DSC_0562It’s hard to believe that our first academic year at PLU is coming to an end! I have my final  concert tonight with the PLU concert band and it’s hard to believe that it’s one of the final concerts of the semester! It’s been a whirlwind of an academic and it’s still not quite done yet. With both of us acclimating to new jobs and a new city, the time has flown right by. And while I’m almost done until things ramp back up next fall, Will is not! He actually has yet another business trip coming up! Prepare yourselves to be jealous of this one…..he gets to spend three, yes THREE, weeks in England. Raise your hand if you’re jealous (raises hand). He’ll be working with PLU’s program at Oxford and also likely checking in on other partner programs in the UK and possibly Scotland. (Raises other hand for double jealousy). Unfortunately this was an end-of-budget year decision for his office, so I will not have the opportunity to join him on this trip, but it’s okay because we plan to go back together in the future anyways. He’ll just be working the entire time, right?! RIGHT?!?! He will in fact take a moment of fun to most likely go and visit White Hart Lane, historic home of Spurs, before it is totally demolished this summer, which will be bittersweet after such a phenomenal season from the team. So while I’m sure you, like me, pity the amount of work he’ll be doing, we can all find solace in his one planned excursion for himself. #pitypatrol #sorrynotsorry 

Tempeh Tikka MasalaI think I’ve been holding out on you. I don’t think I’ve shared ONE recipe yet from Vegan Richa, the most amazing Indian cookbook we’ve ever laid eyes on. She has a blog too, but we are just absolutely in love with her hard-copy, straightforward book of recipes. Ohmaigosh. It’s the absolute best. This Tempeh Tikka Masala is one of many we have made and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to share with you! First of all, this recipe went over waaaaaaay better than the first time we attempted tempeh, and was a great substitute for chicken tikka masala, in my humble opinion. Will may disagree, but I found this wholly satisfying and a perfect go-to when I get a tikka masala craving. He can still eat his meat version of this dish and so can you! However, the spice combos that Richa creates are so authentic-tasting that you’ll want to swamp them out for any other tikka masala recipe. That can actually be said for all her recipes – we have yet to have a bust! So if you love Indian food, tikka masala or are curious about tempeh, this is the recipe for you!

Spicy Lentil TacosIt’s another taco truck! Beep beep! We’ve been having lots of fun in the kitchen trying out new vegetarian recipes and this was another winner from The Southern Vegetarian. While we’ve made lentil tacos before (I am hardcore cringing at those photos), we both definitely rank this recipe higher than the previous one. This had a distinct, smoky tex mex flavor to it that really played into the lentils well. It’s such a straightforward recipe and my biggest suggestion is to ensure that you definitely use the two different types of chili powders; I would even encourage you to add others in! It makes all the difference in the world flavor-wise for making this more exciting than “oh, we’re having lentils for dinner.” I would also like to point out that we ended up with more lentil mixture and toppings than we had tacos for, so we made some rice and made taco bowls out of them! They were equally delicious 🙂

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This past weekend was a doozy for me! I spent over 12 hours volunteering time for the Humane Society and the Point Defiance Zoo, before finally crashing to just hang out at my zoo at home. Will had a productive weekend too, as he picked out the wood for the kitchen table he is building us. He found it at this cool shop, Earthwise Salvage; it’s old mill wood that’s been painted many colors on the edge, most recently blue. We got lucky because we had them haul away some items found in the basement of our rental house and we got a great store credit that covered almost our entire purchase for the table. The piece is a huge piece of lumber and Will spent a few hours working on sanding the pieces down. He’ll ultimately stain the top for eating off of with a beeswax coating. So far, the project is looking really cool! Sadly, the table won’t be done in time for Courtney’s visit this week.

DSC_0195I strongly believe that all areas of life should be inspired by art. Maybe not in the traditional sense when you think of it, but anything with an artistic and creative base. This roots from my upbringing in a household of artists, exposing me to original oils and watercolors on the walls by my grandmother and mother, art classes and innovative summer art camps led by my mother, and photography sessions with my dad to perfect the observant eye. Will also grew up in an artistic family, tracing back to his great-grandparents who all met in art school and went on to do marketing design for the auto industry, to his grandmother who has her own original art displayed around her charming home in Santa Barbara, to his aunt who is a professional artist (and I think some of you may actually have some of her coloring books – her current professional medium; her son is also a professional artist), his other aunt who’s art was done through jewelry and purse-making from kimonos which one of her daughters has now adopted, to his own mother who produces art in several mediums, most recently through felting and watercolor.

DSC_0232You know those kinds of recipes that just get better by the day? This is one of those. On day one, this was super tasty. The broth hadn’t had a chance to really thicken up, but the flavor was solid over a bowl of fresh rice. Day two? Broth/coconut milk had definitely had a chance to thicken and the Thai red curry paste had taken over the flavor threshold and the combination was dynamite. So good that I couldn’t wait to see how day three goes before telling you all about it! So so so good. No trace of cauliflower, all traces of sweet potato and peas and flavor bombs of curry paste and coconut milk. There is no hidden ingredient in this recipe and each one holds its own.

Vegetarian Steamed BunsWe have been a couple busy beavers up here in Tacoma! Will is currently in Copenhagen on a work trip, having a great time from what I can tell. He has this cool opportunity as a study away advisor to work with one of the outside programs our university partners with and basically be a study away student for the week at the partner institution – he’s going to classes, is staying with a host family, and doing study tour activities, all to familiarize himself with the intimate details of the program. How many ways can you spell jealous?!?!?!

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Um, hi. Don’t really know where last week went. Do you? I lost it. And October. I mean, geez. We’re starting to talk about Thanksgiving menus and planning Christmas trips and it’s like, helllllooooo my brain is still in August. Minus the weather. The weather is solidly October and I approve. But the weather is not in my brain, and therefore my brain does not understand how it’s halfway through October. Will went on his first business trip last week, we seemed like it was lightyears away when he originally scheduled it. But it has now come and gone and he can check “going to Chicago” off his list. He leaves for Copenhagen in less than two weeks. What the what?!?! I literally can’t understand the speed at which days go by. I met Sally last week. It feels like a year ago. Is anyone else having this problem?!?!

Um, hi October. Nice to see ya. When did you decide to show up? Because I definitely thought you were still a couple months away. It feels like we just moved to Tacoma, but the leaves on the ground have been telling us otherwise, for the last couple weeks. It’s been absolutely beautiful here – warm(ish), crisp days, cool clear evenings. We’ve been enjoying time outside and have even had to turn the heat on a couple times, in our cars at least. It’s absolutely wonderful to be in early October and not having to worry about being too warm, but rather being too chilly. A total reverse of our normal situation!

Can we just talk about how many ah-mazing recipes there are on the internet?!?! Deciding what to make each week might actually be one of the more stressful things we do in our house, because there are just too many good options. For example, today I saved the following recipes: Baked Black Bean Burritos with Avocado, Slow Cooker French Onion Soup, and Butternut Squash Ravioli. Because clearly all of those things are related. But for real, it is SO hard to distill all the options out there down to the best choices for us. Our list is never-ending; it’s gotten so out of control that weekly, we have to go through our individual “reading lists” on our computers and transfer all the saved links over to our shared GoogleSheet, where we have a categorized list of recipes to make. I swear we’re always adding more than we’re making. It’s ridiculous.