Wednesday, May 29, 2013

things we love: grill baskets!

Have you ever used a grill basket? Someone gave us this one as a gift a while back, and we finally used it this past weekend. It was amazing!

The Husband has a tasty and incredibly easy kebab recipe (recipe after the jump), but we don't make it as often as we should since skewering everything takes some time and I don't like touching raw meat. Yes, I am a princess. The Husband reminds me of this every day. So we decided to bust out the grill basket and see what happens.

We love the basket because all we have to do was dump all the veggies and meat into the basket, stick on the grill, and let it cook. The basket has a very long handle so The Husband didn't get burned. It was also much easier to turn the basket and get everything flipped at once instead of turning each skewer and hoping you don't lose a mushroom in the process. That being said, we still lost some stuff. Next time, we will use it for cooking larger items, like corn or fish.

Check out The Husband's super lazy kebab recipe after the jump.

Monday, May 27, 2013

words on marriage

A dear friend gave me a card celebrating my first wedding anniversary, and I was touched by the wisdom and poignancy of his words. Though they are certainly directed at me, I think the perspective and advice is universal.

Your first year of marriage has almost passed and no doubt you both are reflecting on where the time went. Building a life together is done piece by piece, day by day, through the ups and downs. I'm so happy that you found your soulmate and such a wonderful one at that! Behind the sometimes "tough" exterior you put forth is a person who pours her heart and soul into what matters most: love and relationships. It's the greatest thing for me to hear your stories about you and Reed, and it reminds me of a simpler time in my life with [my wife]. Always keep the love and passion alive and support one another no matter what the cost. I truly believe there are big things in store for you both and a sweetness that is genuine...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

recipe: quinoa stuffed bell peppers

(the husband really loves making decorative flourishes with Sriracha)

Stuffed bell peppers have been done time and time again, but when I stumbled upon a recipe that used quinoa and feta cheese, I was majorly intrigued. After making this a couple times and adapting it to my tastes, I think I have perfected the recipe. Though this is a meatless dish, it is packed full of complete protein from the quinoa and very filling. The cheese gives it a nice flavor but is honestly not necessary, if you're super lactose intolerant or vegan. I'm lactose intolerant but the small amount of cheese in this dish did not bother me in the least. Enjoy! Recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

happy birthday, husband!

(isn't the husband handsome?)

Happy birthday to The Husband! You are my favorite person in the entire world. I am so glad that we are so  in love and happy together. You understand me better than anyone else, you are my partner in crime, and my closest confidante. I don't know how I lucked out with you, and am so happy to celebrate you turning 32. Remember when we first started dating and you were 26 and I was 21 and I would (and still) call you an old man? Yeah, never going to stop doing that. I love you.

Friday, May 17, 2013

on patience (earned)

I used to be an incredibly impatient person. For as long as I could remember, I had always been anxiously awaiting something, anything. It's a stressful and exhausting way to live, honestly. I don't recommend it.

As life progresses and I grow older, I am finding myself capable of patience and acceptance, in ways and in circumstances that my younger self would never have been able to handle. Part of this change stems from a changing perception of time - it's no joke that the older you get, the faster time seems to go by. Sorry to my mom and dad for all the times I rolled my eyes at them when they said that sort of thing to me. 

Another part of this comes from the time and effort I have invested in creating a happy life and healthy environment for myself. The happier and more at peace you are to begin with, the easier it is to maintain that peace and positivity in the face of difficult moments. Prioritizing my own happiness seemed like a selfish and petty thing to do at first. Shouldn't I be more worried about saving the world / changing my community / helping others? Well, I have learned being happy makes it much easier to do all those things; happiness is the root of a good life, it impacts things both great and small. The younger me would have scoffed at my excitement about finding the perfect nail polish color - isn't that such a trivial thing and wouldn't my time be better spent reading ____ or ruminating on the existence of _____? But now I know that, while the nail polish itself isn't important, those little bits of happiness really are. They add up to a well-rounded perspective. Volunteering at the animal shelter brings a different kind of happiness than laying on the grass in the sun at the courthouse; helping others is certainly the more honorable action, but both are important and necessary in their own ways. Life is not exclusively grand gestures and great accomplishments. Neither is love, or happiness. It is the sum of the whole.

(fresh flowers...another little thing I enjoy so much)

The final great contributor to my level of patience is faith. That the journey will never be too long or too hard for me to handle. That life will never be completely without some sort of pain or struggle, and that is okay, because I am stronger than I think. That everything is temporary, nothing is permanent. Things are always changing, and that means that even if things are bad right now, they won't be in the future. I may not know when or how, but I know things will get better. The good and the bad are always changing, always fluctuating, and you either learn to ride those waves and stay afloat or you drown. To me, being patient is choosing to believe that things will be wonderful, maybe not on your own timeframe but that they truly will be...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

a one car family?

(oh how i wish i could cruise around in this baby)

The Husband and I are seriously considering selling my car and becoming a one-car family for the time being. I only use my car to drive to work and back; otherwise, I ride my bike or take Reed's car for long trips. And honestly, I really should be biking to work, too. Has anyone out there tried going from a two-car family to a one-car family? Was it amazing? A disaster? Any tips or advice for making this decision?

PS. Isn't the ABM photo app fun?

happy birthday

(this photo is followed by a photo of us cracking up in a group shot while everyone else looks somber)

Happy birthday to my amazing best friend! You're my spirit animal (and incredibly handsome, duh). I am so proud of how far you have come and how much you accomplished in just 27 years.....but not surprised in the least. I love you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

food nerd book alert

I kind of love food. A lot. I am always, always up for trying new dishes and unusual foods. I am also lucky to be surrounded by some real foodies who have blown my mind with dining recommendations, ideas, and experiences (Seagrass, where The Husband proposed, and The Little Door stand out in my memory). 

My love of food and trying new things has finally helped me develop some cooking skills that were sorely lacking even a year ago. Cooking went from being a boring, frustrating process to a fascinating experience in combining flavors, textures, and marveling at the transformative properties of heat. Cooking became fun and fulfilling, and I wanted to learn more about it.

Years ago, I purchased a book for The Husband called On Food & Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen. It's basically a wonderful way to geek out about science and food simultaneously. Last night, I grabbed it off of our bookshelf and started browsing through it. The next thing I knew, it was past midnight and I was still on the couch reading...because holy crap I never even knew there was this much to say about anything, let alone food.

This book explains the scientific process behind many cooking procedures, as well the evolution and detailed explanations of various common foods. For example, his section on dairy covers the molecular makeup of cow's milk, the history of civilization drinking animal milk, the differences between raw and pasteurized milk, the implications of the industrial processes milk goes through to end up at the market....I could go on and on. Furthermore, the same section also contains helpful tips for getting perfectly foamed milk, the best way to store butter, and the history of ice cream. 

It was so fascinating to read. And I rarely even eat dairy. If you are a science nerd who loves food, or if you are married to a nerd who loves food, this book is a great little resource.

Monday, May 13, 2013

how to open up peony buds asap


So, it's kind of hot right now, no? If you are like us and don't have air conditioning (and a house that heats up like a furnace), you're hanging out at the beach a lot. However, the bright side of our crazy hot house is that the tightly-closed peonies I bought yesterday opened fully in less than 24 hours, and boy are they beautiful.

However, without surprisingly warm weather, peonies can be a bit stubborn and take their time opening. If you're putting them out for a party or wedding, you need those blooms on your schedule. All you have to do is fill a bowl deep enough to immerse the buds with warm / lukewarm (not hot) water. Immerse for 30 seconds (for buds that need to open in a couple hours) to 4 minutes (for buds that need to open 30 minutes from now). Arrange as desired, and watch those beauties open up in record time.

Monday, May 6, 2013

words to remember

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

-- Mary Elizabeth Fry

Friday, May 3, 2013

this weekend

This weekend will not be easy, but it will be important and valuable. Honoring an old friend from high school who was taken too soon. Hoping we can get around this fire to do so (and thank you so much, firefighters, for keeping us safe despite this scary situation). Celebrating a dear friend's new and beautiful home. Soaking up the sunshine and 90+ degree heat of the valley. Checking out the art deco buildings in Beverly Hills. Hoping for another set of zebra-print bath robes in our hotel room (only in LA, right?).

LA, here we come.