS WITH TAHINA AND POMEGRANATE

So I'm a little afraid of my kitchen.

"Rina, you write a food blog, what the fuck?"

I know, I know! I should have full kitchen confidence, wielding knives with Benihana flamboyance and blowtorching shit all over the place.

But I'm a little afraid of my kitchen.

And the reason I'm a little afraid of my kitchen is because my oven is old, small and makes a clicking noise every once in a while. It's not not the title character from Alien.

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COCONUT CREAM PIE TRIFLE

I'm a self-admitted sitcom-addict. I love short, smart bursts of well-written comedy tied together by a domino affect of jokes. I think the reason I'm so drawn to the sitcom genre is because writing funny dialogue in a short amount of time is incredible challenging. I admire the ease of the humor and the realness of the predicaments. So, it'll come as no surprise that my favorite sitcom, Friends, is one that I can watch ad infinitum and never get bored of. 

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GARLIC BUTTER SMASHED POTATOES

One of the perks of living in a massive city is that it is CONVENIENT. Unless you work in an office, it is now totally plausible to never have to leave your apartment: you can freelance from your couch, order everything from coffee to toilet paper (in under an hour!) to pet food straight to your door, and access movies and TV shows at lightening speed. Skype your parents every once in a while and your fortress of solitude is complete.

I really try to not rely on these services. Even when it's pouring rain and the last thing I want to do is run errands, I make myself get off my ass and into the pharmacy. There are times, though, when the prospect of bagfuls of groceries magically appearing on my doorstep is too appealing - since we started the blog, we've needed a lot more flour and sugar than I will ever be able to carry, so sometimes I cave.

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VEGAN RAINBOW VEGGIE SANDWICH

Guys, it's been a while. And we're real sorry about that. Life has a way of sucking you in and we were two serious victims of that. But we've made it through to the other side! Hair a bit windblown, but otherwise we've made it. 

Spring is finally here and we couldn't more thrilled. Unlike the cheat we got this past fall, summer seems to be holding its full-force self at bay and letting us enjoy the cool breezes and quiet rains of spring. Finally, a real season - no half-assed snow dusting or color change accompanied by full-blown humidity. And what's a better way to celebrate spring than with something colorful and fresh?

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COOKIES + CREAM COCOA CRISPY TREATS

There's this vending machine at work that silently tempts me on days when my sweet tooth is especially acting up. No, it's not the M&Ms in two varieties. Nor the pretzels or sad packages of Doritos that gets me going. It's the Rice Krispie Treat in all of the it's luminescent blue packaging that I find myself returning to.

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SWEET PATATAS BRAVAS WITH CRISPY EGG

It should come as a surprise to no one that Ann Arbor's been on my mind lately. Committing four years of your life somewhere will do that to you. But while my time at Michigan was filled with adventure and my first real heartbreak, there was one thing that Ann Arbor never lacked in. And that's food. 

Living in New York, I'm truly spoiled by the over-abundance of world-class restaurants at my disposal. I mean you could essentially close your eyes, spin around and point your finger at anywhere on a map and you're bound to find somewhere wonderful to tickle your palate. But Ann Arbor really brought it's A game. Of course, you have the super-famous Zingerman's deli - everyone's favorite sandwich-spot, but there were quite a few others that popped over over my four years. Mani Osteria had the wood-burning oven pizza down and I still dream about Isalita's steak nachos. But one restaurant I never got around to visiting was Aventura, owned by the same woman who ran Sava's, another Ann Arbor favorite of mine.

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SPICY POMEGRANATE GUACAMOLE

As I sit at my desk on this blustery afternoon, my mind naturally turns to what I'm going to eat for dinner. Do I want to spend a couple hours at the grocery store, stirring and measuring and roasting after a long day?

Fuck no. I want a bowl the size of my head filled with guacamole. With some crunchy things to dip thrown in for balance. A reasonable request, I would say.

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BLACKBERRY QUINOA SALAD WITH LEMON MINT VINAIGRETTE

I know what you're thinking. Another salad. Right? Well, let me tell you, there's no such thing as too many salads. I've mentioned before that salads are traditionally thought of as boring, but what if I told you that this salad was packed with so much flavor it would almost make you forget how healthy for you it is?

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RED SANGRIA

New York is a serendipitous place, isn't it? I'm pretty sure there's some god-awful 90's rom-com about just that, but isn't there always some kind of truth even in the cheesiest of things? 

After nearly two years of living mere blocks apart and never running into each other, an old friend and I have bumped into each other two weeks in a row - same time, same place. Living in New York, the hustle and bustle certainly gets to you and we so rarely take a breath and slow things down. Running into him and stopping to chat was almost like taking a deep breath of fresh air in this overcrowded city. It gave me the chance to stop and think, clear my head and remind myself how sometimes life bumps you in weird directions with, what seems like a bullying attitude, but really is just a friendly nudge.

And that's exactly what sangria does. Slows you down (in more ways than one, might I add.)

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POTATO CHIP MATZAH CRACK

Is there anything redeeming about matzah? It is literally the bread of affliction, for god's sake. It has weird bumpy bits and no taste, and could stop up Niagara Falls, let alone a single, sad tummy. I cannot with matzah pizza, or matzah lasagna, or any matzah version of a normally glorious chametz-filled food.

I learned a while ago that there are people who not only enjoy matzah on Passover, but all year round! Like, they go to the store in October, think "man, I could really go for some matzah right now" and then they BUY IT AND EAT IT AS IF THIS IS NORMAL. Maybe it tastes better if you've never had to survive on it for eight days a year? I don't know. I'm not going to yuck your yum if you're a year-round matzah eater, but please explain yourself in the comments.

Now, all of this being said, there actually is one redeeming thing one can do with matzah, one recipe that would get me to eat matzah every week of the year:

Matzah crack.

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GRAPEFRUIT AVOCADO ENDIVE CUPS

So, Passover is next week. Insane, right? I don't know where January or February went, but now Passover is in a week - maybe 2018 is trying to do us a favor by ending as quickly as possible.

I'm not going to my family for Passover this year, which means I'll be staying home in the city, staring longingly at bagels until I come to my senses.* In helping a friend menu plan her seder, I've been thinking about the foods and traditions my family has for our own. We always have props for the ten plagues on the table - plastic animals and bugs, those plastic monster finger puppet things and, for some reason, tiny plastic cowboys with guns for the death of the first born plague, maybe?

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PASSOVER-FRIENDLY EGGPLANT PARMESAN

Talk about a case of the Mondays! Yesterday was one for the books, let me tell you. It was one of those days where a lot of little things added up to yield a pretty mediocre day. Nothing a hot shower, hearty dinner and episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch couldn't fix. Thank you late 90's nostalgia!

All in all, it wasn't a truly awful day, I mean, I've had worse. I just have to give myself a little credit, take a deep breath and stay positive. I mean, Michigan did win Saturday night's game with a mind-blowingly magical buzzer beater. So, there are things to cheer about. I pride myself in my realistic optimism - instead of having my head in the clouds, I turn my face towards the sun while keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground. But sometimes, even the sunniest of personalities require a little brooding. Mondays suck for everyone, so don't beat yourself up. 

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