Chicken Curry in a Hurry

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This isn't the most aesthetically pleasing photo, far from, but this recipe deserves a spot on the old blog because it's gotten me to finally sing the praises of the rotisserie chicken. On paper, I always understood the appeal. They are golden, warm and herb-scented, and, most appealing, ready to eat. You could grab one off the shelf this very moment. And even though the deli has done all of the work, it doesn't seem more expensive. But they've always seemed bland to me. If I'm going to prepare complementary vegetables, might as well pop the chicken in the oven as well. I'd prefer a sauce, anyway.

Over the weekend we grabbed a rotisserie chicken (the only ingredient we didn't already have) to make this chicken curry. I ended up adding a bit of paprika and extra curry powder, but that was all that was needed to make it a top-notch curry that was on the table, ready to be devoured, in 20 minutes. We love this chicken curry, and this one as well, but factoring time and cost, this chicken curry in a hurry can't be beat. 

Ingredients (serves six): 
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced 
2 teaspoons curry powder (*I added a bit extra and 1/8 teaspoon paprika) 
1/2 cup plain yogurt 
3/4 cup heavy cream 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (*Optional, I opted out)
Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, sliced or shredded 
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Cook the rice according to the package directions. 

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. 

Sprinkle with the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 

Add the yogurt and cream, and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and tomatoes (if desired). Remove from heat. 

Divide the rice and chicken among individual bowls, spoon the sauce over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. 

Lovepop Cards!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When I moved last April, I got rid of my desk and the file folders it stored (Side note: I loved that desk — a lengthy, albeit still rushed, DIY project in my parents' garage that didn't quite turn out as hoped — which was literally chucked into the alley, an unjust goodbye). Going through everything, I realized there were few (if any) medical or financial records, instead the folders were packed to the brim with cards I'd received the past few years. So many sweet notes! From so many sweet people. I hauled them all to B's place, insisting we make room (far from an argument, I've married a fellow card hoarder).

Because cards are so precious to me, I'm mindful about what I send and adore these Lovepop cards (I had seen them on Shark Tank and was thrilled when they reached out). They're so delicate and intricate, truly works of art, with a unique backstory.

The founders, Wombi Rose and John Wise, first met 10 years ago at the Webb Institute College of Engineering, where they both studied naval architecture and marine engineering. The friends re-met a few years ago in business school and wound up on a trip together to Vietnam. There they were inspired by beautiful, hand-crafted pop-up cards. Both engineers were struck by the idea that they could apply what they had learned as naval architects to design 3D paper craft pop-up cards.

I ordered a few cards with specific people in mind (a guitar for my brother, cats for a best friend) and love how personal they feel. On the other hand, the evergreen cards (here and here) I ordered have already come in handy and have put a big smile on the recipients' faces (they're so shocked when they see them!). I'm eager to send more in the future. After writing a bunch of thank you cards after the wedding, I've decided to narrow down my list this holiday season and will be keeping these in mind. They're a bit of a splurge, compared to the convenient drugstore buy, but they're so beautiful and memorable, it's worth it.

You can check out all the cards here (free U.S. shipping!). What do you think, would you send one? Do you hold on to cards? I'd love to hear.

(This post was sponsored by Lovepop. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

A New Birthday Tradition!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Brian and I talk a lot about family traditions. Like, what it is that our family will love to do together over the years to come and carry on over the decades. Throughout the past six years we've established a few things we look forward to (zoo lights and burgers at RJ Grunts every Christmas, brunch to celebrate our dating anniversary) and most recently Brian started something new (and super tasty).

For every close family member and friend's birthday, he's making that person a big batch of their favorite ice cream. We were gifted an ice cream maker early last spring (thanks Beth and Tom!), and while we heard so many "you'll never use it!" cries, it's probably already our most cherished, worn-in appliance.

For my birthday last month I picked vegan coconut and vanilla, and I've savored every bite. It tastes amazing, but there's more to it than that. There's something so special about it. Maybe it's because I know Brian generally isn't a big fan of spending time in the kitchen, so it's a sacrifice. Then again, he has said many times how much he enjoys making these, so perhaps it's knowing the care and precision that goes into the process. Maybe it's knowing that that tub right there, that's mine. I might share, but it was made with love for me. My favorites so far (since I'm the certified taster): salted caramel (homemade caramel, even!), chocolate chocolate chip, and coconut and vanilla, of course. Salivating at the thought! Rushing home to finish my last serving tonight.

Seattle, Washington!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Over the years I've slowly turned Brian around on short vacations. While he's still not thrilled about the idea of a long weekend abroad ("I don't want to fly somewhere only to turn right around," and, of course, the costly airfare not being worth it for a lighting-fast getaway), we've become big fans of quick, domestic trips. To Brian's point, we're zombies at work on Mondays when we do this, but who isn't a zombie on Monday, anyway? This past weekend we spent a few days in Seattle with my sister, visiting our friend Allie, and while we would have loved to stay a few extra days (or weeks), it was the perfect little getaway.

We flew in on Thursday night and worked remotely on Friday. Given the time difference, there was still plenty of time for exploring and getting obsessed with cocktails at Rachel's Ginger Beer (OBSESSED) that afternoon.

I had been to Seattle once before but still insisted on hitting up touristy spots like the Market Theater Gum Wall and Pike Place Market, both of which were packed with people. Before leaving, I'd made a list of a dozen places I'd hoped we'd get to, but between the heat (I'd foolishly packed three jackets for the two-day trip, when only shorts and tanks were necessary) and packed spaces, we didn't get to a lot of them (I'll be back for you, Le Panier). Just another reason to book another visit soon :-)

On Saturday we hiked to Lake Margaret, which was a nice reminder of how out of shape I am. To be fair, it was hot, and everyone but me in our group could be classified a runner, so I sure felt those eight miles on Sunday morning. In fact, between the hike and hills all weekend, I'm still feeling it.

We spent our last night sipping on cocktails by the water, waiting for a table at a restaurant nearby. After a while we decided we weren't really in the mood for anything fancy and took an Uber to Fremont to get ginormous pizza slices. On our way home later that evening we stopped at the grocery store for individual pints of ice cream, which we devoured while watching Silicon Valley. 

Traveling always feels like such a breath of fresh air. We can't wait for our honeymoon (a month from today!)! Visiting old friends, having a change of scene, piney trees ... Thank you, Seattle, for a wonderful weekend. xoxo 

Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Every Sunday morning I wake up and have to fight the urge to go out for brunch (we're recently obsessed with this spot down the street from us). Usually, I stumble into lunch hours, completely unsatisfied with my too-liquidy oatmeal or stale cereal, but this Sunday's homemade concoction left little to be desired. This peach, prosciutto and ricotta crostini is equal parts sweet and savory, a perfect combination of the most difficult brunch decision. Also, it required no wait or hefty bill and can be eaten in bed. Not sure what more you could ask for ;-)

Ingredients (serves one): 
1 slice ciabatta bread
1 ripe peach
1 tablespoon fresh ricotta 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 thin slice of prosciutto 

Toast bread. 

Halve, pit and thinly slice peach.

Spoon 1 tablespoon ricotta onto toast and sprinkle with ground pepper. Tear prosciutto into feathery pieces and drape a few slices over ricotta on each. Drizzle with honey and top with two-three peach slices.

Life Lately

Monday, August 8, 2016

The past few months have whizzed by, and I truly can't believe we're nearing the middle of August. I haven't taken full advantage of the summer days yet! We've had a busy few months, and I'm vowing to slow down and enjoy the long days while we can.

I'd let photos pile up on my camera and phone for weeks, so over the weekend I took the time to sort through them, and I wanted to share some favorites from life lately. It has been so sweet and memorable, I wish I could bottle up the past few months forever.

We got to know the airport's international terminal well in June, and my parents' house was filled with more love and laughter than ever before. Relatives from both my mom and dad's sides stayed with us for a few weeks, prepping for the wedding around the clock, singing Iranian songs and showing off their Persian dancing moves at all hours. Since we don't have much family in the U.S., and none in Illinois, our house is usually the quietest one on the block. Having it filled with nearly 20 people, who weren't shy to celebrate, was a shock to our neighborhood, I'm sure. 

Those wedding days were some of the best, most emotional days of my life. While a number of our guests didn't get visas in time (our original ring bearer included), we were so humbled to have guests fly in from all over the world. Showing my cousins who I hadn't seen in 20 years and my best friends from England my favorite neighborhood spots, with my husband, was a memory I'll cherish forever.

The morning after our wedding we went to McDonald's for breakfast (naturally), before heading to brunch at my parents' house. We were still so dazed by everything, especially the sight of Brian wearing a ring! We thought if we put it in the cashier's face, she'd ask about it, we'd tell her we had gotten married the night before, perhaps she would offer to cover our breakfast — nope. Also, Brian's sock tan that morning!

In July I went to Dallas for work and saw Jerry Springer at the airport. It was an early Monday morning and I was coming off a terrible cold. My ears and eyes couldn't have perked up more (I love a good airport sighting). 

My friend Christel visited from Germany that month, and because she's my first close pregnant friend, we deemed it OK to touch her belly numerous times and ask lots of invasive questions. We spent hours and hours at dinner one Thursday night, making up for lost time now that we're not all a few streets apart. 

There's still a lot more summer to savor (we're heading to Seattle on Thursday and would love any recommendations!), and looking back at it so far, it's definitely one of the best yet. Summer in this city can't be beat. Combining it with the people that have come through it recently, nothing could be better.