Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lentil Lovin

Hi guys.

Sorry for that rant the other day. Went ahead and deleted that because I am an adult (and I should have a clean bedroom). Anyway. So let's not complain anymore and instead talk about lentils! I'm very good at segues.


So I like lentils. I love em, tell ya the truth. They're fantastic. If I was a vegetarian, lentils would be my everything. I just googled them to see what they are exactly, and they are described as an "edible pulse" which is terrifying, but I'm pretty sure they're legumes. In other words, they are a dream food.

Anyway. I make a lot of soup. Like A LOT. At least once a week. Sometimes twice. It's super easy, you can use it as an excuse to clean out the fridge, it's not terrible awful for you since you can control how much fat/salt/bacon goes into it, and it goes a long way.

I made a pretty simple lentil soup the other day, but for some reason it turned out REALLY REALLY GOOD. So even though I sort of made it up, I'm going to try and write it down. In order be able to recreate it every week for the rest of my life.

Lentil Soup of the Gods
(Serves one person over and over and over until they get sick of it and they have to freeze the rest)


1 medium/large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped (use as much as you like....I think 2 cloves is probably normal but guess what I'm not normal)
2-3 links hot Italian sausage (optional)
a nice little glug of olive oil (2-3 tbsps I s'pose)
3 bay leaves
s + p
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup dry, rinsed lentils
6 cups stock (I used chicken since I was already adding meat, but if I'm keeping it vegetarian I try and use vegetable stock)
a pinch of Italian seasoning


1. Heat olive oil in a largish, thick-bottomed (like me!) (too far?) stockpot, then add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook for 7ish minutes until the onions are translucent and it smells good.
2. Add bay leaves, tomatoes, lentils, stock (I always use bullion cubes, like always always, so I just boil water and add the cubes and once they're dissolved, add it to the soup), Italian seasoning, and some salt and pepper.
3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 60-75. Stir every now and then (every ten minutes or so) to keep lentils from sticking.

When I made this, I didn't decide til the end to add the sausage, so I browned it in a separate pan. But if you've got your shit together ahead of time, just cook it first and then add the olive oil and vegetables to it to start the soup. This isn't rocket science.

You could add a little splash of red wine vinegar to it, but it was pretty stinkin' rich as it was and I didn't feel like it needed it.

Once you're done, add a giant pile of cheese to it if you know what's good for you. And eat it with bread because doi.

The end. Lentils for president!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Trees and People

First things first: I've been thinking about it a lot, and I think sandwiches are my favorite food group. I'm the Joey. Also soup. But you know how some people could always eat an ice cream cone, no matter the situation or how full they are or whatever? If it's a good sandwich, I'll eat myself sick over it. The best sandwich I ever had was in Cleveland. I still think about it a lot. Also the sandwiches my grandma used to make me for lunch when I'd sleep over. White bread, a big old hunk of ham, and lettuce. I think about sandwiches a lot. 

So. On from that. I moved home and I hated every second of it for like the first week, but I stopped being a crybaby (it's fun to be a crybaby sometimes you know?) and I'm a little bit of a happier cat these days. But then I looked through all these photos and I started to get mopey again. So I decided to just post photos from the day I left Oregon to now, skipping out on my last week or two in Portland because it hurt my soul to look at these photos. Those western United States are just really really something. 

 Somewhere in east Oregon. 
 I really like driving alone because it means I can stop whenever I feel like it to take photos of whatever I feel like photographing. 

 I did a 10 hour drive in 9 hours, didn't eat anything the whole way, and then showed up in Montana to find these guys waiting for me. 

 My favorite place in Montana. That reflection is even better in the real world. 

 Oh, okay. Yeah. Totally normal view. Montana is outrageous. 

 One of the funnest and funniest nights of my life. 

Views to kill. 


 Sorry our ugly mugs got in the way of some scenery. 

 Sitting on my couch in suburban Illinois, I sort of don't really believe that this view was a real thing.

Yeah alright. 

You guys you guys you guys. I SAW A GRIZZLY BEAR. It was a silver one which is really rare and it was really close to us and my heart was beating 5 million miles to the national park hour and holy ef. Bears are my spirit animals, I'm pretty sure. 

 However, I also became very good friends with this guy. I think he would have let me take him home if almonds were involved. 

Went on a hike. Ended up here. 

 And then I went to Canada for the first time and this is what I found. Which I still have no words for. 

 My niece is a real piece of work. Who needs to work on her grammar a little.

Lake Louise was one of the most outstanding things I have ever seen. 

There's a rainbow in there. Which I didn't notice when I took the photo. Because that's how outrageous the Canadian Rockies are. 

We sat here and had a beer and Nickelback played on the radio. 

Gondola stuff. 

The orange in the trees and the river snaking through and that layer of clouds and all those rugged ridges.......contender for world's best place. 

The view looking the other way. Fine. 

Dad ordered a drink called the Andre 3000. 

I blew out candles three times because I'm a spoiled brat. 

Oh, more rainbows. That's neat. 

God we look Irish. 

I still have some of those Asian pears left. 

Met a mountain goat mother and child on the road to Rushmore! 

I've developed a theory: everyone visits Mount Rushmore when they are between 10 and 12 years old. I did, my dad did, my sister did, my friends did. Going back again as an adult made me appreciate it differently, but it also seemed a lot smaller this time around. 

Country sunsets. 

I met this small human when he was 3 months old. And then I took care of him 45 hours a week for a year, and then I moved away and he learned how to talk. Now we hang out sometimes and he calls me Nanny Alexe and holds my hand when he hears loud noises. My god, I just really really like kids.

Went to the mac & cheese festival! Threw up. Twice. 

Reunited. Reluctantly, apparently. 

They call me the minestrone queen. No they don't. No one does that. But I was really proud of this soup. Two kinds of beans is the key. Also the small mountain of cheese.

I hyper-processed this photo a whole bunch just to prove that I could. 

This perfect person is Caroline. She spends a fair amount of time in my lap. She never cries. 

I know most people are really wary of butterfly houses, but I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! 


October blooms. 

Reunited with my Gus bucket. 

This post has more children in it than I anticipated. 

And the finale, a little love from Judy. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Home Bittersweet Home

I haven't posted in a few weeks, but it's not for lack of trying.

I just don't really know what to say or how to say it.

I moved home this last weekend. I left the pacific northwest, and I don't feel good about it. As I was driving away, last week and then again on Thursday and Friday, every single mile that put me further away from Portland made me feel worse and worse. Which isn't great.

I know why I'm home, and I know it's a good thing, and I know I won't ever regret it. But I just don't really have much else to say because I miss my Portland home more than I can put into words.

I'm so happy to be home. I am. I'm happy to sleep in my bed, and have casual chats with my mom, and see my best friends, and hug people I haven't seen in months, and play with Gus, and sit in my grandma's living room, and experience another fall in the midwest, but it doesn't feel the same. It feels like I'm just going through motions for right now. It feels like this isn't what I'm meant to do.

So anyway. Until I figure it all out, I might not have a whole lot to say around here. Who knows. Sorry for being sorta mopey and pessimistic. I know it's not my jam. I'm sure I'll have it figured out by next week.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A whole lot of a whole lot

You dirty dogs. 

I write post after post with photos and updates and whatever else, all of it mildly received (at best), and then I do a myspace survey and the whole dang blog blows up. Apparently all y'all like reading inane shit sometimes. Anyway, since then, I done got busy. I don't know why I'm talking like a hick, maybe because it's past midnight and I'm feeling a little loopsy. I've had nonstop visitors for the last three weeks, and my house sometimes feels like a hostel with people always coming through and me only stopping long enough between them to clean their sheets and towels. I've got my last visitor coming this week, and I'm so SO excited to see her, but before we get to that, let's look at some mediocre photos of the last couple of weeks. 

 I took myself to the movies to see Boyhood. I did not like it very much at all, and I think I'm in the minority on that one but I'm just going to have to live with that. Had it been about a real family I would have found it completely fascinating, but staging all these small moments in the kid's life just seemed a little silly to me. 

 We went to the craft store. 

 We didn't buy these, but we should have. 

 Darts were thrown. I love a good game of darts (or three), but I'm starting to get particular and I only want to play with metal-tipped darts on cork boards. 

 We went for a morning hike, and I realized that this kid weighs a lot more in the backpack than he did a year ago. 

 We didn't find Bigfoot, but it wasn't for lack of trying. 

 I admired flowers because what else is new. 

 We went to the Oregon Zoo!!!!! And I thought about stealing this sign to bring home with me. 


 This kid!!!!!!!! 

 We ran around the backyard all afternoon, stopping at times to pick tomatoes, and I managed to make this miniature crop circle before he walked over and started throwing them. 

 I made a miniature friend. I feel like as a child I used to see so many more red ladybugs. I wonder why that is. Maybe because I'm not so low to the ground anymore. 

 We threw flowers at each other. 

 I loved every second. 

 And then my dear and darling Jim came to visit! His first request was Jack in the Box. He got a taco that didn't much look like a taco, but he ate it anyway. 

 We hauled off to the woods in the rain and tried to make the best of it. 

 On a clear day, you'd see Mount Hood in this photo. Womp womp. 

 It rained on us for more of the day than not. 

 A summation of our camping trip. 

 I forgot to mention that Jim wore a poncho for the duration of the evening. I settled for a raincoat like a normal human being. 

 We woke up the next day and it was still gloom city, so we packed up our junk and got outta there.

 Somehow, someway, Jim had never been to the ocean before. So we did something I've always wanted to do and woke up in the mountains and got to the beach in the afternoon. 

 Jim liked my favorite stretch of coast as much as I do, which was a relief. I think we were both just mainly relieved that it wasn't raining anymore. 

 We read funny facts about our old high school classmate turned NFL player.

 He was concerned about something, apparently. 

 On Monday the sun came out and we hightailed it to the river, like one does out here.

 I jumped off some rocks and Jim documented it. 

 Then Jim left and an old family friend showed up and we ate tamales. 

 And this little prince looked cute as ever. 

 This guy! 

 I decided to make up for the rainy weekend and drive back to the mountains on Friday to catch a glimpse of this view. 

 And then I had this whole lake to myself, which was incredible beautiful. 

 And then Frame and I spent half an hour trying to talk. It never worked. He tries every day though, so I really admire his determination. 

 Kari and I (did I mention she lives with me now? I don't think I did. She lives with me now. If you are my friend in real life then you obviously already know this. And if you aren't my friend in real life then what the heck are you doing here?) spent Friday night at Multnomah. It was her first time! My tenth. At least. 

And then we hiked to the top in the name of exercise, which was embarrassingly difficult. 

 I stopped to take a lot of photos, partly because it was beautiful and partly because my legs were telling me that they were not going to move one more step. 

 Theres a 600 foot waterfall right below her. She gave me a brief rundown of her will before she hopped that fence. 

 I don't give the Gorge enough attention. I'm always either in the mountains or at the beach, but the Gorge is really where it's at. 

 This marionberry cobbler was also where it's at. 

 We went to the beach! And slept over! 

 I poked around on the cliffs by myself because apparently I have no concern for safety. 

 We made a short stop at Rogue, which was pretty effin impressive. 

 The city greeted us with its finest. 

 I took this photo no more than 45 seconds after waking up, because although I could tell that something very unnatural was happening with my bangs, I decided I needed visual proof. Thank god for that decision. 

 And then I bought a box full of summer. 

All that remained after boiling, blanching, peeling, cutting, pitting, jarring, and boiling tomatoes for my grandma. Because when a 97-year-old woman wants canned tomatoes to keep her happy for the winter, you stay up til midnight to make sure it happens. (But don't tell her because it's a Christmas surprise.) 

The end. I'm exhausted just reliving these last two weeks. Goodnight.