All Is Well

Just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone back home know that Derek and I are fine. We were barely even affected by Miss Irene. Our power was knocked out right after we woke and showered (around 10am) and didn’t come back on until 2am this morning. But it wasn’t even that windy or rainy around me–just felt like a blustery fall day. Other areas we hit much harder. Some people are still without power–and could be for a few more days–so I’m glad mine is restored. All in all, though, the storm really wasn’t that bad for us.

Since moving to New England we’ve experienced blizzards, tornadoes, an earthquake and a hurricane. I hope we’re done now.

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I’m Home

Back from Cali and now I’m prepping for a hurricane–what a crazy week.

The trade show and the Wednesday night party went really well. There were no problems and my co-worker and I received many compliments and thanks from the big boss. I feels good to count my first trade show experience as a success. The next big show isn’t until January and it’s a week in Vegas. No talk yet of who’ll be going, but I think there’s a good chance I’ll be asked.

Derek is with me this weekend before starting school on Monday (unless the hurricane cancels the first day). We’re not really sure how bad the storm will be, but I’m pretty certain we’ll lose power (hopefully for just a short time, though). It looks like Irene will get to us around noon tomorrow and it will be a pretty nasty day. We’ve got flashlights, bottled water and lots of food. I’m ok with an evening of reading by flashlight as long as there isn’t any serious damage. I’ll be sure to update once it passes and I have power. For now, we’re going to spend some time out of the apartment since we’ll likely be cooped up all day tomorrow.

Hope all is well back home. (And in NOLA, Doug and Mego–call you soon).

What’s Baking: Love ’em or Hate ’em Brownies

Since venturing into vegan baking, I’ve stumbled across some interesting recipes. Like this one. It looks like a delicious, fudgey brownie but that’s not quite how it tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re delish (although not everyone in my office would agree). They just taste different than what you expect.

And they’re mostly good for you–only 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of sugar but 9 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein, wowzer. Don’t be a wimp, give it a try and tell me what you think.

Shopping List:

15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
2 whole bananas
⅓ cup agave nectar *Honey might work too
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup raw sugar *This is optional
¼ cup instant oats

Step by Step:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Throw everything into a blender (or food processor) except for the oats and blend until smooth.

Pour batter into dish and stir in oats.

Bake for 30 minutes. After they’ve cooled- slice, eat and enjoy.

I really do like the flavor but next time I make a batch, I plan to revise the recipe a little. I thought the flavors of banana and cinnamon were a little too strong–next time I’ll use one banana and 1/2 the amount of cinnamon. I’ll also use more oats (probably 1/2 cup) so the end result is a little more firm. I also think it might be tasty to add a little shredded coconut to the mix. Yum.

Business Trip & Other Travel

Tomorrow morning I’ll be in California-bound. Yep, that’s right- my first eva’ business trip. iPROMOTEu has a tradeshow to attend in Long Beach and I’ve been asked to join. In addition to the two-day show, we’re also hosting an industry-wide party complete with live music and an open bar. I’ve been working on this event for months so it will be nice to see everything come together. I’m kinda excited, kinda nervous and kinda exhausted just thinking about it. I’m very thankful that I’m not the only one traveling with the big boss–his new(ish) assistant will also be coming. I think she’s great and we’ve already become friends so I’m sure we’ll make the most of it. Plus, I’ll be in California and that’s kinda awesome.

I’ll be home late Thursday night. And then on Labor Day weekend, I’ll be flying again. But that trip isn’t work-related; it’s family-related. I’m going down to North Carolina to spend a couple days with my beautiful sister Chantha, who is newly engaged. Can’t wait to see the ring and give her the biggest hug!

Much love,

A

Try Not To Miss Me

If you don’t hear from me for a few days, this is why:

Season 5 of Dexter came out on DVD today and I have approximately 10 hours and 18 minutes of brilliant television entertainment to absorb.

Until next time,

A

The Other Portland

Derek and I ventured to Portland, Maine on Saturday. I still think Portland, Oregon is mo’ betta’ but it was fun to do some exploring.

We had no plan whatsoever when we got into town. Most of the day was spent walking and browsing shops and craft booths. D packed us a picnic and we sat at a dock and watched boats come and go. We happened upon a free tour of Shipyard Brewery (it was the lamest tour I’ve ever been on but it ended with free beer samples). We shared nachos and drank Maine microbrews. I tried interesting ice cream flavors: chocolate wasabi (no good) and thai chili (kinda good). On our way out of town, we stopped at Trader Joe’s so Derek could stock his cupboards before starting fall semester. And when we returned home, we took a nap, happily exhausted from a day in the sun.


Even though I’d say autumn is my favorite season, days like this make me want to hang on to summer just a little bit longer.

What’s Cooking: Stuffed Tomatoes

The lovely Katie Kalk gave me this cookbook for my birthday and I absolutely adore it. I’ve been craving the stuffed tomatoes ever since I first flipped through the book. Thanks to Derek’s help and some $9 tomatoes from Whole Foods (it was an accident, I’ve never intentionally spend that much on produce), last night was the night.

Shopping List

6 large tomatoes-expensive price tag is optional
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used soy yogurt and it worked just fine)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
12 basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dashes of salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, cubbed
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous

Step by Step

Start by preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While it warms, cut the top of the tomato and gently scoop out the inside. But don’t throw it away! You’ll wanna keep some of it for the filling.

Once all the tomatoes are scooped out, measure out 2/3 cup of the inside flesh and juice and put it in a bowl. Mix in the yogurt, olive oil, seasoning and most of the basil (you’ll want to save a little bit to top the tomatoes when they come out of the oven). Taste the mixture and make sure you’re happy with the seasoning. Add more if necessary and then stir in the cheese and couscous.

Fill the tomatoes to the top and set them in a greased baking dish. Make sure the dish is the appropriate size so that they don’t move around or fall over–my bread pan was perfect for the six tomatoes we made. Pop the dish in the oven for 50-60 minutes.

Start watching a movie while the tomatoes bake. When the timer goes off, check that the tomatoes have started to wrinkle a little and that they’ve browned a bit where they touch the dish. If your tomatoes have this going for them, they are ready to be enjoyed. Top with the remaining basil, dish up and eat!

I had such a lovely evening sharing the kitchen with Derek as the rain poured from the gray sky. Even though it’s August, it felt like autumn and I loved it. These tomatoes, and the time spent preparing them, were just perfect. I hope you love them as much I did.

Lazy Weekend

Derek is home! I misread his flight details and it turned out that he didn’t arrive in Boston until 9am. I swooped over to the airport and brought him back to apartment where we promptly fell asleep.

We didn’t have great weather this weekend, and Derek’s sleep schedule is all messed up from traveling, so we spent most of the weekend inside. We watched three movies, cooked a delicious meal and took several naps. It was absolutely wonderful. It’s such a bummer to be back at work today (a necessary evil), but I’m comforted knowing that D plans to spend the rest of the month with me before school starts on the 29th.

If you’re looking for movie rental ideas, here are my thoughts on the three we just watched:

I give Little Fockers a 7.5 out of 10. My expectations weren’t particularly high–I was looking for an easy watch and few laughs–with that in mind, I’d say it delivered. Roles reversed a little, Derek fell asleep while I managed to watch the whole thing, but I think his nap resulted more from jetlag than boredom.

 
 

The Aviator receives 9 out 10. I chose it because it was on Netflix’s Top 100 and my queue was getting empty. I’d say it definitely earned it’s spot on the list. It doesn’t score a full 10 because I thought it was too long. Be sure to visit the restroom and prepare snacks before starting as you’ll be caught up in the story for 3 hours.

 

An impulse Red Box decision that didn’t pan out, I give Visioneers a 1 (because 0 would be mean). I don’t have much to say about it because I lost interest and fell asleep before the halfway point. Derek, however, did watch the entire film and wasn’t impressed either. Zach Galifianakis is a funny guy–but not in this movie. Save yourself the dollar and don’t rent it.
 

So there you are. At least now I can say I put my unproductive weekend to good use. Seen anything good lately? Seriously, Derek and I watch a lot of movies–please recommend.

Come Home To Me

Can’t wait til 6am tomorrow when this guy returns. It’s really nice being on vacation together and seeing all our friends and families. It’s no fun at all to return to work while he stays on vacation. I’ve been jealous and missing him all at once. But that’ll all be behind us tomorrow.

Safe travels D! See you in the morning with coffee and cookies.

Love,
your girl

p.s. You’ll earn mad bonus points if you show up with Jimmy John’s. I’m just saying…

What’s Cooking: Black Bean & Corn Salad

I know Washington is having a lame summer, but in Massachusetts it’s hot hot hot. Since I’d rather not pay to turn on my A/C, I try to keep my apartment cool and the easiest way to do that is to avoid using the oven as much as possible. Salads are easy (and cold) but I also want to make sure I’m eating a protein source every day, so this little recipe is perfect. I whipped up a batch on Sunday evening and have been eating it all week. It works for so many different dishes.

Shopping List:

2 cans of black beans
1 can of corn
1/2 red onion, chopped
1-2 peppers, chopped. Use whatever color you prefer. For this batch I used yellow and red sweet peppers that my Gram gave me.
1 large tomato, chopped
cilantro, torn
1 lime and 1 lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper or other spicy spice

Do this:

Mix the beans, corn, onion, peppers and tomato in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemon and the lime. Add a little olive oil  (I don’t measure, but probably around a 1 tbsp) and spices (to taste) and give it a little stir. Pour over the bean mixture and stir gently. Top with cilantro. Try to let it marinate in the fridge for a little while–but it’s great right away too if you can’t wait.

Serving Ideas:

Chips and Dip

Taco Salad

I also ate it as a burrito for lunch today but I forgot to take a picture. I also want to try making a quesadilla filled with it or eating it over rice topped with cheese and sour cream. I’ll probably be making this for the rest of the summer so if you have any suggestions, please share.

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