the latest

The home decor department: I got the most urr-mazing lamp.

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From my favorite nearby consignment shop (the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro region is a TREASURE TROVE of consignment shops!) Not at all expensive, and unique! The base is pretty carved wood (or I guess maybe pretty carved fake wood). The shade is suede-ish. I love it so much. It feels like my first proper grown up home accessory.

The leisure department:

My roommate taught me how to knit. I am pretty terrible. This is all I have managed to produce- and this is since like November, mind you. I have a really hard time motivating myself, because I am so terrible. But, I will not get less terrible unless I motivate myself to keep practicing. Tricky.

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After waiting months, I finally read Gone Girl.

Sidebar: I hate people who put books on hold. Inevitably, when I am in the midst of reading anything really good, some jerk will inevitably put a hold on it at the library so I can’t renew it, so I either have to return it immediately, thus not getting to finish it, or pay an exorbitant fine. So, I never ever put books on hold. So I’ve been waiting months for this book to appear on the shelf.

Anyway, I loved it. I found it enjoyable horrifying. Love me some abnormal psychology.

Also, I have recently become addicted to Burning Love, which why awesome best friend recommended. I can’t re-watch its brilliant first season because the freakin’ free trial of Hulu Plus expired. But it’s totally worth getting a Hulu Plus free trial for! (In other words, worth no money… er…)

It made me laugh out loud alone in my living room while my poor roommate tried to sleep. So, well, if that isn’t a vote of confidence, what is? It’s just really depraved and weird and great. I have watched like one episode of The Bachelor (of which it is a parody) in my life, and I still thought it was hilarious, so I can’t imagine how great it would be if you’d watched more.

The fitness department:

I joined Daily Burn. They totally suckered me in with their “free trial for one month” Hulu ads! (Are we seeing a common theme? Called Ileana is Cheap?)

Their workouts are pretty good. Their trainers are pretty good. I think Steve and I are going to split a membership, because we’ve been (adorably, if I do say so myself) working out together.

The food department:

This meal points out two facts.

1. Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt guacamole is awesome.

2. Salmon salad, made with crazy amounts of parsley- like, equal amounts canned salmon and parsley and maybe a glug of olive oil and a dash of lemon juice- is awesome.

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Kale chips are awesome, but you already knew that. Trader Joe’s Guacamole Hummus, not pictured but close enough, is also awesome.

Here are some stuffed peppers I made. All I can really remember about them is that the filling involved tempeh and corn, and that I just dumped an oldish jar of salsa on top as the “sauce”, and they were good. Make of that what you will.

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This used to be a standby meal for me when I was cooking for one and feeling lazy- just pasta with a fried egg on top. Cheese is good. Black pepper is a must. Chives certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea. I had a bunch of salad greens that needed using, so I just tossed them with everything else and let the hot pasta wilt them. Such a well rounded meal.

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The manfriend bought me anniversary flowers. They are so exuberant! The lilies also made the entire apartment smell amaaaaaaaazing.

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I cooked a nice simple diner for us. Socca, roasted purple potatoes with pesto, a salad, and brussels sprouts.

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Yeah, right, let’s guess how long that meal kept Steve full. Nuh uh. Not a man meal by any stretch of the imagination.

This one didn’t do much better. Cabbage, cooked in my usual brussels sprouts manner (honey and dijon) plus the addition of orange slices for a vitamin C pop. And, quinoa, turned into risotto by virtue of an initial toasting and a low and slow cook with broth. Plus little squash bitlets put in near the end (cut ‘em small so they didn’t take long to cook).

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This meal did manage to satisfy a male apetite! I had a sudden, intense craving for shrimp scampi.

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This turned out deliciously, if I do say so myself. The thing that made it extra great was that Steve got expensive but oh so amazing fresh local perfect butter.

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Finally, a recipe. I made vegetable stock. As usual. I almost never need to buy broth because I turn old vegetable trimming and old chicken bones into broth.

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And made myself a nice soup! Onions and carrots, cooked to goldenness.

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Then enhanced with curry flavor.

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Threw in some red lentils, then orange juice (whose vitamin C increased the absorption of the lentils’ iron, hurray!)

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Added some plain yogurt languishing in my fridge, and had myself a delicious meal that fed me lunch for pretty much a whole work week. No picture of the final product, but it’s wonderfully orange.

Really Awesome Lentil Carrot Curry Orange Yogurt Soup

2 T olive oil
1/2 a large onion, chopped
6 large carrots, chopped
1 T curry powder
1 C red lentils
vegetable stock, water, or a mix
3 oranges, juiced
3/4 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste

Saute onion and carrots in olive oil over medium until onions are transluscent and carrots are golde. Add curry powder and lentils, and cook until curry powder is toasted and becomes fragrant. Add the orange juice and enough broth and/or water to cover the lentils by two inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes, or until lentils and carrots are tender. Keep an eye on the soup and add additional liquid if needed to keep the bottom from scorching.

When carrots and lentils are tender, remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes or so. Then, either add all of the yogurt at once and blend with an immersion blender or, as I did, working in batches, add a third of the lentil mixture and 1/4 of a cup of the yogurt to a blender at a time and blend until smooth. Repeat until soup is done. Season finished soup with salt and pepper to taste: you’ll need a good amount of salt to really season the lentils.

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