fall is here!

Something changed in the wind overnight. We woke up this morning and could feel the crispness in the air. Our original goal was to go hike Humpback Rock at sunrise, but who were we kidding? We hit that snooze button faster than you can say, “where’s my coffee?” Around 8 o’clock we stirred and got our butts out of bed.

For the those unfamiliar with the Central Virginia region, we’ve got a pretty incredible backdrop here. The Blue Ridge Mountains sit quietly until they take your breath away when you’re finally near. This little hike is only one mile, but it’s a straight shot uphill. Your heart rate goes up right from the beginning. This time we focused on appreciating the nature around us and breathing in the fresh air. Here are some snapshots from our morning.

Here’s one angle of our view from the top. Marvelous :)

feed a cold

It’s been a while since I have posted and for that, I apologize. Life has been a little crazy recently – I ended my position at a local restaurant and am now working for a local photographer in hopes of absorbing and learning everything & anything. Needless to say, I’ve been a little stressed.

Stressed to the point where my sleeping habits have been affected and my immune system couldn’t take it anymore. I usually get a solid 8 hours of sleep and have reduced that to less than 6 hours a night, and it finally snowballed on me. [Read about the importance of sleep here.] On Friday night, after working my last shift ever (on Graduation weekend no less) I left the restaurant with a huge headache. Saturday morning came and I felt like I had been hit with a truck. Everything hurt. Still does. I managed to make it to the Charlottesville City Farmer’s Market but crashed shortly thereafter and am still recovering.

In hopes of of lifting my spirits, I’ve been making delicious meals for myself. Nothing makes me feel better than a good yummy meal.

Yesterday, sweet & citric were my cravings so I tossed this beauty up. Spring greens, topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, slivered almonds, sliced oranges with a balsamic vinegar & EVOO dressing, with a side of curried grass-fed beef heart. Totally hit the spot! Sweet, salty, and nutritious!

In order to avoid infecting the public and steering clear of the Graduation crowds, I made brunch at home! A basil and green onion omelet with pasture-raised bacon on the side (duh, you can’t have brunch without bacon). And a side of frozen strawberries, coconut milk, and almonds as my dessert! The frozen berries tamed the fiery sensation from my sore throat.

Finally, dinner tonight — bunless grass-fed burger with roasted kale and an avocado & kimchi side. This was delectable. The burgers were seasoned with green onions, paprika, and curry and cooked in bacon grease (what ISN’T amazing cooked in bacon grease?). The kimchi was a gift from my favorite vendor at the market – Wolf Creek Farm!

I’m still not feeling 100% but I can rest easy knowing that at least I’m feeding myself properly!

Where I got my ingredients

my love affair

I must confess. I’ve been having an affair. With my iPhone.

Phew. There, I said it. My poor little DSLR must hate me. But it’s just too bulky for me to take everywhere! My iPhone is sleek and adaptable. It has allowed me to just capture moments and memories without having to fiddle with the ISO, shutter speed, or aperture.

Now, DSLR diehards, please don’t hate me too much — it has allowed me to take more pictures than I would otherwise, and that’s the key to improving your photography: just take more photographs! Here are some of my favorites.

Eataly, NYC. November 2011

Holiday Buddha. December 2011

Hungry for cake. December 2011

Georgia Dome. December 2011

Snowy Charlottesville, VA. February 2012

local, seasonal, delicious

This past Saturday was the last Charlottesville City Farmers’ Market that I will attend for the year. From April until December, I did not miss a Saturday (aside from the time I was in Guatemala). I experienced an entire season of local, organic produce and meats. This is what I’ve learned in the last 8 months.

  • Fresh seasonal produce tastes amazing – no, this is not an exaggeration. Heirloom tomatoes? DIVINE. Blueberries in July? Sweet, tart, and crisp. Even the kale and greens are tastier!
  • The vendors at the market are some of the most genuine and inspiring people I’ve met. Their ability to get up at ungodly hours, suffer temperamental weather and still have a smile on their face is a testament of their passion. Making friends with and being about to shake the hands of the people who raised/grew our food is an incredible feeling.
  • No, it’s not cheap. But it is worth it. I don’t make a lot of money so I made the decision to stop mindlessly buying things and start investing in my health and well-being.
  • Planning is key. If I had my way, I’d buy everything from everyone at the market. And then it would all go bad in my fridge because I can only eat so much and I’d also be broke. To prevent said catastrophe, I’d set a list of what I’d like to get every Saturday and adjust it according to what was available. The list usually included eggs (duh), meats for protein (bacon was always on this list), some kind of greens, seasonal fruit (berries in the summer, pears and apples in the fall), and at least two kinds of vegetables.
  • Experimenting is fun! Whenever possible, I’d make myself buy something I’ve never cooked before. That’s how I discovered Patty Pan squashes, Russian kale, turnips, purple cauliflower, okra and so on.
  • Early bird gets the worm. Or the eggs. Whatever. Getting to the market early is the best way to ensure that you’ll find what you want. As the colder weather was approaching, farm eggs became more and more scarce and to ensure that I’d get my two dozen eggs, I’d be there right when the market started (7AM during the summer, 8AM during the fall). I regret nothing.

Winter officially starts tomorrow and my produce habits will have to adjust. Between a possible winter CSA and shopping at locally-owned grocery stores, we’ll get our food locally when possible. I can’t wait until next year!

A big THANKS to the folks at: Wolf Creek Farm, Whisper Hill Farm, Double H Farm, Sunset View Farm, Planet Earth Diversified, Babes in the Wood, and Shenandoah Joe’s (because I can only function at 7AM with the help of coffee). 

August 29, Day 241

I spent a lot of walking around town today! I’ve been making an effort to use my car less and less and since I haven’t been having the best of luck trying to find a small-framed bike, I’m using my legs instead. After spending my morning at a local coffee shop, I went on a mini photo-walk on my way to the gym. Virginia is a really quirky place.

Yeah, I was confused by this, too.

Pumpkin!

I find it hilarious that I wear  kid’s size 4 Chuck Taylor’s with hearts on the inside to a CrossFit gym.

Days 211 – 219

Alright, confession time: I’m definitely going through a blogging lull. It’s an incredibly busy time right now (including my first time shooting at a wedding, mastering kale, working too many doubles, double-under whip burns, driving like a mad woman around Virginia, and barely getting enough sleep) so I hope I’ll be inspired to blog/write more in the next couple of weeks. Can I get a free pass for these pictures?

Beautiful bride, beautiful wedding. A great experience for me.

A completely local breakfast. Forest-fed sausage, poached eggs on top of Swiss Chard. I love you, Charlottesville City Market.My love affair with okra is only getting worse.

Artwork done completely in chalk on the Downtown Mall’s Freedom of Speech Wall.

I was testing out my own recipe for kale chips (they’re really good, btw) but my battery died before I could photograph the entire process. Sorry :(
Red Velvet Cupcakery in Reston, VA. So rich and decadent. 
Chris has been away all summer teaching the Spirit of Atlanta drumline. As you can see, it’s a terrible life. (His friend Drake, who also teaches, laying on the floor).
Recipe for Saturday night: stuffed eggplant. Two of the main ingredients pictured.
An Italian-inspired dinner: basil cauliflower rice, topped with balsamic ground beef and peppers, side of grape tomato & almond salad, red wine for effect.
Events not pictured: slowly but surely converting my mom to the paleo diet, my first strict chin-up (!!!!), becoming a composting expert, reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, and double-under war wounds. And lots of other things that I can’t remember. C’est la vie!

Days 190, 191

Spent Saturday morning being very Charlottesville-y: walked to yoga (in my Vibrams), headed to the Farmer’s Market (bought lots of local stuff), and walked home (still in my Vibrams). Yadda yadda yadda. Yes, I’m a nouveau-hippie.

(This just made me laugh – “NO WHINING”)Well-known fact: when the train comes through Charlottesville – everything must come to a halt. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

My parents drove into Charlottesville today to visit and finally see the apartment. We brunched, walked, talked. We discussed a lot of what I’ve been reading in terms of food, sustainability and health. The conversation turned into composting. Seeing that I throw a lot of scraps away because I’m cooking mostly every meal, it seemed like a waste. The bins above are a bit too small so I’m going to head back to Lowe’s and purchase bigger ones. Any tips? Advice? Hopefully I’ll be able to use the compost for the garden I want to start! Mmm, I can’t wait to have (at least) fresh herbs growing!

Added a bit of color to my kitchen! I’m hoping to give it more personality.

Ended the day with some delicious wine (courtesy of my parents) and some fresh figs! Btw, what a weird fruit! Tasty but it’ll take a couple more tries to really enjoy it.

 

 

Day 165 – 6.14.2011

I got some really exciting news today! I sent in a photo to the Whole Foods Charlottesville Food Photography Contest and found out my photo is a finalist! It’s been an inspirational couple of days – this surge of creative energy has been oozing out of me. I’ve been taking photos, playing around with the editing process,  – I even started writing, WRITING! It’s never been my form of expression (kind of sounds silly saying that on a personal blog) but I just needed to get thoughts out. It’s turning into an essay I may or may not publish. But I digress, the reception for the contest is tomorrow and I’m really excited to attend.

Below are the railroad tracks I walk over everyday when I walk to and from work, they looked beautiful under the Virginian sunset.