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Archive for September, 2011

this weekend was just lovely. Friday night started with picking up my super adorable Wahoo boyfriend at DCA from a work trip to Boston. We went with a few friends to Arlington Drafthouse to see comic Dana Gould. It was a pretty good show: hilarious moments and others that were so-so. It was a fun and different thing to do on a Friday, and it was also my first time going to the drafthouse. Definitely need to hit up the $1 and $2 movie nights in the near future.

Saturday: adorable wahoo leaves, so roommate Devin and I decide we need to have mimosas while waiting for the Virginia Tech football game to come on. We ended up getting a 12-pack of Saranac Pumpkin Ale, and all the fixings necessary for some mac and cheese. It was a glorious afternoon of mimosas, beer, mac and cheese, cookies, and Hokie football.

Sunday was another fun day. It began with some pillsbury cinnamon rolls. So delicious and easy.

Went to the last Nationals home game of the season with my parents. More gameday food and beer. There was a definite theme in my food choices this past weekend. The Nats won, 3-0 against the Braves; it was a good game to go to: not too sunny or hot & the home team won!

Time to reboot with roast pork tenderloin and some trader joe’s grains blend! Thanks iPhone, for keeping track of my weekend!

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Today has been such a silly day. I got to work at my usual time, around 8:30am. Walking in the door, almost got hit in the face by someone walking out–learned from said person that the power was out and he was heading home. Being the wonderful employee I am, I decided to actually continue into the office to see what was up. A huge sign was on the interior door that read the power company estimated power would be back by 10am and to check in with our supervisor.

Done and done. Nothing to do at work with no computer, we were told to wait around until 10 until the managers and supervisors decided on a next step if the power didn’t come back. So, with an hour and a half to kill, I sent a message to Lauren to meet me for some food at Panera for breakfast on her way to work. It was seriously so excellent: ham, egg, and cheese on ciabatta bread with hazelnut coffee. And not eating it at my desk was even better.

Fast forward to 10:30, no power, told to go home if we want. So we did. Went to an earlier planned lunch with my Dad for his birthday. Then headed to metro to go home.

I had originally planned to make turkey chili in my crock pot tonight after dinner to give it time to cook overnight. Since I got home so early, why not get to it now?

Package of ground turkey, sauteed with one large onion, chopped and clove of garlic, minced, and whatever combination of seasonings you like (I used around 2tbs chili powder, 2tsp cumin, 1tps onion powder, 1tbs garlic powder, 1tbs cayenne pepper). Cook that all together until the meat is browned, then add a can/bottle of whatever beer you have on hand. I decided to be a little crazy and use Starr Hill’s Pumpkin Porter. Which I highly recommend for simply drinking as well.

Let that all cook together for about 2 minutes and moved it to the crock pot. Added some frozen corn I had on hand, a large can of crushed tomatoes, an 8oz can of tomato sauce, a can of black beans drained and rinsed, a red and green bell pepper chopped, and a little under a teaspoon of salt. The crock pot is currently set on low to cook for about 6 hours. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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In honor of this lovely fall weather, I decided Sunday night dinner needed to involve some comfort food. And maybe something slightly healthy after a weekend full of bread, cheese, and wine. What screams comfort better than a roast chicken? Oh right, nothing.

I picked up a 5 pound chicken at the Teet (Harris Teeter for those not on the East Coast). We had some leftover rosemary from the flatbreads on Friday, so rosemary butter was my skin crisper of choice. After mixing the rosemary and half a stick of room temperature butter, I spread it all over the inside and outside of a rinsed and patted dry chicken, and added salt and pepper for the finishing touch.

Set the oven to 425 and stick the chicken in for about an hour and a half, until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees. And seriously, the smell of this chicken roasting alone is temptation enough to make this. Literally mouth-watering.

My lovely summer basil plant thankfully still has usable leaves, so I also sauteed some sliced shrooms in garlic and butter. When they were almost done browning, I added some chopped basil. A nice mix of summer and fall.

Anyways, back to the chicken. Set the oven to 425 and stick the chicken in for about an hour and a half, until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees. And seriously, the smell of this chicken roasting alone is temptation enough to make this. Literally mouth-watering.

And taking it out of the oven and tasting it is no different.

Also, my beloved Hokies and Redskins won this weekend! Happy Sunday!

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Currently watching Hokie football, drinking a Bud Light and eating Pioneer Woman’s Olive Cheese Bread.

Last night I had a few lovely girl friends over for a wine tasting/birthday celebration for my birthday, which was actually the week before. I wanted to do something a little different, and I love wine, so there ya go.

We tasted (read: drank full glasses) 6 different wines that I picked up at Trader Joe’s:

Overlake Sauvignon Blanc

Williamsburg Winery Chardonnay

Bogle Vineyards Zinfandel

Caretaker Wines Pinot Noir

Panilonco Carmenere

Gnarly Head Zinfandel

We made a bunch of different snacks to eat as well. Two different flatbreads, the olive cheese bread, baked brie and crackers, and pumpkin bread pudding for dessert. I made tasting sheets to take notes about each wine we tried, besides taking a few notes here and there, we mainly just chatted and drank. Class all the way.

I got to try out two of the birthday presents from my boyfriend: a Vinturi wine aerator and an electric bottle opener. They’re both great. We compared the reds with and without the aerator; it really did make a difference for the better.

After going through all of the wines and food, we decided to head out to Clarendon for some bar action. I’m so glad that we all got to eat delicious cheese and bread snacks and drink wine.

Thanks to everyone that came; it was a great time!

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dinner & remembrance

Twenty-four years ago yesterday, on my mom’s birthday, she brought me home from the hospital. She lets me know every year that I was her birthday present that day; and I remind her every year that I still am.

To celebrate both of our birthdays, we have gone out to dinner at Clyde’s for the past few years for their September lobster deal. 1 and 1/4 lb Maine lobster for $18. Not too bad at all, especially when I really only have lobster on this one day a year. I drove straight from work to the restaurant, as it was closer than driving all the way out to my parent’s house. I got there with a little while to wait for them to arrive, so I got us a table and ordered a glass of wine. I believe it was a Chenin blanc, which the waiter recommended since they didn’t have Sauvignon blanc offered by the glass. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t awful or anything. A little too fruity for me I think?

I didn’t have to wait too long for mom and pops to arrive. We immediately ordered some grilled oysters: made with chipotle butter, ham, and Parmesan cheese. They were excellent. And of course, my mom and I ordered the lobster, which came with cute little lobster bibs, which I did not end up using.

After eating dinner, we got to talking about food and for some reason, going to Red Lobster. I mean, who doesn’t love those cheddar bay biscuits! The last time we had gone there was for my 14th birthday; the night before September 11, 2001. We each talked about that next day and our different experiences, since we hadn’t really talked about it. Where we all were and how much has changed. I won’t ever forget what I was doing that day and how things unfolded in the hours and days after, especially living so close to DC. My mom compared it to the experience she and my dad had when JFK was assassinated–never forgetting the moment you found out; they were both in their Biology classes, different states and schools. It wasn’t the most lighthearted of after-dinner conversations, but it’s important to share and hear those types of recollections and to take a moment to reflect. In remembrance.

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A nice perk of my job is that I am allowed to listen to music or the radio on my headphones to tune out everything going on around me so I can focus on what I need to get done.

Instead of opening up Pandora, Spotify, or iTunes first thing in the morning, I head over to NPR.org. By the time I arrive at work, the day’s recording of Morning Edition is available online. For some reason, listening to voices speaking instead of music or singing feels a lot more comfortable to me when I’m working. And obviously, I learn a lot that I wouldn’t otherwise: from politics, to random interesting stories, to heart-breaking StoryCorps interviews, to recent research updates.

While listening to yesterday’s show (since I wasn’t in the office for Labor Day), there was a story about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, commonly just called CFS. The two short segments were focused on how researchers still don’t know why people with CFS experience pain, exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia and so many other symptoms. It’s a hard disease to diagnose, and can be misconstrued as stress-related, extreme anxiety disorder, dehydration, a hormone imbalance, and I’m sure a thousand other things. The people interviewed, including those diagnosed with CFS, doctors and researchers, all brought focus to how life-changing this and other related diseases can be, and how there is no known cause or fool-proof form of treatment. Hopefully things will change soon, with new research and papers on CFS being released at the end of this month.

The thing that really stood out to me in the NPR story was something that interviewee Cynthia Johnson, who has CFS, said that disbelief makes the disease worse. She also is a breast cancer survivor.

People really admire you for fighting cancer, and they’re very excited that you survived. They congratulate you for surviving. Nobody does that, day to day, for CFS. They are just like, oh.

To those that don’t have these types of diseases, it’s hard to truly understand that anything could be wrong if you “don’t look sick.” One of the main symptoms of Lupus is also fatigue. Before I was diagnosed and began treatment, I was extremely tired without any explanation. I mean the cannot get out of bed, cannot walk to the next room to get a meal kind of tired. It was difficult to tell people, and still is, that I sometimes have to head home early because I’m “just tired.” At times it is from a lack of sleep, or a long weekend of travel, but other times it’s more than that.

Sometimes I need to just focus on taking care of myself and not worry when people seem a little miffed if I head home early. Not everyone understands, but I hope someday they will understand all of us that are affected by these types of chronic, invisible illnesses.

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a place to start

Everyone “wants to write” and “wants to start a blog” and apparently the favorite fact about contestants on the bachelor and bachelorette is that they “love to travel.”

Because I just want to be cool like everyone else, I decided to start this little blog. I have made pretty lame attempts before, but nothing really stuck. There are a few things about me and my daily life that I could write about.

It could be about food and cooking and wine. Because I love all those things and indulge in them on the daily.

It could be about Virginia Tech and being a Hokie. Because that is also something I clearly need another outlet for in addition to plastering my cubicle, car,  self, and twitter feed with all things Maroon and Orange; yes, they are proper nouns.

It could be about doing super fun awesome things in DC. Although, due to the fact that I live here, everything I do is automatically a super fun awesome thing in DC (& the surrounding area, since I actually live in Virginia). DC residents have a silly habit of getting all peeved when people claim to be from DC when they dont actually live in the District itself. Trust me, I used to be one of them.

It could also be about the effect that Lupus has had on my life. I was diagnosed on my 22nd birthday coincidentally. As a quick and friendly overview, Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage just about any part of the body. For something to be chronic it has to lasts over an extended period of time, and perhaps forever. I chose Chronic as one half of the title of this blog, since it encompasses a little something about me (the fact that I have a chronic illness) and a little something about what will hopefully be this whole blogging journey: it’s continuous.

I guess I have to start somewhere,  right?

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