Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Friday!

Abandoned Train Station- Simon Christensen

It's Friday AND it's a three-day weekend AND I have links for you!
(Three reasons to be happy right there!)

Inside the mind of Curiosity

Highly amusing pen reviews

Did anyone else read Shel Silverstein growing up?

A lovely Norwegian summer cottage

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Short Film: Springtime with Obaachan

This is lovely. Enjoy:

Springtime with Obaachan - Japan from Andy Ellis on Vimeo.

A slow moving piece documenting the subtleties / importance of family and home life on returning back to Japan last March/April 2011.
Camera: Nikon D7000
Lenses: Nikkor 50mm 1.4G & Nikkor 18-200mm VR
Audio: Røde VideoMic Pro
Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto // Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Workplace Safety Lesson (Soviet Style)

Labor Day is this next Monday! So in honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I'd share these fantastic Soviet Worker Safety posters:

Be tethered when working on steep slopes
Containers with chemicals should be clearly marked
Gawkers, don't cripple friends!
No walking on fish

Stack bricks properly

Life lesson for the day: If there are fish on the floor, don't walk on them!

P.S. The rest of this collection of posters can be found here. Warning: some are a bit graphic.

P.S.S. Soviet ROBOTS!

All images found via 2leep

Milagrosa Canyon

For those of you who aren't in on the secret, Milagrosa is a fantastic hidden-away hiking spot in Tucson that has some lovely pools and cliff-jumping spots during the rainy seasons and spring run-off. Word to the wise: Don't go without someone who's done the hike before (the trail can be a bit hard to follow in a few places, making it easy to get lost). But it's most definitely worth it. 

Deserts are beautiful too
View from the top of one of the shelves (near the best jumping point)
Looking back across towards Tucson
The always lovable, but prickly, barrel cactus
Headed home

I'm suddenly very antsy for the start of fall and the chance to get outdoors without the searing temperatures.

All photos by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Changing One's Mind

via Suburban Misfit

Wedding dress shopping completely terrified me. First, I don't really like trying on clothes in front of people. More importantly, after some browsing the internet for a while, I was quite convinced that I would never find something I liked that was "wedding" enough for my family and that didn't cost a fortune. My requirements were simple:

1. It must not cost more than my laptop (which is infinitely more useful than a dress)
2. It must not preclude me from using the bathroom by myself  
3. It must not be fluffy, foofy, or reminiscent of a cupcake
4. It must not be covered in sparkles, glitter, sequins, or other excessively shiny things
5. It must not prevent me from walking through doors like a normal person
6. It must not have things which I might trip over (read: train)
7. It must have straps.

I was going for something simple, easy, and preferably flowy and elegant.

The dress I brought home (after a wonderfully un-terrifying experience) is flowy and elegant. It is not sparkly or shiny, excessively fluffy, or terribly expensive. I'm fairly certain I can manage bathrooms and doorways without too much trouble. However, it is in that dreaded mermaid silhouette, the one I derided as weird and poofy, saying that it made it look like one had a second waist at the knees. It is also strapless, though it does have optional spaghetti straps. And I really, really like it. 

And in this process I came to a distinct realization. I hate changing my mind. It makes me feel embarrassed and somewhat guilty. I was ashamed that I had changed my mind about the type of wedding dress I wanted.

And this shame (unfortunately) isn't limited to wedding dresses. It extends to my plans after college. What if I tell people I'm going to go abroad after graduation but then I decide I'd rather stay in the States and enjoy being married for a little while? What if I say I'm applying for graduate school but then decide to take a year off?
It applies to the social commitments I make.
What if I tell someone I'm going to be involved in some organization but then realize that my schedule won't allow it? What if I say I'll be somewhere but then I don't feel well?
It applies to most of my life decisions in general.
How do I tell people I'm getting married young after I was so adamant about staying single until my career was established? How do I explain why I decided not to study abroad my junior year? 

I think the shame stems from my fears of others' expectations and thoughts. I've always wanted to be thought of as a person of my word. If I say something, I'll do it. And changing my mind sometimes feels like I'm breaking my word. I'm afraid I'll be given that label that's so often affixed to the female gender: "fickle." I'm afraid that I'm admitting that I was wrong, and, in so many of these cases where others whom I respect have encouraged me to pursue a particular direction, I'm afraid that I'm telling them they're wrong too. I'm afraid that I'm second guessing myself, making the wrong decision, chickening out. 

But this is wrong. 

Like it or not, changing one's mind is a key part of life. One cannot just go steamrolling through life on one set course and expect things to turn out well. Successful living requires constant reevaluation and recalculation. (Even my quirky little GPS takes time to recalculate, granted generally at the most inopportune moments.) No one expects me to know exactly where I'm going-- as events unfold and I mature and learn and grow, I will change my course. Keeping my word is important, but so is the ability to reassess, to admit shortcomings and oversights, and to try something different. Honestly, I don't think anyone can say they know exactly where they are going and how they will get there. That would be unreasonable. 

And so I must continue to remind myself that it's perfectly reasonable to change my mind. It's okay that my dress looks a bit different than I thought it would, that my post-graduation plans might not turn out how I've envisioned them, and that my interests and commitments are ever evolving. Reassess, recalculate, move forward. It's life. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Songs for Sunday: Rachel Goodrich

This girl is crazy-talented-- her voice just has the gorgeous rough quality, and the guitar on so many of her songs complements it perfectly. I haven't tracked down her album yet, but it's next on my list.

Directed by: Louis Bolivar
Off the New Self Titled Album Released 2011

Johnny Cash cover, performed by Rachel Goodrich

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Friday!

Friday Hand Lettering by Lisa Congdon

It's finally Friday and the first week of classes are over! I think I'm finally getting back into the swing of things, but it'll still be nice to take a little bit of a break this weekend. (We might go hiking!) But before I go I have some links for you:

How cute is this cottage?

A beautiful year-long hand lettering project

I might try making this quickbread with my new gluten-free baking mix

How to make a fun DIY vase

A great writing piece from McSweeney's

Would you buy an area code poster

What-if XKCD has quickly become my new favorite read (Robot Apocalypse, anyone?)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Short Film: Fox Hat

I apologize for the sporadic posting this week- it's the first week of school and things got crazy much more quickly than I expected them to.
Anyways, this film, Fox Hat, is absolutely beautiful. I love the artwork and the animation. This version has been translated from Korean (click to watch the original). My partiality to foxes might have also influenced this pick. It's a lovely piece for a quick break in the day.

fox hat (english ver.) from earth design works on Vimeo.
Director : Kim, Young-jun (Earth Design Works)
Animation : Kim, Young-jun / Kim, Ji-su
Original : Kim, Seung-youn
Music : Ko, Jin-young / Park, Hyun-woo
Progression : Chun, Sang-hyun (Picturebook SangSang)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inspired: Gemma Correll

Gemma Correll is a very talented U.K. artist. She's also pretty hilarious. And she seems like the kind of person I'd love to sit down for some tea with and peek at her sketchbook.

Her blog is one of my favorite weekly reads because of all the fun pictures. Check out her website for more!

All images belong to Gemma Correll

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wedding Planning and Life Skills Acquisition

Cotillion Events Hexagon Wedding Cake 2
**Case in point: Hexagonal Wedding Cake. Also, must one wear shoes at one's own wedding?

Confession: I hate wedding planning. 

After the last few weeks, I can confidently say that weddings are not my cup of tea. This came as a little bit of a surprise, though it probably should have been expected. After all, event planning has never been something I particularly enjoyed. But given my creative bent and love of DIY projects, I thought I would have much more fun with wedding-related details than I am currently having. I've instead realized that I would much more enjoy planning someone else's wedding- a situation in which I could happily do my creative projects without worrying about everything else* that goes along with planning one's own wedding. The creative projects (like designing invitations) are fun. It's the everything else that gets me. 

*What the Everything Else includes:*
1. Being the center of attention.
For some reason, my introverted self didn't realize that having a wedding meant becoming the center of lots of attention until she got engaged. Then she panicked. 
2. Having opinion on all sorts of things one normally never considers in the course of one's life.
Are hexagonal cakes preferable to circular cakes?** Is white or off-white a more flattering shade? Do you like green-teal dresses, blue-teal dresses, dark-teal dresses, lighter teal-dresses, stormy ocean-teal dresses, pleasant weather ocean-teal dresses, muted-teal dresses, or hey-everybody-look-over-here-i'm-bright-teal dresses? (I swear there are actually this many different shades of teal.) 
3. Spending lots of money. Lots of money. On one day.
I know it's an important day, and we aren't spending extravagant amounts of money, especially in the realm of weddings. But this is going to do be the most expensive day of my life so far, except for perhaps the day I was born (babies are expensive- thanks Mom and Dad!). And while our families are incredibly generous and pitching in lots, it's still hard for me to accept spending this much money, no matter whose it is.  
4. Talking to strangers.
I was a very shy child, and I never outgrew my fear of talking to strangers on the phone. Or even emailing them. It's still slightly terrifying. (And so I procrastinate until Nate finally makes me get over it and email people. I know it's good for me, but still...not fun.) 
5. Talking about wedding details. All the time.
This really threw me off right after we got engaged. All of a sudden all sorts of people wanted to see my hand and talk about dates and locations and colors and other wedding-related things. I was a bit miffed ("I'm doing research! I'm going to Texas! I'm writing a thesis! I have a life besides getting married!"). After a little while, I got accustomed to it and began to realize that people were aware that my wedding was not my life. Rather, weddings are big, happy occasions that people like to celebrate and talk about. They're just happy for me- not trying to ignore everything else going on. But there are still days when the last thing I want to do is talk about the merits of one-shouldered vs. halter dresses or anything else wedding-related.
(On the other hand, I'm terrified that on certain days I might become that girl-who-won't-shut-up-about-her-wedding. Please don't let me do that) 
6. The Unknown.
Believe it or not, I've never planned a wedding before. And so much of this whole process feels like: "I think we need to do this now. Okay, how do we do this? Maybe like this? I don't know what I'm doing..."And weddings come with expectations (I think)- expectations of traditions and activities and invitations and other things. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone, especially those many people we love and care about. So it's been tricky to figure out what things are really important and what things we can let go, how to be considerate of all our loved ones while doing what works for us, and when to ask for help and when to do things alone... Basically, it's a learning process.   
7. Life doesn't stop.
Weddings, unfortunately, don't come with a "pause life" button. There's still coursework to do, entrance exams to take, graduate schools to apply to, and a thesis to write. Bills still need to be paid, grocery shopping done, and dishes washed. And having pressing deadlines for applications and thesis components while keeping track of all the time-sensitive wedding-things can be a wee bit stressful.
Really, in all of this though, I can't complain because our community has been amazing in pitching in. Nate's mom, my future mother-in-law, is a wedding planning wizard and has been figuring out so many of the details for our wedding and reception in Hawaii, which has been a giant blessing. (And she's wonderfully creative too!) Many, many friends and family members are contributing little pieces of what we need. Nate has taken on certain aspects as his "stuff" and we're doing a lot of this together. (I really don't understand why it seems that the girl is expected to manage everything with minimal help from the guy. Things are so much easier when you work as a team.) And  Hannah is willing to put up with my (hopefully infrequent) wedding-related ranting.

And weddings, as frustrating as they might seem, are important. No, it's not going to be the "best day of my life." (I sure hope not- that means everything is downhill from here.) It's not really even "my day." Rather, having a wedding gives Nate and I the chance to make our commitment in front of our community who loves and supports us and to celebrate with them. Our wedding is not a show and hopefully we won't entirely be the center of attention. And all those things I hate about wedding planning? Well, maybe they'll help me learn something:
1. You can't be a wallflower all the time.
Some things require being in the spotlight, at least just a little bit. And it's important to learn how to manage those situations with grace. 
2. Figure out what's really important.
Some things really do matter. Other things are just the icing on the (hexagonal/circular/dodecagonal) cake. And it's more than okay to delegate. But learning to be decisive is an important skill. This is a good chance to practice. 
3. You can't save all the money all the time.
Saving money is important. And we're going to try our best to do this in a cost-efficient manner. But some things are important and require spending some money, possibly even more money than your very-practical-and-useful car is worth. Weddings are probably one of them. And that's okay. 
4. Overcoming fear.
Lots of things in life require talking to strangers, so you need to get over this fear. This is your opportunity.
5. Let people celebrate with you. And set boundaries.
People like to talk about happy, pretty things, and it's fun to indulge them. But at the same time, it's more than okay (and probably healthy) to declare some days wedding-free zones.  
6. Life is unknown.
Better get used to it. 
7. Life never stops.
See #6. But never hesitate to ask for help.
So maybe planning a wedding teaches important life skills-- I'll get back to you on that. In the meantime, I need to start writing some emails to strangers. Wish me luck.

Monday's Music

I'm a slacker, and I didn't get this up yesterday.
I found another Russian, classically-trained pop musician! She sounds eerily similar to Regina Spektor on some pieces, but she's is definitely very talented. What do you think?

New song from upcoming brand new EP, recorded live in Elizaveta's home (Home Sessions). 
Ben Cassorla on guitar. Styling by Missy Washington of i102fly. 
For more music:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Friday!

Amazing Industrial Kitchen via Desire to Inspire
I survived the GRE! And I scored pretty well on it, if I do say so myself. Most of you at this point are probably thinking, no surprise there- it's the GRE, not rocket science. But I was an itsy-bit worried about the math- it's been a looong time since I've done this kind of stuff and I'm a bit rusty.
Anyways, I'm headed up to Phoenix for the weekend because it's my little sister's last weekend at home. She's heading off to college in California on Monday. (So grown up! How did this happen?!) I hope you have fun weekend plans (and that you're not too snarled up in the ugly construction+freshman move-in traffic mess that's made it impossible to drive around Tucson). 
Oh, and of course I found some links for you:

Who wants to run away and play dress-up in the woods?

State Stereotypes, according to Google

This might be one of my most favorite designs for a photography website ever

This site made my day (warning: some cursing)

These quotes are lovely

A pretty, pretty dress that would look perfect on my sister

These are my new favorite toy- I'm having so much fun with them

Well, that's it for this week! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Short Films: The Valtari Mystery Film Experiment

Over the summer, Sigur Ros has begun to release a series of twelve films by twelve different filmmakers inspired by the songs on their album, Valtari, calling the series the Valtari Mystery Film Experiment. According to their website,
"The idea [of the Valtari Mystery Film Experiment] is to bypass the usual artistic approval process and allow people utmost creative freedom...'We never meant our music to come with a pre-programmed emotional response. We don’t want to tell anyone how to feel and what to take from it. With the films, we have literally no idea what the directors are going to come back with. None of them know what the others are doing, so hopefully it could be interesting.'"
Here are a few of my favorite films so far:

Sigur Rós - Ég anda from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

"First useful pop video in history. File under: Educational." - Ragnar Kjartansson, Director

Sigur Rós - Varúð from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.
"For a little while now I have been experimenting with doing videos that are more like moving images or paintings. They have no beginning, middle or end so the video doesn´t expect anything from you. you don´t have to watch it all, you can glance at it or watch for an hour, it´s just your experience.
"I have also been doing music videos which are almost the total opposite. They have to be fast, lot of things happening in a short period of time otherwise you just turn it off.
I was curious to try to combine the two...
"Varúð means caution or warning so this image instantly came to my mind. someone making warning signs with a flashlight. I wanted the Varúð video to have a slow build up like the song and leave something for the viewers to imagine for themselves. We have no idea who they are or what they are warning us about. I made the video by animating a postcard (see attached) and filmed myself over and over again climbing on top of a woodenbox in front of some blue paper." - Inga Birgisdóttir, Director

Sigur Rós - Ég anda from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Check out their website to see the rest!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm taking the GRE tomorrow...

Sorry about the late post- I've been buried in the books. I'm so glad this will be over tomorrow. 
This, I think, adequately expresses my thoughts at this point:

Nobody likes the GRE...

Image by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Supper: Quinoa Burgers with Spicy Pesto, Flatbread, and Baked Sweet Potato

Supper Level: Simple but Tasty (about 45 minute prep time)
This was Nate's favorite vegetarian meal yet, which isn't that surprising considering how protein-packed quinoa is. (Fun Fact for the Day: Quinoa is not a grain but rather a chenopod- related to spinach and beets) Anyways, according to Nate, this was the first meal I've made where he wasn't missing meat. I thought it was pretty delicious myself- and very filling. Quinoa is a major staple of my diet already, but this was a fun new way to cook it. And it's really pretty simple.

To make the Quinoa patties, I combined two different recipes. This recipe from Seven Spoons for Quinoa Patties looked pretty good, but required bread crumbs, which I did not have on hand and aren't particularly gluten-free (though you could make your own from gluten-free bread). This recipe from Roost for Lentil Cakes is one I've had bookmarked for quite a while, and it is gluten-free. So I thought I could split the difference and come up with something in the middle- and it worked!

Quinoa Burgers (adapted from Roost and Seven Spoons)
(makes 12 small patties, approximate prep time: 35 minutes)

2 cups of cooked quinoa*
1 tbs butter or oil (I use coconut oil)
1 leek, chopped into thin half-moons
1 quarter of an onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or two tsp garlic powder, if you're out of garlic like me)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of grated cheese**
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. Cook your quinoa (if you haven't already- this recipe totally works with leftover quinoa). 
3. Chop your veggies. Heat the butter/oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and onion to the skillet and saute until barely translucent. Add your garlic and cook for an extra minute or two (be careful not to let it burn). [If you're lazy like me and using garlic powder, don't put the powder in the pan- wait until you start mixing everything together.]
4. Put it all together! Put your quinoa in a medium-large mixing bowl and add in the leeks, onion, and garlic [or garlic powder]. Add your cheese and the eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix together until well combined.
5. Grease a baking sheet. Scoop out a 1/4-1/3 of a cup (depending on how big you want your patties) of the quinoa mix using a measuring cup and press it onto the baking sheet to make a patty. 
6. Bake patties for 25 minutes in the oven until just golden brown. Let cool slightly before handling. 

 *Cooking Quinoa: I buy my quinoa at Trader Joe's and just follow the directions on the package- it's super easy. But, for those without a Trader Joe's nearby, you can also buy quinoa in bulk at Whole Foods for about the same price. To cook it in the microwave, add 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high (covered) for 4 minutes. Stop and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes on high, then let stand for a couple minutes before fluffing it with a fork. Done! (6 minutes- told you it was easy!)

**Cheese: I used a mix of a parmesan-gouda melange and some goat's milk cheddar, which was delicious, but you could use just about any mix of hard cheese. You can add more than a 1/2 cup if you like; I just tend to go easy on the dairy.

Alternative Option: This would make an awesome quinoa salad- just leave out the eggs!
(Or fry the eggs and stick them on top)

I think I've mentioned before that I can be kinda lazy when I cook, and this recipe is one of those pretty obvious manifestations of this. I bought my pesto from Safeway and just spiced it up a bit. But if you want to make your own, I recommend this Basil Pesto recipe from Roost.

Spicy Pesto 
(makes just less than a cup of sauce, approximate prep time: 3 minutes)

1/2 cup of Pesto
2 oz. Chevre (goat cheese)
1/4 cup of Greek Yogurt
Sriracha Sauce

Mix the pesto, Chevre, and greek yogurt together and add Sriracha to taste. Done! 

Alternative Option: Instead of mixing the Sriracha into the pesto, just add a drizzle to straight to the burger

I used this recipe for yogurt flatbread from Love and Lemons. It's super easy, gluten-free, and delicious. I didn't have any spelt flour so I used brown rice flour instead and it turned out fine. The dough, however, is a little bit tricky to work with (it's really, really sticky). I ended up using a drop-in-the-pan-then-flatten method instead of actually rolling out the dough. As a result, my flatbread wasn't quite 5-inches in diameter, but it was still very tasty! (P.S. I highly recommend doubling the recipe, just in case you lose a little bit of dough due to stickiness.)

The Assembled Burger
(The flatbread is delicious!!!)
Baked Sweet Potato
(serves two, approximate prep time: 12 minutes)
This is also the lazy way to bake a sweet potato, but it works!

1 large sweet potato
Maple Syrup
Salt and Pepper
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice

1. Wash the sweet potato. Prick all over with a fork (or stab, if you like). Wrap in paper towel.
2. Microwave on high for eight minutes.
3. Remove from microwave and chop into 1-inch chunks. While chopping, the potato skin should slide of very easily. Discard skin. 
4. Mash potato chunks in a small bowl. Add maple syrup, salt pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to taste. Done!

To round it all out, I'd recommend adding a nice spinach salad with some Balsamic vinegar, but I was fresh out of spinach (and too lazy to run to the grocery store). But either way, it was pretty delicious supper. 

It looks so tiny here, but after 2 burgers each + the potato, both of us were stuffed!

Oh, and if you're looking for more gluten-free recipes, Love and Lemons and Roost are both awesome places to find some!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Inspired: Hannah Haley Morris

Hannah Haley Morris has incredible talent behind the camera. A graphic designer by trade, she has an amazing eye for small details and a wonderful grasp of color. Her photographs are absolutely breath-taking. These are some of my favorites:

P.S. Hannah does fantastic portrait photography- and you can hire her! She is available for portrait shoots in Tucson and the surrounding areas. Check out her website to see more of her work. 

All images belong to Hannah Haley Morris Design and Photography, all rights reserved

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Song for Sunday: Mumford and Sons

Mumford and Sons released their latest single this week. So of course I had to post it here.

I Will Wait' taken from the new album 'Babel' released on Sep 24th 2012.

So excited for the album!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Friday!

East London houseboat residents, photo by Alex Webb via National Geographic Magazine

It's finally Friday! I've still got to do a bit of studying this weekend, but I'm sure there will be plenty of time for fun. We're celebrating Nate's birthday this weekend, and I have some plans in mind (though I won't go into too much detail because he reads this blog). But before the weekend kicks off, I gathered up some links for you:

This house is amazing

I loved this article about the first modern olympics

The fantastic sketch-blog of Gemma Correll

A wonderful short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This beautiful little kitchen makeover cost less than $100

London's East Side, beyond the Olympics

I really want to try making these hanging shelves

Life in Wedding Land (I relate so much...)

A heart-warming eulogy for a college car

Well, that's it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Short Film: Tibs

One of the many reasons I do not own a cat:

TIBS from SAM HUNTLEY on Vimeo.
Director: Sam Huntley
Writer: Andy Preston
Producer: Chloe Fernandes
Director Of Photography: Richard Lonsdale
Camera Assistant: Richard Vine
Sound Recordist: James Everett
Editor: Kevin Palmer / Ten Three
Colourist: Simona Harrison / Prime Focus
Sound Design & Mix: Phil Bolland / 750mph
Music Composer: Tom Russell / We Write Music
Online Editor: Chris Dart
Woman: Priscilla Gray

It is a quite well-made film-- whoever was in charge of cat-casting did a great job. "Cat Wrangler" just might be one of the most fantastic job-titles to put on a resume ever. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How studying for the GRE makes me feel (with foxes!)

How studying for the GRE verbal reasoning makes me feel:

How studying for the GRE quantitative reasoning makes me feel:

How permutations and combinations make me feel:

So I draw foxes to express my emotions instead of studying. It's been over four years since I took a class that dealt with this kind of math...


All images by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Simple Suppers: Eggs!

I helped Nate move into a new apartment (that we may be sharing in 5 months) this weekend, and moving is hard work! Hence, all we wanted was quick and easy food. So here are our lazy, simple dinners from this weekend, both featuring eggs as the primary protein.

[Full Disclosure: I refuse to limit eggs to breakfast food. In fact, I probably eat more eggs for lunch and dinner than I do for breakfast. They're a quick, easy, and tasty way to add protein!]

Supper 1: Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos with Avocado, Red Onion, and Feta
Serves 3

2 ripe Avocados
Half of a Lime
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper

Half of a Red Onion
Butter or Oil
6 Eggs
2 oz. Feta Cheese

Tortillas- The one pictured above is NOT gluten-free; however, I like Trader Joe's Brown Rice tortillas as a gluten-free option
(Optional) Sriracha Sauce, salsa, or other hot sauce of choice

1) Cut and mash the avocados into a paste (chunky or smooth according to your preference). Add in the juice from the half lime and add garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2) Chop red onion into small strips. Saute over medium heat in butter/oil until slightly translucent and brown on the edges.

3) Scramble the eggs in a large skillet and season to taste. [Tip: Using chopsticks creates really nice curds!]

4) Warm tortillas in skillet, one at a time. I used the same skillet I used to saute the onions. Just let each tortillas sit in the pan over medium heat for a couple seconds on each side.

5) Crumble feta in a small dish and set all the ingredients out! I let everyone assemble their own burrito because the process is pretty simple: Spread avocado mash on a warm tortilla, top with scrambled eggs, sauteed onion, feta cheese, and hot sauce. We used Sriracha sauce, but any salsa is tasty!

Done! This whole process should take no more than fifteen minutes-- perfect for the end of a long day.

Supper 2: Veggie Hash

Sweet Potato Hash
[Note: you can add just about any veggie to this hash and it will still be delicious. Recommended ingredients include bell peppers, asparagus, and brussel sprouts.]

1 large Sweet Potato, chopped into small cubes
5 small Red Potatoes, chopped into small cubes
Half of a Yellow Onion, chopped
2 large carrots or about a dozen baby carrots, chopped
Oil of choice
Garlic Powder
2 eggs
Cheese of choice (I used goat's milk brie, but Fontina or Gruyere are also very tasty)

1) Chop potatoes and carrots.

2) Toss chopped potatoes and carrots in oil and season to taste (I usually just put a few good shakes of each spice in and toss until everything is well-coated). Add potatoes and carrots to large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until barely tender. This takes awhile- at least 20-25 minutes. Just check back every few minutes to turn them with a spatula.

3) Chop onion and set aside. Grate or chop cheese.

4) Once potatoes are barely tender when poked with a fork, add in the onions and stir. Cook for 5-10 more minutes until onions are translucent. Once the onions are cooked, add in the cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and divide onto two plates.

5) While the potato-onion-carrot mix is cooking, heat a small skillet to fry your eggs in. Fry eggs according to preference and place on top of the potato-onion-carrot mix on each plate

This recipe takes a bit longer than the breakfast burritos, but it's super easy and low maintenance. Perfect to cook while talking with friends.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cooking Creatively

I have finally accepted that I am becoming one of those crazy-diet people. Not in the crash-diets, only-eat-cabbage-and-protein-shakes, scarily-unhealthy diets way, but in the I-can't-believe-you-don't-eat-that, how-do-you-survive kind of way.

Crazy-diet people used to scare me. Vegetarian- you mean you don't eat meat? Ever??? Vegan- no cheese? Gluten-free- I would DIE without bread!

But this crazy-diet-ness just slipped into my life slowly and quietly.

I discovered in high school that I have a dairy allergy. Feeling really terrible after every meal is not normal-- surprise! Soy milk (now rice milk) became my best friend as I begin to cut much of the dairy out of my diet. (Didn't completely cut out the mac'n'cheese though-- that stuff is delicious.)

In college I decided to try a raw food fast one fall. And I felt so good that I didn't bother to put meat back in my diet. My skin cleared up. I had more energy. And so I became a loose vegetarian (I cheat with sushi, and out of courtesy I will eat anything served to me at someone's house. After all, I do it for health benefits and not for any moral conviction, so I can be flexible.)

Now, I'm marrying someone with Crohn's. And after doing some research and talking a bit, Nate and I have decided to go gluten-free. The health benefits for Crohn's seem to definitely outweigh any inconvenience. 

So at this point I like to embrace the title of "free-etarian" bestowed on me by a dear friend. I'm a soon-to-be gluten-free almost-vegetarian who eats occasional fish, goat's milk products, some hard cheeses, and eggs for the protein. But as flexible as I am, I'm pretty sure I fall solidly in the crazy-diet category. However, my body is much happier now, so I'm pretty sure it's all worth it.

And, because our bodies are amazing things, I've found that our tastes can change quite dramatically over time. My favorite foods are now mushrooms, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, peaches, strawberries, bananas, chevre, and peanut butter. Probably in that order. My six-year-old self would be disgusted. But the healthier food I eat, the more healthy food I crave. As sugar has slowly been cut from my usual foods, I find myself wanting less and less of it. And it's gotten to the point that any meat besides a little fish makes me sick (it's something about not producing the proper enzymes to break down those sorts of proteins any more).

And I've also learned so much more about cooking. I would say I've always been a pretty good cook, but forcing myself out of the routine cuisine I grew up with has forced me to be much more daring and think outside the box. The result has been pretty fantastic so far. I mean, there are recipes I try where the general consensus is that such a thing should never ever be cooked again. But I've learned so much more about flavors and how to combine unexpected ingredients while cooking with fresh, in-season ingredients in a way that's not full of fats and sugars. My body is quite happy for all of this. It does take a bit more time and preparation, but I get more efficient as I go. And I can't wait to keep experimenting-- it's going to be good!

And since Nate and a few other friends have gotten on me to actually write down the recipes for what I make (I don't generally measure things when I cook), for the next few months I'm going to try to post at least one recipe a week. Some of them will be my renditions of recipes I've found around the Internet, and some of them will be my own creations. All of them will be gluten free, vegetarian, relatively healthy, and fairly easy to make (I'm lazy). So come back on Tuesdays for some healthy, easy food!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Song for Sunday: Seabear

"Hand Remember" by Seabear, starring the most fascinating carpet ever. I do enjoy listening to Seabear, but I must confess that I posted this mostly for the video-- it's just so wonderfully weird.

Directed by: Lars Skjelbreia,
This video is included in Seabears debut cd "the ghost that carries us away", release on morr music.

In case the crazy carpet was too much for you, here's a more normal video. But really, Seabear just always has weird and creative music videos. There's a peculiarly lovely charm to them.

directed by: ingibjörg birgisdóttir & sindri már sigfússon, 
second video for Seabear´s debut "The Ghost That Carried Us Away"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Short Film: The Third One This Week

A well-composed film providing a unique view of a tragedy.

The Third One This Week from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.
A doctor only has one chance to deliver bad news... or does he?
This short film, the second from director Felix Thompson, made its World Premiere at SXSW 2011.
Written & Directed By : Felix Thompson
Produced By : Michael Beddoes, Edel Kavanagh
Cast : Sean Barrett, Daniel Ings, Katherine Templar
Cinematography : Brandon Roots

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Goodbye Denton

I'm home now for good, but I do have a few last photos from around the UNT campus to share. All in all, Texas proved a pretty nice place to spend the summer.

All photos by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved