It’s always a relief to reaffirm what you already know.

I had lunch with Raf today. Though we hung out last weekend, we wanted to have either lunch or dinner before my trip. He and Brie were the only ones in attendance at our mother’s birthday dinner last night (which I didn’t attend because of this bullshit).

“Y’know, Mom would never tell you this, but Brie set aside pad Thai for you last night.”

“She did?” My voice cracked.

“Yeah. Brie thought you were coming to dinner, so she wanted to make sure you had a plate.”

I couldn’t help it. My eyes welled up.

“Whoa, sis — didn’t meant to make you get all emotional before going back to work.”

“I just love you two a lot. I wish I could’ve seen Brie this past weekend, but — ”

“I know. Dad was there. I get why you wouldn’t wanna see him after everything he said.”

“I’ll be there while Mom is in Philly, once I get back.”

“Sounds good.”

Our parents are wrong. Brie knows I haven’t left her. She hates being around our parents as much as I do because of their erratic, explosive behavior. When I get back from Asia, Brie and I will have sister bonding time (since Raf usually works on weekends). Our parents won’t prevent me from seeing two of my favorite people.

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Two days.

Two days from now, I’ll be sitting in LAX waiting for a flight to take me across the ocean. I’ll travel into the future (since there’s a fourteen hour time difference). I’m looking forward to adventures in foreign lands. But I’m most excited to leap into my boyfriend’s arms (and try not to cry) because I’ve missed him so much.

Peachdish: edamame, teriyaki salmon with carrots & parsnips over noodles, clementines & fortune cookies

Last week, one of my coworkers gifted me with a Peachdish box. Peachdish is a new Atlanta-based startup that mails you a three-course dinner (that serves two people) with fresh ingredients and an easy-to-follow recipe for $20. (I got mine for free, which was even better.) Peachdish subscribers don’t know what each week’s dinner is until their Peachdish boxes arrive.

Peachdish box with recipe.

Peachdish box with recipe card.

This Peachdish box contained edamame for an appetizer, ingredients to make teriyaki salmon with carrots & parsnips over noodles for the entrée, and clementines and fortune cookies for dessert.

Fresh ingredients for a three-course dinner.

Fresh ingredients for a three-course dinner.

The recipe directions were easy to follow and the results were good. There were a few items you had to have in your kitchen, like sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. But other than that, everything was included in the box. (I’m writing the recipes by memory, since I forgot to take a photo of the recipe card.) I made the edamame right before the salmon was done, so it wouldn’t be cold.

Edamame:

Edamame.

Edamame.

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  2. Put edamame in pot and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain and season with sea salt.

Teriyaki salmon with roasted carrots & parsnips over noodles:

IMG_2758

Teriyaki salmon with carrots & parsnips over noodles.

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Make marinade for salmon: in a shallow baking dish, mix 1/2 cup soy sauce and brown sugar. Peel ginger and slice thinly. Peel and dice garlic. Mix ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds into sauce. Set aside 1/4 cup of sauce to serve over the noodles later.  (The original recipe didn’t have enough sauce set aside for the noodles, so I’ve doubled the amount of sauce.)
  3. Flip salmon filets in marinade so it coats both sides, then let rest in refrigerator.
  4. Peel and dice carrot and parsnip. In a large baking dish, toss diced carrot and parsnip in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway through so they roast evenly.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles for 5-7 minutes. Drain, then in put the noodles back in the pot and toss with sauce that was set aside.
  6. After vegetables are done, make room in the middle of the pan for the salmon filets. Add extra sesame seeds on top of the filets and bake for 10-12 minutes until salmon is flaky.
  7. Serve salmon over noodles with the carrots & parsnips. Enjoy!
A three course meal. (One serving.)

A three course meal. (One serving.)

If you’re in the Atlanta area, hate grocery shopping, and want to cook more, you should definitely subscribe to Peachdish. *Note: I’m not being paid to endorse this startup. I just enjoyed my Peachdish dinner so much that I wanted to share it with y’all!

Vegan red velvet cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting

It’s Ames‘s birthday today! Usually, we celebrate with cupcakes and wine. This year, we celebrated early (on Sunday) with Mexican food and sangritas.

Ames is lactose intolerant, so two years ago, I made a vegan version of one of her favorites — red velvet cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes are somehow both dense and fluffy. Be sure to refrigerate your frosting, though, so it won’t melt (as mine started to do).

Vegan red velvet cupcakes with faux cream cheese frosting
Adapted from this Novel Eats recipe
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Cooling time: 5-10 minutes
Makes one dozen cupcakes

Vegan red velvet cupcakes & faux cream cheese frosting.

Vegan red velvet cupcakes & faux cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients & supplies:

For cupcakes:

  • paper cupcake liners
  • 1 dozen cupcakes tin
  • medium mixing bowl
  • large mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • 1 cup plain soy milk (or Lactaid)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • toothpick
  • wire rack for cooling

For frosting: 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cupcake liners in cupcake tin.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
  3. In large bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix with whisk.
  4. Add applesauce, food coloring, and vanilla extract to medium bowl with curdled soy milk. Whisk until combined.
  5. Slowly, pour wet ingredients into large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (so when toothpick is inserted, it comes out clean).
  8. As cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Cream together Earth balance margarine and Tofutti better than cream cheese, then add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Add vanilla extract. Refrigerate while cupcakes are baking.
  9. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack for cooling. After cupcakes have completely cooled (5 to 10 minutes), frost with faux cream cheese frosting and enjoy!