Friday, September 18, 2009

Food of the moment

You know how you sometimes go through these food obsessions or phases where certain recipes are in constant rotation (maybe even despite protests from others in your household)? I didn't realize I did that much until I recently noted that I was whipping up the 3rd batch of white bean dip in 10 days. If you've been following this blog for awhile, you might remember a previous obsession: roasted chick peas. In fact, that post also refers to another previous obsession: sweet potato, sausage, and kale soup. I'm definitely looking forward to filling the freezer full of that soup very soon.

So here are my most recent food-fads:
  • White bean dip: great northern or cannellini beans, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, olive oil, crushed red pepper, and Moroccan spice blend (totally not essential, but I made some a few months ago and felt like it needed to be used up. Garam masala would work well too).
  • Mushroom casserole: found the recipe here. My modifications: ~1/2 lb. ground turkey, 1 package cremini mushrooms, lowfat cream cheese, light sour cream, toasted pine nuts, mixture of wild rice, wheatberries, and brown rice, omitted tarragon, added 2 t. mustard powder, cheese is usually a mix of lowfat italian blend and shredded parm. I think I've made this 3 times since mid-August - the third time was so we could freeze single portions.
  • Cole Slaw: I totally don't remember what sparked this. 1 package cole slaw mix, 2-3 grated carrots, rice wine vinegar, mayo (much less than most recipes call for)...and the key is toasted pumpkin seeds. These almost deserve to be their own bullet point. The only way I can eat these guilt-free is to sprinkle them liberally on the cole slaw. It's escaping me at the moment, but I think I'm missing one more ingredient on the slaw.
So there you have it. It won't be long before I'll have a new list of food obsessions to share with you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

5 Shows

  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    I cannot wait for the next season to start. Not that we can actually watch a show when it's actually on. But works for me. And we're only a tiny bit ashamed that this show provides us so much enjoyment. Despite the questionable themes, as recently described by PrincessSara. Our favorite episode is Manhunter.
  • Flight of the Conchords
    We got into this later than many others, but not that late so we still feel like we're part of a semi-exclusive club. Sometimes the musical interludes bore me, but not often and I like that they do things differently. I'll admit that the idea for even watching this show came from a coworker during a conference call who implied that some of our weekly calls sound a bit like the Flight of the Conchords band-meeting roll call.
  • Weeds
    I think we discovered this show back when we had Showtime for free. That happened more than once in DC. Sometimes it gets a bit much with the constant stress, drugs, crime, etc. But there's always Kevin Nealon and the Andy character to keep it loose.
  • Arrested Development
    I think I've mentioned before that this was a show that I essentially resisted for a very long time. I had watched one or two episodes and wasn't bowled over. Until enough friends said that it should be watched in order. So at some point, I finally did. And I saw the light. And we had a good run there for awhile, thanks to Hulu. What a blow when we realized there weren't anymore episodes left.
  • Dead Like Me
    I've only been watching this show for a week (again, via hulu) thanks to a random update from a friend on facebook. I was looking for a show that would be easy to watch during erich's long evenings in the hospital. Only, it turns out he likes it too so it's now turned into a show we watch together. Damn our compatibility that results in overlapping tastes! Mandy Patinkin is quite good and the stories are amusing.
  • Big Love
    I'm allowed to have a 6th here because Arrested Development isn't actually on anymore. And I haven't watched Big Love forever. It was another show discovered when we had HBO for free. It started because friends of ours who were into the Sopranos (3-4 yrs ago?) but didn't have HBO would watch it at our place on Sunday evenings. We hadn't been fans of the show beforehand, but we were fans of these friends so Sopranos was an excuse to see them. Then Big Love aired before Sopranos. I ended up liking it more and kept watching it via Netflix after our HBO free-ride ended. It's not really surprising how much I enjoy it given my attachment to TLC programs about families with lots of children or other 'strange' ways of living.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

De-lurking on my own blog

I was just telling a friend that for the past few months, I've had a tough time aligning both motivation and time for this ole blog. The moments when motivation is high are usually extremely inconvenient - just as I'm drifting off to sleep, or in the middle of a bike ride for a series of errands, etc. Then when I have time, blogging isn't how I want to spend it.

I'm not sure if this is a phase or if, after 5 years of on and off posting (first on livejournal), I'm just no longer in need of this medium for expressing myself.

I'll just dabble with a few posts and see how it feels.

Things that make me happy these days:

My new city. Well, "cities" really. Living in Cambridge, working in Boston. I'm trying to make it a point to take little excursions whenever I can to quickly get acquainted with the area. Its working great so far, and it definitely distracts me from the fact that I don't have a regular network of friends up here.
  • The candy factory in my neighborhood - I pass by it every morning and it smells delectable. Sometimes it smells like Thin Mints, though after reading about this division of Tootsie Roll Inc., I bet its probably Junior Mints I'm smelling.
  • Knitting groups - on Tuesdays I hang out with a group right in my neighborhood who quickly made me feel at home. Less often, I join a group in JP who are equally welcome but are less conveniently located for me. Just like when I moved to DC 5 years ago, I'm enjoying the instant cameraderie that comes from joining a knitting group in a new city. I certainly miss my DC group though. Thankfully, I have to travel back there for work every so often so they haven't gotten rid of me completely yet.
  • The MFA - well, I haven't actually been yet. But tonight is pay-what-you can night and the idea of that makes me happy. I was spoiled by all the free museums in DC, but with a little planning it seems like I won't go broke trying to visit the best of Boston's museums.

Water - let me count the ways.
  • My commute involves riding over the Charles twice a day - gorgeous.
  • We joined Community Boating to learn to sail and use their kayaks. I love grabbing a 1/2 hour or more after work in the kayak - such a relaxing stop off on my way home.

  • Boston Harbor Islands - I took my first trip over to 2 of them last Sat. I checked out Spectacle and George's. It was such a wonderful solo field trip. All I did was enjoy the sun, walk all over the islands, and read my book. I'm hoping we can work in a camping trip to Bumpkin or Lovell islands soon.

  • Esplanade - I love that my commute home involves several minutes along the Charles River Esplanade. (my to & from routes are different because of some one-way roads that make getting back to the Longfellow bridge too much of a challenge). Sometimes, I stop off at 'my dock' as soon as I cross Storrow and land on the Esplanade. I just park my bike and sit looking at the boats and clouds, musing over how lucky I am that I get to do just that. One of these days I'm hoping to stop off at the Hatch Shell for an evening concert or movie.

  • And of course, the Ocean State. Living closer to family means I can pop down and join them on the boat every other weekend (when its not raining of course). E* can't join me in all these adventures sadly because his schedule is that of a typical intern - miserable.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Time for your monthly dose of Beta

So much news to report! But I can't imagine it's news that any of you haven't heard yet.

  1. We're moving to Boston! E* got a residency at Mass General cuz he's wicked smaht and it starts in mid-June so things are moving quickly. Thanks to craigslist and some VERY helpful friends, we managed to secure an apartment in 5 days. Although it doesn't have any outdoor space, it IS in a very cool neighborhood, has an updated kitchen, 2 BRs, and a W/D in the unit. Estimated moving time - early 20s of May.

  2. We're going to Europe!!! Of course apartment hunting, graduating, packing, and moving wasn't enough activity for us so we decided to take off for 18 days (!!!) to visit folks in Austria and Germany as well as some straight-up touristing in Paris. E*'s skills with sidestep and cheaptickets cut our ticket prices in half from what we first found a couple of weeks ago. We're also contemplating a stop in Amsterdam.

  3. Busy weekends - now that our time in DC is coming to a close, we're filling up our weekends trying to fit everything in. Last weekend included cherry blossoms (at 8am), Sticky Fingers breakfast, biking around the city, and sunday evening at Adams Mill (a tradition I will definitely miss). Next weekend might hold brunch at Red Derby.
  4. Pasta - I had been monitoring my rss feed for "pasta roller" for about a month when a mint-condition, all-metal, Imperia pasta roller first popped up. For $20, I was soon the proud owner of a barely used, still in the box w/ manual, heavy pasta roller. I LOVE it. The thing is intuitive, sturdy, and rolls out sheets of thin pasta with very little fuss. The funny thing is, we rarely eat pasta. I've had the same boxes of whole wheat penne, spagetti, and other noodles in our cupboard for nearly a year. But when I tried to make ravioli from scratch over the winter - ravioli is my most favorite pasta indulgence - I was extremely frustrated with the rolling process. I wasn't able to get it thin enough and the raviolis were too bulky. While I haven't yet used my new toy to make ravioli sheets, I have made a batch of regular egg fettucini and this past weekend I made a large batch of spinach fettucini. I have discovered that I enjoy snacking on the ribbon at every stage: dough, fresh noodles, during drying, completely dried, and cooked. I don't think there's any hope of more restraint, so I'll just have to make some more regular trips to the gym.

  5. Mundane closing: Yes, I'm still reading Blindness. The seedlings I planted a couple of weeks ago are looking weak (basil, chile peppers, cilantro, spinach, etc). We watched Slumdog Millionaire on Sat. and loved it - sort of a given, right? At the urging of a couple of friends, we filled our TV show-via website void with Arrested Development. They were right - it is much better if you start from the beginning and watch in order. We had previously filled that void with Flight of the Conchords and were so into it that we watched all of the episodes that were available in 2 weekends. This void exists because shows like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Weeds, Big Love, etc don't have any new episodes available for us to watch. Knitting: I finished a pair of socks for me that I love. Also crocheting a big secret project for the next several months. And yesterday I finished baby booties for one of Erich's mentors/residents that are apparently very cute judging by the squeals of the women next to us.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Forgive Me

For I have comitted a knitting sin.

I ripped out my first pair of socks.
And I feel great about it!!

See, I didn't really know what I was doing when I started these back in 2006. I got the pattern right, but the yarn and needle combination was horrible. The resulting fabric was so dense - I've always hated the feel of it. Plus I bound-off one of the socks rather tightly making it extremely difficult to pull over my heel. I nearly break the yarn every time I try. All this means that I almost never feel like wearing these socks even though I still like the colorway. I fell asleep last night happily day-dreaming about giving the yarn a chance to redeem itself by knitting new socks with size 2 or 3 needles (instead of the 0's I used back then).
This morning over a cup of coffee, I ripped out both socks right onto the ballwinder. Go ahead and judge. 

R.I.P First Socks. See you again soon...sort of.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Employee Free Choice Act

I have a lot to say about this actually but for now I'll just post this amusing video.

Friday, February 27, 2009

5 Things

Stolen SHAMELESSLY from a friend's blog (not sure if she wants to be blog-outed just yet)

5 Computery Things That I Think You Should Know*
Or I am a Huge Dork, the Abridged Version
  1. Alt+Tab - Used to switch between open programs without using the mouse. I probably use this more than any shortcut keys besides CTRL+C and V. I tried to take a screenshot of what this looks like but it doesn't work - the screenshot key seems to override the Alt+Tab function so the little window isn't saved in the screenshot. So I decided to poach the image from another site - U of Alaska Southeast. My blog doesn't get many hits anyway.
    *Edit: the stolen JPG disappeared so I made my own screenshot to replace it. Apparently, it does work.

  2. F2 - I use this mainly in excel to be able to type in/edit a cell without clicking the mouse. Saves a TON of time. Personally, I think that any time you can replace a mouse movement with key strokes, it's a time-saver but I don't think everyone agrees. But F2 is awesome.

  3. Google Reader - If you still keep up with blogs, online news, and other types of sites by manually clicking on them every day (or several times a day?) then STOP IT! Seriously feed readers such as the awesome Google version can track everything for you and by going to that one site (the google reader page) you can instantly see which of your many time-wasty sites have been updated. I use mine to follow friends' blogs, icanhascheezburger, post secret (etc, etc), craigslist searches of things on my wish list, press sites for work, and even ravelry updates. Look for the little orange RSS button on any site you like or simply paste the site's URL into the "Add Subscription" bar on the left in Google Reader. It will then hunt for the RSS feed for you.

  4. Specialized google searches such as "" or "filetype:xls" - found under the advanced search section of, I use these two right in the search bar all the time. Like, "zip codes" would only return results found on pages that end in .gov, ie. only info on government sites. Other handy ones are .edu, or [state].us. It's also useful for sites that don't have their own search bar. So you could do "knitting" (ignoring for a moment that this site actually does have a search bar).

  5. Text-to-columns and concatenate: (Advanced warning that this is an extremely dry topic to explain in on at your own risk)
    I often use the first one in conjunction with find/replace. Example: I pull a bunch of data off a website and paste it into excel. Except it doesn't paste as a table, it crams everything into 1 cell. If the information is a list of locations such that each one has common labels like "phone: asljdf", "address: dkfj, AK", etc, then I might use find/replace to change all the "phone:" to an * and all the "address:" to some other symbol like ~ or [. Once that's done, I could use text-to-columns to break out the contents of that cell using the symbols (found under the 'delimited' option, not 'fixed width'. So at the end, all of those numbers and addresses would be separated out in their own cells. I use text-to-columns mostly for when I receive data that has city, state all in one cell and I need separate city and state columns. I tell text-to-columns to break it up at the comma. Concatenate is just the reverse of text-to-columns except it's a formula rather than a tool in the menu. If you have house numbers in 1 column and street names in the other, you can use a 3rd column that is a mash-up of the first 2: =1stcolumn&2ndcolumn...but really you'd need a space in the middle of the numbers and names so it'd be =1stcolumn&" "&2ndcolumn to yield "1 Main St." You can also use =concatenate(1stcolumn," ",2ndcolumn).

I think a lot of computer tips are things you would have never thought about if you didn't know that such a trick existed - it's like, you don't know what you don't know. I'm sure there are a ton of really easy tricks out there that I don't know and I blissfully go about my business doing some things manually, having no idea that there's a much better way to do it. I spend a lot of time in Excel and think it's a perfect example of that pitfall. Until you've seen something in action (or get so frustrated trying to achieve something that you magically discover the tip during a furious session of googling) you don't even know what capabilities are out there.

* Unlike many of my coworkers, I bet friends that read this already know these things. But I was inspired to draft this list after a week of a surprising number of relevations on their part during various collaborations with them on the computer. "Wait...what did you just do there? How did you jump from Word to Excel like that!?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

I didn't post just to get attention

And it worked! It's like the silent treatment for blogs!
(but secretly we all know I just got lazy...)

Is your life low on bullet points? Then you've come to the right place...

  • World of Goo (plus Sonic, Donkey Kong, and Wild West) - we finally started using some gifted wii points (thanks princess sara) and purchased these 4 games. World of Goo is AWESOME! Highly recommend. It's good enough to make E* completely ignore the Wild West game (which is saying something cuz he loves shoot 'em up games).

  • Rank list and where to live - anyone who reads this is probably aware that E* graduates from med school in May and begins residency in July. We won't find out WHERE that residency will be until March 19th. Our last shred of control over this process comes to an end tonight which is the deadline for submitting The Rank List. This list is part of the whole weird Match process whereby each residency program (in a given specialty) ranks the applicants they interviewed while the applicants make a rank list of the programs they would want to attend. All of the lists are fed into a computer and it magically calculates the best possible match based on both parties' preferences. On March 19th, the students each open 1 envelope which contains 1 program's name - so there aren't a collection of acceptances to choose between and it is a binding contract. Items on that list are Boston, Philly, New Haven, DC, Worcester, and NY. It's going to be an agonizing 3 weeks. But probably not as agonizing as the last week has been for E* since the rank list submittal process forces so much self-analysis and goal-assessing...makes for sleepless nights.

  • Knits in 09 - it's been a stash-busting frenzy for the last several weeks and there's no end in sight. I cranked out a hat for me (even though I *never* wore hats), a reusable cotton swiffer cover, a one-skein cowl that I LURVE, and 3 squares as part of a gifted blanket project. I'm also working on a first sock using birthday gift yarn from last year (love it!).

  • Restaurant Week: we had lunch at Oyamel last weekend. Our favorite dish was the Pastel de tres leches con piña. I also really enjoyed the seared scallops with pumpkinseed sauce and the black bean soup.

  • Real reasons for not blogging: twitter, ravelry, flickr, and facebook. They are killing my blogger motivation even though I don't spend much time on any one of them.

  • 2 photos from our recent day-trip to Baltimore - we just spent a few hours there walking around the inner harbor and Fells Point. Here we are enjoying some wicked oysters and crab cake.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Edited: Oh well, it was worth a shot.
You all (both?) know how it can get with a blog....a little time gets away from you and the task of updating becomes über-intimidating.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More than a month

Even when things are busy, I try to make sure I post at least once in a 30 day period. Well, blog fail. (D'oh, I promised not to use that word again cuz it's so overused. oh well.)

Throughout the day today, I will periodically add to this post with short updates or tidbits until it becomes worth posting. So don't expect transitions or good prose or anything (ha, like you were anyway?)

  • I won 2 tickets through my work to the Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial called We Are One. Performances by Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor,, and Stevie Wonder.  Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. It will also be like 10 degrees out so I'm not 100% sure we'll be going. Oh, and the tickets get us into the front-most section near the stage. Otherwise the event is free and open to the public.

  • On inauguration day itself, I think we're planning to stay home and enjoy whatever food and drinks we please, surrounded by lots of large bags..and heat.

  • In the end, I gave 11 knitted/crocheted gifts as Christmas presents: 5 scarves, 2 hats, 2 snowflakes, 1 bag, and 1 pair of socks (though one of those scarves was orig. knit 2 yrs ago, I did some tweaking and wrapped it up). It was fun but totally exhausting. I'm now reveling in January as it is the month of knitting for me. A pair of socks for my feet will be finished shortly :)

  • E* went on his last residency interview today!!!! Congrats babe! Now he has about a month to finalize his rank list to submit to the Central Computer. And March 19th will be a glorious day at the end of a long journey when we'll find out where he'll be doctoring for the next 4 years.
I intended to have more updates here but the day was busier than I expected. Partially due to some serious ticket swapping negotiations when we almost had the opportunity to get 2 "silver standing" tickets to the swearing in ceremony. Unfortunately, that fell through but not without some serious bribe offers on my part.