Saturday, August 30, 2008

Birthday Dinner

Today my parents and I are preparing a little birthday dinner for me and my boyfriend, who will be abroad during our September birthdays, and also for my brother, whose birthday was earlier this month.

Tonight's dinner, moussaka, with carrot cake for dessert, would warrant a post of its own. But it gets me thinking of last week's birthday dinner, in honor of Mallory's 22nd.

We hadn't seen each other since before we started this blog, so it was a sweet chance to do some co-blogging. Somehow we missed the chance, but we did take advantage and do some collaborative cooking. Mallory found a great recipe for vegan, gluten-free "lasagna" made with corn tortillas instead of pasta and filled with a spicy tomato and bean sauce, with layers of avacado and corn in the middle. On top we crumbled baked tortillas to add some crunch, and paired it with spinach salad with a cinnamon-cumin dressing. Between the six of us at dinner, we easily polished off the large pan.

We started at the farmer's market, which is one of my favorite parts of summer in Grinnell, anyway.

It's like slicing butter, only more appetizing.

Halfway through and adding layers.

Halfway through, this time subtracting...

I love the birthday dinner tradition. In fact, I love any excuse for a little dinner party with my friends. Visiting Grinnell last week was a little melancholy, as I mentioned, but writing this post reminds me of a lot of really great moments, from potlucks with Lina and Abby second year and hauling pots of indian food across Mac Field to the German House faculty dinner junior year. From cooking over a makeshift candle-stove when we lost power for five days in February '07 to much-blogged-about summer potlucks last year and grill-outs on the deck this past semester.

I also love any excuse for a little reminiscing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hopeful Return from Hiatus

Hi Blog. I'm back.

In the almost two months since you've seen me, I've done a lot, sort of. Let me make a list:
1. Got a job. Yessss!
2. Went on vacation.
3. Visited my co-blogger and much-missed friend, Mallory, on her birthday.
3. Planned my next big move.

May I elaborate?


1. I'm going to be working for Epic Systems Corporation starting next February. I'll be traveling a lot and living in Madison, my beloved hometown. That means several exciting things, including apartment-hunting, apartment-decorating and, most importantly, my own kitchen.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. That's not 'til Feburary.

2. My boyfriend, Brian, and my parents and I took off for two weeks of camping earlier this August. We went to Banff Canadian National Park in Alberta, by way of the Dakotas and Montana. It was a beautiful trip with lots of wildlife and frisbee and hiking... I'll try to remember to post some highlights in the coming days.

3. Mallory is supposed to blog about this, I think, and I'm going to post photos of the delicious feast we cooked up, but I thought I'd mention it. I visited my other hometown, Grinnell. I saw friends and ate muffins and chatted with professors and it was gorgeous and a little surreal, since I won't be returning to campus for another semester.

4. Did I mention I'm moving abroad? For the next five months I'll be in Europe, mostly in Krakow, Poland. On the way there, Brian and I will check out Iceland and Scotland to see new things and visit friends. I'm starting to get seriously excited for this. We leave in three days, and I'm already mostly packed and totally pumped. I've been apartment-hunting online for Krakow, but we still don't have a place to stay. That's the only really scary part...

I made granola for the trip, and it was nice because I haven't made granola in a few years. It's so easy and so delicious that I wonder why I don't make it more often. The recipe I used is from the Recipes for a Small Planet cookbook by Francis Moore Lappe, and focuses on complementary proteins. The upshot of this is that, even without adding milk, this granola contains complete proteins, which are, I guess, extra healthy.

That's my last few weeks in a nutshell. I hope to get back in the swing of blog-posting, and to never let you down again, Blog.

And in the mean time, because I don't like a post without a photo, here's a pretty one from Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Enjoy:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hello again

Hi! I haven't been here in a while. I'm back in Minnesota now, after a wonderful semester in Germany and traveling in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The above photo typifies the Belgium portion of my trip, when I was traveling with my sister: along with the wandering and sightseeing, a lot of hanging out in hostel bars planning, meeting people, playing cards, and sampling Belgian beers.

Unfortunately, I don't have any other photos from my trip because I accidentally sent my camera cord home with my parents. It's too bad, it would have been useful for Travel Photo Wednesdays in the future.