Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I got a wild hair and put on Christmas music the other day (which I usually don't like) and decorated my house.  Everything seems so early this year since Thanksgiving was earlier than usual - seems like the weekend after Thanksgiving is usually the first weekend in December but not this time. I have never been this far along by the end of November.  Kind of nice for a change. I am trying to embrace the holiday's this year. I have had too many bummer holidays to be honest. Here is a sneak peak - not too much this year, but enough to make it seem like the holidays. Not so great photo of my wee tree, it was dark in the room and I didn't want the flash used.
My vintage skaters had to go up, every year I must have them to honor my Aunt Mary who was so kind to give them to me - I even put up the lights!
I love my kitchen shelves that my Dad put in, they are a great place to stash little holiday things.
I even was motivated enough to swap out my dishes...yes, I have holiday dishes.  I don't get them out every year, but wanted a change so I did it this year.
Nothing says your old like bringing up boxes of decorations from the basement and putting them back down there once you have taken out what you want to use. For those of you who have seen it, I have a tiny staircase to my basement that curls on the way down which is a little scary when you are carrying things. But I did it! Phew!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving.
I hope you all had a great day.
Small and simple here at our house since Tim had to work.

I didn't keep gluten free but I did stay vegan and it was super yummy.
Here is a sneak peak...started off making a pumpkin pie on Wednesday night.
Still had the baking bug, so I made some rosemary rolls - this recipe plus rosemary salt on top (mix 50/50 salt and rosemary with a mortar and pestle).



Then came the real food - I decided to make stuffing and added sauteed onion, celery, apple and kale.
I also made some cheezy garlic mashed potato casserole, steamed green beans and veggie gravy. Oh, don't forget the cranberries.  I love this meal so much, I could have it every day!
Hope you all had some great food and fellowship.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

To all of the Veteran's out there - Thank you for your service and Welcome Home!
My Dad during his time in Vietnam.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

GFV Gingerbread


GFV Gingerbread
Modified from Jim Fobel's recipe called Grandma's Gingerbread.
Preheat oven to 350

::  2 Cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
::  1 tsp Xanthan gum (imperative in GF baking)
::  1 tsp Baking Soda
::  1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
::  1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
::  1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
::  1/2 tsp Salt
::  5 Tbls Earth Balance (vegan butter) - melted and cooled to room temp.
::  1/3 Cup Honey (I still eat honey - I'll never stop)
::  Ener-G Egg Replacer equal to one egg (mix together and set aside)
::  2/3 Cup Dark Molasses
::  3/4 Cup Almond Milk

Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan (9x9 preferred, I used 8x8 and it needed a little more time baking).
In a bowl sift together all dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat together melted butter, honey, egg and molasses.
With a spoon, stir in the dry ingredients into the wet alternating with the milk - starting and ending with the dry.  Just stir until blended like a cake, you don't want to over mix or it will be tough.
Turn batter into baking pan, smooth the top to make even and bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.  If you use a deeper pan (like I did) you may need to add 5-7 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.
Serve warm with your favorite topping - whipped topping, nondairy ice cream, whatever tickles you fancy.

Friday, November 09, 2012

MIA Strikes Again!

Oh Boy have I got to catch up!
I do think about this blog every day, I just don't ever get to it.  I know I have done this before. I think when things get hectic, this is the first thing I cut off my to do list. It all started with Manic Monday disappearing and then my posts all together...eeeek.  I am not comfortable with long silences so I will try to pick back up where I left off.  Like old friends, you can pick up where you left off without any hard feelings, right?
What have I been up to?  Well, I am taking the second part of my memoir class (started in October and ends in March) and have been writing a LOT.  This has really taken away from blog time for sure but I am making progress and can't wait until I can announce that I got a book deal (thinking positive here).
My day job has also kept me very busy as of late with expense reconciliation, video editing, blog postings (another blog), presentations, meeting planning, travel booking, etc. - basically all of the things that come along with assisting an executive who travels all the time who I never get to see plus some extras.  I really like my boss and that is important when there is a ton to work to do.
Keeping house as much as I can.  Now that my living room and kitchen have been painted I am a bit obsessed with keeping them as tidy as I can, but don't have a lot of time. I think need an assistant myself!  Hey, how do I get an intern?
Anyway, I have been making some pretty good food to fill my belly and stick to my bones (as my Mom would say) during my long working days.
Here are a couple of my favorites:

Greek Tomato Roasted Potatoes
Preheat oven to 350
:: 2 lbs of potatoes (cut into wedges)
:: 2 large tomatoes (or the equivalent)
:: 1/2 large onion
:: 4 Tbls Olive Oil
:: Salt and Pepper
:: 1 tsp Dried Oregano - rub between hands and sprinkle on top
(toss together the above ingredients in a deep baking dish)
Place baking dish on middle rack and pour 2 Cups of water down the side of the pan, as not to disrupt everything too much.  Jiggle the pan a bit to make sure water covers the bottom and bake for about an hour and 30 minutes until most of the water is soaked up and potatoes are golden brown.  Turn the potatoes every so often while cooking so they don't stick on the bottom. My potatoes got nice and creamy inside and were deeeelish.
I will have just this for a meal and be totally happy!  Fry up leftovers in a skillet with breakfast and you are good to go. Potatoes can do no wrong in my book.
Before:
After:

Tim has been working most evenings so we don't have dinner together much anymore so I try to make things that are easy for him to reheat as well (without a microwave).  I made this soup last week - recipe here. I didn't use the crock pot though since peas cook so fast. I also wanted more green so I added an entire 1 lb bag of organic frozen spinach - yumm.
No matter how inundated with projects I get, I do feel it is super important to fill myself with good, wholesome food.  This is the time of year we almost always have soup (with leftovers in the freezer) and some sort of beans going on the stove top or crock pot.  Yumm.

As busy as life is (and let's face it, no one is busier than anyone else these days), I am a true believer in taking time for myself whether it be for a nap, writing or cooking (which mellows me out). I no longer give myself a bad time about it either. Life is too short. If I can't be good to myself, how can I be good for anyone else. Right?

This little cutie reminds me to take breaks as well and gets me out walking a couple times day which I love!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Uncanny



The hands, the hair, the attitude.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Blinds

So, we got new blinds when my parents were here painting our apartment and I have to say, I love them!  They are super easy to clean and look great however, I didn't know they would also double as a cat sling.  BayLee seems to love them too and when he can't seem to hold his arm or head up anymore, he just rests it on a slat and falls asleep. Ridiculous and probably not what my Dad was thinking when he hung them.



Summer's Official End

Korra hanging by the fire pit at the Beach House

This year, the annual Beach House Weekend marked the end of summer. Since then, there has been a chill to the air which makes me walk a little faster.  The smell of fireplaces in the neighborhood perfume the evening air when I walk Korra and leaves are starting to dry and carpet the harsh cement my feet walk upon.

Beach House this year was 3 couples and we had a wonderful time!  This was the first time boys were allowed and we may have to start something new.  They made us gals dinner on Sunday night and it was terrific.  Between baseball, drinks and wonderful food the weekend could not be beat.  Here are some photos.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Beach Weekend

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Holy Caftan Batman

I love a good caftan, not the kind Mrs Roper used to wear on Three's Company but the very stylish beaded, Middle Eastern type.  I love the flowing fabric and the air of mystery they possess. I can hear men whispering...what do you think she looks like under that fantastic dress?
Check out these lovelies I just came across while checking out the latest from fashion week.
These are from Naeem Khan Ready to Wear Spring 2013 - check out his show here.
All photos from style.com.





Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thoughts on Music


You know music can move you in a way that comes from nowhere? Like one moment you are fine, then a certain song plays and you are down on the ground?
It happens to me all the time when working with my headphones on and I hear something beautiful, touching or timely.

I am wondering if musicians are ever moved by their own music? 
Like when I am writing, sometimes it just takes over and I don't even digest what I am writing until I am done and read what I wrote and at times it can be emotional – do you think musicians work the same way?

Anyway – just on my mind this morning and thought I would tap your brains. I am listing to some beautiful guitar music this morning and it is so moving and I wonder how the musician can even stand to play it without crying.  I just wonder if their creative process is the same as that of another artist or writer where the music takes over and then after they are like – WOW.

Thank you Wendy for encouraging me to post this when I emailed you this very thing a while back.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Post fashion week, thought I would use something fresh off the runway.
Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2013

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Fitted and Fun

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Obsessed

I am kind of obsessed with this little girl.  We are working hard on her school stuff (she is scared of other dogs so walks have been a LOT of work). We are walking three times a day and I am working her like a drill sargent so I thought I would reward her with a new toy.  Once I saw this cow I knew she would love it.  From the moment I pulled it out of the bag she dragged it around like her little buddy.  So cute.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
Pretty Little Kitty

Friday, September 07, 2012

Chana Dal Remixed

I make Chana Dal a lot at home, I love the smell, the spices, the warmth and zen of the entire process of cooking it and it makes me feel so good inside.  The other night (it was cold), I decided to mix it up and add some potatoes and kale and it was out of this world.
Here is an update to my old recipe, which I made a bit smaller since the original makes a lot. I also made it on the stove top this time around (click here to view the original version).

Chana Dal Remixed
1 1/2 Cups Chana Dal - (Indian style yellow split peas - Lentils also will work here)
4 1/2 Cups of Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander
1/8-1/4 tsp Cayenne (depending on how hot you want it, you can start small and add more later, I like it HOT so 1/4 tsp did the trick!)
3 medium carrots diced
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small mild red pepper, diced
8 small potatoes (mine were the size of large marshmallows) - just eye ball it
1 bunch of tuscan kale (take the rib out), chopped

Heat heavy bottom pot hot enough that water skids and dances across the bottom of the pot.  Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add garlic and other spices and mix together, add carrot, red pepper, dal and water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer for about an hour until the dal is just about done (el dente). Add potatoes and continue to simmer until potatoes are cooked. You may need to add more water at this point if your dal is too thick with the addition of the potatoes, I added about one additional cup of water. When potatoes are soft, add kale and cook about 5 more minutes until kale is soft but not super limp. Scoop into your favorite bowl and enjoy! 

Gluten Free Pancakes...FINALLY!

I cannot even tell you how many batches of pancakes I have made in the past month or so, trying desperately to perfect gluten free pancakes that actually taste good and are not too gummy.
I think I have done it!
Here is my recipe if you are gluten free, vegan, no oil, no sugar - these should make you happy and if they don't, well, I don't really want to hear about it.

GFV* Banana Oat Hotcakes
1 1/4 Cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1/2 Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 ripe Bananas

All ingredients besides the bananas should go into your blender or food processor (whichever has more power). Blend until smooth. Add bananas (break into pieces before adding) mix again until smooth.

I pour this right from the blender container onto a hot griddle. I will admit to spraying the griddle with some cooking spray, I was scared they would stick even though I had the griddle screamin' hot!

This recipe makes about 16-20 pancakes (depending on size) enough for breakfast and some left over for a snack later...who am I kidding? We ate ALL of them between the two of us!

*Gluten Free Vegan.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

3 Days of Sky and a Slide

Took these above photos from the overlook in my neighborhood the past three days and it is amazing how much the sky changes.  This is one of my favorite places to walk Korra these days; there and back is just about enough for my couch-potato-of-a-dog who would rather lounge on the couch and eat bon bons while watching Real Housewives of New York over going to the dog park. Yesterday we went up the many sets of stairs across the street from this overlook (about 2 blocks worth of pure uphill) and when we got to the top, we took a slide down part way - how fun! Korra seemed to like coming down the slide on Tim's lap, but I think she was hoping for more speed, she likes wind in her hair. Of course, I had to have her pose for a photo afterwards. 

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