October 30, 2012

Mini Chocolate Pavlovas with Pomegranate and Berries

Even though it's raining, dreary and gray, I am grateful that the rain held up long enough for me to walk to my morning class, where I became a little stronger, and longer, and a little more flexible. I left the class feeling healthy and confident. Basking in the post exercise glow, I strolled home with my arms swaying to and fro.

Earlier in the morning, when my alarm buzzed sharply in my ear, I wasn't feeling motivated to climb out of my cozy nice bed just to sweat and work hard. I gave myself numerous reasons to sleep in - it's raining, it's cold out, there's always tomorrow. But somewhere deep inside, there was a little voice telling me to smarten up and get moving. I love that little voice deep inside of me. The one that gets me up in the morning, the one that motivates me to get moving and tries to persuade me into eating one cookie, not two. I call her my voice of reason.


October 24, 2012

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Most days, there's rarely a pause or silence in my home. There aren't enough hours in the day to really explain how I feel, about life, food, love, and happiness. Until the time comes, when I plop myself in front of the computer, ready to tell it all, something wordy and insightful, and then I can't. I stare at my screen, over analyzing my words. Afraid to give too much, worried that I'll give too little. Today I am having one of those days, unmotivated and unproductive, unable to gather my thoughts. I've been wallowing in self pity, and I don't think it's very fitting - not one bit. I sit here and over analyze my career and my future, and try to decide which direction I would like to go. It has been a slow and difficult transition over the past few years; going from busy career woman, feeling as though I am part of something important, to living in a country where I am unable to work or vote, stuck in limbo with an spousal visa. When people ask me what I do, I am hesitant to reply. Am I a dietitian, a photographer, a writer, a blogger? Am I good enough to consider myself a photographer? Over the past few years, I have felt so much self-doubt and self-criticism trying to be the best I can at so many new things, yet feeling somewhat unaccomplished without a pay cheque attached to my work. Is this wrong for me to feel this way? Do we really measure our success by the dollars we make?


October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

With good intentions, I gathered my ingredients, and I scooped the pumpkin into a bowl. An introduction to fall cooking in my kitchen, if you will. In retrospect, I was a little preoccupied; it didn't dawn on me until half way through the process that a doughnut pan would play an integral role in the completion of this recipe. I stepped out quickly to buy one, and returned from the store the proud owner a large blue and white scarf resembling the feel of cashmere (but not cashmere, because that would've meant that I probably paid close to a hundred dollars, and clearly I didn't. Ten max), a fluffy pair of slippers, a bottle of burnt cinnamon nail polish, and a doughnut pan. Hello fall, sexy nails, warm feet and pumpkin muffins. You are mine.


October 16, 2012

Chocolate Truffles

After reading aloud my last post, realizing my harsh negative tone and criticisms, I thought this to be a perfect opportunity to clear a few things up and highlight some of the positive parts of my trip to Mt. St. Helens. I wouldn't want you thinking that the trip was all bad, or even worse, that I was cantankerous, moody, or difficult. I knew that I should have waited a few more days to write the post, or just until my feet had healed, and the thought of tuna pitas was out of my head. The trip was extremely strenuous, that I liked. The scenery was outstanding, barren dessert, giant lava rocks that you could pick up and throw over your head without even breaking a sweat. Rocks that crinkled like broken glass. Gullies, ditches, and tiny new growth trees. As we made out way around the mountain, a continuous flow of smoke spilled out of the top, a bit terrifying to say the least. Every time a helicopter flew by, I was convinced that the volcano was ready to blow - crazy exciting. The last day of our trek, we entered the blast zone. The area in which the volcano erupted and blew its molten lava across the forest, wiping out everything in its path. Newly formed life has started to grow, and it is breathtaking. Wondrous how mother nature can heal and regenerate, glorious and powerful. I got to spend with some truly fine people, and the best part was the challenge. I did it, and that makes me proud.


October 11, 2012

Mount St Helens

It has taken me a couple of days to recover, sort through all my photos, and try to come up with a few encouraging/positive words about this trip. Let me start by saying that this was my first 3 day 2 night backpacking trip, and in my opinion, two nights too many. Hunger is at an all time high, exhaustion has doubled, and dirt has accumulated in thickness. I started this trip with excitement and anticipation, and ended feeling mentally and physically exhausted. Last Friday night we drove 3 hours SE to a small town near Mount St. Helens. A relatively stress free drive, passing a few deer on the way. We stayed at Tall Timber Motel, arriving just in time for Friday night karaoke. There was a lot of moving and shaking, mostly by locals, and a few questionable souls. Later, in the room, exhausted and slightly terrified, I lay on my bed imagining all things creepy and crawly. I zipped myself up tight in my sleeping bag, separated from the world, and anything that could bite my toes.


October 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Today begins my epic journey into the wild. Right now, I sit on my couch enjoying the calm before the storm, eating chocolate and sipping a glass of wine. Remembering that not too long ago, I braved the elements, spent 8 hours hiking the most gruesome (referring to it's vertical incline) mountain. Slept on a glacier, frozen, and all-consumed in my own fear. A year ago this weekend, for the first time, I hiked into the mountains with all of my gear on my back. Alone with Mr. H in the wilderness. Since then, we have become somewhat more prepared, and enthusiastic about backpacking. A wineskin rather than a bottle, down sleeping bag instead of synthetic. I now dress for practicality, not style. This weekend, a few of us will brave the elements and circumnavigate Mount St. Helens. Loowit trail, a 3 day, 28-mile hike with an elevation gain of 4000 ft. I am excited and mildly terrified. I will need you to pray for me, that in my deepest and darkest hour, I resist the urge to cry.

October 3, 2012

Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup

These past few months, since exactly Aug 1 when I returned from Turkey, the weather has been unseasonably glorious for Seattle. Warm sunny days, bright blues skies. I don't think I've seen a single drop of rain, or if I have, my mind has completely erased that memory. Each day I take a few moments to bask in the sun, hoping for just one more day like the last. Yesterday, the air started to get crisp. I brought out my winter scarf, tucked away my shorts and tanks. My coffee intake has started to double, and yesterday I prematurely turned on the fire place. Twenty minutes later, sweaty and uncomfortable, I had quickly regret that decision. I find myself buying way too many tiny heirloom tomatoes, because soon enough, all I will be able to find is pale tasteless no-thank-you tomatoes. My basil is thriving in this sun. She is growing and sprouting like mad, and I don't mind, because that means I get to enjoy basil on everything, and that makes me happy. I have just moved her down onto the ground near the window, because we lack shelves and counter space. To be cautious, I typed 'dogs and basil' into google search, just to make sure it isn't poisonous. The seventh search result was 'stupid dog ate my basil' and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Turns out, basil is not poisonous to dogs, but that really doesn't matter, because my dog prefers doughnuts and butter to green leafy herbs.