All I Ate This Week Was Charcuterie Meat

~Maddy~

Let me tell you, I am more sodium logged than I think I’ve ever been, and I’m so thirsty that I have basically had to live in the bathroom.

And it’s worth it. If you’ve ever experienced charcuterie in all its glory, you understand.

Charcuturie is actually a method of preserving meats in their own fat (plus a whole lot of salt and sometimes spices). A charcuturie board combines an assortment of charcuterie meats, various cheeses and accompanying fruits or fruit spreads. Upon assembling and, eventually, devouring said charcuterie board, I guarantee you’ll feel so damn fancy that you’ll never eat Ritz and spray cheese again.

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We served capriccioli, salami, and prosciutto with an aged white cheddar and a slightly creamier, merlot infused goat cheese. Pears, apples, figs and grapes work well with the creamy cheese, and olives and baby pickles are nice with harder, saltier cheeses. Add crackers, a couple $8 bottles of wine, and call it a night.

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Also brie, because brie is amazing. One wheel was wrapped in prosciutto and bacon, and the other slathered with fig and blueberry compote. Did I mention that brie is amazing????

So try this. Really. Costco has a surprisingly great selection, and Hy-Vee is pretty close to top notch. Oh, and Aldi has wheels of brie for $2.99 (you’re welcome).

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Yeah, drool about it.

 

Three Resolutions EVERYONE Should Attempt In 2015 (And Every Year Hereafter)

~Maddy~

I find New Year’s resolutions completely absurd, and probably always will.

I mean think about it.

The “New year, new me” mentality is not only a ghastly cliche, but also irrelevant, since you’re a “new you” with literally every passing second of every passing day of EVERY YEAR SINCE YOUR EXISTENCE.

2015 is no exception. It is not a magic year, it is not a year of promise, it is just. a. different. number.

On a lighter note, I am a big believer in making positive, day-to-day changes to oneself and ones routine. Yeah, long term goals are important, but they’re so damn easy to put off because they’re often far away from where you are in the moment.

So do something now, today, something short term for the greater good. Something liiiiiiike…

1. Tip Your Barista/Bartender/Waitperson $1 More Than You Usually Do

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Those of you who have worked in the food service industry know the horrors that waitstaff, bartenders and baristas face every day at work. I waitressed at a little diner all through high school and still bear the psychological scars years later.

The constant hustle and bustle of needy/noisy/nasty customers is enough to drive anyone out of their freaking minds, and then there’s the matter of the pathetic paychecks. I don’t know if people are jerks or if they just don’t get it, but tips are part of bartenders’/baristas’/waitpersons’ wages.

According the the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average hourly pay for baristas is between $7.50-12.50, and between $7.84-14.83 for waitpersons, which doesn’t sound too bad if you’re at the higher end of the spectrum.

However, speaking as someone who is very familiar with the industry, I can tell you that much of the time your bartender/barista/waitperson doesn’t receive enough in tips to actually break their supposed hourly wages. As a waitress in a rural area, my coworkers and I made a measly $4.95/hour.

This is Patch. Patch would appreciate more tips and less flash photography, please.
This is Patch. Patch would appreciate more tips and less picture taking.

These people work very hard and deal with all of us at our worst, when we’re hungry, thirsty and/or tired. The LEAST you can do is send an extra buck their way. A dollar won’t break your bank, and believe me, it means more to that sad empty tip jar than it does to you.

2. Try New Foods

Even if you don’t want to.

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Even if you have a “sensitive palate”.

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Even if you’re that wacko who eats nothing but McDonald’s chicken nuggs for every meal.

Why, Anderson, why???
Why, Anderson, why???

Try. New. Foods.

Because picky eaters are hands down in the list of Top Ten Annoying/Awful Human Beings. I do not care if you don’t like green things, vegetables, or other non-bacon items.

Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Ron Swanson.
Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Ron Swanson.

You are a grown ass adult, suck it up and eat the brussel sprout.

Oh, you hated shrimp when you tried it one time in the third grade? So I’m guessing you also still think kissing can get you pregnant and that one week anniversaries are a thing?

What’s that? Can’t eat Thai food because there’s no steak and potatoes? Open wide, uncultured Puritan, here comes the tom yum choo-choo.

Hmm? Not giving tofu a shot because you’re a red-blooded American? Newsflash, dimwit: our blood is blue over 95% of the time, and I’ll spill some of yours if you call vegan dishes fake food one more time.

I’m not saying you have to love everything you try.

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In fact, you probably won’t like some things.

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But for the love of pizza will you at least TASTE it?! How do you know you’re not missing out on the best thing since Nutella?!

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You’ll never know if you don’t dig in.

3. Go Through Your Stuff

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Taking personal inventory of what you own from time to time is so, sooooo helpful in the long run, especially if you’re an avid shopper like myself. It’s scary how easy it is to become a dedicated pack rat, and when you need to find something or move to a new location, having an idea of how much stuff you have (and where it all is stashed) will prove invaluable.

Start with one specific area, like your dresser drawers, supply closet, or kitchen cupboards, and go through absolutely everything. If it hasn’t been touched, worn or moved in over a year, you may want to consider tossing or donating it.

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If your tendencies lean more towards hoarder than minimalist, it’s helpful to have a buddy system going. Friends don’t let friends save their tube tops from 1997.

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It may be painful at first, particularly if you are super sentimental, but it’s important to know when to let go of the old (an broken, and grody) and make room for the new. You’ll thank yourself later.

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Even if it hurts a little now.