Wednesday, April 30, 2014


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Doing: Not to get depressing on your asses right off the bat, but lately I've been spending all my time at the hospital. My grandfather has been slowly declining and the last week has been a "last 7 day push" before we decide what the future will hold for him. I've been there 3 of the last 4 days so far. 3 left. On a lighter note, we've been hosting Game of Thrones dinners and viewings at our apartment on Sunday nights. Much needed escape!

Eating: So much spring produce! Strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, radishes. We had our first bbq on the deck this last Sunday and I am so pumped for grilling season to be back in full swing!

Planning and eagerly anticipating: Little mini trips during spring. Jared's brother just had a baby boy, so we are planning a weekend trip over to Idaho to meet the little cutie. Hoping for a quick trip to Montana to see some best friends. A little camping trip to Eastern Washington. SO pumped!

Listening: SOOOOO digging the new Woods album. Also, the new St. Vincent and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Check em out!

Learning: I'm taking the Mastering your DSLR class through a Beautiful Mess! I'm way behind, but I'm slowly learning at my own pace. The picture above was one of my test photos with shutter speed. I'm actually learning to get good shots of my puppy that never sits still!

Reading: Just started a Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. So far so good, but I'm totally missing all of my favorite characters from the first 3 books.

I'm loving this Currently post idea! Totally stole it from Katie.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Red wine pasta with herbs and toasted walnuts

You know what you need? More red wine in your life.

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See that purple pasta? That was normal pasta color before I cooked it. Before it got drunk on wine! I've actually wanted to try red wine pasta for a while now, but I never had the heart to use a bottle for cooking. I gotta say, it hurt my heart a little to do it. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? That I'm a mega alchy? That I'm totally cheap? Yeah, probably both. I made it through though, and I am SO glad I did. This pasta is bold and rich, and yet the wine taste is really subtle.

I don't usually make Jerdy dinner. We usually do the whole 'one person does dishes while the other cooks' dance around dinnertime. Then Jeopardy time. But, he's been working his man booty off at work with overtime. I treated him to a night off. I felt so romantic serving him this "fancy" meal! I think he was more blown away than he should have been. Along with actual wine glasses (which never happens at our house!) at the dining room table. Wow. What a night!

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Inspired by Food and Wine
Makes: 4 servings
Hands on time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 mins

5 cups water
3 1/4 cups red wine (a little over a bottle), I used House Wine Red
3/4 lb twisty pasta or penne
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
1 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Bring the water, 3 cups of wine, and a large serving of salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the noodles, and cook according to package directions. Before straining, reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid.

In your large pot, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper, and some salt and pepper. Let cook for about 30 seconds, trying not to burn the garlic. Add the remaining wine and the reserved pasta liquid and bring to a light boil. Add the pasta and cook for a few minutes until the liquid is almost absorbed. Stir in the herbs, nuts, and 1 cup of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the remaining olive oil and cheese.

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Well, these drunk noodles are pretty tasty. Not sure when I'll make them again, since I'd rather drink the wine than eat it. Just being honest here. :)

Happy weekend everyone!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Thoughts on being 32

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32 has been a different year for me than I expected. I went into it thinking I would have a year of leisure, after planning a wedding so much in 31 and getting married. I thought 32 would be a year long bbq on the deck. Not so much though. My head has been filling with ideas about the future, and how I just can't sit on my ass and hope it will show up anymore. Thoughts of career changes, equity, children, family, traditions, and taking steps to make my midlife a happy one. And you know what? I'm ready for it.

It seems like so long ago, and yet just yesterday when the thought of the future freaked my shit out. Maybe it was the wedding. Maybe it was coming out of a funk after quitting my chosen career path and starting over. Maybe it's just, you know, getting older. But, I embrace the idea now. I actually can't wait to be settled into the life I want, which ironically enough, is love, family, security, happiness, all that good stuff. Man, if only my 22 year old self could read this. She'd hate me! So much can change in 10 years I suppose.

Jared and I are talking about big changes in the next year. We're planning to move away from Seattle, somewhere we can live comfortably without breaking the bank. There are a few business ideas being tossed around, and I think we are actually going to make them happen. We decided that after the holidays this year, we are going to stop "trying not" to have children. Maybe not actively trying, but we are going to let go of all that birth control.

Scary stuff? It's really not anymore. I can't believe I feel this way, but it all excites me more than freaks me out. Turns out, domesticated life sounds pretty fulfilling. My switch has been switched.

So 32, here you are. I tried to avoid you like the plague my entire life, but you found me. You've brought some extra wrinkles around my eyes, and even a few gray hairs. But you've also brought a sense of calm that I've never felt before. So, thank you 32.

Guess I'm a mature lady now! Psych.

Cheers to 32 friends!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Strawberry red wine sangria

Guys, it's fucking strawberry season.

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The sun has been shining and Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever has been blasting! I could make a joke about how I'm free fallin, but I won't. Or maybe I just did! "Yer so bad." OK, I'll stop.

 WAAAAY too long ago Jennifer requested that I make a cocktail with red wine. Well, here it is Jennifer! A super red winey but springy cocktail. In the form of sangria. I love love love sangria. With red wine, it becomes the perfect spring cocktail. Not too summery, not too wintery. Just right. The day I made these it just happened to be like, 70 freakin degrees out. No joke! We threw our hands up in the air, forgot our chores, and drank on the deck. "Yer so bad." OhmygodI'msorry. (Hardcore Full Moon Fever fans, you know what I'm talkin bout! Best song eva.)

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Makes: 8 glasses
Hands on time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins + overnight

1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1 bottle red wine
1/2 bottle champagne
Whole strawberries, for garnish

Stir together the strawberries and sugar, and stab the strawberries with a fork until the juices release. About 20 seconds. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Place strawberries in a large pitcher and fill with the red wine. Stir well and let sit overnight in the fridge.

Give a good stir, and add the champagne. Serve immediately with ice and strawberry garnish.

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Hope you like this Jennifer!

Happy spring people.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vanilla honey

I'm going to admit something. Here goes. I've never been on a diet. Not really. Not a real one anyways. I've tried counting calories, working out, eating a lot of salad, but never ever ever have I been on a diet. I hate that word. It's pure evil to me. It just tells me what I can and cannot do, and I have always had a problem with authority. But....... after 32 years, I need to change something up. My "fat" jeans just keep becoming my "skinny" jeans.

This April I decided to not go on a diet, but work on balance. Balance my sugar and caffeine addiction with healthier foods and drinks, balance my couch time with movement, balance my work with play.

Here are my major goals for April:

Get moving: Just 20 minutes, 4 times a week.
Cut out sugar from my morning coffee, no soda, and no candy from the register at my work.
Read at bedtime rather than messing around on my phone.
Drink enough water

I am a total soda fiend. I have been since I was a kid. I am cutting that shit out. I love it, but god I hate it too. Surprisingly, this has been the easiest to get around. I am finding the bedtime phone time the hardest to let go of. Guess I'm more addicted to computers to sugar.

To balance, I am allowing myself as much honey as I want. YESSSSSS! I know, I know. This is not exactly the lowest in calories. But, balance friends..... not that evil diet remember?! First, I'll cut out the processed, refined sugar, then I'll work on not eating too much of a good thing.  Baby steps.

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I've fallen for raw honey in a great way. The benefits are extraordinary. We went through about a jar a week over the winter drinking Korean honey tea, which at this point is a wonderful jam like substance. Just as it should be. I intend to use it over the summer for iced tea. It will be incredible, and just as sweet and delicious as iced tea with refined sugar.

We made a big chili feast for the Game of Thrones premier, and of course, to us, that meant cornbread and honey HAD to be a side. The next day, we had a ton of cornbread leftover. It was screaming for some sweet honey on it. So, I infused some with vanilla.

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Makes: 1 cup
Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

1 cup raw, unfiltered honey
1 vanilla bean, cut in half

In a small saucepan, warm the vanilla and honey over low heat. Stir often, to avoid letting the honey boil. Heat for about 10 minutes, or until the vanilla has infused the honey with as much vanilla flavor as you like. Take of heat and pour into a clean glass jar with the vanilla beans. Let cool, and serve with cornbread, yogurt, granola, tea, whatever you like with honey.

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Totally delicious.

If I reach my goals this month, Jerdy and I are going out for a lunch, with burgers, fries, and cherry coke. My hope is that I find it way too sweet, but if not, just one a month is success in my book right now.

Any suggestions for taking baby steps toward balance? Any April goals? I'd love to hear them!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Classic beef and bean chili

Dudes. GAME OF THRONES! I totally nerded out on it on Sunday. We made a slow cooked batch of chili and watched the last 4 episodes of season 3 before the premier started. I am so pumped for this season. If you've read A Storm of Swords, you know what I'm talkin bout!

This chili was absolutely the shit. It made the night just that much better.

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Serves: 10
Hands on time: 30 mins
Total time: 3.5 hours + overnight

12 oz dry red beans
36 oz water
2 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2inch pieces
2 Tbp olive or canola oil, divided
1 large poblano chile, seeded and finely diced
1 serrano chile, finely diced (leave seeds in)
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 red anaheim chile, seeded and finely diced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced
12 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tbsp ancho chile powder, divided
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
42 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
3 cups beef broth
2 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper

Optional (but not really) for garnish:
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
sliced radish

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Place dry red beans in the water and let soak overnight on the counter.

Take beef out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Place beans in a large soup pot and set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and place half in the skillet. Brown the meat, about 5 minutes, and transfer to the pot with the beans. Repeat with remaining beef.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in the skillet. Add the chiles, peppers, and garlic. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1Tbsp chile powder, cumin, and coriander. Cook until dry, about 2 minutes, scraping browned bits.

Transfer to soup pot with the beef and beans. Add all of the remaining ingredients through salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low until beans are soft and meat is very tender, about 2.5 hours. Take the lid off of the pot, and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until chili thickens. Take off heat, and serve with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, radish, and a large serving of cornbread with butter and honey.

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The smoked paprika is really the shining star! This is absolutely my new go-to chili recipe. So homey and perfect for Sunday supper with some wine and some good R rated HBO.

Who is your fave GOT character?! Tyrion? Arya? Joffrey (NOOOOOOOO!)?

Have a good Wednesday guys,


Sunday, April 6, 2014

7 recipes to try this spring

Guys, I am so happy spring is in the air. The signs of life, the layered clothes, the ability to stay awake after work because it's still light out. Most of all though, the natural good mood that spring comes along with. Actually WANTING to do stuff! Oh man, I'm so ready for that feeling.

Each spring I get a bit obsessed with the abundance of new produce that comes my way. Last year, it was rhubarb. This year, it's gonna be radishes. I can already tell. I've fallen in love with those spicy little crunchies.

Here are some recipes to get you into that spring mood!

Brighten up your pasta with arugula pistachio pesto

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Old fashioned rhubarb soda float. SO GOOD!

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Rhubarb iced tea. This stuff seriously knocked my socks off. A yearly tradition around these parts I think.

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Herby, limey marinated mozzerella

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Vegan dijon and edamame potato salad

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Homemade moscow mule. Nectar of the gods

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Grow your own black bean sprouts

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These little spermy lookin things were AWESOME! Perfect for salads or just a snack.

We've got a nephew waiting to show up, and are planning a little weekend with him once he is born. Many spring walks with Mrs. Roll, and happy hours after work I'm sure. And radishes. Lots of radishes.

What are you planning this spring?

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