1.) Last week at work I spent almost an entire day on orientation computer modules. The more fire safety education I do, the more random information my brain retains about the nature of fire. This particular time, I was most struck by all the different Classes of Fire. Why is this not a Buzzfeed personality quiz yet? I’m totally a D (combustible metal). Or maybe a C (electrical)?
2.) The other night, whilst assembling furniture and drinking bourbon, I found myself thinking of a favorite quote from Gloria Steinem, on women becoming the men we wanted to marry. Not that all men—or only men—assemble furniture and drink brown liquor, but in some settings that are not my apartment, this Friday night home-improvement might garner a raised eyebrow. When I told my mother about it the next day, she laughed and said, “I love that, becoming the men we wanted to marry—someone has to do it.” Seriously.
3.) The cleaning jag continues. In an effort to free up space on my computer, I trashed a bunch of old photos and music files. Like that EP from that awful guy in that awful band circa 2006 or 7? Why was that even still there? Please don’t ask me which awful guy or which awful band…
4.) This book. If you just got engaged or just a signed a lease with your boyfriend/girlfriend, you probably shouldn’t read it unless you’re prepared for some deep thoughts to wake up your morning commute, but if you’re game for a little positive reinforcement about enjoying and appreciating your independence, you’ll enjoy it. Love the NYPL for making e-books so easy to borrow.
5.) Elaborate Valentines Day dishes? Meh. Who needs to wait until February 14th to make this chocolate soufflé? I love how sane Mark Bittman’s recipes are. I also can’t believe this one is from 5 years ago. Of course, 5 years ago I was shacked up with someone who hated eggs so much he felt compelled to make gagging sounds when I fried one up for myself, which explains why it wasn’t on my radar. Live and learn.
So…which class of fire are you? What was the last book you read? Do you like chocolate soufflés?
Last night my family celebrated my mom’s birthday at El Parador, an old favorite Mexican restaurant. I wasn’t really in the mood to take photos (dark lighting), though I can say everything was excellent. I loved the fish special I ordered—light but just the right amount of spicy. It’s also hard to beat their guacamole.
One thing I will never come around to, though, is flan. I just…can’t. It could be, objectively, the best flan in the world and I would still want no part in that. However, I’m in the minority, there, so it was included in the celebratory dessert portion of the evening. My mom asked me to take a photo of that and the tres leches cake. Because I am a stunning food photographer, both shots came out spectacularly bad. I think the flan shot, however, wins for Worst Food Photo I Have Ever Taken:
I love my sister for telling it like it is. At 10:45 she texted me to say, “Your flan picture looks like a big areola.” And there you have it.
Speaking of winning, I still have my Christmas tree up because I keep forgetting to take it down. I’ve been a busy lady, what can I say?
Do you like flan? Have you ever taken a really bad photo?
So, after some thought, super-food granola floated to the top of the thought-pile. This recipe is very similar to my dark chocolate coconut granola, except with more add-ins. Enjoy on its own with milk or as a garnish on yogurt, oatmeal, or anything else that sounds good! I made a giant batch, but here’s a scaled-down version if you’re looking for something to get you through the week.
- 2 c rolled oats
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- cinnamon to taste
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 c dark chocolate chips, divided
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 c dried cherries, blueberries, and/or strawberries (cranberries would work too)
- 1/2 package Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Melt coconut oil, maple syrup, and honey in a microwave-safe bowl (~10-20 seconds). Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. Mix in 2 tbsp chocolate chips. Melt a few seconds in the microwave if needed.
- In another bowl, mix together oats, coconut, flax, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- Add chocolate mixture to oats. Stir to combine. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove and stir. Put back in oven and back another 15 or 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
- Allow to cool before adding dried fruit, coconut chips, chia seeds, and the rest of the chocolate chips and pouring into a storage container.
Did you make any edible holiday gifts this year?
When I arrived at my parents’ house on Monday night, my old room was in a state of disarray, thanks to my dad’s latest home improvement project. Even though I haven’t lived there in 10 years, it was still weird. I tried to view the mess/transition as a metaphor, and that actually helped. In a way, I also kind of loved seeing the old retro wallpaper 16-year-old me had wanted to paint over when the family moved in.
Christmas Eve morning, I went to hot yoga with my mom, sister, and aunt after interviewing someone for a writing project I’ve been working on. It was a great way to start the holiday. A little Christmas pre-tox, anyone?
Christmas Eve dinner was fairly low-key this year, as it was just my immediate family. For some reason, sushi is the traditional appetizer in our house, and though we usually do Greek lamb, this year that was saved for Christmas Day, so we enjoyed salad and some items from a local Italian market. After my mom played us all her favorite parts of last week’s SNL episode, we traded a couple gifts and had dessert. I enjoyed a mini chocolate cake my mom made from a friend’s recipe—it was like a mini soufflé!
My sister and I always exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve. Remember when I posted our text conversation about dinosaurs? Now I know why she was asking my favorite.
I think this guy is going to be a planter…or maybe a holder for incense once I put some little rocks in him.
Christmas morning I was up at the ass-crack of dawn because I heard my mother walking around. I read on the elliptical machine in the basement to kill some time until the rest of the house was up. We opened presents, had breakfast, and did stuff around the house until my mom’s side of the family came over.
As always, the food was delicious. I enjoyed an assortment along with wine.
It was a mellow Christmas holiday—no complaints! It’s always good when, at the end of the night, you feel like everyone had a nice time.
What did you do for Christmas? Any favorite food items?
Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. If you’re traveling for the Christmas holiday, wishing you smooth, safe travels. Anyone else been eating strange things in an attempt to clean out the fridge before heading out of town for a few days?
This was a steamed potato with an assortment of veggies and scrambled egg whites—topped with hummus because, well, why not? It may not be pretty, but this bowl was packed with nutrients and kept me full for hours.
I’m looking forward to spending a couple days with my family. And writing some kind of “year in review” post. Or at least commenting on last year’s resolutions…
What are some of the concoctions you’ve come up with when cleaning out the fridge before a trip? Any travel plans for Christmas or New Years?
I forgot to do this last year, but usually, I make a playlist of songs from the year past. As 2013 begins to wind down, I’ve revisited this tradition and come up with a list that is at once dark, funny, and wonderful. Some of this year’s top tunes (sorry, neighbors) were:
- David Bowie’s “Modern Love”
- Jenny Lewis’ “Acid Tongue”
- Bright Eyes’ “Train Under Water”
- Neil Young’s “Birds”
The last of these fell into rotation during the summer, mostly because of the line, “Feathers fall around you and show you the way to go.”
Feathers have become an odd sort of motif in this second half of 2013, always showing up in strange places when I need a little reminder that I’m not alone in this crazy journey of a life. Tuesday afternoon I actually broke out in a surprised, grateful smile when, after a very trying day at work, I followed a fresh path of feathers to the subway and found more feathers when I got off the train and reached my destination.
So yeah. This week. There was a full moon, which explains a lot.
I laughed, I cried, I went to a wake that was held in a church to make room for all the people who came by. I made plans, I ate caviar, my pager at work became possessed. I said All the Things. Some of those things were words that started with F. Some of those things were “death is a part of life” and “That’s bulls***.” Half my Pinterest recipe board is probably soup and things that go well with soup.
In short, it’s been one of those “count your blessings” weeks.
Anyway, this week has reminded me that the only thing you can really ever count on is unpredictability. Don’t be afraid to see something for what it is. You will question and you will struggle with doubt, but trust the signs and yourself and your intuition. Celebrate the good. Say thank you. Always always always.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead.
What are you thankful for right now? What songs did you overplay this year?