Thursday, May 31, 2012

merry memorial weekend in maryland

last wednesday i flew from chicago to dulles, boy in tow, to spend the long memorial day weekend at home. it had been almost six months since i'd last been in maryland with my family, and boy did the term "home sweet home" ring true this time. beautiful weather, fresh food everywhere, the freedom of driving on a full tank with no obligations whatsoever...i never thought home would be such paradise.

despite the relaxed trip, we managed to see and do quite a bit.

we settled the lands of catan (with the aid of cold beer and a sunny deck),

played with seven week-old puppies,

hiked in harper's ferry, west virginia,

adopted a white boy into our awkward family,

got buff,

undid all our exercise with delicious delicious peking duck,

frolicked in DC,

and ate blue crab with old bay like level 99 marylanders, woot!

one of my favorite memories from the weekend was sitting in an outdoor seat basking in the sunshine of a restaurant on the waterfront in baltimore while eating tacos and sipping a mimosa with my best friend, her sister, and the boy all around me. whenever i get anxious or incredibly busy at work i just think back to that lunch and i instantly calm down a bit. maryland has become my happy place. for me it couldn't have been the more perfect long weekend getaway.

in fact, i had such a good time that i almost contemplated moving to the suburbs. just ole granny rose, surrounded by her cats and buckets of blue crabs. yolo!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


so my friend Monika stayed over chez moi when I was in Michigan and left me a gift card to pier 1 to say thank you. pier 1 is just down the street from me. fun fact: I LOVE PIER 1. it's just a haven of frivolous and fun things. i can spend hours in there, happily browsing up and down the aisles looking at things that have little to no function in a small city apartment like mine but that i wish to own with all my heart anyway.

so naturally with this gift card i buy myself a huge ass pillow.

meet fluffers

i look like a deranged russian princess

fluffers hogging the camera

fluffers and me, we're pretty much like bros4lyfe. you know we go way back man, like 2 hours ago man ever since we met at that shelf at pier 1.

i love fluffers so much. he's the closest i'll ever have to owning a polar bear. i'm giddy thinking about all the naps i'm going to take with him. or reading against him before going to sleep. or throwing him at my cat the next time i see her poking her sneaky little face into my room. yeah probably i'm looking forward to that last one the most.


Friday, May 04, 2012

cooking class!

last week, the boy and i got a really neat chance to take a cooking lesson with friends at the chopping block up in lincoln square, chicago. taking a cooking class is one of those things i've always had on my bucket list but have never summoned up the energy to pursue, so when i got the chance to attend one, i leapt up and rubbed my tummy and was all like oh hells to the yes!

the gist: spend an evening making a themed meal. ours was "couples cooking: night in barcelona." we made garlic bread, grilled veggies, seafood paella, and chocolate flan with the help of professional chefs and instructors. all of it was delicious and none of it was difficult (thanks to many things being pre-cut, pre-measured and/or pre-prepared).


slightly-embarrassing confession: i like to pretend like i'm a cook show host. i imagine there are audience members out there with ears perked as i generously divulge the secrets of how to most effectively chop an onion. of course all of my kitchen ware at home is worn and dull and wonky and from target and usually my cat manages to sit on whatever i've made numerous times before it is ready so it's not a very realistic cooking show. this kitchen, however, had top-notch stuff and put me one step closer towards my imagined career as ruosi ray, cooking show host.

making some flavorful flan. that pot costs $380. it was so heavy i could barely lift it. 

hungry, armed and dangerous!




my favorite thing to make and to eat was definitely the veggie salad, which surprised me because usually i ignore nutritious things and make a beeline for the carbs. one of the coolest things we did was roast peppers over an open flame and let them get real black and smokey. then we steamed them in ziplock bags and combined them with grilled eggplant and onions (pictured above). throw in some parsley, olive oil, sherry wine vinaigrette, and plenty of s+p and you get a delicious, delectable, and healthy dish. it was amazing - all the vegetables tasted so different than how i was used to them because i'd never cooked them this way before.

here is the finished meal. ta-da!



perhaps the best part was that we didn't have to do any cooking unpleasantries such as grocery shopping, annoying peeling, or best of all, cleaning up afterwards - we were definitely spoiled little piggies. the whole meal took about three hours to make, the majority of which was for baking the flan and paella. we were kept busy with making salad and bread when that was happening. the evening was well-paced and it was especially satisfying to eat our creation at the end. while this particular meal is not something i would normally make on a weeknight, it is very do-able for an evening on the weekend.

i was surprised by how inspired i've felt to branch out in my cooking and try new recipes since taking this class. i would definitely do this again and would recommend it to anyone who feels like they're going through a culinary slump. (and then invite me over so i can eat ALL the things!)