Woo hoo! I always love these “life update” posts.
Mostly because I’m like, “Ohhh this will take no time at all!” and then I’m here an hour and a half later talking about how much I love my new windshield wipers (seriously, that happens in this post).
If that wasn’t enough to scare you away, you truly are my people! So thanks. :) Let’s jump into a fun little update before we call it a week:
Psst. Some links used in this post are affiliate links, which means if you order a product through the link, Fooduzzi makes some money (at no cost to you). All money is put directly back into making delicious plant-based yum here on the blog!
eating: Okay, so Mark and I have a new restaurant obsession: Aladdin’s. It’s fresh, flavorful, and totally amazing. We love getting their takeout if we’re low on time, and omg. They have so many vegan options, and their hot sauce just…is perfect. They won’t even sort of share the ingredients, but I’m slooowly working on a copycat recipe for you because you just totally need to experience it for yourself. I really love their Kale & Quinoa Tabouli Salad and their hummus app!
We also ate at a vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon, OH this past weekend: The Courthouse! Very very good. I got tacos obviously, but everyone really enjoyed their meals. Mark’s mom got a portobello Philly Cheesesteak, and it was so good – must recreate for you!
What else. I’ve been eating a lot of bread. We Instacarted some groceries when we were sick, and I got some of the sprouted sandwich bread from Aldi. It’s really good. Peanut butter toast will never not be amazing.
Omg. Speaking of Aldi. We randomly bought their protein flame grilled frozen vegan burgers the other day and they were horrendous. So so bad. Don’t even bother. If I’m hungry for a protein-packed vegan burger, I love the Hi-Protein Veggie Burgers from Trader Joe’s!
And then speaking of Instacart: Have you used it? It was amazing when neither of us could even think about going outside, but our grocery bill (~$15) was equivalent to the extra “stuff” (tip, shipping, etc.) we paid. I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I got the flu again, but I probably wouldn’t use it for day-to-day grocery shopping.
Last thing: we went to Sienna on the Square (Sienna Sulla Piazza) for Mark’s birthday, and we just had the best time. It’s in Market Square, which is like, the heart of downtown, and we ordered apps, salads, and cocktails. Everything was great, and I super enjoyed the company.
Okay, really last thing. Are you watching the Super Bowl? We probably won’t, but if you need some snackage this weekend (for the game or otherwise), I got you.
doing: FRUGAL FEBRUARY. Yep! We’re doing it. Mostly because the holiday spending spree has somehow flowed into the new year. Whooooops.
I would say that, in general, I’m pretty frugal. Too frugal in fact…except when it comes to food. I love spending money on food. I love experiencing it! Whether it’s a new recipe, a helpful kitchen tool (more on that in a bit), a fun find at the grocery store, or a quick bite out (see above).
So I just need to be a little more mindful, and because I can’t pass up the opportunity for a good alliteration, Frugal February it is!
Mark is into it too – he wrote this really cool post on his blog about entrepreneurial personal finance that will (hopefully) continue to inspire me throughout the month.
I’ll share our total weekly food spend on Instagram every Friday in February (because Frugal February Friday – ahh I love it!), so be sure to follow along if you’re interested!
going: Against Frugal February tomorrow…we’re going to Altius with Mark’s parents! Altius is a high-end restaurant right at the tippy top of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh. It offers probably the most iconic view of the city, and the food it just insane. They bring popcorn, freshly-baked bread, an amuse bouche, and a small dessert to the table in addition to your entree. I’m always amazed at the flavor combinations I have at Altius, so I can’t wait to splurge.
This Altius trip was actually supposed to happen in January, but that was the whole “sick as a dog” day. Would not have been a fun day to have gone to an epic restaurant.
Mark and I also were invited to The Spice & Tea Exchange in a local mall. It’s an awesome little shop that sells, you guessed it, spices and teas. But man. It’s such a fun place to explore and experience. They have so many fun finds – purple rice, unique teas, beet root powder, etc. -, and my all-time favorite is their Tuscany spice blend. Add it to some olive oil, and you have the best darn dipping sauce for your favorite bread ever.
We had such a fun time, and I’ve loved using everything I bought that day! I use their maca powder in my smoothies, we love their pu-erh tea after a long day, and Mark totally adores their dirty rice mix. And I think I’ll need to make a beet root powder recipe in time for Valentine’s Day! Any requests?
using: Speaking of Mark!! He’s just so awesome. He’s the trifecta of the perfect boyfriend: smart, cute, and nice. I mean, that’s pretty much everything you’d want out of a relationship, right?
But focusing on that “smart” part of that trifecta: he’s a software engineer, and he built the new social media bio link I’m using, Profilee. I loooove it, and it can automatically connect to Fooduzzi and pull my new posts, display affiliate link disclosures, and link to sponsors. Plus, it just lets me link to whatever content I want to promote, like the chocolate chip cookies that are currently in the oven omg.
It’s awesome, and if you’re a blogger / content creator, you should check it out (there’s a free version, and a premium version)!
Also, totally drank the kool-aid this week and got an Instant Pot. I asked you guys on Instagram and Facebook whether or not you were interested in vegan IP recipes, and you seemed excited about it!
So! I need to first figure out how to use it, and then I’ll start testing. My first recipe – whole sweet potatoes – was a total fail. I just cooked some white rice in it though, and it worked great! I can’t wait to try this one with tofu.
That said, the definitely took longer all in all than it would have on the stove, so I’m still not sold on this thing. If you have one, drop your favorite recipes in the comments for me!
laughing: I always look through the pictures on my phone for inspiration for these posts, and literally all I see is this face:
wearing: I got another Stitch Fix box the other day, and I ended up getting these teal pants that I actually really love! They’re something I’d never pick out for myself, so that’s why I love getting a Stitch Fix…fix…every now and then.
I definitely don’t do it often (tbh, I think the clothes are kinda pricey for someone who sits inside most of the time), but it’s always fun to get a new fix!
listening: To Spotify! My favorite “working” music at the moment is this playlist. It totally gets me in the zone.
Oh! And I interviewed author, press owner, and fellow Pittsburgher, Lindsey Smith, on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast last week! Check it out if you’re interested in publishing, writing, and listening to me say, “that’s amazing” five million times!
reading: So first of all, why hasn’t anyone told me how awesome the library is? I just joined, and it’s incredible. FREE reading for life.
I’ve read quite a bit this year! My two faves were:
- The Woman in the Window by A.J. Flynn – MAN. I loved this book so much, I woke up early on a work day to finish it. It got in my mind in the best way possible, and I couldn’t put it down. Seriously one of my favorite reads in a while. Suspenseful, entertaining, and super well-written.
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Judging by the synopsis, I was almost positive I’d hate this book. It actually ended up being one of my favorite books of all-time. Holy moly was it good. Totally not what I was expecting, and just so beautifully written. I adored it and totally cried like a baby at the end. You just need to read it. Trust me. Just do it. It’s so so good.
I actually retweeted a thread about book recommendations the other day, and I’ve put a few of the titles that people have recommended on hold at the library. Check it out if you’re interested in more book recs!
working: Out still! I tried hot yoga a few months ago, and I hated it. And then I went again, and I hated it a bit less.
Now? I’m totally 100% in love with it. I always feel so strong, so accomplished, after a class.
We have an exercise bike, so I’ve been doing that during these super cold temperatures. I’ll just put something fun on Hulu and create a “routine” based on the show – high resistance during commercials, go really fast through monologues, etc. Super fun, and the time passes really quick.
thinking: Why I waited so long to replace my windshield wipers. Yes. WINDSHIELD WIPERS. Who in the heck am I?
But seriously, it’s such a quality of life improvement. Driving around in crappy weather without listening to my wipers scrape against my windshield every five seconds? Seriously the best. I had no idea how annoying they were until I replaced them.
Also thinking about planning a spur-of-the-moment trip to Europe. Why? Because I have the luxury of working from, well…anywhere! I’ve been to England (London, Bath, Glastonbury, etc.), Italy (Rome, Florence, Amalfi, Assisi, Lucca, Siena, and a few other towns), and Turkey (Istanbul). And while I would be totally 100% okay with going back to any of those places, I’m willing to try somewhere new if you have any suggestions!
Germany is at the tippy top of my “must go to soon” list. Maybe this year?
loving: Fresh baked cookies, an incredible work team, nightly cat cuddles, snuggling under fuzzy blankets, writing, reading, cara cara oranges, iced tea, oversized sweatshirts, making people happy, YouTube, smoothies, winter hats, and you.
Thanks for reading, friend! More plant-based yum coming atcha next week.
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