Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 27! WOAH!

Day 27: Something You Ate

This was dinner. Chicken Peperonata with Couscous. 
Here's the recipe if you are so inclined.

Chicken Peperonata with Lime and Mint Dressing
(adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2009)
You will need: 

4 Chicken breasts (5 to 6 ounces each), seasoned with salt and pepper
For the Dressing
4 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best, but no judgments)
2 1/2 Tablespoons chopped mint- fresh is the only choice here
1/4 teaspoon + a pinch coriander leaves or 1/2 tsp ground
For the Peperonata
1 Red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 Yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 large, fresh poblano chile, cored, seeded, thinly sliced. 
***I had to substitute green chiles as we don't get poblano chiles here, but it was still tasty.***
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Couscous
Couscous needed for 4 people. A good rule of thumb is 75 grams of dry Couscous for each person. However, you can just read the package directions for your Couscous. If you got it in the bulk bin at the store, chances are you already know how to cook Couscous. 

To Prepare:
1. Season chicken with salt and ground black pepper.
Take out a large non-stick pan and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, heat over medium high heat.
2. Saute chicken until brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes, turn chicken over and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate.
3. Return skillet to medium high heat. Add bell peppers, poblano, and red onion to the same skillet chicken was cooked in. Toss while cooking until lightly colored, which will be about 5 minutes. Cover and cook for one minute. Pour 2 tablespoons of dressing on vegetables. 
4. Prepare as individual plates or on a platter, scoop cous cous onto plate, place chicken on top of Couscous, mound veggies on top of chicken, drizzle with remaining dressing. 


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Only a few days left...

I won't even apologize for having three days worth of photo challenge on one post. Let's be honest, you've come to expect it. 
Day 24: Inside Your Bathroom Cabinet
Truthfully, no one should be surprised that my things are in labeled boxes. I like a tidy cabinet. It makes me happy. It also makes my super quick getting ready even quicker. There are days when I only throw on my concealer and cheek tint- the other boxes are untouched.(really, that's most days)Sometimes I get fancy and put on some eye shadow, venturing out to use things in the other boxes. I'd use a bag, but things get all ajumbled in a bag and if anything ever broke, EVERYTHING would get all make-upy. 
The other cabinet holds all the body washes/soaps that smelled nice to me at the time. I am an impulse smelly things buyer. If I like it, I buy it. So I have a lot. Really, this looks like a normal amount, if you don't look at all on the bottom shelf of the other cabinet...
Day 25: Green
Double green for this one! Here in Beijing, we get charged for each plastic bag we need at the grocery store (a good idea for anywhere, I think, to make people bring reusable bags). The grocery store also sells "green bags" which are, actually green in color. Every Sunday we load up our two bikes with the green bags we have, do our grocery shopping and then bike home. This was this Sunday's take- pretty impressive for two people on bikes, no? I was impressed. I was also pleased that the weather was so lovely. Winter has not been my favorite season to be all earth friendly and bike to the store. 
Day 26: Night
A few night shots from my trip to Hong Kong. Serious love for that city. It's definitely on my radar as a place to live...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Correct photo uploaded on the correct day?! A minor miracle, if I do say so myself. 
Day 23: Shoes

I would live in these shoes. As it is, I wear them 3 out of the seven days of the week. We get jeans Fridays at my school and these are totally my go-to Friday shoe. I don't think there has ever been a time in my life that I didn't rock a fabulous pair of Chuck T's- thanks mum for having good taste when I was too young to make the awesome shoe choices I can today. On a bonus, my ayi decided that they were simply too dirty and she washed them. Then she put them on the heater to dry. This is how I found them when I came home the other day. Did I mention I love my ayi?

Unrelated to the February photo challenge, I've been playing around with the all kinds of apps for the iPad in class and in general and also using my Kodak flipcam lately (hence the video tour of the classroom). The culmination of all this awesome experimentation was what you see below. PB was singing for his supper- literally he was singing about the dinner we had ordered and he was EAGERLY awaiting. I leave you with this video glory.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So close...

So here's another catch up session. Only a few more entries and then this wonderful challenge will be complete. ABOUT DARN TIME! Perhaps this challenge is good for me. I'd say it makes me less of a procrastinator, but that's a dirty lie. You do need to know that If this project were work related, it would be done on time; early even. I need to get better about posting on this here bloggity blog blog. Back to the task at hand.
Day 18: Drink

Yes, I live in Beijing. And yes, I consume copious amounts of Starbucks. In some cases, I love capitalism. I started to take a car when the weather got cold. Guess what is made easier when you have a car? Morning trips to Starbys! There is a pretty standard text message that goes back and forth between my ride share friend and I:
Person 1: Feeling the need for starby speed?
Person 2: Hells yes
Person 1: Woo Hoo!

Thus, my daily drink lately. I know it's a Venti, but it's a tea, so it's not nearly as guilty. I get tea if we go more than once a week.I only get the mega guilty drinks once a week. (I'm not a saint and the caramel macchiato is delish!)

Day 19: Something I Hate to Do
Laundry- not specifically the washing and drying, but taking it from this stage: 

To this stage:

I LOATH folding clothes. When I was in Cairo, I would let my laundry sit on the drying rack until I wore it again. I wouldn't fold it until my flatmate had to use the drying rack. Luckily, PB and I have the worlds MOST WONDERFUL ayi (housekeeper) and she washes and folds all my clothes. I adore her. And the fact that she does all the folding. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Day 20: Handwriting
This is an example of my sloppy handwriting as I did a massive "things I need to do at home in no particular order write down brain dump thing". I have a weird mix of cursive and manuscript- pretty much I can't write in just cursive or just manuscript. 
I like to type things- a lot. Fonts are more fun.

Day 21: Fave Photo of Me
I am not a photogenic person.My lip does this funny lift up on one side thing when I smile, like I want to be Elvis or something. As a result, I usually act supremely goofy, make a ridiculous face or simply hide behind someone taller. This photo right here is a fabulous example of that whole ridiculous faces thing. I'm cool like that.

Day 22: Where I Work

This is my classroom. I pretty much live in this room, so I thought a video would be more appropriate instead of just one photo. Sorry for the shakiness- this seemed a whole lot less shaky on my flipcam. My apologies. 

And... I'm up to date! BOO YA! I will be posting another picture tomorrow. Really. Now that I'm all caught up it can only get better. Although, I wonder, is this as interesting when you only get to see one photo at a time? What do you think?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why did I think I could do a daily photo project?

In my defense, I was in Hong Kong for a tech conference this weekend, so that is why the updates haven't been daily. Really, lets be honest, I've not really been daily on this anyway. So here goes:
Day 13: Blue
My teammate Ceci is wearing the hat and cowl I knit her. As previously mentioned, it gets cold here in Beijing. She, much like me, hates the cold. So she chose some yarn and I got to knit my little heart out. Win win. It also helped me get closer to my creating five things in February goal. Two down and only three to go!

Day 14: Heart
Today was Valentines' Day (duh). PB and I are not big Valentines Day celebrators, so neither of us really ever get one another something. However, as I was laying on the couch in all my lazy glory, PB got home from school and he had a surprise. 
BEHOLD: the way to my heart. 
Chocolate and Peanut Butter! Is there a better combination? I think not. Also, PB was pretty impressed that his nickname was on his present. It was a proud moment for him.

Day 15: Phone
This is the phone at our house. We don't use it, it's just for when the clubhouse calls to remind us when fixer men are going to come and fix things. I honestly don't know the number. 

Day 16: Something New
While I was in Hong Kong, I purchased these lovely necklaces. My jewelry collection has certainly grown since we've moved to Asia.

Day 17: Time
I was in Hong Kong for the weekend, at a tech conference and this schedule was on the back side of my name badge. Every minute of my day was mapped out, if I were to follow said schedule. 
(I was in Hong Kong people! There was shopping to be done!)

I know I'm still a few days behind, but I don't want this post to get too outrageously long, so you'll have to wait for the rest. Maybe I'll get them down tomorrow, maybe not. Commitment is scary. I like to be more spontaneous. 
Note to self: do not do a daily photo challenge again. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Photos and Life

I thought I'd be better about this, I really did. I hoped that I would be super prompt and put the photos up every day. Turns out I'm just a photo-posting liar. I apologize. I will try my best to improve, but lets not hold our breath, shall we? So where were we? Ah yes, Day 9: Front Door
This is my front door. It still has the fall themed wreath on the door. I made it out of the leaves around our house when I was in love with fall. I haven't found any winter decorations that call to me, and I feel bad for my large, lonely white door. I think it needs a little pizazz. I should take down the fall leaves, but they at least give the door something; plus it totally helps people find my house. I do live in suburbia, after all.

Day 10: Self Portrait
I spend my day looking down a lot. Not in the negative way, but in the way that I work with 6 year olds (they are short), work on my computer, knit and cook. A lot of those activities have me focused while looking down. I took this on my MacBook while I was knitting. Apparently this is what I look like when I'm focused. Who knew?

Day 11: Something That Makes Me Happy
 Oh my gracious, this was a tough one for me! I was looking around and I realized I am very blessed to a comfortable lifestyle and fun friends to share it with. The most recent thing that makes me happy is actually an app on my mobile! It allows me to text my two best mates for free! Seeing as how one is in Des Moines, IA and the other one is in Egypt, this app is AWESOME! Anytime I think of them I can text them. FOR FREE! WAHOO!

Day 12: My Closet
I don't really have a traditional American "closet" here in China. I have a tiny half closet thing that holds my boxes of summer clothing and a chest of drawers. The closest thing I have to a closet is my armoire. Yes, I am slightly anal retentive about where my clothes are. My shirts are organized by type then length. I have jeans folded up top and there are tops and sweaters folded along the side. This Armoire hold pretty much all my winter school clothes and some hoodies. My casual clothes are in the drawers in my bedroom. Luckily my armoire is in the room next to my bedroom so I don't have far to walk in the morning. 

These would be those thicker sweaters that one does not hang, due to dreaded hanger marks that they would have if I hung them. 

And my tiny shoes. I'll be honest, I've got some pretty dinky feet. But they are obscenely wide (totally not pretty) As a result, I love flats with elastic around the back. They actually stay on my wide feet without flopping off like flip-flops. I'm not one for heels. If you taught grade one, you would not wear heels to work either. 

Alright. Almost all caught up! I'll post more tomorrow. Really, I will! I'm 75% positive that I will post tomorrow. You should check back. It could happen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Fun

So I've seen this photo post thingamabobber here floating around on the interwebs. And I've decided to participate- so I have 8 days of catching up to do! Luckily, I decided to participate a while ago, but was only lazy in the posting of them on my blog. This post may seem long, but really it's mostly pictures, just keep scrolling down, I promise the next post won't be nearly as long! Here's the "map" for the month of photos.

My View:
Yes, that's my couch. Yes, it's taunting me with it's mess and things that need to be put away. I will clean it off. Honest.

Words: I spent my day knitting, and this is part of the pattern that I was reading. I love knitting and the winter weather here in Beijing pretty much demands that nights be spent cozy on the couch with some amazing yarn.

Hands: It was manicure time! I gave myself a manicure today, here's the results. You don't get to see my right hand- I've not perfected painting with my left just yet. 

A Stranger: I don't have a photo! EEK! I do, technically, but it's a old photo and not authentically February. I will do my best to get a stranger shot this month.

10am: SKYPE TIME! I spent almost all day skyping with my family and friends. Love modern technology.

Dinner: Yes, we really do eat like this every night. I am one of those crazy folks who loves to cook and make things from scratch. This is Vietnamese tofu noodle salad.

Button: This is the button off my winter coat, which is worn more hours a day then I'd like it to be, but it is winter. 

Sun: It was a really sunny, nice day here in Beijing! BONUS! February has been cold, but really sunny and fabulous this month, so I'm loving it. I know this isn't technically the sun, but I LOVED seeing the blue sky again, so that's what you get.

PHEW! All caught up. Now I am off to do some more knitting!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Enemy: thy name is static

For those of you who have never lived in a place with a proper winter, you will have no idea what I am talking about. I apologize in advance. Here in Beijing, we have been enjoying an especially cold and dark winter, full of what has become my greatest nemesis STATIC! Static cling is plaguing my like no other. I walk around, sounding like there are mini-firecrackers going off around me. I spark with everything I touch, much to PB's dismay. My hair is larger than most Texan debutante's- mind you, it's not in a sexy full of body kind of way; but in an Albert Einstein kind of way- of course!. The real issue: static cling on mah pants. Static cling takes my nice, neat work trousers and turns them into clingy crazy-pants, closer to my thighs then a pair of jeggings. There is no lovely, crisp, clean line of my pants anymore. Nope, thanks to my mate static cling my pants are on my ass like a horny fifteen year old (not that I would know what that looks like...) So I do a lot of awkward tugging and shifting and use a lot of lotion, hoping to beat the monster. However, if you have any suggestions to help me thrash my arch rival static, I'm all ears. We don't have bounce sheets here, nor are we able to buy the lovely product "static guard" so if you've got other options, tell me about them!

On a funny note, I've recently changed my mobile texting notification sound because PB and I had the same sound and it was mega confusing and annoying to not know who had just gotten a text. (let's be honest, it was almost always my mobile, I'm cooler than him, fact of life) The new sound that I've chosen is quite unique. We talked about the sound and how to describe it. We've decided it is the same noise that they use in killer movies when the killer first walks in the room and everyone is hiding. Very suspensful and full of doom. As it happens, that same noise frightens PB. I got quite a few texts in a row from a mate and PB was super jumpy. Unknown bonus to my new text noise! Score one for me! My new goal is to be around him whenever I get a text. I may text myself just to see PB's reaction... mwaahahaha!

This is what PB pictures every time I get a text. I know it's wrong for me to find humor in his pain, but I can't help myself!