What I’m into (November 2016 edition)

What I’m into (November 2016 edition)

Joining my friend Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into these days.

Every year it catches me by surprise. There’s so much buildup to Halloween, and then when it’s over I’m somehow surprised to find it’s already November and I’m on a straight downhill run to Thanksgiving and the holiday season. I keep thinking that one of these years I’ll adjust, and it won’t feel so unexpected.

November has been crazy, with projects and deadlines and family commitments. All while we’re getting used to having a new puppy! Daisy is doing great (although she definitely has days when it seems like she’s forgotten everything she’s ever been taught). And my step count has definitely gone up since I’ve had a walking companion again.

What I’m reading

Am I allowed to admit I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump? I’ve been trying to make my way through 2017 ARCs (that would be “advanced review copies”) and the ones that ring my bell have been few and far between.

I’ve also made a stab at several books I’ve been meaning to read for years: Middlesex. The Sparrow. The Accidental Tourist. That’s going a little better than the ARCs.

alphabetical order

In other bookish news, I rearranged the books in my office (above). After much stewing, they are now alphabetized. Hardcovers and paperbacks are separated, purely for aesthetic reasons. I think I like them that way, for now. (The living room books are still ROYGBIV-style.)

What I’m watching

Will and I are halfway through The West Wing. It’s our first time through and we’re really enjoying it. But I feel like I’m missing so much good tv while we’re busy watching 150+ episodes!

Currently on hold: This Is Us (we’ve watched one episode and want to see more). The Blacklist (is it any good this season??) Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life. (Although I don’t know if I can keep being patient through three more seasons of West Wing.

that thing you do

I’ve also seen That Thing You Do! five times in the past two weeks, because my kids (all my kids, which is pretty darn impressive) have declared it their new favorite. We were going for something that had the same vibe as You’ve Got Mail, and we nailed it.

In the kitchen

We have been in minimalist mode in the kitchen lately, but I’m hoping to do better in December.

During the holidays I make these addictive spiced nuts nonstop because they are delicious and make the house smell amazing, plus they’re a great little gift. I made the first batch over the weekend and they’re already gone. We’re trying to keep sugar to a minimum this season (since I already know the kids will get buckets of it when they’re not at home) and I’m on the hunt for more savory treats.

I also succumbed to the Black Friday craziness and bought an Instant Pot for half price. I have no idea how to use it. (I unwrapped it to make dinner last night, and while it was fast, and good, it wasn’t amazing.) Got any recipes you love? Please share them in comments!

I hope your November has been lovely. What were YOU into this month?

more posts you might enjoy

45 comments | Comment


Leave A Comment
  1. Sarah M says:

    Oh my goodness, That Thing You Do has the same You’ve Got Mail vibe? I’m all in. I haven’t seen this before, but noticed it on Netflix (and if you think netflix is boring, Canadian netflix is dismal…) so that’s all I needed to hear! YES!

  2. Kathy says:

    Instapot – Google Dad Cooks Dinner mac and cheese – seriously addicting and so easy 🙂 Thank you for your great reading suggestions this year too!

  3. Vanessa says:

    That Thing You Do has always been one of my film favourites! It’s such a great story and I’ll watch anything that’s got Tom Hanks in it 😉

  4. Felicity says:

    I am so jealous of your half price Instant Pot purchase! All my friends on Facebook are raving about it. They have made hard boiled eggs, fish stew, and a frozen turkey breast to name a few things. Apparently there is an Instant Pot Facebook group that posts lots of ideas. Now I just need to wait for another good price to come along. Happy cooking!

  5. Cat says:

    I’ve had an instant pot for years. I am vegan. I use Jill Nussinow’s two cookbooks and JL Field’s cookbook (she also has many recipes on her website). The instant pot is great for brown rice,beans,soups,stews.

  6. Kristen says:

    Definitely checking out that spiced nut recipe! Such a good gift idea.
    Just btw, Gilmore Girls is very very spoiler-able, if that makes sense, because it gets juicy. So I would definitely try and watch that ASAP because with the internet, it’s SO hard to put off watching something without it getting spoiled first.

  7. Anne says:

    Ha! I also bought an InstaPot for myself on Black Friday! My Husband was like “you can’t be buying yourself things just weeks before Christmas!” I haven’t yet taken it out of the box – it’s so intimidating. Also looking for knock your socks off recipes.

  8. Melissa says:

    Martha Stewart’s One Pot cookbook is amazing and has a section on pressure cookers. Don’t get scared off by Martha…they are easy to prepare recipes without exotic ingredients.

  9. Missy G. says:

    We got an Instant Pot last summer (or was it spring?) during Amazon’s Prime Day. It was on mega sale, and I think it was either their #1 or #2 best-selling item that day. We LOVE it, and use it probably 2-3x a week! Soups and stews, roasts, stewed cabbage, steamed artichokes, spaghetti squash, even boiled peanuts! Nom Nom Paleo has several recipes, it’s easy to convert recipes from Well Fed, and Hip Pressure Cooking has lots of good info as well.

    Oh my gosh, how could I forget eggs??! Easiest method for soft or hard boiled eggs EVER. I have “boiled” dozens of eggs since getting the Instant Pot, and every.single.one has been easy to peel and comes out perfect. Seriously. Link here: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/cracked-soft-medium-and-hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-pressure-cooker/

  10. Laura Susan says:

    TTYD is my favorite movie!
    I’m convinced that the “We’re on the radio!” scene is THE happiest two-and-a-half minutes in film history. And my siblings and I quote this movie a lot, “Guys? Chad fell down.” “Pres…idential flash cards?”
    So happy your family is enjoying it!

    • Pam says:

      We quote it a in our familt, too. It’s so fun.
      Chad, who’s Chad?
      A man in a really nice camper…
      I’m signing. You’re signing. We’re all signing.
      Have I told you you look good in red?

      I could keep going. The soundtrack is fun, too. My 8 year old son has never seen the movie but knows all the songs. 🙂

      • Jessica C says:

        My sisters and I quote That Thing You Do all the time too!!

        “Where was I?” “Oh yea – playing songs on my guitar…”

        hahaha- such great memories! I want to watch it again now 🙂

        • Pam says:

          My husband uses that line all the time when he misses something that has happened. Even funnier since he really does play guitar. 🙂

  11. Mandy Turner says:

    You might try melskitchencafe.com for recipes. I don’t have one, but she has posted a lot of InstantPot recipes in the last year. And I’m curious what a reading slump looks like for you! How many books did you read in November compared to your average month?

  12. Andy says:

    Middlesex is really good but you do have to wade through the first 100 pages or so. I many times debated on whether to keep going or not. I persevered and it became a beautiful story to me.

  13. Lee Ann says:

    Congratulations to all you new Instant Pot owners! I bought one on Amazon Prime Day, and I use it 3-5 times a week for meats, stews, soups, rice, quinoa, beans, yogurt, etc. It really is easy to use; just follow the directions in the user’s manual.
    As was mentioned elsewhere in the comments, there is a huge Facebook group with recipe files and user tips. For good recipes, I’m a fan of This Old Gal, Pressure Cook Recipes, Hip Pressure Cooking (I always check her cooking times, which IMO are more accurate than the times on the Instant Pot site), and a couple of others.
    That Thing You Do! is one of our favorite films. We also quote lines from it.

  14. Heather H says:

    I will have an Instant Pot waiting for me on the doorstep when I get home tonight, and I can’t wait! (Although I do have to wait to use it until Christmas since it was my gift from my husband and he insists :)). I was really on the fence about whether it would be helpful to me or not, but I was sold on the ability to easily make yogurt with it and to quickly cook meat from frozen (usually I do this in the slow-cooker, but this will be a nice change). Following this post/comments for recipe ideas!

  15. Oh my goodness, Anne. You are in for such a deeply moving journey when you read The Sparrow! Fr. Emilio Sandoz is a complex, unforgettable character you’ll keep with you forever. If it’s ever made into a movie, I can’t imagine what actor could possibly portray him, but if he can, he’ll win the Oscar hands down.
    Although The Sparrow is a stand-alone work, to fully understand *why* what was done to him was done, I highly recommend that you follow with its sequel, The Children of God. Happy reading!
    Off to Google Instant Pot …

    • Jennifer says:

      Just picked up The Sparrow at the bookstore b/c Ann Kingman (from Books on the Nightstand) always said it was her favorite book. I’ve heard others rave about it as well. Hope to read it over the holidays! And I will be making the addictive spiced nuts for my neighbor gifts as well : )

  16. Lindsay says:

    I’m anxious to hear other Instant Pot owners stories. I’m a die-hard crockpot fan but have been told this is even better?!? I’m thinking there might need to be one added to my Christmas list.

  17. Faith Raider says:

    I LOVED the pilot episode of “This is Us” but I was over it by the third episode. I loooved “That Thing You Do” and so did my kids. Makes me want to check it out from the library again. My kids discovered the musical “Into the Woods”. We watched the movie twice and have been listening to the music a lot. I also got sick and watched the entire first season of “The Crown” in one day. That was pretty awesome. It was slow, but I was glad I watched it.
    I saw “Arrival” in the theater and it was absolutely the best movie I’be seen all year! I was a little worried it would be too scary, it wasn’t. It was amazing.

  18. Desiree says:

    I got thru season 6 of West Wing and then just couldn’t do anymore…the dynamic changed and I just didn’t love it anymore. This is Us is sitting on my DVR taking up lots of space so I’ve got to start watching. Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life disappointed me but I have a feeling my expectations were too high 🙂
    I got an InstantPot back in July and use it regularly. Skinny Taste Beef Barbacoa is amazing, all my kids love it.

  19. Melanie says:

    I feel like 2016 was such a great year for new releases; it’s disappointing that the 2017 ARCs aren’t living up. Then again, it will be good for me to stop jumping at each latest and greatest thing and finally pay attention to some of the titles that have been on my TBR list forever.

    I found The Gilmore Girls Revival horribly disappointing. However, I signed up for a Netflix trial in order to watch it, so I may spend the rest of the month watching The West Wing. My only fear is that I’m going to get too addicted and spend all of my free time watching instead of reading.

  20. Leigh Kramer says:

    Pause the West Wing and watch Gilmore Girls. It’s only 6 hours and then we can talk about it because trust me, you will want to talk about it. Then you can get back to the gloriousness that is the West Wing!

  21. Meghan says:

    I just used my InstantPot tonight for an emergency “I spent all day dealing with a very frustrating client and forgot to stop in time to fix dinner” stew! I mainly use it for yogurt, applesauce, stock/broth, dog food (she’s 14 and spoiled!), and eggs, but now that the weather is acting like it might cool off, I hope to use it for more things!

  22. Tristan says:

    I got an Instant Pot early this summer to get me through a kitchen remodel (no stove, no oven, just a refrigerator, microwave, and my IP) and it was great.
    Favorite web site definitely Hip Pressure Cooking http://www.hippressurecooking.com/, and
    she also has cookbook (I bought the Kindle version).
    It looks intimidating, but it isn’t, just go for it…
    My favorite things to make so far — butter chicken, red beans and rice, corn chowder, mongolian beef. You can also make plain pasta in it (although dunno why you would want to, unless, like me, you don’t have a stove). And the other day I cooked a whole chicken in it — super easy, and really delicious.

  23. Pamela Jo says:

    Finished my Christmas decorating today. That was keeping me busy. Watching lots of holiday shows on tv and feeling festive.
    Enjoying my ARC of “The Pattern Artist” by Nancy Moser. Need to finish it and write a review by December 8th. It’s a 5-Star so far…set in NYC in 1911, it’s about a woman who has just arrived in the U.S. and is working as a maid. She decides to spread her wings and takes a job at Macy’s. That leads to working for the Butterick Pattern Company, where she is noticed because of her flair for fashion design. She is just about to go to Paris, and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for her next. Loving this book!

  24. Elizabeth Schroer says:

    The Sparrow is definitely awesome. It’s one of my favorite books that I reread every year since I was in college! (12 years….War Eagle!) And for being so dark in some parts, it’s surprisingly full of religious themes towards the end. I always cry.

  25. Donna says:

    Hey Anne! Happy December!! I just love these posts.:) November was an amazing reading month for me. I managed to read 9 books.
    I highly recommend Faithful by Alice Hoffman, Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin, Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney, and Paris for One by Jojo Moyes.
    Oooo and Clare Mackintosh’s new thriller, I See You came out here in Canada on Tuesday. I ran out and grabbed a copy. I’m already halfway through.
    I watched a few good movies lately. I highly recommend
    Boyhood. I also really liked If I Stay.
    I haven’t watched much TV lately, but I plan on catching up this month. I need to catch up on season 5 of Homeland and start watching The Crown on Netflix.
    Also, my friend keeps talking about Queen Sugar on OWN so I wanna give it a try. Have you watched it? I read and loved the book last year.
    Thanks again for sharing!

  26. Jamie says:

    THAT THING YOU DO!!! Oh man – our family LOVED that movie when I was a teenager. So many good one liners…”There he goes, off to write his hit song ‘Along in My Principles.” Such a funny and wholesome (for the most part) movie.
    Also, I saw that deal on the InstaPot on Amazon and I entertained the idea of snagging it for a fleeting moment. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *