Start Spreadin’ the News

I’m so happy to announce that two of my pictures will be featured in the APA—LA Off the Clock exhibition! Ready for April to get here!

The first photo was taken at the Run or Dye 5K (Inland Empire) this past summer, and the second photo was taken at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, also last summer.

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Photo of the Day: (A Bit Scary) Self-Portrait

I make it no secret that I hate being in photos. Like, HATE being in photos. I’m pretty sure most people think I’m joking or only half mean that, but no—part of the reason I’m loving my photography classes is because it gives me an excuse to be behind the camera instead of in front of it.

So, this week’s assignment was to take a self-portrait.

Ha!

The good news is that I knew about this particular assignment way ahead of time and got it out of the way awhile ago (this is why my “about” section has anything to look at. Two birds, one camera.)

Anyway, just to add some fun to the mix, I also did a “self-portrait” with the bobble heads Alec and I received as a wedding present. Love these! They make me smile every day, much like my hubby.

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Photos of the Day: Garden Party

Our friends, Seth and Danielle, are getting married soon, and her wedding shower was last weekend. Laura, our lovely hostess, threw a French garden party to celebrate and was kind enough to let me play shutterbug. Below are my favorites, which I also used for our weekly photo assignment, which was design focused this time.

Shower Danielle an Sis EDITEDShower Food 3 EDITED Shower Flowers 2 EDITED Shower Food 1 EDITED Shower Food 4 EDITED Shower Flowers 1 EDITED Shower Food 5 EDITEDShower Danielle and Sis EDITED Shower Gifts EDITED Shower Flowers 3 EDITEDShower Food 2 EDITED

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese

Mmm, I love creamy, delicious soup when it’s cold outside (and today it was definitely cold outside). This is a fun one because it has a bit of a tangy taste (thanks, goat cheese!) and is creamy without being heavy (thanks, cauliflower!). I found this recipe on Closet Cooking.

bell peppers soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 red bell pepper, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Place the red peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down, broil until the skins are blackened, about 10 minutes, place in a sealable container and let ‘steam’ for 20 minutes before pinching the skins off and dicing.
Step 2: Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower in the oil, place it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes, mixing once in the middle.
Step 3: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Step 4: Add the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Step 5: Add the roasted red peppers, cauliflower, broth, paprika and goat cheese and simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing to the desired consistency with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with goat cheese.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

For Slow Cooker: Implement steps 1 and 2, optionally implement steps 3 and 4, place everything except the cheese in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours before pureeing and mixing in the cheese while the soup is still hot so that it melts.

Option: Use jarred or frozen roasted red peppers to save some time; use a can of white beans as the thickener instead of the cauliflower; replace one cup of broth with cream or milk.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 328, Fat 16g (Saturated 6g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 517mg, Carbs 30g (Fiber 7g, Sugars 14g), Protein 17g

Three-Day Weekend Adventures—And We’re Finally Race Ready!

Sometimes you have a Sunday that comes so seamlessly together that it is just lovely and relaxing and totally unexpected. And then someone sneezes next to you WITHOUT COVERING THEIR NOSE and you want to yell at them about manners.

But, anyway, this past three-day weekend was pleasant and perfect. My running partner and I started it off with our final long training run before the marathon (three weeks!). And it went so well. All of our training kind of came together and by the end of 22 miles, we just knew we’re ready for the race! I can’t wait, guys!

sunday books

Usually after a long run, I’m dead to the world for like two days, but I woke up Sunday morning feeling happy and excited for a day I hadn’t planned yet. And let’s not kid ourselves, I was also sore, but I could walk. I hit the bookstore for a my Sunday morning book pick. I’ve been trying to read more and watch TV less, and it’s going well. So I picked four books and settled into a nice sunny spot on the Barnes & Noble balcony at The Grove. I read through a few chapters, enjoying some hot chocolate, and a guy came to sit next to me and started sniffling. Like every 10 seconds. Like, I almost got up to get him a tissue (wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done this. I may have an issue), when he started sneezing WITHOUT covering his nose or mouth.

WHAT.

Now, I’m pretty, um, let’s call it “careful” about germs. So needless to say, this is making me silently freak out. But add in the fact that the marathon is three weeks away (and I had already spent four weeks of our training being sick with a never-ending cold and then bronchitis) and I was just not having it. I politely walked away, but ho-ly goodness—why do people do this!

Anyway, not to let it ruin the weekend. I worked on some craft projects (more on that in a future post) and then went wine tasting with friends. Also got some sweet flowers and chocolate from my hubby. So relaxing and chilled out. Ready for another three day weekend!

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Let’s Talk About this V-Day Thing

When I tell people that my hubby and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, I sometimes get weird looks. Confused looks. I-don’t-actually-believe-you looks. But we just don’t feel like it. I don’t have a good answer for you on why not—we just don’t. But here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure that a lot of you agree with me. That after all the flash and expense of your major, end-of-year holidays and then New Year’s Eve, it’s just exhausting to celebrate something else that’s really like a lot of the other days of the year.

I’m sure when we have kids, this will change. We’ll want—need—at least one designated day a year that is just for the two of us to spend an evening together. But for now? We like watching scary movies and cooking dinner. Which, by the way, happens a lot to begin with. But it’s become our default V-day tradition. (Except for this year. Until the marathon is over and my Saturday mornings are no longer reserved for long runs, my Fridays are exclusively “eat carbs” and “go to bed early” nights.)

Another exception to our tradition this year, though, is Galentine’s Day. I suggest you click on over to Netflix and watch the Parks & Rec episode where Leslie Knope takes her lady friends to breakfast and celebrates how wonderful they are by showering them with gifts, candy and love. It’s the day before V-day and it’s Galentine’s Day. In that spirit, my hubs got me Leslie Knope stickers in celebration of both Galentine’s and Valentines Days.

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Now I’m just trying to figure out where to put them. But I know you’re jealous! I’m like the coolest fourth grader you know—remember how great stickers were? Lisa Frank truly instilled a special sticker love in us all.

Photo of the Day: Love Letters

As many of you know, I’ve started in on my photography classes! I’ll be posting photos “of the day” every once in a while from my projects (if I like them!). I’m starting with our first assignment, bracketing. I won’t show you all the photos that resulted from this, but just my favorite: love letters that my grandparents wrote to each other while my grandfather was in military school. I’m not huge on romance, but these letters get me.

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I’m Hooked: The Husband’s Secret is Great (and Not at All as Soap-Opera-ish as the Title) from Page 1

the_husbands_secret1-e1391558876465I started in on “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty, and no, it’s not soap opera fan fic (though…note to future self: Be a millionaire by writing soap opera fan fic)—it’s about a woman who comes across a letter from her dead husband who is not-so-dead. They each wrote letters to each other in the event of either’s death, and she happened to find his before he kicked the bucket. Turns out, he’s been harboring a fairly nasty secret, and now she has to decide whether or not to tell on him. Oh, marriage, you crafty minx.

Anyway, that’s not what got me hooked. It’s the paragraph Ms. Moriarty included before the book even begins:

“Poor Pandora. Zeus sends her off to marry Epimetheus, a not especially bright man she’s never even met, along with a mysterious covered jar. Nobody tells Pandora a word about the jar. Nobody tells her not to open the jar. What else has she got to do? How was she to know that all those dreadful ills would go whooshing out to plague mankind forevermore, and that the only thing left in the jar would be hope? Why wasn’t there a warning label? And then everyone’s like, Oh, Pandora. Where’s your willpower? You were told not to open that box, you snoopy girl, you typical woman with your insatiable curiosity; now look what you’ve gone and done. When for one thing it was a jar, not a box, and for another—how many times does she have to say it?—nobody said a word about not opening it.”

Can’t wait to keep reading!

Training Week #18: 10 Miles

Holy countdown, Batman. We are a mere (less than) four weeks away from the marathon! I could not be more psyched. Last Saturday, we had a nice 10-mile recovery run. We started so early that even the streetlights were complaining about the hour. But the (second biggest) event is this coming weekend, when we do our 22-mile training run. I’m equally excited for this run as well. And then that’s it! Kind of—we still have two recovery runs after that, an 11-mile and a 5-mile—but this will be the end of our long training runs. Then it’s marathon time.

10 mile run

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos

burrito stuffs 2I know that pretty much every recipe I feature here is, just, my new favorite thing and the best thing you’re about to ever eat. And to be fair, I never really exaggerate—I have found some amazing recipes! But this one is my new favorite, seriously, I could eat it for days. (Haha, I did eat it for days.)

Besides how yummy it is, I also love that it can be done with regular cheese, Daiya cheese for a vegan recipe or with no cheese at all because it’s Just. That. Good.

I didn’t do step-by-step photos, but you can find some great ones at Oh She Glows, where I originally found the recipe. Guys, I just can’t recommend this enough. Seriously, I’m texting my best friend right now that it’s also good just as a side dish. I’ve included the recipe as I originally found it, but when I cooked it, I changed it up a bit by doing 1 cup of wild rice (instead of a half cup of short-grain brown rice). It gets pretty rice heavy, but it’s worth it. I stirred in some cheddar cheese and then served it with avocado.

Yield: 4 burritos or 3.5 cups of filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, & roasted
  • 1/2 cup uncooked short grain brown rice (yields: 1.5 cups cooked)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • One 15-oz can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup Daiya cheese (or cheddar cheese)
  • 4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)
  • Toppings of choice: (avocado, salsa, vegan sour cream, spinach/lettuce, cilantro, etc)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on squash and give a shake of salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast chopped butternut squash for 45 mins. or until tender.

Step 2: Cook brown rice (for directions, see here)

Step 3: In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in salt and seasonings and stir well.

Step 4: Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice and sauté for another 10 mins. on low.

Step 5: When b’nut squash is tender remove from oven and cool slightly. Add 1.5 cups of the cooked butternut squash to the skillet and stir well. You can mash the squash with a fork if some pieces are too large. Add Daiya cheese and heat another couple minutes.

Step 6: Add bean filling to tortilla along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day for lunch in a wrap or as a salad topper.