Skyline and RAGBRAI

Yesterday I took a ride out on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park with a new friend, Melissa (left), who I met a few months ago volunteering at the Mt. Vernon Place Shower Ministry, and Anna (right), my new roommate. What a beautiful day for it! We left before 8AM, beat the heat and got in some incredible mountain riding.

Imagine zooming down hills with this beautiful view to your left:

Now that you’ve had your chance to visualize this scene, you might need to tweak it just a tad, based on this tid-bit of knowledge: I really don’t zoom that fast going down hills, but it doesn’t take much to feel like you’re flying through the landscape. I tend to watch my friends fly past me on each descent and then make my way back up on the climbs.

Last year was my first biking trip to Skyline and I had such a great time that it started to seem like something I should do every year. This year, it just so happens that I managed to sneak it in shortly before heading to Iowa for RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Anna, the new roommate (who I also lived with for a year in the grad-school group house), is from Iowa and her dad suggested RAGBRAI after she started talking about getting a bike early in the year. I’m tagging along because I think that multi-day bike events make for a great vacation. I’ve never ridden in a group of 10,000 before, but I have no doubt that this party on wheels will live up to its reputation and any expectations I may have.

I’ve Moved

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This post is a bit of a teaser as I don’t have a home internet connection set up yet, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve moved before it becomes old news (just under one week in at this point). I’m in Takoma, a cool little neighborhood on the edge of DC that has more of a small town feel thanks to neighboring Takoma Park, MD. I’m back in an apartment building, but its unlike any I’ve lived in before. Right now I’m at Mayorga, the coffee shop the ground floor of our building and looks out on the Takoma metro station that is literally right across the street. While here, I’ve been reading a book that I picked up from the freecycle shelf located in our basement bike parking area. Let’s just say I’m loving it here and can’t wait to share some pics with you when I get the internet set up later today. 

Doughnut Plant


Doughnut Plant

Originally uploaded by abakedcreation

I have a weakness for good doughnuts. Luckily, I don’t have the opportunity to indulge too often. DC is more of a cupcake city, which baffles me. I think this works out for the best though, since I’m all the more excited when I finally do get to have one. Last weekend I was in New York for the day and my first stop was the Doughnut Plant where I had coconut cream and fresh mango doughnuts. I’ve gotten the hang of beignets at home; I think doughnuts may follow before too long.

Back on wordpress…

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Tumblr is so very convenient, but so very lonely! I can’t figure out how to turn on commenting, so it feels as though I’m just shouting into the ether over there. So here I am, back on the blog. Leave me a comment to let me know you’re still reading and encourage me to write more!

Speaking of reading, that’s what I’m up to this evening. I’m curled up on the couch with The Pillars of the Earth, which I picked up at the library yesterday. I know that Val was really into the mini-series at Christmas, and I’m assuming that at least a couple of you (maybe more?) have read the book. I just finished Water for Elephants in time for the release of the movie. That one only lasted me a few days. I think this one keep me going quite a bit longer 😉

Follow me on Tumblr

We all know I’m not the most consistent blogger. After hearing the someday blogger joke again, I actually thought about changing the name of this here site. But then I had a better idea, try something different. I’ll be moving my posts over to tumblr, to see if quick posting translates to more posts. I have to say that while I do love the look of this wordpress site, the time spent wrangling my posts discourages frequent blogging. You know I’m all about the aesthetics, so I can’t just ignore it and move on, oh no. So update your bookmarks, your google reader, whatever it is you use, and let’s see what happens.

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White Veggie Chili

First off, check out the gorgeous sunset we had last night. I snapped this while walking home from work, just before popping into the grocery store to pick up a few things for this recipe I’m going to share with you.
On the night before Thanksgiving my mom cooked up a big batch of White Chicken Chili that had everyone scraping their bowls. It was so good that on Friday, Steph and I chose chili over turkey when warming up leftovers. While standard red chili made many appearances throughout my childhood, white chili is something that I don’t remember having until much later on. Once I’d had it, I knew my favorite chili though. Last night, on a quest for a veggie heavy dinner, I came up with this adaptation:
  • 40-48 oz. vegetable broth (I used water and better than bullion)
  • 4 cans white beans
  • 1 can pink beans, or the equivalent of dry beans
  • half a cup of peas
  • half a cup of corn
  • one chopped carrot
  • close to a pound of fresh white mushrooms, chopped into quarters
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Simmer the beans and broth over medium heat for an hour, stirring occasionally. The broth will get thicker.
  2. Add vegetables, and cook until they’re beginning to get soft.
  3. Add spices, and cook for about another half hour.

Adapted from Om nom nom’s White Vegetarian Chili.

Enough with the teasing…

the few remaining pictures of Sam have been posted on flickr. Sorry for the delay. I was attempting to multitask while making apple butter. At some point the kitchen called and I didn’t make it back to the computer before heading out to a show (another great evening with the New Pornographers).

In related news, I made my way through both bushels of apples. After a week of on and off work with those apples, I came away with 3 quarts and 12 pints of apple sauce and 2 quarts and 11 pints of apple butter. As is always the case, I figured out the most efficient way to make my applesauce on the last day. In the beginning, I was chopping and boiling my apples and then slipping the skins off before running them through the food processor. In the end I decided to just chop, boil and process them and then press the sauce through the colander before canning. This saved me SO much time. With this process I was able to work my way through the majority of the final bushel in three hours, giving me nine quarts of sauce to work with the next day.

Another quick note before heading off to relax for the evening – I had one of those quick, thrown together dinners this evening that ended up being so unbelievably delicious that I figured I ought to share. My thoughts tend to run towards squash these days when the question of what to eat pops up, so tonight I opted for orzo pasta and butternut squash. I added just enough water to cover the orzo when cooking it and added some better than bullion, a little milk and some butter. A couple of minutes before it was done cooking, I added my precooked, cubed squash and once it was in the bowl, sprinkled on some feta. It was heavenly, can’t wait to have it again.