Month: May 2014

My New Obsession: {Dinner: A Love Story}

You guys, I am absolutely head over heels for one of the library books I picked up a few days ago. I love it so much that I might go so far as to say it has changed my life…no joke.  Dinner Cover
Dinner: A Love Story won me over as soon as I started reading. It’s a personal account of how the author, Jenny Rosenstrach, got into the habit of making dinner every night with her husband, and along the way she shares their favorite tried-and-true recipes. Now, you all know I love to cook; it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. However, I definitely don’t cook every night for Kirby and I (and I’m not expected to, either) but because I’m currently not working, I figure it’s a fun and enjoyable way of making Kirby happy as well as showing my love for him. When Kirby gets home and a meal is on the table, it’s like I just bought him a brand new car and I’m sitting there with a new golden retriever puppy and fish tacos in hand (his favorite things)… I mean seriously, it makes him THAT happy. But I don’t do it all the time because life gets in the way and I wasn’t prioritizing it. Sure, there are nights when I would cook us some awesome fancy meal because the creative bug struck me and I just felt like being in the kitchen. But consistently? That hasn’t been happening. One thing we’ve talked about is how we feel our happiest, most relaxed and in-tune with each other when we’re sitting down for a home cooked meal together; it just feels right. Jenny talks about how when they were getting dinner on the table each night (and of course there were exceptions) everything seemed to fall into place. When we’re eating home-cooked meals together consistently we feel the same way. We spend time talking about our days face-to-face, we have leftovers for lunch the next day, and we’re nourishing our bodies with good food. It’s all good stuff :)

So it’s one thing to like the sentiments an author writes, but my question was: Does she back it up with amazing recipes?

Oh yes, yes she does.

I made her Salmon Salad, and it instantaneously became a hit in our little family. It was so good, fresh, and bursting with flavor, that I keep thinking about when I can make it again. Seriously you guys, make this. You won’t regret it. It’ll be love at first bite.  DSC02685 DSC02686

“Dinner: A Love Story,” by Jenny Rosenstrach

Ingredients
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the salmon:
  • 1 salmon fillet (about 1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 potatoes (yukon gold, red or blue if you can find them), peeled and quartered
  • 2 ears corn
  • Handful of thin green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 5 to 6 scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the vinaigrette:In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, lemon juice and oil and set aside.

To make the salmon:Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Roast in a foil-lined baking dish for 15 minutes. (If you prefer to grill the fish, brush with a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of honey and cook over medium-hot coals, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.)

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until a knife slices through them with no resistance, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the corn to the same pot of water. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, allow to cool, slice off the kernels and add to the serving bowl. Add beans to the same pot of water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions and cilantro to the bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette and serve.

Serving Size: 4

Total time: 35 minutes.

DSC02688 DSC02694 What are your thoughts on sitting down for dinner each night with your loved one(s)? Is it a priority in your life or do you show your love and reconnect in other ways? 

I hope you guys have an amazing weekend! We’re going to be taking advantage of this amazing weather we’re having in San Diego :)

And I’ll leave you with a quote from the book, Dinner: A Love Story:

I was starting to shape a theory about dinner. I found that if I was eating well, there was a good chance I was living well, too. I found that when I prioritized dinner, a lot of things seemed to fall into place: We worked more effectively to get out of [work] on time, we dedicated time and place to unload whatever was annoying us about work and everything else, and we spent less money by cooking our own food, which meant we never felt guilty about treating ourselves to dinner out on the weekend. And perhaps most important, the simple act of carving out the ritual- a delicious homemade ritual- gave everyday purpose and meaning, no matter what else was going on in our lives.”

 

Solar freakin’ roadways!

Hey guys! Thought I would give you something to chew on and hopefully inspire you today. I’ve been feeling pretty down and just sad about the world lately in the aftermath of the shooting, but this is something that Anthony showed me that gave me hope for the future:

It may never happen, but the idea that we have the technology to do this and that someone has thought this out gets me so excited. Hope it cheers you up, too!

I would love to know: what do you think? Do you think it’s feasible? (Obviously this is a very biased presentation of the idea, but it goes over all of the cool potential implications.) Do you think it could ever work cost-wise? Would you be in favor of it?

 

Uncollected thoughts about the IV shooting

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I have felt so much better after posting about something that has been bothering me or I have been processing lately. Part of that is because all of you are always so supportive – thank you for that.

What happened in IV over the weekend is completely different, obviously. I am so lucky that none of my loved ones were hurt or knew someone who was hurt in the shooting. So I of course cannot understand how others are feeling right now.

It has been weighing heavy on my mind, like everyone else in this town. My roommate and close friend left the scene of those crimes just a half hour before they occurred. I live about 10 minutes away, and have happy hour with friends there regularly. It is so terrifying that I could have easily been directly affected by what happened.

I just wanted to share the feelings I have been having in the wake of the tragedy. I’m hoping it will help me process it, and perhaps someone else can relate and it could benefit them somehow. I truly hope that nothing said here offends anyone in any way – my greatest fear is to come across as selfish or insensitive about this horrifying thing.

Below are some uncollected, unpolished, messy thoughts that have been in my mind since Saturday morning.

  • It is so hard to wrap my mind around how REAL this is. This happened. To people. This is not a movie. My mind keeps wanting to disassociate like when I watch horror movies and tell itself: “It’s only pretend. It’s okay, because this didn’t actually happen.”
  • I thought watching the video of the killer talking about what he was going to do would make me extremely upset. But it only encouraged the disassociation. Because HE was so disassociated – it was like watching a bad high school play, with this kid reading lines about something he couldn’t possibly feel or relate to feeling.
  • Does it make me a bad person to just not want to think about it? Some people don’t have that privilege.
  • What would I have done if I lost someone I loved that night? I don’t want to think about it.
  • Does the fact that I have not had to endure someone close to me passing away or some similar shocking tragedy put me at the front of the line? Does karma or the universe or what-have-you owe me sadness in my future because I have not met a certain quota yet? Why do certain people get such a huge helping of pain while others can live a life that seems sheltered from serious hardship?
  • Why do shootings like this keep happening? Why, exactly? I wish there was one clear reason or answer that wasn’t completely complicated by societal issues combined with personal history and the insane context in which we live.
  • When we do have discussions about how we can prevent things like this from happening again, why do people serve out more hate so righteously? I can’t tell you the feelings I had after reading just three comments made about the shooting and how women deserved what happened (that’s all I will say. I was probably better off not knowing). Who are these people? There are a lot of them. They do not see themselves as bigots. They have friends and families who would back them up.
  • Such young people.
  • I can’t imagine just hearing shots, much less witnessing anything more devastating. How did I get such an easy pass while others are literally destroyed?
  • People say that “In America, at least we are free.” That we are lucky to not have to live in fear of bombs or civil war or being severely oppressed. Of course I feel lucky. But I do not feel free – at least compared to the idea of freedom that I have in my mind. Maybe that is asking for too much.
  • I feel helpless. I feel like I don’t want to watch the news. That something else is going to happen, that there is always another shoe to drop. I feel like staying in my room with my boyfriend and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race to get my mind off of sexism, mental health issues, violence, and all that is wrong with the world. I want to feel safe and not afraid when I think about my future. I don’t want to look ahead and hope that as I age I won’t encounter unspeakable tragedy like this. I just want to look ahead with excitement and hope. Not fear.

I wish I could help in some way. I wish I could say more than “My thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected by this tragedy.” I am so grateful that my friends who live near or in IV were not in the area at the time. That my little life is still intact. I am so, so sorry for those who cannot say the same.

I hope this post communicates the good intentions I have and the sorrow I feel for our whole community. I love this city and my heart goes out to everyone touched by this.

<3

Monday Memoirs

What do you like about living in your current city? Dislikes? Do you want to stay there? Where do you see yourself ending up/settling down, if anywhere?

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I absolutely love living in Santa Barbara. I have always wanted to live here, and when I didn’t know what do do after grad school, I just made the leap to live where I wanted to live. I moved here without knowing anyone and started living the dream!

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I love Santa Barbara because it is small enough but big enough for me at the same time. I am a small town girl, so having no traffic and a quiet neighborhood is definitely what I need to feel at home. But I also like to get dressed up and dance, try new bars and restaurants, go to concerts, and feel like there are new things to do where I live. Santa Barbara gives me both, and which I had not found in the other beautiful coastal towns I’ve lived in.

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12649001044_ec43e0b05e_o Most people would say Santa Barbara is beautiful because of the beach, but I actually love it because of the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, I always love being near the ocean – but having mountains staring back at me whenever I look up makes me feel like I live in a truly beautiful place. I grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains, so I am spoiled when it comes to a dramatic landscape.

12785515454_4920eda21a_o The only thing that I don’t like about Santa Barbara is the lack of diversity. Having the university close helps a lot, and I have met a lot of people from different backgrounds and places because of that. However, as a whole, Santa Barbara is primarily made up of financially well-off white folks, in my experience. Which in my opinion, is just not as interesting and productive as being part of a more diverse community.


12648549484_2da0da3dfc_o 12785897554_08cf568ee6_o Anthony and I have talked about it a lot, and we definitely want to stay in Santa Barbara, for as long as we can afford to! We definitely will be getting the “paradise penalty” in higher rent and food prices, but we think it’s worth it. We really want to continue to establish more and more roots here. Santa Barbara gives us happy hour downtown, bike rides to UCSB along the beach, and listening to only crickets (and sometimes waves!) as we fall asleep.

12649653093_02a33212e3_o Where is your favorite place to live? I would love to live vicariously through some of you and hear about other cities!

NEXT WEEK’S PROMPT

What do you/did you like about being single? Talk about a time when you were glad you were single.

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