July 10 – Gardening, groceries, and the dog park

Here’s what I got up to today (other than playing Avadon for a good chunk of the afternoon):

  1. I checked on our garden, picked a few more cherry tomatoes, and pruned off some tomato leaves that weren’t doing so well. Last year, our tomato plants developed a whole lot of yellow leaves for some reason, and we found that trimming them off seemed to keep whatever the problem was from spreading as quickly. And despite a whole bunch of major pruning last year, we still had an amazing tomato crop. So this year I plan to be more on top of trimming off the dead and dying leaves, and hopefully that will help the plant do even better.
  2. I went to the grocery store nice and early.
  3. Daisy and I went to the dog park. It wasn’t one of our best visits – we went in the middle of the afternoon, so there was only one other dog there for a little bit. But we still had a good time, and our dog park is located inside a bigger park, so we had a nice (if overly humid) walk to and from the dog park.

July 9 – Cleaning, cooking, and RPGs

I did get up and do yoga again this morning, but it’s not one of my three things today. Here’s what I did:

  1. I finished cleaning the bathroom. Yay!
  2. I cooked one of my favorite grain salads for dinner – a sort of Tex-Mex quinoa with black beans. The recipe’s at the end of the post for anyone who’s interested.
  3. I found myself a new game to play – and I’m super excited about it. It’s called Avadon, and it’s a single-player RPG that’s very story-focused – it’s almost like a choose your own adventure book, where your decisions as a player shape the way the game unfolds. I played through the free demo today, and I’m about to buy it so that I can play the rest of the game.

Here’s my black bean quinoa salad recipe – it’s super flexible, so you can mix and match whatever veggies, beans, and cheese sound good to you:

  • 1.5 c quinoa
  • 2.25 c water
  • 1-2 cans black beans (or chickpeas, or pinto beans)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (or whatever color you want)
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered (or a chopped tomato, or whatever)
  • 1 c frozen corn (thawed, obviously)
  • 2-3 jalapeños, diced (or use chili powder, or chipotle powder, or chipotles in adobo)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
  • juice from 1-2 limes
  • 8 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled (or feta, or shredded pepper jack, or whatever)
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa and water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, chop veggies and combine everything else. Stir in quinoa, and let sit for 1-2 hours so flavors can combine. (Or don’t – it’s almost as good freshly made).

I like to eat this straight up as a room-temperature salad, but J prefers it as a burrito filling in flour tortillas.

July 8 – Yoga, scrubbing, and guacamole

Today was another very uneventful day for me, but I did get a few things done:

  1. I started my day off with yoga again. My hope is that eventually, this becomes routine – like starting my day off with brushing my teeth – and I won’t be posting about it any more. (Collective wisdom says it takes about three weeks to form a habit, although that might be bogus.) But right now, every day that I actually do it feels like a triumph – one more step along the road of forming that new habit.
  2. I seem to be cleaning our bathroom in stages right now. Today, I tackled our shower. Tomorrow, maybe the sink and the mirror?
  3. I made delicious (and simple) guacamole for myself for lunch today to use up an avocado, and mixed in some black beans to add a little protein.

Here’s what I tossed together:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Black beans (about 1/2 cup?)
  • Salt and chipotle pepper to taste (maybe around 1/2 tsp salt and a few dashes of chipotle)

I mushed all of this together with a fork, then added 5-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters, and ate it with tortilla chips.

July 7 – Yoga, cleaning, and cooking

I spent most of today being a bum – reading things on the Internet, playing various games on my computer, and avoiding getting dressed. But I did manage to squeeze in a few actual accomplishments, too:

  1. I got up and did yoga again this morning! (I skipped yesterday morning, but I went for a long walk which kind of makes up for it.)
  2. I cleaned the toilet! And I plan to clean the rest of the bathroom in the next day or two – Internet, hold me accountable for this please. If I havent posted that it’s done by Wednesday, give me a hard time about it.
  3. I made a real dinner – Athenian Pasta Primavera. Which was pretty tasty, and relatively easy – definitely something I can add to our summer dinner rotation. I did have to substitute fresh basil for the mint, though, because the guy who mows our lawn mowed down our mint plant. (To be fair, though, I planted it in a patch of our yard that’s mostly weeds, so it probably wasn’t particularly clear that I actually wanted it to be growing there – especially since mint grows like a weed around here. We’ll see if it bounces back or not.)

July 6 – Brunch, Egypt, and Errands

Here’s what I’ve accomplished today:

  1. J and I went to brunch at Miss Shirley’s this morning with some of his friends from college. Miss Shirley’s is a Baltimore institution with an amazing brunch menu, and I had the perfect meal: a veggie and goat cheese omelet with hash browns (I love me a potato product) plus a couple of bites of J’s coconut-stuffed french toast, which was delicious but so sweet and rich that I can’t imagine eating it as a meal.
  2. I got a little bit of a handle on the situation in Egypt by watching Hank Green’s video summarizing recent Egyptian politics.
  3. J and I took Daisy for a long walk to run errands. First, we went to our local indie pet store to get her some new dog food, since she has decided to stop eating hers, and then we stopped by our local fancy booze store so that J could run inside and buy things while I stayed outside with the dog. These are both things that I’ve been meaning to do during the week, but it was much nicer to do them as an outing with J instead of as chores on my own.

July 5 – Yoga, budgeting, and vegging out

Here’s what I was up to today:

  1. One of my goals for the summer is to get into an exercise routine, and today I finally started my day off with a pretty good yoga session. Hopefully I can make it part of my daily routine this summer and then keep it there when school starts up in the fall.
  2. J and I have always been pretty relaxed about our budget, because neither of us spend a lot of money. But we’ve got some financial goals to save up for (buying a house! taking a belated honeymoon! paying off J’s law school loans!), so one of my goals for the summer is to create a more detailed budget so that we can be working a little more actively towards these goals. So today I tracked down some of our fixed expenses and put them in a spreadsheet, and hopefully J and I will get around to finishing it up sometime this weekend.
  3. After all that hard work accomplishing things in the morning (or just out of general summertime laziness…) I spent most of the rest of the day watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix streaming. Some of my students absolutely love the show, so it’s kind of for work? I mean, that really is the reason I picked it out of all the stuff that’s available to be watched. And overall, I’m enjoying it – it’s basically a soap opera crossed with a very drawn out slasher movie. Although I do have some major issues with most of the romantic relationships on the show. But that’s a post for another time, since I’m still working on pinpointing exactly what it is about them that I object to.

July 4 – Reading, gardening, and dog care

We had planned to go to a 4th of July barbecue today, but J hasn’t been feeling well so we bowed out and stayed home instead. So today was pretty quiet for me – here are a few of the things I did:

    1. Finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which was a really incredible book. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction, spies, feminism, or intricate plots and writing. I’d heard a lot of hype about it, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was even better than I’d heard.
    2. Picked the first jalapeños from our garden – and 10 of them at that. Anyone have any good recipes for hot sauce? It looks like our plant is pretty prolific this year.
    3. Brushed Daisy’s teeth, which I think we need to work on being a little more vigilant about – a couple of her teeth are looking like they could use some TLC.