Autumn Kale Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Fall2014-138I know, I know, two kale recipes in a couple weeks. I’m the worst. Before you get any grand ideas about my culinary superiority, know that Sunday night I dined on Totino’s frozen pizza while enjoying a Redbox double header of Veronica Mars and Divergent. What can I say? Classy times around this home. I actually love Totino’s pizza with the fire of a thousand suns, the same intensity with which I love young adult dystopian fiction, so it was an awesome night. Fall2014-122But I do love a good kale salad. According to James, there is no such thing as a “good” kale salad, but I beg to differ. Remember this tasty one? Plus, when you are cooking for one, those big bunches of kale last a loooonnnggggg time. Hence the fact that last week I ate kale for four meals in a row. Desperate times call for desperate measures. At least the first three were awesome. Among them was this kale salad, topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds and tossed in a sweet honey vinaigrette.
Fall2014-125 Fall2014-126 A note about pomegranate seeds. They are basically the rubies of nature. As in, every time I break open a pomegranate, I think, yep, Persephone was right — totally worth having to stay camped out in the Underworld as the bride of that creepy old Hades. Yes, I realize that may come across as a little Stockholm syndrome-ish to you, and yes, I realize I am slightly butchering the myth and my fellow classical liberal arts college graduates are probably writhing in pain at my oversight. But seriously: those seeds are beautiful.  What was not quite as cool was the crimson splatter that is now all over my white t-shirt. I did such a good job getting out the seeds with this method, but alas, my initial chop was overzealous. Cue pomegranate death stain. Fall2014-128 A note about pumpkin seeds. I love everything about pumpkins. I love their perfect orange color, I love pumpkin flavored everything, I love going to pumpkin patches, I love setting them all over my apartment during the fall.

I hate carving pumpkins.

And I feel guilty about it because I should like carving pumpkins, as I love all excessive displays of seasonal excitement. For years I have just done it and let my enthusiasm for parties and crafts try to win me over. But I hate carving pumpkins and I am finally brave enough to admit it: Hi, my name’s Hannah, and I’m going to stop pretending like it is fun to fight for an hour with a dull knife and hard pumpkin. Luckily, I think that this whole pumpkin painting craze is catching steam so I can continue to be invited to autumnal parties. As much as I hate carving pumpkins, I love eating roasted pumpkin seeds. That’s why it is so frustrating that you have to struggle through the pumpkin carving to get those tasty seeds. Thus, for you ambitious squirrels out there, feel free to roast your own seeds. As for me and my house, we shall purchase ours roasted and salted at Aldi.

Fall2014-131Do you ever read food blogs and wonder how everything looks so perfect and well lit and beautiful? I do. Especially since there is exactly 3 square feet of counter space in my entire kitchen, broken up into two counters. That means that behind the scenes of this…
Fall2014-139… is this. A giant mess that is infinitely unbloggable, and must therefore be blogged to add some reality to the internet. Hashtag live authentically. Because #liveauthentic is the grammatically incorrect and unrealistic version. Put that in your  #darlingweekend. #ispendtoomuchtimetryingtofigureouthowhashtagsrelatetopictures
Fall2014-133Sorry, where did that rant come from? Oh yes, the inordinate amount of time I squandered on Instagram this week in an effort to escape from the book I was reading for my PhD exams. Hashtag too boring to gram. Anyways, may you go forth and make this tasty fall salad.

Over and out. Fall2014-140Autumn Kale Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

  • kale, stems removed and torn small
  • pumpkin seeds, roasted and salted.
  • pomegranate seeds
  • goat cheese
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • grainy dijon mustard
  • honey
  1. There are no precise measurements for this salad. Just remember that kale will shrink down and toss on as many toppings as you desire.
  2. To make dressing, mix oil, vinegar, mustard and honey until emulsified. I usually do a glug or two of olive oil, a glug of balsamic (Smitten Kitchen convinced me that a glug is a totally acceptable measurement), a spoonful of mustard and a spoonful of honey. Whisk.
  3. Dump dressing on kale and massage until the kale has diminished in volume by about a third.
  4. Toss in seeds and top with goat cheese.
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36 hours.

Last weekend I got to have James home for a whopping 36 hours. It was almost a much shorter visit, if that’s even possible, thanks all flights being delayed during Chicago layovers. I was super adult-like when James called to say he might have to wait and fly out on Saturday, crying and yelling angry declarations about calling Southwest and insisting that they let planes take off. My fury was not needed in the end and James rolled into town around 3am Saturday morning for a wild 36 hours in the city. And by wild, I mean we slept in, took a walk to enjoy that amazing autumn weather and enjoyed chicken tortilla soup at home Saturday night. Wild times around our home. Mostly we just whispered sweet nothings to each other, a smattering of which are below for your enjoyment.

Untitled-1James: “How come every paper you write ends up being about a harem? You are going to be the only person with a PhD who only knows about 4 things.”

Hannah: “That is basically the definition of a PhD, and I just really like harems.”

***

James: “That’s ridiculous. Chicken never made anyone fat.”

Hannah: “I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to America.”

***

James: “Hi, my name’s Hannah, and I haven’t Instagrammed in 4 days. Hiiiiiiiii Hannah…. I’m just going to make the same face in this one that I make in all the others.”

***

James: “Hannah- get off the grass. Sidewalks are what separate us from the animals.”

***

In other really exciting and important weekend news: I learned voice dictation on my cell phone (which means I learned that you can press that microphone button.. technological I am not) and spent a long time staring at my forehead debating if I should go back down the bangs route. I know I will regret it when they are all up in my face… but it’s like the siren song I can’t resist.

 Hope your weekends were all equally eventful, exciting, and full of profound wisdom.

 

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It’s Friday and these are my feelings.

tumblr_inline_ncq72uudTe1rw0c9sMy brother’s girlfriend lives in a really amazing house with a bunch of girls. Sometimes they have Wine and Feelings, wherein they do exactly what the name suggests and share their feelings in some solid girl-time. That sounds pretty wonderful to me. Seeing as how my current solo state at home would make Wine and Feelings a pathetic affair — as in, I think by yourself it just looks a lot like depression — I am going to dump some of my many emotions on you, O lovely Internet. Here are some Friday Feelings of late.

My annual viewing of this movie this week has me feeling like Fall is here. It’s one of my all-time favorites and just puts me in the mood for fall weather, cozy food, and imaginary creatures that keep you isolated far from the real world. Is it bad that I always feel like, yep, totally would have maintained the lie and stayed in the Village?

This video recently had me crying. Mostly because BUTTERFLY KISSES Y’ALL. And then I started imaging having to read this poem at the funeral of someone I loved and I just laid on the floor and sobbed for awhile. Yes, those two things are not the same at all as one is the story of someone’s actual pain and the other is just my incessant and dramatic imagination, but still. All the Feelings were had.

This photoshoot had me feeling amazed and in awe the way that only true beauty and ballerinas can. That top photo is one from the series by the amazing M.K. Sadler and if your feeling is not that it is one of the most beautiful things ever, than my feelings would kindly like to tell yours that they are ridiculous, gravely mistaken, and not invited back to the next Feeling Fest. Joking. Kind of. Ok, not really.

This article had me snort laughing out of my nose, the true zenith of responses to humor. By the way, yes it written 2 years ago, and no, I don’t care. Oh the joy of finding things after everyone else on the Internet! I experience that every time someone leaves a lengthy and opinionated comment disagreeing on this post and I just want to be like, “DUDE. This has been up for OVER A YEAR and I promise you that EVERY POSSIBLE FORM OF YOUR OPINION has already been voiced at least 20 times.”

This wedding video had me feeling ridiculously happy. Emily, I always rooted for you to find love, and deep down I think we all knew that you needed more than a man who whacked the last “f” of his name. But what I really love isn’t just her beautiful wedding, but that totally legit, plan o’ salvation, Biblical homily. The fact that heaven will be increasingly populated with reality TV stars thrills me to no end.

I guess that is enough feelings for a Friday morning. But please, join me in this emotion-palooza and feel free to dump below. All Feelings are welcome. But maybe not “Feels.” Still haven’t decided how I feel about that abbreviation that the youths are using these days but I am inclined against it.

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Last weekend.

Last week my little brother mentioned that he and his fiance were going to go down to Charlottesville to visit our older brother and his girlfriend. While it is pretty difficult to convince me to give up my bed and weekends, I am nothing if not a severe sufferer of FOMO and I absolutely would not miss out on a weekend of fun with my brothers and their excellent taste in women. Plus, I was able to tack on a slumber party with one of my best DC friends who just moved there and it happened to be a weekend where there was a JCrew warehouse sale. I won’t bore you with tales of the line-cutters I almost slaughtered at 7:45 in the morning, or the bonds of love we formed with fellow wait-ers who didn’t make the first group allowed in and with whom we waited for another hour and a half, but I will say that I had better technique than last time and I walked out with an impressive pile of loot. I might have even come out with a pair of Madewell boy-cut jeans for $15. Still haven’t forgiven them, but these jeans make a tiny step in that direction.

But I digress.

Zach and his girlfriend Liz, in an effort to convince us of Charlottesville’s cultural, natural, and culinary dominance over DC, planned a perfect weekend for us. Here are nine million photos to provide way more than you ever cared to see of our weekend.

SaltSalt2// Lunch at Salt , where we started our weekend with some pretty tasty sandwiches//Fall2014-28 PippinHillFall2014-34 //The ladies at Pippin Hill Vineyard, wherein we all considered selling all our earthly possession, quitting our jobs, and moving in permanently.//Fall2014-35Fall2014-37Fall2014-44//So, it’s been said that Virginia is for lovers. I would like to submit to you that this past weekend it was for lovers and rockin’ fifth wheels on whom great pity was taken and for whom several meals were paid. Thanks brothers, for letting me crash what might have originally been a double date weekend.//Fall2014-54Fall2014-55// We explored the abandoned and creepy-but-awesome Swannanoa Palace on Saturday afternoon. On the other side of that door there was an old bald baby doll whose eyes were blacked out. Yep, you’re not getting that image out of your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.//
Fall2014-56Fall2014-58Fall2014-61Fall2014-64mountaintoast//Champagne and cheese on a mountain top to celebrate the recently engaged couple. More romantic moments crashed by Hannah. No regrets. //Fall2014-75Fall2014-79//After chasing the sunset along the mountain ridge, we stopped to watch those final moments of color. Also, does anyone else look at those photos and think of that scene in Last of the Mohicans ? No? Why do more people not love that movie? Surely it can’t be the total lack of dialogue.//
Fall2014-83//After eating a brunch so decadent that I don’t even have photos (three words : CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON), we went hiking, only to find a swimming hole so clear and magical that half our group just jumped in and hiked wet the rest of the day.//
Fall2014-88Fall2014-84hikeFall2014-101Fall2014-102//Some of us had hands to hold, others have leaves like that given by Little Foot’s mother from The Land Before Time, a true classic dinosaur film.// Fall2014-104Fall2014-109Fall2014-114//Like every other person in the western world, we went apple picking, coming out with a grand total of 2 apples. Apparently you aren’t actually supposed to eat all the apples you pick. //Fall2014-115//And as always, for every time I am in a photo, there are at least five like this, where I bossily grab the camera back mid picture. Truly, it is a gift to be able to be so candidly photogenic.//

Fall2014-116//Fun fact: exactly 1 second after this picture was taken, that apple crashed into my head. And then I ate it, showing it who was boss and all.//Fall2014-120

We ended [the photo-worthy part of] our day eating freshly fried apple donuts on the side of a mountain. I can’t complain. Spending a weekend gorging myself with donuts and laughing with family meant that I am starting out this week behind and racing to catch up. But I don’t regret it. I’ve been saying no just a teensy bit more the past month and it paid off when I was able to say a last minute yes to spending the weekend family and friends.

And sometimes, even if makes for busy weeks, there’s nothing better than fifth-wheeling with some people you love a lot. Nothing better than light and food and donuts and sunsets over the mountains.

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Lyman & Ruth

Y’all, my baby brother is getting married. MARRIED. TO A REALLY AMAZING WOMAN.  I still think of him as the little blond boy who had skinny little legs and followed around my older brother and myself, but somewhere along the way he grew into a man. A MAN WHO IS GETTING MARRIED. When he moved to DC a while ago, it was amazing. Family dinners! Road trips! Movie nights! Ruth moved out here this summer, and if I thought I loved her before, it  was confirmed when she was my roomie for the summer. We would watch Dawson’s Creek just to sing along with the song (yep, go ahead and watch it and then come back), consume lots of cheese, and stay up talking. I could not be happier that she is becoming my sister and that our family out here in DC is growing.

Anyway, enough of my sentimental blubbering. Can’t wait to celebrate these two in March!
Untitled-1 LymanandRuth_030 LymanandRuth_034 LymanandRuth_035 LymanandRuth_046 LymanandRuth_049 Untitled-2LymanandRuth_071 LymanandRuth_072 LymanandRuth_076 LymanandRuth_080Untitled-3 Untitled-4 LymanandRuth-128 LymanandRuth-133 LymanandRuth-149 LymanandRuth-171 LymanandRuth-180 Untitled-6 LymanandRuth-197 LymanandRuth-198 LymanandRuth-201 LymanandRuth-205 LymanandRuth_108

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5 Things I Love Today.

5

This new lipstick for fall. Because lipstick is the cheapest way to revitalize your entire look. Plus, it makes me feel put-together and it acts as a balm while still providing lasting color. For me, every swipe of lipstick is the cosmetic equivalent of Cam grabbing that bat and announcing “It’s go time.”

These jeans. Y’all remember my jeans crisis? You all were so helpful with jean suggestions and now that the weather is getting a little cooler, I have renewed my search. Last week I got a coupon to Ann Taylor in my inbox and I was bold and took the plunge on a pair that some of my fellow tall curvy friends recommended. They came yesterday and I might have teared up a little about how much I love them. Of course, the mail situation in our building is so bad that I basically cry with relief anytime I successfully receive a package.

This quinoa bake recipe. Really I should just say ALL THE QUINOA BAKES because I have been throwing everything in there, but this one started it all. I have adjusted it a little to make it more veggie-packed and added some extra seasonings, but this is the base. You should probably just make this and eat it for lunch everyday for a week like I do. Because ROUTINE, People, it makes life better.

This show on Netflix. Ok, really just Netflix. But I’ve been rewatching Scrubs lately, thanks in large part to watching a bunch of episodes with my brother-in-law this summer. Monday night I finished the finale and I was sobbing the whole time. And yes, I have seen it before. But seriously… this post-finale behind the scenes thing. IT KILLS ME.

This baby boy. Last week my sweet nephew William came into the world and he is perfection. I don’t get to squeeze his squishy little self till Thanksgiving, but I have given his mama strict instructions not to let him grow until then. Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetOk, you know the drill. What are five quick things you are loving today? Leave a note below or blog on your own and feel free to link back. I love reading all your loves!

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Kale Chicken

kalechicken-1 Despite the fact that I spent yesterday afternoon cooking by the pool and gently imploring summer to stay FOREVER, fall is coming. Maybe. Slowly. But coming. And with it we will revel in pumpkin flavored everything, butternut squash, cool days, and all things autumnal. One day fairly soon, we will look up in the grocery story and see that all those gnarly heirloom tomatoes are gone. Golden ears of corn — gone. Fresh peaches and juicy plums — gone. Bright yellow squash – gone. kalechicken-2 We will wonder what we are supposed to get excited about in the kitchen for the next 7 months until the first spring veggies pop up, and then we will remember: kale. It is always there, always lurking at the edge of the produce bins, always reminding us that its tough and bitter self is there, waiting. Kale is eternal, like taxes and bad drivers who don’t use turn signals.kalechicken-3Luckily, for me kale is an eternally good thing. Remember my kale love and recipes over here? I take a slight break in summer, filling my meals with caprese salad, but I never drift too far from my rough green friend. I like it pretty much any way other than humiliated in the form of kale chips (grosssssss), but my current favorite way is disguised as tasty healthy breading in kale chicken. 
kale Y’all, if you hate kale, I encourage you to start here. My friend Christine made it for me once and it has become a staple in our home ever since. Kale chicken is everything you love about dinner, plus kale and its magic nutrients, minus much of the standard bitter taste of kale. Win, win, win. It wins over the kale skeptics I have found around my table, namely that husband of mine, who even requests it when he gets to visit because it is both tasty and packed with veggies. Plus, it’s cheap because kale is basically a weed and even the Hipsters’ love of it hasn’t managed to make it expensive yet. kalechicken-10 Before I get to the recipe, I need to give a disclaimer: this isn’t really a beautiful dish. It is delicious, but it is also just a giant mess of kale, photographed as I was quickly losing light, in my kitchen that is approximately the size of a shoebox. I dragged some kale into the living room for those first shots, but then it just seemed like such a hassle. Plus, you already know this isn’t one of those life-is-perfect blogs, so above I gave you an awkward out-of-focus picture of me trying to both massage kale, and photograph it at the same time. The things I do for you people, all so you can eat chicken coated in buttery kale. kalechicken-12 In the above post you see 10 cups of kale and almost every ounce of counter space in my entire kitchen. Good times. I think I should just stop trying to convince you to eat this and blitzing you with unexciting kale closeups and give you the recipe. Eat up. kalechicken-14 Kale Chicken

***Recipe given per chicken breast. Multiply as needed. In our home we always cut chicken breasts in half because American chickens have insane chests that are just way more than needed for one person. Also, it saves mucho cash-o.***

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3-4 cups kale, stems removed, washed and drained
  • 3 TBS butter (but hey, more is never a bad thing)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or Italian blend cheese
  • 1/8-1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (approximately… I just throw some in but it’s about that.)
  • Garlic salt
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 and butter the bottom of a baking dish.
  2. Tear kale into small chunks and mix with crumbs and cheese. Massage mixture lightly, not so it is all mushy, but just to integrate everything together and break down the kale a little.
  3. Melt the butter and dip the chicken in it before rolling the buttered chicken in the kale mixture. Y’all, you are really just shoving as much kale as possible onto that chicken and then putting it in the pan and pressing any remaining kale around it. I promise that you will be shocked by how much the kale cooks down.
  4. Pour any remaining butter over the chicken and season with the garlic salt. When I say “season,” I really mean shake that garlic until Edward Cullen and all his vampire pals die from its strength. I’m really not sure if you can have too much garlic.
  5. Bake about an hour, or until top is getting golden and crispy.

kale2Happy kale eating.

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