#instagram

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It’s a strange thing to have legitimate free time! I’m still between jobs, but I have a promising lead at a favorite local spot, so I’m excited! Meanwhile, no longer doing the social media for UC has afforded me more time to focus on my own social media. That means a whole lot of instagrammin’! Monday was Memorial Day and I got to have a nice, relaxing morning with my sister Lindsey. We went for an early morning run, came back home and went swimming, then had a leisurely brunch at Liberty Market in Gilbert. Have you been here? It’s always busy whenever I’ve been by, but the food quality and the super friendly service makes up for any wait. And come on, that case full of baked goods as you make your way up to the cashier? That’s how they get ya! They know you’re hungry and they know they’ve afforded plenty of time for gigantic cinnamon rolls and slices of carrot cake to stare you in the face before you put in your order at the register. It’s pretty easy to just add on a pastry with your bacon and eggs! I can’t lie, I had a s’mores cookie as a pre-dessert breakfast there once. #notsorry

He must have hit his head really hard.

He must have hit his head really hard.

The American Standard from Liberty Market! Lovely eggs.

The American Standard from Liberty Market! Lovely eggs.

I’ve had a few cooking adventures lately, too! I made a few mini pavlovas but without the almond like the big one I made recently, and filled them with whipped cream and some raspberries cooked down with a bit of sugar. I wasn’t entirely sure how long to bake these little guys so that their interiors would still stay marshmallowy soft like they’re supposed to, without underbaking them. Invariably, I wound up overbaking them. They’re not soft in the middle, but the light and airy crunch went well with the soft fillings. LittlePavlova Next up, homemade bagels! Did you know that if you are short on bread flour, you can just add 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to 2-3 cups of all purpose flour? I’m glad I found that out, or else these tasty bagels would never have happened. These are inside-out everything bagels. I just took the standard “everything” topping mix of dried onion, dried garlic, poppy seeds and sesame seeds and mixed it into the dough rather than coating the tops. It gives the bagels a different sort of flavor because the topping ingredients don’t get toasted while the bagels are baking. I gotta say, I prefer the standard way, but I’m glad I experimented with this idea. Homemade bagels are a wonderful thing to have! If you wanna make some, snag the recipe here. Bagels I realized it had been almost a year since I last made macarons at home, and I wanted to come up with a light, summery flavor combo. Key lime pie! How ’bout it? I made a real key lime curd and stuffed it into vanilla shells that had been sprinkled with some crushed graham crackers before baking. They’re so good! Pssst… I added a bit too much green to the curd, in an effort to punch up the color. It unfortunately reminds me of Slimer from Ghostbusters. Hah. Macarons

There was a hurricane off the coast of Mexico recently, Hurricane Amanda, no less! I was watching the weather and hoping it’d bring us some rain like they said it might, but all I got was this lovely, cloudy morning the other day. It made my morning walk super enjoyable, but a little rain would have made it awesome. Oh, and how cute is this new little message on the Gmail app when you clear out your inbox? It’s adorable!

Cloudy     Gmail

My cat Shade is the best cat. He’s super calm, never scratches or bites anyone, and tolerates pretty much anything. He loves to lie on top of the shoe cubby by the front door and just stare out into the front yard. He thinks he’s a watchdog, but if anyone strange came into the house, he’d probably just meow at them for more food (which he doesn’t need). He also has a strange habit of licking the condensation beads off of drink cups. He hears the ice rattling around and immediately runs over to see if there’s anything for him! He hates styrofoam cups cause they don’t get condensation, but that doesn’t stop him from checking. Shade has good taste though, he and I both love the blended Cocomo from Dutch Bros.!

ShadeWatch     ShadeDrink

Have y’all heard of a little restaurant called Ted’s Hot Dogs? The location in Tempe is the only one outside of New York state, and it’s my favorite place to eat once the weather turns warm. Why can’t hot dogs be health food? I would eat there several days a week if that were the case. I just adore the place, with its retro decor and oldies tunes playing over the speakers, and that charcoal grill smell?! It’s the best ever. You can smell it in the parking lot, and even down the street. They make their onion rings in house, but the fries, even for previously frozen, are solid. My go-to order is an all-beef with ketchup (yes, I put ketchup on my hot dogs, what of it?), mustard, easy onion and a dill pickle spear. Heaven! Make the trek down to Ted’s sometime this summer, you won’t regret it. Maybe you’ll see me there and we can indulge in grilled hot dog loveliness together!

Are you on Instagram? Let me know in the comments! I love to follow new people.

TedsHotDogs **Oh, and uh, one more thing: None of the businesses I’ve mentioned on here probably even know I exist, and my opinions of the places are all my own, with no influence from them whatsoever. That said, I like ‘em, try them for yourself if you haven’t already!

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