Entries from September 2013

52 Dishes: 21-25

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Who am I kidding, I’m not going by weeks anymore, I’m just going by number of dishes. This past couple of weeks I have either been cooking two to three things in one night or not cooking for days. It’s a constant battle. Feast or famine. But don’t worry, I’m not actually starving, just not cooking anything new.

For 21-25 I decided to post the pictures of how it should look first. I have pictures of how mine looked but they were not as good for a couple of reasons 1) because I took them with a cell phone at night in a poorly lit kitchen 2) because I changed some of the recipes a bit (sometimes a lot) and 3) sometimes I just didn’t even take a picture.

With that being said, here are dishes 21 through 25.

(top to bottom starting left)
1. Penne Bake with Spinach and Tomatoes /// This recipe is the one that I completely changed. It called for diced or something tomatoes, I nixed that and put in Prego meat sauce instead. While sauteing the onions and the spinach I did not add paprika and instead of garlic I used garlic salt. Can you see where I am going with this? I did the lazy version. Best part? It turned out tasting pretty good. 
2. Broccoli Pasta Salad /// I don’t think I changed this recipe too much. It was relatively easy to make, but here’s where the confession comes in… I didn’t eat more than a couple bites. Not due to taste, the couple bites I did have tasted alright, but more because I already had dinner before I made this and then the next day at work I had carne asada fries and then went shopping at Target after work and I just didn’t trust the dish after it had been in my car for the duration of my shopping trip. I might try to make it again someday, or I might buy the Souplantation version they sell at costco. 
3. Melissa’s Overnight Baked French Toast /// This is not my first baked french toast. Some might call this cheating, I call it doing what I want because it’s my project. This is a different version of baked french toast though I didn’t like it as much as the first one. Not because Melissa didn’t have a good thing going, she did, just because I didn’t let it sit long enough and I’m pretty sure my bread should have been a little more stale. I still ate it all though.
4. S’mores treats /// I made these as a thank you for letting me stay at your place. They were delicious. There are several variations of how to make them. Some have you melt the marshmallows and the chocolate together, I melted the marshmallows in a pan, poured them over golden grahams in a different pan, mixed it and while the mixture was still hot mixed in chocolate chips. They melted and it was good.
5. Cool Southwestern Salad /// I have no picture for this which I realized when starting this post. I made the dressing at night, the same night as the broccoli pasta salad to be exact, and then had the rest of the ingredients ready to cut and put in a little tupperware with lettuce. I get to work and try to eat it and find that there was far to much cumin in the dressing. Maybe I didn’t half the recipe in my head quite right. I wouldn’t be surprised, I’ve made many a cooking mistake that way. Either way, I’m sure it would have been tasty had my dressing been good. Oh well. Onto the next. 
(unflattering photograph of Southwestern Salad not shown) 
Thoughts about this project: I think I need to be a little more intentional here and slow down a bit. When I am cooking I am usually doing at least two things and once whether it is making a tuna fish sandwich and trying to make a cookie dough or watching Julie and Julia while making pasta salad. I want to spend more time with the recipes, maybe not read them off my phone that always goes to sleep in between ingredients. Maybe read the recipe in its entirety before starting, prepping as I need to. Maybe writing changed measurements down if I am cutting it in half or even thirds and not just winging it.
The truth is, I’m not good with exacts when it comes to cooking, and I’m quite picky. I don’t want to have to find a specific kind of tomato for a casserole when I can get some meat tasting tomato sauce and have something I know I like. But I think from here on out, even if I don’t make it to 52 dishes, I’m going to give what I do make a little more of my attention. Enjoy the process, not just speed my way through to the finished dish.
Do you have any suggestions for what I cook next? Go easy on me, I’m still learning.

Checklist for Fall

Monday, September 23, 2013

As of yesterday it is officially Fall! I can go ahead and feel okay getting myself a pumpkin spice latte now or making pumpkin bread or anything pumpkin for the next couple of months! Besides ingesting all things pumpkin I’m planning on making some other Fall memories, maybe starting some traditions. Who knows! All I need is the weather to comply with the calendar. I’m really excited though, this year I will see a real Fall when I visit Nashville in October! Very excited for that.

This Fall I endeavor (look how I brought that back) to:
– visit a pumpkin patch and go through a corn maze
– go to a haunted house
– make caramel apples
celebrate Dia de los Muertos
– run in colored leaves
– drink tea frequently (once it’s actually cool enough to do so)
wear scarves
– go on a hayride
visit Julian
– picnic at a park
go to a Farmer’s Market
– pet a black cat or two
– invest in one two good flannel shirt(s), pair of cowboy boots and pair of long wool boot socks
make some pumpkin dish (pretty much a given)


image links: steaming cupcaramel appleslayered lookleavespumpkins, house

Summer’s End

Monday, September 23, 2013


The summer weather isn’t quite done here in San Diego, but my mind is definitely gearing up for fall. School supplies have been on display at Target for weeks and pumpkin collections are showing up at the grocery store. I’ve seen tweets and status updates about Pumpkin Spice everything and I am definitely ready.

Before saying hello to fall though, it’s time to say a little goodbye to summer.

My main goal for the summer this year was to enjoy it. That meant going places I wanted to go, spending time with friends, feeling the sun and to making memories so that when Fall came I wasn’t left wondering where the heck another season went.

I had some ideas of things I wanted to do, some specifically summer oriented, others that have been on various to-do lists for some time. The summer list looked a little like this:

go to a Farmer’s Market
have a girls night of drinks, laughs, possibly crafts and snacks
go to a country bar and line dance
Sea World
Del Mar Fair
road trip
find organization to donate to monthly
beach day
swim with sharks
drive in movie
I added things like:
bungee jumping
celebrating my sister’s 21st birthday
eating lots of hamburgers 
Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track
While I didn’t complete everything, I did most of the items that required the summer for completion. I’ll probably put picnic, drive in movie and Farmer’s Market on my Fall list. I mean, why not? 
I’m so glad I made a list for summer though, and then followed through on making sure I did things. 
Swimming with the sharks and bungee jumping pushed my fear boundaries, celebrating my sister’s 21st made me happy and also made me feel a little old, sitting by two bonfires brought a comforting smell to the season and the road trip at the beginning gave me time to practice gratitude. 
I’m really liking the more intentional way of seasons. I don’t need a monthly list, but one that spans three or so. I’m hoping this Fall to create more memories and feel little pieces of time more completely.
What was on your summer list?

*Image in top right corner is by Brian Witkin, the rest are taken by me

Lovely Links

Friday, September 20, 2013

I put this post together ages ago and forgot about it. But I’m going to post it for this week’s links because I still love all of them.

Now that I know I want to be a morning person I’m going to keep referring back to this. (a very lot)

While we’re on the subject… I love reading descriptions of other peoples’ morning routines

Day to day, are you a spring, a sponge or a stone

Simple triggers to rewire or create new habits

A read to help motivate when I look at my credit card balance

Daily Polaroid project… I wonder if she has tons of old film or enough money to support the project. awesome.

How to Change Your Life… hint, slowly but surely

Time to start writing my Future Resume

“…being grateful and wanting more are not mutually exclusive concepts.”


the thing about mirrors

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mirrors are a funny thing, and I’m not just talking about the ones made of glass, I’m talking about anything you find yourself reflected in… glass, water, security camera at a store, shiny door knob, or even someone else’s actions.
Each mirror shows you something a little different, each one takes the light and reflects it back differently. Sometimes our shape is distorted, sometimes we wish the image was distorted but it’s quite true to reality… sometimes we are surprised with what we see and sometimes (all the time) what we see is altered quickly in our minds before it can reach our conscious thought.

I was thinking about this today, when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the way to the bathroom, not bad, I thought, surprisingly not bad. And then later, when I looked up to see a security camera view of me glaring back, bags under the eyes deep… ew. And then not thirty minutes later walking up the stairs in my dad’s house, looking straight into the enormous mirror that is at the landing… again, pleasantly surprised, especially after seeing the mess that was the security camera view.

Despite the fact that I didn’t always like how I looked, I have secretly always liked mirrors. I’m not sure what it is about them. Maybe it’s the way it reflects a part of reality to me, because when I’m not looking in a mirror I have very little clue of what I look like. The concept, the picture of what my face might look like escapes me as soon as I lose sight of a reflection. I go on what people mirror back. But that’s not always safe. What people mirror back to you, about you, is often twisted and turned around by their thoughts, if they know you then those things affect the reflection, if they don’t know you then what’s going on in their life affects the reflection.

Is that why so many people are into taking selfies now. Ha, the word selfie is ridiculous, but the thought is serious. What got us caught up in taking pictures of ourselves in mirrors? What got us taking pictures of ourselves with our cameras and phones? What made it necessary for phones to have a camera on the front and the back?! Am I in the majority of people who just keep forgetting how they look and so they need reminders? Do we need them as proof on the days where our hair just isn’t sitting right or the laundry isn’t done so it’s baggy butt jeans and a shirt that just isn’t right?
I think these kinds of things can be easily mistaken for vanity. Taking pictures of oneself and posting it to the web. But is it really? Is it just a search for attention? Not desperate, but just a little pick me up. A yeah, you do look good in that picture girl. Go you. I really don’t know. Some people make money off of their face, and that’s awesome. But are they sitting there thinking their face is great or are they questioning it just like the rest of us?

I don’t think I’m going anywhere special with this. Just a thought process I had that needed to get out. Something about reality and how we can be so far from it when we are trapped in our own mind. Or how far I can be from how things really look when trapped in mine. I forget how I look on the outside, how others might find this shell pretty or nice to look at because I am constantly in the trenches of my mind dealing with the not so pretty, the not so aesthetically pleasing. I’m not saying I’m ugly on the inside, I’m just saying it’s messy, and feels nothing like my reflection looks. Do most people operate from deeper inside their head? Do they have an idea of what they look like? Do they ever lose that image?

I’m trying hard to remember reflections, and when they are from other people, not to get too caught up in them. Take it, process, move on.


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