Dear kind readers and SPAMers,
I am moving!!! And in more ways than one.
My patience has FINALLY paid off and I have an invitation in the mail to serve in the Peace Corps. Destination currently unknown.
I do know it is in the Pacific and that I leave in September.
To chronicle my journeys, I have begun a new blog. And at a new site.
Come follow me!
(Learning Wordpress will take some time, so bear with me!)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I used to believe that you had to date chefs to be fed good food.
Enter Randy's bison and lamb burgers. Stuffed with feta, mint, garlic, and other goodies.
This time I made pickled onions and a yogart cucumber sauce to go along with them.
We eat well. And we'd love to cook for you.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I like to dream that if an acceptance package for Peace Corps ever arrives, it will be inviting me to the Philippines.
Earlier, I blogged about Emmanuel running the marathon. Well Emmanuel taught me loads about the Filipino culture, and his mom taught me a dish or two.
The following staples are seen at just about any Flip potluck, restaurant, or event. I decided to make them a couple weeks ago when I had some time on my hands.
I made mine with chicken.
There of course are a lot of varieties, but I prefer this dish with the canton noodles (the yellow ones) and "Excellent" brand (the one with the shrimp) rice sticks. Here is a recipe that is very similar to Emmanuel's mothers. I can't really go step-by-step because I was winging it most of the time... I've made the dish enough to have the general idea down and know what consistency I prefer my noodles and veggies.
Although this dish takes a lot of chopping, it is quite simple once the cooking has begun. You do have to boil a whole chicken and use the delicious broth in the recipe.
I was reminded at how clean and fresh the flavors of this pasta dish are. The lime squeezed on top makes this moy perfecto. My belly was so happy!
an eggroll filled primarily with pork, onions, and soy sauce.
These are super simple but the wrapping can be tricky. I bought square wrappers and cut them in half to make double the amount of small rolls. Every time I've consumed Lumpia, whether they have carrot or green onions within them, they are always rolled very small (2-bite size) and taste pretty much the exact same. I even had them in a Philippine restaurant in New York City (where my mom impressed the waitor with her knowledge of Pancit).
This time my wrapping was perfect. I used egg white and a craft brush. I find that silicone brushes do NOT do a good job of holding liquid. I've had a terrible time using the silicone variety for spreading any liquid, from olive oil to BBQ sauce. Go for the hairy-styles.
Served with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce. So Good.
I know there are Flip restaurants in town but I haven't ever felt the need to go. I can make my two favorite dishes. Now if I ever go to the Pacific Islands for the Peace Corps I'll be ready to impress the locals with my knowledge, perhaps even cook for PacMan!
Oh yeah- and they all eat with just a fork and a spoon. Not chopsticks. No knives.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Spring has sprung.
Been thinking a lot about summer. How I wish I could get started with the guilt-free lazy days which I will spend lying by the springs while reading a book.
I also have been dreaming about my two vacations this summer. A trip to the lake house with a bunch of teachery friends and a rather Epic road trip with the Randy that will include stops in New Mexico, Utah, and California. Then my brother will be coming down from Connecticut with the childrens and there will be some family summer love. It should be a grand June and July.
But for now I can just watch the Spring flowers bloom and then whither in the sun, and wait for the next batch of colors to come up. Blue.....Yellow....Purple....Red... I'm loving them all.
Life up and down dates:
- I am poor. Substitute teaching is not my cup of tea.
- My search is well underway for a full-time art teacher job in the public schools for 2010-2011. Cross your fingers for me, please.
- In July I start my communications up with the Peace Corps again. Cross all sets of fingers for me.
- I have a couple of potential summer gigs lined up. Babysitting, nannying, possibly collecting the census.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Not only did Emmanuel finish the Boston Marathon, but he set a whopping personal record there.
Overall Rank: 416
Gender Rank: 385
Age division Rank: 322
That is awesome!
He was the top Austin finisher and there is an article about him and the other runners up on the RunTex site. Yay!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Back in the day, this curly-headed girl tried out for and made the UT women's rowing team. I was an NCAA athlete for, eh, a month or so before deciding the full-time training and pain and dropping grades was not for me.
However, I did get forced in to a fondness for running in those days, and forced my boyfriend at the time, Emmanuel, to run with me. Although he had run track as a youngn', I'd like to credit myself for his getting back in to running in college. I like to think that at one time, I was a bit more in shape than him.
- Time passed.
- Jennifer began yoga and less body-damaging activities. :) Emmanuel kept running.
- Em trained himself to do a half marathon.
Me dropping Em off at 5-ish in the am for his races. Then I'd rush and wait at the mid-point and the end to photo/yell/wave.
- Tick-Tock Tick-Tock
- Emmanuel ran his first marathon in Austin. After finishing, rather than say "OK, that's that" this little Filipino says, "I think I'm going to qualify for Boston."
- More Time passed.
- Emmanuel happened upon a top-notch coach who took him under his wing.
- Emmanuel started working at Run-Tex. (You can thank him for the water deliveries around town lake and go to him for amazing athletic shoes)
- Emmanuel started running for TeamMac
- Emmanuel qualified for the Boston Marathon!! For those of you who don't know, Em's qualifying time had to be below 3 hours and 10 minutes..... That means 26 miles at a 7 minute 30 second pace... that is INSANE(ly awesome)!! He also did it at the Austin Marathon, which is one of the harder Texas marathon courses.
1904 Boston Marathon (earliest known picture)
- Em continues to run and get rediculously fast times, improving all the time.
- On Monday, April 20th, he will be running with 25,000 others at this prestigious event. He is hoping to achieve a personal record, but really he already has... he made it!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Last weekend, Randy and I took a big vay-kay to Houston, Texas where we visited two wonderful peoples, Matt y Meredith. He is an engineering tank guy who brews beer, she is an art-director-assistant gal who writes a fab-o blog. Together they are practically two peas in a pod. Arguably peanut butter and jelly all squished between love and happiness bread.
They took us to a delicious rum-tasting dinner and out for beverages on Friday. Saturday was spent smokin' meat. And Sunday we went out to what looked like an amazing brunch spot (bacon bloody mary's!!!) but I was feeling ill that day and couldn't even bring myself to eat a gourmet fried SPAM sammy.
My favorite part of the visit however, was seeing this couple's AMAZING abode which will one day soon be transformed in to a brew pub.
The house was built by it's previous owners in the early 80's and is jam-packed with charm. Matt y Mere are doing a fabulous job of accentuating all of it's natural beauties while fixin' 'er up.
Peacock themed stained glass...and cloth Curtains.. and lacy Curtains.
Craft Room!! (SQUEEE!) I helped myself to it while Mere was away on Saturday.
Happy cat with sad foot.
Happy Dog with Horse.
Circle rooms with lovely lighting and lovely hanging light fixtures.
These are just a few of my favorite things about their abode. I didn't get a photo of the gold claw-footed tub or the sitting area outside that will one day be an outdoor theatre but you get the idear.
I can't wait to visit again. One day I hope to have an abode of my own where people can wander around and discover little bits-o-Jenniferness around every corner.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The following idear did not come entirely from my own noggin'. In fact, it was stolen from another red, curly-headed gal named Emily.
I saw an old window frame in her room that she had used to frame some pretty fabric. I thought, "By golly, I should do that!"
I love using old windows as paint palettes because they are large, easy to clean, and super CHEAP! Believe it or not, an old window can be found for just 1 or 2 bucks at the Austin Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Art supply stores charge over 20 bucks for a small sheet of plexi-glass crrrap to paint on. Do yourself a favor, use a window. :)
After visiting Emily's abode, I was thrilled to discover this new use for the cute lil' old windows.
A couple days before this I had bought Randy two burlap coffee bean bags from the Texas Coffee Traders. I figured the boy loves coffee, and the boy loves things from other countries to show his students and hang in his classroom. Win-Win.
Now I could combine the burlap sack + window and have a truly unique wall-hanging!
But I'm not all good and generous. I had to make myself something cute first. :) So I practiced on a print that was hanging in my bathroom featuring one stunning fish riding a bicycle.
I cleaned the window pane really carefully and used a metal glass scraper to remove some old paint drops.
Then I used spray adhesive to mount the poster to the glass window from the back. The adhesive goes on clear and seems to be holding really well (not sure how it'll look in a decade).
Finally, I took half of a coffee bag that I wasn't using for the Randy, and I used a staple gun to mount it behind the fish poster. I did not stick the bag to the window because I wanted there to be a small gap between the poster and the burlap, adding more dimension and making it a little more interesting to look at.
Then I fashioned a hanger with wire on the back and decided to hang it in my bedroom where it fits with my current decor. I think it turned out quite well. I even did some additional scraping to the window to uncover some of the older layers of paint. Mmmmmm, character!
On to Randy's, which involved less steps than mine did.
For his, I simply cut out the coffee bag to fit the window. I then sprayed the adhesive both on the window and the front of the bag.
I carefully smoothed the bag on to the window and finished it by stapling the edges to the window frame.
I put some wire to hang it up and that bad boy was done!
His is hanging in his kitchen and it looks really great. I honestly think every local coffee shop should do this... Or buy one from me. :) They look really nice and provide an artistic use for these furry little coffee bags.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
So I bought Randy one of these for a yeariversary present.
Apparently, there is quite a following of this product amongst people who know their coffee. I saw it used at Frank, one of our new favorite Cappuccino spots. I bought it from a fellow named Tyler who placed third in a South Central Regional Barista competition and is always showing us new coffee gadgets when we go in.
Randy's is a red Hario v60 Dripper.
The coffee dripper makes a lot cleaner, and in my opinion, more flavorful cup-o-Joe than a French Press and clean up is a cinch.There is definitely some (or a lot) of technique involved to really get the best flavor. Temperature of water, speed of pour, size and amount of grounds are just some of the factors involved.
Randy watched a video, read some factoids online (the box was in Japanese) and after one test-run, had an amazing cup of coffee.
It really was a beautiful thing and money well spent. The boy is happy.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Spring break was made for.....
dogs with mohawks
Sometimes a lemon rolls along and it seems like the fun won't last.....
Gilbert working on my first flat tire. Poor Jalepeno.
But something fun is bound to roll around again soon. This is Austin, after all.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Just when I was thinking to myself, "time to get started on my bathing suit belly," I get NINE boxes of cookies in the mail.
While I joke of this being a bad thing, in reality the timing of this delivery was perfect.
Ninth graders can really suck. In fact, public school students of all ages can suck when put in charge of by a substitute teacher.
Today (one 1.5 hour period, actually) was enough to ruin my entire afternoon. I pity any substitute who thinks that this is how life as a teacher really is yet it is something I struggle with daily. It is important not to take subbing too seriously because for some strange reason, students suddenly think they can do whatever they want when put in charge of by a sub. It's as if they don't realize that we DO communicate with their teachers. We DO know the rules. We can hear them whispering and see them cheating or texting. We WERE students once ourselves. Sheesh.
My students today had a three-part test to work on silently. And what did they do? Talk, goof-off, cheat, talk more, come in late from lunch, talk, throw things, curse, etc..... It's not like they were necessarily rude to me and I HAVE had much, much worse. Something about my emotional state today and the fact that I couldn't get them to be quiet for more than 1 minute on a test made me doubt my abilities as a teacher and created a tearful, red-faced Jennifer by lunchtime.
I regained composure and put on Nazi-Jen for the last period, still having trouble keeping them fully on task until the end of the day.
What's a girl to do when a bunch of smart-ass hooligans wont listen to her? Well, she's gonna go home and lay in bed and sulk.
Enter: Semi-Mysterious package on my doorstep waiting for me when I got home.
Addressed to one "Jennifer "Yoga" Blount," from my mother. I knew this package's contents would cheer me up. I also had an inkling that the contents would be edible. And have pictures of cute little girls in uniforms on the cover.
Sure enough, NINE boxes of Girl Scout cookies. None of those nasty lemon ones or peanut butter sammy ones. Only my favorite flavors. Even two boxes of a few.
Is it a bad thing that I instantly felt better?
I don't think so. I mean after-all, my mamma loves me.
Now I will go soak in an Epsom salt bath (I'm still yogaing- still sore), eat cookies, watch Fringe, and forget about the kids from today. Because tomorrow bright and early I'll be subbing for more students, hoping for the best. And I'll probably bring a bag of cookies with me.
Love to you on this gray and fuzzy Monday.