Monday, May 28, 2012

Harvest!

 Our first sugar pea harvest!


And another strawberry!  This one was even sweeter and more delicious than the last - I might have to grow a lot more strawberries next year...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sketch 22

flapper bob
Maybe someday I'll actually get my hair cut like this...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thunderstorm (with Hail)



Check out the awesome thunderstorm we had today - and right before bmy non-picnic is supposed to start, too.

EDIT: We still had the non-picnic.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Healthy Foods


This is just a sampling of the delicious foods I ate on Friday.  A chicken bacon ranch crepe from Taste of Crepes, a sweet tea cupcake with lemon sweet tea icing from Delish, and a chocolate buck eye waffle cone from Bruster's.  If that's not the best day of eating, I don't know what is.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Greek Yogurt

Guys, can we take a minute to talk about greek yogurt.  For the longest time (which is about a year), I have been trying to enjoy the stuff.  All the trendiest people rave about it, and I felt like I was missing out on something of great cultural significance.  So I went ahead and bought a Chobani honey greek yogurt.  It was gross.  I didn't like the texture, I didn't like the flavor, I didn't like the way it felt as though it was sucking all the moisture out of my mouth.  I despised everything about it. I ended up throwing it away after only two spoonfuls.  Gross.

I tried about three more times over the year I mentioned previously, each time getting the honey flavored Chobani and each time hating it and throwing it out.  What a waste!  A few weeks ago I happened to mention this to my lady friends one night and they all simultaneously flipped out on me.  Greek yogurt is the best, they said.  The honey one is gross but all the rest are amazing, they said.  I had chosen the honey because I hate yogurt with fruit on the bottom, but I decided I would suck it up.  For science.  So I resolved to try this thing again.  I went to the store the next day and bought a pomegranate Chobani.

It was as though angels were singing in my mouth.  It was smooth and creamy and flavorful and altogether divine.  And it was filling!  And it was only 140 calories!  And it had 13 grams of protein (I have a really hard time eating the recommended amount of protein in a day and have been trying to find ways to consume more without having to take supplements)!  My life is changed!

I've also tried pineapple, lemon, mango, and blood orange and they were all equally wonderful.  All but the lemon have chunks of fruit, and I don't mind a bit.  I don't know if this is because I am an adult now and have lightened up a bit on my texture aversion problems or if it is just so delicious that I am willing overlook my textural discomfort.  Regardless, I am thoroughly enjoying greek yogurt now and I want the world to know.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIWW

Picture an epic battle scene behind me in this photo!



Linked up at The Pleated Poppy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Tunes



Warrior - Mark Foster, A-Trak, and Kimbra

I am so in love with this song right now. It's got such a delightfully 80s feel to it; I cannot stop listening!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Growth Spurt

It's been about a month since my last vegetable garden update, but that's just because I've been lazy about writing blog posts.  I certainly haven't been neglecting my plant babies - are you ready to see how they're all doing?


First, my container plants.  Some of these are not the prettiest containers, I know.  But they were cheap and they'll serve their purpose.  I've got 1.) lettuce (I know you can't see it in the this photo, but there's a tiny little sprout - trust me), 2.) dill, 3.) sage, 4.) rosemary, 5.) thyme, 6.) strawberries, 7.) lemongrass, 8.) cucumber, 9.) chives, 10.) tomato, 11.) mint, 12.) green beans.  I had basil as well, but it died.  I have to buy a new one.  There was an exciting development in the container garden department today - the first ripe strawberry!


Chris and I split it in half so we could both taste the first tiny harvest of the year.  It was sweet and tangy and amazing.  While we're talking about fruit, why not have a look at the raspberry bushes?


Looking good, guys!  The one on the left really shot up fast.  I can't remember which is which, but we've got a bush of each color - yellow, red, and black.  I have a feeling we're going to have a good raspberry harvest this year - check out all of the tiny soon to be raspberries!


Each of those little flowery looking things will be a raspberry.  I can hardly wait.  Maybe I'll make some very tiny tarts.


Here are the sugar peas.  Talk about a growth spurt - these are getting huge!  There are a few flowers starting already, so we'll soon have a bunch of sugar peas on our hands.


Next up is corn.  They are coming in pretty good as well.  Hopefully I can find some way to keep the bugs out  this year so we can actually eat some of them.  If you'll remember the garden chart from this post, you'll know that there should be zucchini next in line.  Unfortunately, something has run off with my lone zucchini plant, so I'm going to have to buy a new one at the greenhouse.  Such is the way of nature, I suppose.


Broccoli and cauliflower and a lot of weeds.  I did the best I could at weeding this weekend, but those little tiny ones are so hard to pull!


Last but not least, the problem area.  So I originally planted carrots in the back and beets in the front.  For the longest time I didn't think any of them were going to come up and I'd pretty much written them off entirely.  Then we had a lot of rain last week and this happened.  I know the red-stemmed ones in the front are beets, and I know the feathery looking ones in the back on the left side are carrots.  What I am not sure about are all the red stemmed ones in the back.  Are they weeds?  Are they more beets that somehow got blown/rained into the wrong section of the garden?  I do not know.  So I'm going to let them be for now and see if they turn into more recognizable red beet leaves or just grow into weeds.  If they are beets, though, I am going to have way too many beets.  Way too many.

So there you have it.  A vegetable garden update.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Banana Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

Banana Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

I've been really excited about the idea of smoothies lately, so I decided I'd go ahead and make my idea a reality.  I adapted this smoothie recipe from several inspirations smoothies that I've found in recipe books and online.



The ingredient list is pretty small, which is nice.  Just six ingredient - plain yogurt (I used low fat), coconut water, pineapple, cinnamon sugar, bananas, and milk (I used 2%).

If you are smart, you will just go out and buy a can of pineapple chunks.  I decided to be adventurous and buy a whole pineapple.  Now I have a ton of leftover pineapple and no idea what to do with it.  If you do, in fact, buy a can of pineapple, you can obviously skip this next bit.


Cut the top off of your pineapple, then slice all the skin off.  You probably won't get all of it on the first try, I had to go back over mine a few times to fine tune my trim job.  Eventually, though, you'll be left with a large cylinder of solid pineapple.


You can choose to cut it up anyway you like, but remember to remove the core!  I sliced mine into rings, cut the core out of each slice, then chopped it up into chunks.  Probably not the most efficient way to do things, but my way rarely is.  But yeah, you see that container of pineapple?  That's about half of my leftovers.  So much pineapple!  And I'm the only one in the house who eats it.

You'll need 1/2 a cup of pineapple for the smoothie, so put that much (or all of it, see if I care) in the freezer until it is frozen solid.  A few hours should do the trick.


Get ready to blend.  I gave my pineapple chunks a quick chop by themselves, since I didn't want to overwhelm my poor blender all at once.  That's probably not necessary.  Next I added the milk, coconut water, cinnamon sugar, and yogurt and blended it again.  Finally, I dumped in the bananas and blended until smooth.  And that's it.  Pour it into a cup and enjoy.  I broke mine into three 6.5 oz servings so that I can take them to work for breakfast, but you can go ahead and drink it all at once if you want.  The nutritional information below is for 6.5 oz of smoothie.


Banana Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
Makes: 3 6.5 oz servings 

Ingredients 
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup banana slices
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
1/4 tsp cinnamon sugar

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Remember several months ago when I made broccoli cheddar soup but forgot to take a photo?  Well, your long wait is over - I made it again, this time with photographic evidence.  Behold: Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Homemade Croutons!


Isn't that just beautiful?  And it was delicious, too, of that I can assure you.  We made the whole recipe and ate it all in one night.  Ah well, totally worth it.  Want to know how I made the croutons?  It's pretty easy.


Yeah, that's right - I smashed up a loaf of stale bread with a hammer.  You see, we had intended to make this soup a week or two ago, which is when we bought all the ingredients.  Everything else held out for us, but the baguette was hard as a rock.  But I am not one to eat soup without some sort of bread product, so I improvised.  And it turned out pretty well - the croutons got nice and soft and soup-saturated in no time.  So next time you've got a bread brick, consider bashing the crap out.  It's pretty satisfying.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chipotle vs Moe's

This week, it was decided that we would go to Moe's Southwest Grill for W.I.N.G.S. on Wednesday.  I usually eat Chipotle for lunch on a Wednesday, so this made me a little uncomfortable.  Did I really want to eat almost identical foods for lunch and dinner?  I could have skipped my weekly Chipotle rice bowl for a week I suppose, but that's not really my way. Instead, I decided I would do a compare and contrast review of Chipotle vs Moe's.  For science.  Here are my findings.

Exhibit A - Chipotle Chicken Rice Bowl
For lunch, I ate my traditional rice bowl - rice, chicken, sour cream, and cheese.  Yes, I know I skipped all the nutritious stuff.  That's just how I roll.

Exhibit B - Moe's Chicken Nachos
I was going to get the exact same meal at both restaurants, but I chickened out at the last minute and got nachos at Moe's instead - tortilla chips, chicken, queso, sour cream, and cheese.

So right away you can see something that Moe's has in its favor - queso. Chipotle does not have queso (at least not as far as I know) and I love me some queso.  It was pretty good, flavorful without being too spicy - I have an extremely low spice tolerance.  Another plus at Moe's was the magical soda machine.  You may or may not have seen one of these before - basically it has about a million different beverages with a million different flavoring options.  I got lime coke because I am pretty boring, but I could have gotten any crazy thing I dreamed up.  I have been obsessed with these soda machines ever since I first saw one at Firehouse Subs last month, so that's a pretty big draw for me.

However, they only had brown rice from what I could see.  The chicken was fine, but a little bland for my taste (which is saying something because I love bland things).  The chicken at Chipotle is so amazing and flavorful, so this was a pretty big letdown.  Also, I know it is a minor complaint, but the cheese was a little thinner and stringier than I would have liked.  I like my cheese to be bold.  They did have a much larger menu, which was nice (if a little overwhelming at first).  Moe's has a lot more toppings and salsas to put on your food.  Unfortunately I hate almost every topping and I am not a big fan of most salsa, so this was lost on me.  I'm sure it's great for people who like flavors, though.  The free chips were a nice touch too. We may have abused this privilege a bit.

So what's my overall opinion?  If I want a basic, delicious rice bowl or burrito, I'll go to Chipotle.  If I'm looking for quesadillas or nachos or fajita (and a choose your own flavor beverage), I'll go to Moe's.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Tunes



She is a maze of neon highways and desert plains
Of lonely creatures singing for the summer rain

Need Your Love - Temper Trap

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Weekend in Photos


I've been thinking that I need more photos on here, so I figured I'd do a photo collage of sorts to express my weekend.  It was a beautiful weekend filled with lots of opportunities to be enjoy the sunlight.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
 A while ago (like a month or two) I bought a can of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) with the intention of making them into a delicious salty snack.  As with most things I intend to do, I completely forgot about them.  But now I've remembered!  So here's my version of seasoned roasted chickpeas!


Gather your ingredients.  You can season your chickpeas with pretty much anything you want.  I chose to use a bread dipping blend I had on hand since I know I like the flavor combination it creates.  Other than seasonings, you need a can of chickpeas and some olive oil.


Strain away the liquid from your chickpeas and then rinse them.


You can leave the skins on or take them off, whichever you prefer.  I pretty much hate skin on anything, so I removed the skins one by one.


Dry your chickpeas.  I towel dried them and then spread them out on a cookie sheet to let the air dry.


While the chickpeas were airing out, I mixed the olive oil and spices together so that the oil could get good and flavorful.


When the chickpeas are dry, toss them with the seasoned olive oil until they are all nicely coated.


Spread them out in one layer on a cookie sheet.  There should be plenty of room so they don't need to be touching at all.


Pop them in the oven until they look crispy and delicious.


All the recipes I saw said to cook them for about 45 minutes, but mine were only in for 30 and they were already starting to burn a little.  So I'd suggest checking on them every once in a while.  I stirred mine up a bit at 20 minutes, just to make sure they all cooked evenly (but they still didn't).

Also, when they first started cooking, it sounded like I was making popcorn.  I have only made these once so I can't say for sure, but I imagine it is normal?  Only one of the popping chickpeas ended up on the bottom of the stove, so it didn't really affect anything.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WIWW - Death Threat?


I wore this outfit on Saturday.  It was, as Chris said, the perfect shirt to wear to a comic book store, which is exactly what ended up happening.  We accidentally found ourselves a comic book store on Free Comic Book Day.  That's twice now that this has happened!  We were at 1up Collectibles on Penn Ave and it was packed!  We also looked at refrigerators at Lowe's (again).  We almost bought one this time, but the sales guy told us we'd be better off waiting for the Memorial Day sales.  I couldn't tell if he was checking me out or reading the death threat scrawled across my chest.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sketch 19


I don't really like this one at all.  The back of her head is downright frightening.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Guest Post - The Basis of Marketing

Today I bring you a guest post from a dear friend of mine.  She wanted to share this essay with the world, but she doesn't have a blog of her own.  After reading it, I readily agreed to feature it here, for all of you fine people to read.  She has asked to remain anonymous.

    Modern society has evolved so quickly and successfully due to progression of marketing.  Think back to the leaps in consumerism from the 1950s to the 1960s.  Advertising changed the course of marketing, turning ideas into visual beacons for middle class America.  Marketing which reaches out to the masses, draws them in, and connects scores of people to information and products.  This backbone, though prevalent, needs to be examined first on a basic level before we can explore its diverse implications and effects.  This brings us back to the title of this stance; what is marketing?  The upcoming information will delve into the two principle schematics of marketing, allowing the reader to better understand this fascinating concept.

    Marketing can be boiled down from complexity and resourcefulness to the first core idea: Your Face.  Let this not be confused with your head, but Your Face is marketing in the simplest form.  Your Face is composed of several key features, let us explore these from top to bottom.  These features are eyebrows, the protectors of your eyes.  Eyes are next, followed by the nose, mouth, and ending with the chin.  Ears and their respective functions are not included in these frontal features and for purposes of this stance are not part of Your Face. 

    Your Face is more complicated than just physical features, it also is made up of senses, emotions, and expressions.  Your Face is the answer to many questions, all of them aspects of marketing and thus consumerism.  Party A: What is for dinner?  Party B: Your Face is for dinner.  Party A: Want to help wash the dog?  Party B: Your Face wants to wash the dog.  Party A: Want to see the latest local sports game?  Party B: Your Face wants to see that sports game.  Party A: I love you.  Party B: I love Your Face.  Food, cleanliness, entertainment, biological needs, all are connected by Your Face.

    While Your Face is clearly the juggernaut of marketing, it is not the only force.  Let us next explore Your Butt.  Your Butt, yes, your basic physical posterior, is the other core idea of marketing.  Your Butt can also be referred to as Dat Ass, attending to the same interior ideas.

    Similar to Your Face, Your Butt is more than a visual; it is also interactive.  It can physically move, touch and be touched.  It is the stimulus that draws query and the thirst of investigation to marketing.  Your Butt further addresses the questions that are first answered by Your Face.   Let us go back to our previous set of examples that explain Your Face.  Party A: What is for dinner? Party B:  Your Face is for dinner.  Party A:  Your Butt is for dinner.  Any of the questions that can be answered with Your Face can be responded with Your Butt. 

    Your Butt can be an extension of this idea, as follows.  Party A:  I love you in The Face.  Party B: I love you in The Butt.  Your Butt still elicits the same responses and emotions as Your Face yet provides a deeper degree of inquiry, usually combining a verbal response with a physical response.  After all, Your Butt has been a symbol of arousal and attention throughout history.  A response involving Your Butt begs for a reaction;  hence the turning force of the gears of marketing. 

    Let not, however, the two forces be combined, creating Your Buttface.  A Buttface has no relevance in marketing and has the opposite effects of your Face and Your Butt.  A Buttface will deter desired wants and needs.  Going back to our previous example:  What do you want for dinner?  Your Buttface.  The asker of the question has a different, now undesirable response than the previous ideas of marketing solicit.  Instead of intrigue, a Buttface will only hinder the core ideas of Your Face and Your Butt. 

    Marketing is nothing without Your Face and Your Butt.  These prominent forces know how to get a reaction from the masses.  They reach out with their biological simplicity, alerting the needs of the emotional, physical, and social realms of being.  Your Face and Your Butt seek out intrigue and information from all in society.  These two core elements provoke people on a personal level.  The more a person focuses on Your Face or Your Butt, the more sought-after he becomes both intellectually and physically.  Remember, that these two essentials work in sync, Your Butt is an elaboration of Your Face.  Your Face opens the gateways of investigation, leading to Dat Ass.  Together, they further the quest of exploration and knowledge that leads to successful marketing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WIWW - Skele-toes

This is what I wore to wander around the inner harbor.  This is also what I wore to garden.  This is one of the best shirts I've ever wore and it isn't even mine.  Kylie let me borrow it to wear to Baltimore last April and I just never gave it back.  She keeps asking about it and I keep pretending not to know what she's talking about.  I guess all this means I'm going to have to give it back, huh?  I'd buy my own, but it is from American Eagle or Aeropostal (I am not sure which) and I swore a solemn vow back in high school to never shop at either of those stores.  Heaven forbid anyone ever mistake me as trying to be popular.

I suppose I could just suck it up, seeing as I graduated high school TEN YEARS AGO.

Skele-toes
My shoes are skele-toes, by the way. I may or may not have mentioned them here before, but they are the most amazing thing ever. When you first put them on it is a little weird, but after a few minutes you forget you're even wearing shoes. They are great for gardening. I usually only use them on the treadmill, since they aren't the most attractive things, but I wore them all day on Saturday to walk around the Inner Harbor and it was wonderful. My feet were not sore at all. My legs were in a bit of pain the next day, but that's just because I had used leg muscles that don't get any action when I wear normal shoes. I think I'll be wearing these guys a lot more often.

(Linked up on The Pleated Poppy)