Alex in Transit(ion)

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…filling out applications with a kitty cat snuggled by you is my definition of a lovely Sunday afternoon.

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the best lunch ever: mushroom sandwich

I found myself running late to work this morning- I had 45 minutes to get dressed, make coffee and lunch, and walk to work. It would have been easy to decide to buy lunch, but that would have been an insult to the beautiful portabella mushrooms and red pepper I bought this week. Good produce is hard to find at the Delaware Avenue Price Chopper and I wasn’t going to waste any of it.

If you are looking to cook mushrooms, I swear by this recipe from Stone Soup. It is so tasty and simple. Except, I was in a rush, so I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Instead of 400 degrees, I cranked that baby up to 450. I don’t know whether that was a good or bad choice, but it got the job done.

I stuffed my mushrooms with three slices of garlic, a little bit of sliced onions, cilantro, and a slice of mozzarella. Top that off with a few slices of roasted red peppers and put some alumninum foil over it and cook for 15 minutes while you frantically get dressed and ready for work. Bread. Mayo. Done. I find this to be more tasty and savory than any meat sandwich…and I got to work on time to find out that I received a raise =D

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New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.



John Steinbeck, writing a letter to his son about love

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the worst food blogger ever: Chapter 2- Spiced Chickpeas and Avocado over Rice

One quirk about me is that I love cooking but it takes forever for me to settle on a recipe. I decided to be adventurous this week and wanted to see if I could pull off Spiced Chickpeas with Avocado over Rice. I’ve never cooked with avocado before; I’ve only used it in sandwiches or in guacamole. This was going to be interesting.

Here is the recipe, and you can find more like it on Cheap, Healthy, Good!

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
A couple handfuls of cilantro, chopped (about ¾ cup chopped)
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
Black pepper, to taste

1) Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and cook slowly for 20-25 minutes, until onions are just about done to your liking. (You can go slowly and caramelize them, or turn up the heat and go faster for crispier onions, however you like.)

2) When the onions are just about done, stir in chickpeas. Add cumin, paprika, a few grinds of black pepper. (Add the spices gradually, and taste as you go.) Add 1-2 teaspoons more oil as needed – you don’t want this dry – and more salt, to taste. Cook until chickpeas are soft and creamy, 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.

3) Turn off heat and stir in avocado, cilantro, and lime juice.

4) Serve as-is, or over rice or in tortillas. Crumbled queso blanco makes a lovely addition.

What the recipe didn’t include was the prep time, which was the only downside to this dish. Dicing the avocado took forever because first, you have to skin the avocado. Then you need to take out the pit and finally, dice it. I want to say it took me a good half hour to finally cut up everything. 

That is what diced avocado looks like. I couldn’t believe it took up the whole bowl!

Sauteing the chickpeas and the onions. I always feel that red onions get such a bad rap but they’re so delicious. Also, I love spicy dishes so I put a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of paprika, along with a generous amount of black pepper. It was just right. 

In goes the avocado and cilantro! I would say my only regret is not using more cilantro and lime juice. They really made the dish for me, but you might want to stick to the recipe. 

Serve over rice. I also put some cheese in there to cool it down a little bit. It was delicious.

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…and we’re back!

After the demise of my computer on Friday (RIP Toshiba. We had a good 4 years together. I’m really going to miss your stickers), the only “computers” I’ve had access to were my: 

1. Work computer and I’m pretty limited as to what I can do on that.  

2. My Droid Razr. That poor thing. It’s been running so slow since I’ve been using it as a computer when it’s really supposed to be a phone. And an accessory to cure your boredom. I’ve been playing a lot of Angry Birds lately. 

But yay! I have new laptop! It’s a Dell XPS 15z. I’ll let y’all know how it performs. So far, I’m really impressed with how sturdy and fast it is. And I’m not going to lie, it kind of makes me want to use it on a job assignment. 

I tried hard to blog but there’s only so much you can do with a touchscreen keyboard on your phone without getting really frustrated at auto correct. I tried writing my thoughts down but while I was ice skating at Empire State Plaza this weekend (more to come on that in a later post), I ended up falling and my left arm took the hit. It’s not broken, but it’s really bruised. Since I write with my left hand, writing hasn’t been easy and I have a lot of pain in my wrist and elbow. Even though things are hard right now, I’m very blessed to have my friends and my roommates in my life. My friend took me grocery shopping since I can’t carry things right now. My roommate washed my hair last night, which was great, because I found out on Monday morning that it is a pain to wash your hair with one hand. I hope I can find a way to pay them back.

Other than that- the GRE is over and I’m filling out graduate school applications. I’m so happy that this test is over with for so many reasons, including the fact that I didn’t have time to cook for myself while I was studying for it, so I ate out a lot. Last night, I got back to cooking and it felt wonderful. You can count on another chapter in the Worst Food Blogger Ever series coming up soon. There’s been other great things that have been happening and you know, even if they don’t turn out the way I want to, I still believe in this (and forgive me if this is the umpteenth time you’re seeing this quote posted here): 

All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

– Conan O’Brien

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Do It Yourself: String Art

Well, I may be sick for New Year’s but I could care less. I haven’t been sick since April and I was so fortunate not be sick for my job assignments and the GRE, so I’ll take it! 

I decided to make the majority of the Christmas presents I gave this year. Yes, I know. The girl who, in the last three months, took a temporary job assignment in Virginia, moved back to NY, and took the GRE before the end of the New Year decided to go the DIY route for gifts. As you can imagine, I was only able to get one done but now, I have all of this free time on my hands and it’s sweet! 

When I was on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I saw this AWESOME piece of String Art: 

I was intrigued and I thought that this would make great gifts for my two best friends from high school. We all live in different parts of NY and I thought it would be cool to give them something like this. For each piece of string art, I positioned the heart over their current locations. If you’re looking to make something like this yourself, here are some instructions!

You Will Need:

  • A hammer
  • Nails 
  • A wood surface (you can find them easy at Wal Mart or any craft store)
  • Thin string
  • And whatever decorative extras you’d like to add!
  • An outline of a state. I found mine on Google Image search. Don’t try to freehand it, it doesn’t work. 

Step One

Position your outline on your wood surface. For some reason, my parents’ printer wasn’t working so I had to get some looseleaf paper and trace the outline with marker from my monitor. Hey, whatever works! If you decide to put a heart in your nail art, nail the heart down first. When I did this the first time, I nailed the state outline first and it was so hard to nail the heart down after that. 

Step Two

Start hammering away! 

Step Three

Yee hah. 

Step Four

Rip your outline off, because it’s time to start stringing!

Step Five

Stringing is easier said than done. First, tie a knot around the first nail. If you’re OCD like me, you’ll knot it again. And again. And again. Now, it’s time to start stringing. As you see in the picture, you will use one heart peg to string multiple string pegs. Make sure to hold the string tight as you go along. 

Step Six:

All done! Unfortunately glaze and flash aren’t meant to be friends. 

Total Cost: $8

Note: You may notice, Long Island is missing. It’s alright. I don’t consider it part of NY anyway. Upstate pride, ftw!