Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Are you dressing up today?  I try to tone it down a bit for work, especially since I had to give a presentation today, so I'm sporting my trusty vampire fangs with some blood red lipstick and an all black ensemble.  I'll whip out my Suzy costume again this coming weekend for another Halloween party, so it'll still get plenty of use!  After work today I'm headed over to B's house for dinner and candy distribution to the local kiddies who are out trick-or-treating!  I love Halloween, so in honor of one of my favorite holidays, here are a few Halloween-y links for your viewing pleasure:
  • Pumpktris - some awesome nerd turned their pumpkin into a tetris game complete with a pumpkin stem joystick!!!
  • The cutest DIY costume ever - I love that it's Disney, but it's not Disney Princess...
  • Yummy looking pumpkin bars.
  • Yes!  Best little Halloween decorations - Vampire Pumpkins!!!
(top image from here)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Decoration Inspiration

 Part of the fun of moving to a new place is getting to decorate a new place, and I am so excited about getting to decorate my new home.  I've been hunting through all of my home decoration pins on pinterest for inspiration and I compiled a 4 page word document of all of the ideas I love.  I won't bore you with all 4 pages, it's a lot of pictures, but I've picked out a few that really cover the main points I love.

I have this weird desire for both white, light, and airy rooms and also for black walls.  I've picked out numerous pictures of both aesthetics, so I'm going to have to figure out how to combine these.  Also, oriental/Persian rugs - I'm in love with them and want to layer them all over my awesome wood floors like crazy - and art walls.  I have an art wall in my current apartment, so apparently a lot of those pictures are going to find a home on a new wall with similar neighbors.

I love the idea in this last photo of "hiding" the television within an art wall, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to give this a try.  I don't know that I can go for naked windows, so I'm thinking white sheer panels too.  You'll notice a lot of my inspiration pictures have the same mid-century modern style of furniture that is already abundant in my current apartment, and I love the teak wood and subdued furniture with the pops of color from the rugs and artwork.

I've also decided that I simply must invest in a bar cart.  Since I won't have a fireplace or mantle in the new place to use as a mounting site for my television, I plan to repurpose my buffet from the dining room as a tv stand.  This means the small bar set up I currently have on the buffet will be homeless and since I've always wanted a bar cart anyway....  I'm thinking gold!

(pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Costume Reveal!

I was Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom complete with binoculars, beetle earrings, bright blue eyeshadow, and daisies in my hair!  I spent the last couple of weeks making my beetle earrings out of Sculpey clay, sewing the collar and cuffs onto my dress, and hunting down the rest of my accessories (the binoculars are actually a flask! Too bad I was unable to use it as I spent my Saturday night Halloween party hopping completely sober due to a 2:30 am work shift...)  Despite my absolute love of my costume, no one else had a clue who I was supposed to be though.
Here's my attempt at recreating Suzy's lighthouse lookout moment.  I spent a couple of fantastic hours of my night hanging out with friends who were incredibly creative and festive with their costumes as well!  My friend R pulled off an eerily accurate Kip from Napoleon Dynamite by only adding a pair of retro glasses to his usual attire.  J and B paired up for a politically charged Mitt Romney and Big Bird duo, complete with a binder full of women!  And friends R and V were Captain Crunch and Frida Kahlo (both outfits were homemade by V!!!!)   Other notable costumes from the evening included Waldo of "Where's Waldo?" fame, who kept photo bombing people all night, a ghostbuster, and a black spandex clad Catwoman. So fun!
Did anyone else go out Halloween partying this past weekend?  What was your costume?

In other news, I somehow completely lost my voice this weekend (not entirely sure how as I'm not sick and I didn't do any yelling/screaming/etc.  still don't have it today...), SpaceX's Dragon capsule successfully released from the ISS and safely crashed down into the Pacific Ocean yesterday, and I've been compulsively checking to get the status on Hurricane Sandy and the havoc she's wreaking on my friends and family on the Northeast coast.  Be safe everyone!!!

(lighthouse pic from here)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Have a Fun Weekend!

Well, since I have a wonky work schedule this weekend, I'm not sure how much fun I'll be able to fit in, but I'm certainly going to try!  Tonight I'm going to finish up work on my Halloween costume and then tomorrow I go into "weird sleep schedule" mode.  I have work in the morning, a friend's son's first birthday party at 1 and after that I plan to attempt to sleep until approximately 8:30 pm, when I will wake up and FINALLY get the opportunity to don my Halloween costume for its first public viewing!  I'm going to meet up with some friends at a Halloween celebration at a local bar for a couple of hours (I will not, however, be consuming alcoholic beverages.  well, maybe one...).  After that I'm going to wipe off the fake blood and make-up, change into work-appropriate clothing and make my way into the MER from 2:30 am to 5:30 am (ish) for the SpaceX Dragon capsule's departure from ISS.  After that I have no plans.  There will definitely be sleep, but I hope I'm more fun than just snoozing my whole Sunday away.  Plus that will completely screw up my sleep schedule for the following week.  I guess we'll see....

(pic from here)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Space Station Crew is Back Up to Six!

The International Space Station bumped it's crew back up to 6 today once the Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three members of Expedition 33 docked to the ISS early this morning!  While I'm not thrilled to be completely relying on Russia for all of NASA's human-rated launching needs, I have to admit that the Soyuz rocket is a pretty impressive piece of machinery.  The angled out rockets on the lower portion have a very cool design aesthetic too.  It pretty much hasn't changed much since the 60's, which is probably why I'm a fan!  Today's Increasing the Awesome video is of the Soyuz launch from earlier this week.  Compared to NASA's launching methods, the Russian set up looks pretty wonky to me, which is why I find it so fascinating to watch it in action.  You also get to see some cool shots of the Astronaut and two Cosmonauts inside of the rocket during ascent!

(top NASA image from here)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exciting News!

It's official - I'm moving into the city!!!!  This has been in the works for a while now, but I haven't been allowed to start looking for a new place (rental) until I was a month and a half or less from my move in date.  This past weekend was the second weekend I was on the hunt - my requirements were a vintage house/townhouse/duplex with 2 bedrooms in the Montrose area of Houston, preferably with wood floors and lots of light, and obviously within a certain price range.  Believe it or not, despite all of the adorable vintage houses and buildings in the Montrose area, this was not the type of property that was easy to find - apparently once people get their hands on them they don't let go! 

I'm a little nervous about my big move since all of my close friends do live in the vicinity of the space center and I'm going to be somewhat isolating myself, but I'm hoping that my proximity to the food, drinks, and culture of the city will bring my friends out to visit me often - it really is a fantastic area!  I'm super excited to start decorating and making the space mine too - I've been in major brainstorming mode and I already have a list of things I want to buy.  My move date is December 1, so I'll be sure to provide plenty of updates on the progress of my new place!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh No!!!

Turns out that the SpaceX-1 Dragon capsule's release from the ISS is scheduled for this weekend, which is awful because it happens to be Halloween weekend!!!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (costumes, candy, and parties - what's not to love?) and I've been working on my costume for months now!  I'm going to see if some of my coworkers can chip in so I don't have to spend all weekend in the MER, but I already had so many fun plans and now I don't know which I might have to cancel - I'm so bummed!

(picture from here)

Monday, October 22, 2012

What the....

Did anyone else watch/listen to the Ohio State vs Purdue game?  That was ridiculous.  I was in the car with J and B on our way to the Galveston Artober Fest and I was pounding on the back of poor B's seat as I'm listening to the radio with 49 seconds left in the game.  I cannot believe that we won... 

In other news, the Artober fest was fun but hot - it's late October and 84 degrees is no longer acceptable Houston! (although it did provide an excellent excuse to splurge on an ice cream cone...)  I also had a lovely brunch with friends on Sunday, managed to cross a number of things off of my to-do list that I've been procrastinating on, and I made some major headway on my halloween costume!  Sunday evening I headed back over to hang out with J and B for our weekly Dexter viewing.  In honor of Dexter, J made us bloody mary's to sip on as we watched the show - so fun!

(game shot from here)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Have a Relaxing Weekend!

Well, since I'm recovering from being sick all week, I don't have any big plans for the weekend.  Saturday I actually have no plans currently, but I can't imagine just sitting around my apartment all day since that's all I've been doing this week.  So I'll have to come up with something - maybe I'll go do some thrifting for the final touches of my Halloween costume. On Sunday I'm going to have brunch at a friend's apartment followed by a "dumpling party" that my friend R and I plan to throw for ourselves that evening.  We're really just looking for an opportunity to use his new stand mixer and food processor....

Given that I spent two days at home sick this week I had plenty of time to waste on the internets.  I found some interesting things, and so you are the lucky ducks that get to benefit from my hours of inactivity: 
  •  I found this absolutely delicious and easy recipe for Chocolate Pots that I plan to make using quail eggs.
  • A great article about why you shouldn't save outfits for "special occasions" - get your money's worth out of your closet!!!
  • The inspiration for my hairdo today.  I've gotten so many compliments I may have to wear it like this more often!
  • In honor of the upcoming Movember, an awesome and FREE embroidery pattern...
  • Another food blog that I'm obsessed with.
  • I've used these recipes for flavored toasted pumpkin seeds before and I just rediscovered them. My favorite is the Sweet & Spicy.
  • Great style inspiration: a graphic tee, pencil skirt, and statement necklace.
  • And just one more food post: grilled cheese, 3 ways.  I can't even pick a favorite as they all sound delicious.  Yum.
(papercut in image available here)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Endeavour Finds a New Home

Earlier this week Endeavour made it's way through the tree chopped streets of LA on it's way to the California Science Center.  It was quite a spectacle and for today's increasing the awesome video, I give you the LA Times' time lapse video of Endeavour's 2 day trip through the streets of the city.  Some of the tight residential streets it had to squeeze through are pretty incredible!

(top image from here)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Perfect for Cold Weather or When You're Feeling Sick

On Monday I went into a cooking frenzy after the gym and whipped up an excellent batch of Orange Cauliflower and Squash soup as well as some brown rice pasta with ground buffalo, shallots, and roasted vegetables including fennel, golden beets, shitake mushrooms, and leftover cauliflower from the soup recipe.  These have both proven to be a lifesaver to me since for the remainder of the week I've been a sickie.  Especially the soup - nothing better than warm soup when you're feeling blah.  I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, although I didn't add the whole head of cauliflower to the pot as I was concerned about the soup boiling over.  I topped it with a quick purple basil pesto which added even more depth to the soup, recipe below.

Find the recipe for the tasty Orange Cauliflower and Squash soup here.

Purple Basil Pesto

1 bunch of purple pesto (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Just pack all of the ingredients into a food processor (I used a mini one since it was a small batch) and blend away until all of basil and pine nuts are incorporated into the oil.

Cotton Head

Bleh.  I've been feeling like crap for the past couple of days.  I had a nasty sore throat yesterday and felt achy and like my head was stuffed full of cotton.  I had actually gotten out of bed on time, gotten dressed, put on my makeup, etc and started driving to my Russian class.  Halfway there I got really nauseous all of a sudden, so I pulled over to the side of the road.  At that point I realized it wasn't fair to my coworkers to show up to work in that condition, so I made a u-turn and headed back home to wallow in bed all day, feeling miserable.  I'm pretty sure it's a sinus infection so I've been popping Tylenol Sinus, multi vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc like crazy.  I think they're working as I at least didn't feel worse today.  So I gussied up again and headed in to work.  Something about the car ride seems to trigger my symptoms, though, because as soon as I was halfway in I started feeling the uncontrollable urge to sneeze and my back started getting achy again.  What's with the car and me feeling like crap?!?  Here's hoping the still constant stream of drugs and vitamins will work their magic overnight again....

(picture from here)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coveted Clutch DIY

My weekend was pretty low key.  I hung out with friends, celebrated a birthday, watched some football, and did a few projects around the house.  My absolute favorite project, in fact it's probably my favorite project that I've done in a while, is this awesome studded brass and leather wolf head clutch that I modeled after this totally gorgeous Burberry bag.  As far as a DIY bag goes, it's not super cheap, but when compared to the unaffordable price of the high end version it's a pretty stellar deal!  Here's how I did it:

Supplies: black leather zipper clutch (mine is actually a travel wallet), about 200 cone studs, a stamped brass animal head (other options here and here), E6000 super glue, some pliers, a toothpick/popsicle stick/take-out chopstick, and a piece of tag board.

  1. Bend back the fasteners on about 20 of the studs.  Lay them out on your clutch to determine how many you'll need - make sure to leave a naked strip in the middle of the bag that is big enough to fit your stamped brass animal head.  I found that mine looked best with two 6x7 stud arrangements on each side of the bag.  Do the math and bend back the fasteners on the remainder of the studs you'll need.  With my arrangement, I had to prepare 168 studs.
  2. Squirt a quarter size gob of glue onto your tagboard and use your wooden implement, mine was half of a set of take out chopsticks, to generously spread glue onto the bottom of your the bent back fasteners on a stud and try to spread it around the inner perimeter of the stud as well.  You don't want so much that it'll ooze out, but you don't want the studs to be loose on the bag either, so you'll have to feel it out and see exactly how much works for you.  Don't work in "gobs" much bigger than a quarter otherwise the glue will dry up on you before you can use it. 
  3. Spread the glue and attach the studs to the bag one at a time in the arrangement you decided on.  Start from the upper left corner and work along the upper edge of the bag for your first row to ensure a straight line.  Then work down the side of the bag for the same reason.  Use these as your guidelines to make a fairly evenly spaced grid.
  4. Once you finished one 6x7 section (or whatever size you settled on), move to the upper right corner next and do the same, working along the top and the sides first for straight lines..  Try to mimic your spacing on the other side of the bag for symmetry.
  5. Spread a generous amount of glue onto the inner perimeter of your stamped animal head and stick it down firmly in the middle of the naked strip that's left in the center of the bag.  Let dry over night.
  6. The next day flip the bag over and repeat steps 2-4 on the back of the bag.  On this side the naked strip in the middle will remain naked.  Let dry about 24 hours.
Voila!   Your brass animal head studded black clutch is complete!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Have a Relaxing Weekend

Well, it's been a completely exhausting week.  Even though I didn't have to log all of the overtime I had expected, I was still working pretty much non-stop for the 44 hours I did work.  Which is nice because the time goes by fast.  But now that it's Friday I'm just ready to crash.  I'm pretty sure I'll get called for work a couple of times over the weekend too since we have a repair to our water processing assembly coming up super early on Monday morning.  To compensate for my super busy week I plan to spend any time I'm not working this weekend just being super relaxed.  I've been in a major DIY mood so I plan to work on a few projects like this and this, and I'm going to start putting together all of the pieces of my Halloween costume too.  Other than that I'm going to stock up on food for the week (I want to make this soup and try my hand at kale chips), watch some college football and Dexter (this season is looking really good so far!), and laze around on the couch leafing through my newest influx of October magazines.

What are you plans for this lazy autumn weekend?

(image from here)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Thrill of Launch

Even though it's no space shuttle, there is still something thrilling about a huge rocket launching into space.  SpaceX had another success this week with the launch of their CRS-1 Dragon capsule atop a Falcon rocket on Sunday night.  Yesterday I got to support on console while the Dragon reached the International Space Station, was captured by the robotic arm, and berthed to ISS to resupply the station.  One of the fun features of this particular capsule is a freezer compartment which will allow the transfer of temperature sensitive materials to and from the station.  And a notable fun item sent up with Dragon was a special treat for the astronauts - ice cream!  While a video will never compare to watching a launch in person, here's a little thrill for you today and proof that work is still being done in the U.S. to increase the awesome!

(top image from here)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


After a grueling day of work, starting long before I'm normally even out of bed, I was thrilled to get home this afternoon and find that my copy of Small Plates and Sweet Treats, the first cookbook from my favorite culinary blogger Aran Goyoaga, had arrived a full 2 weeks ahead of schedule!  I immediately plopped down on my couch and started tagging recipes.  I can't wait to start trying them out!  Some of my favorites are warm roasted brussels sprout, black quinoa, pear & crispy chorizo salad, roasted parsnip & apple soup with mustard croutons, vanilla bean & cardamom baked arroz con leche, strawberry & pistachio crumble galettes, roasted apricots with rosemary-lemon ice cream, grilled corn & herb chowder, and peach & buttermilk sherbet.  And those aren't even all of the recipes I tagged...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gaudy Granny

It all started with the navy cardigan with sequined lobsters - for some reason I was going through a major lobster=quirky design phase and so I fell in love with the sequined lobster cardigan.  But since it was sold out, I went the google search route to see if I could find another.  And then began my Markus Lupfer sequined sweater obsession.  It's kind of ridiculous, really.  They remind me of the sweaters my fabulous great grandma used to wear down in Miami with her teased hair, heavy green/purple/blue eye shadow and large cocktail rings.  She could totally pull it off, but she was also a part of the 80-year-old Miami set.  Me, a 30-something living in Houston?  If I was totally confident and owned the look, maybe.  I don't know that I could pull that type of attitude off on a regular basis, though, so for $400 per sweater it wasn't something I was ready to invest in.
All of that has now changed.  My favorite DIY inspiration blog has come up with a fantastic Markus Lupfer inspired sweater DIY and I'm completely and totally obsessed.  I plan to snag a sweater from Target or Old Navy first chance I get, stock up on some sequined trim, and then go wild!  I'm thinking maybe an astronaut, a fox, or a flower like the dahlias in yesterday's post.  Or maybe all of them since this project is WAY more affordable than the original!!!

(Markus Lupfer sweaters from here, here, and here)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello Overtime

As has become the standard, when I went to Central Market yesterday my bill topped $100, partially due to my flower obsession - I simply had to spend $15 on these gorgeous dahlias (it could have been worse...).  Well this week is going to keep me in flowers for a while because it's only Monday and I'm already pretty sure I'll have around 8-10 hours of overtime by the week's end due to system issues that arose this morning and the SpaceX-1 capsule which is going to dock with the international space station on Wednesday.  On Thursday alone I have to be at work at 3 AM to support hatch opening and I know I have to stay until at least 3 PM to support a meeting.  Ugh, right?  Good thing I made good use of my time this past weekend!
 Friday night I went out to Little Big's for dinner (and an AWESOME butterscotch milkshake - I usually don't even like butterscotch!).  The chili cheese fries were pretty phenomenal too.  After that we made our way west a bit and hit up 300 Houston for some semi-classy bowling. 
We played three games and FINALLY on the third I managed to break 100 (barely...).  We had a lot of fun, but apparently bowling uses muscles I don't frequently use, because my back and butt muscles have been sore since I woke up on Saturday morning.  I'm so out of shape.  Saturday I did some cleaning, finished up a couple of projects around the house like whipping up some carrot marmalade for part of B's birthday gift, watched some tv, and finally made my way out of the house for B's birthday extravaganza.  We had burgers (again!) at Tooky's, followed by drinks at Fatty's (obviously a classy establishment) where I sucked at pool and did so-so at the plastic dart machines.  We got sick of the bad darts and took the party back to B and J's house for some more - real - darts and some hot tubbing! 
On Sunday, J and B picked me up and we headed into the city for the Houston Greek Festival!  We ate some delicious souvlaki, partook in the dinner plates which consisted of pasticcio, spanakopita (my favorite - it was SO GOOD!), tiropita which is a cheese pie made with puff pastry, and greek meatballs call keftedes.  All of it got washed down with some Greek wine.  After that we perused the festival market and I picked up some food items like rose water and fig jam as well as some gorgeous bowls, one of which is now holding bracelets on my dresser.  After that we hit up Central Market and then headed back home.  Later that evening I went back over to their house for a pumpkin fest complete with yummy pumpkin stew and sinful pumpkin muffins that are filled with a sweet spiced cream cheese mixture and topped with a spiced crumble.  They're really almost cupcakes and so B and I have dubbed them muff-cakes.... 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Have a Lovely Weekend!

My mom saw my post earlier this week about missing Chicago and home and autumn and so she snapped this picture for me of one of the trees on the street where I grew up in all of it's orange and crimson glory!  So sweet!  I may not be able to enjoy any brisk fall weather this weekend (although this coming Sunday the weather in Houston will drop to a whopping 54 at night and only 72 during the day - woohoo!  Too bad we jump back up into the 80's a few days later....), but I will be enjoying my weekend nonetheless.  My current plans include dinner and bowling tonight with friends and B's birthday celebration tomorrow.  I'm also hoping to make my way into town for a Central Market binge and to swing by the Houston Greek Festival!

What about you?  Any fun plans?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

All Alone in the Night

Did you know that there actually is some gravity at the orbital distance at which the ISS travels (over 200 miles from the Earth's surface)?  So why do the astronauts perceive their little home in space to be a "weightless" environment?  How does the ISS remain "floating" above the Earth?  Well the ISS isn't actually floating in space - it's falling.  Say what?  The reason that the ISS manages to fall but never plummet into the Earth's surface is that it is actually propelled through space at a fast enough speed so that it "falls" AROUND the Earth, and therefore orbits it!  And the fact that the ISS creates this falling orbit is what also creates the artificial or perceived weightless environment that the astronauts experience.  So how fast does the ISS have to travel in order to fall around the Earth?  Over 17,000 miles per hour!!!  Think of all of this as you watch today's Increasing the Awesome video...

(picture and videos by NASA, original video from here)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Missing Home

Don't get me wrong, my life here in Houston is terrific.  But I just miss Chicago, my friends in Chicago, my family, and home.  Thanksgiving is only a month and a half away and I can't wait to fly in to Midway, spend 5 minutes in the terminal bundling my warm-weather-acclimated body up in several layers and brave my way out into the brisk November air to meet up with my parents at the car.  The weather here has definitely been feeling decidedly fall-ish, but it's nothing like being back up in Chicago this time of year.  Counting down the weeks!

(photo from here)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cut It Out

The phrase "cut it out" will forever remind me of Uncle Joey from Full House...  and now the baby twins from the show are wealthy, business owning adults who dress like hobbits/witches.  I feel old.  I also have been feeling icky lately due to digestive distress.  My stomach officially hates me.  So I've decided to go on an another elimination diet to cut out the sugar, processed grains, soy, corn, red meat, etc. from my diet.  I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record on these elimination diet posts, but they really do work wonders on my digestive system and they also have the benefit of increasing my energy.  I'm thinking this time I'm going to try making it into a longer term diet change, with the occasional cheat allowed (I can't manage without cheese and chocolate...)  Here's a list of the official cans and can'ts of the diet:

I know it looks like a ridiculous and complicated list, but it's actually pretty easy when you cut it down to the basic principle: eat low fat meats, fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts and avoid processed foods.  I started my diet last night and got pretty creative with some new recipes that turned out absolutely delicious.
The bowl on the left is curried lentil soup with chopped turkey bacon (all natural of course) which I ate last night for dinner along with a side salad of spinach and arugula topped with avocado, green onion, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of a natural honey mustard dressing.  The dish on the right is a red kuri squash, gala apple and quinoa savory crumble.  I was feeling a little iffy on that one, a little worried about how a savory crumble would taste.  But I just ate that for lunch today and it was surprisingly delicious!  You can get the recipe for the crumble here.  The curried lentil soup recipe is listed below as it was a variation on an Alton Brown split pea soup recipe.  It was RIDICULOUSLY easy to make and super tasty.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 12 ounces dried red lentils (though yellow lentils or green or yellow split peas would also work)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp each onion and garlic powders
  • 4 slices applegate turkey bacon, cooked til crispy then chopped
  1. Place the oil into a 4 to 6-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Once heated, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, making certain not to allow onions or garlic to brown.
  3. Add the lentils, chicken broth, salt and pepper (maybe a tsp each to start) and curry powder. 
  4. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer until the lentils are tender and not holding their shape any longer, approximately 35-45 minutes. 
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Using care and a stick blender, puree the soup until the desired consistency.   I just randomly dunked mine into the soup a couple of times and pulsed because I still wanted a little texture.  Watch out for hot splatters.
  6. Serve up in a bowl and top with some chopped turkey bacon.

(list of cans and can'ts from here)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eventful Weekend

My weekend in Austin didn't go exactly how I expected.  Even so, I had a lot of fun, as usual.  The weather was what changed plans around a bit.  So instead of having to wander around by myself on Saturday, we hit up Taverna for an awesome brunch (garlic toast, eggwhites, and sauasage with truffle oil and $1 bellinis!) and and then headed to the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar where we saw Looper and I indulged in a tasty peanut butter chocolate shake for desert.  Looper was really good. Joseph Gordon Levitt played a terrific role - between the prosthetics and the way he managed to mimic Bruce Willis's mannerisms, it was uncanny.  Sunday was filled with Round Rock Donuts (SOOOO good!), mimosas, and football.  I headed home in the afternoon and got back just in time to eat dinner and watch the season 7 premiere of Dexter over at J and B's house.  This season is definitely shaping up to be interesting and I can't wait to see what happens next week!!!

(pic of Alamo from here and bellini from here)