Thursday, October 27, 2011

this is why my brother is the athlete in the family

Vegas & I have started running. I mean, I'm calling it "running" so that you all (hi Dad & Bekah, my two most devoted readers) understand what I'm doing. If I were somebody who actually ran, I would call it jogging/walking/listening to an iPod while trying to keep Vegas out of the street/from eating cats/from eating garbage while she tries to pee on every rock that we pass.

Our schedule goes like this:
0700 - alarm goes off
0701 - reset the alarm so that I can sleep another 15 minutes
0715 - alarm
0716 - reset
0745 - alarm. Decide that we probably ought to get out of bed
0746 - stretching
0750 - realize I've fall asleep stretching, resume stretching
0755 - put on running shoes. Vegas knows WHAT IS UP
0800 - head out the door. Jog/walk/iPod/in the street/chase cat/pee on rocks
0845 - back home. Take off shoes, socks, leash, shirt. Vegas & I both stretch in front of the fan.
0900 - try to convince myself that I want yogurt for breakfast. I hate yogurt. Eat a few bites. Feed the rest to the dog.

My future as a triathlete is not all that bright. Furthermore, making me run past Raliberto's, Filiberto's AND Armando's? That is just unkind.

Anyway, sneaking into that interview seems to have switched up my luck. I have TWO interviews tomorrow for pediatrics positions!! If you are of the good thought sending or praying types, I'd appreciate if you send 'em up for me!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

lazy sunday

All that I plan on doing today:
- sleeping until noon
- forcing Russell J to order tortas en español. Giggling/being totally proud of him
- watching the Steelers play/napping
- resting up for my interview on Tuesday. That's right. I scored 2 separate interviews in one week. En fueeeego.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

interview ninja

Today, at twenty-four years of age, I broke the rules.

There was this hiring event. And in order to score an interview, you had to apply via the website. Of course I did, because I am super great at following the rules. I never heard back.

But I did use my sweet Google skills to find out when & where they were interviewing. And because I'm unemployed & so bored that I've started RUNNING (willingly), I showed up.

I mean, what are you gonna do? Fire me?

Really, what did I have to lose?


They interviewed me.

And they liked me.

And wearing my lucky black pointy-toed pumps totally worked, at least for a first interview.

And I felt like a total badass...until two men under the age of thirty called me "ma'am" at the bank.

It's cool, though. The high from this interview will last at least a week & proves that I'm not a leper.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

week five of eight

- Harry Potter at the drive-in
- Sublime at Bethel Woods
- outlet shopping
- finally hitting the wall & just being tiiiired all the time
- cry a little, laugh a lot
- still no job offers, still no interviews
- waking up every day knowing that I'm one day closer to the end of summer & not knowing how i feel about that

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

outside my scope of practice

Skills I've acquired in 23 years:
- piano. flute. bass clarinet. vocal performance. musical theater
- queen o' the stick shift
- francais. espanol.
- hitting a vein on the first try on a terrified 9-year-old
- hot grandma (knitting, baking pies, writing letters, telling bedtime stories)

Those I have yet to master:
- doing a cartwheel
- learning how not to care when people don't like me
- finding the delicate balance between total honesty & unintended cruelty
- networking
- how to paint my nails without smudging one or all of them

Saturday, July 2, 2011

busier & busier

Today, I was:
"Please come up & get your medicine & try your best to remember to come see me tomorrow."
Patron saint of making grilled cheeses without setting off the fire alarm
Cheerleader & slave-driver when it came down to getting quick strep tests done.
A bundle of nerves & a sick stomach.
"Boys, you have five more minutes & then back to activities & no, you absolutely do not need crutches."
2:30 p.m. & disinterested in lunch
One 20-minute stint of laying on my bed, not moving, eyes closed, just because I could
Two days away from my day off
Hot sauce & scrambled eggs

Friday, July 1, 2011

love packages

Today, I got not one, but TWO care packages, which I prefer to call "love packages" because let's face it: they're always from the people who love you the most.

Package One was from Russell J & contained contraband treats (peanut M&Ms & walnut chocolate chip cookies...I solemnly swear to keep them in my room & wash my hands before touching any campers. I really don't feel the need to stab someone with an Epi-pen this summer. Or ever.), knee socks, pore strips, mouthwash, HOT SAUCE (thank the Lord), & MAGAZINES!

I have a serious magazine addiction. I am so happy.

Package Two was from the congregation of the lovely church I go to in Guadalupe. It was chock-full of snacks, puzzle books, & even a can of Silly String & a Slinky! The kids who have to stay overnight in the Health Center when they're sick will totally appreciate those. The pastor's wife even sent me a few dollars "to buy some ice cream". It was so sweet that I nearly cried.

Today, I also got my first hemp friendship bracelet. With beads! That's how you know you're really special :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

more about camp

At the behest of Bekah, here is a little more about what I'm doing:

I am working at a camp riiiight on the border of Pennsylvania & New York. It's a traditional, summer-long sleepaway camp that keeps every day packed full of activities like tennis, waterski, ceramics, ropes courses, camping trips, theater productions, yoga, a skate park, gymnastics, lacrosse, & just about any other sport you ever played as a kid. The campers are predominantly Jewish, so we eat kosher style, which works for me, because pork is a fairly recent addition to my diet so I don't miss it much. However, I desperately miss putting cheese on my burgers & sandwiches.

There is no garden here & I've been missing out on most of the fun camp stuff while we set up the Health Center. I have yet to make an art or a craft. Most depressingly, I have been here for fifteen days & have not eaten or even seen a s'more. However, I have a connection & hopefully he will pull through & drop some off a the Health Center for me, because I am really, truly dying without one. I mean, really, what is summer camp without s'mores?

I'm making a couple of friends here & there, but mostly spending a lot of time with the nurses & scraped up kiddos.

I would LOVE to have pen pals (in English or in any other language, really), so let me know if you'd like my address.

Love you all very, very much & although I'm having a blast, I'll be excited to come home in August.

xoxo kt

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

hobbies as of late

- shredding my abs on the Bender Ball & then walking around the whole next day like I was involved in a barfight
- lots & lots of yoga
- trying foods that I'm pretty sure I won't like (Note: If it looks like an Egg McMuffin, that's probably what it tastes like. Go for oatmeal.)
- remembering the days when I could sleep past 7 because my neighborhood didn't blast wake-up music
- band-aids, ice packs, & tympanic membrane thermometers
- feeling like Wal-Mart is a sign of reaching civilization (ouch)
- reading reading reading reading
- Gmail voice & video chat
- "What's your name? What's your division? What happened?"
- finally learning how to use a walkie talkie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

road trip 2011: 3 putes, 4 stars

Once upon a time, two girls thought it would be a really great idea to take a cross-country road trip. Seven days, an H&M bag full of snacks, & a borrowed SUV.

They saw the Meteor Crater, the world's best preserved meteorite impact site.

They visited Dorothy's house in the heart of Liberal, Kansas.

They saw the Arch in Saint Louis, & sat in a creepy capsule of an elevator to get to the top.

They went to Chicago to meet up with the third member of their elite posse. While in Chicago, they ate & ate & ate. Their recommendations include Frontera Grill, The Purple Pig, & Quartino (ask for Scott, the best waiter in all the land & my boyfriend's doppelganger).

They drove 19 miles out of their way to visit Punxsutawney Phil, who lives in a tiny rodent habitat attached to the public library.

And finally, they parted ways to attend to their responsibilities at work.

I am at camp. The kids don't get here until Saturday so for the past eight days I have been filing, cleaning, socializing, stocking shelves, Ace wrapping elbows & knees & ankles, & tending to other miscellaneous injuries. The food is good, though I'm not impressed by the desserts (shocker). It is beautiful here, but it's been raining for the past two days. In my free time, I'm doing a lot of yoga & a lot of reading.

Monday, June 6, 2011

yum and yuck

Last weekend, Russell J & I took a mini vacation to Arizona wine country. We toured Alcantara Vineyards. After that, we made our way into the adorable town of Cottonwood, where we did a wine tasting at Arizona Stronghold. We grabbed a bite to eat, did a chocolate & wine tasting at the Pillsbury Wine Company Tasting Room, and then, we did the best thing that we did all weekend.

We did a cheese tasting.

There a few things I enjoy more than fine cheeses. If you also have a love for cheese, please please puh-lease go to Cottonwood and visit Bonne Lait. You could even bring back some cheese for me. I swear I'll help you eat it.

Unfortunately, I was pretty excited about delicious food & drink, so I didn't take any pictures. Oops.

We stayed at the Jerome Grand Hotel, which has been called one of the most active haunted locations in the world. Um. I do not like ghosts. I do not like thinking about ghosts. I do not even like watching Ghost Hunters during the daytime. Needless to say, I was not excited about our lodging for the evening. This is a picture of me in the elevator, which is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of an orderly who died by being crushed by the elevator back when the hotel was a hospital. Um, no thanks. Get me out of here, please.

I am leaving for camp bright & early on Wednesday morning & evening though this man makes my stay at a haunted house every time he takes me on vacation, I am really going to miss him for the next eight weeks. I mean, what other sous chef poses with my chickens?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

veggies: 6/2/11

- yellow & petit pan squashes
- leeks
- green onion
- swiss chard
- carrots
- little yellow potatoes
- sweet onions

Mexican food tonight! We're eating pozole at home & then hitting up a paleteria for dessert. Yum!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

home, on a happier note

I am a really lucky girl.

I'm lucky that I have a handful of women who love me and who I call "mom". I'm lucky that the same friends I had when I was eleven years old are some of my dearest friends today. I'm lucky that I have a job that allows me to fly home for graduations. I'm even luckier that I have the financial stability to be able to give a graduation gift to one of my favorite people. I'm lucky that I come from a close family. I'm lucky that my hometown was safe and supportive. I'm lucky that everyone in my life has always pushed me to succeed. I am lucky that I have a group of friends who are always prepared to rally around whichever one of us needs support.

I am lucky to know that blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood. And cliche as that may be, I love that I have been surrounded by amazing people and have been able to choose such a beautiful family.

Monday, May 30, 2011

the hat

I have a much happier blog post in me somewhere. But today, I stumbled across a song that hits too close to home.

Going Home with a capital H becomes more & more strange. Going Home to support your best friend's family three months after her death is exhausting. Seeing your parents as people instead of parents is exhausting. Being twenty-three and on the verge of making a decision that will direct the rest of your life's paths is exhausting.

Going Home always makes me want to shrink back into my fifteen-sixteen-seventeen-year-old self, when I had all the confidence in the world & not a single doubt. I crave the love and the stability of hugs from friends I've had for over a decade.

Being twenty-three means that when I go to visit my best friend's grave, an adolescent with a too-short haircut will be watering her with a garden hose, because the grass hasn't quite grown in yet, and what was supposed to be a profound experience makes me laugh & makes my stomach turn at the same time. Close friends tell stories about her fierce love for me and I am so happy/sad that I don't know what to do next.

A post with us putting on our brave, happy faces for graduation is on its way soon. Today, I feel more like this song, bittersweet & honest.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

veggies: 5/19/11

- red potatoes!
- a big, fat onion. Are you a sweet onion? We're not sure yet.
- swiss chard
- carrots
- green onions
- green garlic

Friday, May 6, 2011

all i want a kebab. Or a kebap.

I would just about hop a transatlantic flight right now just so I could munch on a sandwich with a side of frites & an Orangina. Royal Kebab. Mister Kebap. Chicken kebab. Regular kebab. I don't care. I would like un kebab avec sauce blanche et un Orangina.

This is the voice of a woman who has been fighting a serious kebab craving for almost three years.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

veggies: week 12

I think I may have missed posting about the veg last week. Maybe not. My brain's been kind of forgetful lately.

- snow peas
- sad-looking lettuce (It's cool. I'll still eat it.)
- carrots
- BEETS! :)
- leeks
- green garlic
- turnips
- easter egg radishes

Tonight, as I prep for tomorrow's Royal Wedding Party, Russell J is taking over dinner & making Ranch Style Chicken à la The Pioneer Woman. Come hang out with me tomorrow & wear your tiara?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

back in action

Today is the first day in about three weeks that I've felt like cooking. This is great news!

My favorite recipes are those that are deceptively easy & undeniably delicious. Tonight, I'm busting out my favorite lemon chicken recipe, some roasted grape tomatoes, & I'm leaving the salad responsibilities up to Russell J.

And! The best part of the night! My favorite restaurant is celebrating their half birthday this week with half off apps, desserts, & beverages. Tonight is half off dessert night. Not only do I fully support the celebration of half birthdays, but I also fly into a rage every time a restaurant's website fails to list a dessert menu. No worries here! Beckett's Table has all of their desserts on their site AND they have a chocolate covered bacon smore. Oh yes. They did. It hurts so goooood. Anyway, I'm sure you could Google a recipe for something as so wrong/so right as a chocolate covered bacon smore, but that is something I refuse to do. Because then I would know all the dirty little secrets to making one. And I would weigh eight hundred pounds.

In the interest of my general health, I'll save my fave dessert for special occasions like tonight. Happy Wednesday, everybody!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This blog post is going to be chock full of self pity.


Totally warning you.

I am sick.
What I mean is I've been sick, off & on, for the past six months. Losing my breakfast at work (obviously the best way to make a good impression). Fevers that max out at 103.1. General malaise. And, as I found out last week, I've lost eight pounds since November. Kind of a cool side effect, but the weight loss is what really made me worry. I never, and I mean never, lose weight. I can live off of Chick-fil-A or spend all of my free time at the gym & I will pretty much stay at a steady weight.

So I finally went to the doctor, chatted her up, & got some blood drawn.

My stomach is playing host to this little buddy.

Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori, if you're intimately acquainted (which I am) or of the medical profession (me again).

We probably met when I forgot to brush my teeth with bottled water in Puebla. Or when I ate one too many platanos fritos that time I went to Rocky Point. Or from all those fatcakes/bowls of porridges/dishes I didn't scrub quite well enough in Namibia. Or when I was trying to be polite & ate dinner at my patient's house. That last choice was probably the kiss of death, because I've convinced myself that a sense of adventure cures any little bug you might encounter in the Third World. Also, that semester of drinking/dancing/laughing a little too much in France probably did not help my immune system recover.

At any rate, a severe lack of sleep, 70-hour work weeks, & a diet heavily supported by cows who tell me to Eet Mor Chiken became the perfect storm in which my buddy H. pylori decided to sink my poor stomach's ship.

So. For the next two weeks, my life centers around antibiotics & proton pump inhibitors.

Moral of the story: Get some sleep. Eat some veggies. Don't kiss strangers in foreign lands. And only eat street tacos when they smell really, really amazing. At least then, the stomach demons were worth it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

veggies: week 11

- green garlic
- swiss chard
- baby beets (totally not enough beets to satisfy my beet cravings)
- green onions
- carrots
- more easter egg radishes
- lettuce
- arugula

Monday, April 11, 2011

ode to russell j

I can do this, because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Russell has less than zero interest in reading my blog.

I adore him.

I love that he loves Vegas the Wonder Dog. I love that he never complains about walking her or about the fact I sleep in until the very last second possible & then run around the house like a madwoman every day before work. I love that he can never make a recipe the same way twice. I love that he is thrifty & makes me delicious, comfort-foodie things like shepherd's pie & turkey chili & then freezes the leftovers so that we can eat them on lazy nights where we would rather just go to Chick-fil-A. I love that he's calm when I panic, that he enjoys silly things like Say Yes to the Dress & the Kardashians & that he makes great pizza dough. I love that he laughs at his own jokes & kisses me on the tip of my nose & always takes out the trash.

But most of all, above everything else, I love that for the past two & a half years, he has always held my hand any time we've gone anywhere.

So I love him. So there.

In the meantime, have you heard about this Engagement Chicken nonsense? Evidently, if you make this roast chicken for your boyfriend, he will propose. Now I'm not one to exchange dinner for diamonds (& I've made a roast chicken or two before, without receiving any proposals), but it sounds really good. And my current girl crush, Ina Garten, has an Engagement Chicken recipe as well. So conflicted!

Tonight: my turn back in the kitchen!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sometimes (most of the time), I feel like I came into this world with all the answers & all of the sparkle that I would need, & as I've gotten older, it's all been drained for me.

As a child, I knew where I felt safe & right & good. At my piano. In bed with a book. On stage, purging out all of my bad feelings.

And all of a sudden, I'm 23 years old, looking for a copy of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Because I'm fresh out of answers & chock full of sadness & when my sweet-as-dextrose boyfriend ask me what's wrong, I lie, & say, "Nothing", because it's been two months already, shouldn't I be like, over the fact that my best friend died without giving me any notice?

So I blink back tears in a Borders that closes in nine days, until we get into the car. And in the dark, pretending that I'm watching the cars pass me by, I cry. I cry as hard as I cried the first time I really got my heart broken. I cry & cry & cry, silently, so he won't notice, so he won't feel bad, so he won't ask what's wrong. Because if I say her name, I'll only cry harder.

I cry because it all feels so foreign, like walking into the wrong classroom my freshman year of college, only I'm not sure where to exit. No, that's not quite right. It feels as foreign as being roused from a deep sleep by a phone call in my second language. At some point, I'll be able to cope with the conversation, but it will never feel right. I will always feel as if I'm missing something, as if she's about to bust through my front door & tell me it was all a joke, & wow, she got me good.

I swear a lot more now than I used to. If I smoked, I would probably do that. But I don't. So I swear & I eat too much chocolate & I've gotten subscriptions every magazine that sounds the slightest bit interesting & I should probably buy stock in Lush because it's my latest futile attempt at keeping my insomnia at bay.

But mostly, I feel so empty & so alone & at a loss for everything right about now.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

veggies: week 10

- spinach
- arugula
- lettuce
- kohlrabi
- carrots
- leeks
- dill
- turnips

Thursday, March 31, 2011

veggies: week 9

- swiss chard
- carrots
- easter egg radishes
- baby fennel
- spinach
- lettuce
- arugula
- parsley
- green onion

Going to Tahoe for the weekend! See you when we get back!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

um, yum: part the second



I have found THE chicken recipe to end all chicken recipes (and that's saying something, coming from a girl who could eat chicken every night of the week).

Ina, I've got a big kitchen crush on you.

Lemon Chicken Breasts

2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
10 min
Cook Time:
35 min
4 servings


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

racing pigs

Every year, I tell myself that I don't need to go to the fair. And every year, they put the racing pigs on the commercials, & with feigned reluctance, I plan a day at the fair.

I was offered a job in China working with kids. And even though it's not the best career move, I really, really want to go. For me, traveling is like racing pigs, but on such a bigger level. There is literally nothing I love more than getting off a plane in a foreign country & saying, "Alright, let's go." I love the feeling that everything is new & exciting. I love long flights & airplane food & figuring out new transportation systems.

And I wish I had some way to make a solid decision.

I have never been a girl who hears the voice of God in a Charlton Heston, Ten Commandments sort of way. More often than not, God has set roadblocks in my way to give me a "no" answer. If nothing interferes with what I want to do (go to college, go to Africa, change my major), than I take that as a "yes". I just wish I had a better system, one that makes me feel more at peace.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

veggies: week 8

- kohlrabi
- spinach
- more easter egg radishes (yuck)
- beets (yummmm)
- green garlic (also yummm)
- two of the biggest turnips I've ever seen
- lettuce
- swiss chard

And dinner was: chicken tacos with a roasted beet, kohlrabi, & feta salad with honey vinaigrette. Yum :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

loving the freefall

Today, I had a really great day at work.

I got to take care of a baby with multiple physiological issues who just had major abdominal surgery. And all of those things make me SO stoked about doing what I do.

I've been letting go of a lot of trivial things this week & just living by a process of elimination. What do I enjoy doing? Who do I want to be? What sounds like an interesting thing to do for a year, even if it has nothing to do with my career?

I'm tired of labels & career tracks & worrying about disappointing my mom. Because when I think about starting a new job & moving to a foreign country for a limited engagement just because I can, that's when I get excited. And when I feel like things are falling into place. And when that ugly, empty fear that pervades all of my spare seconds starts to disappear.

So today, I know that I like working with babies who will always be chronically ill. I know that something that makes some other people uncomfortable makes me SO EXCITED about life because I have been able to see how much progress these extraordinary babies can make. It makes me laugh & cry & jump up & down to see junior high students respond appropriately to a history lesson, even if it looks something like this:

"Class, who was Adolph Hitler?"
"He had a famous goatee!"
"Yes, he had noteworthy facial hair. But what did he do?"
"He was Jewish."
"No, he wasn't Jewish. How was he involved with Jewish people?"
"He killed them. Anne Frank was Jewish, too. She hid in a basement."

I feel like such a lucky person to be able to see the humor & beauty in the kids that I work with. And even if it doesn't get me a step closer to figuring out where I want to work, it says volumes about who I am & how I want to live.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

veggies: week 7

- lettuce
- a delicious, large bunch of carrots (I really like seeing how some of the veggies get larger as the season goes on.)
- easter egg radishes
- kale
- parsley
- green onions
- spinach
- collards
- purple cabbage, which is much prettier than I ever thought it would be.

After mopping up the lake that forms in the bottom of our fridge (which we have tried to get our landlord to replace several times, but hey, c'est la vie) & cleaning out anything that looked funky, I am leaving the kitchen in the capable hands of my very Irish boyfriend & am excited to see what he comes up with.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

dear natalie dee,

I think we have a serious potential to be besties. Or to steal the other person's identity like in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

This post brought to you by & my complete inability to come home & sleep after working the night shift.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

veggies: week 6

- carrots
- kohlrabi
- turnips
- green garlic
- TONS of cilantro (awesome for me, not so awesome for Russell J)
- lettuce
- kale
- spinach
- swiss chard

Tonight, we went to Avant-Garden at the DBG and had a lovely time. I love that we can still make time for mid-week, put-your-Sunday-best-on, spend-too-much-for-dinner dates :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

oh, bobby

We've been doing this dance for a while now. Ever since Mariam decided that we needed to fall asleep to Iron Chef America. Every. Single. Night.

So you are way too similar to one of my ex-boyfriends. And you do that annoying thing on Iron Chef where you make your "signature chili oils". I hate it.

But I love your accent. And your hair. And every single episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. And now...Brunch at Bobby's??? I don't think I can handle it. I really can't.

Bobby...Bob...Robert, if I may. I think I might love you. Please don't tell anyone. Especially not Mariam.

P.S. I also like your eyes. And your kitchen.

P.P.S. My super-hot boyfriend who lacks your accent, flowing locks & kitchen is up in MY kitchen making pan-fried chicken, sweet potato waffles & collard greens with bacon. WINNER.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

i hate your store, but i love your pudding

So. There is this restaurant/grocery store/pizza place/really hip joint for the Scottsdale moms to drink coffee & eat muffins. It is down the street from me. And every single time I go there, I end up leaving upset. They serve pizza at different times depending on the day. I always get elbowed by someone. I never end up ordering the correct item at the correct register. And last week, when I was going to tell the girl behind the counter that I loved her hair color, she seemed annoyed at having to ring up my purchases, so I didn't. BUT, they have the most amazing chocolate pudding I have ever eaten in my whole entire life. And for that, I keep going back, Pavlovian in my obsession. I keep telling myself that I'm going to find a similar recipe & make the same pudding. But part of me just wants to stop there every other day on my way home from work & buy it. Because it comes in a little plastic pudding cup with a snap-on top. And the whipped cream on top is perfect & thick, even the day after I buy it. And I am obsessed, I tell you.

I found a use for arugula. Thanks to Bekah, I tried to make an arugula pesto, which was a GREAT SUCCESS, so much so that I doubled the recipe, froze the extras, & am planning to eat them later.

I also pried the shepherd's pie recipe from the recesses of Russell's brain. It went something like this:
Me: Hey, where did you find that recipe?
R: On the internet somewhere. Shepherd's Pie for Dummies? 30 Minute Casseroles? Really Easy Shepherd's Pie?
Me (after recognizing the recipe by the photo): Okay, okay, so you subbed chicken & chicken broth. How many turnips did you add? Three? Okay. How long did you boil the broccoli?
R: I don't know. Until they were done? Four minutes? I also sassed up the potatoes.
Me: How?
R: I added butter & cream.
Me: How much?
R: However much you add to make them good.

We obviously come from different schools of cooking. But here it is, the famous recipe for Russell J's Shepherd's Pie, based very, very loosely off of this recipe:

- 1 1/2 lbs leftover rotisserie chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup each celery, broccoli, & carrots (or whatever you have around)
- 3 potatoes
- 3 turnips
- 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel & quarter potatoes & turnips, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan.
3. Saute onion in butter onions in butter over medium heat (2 minutes). Add the carrots & celery & cook until onion is tender.
4. While onion, carrots, & celery, are cooking, bring some water to a boil in a saucepan. Boil broccoli about 4 minutes, until bright green. Drain.
5. Add chicken, salt & pepper, & 1/2 cup chicken broth to onion, carrots & celery. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Mash potato/turnip mixture in bowl with butter & heavy cream. Season to taste. (If you are Russell J, you recommend blending them in a KitchenAid Pro 600 series. However, this is only a suggestion.)
7. Place chicken/onion mixture in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Distribute mashed potato/turnip evenly on top. Make peaks with a fork.
8. Cook until bubbling & brown, about 30 minutes. Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Finally, I need some swimsuit advice. After nearly fifteen years of wearing bikinis, I have to drag myself back to the land of the one-piece swimsuit for my job as a camp nurse this summer. If you were my supervisor (in a land where I can justify spending over $100 for a swimsuit), would these be too risque to wear in front of 7-to-15-year-olds?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

grief & all its intricacies


I really suck at it.

Some days, I cry by myself in my closet as I'm getting dressed. Others, I laugh all day long. Some days, I'll wish that she was around so that I could call & ask for advice. Others, I can crack a joke about something she once did, like she's still around.

Today, I'm angry at just about everyone but Kevin. I'm upset that I feel like I'm not grieving enough. I'm upset that when I do mention that I miss her, someone else tries to one-up me with their own grief. I know that I should be supportive & I know that I should cut everyone else some slack because they need to grieve in their own way. But I don't care & I don't want to & it's easier for me to be angry than it is for me to be sad. I know that I'm experiencing delayed grief because I swear on everything that is important to me, I still do not believe at all that she is gone. I don't feel any differently than I did before. I still get up & go to work & make dinner & watch Grey's Anatomy.

I feel like a horrible friend. I feel like I should be joining a coalition or paralyzed with sadness or talking more about her or lashing out at the world or at God or at her medical team. I'm not mad at God or at medicine. I'm just angry that I don't know how I should be feeling and that taking this all in stride makes me feel so guilty.

veggies: week 5

-swiss chard, which reminds me of the good old days of eating at the only vegetarian restaurant in Puebla, Mexico & beginning my journey of eating whatever anyone gives me, as long as I'm traveling
-green onion
-daikon radishes (NOOOOOOOOOO!)
-Scarlet Queen Red salad turnips

Shamefully, I didn't cook at all last week after Russell's first, amazing attempt at shepherd's pie. It was phenomenal. So phenomenal, in fact, that it's all I ate over the weekend while Russell was off skiing. Yum. He claims to be working on a recipe that is more practical for 2 people, as opposed to the 13'x9' recipe we made the first time, but I'd be okay keeping things just as they are.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

top secret!

I think I've figured out what I want to be when I grow up!

Now let's our cross our fingers & hold our collective breath to see if I can make it happen in the next year & a half.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

veggies: week 4 (or so)

- lettuce
- spinach
- broccoli
- arugula
- parsley
- collard greens
- kale
- Hakurei Japanese turnips, which, according to the CSA are "fruity-sweet...[and] great raw or lightly cooked. Even if you're not crazy about traditional turnips, give these a'll be surprised."

Tonight is Russell J's turn for dinner & he is cooking up a shepherd's pie with chicken, carrots, celery, broccoli, & a potato/turnip mutant topping (However, he is prohibited from using my fruity-sweet turnips, in case they really do outshine "traditional" turnips).


P.P.S. Russell likes to listen to NPR while he's cooking. Nerdy adorable!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Confession: I have yet to start my taxes. I mean, how hard can they be, right? Hard enough for me to avoid them like the plague. Or the plaque, which I am also attempting to avoid after not seeing the dentist since who knows when.

But here is what I am doing. Making veggie gumbo.

I am not cleaning, I am not applying for jobs, & I am nowhere near accepting that Kaylee is gone, but I am making some killer (bad choice of words?) comfort foods.

Confession again: I bought Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack well over six weeks ago & have yet to start. But I did do some yoga tonight. Clearing my head is not at all easy right now.

Confession the third: I didn't even take a tiny little taste of the Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad that I made last night. When I took it out of the fridge, it smelled like mildew, so I decided to pass. Russell J took a bite and also decided against eating it. We also lit an orange blossom candle in the kitchen to exorcise the smell. So that's how it's going with the radishes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"radish recipes that don't suck"

Also, "how the hell to eat kohlrabi".

This is the way that I talk to Google.

I spent most of today flipping through cookbooks and have decided that a) my cookbooks have left me ill-equipped to cook these CSA veggies and b) I hate cookbooks without indices.

Tonight, dinner was wok sauteed mizuna with leftover orange roasted chicken, roasted broccoli & kohlrabi with green garlic (that I burned nearly to a crisp), & arugula salad with beets, walnuts, & goat cheese (I hate hate hate arugula). Well, one out of three.

Tomorrow, I once again attempt to conquer radishes.

quarter life crisis

True to form, I've hit it about two years early. Or maybe I'm not making it to 100.

After 12 years of school, five (or four and a half, not counting my stint as a foreign exchange student) years of college, and almost a year as a real, live nurse, I am burnt out. I'm blaming most of it on two exhausting years of nursing school and a year at a job that makes me want to crawl back into bed every morning as soon as I get there. Somewhere between seventeen and now, I lost a whole lot of my spark and I miss it dreadfully.

So someone, somewhere, please tell me what I enjoy, what I'm good at, & how in the world do I make either one of those into a career?

Friday, February 18, 2011

it's a sweet, sweet life


Russell J made me the most amazing cherry clafoutis with a shortbread crust as a late Valentine's Day present. I'm not saying I could eat it every day for the rest of my life, but I have eaten it multiple times a day for the past two days. He's definitely a keeper.

And....drumroll please...after two years of paying interest on trains that I took across Europe and clothes I shouldn't have bought....I finally paid off my credit card. Unfortunately, this kind of feels like a birthday: I don't feel any older (or more financially secure), but I guess I am.

We got veggies yesterday! Spinach (always a hit), kohlrabi (looks like an alien), green garlic (hope it's a good as regular garlic), broccoli raab (also always a hit), watermelon radishes (the fact that they are named after my favorite summer fruit gives me the teensiest glimmer of hope), turnips (old news), lettuce (bummer), carrots (yum), & broccoli (double yum. This broccoli is far superior to any broccoli I ever bought at the store). And, even better, Russell J is making PIZZA tonight!

Life is hard & unexpected & crazy all day long, but damn, sometimes it's so, so sweet.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

helllllllp meeeeee

So. In news that won't make you all want to cry, I got a killer summer job as a camp nurse. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! No, seriously. Yay. I'm so excited.

However, I have to fill out one of those horrible "getting to know you" forms. And they stress me out. So if you feel like helping me out, below are the questions I'm totally stuck on. Please help. Most of my current answers center around things like the movie Titanic, Grey's Anatomy, & the Oakland A's. Helllllllllllp!

Who is your hero?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be, and why?
What camp activity are you most looking forward to?
What are you most looking forward to about summer 2011?
And finally, what is something that you are willing to share, but may make you stand out from the crowd?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

back on the wagon

I made this tonight. That, my friends, is a roast chicken with oranges under its skin. After blood (his), sweat (mine), & tears (also mine...did you know that chickens don't come with a giblet bag? Seriously. All their parts are intact!), this was my dinner tonight.

I fell off of the cooking wagon. I was tired of leafy greens. And I was tired of my job. And then one of my best friends died. Not much cooking has gone on in my house in the past two to three weeks.

But I decided that today was the day. Roast Chicken Day. My name is Katy, I am twenty-three years old, and I can cook a whole chicken at one time.

Kaylee's death has hit me hard.


I want to follow that up with some sort of profound statement, but that's all I've got. I'm shocked. I'm heartbroken. I'm angry. I'm not sure that I'll ever fully believe that she died at twenty-four of an aneurysm.

I want to make a grandiose gesture to tell the world how much she meant to me. I want to launch some sort of aneurysm awareness campaign for young women. But that's ridiculous, because the chance of her having had an aneurysm was so slim that if she'd gone to the ER with her symptoms, they probably would have thought that she had the flu or food poisoning and she would have been sent home. I want to film a documentary about this girl that never let me stop laughing. But without her, what's the point?

Those who didn't know her won't ever understand what she meant to me. She was my friend, my confidante, my partner in crime, my cheerleader. She was going to plan my bachelorette party & she was going to be an honorary aunt to my babies.

So I'm starting with the small things. Russell & I are going to give blood this weekend. He's not excited. But even if I have to bribe him, we're getting up bright & early on Saturday to save lives in memory of a girl who made me who I am today.

And I'm going to roast whole chickens & take cross-country road trips & drink in all of the sights that she never got to see. Because as small as those things are, I know that 50 years from now, or whenever God calls me, the people who love me will look back and know that those were the big things. I would give just about anything to hug her again, to hear her laugh, to listen to her make a risque joke.

Kaylee was my most sincere, most generous, most irreverent friend. And none of my words can describe how exquisite she was or how deeply I miss her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"I wore Spanx to your funeral."

That's the thought that keeps running through my head.

That, and "There's no way that you can actually be dead."

I can't even manage to think, "I can't believe she's gone". That's what I keep saying to everyone who asks me about you. But I don't believe it. I sat in your room & looked through pictures of us at fifteen & I just kept thinking that you were going to walk in. God, we were so much younger and so much more beautiful than I remembered.

People don't just drop dead at twenty-four.

Except when they do.

I'm more angry than I am sad. Because we had fifty more years of memories to make. Because we were supposed to get married. We were supposed to raise our babies together. We were Katy&Kaylee, Maverick&Goose, TomSawyer&HuckFinn.

Except Tom Sawyer shows up at the end of his own funeral, alive & well. That's not what happened last weekend.

On Saturday, Meagan & I sat in the Episcopalian church where I'd seen one of my best friends get confirmed the morning after junior prom. We were whispering, laughing, saying catty things about people we hadn't seen since graduation. A hush fell over the room. We turned around and simultaneously burst into tears as your brothers and friends brought in your casket. There was no time for my breathing to increase or my lower lip to quiver; I tried to sob as quietly as I could. Shouldn't we have been at your wedding? Shouldn't you have been sitting next to me? Or next to Taylor?

I don't know how long it's going to take me to believe this. I just know that it's hard. I know that I cry myself to sleep and that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning because if I do, I have to acknowledge that you died eight days ago.

I just know that for the foreseeable future, all we're asking each other is: "What now?"

Friday, January 28, 2011

this week

- I do not want to eat veggies. I just want to go out to dinner. EVERY. NIGHT. Made some pizza last night for some out of town guests.

- Today is my tenth day in a row of working. Nope, didn't plan that one out. BUT! I have tomorrow off. Yaaaaaaaay!

- I am on my very last pair of socks. Clean socks.

- My car is still totalled. I am still going to drive it because there is nothing wrong with it (other than the fact that it looks like a golf ball). But where it counts, it's perfect.

- Don't want to eat veggies, but we did get almost a dozen oranges this week. GOOOOOAAAALLLLL!

- Getting a new phone/phone plan soon. Less enthused than I was about car shopping.

- My eye is still twitchy. I should have marked it on my calendar. I think we're going on two weeks?

Bonus: I bought some really good chocolate pudding from La Grande Orange last night. Made my whole week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

bye-bye, civic

Le sigh...


After 3 months of waiting for an appointment and a week of my car being in the shop, they have informed me that the adjustor missed some damage and they're going to total it. Over HAIL DAMAGE. Which is all cosmetic. So now my car, which runs perfectly, is being considered a total loss. Cool. But not really.

Because I had all these dreams about driving this car for the next 5+ years until I found a car I really wanted and was willing to shell out big $$$ and a monthly car payment.

And I don't even LIKE cars. Really, I don't. I don't like driving, even though it's a big part of my job. I can't think of a single car that I want to buy.

Okay, that's a lie. I can't think of a single car in my price range that I would like to buy. I can think of plenty of other cars that I would like to buy.

And there are much worse things in the world and I'm super blessed and I really should not be complaining and I know that.

But my car being totaled is a total bummer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

veggies: week 3

Arugula flowers (what?), kale (yum), lettuce (agaaaain), dill, spinach, broccoli raab (yum again), radishes (will be the death of me), broccoli, turnips, grapefruit, carrots, & salsa verde cheese.

Last week's conquests:
- thai lettuce wraps
- braised radishes (still not good enough to get me to like radishes)
- bok choy with cashews (must find a better way to make bok choy/better skills with cooking bok choy)
- sweet potato & roasted garlic enmoladas (A FAN FAVORITE!!! Right up there with broccoli raab skillet pizzas)
- homemade salsa (not as good as my Auntie Rosie's killer, amazing, superhot, secret salsa)
- sauteed collard greens with garlic and lemon (solidly good)

My deepest apologies for my overuse of parentheses. Russell J is on dinner duty tonight. We'll see what he comes up with!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Tried to make radish chips today. Massive failure. I don't know what the heck we're going to do with the rest of these radishes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

home again, home again pt II

Dallas was. a. blast. I sincerely believe that the best vacations include giggling with your very best friend, eating whatever you want, & getting sucked into trashy TV marathons. Check, double check, & triple check.

This is what my weekend looked like:

Chicken cachapa w/maduros at Zaguan (aka, the best place I ate at in Dallas).

Tequenos at Zaguan

This was a good weekend off for me. I had the chance to breathe & think & dream. And I came up with this:

I'm the person I've been becoming since I was a very little girl. I am passionate about food, the planet, healthcare, & how the three intersect. I really, truly want to be a nurse. Or maybe a chef. But a nurse for now. I do not like my job, but my job does not define me, and sooner or later, THE job is going to come around.

I LOVE FOOD, not only for its gustatory appeal, but because it is so essential to family, love, & happiness.

I had a killerrrrr weekend in Dallas.

The veggies are back in town. Today, we got more spinach, baby bok choy, turnips, 2 grapefruits (yech), MORE RADISHES (the two radishes from last week are still awaiting their fates), collard greens, cilantro!!!, MORE LETTUCE (to add to the lettuce we didn't even crack into last weekend while I was gone).

This week, I made kale & white bean stew, which was good, although I'm never very excited about soup. But I AM excited about the following recipe, which I made last night & am STILL salivating over:

Broccoli raab, tomato & cashew skillet pizza
Adapted from Sunset Magazine, January 2011

3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 ball (1 lb.) whole-wheat pizza dough (or 1 plain pizza dough ball from Trader Joe's if you ran out of time to make pizza dough)
4 oz. broccoli raab, cut into 1.5-in pieces
1/2 tsp each kosher salt & red chile flakes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 large tomato, sliced
1 handful raw cashews

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 tbsp oil & brush all over pan.
2. Divide dough into 2 balls. Press first ball of dough with your hands, working on a floured surface, into an 8-in. round. (The magazine recommends a 13-in. crust in an oven-proof frying pan, but hey, I only have tiny, non-oven-proof pans, so this is what you get). Press into frying pan so it comes up sides slightly. Cook until golden on bottom, 5 minutes. Set on a cookie sheet, golden side up. Re-oil pan & repeat with the second ball of dough.
3. Add remaining oil to pan along with broccoli raab, salt, & chile. Cook 2-3 minutes, until wilted. Transfer to a plate.
4. Sprinkle crusts with mozzarella, leaving a border around edge. Add vegetables & nuts over cheese & sprinkle with remaining cheese.
5. Bake pizza on sheet until crust is crisp, about 15 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

the veggies are here!!!

Spinach, a head of lettuce, some dill, a couple of oranges, some turnips, kale, broccoli raab, and two HUGE radishes (who knows what those will turn into). PLUS a gallon of milk from real Arizona cows and some pineapple farmer's cheese, which is actually better than it sounds, although I'm hard pressed to figure out any other way of eating it than spreading it on crackers.

If I were staying home this weekend, I would regale you all with tales of culinary experimentation.


...I'm going to Dallas tomorrow! See you when I get back! xoxo

P.S. Any recipe ideas for my veggie treasure chest? Leave 'em here!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011? for real?

I almost typed in 2001. That was a pretty good year...TEN YEARS AGO. Oh my goodness, where did it all go?

- Well, we joined a CSA, which I am so freakishly excited about. Minus the fact that I think this means we'll be eating RADISHES for the next three months. I don't know if I can come to love radishes.
- Cook more.
- Work less. Stress less. Generally give myself a break.
- 6 pack abs? Right?
- Rediscover all the things I used to love to do before I convinced myself that falling into the "work hard in high school SO you can get into a good college SO you can work hard in college SO you can get a good job SO you can make lots of money SO you can buy lots of things SO..." So what? I don't know. But the money is good and the job is not so good, so maybe by this time next year, I'll have a whole different career? Or at least hobbies that make the day job not so...job-like.
- Blog? Right? I did get a sweet Flipcam, which is currently full of New Year's Eve Just Daaaance videos. I'm hoarding away all the ones with me in them, hoping that they will never reach the light of day.

And I had another one, but I forgot what it was, so oops, I guess it must have been a lie.

Here's the big one, though: Figure out how in the world I'm going to get back to Namibia or to Haiti to work with all the babies that my heart hurts for. Whether it's nursing or being a teacher or saving all my tips from the barista gig I have to get when I finally quit being a nurse, I just can't help but believe that God puts these kids on my heart and never lets me forget them for a reason. So that's the big one. Figure out how to get from point A to point B (or point Z, because as of right now, it seems like quite a ways off).

Happy 2011. Seriously, 2011? When the heck did that happen?

P.S. I remembered my last resolution: Start extreme couponing.