About Me

Musings of a hopeful wanderer.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple times

In the heat of finals (three final papers, two final projects), I don't have the energy to be terrible creative in my sartorial choices.  I've struggled with this skirt since I've had it, for whatever reason never wanting to do something simple with it.  I try to pattern-mix, use contrasting colors, or do anything other than pair it with a simple t-shirt.  Yesterday, though, was a gorgeous, breezy, busy day, and this comfortable t-shirt was calling my name.

On days when I hardly have time to catch my breath, less is more.

Skirt: Gap
T-shirt: Old Navy
Belt and necklace: thrifted
Shoes: UO

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Recipe: Tilapia Cakes

Every so often someone will ask me what I eat for dinner and when I give them an example, they always say "So fancy!"  Ed and I have taken to doing this ourselves: "What are we having for dinner?" I'll say. "Homemade pizza," he replies.  "So fancy!"  And so on.  We really don't eat anything fancy, we don't have the time!  We do make a lot of things from scratch, which I guess in the era of Schwann's and Marie Calendar is pretty fancy.  But let me let you in on a secret: Real Simple.  I subscribe to Real Simple magazine just for the recipes.  Most of the time the ingredients are way outside our budget, but in the off chance you find one you can afford, it will never let you down. 

Last week, we feasted on Dijon Tilapia Cakes.  You guys, believe me when I say I actually feel sorry for anyone who hasn't had this dish.  It is delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that we tried a variation on it again this week using salmon, and we still prefer the tilapia version (and y'all, tilapia around these parts is under $6 a pound.) (Also, if you buy farm-raised from the United States, the environment will thank you.)

Without further ado, Real Simple's Tilapia Cakes.  (We didn't take a picture, so Real Simple's will have to suffice.)
1. Bake 4 6-oz tilapia fillets on 400 degrees for about 10 minutes with a touch of salt and pepper.
2. While fish is cooking, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 fresh farmer's market eggs (the quality of eggs makes all the difference!), 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, and a handful of fresh dill (or a few shakes dried). (Newton's First Law: Mayo + eggs = deliciousness)
3. Once fish is cooked, allow to cool for a few minutes.  Once cooled, break it up into flakes and add it to the mayo/mustard/egg mixture.  Fold in 3/4 cups breadcrumbs and combine.
4. Form into 8 patties and if you have the time, refrigerate for half an hour; if you don't, stick 'em in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Fry patties in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until golden, about 5 minutes a side.
5. Serve with a side salad and homemade dressing using the dijon mustard.

Please eat this.  Now.  It will change your life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Lately I've been watching a lot of documentaries, which isn't good for someone like me.  I'm a worrier, you see.  And worriers do one thing, all the time: worry.  The environment, the economic climate, the hungry, libraries, art, education, EVERYTHING MAKES ME WORRY.

One of the tendencies of worriers is to really enjoy the worrying; to really ride it at full speed.  Thus,  I don't choose movies about babies, or smart animals, or sexy times.  No, no, I watch those about predatory credit lenders and the collapse of Western civilization.

All of this is to say I chose this outfit after a long night of depressing documentaries about how we're all screwed, SCREWED!  It's astute and thoughtful.  And one day when I can make sense of it all I might just write an intelligent post about my conspiracy theories and worries about predictions for the future.

The vest and ruffles really say, "I'm the kinda lady that watches documentaries." No?

Shirt: H&M
Skirt: Gap, thrifted
Vest: thrifted
Shoes: Steve Madden
Business-Casual: why, the documentaries, of course!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Anyone tired of me talking about the weather yet?  Well get used to it, folks.  It's only April and already 100 degrees.  I have about 6 more months of complaining to do.

This post, however, is about my second favorite topic: shoes.  Ed and I are planning a trip to San Francisco this summer.  I've only been there twice, but the one thing I know is that you need a good pair of walking shoes.  Two, at least.  Per day.  (Side note: someone today told me that I'm an "exaggerator."  Me?!)  I was recently commenting to Ed that I could use another pair of cute, comfortable shoes to walk around San Francisco in and he suggested that I look into loafers.  Pfft, loafers, I foolishly thought.  I think I could probably ask my mom to borrow a pair.  Ha! Get it, because loafers are for old ladies!  (All the while, of course, thinking, YES, with tassels, please!)

And then I went to Savers.  And then I browsed the shoe section WILLING a pair of 8.5 loafers (with tassels, of course) to appear.  And then:
Y'all, they are the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever owned, and I've owned two pairs of TOMS.  And tassels.  And I WILLED them into existence.  With my will!

I didn't wear them until today, though, a week later, because I couldn't find the perfect loafer-worthy outfit.  I ultimately decided simple is better.  The tassels speak for themselves, people.

Dress: Old Navy
Belt and shoes: thrifted, Savers
Sassy poses: c/o tasseled loafers

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker "Philly Cheesesteak" Soup

It's no surprise that Ed and I love our slow cooker.  Why do I love it?  Let me count the ways.

  1. On days when it's too hot to stand over the stove, the slow cooker is just about the only way to get a hot meal.
  2. It's super simple.  Chop, put in pot, leave for 7 hours.  When we get home, we have a delicious home-cooked meal that we barely even remember preparing.
  3. Leftovers.  Without fail, we can get two dinners and two lunches EACH out of our slow cooker meals.
This week we found a "Philly Cheesesteak" soup.  Ed loves cheesesteaks, I love cheese.  It was a perfect match.

The ingredients:
  • One red and green pepper
  • Medium-sized onion
  • Potato
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Worchestire sauce
  • 4 cups beef brother
  • Garlic
  • Milk
  • 2 lbs. beef (not pictured)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (not pictured)
You literally put everything but the cheese in the slow cooker and turn it on low for 7 hours.  Once the meat is cooked and tender, add the cheese for a few more minutes. It does not get easier.

The result:
Deliciousness.  (The picture makes it seem a little brown, but I promise it's creamy.  You can always add more vegetables!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Channeling Rachel Berry

When we moved in together almost two years ago (!), we decided to not spend any money on cable as a way to save money.  Its turned out to be such a blessing because we spend a lot more time reading, chatting, and playing very nerdy board games.  However, we have two Netflix queues and frequently watch whatever television shows are Instantly Watch.

This week we watched the entire 22-episode season of Glee.  It's just too fun!  And y'all, I got a lot of outfit inspiration from the one and only Rachel Berry, whose style was once described as "simultaneously like a grandma's and a toddler's."  I can dig on that.

Ever the wearer of belts, plaid, and vests, she's a lady after my own wardrobe heart.  May my face forever be slushie-free.

Dress: Hollister, thrifted
Sweater: second hand from former co-worker
Shoes: Steve Madden
Thoughts: "I'm like Tinkerbell, I need applause TO LIVE"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Farmers market

I've recently started getting all our meat and eggs for the week at the farmer's market.  This is purely for ethical reasons (we're forced to eat a lot less of these things because the cost is so high), though once you eat a farm-fresh egg from a chicken who was allowed to graze and eat bugs, you will never be able to eat another industrially produced egg ever again.  There is just no comparison.

Even though my Saturdays weeks are jammed-packed as can be, I really enjoy our little Saturday morning ritual of heading to the farmer's market with the pup and after picking up a few things from our favorite vendors, we just sit and people-watch and enjoy the not-quite-yet-sweltering weather.  This is what I wore last Saturday and pretty typical for a weekend outing.

I know what you're thinking.  "Are jean jackets back in style?"  Friends, they never left.

Dress and jacket: thrifted
Shoes: Target
Goofy-grin: mmm, farm-fresh eggs

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A sickness

I have a shirt-tying sickness.

Ever since I discovered the greatness that is tying-a-shirt-that's-too-big, I haven't stopped.  It just works too well!  See my excitement here?!

Lately I've been perfecting my librarian-chic.  I'm finally FINALLY getting paid to work in a library, so I'm trying out all my professional/comfortable/hip combinations.  And I have to tell y'all, I really love this one.  I was so comfortable all day, even if my skirt kept flipping up over my head due to 20 mph winds.  (Ok not really, but it was too windy of a day for so flouncy a skirt.)

See that face?  That's my "shh!" face, y'all.

Skirt: Gap with giftcard
Shirt and belt: thrifted via Savers
Shoes (loves of my life): Steve Madden
Attitude: librarian-serious

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bakers in training

In our never-ended attempt to become independent of the grocery store, Ed and I tried our hands at bread making this weekend.  (By "Ed and I" I of course mean he did everything and I took pictures.)  The end was result wasn't a beautiful loaf, but it was delicious and free from all the artificial sweeteners, preservatives, HFCS and whatnot they put in bread these days.  Plus, it wasn't as hard or as time-consuming as we thought it'd be.  This is the recipe we used (though we didn't follow it to a T).

We decided to go for a super hearty, oat-y, nutty, seedy bread.  Of course.  First, mix your whole wheat flour and yeast together.  Set aside.
Then, heat up some milk, honey, and olive oil in a pan until it smells so good you can hardly stand it.  Or, you know, until the honey melts.
Next, add the milk-honey mixture into the flour-yeast mixture.  We also added about a cup of chopped nuts, rolled oats and seeds.  Use an electric mixer on it for a good 2-3 minutes, adding the nuts/seeds/oats slowly as you go.
Once it's good and mixed, knead that sucker.  And knead. And knead. And knead some more.
Once it resembles a bread loaf, put it in a greased bowl and let rise.

Because it's so thick and our apartment is so humid, it took about an hour for it to rise.  We kind of "eye-balled" it, since we had no idea what it was meant to look like when it was adequately risen.  Almighty Google told me that if you make an indention in the dough with your fingers and it doesn't spring back up, it's done.

Is it adequatley risen?  Good, now give it a good few punches and let sit again for about 10 minutes (this, I'm told, helps release some of the carbon dioxide from the yeast).  Finally, form into a loaf, top with more oats and seeds, and bake 30 minutes or so on 375.

The result?

Not the most attractive, but good!  And it gives us some idea of what we did wrong (too many "extras", not enough flour, probably not totally risen) and what we did right (the milk-honey addition is SO GOOD).

Any novice (or not-so-novice) bread makers that can dispense advice?