Seasons Come and Seasons Go

I’ve been thinking about this little corner of the web over the past few weeks.  This blog has meant so much to me over the years.  It was a place for me to explore various interests that I had at the time – cooking, sewing, photography.  Sometimes I’m afraid to look back over this little archive and see all I’ve written, worried it’ll be ridiculous or embarrassing.  And sometimes it is, but only slightly.  Usually, it reminds me of who I was then.  And how I’m not that girl now.

It’s strange how much can change in so short a time.  How things that once seemed like so important are no longer even on the radar.  This blog was a small place where I chronicled years of trying, experimenting, and exploring.  I think that’s why it doesn’t seem embarrassing to me know: because it’s such a picture of who I was then.

But this is also the reason why it has left me perplexed at how to pick back up.  In some ways, I don’t want to disturb this image of who I once was.  Just like me, though, this space can’t remain unchanged forever, or else it would be incredibly boring.  It kind of already is.

(Also coming up with a new name for a blog is more than I can do.  Let’s be honest here.)

So here I am, ready to try this again.  Except, it’s going to be different.

Previously, my life seemed to revolve around cooking, food, and photography.  These days, though, I’m generally grabbing something quick to eat while running out the door.  When I do cook, I shoot for quick recipes, and the fewer dishes, the better.  My big black camera, while still important to me, is mostly in its bag now.  It’s been almost a year since it’s been out.  I know, sad.  Most of my photos are now taken on my phone.

What’s life look like now?

As a full time student and a part time piano teacher, I’m either teaching, learning, studying, or driving between all three.  It’s a lot to try to balance, and can be super stressful at times (ok like all the time).

But here’s the (not really) secret: I love it.  I absolutely love it.

I have been given myriads of opportunities I never would have had otherwise.  It’s opened horizons, stretched me, and taught me so very much.  And I can’t wait to see what will come next.

So what’s that mean for this blog?

Some days, weirdly enough, this science major just has the urge to write.  Whether it’s a thought I’ve been pondering, a memory that pops out, an interesting experience, wondering why we do something a certain way, or nostalgia, it sometimes just begs to be written.

So that’s what you’ll see here: a weird snapshot of my mind.

It won’t always be pretty, it probably won’t be very good.  But I’ll enjoy it. Hopefully, you will too.  And maybe, in five years, it will give me something to look back on.

If you’ve read this far, you are a fantastic human and you deserve an award.

And that’s it.  Hopefully I will be on here more – and we’ll see where it goes.

 

 

Hello hello hello.

Well, it’s been awhile.  🙂

Almost a year, to be exact.

I’m still here.  But life has happened.

I just completed my first full time year at college, working toward my Bachelor of Science, or that’s what I’m currently thinking.  I know I have to pick soon, but I still have some time to decide.  We no longer live in the country, and now live in the suburbs.  I am now a piano teacher with 12 students.

Between school and work and other obligations, I don’t really have time for that much cooking or canning or other crazy kitchen adventures.  My life is mostly school, work, homework, chill, sleep, school, homework…you get the picture.

I do miss some of my “old habits,” lol.  The cooking, the creating, the photography.

But now my life is homework due dates, piano lessons, school friends, and professors, and I’m kinda loving it.  A lot. ;p

Soooooo, that means I don’t have a terrible amount of time to dedicate to this lovely little nook here.  But at least while I’m on break for the next few weeks, I’ll try to post a few things.  I can’t make any promises, though, cause when Calculus starts in a few weeks…it may be crazy.

OK, it WILL be totally crazy.

Till then-
Allison

Nope, I Didn’t Die

I made it through last week, and most of this week.  Although this week’s been rough.  Hopefully that won’t last any more than a few more days.

So, basically, I got everything canned last week that I wanted to can.  With the exception of some tomatoes, which we ended up freezing, because I had been trying to do too much and had had a meltdown after several mishaps (lost 2 JARS to thermal cracking.  TWO JARS!  Man, that was tough).  So, last week I canned 4 pints and 1 half-pint of salsa verde (which Dad declared good), 4 half pint and one 4 oz. jar of raspberry jelly.  And 1 pint of pickled jalapenos (lost the half pint to thermal cracking).  Plus whatever I ended up doing on Monday (see previous post).

I am tired and slightly under the weather (a blah mood), so not a long post tonight.

Over the past two days I have begun working on my piano arrangement of Owl City’s Good Time!  It’s been pretty fun so far, but all I’m currently doing is figuring out chords and melody.  Once I finish that, the real fun begins – the actual arranging.  The chords appear to be basically the same throughout the whole song, and I have the first verse and chorus melody written out.  I might post a recording of it when it’s done, if anyone’s interested.  But that won’t be for awhile.  🙂

Well, I need to get myself off to bed (too many late nights + too many early mornings + too much sugar = one emotional and unhappy girl), so enjoy the photos.

Till next time!

~Allison

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Last Wednesday – What canning looks like when I have a bad day – all you need is a little Izze!  I LOVE that stuff.

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The salsa verde

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Saturday – the raspberry juice

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Making the jam/jelly

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Boiling

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Finished

 

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Today – arranging

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These Days

I made my bed this morning for the first time in 2? 3? days.  It’s just been like that lately.  I don’t get to make it in the morning, and then, when I do have time in the mid-afternoon, I just sort of look at it and think, “I’m going to be getting into it in a few hours anyway.  Is it really worth it to make it, then mess it up?”

So I’ve been leaving it.

These past few days have been filled with school, piano lessons and practice, reading, and the like.  Really, it’s been filled with life.

Something I’ve been thinking/reading quite a bit about the past few days is makeup and skin care.  Clothes and style.

I have been reading one book on beauty, and I have several more that I am looking at.  And then there was that book about color.  It just confused me.

Am I warmed-toned, or cool-toned?  Pink or peach?  What color are my eyes?  What is the color of my face when I blush?

And don’t get me started on clothes.

Mom tried to take me out clothes shopping the other day, but we couldn’t find anything.  Well, at least not what we were looking for.  We were trying to find some everyday long-sleeve shirts.  We ended up with a sweater (I have lots of sweaters) and a short-sleeved jacket and a knee-length skirt, all of which were on clearance.

(I want to be very, very clear – I am extremely happy with the things we did find.  But they don’t help incredibly when one has mostly short-sleeved shirts and sweaters, and it is 40*F out.)

And on top of it, I didn’t totally know what I was looking for.  It can be hard – I have a picture in my head, but of course we couldn’t find that, and I couldn’t describe it.  So combine frustration from looking at TONS of clothes, trying on lots, most things not working, and add the fact that I ate grain beforehand, which was altering my mood.  Basically, I was all but crying in the department store, and feeling so bad for my mom, who had taken me out shopping, and was putting up with me totally loosing it and us not finding anything, and she stayed so cheerful the whole time.  (You’re the best, Mom!)

And then I started looking at my dog and thinking how much easier it would be if we all just had fur.

(Thinking about it now, that might even be more work.  Tons of conditioner and several hair brushes.)

And hair?

We’re not even going there.

But things are starting to look a little bit brighter.

We walked into a different clothing store, and it looked like it had potential.  Not only that, but in the fifteen minutes that we were there, Mom found a cute blue jacket for me.

I think I need to go to a few more thrift stores.  Inexpensive clothes.  The best kind (if they are cute!).

And the beauty book I am reading is making a whole lot of sense, and not asking any questions about my coloring, and I am starting to feel like I could choose makeup without knowing if I am warm-toned or cool-toned.

And I am starting to look on the brighter side with doing my hair (like I am going to be trying a few things).

Soon I am hoping to start making some of my own products – lotion, cream, makeup remover, and face soap.  We’ll see where it goes from there.  I’m not sure I am ready to jump into making my own cosmetics, although that does sound fun.

And on another happy note, I started exercising again this week, after two weeks off (pre-Men’s Advance and post-Men’s Advance).  It’s been really, really great.

Well, I started this post just to post a few photos that I took today, and all that just came out.  If you’ve read this far, thanks for listening to my rambles and rants.

It’s good to get it all out there.

But, I must get to bed if I want to get up.

And I was only going to spend 5 minutes to post some pictures.

🙂

Here they are.

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My new jacket.  Love it next to my purple wall.

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I was prepping the beans for tomorrow’s dinner, and this one kidney bean was in the bag with the black beans.

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When I went in my drawer to grab something, one of my hair bands was in the perfect shape of a treble clef.  I moved it out carefully, and took a picture, so I could show you.  🙂

 

Good night!

Trusting His Grace,
Allison

Two Paleo Tortilla Recipes, Compared

I learned something the other day.

I learned that you can TOTALLY eat enchiladas without tortillas.

I had this little mental glitch that I needed to have tortillas to make enchiladas.  When I first went grain-free, enchiladas were one of the things that I thought I was really going to miss. 

I haven’t thought about it too much since.

But when I saw a recipe in Paleo Comfort Foods for coconut flour tortillas, I had to try it.

And I did.

I wasn’t impressed.  The tortillas ripped and crumpled really easily, and they were difficult to manage.  They also had a very egg-y taste.

So I tried to make these almond flour tortillas.

And they were a little stiff.  A little thick.  They would be PERFECT if you were going for a tamale-like breading.

So when I made my enchiladas, I layered part of the meat between two of the almond flour tortillas, and I put the rest of the meat between pieces of the coconut flour tortillas.

And I ended up just picking the tortillas out and eating the meat.

I might try to make tortillas once more, seeing if a mixture of flours and starches works better.

But now that I know I don’t need the tortillas, I think I can do without.

You learn things every day.

🙂

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My tortillas

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The almond flour tortillas

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The coconut flour tortillas

Ever Onward,
Allison

P.S.  It looks like others have made the coconut flour tortilla recipe with success.  Hmmm…:)

Today–11/26/12

I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today.  I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see.  I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping.  🙂

Today was just a normal day of school, of life.

I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight.  I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat.  It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself).  Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese.  They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle.  I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing.  I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese.  I think one time I had an actual burrito.  But I much prefer the burrito bowl.  Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!

O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner.  I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time.  Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too.  I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few.  Everyone enjoyed it.  The cheese was well liked by all (see above).

No pictures.  I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share.  🙂

 

I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work.  I went for a walk today, and it was lovely.  Today was a bit chilly.  It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things.  I like the cold, gray days.  They always have a certain quiet beauty about them.  I can’t explain it.  There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray.  They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere.  They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky.  Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were.  No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them.  I love gray days.

So I brought my camera on my walk with me.  As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture.  I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.

Here are a few of my shots.

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LOVE the moss

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And the grass

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Old barbed wire is so…country…

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…and just plain wonderful!

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Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…

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…or this shot better.  What do you think?  One or two?

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Old rusty farm equipment

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Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!

Love to you,
Allison

 

*Note:  I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it.  I just like this recipe.  🙂

A Lesson Learned

Last night Mom and Dad went out.  Usually when they go out, my siblings and I have a “party.”  Often, this includes loud music, dinner, dessert, possibly a movie, and general fun and silliness.

While Meiling and I were listening to music in the kitchen, I decided that it would be fun to make something quick for a dessert.  I pulled up this recipe for Chocolate Coffee Mousse, and we made a double batch of it.  All my siblings like chocolate and coffee, so I was pretty sure that it would be a hit.

Well, it was supposed to be refrigerated until it was firm, but we couldn’t wait that long.  Once it had hit the 2-1/2 hour mark (this was at 9:25), we dug in.

And they were good.  Very good.  Meiling gobbled hers up, exclaiming how delicious it was.  Noah really liked it, too.  Drake said that it was a make-again.

My parents arrived home not long after that.  As Meiling was energetically climbing on my dad, he looked at me and asked,

“Was that coffee caffeinated?”

“Yes, it was.”

I hadn’t really considered the fact that we would be eating this treat rather late, and that eating 1/2 tablespoon of caffeinated coffee grounds per person probably wasn’t the greatest idea.

Yes.  A scant 1/2 tablespoon of coffee grounds per person.  My 6-year-old sister included.

Drake and I had a rather exciting game with our Star Wars trading cards.  More exciting than it has been in a while.  I think we were both being affected by the coffee.  (This could partially be due to the fact that I won.  This is probably my 3rd or 4th time to win, out of the last 30 times I’ve played with Drake.  Obviously I am not the best at strategy games.)

Thankfully no one had a hard time sleeping, or at least not that I’ve heard yet.  I was up a bit later that I wanted to be, but it wasn’t terrible.

Note to self: keep it to decaf coffee when it is getting late on a weekday night. Especially for the 6-year-old.