December 19, 2010

the distance

The distance in question is 13.1. Heck yes, half marathoning it. May 2011.

I'm also thinking this would be awesome, ala Duncan. Lady, come do the one in Minnesota. Or Wisconsin. I hope they take slow people, because I'm slow but I can jump over a fire.

My mail carrier has not been delivering some of my mail, specifically, important letters from my undergrad regarding my loans. So if that's not getting through, what else have I been missing? Way to go, postal service.

I had an epic Cookie Fail last Sunday. They went in like this:

And came out like this:

Don't know what happened... We ate them anyway.

December 11, 2010

everything is better with corn pt. 2

Everything is better with corn.

So tasty.

There's been a massive blizzard today, biggest in 20 years or so. Minneapolis is going on 17 inches since it started last night.

Twitter and Facebook have been a source of some interesting names for the snowstorm: snOMG, Snowmaggedon, Blizzard People, snowly shit, etc. Nice work, world.

In this picture, there's two cars stuck turning/going down the cross street. People have been walking in the middle of the street since sidewalks haven't been shoveled.

The buses stopped running and they're advising no travel at all. Even the PLOWS haven't been running since there's so much snow. We stayed in today and watched some Buffy (thanks Katie!).

At least we have a good supply of corn.

December 10, 2010


Everything is better with corn.

Andrew not caring about my brilliant revelation.

December 3, 2010

a bad day

Yesterday I had a bad day at work (can we say interpersonal problems? Not with someone in my organization, but someone outside of it, which can be worse). I came home in a bummed out mood but the day was saved though strategic interventions!

First, DDPP! Dance Party always makes me feel better plus I'm one of those people who releases stress through bodily movement. You should have seen me Wednesday at the gym, annoyed from work and then a CNN interview was on about the Smithsonian censoring art. That made me angry even more and you could tell - my strides per minute went up by 20 or so!

After DDPP, I came home and Andrew made me some hot cocoa - with marshmallows, woot.

Even better - it was in my favorite coffee mug...

Star Wars! Princess Leia would know what to do with conflict-causers at work.

I was so hungry after DDPP that I cooked up some sweet potato fries.

So good! I forgot to flip them halfway through so only one side of the wedge got crispy, but it still tasted good.

Bad day saved by dancing, hot cocoa made by a fine gentleman, and yummy sweet potato fries.

November 27, 2010


I thought the breakfast potatoes I made last weekend were very colorful, so I had to take a picture. They're in our cast iron skillet, which for the most part, has been used to make breakfast potatoes.

Fall foods! Mmm, acorn squash and sweet potatoes.

My grandma while finishing cutting up the turkey or getting the stuffing ready. Something food related.

I was at a party last weekend and spent at least 30 minutes listening to other people talk about their dogs. And what classes they were going to put their dogs in for socializing. It was so boring! Am I really at the point in my life where I go to parties and people spend all their time talking about their dogs? I would never be one of those people.

... And then I went to Thanksgiving and spent the whole time taking pictures and videos of my brother's dog.

Oscar is so cute though! I like hearing about Oscar because I know him and his cuteness. Other dogs are weird, though.

Andrew and I set up our Christmas decorations! It took a time consuming 30 minutes, including rearranging the furniture.

Our tree is very red.

The end! Time to go to the gym. I am running and Andrew is swimming. I wish I had a swimsuit for lane swimming as opposed to going to the beach, but a new one is in the plan for some of my Christmas money.

November 21, 2010


This is where I'm going when I visit Kari in Honduras in January. Yes!

November 14, 2010

the most lopsided haircut ever!

Pictures! Huzzah!

These are the two pictures I took while camping before my camera battery died:

Get an idea of how cold it was? COLD! The temperature the first night was only 5 or 6 degrees warmer than it is now (33 now, 38 the first night. 48 most of Saturday). That's my extended family: Andrew, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, Andrew's two cousins (5 and 3) and his uncle. Andrew and I are planning a trip to the North Shore with some friends in February but this time we're going to go the cabin route. Maybe my battery won't die that weekend and I can actually show you something!

This week's recipes:

Autumn mac and cheese! It had butternut squash and apples roasted in it. My oven did something weird for the second half of the recipe; it was like it stopped heating. At least everything in the dish was pre-cooked. It just needed to congeal together for autumny goodness. See how there's still unmelted cheese on top?

I'm going to try it again at some point. I told Andrew today that I want to eat as much squash as possible before it goes out of season!

I made some venison and black bean chili with venison from my grandparents. It was just ok - maybe since I made some chili verde a few weeks that was utterly fantastic, every chili in comparison is a little lacking. This picture isn't particularly appetizing, but it was a good solid chili. I forgot to take a picture of it before eating!

I got a haircut last Friday that was a disaster! I had to go back and have the dude even it out for me since there was such a large chunk out of the right side. It was noticeably uneven. The end result ended up being shorter than I would have liked, but the good thing about short is that it'll aways grow out. It's much shorter on the sides than I've had it before, making it less of a bob. It's still pretty cute though. In this picture it's a little wet and unstyled after my post-workout shower.

All right, time to go and do some laundry. I just handwashed all my workout clothes and then realized I should have just thrown it in with all the rest of the laundry - oh well!

Before I go: Extra bonus points to the first person who can name the building in the painting on the right in my haircut picture!

November 4, 2010

here we go!

Speaking of goal setting...

I'm kind of psyched to participate in Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge at Run to the Finish. I've been reading her blog for a few months now and I've enjoyed reading her insights - plus who doesn't like her gratitude journal at the end of all her posts?

I've been on and off with the running for the past few months/weeks. I stopped working at the Y and my rental company's gym closed (rats!), it was too hot for me to run outside (lazy!), I get busy with work (excuses!), etc.

But if I really want to run the Cellcom half marathon in May, I need to start being consistent about building a base before starting increasing my distance. That goes back to tracking my workouts, making the time to get to the gym and sticking with my schedule. Earlier this week, Andrew and I went to the YWCA to redeem our year family membership that I won awhile back. I'm primed for committing to half marathon training - consistent access to a gym, a goal to work towards, a regular schedule I can plan around. I think the HBBC will be exactly the type of additional motivation I need to stay on track.

Mom - whatcha thinking? I bet I can get more points than you!

In the words of Mario... here we go!

November 1, 2010

80 book update - two months to go!

60 book update! Well, I've bumped it up to 80 books in 2010. Here are the books from October:

65. The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson
66. Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson
67. Salvation City, Sigrid Nunez
68. The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson
69. Dirty Sexy Politics, Meghan McCain
70. Every Last One, Anna Quindlen
71. Heat Wave, Richard Castle
72. Between Two Worlds, Roxana Saberi
73. Work Hard. Be Nice, Jay Mathews
74. Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha

I really liked The Ghost Map; it's a great nonfiction book about epidemiology and cholera. Makes those stories about cholera in Haiti seem even more pointless - we know how cholera spreads and how to survive it. The only reason people are dying is because of poverty. Plain and simple.

Also liked the Stieg Larsson books. I'm waiting on the last one... hopefully soon! I'm near the top on the waiting list. Every Last One was surprisingly good, also.

I actually really like the majority of the books I read last month. I won't say which one I liked the least because that would be singling it out. It'd be a hard pick; I really like most of them and was indifferent bordering on slight liking for the rest.

So I adjusted my goal from 60 books in 2010 to 80 (I hit 60 on August 31, fyi). I think I'm going to have to adjust it again, just to keep it realistic. I'm already halfway done with book 75, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Or is it tracking now? Am I not motivated by a goal, but has the goal helped form a year-long habit? I mean, I've always been a big reader, but each year I read a little more than the year before. 2007 - 47; 2008 - 53; 2009 - 63; 2010 - upwards of 75. I'd say not being a student, riding the bus, and close proximity to a library have all contributed to this being a banner year in the 50 book challenge.

If only I had this kind of foresight and discipline in all my other goal setting...

October 25, 2010

north shore

So we went camping this weekend. It was cold. It was see-your-breath cold. It was 4 layers, hats, gloves, running tights under the pants cold.

There was a good deal of fun, though. Lots of hiking and who knew that the North Shore had so many waterfalls? Not me.

My camera died after two pictures, but I managed to take some more with my phone. Here are some to start you off:

Off to water my plants... they look a little sad and lonely after a weekend away. They should get used to it - next weekend is Green Bay!

October 12, 2010

some blue sweatpants and a blue swimsuit top

Let me tell you about the time I dressed as Princess Jasmine for Halloween, circa 1992...

October 10, 2010

something besides cooking

Well, the Bittman is good. I had it delivered to my work (so we wouldn't have to pick it up from the post office). It arrived on a busy day and I put it on the open desk space next to mine so I could have more room. Then, about an hour after I came home from work, I sat up and said, "I left the cookbook at work!" Yup, after all my excitement about the cookbook, I left work without the package. I hadn't even opened it and it slipped my mind.

Andrew and I went back to get it, of course, and he got to see our new office space. Before, the office was a windowless cave in a business park. Now, it's a big, bright suite in a building with other social services. The difference is between night and day. I was only in the old office for a few weeks, but it was completely depressing.

The other night we had Amy, Drew, Eric and Nelson over for dinner. Nelson's birthday happened to be a few days earlier so I baked him an apple tart to celebrate (definitely not because we had a lot of apples from going apple picking. Definitely not).

Nelson had also run his first marathon the day before so he totally deserved a birthday tart.

In two weekends, Andrew and I are going camping with a bunch of his family members. I'm pretty excited, if only because it's been ages since I've gone camping.

This is our new tent, a wedding present from his parents. They also found a good price on a sleeping bag and some camping chairs so that gets to come camping with us too! We're going to a state park north of Duluth, which will make it my first trip through Duluth. The leaves will probably be off the trees by then, but it might still be pretty.

I've decided what I want to be for Halloween:

I've always wanted to be Princess Leia but for the past few years my hair hasn't been long enough. Since I've been poor and haven't had a hair cut in months, I'll hold out for a few more weeks in the name of Halloween. I think we might be going to Green Bay for Halloween, if only because the trick-or-treating is better.

I hate the Yankees.

This one's for my mom:

Time to read, put away laundry and dishes, sweep... basically return the apartment to a state of cleanliness. Bacher out!

September 26, 2010

nerdiness exposed

So I've been thinking about this for awhile now...

but tonight I finally ordered Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Soooo excited. SO excited.

While downtown perusing today, I went into a bookstore and flipped through it for the first time. It's literally a thousand pages and I am going to gush over every one of them. Not only does the book have the basic way to cook a dish, it also suggests variations you can add. It does more than just give you the recipe - in a way, it teaches you how to cook in a manner where you can improvise and add your own ideas. I

How to Cook Everything was on our wedding registry but not purchased so I used one of our gift cards to order it online. I'm so psyched to start cooking from it. I made Andrew's birthday dinner of Chicken Parmesan from one of Bittman's recipes. All right, time to stop geeking out now.

Now a 60 book update... I made it past 60 books already! Goal completed! Since there's still a few months left in 2010, I'm altering my goal to 80 books. Right now I've read 64 so it's very do-able.

Here's the last few I finished. Bold are ones I particularly enjoyed:
51. Black is the New White, Paul Mooney
52. Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer
53. So Sexy, So Soon, Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne
54. Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery, Millett
55. Picking Cotton, Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton
56. What Einstein Told His Cook, Robert Wolke
57. Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman
58. Denial, Jessica Stern
59. What Einstein Told His Cook 2, Robert Wolke
60. The Commitment, Dan Savage
61. The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver
62. Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier
63. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
64. Opening Skinner’s Box, Lauren Slater

Right now I'm on Paul Tough's Whatever It Takes about Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone, with Mary Karr's Lit and a book titled Lincoln's Melancholy checked out. Not to mention I still have 27 books on my library request list. Who else is psyched about Mark Twain's autobiography finally being released after 100 years? Or The Ghost Map on the discovery of the spread of cholera and germ theory? Or Meghan McCain's and Tim Gunn's new books?

God, I'm a nerd.

But I am serious about Mark Twain's autobiography. I bet it's going to be awesome.

adventures in cooking: failures

I like cooking and baking. It's true. Contrary to popular opinion (or what I like to think is a popular opinion), I do not always succeed all of the time. Don't be shocked - it's true. Three examples for you:

Jucy Lucys

I have been trying on and off for over a year to make successful Jucy Lucys. Restaurant worthy Jucy Lucys. I've cooked them too long so all the cheese has already oozed out and then used a George Foreman grill that puts pressure on the burger so that the cheese oozes out. So I've been convinced that a grill pan will change the way I attempt to bungle a Jucy Lucy.

A grill pan! Jucy Lucys! Let's watch and see how I mess it up this time...

Aw, they come apart in the middle! I need to find some better strategy of putting the burgers together. I'll figure it out one of these days.

Next up: Homemade pizza.

But don't I make homemade pizza all the time? Yes. Yes, I do. One of Andrew's friends has coincidentally come over two nights in the last two weeks when I've made pizza and he's convinced it's the only thing we eat.

However, we received a pizza stone as a wedding present (remember all that packaging?) and went out and picked up a pizza peel with which to cook pizza. Friday we made a pizza on the peel, ready to put it in the oven on our new pizza stone and make some delicious pizza...

And it bombed. Bombed terribly. The pizza wouldn't slide off the peel but some of the toppings fell off into the oven. We had to move the pizza onto a pan, a pan I forgot to oil, making it difficult to serve the pizza. Disaster all around.

My Jackson Pollock pizza stone, stained for all eternity with the marks of my failure. I'm going to bake some bread today in an attempt to figure out the best way to work the pizza peel before trying pizza again.

And finally: Pumpkin bread.

The picture doesn't look terrible, but baking it was an ordeal. I mixed the ingredients together in the wrong order (I skimmed the recipe poorly, but in my defense I feel specific things could have been worded differently. Like when you say "mix together dry ingredients" but don't mean sugar, don't write "dry ingredients." Name them if you're not going to include all the dry ingredients listed at the top. But I digress). The cream cheese on the inside wasn't the right softness, making it difficult to spread on top of the batter. The recipe was for 3 mini-loaves and I only have one regular size bread pan so it overflowed on one side. I anticipated this though, and put a pan underneath the bread pan in the oven. It caught the overflow so I didn't have to clean out the oven afterwords - just pick up some of the pizza toppings that fell off that damn peel.

Oh well. I'm going to make granola today and I know that can redeem this weekend of horrible cooking and baking. We also have an acorn squash that's taunting me from the counter. That pumpkin bread recipe used up the last of the brown sugar so I wanted to buy more before eating it. If you're going to do it, might as well do it right.

So... new job: I am the corporate volunteer liaison for the reading program I served at last year. I'm digging it. I spent all Friday morning adapting a powerpoint to use with community volunteers and I felt like a champion. Technically my job is to coordinate volunteer opportunities for the various corporate donors of my program as well as support the current volunteer coordinators at our various sites around the state. I've only been doing it for two weeks, but I enjoy it so far. I miss the kids I worked with at the YWCA, but I'm going to volunteer there once a week - remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing.

All right, time to go. I'm going for a walk and perusing some of the shops downtown - just looking for now until our finances aren't so touch and go. Picking up some flour and brown sugar for this afternoon's baking - things I know I can't mess up like hummus, salsa and granola. Maybe some Italian bread in an attempt to make the pizza peel love me.

Bacher out.

September 14, 2010

real adult

Ok, so I like taking pictures of my food and posting it on here, but some of the blogs I read get a little extreme with the pictures. Seriously, I don't need to see 8 pictures of lettuce. And then washing lettuce. And then the lettuce in a bowl. You get my drift. Anyway.

I feel like a real adult today. I went to work, drank coffee, came home, went for a run and made dinner. Ok, dinner is still in the process since we made homemade pizza and that usually takes some time. Andrew just took it out of the oven and we're probably going to watch some TV on DVD - I'd tell you what it is but it's pretty nerdy and I'm not sure if I want to own up to it.

I'll fill you in on the new job near the end of the week - I've been training and first-day-ing so it's not really representative of the work I'm going to be doing. Don't you just love training meetings?!? Yes? No? Yes?

Pizza! Bacher out.

September 11, 2010


More pictures!

Some homemade granola. I haven't done the math to figure out if making the granola at home saves money compared to the store-bought bulk granola.

We made stir-fry the other night. Here are all the ingredients pre-cooking.

In the pan.

And the final product. I made sure to keep the soy sauce light because I've been accused of dousing prior stir-fries in too much soy. I added my own after plating though.

A wedding present came in the mail the other day and I thought the level of packaging was ridiculous. Here's the first box it came in (paper towels for comparison):

And the second box inside the big box, filled with styrofoam peanuts:

And finally the present itself, a pizza stone (Thanks Sarah and Jean!). True, pizza stones are heavy but that biggest box was just overkill. Talk about unnecessary packaging, Amazon.

I start my new job on Monday - woo!

September 4, 2010

adventures in cooking: scones, english muffins, pesto and homemade pizza

Yesterday I spent the afternoon baking and cooking all sorts of things. It was pretty relaxing; not to mention tasting all of my food was delicious.

First up: Lemon blueberry scones!

Andrew made me that latte with our new espresso machine. The scones turned out pretty delicious with one exception: they've got a bit of a salty aftertaste. Why? Oh, maybe because I put in two tsps instead of 1/2 tsp. Way to misread the recipe, me. After I realized what happened, I tried to dig some of the salt out and counteract it with sugar, but there's only so much you can do without starting all over again. All in all, pretty good with the exception of a bit of saltiness.

Next: English muffins!

I had made some of these last week and they turned out really well so I thought I'd try it again. Made for a yummy breakfast sandwich this morning. My only difficulty is transferring the muffin from the pan to the skillet without completely deflating the muffin. I'm trying to get better at that, but I can be clumsy.

Next: Pesto!

Used a bunch of our window sill basil for pesto, but substituted walnuts for pine nuts. You could definitely taste the difference. Jury's still out on if I like the walnuts better than pine nuts. One thing I did before putting everything in the food processor was bruise the basil leaves.

I put the basil leaves in a plastic bag and rolled/crunched over it with a glass (I don't have a rolling pin... sad). It's supposed to bring out the flavor and juices more than just cutting it up with food processor blades.

Finally: Homemade pizza!

We used the pesto as sauce on the pizza. It definitely added an extra zing! We also put Italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and more basil leaves on as toppings. The pizza recipe is an old family one and usually it's just Italian sausage with a chunked tomato/basil sauce mix. We've been experimenting with extra toppings the more we make it.

See our new espresso machine and magnetic knife strip in the background? Woo! Love the knife strip.

Also, you should be proud that I was hands-off with assembling the pizza and let Andrew do it. I believe at one point someone got angry that I was making frequent suggestions and hovering and just let me do it. But she's in Honduras now. So there.

So good! We ate pizza and watched season 8 of Scrubs. I haven't seen too many of the episodes and as usual, I was laughing my ass off. It's by far one of my favorite TV shows. Always a solid choice, in my opinion. Anyway, there's leftovers so I know what I'm having for lunch - pizza!

Now time to go tackle that sink full of dishes. Pizza mess, you know.