Tag Archives: travelin’

Where to next?

It’s time for us to plan another trip.

I need another big thing to look forward to. Both of us want to go somewhere new, somewhere big, a Big Deal sort of a trip. No Canada or USA. It’s gotta be someplace with a) a different language, or b) a long plane trip (or c, both).

So. Here are some ideas we’ve floated. We’re thinking maybe January, after the holidays, when it’s dreary and cold in Colorado and warm in other parts of the world. Among the places we’ve discussed are:

Mexico (adventure-travel, exploring ruins Mexico, not lounge-on-the-beach Mexico)
Peru/Bolivia
Egypt/Jordan/Israel
Australia or New Zealand
Someplace in Southeast Asia?

So, internet, tell me. Where should we go, to escape the January doldrums and add another notch to our belt?

(Places we have been together: China, Italy)

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Platz

One of my major life goals I set for myself early on was to travel. In high school, I knew I wanted to take a big trip to/around Europe after I graduated college, and so I spent all four years of school living as cheaply as I could and saving every penny for my trip. I spent months planning, doing research, and daydreaming about what my trip would be like.

I had a boyfriend for three of the four years I was in college, and while we were together I always thought we’d take the trip to Europe together. We broke up at the beginning of my senior year, and so I had to face the prospect of traveling solo. While I was excited to embark on such a journey by myself, I was also a little daunted, and thought it might be fun to try to meet up with other solo travelers along the way. During my research I came upon a website with a message board solely devoted to backpacking in Europe, and one of the sections of the board enabled people to post their travel itineraries for anyone who might be interested in meeting up for a drink or to travel together for a day or two.

Quite a few people responded to my post when I wrote about where I’d be and when and the sort of places I wanted to see, and I exchanged emails and photos with a few. I knew I’d be in Paris first, then Barcelona, then Nice, then Rome, and decided after that I’d play it by ear, so I arranged to meet up with David in Paris, with Chris in Nice, and with Clay in Rome. I saw the Louvre with David and we had dinner together one evening while I was there. I met a girl in Barcelona at my hostel and we did some stuff together, and helped one another weather the second worst train ride ever from Barcelona to Nice. I’d been in touch with Chris to let him know when I’d be in Nice, since he was taking a much longer trip and had already spent several days on the French riviera, and I knew when I got off the overnight train ride from hell that he’d meet me at the hostel where we were both going to spend the next couple of nights.

I got to the hostel, sleep deprived and sunburned from my first few days in Europe when I’d forgotten to bring sunscreen, totally cracked out, and Chris suggested I get a shower and we’d go play on the beach. I thought this an excellent plan, and after we got down to the water we’d already had conversations about everything from vegetarianism to abortion rights to gun control. Somehow this stranger, someone I’d expected to spend a few hours with, turned out to be a kindred spirit, despite our incredible differences in experience, religion, politics, all the big stuff. We just gelled. We spent the next couple of days exploring Nice and Monaco and then I got an email from Clay saying he’d had to cancel his trip so he wouldn’t be coming to Rome. So Chris went to Rome with me. And Florence. And Interlaken, Switzerland. I can’t really say why we hit it off so well, because we were so incredibly different – him a three-years-older Christian republican cowboy country singer who loved to play guitars and had switched from bullriding to broncriding after a motorcycle accident nearly killed him (somehow, the near-death experience on the bike made him less interested in courting death on the back of a very large bull). He was from Michigan and had a midwest accent, teased me about being from California, my hippie (to him) ways and how I said “like” a lot. Everywhere we went, we discussed things mundane and profound. He made sure I ate. He took care of me, which college boyfriend had basically never done, and I liked it.

In Salzburg, I knew that we had to split up. He was planning to spend time in Germany, and I was interested in seeing Prague and Krakow, and my trip was 6 weeks while his was three months. We said teary goodbyes at the Salzburg train station and I cried for hours on the way to Poland, wondering how it was possible that I had gotten so close to someone from so far away in such a short period of time. My memories of my few days in Poland are colored by the fog of sadness that was caused by having to leave my new friend, who had somehow become so much more despite our differences, that to this day I cannot think of a single positive thing about it, though I’m sure it was far more beautiful than I give it credit for. Let me just say, though, that I advise never going to Auchwitz by yourself if you’re already really sad, because that was just about the most miserable experience I ever had.

I sat in an internet cafe and wrote him an email. I missed him. He wrote me back the next day; he missed me. I went to Prague and wandered around for two days and watched a guy vomit on his own feet and then I wrote him and said, “I want to come meet up with you again.”

Right now I can’t remember where it was I ended up going. Someplace in Germany, where he was, planning a bus trip up the Romantic Road. We saw Neuschwanstein castle in Fussen, stayed overnight in someone’s house in Augsberg, walked around the wall and ate the local specialty of fried dough balls in Rotenburg, drank wine in Wurtzberg, went to Heidelburg, then headed back to Munich and had a great time at the Deutches Museum and wandering the streets, calling one another Platz (Plaza, in German, a suffix on signs everywhere, and fun to say). One night we ate at the Hofbrauhaus, learning that drunken Japanese tourists singing “Country Roads” performed by an oompah band wearing lederhosen is one of the experiences not to be missed when one is in Munich, and he bet me that I couldn’t drink an entire stein of beer. The loser of the bet had to pay for our lodging for the night. Now, I hate beer. I hated beer then. But I wasn’t going to let a little (okay, a lot, those steins were huge!) disgusting soapy beverage stand between me and winning a bet. I drank almost an entire stein and then had to pee. (You would too! I’m not kidding about the size of those things). While I was in the bathroom, the server took my stein. I came back, and Chris said that I hadn’t had the whole beer, so I lost. I ordered another and drank half of it before he admitted I had won. We had a misadventure trying to get to the Black Forest, which is a whole post in itself, but involved cherry liquor, Stuttgart, and snails.

I was getting close to the end of my trip, so I had to head back to Paris and then over to London before going home. Somehow it wasn’t as hard to leave, and yet it was even harder, because of the jokes and the experiences we’d shared in that additional week. During the last several days of my trip, I wandered around Paris by myself and London by myself, thinking over the adventure I’d had and my new friend Chris, wondering what it all meant. When he got back to Michigan from his trip, a month after I’d already been home, I flew to visit for a week. He came to visit me at Thanksgiving. We had already mutually decided that a relationship between us would never work: we were from different parts of the country and had different values and goals. He wanted to get married and have a family, being the last in his circle to do so at the ripe old age of 24. I was 21, fresh out of college, wanting to have more experiences and not at all interested in settling down. While personality-wise, we meshed incredibly well, we couldn’t get past all the other things that were different. So we moved on as friends.

Chris and I were very close for years. He called me whenever he had women problems. I told him about Dan when we met and started dating. I saw him through two failed relationships and tried to make suggestions as I could. He was probably the person who I felt closest to, who I knew would tell it to me straight, who I wanted to stand up with me at my wedding were I ever to have one.

And then he met Kelli.

I heard about Kelli, how she was 20 and a widow with a toddler. How he didn’t trust her not to cheat on him during a trip to Hawaii. How he didn’t know what she was going to do with her life. But she was young, already had a kid, needed his help and protection. They worked through their relationship that first year and then one day, shortly after I moved to Denver, he called me up to tell me they were engaged. “Congratulations!” I said, having expected it for months. “We’re getting married in September,” he said. “And we’re buying a house in August, and we want to come visit you in Colorado in May.”

“Sweet!” I said. I bought a futon so they’d have someplace to sleep.

Chris and Kelli came to visit me in May of 2003. Dan came down from Greeley for the first weekend they were here, and we all hung out. Dan’s and Chris’s personalities were very similar, so they enjoyed joking around together, and Chris and I told stories from our trip that we’d taken. Kelli was jealous. How could she not be? She was much younger, had had no similar experiences, and, in her opinion, I knew her fiance better than she did. I think she was intimidated by me, though it was obvious I had no designs on her man, I had known him far longer than she had and I wasn’t married. He was close to me, and trusted me, and I don’t think she liked that.

“We’re going to go explore Colorado,” Chris told me on Monday morning. “We’re taking a road trip, but we’ll be back by Friday.” “Have a great time!” I said.

I never heard from him again. I called his mom that Saturday to let her know he hadn’t come back; she said they were in the mountains with no reception but they said they’d be back in Denver the day before. “I’m sure they’re fine,” she told me.

Nothing. No call. No email. I tried his cell phone, but had no luck. Their plane took off, I’m sure with them on it, that Sunday in May of 2003, but Chris had made his choice. He chose his fiance over me, even though it didn’t need to come to that. She didn’t want him to be friends with me, so he cut off all contact after being close friends with me for three years, after all the adventures we’d had. I’m sure they got married that September, though we never got an invitation. I’m sure they’ve since had more children, since Chris had wanted a lot of kids. He found someone who was the same religion, who needed him, who came with a built-in family, and he was from Western Michigan where guys weren’t friends with girls they weren’t related to by blood or marriage. His solo trip to Europe and his years of being friends with that free-spirited California girl were the only ways he’d let himself be different from everyone else in his small town.

Every once in a while, I’ll see something that reminds me of the time I was in Europe, hanging out with the bronc rider. A joke, the smell of a kebab, hearing certain country songs. I miss him and hope he is happy, hope his family is well. Recently Facebook has been suggesting I add him as a friend, and every time his name pops up there I get a little sad. Part of me wants to extend that olive branch, to catch up, to reminice about old times, to call him a platz again. But part of me thinks that the past is better left where it lies.

The Strykers Take Manhattan (and New Haven, CT)

Saturday: Up early and up to Times Square again in the frigid TKTS line. Avenue Q is our first choice of shows, but we’ll take Chicago or Gypsy. Turns out Gypsy is the best deal. We find a great spot to have bagels with lox as we walk back down Broadway; the sort of place I’ve never seen outside of NYC – a full service deli, plus salad bar and hot food bar, almost like a cafeteria. They sell groceries and flowers, and we warm ourselves with hot chocolate seated upstairs while looking out at the bounty below. Back down through Union Square’s farmer’s market and our first ever apple cider donuts, The Strand bookstore, more exploration of the village and it’s time to change for the show.

The neon lights are much brighter at night. But then again, there are far fewer people at 9 AM on a Saturday in January.


Mere blocks from the place we stayed.

Words cannot express how awesome the experience of watching Patti LuPone play Mama Rose and the rest of the incredibly talented cast perform Gypsy was for me. This show has been near and dear to my heart since I was wee, and getting to see it both live and on Broadway was phenomenal. Our seats were in the orchestra, second row, far to one side so the view was a bit obstructed, but it didn’t matter a bit. I was high for hours afterward and completely forgot that I hardly ate anything all day.

Dan went back to get our bags; I subway’d to Grand Central to buy train tickets up to New Haven. He made it back and we got on the train with no time to spare, but the ride up was quiet and peaceful.

Our friends bought a house recently in a town outside of New Haven, surrounded by land and trees. We spent a quiet evening enjoying delicious pizza, meeting kitties, touring the house, and watching Wall-E in Blu-Ray projected onto a wall of their living room.

Sunday: Lazy day, stayed in our jammies until 2 and then went out for a quick frolic on the snow-covered beach. I discovered the joys of crunching through crusty-soft layers of snow and laughed at the things they call “waves.” We toured Yale campus and took a quick jaunt through one of the campus libraries, which looked like a church but wasn’t. Shopped for supplies, made dinner, and played Scene-it – a lovely visit with our friends who came through this last trying year with flying colors.

There were a billion shells on this beach.


And far less seaweed (and tar) than the last beach we were on (Santa Barbara).


Old lighthouse


Library at Yale. The inside is even more church-like, except instead of Jesus they worship knowledge. Or something.

Monday we took an early train back to Manhattan, and spent the day walking with all our stuff (luckily we packed light) from Grand Central all the way up through Central Park (saw my very first cardinal ever!), to Fifth Avenue and Museum Mile, up to Harlem and 125th street. We found another deli-type place and finished our time in New York with tasty, tasty food. The only notable thing about the journey home was that the teenager sitting next to me spent the ENTIRE 4.5 hours biting his nonexistant fingernails, methodically, one finger at a time, then starting over again after finger 10. After an hour I wanted to slap his hands; after 3 hours I wanted to throttle him like Bart Simpson. Note to teenaged boys everywhere: compusive nail biting is NOT SEXY. Wanna get laid? DON’T DO THAT.


I found the Chrysler Building far prettier than the Empire State Building.


I wonder if someone puts roses here every day, or if this was a one-time thing?


My favorite thing in Central Park (other than the free public bathrooms at the boathouse).

All in all, it was a terrific trip, with enough time in the city to get a good taste, with some downtime and friend time, with the promise to return when the weather is better and Central Park has more in it than fences, snow, and barren trees. Because while a few days is enough to get a taste, the city of New York deserves a far more thorough exploration.

The Strykers Take Manhattan, part 1


Wednesday: Arrival in NYC, disorientation, tasty falafel/gyros, meet a new friend, meet the other people staying at the same place, deep slumber. Thus far, I like the West Village.

Thursday:

Walk downtown through Tribeca, past the WTC site, church yards, to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free!) My facial orifices run like crazy and my hands freeze into painful claws while attempting photos of the Statue. We have set foot on 3 boroughs in less than 24 hours, though our time on Staten Island was limited to the three minutes between departing the ferry and boarding the ferry back to Manhattan. We walk up through the Southstreet Seaport area to Chinatown and a mediocre lunch but the best egg tarts ever. Canal street; back to W.Vil to rest for a few hours and then dinner (coal-fired oven pizza)/drinks with Laura and Jimi. We end up in Brooklyn after dinner; that is borough #4 by hour 26.

$20 to take the ferry to the statue/Ellis Island or $0 to take the Staten Island Ferry and get good photos. Free wins.


At South Street Seaport


One of the things I love about traveling with Dan is that he remembers things he learns in art classes and explains them to me. This time, I learned of the history and significance of the design of the Brooklyn Bridge.


I heart them.

Friday: Walk uptown through Chelsea, the Garment and Flower districts, giant Macy’s. Up to Times Square to find a deli much beloved by our friend Julie; it’s nowhere in sight and we finally manage to ask a local. It’s 12 blocks farther and about a million times more expensive than we were expecting (and not really a deli; more of a restaurant where the sandwiches are named for famous people and my lousy texas toast and velveeta sandwich, the cheapest thing on the menu, is $12!). We make up for it later by passing by the MOMA and discovering free Fridays, exploring Rockefeller Center, watching the ice skaters, happening upon hot chocolate and cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery that are far more reasonable. The MOMA contains significant awesomeness but by far my favorite thing is the installation of a huge circular couchlike object with squishy carpet inside, surrounded on 3 sides by soothing sound and video. It is trippy, it is womblike, we remove our shoes and vegetate after a long 2 days of walking in the freezing cold. 4 more floors of modern art and I have had my fill.


I imagine the flower district is far more flowery in the spring. In January, there’s not a whole lot to see.


Can’t sleep. Giant Macy’s Bear will eat me!


My very first wooden escalator, somewhere in the upper floors of Macy’s.


MOMA had a whole room of stuff that was both interesting and functional. This is a chair.


An installation at MOMA, consisting of linty fibers and mirrors.

Dinner is reasonable sushi back in the West Village; we walk down Christopher street and pass by bars with happy hours full of men all interested in each other. At dinner, I profess a craving for a small amount of fried food and girl beer. Luckily, there is a tavern across the street. Our familiar-looking server turns out to be someone who worked at the late, lamented Walnut Cafe. We all reminisce and she brings us free beers.

PS. Don’t forget to check out Dan’s trip report and NYC Alphabet!

I’m such a tease






A few photos to tide you over while my posts are prepared.

Because boob touching before marriage is SICK AND WRONG

Saturday was a day of colors: of gray, overcast fall skies; of flaming orange and red and golden trees as we drove up into the foothills; rivers of shimmering gold aspens catching the intermittent sunlight amongst the dark evergreens. I was kicking myself all afternoon for forgetting my camera. Then, because Dan’s parents were out of town we got to use their tickets to the CU-Texas football game. The walk up to the campus was all black and gold (CU) and muted rusty orange (Texas), and someone had put bright yellow-gold t-shirts in the stands, particularly in the student section. Thus, halfway through the (terrible, awful) game, I looked across the stands and noticed the same colors I’d seen earlier: patches of gold amongst darker color. (Some took advantage of the shirts by throwing them down on the field to protest plays or outcomes they didn’t like; the shirts were the same color as a yellow flag). I hadn’t been to a college football game since maybe 2000, and the games I attended while I was in college helped me discover some of my migraine triggers (loud unrelenting noise, humans screaming, the acoustics of such in a stadium). I’ll never sit in the student section at a game again.

But I digress. While I wasn’t impressed with the way CU played (it was really, really unimpressive) or with the CU band (I think I’m spoiled by Cal’s band, which was always great), I was impressed with the blowup doll that was tossed around by students and made its way onto the sidelines at one point, at which time the CU mascot put one of the tossed t-shirts on her. And I didn’t see what happened to her then, though I’m sure she is living a long happy life in a pasture somewhere. Equally impressive was the running of the CU buffalo at the start of the first and third quarters when the team came out. They have a real, live young female buffalo that gets run around the field, surrounded by 8 or 10 handlers, and she runs right into a trailer. Apparently she’s replaced every few years because each one grows up and gets mean. And then she gets to go live a long happy life in a pasture somewhere.

We had good intentions for the remainder of the weekend, but our errands took far longer than expected so the only room that got cleaned was the bedroom (which, admittedly, probably needed it the most). I counted over forty books next to my side of the bed and another 20+ on my nightstand, which are all now back on bookshelves where they belong, and we definitely need more bookshelves or to sell a bunch of books or something, because we are bursting at the seams with all our books. We also bought a vaccuum because the one some friends gave us when we moved into our current place never worked well and recently hasn’t worked at all. Is it funny that buying a vaccuum made me feel more Old and Married than getting married did?

Monday I spent running around like a chicken with my head cut off at work, trying to get everything finished (copies collated and folders stuffed and emails returned, follow-up calls, you know, all that stuff) before heading up to my first training in Glenwood Springs. I left work an hour later than I’d planned so I got to Glenwood right at six, with no time to stop and take photos of the most amazing fall color I’ve ever seen in Colorado. Vail pass was just incredible, as I was driving through with the afternoon sun hitting the mountains covered in bright gold aspen just at the right time. It quite literally took my breath away, and I really wished I hadn’t been driving so I could have just basked in its beauty. Maybe it’s like that every year, but I’ve never driven that way this early in the fall (usually the aspens have already dropped trou by the time I’m getting up there) and so never seen anything quite like it. People say that the northeast has the best fall color, but I’ll put Colorado’s aspens up against their maples any day of the week.

I spent the evening with Dan’s cousin and her husband who live in the area and were kind enough to entertain me for a few hours. I got slobbered on by some dogs and mostly ignored by a cat, saw photos from their wedding four years ago and talked a little politics and a little wine. When I got back to my hotel, I took a warm shower and got into bed, thinking I’d fall asleep right away. But that’s never the case when I’m away from home, particularly when I’m staying in a hotel rumored to be haunted (it was a sanitarium and a hospital at various times in its life), and my eyes were dry and red as I watched my first ever episode of the Duggar show on TLC or whichever channel that plays on. In said episode, Oldest JimBob Jr. (age 20) flew to Florida to ask some chick he liked (also age 20) to marry him. Notice I didn’t say girlfriend, because they weren’t dating (apparently, in the Duggarverse you’re only supposed to start dating/”courting” once you’ve already committed to marrying someone). Of course, he asked her father’s permission first, and he met her with her parents at a restaurant with a whole bunch of balloons and, of course, a camera crew. Nothing says “special” like balloons. So she said yes, took off her purity ring, put on the engagement ring, and they shared an awkward sideways hug. No full frontal contact, since that would be too intimate. And of course, no kiss (they spent the rest of the episode talking about how they were saving that for the wedding day). The two drove back to Alabama together, chaperoned by two of her siblings, and they sure did a lot of hand holding and saying “I love you” and Future OfJimbobJr looked sufficiently Stepford for the role. At one point JimBobJr also mentioned how he knew to look for someone like his mother, and Future OfJimBobJr was enough like his mother to get a proposal out of a horny 20-year-old. So, you know, good for them, but NO KISSING OR EVEN DECENTLY HUGGING BEFORE THE WEDDING? Too far, JimBobJr. Too far.

Needless to say, after watching that I did not sleep well. I woke up in time for a hasty breakfast at my favorite breakfast place in Glenwood (Daily Bread Bakery & Cafe) and then conducted a training from 8 AM to 5 PM. Then I drove the nearly 3 hours home.

I am wiped out and seriously considering taking tomorrow off work for a mental health day, or at least a half day. I would have done it today but had too much to do for the next training which is down in Durango and to which I have to DRIVE (I usually fly) so I will spend all day Monday driving and all day Tuesday training and all day Wednesday driving home. Fall in Colorado, you are beautiful, but you are exhausting.

Touched by his noodly appendage

First: status updates.

1. I can see three square inches of window (and natural light) from my new cube. No more dark basement!

2. My computer came back with the new versions of all the office programs so I have hope that my camera will talk to it OK and I can start using photos on the blog again. The computer is also moving at a normal, not glacial, pace, so that’s pretty good too.

3. I’m going to Philadelphia on Tuesday! And I get to meet up with a long-time blog crush, Adina Anonymous. She describes herself as “Korean, Jewish, dizzy, gassy, happy” and I think that sounds pretty awesome. She’s also got some ideas of stuff for me to do/see while I’m there. If any of you in blogland have suggestions, they would be welcome!

4. I ALSO get to see my friend Kent and his lovely fiance, because we’re all taking the train to meet up together in NYC on Friday evening. (They are in CT.) It’s my first time in the big apple – what’s the one thing I absolutely must do on a Friday in New York?

5. Yesterday afternoon Dan and I went to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude give a lecture about their work. It was both awesome and FREE which made it double awesome. They are working on another project called Over the River that will be in Colorado in a few years.

So, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to write about food. This week, without quite meaning to, I ended up making a lot of things that involved noodles. They were all different, and all tasty, but noodly nonetheless.

Monday: White People Food

White People Food (tm Monkey) is what we call it when we mix together some things, like mac and cheese or potatoes and some sort of meaty substance and some vegetables and mix it all up in a bowl. Monday’s version of White People Food looked like this:

1 box organic whole wheat mac & cheese
1/2 medium sized chicken boob (a whole breast is 2 halves, I only used one of the halves), chopped into small pieces
juice of 1 lime
chopped bell pepper (red, yellow), maybe 1/2 cup
chopped onion, 1/2 cup
1 head chopped broccoli (florets)
1 chopped carrot
2 gigantic white mushrooms, chopped (worked out to about 1/4 cup)
a handful of fresh thai basil and some cilantro, chopped into little bits

Boil water for noodles. Chop chicken into pieces, removing fat, and cook in small nonstick skillet with some seasonings and 1/2 the lime juice – I used lemon pepper. Sautee vegetables in a little canola oil; add seasonings (I used taco seasoning we just got at Penzeys and it was really good!), the other half of the lime juice and maybe some rice vinegar to give it a little liquid. Add cooked chicken and herbs to vegetables and season a bit more. When noodles are done, drain and follow directions on box. Sometimes we use greek yogurt instead of milk/butter but we didn’t have any so I just used milk and a small amount of butter. Mix veggies/chicken in with mac and cheese. Maybe add a little salt/pepper or parmesan.

Result: YUMMY. White people food is nearly always tasty.

Tuesday: Whole wheat pasta with basil marinara, veggies, and ground turkey

2 servings whole wheat linguine or spaghetti, cooked and drained
1/2 lb ground turkey, browned and drained
handful of chopped fresh basil
1/2 chopped red bell pepper
15-20 asparagus spears, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
5 large mushrooms, chopped
1/2 jar generic organic tasty marinara sauce
garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes

Heat water to cook pasta. Brown turkey. Quickly sautee asparagus, red bell pepper, mushrooms, add basil, then add the pasta sauce and let simmer while pasta cooks. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. Drain pasta, add sauce over noodles (I dish this out in individual bowls rather than doing it in the pan). Top with some grated parmesan and/or gruyere. I served this with a piece of ghetto garlic bread (piece of whole wheat toast, buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder). The garlic powder we got at Penzeys is really tasty and potent so it made for good garlic bread.

Result: Frabarous! This is one of our go-to meals that gets made about once a week or so (the veggies vary, but the result is always delish.)

Wednesday: Stir-fry green beans and shrimp over rice noodles

Wide rice noodles
Frozen raw shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined
3/4 lb green beans
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (I was lazy and pressed it)
5 medium white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1-inch chunks and then quartered
handful of chopped cilantro and thai basil
seasoning of choice (I used Singapore Seasoning from Penzeys cuz it tastes good)

Defrost and peel shrimp. Boil water for noodles. Cook noodles.Prep veggies, then quickly stir fry with some canola oil, rice vinegar and maybe a little soy sauce. Season with fresh lime juice and thai basil. Drain noodles, add veggies on top. Eat with chopsticks.

Result: Pretty good, but I should have started the noodles sooner. They took too long to cook and so the stir fry was a little overdone.

Thursday: The Reign of Noodles is at an end! Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup

2 heads broccoli, chopped (including stem)
1 small potato, diced (I used yukon gold)
1 kohlrabi, peeled and diced (optional, but we had one that needed using)
5 cups vegetable broth (we use this broth concentrate stuff that comes in a jar and mix it with water)
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
seasonings of choice
1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
small amounts of grated gruyere cheese

Boil broth and cook vegetables until tender, maybe 10 minutes. Reserve 1.5 cups of broth. Drain veggies, process with 3/4 of the broth in a blender or food processor until smooth, maybe 1 minute. Let sit while you make a roux with the butter, flour, and seasonings (melt butter in pan, add salt/pepper/whatever, add flour, stir together for 30 seconds or so), then add milk. Stir until the milk starts getting thick, then let it cook for 30 seconds or a minute more. It will get really thick and bubbly. Add veggie puree and the rest of the broth, stir. Add cheese and stir some more until it’s heated through and the cheese is melted. I served this with cheese toast.

Result: Super good. I think you can basically use any vegetables and this would turn out fabulously.

Tonight, Dan’s making me some homemade pizza.

And! The recipe for the fritters from last weekend:

3 small zucchini, grated
2 small yellow squash, grated
1 small potato, grated (leave all the skins on the veggies)
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp flour
grated hard cheese of your choice (I used parm and gruyere because I freaking love that stuff)
seasonings (salt, pepper, whatever)
Oil for frying

Grate veggies (we have an attachment on our food processor that grates stuff in like 2 seconds and is AWESOME). Mix with egg, flour, cheese, seasonings. Let it sit. A whole lot of water will come out. Drain it as best you can. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a pan with high sides (we have a stainless steel pan we use for the occasional frying we do). I used enough to cover the bottom of the pan but no more. When the oil was hot, I scooped out a large forkful of veggie mixture and plopped it in the oil, then flattened it a bit with a metal spatula. I made 3 or 4 of these in the pan and then just let them fry. After a while, I realized I should probaly drain the plops before I cooked them, so I started doing that and they cooked much better. Flip the plops over when they look brownish on the bottom. Cook until they seem done and drain on paper towels.

I thought to serve these with our sour cream substitute (plain nonfat greek yogurt) and applesauce, but these were so flavorful they didn’t need any accoutrements.

OK, I’m done talking about food now. *wipes brow*