¡Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas!



Alright, that’s about as much Spanish as I can think of right now and it was mostly just  an excuse to use the super fun double/upside down exclamation point. That said, today I made a delicious new recipe! As you probably already read in the title (if you’re paying attention to things like that), I cooked some black bean and sweet potato enchiladas. I found the recipe online and thought it seemed like an interesting take on the traditional enchilada. I love black beans and I love sweet potato even more, so I was pretty sure there would be no way that I could mess these up in a way that would not still be delicious. I was right! The recipe was more of  guideline than anything, which is great because it makes it even easier to adjust things to your own taste.
Here’s what I did:
I cut one small and one large sweet potato into medium sized cubes (about 1/2-3/4 of an inch). I put them in a pot with some water and steamed them until they were softened slightly but not mush. While those were steaming I opened a can of black beans, drained, rinsed, and put them in a small bowl. I squeezed one lime over them (after rolling it and dipping it in the boiling water to make it a little bit juicier, of course). I chopped up 4 cloves of garlic (minced, quite small) and added them to the bean mixture. By this time my beautiful orange sweet potatoes were ready. I drained the water off and then mashed them lightly with a fork. Next, I added the spices! I used 1/2 tsp of cumin, a touch more than 1/2 tsp of chipotle chile powder, a third of a bunch of fresh cilantro, and salt and pepper to my taste. This next part was the most fun! I used flour tortillas, but I am pretty sure corn is more traditional. Anyways, I laid out the tortillas and spooned first the sweet potato mixture, and then the bean mixture into them. I rolled them up, tightly, then lined a casserole dish (with some canned green enchilada sauce already on the bottom) until it was filled. I poured some more sauce over the top and then added some low-fat mexican cheese mix (okay, maybe I got a bit lazy with the canned sauce and pre-shredded cheese, but I was super hungry!). I put the dish in the oven for about 23 minutes (officially 20-25 minutes) and pulled out a heavenly, cheese-covered, spicy masterpiece of culinary excellence! No exaggeration there, I promise!
Here is the end result:

I served it (to myself) with some fresh and delicious avocado.

Here’s one last picture, it’s a close-up so that you can see the gorgeous colours! It was perfect to brighten up a wintery cold day.

Thanks for reading!


Splitting the Sea

This was taken at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard. The way in which the light reflections on the water framed the bow of this old fishing boat caught my attention. This photo feels calm to me, and a bit cold. That may just be burned into my memory by the freezing December weather, however.


Three Dancers

I guess it’s maybe wishful thinking on my part, but it feels like Winter is making it’s way slowly towards the Spring. This photo was taken in a garden on a day much like today; cold, grey, and beautiful.


Chicken Curry


It’s been much too long since I’ve posted here, but tonight I am happy to say that I have been inspired to post again!

A few months ago Vina, my amazing coworker, brought some chicken curry to work with her and shared. It was amazing! After I bothered her incessantly for the recipe (sorry Vina!) she wrote it out for me a few days ago. Tonight I was bored and hungry and thought it would be fun to go cook dinner with a close friend, Ben, and try out the new recipe! It turned out to be a fabulous idea. I had a lot of fun, and now I am so full that I (almost) regret all of the curry that I consumed.

Here’s how it went (with pictures)!

I went around to Ben’s and we decided to take a quick trip to Uwajimaya for ingredients. Then we got started with the cooking.


1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. panang curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1/2 medium red bell pepper
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thinly
1 can bamboo shoots
3 stems Thai basil
salt and pepper to taste

(The ginger beers were to drink because they are delicious, we didn’t put them in the curry).

Here’s how we did it!

First, we heated the olive oil and sauteed the garlic until it was a little bit brown.

Then we added our can of coconut milk

and the curry paste

This is when it started to smell really good! While the coconut milk mixture was heating to a boil, Ben got to work cutting up the chicken breast into really thin slices. The thinner, the better, that way they cook quickly (thanks for the tip, Vina!).

Once the chicken was prepared, we added it to the coconut milk along with the can of bamboo shoots, the sliced red bell peppers (that I didn’t get a photo of pre-cooking, sorry), and the Thai basil. After it was all gently stirred in, we covered the pot and let it simmer for about 7-10 minutes. While it was getting increasingly more delicious, we took advantage of the free time to do a little clean up.

Even though there’s no photographic evidence, I swear that I helped! It was hard to wait for the food with the enticing smell that was filling the apartment, but we managed.
I did sneak a little peak though!

It was so worth the agonizing wait! Here is our finished product, served over coconut rice and with red bean mochi ice cream for dessert, yum!

If you like curry at all and have a free evening, give this recipe a try. It is so easy to make and absolutely delicious to eat. I owe my coworker Vina a huge thank you for once again sharing one of her impressively tasty recipes with me (see Chicken Adobo for another).
Thank you for reading! Comment with feedback if you would like to, I love to read and respond!


Apple (T)art

A few days ago a friend and co-worker did me a huge favour. She’s a really great person and she always keeps us laughing, so I wanted to do something nice for her in return.What better way to repay someone’s kindness than with delicious baked goods?! I have a great recipe for Apple Tart that I used to make all the time for French class and since we had been talking about it the other day I thought it would be perfect! We’ll have to wait for tomorrow to see how it turned out (no sneaking tastes, has to look pretty!). Here are some photos and if anyone is interested in the recipe just let me know and I’ll post that as well!

Mmmm! I will have to make one for myself pretty soon. I love making these tarts. They are simple to make but turn out beautifully!
Hope you are all enjoying the last bits of summer!


The 35th Annual Wooden Boat Festival and 35 little wooden boats?

Okay. Maybe just two little wooden boats, but it had a nice ring to it and I am terrible at making titles.

This weekend we braved the traffic and the burn-and-melt-inducing sun and headed out to the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. Some family friends (Richard, Kathy, and their son Matthew) were also in town visiting and it was great to see them as a bit of a bonus!

After a late start we finally caught the ferry over and arrived at the house. We had to carpool down to the festival since there was only one parking pass, but that was fine with me since it just meant more time to spend together. After mom showed me the garden again and all the new additions, we set off. I particularly loved this little red currant bush (although it’s not new at all)!

The cat wanted her picture taken as well, so here’s that:

(Ok maybe she was actually really annoyed at me for trying to photograph her).

Anyways, it was really great walking around the festival, visiting and checking out all of the interesting booths and the boats themselves. I was, however, dying slowly in the heat and unfortunately may have complained more than I previously thought was humanly possible. Sorry everyone! Here’s a photo from one of the breaks from exploring (I was probably complaining behind this lens).

Note that wonderful dad is ignoring the whinging and that beautiful mom is holding my sweater. They are so kind and lovely.
We walked back to the Edensaw Woods (my dad’s business in case you didn’t already know) tent so that dad could mingle with the tent-visitors and we could check it out as well. The woods in there are so gorgeous. I personally love the Tennessee Red Cedar and the Kingwood. Nature can be so astoundingly beautiful. Behind the tent was a great view of the boats sailing on Port Townsend Bay. Check this one out, it has such an elegant look!

Mom and dad decided to go to the beer garden to enjoy a cold one so RJ and I took a stroll downtown. We sat behind the local ice cream parlor, Elevated Ice Cream, and watched a particularly sugar high toddler run madly up and down a pier. It was pretty entertaining. I did get a couple of photos of RJ though, and of the scenery.

The pained look on his face is either from the whining or from the sun. Both are equally likely!
After this quick break we returned to the festival to meet back up with the beer-gardening parents and friends. Apparently someone at the festival thought it would be a brilliant idea to launch a large motor boat at the same time that most people were leaving the festival. Can’t picture it? Basically a lot of people trying to walk out on the same road that a giant boat (and the giant boatlift carrying it) are rolling down. Confusion and semi-chaos ensued. I got to spend some time getting pretty intimate with a festival staff lady who thought she needed to physically prevent me from walking in front of it by putting her arm across my chest. We’re getting married next month!

Here’s the boat (it really was a great looking boat):

After that is was back to the house for some delicious burgers and time with the visiting friends (and the family of course!). It was a wonderful day and I really wish we could have stayed longer and seen more!

Of course if you’ve been to the Wooden Boat Festival, you will already know that the little wooden boat building workshop is a huge attraction for the kids (and for me, it’s kind of tradition now). RJ and I started on our boats but weren’t quite able to finish before they closed up, so we stashed some supplies in our pockets and decided to finish later. The following day we took our boats and bits and some sandwiches and went down to the Ballard locks. We picnicked and finished up our boats. While we were working a cute little squirrel came to visit. He was very friendly!

It was the perfect end to the weekend. Laying in the grass in the setting sun, working on our boats. The boats are already shown at the very top of the (long, sorry!) post, so I’ll leave you all with these photos that capture the beauty of the evening.


A Visit Home

Hello everyone (or anyone),
It has been an inappropriately long time since I made a new post here on this lovely blog! I apologize for my absence. Finals, work, laziness and a lack of inspiration were all contributing factors (but honestly it was really mostly laziness). I am back now though with a quick post about my past weekend.

I visited my family in Port Townsend. My brother and grandmother were both there along with my parents, and it was really wonderful to see them all and enjoy their company for the day. I haven’t seen my grandmother in much too long, so I was very eager to visit while she was there. We had a great time (or I did!). I chatted with grandma, hung out with Ezra and his new puppy Lucky, and watched mom and dad do some gardening! The weather was beautiful, which if you know Port Townsend, you know to be a rare occurrence. We finished the evening with a delicious meal of barbecued buffalo burgers, yum!

While I was there, the beautiful garden inspired me to take some photographs as well. They may not be my best photos (I was more focused on visiting than on, well, focusing!) but I do like them and the nature that is their subject. Take a look and tell me what YOU think!

My mother grows amazing lilies. They are (not exaggeratively) 8 ft tall at least and the blooms smell beautifully! I don’t know how she does it! Here they are:

Aren’t they stunning?!

On the property there is also a beautiful rose that blooms every summer. I remember last summer my dad picked a bloom for me and I kept it (dried later on of course) in my car well into the autumn. I love my dad (and these roses).
I couldn’t decide if I liked the photo better in colour or in black and white. The texture lends itself brilliantly to the monochrome, but the flower has a great colour as well!
Have a look:

I still can’t decide!

My mother loves to garden (and my father too!). This year their garden is coming along really well. It’s the best I’ve seen it in years and it was very fun to poke around in the dirt!

Here’s the garden:

Now they just need to keep those sneaky deer out!
One of the plants in this garden is broccoli. I loved the way that the “treetop” part of the broccoli contrasted with the leafy bits!

Last but most certainly not least, I managed to snap a photo of the most beautiful flower by far:

What a gorgeous lady, inside and out! I’m lucky too, I might get to see them again soon!

Well, that’s the end for tonight (this morning?). I hope you have enjoyed the read or the photos and I hope you all are able to feel the warmth of your families, whatever that may be to you!
Thanks for reading,


Bad Haircut

Today I woke up early to get the worst haircut of my life. Okay, well maybe the semi-bowl cut when I was 7 was worse, but definitely the worst haircut of my somewhat-adult life. I went to Headlines Salon at University Village because I am usually very happy with their work and as an employee at the Village I get a discount. The saddest part about the whole ordeal is that I showed the hairdresser photos of the haircut I wanted on ME in both curly and straight styles. Still, it came out terrible.
This woman, Stephanie, has straight hair, so that may be the problem. I would expect her to have the knowledge to be able to cut all types of hair, but it would seem that that is incorrect. She cut my hair in mid-curl, which means I now have weird ends that splay out in all directions. On top of that, it is very choppy and has almost no movement. Picture a brown helmet with fuzzy bits sticking out the bottom. Yeah, not a pretty picture.
When I realized what she had done, I tried to figure out why. That is when I realized that she actually gave me a GREAT cut, but for STRAIGHT hair. I straightened my hair and it looks wonderful. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or motivation to straighten my hair daily. I called the salon and they have set me an appointment to get it ‘fixed’ tomorrow. I am sort of worried that it is unfixable because of how short it is, but wish, cross your fingers, hope or whatever YOU do for me, that is will turn out somewhat wearable!
I hope all is well with you all.

PS. Here is what is looks like, straight (and grumpy). I can’t bring myself to publicly share the other (curly/horrible) version.


Chicken Adobo and Homemade Butter

This will be my first real food post, so I am excited! I have been working on culinary enrichment lightly for the last couple of weeks. With Summer quarter classes and work it has been rather busy, but I have actually accomplished and photographed TWO of these incidents (thanks mostly to my mom calling me and taunting me daily with the delicious meals she has been making). What luck!
Last week, while reading through some assignments in my Nutrition course I came upon one that was optional. The task was to make homemade butter. I have to admit, I really didn’t how exactly how butter was made. I knew that it involved cream and a butter churn, but that was about it. Reading through the instructions I found that the recipe was amazingly simple. Here it is:

1 glass jar
1/2 c. cool heavy cream
salt (optional)

…That’s it.

I gathered my ingredients and then added the cool cream to my glass jar, and shook. I shook the jar, and shook the jar, and shook it, and then shook it some more. I shook it for about 20 minutes, and it started to feel slightly thick and more solid. I opened the lid to have a look at it and found something very similar to almost-whipped cream. I closed the lid and (surprise surprise) shook more. About 5-10 more minutes and all of the sudden the cream stopped feeling thick and quite solid and it started sloshing about. I shook a little bit longer and then opened up the lid. Guess what was there?? BUTTER! Well, butter and some whey liquid. I drained and rinsed it, and then put it in the fridge to cool. Now I have my very own homemade butter. I was (read: am) pretty proud of that!

Here is the final product:


My second (recent) foray into the culinary field was tonight’s dinner. A wonderful friend and coworker of mine (and amazing cook), Vina, very graciously sent me her recipe for mouthgasmic Chicken Adobo. This is the Filipino adobo rather than the version originating in Spain. So. Delicious.

This recipe has a few more ingredients than the butter (not hard really), and Vina has kindly agreed to let me post it here. I hope you will try it. I found the recipe very simple to follow and the result very delicious to eat!

Here is the recipe:

4-5 lbs. chicken thighs
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. white sugar
3 bay leaves

I used a little bit less chicken, simply because I was only cooking for 2, but the liquid would be plenty for the amount listed. I got my cooking pot out and added in the vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, and bay leaves. I then chopped up my garlic and crushed it. I added an extra couple cloves of garlic, but that is just personal taste. After all of my ingredients were in my pot, I covered it and let it marinate in the fridge for about an hour (the recipe says 1-3 hours). When I brought it out again, the meat looked like it had absorbed a bit of the marinade, yum!
I heated the pot over high until the liquid began to boil, and then I covered it with the lid, turned down the heat, and let it simmer for 30 minutes (checking on it/smelling it occasionally). After 30 minutes of simmering while covered, I took the lid off and cooked it for about 15-20 more minutes, letting the marinade/sauce get all thick and bubbly. At this point the chicken was so tender it was falling off the bone when I tried to turn it. Excellent! I served the chicken and sauce over some white rice with brussels sprouts for me and corn for the boyfriend. I think I will have to bother Vina for some more delicious recipes in the future!

Here is the final product:

My chicken mission was a success! Let me know if you try out this recipe, I hope you will enjoy it as much as we have.

Thanks for reading!


Waiting For Inspiration (and some seemingly random portraiture while we wait)

Oh hi there. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been pretty overwhelmingly busy over the last couple of weeks. However, I do apologize to you, Reader, for essentially being a slacker. Here is what has been going on, in case you were wondering.
-Moved out of old apartment.
-Moved into new apartment.
-Attended concert for the boyfriend’s birthday.
-Visited family for July 4th/birthday of boyfriend.
-Spent many hours (over 5) on the phone with Comcast (worst customer service ever).
-Started my new Summer quarter classes.
-Worked (a little, let’s not get crazy).
-Applied for graduation.
-Failed to update my blog or be creative in any way.

Alright, so now that that is done, I thought I would just post some photos that really don’t have any relation to what I wrote here. This is my collection of portraits.They are some favourites of mine that I would love to share with you all (and possibly get feedback on!). Oh, and I promise, I will force inspiration upon myself in the next week or so and have some sparkly new photos and writing to show you.


Here are my first photos of the post. These are a few of my favourite portraits. I don’t do them very often, and this was before I really did them at all. That is part of what makes it so special to me. I believe it is easier to take meaningful, emotive portraits of people with whom you share a special connection. This beautiful little one is my niece, Ianna, and I have loved her since the night she was born.

I miss her very much (lives far away now) and love her very dearly.

This next photo is one that I took this fall/winter at Husky Stadium in Seattle. It is of my boyfriend, RJ. We were attending a speech by President Obama in support of Senator Patty Murray. I felt that this photo conveyed very well the feeling of hope that seemed to infect the whole crowd that afternoon.

I know, it’s kind of a weird crop, but I actually like it a lot. Let me know what YOU think.

This next one isn’t what I would usually include in a ‘portrait’ collection, but I suppose it is in the sense that the subject is a person. The subject is actually a very beautiful person named Magnolia, but she happens to be covering her beautiful face. Beautiful.

This next photo was taken at the (appropriately named) Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. The subjects are my brother and his girlfriend Ashley. Although the light was low, I am happy with how this sweet moment turned out.

Cute, huh?

This following photo is perhaps my very favourite. This photo is of my truly magnificent parents in one of our family’s favourite places; Yellowstone National Park. I just really love it (and them).

Now you have come upon the last two photos of this placeholder photo blog post. This first photo shows off how beautiful RJ’s skin looks in black and white (and also how beautiful he looks in person and on camera).

The final photo is kind of silly, but I still like it. I enjoy the composition (and the face of course!). I also like that it IS light and playful. This photo makes me smile (well, all of these ones do!).

The range of people featured in my portraiture may seem somewhat limited, but what can I say, I take photos of the people I am closest to and around most. I hope you have enjoyed this, and I apologize again for the lack of new content.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!