Friday, October 29, 2010

A bit of randomness

I really don't have time to be blogging — I should be packing or cleaning — but here I am. Here's the random stuff I have to share:

* My hair is longer than it's been in a long time. And by long, I mean long for me. But I have lost all patience with blow-drying it because I know it will end up in a ponytail shortly after I get to work. I'm getting it cut next week, and I'm literally counting down the days.

* I just finished the book Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I can't say much about it (the back cover actually tells you nothing and to tell nothing to friends). But it's about an African refugee and a British magazine editor. Go get it from your library or bookstore, it is a really good book.

* The president is coming! The president is coming! Pretty much what I'm hearing everywhere I go. Obama will be across the street from my office this evening, campaigning for a congressman. Downtown is going to be insane, but it makes me glad I walk to work. Fortunately, I'm working an earlier shift and have planned my escape route. (Oh and I'm ready for the election to be over. The commercials are bad enough, but I also got cornered by a campaign volunteer this week.)

And I'll just end with this photo of a tree outside my house. I'm looking forward to a weekend where I'll be disconnected and enjoying the beauty of fall!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Food of the week: Broccoli

My mom asked me the other day if I've become a vegetarian. I said no but I very rarely eat meat at home. I enjoy a good steak or chicken when I go out to eat, but at home I'm content with all the vegetables I get in my share.

But in case you're wondering, I do still get a chicken once a month. At any given time, I have at least two in the freezer, and I've been using them when I take dinner to friends, who've recently had babies. But this week I ran out of chicken broth and cooked a chicken in the crock-pot simply for the chicken broth it would create. I just found it amusing that I wanted the broth, not the chicken, but don't worry the chicken is going in a casserole soon.

Anyway, the vegetable of the week is broccoli. My mom had sent me the recipe for Panera's broccoli cheese soup months ago, and I finally had a reason to make it. I'm linking to it because I followed the recipe exactly, though the whole making a roux thing still confuses me. It is very good and tastes like Panera's!

On Saturday I went in to grab a cup of coffee at a cafe in town and saw that their quiche of the day was broccoli and cheddar, giving me some inspiration. I looked for a recipe online, but everything I found got mixed reviews. Ultimately I realized if I had a good quiche recipe, it didn't matter what I put in it. So I actually pulled out a cookbook and made this recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook:

  • Pie crust for 9-inch pan (I used this recipe but store-bought would be fine too.)
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1.5 cups of half-and-half, light cream or milk (I used half-and-half.)
  • 1/4 cup of sliced green onions (I used about 2 tablespoons of a chopped regular onion.)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup of whatever filling you want (broccoli, chicken, ham, other veggies)
  • 1.5 cups shredded Swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack or whatever kind of cheese you want (I used sharp cheddar.)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Line a 9-inch pie plate with crust. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450-degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes or more until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
In a medium bowl stir together egss, half-and-half, onions, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in broccoli or other filling of your choice. Toss cheese with flour and add to egg mixture. Mix well.
Pour egg mixture into hot, baked pie crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

It turned out really well, and the soup and quiche are providing meals for the week.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall share

First of all, I have to say that Mizzou won their big game on Saturday. It was reason No. 12 I wish I was there. 

But moving on, I haven't done a "here's what I got" post in a while, and since the season has changed, my share has changed. So I thought I'd share some of what has been in my share lately.


Sweet potatoes, they aren't the prettiest, but they taste good, especially as chips.

Apples, they've been really good this fall.

More winter squash, I had to buy this separately, but I was concerned about not having any for two weeks since I've enjoyed it so much.

Cider, one of the huge perks of my share. I'd be buying it once every two weeks otherwise.

I'll have some recipes to share later this week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

11 reasons why I wish I was going to Homecoming

I am seriously wishing I was flying to the Midwest today to enjoy the Homecoming festivities at my alma mater. Not only is it Homecoming, but my undefeated team is playing the No. 1 BCS team and ESPN GameDay will be there.

In an effort not to bore readers that didn't graduate from my university, I've condensed this to a list of 11 things I will miss by not being there this weekend. (I chose 11 because that's MU's ranking, and I realize it is still a long list but I could write forever about my college days.)

1. GameDay will be at the quad. 

This is the first time they've ever been to MU's campus, and this is a huge game for my team. MU has done better in football in the last five years than the four seasons I was a student there. Right now they are the only team I cheer for that is still undefeated this season. I'm not making any predictions, but I am invested in this game!

2. It seems like everyone is going to Homecoming this year; the Facebook statuses are constant reminders. I haven't been back for Homecoming since the fall after I graduated. The last time I was even in the state was for a wedding two years ago. So there are plenty of college friends I haven't seen in four years that I would love to catch up with, not to mention getting to visit some friends I know from Georgia. One day I will have a job where I can take a Friday off in October.

3. House decorations. 

I can't begin to explain this, and this photo taken with film and scanned in doesn't do it justice. But they are huge scenes created with scaffolding, plywood, tissue paper and glue, otherwise known as pomp. (I don't want to think about how many hours I spent pomping over the course of four Homecomings, and we didn't cheat and use chicken wire either.) There's a 10-minute skit that runs continuously for the kids that come out to Greektown. It's A LOT of work when you are in a sorority, but as an alum I would just get to enjoy it. 

4. The parade. 

I'm going to say the Homecoming parade wins as the best parade I've attended. Granted, I've always had a stake in it and walked in it three of four years but still it is impressive. The sororities and fraternities create floats -- some with moving pieces (the advantages of being paired with an engineering fraternity), there are high school and college bands from all over the state, there is usually a famous grand marshal (Sheryl Crow one year) and then there's this:
Pretty much the reason my mom let me go to school nine hours away from home. (A story for another post.)

5. Wearing my Mizzou hoodie and fitting in. 

I went to Target last Friday night and pulled on my hoodie since the temperature had dropped, and my black and gold just didn't quite fit with all the orange and blue in this town. I've also been made fun of for wearing my hoodie when visiting family, but Midwesterners understand the need for hoodies!

6. Faurot Field. 

It may not be a massive SEC stadium or even as big as the one in my current town, but you feel like you're at a college football game, not an ESPN production. And at one time they let the students rush the field and take the down the goal posts.

7. The Zeta house. 

I lived there for four semesters and spent much of my freshman year over there. It's a little like going home to walk in that front door. I'd love some of the chocolate chip cookies that were served frequently and a hug from my house mom. Not to mention it is a convenient parking and tailgating spot to enjoy all the festivities from.

8. The new journalism building. I haven't seen it. There's a whole corner of the quad that has been taken over by the journalism school that is all new since I graduated five years ago. I would love to see what I missed!

9.  Flat Branch. Their artichoke dip is to die for, and if an appetizer isn't enough, you can get it on one of their amazing burgers. They also have Strongbow beer to remind me of London. And since I'm mentioning food, I'll throw in Shakespeare's pizza.

10. Shake's frozen custard. I've tried to replace it with gelato, frozen yogurt and even frozen custard from a local chain, but it's not nearly as good. (Sidenote: In looking up the link, I discovered they are getting ready to open one in Auburn, so my Georgia friends should try it out.)

11. The church I attended. They no longer meet in a high school auditorium, but I would love to go back there for worship. It was (and I assume still is) a church very focused on the worship experience, and once you walked into the service, there was no chatting or hugs, shifting seats or waving to friends, you found a spot and started singing or praying on your own. The auditorium was pretty dark through the service, so it was all about the individual experience, not what your neighbor was doing. It was a place I never minded going to alone, in fact I often preferred it that way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fabric chaos

This is the current state of my living room:

There is a decorating store at the end of my street. I've never actually gone into the store because I'm sure I couldn't afford anything in it. But I walk past their garage/workshop a couple of times a day, where they are refinishing antiques and recovering furniture. And I dream of some future house that would have a dining room for the gorgeous chairs they are working on.

But anyway, every few months the store leaves their fabric swatch books outside by the garage for whoever wants them. I picked up a couple last spring and gave them to my sister. She was thrilled, so I picked up a couple more for her this summer.

But last week, there weren't just a couple of books outside, there were at least 20. I posted on Facebook to see if anyone wanted me to pick some up for them. I had one friend say she would take all of them if she lived closer. Three friends that do live close asked for a few. When I realized there must be some useful things I could do with these books, I picked up almost all of the books out there.

I'll be giving away some of the ones in my living room right now, but I'm making some plans for what I can do with the others and also looking for suggestions. Right now I'm thinking about placemats and maybe coasters. Any other ideas?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winter squash

Most of the things I am picky about (or was picky about before this experience) were things I had tried or at least seen prepared on a regular basis. But the latest thing I am moving into the like category is not something I've even been in a situation to try until the last year or so. But now I am wondering where winter squash has been all my life.

So far I've gotten delicata squash and carnival squash and I enjoyed both of them. Last week for dinner I found directions for cooking the carnival squash in the microwave. I mashed it up, added some butter and brown sugar and thoroughly enjoyed it and especially liked that it only took 15 minutes. 

I still had two carnival squashes left, and I went searching for recipes all week. I found two recipes for soup and then made it up as I went along, and it actually turned out really well.

Here's my rough recipe (I'll probably be eating it all week):
  • 2 carnival squash
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 small potato, chopped
  • 4 green beans, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
  • 1/2 cup of half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top off squash, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil and salt, roast for 45 minutes. Once cooled, scoop out pulp and put in food processor. Process as much as you want or don't. I only pulsed it a few times, I don't like completely pureed soup.
Saute onion in butter in the bottom of a dutch oven or other heavy pot until translucent. Add potato, green beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in squash and seasonings and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes. Add cream and let it simmer for another few minutes. 

The soup was good, but my other favorite thing is the seeds. I let them dry out, then coat them with olive oil, add salt and roast at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.

Winter squash was one of the things I had been worried about, but now I can't get enough. The other bonus is it doesn't go bad as long as it hasn't been cut. I'm excited to see what variety I'll get this week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

WATER|Start Petition

I haven't done enough reading or research to write about this issue, but there are going to be tons of posts out there today about the need for water in the world. Check out my friend Katherine's blog today, and this link to read posts from other bloggers all over the world.

Here's a few shocking facts:
  • 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.
  • 38,000 Children a Week: Every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions.
  • Wars Over Water: Many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa.
And these make me gulp a bit:
  • Technology Footprint: The shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that’s 40 million liters to charge those alone.
  • Bottled Water Footprint: The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled.
  • Fashion Footprint: That cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now took 1,514 liters of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 liters. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There's a reason I make brownies from a box

First of all, in case you were wondering the raccoon is still on the loose. I haven't heard him in a while, but he did trip one of the traps without actually getting caught. Hopefully, he will be gone soon so I can sleep better at night!

Anyway, back to the point of this post: A couple of weeks ago, I was out at lunch and saw some chocolate/pumpkin bars in the bakery section. They looked amazing, and I should have bought one so I could try and figure out how to make them. But instead I just started googling for recipes.

I found a couple, including one from Martha Stewart. But Martha didn't get very good reviews, I started noticing another recipe popping up over and over, so I figured that must be the one I should try.

Here's the recipe, my thoughts are below:

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger (substituted nutmeg but realized i need to just break down and buy ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg, then add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the flour. 

  • 5 1/2 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping cup large walnut pieces (about 4 ounces), optional (went without them)
Combine the semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar, vanilla and salt; set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and, using an electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate. Sift the flour over the warm batter and fold it in just until combined. Fold in the walnut pieces.
Spread the chocolate batter evenly in the prepared pan. Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin batter all over the top. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter into the chocolate; don't overdo it or the swirl pattern will be lost. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.

It wasn't as chocolatey as I was expecting or wanting. It was more like a spice cake with a hint of chocolate. The top of mine had a weird crisp on top, maybe I cooked it too long but the swirl thing definitely didn't work. If it hadn't had the crisp that fell apart when you touched it, I might have added cream cheese icing.

I also learned that there is a reason I have always made brownies from a box. It is complicated to make brownies, and I'm still not convinced I pulled it off. Now I think I'd like to make these again with brownies from a box and add the pumpkin batter on top to see if that improves the consistency while also adding more chocolate flavor. It would also be much easier to just add eggs, vegetable oil and water to the batter!

I also made these muffins from Pioneer Woman. They are definitely moist, but they are a little sweet for me and I even skipped the icing. My muffin supply is running low, so I need some apples or blueberries or more pumpkin to restock my freezer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This is not what the apples were for

I was trying to decide what to blog about on Sunday — I have a couple of recipes to post and I had a fun weekend (though I have no photo documentation). But then what was supposed to be a quiet Sunday night turned interesting.

It had been a busy day, and I was relaxing on the couch, trying to find some motivation to clean my kitchen. Then I started hearing some noises above me. I thought it was my upstairs neighbor, but I started noticing it was actually in the part of the ceiling that drops down for the air vent. And then I distinctly heard claws moving around. After several minutes, I decided I had to alert my landlord's dad, I'll just call him G, who lives upstairs and takes care of the building.

G opened a square opening in the ceiling that accesses the air vent. Of course whatever I heard had stopped moving. But he left the access point open, thinking it would be a small mouse or maybe a squirrel. And he went next door to his daughter's (my landlord) for dinner.

I tried to relax and watch TV but was completely aware of every sound. The next thing I know I look up and see a raccoon sticking its head out. I screamed, ran out the back door and next door to my landlord's house.

G came back over with his son-in-law and brooms. We got a few more glimpses of it (and proved that I wasn't crazy) and came up with a plan to set traps where the vent leads to in the utility area.

I had a bowl of apples sitting on my dining room table, and G asked me to cut a couple up and put peanut butter and chocolate on them to use in the traps.

By that point we had closed the opening, and I knew I wasn't going to have a raccoon in my apartment so I relaxed some. And I just had to laugh thinking that of all the ways I've thought of using my share, using it to trap a raccoon is not one of them.

I am still waiting for the raccoon to fall for the trap or for an exterminator to get it out of the vent, but I feel much better about the situation as of this posting.

I am reminded that one of the reasons I chose this apartment, which I rented based on some photos, was because G lived upstairs and would be around to fix any problems. I didn't anticipate a raccoon, but I am glad I had someone to run to. I'm pretty sure my last apartment manager would have called me on Monday morning and told me it was not an emergency.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A bit of encouragement

So this post is in line with what I wrote on Wednesday about how big God is. I've been writing it in my head all day, but I'm not sure it will all come out right, so please bear with me.

I came home on Wednesday, and as is my habit, I sat down to read through the various blogs I follow. A couple of blogs directed me to this post from Amy, a blogger I don't read. She was looking to encourage a friend and decided to bring in other bloggers to share their encouraging stories about God's faithfulness in their life — whatever stage of life. There were posts from married girls that struggled with singleness, couples that struggled with infertility, others who had struggled in job situations and even some from people still in their struggle.

I didn't click through every post, but I scanned a fair amount of them and it worked! I was definitely encouraged by those stories and remembering the work I've seen God doing in the lives of friends recently. It is exactly what God has been teaching me about how big He is. As Amy pointed out in her post: God can change things in a nanosecond, He is that powerful.

If you know me, you know that the struggle of singleness is the road I'm on right now. I don't want this blog (or my life for that matter) to be a pity party, so it's not something I like to dwell but to be honest, I do have some bad days.

But as I read through these posts and started thinking about my own life I was reminded of God's faithfulness.

If I had met my soul mate in high school, would I have gone far away to college and pursued my dreams? It's hard to know, but if I had gone, would I have really enjoyed it the way I did if my heart was somewhere else? Probably not.

If I had met THE guy in college, would I have gone to London for a semester? Maybe. But would it have been the same experience if I was missing someone in the States? Probably not.

If I was engaged or in a serious relationship when I graduated from college, would I have taken the job I loved or the one in the right location? Most definitely the latter.

Even at 25, which at some point I thought would be my ideal age for getting married, the thought of marriage was suffocating for me. And looking back now, I see that God knows all of these things and He knows what is right for me. Because I wouldn't give up any of my experiences to change where I am now.

I think about the place where God has brought me and see that it is beautiful. I can see that I've grown more in my relationship with Him over the last year than I had in a long time. I see that I needed the support I've found in the great community I have here and some down time for that to happen.

And the thing is, I love my life. Yes, my desire is to have a partner to enjoy it with, but in the meantime I can enjoy the freedom I have and the perks of the single life.

One last tidbit I was reminded of and encouraged by in the blog world is from Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Regardless of circumstance.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My God is so big

One of the things I've really enjoyed over the last month and a half is working in the pre-kindergarten Sunday School class at my church. I am a table leader, which means during the second half of class I talk with the kids during snack and help them with the activity for the day. The kids are 4 and 5, which I'm discovering is a fun age, though I'm sure they all are. But what's cool for me is that the kids remember a lot of what is said and can explain the Bible story of the week back to me and even recount past weeks' lessons.

They also have some pretty cute things to say. One of the boys was trying to explain something to me and used Pa from "Little House on the Prairie" as an example. My heart just melted. And then there's nothing better than a compliment from a 5-year-old because you know it's sincere. So one of the boys telling me that he liked my boots pretty much made my day on Sunday.

But what is really getting me is the way God is using the hour I spend in the classroom every week to reinforce the truths He is teaching me through weekly sermons and two Bible studies I'm in. 

In Sunday School, we are studying Moses and have made it through the parting of the Red Sea. (I'm teaching about manna this week, if you have tips!) Each week we sing the song "My God is so Big" before the story. If you don't know the song, here are the words (and you can imagine the motions):

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His, the valleys are His,
The stars are His handiwork are too.
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do for you!

After singing the song, the story is always about God's power and what He is willing to do for His people. And every week, it is a reminder to me that I underestimate God and His power.

I just started Beth Moore's Believing God study, and one of the fundamental points she makes is that "God can do what He says He can do." Of the five truths we are memorizing for the study, this is the hardest one for me.

I'm realizing that I lower my expectations of God and expect that He's going to give me things I will have to settle for, thinking that He can't do the big things. But what I am studying is showing me that He doesn't want to give me less, He wants to give me more. 

There's an example that both Beth Moore and C.S. Lewis (via John Piper) give about settling for less: We are willing to settle for a mud puddle when the lake is just over the hill or for making mud pies in the slums when given the chance for a vacation at the beach. And as Beth says, sometimes we need to hear: "You're in the PUDDLE!"

It's not just that I underestimate the things God has for me, but by putting Him in this smaller box, I am missing out on truly enjoying God. As Piper says in Desiring God, "The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever." But my passion and desire for God is too little, not too much because I do not grasp the fullness of God.

I'm seeing that God really wants me to get His message because everywhere I turn I am learning more about how big God is and what He does for those who seek Him. I'm already seeing that God is at work and using these messages to stretch me and strengthen my faith while expanding my understanding of Him and my relationship with Him. I'm finding much more hope and confidence in my God, who is so strong and so mighty!

Endnote: My friends Katherine and Andrea, who are doing these studies along with me, have recently written great posts on what they are learning. And Katherine also linked to this great post on praying boldly. All are worth a read.

Monday, October 4, 2010

More adventures in food

I had a good weekend, but it wasn't filled with the long list of everything I got to do and photos that usually come on Mondays. I think I was just burned out and needed some down time this weekend. I still had plenty going on, but I also turned some stuff down to get things done and go to bed early. 

I would like to report on two things I ate this weekend. I was at lunch with two of my friends, and they told me I needed to document my lunch. We were at a local restaurant where they supposedly have the best pizza crust. They had limited choices for lunch, but I was really brave and ordered a pizza with artichoke pesto, roasted red peppers and goat cheese.

I'll say the goat cheese was what swayed me, but the artichoke pesto was pretty amazing and I didn't even pick off the peppers. I was pretty proud of myself.

The other thing I ate this weekend was chili. That may seem like a normal and safe choice to you, but it's something I've always been. If I'm in a situation where I have no choice, I can usually eat enough to be polite. And I remember a time when I was on a mission trip and chili was all there was for dinner. The beans are usually what get me, and I remember this one having a lot of those big, mushy beans. I hated it and didn't want to eat any of it. But that was all there was, and my youth leader literally sat with me and told me to smile after every bite. It was like I was 5, and I was probably acting that age.

Anyway, on Sunday I voluntarily went to a chili cook-off with church. I did not try the 10 different chilis, and the one I did eat was called "Traditional." So I wasn't so far out of the box, but I did eat and enjoy an entire bowl of chili. 

I didn't compete in the chili cook-off, but I didn't go empty-handed either. I found a recipe for a green bean dish that didn't have to be hot, and I was able to use the last of my green beans. I liked it, and it was all gone after the party. Here's the recipe:

Green Bean Salad from The Food Network
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoons walnut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool. Add the parsley and onion to the walnuts and stir to combine.
In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans, top with the walnut mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, October 1, 2010

End of the week randomness

First of all, I can't believe it's October. I'm definitely excited for fall, but I feel like it's going to fly by. Anyway, here's my random list of things for today.

1. So I tried the beets. I wrapped them in foil and roasted them at 400 degrees for an hour. After they cooled, I peeled them and then added them to my salad. The thing is I wanted to like beets. It seems to be the one thing most people dislike, and I wanted to finally like something most people don't, instead of disliking something most people love. But this was not the case. I even tried more than just a bite, but it was a very strong dislike.

2. Thus far I've been unimpressed with fall TV. I haven't tried any new shows, but my old favorites seem to be struggling, particularly Desperate Housewives (it might be time for this one to end, like two seasons ago) and Brothers and Sisters (skip a whole year with no warning and resolve most of the plot lines all in the premiere, why should I keep watching?). And bringing back Brad Womack on The Bachelor is a horrible idea. So I guess it's ABC and I that are not agreeing right now.

3. It's been raining here for the last two days. It's good, we definitely need the rain, but it has made me want to curl up in my reading chair with a good book and hot tea and not go anywhere. Unfortunately, I can't do that and not only that I have get to walk to work. And while I've been looking forward to fall and cooler weather, I forgot that at some point in the fall I have to give up wearing my flip flops. I may have some more flip flop days left, but it was a rude awakening to have to switch to socks and closed-toed shoes this week.

4. So I got Bakerella's cookbook a few weeks ago. Let's just say there is a cakepop for everything. I haven't had time or a reason to try anything cool since I got it. But this week was a co-worker's birthday, and I wanted to try these cupcake bites. I imagined writing this post and having a cute photo of my success. Well, I don't have a photo because it did not go well and only added to my frustration with candy coating. Someday I'm going to make something cute from the cookbook, but first I've got to come up with a vegan version.

5. I'll leave you with a link to this post from Bebo Norman that describes beauty and brokenness in a way I never could. And then this quote from Andrew Osenga via a friend: "Hoping is always filled with sadness. It is the exhausting activity of choosing to not give up, to believe in the fulfilling of longing."