First Friday: Recently-Enjoyed Things

It’s been a while since I e done one of these. The first Friday of a new year seems like a good opportunity to reflect back on the good around us all the time… Happy New Year.

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What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

I think I turned a weird age/life corner this year. It’s that corner around which you suddenly say things like, “I’ve never needed a vacation so badly,” or, “This vacation could not come soon enough!” But seriously, though.

Every year my extended family reunites for a week in early August on Cape Cod. It’s my happy place, and it would not feel like summer to me without it. But this year, since I was thinking and saying things like, “I’ve never needed a vacation so badly,” I knew I needed more than just to dip my toes in the Atlantic. So I unplugged. Almost entirely. And it was so wonderful. 

Whereas you know I’m usually one to snap photos of what I see and eat wherever I go, I left my phone behind and off most of the time. Here and there I took it out when I couldn’t resist, but overall, I checked no email, scanned no Facebook or Instagram, and instead rode a bike around town, slept on the beach, and savored the rest and recuperation a week out of our normal life provides. And now that’s how I’m going to try to vacation forever, because I can’t remember feeling so refreshed, as I do right now.

Here are a few shots I could not resist taking… how do you handle technology on your vacations?

3 Ingredient BBQ Sweet Potato Chips

First lesson I learned making my own potato chips is that I really need to invest in a mandolin slicer. How do I not have a mandolin?? (Any recs are appreciated!) Second thing I learned is that chip making might be my new hobby! So fun! So easy! So many ways to flavor! These easy chips will go with basically any summer meal or any meal or any empty hand seeking snacks! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large sweet potato
* BBQ seasoning or rub spice mix (use your favorite or your own go-to blend–I like Trader Joe’s Coffee BBQ Rub)
* vegetable oil

WHAT TO DO
Wash and dry your sweet potato, leaving the skin on, then cut off the dry nubby ends.

Preferably using a mandolin slicer (or the slicer side of a stand grater, or as a last resort, a sharp knife), slice the whole thing up into even slices. Pat these dry with a paper towel. Then do it again.

Place the slices in a bowl and toss with a generous amount of your BBQ seasoning.

Heat 2 inches-depth-worth of vegetable oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, so that they don’t stick together or crowd the pot, fry your potato chips for 3 minutes.

Remove from the pot to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle again with BBQ seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl.

Don’t forget to lick those fingers clean!