Feeling all accomplishy.

10.12.2010 Comments: (2)
Yeah, turns out that folding a fitted sheet is super easy.  I recommend this video, if you want to learn. #51 on my list, check.
#53 was learn more about world geography, until I changed it to learn all the world's countries because that's actually what I want to do. Europe and Asia - check. I've been taking quizzes that I'm pretty sure are meant for kids in elementary school. 
#79 is to complete 10 of the 52 projects. This weekend I finished Project 50:
"Go to the library. Find your favorite writer’s books. Then, see which writer comes next on the shelf. Someone you’ve never heard of before? Good. Check out the works of this newly discovered writer and start reading."

My favorite author is Anita Shreve. The next author after her was Porter Shreve. I brought home one of his books and read it in 2 sittings.

Also - the Berkeley library has self checkout, like it's a grocery store. Weird.


10.03.2010 Comments: (3)
James is peeing more. As in, when he goes to the bathroom, more liquid is coming out. This is exciting progress! The bad news is that he's peeing basically anywhere he damn well pleases right now. Not sure how to discourage this while encouraging the peeing. Quandry.
I finished a book today about schools for girls. Their history in this country, their benefits, their downfalls, etc. It makes me a bit sad that I didn't go to an all girls school at some point. I think middle school would have been the best time, because everything sort of goes downhill around then, am I right?
I worked a bunch on my list this weekend, but didn't necessarily complete a lot of things. However, I did make these cupcakes. I've discovered that I would like lime icing on pretty much all of my desserts.
Watched some NASCAR today. Sent me right back to some college memories. Tommy got me into NASCAR originally and while I never could (and still can't) watch a whole race, it's such an interesting world. I know many people disagree. I may write more about this later this week.
The Giants won their division today. I'm finding myself strangely excited about it, even though baseball really doesn't usually excite me. The 49ers lost today (not surprising), and I'm also a bit sad about that. This afternoon I realized that it seems I've adopted the San Francisco teams as my second favorites. I never felt this way about Washington/Baltimore teams, but maybe because I never felt like I had no access to Pittsburgh events in Reston. Here, it's a really big day when the Steelers are on regular cable.
We gave Lily a bath. She did not enjoy it.
Went to Target today for the first time since...July maybe?  I haven't been going since the whole kerfuffle over the summer. I had a gift card I needed to use up, and specific items we needed, so off we went. It was shocking how easy it was to only buy what we needed. I feel like I used to walk in, inhale that Target smell (you know what I'm talking about) and then...buy many many things.  I guess in these months we've been apart, I've built up some tolerance to Target. I can't decide if I'm excited or disappointed.
I'm thinking of renaming the blog's URL to 'onlykkwriteshere.blogspot.com'
Have a lovely Monday :)


9.27.2010 Comments: (3)
This week, we had to take James to the vet because he's having some urinary problems. Along with some other instructions, the vet sent me home to 'monitor' him peeing. I'm here to tell you that cats actually don't pee that often at all.
Today is my grandmother's birthday.
It's finally hitting summer temperatures here in the Bay Area. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be 88 degrees in Berkeley. I'm pretty excited to bust out some sandals. It's almost beach time. The past couple of years, Dan and I have found ourselves on nearby beaches, in appropriate weather, the first weekend of October. It's rad.
This weekend, Dan and I had Cold Stone Cake Batter ice cream for the first time in a looooong time. While we were in grad school, that flavor (with chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles mixed in) completely served as our version of flowers in every way - 'I'm sorry,' 'Congratulations!' 'It's Wednesday' and everything in between. It brought back good memories and made me remember how damn tasty it is. Welcome back to my life Cold Stone. I've missed you.
I have no meetings scheduled for tomorrow at work.I opened my calendar and actually thought to myself, "Did people forget to invite me?" and then I quietly made a decision not to remind them if they did.
Maybe a month ago, I saw a woman wearing a pair of Tom's Shoes that I immediately, deeply coveted. (Tom's are the shoes that every time you buy a pair, the company donates a pair to someone in need) So I went to the website, and they weren't there. I tried to tell myself that there would be others. Two nights ago, I went to the website again, because I decided that it was high time I had a pair. These shoes are everywhere in Berkeley. All the cool kids have them. You have no street cred unless you have some Tom's. Get this - they had the shoes!! I clicked the link, and ran - literally - to get my wallet. Yes friends, they were out of my size. Heart. Broken.
Recently, I've been feeling like I haven't been reading very much. Usually I put a lot of my free time into reading. I like a Sunday where Dan and I make brunch, then I curl up with a cat, a book and a mug of tea (that I have to reheat over and over because once I get into the book, I forget it's there). Anyway, I checked my list of books I've read over the past two years, and this whole year seems to be a reading fail. Usually I've read about 40 books at this point in the year. This year, 20. Very strange. I'm chalking it up to either a) the fact that I was working so hard over the summer, which is when I usually get a lot of reading in, or b) too much time on the computer and watching TV. Either way, not cool.
I'm going to try to post some photos from our Seattle/Gorge trip this week. I know you're excited.
I'm not sure everyone has gotten the memo that Dan got a job as an RD (same position as mine) at a different university, about 30 minutes away. It's a live in position, so he'll/we'll be spending 2-3 nights a week up there. We spent some good time up there this weekend, and I've decided to call it our vacation home.


Kristin is...

9.15.2010 Comments: (3)
...a super fast speed reader.
...surprisingly, almost alarmingly, careless about some things and incredibly rigid about other things.
...almost nocturnal, but fighting it.
...so emotional about animal cruelty that the sad ASPCA commercials are banned from our house.
...a Gleek.
...sometimes overly ambitious (see "100 Things, 1000 Days" list above).
...happy being domestic with Dan and two cats.
...happiest around her people (that would be you, CC).
...passionate about teaching women self defense.
...often lost in bookstores for hours at a time.
...daydreaming about where to travel next.
...? (for you to fill in. interactive!)

Right Now...

8.25.2010 Comments: (3)
...I am dreading reading the duty report for tomorrow morning because tonight it's 80 degrees and there are no classes tomorrow. Cue hundreds of first year women wandering up to the fraternities in too tall heels and too short skirts. *heavy sigh*

...I am playing four songs over and over.
'Dynamite' by Taio Cruz (which I've heard about 478 times since Saturday at various move in events...don't judge me)
'Fire and Rain' by Mat Kearny
'Breakeven' by the Script
'Rock and Roll' by Eric Hutchinson

...I'm looking over the setlists for recent Dave shows because I'm going to my first concert of the summer tomorrow (!) Am pretty excited.

...Dan and I are working up some motivation to pick a flight to Orlando. It is not going well.

Pixar fail?

8.03.2010 Comments: (2)
Did you see Toy Story 3? Did you like it?

I saw it, and...not a fan. Even if I hadn't seen Despicable Me a few days before (which was awesome!) it still wasn't good.

I never expected to not like a Pixar movie. My world has shifted a bit.


Well that was her point of view. I'm admittedly biased because my work had me pressing to get a meeting with the producer of Toy Story 3 before the movie came out, but I liked it! Sure, it wasn't as good as the first 2, but there were some good moments, maybe? Certainly not the over dramatic unnecessary forbidding doom. Ok... maybe just 2 good moments I can remember - Ken's fashion show and Andy with the little girl. And now I feel bad for the computer animation teams who spent so long on the movie. Great.

Progress Report: 8 Things Down

7.28.2010 Comments: (1)
A little while ago, my mom asked me how I was doing on my list. And I felt like I had been doing OK, crossing some items off completely, and making some progress on others. But when I checked to see how many days I have left, I may or may not have freaked out. At that point, I should have had 16 items checked off (strictly going by 1 thing accomplished every 10 days) but I only had 6. And now, probably even more 'behind.' But, since it's my list, I'm going to stop freaking out about it and just keep plugging away.

#11 - Berry picking. It was hot.
#28 - Always take off my makeup before bed. Yep, I get back out of bed if I get in bed without doing it. That counts as done.
#34 - Transition from plastic to other materials in the kitchen - Done, and I'm so happy with it all. I thought it would be weird to use all glass storage because they're so heavy, but it feels totally natural now.
#80 - Find my professional organization home - Yes! I'm actually, finally, really getting involved with an association that I like. I went to a conference earlier this summer and had a bit of a revelation that this group was just my size. Because I'm a classic over achiever, I'm already on two different committees.
#97 - Dolores Heights stair walk. Reliving it makes me tired.

In Progress
#7 - Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras - planning has now stalled. I'm lazy.
#12 - Plan a trip with friends - Orlando. Space Shuttle Launch. We'll see.
#42 - Bake 5 new kinds of cupcakes - 1 down, I made the Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Chambord Frosting. They were OK. Am taking suggestions for new recipes (no cream cheese frosting though).
#43 - Taste 50 things on the Big Eat lists - This is a most enjoyable goal. 30 items down, some new favorite foods discovered. (Secret Breakfast ice cream - vanilla ice cream with Jim Beam and cornflakes. wow.)
#46 - Learn to play chess - I have 1 game left to play! This has taken forever, I know, but I've found that I have to have a certain motivation to spend an hour racking my brain to play a game and then still get my ass handed to me by Dan. It doesn't come often. 

The thing we work the most on is #39 - Finish cooking our way through our seasonal cookbook. We make recipes from this one cookbook at least 2-3, usually 4, times a week. Since we've joined the CSA, we definitely have more reason to cook with vegetables, so that has really been helping. And honestly, I feel like we're learning how to really cook as we follow all the recipes, which is a nice skill to learn together. (cue: awwwwwwwwwwwwww).  But, even though this is one of my goals we focus on the most - we've only made 108 out of 308 recipes. So, this won't be checked off for awhile.

I'm curious what you all are working on as personal goals, regardless if you have any sort of list or not. Tell me, and I'll make them into a fun "let's celebrate each other's accomplishments" post next time around.

For starters, check out Ro's ultimate purse

City Walk: Dolores Heights (#97)

7.25.2010 Comments: (1)

This city walk is in an area that's sort of in between a couple of different areas that we commonly visit. Before we did this walk, we'd never been to this specific neighborhood. I'm going to guess that it's because it's on the top of a big hill. But since I went ahead and wrote out this ambitious list of things I want to do in a span of time that is ever growing shorter, we got our butts up the hill.

To be perfectly honest, this walk was pretty rough. It was a relatively warm day in SF, and the walk consisted of several stairways up, just to go downhill again. Not exactly a peaceful meandering stroll. The scenery was lovely, the architecture was great, and the views were breathtaking. My interesting information stops there though - this wasn't a walk full of rich history. Photos, though. Photos we have.

Sculptured redwood bench, because that's how San Francisco rolls. It was actually very comfortable.
So up near the top of the picture there, you can see that the house has what the book calls an "octagonal belvedere" and what I would call a "cupola." You should know that it is roofed in a pattern of blue and lavender tiles. That's right. These fools put a dome on the top of their house, and covered it with a mosaic. Friends, they need to find a new way to spend their money.

What you're seeing above looks like two streets but is actually the same street. In 1924, San Francisco "improved" the street by lowering the grade on just one side of the street (on the left there) and raising it on the other. What resulted is a street where some people's garages are now completely useless.
I want to live here. With a different car though.
Walk stats: 1.47 miles, 1.5 hours, same day that Spain won the World Cup!

A Day in the Life: Natural Disasters.

7.19.2010 Comments: (2)
So, I'm pretty sure that most of you reading this blog have no idea what I do. I think that a majority of you know that I work for UC Berkeley, maybe that I work in Student Affairs (maybe?) Some of you would get bonus points for knowing that my job title is "Resident Director" or describing it as either "a grown up RA" (my least favorite description ever) or as "the person who supervises the RAs."

Regardless, I haven't been really great at really describing to others what my job is about - what it is that I actually do. And also, why I do all these things. So, every now and again, I'm going to describe a day in the life - at least the interesting ones. Every day in my job is different - while I have the same core duties, my job is basically to respond to all the stuff that comes up in the  lives of the 500 students and 10 staff members I work with. Yeah. Sometimes it gets hectic.

For example, while I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, one of my buildings (I supervise two residence halls - this one is not the one I live in) caught on fire. ON. FIRE. As in, they are still repairing the fire damage. Luckily, the flames were confined to the basement storage area, but the smoke was thick in the entire building. Let's just say it took a few days for the hallways and rooms to air out. Another, extremely different example would be when a student breaks up with their partner, fails a test and comes home to find their roommate has eaten all their granola bars. This pushes them over the edge into a hysterical crying fit. You know where they end up? My office. I stock tissues.

I also thought it would be handy to keep a record of what's going on for me during the year. I mean, the number of topics I'm trained on is always expanding - because we never know what's going to happen each day. I try not to get freaked out by it.

So, last Wednesday was my third day of professional training for the year. (Sidenote - every year, before we start the two week extravaganza that is RA training, the professional staff also have a couple weeks of training to prepare for the upcoming year). Yesterday started off with a discussion about the newest supplies that we would be adding to our emergency supply inventory. This is an ongoing discussion for us because the threat of earthquake is extremely high in this area - and what are we going to do for our students in the case of a really devastating quake? My unit alone houses 1400 students and Bay Area emergency services tell residents to be prepared to care for themselves for 5-7 days with no assistance in the worst case. So we spend a fair amount of time discussing questions like: Where will we go if a building collapses? What will we eat? How will we care for injured students? What if, what if, what if?

New supplies for our RA staff included matching helmets and bright green vests. We got the same PLUS crowbars (awesome!), first aid supplies AND handheld radios. Without feeling too ridiculous, we learned the protocol for the radios: "Kristin to Laura" "Go ahead Kristin" "Kristin to Laura, your bedroom color palette is aMAzing!" "Copy that Kristin" and so on. (Sidenote: We also have another set of radios that are actually police issue radios, connected directly to our university police department, which is...nerve wracking.) We're always adding to our supplies in an effort to feel like we are as prepared as possible for any given emergency.

Lunch break.

So, for all of our discussion about earthquakes or other disasters where we would be forced to evacuate our buildings - we realized we didn't have as much planning done for events that would require us to stay inside. Active shooters, for example. Chemical or hazardous material spills, for another. We realized we didn't know the difference between lockdown (a police order stating no one can enter or exit) and shelter in place (a safety recommendation where you go inside the nearest building, and shut the windows and doors). So lots of planning ensued - how to let students know about the situation, what to do if a student wants to leave the building anyway, how to know when the restrictions have been lifted. Etcetera. The number of questions that come up for us in these situations is sometimes overwhelming - because everything we discuss is one more thing that we need to mentally prepare for, and also train our staff for.

Even though emergency preparedness isn't what I went to grad school for, it's a huge part of my job here, and part I bet you didn't know about.

Maybe next time I'll talk about the stuff you were expecting, hugs and feelings and stuff.

**I started this post last week, but tonight, no joke, there was another fire. Outside of my building, luckily, and this one much more suspicious, but maybe five more minutes and my other building would have been on fire again. Awesome, right?

On Standing...

7.07.2010 Comments: (4)
Hi there. So, we were on the East Coast for a few days recently, so the blog has been a bit slow. I'm sure it didn't help that the last time I was here, I was a bit feisty. But, you should be happy to know that I have lots of ideas for upcoming blog posts, so hopefully things will pick up here for a bit.

Anyway, I saw this list on a blog I read, so I'm repeating the idea.

Places I have stood:
+Inside of a very large tree
+At weddings, watching friends and family walk down the aisle
+On the Golden Gate Bridge, in the Sydney opera house, and inside the Capitol Rotunda
+In a crowd of several thousand, listening to them sing me "Happy Birthday"
+At the edge of a doorway on a plane, right before jumping out of it
+On a water trampoline in Mexico, laughing my ass off with Dan, Missy and Franklin
+At the Flight 93 memorial
+On a fault line
+In a line waiting for the next Harry Potter book to be released

Now you go.

Advice: Don't tell me I'm 'overreacting'

6.22.2010 Comments: (1)
At any given time, there is inevitably a commercial or two on heavy rotation that makes me want to throw the TV out the window and then call up the company and go all upset feminist on their ass. Usually, I also end up hearing something on the news or seeing something online about how others are also upset about the ads, and boycotts and the company responds by apologizing or pulling the ads (and then creating something else horribly offensive next week). But, I haven't heard anything at all about these ones.

The current model is the Miller Lite 'Be a Man' campaign. I found out from this site that we've actually only seen two of the ads so far - 'purse' and 'skirt' - and three more are yet to come - 'lower back tattoo,' 'panties,' and 'antique.' There is no softer way I can say this - I hate these ads and everything they stand for. The link above has them posted in case you haven't seen them, as well as a nice breakdown of some of the reasons for my anger.

They make me crazy. The ads basically put men in situations where certain objects make them LESS than. The purse or the skirt make them less masculine. Their friends reinforce how much less of a man they are. And you know what this makes them? More feminine, more lady like, more womanly. So, the message I take away from this is that basically, not being a stereotypical white straight man makes you a woman. And why the hell would you want to be a woman? That's LESS than. The fact that the ads have female bartenders makes me even more upset. Like it's OK to say that crap out loud because it's coming out of a woman's mouth.

I get so tired of this. I get tired of advertising companies thinking the best way to sell their product is by telling all of us exactly how to act and be. Men, buy our beer so your friends won't call you a bitch or a fag. Women, buy this product so you can try to achieve an unachievable, incredibly narrow definition of beauty and feel bad about yourself along the way. I know this isn't a new discussion. Today I just needed to vent.


6.08.2010 Comments: (1)
Wow, a lot of people have stuff going on lately.

One of Dan's best friends just got engaged (and got a kitten)

Jess moved back to DC to start her job

Meghan found an apartment in Maine (and in the pictures, it looks lovely!)

Laura got an apartment in Alexandria

Dana's sister just had a baby (making her an aunt for the 7th time!)

My boss's partner is having a baby next January

Two of my co-workers are getting married this summer

Is this just what happens from here on out? Lots of life events, all happening concurrently? It's sort of overwhelming.

Captions provided by the letter S and Y, and the number 8

6.01.2010 Comments: (1)
Dis mixin bowl is just my size.

Dude, you smell.

James: Is that food?
Lily: You're all idiots.

Food? Food? I swear I heard food.

Go berry picking (#11)

5.27.2010 Comments: (0)
Everytime we go pick up our CSA box, we get a newsletter along with it. It tells us what is in our box for that week, what the vegetables are, how to store them, and some recipes for how to use them (which has been handy). The second time we picked up our load of veggies, our newsletter had a little headline "Don't forget to sign up for strawberry days!" Turns out, the farm plants twice as many strawberries each year as they predict they will need for the CSA boxes and then opens the farm up to visitors four days a year so we can come pick our own berries.

So, we of course signed up and found ourselves driving up to the farm one lovely sunny Saturday afternoon. We found the farm, drove around and couldn't find a living soul to figure out where the strawberries were. Because we weren't supposed to be there until Sunday. Awesome. We wrapped up Saturday with some outlet shopping and a trip to Costco.

Anyway, on Sunday, we went back to the farm, slathered on some sunscreen and joined about a hundred other folks who were also out picking. Lots and lots of kids, which I can't imagine trying to wrangle and explain the art of strawberry picking to. Strawberries grow close to the ground, the plants probably only grow  about 10 inches, and the berries often lay directly on the ground - there is a lot of reaching and bending involved. Even so, Dan and I persevered and picked about 5.5 pounds of berries to take home with us. We just finished cutting them all up for dessert tonight and we picked them almost 2 weeks ago. I'm super impressed with how long they've kept in our fridge.

It's also sort of boggling my mind how achieving one goal (CSA) directly led to another one being achieved as well. Hopefully this sort of karma continues. There clearly has to be something to the theory that if you make your goals/dreams known, then others will somehow help you achieve them.

That being said, is there anything on my list that you also want to do? Let's make that happen. Or, is there anything you want to do that I can help with? Let's make that happen too.

Transition from plastic to other materials in the kitchen (#34)

5.21.2010 Comments: (3)
We have been making a big effort to transition our entire kitchen from plastic to mostly stainless steel and glass. It took awhile to complete it because every time I thought we were done, we noticed something else was plastic. First we replaced all our mixing bowls and storage containers with Pyrex bowls and food storage. Then, duh, our colanders were plastic and...oops, plastic mixing spoons and spatulas. And, oh hell, our cutting board. Then, shopping trip to replace them with pretty wooden spoons, recycled paper cutting board, and metal colander. And...maybe some other things.

The hardest thing to find were measuring cups that weren't total pieces of crap. We have metal measuring spoons, and glass measuring cups for liquids. But measuring cups continued to elude us. It was really difficult to find options that weren't really flimsy. We found to be any sort of substantial, they had to be one piece of metal instead of cups with the handles fused on separately. And...most of those sets were $40 or more (Paula Deen's were $70). Um....for measuring cups? How about...no? But, when I was looking on a friend's wedding registry, I noticed a $20 set that was exactly what I was looking for, score.

We do still have some plastic items, for specific purposes. We're looking for a non-plastic ladle that holds a decent amount and isn't ridiculously expensive. We kept a silicone spatula to use on our non stick pans, because you can't use metal on them. Also, ice cube trays. Where the hell do you find non-plastic ice cube trays?

Anyway, I'm counting this goal complete because all the things I really wanted to find have been replaced. A lot of people have asked me why this was a goal in the first place. I'm not going to write a long winded report about studies and everything, but the more I read about plastic and chemicals leeching into our food, the more I just didn't want to chance it. Some plastics were safe a few years ago, and now are known to be harmful. Maybe the same thing will happen with metal or glass, but getting rid of plastic is a step I'm taking for now.

The measuring cups in action:

The purée button is my favorite

5.20.2010 Comments: (1)

In the last year, I've learned how much I melt over a well crafted soup. There's soup and then there's soup! I can strangely relate to the passion the Soup Nazi put into his creations on Seinfeld. I can distinctly recall some of the most flavorful and perfectly concocted soups I've had recently (and for when you're in the Bay Area, many of those have been seemingly simple and utterly astounding sips of bliss at Digs Bistro).

Attempting to create my own bowl of fabulousness has become a new found love affair almost entirely attributed to the purée button. I can't really explain it in any logical, reasonable manner that will make any sense, but I just love that darn button! KK will tell you that I actually get a bit disheartened when we make a soup that doesn't call for any purée festevities of any kind - as if it's less of a soup because it isn't puréed! KK dreams of a stand mixer; mine might be an immersion mixer. Regardless, KK says we can stop buying soups in a can since ours have turned out so well. I say it's because of the purée button. But all the fresh ingredients and significantly less reliance on salt to add flavor probably give us an edge up on the canned stuff too.

You'll find the bulk of these ingredients fresh in the summer months. And just a quick lesson learned for today:
  • Lime juice is AMAZING. Try it fresh squeezed over a veggie pizza... holy goodness in your mouth!!!
Southwestern Corn Chowder
Serves 4. Or 3 if you like big bowls of soup like me.

1/2 cup sweet onion chopped
Sauté in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot until soft.

2.5 cups corn (equates to roughly 5 small-ish cobs)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Add and cook for 10 minutes. Remove 1 cup of solids & 1/3 cup of broth and place in blender. Purée until smooth. Return purée to soup pot and and heat until nearly boiling.

1 medium red sweet pepper chopped
1 small tomato peeled, seeded, and chopped
Stir in and heat another minute.

1/2 fresh lime
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro finely chopped
Squeeze lime into soup and top with cilantro immediately before serving. Garnish options include Tobasco sauce, lime wedges, plain yogurt, or sour cream. (Or if you're classy like us, the salt from a Ritz cracker was a perfect match!)

I blame the French

5.19.2010 Comments: (1)

I blame Julia Childs. Actually, no I blame the French. Why does everything in cooking sound more difficult than it really is? Is it to be fanciful or is it to make you feel as if you could never actually accomplish this feat on your own. ...cooked in a wine reduction sauce and served with a tossed jullienne salad... instead of ...we simmered some wine and cut some vegetables in long thin strips.

I believe the answer to my question lies in the fact that even the simplest task requires significant concentration and skill. The knife skills alone in chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, creating rondelles or chiffonades such that every cut is identical only comes with dedication and practice. Who cares about identical cut pieces anyway?

Just in case you didn't know, today's cooking lessons learned:
  • Similarly sized pieces will cook the same and thus have a similar consistency/texture throughout your dish. No more biting into one perfect bite of potato or a bigger bite that didn't cook through or a smaller piece that was overdone. Maybe you all already knew that, but I had never really considered the science behind that before I started cooking regularly. You put it in a pot and it cooks!
  • Google how to chiffonade. Seriously made my life cutting greens, leaves, and basil so much easier!
Back to simple tasks. I believe it is Chef Tom Colicchio (Top Chef anyone?) who said his test for chefs applying for a job was to have them cook a single egg. Seems simple, right? After recently making a single attempt for the perfect poached egg, I realize the complexity of the task. One, I don't know how TomTom likes his eggs. Screwed from the get go! Not too mentioned picking ingredients to add, how to plate, how much heat, do you cook it through or leave it a little runny. My brain hurts. Last but seemingly most important, do you add cheese or not!?!

So here's the real question to you all: How do you like your eggs? If you need help, here's 100 ways to Crack an Egg.

We attempted a soufflé. Again, always thought they were complicated. This was SUPER easy, light and delicious!

Brunch Soufflé with Strawberries
Serves 4.

3 cups strawberries (or other fresh fruit of choice)
2 tablespoons sugar
Sprinkle fruit with sugar. Toss gently. Set aside.

1/2 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375F. While oven heats, place butter in a 9 inch pie pan and place in oven to melt. Swirl pan to grease bottom and sides.

3 eggs
1.5 cups milk
Beat together with mixer or blender

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Add and beat until smooth. Pour batter into pie pan and bake until edges are golden brown and center is set, 25-30 minutes. Top with berries and plain yogurt.

Bon apétit!

We are what we eat

5.18.2010 Comments: (3)

I've taken far too long of an absence from being a contributing writer to our blog as opposed to merely proofing and editing the KK show here. We're changing all that right now. It's a big day. I have a lengthly list of life updates and topics that somehow never learned how to magically write themselves into interesting posts. There's not an app for that yet. But really, it's an interesting challenge to write about our lives and only hope it is intriguing enough to spawn comments and continued motivation to share. On the other hand, instead of writing about it, I'd much rather just show you our lives.

I don't want to alarm you, but we like food. A LOT. Shocking, I know. Especially considering we don't ever talk about it or blog about it or anything. But then I realized we have never actually written about our own cooking. (Don't worry, we're working on new blogs to discuss other people's cooking too.)

We didn't eat like this before. And if you look at the country as a whole, we're pretty sure most people don't either. Supposedly the trend is swinging back. But, if the saying, 'You are what you eat' is true, then I'm pretty sure we're a couple of organic, sustainable, no added hormone, grit in your teeth hippies. The grit in your teeth isn't to be trifled with. It also means washing greens is time consuming and we suck at it.

The aftermath of joining a CSA is of course figuring out how to cook all the stuff into something appetizing you actually want to put into your body. A few years ago, I don't think I could have told you what Swiss chard was, told the difference between green garlic and green onions, or known that egg yolks are actually naturally much more golden yellow than most of us likely know.

Now I know this isn't actually our food blog, but I'm declaring this Food Week here! Mainly because it'll force me to post once a day, you to check once a day, and KK isn't here to stop me from such a declaration at this time.

We regularly cook 3 or 4 nights at home with all our local fresh goodness. So here's a few cooking lessons we've learned along the way, along with a recipe, and photographic evidence.
  • Best lesson we've learned: Fresh produce tastes amazing!
  • Best cooking advice we have to give: Don't screw up things that taste amazing.
  • Also, don't burn the kitchen down. I'm sure KK is eager to post about my attempts at this one.
  • Balsamic anything is scrumptious. For example, onions grilled in balsamic to top a burger with, balsamic glazed asparagus, balsamic cheesecake (totally made up, but I bet it'd be good!)
Maple Walnut Scones + Chilled Strawberry Soup

(These are two separate recipes that I decided to combine)

Maple Walnut Scones
Yields 10-12 scones.

3.5 cups flour
1 cup walnuts finely chopped
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
(we added a healthy dose of brown sugar in here too)
Combine thoroughly.

2/3 cup butter chilled
Cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
Stir in and work into soft dough. Knead 5-6 times. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick and about 7 inch round. Cut into 10-12 wedges. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 425F for 15-18 minutes or until golden.

Serves perfectly with a bit of honey in the morning or drowning in strawberry soup for desert.

Chilled Strawberry Soup
Serves 6.

1 cup apple juice
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine in saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool.

3 cups strawberries
1/4 cup water
Puree until smooth in blender. Pour into a large bowl.

2 cups plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add to pureed strawberries with apple juice mixture. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

It's more smoothie or shake than soup, but I still licked the plate, so enjoy!

Sending you elsewhere

5.14.2010 Comments: (0)
I've hit a bit of writer's block. I don't feel like I have anything interesting to talk about, even though we are doing a lot lately. So, I thought I'd just go ahead and entertain you by sending you elsewhere. Have fun!

13 year old rocking it OUT

Not so mindless entertainment

Because it's important to mind your manners

Maybe you've met her?

The Uniform Project's year in review

Why haven't I visited these places?

Hopefully, soon I'll be out my writing funk. Until then, I think I have enough kitty photos to hold you over.

Join a CSA (#31)

5.09.2010 Comments: (1)

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you pay a farm directly, and every so often you get a box of whatever fruits and vegetables they grow on their farm delivered to you. I'd been wanting to do this for awhile, because I love the idea of the people who grow the crop actually getting paid for it directly, rather than selling it for less than what it is worth to large companies, who sell it to grocery stores, who sell it to you. Also, cuts way down on the amount the food has to travel before it gets to you. This way it gets picked, and delivered...that's all.

The CSA we chose has a pretty wide distribution in the Bay Area and they have the option of pasture raised eggs, which I'm pretty excited about. The picture shows everything we got in our box last week. We get a box every other week because it is actually a LOT of food in there.

If you click on the picture to make it larger, you can see: swiss chard (leafy green with bright red stems), radishes (small, purple and white), onions (huge and purple), a bundle of fresh rosemary, fava beans (right in the middle, they look like huge pea pods), carrots, a bag of fresh baby spinach, asparagus, green onions, strawberries, sweet potatoes and the eggs. The paper bag on the left side has dried peaches in it.

We've picked up two boxes so far, and we're pretty happy with it. It does take some adjusting to, and it does help if you've been comfortable making dishes that rely on vegetables, which we'd gotten used to. But now, we get our box and then have to plan our recipes and go to the farmer's market to pick up anything else we want/need. Also - this is all fresh picked, harvested. That bag of spinach still had dirt and mud, so it is a little bit more time intensive to clean/prepare, but we enjoy it.

I'm not sure we'll stick with this specific farm (we have two more boxes to go on our trial run) but I think the CSA idea may stick. Either way, goal complete.

Can. Not. Take. It. Anymore.

5.07.2010 Comments: (1)
While the blog has undergone a mini makeover, I am SO TIRED of Blogger. We will probably be migrating soon to a new site, stay tuned.

Also, Dan started a (small) fire in our kitchen. We're down two kitchen towels, a knife block, and some knives. Full story to come.

Impressive, no?

4.30.2010 Comments: (3)
Last weekend, my mom completed her 3rd Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!
She and her friend Loretta walked 39.3 miles over two days in the 90 degree heat.
The whole walk had 3000 participants, including 271 breast cancer survivors, and they raised $6.8 MILLION for breast cancer research.

Congratulations v.14

4.27.2010 Comments: (0)
Congratulations to my cousin Christine and her fiance Kevin! 

They got engaged yesterday :) And isn't this picture sort of ridiculously happy looking (this is not from yesterday, apparently they are always this happy looking).

You may remember this post where I was having dreams about this very event, but my predicting the future skills are a little off - I was about...10 months early.

Progress Report

4.22.2010 Comments: (4)
Happy Birthday Missy! :) 

Congratulations to Meghan and Jess on being gainfully employed! I'm so happy for both of you :)

Before my dad sends me another entry about his visit here, I just wanted to say that for maybe two days after finishing my 100 things list, I was a bit overwhelmed. But, since then, I've pulled myself together and some items are being knocked off my list, and others have been started, although I still have a long way to go.

One of the other blogs I read posts an update to her life list every Friday, and she's mentioned it helps keep her accountable to keep working on her goals, and also that it helps her feel supported.

I don't know about all that weekly update business, but I'll try to occasionally.

Monthly stuff
#10 - Go somewhere new and local once a month - haven't missed it yet. that's right, I'm 100% for 2 months in a row!
#78 - Write a letter to someone every month. This one actually started in April, so I'm doing awesome so far.

In Progress
#7 - Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras - planning has definitely begun!
#12 - Plan a trip with friends - Mardi Gras will be double counting it seems.
#18 - Figure out when it's necessary to make a will - Yes, it seems that it is in fact necessary, especially as Dan and I live together but are not married or partners in the eyes of the government
#34 - Transition from plastic to other materials in the kitchen - almost there with this one. Just have to get rid of some of our plastics, but we have replacements for them.
#46 - Learn to play chess - I have learned how, but I'm waiting to play 5 complete games with Dan before I count this as complete. We're currently 1.5 games in, played the first one with my dad!

The big news of today is that we have joined a CSA (#31). We picked up our first box today but I'll write more about that later.

See, writing that all down definitely feels like progress.

Dad's visit, Day 3

4.17.2010 Comments: (3)
(Sidenote: My dad came to visit in late March, and he's going to be sending me his account of what we did on his visit. The day he is talking about we drove north to eat oysters fresh out of the water.)

So many highlights – each day was unique and memorable! I’m jumping right to the oyster experience of day 3… sooo cool. The tastes and the ocean ambiance – sun and breezes and water lapping the shore mere feet from our picnic table - were all amazing, but maybe the best part was Kristin’s coming out: she really dug the raw oysters! We ate 3 dozen raw and 1 dozen slightly grilled and barbequed (almost shockingly scrumptious). Best oysters I’ve ever eaten!!

The drive up the coast was peaceful and scenic once we left the highway. The road wove through quaint little towns calling out for further exploration (maybe next time), then chugged through dense forested areas smelling of pine and chilled by shadows and cold mountain streams. Closer to our destination we were treated to expansive vistas with alternating views of near-ocean inlets to the left and steep hills to the right with grazing goats and cows. I can’t get enough of the road not traveled, so being a witness to this part of California – the Pacific Coast Highway - was such an unexpected treat for me, especially since I didn’t have to keep my eyes on the road! (Thanks KK & Dan… now that’s showing respect to your elderly elder.)

City Walk: Presidio (#88)

4.11.2010 Comments: (2)
If you look up the Golden Gate Bridge on GoogleMaps, directly to the south, there's a big green area - that's the Presidio. It's 1490 acres - much of which is just open space. It used to be a US military post, as recently as 1994. Congress wrote a law stipulating that if it wasn't needed by the Army, it would be maintained by the Park Service and become part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. So, here we are. This walk only covers a tiny part of the Presidio, specifically in an area called Fort Scott, named after a general.

We walked by the parade grounds, and all the old barracks which are being updated to be leased out as housing. We walked by the pits where the artillery used to test dynamite, the Brig and the officers Rec Hall. We peeked through windows of other abandoned, decrepit buildings. We explored the old batteries where cannons used to protect the California coast line. It's a bit creepy - an entire civilization completely abandoned and just allowed to run down. Except that on the parade ground were people out for runs, walking their dogs and a little league baseball game. Strange juxtaposition.

It is one of the only places in the city I've visited where you get pictures from "behind" the bridge, and this is the only spot to get them so close. From here, you can see how the bridge actually has a bit of a rise in it that you don't notice from far away, or when you're on it.

This is the pit where they used to blow things up. We couldn't get inside of it, and Dan was sad.

This is one of the buildings that has recently been renovated, you can tell from the non moldy paint on the exterior. I couldn't get over the fact that they installed the chest high phallic looking artillery shells on either side of the entrance. For serious?

We completely missed this cemetery when we drove in, but had to stop and take pictures once we finally noticed it. Clearly, the similarities to Arlington Cemetery are obvious, but this is much more secluded.

Walk Stats:1.8 miles, 70 minutes

Coming next: My dad as a guest blogger!

Age Appropriate Humor

3.31.2010 Comments: (4)
I got this from another blog, but thought it was worth reposting. Apparently, it's been going around as an email forward, as "Thoughts of a 25-35 Year Old," which normally I would think was stupid, except I agree with every single one of them. Good times.

 ·       More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

·       Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

·       Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
·       That’s enough, Nickelback.

·       Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the “people you may know” feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

·       Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn’t work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ’s. We just figured it out. Today’s kids are soft.

·       Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the hell was going on when I first saw it.

·       I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I’ll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone’s laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I’m still the only one who really, really gets it.

·       How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

·       I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

·       I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

·       The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

·       LOL has gone from meaning, “laugh out loud” to “I have nothing else to say”.

·       I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

·       Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

·       How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?

·       I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

·       While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks, Mario Kart.

·       I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

·       Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty.

·       Whenever I’m Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. 546 pictures? Don’t mind if I do!

·       Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem…

·       You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

·       Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don’t want to have to restart my collection.

·       There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

·       I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes when I could swear I didn’t make any.

·       “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this ever.

·       I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There’s so much pressure. ‘I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It’s only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?’

·       I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

·       When I date someone new, I’m terrified of mentioning something they haven’t already told me but that I learned from some light internet stalking.

·       Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles…

·       As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

·       Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

·       I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

·       Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn’t know what do to with it.

·       I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

·       I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

·       The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.