Monday, January 25, 2010

Balanced Meals

I'm trying to do this cooking thing where I actually create balanced meals. I consider a balanced meal to be a protein, a veggie, and a starch.

Will doesn't like this. Well, in his words, "It's not that I don't like them... I just... don't like them."

Thanks hon!

He keeps trying to cut out the veggie part. Potatoes AND salad doesn't really make sense to him, and if we have a side dish of rice, then why do we need Brussels sprouts as well? (Because they're awesome, that's why!) And when we have spaghetti, he needs bread as well. As if the pasta isn't enough carbs! (Well, to be fair, I'm a fan of that one.)

I'm still working on him, though. One of these days, he'll be just as excited about the veggies as he is about the meat and potatoes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


You would think that rain wouldn't be that big a deal as I grew up in Texas, but after almost 3 years in California, it's become kind of a big deal. We almost never get it, and when we do, it's not something that in the past I'd call rain - it's more like this misty stuff that's here for a minute or two, and then gone.

But over the past week we got rain. Like, real rain. At least a few hours a day, from Sunday through Friday. It was crazy, and what I really wanted to do was curl up in bed with hot chocolate and an open window and read, listening to the rain.

Unfortunately, I have a job that keeps me from doing that. So instead, I did the whole responsible adult thing, and grumped at the rain.

However, the way LA looks after the rain is definitely my favorite. All the haze and smog and ocean layer or whatever you want to call it was gone, and we could see clear to the snow topped mountains. It was kind of awesome.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas ends

When I was growing up we always kept our Christmas lights up through Three King's Day, the night of January 6. I was totally into this whole Three Kings thing, since it meant an extra day of presents, and what kid doesn't want that? The night of the 5th we'd go pull some grass and set out some water for the camels of the Three Kings, and in the morning they'd be gone, and we'd have presents instead.

I remember the year we stopped doing milk and cookies for Santa - the truth about him was out, so there wasn't really any point. But we kept doing the grass and water, I think because of the cultural connection we had to it. So now, as an adult, even though I don't get presents anymore, I'm still very aware of the fact that it's Three King's day, and what that means, both in the story of the nativity, and culturally.

I kept our lights up through last night, and actually spent some time sitting in the dark so that I could really enjoy them. And while I didn't really set out grass and water for the camels on the night of the 5th this year - it would have just made a mess that I would have taken way too long to clean up - I definitely considered it, and I know that once we have kids we'll have them do it as well. I still struggle with figuring out how to raise our future children so that they feel a connection to their Puerto Rican and Lebanese heritage - especially since they'll be an extra generation away from it, but I feel like that will be an easy step in the right direction.

And I figure that since it means they get extra presents, when they're kids, it won't be a hard sell.

Tuesdays Unwrapped: My coworkers

One of the blogs that I stumbled across while blog-hopping was Chatting at the Sky. I discovered it when someone was participating in Tuesdays Unwrapped where you're encouraged to celebrate the small things in your life. I love the idea of Tuesdays Unwrapped, and want to make a conscious effort to appreciate the everyday, so I'm hoping to participate in it with some regularity.

Since it's Wednesday, I know I'm a bit late, but the MckLinky on this week's post is still open, so I'm going to go ahead anyways.

I'm lucky enough to work at a place where everyone really seems to enjoy their job and the work they do. Among my colleagues we have various backgrounds and came to the decision to work with college students in different ways, but what really matters is that we're all here now, doing what we do. And in addition to really enjoying our work, I feel like we really enjoy each other.

Over the holidays most of us went home, and we've slowly been drifting back as the expectation was that everyone return by Friday, and most of us wanted at least a day before that anyways. Today was the first day that we were all back, and after picking up Marci from the airport we headed to Iggy's to grab lunch with everyone else. And we were all crammed in that corner of Iggy's that we love, talking about all sorts of random stuff to AJ's ridiculous plane flight to Marci getting up around the time that I was going to sleep, to Nate's New Years resolutions and everything in between. And it was just fun.

There are 11 RDs and then another 6 professional staff members in the department, and by no means are we all best friends, nor do we all get along all the time. But I still feel like there's a real sense of camaraderie, and that most of the time it doesn't really take an effort to enjoy each others company. I've worked in places where that wasn't the feeling at all, so I feel lucky that at this school, for this year, it's the case. We're a good group, and we're all bound by the fact that we're here to help college students, whether this is just the stopping point before a different career or something that we see ourselves doing in the long run, it's what we're here for now.

So this year, I really want to make an effort to appreciate my coworkers and the fun that we have, and what everyone brings to the table. We all have things to learn from and about each other, and there's no way of knowing what next year will look like - we may all be back in the positions, or we may not - so I want to make sure that I'm making the most of this time and these great people that I'm working with, because it won't last. But it's here now, and it's the gift I was given today to unwrap.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Queer the Census

Regardless of what you think about the LGBT population and the gay rights movement, it's very difficult to deny that there is a significant LGBT population in the United States. However, we don't have an official count, because that is something that's not included on the census. On the short form, they ask about age, sex, race, marital status, and home ownership, but they don't ask sexual orientation. On the long form they go more in depth, but still don't ask about sexual orientation.

The mission of the Census Bureau (I looked it up) is to "[serve] as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy." But when they're leaving out information about the sexual orientation of the population, how are they really providing quality data about the nation's people?

In the words of a friend of mine
it's not on the census? yeah, I'm a conservative/against gay marriage/think it's morally wrong . . .

but seriously? It's a legitimate statistic.

Queer the Census is a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is working with the Federal Census Bureau to include LGBT counts in the 2020 census. I encourage everyone who is concerned with

I know that I have friends and family on all sides of the political spectrum - if you feel that excluding GLBT counts keeps the census from being a good picture of our country but don't feel comfortable aligning yourself with the NGLTF, I encourage you to find a way that you do feel comfortable to make yourself heard.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Eve Dinner

Since we spent New Year's Eve in, we wanted to do something a little special, so we decided to try a few new recipes for dinner. But first we needed to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to get new kitchen supplies (including a dutch oven, which I am SO EXCITED about) to make these new recipes.

We went with three recipes - from Pioneer Woman we made Goat Cheese Polenta and Short Ribs and a Brussels sprouts recipe that we got from our good friend Kate. You can find the short rib and polenta recipes on the linked pages, and the Brussels sprouts recipe is below.

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta (adapted from Mario Batali of Babbo)
4 servings

Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, blanched and cut in half
6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
large pinch chopped thyme, more if needed
large pinch chopped parsley, more if needed
freshly ground black pepper.

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the halved brussels sprouts, and cook until they are tender but still slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl of salted ice water to cool; then, drain. Cut the sprouts in half lengthwise and dry thoroughly on a tea towel.

2. In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, cook the cubed pancetta until most of the fat has been rendered and the cubes are crispy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon, and reserve.

3. Increase heat to medium-high, add the brussels sprouts and cook until they are browned on the edges and tender, turning often, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add reserved pancetta, thyme and parsley, and stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

This New Year's was relatively quiet for us - I was on duty, so we cooked a nice dinner, and then went outside to watch the fireworks the marina and the rest of LA from the bluff.

There's a Puerto Rican tradition where you go pour out water in order to get rid of the bad luck from last year, so we did that early on the 1st (I'd filled up the glass the night before, but forgotten to pour it out because we were so tired.)

Happy New Year, and I hope that any ickiness that you experienced last year has been flushed out for a better 2010!

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