Kitchen & Soda

Our kitchen is complete—to be fair, it has been for months, I’m just slow in posting (with lots of pictures)! We’ve already had many pizza nights with friends, family, or just the two of us. And, I’ve made many loaves of bread. It’s such a great space; it turned out beautifully. The light throughout the day is one of my favorite things, all the windows and openness of the kitchen makes me so very happy. We’ve still got pictures and art to put on the wall, a rather large window to upgrade, and rooms to finish in other parts of the house, but the kitchen is perfect. Continue reading

Remodelin’

When I was a graduate student in Rhode Island, it was pretty normal (to me at least!) to be watching t.v. while wearing multiple layers, at least two pairs of socks, sometimes a hat and scarf, covered in blankets with a snuggly calico cat snoozing away in my lap. Graduate students don’t get paid much and, turns out, New England gets pretty damn cold in the winter. Heating an apartment with lots of windows, high ceilings, and an inefficient heating system was pretty expensive. So, I did what I needed to—layer, layer, and more layers, and blankets, and kept the heat ridiculously low. Continue reading

2017–a whole new year!

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the sofa in our near-empty living room–the sunlight reflected off the wood floors and every little noise seemed amplified. It was quiet and early morning, one of the last mornings in a place that had been our home for over 5 years. Over Christmas and well into January, we’d lived amongst a maze of paint cans, tools, packing materials, and boxes. The craziness of the holidays and travel made this time all the more chaotic. We spent afternoons moving boxes to storage, packing up more boxes, and taking clothes that have merely been taking up space in my closet to Goodwill and a local charity, Mary’s Place. Then, we lived out of suitcases and moved Milo and Roux (and ourselves) into Angela’s place for a few weeks. All to get here: our lovely 1960 split-level ranch house sold after less than 7 days on the market, well over our asking price. Just a couple of weeks ago, I walked out of the door that I’ve walked in just about everyday of the last five and a half years knowing it was the last time, and this was now someone else’s home. I cried then, and I’m still a little sad, honestly; also, it’s super weird to be renting again…so very weird. Continue reading

Hot day, cold drink

Wow, it’s warm in Seattle this week! Now, this doesn’t happen that often, and the Southerner in me laughs at the idea that this is hot but…it’s 92 degrees and we DON’T HAVE AIR-CONDITIONING, only a couple of fans. Yes, it’s not humid and the temperature will cool down late at night, allowing me to sleep. But, while I’m awake, the sun is shining, it is hot. Continue reading

Spicy Quinoa Soup

Back home from our Hawaiian vacation–back to gray Seattle skies and rain! The vacation was wonderful and much needed. Our vacation started with Skip and I spending a couple of days on our own in Honolulu;  we had some wonderful cocktails (with very cool people) at Pint + Jigger followed by a lovely meal at Town. I highly recommend both! My parents joined us the Sunday after we arrived and we headed to the little beach house we rented for a few days on the North Shore. It was a little piece of heaven…right on the edge of a pretty private beach and a perfect porch to sit, read, and have drink. Our time on Ohau was dotted with lazy moments on the porch, listening to the waves, and delicious meals at MW and the Koko Head Cafe along with daily doses of shave ice (Uncle Clay’s & Island Vintage Coffee Shave ice stand near Waikiki– fruit-based flavors, no crazy food coloring, and wonderfully fluffy ice). image

Then, mid-way through, we hopped over to Maui where we continued with our island fun: snorkeling at Molikini, shave ice at Ululani’s, dinner at Monkeypod Kitchen (so good!) and a luau at the Feast at Lele, and wrapped it all up with the drive to Hana (crazy curvy road but it lead to a stunning black sand beach). imageSpending time with my parents was something I haven’t had a chance to do in a very long time, at least not where it’s just us and no plans or obligations dictating what we do or where we need to be. Just me, mom, dad, and Skip and beach! Perfect! Now, I’m getting back in to the groove of real life, with it’s schedules, alarm clocks, and pants. Sigh.

We came home to cool weather with the typical Seattle rain and gray sky that is usually associated with spring in Seattle. I wanted something comforting and healthy for dinner, and that didn’t take too much time. While the laundry was going and Skip looked up some airfare details for our next trip–a little jaunt down to California for our niece’s high school graduation (!)–I made a spicy quinoa soup for dinner. It was just what I needed to ease back in to real life while dreaming about our next vacation.

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Spicy Quinoa Soup

3/4 C chopped yellow onion [70 g]
1/2 C chopped yellow bell pepper [80 g]
1 Tbsp thinly chopped garlic [10 g]
1/3 C chopped carrot [50 g]
2 1/2 C Water, vegetable broth, or combination
1 Tbsp Pilpelchum (pepper paste, recipe below)*
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 can diced, fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz)

1 C quinoa, rinsed
2 C water
1 large garlic clove, smashed

Salt & Pepper Yogurt (optional but highly recommended, recipe below)
Diced avocado (optional)

  • Add the olive oil to a stockpot on medium heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and salt. Cook for a few minutes, just till the onions are translucent and fragrant.
  • Add the diced carrots and cook another 5 minutes.
  • Add the bell pepper and pilpelchum. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the diced tomatoes and water (or broth). Cover and simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat.
  • While the soup simmers, combine the rinsed quinoa, water, and smashed garlic clove in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to medium low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  • To serve, combine 1/3 cup of quinoa (really, add how much you like!) with 1 C of the tomato-pepper soup. Top with salt and pepper yogurt and avocado.

Pipelchum (aka spicy goodness!)
from I will not eat oysters

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
½ Tbsp hot paprika
½ tsp cayenne
pinch of cumin
pinch of salt

Mix all of the ingredients together to form a paste. This will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks or longer.

A little note on the pipelchuma—the spiciness can vary depending on the potency and age of your paprika and cayenne. If you’re not a big fan of spicy food, adjust the amount of pipelchuma to suit your taste.

Salt & Pepper Yogurt

1/3 C Greek Yogurt (I used Ellenos — big surprise!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all and enjoy.

A note on the soup:

You can combine the quinoa with the spicy tomato broth if you don’t want to cook it separately. If you do that, I’d recommend cutting the quinoa to 1/2 to 3/4 C, and you’ll need to add at least 1 1/2 C water or broth to the spicy tomato-pepper soup for the quinoa to absorb. You’ll end up with more of a thick stew but it’s still delicious.

Cocoa protein bites

Over the last year, I’ve been making a more conscious effort to be aware of what and how much I eat; I also realized that it was time to put my own well being closer to the top of my priority list. Now, it wasn’t that I was eating junk and not exercising–I’m mostly a vegetarian and, I thought, pretty active. I eat, and was eating, mostly meals cooked at home and little to no pre-packaged mystery food. But, I was eating more than I should and, worse, not really realizing it. I also had a bad habit of letting my exercise routine be the one thing I’d sacrifice if my schedule was too busy; the gym was the thing that always got cut first. Continue reading