After the Wedding: A Symbolic Moment

Bees: I’m so happy to be back on the blog! Today I’m sharing my thoughts on a moment on our wedding day that really conveys who McGlovin and I are as a couple, even now- almost two years later. I hope you’ll share a memory or object of your own in the comments 🙂

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While there are so many awesome memories from our wedding floating around in my head, one moment that really shines through is at our reception, when we were dancing the polka. A polka might not have necessarily been my first suggestion for our wedding reception, but it’s a tradition in McGlovin’s family and was a fun break from “Call Me Maybe”.

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So the accordion music started playing. McGlovin and I led the way, and after a few bars we realized that the dance floor was relatively empty. We split up and began to draw more people into the party- I recall grabbing my sister’s boyfriend and explaining the rhythm, and he picked up pretty quickly! We danced a few rounds, then I brought my sister in to join him and I found another partner to teach. I’m not sure how many people I brought on to the dance floor, but when McGlovin and I found each other at the end of a few songs, the dance floor was packed with all of our friends and family, clumsy with the timing but vibrant with enthusiasm.

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The polka moment is a sweet memory from our wedding day, sure, but it’s also a really great example of what makes our relationship work for us. McGlovin and I are great together- we have common goals and aspirations, and I like to think that we make a great team. But we’re also pretty independent people, and that’s such an important part of our personalities to honor! We like to work towards our goals by setting our shared expectations, then splitting up and working to achieve them separately.

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Just as we worked separately to pack our dance floor, so to do we employ a divide-and-conquer method to our lives. McGlovin and I frequently check in about short and long term goals- we do weekly reviews on the weekend to plan meals and date nights, monthly reviews to plan our commitments, seasonal bucket lists, and annual long term discussions. Some items up for discussion are really important and thoughtful, like financial planning and baby timelines.  Many of our plans, though, are really casual day-to-day items- who is going to update our Etsy shop (me) or who will handle outdoor landscaping things (him).

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Our style isn’t for everyone- I know that many people aren’t necessarily planners the way we are, and many others really don’t prefer such a high degree of independence. But for the Gloves, it’s the best way to keep us happy and cohesive and functioning as an awesome team. And it’s really comforting to think that we’ve been executing this strategy right from the start!

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What about you, bees- what part of your wedding day subtly describes who you are, as a couple? Aside, you know…the wedding 🙂

Friday Five: Autumn Preserving

So, I may have mentioned previously- I adore autumn! A recent Buzzfeed article confirmed that this makes me a ‘Basic White Girl’, but I absolutely could not care less what stereotype I’m fulfilling. As soon as I start to have a preference for hoodies over tanks, and light candles rather than bonfires, I’m in my own personal bliss. So, we’re here!

Preserving

One of the things I love about fall is that it’s time for stocking up on all the delicious food available during the warmer months, and preserving it to last through winter. That might make me sound like a pioneer, but to be honest, I feel like such a pioneer when I preserve thins! Granted, I’m preserving food with a gas stove, and likely utilizing blenders and freezers, but still…I feel so insanely productive whenever I can or freeze something delicious to be used later.

On that note, today’s five are items that I am so looking forward to preserving over the next few weeks! Chime in below with what you’re planning to preserve, or maybe what you wish you could preserve!

  1. Sweet jam. Ohio had a weird growing season this year, so we’re only now exhausting our fruit crops. This weekend, I’m looking forward to making a few small batches of peach, or maybe raspberry jam to enjoy in the middle of winter, when locally grown fruit will be only a distant memory.
  2. Savory jam. Yep…I love savory jam! I’m thinking tomato marmalade, or caramelized onion jam, or jalepeno jelly? I don’t really know what makes these jams, rather than chutneys or anything else, but believe that I’m looking into it. Earlier this year, Evan had a Mac & Cheese Sandwich that also featured a spicy tomato marmalade. I’m thinking that a similar spread would be great on a grilled cheese with sharp cheddar and bacon…noms!
  3. Roasted tomatoes. I don’t love making tomato sauce to can, because I think it’s actually a bit cumbersome. What I do like to do, though, is roast tomatoes for a while in a hot oven until they get a bit dehydrated and a tiny bit charred, then can those. With very little effort, delicious Ohio tomatoes can be a part of our meals for the next few months!
  4. Pesto! This one won’t be canned, obviously, but now is the perfect time to finish off the basil crop by turning it into pesto and freezing. And, seriously- there’s nothing like the taste of fresh basil in the middle of winter.
  5. Applesauce. This one makes the most sense for the season, I know 🙂 I’ve made applesauce before, and used a food mill to press the flesh from the skins. This year I’m thinking of leaving the skins on and blending- we’ll see how that turns out. Definitely not my grandma’s method, but it might have a little fiber, and I think it should freeze pretty well.

So, stay tuned! We’re probably going to have some preserving posts coming up in short order, and I promise to let you know about our successes, and the failures 🙂

Steak and Bean Chili

I don’t know how your households go, but in our house Sundays in the fall are football days. Any Sunday that Evan isn’t on duty we start with an awesome breakfast, accomplish anything that deeds to be done in the morning, and then spend the rest of the day wallowing around the house. We flip through games, watching parts of them here or there, open the windows to air things out, throw in a load of laundry, do some homework, but constantly meet back at the couch to see what all of our fantasy players are doing. For us, this is the i.d.e.a.l. way to spend a Sunday.

Steak and Bean Chili 3

Most of these days, there’s a slow cooking meal simmering away all afternoon, and usually that meal is chili. I make a white chicken chili that Evan and my sister love, but I prefer a red chili, full of beef cubes cooked til they are shredding, and pepper and beans, in a thick beer/tomato broth. Noms!

Steak and Bean Chili

If you wanted this to be a weeknight meal, there are two options- you could use ground beef, and it would come together easily. Or you could toss everything in a crock pot and cook on low all day- that would also be delicious. My preference, of course, is to let it cook over the course of a few

hours in a heavy dutch oven, but any way you make it, it’s an amazing fall meal!

Steak and Bean Chili

2 ½ lb beef
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can diced chilis
¼ cup chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin
2 bottles or cans of beer
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

 The meat: If you wanted to make this is a crock pot, or just save time, you might skip this step. If you want to make the best chili possible, you should leave it in 🙂 Start by cutting your beef (steak, a roast, stew meat…whatever you like) into bit sized pieces, and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy dutch oven to medium high, add some olive oil, and sear the meat in batches (I usually do two or three batches). Doing this in batches means that the meat actually gets that delicious brown crust, rather than steaming like it can when you add all of it to the pan. As each batch finishes, remove the meat to another bowl. Once all three batches are finished, check out your pan- it the bottom is super burnt, wash and dry before returning to the stove and adding a bit of oil. If the bottom is a little crusted but not too burnt, cover the bottom of the pan with beer and use a wooden spoon to loosen the crusty bits from the bottom- those will add great flavor.  Reduce the beer until there’s only a very thin coating left in the pan. In either case, move on to the next step.

 The rest: Add the diced onion and pepper to the pan and cook for about three minutes, or until the onion starts to get a bit translucent. Stir in the diced chilis and cook for another two minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano and cumin- it will be a bit dry, but I find that cooking the seasoning enhances its flavor. Finally, stir in ONE bottle/can of beer and 2 cans of tomatoes. Cover and cook on medium low for a nice, long time. At minimum, you’d like to cook this for at least an hour for the beef to start to tenderize. Ideally, you cook this for a few hours, stirring occasionally and adding more beer as the chili starts to look dry. 30 minutes before you’d like to eat, add the drained and rinsed bean. Top with anything you like- I love adding cheese, avocado and red onions!

What I’m Reading: Current Events

Welcome to today’s edition of What I’m Reading. I usually post reviews of the various books I read in my leisure time, and that post is definitely in the works for all the books that I read this summer. Today, though, I wanted to check regarding current events. I had to follow a lot of domestic and international news throughout my undergraduate career, and that’s a habit that has carried over into adulthood. The problem, though, is that there is so much happening right now that it can be hard to get a handle on all of the situations that people are talking about.

What I'm reading

So, although it’s a bit more serious than my usual blog posts, I decided to do a round-up of some of the more interesting articles that I’ve read lately. Some topics are international in nature- things like Ukraine’s struggle with Russia, Scotland potentially separating from Great Britain, ISIS. Some topics are domestic- Ferguson, the NFL controversy. And some things are not so depressing- a comprehensive list of soup recipes, for example, and the Pope’s suggestions for being a happier person.

So check it out, click around and read a few articles, and expand your horizons, if you’re so inclined!

–          The Pope’s 10 tips for coming a happier person are really spot on, no matter what your stance on religion is. And there’s a baby goat on his shoulders!

–          People are questioning the motives for the NFL’s selective choice in punishments for players behavior, and this article suggests that the organization’s real concern is sponsorship

–          On a related note, the NFL Players Association, on behalf of Ray Rice, is appealing his suspension. Evan and I have been talking about this, because he didn’t actually break any NFL rules that were in place when it occurred, but that video does not sugar coat. This gives rise to a lot of questions, like is this case being given more legal attention than it normally would? And can you punish an employee retroactively? And, if the Commissioner really did see the video months ago, what the hell else is going on?

–          Israel hasn’t been the focus of international news for a few weeks, but a few weeks ago the only press it was getting was bad press. Here’s a different perspective, written by a former AP correspondent…you may be surprised by apparent media bias.

–          This article has incited a fair amount of controversy- many world leaders are quick to remind the public that terrorist acts and, more specifically, ISIL, is not Islamic, and this scholar suggests that just because these acts are disagreeable to many does not mean that they aren’t undertaken by a sect of the religion. Heavy, but interesting.

–          Soup! This delicious compilation from the Huffington Post includes the recipes for 100 soups and stews- and had photos. Nom!

–          I get a little apprehensive when I feel like topics have been ‘dumbed down’ but this article is actually a really comprehensive look at the history if the Middle East, particularly Iraq. It’s tough to summarize that quantity of information and make it relevant, but it’s a really good read if you need a primer on the region.

–          Pretty much every time I think about Ukraine (and the country has been on my mind heavily since March, when Russia annexed Crimea) I cannot even fathom how Vladmir Putin has managed to wreak so much havoc. In an interesting change, this article suggests that not only should the West have anticipated the Ukrainian crisis, but that the West is also responsible for the crisis– and the author makes a pretty compelling case.

There’s so much more to read, just to keep up with things! But there are the most notable articles that I’ve browsed in the past week or so. What’s caught your eye in current events, lately?

Southwestern Omelets

Friends! We spent the past week at Hilton Head, enjoying an end-of-summer vacation and it was truly glorious. I got to spend six full days reading books and watching two of my favorites frolic in the waves. And when we returned to Ohio, we learned that fall had arrived in our absence- best surprise ever!

Waves

Anyway, now it’s back to our regular programming and that means Taco Tuesday (see also: anything that feels inspired by Tex Mex). Today we have a Southwestern inspired omelet. I love omelets because they’re a great multi-purpose meal- they are totally customizable, so Evan can have his meat heavy version, and I can have a more veggie or creative version, and we’re both satisfied with our dinners.

South Western Omelet

Some people think that omelets are difficult, or too fancy to do themselves, but that’s so wrong! With a non-stick skillet, and a little patience, anyone can have these super delicious and filling omelets on the table in no time. Here’s my method.

 Southwestern Omelets

–          6 oz chorizo
–          ¼ onion
–          ½ red pepper
–          1 cup frozen hashbrowns
–          ¼ cup shredded Monterey cheese
–          4 eggs
–          2 tbsp milk or cream
–          Pico de gallo

Prepare your filling: Dice the onion and pepper to similar sizes. In a 8”-10” non-stick skillet, brown the chorizo for about five minutes, or until mostly cooked. Stir in the peppers and onion, and add the potatoes. Cover and cook for about five minutes; stir, re-cover and cook for five minutes more. Taste the potatoes to make sure that they are both cooked through, and salted well (the chorizo should have taken care of this, though). If the potatoes need more time, continue to cook and check in two minute intervals. Once the potatoes are done, transfer the filling to a separate bowl, and clean the skillet.

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Prepare the omelet: Heat your pan to medium heat. If you need to err on one side or the other, heat to a medium-low, rather than a medium-high. Crack two eggs into a bowl and scramble, using half of the milk. Add some lubricating fat to your hot pan (I like spray, but butter or bacon grease are also great). Then, add the eggs. Allow them to cook for a few seconds, then push the outsides to the center, and rotate the pan to coat completely with the raw eggs. I like to over my omelets at this point, and let them cook for a minute and a half to two minutes. (TOTALLY OPTIONAL: I’m manic about cooking eggs. So, at this point I always make sure that the eggs are completely solid, and then flip the omelet. Using a nonstick skillet and some spray, and having a ton of practice, this is pretty easy for me. If you’d like, give it a try! Practice will make perfect.) Once the eggs are set, apply half of the filling to half of the omelet. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, and add pico de gallo as desired. Fold the top half over, and serve with potatoes and extra pico. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients, and you have a delicious dinner for two!

Product Review: Dagne Dover

Guys, I have found my work tote.

No kidding, finding a bag that meets the needs of a working lady is rough. I spend my bus time every day looking at bags that are fraying and sad, or stained and beat up, or chic and tiny (necessitating a three-bag-situation) or are huge and disorganized (I’m looking at you, Kate Spade baby bag that used to be my best option). But last week, finally, I found my new bag- and she’s perfect.

Whats in my dagne

Ok, the bag to end my search is a Dagne Dover tote. Dagne Dover is a small company that I can really get behind. The founding ladies set out to create a bag that is functional for women that need their bag to do work. It’s big, so you can forget about carrying around multiple bags to take you from work, to the gym, to dinner. It’s super organized- there are at least seven organizational features including a laptop pocket, tablet pocket, phone pocket, a zipped section, a water bottle holder, pen spots and a key leash. And it’s sturdy- the material is coated canvas, so it can stand up to some use, and be wiped clean in case of any spills or smears. In short- I love it, and can’t wait to add more Dagne pieces to my collection.

You can check out my photo above of everything that my Dagne holds, and then take a peek at my video review, below. If you have questions, ask away- I’m still breaking in my bag, but I’d love to offer perspective!

Please note, I was absolutely not compensated in any way for this review, I just love to share products that make my life awesome!

Hatch Chili and Tomatillo Salsa on Ginger Lime Steak Tacos

It’s true- Taco Tuesday has been everything but tacos for the past few weeks. I won’t apologize for Dessert Nachos (om nom nom!) but I definitely do want to keep tacos in regular rotation around here. To help get back into the swing of things, I bring you Hatch Chili and Tomatillo Salsa on Ginger Lime Steak Tacos.

Guys, this is legit. Hatch Chili and Tomatilla Salsa on Ginger Lime Steak Tacos 2For the sake of transparency, I feel like I need to start by letting you know that I actually started my first kitchen fire making this recipe. No, Firefighter Evan was not home; yes, I’ve seared meat in cast iron before; yes, I panicked and forgot to cover the pan with a lid; but no, there was no damage at all- I stared in disbelief for a few seconds, and by the time I reached for a lid, the flames had extinguished themselves. Ginger Lime Steak TacosNow that I’ve come clean, it’s back to the recipe. Roasted Hatch chilis and tomatillos come together to make an insanely delicious sauce. It’s spicy, but not in a need-milk-now kind of way. It’s more like a slow burn that you feel across your mouth. The lime and red onion give it a super fresh flavor that you sometimes miss with roasted tomatoes. The steak is marinaded in a combination of lime, ginger, garlic and onion, and the combination of lime with the salsa is so, so good. Out of this world!Hatch Chili and Tomatilla Salsa on Ginger Lime Steak TacosThese tacos might be a few more steps than you’re looking for after work, and I totally get it! To make it work for me, I made the salsa over the weekend, ate half of it on chips right then, and managed to save the other half for Taco Tuesdays. For the steak, I made the marinade the night before, left it in the fridge in a ziplock bag, then added the steak before I went to work (sometimes steak gets weird when it’s in a lime marinade for too long, so overnight was not ideal). When I got home from work, I grilled the steak then chopped my toppings while it was in the oven. In less than thirty minutes I had a ridiculous taco meal. Seriously, friends- ridiculously, amazingly delicious.

Hatch Chili and Tomatillo Salsa on Ginger Lime Steak Tacos
– 3 hatch chilis
– 1 lb tomatillos
– 1 1/2 lime
– 1 clove garlic, and 1 clove garlic- 1/4 cup red onion, and 1/4 cup red onion, and 1/4 cup red onion
– 8 oz steak
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 tbsp grated or minced ginger
– kosher salt
– tortillas
– red cabbage
– 1 red tomato

Prepare the salsa: Heat your oven to 450. Husk the tomatillos and rinse well. Arrange the tomatillos and peppers on a baking sheet, and spray with cooking spray. Roast 15 minutes on each side, or until they are browned. Once they are roasted, remove the stems from the chilis, and add them (flesh, skin and seeds) with the tomatillos to the blender. Juice one lime into the blender, and add a clove of garlic, 1/4 cup onion and the ginger. Pulse until smooth, adding more lime if necessary to reach your desired consistency.

Prepare the marinade: In a ziplock bag, mix 1/4 cup of minced red onion, the juice of one lime, olive oil, minced or grated garlic and ginger, and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Smoosh everything together in the bag, before adding the steak. Marinate for two to ten hours.

Prepare the steak: You call grill your steak, obviously, or use my cast iron method (which makes really good steak, in my opinion). If you are using cast iron, heat it on medium high for several minutes, until it’s very hot. Add about two tablespoons of oil (ideally not olive oil) and let that heat for a second, and then add your steak. I like to cook each side for about three to four minutes, until it’s nice and seared. Then, put the steak in the oven at 450 until it reaches your desired level of doneness. For my one and a quarter inch thick steak, it took about 12 minutes to reach 160 degrees, which is about medium. Remove from the oven, and let rest for five minute before slicing thinly.

Assemble the tacos: I like to grill my tortillas before I use them, and I usually use my already hot cast iron pan. On top of the tortillas, layer cabbage, meat, tomatoes, red onions, and tomatillo salsa. So. So. Good.