Monday, December 30, 2013

the year 2013

According to Facebook my 2013 went like this:

  • I "left" the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Also known as GRADUATING with a Masters degree, but whatever.
  • Went skiing in Colorado.
  • Got a full time job.
  • Went to NYC for 4th of July.
  • Went to Chicago to celebrate our second wedding anniversary.
  • Went camping.
  • My mom got married.
  • We got a puppy.
  • …and then it was Christmas.
Facebook really focuses on vacations! Overall it does sum up the major victories of this year- graduating and getting a puppy. I'm guessing 2014 will be less eventful and that is fine with me!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

merry little christmas.

Merry Christmas! We are enjoying a lazy day at home watching (even more) snow fall, cooking some delicious food, and playing with Moses. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

big trees

Check out my friend Megan's blog for some great pictures of the redwoods (and me being dwarfed by them): A Rubita in California- Miriam's Visit


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend in San Francisco.

Many of you have been wondering where I'm at since my blog has been pretty silent recently. First we had Thanksgiving in Michigan, and then I've been in California for the past two work weeks. Since I needed to be there two weeks in a row for work, I decided to stay for the weekend and Aaron flew out to see me. We spent our time in San Francisco exploring and enjoying the beautiful scenery (and blowing through all of our credit card points to stay in a nice hotel downtown). 

Aaron and the Bay Bridge
I've been to San Francisco for dinner a couple of times, but haven't spent much time doing all of the touristy things there are to offer. It has been pretty chilly in California recently (the news there has been very dramatic about the "cold snap"), but the sun was out and it was above freezing so we were happy!

Our first day involved tons of walking: we went to the Ferry Building, Coit Tower (unfortunately closed for renovations), and then made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. We should have got a taxi but the weather was so nice we wanted to stay outside. We were extremely lucky to get such clear days with no fog (you can actually see the Golden Gate Bridge!). By the time we got to the Golden Gate Bridge our legs were so tired we only went halfway across before getting a taxi and going to Chinatown for lunch.
Ferry Building
At the bottom of the steps to Coit Tower

Halfway up the steps. We had to stop and catch our breath.

Nice quad burner going down this street.

I asked the hotel concierge how much public transportation was… she told me the street cars cost $6 and they were "the ones you see on the rice-a-roni commercials."

After all of our walking we were exhausted and spent the evening watching the Big Ten Championship game. On Sunday we went to Alcatraz, since apparently Aaron has seen a lot of movies about it. I didn't know much about it except it was a prison. It ended up being a really interesting tour, if not a little creepy. The views from the island were fantastic! We ended the day with a delicious dinner at SPQR.

There are a lot of other things I want to do in San Francisco, so I'm hoping Aaron will be able to come back sometime. Next on the list is the Golden Gate Park, some wine tasting, and seeing some redwoods.

On the ferry.

What used to be the social hall.

Recreation yard.

They said a lot of the prisoners sat on the bleachers and looked at what they were missing, so Aaron played along.
Aaron in isolation, or "the hole."
So close to San Francisco

Sunset from our hotel room.
Macy's Christmas Tree.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Portola Redwoods State Park, CA

Portola Redwoods State Park

I recently had a long trip to California for work and was able to stay for the weekend to see my friend Megan, who is going to Stanford. It was my fourth time in California but I haven't been able to see much since I'm mostly working when I'm there. I was determined to see some redwoods and Megan obliged, but she was not happy about driving on the windy, narrow, roads leading to the park (and neither was I… talk about being car sick!). 

It is hard to tell just how big these trees are in pictures. I took a lot of videos to try to capture how tall and fat they are. The one in the picture above is a tiny one. We couldn't go to most parts of the park because they took the footbridges off the creeks (for "winter") and we didn't want to get our shoes wet.

Roadside view.
And I will leave you with this picture: the person cleaning my room at the Hilton last week was extremely… creative.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

fall foods

After I wrote last week about loving the October weather... the temperatures fell below average and I broke out my winter coat. I'm so lucky I get to travel to California for work frequently (it will make this winter much more bearable for me!).

It is obligatory to start eating more comfort foods as the temperatures drop. I'm excited that soup is now appropriate for dinner and squash is practically free at the farmer's market. I have so many recipes for these things that have to be put on hold during the spring and summer. Caramel apples have also been abundant in my diet. Thank you, Whole Foods, for the build your own caramel apple bar.

Below are some great fall meals that are relatively healthy and very comforting. The crockpot chili is the easiest thing here, but these are all worth the effort!

Vegan Shepherd's Pie - I love shepherd's pie mainly because of the mashed potato topping. This is a great vegan version. The parsnip/potato topping is great, but we've also made it with sweet potatoes and purple potatoes.

The Best Stuffed Acorn Squash - If you are thinking about making stuffed acorn squash this is definitely the recipe to use. We normally use quinoa instead of wheat berries.

Chili and Cornbread - Aaron is the cornbread lover, I like the chili, this recipe has both!

Sweet potato and peanut stew - There are so many great ways to eat sweet potatoes, this is just one example with peanut butter and kale.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese - I rarely buy cheese at the grocery store anymore (it is expensive and despite what those dairy commercials say it is not exactly a health food), but if you are in the mood for a really creamy, fall themed macaroni and cheese you should try this.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Aaron is at work (on a Sunday!) and the baby dog is napping in the kitchen, so I finally have a little alone time to drink tea and catch up on food blogs. Which reminded me of my blog! We have been out of sorts the last few weeks- I've been in California for work and Aaron has been really sick (bronchitis, ear infections, and a sinus infection all at once). On top of that we had a trip to Michigan for Aaron's friends wedding. The weather has been beautiful. It makes me wish it was always October! 

Enjoy some pictures of what we have been up to. They mostly involve playing with our puppy!


Breakfast at the Crow's Nest in Kalamazoo.


Pumpkin and apple picking and caramel apples- my favorite.


A cortado from Victory Coffee and our favorite pizza: caramelized onions, gorgonzola, and pears.

He had a floppy ear for one week and it was precious.