Wednesday, December 23, 2009

oh my gosh... yum!

Doing a lot of reading tonight to prepare for the vegan change.

I just came across this amazing sounding recipe and wanted to share it with you. Let me know if you try it before I do, what a nutritious meal served up in a delicious package!

Pasta with Chickpeas and Rosemary
(amounts given are my best estimates - vary according to taste)

3 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
good pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 15oz. tin good quality chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1 15oz. tin good quality diced tomatoes (if you like your pasta extra saucy, use 2 tins and increase the amount of garlic)
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried, crumbled with your fingers)
Fresh or dry pasta to serve 4, preferably whole wheat or something like Barilla Plus*
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or vegan substitute) to serve.

Heat olive oil in wide frypan or saute pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute ~ 1 min, careful not to brown the garlic. Add tomatoes, rosemary, and chickpeas. Simmer ~20 minutes until tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to package directions. With a potato masher, mash some of the chickpeas and tomatoes into the sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese (or substitute).

Serve with a mixed green salad (dress with a simple vinaigrette and chopped nuts or seeds).

This recipe packs plenty of protein, iron, and zinc; a decent amount of calcium, and if you use Barilla Plus pasta (which I do as often as I can), a good dose of Omega-3's as well. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

They Say it's my Birthday...

and it is!

I'm used to being frozen and miserable on my birthday. Miserable because it's cold, not miserable in general. It's been 70 degrees the last couple of days... still 62 at midnight. I don't think it's really my birthday. Who's tricking me?

Okay, seriously now. I'm missing all of my Boise friends, missing Girls' Weekend this year, missing Santa Rampage... I usually start celebrating a month in advance! I was told by my friend, Chad, that he thinks you can celebrate for the amount of days equal to the number of years you are. That sounds good to me. He also said, take 2 weeks now, 2 weeks in June (because I said I'm moving my birthday to June) and just sprinkle the rest around the rest of the year. I like that idea even better!

Brian and Tiffany's 10th Annual Glog Party is this Friday. I still need to get a dress to wear, better get on that A.S.A.P. Should be lots of fun. A big get-together with Glog, lots of yummy food and plenty of people. We get to dress up all fancy too!

Wish I could have ALL of my loved ones here with me!

P.S. It's Rio's birthday too! He's 3 years old today. :)

( a couple of baby pictures of my sweetie poo.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One night at the dance hall...

My first night "going out" in Austin was last night. Tiffany & I went to the the Broken Spoke, last of the true Texas dance halls, to see Brian's band, The Derailers, play. The place was crowded and the dance floor was full.

The proprietor, James White, is a friendly man with a lot of wonderful memories to share... and a killer fashion sense!

There's memorabilia and photographs everywhere. Including treasures such as these:

(painting done by James White, himself.)

Of course, the band entertained the entire time (James White even joined in):


At the end of the night, Tiffany and I went for a night cap to a place called Giddy-Ups.  Quite a fine little local dive. All in all it was a great night and I can't wait for more!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ummmm... where to start?

I'm here in Austin, I've been here for a week now. I arrived with a horrible cold, which is just now in the final stages (damn this lingering cough!). I've gone downtown to try to see the bats fly (it got too dark and they were not cooperating!). My nephew, Van, turned 5 and had an awesome super hero themed birthday party. Van is the one on the left:

(picture taken by birthday boy's talented mom, Tiffany)

Jinx attacked Rio twice the other day... viciously attacked... as in, "I want to rip you apart" attacked! Things have seemed fine since, but it makes me very concerned about Jinx's personality. Will have to watch him closely.

OMG... let me tell you about my drive down from Boise:

It started with a rainy morning. Carrie, my good friend and traveling companion, and I got loaded up and were on our way by about 10:00 a.m. Our drive was pretty boring, only stopping at rest stops, where I would freeze my tush off while letting the dogs out to do their business, getting drenched the entire time. The rain was not letting up. At one point one of my windshield wipers came loose and I had to ask a helpful man to put it back together for me.

Oh well, rain... it's not helping us have a fun trip with stops & sights, but it's not that bad. Then came night time... and Wyoming...  it started blizzarding. No joke. I could barely see anything in front of us due to the sideways blowing snow in my headlights. We were going between 25 - 35 mph on the interstate. We passed through a town called Rock Springs, WY and were still trying to make it as far as we could that night when we realized it was just not working. Point of Rocks, WY was coming up next and there was "lodging" on the sign for that exit. We decided to stay there for the night, even though we JUST entered Wyoming and were supposed to be clear on the East side of the state by the time we stopped for the night. With the horrible rain and then this, we had not made it anywhere near as far as we were supposed to.

We pulled off at Point of Rocks and stopped at this bar or something to ask where the lodging is. Turns out, that motel has been completely shut down (THAT would be a good thing to know instead of the exit sign proclaiming: "LODGING"!). It had taken us more than an hour to get from Rock Srings to Point of Rocks... we were going to have to drive all the way back, blindly, slowly... ugh! But, we did. Mostly on a back service road, which I'm not convinced was SAFER, but we made it. We found a cute little motel in town and stayed for the night.

The next morning we woke to this:

It was OCTOBER 5TH! Did anyone tell Mother Nature that it was still fall?? It didn't take us long that morning to get back to Point of Rocks... about 20 minutes when it was over an hour the night before! It also wasn't long before we got out of the snow. We did, however, have pouring rain all day and then again all night. Another day of slow going. We realized that we were not going to get there on schedule. To make matters worse, the morning of the snow Carrie woke up with a sore throat. She spent the rest of the trip sick sick sick... and I rode in a car with her for 4 days with the windows rolled up, so I got sick too. By the time we arrived in Austin we were two sick and tired girls!  Day three we made great time, the roads were finally dry (YAY!).

We made it to within about 3 hours of Austin, a little bit past Dallas. We were so ready to be there, but didn't want to arrive in the middle of the night, so we just stopped for an early night to get some rest and arrive on Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday night Carrie & I went out to dinner with MY FAMILY! Yay, we finally made it to Austin and had one little outing in our sick induced stupor.

(Harlan & Van... don't fall in!)

So, here I am. One week later. Getting over the tail end of this nasty cold. Tomorrow is Friday and then on Saturday night we're going to the Broken Spoke to see my brother's band, The Derailers, play in their hometown. I can't wait!

Friday, October 2, 2009

What happened to my time?

Well, it's the day before my last day  in town. WOW... wow. I'm surrounded by packed boxes. Random objects, still being used, strewn about in the midst of them. Looking forward to spending one last night of "going out" in my town before I leave. Will be an enjoyable night with some Karaoke/Dive Bar action.

Tomorrow night, I say goodbye. Get ready to leave the next morning. finish up every last detail....

Bittersweet. I don't use that word very often, but it's perfect for right now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why Austin #2

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately... Halloween! This will be the first Halloween in the history of my life that I won't be out walking around while freezing my butt off! YAY!

I'm so lucky, one of my wonderful friends, Kris, is already planning a visit for Halloween weekend. I can't wait! We're going to go on an Austin Ghost Tour. This is a one and a half hour downtown walking tour led by a guide armed with extensive knowledge of the history of Austin and it's people.  The special Halloween Ghost Tour 2009 consists of a sacred artesian well and the disembodied souls roaming the streets and alleyways of Austin.

One Week To Go!

Well... as of today I have one more week in Boise, Idaho... ONE MORE WEEK!!! It's the most surreal feeling and I can hardly even wrap my brain around it. Next Sunday at this time I'll be getting close to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where I'll be spending the first night of my 3 day road trip. 

My friend, Carrie, will be making the trip down with me and I could not be happier about this. She's an adventure loving, road tripper and I KNOW we're going to have a wonderful time! The other day Carrie came over to go over our route and we found a website, Roadside America, where you can look up roadside attractions and oddities by the name of the town. Here are a few of the attractions we're looking forward to:

The Swetsville Zoo in Fort Collins, CO. A menagerie of metal "animal" sculptures started in 1985 crafted from car parts, farm machinery and scrap metal. 

Giant Head of Abraham Lincoln in Laramie, WY. This is a very strange looking, enormous stone monument with a HUGE bronze sculpted head of Abraham Lincoln on top.

A Genuine Pyramid in Buford, WY. This was erected in honor of a couple of 19th century industrialists, the Ames Brothers. I have no idea what they did to deserve this, but I want to see it.

World's Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, KS. When we began looking for our roadside attractions, I jokingly told Carrie, "we need to see obscure crap like the world's largest ball of twine!" Lo and behold.... we found it. I'm not positive it will be on our way, but you know it will be the world's most awesome facebook photo if it is.

Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK. Originally built by an alligator farmer as something fun for the kids, the whale features a diving platform on the tail and a slide coming out of it's head.

A Liger in Broken Arrow, OK. How could you ever pass up seeing Napoleon Dynamite's favorite animal, the liger, as well as tigers, lions, bears, wolves and just about any other animal that someone else just didn't want to take care of anymore. If you can't afford a real safari Safari's Sanctuary is the way to go and it helps support the care of these rescued animals.

Cowchip Throwing Capital of the World in Beaver, OK. Cow chips, the dried remains of cow dung, are the Frisbees of the prairie. Flinging them has flung this small town to national fame. Complete with a giant beaver sculpture holding a giant cowchip!

There are a lot more stops we plan to make along the way and I think we're going to come away with some great pictures. I'm so very excited and I can't wait until the U-Haul is packed and everything is ready to go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


So... moving 'cross country. I'm feeling a little (actually, more than a little) overwhelmed right now. There's so much to think about.
1.  Freight shipping: pay to have all of my belongings shipped ahead of me and only have my car to drive over

2.  Self-shipping: rent a "u-haul" w/ a trailer for my car and tow it behind? That's a 3 day trip and I CANNOT back a trailer up!

3.  No Shipping: get rid of anything and everything other than my clothes and a few precious possessions and just GO! (I will be checking on the possibility of my car pulling a small trailer.)
Now, on the surface, choice #3 seems to be a no brainer, best pick. My sister-in-law, Tiffany, assured me they have 2, if not 3, of everything I could possibly need. Enough that I can have/use any and all of it for my own when I find my own place and move in.  NO BRAINER!
But then, there's the security of your own belongings, your own bed (which I love... it's so comfy!), a piece of furniture that you have a certain attachment to. Do I really want to COMPLETELY start over?  I know I am, in a sense, because I'm moving so far away and EVERYTHING will be different. But, I like that lamp and lampshade that I bought a few months ago. That little side table and vintage coffee table that I bought. These things give me pause and I just don't know!!
Anyway, I need to figure it out quick. Time's a-wastin' and I've got a lot of livin' to do!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Adventure Begins...

Well, not officially, but in my mind.

I'm beginning to plan the biggest move of my life. I've lived in the Northwest of the United States my entire life. Idaho and Washington (with a little Alaska mixed in). Back and forth. 

My latest stint has been here in Idaho... Boise... and I LOVE it! Circumstances have encouraged me to try something new and the decision has been made: AUSTIN, TEXAS here I come!!

The date has yet to be set (looking like maybe mid-October), so for now, in preparation, I'm going to start with something I'll call "Why Austin?" Here's the first installment:

Why Austin? #1

Austin is the state capitol (just like my beloved Boise), the 4th largest city in Texas and the 15th largest city in the United States! The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Area is the 36th largest and 2nd fastest growing metropolitan area in the U.S.

Selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009 and the "Greenest City in America" by MSN. Austin was also ranked the 5th safest city!

The official slogan is "The Live Music Capitol of the World", a reference to it's status as the home of many musicians and music venues. Just as interesting is it's adopted unofficial slogan, "Keep Austin Weird", referring partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many residents, but also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive commercialization.

Sounds like a good place for me so for, what do you think?