Things I Read This Week: January 27, 2017

chilaquiles-fritatta-2-640x640(via Joy the Baker)

How was your week? I had a great time blogging for #BellLetsTalk day on Wednesday, but I also feel so tired from the general tone of the news this week. It would help if my gym could avoid playing the Republican retreat speech in full while I’m trying to exercise. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Jezebel – Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks
With everything that’s happening in the U.S. right now, my mind keeps turning back to this article, as well as this interview with Dr. Susan Robinson. And if you haven’t seen After Tiller, it’s worth your time. It’s available on PBS if you’re in the U.S., or on YouTube if you’re not.

New York Magazine – Watch: A Massive $2.2 Billion Dome Now Covers the Chernobyl Reactor
Fascinating.

Vulture – Archie’s Long, Dark Journey to Riverdale
Can’t wait to watch last night’s premiere!

Gizmodo – An Oral History of Homestar Runner, the Internet’s Favorite Cartoon
My sister sent me this article earlier this week and I am having early 2000s nostalgia pangs like nobody’s business, which I feel probably says a lot about me.

Joy The Baker – Chilaquiles Frittata Bake
Say whaaat? P.S. if you’re coming to my house to watch the Super Bowl next weekend, I plan to make this frittata (pictured above), so bring your appetite.

Things I Read This Week: January 20, 2017

salted-chocolate-chunk-cookies1(via Smitten Kitchen)

How are you doing? I can’t pretend that this is a great day — the U.S. presidential inauguration has been on in the background (on mute) all afternoon, and … it’s real, guys. This is happening. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Smitten Kitchen – Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
First things first: making a much-needed batch of these cookies to I have something to snack on while reading the news today and through the weekend.

New York Magazine – The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March
Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim activist who is one of the March’s four national co-chairs, makes a great statement in this interview: “As women of color who came into this effort, we came in not only to mobilize and organize but also to educate, to argue that we can’t talk about women’s rights, about reproductive rights, about equal pay, without also talking about race and class.” This is so important to remember. As a white girl who grew in the suburbs with limited exposure to other races, classes, and creeds, I have been working hard to broaden my understanding of feminism and make sure that the feminism I practice is inclusive. It’s hard work, and sometimes I make mistakes, but I’m learning every day. I hope the turnout tomorrow in Washington and elsewhere is MASSIVE. Let’s make some noise.

If you’re heading to Queen’s Park for the Toronto march tomorrow, don’t forget that there will be no subway service between Downsview and St George stations. Shuttle buses will not be running either, so plan accordingly.

Vulture – Billy Eichner Is Trying to Talk to You
Such an honest and interesting interview. “For me, [coming out] was a no-brainer. My personal life is too important to me and it informs too much of my work for me to have ever considered making any other decision.”

Fast Company – How Employee Burnout Became An Epidemic And What It Might Take To Fix It
On the heels of Chatelaine’s survey results announcement last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the causes and consequences of burnout. According to Chatelaine’s findings, 16% of Canadian women ages 35-45 fantasize about quitting their jobs every day. It’s hard to pinpoint a culprit — is it office culture? Workload? Compensation? Bad bosses or toxic coworkers? The women in my own life seem to agree that it’s

Glamour – These Never-Before-Seen Pics of President Obama Playing in the Snow Will Melt Your Heart
I really hope Pete Souza is working on a book.

Fancy Weeknight Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

whatsfordinner_tomatotart

A few years ago, I had some people from work over to my house for dinner. I was worried about what to serve — I wanted something that seemed fancy, tasted good, and could be assembled easily in just a few minutes, preferably while drinking a glass of wine or two. After a series of increasingly complex Google searches (“what can I serve to my colleagues so they’ll think that I’m a good cook and won’t secretly judge me?”), I settled on tomato and goat cheese tarts. They vanished as soon as I put them on the table, and I’ve had this recipe in my back pocket ever since.

This is an Ina Garten recipe, and while I would never pretend to improve upon the Barefoot Contessa’s work, I did make a few changes to suit my own tastes. First, I cut the individual tarts into rectangles, rather than circles — it seemed easier to manage, and I didn’t have to waste any pastry dough this way. It was wintertime, so I used tiny, flavourful grape tomatoes rather than a large watery one. And finally, I followed my sister’s recipe for beer and honey onion jam instead of cooking them in wine. Okay, fine, I made tons of changes to Ina’s recipe, but sometimes you have to make a recipe work for you, rather than go out of your way to follow it perfectly.

There are two parts to this recipe: the onion jam and the tarts themselves. There are a few steps, but I promise this is easy and totally doable with minimal grocery shopping. The onion jam can also be prepared a few days in advance to speed up the process on the night of your party. Continue reading “Fancy Weeknight Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts”

Things I Read This Week: January 13, 2017

kitchenrefresh(via Apartment Therapy)

How was your week? I’m volunteering for the 2017 WedLuxe Show this weekend, and I’m so excited for this brief return to event life. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

NPR – In A Surprise Send-Off, Obama Awards Biden Presidential Medal Of Freedom
This is wonderful.

The New Yorker – The Rise of Emo Nostalgia
“[Emo nights] are oddly specific celebrations of near-term nostalgia in which music made to help teen-agers flail their way to adulthood provides an opportunity for adults to succumb to the histrionics of teendom again.” I … need to go to one of these events. Hell, I need to run one. (Update: Homesick Emo Night at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto, here I come.)

Torentino’s article also refers to Jessica Hopper’s consideration of gender in the emo scene, originally published in Punk Planet in 2003 and republished in Rookie Mag in 2015. It’s worth reading (or rereading): Where The Girls Aren’t.

Canadian Business – Half of Canadian women regularly fantasize about quitting their jobs
Not a great stat. And even worse: 16% of Canadian women age 35-45 fantasize about leaving their jobs every day. I’ve been there, and it’s awful. What can we do about this?

The Walrus – Running the Road to Nowhere
The “End of Road to Nowhere” Google Maps search often ends up in Screenshots of Despair round-ups of the saddest-sounding locations (other Canadian highlights include Devastation Island in B.C., Pain Lake in Ontario, and Destruction Bay in the Yukon — yikes). I never really stopped to consider the possibility that the Road to Knowhere is a real place that plays a role in people’s daily lives. On a search for more about life in Nunavut, I came across this blog, and I’ve been reading the back entries obsessively all morning.

Apartment Therapy – A Realistic Kitchen Refresh: The Inside/Out Cleaning Plan
I plan to tackle this assignment on Monday, since I’ll be too busy to do this over the weekend. Organizing our kitchen has been a four year-long struggle for me, and I get the feeling that we’ll probably end up moving just as soon as I finally figure it out. Anyone else following the AT January Cure?

Netflix Binge of the Week: One Day at a Time

odaat(via Netflix)

My Netflix account and I have an understanding. Every time Netflix releases a new show I might like, they tell me to watch it. The notifications will gently prompt me to check it out: “Sarah, this show is now available.” Yeah, yeah. An email will follow shortly thereafter to reinforce the message: “Sarah, we just added a TV show you might like.” Okay, I know. Meanwhile, I will inevitably delete the message, promptly forget the show ever existed, only to “discover” it a few weeks or months later and wonder why the hell nobody told me to watch it in the first place.

Not so when Netflix released One Day at a Time last Friday. The timing was perfect — Toronto’s been under an extreme cold weather alert for four days, so I was housebound and in need of a new series after finishing The Crown. The notification popped up on my Netflix home screen and I clicked it absentmindedly, thinking I could watch it while making dinner.

Reader, I spent the whole weekend watching season 1 TWICE. What follows is a chronicle of my obsession. The short of it: watch this show. The long of it (warning — spoilers ahead):

One Day at a Time follows a Cuban-American family’s adventures in what you may consider to be a stereotypical sitcom format: 30-minute episodes, multi-camera setup, a studio audience that laughs every now and again. You’d be wrong to dismiss it as just another vanilla comedy, though: Penelope Alvarez, played by the truly excellent Justina Machado, is an army veteran who served in Afghanistan and is readjusting to civilian life, office politics, and dating after separating from her husband. Her two teenage children, Elena and Alex, deal with a number of real-life issues with surprising frankness: peer pressure, immigration, deportation, sexuality. Penelope’s mother, Lydia, played by Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony award-winner Rita Moreno — a true legend of stage and screen, absolutely unbelievable at 85 years old — is the keeper of the family’s Cuban heritage, and gets a complex story line that includes grappling with the effects of age, struggling with her family’s waning interest in religion, and dating as a senior.

Have I convinced you yet? This is a wholesome show that goes to the heart of difficult issues without ever feeling contrived or tacky. There’s no “today, on a very special episode of …” here, but there are tough moments. Penelope’s ex-husband, Victor, looms large throughout the first few episodes of the season: we learn that he is also an army vet who is affected by post-traumatic stress, and that he and Penelope broke up because he was abusing alcohol and painkillers and threatening to hurt himself. When he finally appears, just in time for Elena’s quinceañera, he seems to be doing better; even so, the writers steer clear of any “look, my mental illness is magically cured!” shortcuts and keep the characters firmly grounded in reality (despite Lydia’s best efforts to reunite the pair).

ODAAT_103_Unit_00566_R.jpeg(via Netflix)

The supporting cast includes Stephen Tobolowsky as Penelope’s hapless boss, Dr. Berkowitz, and Todd Grinnell as Schneider, their 40 year-old trust fund-kid landlord, who gets told off every chance they get (mansplaining, wearing a Che Guevara tshirt). Refreshingly, the men are true secondary characters, allowing Penelope to shine in every scene: Penelope takes Schneider car shopping, but he fails her completely, giving her the opportunity to face her fears about doing “husband stuff” like negotiating a good price; when Penelope finds out that a male coworker earns more than she does, she takes Dr. Berkowitz to task, and they have a frank conversation about pay equity that results in a raise.

It’s nice to see a show about a strong woman who doesn’t have her life totally figured out. Penelope is a self-described “badass Army chick,” but she’s also struggling to keep it together, and that honesty is what hooked me in from the very first episode.

I hope I’ve convinced you. Did you binge-watch One Day at a Time this weekend? Are you, like me, frantically googling whether it will get a second season (hopefully to be released next weekend)? Here are a few articles to tide you over:

Vulture – One Day at a Time’s Justina Machado on Getting Her First Leading TV Role, Fidel Castro, and Her Low-Budget Quinceañera

Salon – This is it: “One Day at a Time” is the unifying family sitcom we didn’t know we needed

This last one’s a spoiler, so don’t click unless you’ve watched the show!

E! News – One Day at a Time’s Elena Storyline Is a Breath of Fresh Air

Things I Read This Week: January 6, 2017

magiccookiebars(via Food52)

Happy New Year! It’s good to be back. My house guests are gone, the holiday decorations are put away, and it feels like I need a week-long nap to recover from the festivities. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Food52 – Magic Cookie Bars
I can’t resist ordering this dessert when I see it on a menu. Also known as Hello Dolly bars, these cookie bars are easily customized and great for parties … you know, if you’re not tired of those yet.

The Atlantic – TV Shows to Look Forward to in 2017 (So Far)
I’m really looking forward to Riverdale (with Luke Perry!), The Good Fight (a spin-off of The Good Wife that follows Christine Baranski’s character, Diane Lockhart — honestly, what the show should have been about in the first place), and Crashing. Now let us pray that Please Like Me gets renewed for a fifth season soon, because I need more!

Apartment Therapy – How Not To Let Gloomy Days Bring You Down
Some good advice for a tough, grey, cold time of year.

Fast Company – 10 Ways to Be a Better Employee in 2017
I don’t necessarily believe in setting New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in trying to be a better friend/partner/employee/human being from one year to the next. This list has some good insights on how to tackle the work front. And if you have some resolutions you’re hoping to keep, read this, too: 5 Ideas You Need to Hear (And Hear Again) to Stick to Your 2017 Resolutions.

Coachella 2017 Lineup: Radiohead, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar Headline
Can we talk about how Beyoncé is only the third woman ever to headline Coachella, and the first black woman ever to do so? Yikes. Obviously, Coachella isn’t the only festival with a gender parity issue, but seeing as Coachella’s line-up has a huge influence on who we hear on the radio and see in concert for the rest of the year, it’s a big deal. I can think of a number of other female artists who would make a great choice if Beyoncé isn’t free to headline every year — I think Drake can probably get you Rihanna’s number. (Also … road trip?)