Twenty-six

Another year has gone by and so it’s time for another list.

  1. move HOME
  2. complete yoga teach training
  3. go wine tasting
  4. camp in the North Cascades
  5. hike South Sister
  6. get a tattoo with my mom
  7. introduce Kevin to my dad’s side of the family
  8. host a party
  9. go skate skiing again
  10. bike 100 miles with my mom
  11. host Thanksgiving
  12. finish my rag rugs
  13. visit Grandma (Happy Camp)
  14. go crabbing
  15. read 6 good books
  16. try a beer float
  17. buy a paddle board
  18. get treatment for my anxiety
  19. preserve something homegrown
  20. join a co-ed softball league
  21. brew beer
  22. backpack at least 3 times
  23. skinny dip
  24. paint a painting for our home
  25. reincorporate (local) eggs into my diet
  26. quite my corporate job and do something more meaningful with my life

That last one is a big one… but if I write it down, maybe I’ll actually do it.

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On Turning Twenty-five + 25 things to do this year

So, this last year has been absolutely life-changing.  I haven’t posted here at all, but I moved to Boston to start a new job and moved in with the most wonderful human being ever [his name is Kevin Barnett].  And it’s been so much fun.

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My  mom is coming came out to visit for my birthday and I’m super excited for that it was the best birthday gift ever!

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I did alright on the list from last year, but I did so much more that wasn’t even on the list.  Things like, backpack in New Hampshire, drive across the country, or explore downtown Boston.  I still love making the lists (I even bought a journal that is full of lists) but I also totally recognize I won’t ever accomplish all of it.  Fortunately, most of the time other more fun things I never could have dreamed up happen instead!  So, here’s to another year exploring this beautiful planet 🙂

  1. Publish a blog post monthly (since I can’t seem to do weekly… or at all)
  2. Visit New York City
  3. Visit Washington, DC and see more of the Smithsonian museums
  4. Find something I love about Boston (Running in the fall weather – gorgeous leaves, also running in the snow!)
  5. Learn to can foods canned apple butter
  6. Learn to bake bread from scratch (mostly Kevin did this… but I’ll count it as me too 🙂
  7. Host a dinner at our house (dinner for Mom & Molly for my Birthday)
  8. Get a puppy got Nahla… but returned her because she wanted to eat Mango 😦
  9. Watch a sunrise over the Atlantic October 8th, just in time!
  10. Make a scarf
  11. Teach yoga No dice here… should have taken a baby step and tried to get certified to teach first!
  12. paint a painting for our house
  13. send out Christmas cards to all our friends and family (check!  They were handmade too.)
  14. go skinny dipping
  15. Go on a picnic
  16. Walk the strip in Las Vegas
  17. Read some books Uh, very few… finally read the particular sadness of lemon cake and the omnivore’s dilemma
  18. start a card club/board game group
  19. Make beer bread
  20. Do something I’m proud of at work
  21. Join a softball team Tried, but the league got canceled because there weren’t enough players 😦
  22. Make a snowman Kevin did this… so I’m counting it.
  23. Visit Cape Cod Birthday weekend!
  24. Make a wreath
  25. Make my dad’s old turquoise ring into a necklace pendant and I LOVE it!

24

I really enjoyed looking back at my list of things to do while 23 and decided I wanted to make another list for this year!  A lot has changed since last year, notably that Sam and I broke up and I moved into a studio apartment by myself.  The best part?  I’m absolutely loving it!!  Life is good and I’m ready for more adventures.  Without further adieu, here is my list of 24 things to do during my 24th year on this lovely planet:

  1. Get the tattoo I’ve been talking about for years (FOR REALS THIS TIME) check!!!!!! 3/24/2016
  2. Take a class in Computer Science and ACE it (CS 162 @ PSU) check!
  3. Publish a blog post weekly (hah)
  4. Share my blog with friends/family (this will also help my accountability with #3)
  5. Give more hand-made gifts (Christmas, I’m looking at youfailed on this last year… let’s try again. I made granola and wrapped them in cute jars, yay!! Check!
  6. Visit Courtney in Hawaii (scheduled for June!) – change of plans… moving to Boston instead
  7. Take singing lessons (another miss last year I’d still like to do)
  8. Bake a layer cake for somebody’s birthday (again, missed it last year, so this year it is!) Done, just in time… October 8th for my own birthday 🙂
  9. Bring home-baked goods in to work (again, missed last year) Brought in the little hand pies I made!
  10. Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee (somehow I missed this very simple one)
  11. Give out tokens to people on the street (http://givetokens.org/I gave a guy bus fair… does that count? 3/27
  12. Go to a football game (Seahawks game in Seattle NE?, here I come!)
  13. Write out “my story”
  14. camp in the North Cascades (probably Acadia?) with mama again — camped in the Berkshires in MA instead.
  15. visit a hot spring
  16. summit south sister and camp at the top
  17. “unplug” for an entire week
  18. Ask for a raise check!  New job, more $$
  19. Host a dinner at my apt (check! 10/9/2015)
  20. Build something (got a tool set for my birthday, so that’s a good start)
  21. give blood
  22. Make vegan ravioli (http://www.ohladycakes.com/2015/04/broccoli-and-sunflower-seed-ravioli-with-cashew-vodka-sauce.html) check!  Best Valentine’s Day date I’ve ever had 🙂
  23. And then make these cute little hand pies with the ravioli stamp I will have from making ravioli (http://www.ohladycakes.com/2014/01/two-bite-blackberry-jam-pies-for-thom-with-love.htmldone!
  24. Take a road trip somewhere fun (Zion? Ooooor Boston) Road tripped to Boston!

CSA Week 1

You know how sometimes you anticipate something for a really long time and get so worked up about it that it just disappoints when you finally get it?  Well, my CSA box is not like that.  At all.

Last Thursday, I picked up my first CSA box and it was like Christmas! I was so stoked.  And I still am!  Here’s what I got and what I’ve been making:

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Week 1 box:

  • 1 bunch turnips (with beautiful tops)
  • 1 bunch red ursa kale
  • 1 bunch mizuna
  • 1 head green garlic
  • 2 heads bok choi
  • 1 head romaine

The night I picked up the box I made Angela’s caesar salad from the Oh She Glows cookbook with the head of romaine lettuce.  Super tasty – but no photos because we were hungry.  However, the following night, I used the caesar salad dressing again, but this time on some of the mizuna in the pic below.  Her (my) plate: roasted carrots. His plate: breaded cod.  Also served with pesto quinoa.  Yum.

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Tonight I was home late so Sam made himself a frozen pizza for dinner – and I was very tempted to order take-out and laze around because it’s Saturday!  But, all the fresh veggie in my fridge demanded some attention.  So I decided to cook instead.  I used Jeanine’s recipe for inspiration using what I had on hand.  I used my beautiful turnip greens in place of the chard, some chopped green garlic for the scallions, brown rice for the wheatberries, turnips for the radishes and the herbed croutons from the Oh She Glow’s cookbook sprinkled on top instead of toasted almonds.

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So, so good.  I’m so happy I decided to cook instead of order take-out. This CSA box is a beautiful thing and I can’t wait to cook with more fresh veggies than ever!

Next on the menu – I’m thinking of making some pickles with the rest of my turnips and using them in some spring rolls or a rice bowl with the bok choi.  Then a salad with the mizuna and who knows what with kale… because kale is good in anything 🙂

Colorado

Dropped of the face of the blogging world again.  Sorry about that.

Last month Sam and I took a trip to Colorado!  And it was totally awesome.  We stayed for a week, rented a car, and visited his friend who lives in Boulder and his family friends who live in Lyons.  Here’s a little summary of our trip with a ton a pictures.

First stop – PDX airport.

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We walked around the entire airport while waiting for our flight and got to see both the old and new carpet.  Had to get a pic.

Once we got to Denver, we got our rental car and drove to Boulder.  We hasn’t eaten since breakfast (and it was late afternoon by this point) so we decided to grab some food in downtown Boulder before heading to Travis’.  We went to Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery and had some beer and pub food.  Little did we know, we’d be visiting this brewery’s restaurants throughout the trip… they’re pretty popular!  After we got some food in our bellies, we headed to Travis’s.  And then we headed out for a very soggy game of disc golf.  We were basically walking around in a swamp (I totally ruined my shoes) but it was beautiful.  These pics are from the disc golf course with the sun setting over the Flatirons.

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Went back to Travis’ place and then headed out to dinner with Travis at another location owned by Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, closer to Travis’ house.  Caught up and ate some food.  Talked about things we had to do while we’re here.  Travis was a great host – he even put together a whole list of things to do for us.

Day 2 – First day in Boulder and everyone (Travis and roommates) had to go to work.  So Sam and I decided to find a local hike in Boulder.  We initially planned to run the trail and the website that I found the trail on said it was a great running trail, but it was waaaay to steep for us!  We blamed it on the elevation 🙂 But it ended up being a beautiful hike with a view of Boulder.  And I forgot my phone, so no pics.  After the hike we headed into Boulder for some lunch.  We went to The Yellow Deli – a funny little restaurant that reminded me a lot of the Oregon Country fair.  I had the Flatiron special, a sandwich with a veggie burger and tons of fresh veggies on a vegan kaiser roll.  I assumed that the sandwich was vegan since it said “vegan kaiser roll” but I am pretty sure it had mayo on it (yuck).  But I was hungry and on vacation and ate it anyway.  It was delicious and messy.

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The rest of day 2 we spent doing a grocery run (to Trader Joe’s of course) so we could pack lunches for our adventures and then lounging around reading and hanging out with Travis + roommates.  It had been a beautiful day, so Travis suggested grilling for dinner.  We grabbed tons of veggies and some sausages from the store and Travis grilled it all up.  Very tasty.  We also played games that night.  They are all really into playing games and I really liked that it was their default activity rather than watching TV!  We played quite a bit of Set during this trip and I love that game.

Day 3 – To the mountain!  We decided we should try to ski, and Eldora has tons of cross-country ski trails that we tried out.  I packed us some lunches and snacks and we took our rented Toyota Corolla up to the mountain.  The drive was easy, barely any snow.  It’s been a bad year there too.  It was fun to get out in the snow though and this is only my second time out this season, so sad.

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And here’s 4/5 of the roommates wrestling on the kitchen floor.

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We decided to go out to dinner again this night since I had been told so many good things about the food in Boulder.  We went to The Kitchen Next Door, a place we had passed on Pearl St before that looked good.  Unfortunately, we didn’t think about it being Friday night and it was really busy.  It took a long time to get seated.  Once we got seated, the food came out pretty quickly, but we were pretty disappointed by the quality of the food.  I hate to judge restaurants on busy nights like this because I’m sure the high volume makes the quality of the food suffer.  We had some kale chips to start that were REALLY greasy.  I didn’t eat very many.  I had a roasted veggie salad, but the veggies weren’t even cooked all the way through – the carrots were raw in the middle.  Sam had a salad too, but he started to feel sick probably due to eating too many oily kale chips.  We left disappointed.

Day 4 – Saturday so it was time to start rock climbing!  Travis and Matt took us (well, we drove) to Eldora Canyon, the same route we took to the mountain yesterday, and did some practice pitches so Sam and I could get back into how to rock climb.  It had been years for me.  It was a beautiful day and a nice way to hang out in the sun.

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I even got some yoga in 🙂

Day 5 – Definitely the highlight of the trip.  We went to Eldorado Canyon State Park to climb Rewritten with Travis.  This is a 5 pitch climb and it was really challenging for me, but also so amazing.

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My view for most of the day.  We rented sweet 80’s inspired climbing shoes.

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We made it to the top!

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This is a picture of what we climbed from the bottom.  It doesn’t look nearly as impressive in photos…

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The night after climbing we were exhausted – it was an all-day affair so we didn’t get back until around dinner time.  I really wanted to go out and try another restaurant so I dragged convinced Sam to go out again with me.  I’m so glad I did!  We went to Leaf vegetarian restaurant in downtown Boulder and it was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had.  We got some mixed drinks to start – I asked the waitress for a suggestion because I couldn’t decide and ended up with a delicious ginger-y drink.  For my main I had a Moroccan-inspired tofu dish with couscous salad.  The tofu was so so good!  They had cooked it to get this great crispy texture on the exterior and it was coated in a delicious moroccan sauce.  And the plating was super pretty (sorry, no pics).  Sam had the flatbread (pizza), which he said was also delicious (not vegan). Next, dessert!  It’s such a treat to get dessert out because vegan desserts are basically non-existent at most restaurants.  I decided I wanted a drink with dessert too and since I had such luck the first time, I asked the waitress for another recommendation.  I ended up with a glass of port and we shared the seasonal crisp (apple) with coconut ice cream.  It was a perfect meal.

Day 6 – The next morning we woke-up and said good-bye to Travis and everybody else and then took our time getting ready to leave Boulder.  We drove to Rocky Mountain National Park to do an easy hike and enjoy the view.  It was so cool to be driving straight into the mountains, they were so beautiful.

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We hiked from Bear Lake trailhead to Emerald Lake.  It was a really warm day, which was perfect up in the mountains.  The trail was covered in snow, but it was so packed down that we could easily hike in our tennis shoes.

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After the hike, we headed back to Lyons to stay with Gary and Kate, family friends of Sam’s.  They were such great hosts and I’m so happy I got to meet them and their family.  The first night they made tacos for dinner and kept our wine glasses full!  We also took a short hike after dinner to a local trail and watched an insanely beautiful sunset over the Rockies.

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Day 7 – our last full day in Colorado.  We slept in and decided to not do much of anything this day.  It was our vacation after all.  We lounged around and read in the morning and then went for a run with Kate around Lyons.  It was nice to have a tour guide – she told us all about the flood that came through a few years ago.  After the run Sam and I walked into downtown Lyons to checkout what (little) was there.  We had lunch at a cute little cafe and read some more.

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That evening Gary and Kate took us out to dinner at the Mountain Sun pub in Longmont (told you we went there a lot!) and when we got back we played Apples to Apples, which is always fun.  We went to bed and started to watch TV, but I ended up falling asleep quickly.

Day 8 – Going home.  We thanked Gary and Kate for hosting us and got back in our rental car and headed home.  I took a picture of the view of the Rockies as we were leaving, but it’s hard to see.  It was beautiful, but I missed my green Oregon.

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I’m so glad we went.  We had such wonderful hosts that truly made the trip memorable.

Meal planning

I go back and forth between planning out each meal and just making it up as I go.  I really like just buying whatever produce looks good and letting it inspire me, but after a long day of work my brain isn’t very inspired even by the most beautiful fresh produce.  The past month or so at work has been pretty challenging and I often come home tired and hungry, so I’ve been trying to plan out our dinners again.  All I have to do when I get home is follow a recipe while drinking a beer or glass of wine and it’s wonderfully mindless.  I thought I’d share some of the meals I have been making and what I plan to make this week since I just went grocery shopping.

Probably the best thing I’ve made in the past month were these tacos from Cookie and Kate, Sam gave it the meal an 8.5/10.  I thought it would be a more involved meal, but it is really pretty easy.  I hate cleaning the food processor, but this recipe is so, so worth it.  I’ve made it twice already!

Sweet potato and black bean tacos recipe - cookieandkate.com

image source: Cookie + Kate

Next on the list that I’ve already made and am planning to make again this week is My New Root’s Winter Abundance Bowl.  It is healthy and filling and the garlic-ginger pumpkin seed sauce is to die for!  I am looking forward to having leftovers for lunches this week.

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image source: My New Roots

Next up is soup!  I made this chickpea miso noodle soup from Love and Lemons and it reminded me of chicken noodle soup, but so much better.  Yum.  And it was great leftover for lunch the next day!

Chickpea lemon-miso noodle soup / loveandlemons.com

image source: Love and Lemons

And because it’s cold outside… here’s another soup that I plan to make this week!  It’s Love and Lemon’s “creamy” sundried tomato soup and it’s absolutely to die for.  I’ve made it twice before and it’s so rich and delicious and comforting.  It’s so cold and soups are one of my favorite meals.

Creamy (vegan) Tomato Soup  // Love & Lemons

image source: Love and Lemons

I am also planning to make pizza this week with Trader Joe’s pre-made dough, which I’ve never done before.  I hope it turns out well!  Toppings will include marinara, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and italian Field Roast sausages (+mozerella for Samuel).

Hope you all are enjoying your weekends!

Do you plan out your meals for the week or make it up as you go?

The Day After Christmas Salad

Sooooo, I meant to post this salad shortly after Christmas but here we are already a week into the New Year!  Oh well, at least I didn’t make any New Years resolutions 🙂

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I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions.  I think, if you want to make a change, just make it!  You don’t need to wait for a new year to change for the better.  But I always believe in a big bowl of healthy green salad, so I fit right in this time of year.  I made this one the day after Christmas and it’s filled with healthy goodness and topped with a simple lemon vinaigrette.  I’ve been making variations of it ever since subbing different grains and veggies and such.  Tonight I made a version with cooked millet and purple cabbage and avocado (added to the salad here, just not pictured).  Enjoy!

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Day-after-Christmas Salad

serves 2

 

2 cups baby spinach

1 cup torn-up romaine lettuce

1/2 cup cooked  wheat berries 

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 large carrot, sliced

1/2 medium honeycrisp apple, diced

1/2 small avocado, diced

sprinkling of raisins

sprinkling of sliced dry-roasted almonds

  • Chop and prep all the produce and toss into a medium – large salad bowl
  • Toss in cooked wheat berries and raisins (sub any cooked grain or dried fruit)
  • Top with simple lemon vinaigrette (recipe below) and toss together until evenly coated
  • Sprinkle with almonds right before serving

 

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette

makes extra

 

juice of 1 lemon

olive oil

~1 tsp maple syrup

~1/2 tsp dijon mustard

s + p

  • Juice the lemon into a small glass jar
  • add olive oil until roughly 1:1 ratio to the lemon juice
  • add maple syrup, dijon, and s+p to taste and shake until emulsified

 

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions?