Friday, December 26, 2008

There's got to be a morning after...

Day after Christmas. We have a lot of cleaning to do and errands to run, but instead we are eating a late lunch and fooling around on Facebook. Very productive.

Christmas Dinner

Steph worked on Christmas day, but after her shift ended, we went over to Alex's place to have Christmas dinner with her and her mom. There was so much delicious food. We ate ourselves into a tizzy and then collapsed in a food coma. We had a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, broccoli with this amazing lemon dijon sauce over it, gravy, and Steph's famous brownies for dessert. We also drank a fair amount of wine, of course. It was a wonderful evening.

Christmas Gift!

Isn't she beautiful? I've named her Matilda! Alex got me an iPod shuffle for Christmas. Steph got me a Nikon D80 (I have wanted a digital SLR for a few years now, so I am seriously psyched about this), but the shipment got delayed, so it's arriving on December 30th. That's ok, I am willing to wait for my precious. Anyhoo, I have already loaded Matilda up with lots of great music for working out to. I heart her!

Steph's first race!

Steph ran her first race! It was a 5k called the Figgy Pudding Fun Run. The race took place in Fells Point, which is a really historic neighborhood in Baltimore with cobblestone streets and such. She did a great job and I a super proud of her. For Christmas she got new running shoes from Falls Road Running Store, along with a face mask to keep her head warm and some wool socks for her footies.

This is a picture of Steph and Alex after the race. When they finished, we went over to Kooper's Pub, where they each got a free pint of Guinness for running the race.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And what have we here?

My grandparents are in New Mexico with my Uncle Michael for Thanksgiving this year and I'm not going out to Arizona to see my parents until Christmas, so we are having a small Thanksgiving festivity tomorrow (instead of Thursday, because Alex is working). It's just going to be us and Alex. I thought about just making a turkey breast, but a whole turkey is so much more fun. Steph has even consented to eat meat! I put the turkey in a bucket to brine it and the cats were hilarious about it. They came over and tried to swat at it and then when we put it out in the backyard they threw themselves up against the glass door, attempting to get outside and claim their turkey prize. I will give them the giblets tomorrow after I use them to make gravy, because I am kind and generous like that.

Where did the boardwalk go??!?!

They are doing construction on the boardwalk and it was funny to just see nothing where the boardwalk used to be. It was like everything was fine and normal and then suddenly-- nothing.

Yay Alex!!!!

I am 2 for 2 now with supporting Alex with her long distance running. This time Steph and I both went out to Rehoboth to support her. It was awesome to see her cross the finish line. I took a few shots of her running and this is one of them. She is so inspirational and I love watching the marathons because there is so much positive energy in the air and even though it is a solitary sport, it seems like the runners truly support one another. It's a lot of fun to watch.

25 degrees and snowing at the beach...

After WV, we drove to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware to spend a few days with Alex and to support her in running the Rehoboth Seashore Half marathon. It was a good time, even though it snowed the first day and it was seriously cold the entire time. Seeing snow at the beach was an interesting experience. Here is a picture of Steph and I on the boardwalk.

Are you a pet?

I think this picture is funny because of the sign in the background. We went to Lost River state park and saw a small family of deer, a mama and two babies. They were so adorable. I love their little white tails!

Lost River Modern

Our stay at the Lost River Modern cabin in West Virginia was wonderful-- just what we needed. We barely left the cabin because it was so comfortable. It was nice (and addictive) to have TV for a few days. Every so often it's a fun luxury. The decor was modern, but not stark and uncomfortable. In fact, the couch in the living room upstairs was probably the most comfortable I've ever sat in. The area is seriously rural and gorgeous. We will definitely return.

Cheap Gas

We stopped in Front Royal, VA to get gas on our way to the Lost River Modern cabin in West Virginia. I was shocked that gas was so cheap there-- excited too, of course!


Atwater's is our favorite spot for lunch. They always have the best soups. Even things that sound strange on the menu end up being delicious. On this day, I had a bowl of gumbo...mmm mmm good...I truly enjoy making soup at home, but I think gumbo is a little too involved for a home endeavor.

Rubber Band Ball

Behold! This is, quite obviously, my rubber band ball. I have nursed it from a single rubber band into the small ball you see in the photo. We don't get rubber bands too often, but when we do, I like to add them to my ball, because I am weird and these inane things amuse me. One day I hope it will be the size of a softball. It's good to have goals, you know. Narf narf.

Oh Iron Hill, how I love thee

So, a few weeks back we went to Delaware for a funeral with Alex. We decided to stop at Iron Hill for lunch on the way home. It was just as delicious as I remembered it. The nachos were PERFECT-- just the right amount of cheese, evenly distributed cheese, fresh jalapenos, delicious guacamole, and fresh chips. You would think it's easy to get excellent nachos, but alas, it just is not true. Alex and I also shared some wings. I only eat wings at Iron Hill because they just suck everywhere else. Steph and I have this crazy idea to get a hotel room in Delaware this year for the Superbowl because that way we can watch the game (which we can't do at home because we don't have a TV) and have the perfect wings (which we can't have anywhere but in Delaware).

Friday, November 14, 2008


Do try to contain your jealousy...I know it will be difficult. On Tuesday, we will be driving to Lost River, WV (apparently a gay enclave and DC weekend destination-- who knew) to go here. Check out the website for some serious furniture and modern architecture eye candy. Mmmm, yeah.

So, we'll be staying there for 3 nights, relaxing and enjoying our time alone together in the woods. After that, we'll drive back to Baltimore, pick up Alex, and head to Rehoboth. Alex is running the Rehoboth Marathon (she's not running the whole thing, just half) and we are going to show our support for her. We'll be staying in Rehoboth with her until Monday. Yay for vacation!!!

Other travel plans in the works include a visit to Scottsdale to see my parents for Christmas and a trip to Portland and Seattle in February with Alex.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Foliage as seen from the window

One of the better aspects of this apartment is that there are trees visible from every window. It makes living in the city more palatable, I think. Here is some lovely fall foliage as viewed from our den. This year I've noticed that a lot of the trees don't seem to really notice that it's Fall. For example, you can see a bright red tree in the background of this photo, but the Maple is still green. I always though Maples were one of the first trees to color in the Fall. Perhaps I was wrong-- anyone have any thoughts?

P.S- Happy Halloween, one and all!
P.P.S- to my Philadelphia friends and readers, big congrats on the Philles winning the World Series. You must all be so proud!

2 Kitty Lumps

I could, and perhaps should, have a photo blog devoted entirely to Winston and Louis. Here they are in one of their favorite napping spots. We got the throw on top of the sofa at the big closing sale of Linens N Things. It was very exciting, because I've wanted this particular throw for a while, but was unwilling to spend the $79 to buy it. But at 75% off, I simply could not resist! I have to say, there are some good aspects to the horrible economy-- the closing sale of Linens N Things, the fact that I saw gas yesterday at Belvedere Square for 2.29/gallon...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stock (that's actually worth something)

I love to make stock-- it is such a good way to get rid of scraps. I don't compost here, but I do save my veggie scraps and stuff in the fridge or the freezer to make stock out of them later. Here I used the tops of some leeks, the tops of fennel, one parsnip, part of a bag of leftover shredded carrots, one full carrot with the greens still attached, a chicken carcass leftover from a rotisserie chicken I bought last weekend, and the rind of a bacon slab I bought from the Farmer's Market last weekend. Why did I add this unusual ingredient (the bacon slab rind)? Because I can and because everything tastes better with the essence of bacon added to it. Yup.

So the first picture here is the stock soon after I put it on the stove, and the second picture is the stock after having cooked for about three hours. Mmm, tasty. I shall freeze small cubes of stock for sauces, and make the rest into matzo ball soup, perhaps.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wild Mushroom Cobbler

Last night I made Wild Mushroom Cobbler. The recipe comes from The Vegetarian Epicure, which is a phenomenal cookbook. Basically, it is a mushroom ragout sort of base, which a buttermilk biscuit kind of topping. Mmm... My Mom used to make this for dinner for us when I was a kid, so I enjoy it quite a bit as it takes me back to the good ole days. It is kind of a pain in the ass to make (caramelizing onions for an hour, for example), but it is by no means a difficult recipe. I bought some assorted shrooms from the mushroom lady at the Farmer's Market this week, in anticipation of making this lovely meal. A salad accompanying it would have been lovely, but oh well, we had no lettuce in the house. Such is life.

Kitty Love

Winston loves Alex. He is not a lap cat in the slightest, but last night he climbed up on her lap and was content as could be. I think he likes her so much because she indulges him by allowing him to do weird things to her, like bite the zipper to her sweatshirt, gnaw on her hand, and so forth. Usually Steph and I swat him away when he does that kind of stuff, but she seems to find it amusing. I admit that I was kind of jealous that he sat on her lap for so long! Oh well, I know he loves me.

Me Wants!

I have to take pictures of books and things while I am out, otherwise I will completely forget about them. This is a book Alex has at her apartment. Apparently, it is a "bible of knitting patterns". Her words. If I want to get it though, I'll have to find it used on Amazon or something, as it is not currently in print.

Time for another fridge post!

It's that time again!!! I know how much you all love to sneak a peek into my fridge, so every few months I allow you the opportunity. Here we have some cold-press coffee, a lot of grass-fed dairy products from Natural By Nature, some green beans from the farmer's market in the bottom right corner, bananas that became banana bread, some pineapple, and Ace Hard Pear cider, among other things.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Grumble Grumble

So, Erin tagged me to do this, so I am going to be a good sport about it and pass it along. Why? Because I'm accommodating like that. You heard it here first. Here we go...

I’m not really sure how this works, but it is a virtual game of tag. Beth tagged me, and these are the instructions:

1-Link to your tagger and list the rules
**Erin never listed any rules, so I'm not doing it either.
2-List 5 random facts about yourself
3-Tag 5 people
4-If you’re tagged, play along and pass it on!

1. I require three pillows for sleeping...two for my head (one firm one, topped with a soft, squishy one), and the third one I hold while I sleep.

2. I deeply regret having never learned how to play a musical instrument.

3. My favorite dessert is coconut cake.

4. I don't generally like talking on the phone.

5. As a child, I had a pretty sweet sticker collection.

I am tagging:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crazy Nature

Two weeks ago I got these nifty flowers at the Waverly Farmer's Market. Up until yesterday, they appeared to just be prickly green orbs. BUT THEN, last night I walked by them and noticed they had transformed into these cottony wispy things! So cool looking and pretty! I had to throw them out though, because they were flying every which way. It reminded me of the time a few years ago when I bought pussy willow branches and after a while, they exploded all over the living room. Crazy...

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Today was the Baltimore Running Festival. Two of my friends, Alex and Rachel, ran the half-marathon. This was Alex's first ever half-marathon. Rachel has some marathon experience under her belt. I wanted to support them and cheer them on, and it was super easy because the running route went right down my street. So I parked myself on the curb and waited for them to come by. I only saw Alex (pictured above-- doesn't she look happy and healthy and awesome?!?!); not sure if I missed Rachel or if I came out to watch too late or went inside too early. Anyway, I was there in spirit, Rachel.

I am so proud of you both! You are two inspirational ladies, mmm'hmm, I tell ya what.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh Meat, how I miss you

I cooked up this here turkey sausage lasagna for Alex. She has some friends staying with her for a few days and I thought she would like something to feed all these guests of hers. I can't tell you how tempted I was to cut into this baby and keep a slice for myself. I miss eating meat at home. It felt weird to cook meat here. The only other time I've cooked meat in this apartment was one night about a month ago. I had an uncontrollable hankering for steak, so I went to Whole Foods and bought one. I do miss eating meat (I will eat it out, but that means no meat for a month for me...), but I do save a lot of money and it is nice to get the bulk of my groceries from local vendors at the weekly Farmer's Market.

I couldn't resist adding some veggies in here though, so I sauteed some carrots and spinach and folded them in to the ricotta mixture. I think this is a pretty well balanced meal. I made this recipe up as I went along, so hopefully it tastes as good as it looks.

Stephanie S. WINS!

The first day I moved into this apartment, I went to change the bulb in the dining room light fixture and then entire socket fell out. The landlord here is not so great about doing things, so Steph or I do them ourselves. We are handy like that. Steph has mad electrician skills. Here are some photos of the repair in progress. It took her about 4 hours to finish the task, but the results were well worth the effort.

Food from home 1 Month Challenge!

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am attempting to eat meals only at home for the next month.

I'm engaging in this experiment for several reasons:
1) I want to make an effort to eat primarily local produce
2) I love to cook and bake, but for the past few years have moved away from doing it on a consistent basis.
3) I am interested to see how much money I can save by not eating out.
4) I'm fairly certain my diet will be substantially healthier if all my meals come from my kitchen.

So far it's going well and it's actually been a lot of fun. We've had people over for dinner, had good times at the farmer's market, and Alex even brought us some food (she decided to take the plunge with us as well). Earlier this week, we spent pretty much an entire day cooking and baking. It was great fun. We cooked up every veggie we had, save for a few sweet potatoes.

Here is a picture of butternut squash and apple soup I made (with the squash pictured on a previous post). Yum. I served it for dinner later that evening.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Louis returns to the scene of the crime

Actually, Louis was not the perp in this case-- it was Winston. Winston does NOT like being strictly an indoor cat. Louis, who prefers to spend his time sleeping or looking frightened, has adjusted well to being indoors. Winston, on the other hand, misses the wild. His yearning to go outside has become particularly annoying these past few weeks; the windows are open and he can see, smell, and hear everything going on outside and yet, he is trapped in the apartment. He scratches at the windows to get out. He moos all day and all night long (it's quite pathetic). He runs and paces back and forth, obviously frustrated. But his all time favorite activity is to knock over the books on the bookshelf. It never gets old to him. This scene is what I wake up to every morning, more of less. And I swear, he gets SUCH enjoyment out of watching me put the books back on the shelf. It's like he's mad at me for keeping him inside and he knows that knocking over books is one way to really stick it to me. BAD KITTY!!! I am considering getting him a leash and attempting to take him for a walk, but I've heard that doesn't work so well for cats. I'm getting pretty desperate though, so I'm going to try it and see how it goes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Journey to the Waverly Farmer's Market

There is a farmer's market a block away from my apartment that is on Saturday year round. I haven't gone there in years though-- for some reason it's easier to wake up early on a Sunday than on a Saturday morning. BUT, this morning we rose bright and early to check it out with Alex.

It's smaller than the Sunday market, but there was still a great selection and a lot of the same vendors were present. The flowers though were out of this world...much better than any I've ever seen on Sundays. Here is a sampling of some of the flowers I bought. One woman also had Eucalyptus, which I LOVE, but I was felt like I couldn't possibly carry one more thing home with me. Maybe next week.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Finished Scarf!

I finished my first knitting project, a scarf. I got this lovely yarn at Loop, in Philadelphia. I have 2.5 skeins lefts (out of the 5 I bought), so I think I am going to make a hat to go with the scarf. Steph took this lovely photo for me of the finished product; isn't it sweet how she wrapped it around a butternut squash?

Speaking of Steph, she has joined the world of blogging-- you should all go and read her blog on a regular basis. Read, comment, and be sure to answer her bizarre polls!!!

In case you missed that link, go here:

In other news, I am conducting an experiment. Starting tomorrow, we are not going to go out to eat for one month. I want to see if we eat better, how much money we save, and also I just want to prove to myself that I can eat at home for a month and not feel deprived of anything. I usually enjoy the food I make at home more than the food I eat out, so that's not the issue. The issue is that I get lazy and don't feel like cooking and/or cleaning up after a meal. Plus there is the social aspect, but I'm sure our friends can survive eating at our house for a meal or cooking for us for one month.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Farmer's Market Booty

Here be our loot from the farmer's market, yarrr!!! From left to right: sweet potatoes, green beans, mesclun, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, zucchini, rainbow chard, lotus seed pods, and honeycrisp apples. The sweet potatoes I'm going to roast with butternut squash and serve with a salad; the green beans are for green bean salad; the tomatoes are for salad; the zucchini I may put in quesadillas; the honeycrisp apples are for snacking, and the chard is for goat cheese and chard pasta. The fingerlings have not yet been assigned a meal, but they are Steph's favorite, so we got 'em!

Lotus Seed Pods

On Sunday morning, while at the farmer's market, I saw these alien-like things that turned out to be Lotus Seed Pods. They are super weird and cool-looking. I bought three of them and have already artfully arranged them in the apartment. Tee hee.

Karaoke = Hilarity

On Saturday night, we went to karaoke at the Hippo with Alex, her brother, and Nicole. When we walked in, this is the scene we witnessed: someone singing "The Rainbow Connection", and a bunch of people holding up lighters and swaying back and forth. This, people, is why karaoke is so awesome. Alex and Steph were the only members of our party who were brave enough to perform. I have videos and I am not afraid to post them on Facebook!

Ginger Ann

This is a yummy cocktail I got at the Golden West Cafe, called the Ginger Ann. I wanted to try it because it has St. Germain's Elderflower Liqueur in it, which had been recommended to me by Becky's friend, Joanna. I am pretty sure the drink consisted of just the liqueur mixed with Ginger Ale. I may buy the necessary ingredients and try to make it at home.

Rainy Street

It rained for about three days straight last week. Usually I kind of enjoy the rain, but there turned out to be a leak in the roof of the den, so that was not a fun situation. The leak kind of set off a string of annoying occurrences that ruined my Friday. At around 11:30pm, I decided the best thing to do was go to bed and forget about it.

Anyway, I actually took this picture on Saturday evening, before we went out to dinner. I thought the dogwood tree in front of the apartment was looking especially Autumnal.

I heart free useful stuff!

Wine tastings at the Quarry Liquor Store have become a weekly Saturday ritual for me. Honestly, I've only liked a few of the wines I've had at the tastings, but it's still fun and I just like the wine selection they offer. This week, along with my wine purchases, I received this free bag. It has a divider in it, so there are six individual spaces for wine bottles. GENIUS! Now I have a bag to bring with me every week and I don't have to keep taking boxes from them.

Yet another picture of Louis being cute

Louis took a nap in a blanket on the sofa while I knitted the other night. I love how he likes to sleep all curled up and cozy, with his paw under his face.

Reason #3565468 why Greta is spectacular

Greta lives in the basement apartment of my building. She is adorable and super sweet. The other day she brought me butternut squash from her grandparents' garden. So thoughtful!

As you can see, Winston was very interested in this addition to the household.

Clowns are Creepy

Clowns are, in my humble opinion, always creepy. Therefore, the ice cream clown heads they sell at Baskin & Robbins are just wrong wrong wrong. Besides the clown thing, I have an aversion to eating anything with a face on it.

Monday, September 22, 2008


On Sunday, we had a breakfast of Muesli and toast with jam. Here is the spread of jam, all created by Andrew. They are all delicious, but my favorites are the peach and the pear. Mmmm, so good. I think Andrew should go into the jam business.

Cute lunch bags

I want to sew a new lunch bag for Steph and I loved this fabric we saw at Spool (Loop's sister store in Philadelphia). The bag and fabric are just so cute!

So, on Saturday we drove up to Philly to spend the night at Chad and Andrew's place. We met them at Loop in Rittenhouse Square. After spending some time (and money) buying yarn and fabric, we walked through the park and got some coffee at La Colombe. Then we walked back to the car and went to The White Dog Cafe for dinner. I usually eat there when I'm in Philadelphia because I like their mission and I like the food as well. After that, we went back to the house and spent the evening knitting, laughing, and listening to music. It was a great time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Birthday Cake

We had a birthday cake for Steph last night. Her actual birthday is on Monday, but she wanted to celebrate it with Alex yesterday. Per Steph's request, after our outing to the nature center we stayed in, watched The L Word, Alex and Steph knitted, we ate Chinese delivery, and drank two bottles of wine. It was a lovely, relaxing time.

Irvine Nature Center

Yesterday (Friday), Steph, Alex, and I went to the Irvine Nature Center. We checked out the center and went on a nice nature walk. I was impressed with some of the green features the center had going on-- I thought these dual flush toilets were pretty neat.

Looking at houses

On Monday evening, I went with Rachel to look at some houses. She is in the process of buying her first home. We looked at 3 houses in Catonsville. One of them seemed like a good fit for her, so I think she is going to make an offer on it. I thought this street was quaint and adorable. I liked the stone wall along the street in front of the houses.