All about the Food

I’m back because I want to talk about food.

I debated explaining or apologizing for my absence, but I’m not going to. Let’s just get right to the good stuff, okay?

I am 21 weeks pregnant and for the first time since becoming pregnant, I’m good with cooking again. That isn’t to say that I haven’t cooked for 21 weeks, just that I would have preferred not to and didn’t ever enjoy it. This past weekend, I surprised myself at finding pleasure in menu-planning and grocery list-making.

Pinterest makes recipe browsing and saving easier than ever. I have an entire bookmarks folder in my web browser dedicated to approximately 12 categories of recipes, but the visuals of Pinterest make it more compelling and organized-looking.

Tonight, I made Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding and Tex-Mex Black-Eyed Peas with Rice. I’ll just be honest. I really only wanted to make and eat the banana pudding, so I made the healthy dinner option as a concession to the obscene quantity of calories and sugar I would consume afterwards. But! Both recipes turned out really well and both were relatively simple to be so delicious. I revised the black-eyed peas recipe a bit to make it easier on me (while I focused on making what I thought would be the true star of the evening), so I’ll post my version here:


1 bag frozen black-eyed peas (because I had some on hand already)

1/2 bag frozen spinach (ditto)

1 cup short-grain brown rice (ditto)

1 jar Trader Joe’s medium salsa

Olive oil

Garlic salt

Salt & pepper



Start rice. My rice took an hour from start to finish and the salsa side of things took less than half an hour. Time your cooking so that the two elements will be finished at roughly the same time.

Heat good-sized pour of olive oil on medium heat in a deep skillet. Add jar of salsa, frozen peas, spinach, and seasonings. Cover until boiling. Stir, reduce heat to low, and cover again until peas are soft. Remove lid and simmer until you’re happy with the consistency. Serve over rice.


I bought an avocado to accompany this, but I was so hungry that I forgot to add it. I think it would have been a welcome addition and will eat it along with the leftovers.

My husband, picky omnivore that he is, really liked this. He was suspicious that the rice was quinoa (which, to his credit, he’s tried multiple times and truly doesn’t like), but once I assured him it wasn’t, he ate it happily. I may not have mentioned that there was spinach in the dish, but he’s learned over the years to just not look too closely at anything he knows I might be sneaking additional vegetables into.

Verdict: a definite addition to our meal rotation!

The banana pudding needs no revision or explanation. Follow the recipe, be warned that it makes a ton, and enjoy.

denver done right

our friends’ wedding was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. beautiful and touching. there was lots of sun and even more dancing.  see my pictures from that on my flickr.

here’s the evidence from my phone:

PDX to DEN. those mountains are way bigger than they look.

sarah, table dancing.

melissa, table dancing.

sarah and me, table drinking.

our friends' dog kota at brunch the next day.

new blog feature

i can tell the direction of this blog is changing …again. i’m tired of writing about style for the time being and am feeling satiated in that through my current blog-feed.

i’m going to think about what that means for what’s going on here, but for now, enjoy something i like to call: ridley the cat sleeps on a ____.

today, ridley the cat sleeps on a chest.

wedding attire

i’m traveling with some of my best girlfriends to a wedding in denver this weekend. after much ado–a dress that arrived ripped and had to be returned, my relentless obsession with that should-have-been-perfect dress, a day-long frustrating and fruitless shopping spree in eugene, and a rushed order from the fine folks at need supply co.–here’s what i’m wearing.summer wedding

home again

we got home on tuesday evening after 35+ sleepless hours of travel (thanks to our friend b. for picking us up and our friend m. for doing an awesome job house/cat-sitting). we both slept for approximately 15 hours that night-the next afternoon. i’ve had only about four hours of sleep since then.

in short, over the past four days, i’ve slept only one actual night.

things aren’t pretty around this homesite, but the days are warm and the sun is making pretty regular appearances, which makes it easier to bear.

my garden went crazy while we were away and i can’t wait for all its new developments to ripen! spending some time weeding it and pulling spring’s plants will be therapeutic, i think.

(also: we took a million pictures of our trip and i put some of them up here.)

final packing list

third (or fifteenth, but who’s counting?) version of my packing list. most notable changes include: one less jacket and my nikes instead of the keds. why? i’ve been watching the weather for a week or so and it’s consistently been in the high 50s-mid 60s (fahrenheit) and having lighter layers is going to serve me better than individual warmer pieces. the nikes come into play because i want to be able to walk as much as i want without having to worry about comfort.* the fact that they stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of my choices is neither here nor there.

i feel pretty settled and confident in my clothing choices, but forcing myself to confront the actual size of a 1-quart baggie today was upsetting. curious to see how that goes when actual packing starts tomorrow night.

*i’ve said this when packing sneakers for trips many times in the past and i almost never end up wearing them. however, even if i need to buy shoes,  keds-like ones will undoubtedly be more available and cheaper at high street stores than nikes.

australia v. 3

packing light, part 3

husband and i found this suitcase at t.j. maxx last night.

the tiniest one. the little one. the one that is 9″ x 13″ x 20,” coming in well under the widely accepted dimensions of 9″ x 14″ x 22,” which will hopefully translate to being easier to stow in the overhead bins on the plane as well as avoiding any hassle by the airline personnel about size.

as soon as we got home with it, i did a practice run. i know it all might seem like a bit much, but i decided a while back that the only way i was ever going to make this happen was with minutely detailed planning.

almost everything fit. i’m going to have to leave behind the leather satchel i was planning on packing to use as my purse on days when i don’t want to carry my backpack, but i will just try to buy a canvas tote in australia for that purpose. a practical souvenir. the other things whose accommodation might be in question are toiletries and cosmetics. will pack those in smaller bags closer to time and see how they go in my suitcase/backpack. since i’ll have to take the toiletries out for liquid scanning, they’ll likely start out in my backpack for easy access, then i’ll put them in my suitcase for the long flights.

i also am going to have to wear approximately 72 layers onto the flight.

finally, travel pillows, worth it or not? i have a smallish, rectangular soft one from 100 years ago that i like (and the stuffing, cleverly, is a folded, cushioned pillow case to zip over the pillow at your destination), but it’s one of those things that would have to be carried because it would take up too much space in the backpack. i also wish i could figure out a way to carry a legit blanket since i hope there will be much sleeping during the flight and the plane’s blankets are gross. maybe i can find a good blanket then wear it as an additional scarf?

make that 73 layers.

more thoughts about packing light

i’m still thinking through how to pack in the most efficient way for our upcoming trip to australia. my plan to pack only a carry-on is still on, but only because i haven’t yet obtained said carry-on and tried to do it. gonna try and get on that soon.

here’s the current breakdown:australia v. 2australia v. 2 by swinginthelobby featuring linen tops

this should be obvious, but i don’t actually own every single one of these specific pieces (holy prices) but mostly they are approximations of my stuff. i’ll need to add in a pair of pajama pants–maybe yoga pants for the sake of space–and a few camisoles, as well as other underthings and leggings/tights. i bought a tiny hairdryer yesterday and am going to force myself to only pack what toiletries i can’t live without then just pick up the rest once we’re in australia/use what’s in the hotel.  i’m also going to have to limit myself to a teensy makeup bag. negotiating how to pack my liquids (foundation, concealer, argan oil, hair products, etc.) will be a blast.

this has motivated me to go start working on my lists. i keep thinking of things to pack or take along and not having lists started means that i don’t remember what those were at all.

here’s to getting it all in a carry-on!


today, one of my lifelong ambitions was realized: i got glasses.

taking this smug bathroom shot gave me a (very brief) pang of nostalgia for the myspace days. then i one-upped myspace using this awesome app thanks to my awesome mom.

whoo! glasses.

things i did today

i didn’t get to do my scheduled reading for the day because a wicked, nearly day-long allergy attack made it impossible to translate words on a page. in lieu of the moaning i’m tempted to do about that, i’m going to instead list out the things i did do, in no particular order:

-missed my mom (she just went home after a really great week-long visit)

-washed dishes (and missed my mom some more since she was an expert dish-washer during her visit)

-went to my first acupuncture appointment

-picked up and helped Husband install a window air conditioner in our bedroom (!!!)

-watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The Real Housewives of New York City


-made cold-press coffee for the morning

-went to Home Depot with Husband (even though I hate, hate, hate that place)

-read 3,264 blogs

-went to the bank

-went to the post office

-drank a glass of wine