Monthly Archives: June 2012

Old Standby Asian Veggies

Standard

Sorry I’ve been super MIA lately!  We got an apartment for the summer (pictures forthcoming), but we still don’t have Internet!  So I’ve got lots of blog ideas in my brain but haven’t had the ability to post them!

Today I’m sharing a recipe I can’t believe I’ve never blogged!  It’s Zach and my all-time favorite easy-to-make, for-when-we-can’t-think-of-anything-else dinner!  I first made this with a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, and I believe he got the recipe from an Alton Brown show.  The great thing about this dish is that it’s so easy to customize and modify based on what you like and what’s in your fridge that there are endless possibilities!  I apologize in advance for the iPhone pictures.  My camera is in the shop.  It looks better than this in real life.

The basic concept is: COLESLAW+RICE OR NOODLES+SAUCE=PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH.

First, cook rice, pasta, rice noodles, whatever grain you want.  This time I used brown rice.

Then, chop up some cabbage and whatever other veggies you want to include.

Veggies, pre-cooking

Cook them in a pot with some oil and salt.  This time I was just cleaning out the fridge so I used cabbage, kale, red pepper, broccoli, and jalapeno.  Cook them down as much or as little as you want!  I also added an egg toward the end of the cooking time and stirred it up so it scrambled in pieces mixed throughout the veggies.

Veggies, post-cooking

Then, make the sauce.  You only really need four essential ingredients: PEANUT BUTTER, SOY SAUCE, VINEGAR, AND OIL.

The 4 essential ingredients for your sauce

Mix equal parts of each item in a bowl.  I use about 1/2 cup of each when I’m making this for two people.  Easy, right!  Actually, it takes a few minutes to get the peanut butter to mix in, but it gets there. Then you can taste it and adjust to your liking.  Some extra (but unnecessary) things I like to add to make it more flavorful include: brown sugar, mustard, red pepper flakes, and ginger.

Next, mix it all together!  You can eat it hot or cold and it’s delicious!  Adding peanuts can also give the dish an extra crunch and protein kick!  I just didn’t have any on hand this time.

Mmmmm mmmm amazing

There you have it!  Tell me that’s not a delectable and easy way to use up extra produce!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Runnin’ Runnin’

Standard

I read a lot of blogs.  My Google Reader is always wayyy too full of blogs of all different types: weddings, travel, cooking, lifestyle.  I don’t ever read magazines though.  I think I just find real life stories, written in first person, much more interesting than celebrity gossip and what-have-you.

Strangely, one type of blog I find really fascinating are running blogs.  This is strange because I’ve never liked running.  Yet I read about these amazingly buff women running 20 miles a week, training for marathons, RUNNING marathons, and seeming to love it.

I read them and I think, “MAN, I want that!”  I am jealous of their awesomeness at exercise and their amazing high-mileage accomplishments.  Then, one day I found this training plan…

I think you know where this is going.  I’m trying again.  Although it’s never worked for me in the past, I just can’t give up.  I have no money for a gym membership right now, and I have a wedding dress to fit in next year!  Plus, I’ve got the jealousy of these awesome ladies whose blogs I read.

So I found this: Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Program.  And it seemed strangely doable, and strangely exciting.  This is not a promise, because running 13.1 miles, for practically TWO HOURS, still seems insane to me.  But I am officially beginning Week 3 of this program, and so far so good.  Today I did my second “long run”, four miles, and it kinda sucked, mostly because it was so freakin’ hot outside!  The Ohio summer may not be the best time to be attempting this.  But attempting it I am, so far.

The thing is, races are expensive, and running an actual race just sounds kinda “meh…” to me.  However, if I really manage to get through this whole program, I should probably celebrate by running an actual race.  Maybe.  What do you think?  Should I be researching early-September 1/2 marathons in this area?  Or should I wait a little longer to see if I can stick to the program?  Am I just being crazy?

The Whole Cheesy Story, Part 3

Standard

First read Part 1 and Part 2

Sorry, this story is dragging on forever!  I haven’t had enough time for blogging what with the huge transition of moving back to the USA, finding a job and a place to live, etc.  Excuses, excuses, I know.

Where I last left off, Zach and I had had a wonderful first date and really connected.  I was hope hope hoping that we’d hang out again.  Well, sure enough, the next day (Valentine’s Day, in fact), he texted me “Happy Valentine’s Day,” and we made plans to hang out that very night, after we both got done working.  I even dragged my BFF and her now-husband, then-boyfriend out to the bar to be wing(wo)men so it wouldn’t be too Valentine’s-ey with just Zach and I.  What a good friend, right?  In short, we had another amazing night!

Still one of my favorite pictures of us from the early days.

What followed after this was us quickly becoming inseparable.  We hung out every chance we got, he met my friends, I met his friends.  The whole time, however, the specter of Africa was looming on the horizon.  Zach even asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend and make our relationship official, but I said no because I didn’t want to “start something that had to end so soon.”  But of course, official or unofficial, it had already started.

Our first ziplining adventure!

As my departure date got closer and closer, I found myself getting less and less excited about leaving for the Peace Corps.  I knew Zach and my attempts to keep things relaxed were failing when BFF called me out on being in love with him.  “If I were you, I wouldn’t go,” she even said once.  But I HAD to go, this was the Peace Corps, this had been my dream for years!  I knew that if I gave it up I might never forgive myself, no matter what happened.

And so, on June 13, 2009, only four short months after our first date, I found myself gathered in Zach’s embrace, both of us sobbing.  It was the hardest goodbye I’ve ever said.  As I stood there crying, wondering how I was ever going to get up the courage to leave, all of a sudden I knew I had to be honest.  “I love you,” I blubbered, for the first time ever.  “I love you too,” he said.

And the next morning, I got on a plane.

“Can you put a bow in it?” a.k.a. How to Get a Job with Dreadlocks

Standard

Honestly, I was fearing the prospect of searching for restaurant jobs in conservative Ohio with my super-hippy dreads.  But, long story short, I got a job and I am already employed, only a week after returning!  The process was not without its bumps, however.

I went in for my first interview at this really classy French bistro/wine bar.  I thought it went okay, not great, and wasn’t really expecting to get it.  The next day, however, I get a call from them.  And right away, as the owner is hemming and hawing and obviously uncomfortable about what he’s about to say, I knew it was about the dreads.  He basically asked me if I was planning to keep them.  Yes, of course, I said.  He was totally apologetic about making it an issue and felt really bad about possibly offending me, but he was also really concerned about the restaurant’s conservative, rich, snotty-pants customers and what they would think.  He asked me about different ways I could style my hair and was being all iffy.  Then he asked me to come in for a “second interview”, which basically consisted of him looking at my hair again, going back and forth some more, and then asking me if I could “put a bow in it.”  “I can put whatever you want in it!” I replied.  Men are so funny when they’re trying to describe women’s hairstyles.  “Okay,” he finally said, “it’ll be fine.”

So, I got the job, provided I put a  black ribbon around my dread ponytail every night.  Lol.  As if that makes the dreadlocks disappear?

But, I am happy, because aside from that minor hiccup, it was the easiest job search I have ever had!  Yay for people putting stereotypes aside and hiring the best qualified candidate no matter what they look like!