Let’s chat.

Have you ever seen those “coffee-date”-format blog posts, where you and the blogger are seated across a virtual table sipping on respective caffeinated drinks, and supposedly you’re talking to each other but really the blogger is just droning on and on about their lives while you stare at pictures of said drinks?

Well, aren’t you in for a treat.

Have a lovely, classy, monochrome cappuccino.  It tastes wonderful; warm, smooth, and a bit bitter–and you’ve got a brownie to wash down too, it’s just been cropped due to Instagram’s weird photo shaping lens.

Firstly, I want to say, thanks for the responses to my last post!  I really feel like I’ve been welcomed back with open arms.  Muchas gracias!! (As a side note, though: wth are you people doing commenting at 6:30 AM?? Sleep, sleep, my children.  We are on winter break!  Am I the only proper teenager here?  I myself only slithered out of bed at 10 this morning because I needed to get food in me and make sure that last post published.  I’m quite sure I could sleep all day if I didn’t get hungry.)

And obviously, since I’ve been gone for so long, there’s things that have happened since my last post that I need to fill y’all in on.  Not anything big or scary, just a bunch of mildly exciting pit stops on the road of everyday life.

  1. I performed my poem ‘The Professional Aimless Wanderer’ two months ago at the Washington State Poet Laureate’s reading.  The last word you all received on this endeavor was that I was having a hell of a time trying to write something.  I never succeeded, instead digging into my poem backlogs to scrounge up something suitable.  It went over quite well, though, and it was fun and a good experience.  Mother Dearest took a video…but due to her technological ineptitude, it’s mainly a video of the back of someone’s head with me off to the side, perched like a poetic shoulder-angel.  It’s also sideways.  😀  You guys want to watch it anyways?  Anyone know how to rotate it, at least..?
  2. Just 2 days ago we returned from a trip to see the extended fam in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  At Crater Lake we got a very detailed and lovely shot of a bird’s butt:IMG_0100
  3. IMG_0046 as well as this striking fisheye-effect shot of yours truly.  🙂  (NOTE, FOR CLARIFICATION: THIS IS NOT MY ACTUAL FACE.) We toured Captain Jack’s Stronghold (in Northern California), attempted to ice skate, and ate more hash browns than could possibly be healthy. Life was good.
  4. I got a new computer!  DSCN4325Its name is Cecil, he’s my birthday and Christmas present and probably blackmail material for this year and next, and he is just…the sexiest thing. Seriously.  So sleek and shiny and light and fast…I think I’m in love. Many thanks to the parental units.DSCN4327
  5. In way more recent news, today we took a day trip to Portland, Oregon, and visited the famous CITY OF BOOKS!!  Is it a bit drastic to proclaim that, post-high-school sometime, I really want to live in Portland, just for the sake of Powell’s?  Maybe I could work there as a supplement to the writing thing…I just really, really love this place, you guys.  For some reason it’s extremely comforting to wander around alone inside a huge building filled with books–like being swathed in stories.  Plus there was a cafe, with scones and chai lattes.  DSCN4328(Upon bringing out the camera to snap a picture of the lemon-blueberry scone, Daddio exclaimed from across the table, “You must be back to blogging!”) 😉DSCN4330

My haul.  Hyperbole and a Half is the…the greatest thing ever, you guys.  I cannot even begin to express my love for this comic.  If y’all aren’t reading her blog, get on it, stat.  Her dog-themed comics are the only thing that will guarantee me a 10-minute, laugh-so-hard-I-cry session, no matter how bad of a day I’m having.  I’m usually guffawing so loudly Citrus joins in (he knows how to mimic my laugh), and there’s no way my day can continue to go downhill from there.  Hyperbole and a Half, guys.  Seriously.

And now I hold the awesome concentrated humor in tangible, dead-tree form.  Nothing could be better.

Also…

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ohmigod I might be really dangerous with this book. 😉

Have a lovely day, y’all.  I don’t know why I’ve slipped into saying “y’all” within this post.  I don’t say it in real life.  It’s pretty fun to type, though.  I hope your coffee was enjoyable, and the brownie too!  We should really do this again sometime.

DSCN3111(Citrus says hi, btw.  He’s missed his adoring people.)

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MIMM: Hatchday, Pretty Light, Knees, and Insane Decisions

Hey everyone!  How’s your Monday going?

DSCN3124 DSCN3127 DSCN3137 DSCN3143 DSCN3160 DSCN3159Mine’s been pretty…pretty, to say the least.  As a Washingtonian, such flagrant displays of sunshine are something of a rarity, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been taking full advantage of these picture-perfect summer days by frolicking about, soaking up the Vitamin D.

I’ve never really been one of those people who need an extra boost on Mondays to get through the week, even when school/activities are in session–I’ve just never hit the “Monday wall” that I guess so many people run into.  I’ve already confessed my nerdship to you guys–Monday is basically my favorite day of the week!  Not only is it usually pretty light on homework because teachers don’t like to take the time to concoct elaborate assignments over the weekends, school STARTS UP AGAIN and I know it’s going to be the beginning of a (potentially gruelingly) glorious week!

Still, it never hurts to get a little extra boost, even if your biggest worry right now is that the hammock that’s callin’ your name is gonna get lonely.

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The weekend was pretty enjoyable marvelous.  I hosted Citrus’ third hatchday party–I made sad-looking but still (IMO) cute cockatiel cookies and we bopped around outside.  There was a sleepover and we all got very slap-happy.  We were tired in the morning but there were muffins (with both lemon and seeds–perfect for a bird named Citrus!) made by me and a frittata made by Mother Dearest (with potatoes inside–tasted like hashbrowns!!).  I do so love hashbrowns.

Alas, we did not have a circular cookie cutter, so I had to shape the sugar cookie dough (nomnomnom) with a beer-can chicken prop-thing.  (My culinary vocabulary falters when it comes to meat…)

To make the cookies, I used the Savvy Vegetarian cookie dough recipe, this recipe for coconut whip as a frosting (tinted yellow with food coloring), Craisins for eyes, chopped up Watermelon Laffy Taffy for the beaks, and mangled “orange slices” candies for the orange cheek circles.DSCN3042 DSCN3052

This totally didn't happen what are you talking about.  Not straight from the beater, never.

This totally didn’t happen what are you talking about. Not straight from the beater, never.

I wouldn't recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip--it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely.  I used...whatever this brand is.

I wouldn’t recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip–it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely. I used…whatever this brand is.

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Beaks!  Haha

Beaks! Haha

Aaaaand the final result.  Bit homely, but that’s okay! 🙂

Citrus approves.

Citrus approves.

Other marvelous things today…

Can we talk patella bracing for a sec?  I’m in love.  I don’t think that’s hyperbole.  Anything that was enough to lift me out of the forced 8-month running break thanks to these dang knees is virtually a Messiah in my eyes.  (I think it was probably the braces in adjunct with my rest, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic ultrasounds, but hey, whatever works…)  To my surprise, I haven’t lost all of my (nonexistent to begin with) running prowess, and the braces allowed me to attend my first *OFFICIAL* XC practice last Friday!  I hope to attend two more this week!  We’ll see how that goes…alas, my mileage maximum right now is approximately 3.  (Maybe four on the hamster wheel?)  By the end of the summer we’re supposed to be easily running 8…

This brings me to my first INSANE DECISION OF THE DAY!  This one is way less insane than my other one, but it’s still a big thrill for me.  I signed up for another 5k!!  This one’s on August 24th, and, while running in the heat ain’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m beyond stoked!  If I can even get close to my time on my first-and-only 5k, then it will be a huge reassurance for me that, though my knees doth plague me, I can get my kickassery and (somewhat) speed back with enough motivation.  (To any “serious” runners out there reading this:  I know a 5k is not a huge distance.  It’s kind of a menial race.  But, alas, my body is NOT DESIGNED FOR RUNNING WHATSOEVER [sitting and blogging is more my speed, how ’bout you?] and a 5k is a big deal to me!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pancakes 009(Throwback to the morning of my first 5k, waiting in the starting line.  Pay no attention to the ominous disembodied hand on my shoulder; someone else is cropped out.  And notice the fear hiding behind the forced smile–the glazed eyes, the overall absent disposition.  I was convinced I was going to die that day.)

Incidentally, you know what’s harder than running a 5k?

………………………..Biking two hundred and two miles.

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Yeah, it’s insane.  We’ve covered this.  And it will require buying a new bike, and/or some road tires for my current trusty steed mountain bike.  But recently (yesterday-recently), la madre de una de mis amigas (I’m not sure why I phased into Spanish here, but I couldn’t think how to word it in English) participated in the Cascade Bicycle Club/Group Health Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, a one- or two-day event that spans a total of 202-point-something miles.  Which gave me a sudden and intense burst of inspiration.  It’s a recreational ride, not a race, but from my extensive Googling of the thing last night it looks. epic.  And everyone says you need to dream big and set high goals to keep your morale buoyed, right?  So.  I’ve got a year to train.  I post this to the internet so I can’t back down–next year, Daddio and I will be participating in the 2014 Seattle-to-Portland ride.  And we will rock that epic $#*@.

Much moreso than for running, my body (and quads) like biking.  While the farthest ride I’ve ever taken to date was just 40 miles with lots of hills, and I died afterwards–I’ve got a year.  Best get on this.

Ahh.  The inevitable foot selfie.  (For some reason I just tried to spell “foot” as “fut”…)  Daddio and I went on a short (10 mile?) ride today, and I plan to get some running on the hamster wheel done as well.  Fitness, here I come!

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And arrachgha, yes, I need to do a poemography post today, since I’ve skipped out on that for, what, three weeks?!  Problem is, I only have one line to work with… #poetictrialsandtribulations

“Rather than people who shine–

I like people who glow

is the line, but I’m not sure how to weave that into a poem.  Would it be all right if poemography was extended to flash fiction?  I know I made the rules, but you guys can change them.  I’ll luv ya forever 😉

Costa Rica Photo Dump

No, I don’t have anything earth-shattering to say right now.  No, I have no spunk or seriousness or awesome alliteration to share today.  No, I have nothing worth blogging about, really (I’ve been curled up on the couch all day for the past two days nursing a wicked GI bug and a protein smoothie) but I realize I’ve kinda left you guys alone for more time than I am comfortable with! 😉  10 days…where are my manners?  So, just to reassure you that I have not died (and was in fact having the time of my life on vacation), I’d like to provide you with some of the stunning vistas of my last 12 days of existence…

Smiling tree!

Smiling tree!

Ladies and gentlemen, the single scariest creature in the universe.  Not only is it as long as your forearm plus the length of your hand, it can carry 25 pounds (I half expected to see my backpack scuttling away in the night...)

Ladies and gentlemen and those in between, allow me to present to you the single scariest creature in the universe. Not only is it as long as your forearm plus the length of your hand, it can carry 25 pounds (I half expected to see my backpack scuttling away in the night…)

Tacos made by angels.  The best in my life!  (Broccoli..?  And copious amounts of cheese!)

Tacos made by angels. The best in my life! (Broccoli..? And copious amounts of cheese!)

Chester, the walking stick

Chester, the walking stick

Zip lining through the canopy!  (I am ridiculously proud of this photo!)

Zip lining through the canopy! (I am ridiculously proud of this photo!)

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Post-zip-lining face. The wheel spat so many little flecks of grease back onto the zip liner that I became freckled for a day. I dunno, you guys, I would date me…

I also became Angelina Jolie for a day, thanks to a special tropical leaf-flower thing.  Except Angelina probably has better hair.  Give me a break.  There were minimum showers and cosmetics available.

I also became Angelina Jolie for a day, thanks to a special tropical leaf-flower thing. Except Angelina probably has better hair. Give me a break. There were minimum showers and cosmetics available.

No words...except I must state that 7 different hummingbirds landed on my finger at the sanctuary!  (They can sniff out the avian personalities, I tell ya...)

No words…except I must state that 7 different hummingbirds landed on my finger at the sanctuary! (They can sniff out the avian personalities, I tell ya…)

Baby leatherback turtle, just hatched and being released to sea...again, no words.

Baby leatherback turtle, just hatched and being released to sea…again, no words.

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I was feeling poetic, you guys.

I was feeling poetic, you guys.

A very iconic-looking stick.  I'm not sure why I thought this...just stick with me here...

A very iconic-looking stick. I’m not sure why I thought this…just stick with me here…

Attempting to do yoga in the surging sea.  (In a lightning storm.  I'm smart.)

Attempting to do yoga in the surging sea. (In a lightning storm. I’m smart.)

Failing, and deciding to try summoning Poseidon instead.

Failing, and deciding to try summoning Poseidon instead.

Pots full of warm mud, at a spa...*shudders* at least my skin seems softer now.  It felt like slathering warm bird weaning food all over one's self.

Pots full of warm mud, at a spa…*shudders* at least my skin seems softer now. It felt like slathering warm bird weaning food all over one’s self.

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Yes, the name of the owner of our tour boat was actually Victor Hugo!!  I die.

Yes, the name of the owner of our tour boat was actually Victor Hugo!! I die.

 

First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake…I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

We saw the elusive Resplendant Quetzal!!  I didn't get the best picture of him out of my group, but you can still marvel at his beauty.

We saw the elusive Resplendant Quetzal!! I didn’t get the best picture of him out of my group, but you can still marvel at his beauty.

I also saw fireflies for the first time in my life; I feel my childhood is now complete!

With this, I bid you adieu, at least until tomorrow.  Wish me a speedy recovery! 😀

Snapshots from a South-of-the-Border Spring Break

Know what’s awesome?  Spending your spring break in total relaxation, not concerning yourself with homework or social life or appearance or friends or problems in general or cooking or grades or upcoming tests…instead lounging by the Atlantic Ocean with three good books.  And chocolate.

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Just for the record, I have no idea what book is being advertised on the screen of my Kindle there and I possess no affiliation nor affinity towards it.

Know what’s NOT awesome?  Arriving back home again at midnight on a Saturday, leaving only the portion of the Sunday that you don’t sleep in through to do all the homework that you decided you weren’t going to do over vacation because it’s vacation.  GAAAAH.

But that’s what blog is for, right?  Reliving the glory days, thirty-six hours after they ended…and procrastinating that homework load even further…

Accch.  Cannot think about work just now.  Onto pictures.

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DSCN1208DSCN1253Hooray for waterproof orange camera!

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DSCN1329We went snorkeling in two of these cenotes, as well!  They were frigid, but in the most beautifully peaceful way.  No fish, just the smell of stolidity and your own thoughts swirling around the water with you.

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Okay, so there actually were some catfish!

DSCN1339I have no idea what happened here, but I kinda like it.

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At Playa del Carmen, there were several of these “fish spas”, which were exactly that–they were large tanks in which you payed to stick your bare feet.  Small brown and black fish proceeded to nibble on your toes, which, um, I suppose exfoliates the skin of your feet very nicely.

It tickles immensely.

DSCN1447We zip-lined on Thursday, complete with stylin’ orange gloves and helmets.  I did enjoy it, but I can’t say it was as thrilling as I’d hoped.  I love my roller coasters, and I thought it would be more like that…the lack of speed probably had something to do with my lack of size (I didn’t have as much momentum as the bigger peeps), and it was more like a scenic glide through the treetops than it was a thrilling zip-line.  And there were a heckuva lot of stairs to get to the top of each platform!  Nonetheless, it was pretty fun.

The first  of the platforms...

The first of the platforms…

All suited up and ready for action! ;P

All suited up and ready for action! ;P

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DSCN1470New skin hue is all the fault of the zip line gloves! ;P  New blog=”The Girl with the Orange Hand”…

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We also snorkeled with some sea toitles! 🙂  So graceful; I am convinced you canNOT mess up a photograph of a turtle.

And finally…

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Do not lie to me and try to tell me this is NOT the most awesome henna tattoo in existence.

In conclusion:

Did I enjoy myself over the week spent in Xcaret, Mexico?  Immensely; it presented a plethora of new experiences, both culinary and non-, I got some beautiful pictures and a lot of rays of sun (boy, is the sun intense down there!  I walked around like a stiff, pink lobster for days…).  If I could have changed something, though, I would have had us stay somewhere that wasn’t such a resort–don’t get me wrong, our resort was relaxing and luxurious and I appreciated it, but it did feel really artificial.  I am excited for my trip to Costa Rica in June (thank you so much for the funds, all you generous familial contributors!!) because we will be staying in tucked-away, hidden spots, rather than huge tourist metropolises, so we get to see what life is actually like there instead of being so coddled all the time.

But I’m glad there was free dessert.  Stay tuned for an upcoming What I Ate Wednesday post, detailing my culinary journey over spring break! 🙂

Monthly Recap: February 2013

Recap in a sec, but first:

HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY, GUYS!!

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

On such a monumentous occasion, it is very tragic that my peanut butter jar is in such an (empty) state.

I was so, so thrilled that I remembered to check the Hallmark every-holiday-ever calendar yesterday, especially since I missed the actual national peanut butter day.  (Good thing there’s a day just for the fans.)  I mean, seriously, why didn’t someone tell me?

Maybe you can celebrate by making something, special for tomorrow’s breakfast, like, say, Apple PB Baked Oatmeal. 😉  Or maybe, since tomorrow is National Banana Creme Pie Day, you will choose to whip up some 2-Ingredient Banana Creme and top it off with some peanut butter/sauce…!  The possibilities are endless.  Let your imagination run wild!

Onto February stuff. 🙂

So, during the month of February, I…

acted in a school play, didn’t run at ALL (still) and remained bitter about it, figured out a (somewhat) way to keep my fitness schedule on track even so (hello, strength training and yoga!), became even more enamored with oatmeal now that I can no longer eat it, practiced yoga in a real yoga studio for the first time evah, did a lot of…pondering, took a barefoot walk in the rain, wrote some things, and…acted in a school play.  Rather underwhelming, huh?; but what’re you gonna do.  It was a short month, somehow made even shorter by the lack of a breezy 30-minute run every day.  I told you.  Bitter.

(dramatic sigh) Anyway, now, the feature you’ve all been waiting for:

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

I did have some culinary breakthroughs this month, though I wasn’t as creative with coming up with my own flavor combinations as I would have liked.  Most recently, I went on a Trader Joe’s run a few weeks ago and ate the first tamale of my life.  I’m not quite sure why this seemed like as big of a deal as it did, but there you have it.  Sadly, it rather disappointed.  I was expecting it to be something like a Mexican dumpling, and instead all I get is this dry corn dough lumped together with a bunch of gooey cheese, corn kernels, and an attempt at jalapeno.  *Sniffs disdainfully*

Speaking of dumplings, I also made my first dumpling stew last month; a recipe from Allyson Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats.  Except that now that we’re fairly certain my knee problems are not being caused by a gluten sensitivity and that makes me very happy, I promptly re-glutinified it.  It was highly delicious and highly brown (highly NOT photogenic); the dumplings taste like big gobs of homemade pasta dough and I <3, <3.  Comfort food at its finest.

…photography:

*Hangs head in shame* What do I really have to say for myself here, guys?  That running has left me too scatterbrained to participate in any of my usual creative activities…?  (I’ve already used that excuse multiple, multiple times, for multiple, multiple things.)  That my food/life has not been very aesthetically pleasing as of late..?  I’m sorry.  I know I make a lot of promises here, but this time when I say I’ll work on it (it being the frequency/quality of my photography), I truly mean it.  As halfway-compensation, in lieu of a proper photography section, here are some snapshots from the month:

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I love this picture; but sorry for the smudged face.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Never in my life have I seen a dog that looks more like a walrus.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

Citrus does not take kindly to his head-scritching session being intruded on by a big ugly camera.

A flub, obviously--I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

A flub, obviously–I was intending to get the whole Citrus (only the Citrus, and nothing but the Citrus), but I rather enjoy how this mistake looks, with his feet on my shoulder.

…things that made me smile:

My poetry winning a contest that you can’t know about because it would tell you my name! 🙂  Ranting about my undying love for chocolate to my friends, on Valentine’s Day and beyond…I have made the resolution never to date a boy until I find one that makes me feel like chocolate makes me feel.  Chocolate makes me feel beautiful and respectable and appreciated and loved and YUMMMM.

I have to close with this since it's no longer my header. :)  Happy March.

I have to close with this since it’s no longer my header. 🙂 Happy March.

Monthly Recap: November 2012

I’ve noticed that all of my monthly recaps up to this point start off with something along the lines of “Aaaacch!  How is it already (insert new month here)?!”  I should think of some way to change it up, but I’m not going to.  The passing of time is utterly baffling to me this year.  I suspect it has something to do with getting older.  As a wee young sprite, I started looking forward to December before summer vacation was even over; October, with its promise of a sugar binge in its final day, absolutely drawled; November was a stupid extraneous month that lengthened the time between Halloween, my birthday, and the rest of the December holidays.  (I was never really big on Thanksgiving except for the annual marshmallow fluff and strawberry jello ‘salad’.  Until this year, when I got REALLY into the Thanksgiving spirit.)

And now…here we are.  Poof, December!  It has long been my favorite month, though I must admit it’s losing a bit of its touch when we fail to have snow on the ground when it rolls around.  (Remember the snow photos in my last post?  Those were taken in MARCH, people, MARCH!)  I’m looking forward to the season of giving, endless mugs of hot cocoa, the first snowfall of the year (please please please please PLEASE), and my birthday.  It’s on the 10th, people.  Cough, cough.

So, over the course of November, I ran my first 5k and began training for me second one, began working on my bird training project in earnest, was sooo close to completing 100k words on my novel, was given the opportunity to (kind of) meet with a literary agency, almost swore when I realized the holidays were less than a month away and my wallet cotnained exactly $40 (man, I used to plan out Christmas presents starting in September!), ate some highly delicious food and made some epiphanies in kitchen, started developing my first two “real” recipes, and sustained my first running injury.  November hit me hard.

One month of The Girl in the Orange in terms of…

…food:

The Fitnessista breakfast cookie.  Need I say more?  I’d wanted to make it for a loooong time, but didn’t have any protein powder, which I thought was imperative.  Thanks to a quick internet search that revealed Mama’s Weeds‘ tips, I’ve made it twice already.  Once for dinner.  It’s that good.  Don’t skip out on the cocoa powder, unless you’re going to try to photograph it.  It’s not pretty.

Brown food doesn't photograph well, especially when you don't want to take the time to even put it on a pretty plate or clear your placemat of crumbs.  But it's dang delicious.

But it’s dang delicious.

And lentil flatbread from The Forgotten Beast.

You can make BREAD out of lentils??  Mind=blown.  Since I’ve been running and strength training a lot more lately (well, not lately, since I’ve still got my bum knee), I’ve been consciously trying to incorporate more protein into my veg diet; it also helps stave off late-night snacking sessions that turn into second dinners.  (Let’s thaw a stack of frozen pancakes and eat it at 9 PM!  That’ll be a great idea!  No.)

Mine…doesn’t look like bread.

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Shhh…I massacre every flatbread I try to make.  It’s not flatbread, but it IS mighty yummy–I’ve been crumbling this up and tossing it in salads and sandwiches.

I think I’ll do better on the whole flatbread thing the next go-round, when I understand the concept better.  There WILL be a next go-round!

Delicious things I didn’t manage to get a picture of include a tortoise-shaped cake from a local bakery (amazing detail, and the frosting is to die for!, even though usually I’m not a frosting type of gal), and a great lunch yesterday at a local Asian vegetarian restaurant.  BEST. PEANUT SAUCE.  EVER.  I could eat it by the spoonful–I did eat it by the spoonful!  Possibly even more memorable was the fact that I actually managed to drag Daddio along to the restaurant this time.  He’s a full-blooded backwoods steak-n’-potaters dad; I love him, but he was quite apprehensive to try tofu.  In the end, he worked up the nerve to try the deep-fried tofu and pronounced it “not bad…”!!  Baby steps. 😉

Thanksgiving leftovers rocked the world, as always.  Best part of the whole holiday.  At least in compensation for your stressful laboring the day before, you have an unlimited feast waiting for you in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Leftover green salad with romaine, spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, feta, green beans, balsamic vinaigrette and a homemade garlic knot!  Complicated salads make me happy!

Leftover green salad with romaine, spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, feta, green beans, balsamic vinaigrette and a homemade garlic knot! Complicated salads make me happy!

Elsewhere in the food life of The Girl in the Orange…

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Apple Nut-Butter Baked Oatmeal!  (And next, Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal!)  Stay tuned! 🙂

photography:

I didn’t really do so hot on food photography this month; there was a lot of SHTUFF going on.  So, bear with me, as I share three photos, two of which you’ve already seen before.

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PBF’s Vanilla Pecan Baked Oatmeal.  This is probably about the fifth time I’ve mentioned it.  I’m sorry, it just blew my mind.  Delicious, pretty healthy, pretty
Hummus Pasta 015 picmonkey

Mah very own hummus pasta!  Noodles are endlessly forgiving subjects! 🙂

pre-5k 049And an “action shot” of peanut butter pancakes the morning of my first 5k.  I like this picture.  I don’t know why; it doesn’t follow any of the “rules of aesthetics”.  There’s too much white space and some of it is out of focus, but…I like it.  It makes me hungry.

…things that made me smile:

Oh, there’s so many.  Finding an in to a literary agency.  Finishing my 5k in my goal of under 28:00 (my next one will have a fancy-schmancy chip timer!).  Reading people’s responses to my unseemly word count predicament.  Watching my dad try to corral noodles into a takeout box with chopsticks yesterday.  🙂  Ah, sweet reminiscence.

Marvelous in my Monday, the Woodpecker Way

I’m going to take a leaf out of Katie’s book today (and, by extension, The Healthy Diva’s), and spread a little Monday love!  While I have to admit that I don’t necessarily love Mondays, they are a necessary evil if, like me, you find yourself resorting to reading food blogs or (insert your preferred generic time waster here) all day without some type of schedule to adhere to.  School has started up again after a week of break…and we have exams just around the corner…but Mondays aren’t all bad!

Marvelous today is…

A brisk 2.5-mile run this afternoon when I saw more Pileated Woodpeckers than I’ve ever seen in my life!  They must be migrating–but it’s strange to see so many of them, when they usually literally “fly solo”.  They were swooping low over my head and landing in our apple trees to peck at the last of the straggler fruits.  I’m a sucker for birds in general, but these guys were gorgeous!!

(Not so marvelous–I had every intention of doing another full 5k distance today, but had to cut it short because of pain/tightness in both my knees.  Sadly, I think I have developed runner’s knee.  Apparently it tends to strike females, recreational runners, and otherwise healthy individuals.  [Sighs, raises hand.]  My next race is in a little over a week, so I’m taking it easy now, icing them both and keeping them elevated.)

Marvelous today is…

Taking a short meditative break to refill my fountain pen (my inkwell was getting dusty, gasp!) and jot down some pretty great quotes I picked up today.

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Marvelous today is…

Eating my body weight in baked oatmeal, my newest healthy addiction.  Ever since I tried PB Fingers’ Vanilla Pecan Baked Oatmeal, I’ve been obsessed with the stuff and am currently fiddling around with a recipe of my own to post up here!

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You guys should be grateful for all the hard work I put into this blog. Testing a new variety of baked oatmeal is taxing, peeps! 😉

(Another not-so-marvelous–I was taking the garbage out earlier today and was greeted by our hunting dog…a big, fat, partially-gutted squirrel hanging out of his mouth.  I still refuse to look at the dog.  There’s blood all over his fur,

and his breath smells worse than it usually does.  I know.  I’ll give you a minute to try to process that.

He smiled and wagged his little stubby tail.

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Aaach!)

Sigh…well, what was marvelous in your Monday?

Novelties in Life

Hola, members of the blogosphere!  This post comes to you LIVE from Thanksgiving Break, as I stand in the kitchen with my laptop making garlic rolls, musing about everything at once and nothing in particular, and trying to remind myself to stop eating the garlic bread before it can make it to the feast tomorrow.  Bon appetit!

So, yes, I have a day of break all to myself today, because my school lets you off for vacation THE DAY BEFORE Thanksgiving,  but Little Bro’s does not.  😉  Ah, sweet revenge!  (Not revenge for anything in particular, mind you–just general customary sibling rivalry.)

I know during Thanksgiving most people are taking the time to sit around and think about the huge, awesome blessings they have in life and realize where they would be without them.  Which is good; very good.  But I’ve already kind of done this, and I don’t want my posts to start turning too sentimental–so I think “the little things in life” deserve their chance in the “what I’m grateful for” spotlight too, dontcha think?

Things that somehow just tickle you to death, even though they have no significant impact on your quality of life.

Things like the fact that you can now make pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse.

Things like the fact that we have a milkman who delivers two gallons of white, a quart of chocolate, and a dozen eggs every week.  There’s something so delightfully old-timey about that.

Things like sweet, carby breakfasts.

Lately I’m all about pancakes, overnight oats, and baked oatmeal!  I had never had baked oatmeal before, but after trying Vanilla Pecan Baked Oatmeal from Peanut Butter Fingers, I think you can consider me an addict.  (If you’re interested in making this, the best toppings are homemade almond butter and banana, followed closely by a “glaze” or swirling of vanilla greek yogurt.  Just FYI.  It’s also mind-blowing plain!!)

(Also, you guys, I just realized how grotesque the pancakes I posted pictures of in my last post looked.  Lol! 🙂  Totally did NOT consider that normal pancakes aren’t completely covered in air bubbles, nor do they usually have big unidentifiable brown splotches in the middle of them [it’s chocolate peanut butter!].  When I plate pancakes, though, I flip them to their non-pretty underside just to check that they’re done, and didn’t even think of how weird it would make photos look!)

Um…

Things like the fact that I have a mild puncture wound in the middle of my nose due to one ill-place “scritch” on my cockatiel’s head.  Oh, he’s big on revenge.  Thank goodness no one’s started calling me Rudolph.

Things like the fact that, when it isn’t pouring rain, we’ve actually been having some decent weather here.  Having grown up in the thick of the midwest, snow was usually blanketing the world by Halloween.  I miss it.  I really, really do.  But I’m also fairly certain that I wouldn’t be able to even think about running in it.

Things like the fact that, um, hello, I shaped garlic bread into knots today!  Tee-hee.

Are you feeling knotty or nice? 😉

Things like the fact that, now that a literary agency visit is on the horizon, I have an excuse to write all day long.  Never mind that I haven’t exactly done that.  Thanksgiving prep for a foodie=serious business!

Things like hot soup and warm oats and tea.

Novelties.

Not to be confused with my ‘noveling tea’. Completely different idea. 😉
A splash of milk takes Sleepytime Vanilla tea to a sublime level, plus I feel all sophisticated, like I’m drinking a latte.

Here I’m just about to go to sleep on Thanksgiving Eve, but Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in different time zones!  It feels like the East Coast is where the majority of bloggers are. 🙂

Going Grey

Whoah…coming back to blog now feels stiff!  It’s like when I take a week off from running and don’t stretch beforehand–this feels alien and difficult.

I am not without my reasons for my week-long hiatus, though.  I’m pretty sure I’ve gone a week without blogging before; but this time it feels like an exceptionally long time, due to mass amounts of homework and social obligations and food preparation and daydreaming.

In short, I had a lot of stuff to do.  And, master procrastinator that I am, I ended up having it all pile up on certain days, and had to pull almost-all-nighters on two occasions.  (I’m not even going to listen to you if you try to say that almost-all-nighters aren’t nearly as impressive as all-nighters.)

But these things I have to do are not all bad; in fact, some of them (those selected by choice) are right up my (orange) ally!

Allow me to introduce Drizzle, the African Grey.

We’ve been fostering Drizzle for a few months now, which was exciting for me, but I wanted to keep it on the down-low on the blog in case his original owner ended up appealing to a court and getting him back.  Drizzle was seized from a home with owners charged with animal neglect; the cage hadn’t been cleaned, um, ever, and the drinking water was black.  I like to think that his owners just didn’t have the time to look after him, and had good intentions; but nevertheless I’m pretty psyched he’s with us now!  If anyone who knew Drizzle-before-he-was-Drizzle is reading this, I promise he is in the BEST of hands here at the Household of the Girl in the Orange.

Drizzle adds constant comic relief to our lives–he makes lovely bubbling noises, repeats “whhhhooooOOOOAAAAHHHhhhhh” in the most awestruck tone over and over again (when we’re out of the room) ;), and even occasionally honors us with the phrase “a good good good good good good good good bird!”.  I am under the impression that the amount of “good’s” changes depending on how angelic he’s feeling at the moment.

So, how is this bird adding to my stress levels?  Well, in school this year we are required to do a “culminating project” of sorts, that represents both a personal challenge and a step outside our comfort zone for us, and will help us learn more about ourselves, our capabilities, and the world.  For this project, I’ve decided that there would be no better personal challenge for me–while still being something I love!– than training Drizzle.  (Except perhaps recipe developing.  I’d love to learn more about the “science” of baking and flavor composition!  But, you guys, I had to choose.)

Over the course of the year I will be working with Drizzle, teaching him basic tricks at the start and working my way up to more advanced, “whhhhooooOOOOAAAAHHHhhhhh”-worthy tricks.  Currently I am just phasing out of the “Socialization” stage (which mainly involved me handing him tidbits of food from outside the cage, sitting outside the cage for hours and reading aloud to him, and just talking to him whenever I was in the kitchen) and am entering the Basic Trick-Training phase of my project.  First on our to-do list is mastering Step-Up; I thought this was a reflex for all birds, but, apparently, Drizzle is special.  😉

Action shot. Bells are FUUN!!

Just another little insight into my daily life for you all!  This project isn’t strongly related to the topics I usually post about; but one of my main goals through this blog is to post, in general, things that matter to me, without worrying whether they fill a certain niche or category.  This is one of my “things”.  Birds matter to me.  They are such beautiful, intelligent, complex, amazing creatures, and I hope I’ll get to learn more about the marvels of avian psychology over the course of this project.

And keep my fingers intact.  That would be nice too.