Comfort Burritos

Dinner: A Love Story is one of the friendliest cookbooks I’ve ever read.  It’s all about family dinner and the path to creating that habit in your own family.  It’s told through the lens of the author’s family, and it’s just incredibly real.  It talks about first dinner parties and the struggle of cooking good food and having real together time in a hectic life.  It also talks you through “we’ve been cooking for years and years” dinner parties.  It isn’t preachy or judgmental, and I love it.

Anyway, I’ve told you that before.  What I haven’t told you is that you should try their Black Bean Burritos recipe.  You really should.

photo from dinneralovestory.com

photo from dinneralovestory.com

Having a rough day?  Mad at that Hannah person who never updates her blog anymore?  Well, these burritos will comfort your socks off.  They’re quick, inexpensive, and the last few steps of the recipe really blend the flavors together perfectly.  Oh, and make more of the pickled onions than you think you could possibly need.  They’re magical.

There’s also a new cookbook coming out by Jenny Rosenstrach, creator of the fine burritos above:

photo from amazon.com

photo from amazon.com

I’m excited.

Happy Birthiversary, Peanut!

Today is Peanut’s 9th birthiversary.  By that, I mean that it’s our anniversary of Peanut ownership, and we think he’s approximately 9 years old.  It has been an epic 7 years of cuddles and adventures. 

This is what he looked like when we met:

panting peanutHe seemed so much taller in his profile picture.  Online dating, you know?  (No really.  Petfinder.com.)  Now he’s a bit salt and pepper (mostly pepper), and I think he’s held up well. 

The sad thing about this 9th birthiversary?  When I got Peanut, the vet said he was between 1 and 4 years old.  Which wasn’t a big deal at the time.  He was somewhere in the “adolescent” category either way.  The problem is that 7 years later, he is somewhere between 9 and 12 years old.  I really hope he’s 9.  We’re planning at least 5 more years of frolics through the woods with Peanut (who is an avid hiker and explorer, by the by). 

But back to the happy side of the birthiversary.  The birthday boy will be receiving a portion of dog ice cream today–haven’t decided between peanut butter or chicken flavor yet.  Big choice, you know?!  If he knew about said ice cream, he would probably be moderately excited until he saw a rabbit in the yard.  He’s easily distracted. 

If he’s a really really lucky dog, we’re going to move his favorite couch back into his favorite sunny spot in front of his favorite window tonight.  That’s the plan.  He’s been moping under the window the past few days–dreaming of sunny window-watching sessions past and days when our main living area wasn’t covered in wood shavings.  Hopefully he’ll be able to relax on a throne of couch again tomorrow.

Happy birthiversary, Peanut!

(Oh, you think this is too much for a dog’s birthday?  At least I’m not the person who posted this link on Pinterest: “How to keep your pet party below $100.”  We accomplish that by only inviting Peanut to his birthday party and giving him scratches as his present.  No complaints from Peanut yet.)

D.C. Adventures

We found ourselves in Washington, D.C. yesterday (for a whopping total of 4 hours), and I soaked up as much city architecture as possible. 

photo

We decided it would be a good test run for Scott’s old (and much beloved by Scott) sandals.  Will they stand up to hikes and treks and adventures in Europe?  Turns out the answer to that is a resounding no.  A few miles into our 5.2-mile D.C. adventure, Scott’s right shoe took a turn for the worse.  It was about 25% unglued before the walk, and it’s about 75% unglued now. 

The fun thing about the sad shoe event?  Well, Scott was walking around the city like he had a really weird tic for the remainder of our adventure.  Not fun for him, but very entertaining for me.  I’m proud of my man for letting me giggle at his walk for the remainder of the afternoon.  Intermittent giggling, anyway.  He’s a good sport.

We also met up with a friend we haven’t seen in about a year and a half, and it felt like a giant hug.  I should talk to old friends more often.  Consider this an apology to all of my friends.  I know I’m bad at calling you, and I’m trying to get better at that.  I like you, I really really like you. 

Librarian Problems

So we’re about to go on this fantastic vacation, and that’s a good thing.  No, a great thing.  And all of that time in planes, trains, and automobiles means hours and hours of reading time.  Also great.

But there’s a catch.  Since the moment we decided to take this trip, I’ve been trying to pick out the perfect book (that I already own) to fill those hours.  And I can’t do it.  I’m a librarian, and I can’t narrow it down to one choice.  I also refuse to make my pack so heavy that walks from train station to hotel are miserable.  I packed everything in the world for our honeymoon, and some of those walks were a little bit less pleasant with pack on back than they could have been.  Trying to fix that this time around.  Older, smarter, all that jazz. 

Should I go with fun vacation fluff?

good quality fluff (photo from goodreads.com)

good quality fluff (photo from goodreads.com)

Should I go with something serious that I’ve wanted to read for years and never get around to picking up?

serious (photo from goodreads.com)

serious (photo from goodreads.com)

History that’s related to the country we’re visiting?  (That I started reading years ago, loved immediately, and forgot to pick up again after the wonderful first pages.)

history (photo from goodreads.com)

history (photo from goodreads.com)

Something else entirely? 

I’m at a loss.  I might take two, but only if I can narrow down my shoe choices to one pair of flip flops plus one extra pair.  Two books, two pairs of shoes.  Three books?

Rory gets it:

Living Area Final Countdown

We’re finally getting close to the end of our living area projects.  Sort of.  There’s always another tier of projects after the current tier.  But the big, expensive, troublesome projects are almost finished.  Woohoo! 

Peanut is still putting his good friend Duck in the middle of the action.

duck

We’re starting to move some furniture back into its rightful spot.  Which means that some of my favorite random objects are finding a home outside of the cabinets again.

photo-1Last but not least, we’re still growing varieties of squash that we didn’t plant–healthy volunteer acorn squash this time.

photo-2

Do you see that gorgeous hardwood floor in the background?!  It’s 99% installed, and it feels like an absolute luxury to walk around barefoot again.  No more construction zone, no more boards with nails sticking up all over the room.  We are happy, happy, happy.

Late Summer Beauty

We had a rough time with our corn this year.  (And by we, I mean Scott.)  Birds kept finding the seeds, and Scott kept replanting until the birds finally gave up.  The struggle between man and bird means that our planting, which started out right on time, ended up being a little bit behind the neighbors.  Because we live in a place where almost everyone around us also has corn in their yard.  It’s fun.

cornBut look at it now!  Those tassels are starting to turn dark, which means it’s almost corn eating time.  There were actually a few harvestable ears this week.  It really is amazing how delicious food is when you know it came from your yard.  It would probably be even more wonderful if I had planted and/or tended it.  Oops.  At least I can claim the rosemary plants in the front.  (The rosemary plants don’t require any tending, for the record.  I claim the drought-resistant plant.)

There’s also some art on my mind, thanks to an artist friend, Pinterest, and Richard Shilling (who is not said artist friend). 

photo (and art) by Richard Shilling

photo and art by Richard Shilling

Isn’t it pretty?  It makes me want to think creatively and walk through some crispy fall leaves. 

Richard Schilling works in ephemeral art–a field that I’ve always enjoyed.  I love the idea of taking something natural and already beautiful, moving it around into a purposeful something or other that’s also beautiful, and leaving it to blend in again with the rest of its surroundings.  It’s like singing a song when you’re by yourself.  It doesn’t last, and it might not reach a lot of people, but that somehow adds to the beauty.  It’s a personal moment of pretty.  Or it can be, anyway.

Happy late summer, y’all!

Becoming Your Mother (The Happy Way)

It’s been obvious since I moved out on my own that I am in fact turning into my mother–slowly but surely.  The good thing about that is that my mom is pretty darn amazing.  If I have to come to terms with the idea that she and I will always be a bit eccentric in the same direction, I can do that.  In fact, I’m more and more okay with it as the years pass.  She’s cool.

Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit all of my mom’s good traits.  For example, she’s one of the hardest workers I know.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a lazy bum by any stretch of the imagination.  But I have a tiny bit less stamina for unfun projects than my mom does.  She can start a project that she’s dreading, work extremely hard for a week, and still have energy to finish the project until the very last thing is done. 

I, however, might get sidetracked here or there.  I might procrastinate on said project in favor of something less dreaded.  I might start the project, get into another project, and come back to the first project three weeks later.  You get the idea.

Last night, I was caulking a few last pieces of floor trim, taping and taping and taping, and generally not enjoying my project.  I thought I was finished caulking, and I felt a glimmer of happiness welling up inside of me.  Then I looked up and remembered that there was this weird gap between the ceiling and cabinets that I’ve been eying with frustration since I painted the cabinets white.  It’s been a while.  Why was that stupid gap still there?  Now the happiness was mixed with DIY angst.

the horror!

the horror!

Then I realized that I had white caulk in my hands, and the ceiling is white, and the cabinets are white, and music started playing in my head.  This was my moment to become the awesome Finish It All version of my mom.  Yay!!! 

post-gap

post-gap

So I did.  Look at that smooth, professional joint between cabinet and ceiling!  (Oh, you’re wondering about our “open concept” cabinet there?  Well, it turns out that when you change flooring, sometimes that changes how your fridge fits under your cabinets.  And sometimes you have to shave off part of a cabinet door to make it fit back into place.  We’re just glad the fridge still fits.)

Thanks, Mom.  You were definitely my project inspiration last night.  The house projects aren’t super fun right now, but they are the last details to get to the really fun part called moving stuff back into the room.