“This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

….

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

Today was a good day. A day where I fell in love with my country. 
God Bless America. 

To me, the best decorations are the easiest ones. Since we never get trick or treaters at our apartment, Halloween decorating is restricted to a few gourds and some new chalkboard art in the dining room or kitchen. (The fact that we have an orange kitty counts too, right?)

Come Christmas, I’ll probably be doing something similar with pomegranates and eucalyptus branches from the Presidio (if Sawyer doesn’t start chewing on them first). 

Happy Halloween!

xo

Fall makes me feel very romantic. It’s all the sweaters, steaming mugs of tea and snuggle-worthy weather. Of course, fall comes late to San Francisco — we tend to get our best weather at the end of September/beginning of October — but when it does arrive, it’s perfect. The fog disappears. There’s a slight chill in the air, but it’s never too cold. The air smells better. People start using their fireplaces again. The maple tree outside our window turns yellow, red and then orange. I start craving pumpkin spice everything. 

The bike ride home from the train station has been getting colder and colder. The other night, Kelly and I stopped on the Embarcadero — right before the hill on North Point — to warm up with some chowder and mussels at Pier 23. The heaters were going outside, so we huddled in their covered patio and sipped frothy beers, talking and soothing away the worries of the day. 

We rode our bikes home after — just the tiniest bit buzzed — foggy breath getting stronger as we made our way up the hill. Sweaty but still smiling when we got home. 

It was one of those randomly perfect fall nights. The San Francisco equivalent of an handheld autumn walk through Central Park (sort of). 

xo 

For our monthly Supperclub meeting (with a Halloween theme!) I decided to make a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for over a year now — a savory, stuffed pumpkin. I winged it a bit, but it turned out amazing. 

Ingredients:
1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin
1/2 white onion
1 baguette
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup fontina, 1/2 cup gouda
spices: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika

First, carve out the pumpkin. Really clean that guy out. 

If you’re smart, you’ll save the seeds to roast afterwards. 

Next, tear up your baguette and toast the pieces so they have just a bit of char. 

Now it’s time to stuff. Fill that thing to the brim with bread, onions, and cheese. I mean, REALLY stuff it. Then, pour in a cup of cream, mixed with your spices (to taste). 

After that, it’s easy. Pop it in the oven at 400 for an hour and 15 minutes. When it’s done, you’ll have a golden, soft pumpkin full of melted cheesy goodness. 

Cutting it was a little awkward at first, but everyone ended up with a slice of pumpkin and a healthy (?) scoop of stuffing.  

Amanda whipped up some truly delicious pumpkin/portobello/bacon mac and cheese. 

And Kirsten put together some brussels sprouts!
The Giants won, we had plenty of wine on hand, and several good desserts to fill our bellies up even more.

All in all, a perfect night. 

(A view of part of downtown from Amanda’s Pac Heights living room) 

xo

Three new things that make me happy:

1. My airplants, sittin’ pretty in a big vase of navy beans.  I love these little guys. 

2. My new bike! Not only did is it adorable, but I got it from the cutest Italian couple ever in Noe Valley, and it’s been making my commute to work much smoother. Plus, sometimes Kelly and I get to ride home from the train station together, which is pretty great. 

3. My new case! I snagged my dad’s old iPhone 4 when he upgraded, and got a great ombré case (I’m obsessed with ombré) to go with it. 

It’s the little things, you know?

Happy weekend all!

xo

It’s been freakishly warm this week in SF, but I want it to feel like fall dang it! So I decided to make chili in order to hurry the weather along.

My chili recipes are always slightly different (that’s why I love this stuff, stick to a few key things and it’ll always taste good), but bear the same things in common: Lots of vegetables, lots of chunk and lots of spice. Nothing like that mushy, canned stuff. This time I opted to mix in some red pepper, zucchini and corn.

I chop up my vegetables pretty thickly, so they’re still nice and chunky after they’ve been simmering for a while.

(Chunky is kind of a gross word, but you know what I mean).

Half a white/yellow onion goes into a pot of hot olive oil. I mix in plenty of red pepper flakes at this stage and a healthy pinch of salt. After a minute or so, I add a couple cloves of minced garlic, and sauteé until golden.

Next, I add in some canned tomatoes, and two cans of beans (liquid and all!), bringing it to a healthy simmer. Now, it’s spice time. I eyeball this part, but I add a lot of spice because I love it. Big dashes of chili powder, paprika and cumin.

I like my vegetables to have a subtle char, so I broiled the zucchini and pepper for 10 minutes or so with some salt, pepper and olive oil.

Hopefully by now, the chili is simmering beautifully. That’s when I mix all the veggies in (I used frozen corn because they don’t have fresh ears at Whole Foods anymore), and let it cook for a couple more minutes.

Yum! Delicious, chunky (yup, I’m going to keep saying it) veggie chili. If you like cheese as much as I do, top with a sprinkle (or a handful…) of cheddar cheese, a few slices of avocado and a few splashes of Tapatío.

PS: Fall — hurry up!

xo

My first Oregon football game was overwhelming, to say the least.

I don’t think I had never been in a crowd with that many people before (except maybe that one time in high school when I went to a Cher and the Village People concert). It was cold — I had missed out on the warmer games because I had no idea where Autzen even was until the end of Fall term — and I was seriously underdressed. My cheap moccasins were soaked and I shivered under my sweatshirt as the crowd swept me across the bridge and towards the stadium. I still didn’t like beer at that point, so I sipped a nauseating mix of Diet Coke and vanilla vodka out of a water bottle.

Clutching friends’ hands in front and behind me, we rushed up the stairs and into Autzen. “Oh!” was all I had time to say before I was nudged into the last remaining nook on the top row of the student section. All I could see were the endless rows of green and yellow before me, dark rain clouds gathering overhead and a sliver of that brightly lit field.

I’m no sports fan, but that day I became a college football convert. I’ve read that for many people, sporting events are as close to a religious experience as they’ll ever have. I’m a churchgoing girl, but I believe in Oregon Football too. Standing so close to so many people, all rooting for the same thing can’t help but make you a little emotional.

This Saturday, for the first time in 3 years, I’m headed back to Eugene. I’ll revisit old stomping grounds, and spend most of the weekend reminiscing about games past.

Autzen still gives me butterflies in my chest. I can’t wait to get to the stadium and yell “O!” 

My weekend:

Was sunny! Indian Summer finally hit San Francisco. Everyone goes crazy here when the temperature starts to go over 70, so this weekend inevitably required non-stop outdoor activities.

Friday was girls night. Two dear friends (One of who just got engaged! That red-haired beauty on the left) and I got together for a delicious, over-indulgent meal at Dobbs Ferry in Hayes Valley. 

Saturday was gorgeous outside, so a crew of us trekked over to Sausalito for strawberry mixed drinks, thin crust pizza and sunny games of bocce ball at Bar Bocce

After a quick donut stop at the Ferry Building and a power nap, it was time to watch the Ducks stomp WSU at Wreck Room. 

Sunny Sundays are automatic park days. Kelly and I hopped on the motorcycle — making a pit stop at Whole Foods for kebabs and asparagus — and rode over to Alamo Square for a birthday picnic with friends.

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a good, San Francisco weekend.
I love that this place has finally become home.  

When I was little, I loved going to the beach. As soon as we finished the short drive over the Santa Cruz Mountains, my sister and I would scramble out of the car — ignoring our parents’ pleas to put on sunscreen — strip down to our bathing suits, and race into the water. Swimming in the Pacific Ocean is no treat (at least in my book), but we could stay in that frigid water forever. I’d float in the waves for so long, I’d still feel like I was rocking in the water when I laid down in bed that night.

Freshman year of high school, the beach started to imply very different activities. Just a quick 20 minute drive from our campus, we’d bail on biology or field hockey practice to go stick our toes in the sand. On Fridays, a caravan of cars would trek out to 41st street, where the boys would chug cheap beer and the girls would sip at sickly sweet vodka drinks around the bonfire.

Last weekend, I went to the beach for the first time in what feels like forever. You forget how numb the stark city skyline makes you until you see that first glimpse of the ocean. We spent the weekend wandering the rocky coastline — our eyes peeled for otters and sea lions — and barbecuing fish for tacos. The weekend was such a testament to this strange, in-between time of my life I’ve found myself in — while we spent our nights drinking (still cheap) beer and dancing, I still found myself rushing out at the first hint of morning sunlight to stand in the sand and gaze at the endless water.


G
reen goo doesn’t always look that appetizing, but trust me, you want to try this stuff. 

I’m a bit of a hummus fiend, and have always LOVED the milder taste of the edamame hummus from Trader Joes. So last night, I decided to try my hand at it. It’s super easy — I just replaced edamame beans for chickpeas in my standard hummus recipe, added garlic, and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes. 

The result was a bright, pistachio green spread that tasted truly delicious. It definitely tastes like hummus… but slightly less bean like (does that make sense?). I spread a few spoonfuls onto a fresh baguette to accompany a kale salad (with cherry tomatoes, avocado, dried cranberries and roasted chickpeas) for dinner. 

The rest was stored in a handy Bonne Maman jar for later snacking. Yum!

Happy weekend everyone! xo