Archive | September, 2012

Pinned it Tuesday: southwestern quinoa salad

25 Sep

Chunky Southwestern Quinoa Salad

  • 1½ c quinoa, dry
  • 3 c water
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 carton of plum tomatoes, sliced in fourths
  • 2 ripe avocados, cubed
  • 1½ tbsp cilantro
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c balsamic vinegar

Directions: In a medium size sauce pan, bring 1½ cups of quinoa and 3 cups of water to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.  Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and set in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or until it becomes room temperature.  In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, and avocado. Then add spices, lime juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  This is a great salad to prepare in the beginning of the week.  If you do this, skip the avocado and just add it as needed.

(original recipe here)

Happy Unmarried and Single Americans Week…take deux!

22 Sep

I generally don’t spend my days checking stats against the US Census Bureau but given that it’s Unmarried and Single Americans Week, I did a quick Google search just to see where things stand from last year.  Up a few million, there are 102 million unmarried people in the US, 62% of which have never been married before.  It seems fitting, as an extension of last year’s list, to celebrate with another top unmarried 10.  So for the 53% of this population, or 54 million, “single ladies” out there, here we go!

#1:  Life is a book full of chapters yet to be written.  Once upon a time those empty pages terrified me.  They kept me in a constant state of anxiety.  But then I realized I was facing a future without limits.  One that could change everyday and that didn’t require obligatory input from a significant other.  So…”I don’t know where I’m going from here but I promise it won’t be boring.”  And yes, I just quoted David Bowie.

#2:  Party of one.  I have spent countless evenings snuggled in bed alone, watching TV or movies, eating takeout, drinking wine, flipping through magazines, messing around online, blaring music, drafting my next post.  Sometimes I love being the only one on the invite list.

#3:  Hooking up / dating / “hanging out” / whatever you want to call it.  Someone asking how your day was or if you want to catch a movie; someone reaching out to touch your knee during conversation over a glass of wine; someone pulling you into their arms when they feel you stir in bed.  I have absolutely no idea where this is going but you’ll know when I do.

#4:  Getting to know new people.  I’ve been guilty of indulging the stereotype – plus one’ing to parties and social events, volunteering on weekends, taking in exhibits and classes…simply to see who I could meet.  In the past year I’ve become really close with one or two people though that I might otherwise have never met.  And I’m incredibly grateful for the strong friendships we’ve built!

#5:  No one to judge your wine intake.  We all have them.  Moments when you think “God, if someone could see me right now…”  Mine generally come when I’m having a popsicle or something equally responsible for breakfast, watching TV in the middle of the day in my underwear and a dirty t-shirt, or crawling to the kitchen hung over as hell in search of water.  Seriously, thank god no can see me right now…

#6:  Freedom from the past.  I realized a long time ago that the past I was once so certain of was a future I was never meant to have.  While it is one thing to logically understand this, it is something entirely different to – without hesitation – respond with a simple “no” when one of your closest friends asks “Do you think he was ever a true love?”  I don’t know who the answer shocked more – her or me.

#7:  Not having to share your time with anyone.  Well, not if you don’t want to!  I just had one of the best summers of my life and it’s because I spent it doing exactly what I wanted to do.  Like this, this, and this.  There are no holidays to split, no arguments when I work late, no discussions about “What should we do today?”  Because I’m already off doing it!

#8:  “Tornado Kate.”  Maybe you have a different name for it, but you know what I mean.  Clothes and shoes everywhere, bed unmade, magazines and mail piling up, dirty wine glasses lining the counters, takeout containers pouring out of the fridge, forging a path amongst items that do not belong on the bedroom floor.  If you live alone, you know exactly what I’m talking about…

#9:  Self- reflection; figuring out exactly who you are and what you want.  It’s inevitable that a relationship, and the person you’re in that relationship with, are going to help shape you.  Looking back though, I am a completely different person following my last relationship.  Mostly because I took the past two years and really thought about who I am and what I want out of life.  And while I’m still finalizing exactly what that means, I have an extremely strong sense of self for the first time in my life.

#10:  Some things never change…Unwedded Bliss!

Five on Friday: videos I’m watching

21 Sep

Apparently I’m really into fives this week (here and here).  Regardless, I’ve been laying low this past week trying to recoup from walking pneumonia.  Here are five videos that helped pass the time:

#1: U Didn’t Build That by MC ‘Bama

#2:  Amazing Piano/Cello cover of Rolling in the Deep

#3:  Coca Cola’s Security Cameras

#4:  Harrison Ford Tells a Joke

#5:  Trailer for Taken 2.  Liam.  Neeson.  Rawr!

Five lessons from Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday

19 Sep

Earlier this summer I momentarily lost my senses and braved the crowds at Bryant Park for the HBO Summer Film Festival (not that I had much of a choice – check!)  While I don’t personally fancy myself a princess (let’s be honest, there’s only room for one princess in my life…), here are a few lessons every single gal can learn from Princess Ann in Roman Holiday – aka Audrey – herself:

Lesson #1:  Never stay in or go to bed early when the night is young and there is adventure to be had (even if you have to stealthily sneak out of the palace…)  I will however think of a more gentle response when one of my girlfriends wants to prematurely call it a night; in hindsight, “You’re single and going to die alone!” seems harsh.

Lesson #2:  Don’t get in a cab with a strange man (heavily reinforced by many an episode of Criminal Minds…but I digress…); unless of course that man is Gregory Peck and the cab is taking you back to his place.  Rawr!  (And for the record, I would not ask for pajamas in this particular situation with Mr. Peck…)

Lesson #3:  Take a little time for yourself!  Do like a princess, and “Do just whatever I’d like the whole day long!  Visit a sidewalk café, look in shop windows, walk in the rain, have fun, maybe some excitement.”  Whatever your perfect day is, own it and enjoy!  (Also, it’s your prerogative to hit someone over the head with a guitar if they’re trying to make you go home early.)

Lesson #4:  Always drink champagne.  Always.  In similar regard, when your day finally starts to wind down, always ask for more wine.  Always.

Lesson #5:  Don’t cling to something that can never be.  While the reasons are probably far less regal than “affairs of state” and a commitment to family, the crown, and country, most of us have been in relationships that aren’t meant or (sadly) able to be.  But do like a royal and just deal with it.  Hopefully, like Princess Ann, there is a certain fondness in those memories that you can cherish for a very long time.

Pinned it Tuesday: beef barley soup

18 Sep

While I told most people that I was “under the weather” these past few days, what I actually meant was that I have, well, walking pneumonia.  It’s really not half as terrible (or scary) as it sounds but on doctor’s advice I kept my butt home this weekend and did little more than nap, take antibiotics, and watch TV.  Oh, and make soup!

Beef Barley Soup

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs lean beef round stew meat
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 – 2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup dry barley
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions: Heat a large heavy pot on medium heat.  Add oil and beef, season with a little salt and brown meat a few minutes.  When meat is browned, add carrots, onion, celery and garlic to the pot and give it a good stir.  Add water, salt and bay leaves and bring to a boil.  When boiling, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer covered over low heat until the meat is soft, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Add the barley, adjust the salt if needed and add fresh ground pepper.  Simmer an additional 30-35, remove bay leaves and serve.

(original recipe here)

Five on Friday: Aaaand I’m exhausted

14 Sep

My occasional “Five on Friday” posts (like this, this, or this one) are usually about the five things contributing to that particular Friday.  This entire week has been especially eventful though so instead, here are the five things that kept me busy these past five days.

#1 (Monday): Still mourning Sunday’s embarrassing debacle, I left the office at 5:59 pm to crawl into bed and watch TV.  I settled on a few episodes of HIMYM, but instead of helping me relax for the evening, it reinforced and confirmed a terrible fear I have (because everything on TV is true…): “Kids, when you’re in your 20’s dating is great but by the time you reach your 30’s you find out pretty fast everyone has baggage.  That’s when I realized everyone has baggage.  Including me.”  So much for that; thanks Ted Mosby!

#2 (Tuesday): I had a last-minute “date night” with one of my girlfriends- dinner (Thai) and a movie (Celeste & Jesse Forever) on the UES (aka- where couples go to die, in my experience).  Although one of the movie’s main premise – what happens when Celeste’s world starts to spin away without her – hit a little too close to home for my liking, I did appreciate the comic appeal of my girlfriend yelling “That’s you!” every time Celeste poured another glass of wine.

#3 (Wednesday): After work I ventured into a section of the city that I never go to – Times Square.  A friend’s friend was headlining at Carolines and I was his plus one for the evening.  Already on antibiotics, and rocking a fever, I still had a few cocktails…because: first, there is a drink minimum at these things; second, you don’t want to be there without drinking (although his friend was really funny, thank god!); and third, I was drinkimg Jameson and gingers…and everyone knows ginger ale is good for you when you’re sick.  Duh.

#4 (Thursday): Out last night to celebrate my boss’s huge promotion, I learned one very important lesson about myself: I could live on Koi’s crispy rice topped with spicy tuna and their ginger mojito for the rest of my life.  And that would include eternity if I ever became immortal and lived forever.  Also high on the must try list?  The creamy rock shrimp tempura and baked lobster roll.  Oh and wine, lots and lots of wine.

#5 (Friday): Confirming that one of my girlfriends (from Tuesday) is apparently my new boyfriend, we had our second “date night” this week – Cheese & Wine 101 at Artisanal.  I’m generally into this type of thing but after such a busy week, I was not in the mood for the waspy couples or single gals looking for men.  We overindulged in champagne, talking to no one except each other, and then cut out early after discovering three of the four wines being served during the class were disgusting.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Sept.11

11 Sep

(photo source)