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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Memories

2012 in review.

Keeping it classy with the Andre bubbly on NYE last year. 

Puddin' enjoying a gorgeous sunny January day on the balcony.

In February, my master's degree arrived!  Knowledge, experience, blah blah blah...the paper matters.  :)

Headed to New Orleans for Spring Break with Thomas.  Spent our time in the Garden District instead of the Quarter, for the most part.

In April, we visited San Antonio for the Texas Council for Family Relations conference.  Two of my classmates were visiting the Alamo for the first time.

Puddin' still agrees that sunny porch days are the best.

My favorite thing about this year was that my parents got to retire.  My dad was a Dallas police officer for 41 years.  Very grateful for all his hard work and ecstatic that he got to retire.

My other memory of May is the same as it's been since 2008...finals week.  Here, Puddin' helps me with a final paper.

In June, I attended the Head Start National Research conference in Washington DC.  It was one of the best conferences I have ever been to.  My sister tagged along, and we did as much sight seeing as possible.

July brought with it the Mega Road Trip of 2012.  My boyfriend's brother was getting married near Toronto, so we made the best of the trip.  We visited several of Thomas' friends along the way, and spent a couple days in Chicago for July 4th.  Here we are the The Bean.  On the 4th, we were supposed to go on a party cruise to see the fireworks from Navy Pier.  Thomas was pretty excited about finding and booking it.  It was a special treat, and a bit of a splurge.  When we arrived to Navy Pier, we couldn't find the boat, but we did find another couple in the same boat (ha, by NOT being in a boat at all).  The fireworks started, and we still had no idea where our boat was, long after the posted departure time.  No biggie for us, but the other couple (especially the guy) was PISSED.  We soon realized why.  After the fireworks started, we heard him say, "Well, I was supposed to do this on the boat, but this will have to do!"  He got on one knee and proposed.  :-)  She said yes.

We later found out the cruise company changed the departure time, and we never got word!  They didn't call or email!  It took Thomas 4 months to get a refund.  Anyway, this story was only worth telling because of the fun proposal.

Thomas' next older brother, Eli, married Tasj, in Bowmanville, ON.  I really enjoyed meeting their fun family.  I'm not sure I can do them justice.  They made me feel so welcome, even as the illegitimate mate of the groom's brother.  I will remember them as a warm, welcoming family, and I'm happy for Thomas' brother to marry into them.

The day of the wedding was fraught with potential disaster, however.  The bride's family received a call in the middle of the night.  The reception restaurant had burned down, including the wedding cake.  It stormed all morning, a bad sign for an outdoor wedding.  But all ended well.  Another restaurant was able to tackle the reception, and the sky cleared in time for a beautiful ceremony.  The place setting name cards, recovered from the original restaurant, DID smell slightly flambeed, though.

On our way out of Canada, of COURSE we hit Niagara Falls for an hour.

On our way to NYC.  Here I am in Central Park.  It was my 2nd trip to NYC, and my first to Central Park.  I'm proud to say I got to be there for Thomas' first trip to NYC.  He had also never been to New Orleans before we met.  Jazz musician who's never been to New Orleans or NYC? Seriously.

But the trip, the cash, and the time off work couldn't last forever.  After two glorious weeks on the road, we returned home to Texas.

Where my mom retired in August from her post as a city secretary.  Like my dad, I'm so grateful to her for all the hard work she put in making an amazing life for my two sisters and myself.

And since she's glaringly absent from the pic above, I'll remember in this post my sister, Brandi.  She died in a car accident January 3rd, 1998.  She was 18, and I was 13.  It wasn't easy for any of us, but I know it was and is especially debilitating for my parents.  It's a terrible tragedy.  Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm doing her short life justice with the way I'm living, but I'm still trying.

Because, the thing to remember about Brandi isn't that she died young.  It's that, while she lived, she was beautiful, kind, loving, dramatic, funny, hard working, and always acted proud of me.  I know she must have been annoyed by me like crazy, her nerdy little sister, but I also remember her bragging about me to her friends and boyfriends.  Can you believe she was always trying to lighten her hair?  I think her natural color was gorgeous.  And no one could rock a pair of Rocky Mountain jeans better.  :)

This ended up being a good segue to Colorado in September.  Our last family vacation before she died was in Colorado, and my parents still visit annually.  This year, as leisurely retired folk, they spent a whole month there.  I flew in for a long weekend and enjoyed the company and scenery.

Also in September, I attended my first Cowboys game, where my boyfriend's band played the post-game show.

And in October, we had our one year dating anniversary.  He knocked my socks off with surprise after surprise, culminating in a pair of diamond earrings.  WOW.

In November, a long awaited girls' night happened!  It wasn't the event itself that was special (although it WAS good nerdy fun, a Star Trek themed USO fundraiser), but the point is that my sister and her best friend, and myself and my best friend, were all able to get on the same page and have a fun night out together.  

In December, I dogsat for my sister's sweet 2.2 lb pup named Sophie, who got sick while I was there.  She was having seizures, among other horrific illnesses, and this freakin' dog totally stole my heart.  I loved the heck out of her.  She seems to be doing better lately.  The vet gave her valium after not much else would help with her seizures.  My sister has named me godmother.  I guess that's better than dognapper, but I'm still not ruling out dognapping as a possibility.  Who could resist???

But, I can't bring a dog around to disturb the quirky peace I have finally managed with my old crotchety cat, Puddin', here tentatively enjoying some Christmas tissue paper.  Took 5 years after I adopted her before she would let me pet her, and now, she can't get enough.  Except that she is still mean to everyone else.  Who knows what her 6-7 years were like before me, but tonight, she has rested peacefully with me by the fire to welcome 2013.  :)

This is the BEST OF 2012.  The worst is that I have been incredibly burned out and lacking direction and motivation in school (which, as a doc student, means my career).  I have some ideas for getting back on track in 2013, so I'm not going to dwell on the failures of 2012 unless I start falling into the same patterns this year.  :)  

Happy new year!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Visualization project

I got these albums for Christmas several years ago, I think from my Grandma.  I like them, but even after all this time, there isn't a single photo in them.

When I moved into my one bedroom apartment after divorcing 2 years ago, I had a great idea that I could use these albums for pictures of things that make me happy.  Goals, accomplishments, quotes.  Reminders of what I have and can do on my own that are worthwhile and awesome.  A chronicle of only the best parts of my life.  Not because the bad stuff isn't important, but because only the good (including good that results from bad) is worth remembering.

And still, there's not a single photo in here.  And still, it sits in my bedroom.

I just watched the documentary, "Hungry for Change," on Netflix.  One thing it talks about is the importance of visualization.  In my interpretation, it's important to imagine yourself as your ideal self.  Imagine yourself feeling good, feeling motivated, feeling joyous.  Taking time to visualize yourself exactly as you wish to be helps you make it a reality.

I realized that's totally in line with my old idea for using these albums.  It's a means for reflecting on my own personal "best of" in hopes of being my best more often.

Watched another documentary yesterday (jeez, aren't I self-helpy??) called "Enlighten Up" about a skeptical guy who agrees to practice yoga for 6 months.  The female filmmaker hopes, as I perceived it, to make a yoga-maniac out of him, but he is a bit resistant, especially to the spiritual aspects of yoga.  Near the end of the film, he visits Gurusharananda, who says that in order to find your true self, you should as much as possible get rid of what you are not.  You can watch the clip here.

The fun part is choosing which of those things in life I want to decide are "what I am not."  Which things should I try to get rid of.  The albums are a way of choosing and remembering the things in life that are important to me, gradually resulting in a clear picture of what I want and what I don't.  What I WANT will hopefully become what I AM eventually.

But let's be practical.  The reason there aren't any pictures in those albums isn't because I haven't done anything worthy in the last 2 years.  It's because I haven't printed a single picture in the last 2 years.  So, I just figured out an easy way to order prints from my phone at Walgreens.  And the visualization project begins!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dining Out

Ugh, I lost my lovingly created blog list when I updated my layout!  Will have to rebuild it.  Bummer.

What's not a bummer is the dining out success I had in the last 24 hours.  Last night, we went to Scat Jazz Lounge where Thomas played in a big band, performing during its first set Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite.  It was really fun!  But between work and heading to Fort Worth, I didn't have time to eat, so I walked over to Cantina Laredo while the band was setting up.  Mexican food is usually a safe choice for vegan food - they may offer veggie fajitas, or if nothing else, a guacamole salad.

I did MUCH better than that, though.

Avocado and artichoke enchiladas topped with tomatillo sauce
on bed of spinach     11.49

Except it wasn't just a "bed of spinach" - it was spinach sauteed with poblano peppers and mushrooms. The "bed of spinach" was tasty enough to be a meal on its own.  The enchiladas were stuffed with artichokes and avocados and topped with red peppers and tomatillo sauce.  No beans and rice, but a jicama, red pepper, carrot slaw with mango.  It was perfect.  I'll be back there.

Had some wine at Scat Jazz.  Drinking is one of my biggest diet derailers, not so much because of the alcohol itself, but because it makes me want to eat big fat breakfast the next day.  Luckily, Denton makes hangover food vegan friendly at the Seven Mile Cafe.  Tofu scramble with soy chorizo, vegan cheese (still not a fan...), onion, and jalapenos with hash browns and friendly service.

Still on track.  Ask me again after I go to the Cowboys game Sunday.  LOL

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vegan Thai Green Curry

Check out this recipe for Vegan Thai Green Curry, then head to the grocery store to buy stuff to make it.

Cost $15 to buy the ingredients - 4 servings.
Took 1 hour to make.
Taste is a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.
LESS THAN 400 CALORIES a serving, including 1/2 cup cooked brown rice!!

I was prepared for this to be a calorie splurge, but using lite coconut milk, all these ingredients added up to only 339 calories when the recipe was divided by 4.  Including all that rich milk, sugar, soy sauce, and sweet potato.  I'm stunned.

 I want to eat this every. single. day.

Spinach salad with chickpeas, corn, broccoli, radish, and green onion

Yummy lunch today, about 450 calories. It's a megasized salad, and most of the calories come from the chickpeas. Also repurposed my kale container. It's the perfect size for a big lunch salad. Dressed with red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, no oil.

Back to work today at the wonderful construction company that lets me come and go as my schedule allows. I haven't been here since June, and still they can always find work for me when I am available. It's been humbling to me how supportive they have been of me and how they are always willing to welcome me back. I have been here off and on since 2007. Love it here! Nice to do some mindless work, too. Today, I'm filing receipts and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spa Week Food Yearbook

 Some things that kept me full and energized this week!

My vegan go-to dish, beans and greens.  These beans are garbanzos, and the greens are 5 oz baby kale.  1/2 cup beans, 5 oz kale, sauteed with a little diced onion, some garlic, veggie broth, red pepper flakes, served with a splash of red wine vinegar, and under 250 calories.  Mega win.

Dinner tonight was kind of amazing.  15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta from my absolute favorite blog, Oh She Glows.  Salad was spinach, a few chickpeas (leftover from lunch), shredded radishes, finely chopped (with the food processor) raw broccoli, green onions, and dijon vinaigrette.  So good!  Warm, rich pasta with that fresh, tangy salad.  

Beating the broccoli nearly to death with the food processor has made me eat so much more raw broccoli!  I was inspired to do this, again, by Oh She Glows, where broccoli, cauliflower, and other veggies become confetti.  I was amazed at how much raw veggies I can eat this way.   Processing my broccoli ensures it gets eaten.

Day 1 lazy lunch with my boss.  Veggie Thai red curry.  REALLY good.  Trying to convince my boyfriend we need to go here tomorrow night.   Not 100% sure it was vegan, but I know it was close.

Synergy drink, Black Chia.  These are too expensive to enjoy regularly (at my local natural foods store, they are $3.29), but I'm sipping one now after a killer exercise class this afternoon.  I haven't had them regularly enough to notice any health benefits, but they are delicious and loaded with Omega-3's.  The texture of the chia seeds is almost like runny jello.  I like it, but most of their flavors are chia-free, so if that texture sounds like it will freak you out, don't get the chia ones.

Not Pictured

I'm bummed at the pictures I DIDN'T take these last few days.  It's like the most popular kids at school missed picture day and didn't get in the yearbook.

My morning Green Monster smoothie.  Many many many variations on this, just google it.  I keep it simple.  2-3 cups spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 splenda packet, and 2 tbsp ground flax.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Red Quinoa Soup.  This one's the biggest bummer of all because it was my favorite dish and definitely the prettiest!  I can't believe I ate it for three meals and didn't snap a picture even once! The wonderful thing about it was, my soup was just as pretty as it looked in the pictures on the blog.  So go check it out.  I used white quinoa instead of red.  Even my boyfriend loved this one.  Which is good because I left onions out of it specifically for his picky self.

Random meals that make me happy because they're so simple and doable.  One night I feasted on roasted mushrooms and broccoli, and it was as delicious as anything else I've eaten this week.  Sprinkled a sliced apple with cinnamon last night, and voila, dessert.

Copious amounts of Lilly's hummus (roasted jalapeno and kalamata olive flavors) and dill seasoned Triscuits.  The guiltiest pleasure of the week.  KILLER.

The only thing I really have to watch out for eating this way is to not eat too many carbs (rice, other grains, etc) every single meal, and limit oils.  Because I do want to lose a little weight, I can't have the carefree attitude about calories and fats that other vegans seems to express.  The night I ate broccoli and mushrooms for dinner, the veggies themselves were 64 calories, but I had triple that in olive oil.  I want to learn more about cooking without oil.  Especially roasting, which is my favorite way to prepare my veggies.  I won't give it up totally, but I am definitely mindful of it now.

Spa Week in Review

I'm nearing the end of my spa week time, and it's been a really wonderful 4.5 days here at home.  I didn't accomplish all of my spa week goals, but here is a rundown of what did and didn't work.

I DID exercise daily, hard enough that I've been sore the whole time.
I DID NOT exercise as long each day as I'd hoped.  I didn't add walks in on top of my harder workouts.

I DID eat vegan the whole time...
EXCEPT for all the freakin' candy I couldn't resist after my department's Christmas festivities.  I had probably about 10 Andes mints, 2 Lindt truffles, and 2 peanut butter cookies.  But overall, I'm VERY happy with the vegan-ness of my diet the last few days.

I DID track my nutrition on myfitnesspal...
My calorie counts were good EXCEPT for the day I binged on hummus and triscuits.  Those dill triscuits are to-die-for!  I need to stop buying them!

I DID avoid alcohol the whole time...
No buts about this one.

I DID turn off the TV...
EXCEPT for going to see the Hobbit, Red Dawn, and watching the Cowboys game Sunday.  :-/  But really, the intention behind that goal was that I wouldn't sit and watch 5 seasons of a TV show on Netflix the whole time, so OK.  And the Cowboys won!

I DID stay off Facebook...
No, that's a total lie.

I DID get a lot of cleaning done...
I even cleaned my carpets today.  And repurposed my snuggie as a tacky tree skirt.  Guess I should get rid of those halloween cobwebs from the blinds for the full Christmas effect...oops.  #shortroommates or #lazyroommates or #asunobservantasmeroommates.  ;)  Probably the latter.

I DID think up ways to maintain the diet and exercise.
Mostly, I thought back to my overplanning of grocery shopping days.  I had lists of ingredients in Excel for all my favorite meals, so when I made a grocery list, I could just copy and paste each meal from the spreadsheet.  The problem is now, I'm mostly only cooking for one, so I can't just cut/paste ingredients. I also need to scale back some of those recipes, too.

Exercise, I haven't come up with anything new.  I am making a list to put by my bedroom door, "All the things you probably did to waste 30 minutes today."  I hope that helps me decide to spend 30 minutes doing something VERY useful.  It will also help me if I keep my room clean, because then my workout space is ready to go.  But laundry just takes over!

I WILL post about what I've been eating.  It's been tasty.
BUT I won't do it now.  :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Spa week begins! Sort of...

What a finals week it was!  I even pulled my first all-nighter on Wednesday night.  I'm not convinced it was worth it because it had me all out of whack until I took a long nap this afternoon.  But I did get a lot done, so whatever!

Today is supposed to be the beginning of spa week, but it hasn't been the day I expected.  I was up late last night at one of my boyfriend's gigs, then took my roommate to the airport at 4:45am.  Slept an hour, woke up to finish one last smidgen of homework, then slept another hour before going to lunch with my boss.  Got home and took the longest, best nap ever.  Now I'm up and about to start cleaning, then go to the grocery store.

Tomorrow, it begins for real!  :)  Today is a day of prep.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Spa Day Schedule Draft

I will edit this post as I develop my idea.

Day 1, Friday, Dec 14.  Mostly a prep day
Buy groceries
Take roommate to airport
Get a haircut
Evening: long walk, spa dinner, cleaning, hot bath

Need: cleaning supplies, food, fun bath stuff, and candles

Days 2-5:
Breakfast (8ish?) - tea and fresh juice (I have a recipe favorite had beet, carrot, apple, celery, and parsley.  I also loooooved one that was pineapple and ginger, and I drank it with club soda as a treat)

Gym: 10-12pm.  Will take a class combined with some cardio, like biking or elliptical at an easy pace.  Need to bring a snack and headphones.  That juice isn't going to cut it.

Lunch: 12:30-1:30.  Something fresh, and some tea.  Eaten at the table, which is sadly rare for me!

Afternoon: Music and cleaning.  Long walk.

Dinner: Something cooked, and some tea.  At the table!

Evening: Cleaning (yeah right, I'll be exhausted!), reading, writing, relaxing bath, bed.

Notes: might swap gym and walk if the exercise classes I want are in the afternoon, or if I find a cool daytime place to hike.

The evening might start looking sort of boring, so I need to get some books ready.  I have a ton.  Maybe it's finally time to get going on the Wheel of Time series!  Or maybe I WILL keep cleaning.

Need to plan menu.

Spa Week Day Dreaming

Went back to The Cupboard today, Denton's natural foods store.  Wow, I have really been underutilizing their salad bar!  It's so much better than Jason's Deli or Kroger, and the selections change daily.

One of my spa week goals is to eat fresh, mostly vegan food, only buy/prepare what I need, and waste no food.  I haven't come to vegan eating for moral reasons - it's just a bonus of trying to eat this way.  I am not vegan, but when I try to eat right, I find that it's my favorite framework for planning meals.  I also want to strictly document my food intake during spa week.  Many people eat vegan so they don't have to count calories, focusing more on their overall health instead of numbers.  I want to get an idea of what I'm getting, not just calories and fat, but vitamins, minerals, and protein as well.

Eating this way on a budget is TOTALLY doable, even more than eating meat, in my opinion.  Beans, grains, and veggies are the epitome of budget-friendly!  But I either buy too much and waste rotten veggies, or I spend too much on convenience foods, like this salad bar.  I have got to master preparing food for 1!  Leftovers are great, but don't always get eaten and result in refrigerator mayhem, so I think I should only have leftovers if I specifically plan on using them for another meal soon.  For example, I need to not cook up 5 zucchini assuming I will snack on them and use it all up.  Cook extra zucchini only if I have a specific plan for it.

I'm mostly writing this post to document some of the salad things I LOVE and want to have for spa week.  Often, I end up with lots of raw broccoli and cauliflower at the salad bar, things I know I SHOULD eat but don't necessarily want to (at least not without a ton of hummus).  Why not absolutely love my salads?  This salad has spinach, roasted zucchini, lentil salad, couscous salad, a few green olives, shredded carrots, mushrooms, hummus, and red wine vinegar.  It was killer!  I loved the zucchini - I wouldn't have thought of putting roasted zucchini on a salad.

Undetermined spa week rules: I haven't decided whether to stay off the internet, but I will definitely stay off Facebook and not watch TV/movies.  I haven't decided whether to let my boyfriend hang around that weekend.  I think I will as long as he will fully participate in spa week activities.  haha.  That will probably keep him away.  Aside from relaxing, exercising, and eating, my spa week inspiration (Debby - see her blog in my list on the right) spends time quilting.  I don't have a hobby like that and don't want to start one right now, but I think I'll clean.  I know that doesn't sound very spa-like, but my room is in shambles, and the result of time spent cleaning and organizing will be one of the most relaxing parts of spa week.

Spa week is 11 days away.  I can't wait!

Study buddy

Dear Puddin',
Combined study/cuddle time only works if I can reach the keyboard. Thanks.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Painting without a twist

We congregated at Painting with a Twist in Garland last night to celebrate Tammy's 40th birthday.  It was super fun.  :)  The twist, according to our instructor, is that you can BYOB to paint.  I didn't this time, as it was a family affair, so I painted without a twist and didn't do any better than a couple years ago when I painted with a twist or 4.

We did "paint with a purpose" however.  Half of our fee went to the Children's Tumor Foundation, in honor of Tammy's awesome son, Connor, who has neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2).  

Tammy is my sister's best friend, so she's been part of my life since I was 4 or 5.  I'm grateful my sister has such an amazing friend, and even more grateful to get in on the friendship overflow as an adult.  Tammy is one of, if not THE first person I knew that went to graduate school, and she's the only one in my immediate circle who can relate first-hand to what I'm doing.  I love, admire, and appreciate her so much!

Enjoy some pics!  When Tammy posts hers on FB, I'll post one of all of us together.

My sister Danyelle and I (me on the left)

My masterpiece

 Danyelle's painting

 Tammy's painting

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spa week?!

It all started with my salad bar lunch.  I NEEDED veggies. 

"This feels so good to eat!"

"Why don't I eat like this all the time?"

"What if I could go away to a spa for a week where they fed me good, clean food and made me exercise and relax?"

"Rates starting at $4,000???  And I didn't win PowerBall last night?  Never mind!"

*googled spa week at home*

LOOK WHAT I FOUND.  This woman does her own spa weeks at home where she takes amazing care of herself:

Can I do this?!  Why not?  My last assignment is due December 13.  I DO have to work over the break, but I can sort of call the shots.  So, if I wanted to take off, say, the 14th-18th and really focus on myself, I could.

Half the fun will be imagining what the time should be like.  No TV?  No internet?  No junk food or drinking?  Music?  Reading?  Should I be alone the whole time?  Should I try to detox from caffeine?  Should I only eat raw? 

Her basic framework will be the same as mine.  A few hours a day for exercise (including long walks/hikes AND gym time), healthy food, relaxing baths.  This is the best idea I've ever had.

My goals would be to come away refreshed and refocused (I've been so burned out and lost about school/career stuff) and to sustain a reasonable amount of spa-week in my regular life (more healthy food, long walks, and wellness).

Generally, my time off is spent binging on TV, internet, beer, and junk's more escapism than sustainable rejuvenation. 

What would you do with 5 days totally focused on your wellness?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Soups are the best.  I am never more satisfied than when I make (and enjoy) a delicious soup.  The best thing about soup is, the simplest ones are always the best!

I had a big soup victory this Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving (can we coin this something, like Blue Wednesday?)  I have been fighting "the crud", one of those mysterious not-really-sick-sicknesses, ever since last week, and I thought Wednesday would be a good day to make some soup.

Soup is nearly impossible to make to make in small quantities.  Even though I only used one chicken breast, by the time I threw in all my random use-em-or-lose-em veggies, I had a whole stock pot of soup going.  I usually feel bad for throwing out the leftovers, but this turned out not to be a problem.  My boyfriend (Thomas) came over for lunch and ended up spending the afternoon at my place while I ran errands and went to class.  He went nuts over this random crappy soup I made and ate the whole pot over the course of the evening.  Why?  Because it's addictive, feel good, guilt free tastiness.

Do you know how to make soup?  Like, if you wanted to throw a soup together, do you have a good starting point?  Here are the two soup recipes that have trained me to throw one together on the fly.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Vegetable Soup

Having made every variation possible on that chicken noodle soup, I've learned that it's pretty much infallible.  Blue Wednesday's version was a chicken breast (thrown straight in frozen), 1.5 cups shredded carrots, a few stalks of chopped celery, garlic, a small can of corn, a small can of green beans (from this time that someone told me they lost a ton of weight eating tuna and green beans for lunch...those green beans sat in my pantry for 2 years), all the herbs in the recipe, some bouillon, and....I think that's it.  No noodles or rice.  It was AWESOME even as weird as it was, and I finally used those freakin' green beans.

Are you feeling snobby about bouillon?  I hear ya.  It's a ball of (delicious) sodium.  I have made that chicken noodle recipe with homemade slow cooked stock, and it's wonderful.  And if you have time to do that regularly, do it!  But bouillon is key to doing this stuff fast, and honestly, I don't remember the last time that bouillon was the worst thing I'd had in a week.  It's like corn.  Corn has such a bad rap lately, but one of my favorite salads I make has spinach, radishes, corn, chickpeas, and a splash of red wine vinegar.  I realize there isn't much good about corn, but if corn is the worst thing I eat in a week, that's a pretty good week.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself for selling Thomas on the wonders of soup.  Tonight, I got cocky and decided to try again.  In our post-Thanksgiving state of shame, we are trying to eat healthier this week, and I remembered that he bought a bag of lentils and some ham last time we went to the store together.  So, I went to his place and made lentil soup.

All this went into the pot:
Rinsed 1 lb bag lentils
bag of cubed ham (don't know how much, probably 1.5-2 cups total)
8-ish cups of water
a couple bay leaves, some dried oregano, basil, and thyme
Half a bag of shredded carrots (I almost always have these on hand...I hate chopping carrots more than I hate the weirdness of using shredded carrots in everything)
Chopped celery (1-2 cups.  Bought it pre-chopped, didn't measure it, just dumped it in)
Onion powder (use a real onion if your soup-eaters will eat one...mine will not)
2 extra large Knorr chicken bouillon cubes

Then, after the lentils were done (45-60 minutes), I added about .5 cup of tomato sauce.

So.  Good.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I used to blog!

I saw someone posting on FB about blogging today, and I remembered that I used to LOVE blogging!  I wonder if I'm any good at it anymore, or if my life is just too much graduate school drudgery.

One of the biggest changes in my life lately is having roommates.  I haven't had an actual know, someone who is ONLY your roommate...since my very first year in college back in 2002.  I was kind of nervous about taking the plunge again, being so used to doing my thing without caring about anyone else, but so far it's pretty awesome and only occasionally gives me something silly to raise my eyebrow at.  Mostly, it's been fun and SO COST EFFECTIVE.  Both girls are students - one is in the same doc program as me, and the other is a psychology undergrad.  And one is the most honest, remorseful cheese thief that ever existed.

But all in all, I'm pretty much doing the same things I did when I blogged before.  Cooking, eating, going to school, finding humor in unexpected (and sometimes inappropriate) places, and taking pictures of my cat, Puddin'.  So, stay tuned!