Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
So, if you're not sure what to do with all of your Thanksgiving leftovers, here are a few recipes to inspire some creative cooking.
Turkey: Turkey Flautas
Mashed Potatoes: Garlic Mashed Potato Pancakes
Stuffing: Stuffing Meatballs
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes: these are so good, you should really just reheat them and enjoy!
What are some your traditions for Thanksgiving leftovers?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
* I combined these two recipes to make one perfect salad dressing
I hope your Thanksgiving holiday has been filled with gratitude and lots of deliciousness!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Ebert and I were invited by our friends Eric and Ivory to see an early screening of The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. I wasn't sure if Ebert was going to make it in time, but luckily his flight from Milan arrived early on Thursday. After I picked Ebert up from the airport we had about an hour to kill before we met up with Eric and Ivory- just enough time to enjoy a glass of wine while he showed me his Italy pictures, which were amazing, of course! When we arrived at the theater we only had to wait in line for about 10 minutes and since there weren't a lot of people there yet we had really great seats. Well, except for the little kids seated in our aisle who kept getting up and the noisy people behind us with their crinkling of cellophane and non-stop crunching sounds. So, except for those two things our seats were great! The other annoying thing that happened was when the projector went all wonky during the scene at the Malfoy's house and we missed Dobby saving everyone. When the screen started to flicker, I gasped! We were compensated with free small popcorn coupons, but that hardly makes up for missing one of the best scenes in the movie, so Ebert asked for free tickets. That was a much better compensation, especially since we'll be seeing the movie again when my sister is here for Thanksgiving.
We celebrated the evening with Harry Potter treats too! Ivory had goodie bags filled with gummy snakes and insects, and I made licorice wands.
As far as the movie goes, I really enjoyed it! Of course, the books will always be better. But, I never expect the movies to capture all the amazing details that J.K. Rowling has so brilliantly written. I understand that there are aspects of the story that the filmmakers have to leave out or change in order to make the story work cinematically. Now, I don't always agree with the choices of the screenwriter or the director, and I certainly had gripes about Part 1, but every time I watch one of the movies (and of course I own all of them) I'm always taken on a magical journey.
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
- Albus Dumbledore
Needless to say, I cannot wait until Part 2. And since it opens on my birthday, July 15th, I'm going to have a Harry Potter themed birthday party. This will be the first time in years that I'm actually looking forward to turning a year older.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
¼ pound cremini mushrooms – trimmed and quartered
1 ½ pounds green beans – trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine - I used Gaetano D'Aquino Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe's
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch of kale (1/2 pound) - rinsed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm proud to say that I've been able to decorate our Chicago apartment with mostly Craigslist finds. I don't know much about furniture style or decorating, but I think I've created a lovely home with a good mixture of vintage and modern elements. If anything, I've been eco-friendly by buying second hand and economical by always looking for good deals. One of these days, if I can plan by blogging ahead of time, I'll show pictures of our apartment and share my tips on being a successful Craigslister. Whether you're selling or buying, it's important to know what to do and what to expect so you have the best possible Craigslist experience. Believe me, I know.
Now, if you don't want to spend hours and hours perusing Craigslist like I have, here are some places in Chicago where you can find some lovely mid-century, vintage furniture.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
On Saturday, November 6th I was lucky to be part of another Amy K.R. mission. It was during ‘The Train of Thought’ mission when I realized that my life resembles a train ride. I especially took notice of this similarity when the train we were riding made its first stop and our group made a mad dash to switch cars so that we could all sit together. I think I do that a lot with my train, I don’t ride it as much as I should, I spend more time on the platform waiting, waiting to switch trains or for the right train to come along, essentially waiting for my life to begin, not realizing that this is my life. Right now. This moment.
“We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real.” - Tom Hennen (from The Life of A Day)
So, if that’s all true, if my life is happening right now, why do I keep waiting for the next? There was a moment on the train when I was looking out the window and all of a sudden this incredible feeling of excitement came over me. It was a feeling of how exciting my life is, not only in this moment, but in the moments to come. I want to always remember that- me sitting on a train….going nowhere. Maybe that’s why it was so exciting, because I was going nowhere and just enjoying the ride. Or it could be the twinkle I saw in Amy K.R.’s eyes as she shared her inspiration with us. Because I swear to you they twinkle.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Milan, ItalyTo honor Ebert's adventure in Milan, I thought it would be fun to share some traditional Cucina Milanese. But first, here's a mouth-watering article that will give you some history on the types of food eaten in this region of Italy and another article on where to eat in Milan.
Risotto alla milanese - risotto made with saffron and bone marrow
Ossobuco - veal shanks
Costolette alla milanese - breaded veal chops
Minestrone alla milanese - minestrone soup milanese style
Risotto al salto - leftover risotto cakes
Cassoeula - pork and cabbage stew
Ceci con la tempia di maiale - chickpeas and pork temple
I really want to learn more about different Italian cuisines now. The Cucina Milanese uses more veal and pork then I would ever eat, seeing how I've never eaten either of those foods, but I do love risotto and gorgonzola and panettone. Oh, Milano!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
A prose poem by Tom Hennen from his book Crawling out the Window, which is sadly out of print.
Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
In the meantime, I'm trying to be eat as healthy as possible, which is why I love this recipe. It contains two power foods: kale and butternut squash. Not only is this soup "soup-er" healthy, but it's also really easy to make.
Instead of chorizo, I used Trader Joe's Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage. It gave the soup an extra spicy kick. I used butternut squash because it's my favorite. I think Trader Joe's even sells cubes of butternut squash if you don't want to go through the trouble of peeling, deseeding, and cutting up a whole squash. I wish you could get all of the soup ingredients at Trader Joe's, how nice would that be during the busy holiday season, but unfortunately Trader Joe's does not sell kale- for this bundle of green goodness you have go to Whole Foods or your local grocery store.
Ebert and I did not eat crusty bread with this soup the first night, as much as we wanted to we decided to be good. But, when we had it for leftovers the next night we couldn't help ourselves and indulged in a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, our favorite. It was delicious and worth all the calories!
Friday, November 5, 2010
"It is so strange to me that all you have to do to move to France is to do it."And isn't it like that with everything in life? you just have to do it. So...
"If you want to sing out sing out.
And if you want to be free be free.
'Cause there's a million things to be."
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Tonight, while I was making dinner, I had a sudden and unexplainable desire to sing and dance. My heart was so full of gratitude that I wanted to cry from sheer happiness. Now, this feeling of utter joy could have been because I was drinking wine or because of the music I was listening to, but I'd like to think of it as a perfect snapshot of my life and all the amazingness that I have to be grateful for.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Whenever I feel a bit discouraged, when I don't think that I can muster up the energy to keep it at, when I just want to give up, I read this article.
It's a great reminder that I will never achieve anything, let alone greatness, by half-assing it or by not putting in the work. Yes, there are some days when I have to force myself to sit in front of my computer to write or do anything creative. And, yes, there will be days when I won't want to do anything, when it will be harder than I ever thought possible and I will just want to give up, live a mediocre life. But, I have to be diligent, put the time in, show up every day and create my practice. If I want the life that I want, then I have to keep at it...no matter what.
"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."
- John Quincy Adams