oh hello

I’m trying out some new digs lately. Hope to come back here sometimes for recipes and longer stories, so don’t delete me from your readers plzzz. Just maybe add this new guy, if you want.

Hearts & flowers!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

not your everyday gift exchange

Let’s all just pretend this post went up two weeks ago mmk?

This year I was lucky enough to participate in one of the coolest gift exchange ever, with a huge group of my tweeters. Coordinated by the awesome Ms. Bunny, nearly 50 of us got matched up so we didn’t know who was assigned to whom, and we were given a $15 maximum budget and a deadline of mid-December for a ship date, so we were sure everyone would receive their gifts before the major holidays.

Theoretically those of us with blogs would make a post about the gifts sent/received in a timely manner. I have epically failed at that part but I still have to tell you about the awesome gift(s!) I received from my secret santa, who turned out to be Bird.

Zach was nice enough to document the whole unwrapping excitement, so I have about a billion photos of my excited face. Instead of posting them individually I figured it would be better to just make a little collage.

The gifts, in order of appearance:

The box – all by itself it would have been a lovely gift! it has my initials in mini scrabble tiles!!

The holiday ornament card – at least I think it’s supposed to be an ornament – included awesome pictures of Bird and her wife and their awesome menagerie of pets. It went on our tree whether it was supposed to or not! :)

Glittery penguins and glittery birds (pictured at the top of this post)! She saw my Etsy Treasury and MADE the little glittery penguins, and then a couple birds for good measure. Those went right on the tree as well.

And THEN. OMG. You can see from my face how amazing the next thing is. She made.. a stamp… OF MY DOG. and then she made a print. and she gave me both the stamp and the print, so I can put his cute little face all over anything and everything I want. Here’s a close-up.

But she didn’t stop there. The next thing I found in the box was a set of prints, of elephants and bicycles and a steaming cup of tea. Did she know how much I love elephants? Or was it just twitter magic? Elephants pictured above, bicycles and tea prints below (please note that I have an elephant shaped tea cup!!).

Another aspect of her gift was the way she went about investigating what I’d like. She created a special gmail account just to contact me anonymously and make intriguing requests for photos of things in my apartment, and to ask me veryyy cryptic questions about my preferences for random things. !!! is all I have to say about that. You can read more about her thought process on the gift exchange on her blog, Queer Skies Ahead.

From the stories I’ve heard so far of the gifts given in this exchange, I think everyone was pretty happy with what they got (though I can’t honestly imagine anyone was as happy as I was!). My gift recipient turned out to be Craftosaurus, famous for being from Maine and being awesome (I feel like I just repeated myself). I decided to make a portrait of her with Paint, and it sounds like she liked it ok. :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

merry christmas

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Brady has already torn through four different Christmas toys, so it seems to be a good day for him so far!

I’ve got lots of posts I want to share before the new year, here’s hoping they happen.

Also hoping whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’re having as lovely a weekend as we are. Stay warm.

Posted in holidays, my dog | 3 Comments

plz halp

I don’t know if I’m mentioned (yeah right).. but we’re going to Vegas in like, nine days.

We’re staying at Paris.

We plan to do a lot of gawking, and maybe a little gambling.

At all times I want to be wearing sparkles and/or gold and/or red. I don’t know why, it just seems like a requirement. Unfortunately, I own very few things that seem Vegas-appropriate, at the mo. Local DC area people, if you have any sparkly/gold/red things to lend me, plz shout. Or if you see something super cute hanging in, say, Good Will, or some other thrift shop, shout at me about that too. Things retro and/or slightly tacky would totally qualify.

Also, if anyone could come over and teach me how to walk in high heels, I’d like to be able to wear these somewhere outside my (messy) closet.

I got them for my “Wicked Witch of the East – before she got killed by the house” costume like 5 years ago, party was in someone’s apartment so all I had to do in them was stand there. And then happily take them off and toss them in a corner after 5 minutes. I put them on last night and tried to walk around my apartment… Not good people. Not good. HALP.

Posted in fashion risks, partytime excellent | 12 Comments

more on this now

Yesterday, a few things happened.

First, I found out I am not, in fact, allergic to gluten. [applause] Turns out, I have some kind of inflammatory bowel disease [applause..?], henceforth to be strictly referred to as IBD, because the word bowel just makes me frown in a sickly way. I probably should have just kept quiet on my whole medical adventure because now, since I’ve already TMI’d the hell out of you all, I feel somehow compelled to keep doing it. You all thought I was maybe allergic to gluten, I can’t let you go on thinking that! You must know the truth! But now I have to say the word bowel to you, and for that I apologize. I’m probably going to continue to talk about this in future posts because I still don’t know what kind of IBD it is or what the treatment will be. I may spare  you the details of treatment.. I can do that much at least.

The second thing that happened is way more awesome, I don’t have to say the word bowel at all in order to explain it to you. MEG’S BOOK MADE IT TO #29 ON AMAZON’S TOP 100 BEST SELLERS. I’m sorry to shout but that is just fracking mind-blowing and awesome! YAY MEG. YAY TEAM PRACTICAL. ahem.

And the third thing that happened! Also amazing. Zach finished student teaching last week, and finishes grad school comPLETEly next week [super applause!!], and even though he’s not quite done yet, his parents wanted to take us out to celebrate. At dinner, they gave us this.

They had already asked us if we’d like one for Christmas, so it wasn’t exactly a fall-out-of-my-chair surprise. BUT. It’s still AMAZING (see this post for Exhibit A). We are still a bit in shock over it; this morning I found myself sitting there with it on my lap just staring at it, like, we have one of these? What? So. THANK YOU MIL & FIL.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

discovered the ipad camera

Soooo we got an iPad, no big deal.

It has a camera you can flip around so you can SEE YOUR FACE while you’re TAKING PICTURES OF IT.

More on this later (typing on iPad is a skill not yet mastered).

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Posted in craziness, partytime excellent | Tagged , | 5 Comments

the spanish tortilla

I am hesitant to tell you about this because I don’t think we’ve perfected the recipe to our taste, and I’m not sure how authentic it even is, though when searching “spanish tortilla recipe,” most of the results were some variation of what we did. Basically, poach potatoes and onions in oil, drain, add egg, fry in pan, flip, eat.

Of course we couldn’t just eat egg and potatoes so we added a few things, and then served the thing with a completely made up a version of the Spanish sofrito, based on a very vague description found online.

Having never eaten or seen this particular dish before, I wasn’t sure exactly how it was supposed to come out. Zach had eaten a version of it at Jaleo a few weeks prior, and thought it would be great for me since it’s naturally gluten and lactose free. My verdict on the recipe as is: it’s ok. We have some ideas for improvement (way less oil, more veggies, add some kind of meat), and I’ll try to update this when I have a final product. For now I thought I’d share just to see if anyone reading this might actually be an expert on the spanish tortilla, and/or have some ideas for how to make it better next time.

tortilla and sofrito

La Tortilla Española

Ingredients

  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise, then sliced into 1/8″ pieces (I think part of my problem was I used more like 1.5 lbs; we used russet, not sure if the type is important)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 c. olive oil (I ran out of olive oil mid-recipe, so we used a combo of olive and canola. Also it should be noted that every recipe called for At Least 1 cup of oil, sometimes much more, I just couldn’t do it)
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 1 can mushrooms, drained thoroughly (I know, gasp!! safeway was absolutely cleaned out of fresh mushrooms, so I grabbed a can kind of as a joke, and, it definitely reminded me of my youth)
  • Salt (most recipes called for 1 1/2 tsp or so, I reduced the amount dramatically since the canned mushrooms were already so sodiumy, just did a few cranks on the salt grinder)

Sofrito” (according to my interpretation)

  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1 green pepper, chopped small
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (I was out of garlic so I added 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 Tbls olive oil (used some of the oil drained off the potatoes)

For tortilla, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. In a large bowl, stir together potato slices, onion, and about 1/2 tsp salt (more or less). When oil is hot, carefully add potato mixture, spreading pieces around to coat evenly with oil (one recipe said oil should cover the potatoes; I did not use enough oil to do that, so I stirred often).

potatoes poaching

Cook about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender enough to break apart with a little pressure from the spatula.

While potatoes are cooking, blanch the kale (boil for a couple minutes, shock with cold water), drain thoroughly (squeeze as much liquid as you can out of them), roughly chop and then add to potato mixture when potatoes are a few minutes from being done.

kalewine and cookingCook mixture about five more minutes (drink some wine), then drain in a colander over a large bowl to capture the excess oil. Allow to drain/cool for 10 minutes or so. Add mushrooms and stir to combine.

IMAG1025While that’s cooling, (drink some more wine and) heat a bit of the reserved oil in a separate skillet, for the “sofrito.” I really should have researched this a bit but I’m lazy, AND my headspace was way taken up by this whole tortilla process, so all I did was throw all the ingredients into the hot oil and cooked over medium heat for about 10 minutes, then moved to a small glass bowl to serve on the side.

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs, and then stir in potato mixture. Heat 1 Tbls of reserved oil in the original skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, pour the egg mixture into the skillet and spread it out to distribute evenly to the edges. Cook about 10 minutes without stirring, until bottom is lightly brown.

IMAG1023

I made Zach do the next part because I was too skeered (I was also too skeered watching him do it that I didn’t think to take pictures). Put a dinner plate over the skillet and flip so the tortilla ends up on the plate. Add another little bit of oil to the skillet and heat for 30 seconds before sliding the tortilla carefully off the plate into pan. Cook another 3 – 4 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit in the pan for a few minutes.

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Remove from pan to a cutting board and slice into eight wedges, and serve with sofrito.* This is a tapas recipe, so, not intended to be an entire meal.

Nutrition info according to SparkPeople recipe calculator, per 1/8 of tortilla: 265.5 calories, 19g fat (ouch), 163mg sodium (if you add no salt; this is from canned mushrooms mostly), 547mg potassium, 17.5g carbs (3.5g fiber), 19.7g protein. Also, a whopping 270% of recommended vitamin A, and 85% vitamin C. The sofrito is about 28 calories per 1/4 cup.

*I just finally looked up a recipe for sofrito, and it turns out you’re supposed to use a can of crushed tomatoes instead of fresh, and season it with sweet paprika. huh.

Posted in gluten free, Recipes, tapas | 10 Comments

do you know what today is?

You might have guessed Pearl Harbor Day, and, yes.

But.

It’s also The Great APW Book Buy Day!

source: apracticalwedding.com

If you’re getting married or know someone who is, you should definitely buy (at least one copy of) this book. It’s not out quite yet, but today you can pre-order it on Amazon and help it make the best-seller list.

Everyone reading this, other than friends and family, probably found their way here from APW anyway, so this isn’t news. But Just In Cases, I’m spreading the word. Because nobody should have to get married without APW help.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Awesome Shop: Poketo

..Gift Guide time! Hee. I’m not really in a position to buy a ton of gifts this year, but that’s not really stopping me from window shopping online. Amazing little whatnots like the Discover Paper 2011 Holiday Guide make it pretty impossible to get any work done at all. I was tempted to just link to everything in that thing and call it my own list, but, that would be dumb. Instead, for today, I’m just going to tell you about one particular shop I discovered via that gift guide. Full disclosure: nobody paid me to write this, AND I’ve never actually purchased anything from them before. The shop just seems amazing to me.

Awesome Shop: Poketo (images are hyperlinked to their source)

$16 on sale for $12, the Notefolio. I am a sucker for this kind of thing.

$29, handpainted bike bells. Because Safety First doesn’t have to be boring.

$6 on sale for $3(!), 5-minute candles. Because, I mean, obviously everyone needs these.

$19 on sale for $15, upcycled street banner bag. Because we all need.. one more.. tote..? Seriously these are the ultimate though.

$12, recycled paper colored pencils. I don’t think I need to tell you why these are awesome.

$22, draw your mind journal. You need something awesome to go with your sweet new recycled paper coloring pencils.

I tried to keep this low price highlight reel, but I just had to include a couple items that are a bit out of range but Awesome.

$55 on sale for $49, golden half camera – red tree. Ahhh! Why am I so obsessed with funky cameras..??

$50, owl tea set. This is too adorable for words.

Now that your judgment is clouded by this awesome-overload, go shopping! 50% sale ends tomorrow! :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

holiday cheer time

I love December. I don’t love being cold all the time, but I do love sparkly lights and christmas trees and ornaments and the spirit of giving and the excuse to wear goofy blinking reindeer antlers.

Also, White Christmas. Kind of my favorite thing ever.

Of the multiple parallels between my family and Zach’s (we’re both the youngest of three children, he has only brothers, I have only sisters, etc), we both grew up watching White Christmas as one of the main holiday movies over the years. Now we get to watch it together with our combined families (well my mom plus a lot of Porters) on Thanksgiving. And we get to do this puzzle whenever we want.

It is ALSO a tradition with my friend Amber, to watch it together sometime in December. Yes that means for the past few years we’ve seen it twice in the span of a few weeks. I don’t even care, I love it that much. And THIS YEAR. This year. Amber decided to give us a belated wedding gift of taking us to see White Christmas, performed live in a local dinner theater. !!!

They changed a few things for the stage production, and in a few cases I seriously question their judgment, but overall the show was a hoot, and dinner was awesome. And it was that much more awesome because we got to see it with Amber and her dood, and she even went out of her way to make sure they had a meal and dessert for me that were gluten and dairy free. I’m a little verklempt still thinking about the thoughtfulness of this gift!!

This is really shaping up to be the best christmas season evar. We’ve got our place all decked out, I’ve got a sister coming to visit next week, Zach’s going to graduate and become licensed to Teach, and then we’re going to VEGAS. And then there’s you know, Christmas. If we can handle it, we might even get to Maine before the end of the year. And THEN my friend Beth is getting Married! I am pumped.

Posted in holiday awesome | 8 Comments