Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Maine Dish: Summer Fresh Tomato Sauce & Angel Hair Pasta

This recipe is so simple and so delicious. It relies on fresh in season vegetables, making it not only tasty, but healthy too (love those antioxidants). In Maine, we were lucky enough to find lots of locally grown produce, and Brendan and I enjoyed cooking this for his family, who enjoyed eating it !

It is a fast recipe, and it doesn't take many ingredients:
  • 1 package of angel hair pasta 
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 squash, sliced 
  • 3-4 large tomatoes (2 golden, 2 red, the mix in variety is key) 
  • Basil and Parmesan cheese to taste. 
 Here's what you do:
  1. par boil the zucchini and squash.
  2. boil 1 package of angel hair pasta.
  3. saute onion and garlic, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Cut the tomatoes and add them to the onion and garlic, cook down for 8 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini and squash, cook for an additional 3 minutes (you know it's done when the liquid from the tomatoes reduces-see pictures below). 
  6. strain the pasta and serve sauce over pasta.
  7. garish wish basil and Parmesan cheese to taste (or skip the cheese for a vegan dish).
Pasta sauce before completion 
The finished product, can you say yum?
Total prep and cook time: 40 minutes
Deliciousness Factor: (Average of our 6 scores) 4.5 out of 5 stars. Sharon says, "I love that I didn't have to make it," while Tim notes this pasta was "cooked to perfection" and the tomatoes were "very nice." I savored the divine flavors of the fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and market squash, and Zeb adds "you can almost taste the dirt," which we're pretty sure he means in a good way!

As summer comes to an end, you simply must do yourself a favor and cook this while tomatoes are still in season (my research shows you have another month). It's vegetarian friendly, vegan friendly (if skipping the cheese), fast, healthy, and truly scrumptious. The only question is, what are you waiting for?

Here's to a delightful Main(e) dish :)
<3 all of us

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our First Place

Well, we're finally semi-settled in the new apartment. I have those promised pictures. I hope you enjoy the tour of our first place together. I like to think it reflects both of our personalities nicely, and it seems like our stuff goes together just as well as we do :)

This is the view when you first walk in. To the right is the living area and to the left is the kitchen, the space is very very open. I like how my antique furniture and funky chaise coordinate with Brendan's rug (he's had it in every place he's ever lived) and record player his sister and brother in-law gave him (next to the TV).
Living room, another view. Between the two of us, we have about 10 little tables, we somehow found use for all of them. I love the natural light from our balcony and the hardwood floors.
This picture shows the front door, the kitchen is to the left. As you can see, the space above our couch is in need of some art. We're hoping Brendan's dad (an artist) will send us a piece we can frame and display.
Our dining area, Brendan's table mixes well with my hand-painted chairs. Love his director's chair too.
Kitchen, we love all the new appliances and the cabinet space.
More Kitchen
Another view that shows the built in desk. Perfect for putting your laptop on when you're looking up recipes.
A view of the hallway. Okay, I'll admit it, we've filled 6 bookcases between the two of us.
Guest bedroom, where you can actually sleep if you come visit us :) Brendan's blue desk is to the left, it's too cute.
Close up of the quilt that Brendan's Grandma made.
My adorable desk, passed through the M.F.As (Thanks Scott & Will/Missy)! I'm still in need of a desk chair. We have a lot of framed poetry in this room (by Darrell, Will, and Rita) and are framing art by Erica soon. We also have lots of pictures of friends and family around, so we can see them everyday. 
Guest bathroom, picked colors to match the guest room here.
Our room, ta-da! We picked out the bedding together, it's bright and colorful greens and blues accented by reds and yellows.
Whenever I go, I love to have a window seat for curling up with a good book :)
Our bathroom, it's a really nice size with huge mirrors. We love the little birds on the shower curtain! Oh yeah, and both showers are tiled, easier to clean, yay!
Big walk in closet, connected to the bathroom. We're still working on some organization! Notice the step ladder, I am short. And yes, I gave Brendan a whole half!
PS- here is our balcony that you get to from the living room.
Our jaw-dropping view...okay, maybe not, but as my mom says "you can see horses from here!" and  you really can, we live right down the street from some mansions.
Our lovely desert oasis, the apartment pool.

I hope you enjoyed our tour. We are happy here!
<3 Stacy, Brendan, Lola & Zoe

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hello From the Desert!

We survived the move! My parents stayed last weekend to help us get the apartment set up. It's so cool to see all of our stuff set up in the same place.

Last week was insane, we woke up in 6 different places (and 4 different States) in one week.

Our "bunk house" in Wayne Maine
Annie and Zeb's guest room in Connecticut (that's Flannery on the bed, named after the author of course!)

My childhood bedroom in Austin Texas (looking messy here, it's been our home base for 6 weeks)
 My Grandmother's guest room in La Marque Texas

Our Friend Erica's air Mattress in Lake Charles Louisiana (Erica is quite possibly our blog's biggest fan).
Again in Austin, TX

And finally, on the 7th morning, in our new apartment in Midland Texas.
This isn't the best picture, but it will have to do for now. We're still organizing a few more things, and then I'll take good pictures.

So, Brendan has been working at school from 8-5 this week for in-service week, and I have a couple of meetings here and there, but mostly have been working on getting us settled (grocery shopping, setting up internet, etc). I am ready for the semester to start. I'm feeling nervous and excited at the same time. All 4 of my classes (English 1301, the same as English 101 at McNeese) made, and I will also be taking up some hours in the writing lab. Brendan will also be teaching 4 classes (3 1301's and a World Literature) and working in the lab. Our schedules will be pretty similar, which should be nice.

Promise to write more soon! Here's to fresh starts.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Friday, August 19, 2011

We're Moving!

One word to describe moving: Yikes!
 It seems hard to believe, but our u-haul is packed and parked outside of my mom's house, and we're (Brendan and I + my parents, Lola & Zoe) all driving to Midland tomorrow. I can't wait to be unpacked. This past week has been crazy and chaotic (more on that later), but I know it will all be worth it. 

We've been talking about this move for SO long (even before we had the jobs in Midland, we always talked about "when we move...") and now the once "distant future move" is finally happening. We are so thankful for all the help from friends and family...I don't know what we'd do without them (probably still be loading our u-haul).

It will be really nice to have our own place again, as we have been displaced (and all over the place) all summer. I feel a bit nervous about getting moved into our third floor apartment, starting the new job, etc., but I'm doing a good job of keeping my worries in check. After all, people move and start new jobs every day. Plus, Brendan and I are going through the same thing, so we know we'll have each other.

I just wanted to write a quick post. We feel very grateful to have found teaching jobs, to be going somewhere together, and to have had so much help and support from many people. I can't wait to have blogging time again, and I look forward to writing about the books I read, the food I ate, the places I went, etc.

Here's to safe travels
Here's to all kinds of travels
Here's to moving
and to moving forward 
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Magic In Maine

We're home from our wonderful trip up north where we spent a few days in Connecticut and then went to Wayne, Maine and spent a week in a cabin on the lake with Brendan's family. It was all fantastic, and it's safe to say, we're pretty exhausted! Brendan's family has been coming to this same cabin for years, and I was so happy they shared it with me. Here are some photos from our adventures, enjoy!:
Eat Fresh: We bought local produce frequently and cooked up some fantastic meals back at "the camp."

Brendan's lovely mom. We played lots of games, especially on the couple of rainy days we had. I loved the screened in porch!

Brendan and I made pasta and sauce with the summer's freshest tomatoes! Recipe to come, promise :)

At Steep Hill Farm for blueberry picking...we then proceeded to put blueberries in everything! They were scrumptious!

Enough said.

View from the screened in porch!

kayaking before sunset, pretty magical!

Brendan's sister & brother in law, his Dad is in the background. It's always exciting with those Egans!

Giant bass that Brendan caught...I caught one about 1/5 of this size, but I did help scoop this one in the net!

We put them in: pie, pancakes, muffins, oh my!

Brendan's parents in the canoe.

At "the beach," how we spent a couple of our sunny days. I have the tan line to prove it!

Up early for a fishing excursion. I caught 4 perch!

We are easily entertained by the cereal options.

In the woods, our bunk house that Bren and I stayed in is right behind us.

My first Lobster roll...delicious in every way!

View from our cabin, we miss it already!
Maine was relaxing and rejuvenating. I loved being out in nature all day every day, and we were so thrilled to escape the 100+ degree weather of Texas. Maine was in the cool 70s! One thing I miss so is the beautiful call of the loons. Luckily, I found a website where I can listen to audio clips of them anytime. I wish I could fall asleep to this every night. It was so beautiful and uncanny.

It was great to catch up with Brendan's family, and it makes me happy to spend time with them and watch Brendan interact with them. You always learn so much about someone by seeing them with their family!

We have a really insane week coming up...we'll wake up 6 different places in 7 days (a post about that to come). The end goal is moving into our apartment in Midland, TX.
Bren in front of our future apartment (top right)
We're excited, happy, dreading the hot move, and mostly tired! But Brendan's fortune at dinner last night seemed fitting:
"A journey must begin with a single step." Cheesey, yes, but so true.
Here's to our much needed, magical days of rest, and our crazy week to follow! Wish us luck and safe travels.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sushi at the Drive-in Movie (Cute Austin, TX Date Idea)

I've never been to a drive-in movie. The idea always struck me as super romantic though, and I was envious of my parents' stories about them. Unfortunately, I grew up in a place where the drive-in concept was long abandoned (don't worry Austin, you were awesome in every other way). Until last year that is. Enter The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In Theatre. When Brendan found this on Google, I couldn't quite believe it, but I couldn't wait to experience it. We saw that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was playing and I was ecstatic because I loved the TV show Twin Peaks, and this movie was the prequel. There are two locations of the drive-in. The original at 2326 E. Cesar Chavez and another location at 1001 E. 6th St. We headed to the original location in Brendan's station wagon, with blankets and pillows in the back.

On our way there, we picked up awesome and amazing sushi a go-go at the airport/49th location that was on our way. Where else does $15.00 get you edamame, 3 delicious rolls (recommend: Dynamite, Philly, Sunshine), and 2 waters? Better yet, you can call in your order ahead of time. Note-CASH ONLY at sushi a go-go.

We arrived at the drive-in a few minutes before 8p.m. (when seating officially begins), but we were escorted in right away anyway. You can make reservations online ahead of time, but we didn't and decided to come early. The owner, writer/film student Josh Frank, was super helpful in getting us parked (with the back of the car facing the screen) and ready to go. So it was time for our pre-screening picnic.
Brendan and our yummy sushi
The admission price at The Blue Starlite is $25.00 per car (not bad, considering you could load up a car with 5-7 people. Or, you have the option to park outside and walk-in (or bike-in) for $5.00 per person. Yes, there are plenty of chairs for those that take that option, but trust me, you wouldn't be disappointed with the drive in experience. There is nothing quite like it!
Me, part of the drive in screen, and the speakers
I was excited waiting for the movie to begin and headed to the concession stand. There, candy is $3.00 a box, cans of soda $2.00 OR you can buy a "vintage candy mix" for $7.00 that looked awesome and could easily be shared. We each got a candy and a soda and Josh gave us a $1.00 discount because we were out of cash. There is also popcorn ($3 for a single, $6 unlimited) and S'mores for 2 ($10). Other treats: Espresso shots, brownies, seasonal snow cones/hot chocolate. Yes, you can bring your own food, but I do recommend the concessions because they have a wide selection and reasonable prices!

The actual movie watching experience was wonderful. The show starts at 9p.m. (dark) and we had a perfect view of the screen. *Check out better pictures of the screen here* thanks to the speakers, the sound was loud and clear, and yes, it was just as romantic as I'd always dreamed. The movie was blissful: campy-creepy 80s thriller/mystery and soon they will be showing episodes of the show Twin Peaks, along with a variety of pop cult classics. The only downside, it's a bit hot, but, it's August during a drought and record highs, so it can't be helped. Oh, and for those of you wondering, yes, they have real bathrooms!

Total cost of date: (Sushi, Drive-In movie, concessions): $47.00 (can save money by being a "walk-in" or packing a dinner instead of picking up/skipping concessions).
Time: 5 hours...if you do it the way we did. Gives you plenty of time to talk.
This would also make for a great girls night, or something fun to do with friends. Bummed that you don't live in Austin? Check out this website to see if there is a drive-in near you. 

Here's to fun nights!
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe
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