Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quick Lit Snack

Just finished: Saturday with my brand spankin' new book club! I feel very privilaged to be a part of a selective book club made up of fun, dynamic women who love reading as much as I do. This was our last read by Ian McEwan (better known as the guy who did Atonement) and it wasn't so much a likeable book as it was thought-provoking, very well written, and carefully constructed. I never would've picked it for myself but I'm glad I read it; isn't that the whole purpose of belonging to a book club? So one can read those books that didn't quite make it onto one's own radar?

Currently reading three books, one more than the others: Raise the Red Lantern by Su Tong, Possession by A.S. Bryatt, and Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller.
I'm focused on reading Raise the Red Lantern right now as it's a shorty and I knew it would read pretty quickly since its translation from Chinese to English is pretty concise and straightforward. It's good, I appreciate it for its historical significance more than I do the story itself so far, but we'll see where it goes once I'm more than one-third of the way in.

Possession I've been working on since Christmas and it's fabulous but it's also a denser read than I've undertaken in a while. I've stopped reading it b/c I need to review what I've read already after taking a three-month break from it.

Searching for God Knows What might turn into a devotion book more than a read-for-pleasure book. Maybe a chapter a day some week or something. It's very good—certainly comparable to Blue Like Jazz which I'm still raving about, two years later.

What are you reading?

Friday, March 26, 2010

One Great Thing Friday

One of my all-time favorite songs; years later, I'm still not tired of it. His last album disappointed ("We are Golden" isn't bad but I didn't love the vid—a little too much MIKA for me...) but "Grace Kelly" is epic. Click the title and enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nom Nom

Ellie Krieger to the rescue! My ah-mazing friend Heather introduced me to Ellie a while back so I asked for her cookbook for this Christmas. Also, I've been jealous of my friend Alison's recipe posts; now that she has someone special to cook for, she's become Pacific Grove's own Julia Child. Well, I have two someone specials for whom I now cook, Mum and Dad, and here's what we had for dinner last night:

Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs (ADAPTATION: used chick. breasts instead of thighs)

4 large bone-in chicken thighs (or breasts), skins removed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons grainy French mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine mustard, garlic, marjoram and maple syrup in a small bowl. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard mixture evenly on top of each chicken thigh, being careful to cover as much of the surface as possible to form a "crust." Arrange chicken in a glass baking dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until mustard mixture has formed a crust and is slightly hardened, and juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.
*I served this with white and brown rice mixed with dried chervil leaves. I will tell you that my chicken never formed a crust though the chicken was all done; I think next time I'll add chicken broth to the chicken paste to make it more of a sauce.

"Dirty" Broccoli
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 T. water
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs made from day old whole wheat bread or 1/4 c. plain (store bought) bread crumbs
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. salt
pinch of pepper

Cut the broccoli into spears and place in a large microwave safe bowl with the water. Cover tightly and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli well and set aside. While the broccoli is cooking, heat the oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, until the crumbs are toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, toss to coat with bread crumbs and serve.

Mango Lassi

2 ripe, sweet mangos
1 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups ice (1 tray of ice)
Peel and dice the mango and puree in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until the ice is crushed and the drink is frothy. Serve in tall glasses with additional ice, if desired.
*This was absolutely delicious BUT I like to spice up my food a little; next time I plan to add some citrus or fresh mint in with this for interest. Also, I used no honey and, instead, non-fat vanilla yogurt.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shake Your Shamrock!

Hold the phone, here's the most significant Web site on the Internet. It helps you locate McDonald's restaurants that are carrying the irresistable Shamrock Shake—a minty milkshake McDonald's carries just for St. Patrick's Day! I went to McD's last year for one and they DIDN'T MAKE THEM! I was devastated. It ruined my whole holiday. But thanks to the shake locator, I now know where I can find them in my hometown! Have a minty and marvelous St. Patty's Day!

Isn't she beautiful?

Coming Soon

—Pictures of our new puppy, Daisy
—Pictures of last few weeks in S.D.
—More personal posts as time allows
—New music, movie, and book finds, new products I'm enjoying, recipes worth trying

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Must Haves

Better than a spork.

My new thing is owls and this is my favorite girly color ever so this t-shirt is epic to me.

Well this is brilliant! I like to think even I could handle nailing a couple rustic, wire baskets to the wall and filling them with fresh towels. I also just love pile and piles of fresh towels/linens.

Brings a whole new meaning to "climbing the walls"—WANT!

I want to do this! Love love love this idea and I think I have a new "brilliant blogger" to add to the crew, click here to see what I'm talking about.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Midnight Knitter Strikes Again!

'Midnight Knitter' Wanted In N.J. Shore Town
March 11, 2010

Someone in West Cape May, N.J, has been covering tree branches and lamp posts with brightly colored little scarves and sweaters. Police are on the lookout for the perpetrator dubbed The Midnight Knitter by a local paper. Technically the action is illegal because it's being done on public property without permission.

It's a weird happening but a pretty good yarn! I just thought this was too fantastic not to post. Keep creating, Kids!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

True Love Lives on in My Two Friends

The Wedding of Justin & Alison from Skylar Wright on Vimeo.

I was with the gorgeous bride for the entire day and I can tell you, I never got tired of looking at her—her beauty was, like never before, utterly captivating. And Justin brought tears of pride to my eyes just from looking at him; suddenly, I saw he broke the mold of the man I'd always imagined for my Alison.

Just wanted to tell you both that I love you and I love the love you have. Happy early b-day, Justin!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home Again

New place of residence: Lincoln, Nebraska
Duration of stay so far: 14 days
1) Unloaded 40 boxes of my earthly belongings and settled into my space in the basement of my parent's house (what can I say, no one could compete with the rent)
2) Helped my mother acquire a puppy for my father (name: Daisy)
3) Have worked manically since the day I got back and haven't missed any deadlines yet
4) Have been slowly making my way back into Lincoln society
5) Spent some great quailty time with a couple of friends
6) Have been honored by invitations to join three separate book clubs already, thus, I consider myself a successful fraud in establishing myself as an intellectual reader (I know many greater readers than myself who take far less pride in their literary conquests)
7) Signed up for a 5k and got some friends who have never done one to come with

What I have yet to accomplish (got all day?): Have yet to...
1) Train for said 5k race or acquire gym membership
2) Finish unpacking completely
3) Read books for said book clubs
4) Make comprehensive list of goals and aspirations for my "new season" in Lincoln
5) Secure a permanent position work wise
6) Keep in touch with my S.D. people and remind them how much they mean to me
7) Potty train said puppy

When I got back to NE, I was completely overwrought. I don't know the last time I felt so run down, but between a completely frenetic work schedule, packing and moving, emotional good byes to friends, poor eating habits, and a general lack of sleep spanning three weeks, I was pretty much a grumpy, out-of-control mess. Now, after two weeks of plentiful sleep, good home-cooked food, and (finally) being unpacked, I am prepared to take on this new season with much fervor.
Spring is almost here and I am delighted to be back home for a real, actual change in season. Rain is expected all week and I relish the clouds and the barely perceptible green peaking out from the brown, damp earth. It's going to be a very good year and I am so humbled already by how things have worked out so far.

Happy to be home again, in short.

COMING SOON: new blog look and more regular postings! Thanks for your patience!!