Author: Dana Renée

Thai Coconut Red Curry

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The week leading up to a holiday is always awkward when it comes to cooking. I haven’t stopped thinking about what to make for Christmas dinner since the day after Thanksgiving. The awkwardness comes with the meals in between, because every meal after Thanksgiving is just a pregame for the next big holiday meal. The week before Christmas is especially annoying because I don’t want to eat anything that is too similar to what I’ll be eating for Christmas dinner. This means that the traditional holiday ingredients that I usually use around this time are off the table when it’s this close to the holiday, including sweet potatoes and anything cranberry really. This might just be me, but I really take Christmas dinner that seriously. This Thai Coconut Red Curry was the perfect solution. It’s an easy dish to double and keep over a few days to give yourself a cooking break. Plus, it still gives off the warm, comfort food[ie] feeling that we all want around this time of year.

Planning Your Trip to Cuba

Havana, Cuba on www.thedanareneeway.com

| Havana, Cuba |

Since returning from Cuba, I have been asked quite a few times about my trip and my experience with traveling to what has always been known to us as a “forbidden country.” Traveling to Cuba was everything and, if you decide to go, I promise you that you will not regret deciding to make the trip. Below are some tips based on my personal travel experiences.

Moroccan-Inspired Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup


Moroccan-Inspired Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup on thedanareneeway.com

I’m pretty sure everyone I know is just about sick of my diet changes. One minute I’m pescatarian, the next I’m posting snaps of the lamb chop I just ordered at STK. I know. It’s annoying. This time I really am sticking to a pre-holiday cleanse. I am sticking to a vegan diet for the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and a low-animal product diet leading up to Christmas. I’ve increased my water intake and vowed to avoid coffee and alcohol until Christmas. For  law student preparing for exams, this is definitely a challenge. With that being said, I scoured my internet and my mom’s recipe books looking for vegan recipes that looked somewhat exciting. I’m the person that rolls their eyes whenever something is labeled gluten-free, dairy-free, or basically food-free. The last thing I want is to spend the entire holiday season eating flavorless meals. I also don’t want to spend a month feeding my body junk simply because it doesn’t have animal product. Because, trust me, if I could I’d live off of bread and pasta for a month and be happier than ever. Over the past week I’ve forced myself to incorporate various ingredients and flavors into my diet and I LOVE it.

This soup is accidentally and naturally vegan meaning I take any additional steps or substitute any ingredients. That’s the best kind of vegan recipe if you ask me. To be honest, I’ve always found lentil soups to be quite boring. But, this is at least one lentil soup I can get behind. It is one soup that my dad, who doesn’t believe in meatless-meals, could not get enough of. It’s a crockpot recipe that basically requires you to just dump everything in a let it cook. Even the lentils. I used red lentils which are cook pretty quick and require no pre-soaking. This soup gives off an aroma that is just as irresistible as the flavors. Its colors and comfort makes it perfect for the season.

Take Me Back | La Fábrica de Arte Cubano

La Fábrica de Arte Cubano on www.thedanareneeway.com

La Fábrica de Arte Cubano on www.thedanareneeway.com

// La Habana, Cuba //

I’m not surprised that it took me traveling to Cuba to bring my blog back to life. I’m pretty sure I was the only person who underestimated the difficulty of running a blog and being a law student . . . at the same time. Still, somehow, in the middle of the semester, I made the time to travel out of the country. If this isn’t living, then I don’t know what is. Instead of writing one large post about my visit to Cuba, I wanted to break my experience up into a number of posts. After all, I traveled to three different cities and each was a completely new experience taking me by surprise.

You cannot leave Havana without visiting the La Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the Cuban Art Factory. The “F.A.C.” opened in 2014 and has become, arguably, the most hipster-esque venue in all of Cuba. A nightclub entrapped in art gallery, Fábrica is an experience giving off all sorts of industrial and artistic vibes (minus the sounds of Rihanna’s “Work” and Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”). This isn’t your typical nightclub. Nor is it a scene out of Dirty Dancing Havana Nights. After only a few moments in the space, I realized that almost every nightclub I had ever been to before was mediocre. There were multiple spaces, each embodying a different atmosphere. Each room was like a different lifestyle and upstairs was a small cafe with various pastries and a large screening room. In just about every corridor were Cuban youth consuming the surrounding visuals.

White Truffle Grilled Cheese

White Truffle Grilled Cheese on thedanareneeway.com

 

White Truffle Grilled Cheese on thedanareneeway.com

 

You’re here because you saw the word ‘truffle.’ I completely understand. You should know right off the bat that $1000 truffles were not used in the making of this meal. Is it just me or are truffles becoming a thing? Kind of like the recent bacon frenzy that has taken over every recipe known to foodies across the world. Truffle fries. Truffle Mac-n-cheese. Truffle donuts. (Do those exist?) I’m not complaining. I love the truffle flavor and I’ve been waiting to get my hands on some truffle oil for a very long time. But, I wanted to do something a little different with it. Something you don’t see the truffle flavor paired with everyday. So, I created the perfect comfort food for these cloudy and rainy DC days––a White Truffle Grilled Cheese Sandwich.