We could spend hours in the kitchen.  Juan would be stirring something at the stove, while I drown out every sound with my electric mixer.  Juan will perfume the house with the wonderfully piquant smell of sizzling garlic, while I fill the room with the sweet fragrance of bread and cookies.  And in between all the cooking and baking, we somehow manage to fight the pile of dirty dishes at the sink.

We get really excited when we make plans for all the foods we want to make.  But more than that, we just love being in the same kitchen.  I love sitting at the counter with my laptop, ruining my appetite by stealing pieces of chopped vegetables from Juan’s cutting board.  I love that he never wants to tell me what he’s cooking despite my persistent questioning.  I love watching him carefully place the finished product on a clean plate.  And I love the look on his face as he waits for me to take the first bite, eager to hear my thoughts on his newest dish.  It’s not often that we have somebody special to cook for–that’s a blessing bigger than the food itself.

Here’s some of the yummy goodness that’s come out of the kitchen this week.

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It has oats in it, which means it’s healthy, right?

I love the smell of baked jam as it emerges from the oven.

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Today, I came home for lunch to find this waiting for me–Juan’s special twist on the Bahn Mi.  Chicken marinated with sesame oil and soy sauce, stuffed into a loaf of french bread coated with a garlicky butter spread.  Cucumbers, carrots, and scallions soaked with rice vinegar made it a full sandwich with a nice, tangy crunch.  I wish he could make this for me everyday.

And of course, Juan’s favorite meal that he insists on making for me almost every chance he can get…brunch!

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Cheery red tomatoes, simply sauteed

Bursting through the skin with its own juices

Portobello, lightly salted and unadorned

Makes the perfect side to a homemade breakfast

A dash of cinnamon and hints of citrus

Frames every bite of these golden toasts of happiness.