Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ringing in the Holidays With...

Trader Joe's Spiced Apple Cider
It is better than anything I could ever make at home.

Black Friday
My only purchase: Sara Bareilles "Kaleidoscope Heart"
On for $2

Pumpkin Pie


Flickering candles around home.

Snow capped mountains

Granny Smiths (boo Red Delicious) in desserts and dinners

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Instrument

I have lots of little hobbies that keep me busy and add a little color to my life: trying a new recipe, going on walks, reading novels, starting a garden, launching this blog... But, nothing brings rest to my soul quite like playing the piano.

As a teenager, I would often sit down at my parents' piano for an hour or two and simply diappear into the music. It didn't matter how my day at school had gone. Once I started playing, the music enveloped me and my world disappeared. I always stood up from my piano bench feeling closer to God and more at peace than I did when I sat down.

When I headed off to college, I quickly mapped out where all the best pianos were on campus. (A certain young man, who I now call my husband, did the same.) The gorgeous, black grand piano in the church on campus was my favorite. Sometimes, the doors were left unlocked, so I would walk in and play. No one ever told me to stop, so I guess that means that I had permission. Or at least that it sounded good enough that no one minded.

Out in the real world, there aren't pianos sitting everywhere, so I have weathered a music drought for the past three years. But, when I moved two months ago, my in laws gave me their old piano. It's a little out of tune and has it's share of scuffs and scratches, but it sure receives a lot of love. My home and my life are now filled with music. I love hearing my husband play, and I cherish the times that I sit down to play my music.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Buried Treasure

While turning dirt and pulling out rocks for my vegetable garden, I found this old toy car. I like to think that the make and model of the car signifies the decade that a little boy lost it. :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goodbye Car

Michael and I recently got rid of our 2001 Honda Accord. As I drove it to AAA to sign over the title and hand over the keys, I suddenly got sentimental. It's surprising how attached you get to a big hunk of metal, plastic, and glass.

Allow me to pay homage to our vehicle:

Limo? Classic convertible? Horse drawn carriage? Nope. My siblings tagged the Honda for our honeymoon getaway car. Two weeks later, Michael had to scrape off the crusted on Peeps.

Using Clementine peels as a natural air freshener on a road trip.
2,000 miles in 3 days. Good job little car!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

White Lights

Pleasantly surprised by what a few, simple strands of white lights can do for a dumpy backyard and a simple camera in the hands of an amateur.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm now a farmer

The ultimate goal
The best part about my new apartment is the strip of dirt out back. The moment Michael and I saw it, we knew we would garden the life out of it. And I'm not talking about a dainty flower garden. We are going to turn that 3'x10' strip of dirt into a food producing machine!

Being a first time gardener (and a busy lady), it took several weeks to create our game plan. What do you do to the soil? What plants grow fastest? What plants can survive the long, harsh Los Angeles winter? (answer: everything but tomatoes) 

Last Saturday, we broke ground. Our gardening project is officially underway! Here are two pictures:
Our lovely dirt undergoing preparation for sowing seeds.
Our soil is fluffy, rich, and ROCKY!
We've already removed five Trader Joe's bags worth of rocks.
So far, it is a lot of work. But, I look forward to the day that I enjoy a fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peas, and beets picked fresh from my little yard. And perhaps I will have an abundance to share with you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Love Lentils

Fun fact: many of my favorite dishes look like poop.

Toward the top of my delicious poop dishes is lentils & rice. Growing up, my mom made delicious, healthy meals daily... not a small feat when you consider our family's caloric intake with my brother, sister, and dad clocking in at 2500-3000 calories/day. I always loved it when she made lentils and rice. When I began cooking on my own four years ago, I got the "recipe" from her and immediately realized how wonderfully simple it is to make. Now, lentils and rice frequents my own family of two's table every couple of months.

Recipe (if you can even call it that)
1 onion or lots of cloves of garlic minced
1/2-1lb hot Italian sausage (optional)
2 cups of lentils
2 cups of brown rice
8 cups of water
salt to taste (about 2 teaspoons)

Brown onion/garlic/sausage. Add lentils, brown rice, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer covered until done (about 45 minutes). Serve up!

A quick look at the beauty of a gigantic serving of lentils and rice:

  • fat content: 2.8 grams
  • dietary fiber: 100% of your daily recommended amount
  • protein: 26 grams
  • cost per hungry-husband-sized serving: $.80 (that's right. 80 cents.)

And that's why I love (and you should love) lentils!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Going Simple. Going Green.

Michael and I love simplicity. Although our lives often look and feel far from simple, we're always looking for ways to trim the fat and streamline our lives. So, when we found out that we were going to move, we intentionally looked for a place that was close to his job and close to a train station so that we could simplify from two cars to one car.

We found an apartment in a great location, purchased a monthly train pass, and were given an old bike from my parents. Now we are in the process of getting rid of Michael's car. Here are the perks that we've discovered from this new lifestyle:

  • Biking places gives you LOTS of exercise.
  • Taking the train and riding a bike pollute much less than driving everywhere.
  • A bike is much cheaper to maintain than a vehicle.
  • You can get studying done or simply relax on the train rather than sitting in Los Angeles' infamous traffic jams.
  • A train ticket is cheaper than gas and wear & tear on a vehicle. (especially since I get a 10% student discount from Metrolink and then a 50% "thank you for not filling up our parking garage" discount from my school). 
  • We still have a car for convenience when biking and public transportation don't work so well. i.e. buying lots of groceries and going on road trips.
And the best part of all...

Being disgustingly adorable at the train station when we say hello and goodbye!

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