Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gourmet of the Month Mail!

Receiving anything in the mail that isn't a bill or junk mail can be a wonderful feeling. In December I wrote about a wonderful wedding present our dear friends the Craig's got for us- a year long subscription to Gourmet of the Month club. This club sends us treats each month! I love not knowing what the box will contain and I wait eagerly for it near the end of every month. Though customer service of probably hates me now for how many times I have changed addresses since August...

Here is the selection from this month's delivery-

Love seeing this little box on my doorstep.

Meats and cheeses!! How did they know I am not eating sugar!

Ok, I love these but I do not think I can have them. 
My roommates will love me.

Side ways photo of Salami nom.

Trois Petits Cochons Moustarde 
(I have a very annoying french accent when I say this.)

Asiago nom.

John Darling, I wish I could share this with you this month.
This is much more his style than the tea and clotted cream gift box!

Love, Light, & Lollipops

ps. Want to really light up my day? Send me a postcard or a quick note in the mail! I will hand write you back if you include your return address :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet Puff Clouds

This evening between writing my first Grad School papers and reading piles of books I took a little time out to celebrate my glorious husbands birthday and make what I will call Sweet Puff Clouds, otherwise known as simple merengue drops.

Though he may be far away, I dedicate these little pillows of zero sugar delights to him. And to procrastination. Any excuse really to not read more Dewey (!) Happy Birthday my sweet weirdo!

Here is the thing about these little air bebes. There isn't much taste to em. They are kind of just a novelty. BUT if you had, say, a tiny bit of lavender to put into the mix or a drop of vanilla  or coconut flakes or real sugar and topped it with berries... That would be great. But that isn't for me because I am going sans sugar. This little bebe is just to spice up my imagination and get a little variety into the textures of my life.

I made two batches- the first was awwwwwful because I used WAY too much fake sugar. Lesson learned.

2 eggs whites, room temperature
1/2t Cream of Tartar
1/2 packet Splenda or similar sweetener (NO aspartame!! NO!)
dash of cinnamon

set oven to Bake 300*

Before you begin here are some basic tips about making any merengue- use a glass mixing bowl, not metal. Let NO NO NO moisture into this mix. Wash and dry your mixing bowl thoroughly. Also no oils of any kind, as in wipe down your bowl on the inside with a paper towel to remove any accidental finger prints- water and oil will deflate your merengue.

With a hand mixer on medium setting- beat the egg whites until very frothy, add tartar, sugar, cinnamon, turn up mixer to med/high until creamy looking. Do not go over board here. Just until you get soft peaks, not super hard peaks.

On parchment paper covered cookie sheet- drop dollops of whatever size or shape you want. Do not over work the puff. 

Put in oven until the tops are nice and goldeny brown.
Eat warm or not. Up to you. 

from the first batch, nasty taste

second batch, much better

inside a cloud 
Love & Sweet Clouds,

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Part of It All

"We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect."- President Obama

I do not care what your political stance is.
I really don't.
There was a time when I did. But it isn't now.

That being said, today was a pretty cool day.

One of the perks of living in Arlington VA is that important political events happen right across the river. Literally... right across the river... I can see the Washington Memorial from the top of my driveway.

This morning I woke up early and got on a nearly empty bus, boarded a very packed subway train that took me to DC. When I stepped off the escalator from the underground there were throngs of people all bleary eyed clutching at their morning cups of coffee.
Tables set up with T-shirt hawkers, buttons, calendars, earrings, cheap scarves, twisty pretzels....
long lines...

As I entered the National Mall the crowds were greeted by dozens upon dozens of volunteers in red, grinning and waving, high-fiving, shaking hands, each one wishing the onslaught of bodies "GOOD MORNING!! Thank you so much for coming! We are happy to see you! Good Morning!"
It made me grin from ear to ear at how hernest they were and how they really did seem happy to be there.

That was the general mood I think... happy to be there.
I stood near a nice family whose 14 year old son kept exclaiming "I am SO excited!!"

When political figures came out people informed others of who they were. No judgements were made, just public information to go along with the face. We were in this together.

When speeches were given people were silent... blowing up into applause at just the right moments.
People were listening. People were feeling. They were gracious and respectful. It was even a bit reserved.

When Mrs. Mevers spoke there was a hush in the crowd. By the end of her invocation people were visibly moved by her words, her message, and her delivery. There were people around me that had been at the Million Man March in the 90s, there were people that had marched on Washington in the '63. It was beautiful to be near them today.

I never expected that nearly one million people could behave so well together. I felt safe, humbled, and happy to be witnessing a part of history. Now I can definitely say-

I was there.

xo JSchloHard


The following pictures may not look like much, I was in the second group back, very close to the Capitol in comparison to many. The jumbo tron was our visual for the whole event.
In front of me...


President Carter

Bill and Hillary

James Taylor

Beyonce (teeerrible photo. Jay-Z was there too!)

Joe Biden getting sworn in

Obama swearing in

Official presentation

The crowd erupting in flag waving

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, on the walk home

Statue on the bridge back to Arlington

"Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness...Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time -- but it does require us to act in our time."- Barack H. Obama

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bacon and Art Attacks.

The chill outside has been a welcome one, reminding me that seasons are natural markers... lamp-posts, signifiers of constant movement. I am lucky to have a warm place to sleep, my favorite blanket to keep me warm, and the love and curiosity of my friends and family.

Yesterday I finally felt some forward movement in a few specific ways... and I got excited about MLKjr Day! 

1. I am walking canine companions during the day, making sure they are well taken care of while we stroll the beautiful neighborhoods of Arlington. Seems like a pretty good deal... I get to be around some new furry friends and work with them while keeping physically active during the day!

2. Orientation at GMU reconfirmed my belief... I AM doing the right thing! I AM doing what is best for me AND my husband! HooooRaaaaaay!
People that want to make art*, support art, that work with art, that are surrounded by people and companies that support and create art and and and artartartartaratratratratratrtsahrt..... 

whoa. Sorry. ART ATTACK. 

3. Also, I am going to the 2nd Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama in Washington DC on Monday.
My favorite fractures saying comes to mind- "If not you then who? If not now then when?" 

*art of all sorts, mind you.

And now for pretty pictures of tonights delicious low/no carb meal pre-oven, focusing on bright fresh flavors and simple ingredients.


Dill... lots of dill :)

Atlantic salmon, rolled up with sautéed spinach and feta cheese.
I placed two thin slices of lemon under the roll 
and topped it with a handful of chopped dill (not pictured)!

Leek, sweet onion, yellow squash, garlic,
orange pepper, bit o ginger, and dill (not pictured)... roast it!

Love each other, 
And if you can... tell your mother you love her.

ps. A picture of bacon. Bacon is not on the menu tonight, but it is beautiful and delicious. Bacon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dreams of Individual Apple (in a) Pie!

My relationship with food and what sustenance I put into my body is an ongoing process. My imagination and love for all things cooked and prepared with love and passion is vast and varied. Though my passion for food and cooking for loved ones is endless, I have restricted what I eat to only that which makes me feel good in the long and short run.
I have found that my body does much better and feels more clean when I do not eat sugar. That means all kinds of sugar. Processed, unprocessed, lactose, glucose, fructose... all of it.
Diabetes runs in my family and that is always on my mind when choosing realistic foods. My own blood sugar (and thus my energy and mood) fluctuates so much during the day when I eat anything with over a smidgen of sugar/carbohydrate indexed that for now I choose to eliminate them from my foods. Bonus- it is much easier for me to lose a few extra pounds when I only eat vegetables and proteins. Just sayin.

That being said...

I still love to drool over sugary foods.
Today I will tell you about one of my all time favorites... and I will use kindergarten style drawings to illustrate since I shan't be making this today.

Individual (whole)Apple Pie
Usually this recipe is made during Harvest when apple cider and apples are at their peak, but any day that is cold and gloomy is instantly lightened by this crowd pleaser.

What you will need-
Apples- 1/person, Braeburn, fuji, pink lady (any reddish delicious apples that aren't CRAZY huge)
Apple cider- 2-3 C/apple
Cinnamon sticks
Ground cinnamon
Brown sugar
Pie crust- 1/apple- I like to use the frozen packaged pre-made kind that is easy to unroll.
Egg white- 1
Large soup pot
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream- totally optional, but way worth it.

What to do-
In the pot place washed apples, cinnamon sticks, and cider. Make sure that there is enough liquid that the apples are floating freely. If you need a LITTLE more liquid, add a splash of water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat, let simmer until apples are almost fork tender. Apples should not be mushy! Just easily forked!

Remove apples from liquid and core the apple (Keep the liquid! Hot apple cider with cinnamon is delicious! Drink while waiting for the dessert to finish!)

Unroll pie crust, place cored apple in the center of said pie crust. Shove a large hunk of butter into the cored center, jam brown sugar on top of that. Seriously. Jam it in there. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Wrap the apple in pie crust by raising the dough up the sides... like wrapping a gift basket. Pinch dough at the top and cut off excess... and there should be a bunch of excess. The apple should be completely enclosed in crust.

Brush top of crust with egg white. Place in baking dish, bake at 375F until crispy brown exterior. Remove from oven, let cool for a bit. They are kind of like molten apple pie bombs so watch yer mouth.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream... or both... best eaten with fork and knife. Though food is best when shared, don't do it. Don't share it. They have their very own Apple in a Pie! YAY!!!

*find a creative use for the excess pie crust- like make into strips, smother in butter, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on one side of strips, twist, place on baking sheets, bake until toasted.

Love & Baking

Monday, January 7, 2013

Unpacking, History, and Hamlet

Unpacking, again. 
Each time I unpack a box of goodies I am reminded of all of the reasons why I keep these things... the memories attached to them, the people associated, the reflection of my individual tastes, momentos from those that care. You have all been on my mind!
I brought to Arlington only the things I could not do without and those that express who I am today. Guitar, espresso machine, pictures and paintings, basic jewelry sets and supplies, computer... And my giant stuffed frog. (No way I was about to leave Oliver. I picked him up when I moved to Seattle the first time... a 19yo babe. Or baby.)
Yesterday I took a break from unpacking and sorting out life on the big East Coast. I met up with Sista Trista and Mr. Lou and the Gang in DC. We strolled through history, found Fellow Fairbanks Friends, and perused the natural wonders of the world at the Smithsonian. We had a wonderful time reconnecting and enjoying the nations capital.

Steeped in history. Now I want historical tea.
While on public transport I always see those people with ear buds in supposedly listening to an amazzzzing life soundtrack. I joined in. I plugged my headphones into my ear holes and suddenly my life was a movie. Moments like this make me pretend I am in Thoroughly Modern Millie (
I went to our meeting spot, the Reflecting Pool, especially early so that I could sit with the newness of this new major life choice and let the music sweep me through the deep and rich history of the very spot I was standing.
She&Him radio on Pandora is getting this 'Girl in the Big City' job done.

I strolled past the National Monument, gandered at the Veterans Memorial, slowly crept up the Reflecting Pool's side to encounter the pale giant Mr. Lincoln. The love of my life was in my head and heart the entire way but I knew that this journey- physical and metaphorical- alone will be worth the effort for both of us.
National Monument behind a chain-link

Reflecting at the Reflecting Pool

Can you imagine attending a rally here in the 60s?

Hello, sir. I hear you're pretty good at 
slaying Fangers...

Surrounded by Shakespeare and Watercolors
My new room is robin-egg-blue. It is pretty.
I have been inspired to put up all of the water colors that were made in Seattle...

These are all little bits of paper with paint and
quotes from Shakespeare's plays.

Hamlet, Gertrude discusses Ophelia's watery end.

The Tempest

Put into one.

Hamlet must have been on my mind recently.
This is a skull in the Museum of Natural History, 
there were many skulls on display and all I could think 
was that Hamlet would have a field day in that room.

Love each other,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Musings/ Arrive in Virginia

I arrived in Virginia! Four days after leaving Texas, Lou and Trista have welcomed me in to their home once again. I am glad to be done with the major driving. Now to get the keys to my new apartment and unpack the very full Fancy car.

Musings From The Asphalt

With every big choice there are moments of apprehension. Change is not easy, even when you know it is the right thing to do.

Driving a solo long distance trip is very much a practice in meditation for me. I have higher focus, my mind is angled at the task at hand and all of the big problems rumbling in my noggin can loosen up to unravel themselves.

Mantras or affirmations may not be for everyone, but I believe that by setting my intention through repetition I can set a goal. Giving breathe to an idea or goal sets into motion the will to achieve, the reality to exist. Goal, intention, emotion, calm, reminder, affirmation... whatever it is that is necessary to rebalance myself- this I give breathe to.
Never has this been more applicable than the previous few difficult days.

Today... today... Today I choose to move forward with as much grace as I can muster and determination.

I breathe.
Forever grateful, I breathe.

May you work hard toward your goals in this New Year,
may satisfaction fill the void of doubt,
may love surround your intentions,
may you know peace with yourself and your surroundings... this I wish for us all.