Sunday, August 30, 2009

new chairs

Well I thought it was time for me to start blogging about apartment updates. Things have been coming along so well, and now with the major necessitates covered and me working, progress will be slower. I can now blog along with progress and back track a little as well.

About a week and half ago we came across these two chairs on craigslist (our primary resource for anything from a toaster to furniture). I don't know who made them- but I love them and they look great in the place! $40 a piece- not bad considering our less cool ikea version was $50. They lounge in our living room until further notice. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

what a spectacle

I have admittedly been absent from this blog -- and for good reason! Matt and Jessica have come to visit and we've been seeing all that Boston has to offer. This includes great restaurants and bakeries, historic sites, and candlepin bowing (more on that some other time). It also means taking a trip to Spectacle Island. This island in Boston Harbor was once shaped like a pair of eye glasses, but after a long history as Boston's trash dump, glue maker, and dirt repository, it has since retained a round shape, no longer resembling spectacles. It has also since been turned into a natural environment with paths and picnic tables. Also, as you can see, there is a great deal of black berries for the picking- or so we presumed. Only a short, cheap, ferry ride away, and we were smelling the sea air and taking in a view of the city from across the bay. I'm excited to explore more islands, and possibly even camp on one. We only have two nights left with our friends, and we are back to being alone and boring, but also rested. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

oh seafood

yes. I suppose I'm an east coaster now. I buy fresh fish and roast it and eat the whole thing and I love it. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

quinoa stuffed peppers

Did you know that quinoa is one of the most perfect foods? It has a high protein level and a balanced set of amino acids. Not bad for a seed in the tumbleweed family. Last night I made quinoa stuffed peppers, and while you could substitute for couscous, I really don't know why you would. This recipe is from the kitchen sink, with a few changes. 

Quinoa stuffed peppers

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup quinoa

4 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into one-inch segments
1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons of the adobo spice (found in the latin american or mexican aisle)
2 1/2 tablespoons finely grated sharp white cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Split the peppers in half and clean them out; place them in the baking dish. Roast for 20 minutes.

Bring the quinoa and broth to a boil in a small saucepan; reduce heat and cook until the broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Add onion, asparagus, yellow squash, caraway seeds, cumin, cayenne, adobo spice and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, chipotle and adobo sauce. Add the quinoa into the skillet and toss with the vegetables. 

Fill the par-roasted peppers with the quinoa mixture. Top each pepper with 2 teaspoons of grated cheese. Bake 15 minutes

Monday, August 10, 2009

just what I wanted...

It is such a wonderful feeling to have found the perfect jean. I went to Madewell today on Newbury Street and there I found that elusive wardrobe item. They do exist! I've been on the look out for black denim for sometime and, thanks to the tip from Wicksten, I found them at Madewell. This is an offshoot of J Crew, and I was pleasantly surprised to find they are located in Boston. I was hoping to get their 37s, as they are cheaper, but the Rail Straight cut was so perfect. A bit pricey, but now that we are budgeting, I can save up for more expensive things and not feel bad about it. I am ready to donate all the denim I have that I feel just so so about and start over with Madewell. 

what to read in europe

I had a great weekend, with lots of apartment improvements, and a great tour of Fenway Park. I'll share the apartment updates later, when the place is cleaned up enough to take pictures.

For now I have a different kind of post. I read so many great books while in Europe I thought I would share. I found overwhelmingly that reading books set in the place you were traveling truly made the experience that much more fulfilling. 

The first book I read, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, did not follow this logic. I read it in Sardinia, and while it was a very interesting read, I found it to be distracting from my overall experience. I recommend reading this disturbing comment on the animal character of human nature during a rainy day at home.

The next book I read was one of two Hemingway novels completed during the trip. This posthumously published unfinished novel, The Garden of Eden was loaned to me from a  friend in Chicago, and when I read the back I was not looking forward to it. A man caught between passion for is eccentric wife, and the love of a woman who his wife has also fallen in love with. Sounds pretty twisted. But it was a great book, with interesting relationships and perspectives on the writing process. The best part for me was the continual traveling thorough Europe. Hemingway is so good at capturing that feeling; driving from town to town, sitting at a local cafe enjoying the spectacular food and drink. Even though it was set in the coastal regions of France and Spain, it seemed to really elevate my experience in Cinque Terre. 

The third book, Marie Antoinette: The Journey, by Antonia Fraser, was another great setting book. This fairly dense biography taught me a great deal about the French Revolution, late 18th century French culture, and made my visit to Versailles and Paris like a Marie Antoinette pilgrimage. And considering I read it over Bastille Day, it was very relevant. 

Then I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Again, not fitting for the European experience, but a quick and entertaining read. 

Finally I read A Moveable Feast. This was a book I picked up at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. I had wanted to read another Hemingway book, and when  flipping through it at this quaint english store, I saw pictures in the back of the book of the very place I was standing. Apparently when Hemingway was living in Paris he frequented this bookstore, as well as many other expatriate writers. So naturally I bought it, had it stamped by the store, and felt very cool. The book was short essays about his time on Paris and his experience with the city and the writers living there. Such a a wonderful book to read in the city of lights. Paris seemed very much unchanged in many ways from when Hemingway lived there, and you could just sink into a cafe and be there with him. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone. Hemingway is so good at those simple yet powerful one liners. 

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

dedicated to chairs

I came across a blog dedicated entirely to chairs. As I am in a chair hunt, this was particularly pleasing to me. Take a look here

back in business!

Well here I am. Back. After landing in Chicago Aaron and boarded a plane to Boston, and the past week I've been occupied with moving in and looking for work. But I feel like we're finally settling in. I had originally planned on blogging through the whole trip, but since I didn't it seems so hard to go back through and update on what we did. All I can say is that I'm so glad I went. A few favorite destinations included Cinque Terre, Chamonix, the Loire Valley and Paris. I didn't expect to love France as much as I did. Currently I can share a Paris picture, but I'm having a hard time accessing the pictures we loaded to an external hard drive, so I'll try and post more later. 

Our apartment is so big and nice that its been really fun thinking about what to do with it. The first major project was stripping a mid-century danish dining table we got from craigslist. I was so happy to have learned thins new skill! Here it is with some Ikea chairs we bought.

I'll post more about the apartment as we finish each room.

Boston has been really great. Dorchester is a really diverse and pleasant neighborhood (at least our area). Last might we met a neighbor from across the street who moved to her house "as a bride" and has been there 62 years! Amazing. True to form Aaron has started his baking, already making english muffins and a peach tart.

Also, to be real Bostonians, we had a shrimp boil last weekend. So good. I'm excited to start blogging again, what with a new apartment to put together, a nice kitchen to cook in and a new life to start.