Taylor and I have made this wheatberry salad multiple times and love it. We like to imagine we are Ina and Jeffrey eating it in the Hamptons.
If you’ve never had wheatberries before, they are kind of like a nuttier and more crunchy version of brown rice. Each half cup of cooked wheatberries has 6 grams of protein. They take awhile to cook (about 45 minutes) but then you just stir everything together. You can eat it warm, at room temperature, or cold and it is good any way you choose. If I were Ina, I would turn to the camera at this point and say, “How easy is that?”.
After the aquarium visit in Mystic we drove to the coast to enjoy a lobster dinner. I grew up eating crab and had never had a full lobster before so this was an exciting experience for me. I have always associated lobster with fancy things (probably because of the price) so I was a little surprised when we drove up to Abbot’s.
We ordered our food and picked a picnic table on the waterfront. It was also BYOB which Taylor smartly picked up on right before we drove by a package store.
Our number was then called and we got our food. Our delicious delicious food.
I learned that lobster isn’t fancy because there is no way you can eat a lobster and look classy. But why be classy when you can eat lobster?
This is slightly delayed but let’s discuss how much good food and drink we had while in Park City. Matt and Peter had all our meals from Thursday night to Saturday night accounted for which was awesome. A couple of highlights:
Brunch on Friday included a Bloody Mary bar and mimosas.
This is Taylor’s plate. Yes, that is bacon in his drink. My plate was full of cheeses and charcuterie but I ate it already. Three plates-worth. That afternoon we went on a tour and tasting of the High West distillery. They make a lot of whiskeys and some vodka. I’m not really a whiskey drinker and quickly learned that after you take a sip, you shouldn’t open your mouth and breath in/try to talk. That was difficult for me.
We ended up going back there the next day for a peach mule for me (made with peach vodka) and an old-fashioned for Taylor.
It was after noon by the time we left there so that made it okay. The bartender recommended a sandwich place because we were a little peckish prior to the wedding. We walked in and saw a giant board with 50 sandwiches. I immediately zeroed in on the one that I would never order if I wasn’t on vacation: prosciutto, brie, lettuce, and balsamic vinaigrette. YES PLEASE. I allowed Taylor one bite. It was the most difficult thing I have had to do because of marriage.
The dinner cocktail hour after the wedding included something called the “Couple’s Cocktail”. I remember there being something fancy in it like elderflower liqueur. It was very very strong and very very good. Drinking three of those is also the reason I did not think to take any pictures of my amazing carrot risotto I had for dinner.
Despite my heavy intake of elderflowers, Taylor and I were hungry for breakfast the next morning. This bagel piqued our interest and the combination of avocado and cream cheese was genius.
We only had four days to recover before we hopped back on a plane to go to Connecticut where I also had some amazing food. It included a lobster named Johnson but that will have to wait until next week.
I saw these in the grocery store on Sunday and did an actual dance much to Taylor’s embarrassment.
Scuppernongs – the state fruit of North Carolina. It’s a grape that has a skin you can’t eat and seeds inside. It may sound like a lot of work but it is worth it. I have many childhood memories of eating bowlfuls of them. They have a short growing period and the farthest west they grow is the Georgia /Alabama area so it is a rarity to see them in Texas. Which is why I danced.
Taylor and I are not picky eaters. Some people fully accept the fact that they don’t like a certain type of food – like an old coworker of Taylor’s that refused to eat vegetables. Which, I don’t know how as an adult you can completely swear off an entire food group. But not liking a food is annoying to me because it limits what I can eat when I am at a restaurant or someone’s house. One food that has always been a problem for both of us is olives. Since we eat mostly vegetarian it is an even bigger issue when we go out to eat because a lot of restaurants’ solution to vegetarians seems to be something with olives.
One day, Taylor and I were lamenting the fact that we didn’t like olives (I know, quite the first world problem). I told him how I used to hate bell peppers growing up. At some point in college I decided I was going to make myself like them because they were in everything. Before I could begin to do that I had to accept a fact that I think people tend to forget: a food is not going to change the way it tastes to you. I think when people don’t like a food, they will taste it again and again hoping for a different result. Well, you won’t get one. An anchovy is always going to taste like an anchovy. It isn’t going to magically start tasting like cotton candy one day. So learning to like a food is about accepting the way it tastes and getting used to that flavor. If you only try it once a month you aren’t ever going to like it. How can you get used to something that you only try once every 30 days? So, back to my college story. I bought a red bell pepper and cut it up into slices. Every couple of day, I would grab a few slices. Before I ate one I would say to myself, “this is what a bell pepper tastes like”. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous but within a couple of weeks I didn’t hate bell peppers anymore.
We decided to try this method with olives. About a month and a half ago at the grocery store we went to the olive bar and picked out 6 olives. That afternoon, we each ate three as we said, “this is what an olive tastes like”, while we made disgusted faces at each other. Every week we did the same thing and now we actually look forward to picking out those 6 olives. We’ll have to think if there is another food we want to tackle next. I have never been a big fan of dill but I’m not sure trying to eat an herb by itself will help me.
Since Taylor and I only eat meat once a week – if at all – we have to get our necessary protein from eggs, beans, and edamame. A lot of recipes I make for dinner don’t even have a protein in them (or use meat) so I throw in a can of beans. I started to get sick of buying the same cans of beans over and over: chickpeas, black beans, and navy beans. Also they were sometimes out of the store brand so I was forced to buy a more expensive can. So I decided that I would buy dried beans, cook them all at once, and freeze them into can-sized portions. We have been doing this for 4 months now and it has been going great. About once every three weeks, I buy 2 cups of dried chickpeas, dried black beans, or dried navy beans (whatever I am running out of). 2 cups of dried beans equates to about 4 cans of cooked beans. So at any time I could potentially have 4 cans of chickpeas, black beans, and navy beans in my freezer. Here are my steps to cooking and freezing beans.
- Rinse the 2 cups of beans thoroughly.
- Soak for at least 8 hours in a bowl filled with water. You will want the beans to be covered with a lot of water – they will soak it up. I even soak them for 24 hours sometimes because I forget about them. Soaking the beans will allow them to cook faster and there are rumors it will reduce how much they make you pass gas. Because I know that is your biggest concern.
- After soaking, drain and rinse the beans. Throw them into a large pot with plenty of water.
- Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Scrape any foam off of the water as they cook. Depending on the type of bean it will take around 1 to 1.5 hours for them to cook. I usually do this after dinner on a weeknight when we are hanging out around the house.
- Drain and rinse the beans. Spread out onto a cookie sheet to cool – I typically do this overnight because I am impatient.
- Once cooled split the 2 cups of cooked beans into 4 containers and stick in the freezer. I use Libbey 16-Ounce Bowls because they are just a little larger than the volume of a can.
I have found the easiest way to defrost them is to put them into a bowl of hot water. This defrosts them quickly (less than 5 minutes) without heating them up in case you want to use them in a room temperature dish. Cooked dried beans have a much more satisfying and fresh taste than out of the can.
So what’s the cost benefit?
- 4 cans organic black beans – $6.95
- 2 cups dried organic black beans – $1.68
And on a more vegetarian-esque note, if you had to buy meat as your protein for four meals instead of using the cooked 2 cups of black beans it would be an even larger cost difference.
Back for 4th of July I made a strawberry icebox cake. Taylor, our friend Gabe, and I ate the entire thing. After watching the hot dog eating contest.
Now that is America. It was so easy, Taylor and I made it again the next week for our sister’s birthday. I would say the most challenging part of making the cake was not eating all of the homemade whipped cream before assembling it.