My Birthday in Quarantine, Spring Reading, and Lots of Baking and Yummy Food

I’m hoping to make these weekly recap posts part of my routine. So let’s get started! ❤

As this is the beginning, I’m going back a lot farther than just 7 days for this post, all the way back to March 30. We were still in the start of quarantine and to be quite honest I was not dealing with it all well.

One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to bake, so I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies. This recipe is from Bon Appetit (my favorite magazine) and has become one of my go-to recipes for cookies. Everyone loves them and they are truly simple. Click here for the link.

I’ve been tweaking this recipe each time I make it. I’m not one to follow directions all of the time. One thing I’ve been playing with is the browned butter. While I do like the flavor it gives, sometimes I just want a simple chocolate chip cookie. So, I’ve been trying to figure out how much melted butter to add to the mix. The 1.5 sticks used for the brown butter is too much when just plain melted. My last batch of cookies this week proved that theory, so I’ll be spending my time trying to figure out the best ratio.

I’ve also been trying to change up my room to be more functional. I was very happy to get my new desk installed, which my grandpa build for me. It’s the perfect size for me and it can fold down as well. I’ve been feeling more productive with it, since I now have somewhere to do work other than my bed. I’m particularly prone to naps when I use my bed as a work space.

AND the most exciting news is that it’s starting to feel like spring! I took this picture of the grass in my backyard because I couldn’t believe how green it looked. Ironically, as I’m typing this, I’m reminded that just this morning it snowed a little. One flurry isn’t going to make me forget about spring, though. I know she’s just around the corner. I can’t wait for all the flowers!

Now, let me share all the yummy food I’ve been making. COVID-19 has really put a damper on my grocery shopping fun, so I’ve been trying to use a lot of things already in my packed full pantry and freezer. It sounds so lame, but I can’t wait to go grocery shopping again.

First, I attempted to make an open-face tuna melt. I was craving one for some reason, even though I’m not a big canned tuna fan. (Rightfully so, as I found a bone in this can while I was eating my sandwich. Ew!) Alas, I still ate the majority of the sandwich and it was pretty good! I mixed a can of tuna with some diced onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. I broiled the sandwiches with cheddar cheese on top. They paired well with some green olives. The acidity was refreshing.

Breakfast for the last week or so has consistently featured a dippy/over-easy egg. I’ve been obsessed with them. Preferably between an English muffin and some sausage or ham. This one below was so good that I took a bite before remembering to take a picture!

Last Saturday, I decided to do a little more baking, but I wanted something different than my typical cookie or muffin choice. I’ve been following Half Baked Harvest on Instagram for a while, and I really love her recipes. I also love that she posts recipe videos on her Instagram every day. (I want to do that!) So, I tried making her beer bread recipe. Recipe link is here.

Funny story is that we didn’t have any beer in the house, but when I mentioned I wanted to make this my grandpa went out and made a quick pick-up. I loved how simple this was to make and how crispy it came out of the oven. The key is the butter you place on top before baking. Like this:

It’s best to eat the first day (I recommend right of the oven) to get the full crispy experience. However, if you keep leftovers, my tip is to toast your slices for a bit before eating!

On Sunday, I indulged and made some homemade mac and cheese. It was SO good. I should have made a double batch because it was gone so fast. I paired it with some steamed broccoli for a balanced dinner.

I don’t actually know where this recipe came from, but I know I learned it from my sister. So easy and delicious. I might make a separate recipe post for it someday!

Another one of my obsessions this past few weeks has been gardening. I don’t have a garden and I probably won’t for a long time, but I like to dream up what it might look like. I found this picture on Google images and fell in love with it. It’s the perfect little English countryside garden. Here’s to hoping it’s part of my future ❤

On the topic of flowers, I can’t remember where, but I found this photo of a flower cafe somewhere online and I’m loving the aesthetic. Designs like this are so interesting to me. It’s almost a mix between botanical and elegant. I’d like to find places like this closer to me.

My birthday was April 7, and I was a bit worried about having my birthday during quarantine. However, it ended up being one of my favorite birthdays in recent memory! I started the day with an amazing breakfast that looked more fancy that it actually was.

I toasted an English muffin, warmed up some sliced ham, and topped it with a dippy egg. It was the perfect start to my birthday. I spent the afternoon reading and watching Netflix. It was perfectly relaxing and chill. For dinner, my grandpa cooked me a feast. We had steaks, roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, and mushrooms and onions.

We also had some almond cake, which is one of my favorites! It definitely felt like a luxury with all that’s going on in the world.

I spent the evening on Skype with one of my favorite people in the whole world. I drank an entire bottle of champagne, played some games (we’ve been loving online battleship), and just chatting. I got the sweetest birthday surprise, as well. The other day he was showing me some stuff about Minecraft and we found a lake with a hill that was so cute. He surprised me by building us a log cabin on the hill, and it even had a little pumpkin patch (which is one of my dreams to have!). He thinks it’s nerdy, but it was such a thoughtful and loving gift. Here are some pictures of it!

I decided to buy myself a few presents on Amazon, as well. I had some rewards points saved up, so I felt better about spending the money. I bought myself a Fitbit Versa 2. I’ve been eyeing this up for many months now, and I’m excited to be able to keep track of my heart rate and step count! I’m definitely one of those people who tries to walk 10,000 steps a day.

I also splurged and got two new books! Jenny Colgan just released a new novel called The Bookshop on the Shore. I fell in love with her writing this past fall when I was studying abroad in London, so I had to get her new book. The other book is actually a cook book–Joanne Chang’s Pastry Love! I’m really excited to learn some new baking skills. However, I might have to wait until all this blows over because I hardly have any of the baking ingredients I need (like yeast and heavy cream).

I think the cutest present I got was a painting from my nephew. He’s only 8 months old. It truly is the little things that mean the most.

I’ve got just a few more things to add in order to round out this post. In the few days since my birthday I’ve been enjoying my new presents, reading a lot, and relaxing. I started Michelle Obama’s Becoming and am really enjoying it so far.

I actually finished a novel I’ve been reading for a while now. I started it around Christmas, I believe. It was Agatha Christie’s A Caribbean Mystery. I am becoming such a big fan of Agatha Christie. I think I’d like to read and collect all of her novels. I’ve also been trying to teach myself how to french braid my own hair and it seems to be going fairly well!

That’s all for this weekly recap! It’s a bit wonky since I haven’t been able to do much because of quarantine, but I’m trying to stay busy and sane!

Questions:

  • How are you guys doing during quarantine?
  • Anyone else celebrating a birthday during this time?
  • What books have you been loving?

❤ Delaney

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