High of 11

As in, 11degrees Fahrenheit. It's been a cold week here and probably where you live, too (unless you're Sargibso, of course).

John gets so covered up to wait for the bus that all you can see is his little face. I can tell John has really become acclimated to life in the north. This week he said to me, "Once the temperature warms up to, like, twenty degrees, I'll totally run outside." 

We've both been working out at the gym a lot in order to escape the cold. I know the treadmill isn't the same as running outside, and it's so boring that I've started to learn the TV schedule at the gym. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm on the 'mill by 8:30, the same time "Property Virgins" comes on. If I'm lucky, I can get a treadmill by that particular TV so that I can watch young rich folks shop for houses in Toronto. But it's kind of a trade off, since the show that comes on next is "Princesses," a sort of intervention show for spoiled rich girls whose parents want to cut them off financially. The ideal spot is between that TV and the one next to it so that once those rich kids pick a house, I can switch to watching Sports Center.

I know you're glad I told you about my gym TV strategy. 

Anyways, my foot seems to like the treadmill better, and it's been easier to work on my form without having to worry about icy side walks. My mileage is still conservative this month. Next month I'll start training for the Forest City 10K and that will require going outside. On the plus side, I've been using a lot of this indoor time to lift weights and I can tell that I've gotten stronger since Christmas. I hope to write a post soon with some 2013 running plans/goals. For now, they are still forming.

And now, here's some food!

 We made the mushroom bourguignon (that's the link to her recipe!) from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It's pretty easy and just gets better as leftovers. I'd highly recommend taking a look at that book if you haven't already.

Continuing our tour through Appetite for Reduction, John and I ate three recipes from that book this week:

Caribbean Curried Black-Eyed Peas.

We ate this dish with rice and steamed plantains. Then when we were out rice for the leftovers, we made some orzo pasta to go with it. This isn't my favorite Isa Chandra recipe - somehow it just didn't knock our socks off. But it's tasty and pretty easy. 

 Next: Black Bean Red Velvet Mole. 

We made this before Christmas and froze it - turns out, it freezes well. I have no words for how great this recipe is, especially because its easy-to-tasty ratio is so great. This isn't a labor intensive, authentic mole, for you mole purists. But it's chocolately and easy and delicious. I want to make it again right away.

Big Fat Taco Salad

What can I say? I love taco salad. The "guacamame" (regular guac + edamame) might benefit from a little cumin, but it's a very fresh tasting salad. You can make the salsa-dressing aspect of it in advance and it keeps for five days. John and I eat a lot of salad, so this brought some welcome variety to the salad menu this week. 

We still love Appetite for Reduction, and it's easy to plan dinner when we know we'll pick something from it each week to make. 

In non-food, non-running news, John and I have moved on from a Homeland obsession to watching Friday Night Lights. Holy crap, I love this show. I thought all the hand-held camera work would prevent me from watching it at first, since that makes me very motion sick. But I've gotten the hang of it and I know when to avert my eyes. It's really compelling, even if you aren't into football. Also, I've decided that before every road race, I'm going to look at John and say:



After John's Colloquium Talk

Yesterday, John gave a paper in our colloquium series at school. Giving a paper takes a lot out of a person. So afterward, we went with some classmates to Matthew's house for pizza and drinks.

John, posing for his GQ photo spread.

Matthew is a gracious host. Here he is posing with one of his favorite LPs.

For some reason, everyone took a turn doing squats before the pizza arrived. Bunch of show offs.

We capped off the night with a visit to the Early Bird, one of our favorite spots for any time of day, but especially late at night. Here's John enjoying a Pimm's cup.

In other news, John and I are making our way through the Appetite for Reduction. This week: Mango BBQ Beans with Fresh Corn and Scallion Cornbread. Both are easy recipes. I can tell Isa Chandra intended most of this food to be week-night friendly. Also, the combination of spices and liquid smoke in the beans is amazing - it has a great BBQ flavor. We made a double batch, thank goodness.


New Things for '13

What with Christmas presents, gift cards, and a general shift in my schedule, this time of year always means new things. Here are some of them in a convenient (re: lazy) list format.

New temperatures. The January Thaw is upon us. Warm air on top the snow makes for a lot of spooky fog around town. The practice field on campus is haunted, fyi.

New food. I gave myself this book as a Christmas gift: Isa Chandra's Appetite for Reduction, which I think I've mentioned before. We have resolved to cook each of the 125 recipes in 2013.

This week, we made the black bean and olive tacos, with a citrus yogurt topping. It was all very easy and totally delicious. John also made a tomato salad with red wine vinaigrette on the side.

And while we're talking about food, last night I tried a new beer: the Imperial Winey Bastard, from Nickel Brook, in Burlington, ON. It's a dark beer that's aged in Pinot Noir barrels, and it's delicious. You get a strong beer flavor followed by a distinct red wine flavor, and I would definitely have ordered a second one, given the chance. Apparently it's already sold out everywhere.

New teaching schedule. This term I'm teaching 2nd year music theory (classical form) three days a week. I like to dress up slightly when I teach, in order to communicate to my students that I'm an adult and not their friend. My mom graciously bought me some new teaching clothes, all of which have to be short sleeved or sleeveless because I heat up when I'm in front of the class. Thanks, Mom!

New hand lotion. I bought this hand lotion at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor on our way back to London. It's a good point on the trip to stretch our legs and wander around Whole Foods. This lotion is called "Goat's Milk & Chai," or the Creamy Goat, as I call it. It doesn't make me smell like a goat, but it does make me smell like a hippie.

New TV addiction. John's mom gave us the first season of Homeland on DVD, and we've been devouring it. 

Not pictured: newly purchased month of towel service at the gym. It's an incentive to actually use the gym in the coldest, iciest part of the year.

My New Year's resolutions this year look more like a to-do list. And by this year, I mostly mean "in the next 6 months." What with the wedding, it's hard to think much further than the end of June.
Things that must happen this year:

  • Submit our permanent residency application (something I'm waiting to talk about until it's submitted and probably until it's accepted). 
  • Write, submit, and defend my dissertation proposal. I want to be ABD by the end of the term. This is a very do-able goal. It means I have to turn in a draft on the day before we leave for Reading Week (aka, Spring Break), so that week I'll be able to turn my brain off.  
  • Spring clean/purge the junk from our apartment. We need to finally dispose of our broken microwave that's been living on the porch for almost a year.
Things that I want to happen this year:
  • Enjoy the rest of our engagement and wedding planning as much as possible. 
  • Keep my music theory class from being boring.
  • Maintain a healthy weight so that my wedding dress fits (also very do-able, but it's good to state publicly so that I remember it).
  • Come up with a fun and not ridiculously expensive plan for John's 30th (!) birthday in June.
  • Run 1,000 miles in 2013. This depends a lot on my injuries, my foot in particular. We'll see. 


Bloom Holidays

Happy Belated New Year! 

I have a lots of odds and ends to note here about our trip to Indiana for Christmas and New Years. Instead of writing a lot of detail, I'm going to list some things that happened. 

John and I finished Gym Christmas and I got 8 GYMGOs in all. A solid end to 2012, fitness-wise. We also did Iron Strength several times at my parents house, and did some fun runs with Carla and Tim Best while they were visiting town.

We made this sleigh for my mom for Christmas. John always calls her J. J. for some reason, even though these aren't her initials.

We put up a nice tree in London with lots of nostalgic ornaments. We have yet to take it down, since the semester started and now we're busy. 

We did a lot of sitting around with the dogs in Bloomington. 

We visited places we love, like Upland

And a relatively new place, Darn Good Soup. I love this place. Simple and hits the spot.

Mark came back to town and had a great New Year's Eve party at his apartment. 

John made this French silk pie from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook more than once.

John's sister Morgan rode the Greyhound 14 hours each way just to visit us. It was so fun to show her around Bloomington, and for John and Morgan to have some sibling bonding time.

On New Year's Day we had a brunch at my parents' house. Coffee, mimosas, bloody marys, scones, and left overs from the party the night before. Not shown: breakfast casserole, also from Smitten Kitchen.

We went out to the Vid so that Morgan could beat all of us at pool, and then to Rockits for late night pizza.

 Mark also took us to a new-to-us bar called the Rail, in an old train station. They have lots of fancy cocktails. Yet another example of how Bloomington has gotten cooler since I left.

Dad and I walked the dogs several times. He gave me his own version of the IU tour and pointed out where he used to teach, where his offices were, and which building had "the computer" in it, back in the 70s. You know, the computer. The only computer.

Bloomington got about 12 inches of snow while we were in town, and some frigid temperatures. So much for retiring in a warming climate.

Other stuff:

  • many trips to Sahara Mart and Bloomingfoods, for chocolate, wine, and beer. 
  • Dave and Carla came, and I managed to not take any pictures the whole time. We hung out at The Tap, made lasagna, and played Foodie Fight. All in all, a nice visit with them.
  • We tried to continue the 80s movie streak by watching Red Dawn with my dad. We succeeded, until the VCR eventually ate - as in, really burned - the tape. I guess movies taped from HBO in the 80s only last so long.
  • John and I sang in the church choir at First United Methodist with my mom on Christmas Eve, where Dean Richards from the IU JSoM is now the choir director.
  • I made a giant pan of mac n' cheese as my vegetarian entree for Christmas dinner. I think I won the prize for best entree.
  • I managed to keep from eating my face off until after my wedding dress fitting, where I learned that I still love and fit into my dress. Woo hoo!
  • two trips to Indy to go shopping, and one visit to BARcelona with Morgan, John, and my mom. 
  • Only 6 weeks until we go back for our Reading Week break, and a bridal shower that my aunt and cousin are graciously throwing for me.
I'll write again soon with some goals for 2013.