Off The Beaten Path: February 24, 2017

I’m trying something new with some of my blog posts. Late last year, I brought back my old “Running and Reading” posts because I realized that I was reading a lot of great articles that I wanted to share with others. I admit, it got burdensome to keep the posts fresh and light and relevant. Most of what read, given what I do for a living and where I reside, is all political. Not necessarily one-sided, but issues-oriented. I want to steer clear of that. There’s enough of it out there, and I need a break from it, too.

Also, when I relocated to DC back in 2014, I used to write posts called “Off the Beaten Path” to update friends and family back home in Nebraska about what I was doing in DC besides “running all the time” and working my “I’m not sure what she actually does in DC” job. I attempted to revive that recently, but then I sat down to write it and realized that I really don’t have a whole lot going on right now. Or at least not enough to keep the post going and keep it interesting. I get the sense that readers gravitate toward bloggers who “keep it real” but there’s a fine line of keeping it real and oversharing that I enjoy a graceful dance with, so I could write about how I am struggling to accept where I am in life… or I can keep it on the sunny side up.

So, I’m going to try consolidating things and see how that works. Even if no one ever reads it, I swear sometimes I keep up this blog because I just really enjoy the simple art of writing. Let me know what you think! Continue reading “Off The Beaten Path: February 24, 2017”

Yummy Eats: Creamy Roasted Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

Right before leaving DC for Nebraska for the Christmas holiday, I made a sweeping inventory of my fridge to toss anything that might go bad during the week I’d be gone. I threw out some bottom-of-the-tub Greek yogurt, a nearly empty jar of strawberry jam that I didn’t use up during my rediscovered PB&J phase, and a couple of fruits and vegetables.

What is it about fruits and vegetables that make them the first things we grab at the grocery store and the last things we reach for when we’re at home? The night before I left, I “didn’t have anything to eat” so I went out for Chipotle, gave up on the 5-mile line, and decided on a low-key crackers and hummus dinner instead. One of the items I had tossed earlier that evening was a bag of baby carrots. Um, hello? Baby carrots and hummus? Perfect. Yet I “wasn’t up for it” and instead threw out probably $.75 worth of perfect carrots and opted for a $2.50 box of cracked pepper Triscuits instead. I’m not a penny-pincher or money hawk, but that was $3.25 I’d basically just wasted. Put it that way, that kind of cash can add up! Not to mention, I ate twice as many calories for probably not much nutritional value by opting for the Triscuits, which coincidentally were so rich that I could only eat a few with half the hummus that expired while I was away, so I lost probably another $1.25 on a half-eaten tub of expired hummus. It just makes me wonder through what other cracks my money was disappearing. Continue reading “Yummy Eats: Creamy Roasted Carrot and Pumpkin Soup”

Yummy Eats: Quinoa

Would YOU trust me with this kitchen??

Sometimes I believe the reason I have not yet become a mom or wife is because I am a dunce in the kitchen. Of course, that was a joke….I’m an awesome cook. 😉 But seriously, I am always trying to come up with meals that accomplish a trifecta of lifestyle goals: keep me within my budget, help me lose or maintain weight, and not bore me to death with those two labels of “cheap” and “healthy.” Usually, I fail at accomplishing all three things.

Last weekend, it was kitchen-palooza in my Arlington high-rise studio apartment. I mean it, I was on my feet cooking for just myself for nearly 4 hours. On my agenda, I was making my own honey wheat bread (trying not to buy overly-salted and sugared processed bread), making a creamy spinach and potato soup for my lunches (I needed a serious detox after a work trip in Las Vegas), cooking and freezing creamy pumpkin pasta for dinners this week (again, cheap but not boring), and baking an apple crumble for dessert (trying to use up the apples I’d bought in Sperryville two weeks prior). It was a crispy and windy fall day in early November, I had autumn-scented candles burning, and my apartment smelled so damn good from all the food. This week is going to be awesome!! I thought to myself.

Well, here’s what actually happened: Continue reading “Yummy Eats: Quinoa”

Yummy Eats: Black Bean Cremini Mushroom Soup

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere in the South Pacific for the past month (lucky), you know that everyone in America has been battling polar vortexes, Arctic wind chills,  and snowstorms. Today, half the country is literally under some kind of wind chill advisory, and this morning when I left for work, the wind chill was -21. It’s winter y’all, and we’ve just gotta get through it. And when it’s this cold outside, it’s the best time of year for a nice, comforting hot meal. Right? Continue reading “Yummy Eats: Black Bean Cremini Mushroom Soup”