16 October 2013


You might recall that I recently celebrated a pretty big birthday. As part of the celebration I created my ultimate 30th birthday wish list and included some crazy out of control items. Unfortunately, I didn't get that sailboat but I did get a glam necklace, some new kicks, a perfect potted plant, and the watch that I really wanted. I have the greatest family ever and really did celebrate a truly fantastic day that I will forever be grateful for. And I'm lucky to be grateful for so much more.

That blingin' watch that my kid sister got for me doesn't just help me look even more superfly than I normally do, it also helps the world in a little way by contributing 100 meals to the United Nations World Hunger Programme. Today is World Food Day and in an effort to promote the cause and help hungry people around the world, Michael Kors and the World Hunger Programme have teamed up once again. By flashing my wrist around on the interwebs, I'm helping out too and that makes me feel mighty good. Heaven knows I wouldn't even have a food blog if I didn't have food. Food is my passion and it makes me sad to think that there are people out there who aren't able to indulge and enjoy the way I am able to. Every little bit counts in the fight to end world hunger, education and promotion is important. So do what you can, even if it's just to take a moment to be reflective of what you have, and watch hunger stop.

12 October 2013

one week in... and banana bread

I wanted to wake up early to send nice, encouraging messages to some of my friends who ran in the Baltimore Running Festival today, but then I realized it was Saturday and that I ran my own 5k a week ago and that I haven't slept in in about a month. So I slept until 8:51AM, lazied downstairs, and made some banana bread. Better late than never - Michelle, Rachel, Jaime and Meg, I hope y'all stayed dry and ran like the wind!

Well, I've been 30 for a whole week now and what a week it's been. I had one of the most wonderful and happy birthdays I've had in a very very long time. I started out by waking up extra early for my big 5k, a banana and some coconut water for breakfast, running shoes on, Britney pumping through my headphones, and I was off. Would you believe I finished that race in my best time ever? Because I totally did! Even though there were moments when I thought to myself 'Ugh, I hate this, I just want to walk; why are there so many people around grr grumble grumble' I kept on truckin' and finished those 3.1 miles in 27 minutes and 9 seconds, coming in 121st place! That's pretty damn awesome among over a thousand runners (441 of whom were timed like me,) especially since it was my very first 5k. Afterwards I enjoyed what Honey cleverly referred to as a Runner's Mimosa - 1 can of sparkling white wine and a fresh orange - before heading out to a giant, delicious, waterfront brunch of a fried egg and crabcake sandwich with avocado and sriracha on Texas toast with a giant, spicy Bloody Mary on the side.

basking in the glow of completing my first 5k - a healthy happy birthday!

After a long nap (I'm allowed to take naps now since I'm old,) my honey made me the most amazing supper ever - apple brined thick-cut pork chops, spicy bacony collared greens, and a root vegetable mash with thyme and rosemary infused cream. Holy cannoli was it delicious; seriously, the best at-home pork chop I've ever had in my entire life. I'll make him type up the recipes so I can share them because that's the kind of meal that deserves to be shared. After our early supper we headed off the the movie theatre for some 3D IMAX space action. Gravity is the scariest movie I've seen in a long time. Since we got there late the only seats available were in the very front row so it was pretty much like we were drowning in space. My hands were gripping the seat, I jumped a few times, spilled popcorn all over myself (though to be fair, I do that in almost every movie because I'm a popcorn slobollahead.) Go see it. It was terrifying.

you're never too old to make a wish

Home again home again for cake and ice cream and champagne and presents. And not just any cake, a scratch cake! And one that completed the theme of my homemade meal - that everything gets better with age. He whipped up a Caramel Apple Redemption cake. I'd never heard of it before either and thank goodness because I pretty much ate the entire three layer, fluffy, gooey confection on my own. Now that I'm 30 I have an excuse for being an old frump and going to bed early and boy, did I take advantage of that. 11PM bedtime on my bday, yes please! Between the fabulous day of and the wonderful weekend before I can safely say that this was one of my best birthdays yet. Thank you to everyone involved. Let's make sure this year is the best one ever... until 31!

Side note: Even though I didn't sign on for the Baltimore Running Festival today, I did take myself out for a quick little jog through the park which coincidentally is part of the marathon route. So I guess I technically ran part of the marathon. Like, maybe an eighth of a mile or so. And because bananas are good running food, here's that banana bread recipe to get you all pumped and energized - 

perfect for canceling out the calories burned while running
elise's friend heidi's friend mrs. hockmeyer's banana bread 
adapted from simply recipes and spiced up by me
4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 c salted butter, melted
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp bourbon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tsp roasted cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp garam masala
equal sprinklings of cloves, ginger, allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, stir melted butter into smashed bananas using a wooden spoon. Mix in sugar, egg, vanilla and spices making sure to blend completely.
2. Sprinkle in the baking soda and salt before mixing in. Lastly, mix in the flour being sure to incorporate completely.
3. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack before serving.

05 October 2013

birth day - a special guest post from the one and only Lizzie B

Last night, as I was wrapping up my final ten blog post, I got a call from my mom. After giving me a hard time for not going to bed earlier to ready for the race, then very humbly accepting my praises of her meatballs and jarred tomatoes, she told me that she had an idea. What would I think of having her write up a brief little recap of my birth day to put up as a guest post? I don't think I let the entire thought occur or the words come out of her mouth before saying yes! Of course I would want my wonderful, amazing, brilliant mother to rehash those painfully awful hours of her life. This morning she sent me this email, appropriately titled "Birth day", and I'm sharing it with you here along with the photos she attached. Enjoy:

Dave's timing
It started with a little ache. I was staying at my mom & dad's since Dave worked nights. I was nearly 10 days past my due date. Mom said, it's time, call dave and tell him to come home to be with you, you will be having the baby some time tomorrow afternoon (side note: my grandma was a nurse so she knew things.) He picked me up at about 1AM. We drove home to wait. Three hours later, the ache was more of a pain and Dave, who always follows the rules, started keeping track. He said contractions had to be regular  for a few hours before we were supposed to call the doctor, (we learned this in Lamaze class.) But things were moving too fast to go by the rules, so he called the doctor's service. The doctor called right back and said "Get her to the hospital! You don't wait when the contractions are minutes apart!"

We drove to Princeton Hospital in the MG (another side note: this is an MG,) with the headlights not working and running red lights. They put me in a bed in the labor room. Dave and I tried to get comfortable thinking we'd be there for a long time. You know the drill - not enough centimeters, not dilated, you don't need the doctor yet. Then, before you know it, as any mom will tell you, the next scene is a blur. Dave kept helping me to say "hehehehe heeeeeee" (breathing method,) feeding me ice chips, while I'm screaming "Get this out of me!" Dave is jumping back due to a tidal wave of water gushing out of me, Dave runs for the nurse because - well &*%^$, this baby is in a hurry, and at 9:19AM a little girl came out fast.

The nurse cleaned her up and gave her to Dave. Daddy said "Hi Jillian Lee," I smiled at her and said hi Jillybean.

Oh I love love love her. Jillian may have wanted to hang around inside me extra long, but when she was ready to join us, she moved fast and with a passion. Nothing has changed in 30 years. Happy Birth day to me and to my daughter, Jillian Lee. My friend, thank you for 30 years of adventures. Happy Birthday!

I'll admit this made me all gooey and emotional. Thanks Lizzie B for sharing this story with me and my darling friends. And thanks Daddy-o for getting us to the hospital in one piece. Happy Birth day to us all, indeed! xoxo, bean

hello world, I'm 30!

At this exact moment thirty years ago, I was born.

hey boo

little miss & daddy-o

Thanks Mom & Dad for being absolutely amazing and combining all of your greatest qualities to create me. Thanks to my sister, Tricia for coming along a couple of years later to humble me and be my built-in best friend. Thanks to my extended family for being such an incredible part of my life and being surrogate moms and dads when I was an angsty teenager (alright always) who wouldn't listen to Liz&Dave. Thanks to my Honey (and my Macaroni) for so much more than I can say on the internerd, but mostly for being my best friend. Thanks to all of my friends, old and new, near and far, ever-present and distant, for such a full and wonderfully rich life. I've been so lucky to have been surrounded by such a warm and beautiful universe of people for the past thirty years! And hopefully, if our luck keeps up, we'll find a few more people to drag into our circus.

Here's to us all for making it this far! May we have many happy returns together. I love all of you. But most importantly - Happy 30th Birthday to me!

04 October 2013

the end of an era

time to carbo-load!
Happy birthday eve to me! I'm spending the last Friday evening of my twenties quietly reflecting on the past 29 years of my very eventful life. That's right, rather than going out and partying til four in the morning and relishing in the joys of a new decade, I'm sitting on my couch, blogging, reading, watching my stories, and thinking. Since I've got a pretty big day tomorrow I'm trying to take it easy tonight; so easy that I'm not even treating myself to a glass of wine. What?! You see, my birthday gift to myself is the gift of health wrapped up in the running of my very first 5k tomorrow morning! To prepare for it I'm carbo-loading with a big bowl of spaghetti, spinach, meatballs ala Lizzie B, and sauce with tomatoes and basil from my garden and Mom's. I've got to be sure to get to bed early(ish) tonight so that I'm not terribly tired in the AM but I can't finish this decade without giving you one last update, the final ten essential things that I've got to accomplish before turning 30. Here goes -

not much has changed... at least I know how to use a fork these days.

91. - 94. - This handful of essential things are a little scandalous and I'm pretty sure my grandmother reads this blog. They're about personal, financial or sexy-time kind of things and you'll just need to trust me when I tell you that they've been accomplished and can absolutely be checked off.
95. Dub the "Greatest Hits"from your childhood - I spent all day trying to come up with thirty songs that really capture my childhood. It was way too hard. I didn't really know what years counted as childhood years - was it Disney through Depeche Mode, Raffi to Radiohead, B52s to Bon Iver? I was so confused. So, I came up with a list of thirty songs that really make me feel like a kid when I hear them; songs that hold specific memories of my very much younger days. I present them for your listening pleasure!

96. Be your own muse - Like so many other items on this list, this one did not come easy and it did not come quickly. It's taken me nearly all thirty years of my life to finally find inspiration in myself and it absolutely shouldn't have. I've accomplished so much and been through even more. I not only finished college but I also went on to get my MLIS. I've sang karaoke in three different countries. I've compiled a collection of delicious recipes that I'd be proud to serve at any fancy dinner party. I've got an amazing group of friends and great relationships with everyone in my family. I broke my leg two years ago and tomorrow I'm running a 5k. I am an inspiration and I will be one for myself for all the rest of my years.
#97. Picasso I am not.
97. Draw and frame a self-portrait - Amongst the comic books and dead presidents is an ink drawing of myself. Whether it's accurate or not, it's what I imagine and desire myself to look like from outside my body. A body that...
98. Write a body manifesto - has been through hell and back. I've fought a lot of battles with this meat suit I'm in. I haven't always liked it, in fact I hated it plenty. But in the past couple of years I've found what makes my body tick. I know and care about what I put into it and, with the wisdom of my years I've kind of come to love it. My body is unique just like my personality; there truly is only one me and I want to be the very best me there is. I think I'm finally on the right track and if I can run these 3.1 miles tomorrow, I'll have proven to myself that I really own it. I spent some time tonight to really reflect on myself, mentally, physically and emotionally. I wrote my manifesto and I wrote it for me.
99. Find your religion - I'd be lying if I said I tried them all but I have dipped my toe into many spiritual fountains. About ten years ago my sister gave me a book of various religions, The World's Living Religions by Archie Baum, and I read the heck out it. I wanted to find a religion that catered to all of my own personal beliefs and left me feeling light and connected with the world around me and all of the people in it. I couldn't find one religion in particular that fit the bill to a tee but throughout my spiritual journey I picked up bits and pieces from many that have helped me feel that connection that I desired. I believe that religion is a very personal belief and that, even if you practice one in particular and consider yourself a part of a larger organization, you bring much of yourself and your own identity into it making it unique. Mine is not a religion but a spirituality, a connection, a faith that keeps me hopeful and optimistic about our world and how we all interact with one another in it. Though I like to think that I'm an honorary Jew, a balabusta, and will continue to celebrate the cuisine of the chose people as long as they'll welcome me at their table.
100. Declare your birthday a national holiday - After so many years of ignoring my birthday and playing the martyr, ignoring my age and running away from celebrations, I've decided to take ownership of my big day. October 5th, the most common birthday in the world (where my New Year's babies at?!,) is my own personal New Year's Day. It marks the end of another successful year (I survived it after all) and the beginning of a bright new one. My day is deserving of balloons and sparklers and glitter, confetti and parades, pinatas and toasts because it's mine and that's what I want. So tomorrow, my head will be filed with all of those things as I run across the finish line and venture on into a new decade that will be the greatest one yet!

party on dudes.
And there you have it. All 100 essential things to accomplish before turning 30, done and done! I kind of can't believe I did it but I checked and double checked and everything is done. At 9:19 tomorrow morning I will enter my thirtieth year, a brand new decade, and I cannot wait! I've been looking forward to 30 for as long as I can remember (alright, since I was about 23,) and I know that good thinks are waiting for me. So with spaghetti in my belly and 29 years to reminisce on I leave you for the evening, dear readers, and will see you again in a brand new year!

see you next year!