Success: Crispy Fried Chicken with Kale-Cabbage Slaw & Buttermilk Biscuits

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Crispy Fried Chicken with Kale-Cabbage Slaw & Buttermilk Biscuits

If I'm going to go through all the effort of breading my own chicken breasts for Blue Apron, you better hope it's for more than just two chicken breasts. This is where it starts making sense to get the 4 person Blue Apron meals instead of the 2 person meals. Instead, I just thawed a couple leftover chicken thighs from the freezer and breaded them up with the leftovers. Maximize output for fixed set-up times!

Crispy Fried Chicken with Kale-Cabbage Slaw & Buttermilk Biscuits

Camping: Ohiopyle & Kentuck Knob

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ohiopyle Falls

One last camping trip before we leave Pennsylvania. Ohiopyle State Park, because it's close by and has lots of stuff to do, even in the rain. Which we had a lot of! We stayed at one of the Kentuck Campground walk-in sites (#108), which was a looooong walk from the parking lot, but a short walk to the bathrooms. When booking those walk-in sites, definitely be conscious of how close it is to the parking, you could be hauling all your gear up to a quarter mile!

A friend of mine's only experience with camping was a rather grueling backpacking trip years ago, and Jim and I figured we'd show that camping doesn't have to be miserable. Even in the rain. We set up a tarp over the picnic table, went on small hikes, ate lunch under trees, and watched waterfalls. We ambled around the Ferncliff Trails which allowed us to watch for whitewater kayakkers coming down the river, and to see Ohiopyle Falls across from the visitor center. We would've tried Meadow Run Trail or Beech Trail (near Kentuck Campground), too, but the rain sort of made that an undesirable option.

The rain also made a third campfire on our second morning an absolute necessity. How else are you gonna finish off those s'mores?

Walk-in site 108
flaming marshmallow
Bacon with grill marks
Kentuck Campground in Ohiopyle, PA
Watching Whitewater Kayakkers
Looking at water
Ohiopyle Falls
Ohiopyle Falls
Autumn is coming.
Ohiopyle Falls
Goldfinch in Coneflowers
turkey sammich
Cucumber Falls
Setting up a path
Cucumber Falls

Oh, and we also saw Frank Llyod Wright's Kentick Knob and sculpture meadow. Jim and I first visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (also super near to Ohiopyle) six months into our relationship. So capping both the beginning and the end of our Pennsylvania time with Frank Lloyd Wright seemed appropriate.

We spent the remainder of the trip using Usonian as a synonym for plebeian.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Kentuck Knob
Frank Lloyd Wright's Kentuck Knob Frank Lloyd Wright's Kentuck Knob
Frank Lloyd Wright's Kentuck Knob
Kentuck Knob Statue Meadow
Enjoying the scenery
Kentuck Knob Statue Meadow
Red Army from afar
Red Army
Piece of the Berlin Wall Doomsday Apple
Kentuck Knob Statue Meadow
Giant caterpillar
autumn is coming.

Success: Black Bean & Red Quinoa Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Black Bean & Red Quinoa Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

These Black Bean & Red Quinoa Enchiladas with Salsa Verde from Blue Apron were significantly tastier than the enchiladas rojas they sent a month or two ago. Significant quantities of lime really worked to beef up the tastiness of the red quinoa.

Black Bean & Red Quinoa Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

Ch ch ch changes

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Between turning 30 and defending my PhD thesis, I've achieved quite a few serioues life milestones (and most of my life goals set when I was in high school) this year. Going to grad school was pretty much my only life goal at 18, and I'm glad to say I've surpassed that rather short list with some additional worthwhile achievements.

Desk - After

My year of fitness has gifted me with the ability to do real push-ups, and just generally kick ass. On my recent trip to Prince Edward Island I found myself constantly thankful for the fact that my body could handle pretty much any hiking goal or siteseeing feat without even having to consider whether I was capable. Because I was always capable. Taking care of your body while your mind simmers in PhD stress has its benefits. When shit hits the fans, it's time to push yourself physically so you can dwell on muscle soreness instead of fruitless nonsense worry (I'm looking at you, current and future PhD students).

Last month I also moved out of the campus office that I've been in for 2-3 years (very sad). And Jim and I are even moving out of Pittsburgh (even sadder). At this very moment, we're packing to move across the country for a job I've secured in Palo Alto, California (very exciting). Pittsburgh has been lovely to me, but as I've been telling Jim for the past five years...we've gotta go sometime! We're excited to see what new adventures we'll get to in the Bay Area. Our vacation to Yosemite + San Francisco in 2011 was fantastic, and we're really looking forward to spending more year-round time in the outdoors.

Desk - Before
Pizza Ring!

To top all that off, four months ago, Jim and I became engaged in Ronda on our family trip to Spain. Maybe I will write the story up at some point, but for now I'm enjoying hoarding it for my nearest peoples. Jim and I are not real big fans of the ring Olympics and so for the moment, I'm also hiding my pretty estate ring underneath some photoshopped pizza. Because it's nice to have someone with whom to split your 2-larges-for-$14 Pizza Hut special with FOREVER. This is why Jim also needed an engagement band, so we can both look at our left hands and think fondly of pizza.

Man, I love pizza.

We bought my ring from an estate jeweler (with a totally awesome, extensive online website) just outside of Pittsburgh. She's been in business forever, but in this renovated chicken coop for only the past 18 years. Yes, a chicken coop with an absolutely stunning collection of estate jewelry. If you're near Pittsburgh, you should go just to marvel at the tremendous span in jewelry taste (might I recommend the four belt rings Marlene had at time of writing, which was apparently on fleek in the 1950s). I have a thing for the two-toned abstract florals of retro modern style circa ~1940s (like this beauty). Needless to say, my sweet ring has some awesome side filigree and lovely engraved leaf work. It also happens to be single-toned, the only retro modern single-toned ring we saw that we liked.

Estate rings are a nice way to ensure that no one else must suffer to produce another diamond, and to somewhat reduce the twenty tons of mine waste produced for a gold ring. But then we went out and bought Jim a new two-toned gold band. So. Everything in moderation.

Jim's been in China so much lately. We picked out our rings in the three days he had between Spain and a third trip to China. I went to Prince Edward Island, and when I returned I picked up my resized ring. I think I may've stunned Marlene a bit when I insisted on wearing the ring out of the store. I'm assuming it's decently common to see couples pick out a ring together, have it resized, and then do the proposal later...but we had already been engaged. 'Just a bit ring-less. Someone needs to alert the staff that it's possible to get engaged without a ring ;)

Marlene Harris Collection in Blawnox, PA

Success: Mushroom & Swiss Burger with Pan-Seared Fingerling Potatoes

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mushroom & Swiss Burger with Pan-Seared Fingerling Potatoes

These Mushroom & Swiss Burger with Pan-Seared Fingerling Potatoes from Blue Apron are completely unremarkable. Good, but not worth going out of your way to make.

Mushroom & Swiss Burger with Pan-Seared Fingerling Potatoes

Las Vegas

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Las Vegas
Is it just me, or does Las Vegas look like a toy? One giant, expensive toy.

It was very nice of Jim's company to send its employees + significant others on this 4 day retreat. It was a tiny little break before things got super crazy for me. A lovely time eating, seeing shows, company bonding, and the tiniest bit of gambling at the cheap tables. I was partially sick with a sinus infection the whole time, but I still weathered through my fair share of fancy cocktails and delicious meals. I'm quite the martyr ;)

Las Vegas
Vdara Hotel
Bellagio Fountain Show
Losing money on Deal or No Deal in Bally's
Las Vegas
Cirquie du Soleil - Zarkana
Las Vegas - Venetian In the casino (The Venetian)
Las Vegas
Virtually Flawles Cheeseburger
Chihuli in the Bellagio Las Vegas - New York New York
Las Vegas - Excaliber
Chicago from the air

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