Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

I have a fascination with time. I find myself feeling incredibly bound by it, yet also being fully aware of just how arbitrary it is. But it helps us to mark significant events in our lives and to occasionally pause to remember them. So, in true form to New Year's Eve tradition, we'd both like to present you with our year in review.

Accomplishments (in no particular order)
  • We made our own cheese for the first time. And it's pretty good!
  • Our furry friend Colton is no longer obese. (We didn't talk about that here, but he was. Quite.)
  • Aaron tried his hand at charcuterie and makes the best burger patties ever. Seriously.
  • Our repertoire of Italian food expanded: homemade pizza and pasta wreaked havoc on our waistlines.
  • Gardening in our victory garden.
  • Chrissie started taking graduate non-matriculated classes.
  • We started this blog!
  • The dogs lamented that we saved all our chicken bones to make stock for the first time.
  • Green tomatoes became our friends.
  • Chrissie was able to introduce Aaron to her Parisian grandmother before she passed away.
  • Aaron returned to his childhood love of gaming.
  • We ran a 5k together.
  • 1.5 pounds of carrots were harvested from our garden. (To really understand why this is a major accomplishment, see this and this).
  • We learned a little about being locavores.
  • Our niece and nephews are completely indoctrinated into Harry Potter fandom.
  • Our poor, fireblighted Charlie Brown tree
  • We faced the realities of life and death. We'll miss you grandmama.
  • Brine. Enough said.
  • We discovered that locavorianism is hard.
  • Helo's attempts at yard work. (More on that to come.)
  • We tried to grow shallots. We probably should have just stuck with garlic.
  • Helo taught us some of the joys of homeownership with his beautiful carvings on the windowsills.
  • We never had enough time.

Goals for 2012
  • Attempt homemade vinegar.
  • Post more frequently.
  • Make sauerkraut from scratch.
  • Learn French.
  • Thin the carrots!
  • Discover more new recipes to fold into our regular repertoire.
  • Stay involved in music.
There's probably a lot more that we could put in any of those given categories, but those are the highlights. We wish all of you out there the best possible year in 2012, and please feel free to share your thoughts with us anytime!

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Roast Beef Sandwiches

    Happy Holidays, all! I hope everyone has been enjoying the season's festivities. Goodness knows we have. I think that this may finally be the year I fully come to understand the toxicology of sugar. The dose makes the poison! And I'm happy to admit that I'm ready to settle back into our more well rounded non-holiday diet. Starting with Roast Beef Sandwiches!

    Aaron already mentioned that he loves making hearty stews and roasts during the Winter, but we're only two people and we don't consume a whole lot of meat in any one sitting so it's important for us to find a variety of ways to consume his creations. Recently, he made a pot roast. In our sugar-induced stupor yesterday, we decided to cut it up for some sandwiches.

    We used our George Foreman grill to make them as paninis and in addition to the deglazed sauce Aaron made with the meat itself (he's amazing at deglazing things. Wonderful for the tastebuds, horrible for the waistline.) we added some of our homemade sharp cheddar (a post will come on that one day.) and some dijon mustard to Aaron's. The result was simple but incredibly tasty. So tasty that we made them again today:

    I know my system was greatly appreciative of the protein and other nutrients that it's been largely lacking as of late. Though that didn't stave of the comfy-food coma.

    What are your favorite things to do with holiday and roast type leftovers?

    Saturday, December 17, 2011


    Winter kind of has me down a little bit. It's dark when I go to work in the morning; it's dark when I get back home. It's really cold, so I don't want to do anything outside. That means I have to get creative and come up with things to do inside. It also means my favorite cuisine is in season - slow cookin'. I love slow cooked foods. They make me feel cozy. Braised something, something. Blah, blah stew. Miscellaneous roast. For the next few posts, I'll put up some recipes that have been really successful for me. They come from a cookbook and I augment them a little bit.

    In other news, I finally found a cheap glass jar with a spigot. It was at Cost Plus World Market. Figures. We find everything at that place. Furniture, food, knick-knacks, etc. The way it always happens is that Chrissie and/or I will scour the greater Seattle area looking for just the right _________. Then we stumble on into Cost Plus for some totally different reason and happen upon the _________ that we were looking for all this time.

    You'd think that after all this time, we would have learned that we should just start our shopping there, but that hasn't quite sunk in yet.

    Now all I have to do is find a "mother" for my vinegar and I can get going on making it!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Operation Stair Climb

    We've all heard it. "Just take the stairs" is a typical comment from people when us couch potatoes whine about trying to find free and easy ways to get in shape. On the other hand, my Jillian Michael's workout video tells me that's a false message of lethargy. Well, no offense to Jillian since I truly believe that she's incredible at what she does, but in the right context "just" taking the stairs can be a decently intense workout.

    A couple of weeks ago my co-workers approached me with the idea that we should use one of our breaks to go climb the stairs in the tallest wing of our building. The concept appealed to me on multiple fronts. 1) It would get me away from my computer. I'm one of those people who, unless given a compelling reason, spends most of my breaks continuing to stare at my screen. 2) It's a free and convenient way to involve fitness in my day. 3) There are other people involved to keep me accountable.

    I should mention, the tallest wing of our building happens to be 19 stories. We've calculated it to be somewhere in the range of 390 steps.

    So we began. We're all at different fitness levels, so within a few flights we had started to separate with our speedy rabbit at a near jog and our couch potatoes (yours truly) huffing and puffing at the rear. I'll admit, that first day I was already hating myself for agreeing to such a massochistic activity by the time we reached the fourth floor. (Actually, that would be the fifth flight. Our building likes to call the basement "-1"). By the 19th flight I thought my lungs were going to burst out of my chest. I was clutching the handrail the entire way down for fear that my legs would give out from under me and I would roll in an uncontrollable heap to the bottom. When I got back to my office (just 15 minutes later) my legs were trembling in a major way. I felt pretty pathetic.

    But it's getting better. I don't start cursing the jerk who created stairwells until the 10th floor or so now. And it only feels like someone is stabbing my lungs with a pitchfork for a minute or so. As horrible as it sounds still, it's nice to see progress.

    Maybe one day I'll be as crazy as these guys and compete in the Empire State Building Run-Up. But I doubt it.

    Monday, December 5, 2011


    Hey gang, back again with a short update. Life has been busy, so that has made it hard for us to plan fun things to post about. We promise though, as soon as things calm down again, we'll have fun things to post!

    First, we can talk about Thanksgiving. Chrissie and I always do Thanksgiving at our place. It's the holiday that we consider "ours." Some perks to this: we don't have to go anywhere and we can make whatever we want. When was the last time we had turkey for Thanksgiving? Three years ago. I'll confess, I don't miss it. Turkey is fine, but it's not my favorite.  Our main meat this year was prime rib. We try and mix it up year to year, and this year we splurged a bit. If you were wondering, prime rib is good.

    Thanksgiving went well. We made a plan of attack and didn't run into any hitches. That's probably the biggest recommendation I can give anyone who's preparing a large meal - make a plan. That way, you make the most of your resources. For us this year, it was managing four burners, one oven, and time.

    Other things I've been working on, I'm still looking for glass jars to start making vinegar, but nothing in my price range has been popping up. Funny fact, thrift/second-hand stores don't sell everything at a super discount. Some things, like glass jars, are about the same price used as new. It makes sense, glass doesn't go old, but disappointing.

    Anyway, that's it for now. Will try to post again soon!