Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Week of Cooking

Don't get me wrong, I love cooking. This blog used to be a cooking blog. But recently, due to a combination of factors including, but not limited to, time, small/badly lit kitchen, laziness, and cost of fresh ingredients, I haven't been cooking very much. I've kind of been grazing on whatever's around, but I have a goal for this week:

cook real food.

I will be using recipes from a Cooking Light cookbook. It's not as arbitrary as it looks: There are a couple pages in the June section of a week's worth of vegetarian recipes for two people. Now this system is ideal because it can get expensive to buy a new set of ingredients for everything you want to make. This way I'll get to use most of the same ingredients so there is only one shopping list, and I have a hope of actually finishing the ingredients I buy. How many times have I left half a block of tofu or most of a bunch of cilantro in the fridge to languish because I only needed so much? I'm going to say more than once and leave it at that.

So without further ado, the menu for this week is as follows:

Tomato and Parmesan Strata
Orange-Glazed Tofu Triangles with Sesame Rice
Sweet and Sour Tofu
Vegetarian Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Stew)
Tempeh with Curried Cashew Sauce

Okay, there are only five recipes. That's because I don't need a recipe to tell me how to make an herb/goat cheese omelet, and I don't feel like assembling ravioli by hand. So sue me.

And in true Starving Singer spirit, I will probably deviate somewhat from the given recipes (this is why I don't bake. I'm a recipe adjuster/modifier/substituter). For instance, I bought arugula instead of spinach. I just like it better, okay?

Anyone know of a website or cookbook that has this system also? There used to be a show on the Food Network like this but it wasn't vegetarian.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Confessions of a Boot Camp Noob

Boot Camp. These are words that should instill a certain amount of fear in your heart. Think drill sergeants screaming at the top of their lungs as people drop like flies around you, indistinguishable streams of tears and sweat dripping down their faces. But I wasn’t scared of that. Maybe it was because the classes at Fuel Theory are only a half hour long. I can do anything for a half hour, I thought to myself. It can’t be that bad. Besides, if 80 year olds can do it (according to the website), then I, a spry young thing, should be able to kick ass and take names, all the while perspiring just enough to give my complexion an attractive dewy quality.
            I showed up to my first boot camp class on a sprinkly late Friday afternoon at the bleachers at Green Lake Park. After a few minutes of chatting among the instructor and other victims classmates, Kailyn declared that it was now 5:00 and our first task would be to run up and down the bleachers five times, at which point I turned around and noticed for the first time that the bleachers, which looked fairly innocuous from a distance (and in fact welcoming when I’m running around the lake and the bleachers behind which I’ve parked my car finally come into view), actually had two-foot high steps and a four-foot platform to hoist myself up at the bottom. Each time. I’m fairly certain the last time I hoisted myself up onto anything, it was the deck of a swimming pool and I can’t have been older than 12. Those bleacher runs played out like a crazy version of the stages of grief in my head:

1.     Whew, this is a little tough. But it’s not that bad.
2.     “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
3.     We have to have killed at least 10 minutes by now, right?!
4.     I’m going to die up here.
5.     Only one more. I can do it! My shins are bleeding and my legs feel like overcooked noodles in Jell-O sauce, but I’m almost done! (Note to self: next time you plan to scale a concrete wall, wear long pants)

Of course, the great prize at the end of the bleacher runs was a set of pushups alternated with held plank position. There must be some sort of wormhole in front of those bleachers. I mean, how else can a year and a half of pushups fit into a half hour class? Not to mention two decades of lunges, and another four centuries of those leg lift thingies that make your abs want to get up and walk out saying, “eff that.”
When Kailyn finally decided we had suffered enough ended the class, everyone got up and walked away. Not me though. I sat on my yoga mat and waited until I was sure that when I stood I wouldn’t throw up all over the dock. I had a contemplative few moments in which I pondered my life, my choices, and where would be the better place to vomit if I couldn’t make it to the ladies’ room. Ultimately though, I decided to hold it in. Surely I can’t be so wimpy as to throw up after a workout. When I was finally on my feet, I dragged my linguini legs slowly to my car across the street. This was a precarious matter in itself, since I knew that if a car came careening around the bend and didn’t see me, I wouldn’t stand a chance. My Gumby gams simply wouldn’t be able to carry me to safety.
Before today did I consider myself out of shape? Yes. Lazy? Most definitely. But weak? No. I’ve always been pretty strong (except for upper body strength: I’ve never been able to do a real pushup, but I’ve accepted it), and I prided myself on being able to power through, even if I was tired. But the 1800 seconds I spent at Green Lake today were enough to shake that belief. But ask me if I’m tenacious. I will tell you yes, because I will be back next week. It’s not called boot camp because you skip and hold hands and maybe do a couple of lunges. It’s boot camp because it’s tough as hell and you want to either cry, vomit, or die by the end; at the time it doesn’t even matter which. There are 37 steps from the garage up to my second floor apartment. Each of them was a struggle after the class. Even peeling a banana took Herculean effort. But I feel stronger because of it and I look forward to the day when I won’t taste bile at the back of my mouth after class, or wish that an elevator had miraculously been installed in my building in the last hour. This brings us back to the concept of boot camp. It’s conditioning not only for your body, but also for your mind and your sense of discipline. Which I could definitely use.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Put a bird on it

I am loving the sequined birds on this Miu Miu dress.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I am in love with this cover of "Silver Dagger" by White Antelope (aka the one and only Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I really like antlers as decor, but I would only ever consider buying sustainably harvested ones (ie picked up off the forest floor after they are shed annually, as opposed to sawed off the skull of some poor bambi --cue Marisa Tomei's speech from "My Cousin Vinny")

I like the sustainability and of course the look of Antler & Co.'s antlers, but not the price tag so much. Another cruelty-free company is Peak Antlers, but their website doesn't have the minimalist, Scandinavian esthetic of Antler & Co.'s, but more of a Christmas sweater one.

Here are some more antler ideas:

An antler chandelier that doesn't look like it belongs in a hunting lodge; and it's actually wrought iron and resin imitating antlers.

This one had that headboard I liked too, but so not cruelty-free, unfortunately

And lastly, something less conventional, but so so cute

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Garden Paths

I was never really into gardening growing up, but after moving to an apartment which doesn't have so much as a balcony, I began to want one, badly. I was looking through a Veranda magazine a few weeks ago and found this:

I know it's very intentional, but it looks like a slightly dilapidated path in an overgrown garden, maybe on the edge of the sea. Anyway, it's dreamy and I am in love with it, and it inspired me to perform a google search. Here are a few more fabulous garden paths:

The previous two are also from Veranda. Maybe I just agree with the esthetic of some garden editor over there. 
I love the little detail of this next one. The landscaper could have just put big flagstones, but the detail really brings it to a new level

And speaking of detail:

Holy crap, right? That must have taken ages! And if you look closely, they look like river rocks, not any kind of traditional mosaic tile.

And one last natural beauty. I love the tall trees behind the bench.

I may need to find some local garden to explore now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I'm loving the idea of salvaged or reclaimed wood in floors and furniture. On a recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, I saw among the acres of gorgeous forest expanses of clear-cut stumps. Now, I understand lumber is a valuable commodity, and it's probably the number one industry on the Peninsula (if Twilight hasn't taken over) but it's painful to see those scars on the hillside. And what happens to wood from barns and other buildings after they're torn down? I love the idea of re-purposing it for furniture, floors and walls, and ...Vespas?

I'm sort of seriously in love with this wall, including the little paper mache rhino head. I need a headboard for my bed, and I think a mini-version of this would do nicely. Now, how to make a free-standing version, because I'm pretty sure the landlord wouldn't totally go for me nailing it into the wall...

Oh wait, here's an entire slideshow of reclaimed wood headboards. Number 9 is my favorite (the whole room, including the antler jewelry hanger, which officially makes me the worst vegetarian ever), and since it's just a wooden pallet, it would be so easy! Costco wouldn't notice if I made off with a pallet from behind the store, would they?

And if I didn't want a Vespa badly enough already....

And one last little treasure: Reclaimed wood doesn't have to be used for big construction projects as evidenced by this absolute gem.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Okay, I'm Back

After a brief hiatus (ha!), I've decided to give this whole blogging thing another try. I'd like to expand a bit though and not focus only on food. So here goes, I guess!

A little about the last two years (wow, I bring new meaning to the word slacker): I moved from Santa Cruz, CA up to Seattle to do my master's degree in music, and just graduated a week ago today. My school experience up here was mixed at best, so I'm glad to be done, but now I have to figure out how to be an adult. People keep asking me what's next, and I think I should start wearing this button around:

Haven't you heard? Indecision is the new black.

I've also gotten into jewelry making. I'm still just getting my feet wet, because there are so many different techniques I want to try, but right now I'm doing a lot of wire and bead work. I'd love to get a few pieces into boutiques, but for the time being, I have a couple in my Etsy shop.

Oh yeah, and there's my music degree. I will be singing in the chorus in a couple Seattle Opera productions this winter, but I need to go do some auditions and get some gigs, or into some young artist programs. I also need to establish a voice studio. Being a grown-up is hard and I've only been one for a week!

So that's it for now. Hopefully I won't be such a delinquent blogger in the future.

To tide you (this of course is an imaginary you as far as I know) over until text time, "Train Song" by Feist and Ben Gibbard