Monday, April 30, 2012


Breakfast with a non-strep bacterial infection (per my doctor’s diagnosis):


Obligatory mega mug of tea, along with comforting and energizing whole grain English muffin with butter:


And Greek penicillin. Avgolemono soup. Hot chicken broth, whisked in egg and lemon juice, rice. And lotsa black pepper ooooooh yes.


Threw in a few of these, for a serving of Vitamin C and also mega mega amazingness. Local strawberries. Taste like sunnshiiiiiiiine. And you can tell they’re local and small farm and all the things I like because they are so goofy looking! They come in all shapes and sizes, much like humans. Because it is natural!


Easily assembled, very filling work lunch. Tired, I suspect, of hearing me hacking and sneezing and rasping and generally being kind of gross, my hilarious coworker Rodney recommended I go home Friday and retire to my bed with a hot toddy. Because obviously I am Scarlett O’Hara. Tangent.

Work lunch:


Threw together a clean-out the fridge concoction of a red pepper (roasted then peeled), a tomato going soft (also roasted), and the last of a container of fire roasted tomatoes. Blended, with salt. Not bad.


Another tangent (in better lighting): that same day I made another clean-out-the-fridge soup by blending leftover roasted beets, buttermilk, and allspice into a very tasty and quite beautiful cold soup.


Kay back to work lunch. It also involved, for protein’s sake and more grains for energy, leftover quinoa salad from the previous week’s cookout (post to come!)


Old faithful: yogurt ‘n apples ‘n cinnamon.


And for comfort, and because it is the best hot chocolate of all time. We have it at work; a multipack of all those heavenly flavors. So amazing. I ration out 1/3 to 1/2 a pack at a time. And still have way too much.


Also work comfort: Amy got me flowers! And offered everyone the sparkling water that the “vase” originally contained, which was also a godsend for my throat. Yay Amy for being the best.


The next day. Seemed to’ve turned a corner, health-wise. Phew. Finals week approaches (and also work… insanity).

We were out of peanut butter, what tragedy. (Though have subsequently bought three containers of it, plus almond butter, so I think we’re outta those woods for awhile).

So, I made wonderful stovetop banana oats, but had them with a soft boiled egg. That was pretty great. Soft boiled eggs are the ultimate in sick food.


Tea the biggest thing on the placemat.


Morning cocktail.


Lunch was GREAT. I recommend ALL of these things if you are sick.


Tea, cause duh. (Though I took a single sip of it and went “Bleccccccch!” because Starbucks had messed up the teabags and I knew IMMEDIATELY because I am not at all a picky eater but I cannot. stand. chamomile. So I exchanged that for my usual very good rooibos).

Also an orange, obviously, cause they are chock full o’ Vitamin C and also have an acidity that I find very throat soothing.

A salad that was great just cause it was so filling (and had so much Sriracha on top)


Greens, edamame, carrots, cottage cheese, HOT SAUCE. Actually the greens were HOT too: we got a blend at the farmer’s market that included mustard greens and good. Grief. They were apparently wasabi mustard greens. Cleared those sinuses right out.

And finally, what might be my new obsession: salt and pepper popcorn. Orville Redenbacher “natural” (which means that it is packed full of palm oil but still; it’s popcorn; it’s healthy).

The pepper is uh-mazing. Highly recommend.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

happy pills

An excellent happy pill: someone who makes you feel better even if you were determined, DETERMINED, to thoroughly wallow in ickiness.

Who goes, “You have to try this dessert I invented!”

Aka a spoonful of chocolate chips and Heath bar bits.


Another happy pill: freely wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Aimlessly (well, kind of hungrily. And with an extra hungry boyfriend going, “Uh huh, uh huh, that is interesting that they make that kind of cheese, and could we maybe also commit to some food items fairly soon?”).



The bomb.

The bomb dot com.

Meal sort of evolved into Italian funness.

I had a hankering for bruschetta, so we got the whole wheat Tuscan pane (thanks all the years of endorsing this, Healthy and Sane! It IS delicious!)


That gnocchi, obvi, which had all the heavenly chewy carb-ness of regular gnocchi but also the most wonderful nutty and complex wheat flavor. Just with olive oil and black pepper.


In the protein department, Steve always has eggs and in keeping with the Italian theme, I threw together a massively easy and tasty frittata.

Sauteed mushrooms (shiitake because they were the only ones not in Styrofoam and my boy loves the planet so they were all he could bear to buy), and garlic, and then wilted in some kale with a bit of water. Then would’ve transferred them to ideally a smallish baking pan, but the Pyrex was what he had so the Pyrex sufficed. Four eggs whipped up with some crushed red pepper flakes went in too. Baked at 350 for ten minutes or so, then under the broiler for another fiveish.


And though Steve welcomes any excuse whatsoever to make large quantities of garlic butter…


… it was splendid indeed with these MONSTER ARTICHOKES, so huge I had to cut them in half to steam them with any hope of them being done before ten pm.

Artichokes are the ULTIMATE in happy pill. (but, er, don’t swallow them whole like a pill. There are parts that will literally CHOKE you. Thus the name. Also never put their leaves down a garbage disposal. Ever.)


FEAST! From just idle flights of fancy and a trip to Trader Joe’s. Vair impressive.


Washed down with red wine, one cannot eat a meal like this and not feel good. Particularly in the company of someone you luuuuuuuuuuuurve.


I really have to stop being so lazy and taking iPod pictures, because they are just not very good. The thing is, lately I always have my iPod so I can take walks and listen to Jillian Michaels podcasts, a new addiction and generally a happy pill.

But no real camera. Just picture the perfect golden and crispified topping of this frittata, kay? How some of the edges of the kale curled out of the egg mixture to the heat and became wonderfully crunchy. Mmm.


So let’s be honest: sometimes we feel too wiped out, more scared than as adults we care to admit, to take on the world. And sometimes you wake up in the morning, glycogen stores thoroughly revitalized after an Italian feast and mind and soul somehow built up by having someone to lean on, and you are ready to go out and do the damn thing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

market, motivation, mystery

Farmer’s market chef series returns. Love! Starring the amazing chefs at Willow, as well as their super cute sous chef.


Costarring lots and lots of butter.


Ricotta pancakes with oven-dried strawberries cooked in balsamic and asparagus on top. All from the farmer’s market.


I could’ve eaten just the strawberries. Sheesh. Amazing.


Also enjoyed awkwardly interacting with the woman who originated the farmer’s market chef program.  I met her at a foodie thing last year. Said hi. Was awkward. As usual.

Not awkward: for some reason I am a subject of fascination for the vendors we in our family call “the sarcastic farmers”. One more than others (who gives me the silent treatment when I bring Steve to the farmer’s market. Hah! Well, I think it’s funny.)

Anyway, I was making fun of him for a sign that they had in a previous week saying, I quote:

“No” bugs were harmed in the raising of this product.

I didn’t add those quotation marks. They did. And I went, uh, hello, do we know what it means when you use quotation marks in that context? I worry for the bugs.

So I returned the following week to this:



I’m pleased I started this post on an amusing and cheerful note. I’ve been sick all week (blah blah blah, nothing you haven’t heard). I’m down on myself (blah blah blah, nothing you haven’t heard). I’m eating poorly (blah blah blah definitely nothing you haven’t heard, plus nothing I haven’t heard for, oh, my entire adult life).

I should’ve studied for my midterms all day to have any, ANY hope of even PASSING Chemistry (though honestly if I don’t get an A forget it. What grad program accepts someone who can’t handle a community college class? I wouldn’t blame them in the slightest).

Oh but wait. I didn’t. Does folding laundry and watching Julia Child on PBS count for studying?

If I was in my perky mode of posts past I could go on and on about how it’s okay to relax “for once”- and I’ve taken that attitude about as often as this hilariously spot-on Onion article.

But, no.

“For once” has translated to a gazillion pounds around my midsection and a gazillion hours I should’ve studied that I didn’t.

And I am now venturing into the territory of somewhat self-indulgent self-pitying, so I’ll stop.

Things I wish grew on trees: healthy coping mechanisms, work ethics.

Thing that does grow on a tree:

NAME THIS FRUIT! Any tropical fruit savvy readers? Steve picked this up, just for funsies.


Inside: positively sweet as candy! Huge inedible black seeds.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

outdoor animals

You may be familiar with the phrase “indoor cat” and “outdoor cat”. My cat is an outdoor cat, Though when we adopted here from the pound we were sternly admonished to never EVER let her outside even if she begged, er… shh. We did. And every time we take her to the vet they go, “Oh, she’s so healthy! We can tell she’s getting lots of exercise and keeping down the length of her claws by scratching them on tree bark!”

So. It is good to be outdoors.

I think like pets, there are indoor humans and outdoor humans. All of us living in the modern world are too often indoor humans (she said, typing on a computer… indoors). It’s so nice to embark on an adventure in the great outdoors!

And sometimes when doing so one forgets one’s camera and the iPod must suffice.

The Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Vienna.

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My first glimpse of fiddleheads! These forage-able treats are either edible or… poisonous. So we declined to forage, lacking expertise. Sweet little things!

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It’s fun walking on the W+OD in Vienna because it goes DIRECTLY by Whole Foods. Ah, temptation. Ah, hydration.

(On sale!) My tummy had been upset, and this was just BURSTING with healthy bacteria. It seemed like everything was gurgling happy after drinking this.

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More outdoor fun- GRILLING! I headed to a guilt-induced pre-Easter church service and my adorable boyfriend grilled for me.

I returned to a FEAST atop the weber!


As well as Frank Sinatra crooning on Pandora and candlelight. This boy!


Dim but delicious. Grilled tofu (one batch with Asian seasonings, one Cajun); grilled peppers; grilled kale (one batch regular with oil; the other a whacky Steve creation with bananas and vanilla that even HE said was weird but I actually, oddly, enjoyed), and a delicious sammich.


A Steve creation: tomato, cucumber, avocado, Sriracha. EXCELLENT.


The ultimate in outdoor human-ness is hiking.

Hello buns of steel!


Steve had a yearning to see the Shenandoahs and a recommendation of one of the best vistas. We made several important discoveries upon arriving to the Shenandoahs.

1. The Shenandoahs are only three hours away and feel like an entirely different world.

2. One can either buy a day pass for $15, or a YEAR PASS for $30! So… til April 2013 we will be going as often as possible ;D

3. If you take a right, you go south, not north. Which meant we sort of ended up fifty miles from our intended hike. Which meant we were not taking our intended hike.

Fortunately, the hike we more or less stumbled upon meant WATERFALLS!


Why yes, we did climb to the top of this one.


Steve and I with a waterfall bursting out of our heads :D


The hike was marvy, perhaps five hilly miles or so. So triumphantly we emerged to the parking lot! Followed closely by the most *adorable* family vacationing from Texas. There was a mother, a father, and two teenage girls and they all seemed to be happy and smiling and liking each other and posing for pictures smiling attractively and at a certain point they all started singing together. So cute. Tangent.

Anyway, so they went scampering over to their car and we went, “Wait… where’s our car?”

Well, funny story, it was three miles away.

So off we embarked. Can’t really complain when you’re walking alongside views like this:

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Went balancing along a cool old stony barrier as the sun set. GREAT day!


Board games are fun outside. My easter morning:


Looking out on:


Was not going to top Steve’s excellent use of the blank:


Annnd now I will stop sitting at a computer.