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I’m on my way I’m making it

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I know I’ve been absent for a long time… a loooong time. And I know that I’m not supposed to be overly apologetic about my absence, but… I’m sorry. (I’m sure my handful of friends that keep up with my blog – or at least, who used to – don’t require an apology, but there it is.)

I missed logging on and sharing pictures and recipes and such, but I never really knew where my blog was going. I just knew that I liked sharing my life with those who chose to read about it, be it funny experiences or run-ins with crazy folks or kitchen experiments. But somewhere between June and August, my life took a different turn. One I’ve been waiting on for a long time that I never thought would happen to me.

This past May, I visited one of my BFFs from college, Kristin, in the VA/DC area. And I fell in love. And I know to some friends and family it seems as if I fall in love with whatever city I’m in at the moment, but this was different. I loved the culture, the history, the people, the city…it was just awesome. And there seemed to be so many job opportunities.

While we were riding the Metro, I noticed an advertisement for a company I liked. Then I realized that they were based in DC. And as luck would have it, they were hiring. When I arrived home, I consider applying a dozen times, but I never thought I would be considered. I didn’t have the confidence in myself. Kristin encouraged me to apply, and halfway into the summer I did.

Shortly after, I had a phone interview. Then an editing test. Then I was given an offer I was thrilled with: the option to freelance and possibly be considered for a full-time position down the road. I took it.

Slowly the writing assignments came until I was writing 5 per week. Then sometimes more. I took every assignment my editor came to me with , anxious to prove that I could do it – not just to them, but to myself as well. And while I was busier than I’d been in a very long time (with my full-time job as well), I loved it.

Fast-forward to November, and I was contacted about the chance for a full-time job…in DC. I jumped at the opportunity. All my interviews were done via Skype, a testament to how much technology is changing the way everything operates. After a painfully long holiday break waiting to hear something, anything, I got word one week and a day after I interviewed: The job was mine, and I was moving to DC.

So there you have it. I’m sitting on a couch at my friend’s house, waiting for my parents to bring along the rest of my stuff next week when I move in with my new roommate, in my new city. 2011 brought many great surprises, but I know that 2012 is going to be a year of new adventures and personal discoveries. The world is changing, and for once, I feel like I’m changing with it. At the close of 2011, I ended an amazing four-and-a-half-years-long chapter of my life that included graduating college, completing my dream internship, the start of the best relationship I could never imagine, and making the most incredible friends.

But the book isn’t over yet, and this new chapter promises to be just as exciting. I miss my family and friends, but I know that this is a huge step that I needed to take. I’m excited to continue to write more of my life’s story while engaging in various shenanigans with a new job in one of the country’s most bustling cities.

I’m one of those people who believes in signs, especially when I hear certain songs that I feel apply to me at specific times in my life. When I applied for this job, and shortly after I got my interview, I heard this song:

Peter Gabriel–Big Time

There’s a part of the song that goes like this:

The place where I come from is a small town
They think so small, they use small words
But not me, I’m smarter than that,
I worked it out
I’ll be stretching my mouth to let those big words come right out
I’ve had enough, I’m getting out
to the city, the big big city

And while I don’t necessarily think that I’m smarter than everyone in my hometown or that they “think small,” this part of the song struck a chord with me.

Anyway, if you made it to the bottom of this, congratulations!

*If you’re wondering why I’ve not explicitly given the name of the company, it’s because I’m not sure if I can in relation to blogging – that’s something I’ll have to figure out. But if you’re really interested, just ask and I’ll let you know 🙂

green me up, scotty.

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Ok, ok…that was cheesy. Let it slide? Just this one?

Great.

For St Patrick’s Day, my friends and I usually head towards Lakeview. And now that I live closer, I’m all about drinking at establishments that are walking distances of my dwelling. We started out at the Oasis, then made our way over to Moe’s Original BBQ for dinner (no meat for me, please) and then On Tap for our own personal last call.

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Chug, chug, chug!

Last year, I made Rachel’s awesome black-and-tan brownies to share with my buds. This year, I wanted something equally as festive but a little easier and slightly cheaper.

Enter mint chocolate chip cookies.

Delicious, easy, and the green food coloring makes them fit for any St Patty’s Day drinkfest. I started with this recipe, but I ended up changing it around because I didn’t want to buy a bag of cookie mix.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-1/4 c sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 c whole wheat flour, 2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint extract
  • optional: green food coloring
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c Andes mint baking pieces (or do what I did and chop up a mint chocolate bar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks butter

Combine your dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips) and wet ingredients separately, then mix together. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly.

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The dough looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream!

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These cookies were so simple, yet so awesome. I think the others agreed, too.DSC08792DSC08793DSC08794

Here are some other fun pictures from the evening:

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Still not sure exactly how this “leg in someone’s photo” thing got started. (I’m blaming Jason.)

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I believe this was around the time we all started trying to tell every joke we knew.

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My dinner at Moe’s…yeah, I had to pick meat out of the corn, and yeah, I’m sure that’s not allowed on a vegetarian diet…but I did what I had to do.

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On the left: Mandy and Reagan looking cute. On the right…I found a hole in the floor and convinced Dennis to stick his finger in it. (I got a giggle.)

Since I know that St. Patrick’s Day was about two weeks ago, I won’t ask you what you did for the (arguably best ever) holiday. But instead…what’s your favorite go-to cookie recipe? These were so easy to make and so tasty, I definitely think I’ll revisit it again.

where, oh where, did I go??

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I know, I know…I’ve been absent. But I’m coming back, and better than ever—I promise! Tons of lovely, lovely pictures of food and friends, and an interesting development from the past few weeks. See you all soon!

waiter, there’s grass on my burger.

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DSC08636 Oh, it’s supposed to be that way? Ah, got it.

This past Friday, Jonathan and I decided to just cliche it up by having a dinner and a movie date, something we rarely ever do. I was really craving a burger, and without even knowing this fact, J suggested that we check out Flip Burger at the Summit.

I went with the Butcher’s Cut (above, forgive the blurry photo…it was somewhat fancy inside, and I felt sort of like a goofball snapping photos), which consisted of steak (cooked medium), red wine jam, blue cheese, caramelized onions, scallions, and frisee (the grass on top). It was so delicious! The steak was cooked perfectly, and the flavors all blended so well. I’m finding that I really like the stank of some blue cheese 🙂

Jonathan had the Ossobuco, with veal, gremolata mayo, braised ketchup and crispy fried onions.

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Ah, MUCH better photography skillz. I had a tiny bite (I don’t do mayo, and honestly, veal creeps me out), and it was pretty tasty as well. Jonathan gave a a grunt of approval between bites.

We also shared an order of vodka-battered onion rings.

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They were good, but still a little greasy. I mean, not for onion rings, but they were too greasy in that I haven’t really eaten this kind of stuff in forever.

For the movie part of our date, we went to see The Adjustment Bureau.

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It was meh.

Honestly, I just kept thinking about how silly a lot of it seemed. It wasn’t terrible, but I feel like it could’ve been so much better. It had a great idea—fate, chance, free will. It was based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick (Blade Runner), and you could totally tell. That being said, some things just don’t translate well to the big screen.

My weekend was pretty uneventful, other than our “big night out” (we’re such old people). Saturday it rained all. damn. day, so I celebrated with pajama pants, Netflix, and a breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, potatoes with onions and peppers, and veggie sausage. Perfection!

Sunday I got a lot done in my room and met up with an old friend for some drinks and fun chat catch-up time. Basically, a great weekend. I’m never happy to see Monday come, but my nice weekend high lessened the blow.

What is your favorite way to spend a lazy, rainy Saturday?

better to have loved and lost…

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I know I’ve been sort of absent lately. Part of it was the flu last week, and then having so much work after my first day back. And part of it was something that happened last Monday.

My beloved Charlie passed away.DSC07541I know I just started talking about Charlie on the blog, but I’ve had him since last year, around the holidays. My sister called me when she found him at her vet’s, bound for euthanization. His previous owner had died, and no one ever really wants to take in older cats.

DSC07212 I took him in knowing that he was older, but also knowing that he was healthy and still pretty spry. Charlie was a good cat, never caused me any trouble, and a faithful companion to his adopted little brother.

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Charlie didn’t suffer, and he managed to go into the bathroom to be near the towel he liked to lie on. I’d noticed he had been moving a little slow in the last few weeks, and he had lost a little weight. And I knew he was older. But as I told my mom, I just didn’t expect it. It all happened so fast.

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I like to think that I gave him a good home, and lots of space to roam around. Thankfully, my roommate Reagan came to my office to tell me in person, and I had some time to process it all. But when I came home, and I saw the two little food bowls side-by-side, I lost it. I cried and cried. I’d become so attached, and it made me aware of how time is fleeting, and how close I am to my Dave.

I know that maybe I’m being a little silly, but I have such a soft spot for cats, and it’s so easy to develop a quick relationship with these living, breathing fuzz balls.

Rest in peace, Charlie.

it’s the freakin’ weekend!

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How about a margarita?

Or even better…margarita cookies??!?

Just say yes!

Last week was my good friend Joy’s birthday. This past year, her birthday fell on Fat Tuesday, and we all had a grand old time at Mardi Gras.

mardigrasbday.bmp Last Wednesday, before this whole “flu business,” I was faced with the decision of what I could do for Joy to celebrate her birthday that would really say “me” and “Joy” all at the same time. I decided that making/baking something would be friendly to my wallet and would also be very “me.” I pondered…“What does Joy like? More than most anything…?”

Answer: tequila.

But how to manifest this into a baked treat? My first thought was “margarita cookies!” I didn’t this could be a real thing, but when I hit up Google, I found several recipes. I went with this one from Smitten Kitchen. (Hers look a little better than mine, but I will definitely have many chances to perfect mine—this one’s a keeper!) Mandy came over to help me make these little beauties and even contributed an ingredient or two.

DSC08415 The tricky thing about this recipe was the time required to refrigerate the dough. I’m here to tell you that in a pinch, you can easily pop it into the freezer instead.

You can get the exact recipe on the SK site, but here’s the basics on what you’ll need:

    unsalted butter
    confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    egg yolks
    pinch of salt
    tequila
    orange and lime zest
    all-purpose flour

    coating:
    clear sanding or other coarse sugar*
    flaky Maldon sea salt*

*I used regular sugar, regular salt and a pinch of kosher salt. I tasted it to make sure I got the proportions the way I wanted them.

As for the method, you mix it up and pop the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. I put mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes, which worked perfectly. Next, you roll the dough balls into dough logs, and pop those in the fridge for two hours. I didn’t have two hours, so I put it in the freezer for around 20 minutes.

DSC08412 They came out of the freezer firm and ready to be put to good use.

I went there.

So, you brush the logs with egg yolk and roll them in the sugar/salt mixture. I took this opportunity to make the logs a more uniform size as I rolled them out.

DSC08413 After that, you just slice them up (which is easy since the dough has been chilled) and bake them!

DSC08416 I really need to get a Silpat so my cookies bake more evenly. Next time I think I’ll bake these on my pizza stone.

These tasted amazing! I really think it was the salt/sugar “rim.” The zest gives a really good flavor, and you can definitely tell that butter is an integral part of the recipe. To give these to Joy, I was a little hard-pressed to find something other than an old Blue Bonnet tub. I ended up emptying the lentils from one of my Ball jars, filling it with cookies and placing a square of fabric between the lid and the jar. I also wrote the recipe down on these lovely new recipe cards I have.

DSC08418Oh, and I included a mini bottle of Jose! I think she liked it. We all devoured the extra cookies at the table.

Do you give baked goods as presents? What’s the most unique cookie you’ve made? I wonder if there’s a recipe for a sweet tea cookie? Eh? Maybe I should make one!

stick it in your ear Thursday: Adele

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I love music. That seems like such a trite statement. Who ever really says, “I hate music”? I mean, I know we don’t all like the same things. But I really like what I like.

Anyway.

Here’s what I’m loving on today!

21  (source)

Adele released her latest album, 21, this past Tuesday. Here are just a few reasons why I love her:

  1. Her voice is amazing. It’s like Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin had a baby that popped out with red hair, white skin, and British accent.
  2. She’s so adorable! I love that she has a real figure and natural beauty in addition to that velvety voice.
  3. Her lyrics are amazing. Seriously. Listen to 19, her 1st album, if you haven’t already. You’ll find it hard to believe she was 19 when she wrote that, and consequently 21 when she made this newest album. (Sensing a theme here??)

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Isn’t she gorgeous??!?

I’m still making my way through this newest album, and it’s been quite a treat for the ears thus far. My favorite songs right now are “Rolling in the Deep” and “Rumor Has It.” Actually, I’d be willing to say that “Rumor Has It” is my favorite. It has a great beat and fun lyrics. “Set Fire to the Rain” is another good one (my sister really likes it, too).

If you’re curious to hear before you buy, check out the entire album on NPR. (Thanks for the head’s up, Jen!) Not sure how long it’ll be up, so head over there fast!

If you’re interested in purchasing it, as I think you should, it’s pretty affordable right now. On iTunes, it’s just $9.99 and includes a bonus song, “I Found a Boy.” At Target.com, you can order it online and get a bonus CD with 4 extra tracks for just $9.99 as well.  Amazon.com also has the album for download for just $9.99, and Best Buy has the lowest price with the CD priced at $7.99. Note: Many of these prices may just be for the 1st week; I know a lot of places with do that.

Do you like Adele? Have you heard the new album yet? What are you listening to right now?