Thursday, December 29, 2011
We all know I love my cats. And I think they're being cute no matter what they're actually doing. But these were some prime photo opps:
Corduroy has found her favorite location at the back of the couch. Sometimes she watches movies with us. Cutie. And Fiero has had a lot of fun with all the boxes from Christmas. I think he prefers them with the lid off, though. Just maybe.
I love my cats. They really are the most perfect pets I could ever imagine. Sheesh. And damn are they cute!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I got some fabulous kitchen gear that I'm super excited about using. :-)
My in-laws got me this book:
|The dough, formed in a ball & resting on the pizza pan.|
|The toppings (plus tomato sauce. and minus the zucchini)|
|The pizza crust after cooked for 5 minutes.|
|The finished product. Best. Pizza. Ever.|
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
We've been busy getting ready for the holidays, and have spent a fair share of time enjoying the season together. From holiday work parties to starting our own family traditions, we've been staying joyfully busy.
In other news, we got our CSA last Thursday, and it was my favorite bounty so far! Pictured below is our fare, plus a sneaky little cat waiting for an opportunity to steal a bite. From left to right: Brussel sprouts & greens, potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, & fennel. I cannot tell you how much I love spinach, and to have fresh, farm-grown spinach is basically a dream come true. YUM.
|Brussell Sprouts & Greens!|
|Homemade stockings & snowflakes.|
|Our pretty sparkling tree.|
|My favorite snowflake.|
|So full! I wonder what awaits!!!|
|Corduroy loves Christmas, too!|
|Scented Glade candle sets the Christmas mood.|
|Oh, Christmas Tree!|
This Christmas is also my first Christmas out of school, meaning my first Christmas without a lengthy break. It's strange- I thought that it might be harder to get in the Christmas mood while having to go to work every day until Christmas, but it's actually much easier to feel Christmasy and festive. For one thing, I have had no final exams or papers to worry about, which has been so incredibly wonderful & magical. Seriously, so good. But perhaps more importantly, I'm in an office with a bunch of awesome people who know how to enjoy the holidays & who are also just really fun. Our office is decorated, and I've been playing Christmas music at my desk. A lot of my clients are pumped about the holidays, and I've gotten to spend a lot of time this week getting them presents! It's been a very festive environment, and has really helped get me in the spirit.
And, most notably, this Christmas is my first Christmas working with low-income, mentally ill adults, and it is completely humbling my perspective. This month has been an incredibly hectic one at our agency. A lot of my clients have struggled to stay well, and I've seen some take pretty hard punches from their illness. This is a really difficult time for some of them: not only is it cold & dark all the time (depression gets worse), but the holidays puts a huge burden on them. I delivered some gifts today, and a few of my clients remarked on how this was their only Christmas present. But perhaps the most humbling thing I have seen and heard from my clients is their deep desire not to receive any presents, but their longing to give, & give abundantly. The population I work with is living with very little; their income is tiny, their illness are overwhelming, and for many of them, there is no family to turn to. Yet their deepest desires for the holidays are to be with loved ones & to be able to give them meaningful, expensive, personal gifts. For most, both of these desires go unfulfilled. My heart has been so deeply touched by my clients. Seriously, they're awesome people. I have the most fun job in the world- I spend all day hanging out with amazing individuals, talking with them & learning from them. And for some reason, they pay me to do it! All joking aside, it actually is an incredibly intense job, but I love it to pieces. My clients live with very little material goods. They don't get to go shopping for new clothes; they don't eat out; they don't take vacations; but they live fully & love well. It's taught me a lot. I have so much more than I could ever possibly imagine. Sure, we don't make "tons" of money, but we certainly have enough. And we have family support, insurance, cars, education... things that we should never stop being thankful and cognizant of.
Life is good. I was worried that being out of college would make me stop learning things.... boy, was I wrong. I'm learning a lot right now. And it's the fun kind of learning- from people rather than from books (Nathan would probably disagree on what the "fun" kind of learning is. haha).
I am so blessed by all the people in my life- my family, my friends, my co-workers, my clients. We seriously have it all. How did we get so lucky?
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The "steak" part of the cheesesteak was Seitan (which sounds uncomfortably much like "satan" when I say it, for some reason), browned on a skillet with some worstershire sauce.
Veggie-Friendly Philly Cheese "Steak"
- 1 package Seitan "wheat meat" (cubes or strips)
- Vegetable Oil
- Worstershire Sauce (a few tablespoons, to taste)
- One Green Pepper, Sliced
- 1/2 Medium Yellow or White Onion, Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cup Sliced Baby Portobello Mushrooms
- 1 Clove Garlic
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Hoagie Buns
- Provolone Cheese
Heat vegetable oil in two separate skillets. Cook Seitan in one skillet until browned, adding Worstershire to taste. Cook peppers, onion, garlic, & mushrooms until tender in the other skillet. Once both skillets are cooked completely, spoon vegetable mixture onto bottom half of hoagie. Place a slice of provolone cheese on top of Seitan & cover skillet until cheese has melted. Spoon seitan/cheese mixture on veggie mixture & top with the other 1/2 of the hoagie. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve while melty!
|Seitan- before browning.|
|Seitan- after browning.|
|Chopping the baby bellas.|
|Sauteeing the veggies.|
|The Philly Cheese "Steak"|
|Oh gosh, yum.|
We cooked up some creamed greens and french fries to enjoy with our sandwiches. It was a seriously wonderful dinner. Mmmm! And while Nathan spent the rest of the evening doing homework, I admired our Christmas tree & ate peppermint ice cream.
|Our tree, with plenty of presents underneath. =)|
|Someone will be receiving Corduroy as a present this year.|
Monday, December 5, 2011
|Cubing the peeled squash. I actually used a potato peeler, which worked fine.|
|I love sauteed onions, don't you?|
|In the blender.|
|Our delicious dinner.|
|The finished soup. Yum.|
The only part of this soup that was any trouble at all was having to use the blender. It had me seriously wishing I had a food mill. A friend of mine has one, and I am having serious kitchen-envy. I'd make soup every night if I had one of those things (so perhaps Nathan is glad that we don't have one...).
|Food Mill. A thing of dreams.|
After devouring our dinner, Fiero decided that he was not getting enough attention. Thus, he nestled inside of our bag, being really cute. Nathan decided he'd join in & be cute, too. This is the end result:
|This picture explains why my life is awesome.|
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Friday night we had over three awesome friends & watched my favorite holiday movie together- White Christmas. One of our friends is apparently particularly hard to please when it comes to movies... but she liked it! I mean really, who doesn't love dancing, Bing Crosby, and Christmas all rolled into one fabulously cheesey movie? Oh it's so grand.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
And there are still so many wonderful months to come.