“Rice”

Just about the weirdest allergy I have is rice. I’ve eaten it all my life and will continue to eat it. Even though it’s like giving milk to a lactose intolerant. I call it jet fuel. Not sure about the people around me, but mostly I don’t mind it. I’m so used to it because I’ve been eating it all my life and dealing with the consequences. In fact, I thought everyone bloated after eating. But now that I know the cause I do try to limit it. Granted when I’m traveling and Chinese is the only option I have, well, let’s just say I could start a forest fire with my ass.

That’s the long way of saying this is how I came up with my new “rice” which is quinoa, cauliflower, lentils, and oatmeal. It cooks up like a gloopy blob of “rice” and I can have it with just about anything I would have with rice.

Pickled Onions

I have been making this regularly for the past few months. It makes an easy vegetable side dish that goes with everything savory. Noodles, rice, tofu, avocado toast.

Chop up a bag of red onions.
pickled onions

Boil salt, sugar and water. Let it cool. Add apple cider vinegar to the brine. Pour it over the sliced onions. Refrigerate for a couple of days and it’s ready to eat. I keep two jars going all the time. The brine is re-useable, but I top off with more brine each time because I use the brine in salad dressings and for avocado toast.

If I had to guess amounts, maybe 2 tablespoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 3 cups of water. And a half cup of ACV. I could be totally off here. Just experiment.

TSwizzle’s Launchpad

It’s not like I HAD to go to Nashville to be in the solar eclipse’s path of totality.  But that the path drifted through Nashville was a sign I wasn’t about to ignore. And lo, it happened. She started announcing her new album on eclipse day. We are kindred spirits.  We understand each other.
Untitled
Nashville, though it be what I consider to be deep south, is not at all how I imagined deep south to be (gun totin’ bible thumpin’, secessionists).  I was wrong.  Nashville is retirement-worthy, an honor I don’t hand out easily; it follows Hawaii.

It is a trendy place.  Fancy.  Gentrified.  What was that word some real estate articles like to throw around?  Tony?  Yeah, Nashville is a tony town. The people are glamorous.  It felt wealthy.  Coming home after hanging out in Berkeley or NYC makes me feel like our hood is so nice and clean. But after Nashville, I felt like I was coming home to a dump.  Isn’t it odd, the higher the cost of living, the dumpier the place? Something for me to keep in mind for the future. Maybe it’s the rising tide effect. Wealthier places have a higher gini coefficient probably.

Also, Nashville is hands down a better food city than DC.  We dined twice at Little Octopus where they served the most creative dishes.

Untitled
This is a cucumber watermelon salad made with chili, lime, peanuts, and mint. We came here two nights in a row.

Another delicious place we stumbled on is The Grilled Cheeserie.
Untitled
Tomato soup, grilled cheeses, and tater tots. All of this is plant-based! So addictively delicious!

And if you’re into music, you’re surrounded. We didn’t even have to try to see a show. One night, we stopped by a bar after dinner and they had a jazz/bluesy singer performing.
Untitled
Another night, we walked through Broadway and there were live shows all up and down the street. They all sounded record-contract worthy to me. I have even more respect for her skills after seeing Nashville. That TS was plucked from all of these gifted artists speaks to her level of talent. She’s the real deal.

So I wanted to walk where she probably has walked many times over.
Untitled
To her collaborating song-writer, Liz Rose’s studio on Music Row (which looks like a street of single family homes). They wrote Teardrops On My Guitar, Fearless, You Belong With Me, and All Too Well together, amongst others.

And of course, her own record label’s office, just a few doors down.
Untitled
Big Machine Records. Totally unmarked, it looked like somebody’s home so, feeling intrusive and rude for loitering about, I quickly took a picture and left. Being there made my heart flutter.

But we weren’t done fluttering my heart.
This is the Adelicia.
Untitled
Unless she’s since sold it, this was the first place she bought and the first night she spent alone in her own place inspired the song Never Grow Up.

The real star of the show for this trip was our star though. The sun! (Sorry, that was cheezy)
Untitled
Not a good picture of the total eclipse, but this was a photo of it. Experiencing it was awesome, in the truest meaning of the word. It was humbling. And for a split second before we had to put our eclipse sunglasses back on, the diamond ring was the most beautiful part of the show.
Untitled
These are crescent-shaped shadows cast from the trees when the moon was starting to uncover the sun.

reputation

Ok, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard or at least heard of Look What You Made Me Do, Taylor Swift’s newly released single from her sixth album, Reputation.

I have been waiting for this album for a year!  She had been on a two year album cycle for her past five albums.  Since 1989 came out in 2014, I thought 2016 was for sure going to give us another album.  But it was crickets so I’ve been anticipating something this year.  And finally!!!

The first time I heard it, I was shook.  Pardon for using that term.  But it fits.  I didn’t know how to eat it.  It wasn’t like any other TS I’ve heard.  It’s dark.  It’s petty.  It’s an old narrative.  But I’ve since gobbled it up and I’m ready for more.  And I’ve now seen the music video a hundred times and even when I’m not listening to it, it’s in my head all day long.  I think the video really helps me understand the song better.  It’s meta.  She’s addressing the old story regarding past feuds, but also making fun of it.  It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s self-deprecating.  It’s new Taylor, but it’s also the same savvy Taylor.  I love it!

From My Little Pony to this

I’m just an incurable shopping addict. After swearing off buying crap, I recently started buying crap again. In my addict-addled mind, my rationale is:

  1. I work out so I need activewear. Sigh. Anything is justifiable this way. I write, therefore I need a $200 fountain pen!! I leave the house to join society, therefore I need moar clothes! Shoes to go with them! Wheee!
  2. My gym clothes are old cotton t-shirts and pants that are one squat away from a wardrobe malfunction. Time for replacements! (Truly, they’re fine, I just wanted new cute outfits.)

Really, I had no problems with any of my old gym clothes.  In fact, I purposely avoided skin tight leggings and tops because they showed too much detail! They basically show the entire form of the naked body. I looked for sweatpants and loose fitting items made of cotton. I’m not sure what changed my mind.  Maybe seeing it everywhere desensitized me?  Added to that, I recently stumbled upon an activewear YouTube channel, HopeScope. She reviews leggings, sports tops, and other gear and that was about the time of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and blammo! I jumped on the wagon.

Since then, I’ve been ordering things left and right. I had a few items to return at Nordstrom Rack a week ago and was shaking from the excitement of being in a Nordstrom Rack. I’m just watching Suits and casually browsing every damn night.

The addiction feeling is real.
Untitled
I come home to this crime scene and my heart skips a beat! I get a rush. A high! My brain releases real endorphins of pleasure. It’s releasing them right now as I relive it all.
So what have I purchased? Leggings galore!
What have I learned? I hate sports bras! I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to get out of one.
Also, working out in sweat-wicking comfortable fabric is nice, but at the end of the day, I can do just as well in my rags. I’m still keeping my old stuff in rotation.  The bottoms at least.  The shirts have been repurposed as hair drying rags. 

Here’s my activewear haul (in order of my preference):

  1. Vimmia Leggings: Made in the U.S. Best pair I own. $20.
  2. Beyond Yoga Sports bra: Made in the U.S. $8. Didn’t I just say how much I hated sports bras? These are different. I accidentally ordered two and decided to keep them both. They are phenomenal quality and not hard to get on and off.
  3. Onzie Leggings: Made in the U.S. $23 bucks.
  4. Onzie Capri Leggings: Made in the U.S. $17.
  5. Nux Leggings: Made in the U.S. $20.
  6. Phat Buddha Leggings: Made in the U.S. $12. I’m a bit worried about these. They’re totally nylon spandex which, isn’t that what women’s stockings are made of? And we all know how easy those things snag or run. Hopefully, these are sturdier, although I already snagged it trying to get the tag off – not a promising sign. On the other hand they are comfortable and are squat- and down dog-proof.
  7. Joe Fresh Tee: China. Boo! $6. Polyester.  It’s a plastic shirt basically.
  8. Abound Tee: India. $6. Super soft synthetic shirt. It’s so nice I’m not sure I’m ready to sully it at the gym.
  9. Chromatic Capri Leggings: Came with a set of resistance bands I got. Made in China. $12 (including the bands). Smelled like a gas station until I left them outside for a few days to off-gas. The bands are nice! The leggings are decent, but I wouldn’t have chosen them separately.

I didn’t start out purposefully looking for U.S.-made leggings, the ones that I ended up liking just happened to be U.S.-made.
Untitled
All the leggings that I listed are squat proof.

Also I did check Goodwill but it’s very challenging to find good condition activewear items because they take a beating at the gym. I did get a few gently used tops from my friend though, and they work great. Maybe tops are the most promising items to get second hand.

So there you have it. Moral of the story: Shopping is fun! Also YouTube is one gigantic commercial! I’ve fallen into this trap before, with make-up and bullet journaling. And before YouTube, it was My Little Pony.

Veggie Tofu Scramble

My neighbors moved away. I miss them. During our last get together, they brought over a breakfast ring filled with a veggie tofu scramble. We had it with some coffee. The breakfast ring was so yumm-o! And a fine reminder of the neighbors. Sigh.

Anyway, on with the food.

Any vegetables will do. Just dice them and stir fry them.
Untitled
I added carrots, celery, onions(mirepoix!), mushrooms, zucchini, jalapeno, garlic, and frozen corn.

Crumble the tofu over the stir-fried vegetables.

Season with salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, and nutritional yeast.
Untitled

This would be the filling for the breakfast ring if I got pastry in a can, but the filling alone is delicious.

Broccoli Walnut Stir-Fry

Untitled
I’ve been making this for a few weeks now and we still haven’t tired of it. I love the crunchiness of the walnuts and the rich flavor.

  • Broccoli (two or three heads of it)
  • Tempeh
  • Hot sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Walnuts – raw, unroasted
  • cooking oil (optional)

By the way, tempeh is a block of fermented beans and/or grains.
Untitled
It’s firm and mostly flavorless so it can take on whatever flavor you put in your dish. I like to cut it up smaller to increase the surface area to suck up the flavor. It will mostly keep its shape because it’s firmer than tofu. Tempeh is optional. The first time I made this, I just had a bunch of broccoli that didn’t fit into the lentil stew I was making. The broccoli was chopped and I didn’t know what to do with it so I stir fried it with walnuts. That’s how I stumbled on this dish. I only started adding tempeh because the next time I was making it, I had a package of tempeh I didn’t know what to do with. This is the unplanned kind of cooking I do. It’s very willy nilly.

Chop up the broccoli and let it cook for a bit first.
Untitled
I like to add water to help cook and soften the broccoli because I like my broccoli cooked soft. Oil is optional. Add the hot sauce and soy sauce after the broccoli’s halfway done.

Now add the tempeh to start sucking up the flavor.
Untitled

Walnuts need very little cooking time. I add them in, stir it around a bit then turn the heat off to let the residual heat finish it.
Untitled

The walnuts really make this dish. They add a rich layer of flavor and crunchy texture. Yum. I like to have this over quinoa or rice or it’s good just by itself too.

A week in the life of me

TGIF! This week was a pretty typical week for me.

Monday – Went to work.  Took my lunch break at my dinky work gym to stretch my legs a bit. I think of it like recess at school –  the highlight of my day.  After work, I ate leftover bean salad. Watched TV – the old BBC Pride and Prejudice.  LOOOVE Jane Austen.  Popcorn.

Tuesday – Same as Monday, only after work, I went to a gym class to get a proper bit of workout.  I like this particular Tuesday instructor who focuses on abs.  Again, once I’m home, I try to get to food as fast as possible, but not before I shower, because I’m gross. Watch TV with a side of iPad.

Wednesday – Same as Monday. I watched Me Before You.  Good, but sad.  The stars are beautiful and likable.

Thursday – Same as Tuesday, just a different class. I watched Mozart in the Jungle.

Friday – Same as Monday only I got to work a bit earlier so I can leave earlier too.  It’s grocery shopping at Mom’s after dinner.  And finally, TV with a side of wine.  Ahhhh….

Saturday – I generally wake up to toast with peanut butter and banana with tea or coffee.  It’s my favorite breakfast of late. I water all the houseplants with shrimp tank water and then refill the tank with aged water.  That’s just about the only maintenance I do for that tank. I watch more TV until I finally drag my butt to the gym.  It’s hard to leave the house to go to the gym, but the instructor is a funny old guy who runs a very non-stop ridiculously spastic session that I find amusing.  “How high/fast can you go?!  Can you go higher/faster?!  Can you go even HIGHER/FASTER!?”  “Rest when you’re tired.  Drink when you’re thirsty.  Eat your vegetables every day!”  “My mom wakes up and does 100 of these in the morning!”  There’s no stopping for a full hour.  After this crazy workout, I like to go out to eat and then do more grocery shopping.

Sunday – Do mostly nothing day!  Watch gobs and gobs of TV.  Also this is cooking day.  I prepare lunches for the week and try to make enough for dinner for the week too.  I prefer to do minimal cooking during the week so for the most part, Sunday is food prep day. This way, I get less wasted produce too.  Cooking just about everything reduces food waste.  That’s one annoying thing about buying produce though – it commits me to cook.  Once purchased I have to cook it that weekend or prep it for freezing.  Once in a blue moon, I might pick up the vacuum cleaner or scrub brush to clean the house.  But not if there’s something even remotely decent on Netflix or YouTube.

 

Best Shower Cleaner EVAR!!

Here’s how good this stuff is.  I don’t clean my shower for months.  MONTHS!!  Maybe 6 months?  Yeah.  I told you I took a hiatus from cleaning.  You think I’m kidding?  I don’t kid when I’m having important TV time.  Anyway, this stuff made cleaning the shower a breeze.

I learned it from Pinterest.

  • Dawn dish soap (the original blue stuff, but I got Target generic version which seemed to work fine)
  • Cleaning vinegar (Not white eating vinegar; this stuff, while still safe to handle, has higher acidity than eating vinegar. I found it in the cleaning products aisle at Home Depot.)

Two ingredients.  That’s it.  Mix it in a spray bottle.  The Pinterest instructions said to use warm vinegar so I microwaved it for a few seconds first.  I’m not sure if that makes a difference.  Anyway, spray it all over the shower, leave it on for an hour or so.  Come back and scrub. Rinse.  Re-scrub any remaining scum that you missed.  It pretty much comes right off.  I used to exert a lot of energy cleaning the shower. That’s why I dragged my feet about it, because it was so strenuous and tiring.  But this stuff really made the job super duper easy and the shower sparkles like new.  And mostly not too toxic as cleaning products go.