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We Survived the First Year of Marriage….and all we got was a trip to Thailand!

Photo by Julian Mackler, Rockhouse, Negril, Jamaica, Day after Blewish Wedding

People LOVE asking newly-married people the same question:

“How is the first year of marriage???”

That is QUITE the question. Do you give the expected, “It’s been wonderful!” and go about your merry way?? Or do you keep it (too) real with the “It’s mostly great, except for the times I want to kill him/her!” and laugh like it’s a joke even though you really mean it? I tend to go with a big ol’ grin and say “We made it!”

So, you’re probably wondering, how WAS the first year of marriage??

It was beautiful. It was terrifying. It was heart-breaking. It was educational. It was earth-shattering. It was hard. It was easy. It was enlightening. It was full of breathtaking highs and gut-wrenching lows. But most importantly for us, it was a strong and enduring partnership between two people who (thankfully) really, really like each other.

I can’t and wouldn’t want to give people marriage advice because every relationship is so singular. But I do have a couple of suggestions. These might feel painfully obvious, and if so, use them as needed reminders:

  • Regardless of who you are with, those highs and lows will happen. Be with someone that you can’t WAIT to celebrate those amazing moments with and who will never leave your side during life’s darkest days.
  • Take some time to learn who you are and how you operate within your marriage/relationship. We are all constantly learning and evolving as individuals, but I had to understand what type of a partner I am. Be patient with yourself and your significant other as you learn how to function as a team. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t organically happen immediately.
  • Spend time with each other and if you can, get the hell out of dodge! Maybe you don’t have the time or credit card points to go across the world (what, you thought we actually had the money to go to Thailand??); so road trip an hour away to a B&B or shut out the world for one night by turning off your phones and computers, make dinner, and talk to each other.

So yes, we SURVIVED the first year of marriage. If I’m being honest, I think I love Jay a little more than I did in April of 2015. And that, to me, is the biggest indicator of a successful first year of marriage.

SOOO….THAILAND????

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Okay, yes, Thailand, the important part!  Our wedding anniversary is the same week as both of our birthdays (I know, so obnoxious, right???). So for our first anniversary and 32nd birthdays we went to Thailand!! I wrote a very, very, very long post about our trip, so I’ve broken it up in parts.

Want to read about what we ate and loved??? Check out the Thailand Eats post.

What to read about what we drank??? Thailand Boozing!

Want to read about the most disappointing $450 meal ever at the TOP restaurant in Asia. Read on about Gaggan. Be warned, lots of snark.

 

 

 

 

Dessert Gatherings Holiday Recipes Sides Thanksgiving Vegetarian

Oh, it’s you, Holidays….AGAIN! SO SOON!

The keyword for my Thanksgiving favorites is *traditional*. I’ve done the kicked up stuff. I’ve tried new recipes. And they often come out great. But I still go back to craving things that I grew up eating. After all, it’s only once a year that you get to eat these goodies.

One big reason I revert back to these classics is because they remind me of my grandmother and her sisters. Born and raised in Ashburn, GA, they are the epitome of southern women who throw down in the kitchen- take some of the most basic ingredients, don’t measure a damn thing and create absolute magic. How can you not love that??

My Thanksgiving favorites are macaroni and cheese, stuffing (or dressing as some call it), sweet potato pie and apple cake. I even do weird things like mix my mac and cheese and sweet potatoes. If you like sweet and salty, it is so good. No, I’m not pregnant.

Below you will find links to recipes of these favorites. I’ll also be posting Emily’s vegan chocolate silk pie if she ever give me the recipes. If she hadn’t told me the pie was vegan, I wouldn’t have had any idea.

Yes, there is no meat or veggies on my faves list. If you ever look at my Thanksgiving plate, it is not…balanced. But dammit, it’s the holidays, so take your judgment elsewhere. That being said, we grew up eating Cornish game hens and Honey Baked ham for Thanksgiving, because mom never felt the need to stress over a turkey. And little hens are so CUTE and way more flavorful.

If do you need a great veggie dish, I highly recommend this Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Bacon Vinaigrette dish. It is SO good. I usually omit the the chestnuts because, what do I look like, Mrs. Claus who just has chestnuts laying around??

We hosted a few friends to test all of our recipes. Instead of making a turkey, Jay roasted two chickens. We woke up the next morning, hungover and so excited for leftovers to find there were NONE. NONE! I wept. And then patted us on the back for a successful dinner.

An appropriately sized bottle of bubbly for one during the holidays.

An appropriately sized bottle of bubbly for one during the holidays.

Tell me, readers, how do you plan to spend your holidays? With four families in four different cities, I always stress about pleasing everyone. This Thanksgiving, we’ll be heading to Atlanta to spend it with my mother. December holidays will be spent with Jay’s families up north. Next year, I’m hoping to start a new tradition where we host Thanksgiving and moms come one year and dads come the next. I think this would be a good way to maintain my sanity and keep the parents relatively happy.

Thanksgiving links are below. Get excited….there will be a latke post for Hanukkah.

Candace’s Bomb Ass Macaroni and Cheese

Southern Stuffing/Dressing

Apple Cake with Easy Caramel Sauce

Sweet Potato Pie

Corn Pudding

Vegan Chocolate Silk Pie (to come)

Dessert Gatherings Recipes Thanksgiving

Fall Apple Cake

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m OBSESSED with apple desserts. I love them. If it’s on a menu, high chance I’m ordering it. Continue Reading

Gatherings Holiday Recipes Sides Thanksgiving Vegetarian

Macaroni and Cheese

I spent years perfecting this macaroni and cheese. Years! And it is just that – perfect.

My three key ingredients: nutmeg, cayenne and a smoked cheese. Nothing crazy, but an ideal combination.

Most baked macaroni and cheeses usually include an egg or two to make it more cohesive. I’ve found that I like my mac like I like my women – loose and cheesy — so no egg here. If you want yours a little tighter, mix in an egg right before baking. Continue Reading

Gatherings Holiday Recipes Sides Thanksgiving Vegetarian

Southern Stuffing/Dressing

Whenever I go to make one of my mom’s recipes, our conversation ALWAYS goes something like this:

“Hey Ma, I need your recipe for x.”

“Hi dear, yes, the ingredients for x are y and z.”

“Great – what about quantities???”

“Ugh, I don’t know. You know I just eyeball everything.”

AND SCENE. Continue Reading

Dessert Gatherings Holiday Thanksgiving

Sweet Potato Pie

I know – buying pie is really easy. The internet has recently lost its mind over a viral video of a guy raving over Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie.

I’m sure Patti’s pie is delightful – and Lord knows I’m not trying to step on Ms. Patti’s toes —  but if you have 2 hours and some basic ingredients, you can make your own and brag about it. Continue Reading

Gatherings Pork Recipes

Ultimate Pulled Pork Nachos!!!

Not sure if you’ve heard or seen any Draft Kings or FanDuel commercials, but it’s football season! It’s still crazy to me that there are only two days between the end of football weekend and the beginning. Even the worst Thursday Night Football is better than none at all.

Football is a big deal in our house. I’ve been watching since I was a child and Jay is a huge fan. I’m not even going to tell you how many hours combined we spend on our Fantasy Football teams.

(Apparently not enough, because the Koman house hasn’t won a Fantasy Super Bowl in years.)

Not going to lie, as I get older, the sport is getting harder and harder to watch. As more reports on CTE and the long-term damage the sport does, it affirms that hypothetical, future Kid Koman will not be suiting up for the gridiron.

And don’t get me started on the league’s treatment of women…

But you didn’t come here to hear me soapbox about football. You came to read about food. And this, my friends, is one of my favorite game day foods: my Ultimate Pulled Pork Nachos. Continue Reading

Gatherings Recipes

Labor Day Eats

Jay and I have a habit of not traveling on certain holidays. On Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, DC empties out, but we stay put. With parents in 4 different cities and friends all over, we get around enough as is. We truly relish our times at home.

We enjoy having holiday cookouts for those who also stayed in town. Three days before, I fire out an email that says you around? Come over! It usually results in 10-15 of our nearest and dearest showing up with food and booze in hand.

We just moved to a new house in Brightwood Park and are thoroughly obsessed with it. We thought Labor Day weekend would be a perfect time for a soft opening, as Jay dubbed it.

I purposely didn’t go too crazy in the kitchen. I went with things I could make ahead of time and not worry about while people were there. Highlights were:

While everything was delicious, the Thyme Lemonade with vodka was DANGEROUSLY delightful. We played beer pong, caught up, ate too much and ended the day with a dance party in what Sally called our ballroom (aka the unfurnished dining room).

It was a wonderful day. One commonality Jay and I share is how important our friends are to us.  It was a great reminder of how fortunate we are to have such amazing people in our lives.