Monday Stuff: Books and Seals

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Oh Monday, how I abhor you. Lately, it seems to be arriving quicker and quicker! One day, I will like Mondays. I swear.

Despite how quickly it flew by, we had an amazing weekend. It was rainy for about half of Saturday, and we scurried to get back home from errands to ensure we missed all the drunk people out enjoying St. Patty’s day. We live in a “party” neighborhood of San Diego, so it can get pretty wild and we were in no mood to be a part of it. I know, I am like one step away from “get off my lawn” status. Nothing to be ashamed of. We bunkered down with vegetarian potato enchiladas (which were amazing, I am thinking about shooting them next weekend to put up on the blog). We sipped tea, snuggled up, and binged old CSI episodes.

We had intense workouts Saturday and Sunday, which felt amazing. I am slowly trying to build up my running once again, and I am improving, it just isn’t my favorite. Give me a stair master/elliptical and I am a happy girl. We didn’t run as many errands this weekend, so we got to peruse some bookstores, which is one of my absolute favorite pasttimes.

If you don’t know me personally, know this: I am obsessed with books. It is probably my number one obsession, next to cooking. I have been this way since I was a little hell raiser at the age of 2. Growing up, I cannot tell you how many times I heard the phrase “Allie, turn off the lights, put down the books, it is time for bed”. I was constantly attempting to trick my parents into letting me stay up “just one more hour” to read. That transitioned into adulthood and bloomed into a full-blown obsession. I mean it is bad, I probably buy one book a week at minimum. And that is control. Saturday? I bought five. Sigh. My apartment is not big enough for this you guys.

Latest obsession: Cookbooks.

About a year ago, my love of cookbooks blossomed into something special. It opened my eyes to different cuisines, tips and tricks, new ingredients, you name it. My mind started spinning when I get my hands on a new cookbook. I am very particular about the ones that I pick up though, typically they are unique, beautiful, and provide a background into the author’s personal relationship with food. My favorites right now?

1.     Jerusalem A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

If you buy any cookbook, by this one. This is one of my top five favorite cookbooks of all time. This isn’t one of the new ones I purchased this weekend, I have had it for about six months, and it is a GAME CHANGER. Visually stunning, beautifully written, every day ingredients like the simple cucumber are transformed into a star. Jerusalem food is family-oriented, rich in history, vibrant, and healthful. I cannot say enough about this book, it has further deepened my passion for food and ingredients. I implore anyone to read this book, make some of the recipes, it will change the way you view food, I promise.

 

2.     Eat Mexico: Recipes from Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas, by Lesley Tellez

UGH. This book. I was reading some of it to my Mom on Saturday and she had to stop me because it was making her too hungry. I have to admit, my stomach was rumbling after gazing upon the incredibly rich editorial food photos, and jaw-dropping descriptions of Mexico’s cuisine. Being of Mexican-American heritage, I am constantly searching for authentic recipes, or a peek into life in Mexico. I went to Mexico when I was young and I remember how vibrant everything was. Obviously, that was like a billion years (AKA like 16 years ago), so this book brought back a few (faint) memories of walking the streets of Mexico. One recipe from the book that I cannot stop thinking about? CRISPY. CARROT. TACOS. AHHHHHHHHHHH. NOM NOM NOM. Excuse me while I gather my exposure, but that just sounds AMAZING and will more than likely be happening next weekend.

 

3.     Made In India, Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha

I fell in love with Indian cuisine around 6 years ago. Savory samosas, curry that simmers for hours, fried paneer cheese, the list goes on. The author Meera Sodha teaches you about Indian cooking, the culture that is rooted deep in its dishes, and countless incredible dishes that are mouthwatering. I was intimidated by Indian cooking years ago, I thought it was too complicated or there would be ingredients I would be unable to find. I was wrong. Made in India is great for everyone, but especially anyone interested in getting into a different cuisine, one full of flavor, and that can celebrate everything from vegetarian centric dishes, to delicate fish plates.

 

2. New discovery: My dog is terrified of seals.

Sunday morning, we took Frankie walking in La Jolla. If you have ever been to La Jolla, you know there is a resident that is quite famous. The almighty sea lion. There are dozens that line the rocks of La Jolla shores. Their pungent (and I mean pungent) fishy stink fills the air of the upscale neighborhood. La Jolla is incredibly beautiful, very romantic, full of high end boutiques and luxurious homes but they have this sea lion stench that blankets some of the streets.

One of my favorite activities is visiting the little cuties every chance we are there. We live extremely close to La Jolla, but Jake isn’t as big of a fan of the sea lions as I am. He still won’t walk up to one. He views from a more than comfortable distance, before staring at me begging with his eyes to leave. He can’t take the smell for as long as I am. They are just too cute, you can’t really pull me away, so I like to get closer, and he usually has to shout at me to come back.

They are used to people, you just want to respect their area, otherwise you are asking to be chased. Also, walking right up to wild animals is just dumb and cruel.  

So today, for Frankie’s first trip to La Jolla (yes it took almost 2 years even though we are about 10 minutes away), we took him to go see the seals.

It did not go well.

I am trying so hard not to laugh as I write this, but it is funny! I thought he would enjoy it. Frankie loves other animals. He is mesmerized by birds, loves squirrels, anytime anyone says “kitty?!” he is running to the nearest window. But apparently, sea lions are not his thing.  As we approached one of their sunbathing areas, his nose was up in the air, drawing in the fishy sea air, he could tell they were close. Then he spotted them, and they barked at him.

And Frankie decided he was out.

He was terrified, he tried bolting as fast as he could. I couldn’t help but laugh as he dragged me away, it was like he saw a ghost, and they had to be like almost 150 feet away! He was so dramatic (like he is with everything) and he tried to jump in my arms like a toddler. It was adorably tragic, I literally had to run away from the sea lions with him. So, my vision of a cute picture of Frankie with a sea lion backdrop will never happen. My baby has his first real fear!

Despite Frankie’s sea lion nightmare on Sunday, he had a great time on a new hike. Other than that, not much to report. Few more weeks my best friend arrives, and a few weeks after that, we have a road trip planned and I will have a ton of tips for everyone after on how to stay healthy on vacation. Is anyone interested in more book recommendations? Or is that a snooze?

Believe me, one thing I could talk about for hours other than food?

Books.

I like big books and I cannot lie.