Here’s to AC and Staying Indoors

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After a busy few months of travel, my July was a bit more relaxed. But this is because unless I have to, I don’t go anywhere in July or August. I learned this lesson years ago after a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China and Japan that was miserable because of the heat. So no more summer travel for me.
Instead, we stayed indoors as much as possible to prepare for a month ahead of family cookouts, outdoor festivals, and lots of heat and humidity.
July Highlights:
I’ve been on a taco kick lately, and one of my favorite taco seasonings is this one, but it’s going away so if you want it, you need to get some soon. It’s a great seasoning alternative to those generic packets — bold, robust, spicy, and best of all, not full of junk! You can mix it with other seasonings to get closer to those store-bought packets, but honestly, it’s pretty great on its own. So stock up!
As a bonus, you’ll get the best pumpkin pie spice you can get your hands on. Perfect in time for fall. If you’re looking for suggestions, this homemade pumpkin pie is perfect, and if you’re looking for something savory, this homemade gnocchi is for sure your best bet.
I reached a streak of 800 days in Duolingo. For those that don’t know, Duolingo is a language learning app. You can learn almost any language your heart desires in a fun and simple way. I started French, and I’ve progressed through about half the course in 800 days. I’m also currently learning Spanish and German, and have dabbled in Italian and Japanese. Duolingo alone won’t make you fluent, but I’m surprised at how much French I can read. We’ll see in September how useful it really is, as I’m headed to France and Germany for an Oktoberfest recap. Je vais manger tous les croissants et boire beaucoup de biere!
We binge-watched The Bear on Hulu this month. For those that don’t know, I graduated from culinary school. Strangely, I have never worked in a restaurant, but I can feel the pain of the hectic and chaotic kitchen in this show. I think I know someone exactly like every single one of the characters. Even if you don’t cook, it’s a show worth watching, and one of the best shows I’ve seen lately.
A local distillery near us made a strawberry gin. We went over to try it (and of course picked up a bottle) and tried a delicious cocktail made with ube aka purple sweet potato. I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised.
I’ve been thinking of buying this Pampered Chef Slicer — anyone have this? I have a mandolin that I like, but this seems interesting to me. Especially for slicing up Brussels sprouts.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about this doughnut stool. It’s on the pricey side, and I have nowhere to put it, but it’s in my dreams nonetheless.
Things I want to try: Deep chocolate ice cream on top of homemade focaccia. Deep dish cherry pie. Homemade bagels.

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