In an effort to find my voice (and also to never give off the appearance that our lives are perfect) I thought I'd confess a few things:

1) I'm writing this post on Friday, even though I'm scheduling it to post on Sunday. I doubt I'll have time to post again over the weekend, and I have a writing bug now, so I thought I'd knock out a few posts for the future.

2) I haven't changed out of my PJs all day. (We're wrapping up Honeymoon #2, and when you only get a vacation once or twice a year, you make the best of it!)

3) I buy chocolate chips just so I can eat them right out of the bag. You heard me. I never make chocolate chip cookies. I just eat the chips.

4) Chocolate chip cookies are the only type of cookie I don't make. I've never been able to make them as well as my mom can, so I don't bother. (If you have a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe, I'd love to try it! Let me know in the comments.)

5) Left up to my own devices, I'd probably eat nothing but Ramen. I cook to feed my Mister.

6) My Mister turn on the hall light every time he walks past the switch. I turn it off every time I walk past the switch. I find this endearing and frustrating in equal measure.

7) Sloppy joe recipe found at My Healthy Ohana. I don't usually like Sloppy Joes but these are delicious, probably because she uses siracha.  We're obsessed with siracha in this house, and at any given time we've probably got two or three open bottles.

8) The Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker pictured above was found on I am obsessed with this thing, and absolutely not paid to say so. Buy one. Buy a few and give them as hostess gifts! You'll thank me later.

Finding My Voice

If I've learned anything about blogging over the last few years, it's this: blogging is difficult. It's time consuming. And it's easy to lose focus.

I think that's where I am now. Out of focus. I've forgotten my original intention for this space, and it shows. When I sit to write something I come up empty. That's not to say that I have nothing to write; quite the opposite! I have so much to say, and perhaps I should say it here.

So, what is this blog about? Let's see... well, it began with Chemistry.

Okay, not really. It began with Physics, and a guy (he's a chemist, at least). A chance encounter after showing up tardy to class, sitting at a lab table that wasn't my usual spot. Later that semester, we went for drinks. After the final exam, a hug. After graduation we worked together in the same chemistry lab. We became inseparable.

A couple of years later he proposed. We got into the same graduate school (he's still a chemist, and I'm doing computational structural biology) and moved to Nashville. We got married and became roommates. We're learning to live together in the midst of this crazy thing called graduate school. And we're loving it! (Most days.)

So, perhaps that's what this is all about -- we have chemistry together. Our life isn't like most others, but it's not so different either. It's stressful and we work too hard (and don't get us started about the pay!) but we're finding ways to laugh and celebrate this mess we've gotten ourselves into. And I want to bring you along for the ride.

So! Here's to finding my focus. Thanks for letting me ramble, I needed it!


For more thoughts from around the web, see this post: "Why Keep Going?" I think Jenny hit the nail on the head with her description of the despair and hope that push and pull a graduate student throughout their career. It's a question every grad student asks at some point, and I think she's summed up a beautiful answer.

CSA Week 7

Welcome to another week of CSA food, complete with.... (drumroll please) ....more okra! Luckily I was prepared, and I put up four jars of refrigerator pickles using this recipe from Honest Fare. Slime free okra? I'm in!

Here's the box reveal. As soon as I saw those lovely little eggplants, I immediately started looking up a good eggplant stir fry. We love the eggplant at P.F. Changs, but this Thai Basil Eggplant recipe might be even better!

Make It Yourself

I've been on a huge homemade kick recently. The "urban homesteading" bug has totally bitten me, and while we're a long way from chickens and goats in our backyard, I'm trying to make as many of our daily necessities as possible.

So far, the list of successes includes:

Artisan Bread via Alexandra's Kitchen. I downsized the recipe to make exactly one loaf. This was so good that we ate the loaf basically in one night, and made another not even a week later. We'll probably use this recipe, split into two smaller loaves, to make bread bowls for soup once the weather turns colder!

White Sandwich Bread via The Baker Upstairs. Again, I downsized the recipe for just one loaf. Thank goodness I've got a stand mixer; there's no way I would have had the energy to knead this thing for 10 minutes! This was delicious, and we ate toast every morning for almost a week with a thick slather of butter and some homemade, No-Pectin Peach Jam that I made up from our CSA peaches. (If you've been taking notes, that peach jam recipe is basically a fruit compote that gets cooked all the way down!)

Last but not least, here's a great recipe for Homemade Chocolate Syrup. Chocolate milk is an absolute staple of my diet; I grew up in a house where the refrigerator always contained Hershey's syrup, and I've definitely caught my dad pouring milk into the Hershey's bottle to get out the last little bit of chocolate. I'm so glad I learned how to make this myself, because it is so easy and so, so good! Just definitely heed the warning and make it up in a 3 quart pot; it foams up quite a bit as it boils.

What have you made lately? I'd love to see your creations and add a few more recipes to my repertoire. Comment below with your links!

CSA Week 6

Well, it's finally happened. All summer long I've waited for the day that we open our box to find it -- that green, fuzzy oddity, okra.

I've got to be perfectly honest... I've never eaten okra in my life. Horror stories of mucus-y, slimy dishes have steered me away. When I first considered registering for our CSA I looked at the season calendar, saw the weeks and weeks of okra, and immediately changed my mind. Once we registered I thought we would receive nothing but okra starting immediately, but it took the farmers 6 weeks before they delivered.

Here's the grand box reveal; see how they've hidden the okra down in the bottom? Sneaky!

Well, here goes. I need some help; anyone have any good okra recipes I should try?

CSA Week 5: Seasons Change

Hey everyone! I'm back for another CSA box reveal.

Ready or not, here's the reveal:

This week the weather here in Nashville started to change, and glimpsing into this farm box made me wistful for the coming Fall season. The box this week contained bell peppers, a red onion, an adorable little squash, another white-fleshed watermelon, four (four!) ears of corn, and yet more green beans. Also, tucked underneath it all, is a half-dozen eggs that we were warned we may not receive because the chickens have gone into an early molt at the farm.

Did you know chickens molt twice a year, and that hens won't lay while they're going through the process? I didn't! I'm so glad the man who runs our CSA is dedicated to education; we get a detailed email every week describing conditions on the farm, and he also includes tips and tricks to help us enjoy our bounty. It was an unexpected treat that I've come to look forward to every week!

CSA Week 4: We're Back!

Hey! Sorry for disappearing with no notice: I got to spend the last week in Seattle at a conference! A few years ago I got to spend a whole summer in the Pacific Northwest and I fell head-over-heels in love with Seattle. In case you ever get to go, don't miss out on the Pike Brewing Company, located in the Pike Place Market. Their soft pretzel comes with the most amazing homemade mustard, which I had along with a cup of the clam chowder for lunch one afternoon. Gosh, just writing about it makes me want to go back!

 Anyway, I digress. This week's CSA box reveal will be a short post, because my Mister received and consumed our Week 3 box entirely without me and I have no idea what it contained -- hah!

Here's the birds eye shot of our Week 4 box... so many goodies!

New produce this week: patty pan squash, blueberries, bell peppers, pears and a little watermelon! We've also been blessed by two gorgeous rib-eye steaks. Looks like we'll be eating well this week!