And it just so happened that his very favorite band, from way back in college, who had been broken up for like, over 15 years, had just announced out of the blue a few months ago that they were back together, and releasing a new album, and oh by the way they’de be playing a show in Portland on his birthday weekend.
I knew I was saving those airline miles for a good reason. Serendipity!
So on his birthday, on April 11th, we flew to Portland for a long weekend. And I’ll share the majority of what we
did ate there coming up real soon, but today, let’s just focus on the important stuff. My honey had a birthday!
Our flight was out of LAX but wasn’t until the evening, which was good, because we had lots to do. But unfortunately, I was busy wrangling Waits and getting him ready for school, so I didn’t photograph our morning eats. It was most likely soy yogurt (um, hello, Whole Soy is baaaack!) and coffee for Jeremy, oatmeal with peanut butter and strawberry jam with a side of oat milk and chlorella tablets for Waits, and plain coffee for me.
Jeremy and I both had haircuts scheduled for that morning . . . it seems to be becoming a birthday tradition with us. His was at 9 and mine was at 10:30. So he was out of the house by 8:45, which gave me just enough time to drop Waits off at preschool and then set up Jeremy’s surprise birthday present at his house, where he would find it after his hair cut.
So seriously, what do you do when you love someone like mad but you don’t have very much money, so you can’t buy them something grand that might reflect the magnitude of your adoration? (like, say, an electric sports car . . . sorry babe.)
And friends, let me tell you something: if you’re going for maximum impact, I think this is an excellent approach. Jeremy was pretty gobsmacked. But be warned! My man turned 42 years old, which for me meant nearly 20 solid hours just for folding paper. Literally. I just want you to know what you’re getting into, if you’re ever inspired to attempt something similar. I started ~8 weeks out to make sure I had enough time. And it was so incredibly worth it, of course! I hope that goes without saying. I loved doing this for him and I LOVED that it made him feel so loved. That was the whole point.
Aren’t they pretty? If you want to give it a go, there’s a great tutorial here. It’s the octahedron and uses standard sonobe units.
With both of us sporting new haircuts, and with our bags finally packed, our houses all cleaned, and our clean-out-the-crisper juice securely stowed in a glass to-go cup, we could kiss the Harley dog goodbye and finally hit the road. By then it was almost 2 pm, whoops!
But don’t let the fancy juice fool you – I had been snacking on Snap Pea Crisps all morning to stave off the hunger pangs. Man, those things are addictive like crack! The juice, much healthier and addictive in its own right, was a beautiful blend of beet, carrot, kale, parsley, orange, apple, and ginger. And golly it was good.
But juice and crisps does not a full belly make. So we stopped in LA for some emergency Veggie Grill, eaten in the car on the way to the airport, because of course by this point we were somehow totally running late.
I got the B-Wing Salad, sub buffalo-style tempeh for the buffalo chickin’ which makes it gluten free, add extra buffalo sauce, because buffalo. That salad is my JAM.
Jeremy got the Savory Kale Caesar, add buffalo chickin’, because BUFFALO.
First stop upon landing, still in the PDX terminal. A wee espresso shot for each of us. The night was still young!
Obviously, I lived in Portland for 5 years so I had lots of amazing people and lots of delicious things and lots of wonderful places that I just couldn’t wait to show Jeremy. But for our first night? My sissy of course! My dearest sister (well, step sister, but whatever) picked us up from the airport and whisked us away to one of my favorite places of all: the Bye and Bye, an all-vegan bar with a most excellent late night menu.
My sister is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. She is basically the embodiment of pure magic.
Like I said, the Bye and Bye has an awesome menu, so along with our voluminous libations, we grabbed some dinner grub.
For me, the Eastern Bowl with nooch-breaded tofu, steamed broccoli, brown rice, and spicy peanut ginger sauce. Add avocado, duh.
Jeremy got the meatball sub (not gluten-free) and a side of brussels sprouts. I can vouch for the brussels, and he said the sammie was AWESOME.
We ate, we drank, we were very very merry. It was the perfect start to our Portlanstravaganza vegan vacation. And of course, a very happy birthday!
I love you baby! I’m so very glad you were born!
♥ ♥ ♥
3. the last day before we both started school again, after a long lovely break together – we built a pirate ship, and sailed the high seas of the big backyard, hunting for Captain Hook
4. starting everything from seeds this year. // 5. practicing with our homemade bow in the park at dusk ♥
Hi guys! Happy Friday! It’s spring, the world is waking up, and everything seems to be snapping into motion. I’ve started school again and this quarter is already so much better than last quarter, by leaps and bounds. And I’m so excited! Today is Jeremy’s birthday, and today we’re heading out for a long weekend in . . . PORTLAND!!! Squee! One of my very favorite cities with one of my very favorite people, it’s going to be a blast!
Otherwise, of course I’ll be recapping the whole trip here on the blog, in the next few weeks. It’s going to be delicious!
And now, a quick and dirty Love List to kick off the weekend right! I’ll share mine, and I hope you’ll share some of yours. Drop your love in the comments below!
Number one, no doubt, is TEACHING! My biggest fear is public speaking, and this quarter I’ve had to meet it head on, because I am TAing. It was scary and horrible and stressful and sort of unbelievable (wait, you’re letting ME teach college biology? who in their right might approved that??!) (because I suffer from Impostor Syndrome, for reals, it’s a thing and I have it). But I did it, and actually, I did pretty good. And actually, it was pretty fun. And now, I think I might end up actually being a sort of awesome teacher. What?! // PORTLAND!!! Can’t wait, so excited, so many friends to see and so many things to eat. // The airline miles that made Portland a possibility at all, because otherwise there would have been no way. Very thankful for those! // Lazy nights on the couch with Jeremy. // Also, rallying for date nights out with Jeremy, those sure are good too. // So guys, I got a shout-out on Thursday’s episode of my all-time favorite podcast, Citizen Radio. No biggie. No big deal. Here at 45:23 (OMG!!!!!1) (DYING!!) (MADE MY YEAR!!!) // Cocktails and girl talk on a mom’s night out. // Long mellow mornings with Waits, without feeling rushed. So precious. // Vintage Pyrex, droooool! // Awesome opportunities from the most unexpected of places. // The class I’m taking on Science Writing, and the chills it gives me. Oh, my dream is crystalizing, and it is GOOD!
Alright, now it’s your turn! I hope you’ll leave your own little Love List in the comments below. I’d love to hear what’s making you smile these days!
But the reason I’ve never posted it is because 1. It’s super ridiculously easy, and for some reason I have a mental block around posting recipes that seem “too easy” (it feels like cheating), and 2. There are already like, a gazillion and one (precise figure, true story) recipes for red lentil dahl on the internets.
And the reason I’m actually posting it now, finally, is because 1. Everyone who’s ever tasted it has been like OMG HOW DID YOU WHAT IN THE THIS IS AMAZING!!!1 (precise quote, true story), and 2. I have made it every single week, for the past few months, at Jeremy’s request. And anything that’s so good as to be eaten so regularly, deserves to be shared. Don’t you think?
This recipe is disarmingly simple. 10-15 minutes prep, with ~30 minutes simmering, and it’s ready to serve, no fuss. You’re probably skeptical. But seriously, just try it. Here’s what you’ll need:
2 cups red lentils
1 large onion, diced
3-4 carrots, diced
3-4 ribs of celery, diced
a few cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
a knob of fresh ginger, minced (or not, this is pretty optional but I personally love it)
2-4 tablespoons curry powder, store-bought or homemade, divided (to taste, I err on the side of “more”, but start small and add as you like)
6-8 cups broth, either veggie or “better than chicken”/”better than beef” (all of these work but obviously, each one changes the flavor)
salt to taste
1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk
–> my favorite optional spices for playing with the flavor = turmeric, smoked paprika, & cumin
Obviously, this is a very forgiving recipe. I make it a little bit differently each time, which is just the way it should be. Sometimes I load it up with fresh ginger, and other times I pile on the smoked paprika. Whatever suits my mood.
So! To start, put a stock pot/soup pot over a medium flame, and spray with a bit of oil – I like the coconut oil spray. Dice your onion, add to the pot, and give a good stir.
Dice your carrots. Add to the pot and stir.
Dice your celery. Add to the pot and stir. Mmmmmmire poix!
Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the fresh ginger. When the onions are glassy and the carrots and celery have softened, add the garlic and ginger. Give a good stir and continue to cook for a minute or two.
Add the lentils. Yes, dry.
Add the spices (2 tablespoons curry powder + whatever other spices you want to add, if you’re adding others). Stir well to combine.
This dry sauté really allows the flavors to develope. After 30-60 seconds (about the time it takes to get it and measure it out, really), add the broth.
Bring the pot up to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes or so, checking in every so often to stir. You may have to add more broth, which is fine.
Do not add the coconut milk! Not while it simmers.
Just wait, as the aroma of mouthwatering amazingness completely infiltrates your home. Try occupying yourself with something adorable . . .
When the lentils are tender and could be served, taste the soup and adjust the flavor for curry intensity (you may want to add another tablespoon or 2 of spice, depending on how you like it) and salt.
Jeremy and I almost always eat this over a bed of steamed kale or rainbow chard – of course the one time we didn’t is the one time I was taking pics. Rice or quinoa would be nice as well.
And we almost always serve it with gluten-free bread + coconut oil. And here’s the weird thing that we discovered and you’re going to be like “WHAT?! You’re crazy, that doesn’t even make any sense.” And you’re right, it doesn’t Except! It’s just sooooo good.
Pictured here, pumpernickel bagels, because they were out of the loaves at our favorite gluten-free bakery.
This dahl hits the spot, always and forever, no matter what. But IF you can get your hands on some pumpernickel, I highly recommend it. Don’t ask me to try and explain the flavor-genius that arises from this unlikely pairing, because I certainly couldn’t tell you. You’ll just have to trust me.
I consider myself a bit of media junkie . . . but then again, aren’t we all? So I thought it might be fun to share some of my recent favorites, and of course, ask you to share some of yours. Yes?
I recently began working on a master’s degree in evolutionary biology, which means I spend a lot of time reading primary literature. And . . . it’s dry.
My dream, now, is to be a science writer. Did you know that? Dreams always seem to sweep out and away from us, and then somehow to circle back. Or, at least mine always seem to do that. Like this one did, and I find myself just where I was 6 years ago, dreaming of writing popular science. Of taking those stodgy, sterile scientific papers and breaking them down, synthesizing them, so that this fantastical, magical world of science feels approachable for anyone and everyone. But in order to be a brilliant science writer, you first have to read the brilliant science writers.
Enter Carl Zimmer.
I first fell in love with Zimmer as an undergrad, during the summer between my transfer from community college to university. I read his breakout book, Parasite Rex, because I was going to be working in a parasitology lab at the university, and focusing my studies on parasitology. Not only was the book an awesome introduction to the the truly incredible world of parasites, but an entire chapter actually profiles the lab where I worked! Which was super cool.
So that’s when I fell in love with Zimmer, but my deep and undying devotion was truly sealed once I discovered that he was the curator of the online “Gallery Of Science Tattoos”. Coolest dude ever, right?! The gallery is now defunct, but you can catch some highlights, here, if you’re interested.
And these days, I’m reading Zimmer’s popular science take on my current subject of study. Ive only just begun it, but so far Evolution: The Triumph Of An Idea is absolutely delicious, with all the usual wit and charisma that Zimmer brings to his work. If you’re looking for something that’s cerebral, but with charm, Evolution definitely has that delightful je ne sais quoi that transforms typical science writing into scientific poetry.
Or, you know, go straight to Parasite Rex and prepare to have your mind completely blown!
My god, this movie just so completely surpassed my expectations.
This independent documentary, by filmmaker David France, chronicles the work of radical activists at the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and into the 90s. And honestly? This is one of the most inspiring, empowering, and deeply moving films I have ever seen in my life. The things that these brave men and women did were absolutely incredible, and demonstrate what power the people can have when they’re willing to put it all on the line. I lived through this, I actually lived in the Bay Area when all this was happening, but I was too young and I just had no idea. And now, I’m so grateful that this story is being told, and so beautifully.
Here, seriously, watch the trailer:
I watched this film with tears streaming down my face, with my mind racing. My heart was broken and also full of hope. Because what they did? It changed the world.
After I watched this film, I posted on my Facebook page:
If the vegans and health/food activists of today could unite and mobilize with the same passion and power as the radical queer activist of ACT UP in the 1980s, the world might be a very different place.
Those men and women quit their jobs, gave up everything, devoted their entire lives, and didn’t let ANYTHING stop them. They became their own experts, their own media, their own scientists, and they made themselves heard everywhere by being loud, being brave, and being willing to lose it all. They got arrested and they got in trouble.
And, they got the ear of the public and more importantly, of the government. They FORCED change. And it worked.”
If you’re an activist of any type, whether it be in the streets or just in your heart, please watch this movie. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s available on Netflix and also free on YouTube. You can visit the website for the film, here.
Citizen Radio is basically everything that I’ve ever wanted. Ever.
A political podcast that’s left of left of left, that’s smart and subversive and really, really fucking funny. That’s not afraid to criticize liberal leaders, or to call out all of us – all of us – on our shit. And I just dropped that “fucking” and that “shit” on purpose, because if that makes you balk a bit, then this is definitely not the podcast for you, haha (Which is also totally okay! Different strokes for different folks, and variable messaging for the variable masses. Right?).
Citizen Radio is the project of a husband-wife team of badass brainy jujitsu-armed (yes, really) vegans. And if that doesn’t sell it, I just don’t know what will. They talk a lot about the stuff that mainstream networks are too cowardly to face, like racial politics (real ones, not the pretend ones), about sexism and misogyny, and about cultural appropriation. They will call you out on your privilege! And it’s awesome. I’ve learned more from listening to this podcast than I ever learned from NPR, Air America, MSNBC, or any political or sociology class I ever took in college (truth!)
And, I laugh all the way through it.
Please listen, please share, and please support independent media! I signed up to be a sponsor and I’m thrilled to throw them what little support I can. You can listen for free on iTunes or your pod-catcher of choice, or on their website.
Alright guys, I showed you mine, now please, please, I would LOVE to see yours! Let me know what you’re Reading // Watching // Listening to in the comments below. It could be anything – wherever your interests lie. We’re an eclectic community, which is what makes us so awesome! So let us have it.