November, 2012

Giving thanks

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  For wonderful family and friends.  For a stable job.  For good mental and physical health.  For unconditional love from an amazing man.  For online shopping to avoid ridiculousness this weekend.

And for not having to prepare a damn dish today.

Last year, we hosted dinner for eight people, including us.  It was my first time, hosting Thanksgiving, making dressing, roasting a turkey, etc.  Our friend Max dubbed it ‘Young People’s Thanksgiving 2011’.

Thanksgiving with a nickname… I was nervous.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  In the past my mom’s family used it as an unofficial family reunion.  We had Thanksgiving in Chicago, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Orlando.  Memories of delicious food and heartwarming fellowship is what I associate with this holiday.

Last year I wanted to provide that experience for our guest.  I made the turkey, dressing (one vegetarian friendly, one not), a chocolate caramel tart, strawberry mold and brussels sprouts (which I will never make again).  Friends brought homemade rolls, salad, mac and cheese, pie, sweet potato souffle and green been casserole.

Thanksgiving 2011 spread

Thanksgiving 2011 spread

I also went for a walk in the woods and got a centerpiece.  I found a fallen branch, that I sprayed with disinfectant (made sense in my head at the time), and surrounded it with candles.   Luckily, Max took some pictures on his phone.

Thanksgiving 2011 table

Thanksgiving 2011 table


Table with mood lighting

Table with mood lighting

We had a great time.  I hope to do it again.  But this year, my significant other is working, therefore I am headed to a friend’s place.  I asked twice if I needed to bring anything and was told no.  So I am going to show up with some wine and get it in.

I hope you have a relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving.


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L.O.C. Method

I opened my CurlyNikki email today, and a woman has a post about proper bun styling and care.  One of the (many) steps said do the L.O.C. method.  I have seen the term around the natural hair blogosphere, but I guess have glazed past it. I click the hyperlink to find out more.

And now I’m kinda tiff.

L.O.C= liquid, oil, cream.  It is a step wise method for moisturizing hair.  The liquid is typically water, but may be aloe vera juice or a water-based leave-in conditioner.  The oil could olive, coconut, castor, etc.  Now from what I have been reading, some say the cream should not have water, others say it should.  I have been using my shea butter mixture.

So why am I tiff… because I have been doing the L.C.O.  Is there a big difference?  I’m not sure, but I plan on reversing my current method to see.  I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

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Jewish Apple Cake

My summer season CSA ended last week and yet again there were apples.  Over the past 6-8 weeks, there has been apples with every share.  I have been swimming in apples.

We had a wedding to attend in October.  The groom, in addition to being gluten intolerant, is Jewish.  And his mother is a fabulous baker.  So I thought maybe she had the bomb Jewish apple cake recipe.


She did not.


But said that her good friend did.  Her friend asked for my address so she could send it to me.  I asked “My electronic address, for email?”.

“No, your street address.”

I thought, well who knows when I’ll see that.  I mean who uses snail mail.

But she really did mail the recipes, with notes and her phone number in case I had questions.  How wonderfully sweet!

These fabulous photos were taken by my dear talented friend Thien.  Maybe one day, I’ll be as good as she is. Thanks Thien for the help!


Jewish Apple Cake  (adapted from recipe)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6-8 large tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5 teaspoons sugar
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan. Combine cinnamon and 5 tsp sugar, set aside.
– In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 2 cups of sugar.  Stir in vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla.  Mix well.
– Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared pan.  Top with 1/2 of the sliced apples and sprinkle with 1/2 cinnamon sugar mixture.  Pour remaining batter over top and layer the remaining apples and cinnamon sugar.
– Bake for 70-90 minutes


My notes… It took sooooo long for this cake to finish.  Maybe because I was hungry, waiting to go to breakfast, but after while I lost track of the 5 minute increments.  So it will definitely take 90 minutes if I use the same stove (not that I’m moving or getting a new stove).  I think next time I may diced the apples and mix into the batter instead of layering.


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Why so SAD?

Daylight savings time has ended and I will have SAD.

That’s no typo.  I have diagnosed myself with seasonal affective disorder- SAD.  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition, published by American Psychiatric Association, I actually do not meet criteria to be diagnosis with this recurrent form of a mood disorder but something goes amiss when the shadows get long and the leaves start to change.

My SADness starts to rear its ugly head as summer fades into fall.  But now that we have fallen back one hour, it will only get worse. I will say I don’t get depressed but just too aware of the fading day and the fact that sweet precious hours of light that are available, I spend inside working.  It makes me anxious.  I feel like I’m losing time, or missing out on… I don’t know, something.

I didn’t start noticing the SADness until I lived in the DMV area.  I would get out of class and the streetlights would be on.  Better yet, if I had a class that started at 4pm, the sun would be near its final appearance for the day.  I was SO not used to that (clearly I’m still not).  I have always live in the Eastern Time Zone.  But I grew up in Ohio.  Cincinnati to be exact.  And Cincinnati lies far west in the Eastern Time Zone, about a one hour drive from the Central Time Zone.  So 5pm in Cincinnati is lighter than 5pm in say DC or Philadelphia.  I couldn’t even imagine Boston or Portland, ME… ohhh it gives me palpitations.

Now that it is daggone dark when I walk home from the SEPTA station, I don’t want to leave once I get in the house.  It’s some Jedi mind trick.  Sure it’s lighter in the morning, but all I’m doing in the morning is going to work.  I conduct my extracurriculars after work.  I enjoy the ability to get home, go to the gym or run errands and it still be light out.  I feel more productive in the daylight.  For me dark = sleep.

What’s a girl to do?

SMH.  I’m so dramatic.



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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love Halloween.  I love it all.  The decorations, costumes, colors, trick-or-treating, scary movies.  As an adolescent, I would go overboard.  Decorating the living room window, so all the neighbors could see.  Painting my nails orange and black, alternating colors of course.  Trick-or-treating, later in life than I should have.  Group outings to see Saw 1, 2 and 3.

But since moving out for college, I have yet to decorate, I can’t stand the feeling of nail polish on my fingernails.  I don’t have anyone to go see horror movies with.

But sometimes I do get dressed up for parties.

Halloween- Gamma Rays


This year I got a little pie pumpkin in my CSA share.  I probably should have figured it was for food and not decoration since it was in my share of food, but honestly had plans to put it in the hall like our neighbor.  But the stem got all dry and shriveled.  So then I realized, I need to use this for food.  Slow motion.

I roasted the flesh and used in a corn spoonbread.  But the best part was having seeds to roast!

Pumpkin seeds- beauty shot


The joy in roasting pumpkin seeds for me in part deliciousness but part nostalgia.  It is an activity my mom and I would do.  Plus it’s a twofer activity- get a carved pumpkin for decor and seed for snacks.


Pumpkin seeds- close up

And they are so simple to make.   Scoop, clean, dry, season, roast and eat!

What are you penny thought on pumpkin seeds?


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Clean flesh from seeds.  Pat dry.  Lightly oil and season to taste.  Bake for about 20 minutes until just lightly golden. 

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