Category Archives: List Lover
We’re big into themes here.* I like to do Meatless March** every year because it’s a good way to remind myself that I don’t need meat to make a meal delicious. I love meat, especially bacon, but I also really like meatless meals. I was a vegetarian about 10 years ago for almost 3 years and it was a good exercise for me. So I like to Meatless March to add new stuff to my recipe box and to remind myself how delicious food can still be without meat.
Here’s what we ate this month***:
March 3: Vegetarian Black Bean Fajitas with brown rice
These are good! But I tweak the vegetables and add extra spice.
VERY good. Excellent, I’d wager. Even you anti-quinoa folks might like them. I gave up making the perfect sweet potato fry a long time ago and just buy the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s.
I love this sandwich, although I’ve taken to making it with jalapenos instead of green chiles. And this tomato soup is one of my favorites! I don’t have an immersion blender, so I just put it in the food processor in batches.
March 7: Naan Pizza and Buffalo Tofu
Eriana started asking for pizza every night, so I added pizza night to our weekly menu. Then, of course, she stopped eating pizza. But Jim and I have been having pizza night with buffalo chicken thighs every week anyway. With Meatless March the chicken thighs have been sorely missed. Buffalo tofu was good! But Jim doesn’t really like tofu. We make pizzas on small naans and use a jarred pizza sauce.
March 10: TJ’s Deeleeshoos Noodles
Very good. I opted out of the fish sauce because I couldn’t find any, but I substituted Trader Joe’s gyoza sauce and it was really good.
March 11: Veggie Balls with Spicy Noodles
The veggie balls were made with lentils, and I was surprised at how much I liked them. The recipe made a lot, though, so I froze half. No word yet on how well they defrost. The spicy noodles were just plain linguine with spicy oil on top.
I made nachos loosely based on the recipe linked-to above, and then used the avocado sauce as dipping/topping. Highly recommend.
March 14: Naan Pizza with Buffalo Cauliflower
Apparently the only picture I took of our dinners this month. Buffalo Cauliflower, garlic naan, and naan pizza (with red onions, jalapenos, and cilantro).
Since the tofu wasn’t a big hit, I tried cauliflower. It… tasted like hot sauce. Cauliflower doesn’t really have a taste of its own. The batter made everything all soggy. I should have pan-fried instead of baking.
March 16: Veggie Taquitos
I make these taquitos a lot. This time I just substituted extra veggies for the meat.
March 17: Frito Chili Pie
We had chili leftover in the freezer, so I just bought Fritos and toppings and this was an easy peasy meal. I love Frito Chili Pie almost as much as I love Sloppy Joes.
March 18: Pioneer Woman’s Asian Noodle Salad
Meh. I was really hopeful about this salad, because it’s SO! MANY! Delicious things mixed together. But. It was too many tastes and not enough flavor. I used extra jalapenos in the dressing and it still wasn’t spicy enough because everything else just sort of drowned it out.
March 19: Zucchini Parmesan
I like this meal. Cheese! Vegetables! I usually use Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce, to add extra veggies and because it’s affordable and delicious for a store-bought sauce.
March 21: Naan Pizza with Buffalo Seitan
Third time’s a charm on the buffalo-flavored non-meat? Nope. This was the best, by far, but seitan is a little too chewy for my liking, and the oil on the seitan plus the butter in the sauce (I used butter instead of margarine and it was TOO much butter in the recommended recipe) made it super greasy. I think we’ll skip pizza night next week.
March 23: Japanese Curry Rice
Mmmm. That is all. (There would be more but I forgot what veggies I put in this time. Lots of green stuff, but beyond zucchini I don’t remember what.)
March 24: Stuffed Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas
Very good! Topped with salsa and plain greek yogurt. I added jalapenos and cilantro because, well, it’s what I do.
March 25: Korean “Beef” Bowls
I used faux beef crumbles and this dish was as delicious as it is when not meatless.
March 26: Dragon Noodles
Meh. This was not even the tiniest bit spicy. And the attempt to make it so was a little… weird. We still ate an entire doubled recipe. I probably wouldn’t make this again, even though it was fine.
March 28: Jalapeno Grilled Cheese with Sweet Potato Fries
This sandwich is delicious. Plus we had cream cheese in the fridge that needed to be used up before it goes bad. Again with the Trader Joe’s sweet potato fries.
March 30: Garden Nachos
This dish again. Delicious. This time without Michelle’s avocado sauce because the only avocado I had was already brown and I don’t eat brown avocados.
March 31: Um. So I forgot about the remaining day of Meatless March when I planned this week’s meals and then I worked 12 hours and so Jim made Chicken Lettuce Wraps which aren’t meatless, but are very good.
*By we I mean me. Jim really has no opinion on the matter.
**Meatless in this house is a vegetarian diet, including eggs and animal products but excluding fish. Jim does not wholly abide by Meatless March because, well, see above. I only cheated once. Until today, when I ate chicken because that’s what was for dinner.
***I realize there are gaps here. We usually go out to eat one dinner a week, and/or have a leftovers night each week. And neither Jim nor I really eat lunch, but when we do it’s leftovers or whatever our company buys for us. Eriana pretty much lives on saltines, cheese, and turkey pepperonis with a solid insertion of Trader Joe’s cereal bars or poptarts, Annie’s instant macaroni and cheese, rainbow goldfish, and Market Pantry fruit snacks, so she was not included in Meatless March.
1. Meatless March is in full effect, and I’ve only cheated once (Kailua pork omelette at brunch (our favorite brunch spot, where we go every Saturday) last Saturday. Come on, meat eaters, can you blame me?). I plan to post all of the recipes I made and talk about what we ate when it’s over.
3. Work is, well, work. I’m struggling while simultaneously doing well. I’m being given a lot more responsibility and being taught new things on a daily basis, but there is one expectation of my job where I’m failing miserably, and it’s really frustrating. I wondered on Twitter the other day: “At what point does failing at one expectation become failing in general?” Hopefully not soon. I’m trying really hard. So I hope those deciding whether or not I should continue to rise or get canned recognize that.
4. Eriana is in full threenager mode. She cries at the drop of a pin, gets mad and asks us to stop talking, tells us she’s angry, and has Opinions about everything.
Little bit of pirate, little bit of evil eye.
5. As difficult as three has been so far, it’s also really cute. She asks “What o’clock is it” when she wants to know the time, told me the other day “I’m sure not” when I asked her a question (I’m not sure), and went shopping with me the other day, helping me out to pick out clothes, and picking out for herself some shiny pink shoes and a shiny pink soccer ball. We taught her that she’s now “three and a quarter”, and she was super excited to tell her teacher that at school.
Soccer-playing princess. In dinosaur shoes.
6. I’ve been turned on to some new-to-me podcasts lately and thought I’d share a few. Thanks to Sarah I’ve been listening to “Stuff Mom Never Told You” and “Stuff You Missed in History Class”, and I’ve been really enjoying back episodes of “Freaknomics.” I’ve also been listening to “Girl on Guy” and “You Made it Weird”, plus my old standbys.
7. We’re moving in 16 days (who’s counting?), and I have done… very little. We booked our movers! And bought boxes. I future-date transferred our electricity and renter’s insurance. That’s about it. My list of what needs to be done keeps growing, but I’m too tired to do any of it.
What have you been up to?
So now that we have two incomes, it’s time to buckle down on our finances. Here’s our (loose) plan:
- Snowball our debts, excepting our house in Oklahoma and our student loans (for now). We have a plan now, and our debt has an end in sight. We will put more focus on student loans and the house (if still owned) when the other debts are paid.
- Save a specified amount of money each month.
- Save weekly into a special account for gift-giving, travel, special costs, etc., graduating the number each week (like this, except we increased the numbers a bit this year).
- Stick to our budget. We made a budget that outlines most of our finances, but still gives us a little wiggle room in case we have emergencies.
- Our primary concerns are concerning unnecessary spending, such as too much dining out, too much Starbucks, too many daily t-shirts, too much on-sale jewelry, etc.
It won’t be easy, for sure, but I know we can do it. We have before!
Of course, getting Eriana into a good private school that won’t make us go broke will be quite difficult. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there (which, HA, will be sooner than we think, since she only has three years left at Montessori!). The hope is that by then I’ll be making a bigger salary and we’ll be able to handle it. Because, Y’ALL. Private school is expensive.
Almost one year old, playing with Jim’s wallet.
And here’s a more recent one, just because she’s cute. Out for brunch with Daddy last weekend while I worked. Spending money on Daddy dates.
So last year I didn’t actually complete all of my goals. That’s okay! They’re goals, not musts. I’d still like to do better in 2014!
This year I want to:
- Read 75 books
- Find a church
- Run a half marathon
- Fulfill our realistic financial goals for the year (it’s good to be realistic)
- Go away for a weekend with Jim
- Spend a family weekend in Seattle or Vancouver
- Go to The Blathering
- Work out at least half of each month
- Do well at my job
- Find a new, hopefully slightly larger, home in the fall (probably – sooner if we can’t extend our lease)
- Make the most of my time with my favorite weirdos
2013! Let’s recap this bi…zness!(As always, shamelessly copied from Linda at All & Sundry. Though this year I went back to the beginning to capture all of the questions that have fallen off over the years.)
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Moved to Oregon. Listed a house. Became a landlord.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Some of them! Some were based on the idea that we would still be in Oklahoma, and moving changed a lot! I did: read 50+ books; got Jim a really fun present for his 30th, but we didn’t do anything for his birthday; I finished my (second) graduate degree!; Eriana started at Montessori; spent most weekends with my family, doing fun things together; ate more real foods and less crap; potty trained Eriana; went to The Blathering; worked out fairly regularly, most months; spent a LOT of time with my loves.
I did not: read my Bible more; apply/get into a doctoral program – decided to pursue other things for awhile; run a half marathon; pay off our credit card debt or Jim’s student loans; go on family vacation for our 10th anniversary (we had just moved!).
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Some LOVELY friends in Oklahoma had beautiful babies while we were still living there, including one of my favorite friends, who I’ve known since first grade. Some other Okie ladies were pregnant when we left and have since had babies, and several online friends had babies. But no one who I know here has had any. Although one of my local friends is pregnant! Looking forward to squeezing a sweet baby next summer!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank the heavens.
5. What countries did you visit?
South Carolina? No, none. No countries other than the one of which I’m a citizen. I only travelled to Oregon and back to Oklahoma, to Washington a few times from Oregon, and to North/South Carolina this year.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A waist sans muffin top.
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 29 – the day we moved to Oregon. July 26 – our 10th wedding anniversary.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not completely losing my mind during our move (although it was close).
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not keeping up with working out as well as I’d hoped.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My iPhone, I think. I love it.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jim’s. That man deserves sainthood.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
People who called themselves Christians but made it EXTREMELY difficult for people to believe in God by the hypocrisy, anger, fearmongering, and lies they spread about the love of Christ, the bible, and the world.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving to Oregon. Eriana being so awesome. Getting to be married to Jim day after day.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Hm. The cups song from Pitch Perfect? Man, that song was overdone, huh? Just let Anna Kendrick do her thing, y’all!
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas was at home with my loves. And it rocked my socks off.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
With Oregon, yes. Gosh, I love it here.
22. How many one-night stands?
Let’s see… carry the two, multiply by… 3… zero.
23. What was your favorite TV program?
Toss up here. I watched and loved Charmed and of COURSE I adored Doctor Who, and how can you leave out the end of The Office, or the amazingness of Parks and Rec? There was a lot of good this year.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t think so? Not directly? I hate a lot of things that happened, and the way people caused them, but not people. There’s no sense in that.
25. What was the best book you read?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Good LORD. Loved it.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Podcasts? Not music. But I discovered how awesome podcasts are.
27. What did you want and get?
Out of Oklahoma.
28. What did you want and not get?
A buyer for our house in Oklahoma.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Pitch Perfect. I know it was a 2012 movie, but I didn’t see it till 2013, and I loved it.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31! Jim baked me a cake and I spent the evening with my loves.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Mom grad student. (Comfy, presentable for going out in public but still a little messy.)
33. What kept you sane?
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hmmmm. Chris Hardwick? Maybe not in a crush-type fancy, though. I did a lot of googling of him after listening to so many Nerdist podcasts.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Same-sex marriage. Women’s rights. Equal for those.
36. Who did you miss?
Some members of my family. My Oklahoma friends.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
Lindsay! (I already “knew” Rhiannon and HJ before I moved to Oregon, or there would be a three-way tie.) I am so damn thankful to have met Lindsay and Neil. Eriana plays well with their daughter, Jim and Neil talk about geek stuff and beer, and Lindsay is just a great person and friend. I’m so looking forward to getting to know them even more!
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Home is where the heart is. (SHUT UP I KNOW IT’S CHEESY.) Seriously. We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments moving here, both financially and at home and with our time, but it’s all been worth it. Oregon is where we are at home. And you know that cheesy country song “Love Grows Best in Little Houses”? It’s kinda true. (At least for people. Our animals drive me BATTY in such a small house.) I love Jim and Eriana more than ever.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“We had a great day! It was a super way to spend some time together!”
Fresh Beat Band’s “Great Day”! Shut it. It’s a good lyric. And a good message.
Previous years’ questionnaires:
What are your favorite apps? I download a lot, but I’m not sure I’m up-to-date on the new, cool stuff (spoiler: I’m not).
Here are some apps I’ve downloaded lately:
- QuizUp: I totally don’t rock at this, but it’s super fun.
- Candy Crush: I restarted this game because I wanted to pass the time. My goal now is to get 3-stars on every level. HAAAAA.
- Dropbox: I feel like I should have been using this a long time ago. The photographer who took our family photos offered to send the images to drop box, so I logged on to my often-unused account, and it’s so great!
- Artkive: Take pictures of kid artwork and when you’re done with an album you send it to have a book made.
- Starbucks: I have about 5 gift cards loaded onto my app. So much easier than remembering which card still has a balance.
- Cartwheel: Target coupons!
- Target: Mobile coupons!
- Redfin: Driving through a neighborhood in Portland, and I see a for sale sign? Check Redfin for nearby houses to see what the price range is like.
- BuzzFeed: Love this app. Good “news” without having to wait for people on my Facebook page to post them.
- Tweetbot: My favorite Twitter app. NO RED LINES.
- HuffPost: News.
- Feedly: Imported my Google reader before it went away, and Feedly does the trick. Although: My app isn’t updating with the web. So that’s fun.
This picture has nothing to do with my apps, I just like it. Eriana has a baby doll that stays at school through the week for nap times, but she has been taking “friends” in the car on the way to school.
What apps are you liking lately?
So our Angel’s birthday is next week, on Wednesday. Here are some things I am thinking about instead of that, hoping it will pass by with some peace this year, and without too many tears:
-Getting new Internet on Friday, which will hopefully mean better connections.
-Eriana’s school Thanksgiving next Wednesday morning.
-Jim’s birthday coming up and my Big Plans for his surprise present(s).
-Staying within our grocery budget.
-Eating chocolate daily.
-Trying not to drink too much wine.
-Sleeping at least six hours per night and not waking up in a cold sweat.
-Making new meals for my family.
-Getting Christmas cards ready to go out after Thanksgiving.
-Planning a Thanksgiving meal for my family.
-Breathing in and out.
-Working out half of this month.
-My little sister’s visit next month.
-Playing QuizUp on my phone.
-Getting Christmas presents ready.
-Hanging out with my family.
-Snuggling with Jim.
-Kissing on Eriana.
-Reading books that take me out of my head.
-Focusing on anything else.
See how it’s working out so well?
Add to the list: making funny faces and taking forward-facing pictures with my girl.
So I watch a lot of tv. That has been well-documented. But since we cancelled cable I tend to watch very different stuff than I used to. All of this I watch on Netflix or Amazon. We have a computer that hooks up to the tv so I can watch network stuff from their websites on the big screen, but we didn’t hook it up when we moved, so I haven’t been watching anything current. That means I’m at least one season behind on all of this stuff. Here are some things I’ve been watching lately*:
-Undeclared: Too short-lived series by Judd Apatow. And a young Charlie Hunnam with his ridiculous actual accent (ridiculous only because after seeing him as Jax Teller it’s weird for him to be British).
-Charmed: Oh. Oh, how I loved this show. I was so, so sad that it ended.
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Just getting in to this. Love it so far! I wasn’t into supernatural/fantasy stuff when it was on the air. Loving it now. Plus: David Boreanaz. I’m always up for some Booth in my life.
-The Vampire Diaries: Because my love of teenager shows never ceases.
-Parks and Recreation: I’ve seen the whole series several times. I just keep watching the episodes over and over again.
-Sons of Anarchy: Oh, Opie. Oh goodness.
-Doctor Who: Re-watching everything available for free. Ten is My Doctor. Always and forever. Although Eleven has grown on me for sure.
-Switched at Birth: Haven’t caught up on the most current season on Netflix, but I’m loving all of the family stuff on this show. Of course it’s a teen tv show, too, so that helps my love.
-New Girl: Oh, Zooey Deschanel. How awesome is she? (Really awesome.) I’d like to be her best friend. If Felicia Day and Rainbow Rowell both pass on the position.
-Bones: Jim and I caught up on the latest season, and as much as I love the show, I’m not thrilled with how it’s moving. I really liked the Bones who was oblivious to how the real world worked. Of course being a mom really can change everything.
-Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23: This show was ridiculous. And I’m kind of glad it got cancelled. But I still watched all of the episodes. Also: Dawson.
-How I Met Your Mother: Still loving this show, even though so many are mixed on it. As long as I get to look at Neil Patrick Harris for a significant amount of time each episode, I’m good.
-Pretty Little Liars: I haven’t seen the newest season on Netflix, but I adore this show. Just another teen show to keep me missing my lost youth.
-The Office: I still love this show. I had watched the last season on the NBC website, but I re-watched with Jim because I loved it so much. And I sobbed during the finale both times I watched. I think I’d still sob during subsequent viewings. I still do during Jim and Pam’s wedding!
*By lately I mean in the last six months or so… and I haven’t watched all seasons of all of these shows in that time frame, lest you think I do nothing but watch tv.
Image from ReactionGIFS.us.
Some things I’ve been reading (or re-reading) lately that I think you should too:
- The 33 Dumbest Things That Have Ever Happened: Wherein Buzzfeed outlines the ridiculousness of the world as we know it.
- Thanksgiving in Mongolia: An absolutely heartwrenching story about a woman’s baby loss. Not for the faint of heart.
- Young Singles, Seth Adam Smith’s Advice Isn’t For You: An excellent response to the article by the guy who said marriage isn’t for anyone.
- In Defense of Devices: My friend A’Dell outlines the reasons she loves technology (and I agree).
- The Right of Protecting: A lovely outline of how to parent protectively without hovering incessently.
- What I Do Know: My friend Linnea explains why she knows you can be friends with people with whom you disagree.
- I Promise I’m Crazier Than You: My friend Shalini keeps it real.
- Can We Just STOP Already?: My friend Kim makes some excellent points about unfair comparisons that hurt more than help.
At the birthday party of a little friend over the weekend. Budding photographer?
In my 10th anniversary post I mentioned that Jim and I had had 11 cars since we’d gotten married. Since it’s only day 7 and I’m running out of stuff to write about, I thought I should talk about the cars I’ve had (the 11 Jim and I have had plus two that I had pre-Jim, and one I guess I forgot to count in July).
1. 1989 Dodge Shadow. My first car. I named her Will. My dad bought her from a neighbor of my mom. She belonged to his mom, and had only been driven to and from the store and around town in 10 years of ownership. I got a cassette player for her at Christmas that year.
2. 1993 Nissan Sentra. My first self-bought car. I got a terrible deal and cried for days.
3. 2002 Saturn. Our first car together. It was blue. And I let Jim talk me into a standard.
4. 1998 Toyota Camry. My grandfather gave this to us because we needed a car and he had it sitting around in his garage after my grandmother passed away. We later gave it to my little sister.
5. 1998 Toyota 4Runner. I really wanted a 4Runner. Always had. Loved it.
6. Jeep Wrangler (year forgotten). We bought this from a friend, and really liked it, and planned to take it with us when we moved overseas, but then our assignment changed from Guam to Japan, and we decided not to store it. We traded it in when it needed new tires.
7. 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid. We bought this three weeks before we moved to Japan. It was in storage for three years. Like a new car.
8. Japanese blue car. No clue what it was. Bought it off the lemon lot at Yokota.
9. Japanese gray car. See above. But bought it from one of Jim’s coworkers who was PCSing.
10. Japanese red box car. LOVED this car. Picture a Suzuki Samurai hard top, but smaller in width, and lower to the ground. It was awesome.
11. Japanese black box car. My favorite, by far. Bought it from a friend. Last car I drove in Japan.
12. 2010 Toyota Prius. We bought this three months after we got back from Japan. Our first new new car. Loved it so much.
13. 2009 Honda Civic. Traded in our Prius for two used cars in March 2012. This is Jim’s commuter car.
14. 2011 Scion xB. The second of the two cars we bought that day. LOVE this car. Not as much as the Prius, and Jim hates it. But I adore it. Reminds me a lot of my favorite car in Japan.
“Driving” Daddy’s car. (About a year ago.) This picture reminds me of that commercial where the dad is reminding his teenage daughter about safe driving but all he can see is his little girl.