I have a confession to make: I haven't baked in almost a month.
For me to do such a thing is unheard of. It sounds pathetic, but to think that my fingers haven't touched the preheat button on an oven for such and extended period of time sends me into a bit of a panic myself. Such a shocking circumstance could only be a product of one of three scenarios:
1) A zombie apocalypse has ravaged the small town of Covington, Louisiana.
2) My most cherished possession — my beautiful, huge new KitchenAid mixer that I still have yet to name (any ideas?) — was stolen, burst into flames, or walked out on me when she found out that sometimes I cheat on her with my ex-mixer. (Hey, making small batches of cookies in a 6 quart bowl results in lots of butter-sugar residue getting stuck in the bottom of the bowl. You can't blame me!)
3) I've spent that time galavanting through Europe on a life-changing trip full of memory making, relaxing, donkey riding, shopping, and eating my body weight in bread alone.
Luckily, it was the latter.
Original plans had me boarding my Air France flight with laptop in tow so I could share each and every moment with you guys via thrice-weekly travel diary updates. I even had a schedule! But shit happens. Namely, that shit being you deciding that carrying a laptop and camera bag in addition to a rolling carry-on and the inevitable bag full of airport purchases — did you know they still have crispy M&M's in Europe? Neither did I, but my pantry does very well now — is just too much of a hassle. So I left it, and opted to go the Instagram route for the duration of my trip, giving me ample time to truly savor each and every moment. Sorry not sorry.
Instead, I'll give you the highlights of my amazing trip ex post facto:
1. Flying Air France business class, also known as the land of endless champagne, Valrhona chocolates, macarons, and warm mini baguettes. Given my strange childhood obsession with A View from the Top and the subsequent urge to become a flight attendant, this was like bucket-list level for me. Seriously, how I am I going to go back to economy after this? #firstworldproblems
2. Selfie-ing in front of the Trevi Fountain, because I really didn't like a single thing about Rome. Oops? Sorry, but I really just don't get off on history. Gelato, on the other hand...
3. Riding donkeys and getting a fish pedicure in Santorini, because I'm totally a Kardashian.
4. Having a traditional Turkish bath and the most amazing rooftop dinner in Istanbul, the most foreign and crazy-ancient-yet-weirdly-modern city I've ever been to.
5. Beach hopping and exploring an abandoned lighthouse on the top of the world in Mykonos.
6. Ditching touring the Acropolis for more important things, like you know, froyo.
7. The Amalfi Coast. No explanation needed.
8. Binge eating pizza napoletana at Da Michele in Naples. This changed my life for the better. No really, this was the best pizza I've ever eaten; and trust me, I've eaten a lot of pizza.
9. Having a traditional Dutch-Indonesian rijsttafel. Hands down, the best meal of my life.
10. Falling head over heels in love with Amsterdam. From biking through De 9 Straatjes, visiting the mind-blowing Anne Frank House, visiting the Van Gogh Museum, shopping at de Bijenkorf, gorging on stroopwaffels and french fries, going from one cute cafe to the next one, I immediately felt a deep connection with this amazing city. Now I'm researching how I get back there immediately, because it's the best place I've ever been.
Alas, I have (unfortunately) returned from my trip. (Cue the sad face emojis. In particular, the one that looks like it's having a debilitating mental breakdown. This one.) As if the separation anxiety I'm feeling wasn't enough torture, I have still yet to adjust to the disappearance of surplus of attractive people, my inability to legally drink alcohol, or you know, sleep. Thanks, jet lag.
Brb, I have to mend together my currently-fragile relationship with nameless mixer. Lots of vacation-themed recipes are coming your way.
Get ready :)