24 September 2013

one pan wonder

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my cast iron skillet? The one that was lovingly seasoned by my grandmother, then used for years by my mother before being gifted to me not too long ago? It may just be my favorite kitchen tool (shhh, don't tell the KitchenAid!) I use it nearly every night for something or other, feeling wonderfully old-fashioned with my apron and wooden spoon. I especially love the nights that involve sinfully simple meals made entirely in that one genius pan. Nights like tonight.

Oh seasonal veggies, how wonderful you are. 'Tis the season for two of my favorites, brussels sprouts and yams. With some fresh rosemary from the backyard garden, tasty lamb sausage links, and everyone's favorite fat, bacon grease, a one pan meal was made. It was delicious, it was easy, and it was pretty healthy; well, at least there were loads of fresh seasonal veggies. Follow along for a super simple weeknight meal that's sure to please. Bonus - cleanup is a breeze when you only use one pan!

skillet roasted seasonal veggies with lamb sausage
6 lamb merguez sausage links
1 tsp bacon fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp minced garlic
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
5 c halved brussels sprouts
1 tsp hazelnut oil
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
fresh ground salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and warm the cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt the bacon fat in the pan and toss in the garlic & onions. When the onions begin to clarify, toss in the sausage links, cooking evenly. When the sausage is nearly cooked, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
2. With the flame steady at medium, heat the hazelnut oil and spices before mixing in the sweet potatoes. Lightly toss to coat each piece. When the potatoes begin to soften, mix in the brussels sprouts.
3. When the brussels sprouts begin to wilt, return the sausage to the pan and place the entire pan in the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes or until everything has a nice, even crisp. Serve hot with fresh beet greens for a tasty, simple meal.

22 September 2013

stoned love

I sometimes feel as though I never shut up about how awesome farmers markets are. How fresh, local fruits and vegetables are vastly superior to hot house perishables from the Giant or the Safeway (not that I don't love my grocery stores because I totally do. They're huge! Like ten times the size of all NYC grocery stores combined.) Other than the obvious perks of fresh markets - supporting local growers and farmers, contributing to the neighborhood and community, being green, healthy stuff, etc. - there's my favorite aspect of it which is seeing what's available right this very moment. Seasonal doesn't really exist in grocery stores because everything is forcibly grown in a greenhouse. But most real life fruits and veggies only grow for a very specific moment of the year that we call their season, that's why they're seasonal. Since I've started shopping mostly at local markets I've become much more familiar with those seasons and what grows when, but every once in awhile I'm still surprised or caught off guard, sometimes I just see some amazing pieces of fruit that are calling out to me, or a unique veggie that I've never really cooked with that is begging to be put in my reusable tote. I rarely go to the market with a list but I often leave with an empty wallet and always come up with something amazing in the delirious kitchen.

The other morning I was browsing around the Saturday Fells Point Farmers Market with my darling friend Amy, chatting about work and boys and reminiscing about how crazy long we've known each other, when I was struck by a vision of the BIGGEST peaches I have ever seen. Seriously, these things were the size of newborn baby heads, smelled amazing and felt perfectly ripe. Mmhmm, I felt up those peaches. Now, I've been considering a stone fruit pie for a couple of years now and I considered this my sign that now was the time to finally do it; I've actually had this post title saved as a draft without any text since last summer. The time had come, my brain wheels were spinning and I bought all of the fruit with giant pits that they had to offer, my bags bursting with monstrous peaches, juicy nectarines, tart purple plums, and super sweet golden plums, before heading off to a waterfront brunch with my gal pal. 

As soon as Amy's cab pulled away I got to work. I had recently picked up some ground cardamom (the second most expensive spice ever, by the bye,) for a recipe that I can't for the life of me recall at this moment but I will attempt to remember soon, and decided that the savory, gingery flavors would be amazing with the sweet and tart summery fruits. Why did I think this? Well, firstly I wasn't about to let some crazy expensive spice go unused and secondly, years ago I had a love affair with Ginger Peach tea and I've never really gotten over it. So with the addition of a fifth stone fruit (bet you didn't know almonds counted as one, didya?) I tossed in my sweetness staples, cinnamon and brown sugar to make a simple but layered, seasonal pie filling. All that was missing was the crust.

I've only made homemade pie crust a couple of times and, though it was a far cry from being the worst thing I've ever rolled out, it certainly wasn't one of my top recipes. But since I was already deep into pie making and movie watching, I was really resistant to the idea of walking all the way (maybe half a mile) to grocery store to buy the prepped pie crust that I frequently work with. That left me with the terrifying task of scratchin' it. But with my 30th birthday on the horizon, I decided that there was no time like the present to learn how to make that perfect pie crust. And you know what? Thanks to the Pioneer Woman, I did it!!! I don't have a pastry cutter but I managed to handle two knives like a pro and every step along the way to creating this shockingly simple kitchen essential, the contents of my bowl looked nearly identical to Ree's. The crust was perfectly flaky and melt-in-your-mouth amazing, even when pre-baked which I always do so that the bottom never gets too soggy from the filling. Flakey crust, flavorful filling, it was all so wonderful that I had to send most of it up to Daddy-o, the ultimate pie judge. Plain old peach pie is his absolute favorite so his opinion was really what mattered most. Though it wasn't as simple as the peach pie he would make for himself if he ever made himself a peach pie, he loved it. So, with Daddy-o's all-important approval, I present to you my End of Summer Spiced Five Stone Pie.

1 1/2 c Crisco
3 c flour
1 egg, beaten
5 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1. In a large bowl, cut together flour and Crisco using a pastry cutter (or two knives as I did) until the mix resembles course meal and all the flour is blended in. Add the egg, water, vinegar and salt and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated.
2. Separate the dough into three equal balls and put in Ziploc bags. Slightly flatten each ball and freeze them until you're ready to use them. If you're using the crust right away, let it chill in the freezer for about 20 minutes. If you're using it at another time, pull it out about 15 minutes before you need it.
3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, starting the rolling pin at the center. A metal surface is preferable for this part so I use a cookie sheet since I don't have fancy metal countertops. 

perfect pie alongside farmers market finds

spiced five stone pie
4 c sliced peaches
2 c sliced plums
2 c sliced nectarines
2 c pitted golden plums
1/4 c ground almonds
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp ground cardamom
2/3 tsp roasted cinnamon
2/3 c white sugar
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, chopped
3 tbsp flour
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a deep dish pie pan with your perfect pie crust. In a large bowl, mix all fruits with flour, brown sugar, almond extract, cinnamon and cardamom. 
2. In a food processor, blend together chopped vanilla bean and white sugar to make vanilla sugar. Toss the vanilla sugar with the fruit. Pour into the pie pan. Sprinkle ground almond on top of the mix (you can also add a tsp or two of sliced butter if you want something extra decadent.) 
3. Top with the second pie crust however fancy you feel like doing it - I like an experimental lattice top. Bake on the middle rack for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. It would be super delicious with Steve's Bourbon Vanilla ice cream.

The transition to Autumn is my favorite time of year and this pie absolutely captures those cool, crisp mornings that lead into the still warm, sunny days. Sweet Summer fruits with warming Autumn spices in an amazingly lovely crust. Paired with a cup of tea and a good book, this made for the perfect breakfast and welcome to my all-time favorite season. Happy Autumn!

19 September 2013

mid-month update

I know that you're all dying to know how I'm getting along on my quest to accomplish 100 seemingly nonsensical tasks prior to my 30th birthday, and I'm sorry it's taken me awhile to let you in on my progress. I've been super busy with other things like running, riding my bike, binge watching my stories, and learning to bake pie from scratch. But I've found a few moments between zombie scares so I thought I'd share a brief, slightly annotated update with you. So, here's thirty of the scandalous and not-so-scandalous entries that I have accomplish in the past 29 years and 11 1/2 months -

#3. this jerk nearly ruined everything, but look at those tomatoes!

1. Swim naked - I'm nearly 30. C'mon now.
2. Break all of your parents' arbitrary rules - Sorry Daddy-o but I've swam out too far in the ocean when you weren't around.
3. Grow something - I've always kept a few herbs on my various windowsills and fire escapes, and Aunt Carolyn's annual amaryllis usually blooms quite well, but I think this year was my biggest accomplishment (well, mine and honey's) was the backyard garden. Not only did we manage to keep the sage and rosemary hearty all summer long, we also had bushels of kale, more basil than we knew what to do with, lots of little tomatoes, peppers peppers peppers, and even some lovely purple clematis (thanks to Patty.) Oh how our garden did grow!
#5. so many sistahs, some from forever ago and others still fresh!
4. Dump toxic friends / 5. Create your own sisterhood - I miss my BK lady friends but it has been nice to reconnect with a few back here in Bmore. Moving around helps show you who your real friends are. I'm gonna call y'all this weekend for some girl talk.
6. Speak a foreign language - My Spanish isn't quite what it used to be, but when I was in Spain a nice American family confused me with a native because I looked and sounded the part. I should start practicing some more. Speaking of Spain...
7. Travel solo - I had a pretty crummy day/series of days when I was in my junior year of college and decided that I needed to remedy it in a major way. So I did what any reasonable, broke college student would do, I booked a flight to Spain. It was my first time out of the country, it was amazing and I've since visited Budapest and Vienna on my own as well. Maybe I should do a little travel blogging about that. Hmmm
8. Know your friends' family tree - I have a pretty good and curious memory so I know many of your bros and sistahs. Plus, parents love me!
9. Embrace your inner eight-year-old - I've worked with children for much of my life; it's harder to contain the eight-year-old sometimes.
10. Make the first move - I've been known to be bold.
11. Know the other mouth-to-mouth - CPR certified! I've even got a card to prove it.
12. Master a signature family recipe - One time I asked my mother for one of my favorite family recipes, Mom's best ever meatloaf. She laughed at me and told me it was on the back of the Lipton box. I've since mastered quite a few recipes, even the uber-tricky perfect pie crust (more on that later.)
#8. and what a family tree it is!
13. Quit something / 14. Kick one habit - I quit smoking last year. Yuck.
15. Find the perfect red lipstick - Just one? I've got quite a few and the perfect red lipstick has actually become my trademark 30th birthday gift to fellow gal pals. My faves are Laura Mercier Poppy (for a bright, glossy shine,) Laura Mercier Bing Cherry (for a smoother, but still knockout red,) Benefit Espionage (the deep, dark bombshell burgundy,) and for good measure, my very natural, very subtle, hint of color, everyday lipstick, Korres Natural Rose. I've also found a few perfect pinks but that's a post for another day.
16. Google yourself - Last I checked there was another me somewhere in Pennsylvania. She is kid cheerleader.
17. Hold your booze - Well, I still have a one-too-many-Manhattan kind of night every once in a blue moon.
18. Write a complaint letter - Mrs. Cianci gave us this as an assignment in 7th grade. I don't remember who I wrote to or if I got a response. However, I recently wrote a complaint letter to Nabisco because I bought a box of my favorite Garden Herb Triscuits (which are really hard to find, by the bye,) because they were not herbed nearly enough. I have yet to hear back. I'm expecting free Triscuits at this point, Nabisco.
#21. here's that pie I won't shut up about ... from scratch!
19. Claim your granny panties / 20. Invest in seriously frivolous undies - I love my big fat knickers but that doesn't mean that I'm immune to investing in really pretty, really expensive, really unnecessary pieces of fabric with lace and frills. I love feeling pretty and believe it's important to start with a good base.
21. Make brownies from scratch - I don't use boxes for anything anymore, not even pie crust (I promise I'll blog that next!) 
22. Exorcise the words "like" and "you know" from your vocabulary - Having worked with high schoolers, I fully understand the annoyingness of these phrases. I do my best not to use them though I occasionally replace them with other goofy or outdated words.
23. Write thank-you notes for everything - I love writing thank-you notes; almost as much as I love receiving the presents I write them for! P.S. Have you seen my birthday list?
24. Accept compliments - It took a very long time for me to get over my insecurities and learn to just say 'thank you'. My recently found graciousness has led to a brilliant bump in confidence.
25. Minimize pointless drama - I prefer big, telenovela drama if I have to have drama though I'd really rather have none.
26. Unplug your TV for a while - I'm actually pretty good at this. Thankfully I enjoy reading and crafting and writing and outdoor activities so TV isn't the biggest priority in my life. Well, except for right now when I'm literally sitting next to the tube as I write this, binge watching The Walking Dead in an attempt to catch up in time for the new season.
27. Dye your hair an outrageous color - I had highlights once, then I Manic Panic blued and purpled my tresses. The best was the time I, in a very foolish attempt to achieve my dream of curly blonde hair, went as light as possible without too much bleach and ended up with some strange strawberry blonde reddish mop on my head.

#27. I am NOT a redhead

28. Own your mistakes - I prefer to live without regrets and the only way to do this is by owning up to the stupid, foolish, not-so bright ideas and decisions I've made along the way. And trust me, there have been many.
29. Take your hobby more seriously than your job - My blog might not be as frequently updated as I originally intended it to be but that doesn't mean I'm not in the kitchen every night whipping up something tasty for supper, dessert, lunch, brunch, breakfast or a midnight snack.
30. Talk to strangers - This has never been a problem; I'll talk to just about anyone, anywhere, at any time. So much so that my parents had to keep me on a leash when I was little. Yeah, I talk to strangers.

I'm doing a pretty good job so far. I'll update again next week with another thirty or so to see if I'm getting it all done! Until then, I'll be baking pies from scratch, eating homegrown, saying thank you, blabbing to whomever will listen, making long overdue phone calls to friends, and scaring myself silly with zombies. Sixteen days and counting!!!

10 September 2013

a stinky situation

I know I've mentioned it before, that I like to think that I'm a relatively healthy person, that I live a reasonably balanced life, keep an eye on my diet and exercise and keep everything in moderation. So when my honey honey started telling me all about how bad regular deodorant is for you, I couldn't help but listen. Plus he's just so darn cute when he's concerned. Well, I read up on the awful side effects of antiperspirants and chatted with a handful of gals who also chose to ditch their traditional Secrets and Teen Spirits to gather some more information. What I was able to discern from my very scientific research (also known as distracted googling,) is that the antiperspirants in traditional women's deodorants contain aluminum and that is what makes it an apparent no no. Though the jury still seems to be out on the direct effects of those aluminum-based ogres, there are speculations that it could be the cause or at least a contributing factor to myriad ailments including breast cancer, alzheimers, and kidney disease. Since I want none of those things, I decided to listen to my man and the experts (aka similarly skeptical gal pals) and cut out the antiperspirant part of my deodorant.

so many insufficient options.
Little did I know that my journey to clean and natural preventative health would be so stinky. You see, the brains behind underarm health are completely sexist and biased. It seems that it's totally acceptable for men to be a little ripe - it's rugged and manly or something dated like that. Women on the other hand are supposed to shy away from any stench that isn't in a fancy cut glass bottle. Because of this, most men's deodorants don't even have antiperspirants in them - but smelling like a guy isn't all it's cracked up to be so rather than browse the dude options I chose to stick with the antiperspirant-free options in the lady section of the drug store. That was before I realized that there was no such section. Seriously, next time you're at you local deodorant carrying store look for antiperspirant-free women's deodorants. You'll come away with three horribly dated, unappealing options - some weird crystal hippie garbage and Tom's of Maine (and I stand by the statement that none of their natural hoohaw works.) I tried both options and by 10AM I was stinkier than I ever thought I could be. Seriously, even with a dozen reapplications I still couldn't get rid of my own BO. What was I to do?

Well, like any other sensible young woman I turned to the internet and like any other sensible young woman with an eye for DIY, I turned to Etsy. There I found dozens of options for homegrown goop to slather under your arm. To determine the best without spending too much money, I looked to the lady blogs and chose one straight outta the borough that knows best, Brooklyn. Not only did it not work, I also had to schmear it under my arms with my fingers since it was in a pit and not a stick or roll-on; icky. Then there were the powders. Pretty much just glorified, pleasant smelling baking soda that didn't do anything but make a dusty white mess. My clothes were getting ruined, my bank account balance was withering away (seriously, these "natural" deodorants are so pricey,) and I smelled. I was so annoyed with this whole experiment that I was nearly ready to give up and go back to my regular illness-inducing stick.

But, for honey's sake (and my own, I suppose,) I decided to spend sixty more dollars one three more experimental sticks - yeah $60 for three sticks, told you it wasn't cheap! Well whadayaknow, they kind of work. The award for daily-wear odor eliminator goes to Dr. Hauschka's Deodorant Fresh (sometimes Floral but I prefer the spicy citrus of the Fresh scent.) Even though it's a wet roll-on which I typically don't care for, I love this. And I should have known all along because Dr. Hauschka products are among my favorites; all natural, nice smelling, truly amazing for my skin. And unless I'm doing heavy lifting (not as uncommon as you'd think in my line of work,) or it's super hot, it works for the majority of the day. During those times that it doesn't cut the mustard and I start feeling not so fresh, I turn to my backup BO buster - Lavanilla Healthy Deodorant Vanilla Passion Fruit (though I really would prefer the Vanilla Grapefruit but they were out of it when I went to Sephora.) If it worked as well as Dr. Hauschka I would opt for this one to be the daily deodorant since it's a solid, but unfortunately it doesn't last quite as long so it really works best as a backup. My last resort smell squasher is Pristine Beauty's Take A Whiff! Natural Deodorant. It seems to work great but I just can't get past the fact that it smells like a creamsicle and the only thing I want smelling like icy confections is my breath after I've devoured the frozen treats.

And like they always seem to, Portlandia totally hit the nail on the head with the natural deodorant trends and foibles. I was cracking up when I watched this the other night. So swipe on some all natural blahbadebloop and watch it. Then go out and perform your own smell test to see if you're willing to suffer the stink to (possibly) save your sanity.

I'll let you in on a little secret - I still use my old Dove Go Fresh Revive deodorant when I go running. Even though it's only me smelling myself, I don't like to be extra stinky and I love the smell of it when I throw my arms up in celebration that I've completed a mile in a reasonable time.. Plus I bought one of those crazy multipacks from the Duane Reed and I don't like to waste so I have to use it all up. We'll have to wait for that last swipe to see if I say sayonara or if I hold on to it. I'll keep you posted!

07 September 2013

wishing and hoping

I've been thinking a lot over the past few days (and the past twenty-nine years) about what I might want or need as my new decade begins. If I wanted to I could probably make an unbelievably lengthy and selfish list, one worthy of Veruca Salt's praises. Instead I narrowed it down to thirty items that are either reasonale or ridiculous but all current desirables. As promised, here it is - Jillian's 30th Birthday Wish List! I know it's absolutely glorious outside and nobody feels like going shopping so I want you all to know that I don't expect you to take care of it all right this second. You have nearly a month to get it all taken care of - all thirty birthday wishes. But better to get started early especially since some of my wishes are rather lofty ones. It's time to take a break from that party planning and get started on present planning. Colin says that I have weird, cursive/print hybrid handwriting and that it's hard to read sometimes. He also says that I can have a wacky way of describing things so to clarify and specify my wish list I've decided to type it out and list it here, for your convenience.  Here it is -

* pink champagne and a bouquet of my favorite flowers (ranunculus, peonies, poppies, tulips)
* subscriptions to New York's finest publications - The New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times Weekender
* hiking boots - not just any hiking boots though; I want old fashioned looking ones with red laces that wouldn't be out of place climbing through the Alps
* a perfectly preppy camel colored cashmere winter coat
* a classic, chic trench coat not unlike those made by Burberry OR a super cute yellow raincoat
* the greatest hat ever - Laura Wilder from Goorin Brothers
* winter weekend getaway - I'm talking snow snow snow, cozy fireplaces, spiked hot cocoa, and cabins!
* a star named after me with the National Star Registry so that I can say that I'm truly out of this world
the perfect plaid button down shirt in red to pair with a cute black mini (but not too mini) skirt
* Vitamix!!!
* more bike lanes in Baltimore - MD drivers aren't too great so I get nervous riding around here and I really miss riding my bike
* yacht rocking topsiders to wear on my brand new...
* sailboat! or maybe a day on a sailboat in the Autumn sunshine with a glass of rose and a picnic lunch
* a shiny, femininely masculine watch not unlike this one from Michael Kors
* navy blue Toms since my Chucks are not always outfit appropriate
* a giant, gaudy costume diamond necklace (to wear with my plaid shirt and mini skirt a la this cute ensemble
* Frye riding boots (perhaps a pair of jodhpurs and a pony to go with them)
* proper public transportation for Charm City so that I don't have to drive all over the place and I can explore all that this city has to offer safely (because I refuse to drink and drive and there's a lot of drinking to do around here)
* fancy DC dinner date and tickets to the live show of This American Life down there in February (maybe an overnight stay and a trip to the Smithsonian, too)
* membership to a fruit of the month club but only if none of the months are pears; I'm not a huge fan of pears
* lovely potted fiddle fig tree for the entrance to my bedroom
* cure for my allergies and asthma - they're a total pain in the ass and I hate being sick all the time and not being able to hang out with any of my friends since everyone seems to have dogs these days and I miss my friends
* balloons & sparklers & confetti & glitter
* decadent and sweet 30 layer birthday cake
* soft brown leather purse that gets better with age, just like me
* dance lessons - tap, tango, ballroom, ballet
* a time machine
* tower of macarons welcoming me to my glorious suite overlooking the Seine for a weekend in Paris!

I'm a size 9 shoe and wear a 6ish in clothes. You can also pick anything from my Pinterest page if you aren't so keen on the items on this list. I don't think I'm asking for too much, do you? After all, a gal only turns 30 once in her life so why not make a wish list that reaches for the stars - preferably one that's named after me!

* none of this is actually serious... well, except for the cake because I mean, look at that!

05 September 2013

thirty in thirty

Some people have a tough time dealing with big life changes, especially ones that deal with aging. Whether it's a mid-life crisis, a quarter-life crisis or even just lying about your age, people can be super weird about the numbers attached to their life. Not me though, I love getting older and I love milestones. In fact, I've been looking forward to turning the big 3-0 for the past thirty years.

My teen years, like those of many, were rough filled with insecurities and confusion. My twenties weren't much better except for the fact that they involved living on my own, pinching pennies, ruining finances, heartbreaks and leg breaks, and working millions of jobs until I found a career. But I suffered through all of those years with the hopeful optimism that my thirties would be everything I imagined. I hoped that I would be happy, healthy, confident, career minded and essentially, a grownup. I was sure that I would be in a good place, surrounded by good friends near and far, and that I'd be really content with myself both physically and mentally. 

As the clock starts counting down on my 29th year and bring me closer to my 30th I'm coming to the realization that all of the things I'd hoped for are coming to fruition and I'm all set to enter year thirty positively and prepared (knock on wood, we all know I have some kind of luck.) But am I sure I've done everything there is to do, everything I need to do before that big day comes? There's only one way to know - with a goofy little book that my kid sister gifted me somewhere around 25 and I forgot about until a few months ago. It comes with a handy dandy list of 100 things that every gal should accomplish before hitting this upcoming milestone birthday. Many of these must dos are pretty goofy (Be a nudist for a day,) but some of them are sincere and important (Stop slamming other women.) So, over the next thirty days, I plan on going through the book, checking off everything that I've already done and complete what I haven't - let's hope there isn't anything too nutty in there! Expect some updates throughout the month (though not necessarily detailed as some of the 100 might be a little scandalous,) along with goals for my thirties, a memory or two of the past twenty-nine years, and my birthday wish list. What, am I supposed to let you all get me random gifts on this holiday of holidays?? Here's to the countdown and to a bright, shiny new decade!

04 September 2013

it's a cat-astrophe!

waiting on my daily Shake Shack delivery.
Exactly two years ago today I woke up in a hospital bed with stitches, scabs, bruises and a broken leg. It was the awful cherry on top of a rough and tumble bad time sundae. I remember it all too well - shaken up, rattled, and no more rolling on my bicycle. But thanks to great friends, my amazing family, and plenty of ice cream I came out of it pretty strong - emotionally I was more self-aware and confident, mentally I grew out of my icky mindset, and physically I got stronger and more fit than I ever had been. I also created my greatest Halloween costume because of the break by dressing as a flamingo on one leg. Best costume EVER!

Well, who would have thought that the bionic gal with pins and screws and plates keeping her leg together, the lady who doctors told would maybe have a limp for the rest of her life, would only two years later be training for a 5k and hopefully a half-marathon?! I certainly didn't but here I am, running a 9:22 minute mile, a time faster than I could have even run in high school (not that that's saying much since I wasn't exactly a peak performer back then.) I've been running after work nearly every day and actually enjoying it. When I was in the woods for a hike last week I found myself walking faster and faster until I was actually running. In the woods! I never thought that I would be this excited about fitness, especially with all the hardware built into me and the potential pain it could cause but I'm thrilled with how well I've healed and how far I've come and I just wanted to brag a little bit to my darling readers (if there are any of you still out there.)

a cat-astrophe indeed. yikes, look at that snap!

But all is not well and healed and physically fit in my world. Last Thursday, nearly two years to the day  of my accident, as we were sitting down to our traditional first day of school supper of spaghetti and meatballs, my furry little knucklehead, Macaroni pulled a Jillian. His excitement over my famously delicious meatballs caused him to take a nasty spill off the butcher block and crack his tibia and fibula, just like me. Poor little guy has had a very difficult time dealing with it since he's, you know, a cat. But my buddy has calmed down, adjusted to his invalid life in a dog crate, has learned to stay still and is even in good seeming spirits. Plus he has the cutest little green cast with itty bitty sheep all over it. Hopefully he is like mom in more ways that just being noisy, always hungry, and accident-prone. Hopefully he'll heel quickly and miraculously over the next 6-8 weeks and I can run around the house with him once more. So if all of you could take those good thoughts that you sent my way when I was toe leg up and send them to Macaroni, maybe the little dude will be back to bug hunting and playing before we know it! In the meantime let's all stay happy and healthy! xoxo, me

poor little buddy... but seriously, how cute is that cast. on wednesdays we wear cat casts.