My Current Obsessions

Ethiopian style mac & cheese from Papa Tofu Loves EthiopianDuring this long holiday weekend, I thought it would be fun to drop in and share some of my current obsessions.

Ethiopian style mac and cheese from Papa Tofu Loves EthiopianMac & Cheese

I don’t know what has happened to me. I never used to make mac and cheese, but these past few months I’m nuts for it (cashews specifically). 😉  I keep trying new recipes (here and here), and I have found my definitive favorite – the Ethiopian-style mac and cheese from Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian. It has that rich, creamy cheesiness you expect with mac and cheese, but with an added layer of spiciness from berbere and paprika along with all of those wonderful flavors in niter kibbeh. And as luck would have it, David loves it too. He tends to not be a fan of mac and cheese, but this version is an exception.

Mac & Cheese Burrito with greens and barbecue Beyond MeatAfter making it for dinner one night with sautéed greens, I repurposed the leftovers the next day in a Homegrown Smoker-style burrito along with Beyond Meat that I grilled in my grill pan and tossed with barbecue sauce. I know it’s nothing to look at, but that thing was crazy good.

I’m not sure if a mac and cheese recipe will be in Kittee’s upcoming Ethiopian cookbook, but since this cook zine has been discontinued, I hope so!  Until then, I’ve heard great things about her Southern-style macaroni and cheese.

Dandelion necklace on Etsy by Ural NatureReal Dandelion Necklace by Ural Nature

I recently treated myself to a necklace I’ve had on my Etsy wish list for literally years – this real dandelion in crystal resin. The artist, Mariya Bogatyreva, is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Russia. She plucks the flowers and other plants she uses in her work from the Ural Mountains in the area where she lives. The necklace is a marvel, just imagining how the delicate seeds were preserved and not crushed.

Dandelion necklace by Ural Nature on EtsyI have always been a fan of dandelions, and I remember at a young age being disenchanted with the idea that they were considered weeds. (One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.) Plus, as a long-time fan of wishes, I especially like the idea that I always have a chance to make a wish and manifest the future that I want. I interviewed the artist on Friday on Feelgood Style if you’re interested in reading more about her process.

Little Free LibraryLittle Free Libraries

Have you seen these Little Free Libraries? They are so cute! I first discovered one in Madison a couple of years ago painted very colorfully in front of someone’s house. They’re basically small structures that people fill with books, and then passersby are invited to take a book, leave a book, or both. The only requirement is that the structures can withstand whatever weather issues may appear in that area in the form of rain or snow. Otherwise, individuals can make them in whatever form they like – sometimes just something simple and utilitarian and others times people personalize them.  (There was an issue in Kansas recently, in which a little boy was forced to remove his library from his yard because of city ordinances.)

Little Free LibraryThis one is in front of a house, and it looks like a British phone booth. Plus, David found this book inside on time travel. A coincidence? Who can say?

Little Free LIbrary in front of a churchLittle Free Library in front of a churchThis one is in front of a church, and the little library is made to resemble the church’s own steeple.

I think it would be fun on a road-trip to try and see as many of these little libraries as one could manage along the way. The little libraries are registered on the Little Free Library website, and you can see if there are any in your area.  There are little libraries all over the world!

Truffle friesCelebrating 8 Wonderful Years!

Finally, I also celebrated 8 years of marriage to that guy with the time travel book! Yay! Iowa isn’t overflowing in fine dining establishments that cater to vegans, and so went casual and took our anniversary celebration on the road to the Quad Cities for a cheeseless pizza at Crust with roasted potatoes, artichoke hearts, and wild mushrooms along with a side of garlicky truffle fries (hold the aioli).  I feel so lucky getting to spend my life with him.

Crust Pizza - Bettendorf, IowaWhat are your current obsessions?


  1. says

    happy anniversary you guys! i love those little libraries. these days i have been craving sweet mango and tempeh burgers. one light and summery and other so filling, go figure :)

    • says

      Thanks, Richa! It’s hard to believe that 8 years have passed already since we got married. I remember on our honeymoon imagining what things would be like on our ten year anniversary, and it seemed so far away. I blinked, and now it’s only two years until that happens!

      I totally agree on the mangoes. They sound great any time of year!

  2. says

    Cadry! It has been so long since I’ve checked in on your blog and I am always so delighted when I do. That dandelion necklace is so amazing. And I have always adored the Little Free Library idea too, though I’ve never seen one in person. Someday I would love to live in a neighborhood where it makes sense to build one for my front yard. And you are fearless in the kitchen. That mac and cheese sounds so good!

    • says

      I’m glad you popped in said hi! I always like seeing what’s happening with your boy and your latest art projects and thrift store finds.

      I think it would be fun to have a Little Free Library too. I love it that they can be designed in any way the owner chooses, and so then it becomes an art project of its own. My ideal Little Free Library would be in the shape of a British Police Box as an homage to Doctor Who.

  3. says

    Happy anniversary!

    Ah, the dandelion necklace is beautiful! Amazing work. I will never look at those weeds, err, wildflowers the same way again :-).

    I had no idea those little libraries were a “thing!” Love it.

    • says

      I was surprised to learn that the libraries were a “thing” too. When I saw the first one in Madison, I assumed it just belonged to a fun-loving person with a great idea. Then I started seeing more of them elsewhere. I read on the little libraries website that the free libraries started in Wisconsin, and so that could be why it took a little longer for me to start seeing them in other places.

      Thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  4. Shell says

    I can’t believe I haven’t heard of Little Free Libraries. What a fun idea! I will be keeping my eyes peeled for them from now on.

    The necklace is beautiful. I read the interview on Feelgood Style. What a creative way to make jewlery.

    • says

      Shell, those libraries are just the sort of thing we would have loved as kids! (And of course, I still think they are super fun now.) You should check out the map, because there are lots of them all over Iowa – including Des Moines. You could take the girls on a little field trip. I bet they’d enjoy it! Oftentimes there are children’s books in the libraries in addition to books for adults. Plus, it’s a good resource for parting with books that you’ve finished reading.

    • says

      Thanks, Bobbie! I thought you might have heard of the libraries, because the boy who was forced to get rid of his lives in Lawrence, Kansas. Since that isn’t all that far from you, I thought you might have heard about it. I hope you stumble across one someday!

  5. says

    So much goodness! That necklace is awesome, and I love a Little Free Library, too! They’re popping up all over Atlanta, and I can’t wait to bring Darrol Henry to trade books when he’s big enough.

  6. acookinthemaking says

    This was a fun post to read :) That necklace in particular is absolutely beautiful, I love it!

    Happy (belated) Anniversary!

  7. says

    I love those free libraries – such a good idea (not to mention cute!) There’s something really similar near my office and I love having a browse! WIth you all the way on mac and cheese. There’s never a time when it’s a bad idea.

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