Archive for the ‘food’ Category

I’ve made some great DC/MD based friends, but we’re all so much more spread out and I don’t have anyone to call and say “I had a bad day, I need someone to talk to over wine and gourmet french fries” with here (also, I’m trying to lay off the wine and french fries because neither are particularly WW friendly).

first tomato of the 2013 sesason

first tomato of the 2013 sesason

Anyway, I saw some old friends, and a new one, while in NY for a 24 hour visit last weekend for a baby shower. It was great, I had wine and gourmet french fries! No, the food isn’t the only reason it was great. It was amazing to catch up with friends from Boulder, Interlochen, and DC and I had a great time with all of them (and great food too, I came back having overspent my flex point allowance for the week by 17 points in just 2 days!).

Sometimes I just have trouble adjusting to my new physical location in the world because all the people I have collected along the way aren’t all around me all the time. Sometimes, I’m just homesick for boarding school or even summer camp, when most of my peers that I cared about were in the same physical place I was at the same time and we could stay up talking (until call to quarters) about everything and anything. Is that more nostalgia that homesickness? I guess I just wish my new friends were closer and had fewer obligations/more flexible schedules so that social calls didn’t need to be so planned out.


One of the newest bonuses that I’ve discovered to being a real grownup, one who spends their Sundays doing chores and running errands, is that I get to garden on my patio! It was too dry and hot in Boulder, plus our patio was coopted by Crazy Neighbor Lady. Lately, Ben and I have been chowing down on Thai food every shabbat, to keep up with the growth of the Thai Basil; eating lots of farmers market eggs and goat cheese with fresh chives, eating salads topped with fresh baby greens from the garden (they don’t grow fast enough to make whole salads out of all the time), making lots of Italian-style pestos and salad dressings (green and purple!), rosemary bread, and we’ve ordered some Kosher meats to eat with all the thyme we’re growing too.

Container gardening is fun! We mulched everything well, so there’s very little weeding, and it’s been raining pretty frequently so we hardly have to water. I don’t think it will be cost effective to grow our own foods unless we stay here or re-use the same pots and dirt for a few years (the pots were the real investments at $11-19 each), but it’s nice to get outside and have some plants to tend to and chat through the fence with neighbors (yes, one smokes, but she’s not crazy!).

Time to pull myself out of my melancholy, call my adult play date buddy (she’s on maternity leave, bonus baby snuggles!), surf the job boards, and then head downtown for our lunch and museum date. Maybe I should spend a few minutes weeding (more like trying pluck off all the basil flowers) in the sunshine to perk myself up. WEEE, SUNSHINE (dutifully ignoring the 90 F temp and potential for afternoon storms).

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We went out to visit my Gramma, in Solomon’s Island. The weather was BEAUTIFUL Sunday and Monday (low 70s and slightly breezy), so instead of spending the day in the car, we stopped at some wineries (nothing worth noting), and at the Cyprus Swamp visitor center and went on a nature walk – I adore nature walks with boardwalks. Then we went for dinner at CD Cafe, walked the boardwalk, and then went home to Gramma’s and tried to see the planets grouping. There were too many trees and her dock access pointed the wrong way, so we only saw what we think was Jupiter. Oh well, at least there were no mosquitos out yet!

Today we had a lazy brunch of cheese omelets (Ben is a GREAT cook!), toast, and apple slices. Then we raided Gramma’s bookshelves (she claims she’s trying to pare down her collection, but I saw the bag of new books by the front door), and set out for the Calvert Marine Museum and Lighthouse. It is SO much bigger than I remember as a kid. We didn’t get there until about 12:30 and then we met for lunch at 2 at Kim’s Key Lime Pies for another tasty meal in town before hurrying back to the museum for the 3 PM boarding of the Wm. B. Tennison cruise around the island! It was so nice to get out on the open water, and we almost had the boat to ourselves. I guess everyone had started heading home already at that point.

We’ll have to go back; there are entire buildings more of the museum to see, and we never did make it to visit my Gramma at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, where she volunteers, more wineries to visit, and there’s a Railway Museum that I didn’t know existed!

Maybe we’ll become weekend [subsidized] people ;-)


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mmm, beer

For those who don’t know: Ben has been intermittently into 1 gallon home brewing. It’s awesome.

This is a public notice that I would like him to start home brewing again :)

Why I Became a 1-Gallon Homebrewer Beer Sessions | The Kitchn.

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English: Drum Point Light, Solomons, Maryland,...

English: Drum Point Light, Solomons, Maryland, December 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ben was in Triste, Italy last week. He learned lots of stuff, met some new-to-him atomic physics folks, and got to show off his 3 month-old knowledge of his current lab’s research and publications at the International Centere for Theoretical Physics. Yeah, I’d never heard of it either. He took some really lovely photos that he might let me upload later.

I, on the other hand, have been temping at a lovely firm on K Street. It was a two week gig to cover the interim between hiring a new person an when she started and was subsequently extended to three weeks to cover someone else out vacation. I wish I could stay here…. Oh well. I did have an interview for a job I don’t want, so I left that to the staffing agency to communicate for me. If I’m going to leave the path to being a paralegal I’m going to do so in the non-profit world, not in employee benefits (albeit serving law offices, which is why they were hiring someone with a legal background).

This weekend is Memorial Day and we are going out to Solomons, MD on Saturday evening to spend some time with my gramma and see some museums. I’m excited to share the Calvert Marine Museum with him (even though it’s not yet fiddler crab season), but apparently the Calvert Nuclear Facility stopped offering tours or having a visitor center after 9-11. Doh. We were also hoping to go up to Annapolis and visit the Naval Academy Museum or we might just walk around, find somewhere to eat rockfish for lunch, and have some unscheduled time.

Bonus: I found this wonderfully written blog post while looking for a recipe. This woman writes how I would like to: http://youmadam.com/2009/02/21/what-to-do-with-those-daikon-you-bought-at-whole-foods-that-have-been-hanging-out-a-bit-too-long-in-the-fridge/

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for the first time ever, see the video here:


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Ben got the NRC (National Research Council) Fellowship! WOOHOO! That’s 2 years of funding, starting July 1! Sweet.

In my job news I’ve registered with a bunch of temp agencies, had work with one, as well as TWO interviews with the same firm. I’m waiting to hear back about the interviews, but WOOHOO, I might be employed soon. Sweet.

We bought our plane tickets to Austin, for WBF’s wedding later this month and will probably be renting a room through AirBnB or someone’s carriage house/in-law suite through VRBO. We’ll have Saturday daytime to explore as well as all day Sunday (we fly in Friday afternoon for the rehearsal and then fly out on Monday since it cost the same to stay overnight on Sunday or try and fly out on Sunday and the Monday flights had less crazy timing).

Today, it’s sunny, chilly, and WINDY, so I’m camping out on the couch with the classical radio channel, my laptop, and letting my plants soak up all the open curtain light they can.

Anyone out there have any advice about container gardening? My “full sun” plants don’t seem to be suffering in our reflected-light only corner unit, but I worry about food plants not getting enough oomph from reflected light. I’m thinking Rainbow Chard, and any herbs that I say they’re happiest in partial shade. What else does well in partial shade?

Last little piece of news, Weight Watchers works. Seriously, I’m fitting into my old clothes, feel like a rock star, and have lost over 10 lbs!

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We staying in a motel 1/2 way between the beach and the airport (about 10 min to either) the night before we were to fly home to Colorado. You can see the photos from our evening beach excursion in the previous post. Since we had an 8 AM flight and a rental car to return, we didn’t want to have a big drive to worry about before 7 AM in order to return the car and check our one suitcase -we always fly out carry-on only with United and bring a duffel bag to pack dirty laundry in, giving us room in at least one of the small roller bags to pack souvenir bottles of wine and other food products we like to purchase while traveling (preserved cherries and maple syrup this time).

Anyway, we packed the night before, leaving out a change of clothes and tooth brushes, and swim suits to dry. The morning was a breeze since we’d pre-packed and had some pastries from a bakery in Traverse City stashed in our carryon bags. We returned the car, checked our suitcase and sleepily waited to board the plane (note: at this point I had an awful head cold and was snuggled into my sweatshirt and cuddling a box of kleenex).

We boarded our tiny plane, had to gate check our roller bags because they would never have fit in the overhead bins of the tiny plane, and took off on-time.

I really wanted a ginger ale and was waiting for drink service (about 20-30 min after we took off) and watching the landscape below.  My ears were KILLING me. I kept rubbing the little flappy part over the ear opening, trying to get my ears to pop. The pilot made an announcement that we were about to fly over Milwaukee. About 2 minutes later he made an announcement that because they were unable to stabilize the air pressure inside the cabin, we were unable to assent above 17,000 feet and didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Denver at that altitude. Therefor we would be making an emergency landing in Chicago and would touchdown in about 30 minutes. Doh!

We landed in Chicago, went to the service desk and were issued tickets for a 3:30 PM flight to Denver. It was about 9:45 AM at that point. We also each received a $10 meal voucher.

After plunking down to pirate some wifi from the airport hotel, we each emailed our bosses to let them know that we were stuck in travel purgatory and wouldn’t be in until tomorrow.

Then we sat around debating what to do with our time in Chicago. We figured we’d head to the Art Institute and go see American Gothic, but I got us off a stop too early on the El and we ended up right on the Chicago River. Then I thought: a river cruise! So I dashed into a nearby fancy hotel and asked the concierge if she could book us 2 tickets on the Architecture River Cruise! No dice, it was high tourist season and they’d been booked for weeks. Oops. Then I was informed that tickets to the Art Institute were $18 each. Also a no-go for us.

Dejected, we walked aimlessly along the Magnificent Mile until we saw as sign for Beard Papa’s, a French chain that serves various styles of cream puffs and gourmet coffee drinks. Aah, the perfect birthday indulgence (yes, this all happened on my 29th birthday).

Yes, we had cream puffs the size of cheese burgers for lunch, and sweet cream tea. DELICIOUS!

We wandered the mall a bit before retreating back to the airport so that we could have a proper lunch of quick gourmet Mexican at Rick Bayless‘s Tortas Frontera in the airport and spend our vouchers before our flight. YUM! We split a Roasted Garlic and Mushrooms Torta (sandwich) and a Tres Quesos Mollete and each got our own agua fresca (fresh squeezed juice). DELICIOUS!

My birthday may not have been as boring as I’d planed (fly home, eat lunch, go to work), but it was WAY TASTIER!

In the end, we got on the plane to Denver, flew home, got our checked bag, waited just 10 minutes for the bus to Boulder, got home and did laundry and ate something un-memorable for dinner. Again, not what we’d planned, but still a great day!

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Other than issues with United/Continental, this vacation was pretty awesome. The sucky things were all airplane and head cold related (and I’m absolutely convinced that I caught this head cold from the germ-bag seated behind me on our first outgoing flight).

We had a 10:30 AM flight to ORD that had the wrong gate info on the board and we had to RUN like crazy people through the terminal to board our flight on time (we got there about 2 minutes before our seating group boarded, hooray for being in sardine class?). Then we had a layover in Chicago that couldn’t decide which gate it was leaving from before we even had a plane (gate changed three times and in the end left from it’s original gate assignment about 2 hours late). Oh well. We weren’t in a rush. I did realize, while we were on the ground in Chicago, that I had neglected to pack a camera. No fancy camera, no point and shoot, nothing more than the camera on my phone which takes OK photos but nothing worth sharing. Oops.

Once we arrived in Traverse City I reveled at how nice/big/shiny the new airport is! Wow, what an upgrade from the Detroit-style dumpy airport I’d been through at least 20 times as a teenager (to/from camp and two years of boarding school with a sprinkling on auditions in there too).

We rented a tiny car but were upgraded to a Nissan Sentra (I don’t want one, the seat isn’t comfortable for my short-y self and the breaks were jumpy). We watched the sun set as we drove to Interlochen (using our new GPS!) and met up with Andrea’s mom and sister at the Maddy Cabin. That cabin is BEAUTIFUL! Dinner was a perch sammich and key lime pie at The Hofbrau and then to bed. Day one was a FULL day.

view from the deck of the Maddy Cabin

Thursday and Friday we spent the day on campus seeing shows and visiting all the new buildings that have cropped up in the last 11 years. The only ones in the pipeline when I was there were the Writing House and a new visual arts buildings, they were tossing around the idea of a new library too. Now there are a whole bunch of new buildings and some of the old ones have been updated (the Shed is no longer crappy and the Phoenix got A/C and a total makeover!). After two days of stalking, we finally caught up with Mr. Holland who invited us to the string faculty potluck on Friday night at his new house. It was really great to catch up with him, Joan, and my class piano teacher/Venture Troop leader Dr. Coonrod.

DuoPlay piano of Gershwin/Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue at the Music House Museum

I’d have more pictures for you, but I forgot my camera and didn’t buy a disposable 35mm until we ventured into Traverse City on Saturday to buy goodies for my dad at American Spoon Fruit, wander around downtown, and stock up on provisions for a picnic dinner while waiting for Les Preludes on Sunday night. We also visited the Music House Museum, Grand Traverse Distillery, and Moomers on Saturday too. I was super disappointed that the ONLY flavors I could eat the day at Moomers were the vanilla and vanilla soft serve. I prefer Blue Bunny vanilla from the Melody Freeze over Moomers and Glacier Ice Cream over both of those (though for a dollar/cone you really can’t beat the Melody Freeze).

Grand Traverse Distillery

Grand Traverse Distillery stills

We rushed through the things we wanted to do on Saturday to get to the dance recital on time, but it was relocated from the dance pavilion (lots of seats) to the dace building (not many seats) and we didn’t get to see it. Oh well.

Sunday was stuffed with concerts, including seeing HSCO (now called the Interlochen Philharmonic) conducted by Mr. Holland and included a piece for harp ensemble and string orchestra!

Dedicated to the promotion of world friendship through the universal language of the arts.

why yes, that is a VERY tall man conducting NINE harps

Mr. Holland and me, backstage at Kresge 8/5/12

Mrs. and Mr. Holland, 8/5/12

After they brought out a podium for the concert master to conduct the Interlochen Theme, we hung out with the Hollands backstage for a bit and offered to help Mr. Holland pack out his studio. He retired in May after teaching 40 years at Interlochen Arts Academy. I’m a little disappointed that I missed both my 10 year reunion (to get married) and the 50th anniversary of IAA/Mr. Holland’s retirement party, but this was what I needed, more personal interaction and less party time.

Les Preludes was preceded by the final movement of Beethoven 9, played by WYSO. It was well done, but I remember playing FULL symphonies as a kid, but maybe they just felt like full symphonies at the time….

Les Preludes 2012

Monday I started to feel a little crummy, but we had to check out the Maddy Cabin and head out by 11 AM. We packed the car up early and packed salads and sandwiches made with all our leftovers. We went to go help Mr. Holland load the van only to discover that he’d used the “Packing Survival Kit” I’d left him to bribe the maintenance guys to do it for him! If you’re wondering what’s in a Packing Survival Kit, it’s 4 Milky Way bars, a box of kleenex, and a box of Tension Tamer tea.

sunset on Green Lake from the Kissing Tree, Interlochen 8/5/12

After packing the car we learned that Mr. Holland had used the candy bars to bribe the maintenance guys
to pack his car for him, we said our goodbyes and hit the road for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I was feeling pretty crummy, so we didn’t do the dune climb, but we did take a 2 mile dune hike that met up with the crest of the dune climb. I count it as a minor miracle  that neither of us got poison ivy on that hike. Think Fire Island amounts of poison ivy around, I guess the leaves of three really like sand dunes.

overlooking a shallow lake, it’s only 12′ deep and looks so tropical!

Since I wasn’t feeling well, we did mostly driving activities like visiting the old Life Saving Station and driving the scenic loop. There were a few photo worthy stops along the way and the little driving guide from the ranger station was very helpful. There were also phone numbers to call and listen to a Ranger Talk about some of the points of interest along the loop, but it was windy and hot and we didn’t feel like sitting in the car to listen to them.

dune hike, Sleeping Bear Dunes scenic loop 8/6/12

There were definitely people out there who were ignoring the weather conditions and climbed all the way from the scenic overlook down to Lake Michigan. They are NUTS!

scenic overlook of Lake Michigan with North Manitou in the background

We visited Glen Arbor and got a takeout pizza and some local beers and spent a quiet evening reading on the patio before retiring for the night at Fountain Point. It’s a cute place and the bed was super comfortable. But I wish their website better listed their activities though, we would have gotten there earlier and left more energy for ourselves because I really wanted to try paddle boarding and they rented them out at $25/four hours to guests! Oh well, next time?

Tuesday we slept in and ate a big breakfast of milk tea, cinnamon toast, and cheese slices at Fountain Point before heading out to a cidery, lunch in Suttons Bay, and visiting a few wineries all before heading back to Traverse City. We checked into the Knights Inn (actually quite clean and very quiet with the window closed), and headed to the beach! Finally, we got to wear our swimsuits and spent 2 hours playing in the sand before treated ourselves to a huge dinner and drinks at the Mackinac Brewing Company (after a quick shower and change of clothes, of course!).

playing at the beach on Lake Michigan 8/7/12

Getting home was a whole other adventure, which I’ll write about later since I have no photos to share for it and this post is long enough already.

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This is not a big fluffy cake, this is a short, dense cake that does well with a tall glass of iced suntea and a wedge or lime, or a slushy margarita, or even a nice cuppa tea. Milk could theoretically be served with it as well, but that might be a dairy overload.

Just know that it won’t bake up much, so if you’re looking for a tall cake, make it in a smaller pan. I happen to like a short, dense pound cake that isn’t 4″ tall. This way I get to have two slice and think that they’re really just one.

Happy baking! This recipe was inspired by How Sweet Eats.


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I really realte to this article, How I Afford to Stay Home, that I recently found on Kveller.com. Minus the baby and twice monthly grocery trips (I go once or twice a week, and to regular grocers), paying attention to our spending, and keeping everything within a budget, it works.

What is frustrating me to no end lately is that my little paychecks have only been enough to just barely pay off my monthly credit card bill. All of my medical fees are being payed through my visa so that they’ll earn us a vacation some day.

Have I mentioned that I’m injured? Yeah… On March 4th, my left arm would have dislocated but for the fact that I’m hyper-ligmented. Yes, my uber-flexibility finally came in handy! I got 5 sprains, 3 of which were level two and the others only level one. Thankfully no tears or rotator cuff damage, just pectoral, deltoid, intercostal, super scapular, and trapezius strains. Ouch.

I saw a doctor the next day, when I realized that I couldn’t put my own bra on, reach behind me to pull the seatbelt down, or type without discomfort. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor/massage therapist since the accident and started seeing a physical therapist while home for Passover and just started with a new one here in Boulder. I’m also now seeing a medical massage therapist and weaning myself off the chiropractics (it feels good, but isn’t necessary).

Catastrophe insurance IS cheaper, and still will be in the long run, but it sucks to have to pay all of this out of pocket to see it all counting towards my $5k deductible. I’d rather pay $150/month and <$1000 out of pocket for treatments than >$300/month to the insurance company ad infinitum.

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