Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Week Update: My cat is the devil and other ordinary things

Seriously. Scout is so cute one minute and then a disaster the next.
I am struggling staying awake right now because two nights ago, she decided she needed to get into my room immediately. Since I sleep with my door close (because of her demands for attention at 2am), this results in her scratching and scratching and scratching at the door. I was awake on Friday night from 4:30am to at least some time after 5 and then she kept waking me up. No kind of punishment or barricade did anything to stop this beast. (I think I am going to have to get her declawed. That's super annoying and expensive.

That little devil.
(She's actually loosing her mind right now).

Somedays I have a lot of cat regret. Today is one of those days…

On a more happy note, this past week marked the two anniversary of my relationship with Levent. We didn't do too much in the way of celebration (since it was Tuesday night and we had a pretty awesome Valentine's Day in Lawrence), but we did eat chocolate cake together. I should rephrase that:  I made a massive cake and we've been eating it ever since. It awesome/terrible.After all, I always have really good resolve to eat healthier and then I go ahead and make a gigantic cake. Oh the struggle. And when there is cake in the fridge, it wins every time.  Really, I do want to eat healthier food, but I alway want to find more things to celebrate so I can bake fanatic layer cakes.
But speaking of health things, last night I was going down the internet rabbit hole (instead of going to sleep) and was browsing all these suddenly fascinating articles on Kitchn.com (that I convinced myself to read right then and there instead of calling it a night). In the past this website has driven me crazy with their purposeful misspelled titled. (Can't deal). But after last night's wonderings, I think I am a fan. One of the articles I found particularly interesting was "Here are 10 pictures of your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables."

I really need to up my fruit and veggie game. If I could just focus in on that, it would help my diet immensely. Cooking warm, satisfying suppers in the middle of winter that are still packed full of goodness has felt tricky. And sure, on the whole, I think what I chose to make for dinners is not that bad. (It certainly could be a lot worse since I do not cook with red meat, extremely processed things like "cream of whatever soup," or tons of dairy very often. It happens, but not every day or not even weekly, depending. Still, I am probably only eating about half of the fruit servings I should be and the vegetable one might be even worse. No wonder my skin freaks out on me all the time. I am suddenly motivated to go eat an orange.

I will be traveling this upcoming week, first to Nebraska for work and then to Illinois to see my little, nephews, which makes eating healthier even harder.

Oh well. At least it will give me some much needed space from the devil cat named Scout.

Winter Sunday

There is something about Sundays that make me want to pass out into a deep, deep coma.

Why is that?

I even slept in a lot today.

I guess since it is still winter, it's okay to be in hibernation mode, which is great because I cannot seem to get out of it.

It actually snowed this weekend. Really, if it's going to be as cold as it has been, it might as well snow. Bring on that wintery fluff.

I know. I told those little mystery greens that it was not time to come up. But they wouldn't listen. 
All this cold weather makes me want to keep listening to The Lone Bellow's" song from their new album called "Cold as it is." 

This cat is the devil, but she's so cute. 
It's melting already and no one is around to make me "doughnut day doughnuts". Darn it. Being an adult is super hard sometimes. 

Happy napping 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My everyday Feb life

It's pretty uneventful. 

But even in winter, Kansas can be a pretty place. 

Now that I am getting over being sick (finally), I get to enjoy my new favorite thing: the ice blue handheld Kitchen Aid mixer. (I love that my boyfriend understands me enough to know how kitchen appliances, especially pretty ones, speak to my heart). 
Crazy Kansas is so tricky. At this point in the year green things think it's time to come up. 

WRONG. 

It is not time. The weather fluxes so much here though, they are so confused. Just hold on, guys. 

I just hope whatever is popping up by my back stoop doesn't freeze to death. 
Not much else is happening, minus the laundry flipping around in the dryer, me getting over my cold, and Scout napping her life away (lazy bum).

Happy Saturday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Feb things

I always get sick in February. 

And by always, I mean it had happened for the past three years. (Well, in that gray Jan-Feb timeframe at least). Oh well, at least this year's winter sickness has not been bad at all, (not compared to the past two years). All that is really wrong with me is that my throat is beyond sore and I have zero energy. I stayed home from work today since I don't want to spread my germs around, which is all fair and good but I am going out of my mind with boredom. There was one point today where I was just lying on the couch having a staring contests with my cat. That lasted about 45 minutes. Not even joking. On paper, sleeping in without guilt and spending a whole afternoon watching Gilmore Girls sounds fabulous, but in reality it makes me feel as if my brain is dying. (Since I was on a work trip last week, I haven't been exercising for days now and I am getting so antsy). At least I didn't really have to go outside in the cold today. 

Ah, winter woes! 

But actually, this month had been pretty good, despite (and sometimes because of) all the couch time I log. 
with these two of course
Definitely the highlight of the month, and perhaps the entire year, was Valentine's Day. I know I am being the worst by saying that. As a single person, Valentine's Day is awful. No matter what you try and do, you cannot escape it. Now that I have Levent, I have apparently embraced the madness and can't wait to bake heart shaped treats, (which sadly, I did not do this year because of my travel schedule). 

What made this Valentine's Day the best in history was going to Lawrence with Levent to watch the KU basketball game. If I wasn't officially a fan before, I definitely am now. It was an awesome day. (It even included a fabulous Greek meal). 
(Letting strangers take pictures of us did not go too well.)

On a different wintery note, I am now the proud aunt (again) of two twin boys! My sister-in-law and brother had their babies back in January. The boys were super early but as of yesterday are  now home with their parents and big brother and sister. I cannot wait to meet these little champions. 
And I guess all there is left to do today is go back to sitting on the couch, hoping tomorrow will be a more healthful day. (Oh and I'll probably drink a hot toddy too, which is probably the best part of being sick). 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

This past week in California

I went to southern California for work meetings again. It's amazing how 75 degrees, sunshine and mountains can make meetings feel way more interesting. I also had the best cocktail of my life (a dark and stormy at Green Street Restaurant in Pasadena) and went to downtown LA for the first time where we ate New York style pizza (ironically enough, but it was awesome and is something I will hopefully be recreating tonight) before going to the Clippers game at the Staples Center. (The NBA is ridiculous).

If I have to go away for meetings, at least I get to go to some interesting places.

In honor of Valentine's Day

For Levent

I hang in the balance of wonder,
like pencils, newly sharpened,
snow, newly fallen
or cloth napkins, newly folded and resting
dutifully on gold rimed plates

Don't let me forget what this is like,
this waiting.
For this is the smoothest form of human nature,
the stillness between the heart's beats,
when there is no difference between hope and love.

And when the scale has fully tipped
and all the new manifests itself into alarm clocks,
laundry that needs to be switched,
coffee cups that need to be rinsed,
promise you will always remember me.

Tenderness is often forgotten
or stored away in closets
between old Christmas lights and extra blankets,
saved for a special holiday.
Every day is the same. The traffic, the sun,
the cat purring at the door.

But promise me this -
Yes.
You'll remember those yellow no. 2s with freshly pink erasers,
those first snowflakes,
and the white linen all in a pile,

all that was yet to be.

-AY 1/13/2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Superbowl Grumpday


Dang it.

I was totally going to jump in on this Superbowl Food 2015 blog post situation and then I totally blew it.

Cruse you, internet. I overextended myself.

All I can say is that I was planning on making soft pretzel bites paired with a beer-cheese dip. (I know, it was going to be so amazing).

All I can say of what actually happened is that at 4:00pm on Superbowl Sunday I found myself at the Weaver Food Market in Hesston buying 12 dollars worth of chips, salsa and queso. It was everything I could do to not roll up in a ball, ignore the rest of the world forever and watch Gilmore Girls until my eyes fall out.

That's not what I did. I still was social. I watched the game. And things were fine. But holy dang girl, do I put a lot of emotional energy into what I am cooking. This is great when it turns out because I get overly excited. I am floating around the house in a culinary glow. But when things don't go the way the internet told me they were, grrr.... I become a gross, grumpy version of myself.(Ask my sister. I used to yell).

I keep telling myself that for social situations, I should definitely only make recipes I know are bulletproof instead of getting seduced by pinterest. (Save that for my recipe guinea pig, Levent, who graciously tries anything I make).

But to be fair to myself, (which is something I often need to remind myself to do), this past week did have a lot of new recipe victories. I have starting pouring through my cookbooks, telling them they have to be useful otherwise they have to get out. Now, I fill up their pages with little pink sticky notes, indications of recipes that should be tried, and tried soon. It's actually made meal planning a lot easier. I just flip through a couple of options and then boom boom pow, I know what I want to make.

Let's focus on the good, shall we? (And I should apologize that since this isn't a food blog, I am not including the recipes, for the most part. Just consider this motivation to dive into your own cookbooks).

These blueberry muffins. Have we talked about them? Have you told everyone you know about them? Because, oh my gosh, you totally need to shout the recipe to the masses. That Joy the Baker is a muffin master. I'm not lying. The ones featured here are from her first cookbook that I got for Christmas 2 years ago and have, sadly, barely made very much from. Enough is enough. And just like the peach cobbler muffins I made from that very book a couple of weeks ago, these will not let you down. It's the browned butter that really makes them stand out from the rest of the world's below average muffins.  This past weekend, I made this recipe again, but Joy's lemon blueberry poppy seed version she put up on her blog awhile ago. You are welcome.

Speaking of Joy the Baker, I also made her raspberry cream cheese brownies from her new cookbook that are worth celebrating by eating them so fast you don't even remember to take an instagram of them. Sorry, internet. It's called living in the brownie moment.


In other cookbook news, I've been making way more things out of my Smitten Kitchen cookbook (also a Christmas gift from 2 years ago). For the most part, I thought things were either too unapproachable for what I can do in rural Kansas on a tight budget.

I have been proving myself wrong.

For supper this week, Levent and I made the Smitten Kitchen's chicken milanese with a kale salad (served alongside Rachael Ray's goat cheese mashed potatoes). Fancy, fancy, served up on a Wednesday. While it's not quite the same, the chicken recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog is a version of what is in Deb's cookbook. I am sure it's worth trying for those of you who want to play along at home.

Finally, as my grand finale from last week (of things that turned out), I made a whole wheat sesame bread that we cannot stop smearing hummus all over. Life without living with roommates with Kitchen Aids means that I don't make bread very much anymore. But when I do and it turns out, watch out world. (This recipe is from Simply in Season, a recipe book I thought looked kind of weird on the outside but have found that is it is filled to the brim with good things).(Also, I wish a magical Kitchen-Aid fairy would just bring me a powdered blue Kitchen-Aid. Is that a thing?)

Cooking wise, it has been a good week. Let's just plan to not talk about the Superbowl and plan to completely chill it out in 2016.

Go team.