I'm back! After a little two week vacation with my family, mostly just relaxing and eating here in Seattle, I am feeling rested, inspired, and excited about making some delicious food. It's so important for me to pick up on cues and realize when I am lacking creativity, forcing myself to be inspired, and just plain burned out. When I find myself spending at least two hours staring at my computer trying to come up with a recipe to make, I know that I am just not that into it mentally, because let's be real, there are like a thousand deliciously tasting things that I could blog about. The two week break, spent eating out in Seattle, was such a great way to get inspired. There are so many amazing places to try.
I refocused my creativity the last few weeks on things other than food. I Feng Shui my living room, made a trip to Ikea to pick up some things that have been on my furniture-list for 6 months now. I tried to create a mood board for the babies room (major fail). Oh, and I also bought a king size mattress, which is and will be one of the best decisions that Brent and I have ever made, and oh my god, why didn't we do it sooner.
We bought a foam mattress. It's supposed to be a fancy new design that keeps you cool at night, because I guess that's one of the complaints people have with the foam mattresses. Can we talk real-life for a sec? It is really challenging trying to pick out a mattress when your pregnant. Is this mattress warm, or is it just my baby making furnace? Are these pins and needles in my hands caused by the mattress or the pregnancy? Is this mattress causing my hips to cramp, my legs to involuntarily spasm, or my calves to Charlie horse, or is it the pregnancy? In most scenarios, I am thinking it's probably the pregnancy, and I just have to keep reminding myself that. I am trying to bank some serious sleep time before the baby arrives, so I've tried to create the ultimate sleeping sanctuary to make up for these aches and pains.
Yesterday I got Brent to pick up a portable AC from Home Depot on the way home from work. I am a furnace working on overdrive while I sleep at night, and I just bought these expensive linen sheets from Restoration Hardware, and I'm pretty sure that my sleeping naked is not improving their lifespan. The temperature here in Seattle has been seriously hot these past few days, which means that during the day the heat rises to our bedroom and it is like stepping into a sauna, except that it's not awesome or relaxing. Sunday I sat in the backyard in the shade with my feet in a bucket of ice water. Normally in the heat I like to sip on cool frosty beers and margaritas, eat fruit, ice cream, popsicles etc. but this pregnancy is doing weird things to my appetite, and now all I want to eat is carb-centric, cheesy, savory foods, which reconfirms my belief that this baby is much more like Brent than myself.
We took a stroll to the market this past Sunday, to pick up a loaf of fresh crusty bread, a bunch of peonies, and some fresh strawberries. I was planning to use the strawberries to make Strawberry Shortcakes, but then I got lazy, decided that I didn't want to to turn on the oven for an extended period, and realized that I just wanted something simple easy and full of flavor.
I am really serious these days about my cream cheese. We have 4 difference flavors on the go at any one time. I decided to make a simple savory/sweet version of cheesecake in toast form, because toast is the most amazing thing ever, and regular cheesecake takes a lot of work. I've been eating lots of toast for breakfast, alternating between almond butter with rhubarb jam, and avocado with zatar, so the cream cheese and strawberries was a well needed change.
The berries that I picked up on Sunday were at the overripe stage by Monday, so I decided to let them macerate in some granulated sugar to pull out some juices and increase the sweetness slightly and to store a little longer. They paired perfectly with the creaminess from the cream cheese, and the warm yeasty flavor from the bread. I toasted the bread in the oven under broil with some olive oil, which added just the perfect level of crunch I often can't obtain with just popping bread into the toaster. I am pretty sure I am going to be eating this toast for the rest of the summer or as long as strawberries are small, sweet, fresh, and local.
CREAM CHEESE AND MACERATED STRAWBERRY TOAST
2 1/2 cups ripe strawberries
1 tbsp granulated sugar
6 slices of good crusty bread
olive oil for brushing
8 oz tub cream cheese
Wash the berries and remove the green tops. Cut into quarters. Place into a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to broil. Slice the bread 1/2 inch thick and brush the top with olive oil. Place the bread onto a baking sheet, olive oil side up, and then into the oven. Broil until the the bread has turned golden brown and toasty - approximately 1 - 2 minutes.
Spread a generous layer of cream cheese on the toast.
Smash the strawberries with a fork. Layer a heaping spoonful of strawberries on top of the cream cheese.