Category Archives: Non-food things I like

A Cat Family Portrait

I didn’t cook today.  Not one bit.

Fritz made us whole-wheat pancakes for breakfast, we went to a farm stand for some squashes and picked some apples, then we went to a birthday party for my BFF’s mom for dinner.  Overall, fun day. 

Did you guys know that I have a very handsome cat?

Henry noticed I had the camera out and asked if I could do a quick family portrait for him–this first one is Henry and his main squeezes (can you have more than one main squeeze?):

Once he saw how great this photo was, he asked if we could get everyone involved in a shot that was a little less formal:

It was all going swimmingly until a spark plug disconnected in Henry’s brain.  Things escalated quickly.

Once Henry leaves “nice cat” land and enters his “crack cat” phase, there’s nothing you can do but wait it out.

Luckily, once he gets it all out of his system, he’s back to being the most handsome and sweet cat ever.

For a short time, at least.

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No Power!

Thanks to Irene, Fritz and I are currently without power…and I can’t cook or blog.

It’s very sad.

We have been using a camping stove to make hot food, so I’m not starving–but I miss real cooking.  And blogging about it.

I’m at a friend’s house to catch up on emails and watch a movie and mostly just to get out of the dark and sad house.

Miss you guys!  Hopefully we’ll have power back real soon.

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More Vacation!

My mom and I are headed over to Boston with my fabulous younger sister Kristen to drop her off for school and hang for a few days before Fritz meets us there Sunday and the two of us head back to Long Island.

At least, that was the plan, until a nasty hurricane came along and decided to let us know that  perhaps traveling from Boston to Long Island on Sunday evening was perhaps not the best plan.  So Fritz is going to drive to Boston tonight instead, and we’ll leave Saturday evening to beat the storm.

Wish us luck.

I haven’t had much time (okay, any) time to do any cooking in the last few days, so a real blog post will have to wait until Sunday.  Yesterday was my baby sister Jordi’s birthday (not so much a baby anymore at 17!), and we spent the entire day doing very important birthday things, such as braiding neon colored dreadlocks into her hair.

Yeah, she’s seriously way cool.

We’re headed on to the road in a few minutes, so I just wanted to leave you with a few photos of my grandma that I found on my mom’s computer.  She was a truly stunning woman, and I couldn’t resist putting up these pictures!

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A Sunset Over the Long Island Expressway

The ride to the airport has never been so beautiful:

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Last Day on the Lake

Since it’s our last day on the beautiful lake (so sad!) here in British Columbia, I don’t feel much like blogging…but while I’m finishing this delightful snack of peanut butter and banana on sprouted toast (always a classic), I figured I could upload some pictures, do a quick edit, and submit them so ya’ll can see what we’ve been up to!

Wow.  Hello run-on sentence.

Anyway, we traveled on free ferries:

Made friends with new cats (oh, and by the way–Fritz finally agreed to let me get a fluffy orange kitten!  Now we just have to find one…):

I’ve written a guest post (that hasn’t yet been posted):

We’ve visited a bunch of artists:

We watched a lady with a really cool accent make a hand-blown glass:

And admired an impressive amount of hand-woven fabrics:

Handmade brooms?

We’ve baked:

And eaten a lot of whole-grain bread (recipe coming soon to a blog near you):

We’ve stared at this view every evening:

And of course, we’ve had wine with every dinner!

I’m off on one last canoe trip around the lake with Fritz, and tomorrow is a big day of driving, at his parents’ house Friday, then on Saturday we are flying home.  I will definitely miss this lake–but I am very excited to see my side of the family!

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Vacation Time, Guys

So, this is it.  I’m going on vacation tomorrow.

I’m going to wake up super early, run 2.2 miles (!), take a million trains, cars, buses, and planes, and arrive in Canada.  The mountains, the lakes, and the re-lax-ing.

So about blogging–I’m not sure what exactly will happen, but I can guarantee you that posting will be a lot less frequent for the next two weeks.  If I feel like it, I will probably update as often as the urge strikes, but they might just be pictures of lakes and water and trees and wildlife and Fritz in the sun.  That way, you can feel like you are on vacation with me.  Isn’t that nice?  Some food might be involved.

So I will leave you with this, my friends.  A photo of Henry as a kitten.  I found it on Fritz’s computer (from whence I am currently blogging), and I just know that it will brighten your next few weeks as you learn to live without my daily updates (just kidding!).

I’ll miss you!

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A Blue Jay Kind of Morning

So, as we were sitting down to eat breakfast (I made Fritz french toast in the world-renowned style of my dad, by the way), we noticed something unusual.   Henry hadn’t moved from his post at the window all morning.

Not only that, but he was…chirping.  It was weird.

After a few minutes of casual observation, we noticed that four blue jays were storming our deck and yelling at Henry.  No, really.

They took turns sharing their true feelings.  Loudly.

Our downstairs neighbor also texted us to tell us that the jays had also dive-bombed her little dog as he meandered outside to relieve himself.

My first and only thought–must run outside to find baby birds!  Fritz quickly followed with my new telephoto lens.

Man, I love that guy.

Sure enough, two baby blue jays had fallen from their nest and were apparently planning on taking temporary residence by our pool.  Whatever jays weren’t occupied with screening the neighborhood for imminent danger were busy with frequent feedings.

So cute!

The babies spent the morning slowly wandering from one end of the pool to the other, stretching, eating, cheeping, and basically being totally adorable.

Fritz was worried that they would get eaten by the dogs that visited with our landlord or run over by a lawnmower or fall into the pool.  I was nervous that their parents/aunts/uncles/nosy blue jay neighbors would get sick and tired of so many obnoxious humans with telephoto lenses hangin’ around that they’d just abandon their babies (don’t worry, I stayed pretty far away).

We clearly underestimated the vigilance of the blue jay.

Constant vigilance!

Name that movie and I will give you…my undying love.

Henry eventually got tired of defending his throne and wandered off to find some other important things to do.  It appears that this mostly involved sleeping.

I hope that you got to see something beautiful and out of the ordinary today!

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Glamour Magazine!

I have some homework I have to finish up tonight, but I wanted to share something fun with you guys–my carrot cake green monster was given a little blurb in Glamour magazine’s website: see it here.  It’s so fun to see other people reading my blog in places I would never expect.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a real blog post (my 200th!).  Ta-ta!

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DIY: Make Your Own Compost Bin

With all the cooking I’ve done, especially since starting this blog, I’ve been sad to see the amount of organic waste that had to be tossed out with the garbage.  Growing up, my parents had a big compost pile outside that we used, and since moving out on my own, I’ve definitely missed having that opportunity.

On the negative side, I experienced a horrifying sight in college of a girl who attempted to compost in her kitchen.  In a bucket.  Fruit fly city.  Disgusting.

I also registered a similar level of horror at the price of those composting barrels you can buy that are enclosed fancy rolling barrels–a hundred dollars?! To make dirt?!

A DIY project just needed to happen.  Fritz researched a bit and discovered a quick and easy way to make a compost bin that isn’t open to animals, doesn’t look totally gross in your yard, and is super easy to maintain.  Because I’m awesome (right guys?), I took pictures of the whole process so you can make one too!

What you need: 

  1. One round garbage bin with a lid–we bought a 20 gallon bin from Home Depot for $13.00.  We were hoping to get a free Curby can from the county (a similar round bin used for recycling on Long Island), but they stopped giving them out for free this year.  Alas.
  2. Two bungee cords, long enough to stretch over the top of the bin.
  3. Three bricks or stones to rest the can on top of (for drainage).
  4. A power drill–you can use any size drill bit really, but I’d shoot for a size big enough to allow air in and moisture out, but not big enough to let everything fall out–or you can back the holes with screening.  You’ll see.  If necessary, you can use a hammer and a big fat nail to make holes if you don’t have a power drill.
  5. Sexy husband to do the work.
  6. Compost!

Easy enough, right?

Okay, so here’s what you do:

Drill holes throughout the entire can.  Make a lot of them, spaced a few inches apart.

Don’t forget the bottom!

Don’t forget the top, either.  It’s okay for rain to fall in–you need moisture, anyway…and it can drain from the bottom holes.

K, got that all set?  Now you want to bungee cord the lid in place, to keep animals and other stuff out.  Plus, having a lid on helps create a nice warm environment for an ideal dirt-making bacteria factory.

 We put the first one from handle to handle.  These are adjustable rubber bungee cords we happened to have laying around.  Use whatever you’ve got, but they’ll probably need to be adjusted to fit right.

We drilled two small holes for the second bungee cord, right under a convenient lip around the barrel.  Having the bungee cords cross perpendicularly (is that a word?) over the top makes it nice and secure.

Lastly, place the can on top of some bricks or stones so it can drain.  If your compost is too wet, it’ll smell and rot and basically just be extra disgusting.

The best part about this DIY is that to get compost goin’ really well, you have to mix it up.  Anyone want to reach their arms into their compost barrel and mix it up?  Didn’t think so.  I also didn’t want to lean over a garbage can with a shovel/stick/rake/anything to mix it.  Solution?  With the lid securely on, just knock the barrel over and kick it around for a bit.

Hallelujah.

To start composting, layer the bottom with plant material and then scoop a hefty amount of garden soil on top.  This contains your microscopic VIPs and makes the composting go faster.

Other composting tips:

  • Compost shouldn’t be too wet or too dry–think the moistness of a squeezed out sponge for ideal conditions.
  • Keep the bin close by–if you have to walk far to use it, you probably won’t.
  • Have a plastic container with a lid in the kitchen for day-to-day use.  No one wants to go running outside every time they crack open an egg–then every night (or every other day–let’s be honest here) you can empty the day’s worth.
  • Keep a mix of “brown” compostables and “green” compostables for the best results.
  • “Brown”: leaves, straw, tea bags, coffee grounds, shredded newspapers.
  • “Green”: kitchen scraps–but no dairy, meat, bones, fats–think fruit and veggies scraps for the most part, plus some egg shells thrown in for good measure.

For other composting questions (and some good reasons why you should compost!), visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s page on composting here.

This project took us about 10 minutes to put together, and I’m already excited about having some really nice soil to use next year for free (okay, $13.00).

In even more excited news, we went to beach today:

Perfect day for the beach!  I think we’ll be going back next weekend when Fritz’s sister is here to visit.  Fritz also did an impressive twenty hours of studying for his boards this weekend…ugh.

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The Regional Market and a Summer Wedding

Yesterday was just a good day all around–it started off with a trip to the regional market (a giant farmer’s/flea market) and ended with a lot of dancing at a wedding.

Here’s some pictures of the bride and groom, Chris and Carley:

Receiving the blessing:

Exchanging rings:

Lighting the unity candle:

Beautiful moment between dad and daughter:

And mom and son (and new daughter-in-law):

Father daughter dance:

And mother-son dance:

And one of the best parts was reuniting with some of my high-school friends:

Congrats to the new beautiful couple, and I know you’ll share many beautiful years together!

We had a blast, tearing up the dance floor later on in the night.  But I can’t finish talking about my great day without sharing some of my farmer’s market finds:

Please do yourself a favor and visit Sallyeanders.com.  My mom and I first found their soaps at Green Planet grocery, loved them, and were so happy to find them at the regional market!  The soaps and candles have the absolute best scents–I wanted to buy each one.  Seriously perfect gifts if you know someone who likes to be pampered but wants natural skin care.

And no, they didn’t pay me to say that.  I wish they did.

We also ended up buying this chocolate balsamic vinegar (and a peach balsamic vinegar) from Cosimano e Ferrari.  Um, yes, please.

We left with some cherries, sweet potato orzo, the vinegars, a jar of Korean kimchi, two jars of maple cream, tomatoes, a pot of basil, two types of local cheeses, a cantaloupe, and some sexy sunglasses for Fritz.

Good day.

Today we are having some people over for a fourth of July party, and I’m planning on making a dessert using up the giant bowls of raspberries my parents picked from the back yard–I’ll let you know tomorrow what I came up with.  Have a beautiful day!

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