The month may come and go like a lion or a lamb—and anything goes in between—but no matter how you feel about the temperature swings, there’s lots to love about March. From the return of Daylight Savings Time and the official start of spring, to St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness (and of course another edition of Favorite Things!), there’s a little something for everyone.
Favorite Recent Movie
Parasite. Class conflict, social inequality and wealth disparity are the overarching themes of this Oscar-winning Korean movie that is equal parts dark comedy and thriller. However, it’s the twists and turns of this expertly crafted film that will reel you in and make you forget you’re reading subtitles.
Favorite Current TV Show
Survivor. Now in its 40th season, I especially love this ever-evolving show because everyone in our family watches it－altogether whenever possible. (How fun is it to look forward to and chat about a program that everyone enjoys?) This season features a cast made up entirely of previous winners, so the game play is at its best.
Favorite New Product
Outer Aisle’s Cauliflower Sandwich Thins and Pizza Crusts. The taste is great and the 4-ingredient list (see photo below) is clean. Available in the freezer aisle of many large grocery stores, this low-carb bread alternative can be used like a wrap, flatbread, English muffin or ready-made pizza crust, and the cauliflower flavor is quite mild. The products also accommodate a variety of eating styles, from Paleo and Keto to gluten-free.
I often use the thins for Egg and Avocado Toast or a quick pizza. (At the top of the photo below is my Everything Bagel Seasoning, which is delightful sprinkled over top the aforementioned avocado toast, including this tasty twist on the old favorite!)
📚Favorite Book of the Month
I posted the above photo on my Instagram story several weeks ago: a pile of books I had accumulated but not read, and I thought reader feedback might help me choose which to read first. There was positive feedback for all of them, but I reached for Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime first. Though I am familiar with Noah, I don’t watch The Daily Show, the late-night program hosted by the comedian, and was not at all aware of his life story.
Noah’s deftly written memoir recounts his childhood in South Africa under the apartheid government and the first few years of democratic rule by the country’s black majority. Noah’s mother was a black Xhosa and his father a white Swiss expat, so his actual existence was illegal because the government outlawed relationships between people of different races. This fact framed his young life in ways that were truly incomprehensible－and his mischievous ways kept life (and every chapter of the book) rather interesting, too.
This book was different than anything I have read to date, and I think the subject matter and Noah’s easy-to-read style would appeal to a wide range of readers. For the many compelling points of discussion, it would also be an excellent book club pick.
Favorite Graphic of the Month ☘️
Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
- Loaded Baked Potato Frittata is delicious for any meal, even without the clever “shamrocks” on top. Conversely, you can use the festive shamrock trick, which requires nothing more than a bell pepper, on a variety of other recipes as well.
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup offers the traditional holiday flavors and ingredients in a comforting, healthier soup.
- Potatoes are certainly Irish, and Parmesan Crusted Potatoes and Checkerboard Potatoes offer a delicious way to ratchet up the flavor. Of course, you may simply be curious as to the best way to bake a potato…and then consider using those perfectly cooked spuds as a base for Corned Beef & Dill Stuffed Potatoes.
- Love potatoes but trying to reduce carbohydrates? Low Carb Mock Potato Salad is surprisingly delicious and has delighted quite a few skeptics!
- Bacon Roasted Cabbage is so easy and also keeps the carb count low. For more cabbage winners, I heartily recommend Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet and Sausage and Cabbage Stew. And because we can’t forget salad (and you could use slaw mix as an option to the shaved sprouts), my vote is for Favorite Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- A savory stew satisfies any night of the week and is especially fitting on St. Patty’s Day. Family friendly Slow Cooker Beef Stew is modeled on my mom and grandmother’s recipes, while O’Brien Irish Stew is straight from the recipe box of my childhood friend’s Irish mother.
- Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream is quick and easy to make at home and every bit as delicious as the store-bought bottle－less expensive, too. Delightful in coffee, on the rocks, or in a variety of baked goods, it makes a thoughtful hostess gift, too.
- For a few more GREEN things to celebrate the day, consider the wholesome deliciousness of Green Smoothie Muffins (or simply a green smoothie, like this 5-Ingredient Tropical Smoothie), Kale Pesto, Green Rice, Immunity Boosting Green Soup, or Blistered Green Beans.
☘️ 💚 ☘️ 💚 ☘️ 💚 ☘️ 💚 ☘️ 💚 ☘️
Reader Favorite Kitchen
At the outset, a clear reader favorite from February’s list of featured kitchens wasn’t entirely clear. The choices were all a bit polarizing, with some readers liking what others clearly disliked. After reviewing the comments, I deemed the photo above the winner because most readers liked the space and the common thread among the negative comments was in regards to the light fixture. One reader humorously (and somewhat accurately!) compared it to an aquarium.🐟🐠
Favorite NYC Restaurant
If you happen to be in the Big Apple, you must try Hanbat, an authentic Korean restaurant located at 53 W. 35th Street, a short walk from the theater district. The prices are extremely reasonable, especially when compared to the typical NYC restaurant, and the food never disappoints. Diners are first treated to complimentary banchan, a traditional sampling consisting of a half dozen or so appetizers ranging from kimchi and seaweed salad to fried shrimp and spicy pickled cabbage.
For the entree course, everyone in my family deems the Bibimbap bowls (pictured below) a favorite. Light yet filling at the same time, bibimbap, which is served in a piping hot cast iron bowl, consists of rice topped with sautéed vegetables, chili paste, and slivers of marinated and cooked beef or other meat, although vegetarian options are available. A raw egg is cracked over the top before serving, and you stir it into the piping hot rice mixture where it quickly cooks and flavors the dish. The real treat is the soccarat, the caramelized layer of crunchy rice that forms at the bottom of the heat-retaining bowl and can be chiseled away with your chopstick.
Philadelphia bound? Friends and fellow bibimbap fans have recently reported that Buk Chon Korean Cuisine at Chestnut & 3rd is every bit as good. I look forward to getting there myself one of these days!
Favorite Reader Comment of the Month (it included a bonus recipe!)
I love it when readers share a favorite recipe from their personal repertoire, and longtime reader, Bill, recently offered one of his go-to dishes in the comment section of a Facebook post after remarking that I seemed to be on a bit of a mushroom kick! I haven’t yet tried Bill’s dish, which he calls Toasted Orzo with Mushrooms, but I intend to. Because Bill provided sufficient details for anyone to give his recipe a go, I thought I’d share it here for anyone who’d like to try it, too.
Bill mentioned that he usually makes this recipe ahead of time and lets it sit for a day or two in the fridge, where the flavors continue to develop:
- First, toast 16 ounces of orzo on a cookie sheet at 350℉ for 20 minutes.
- Sauté about 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms (or more if you like) in a couple tablespoons of olive oil until thoroughly cooked down.
- Bring 4 cups of no-salt chicken stock and 1 cup of low-sodium soy sauce to a boil. Add the toasted orzo and mushrooms. Cover and reduce heat for about 20 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold.
“Couldn’t be easier,” Bill says. He added that he modeled his recipe after a dish he enjoys at a favorite spot in Florida, and that toasting the orzo enhances the pasta with a hint of nutty flavor. As an option you could cook the mushrooms until they are golden brown and caramelized, and then fold them into the orzo after it is cooked.
Thanks for sharing, Bill!
What are your current favorites in the world of food, restaurants, kitchen gadgets, movies, books, podcasts, products and beyond? Feel free to comment below or email me with your latest finds!