setting records


As I return to work today, I want it on the record that I spent 5 hours yesterday on my roof.

I have no idea how I can mindlessly pass time up there, but I can. I have no concept of minutes or hours when I'm cozied up in my "beach" chair, wearing a bathing suit and surrounded by magazines and sun tea. The downside of drowning myself in sun tea is that it requires quick trips two floors down to my apartment ... but that's just fine by me because I can grab some pretzels or refill my beverage.

Yesterday was the last day of my "staycation" which essentially was three days on the couch watching the Olympics followed by one day in the sun. I didn't know that I'd care so much for men's archery but I apparently do - maybe it was the orange hats and the Southern charm?

So in the spirit of documenting, here's a brief rundown of the last couple days.
Although I didn't set any big objectives for my staycation, I was hoping to knock a few items off my to-do list that had been nagging... making roman shades for my kitchen was just that. The project was a success but in the future, I'd caution someone about picking such a geometric pattern. It made me a bit cray cray.

My Basil plant did not appreciate that I went to the burbs for a few days. I have managed to resurrect it with some TLC ... however I should note that the plant in my terrarium has decided to quit living. Win some, lose some. 

There is no better way to start a day than with the Theo's Cozy Corner breakfast special. I mean. The hash browns are perfectly crispy and the bacon is the perfect amount of crispy. And. Diner white toast just makes my heart go pitter patter. Plus, the ice coffee is giant.

I ran some errands around town before retreating to my roof. One of my "errands" was to visit the seal tank at the Aquarium and take a bike ride along the harbor. Look at that baby sparkle.

Piles of reading. Piles of gravel.

I'm finally used to summer in the city. And if summer means getting a little sweaty on my roof, listening to country music, and spying on the Zakim Bridge.... I'm in.

Things not pictured? 
  • Yelling at the tv during Olympics coverage. I now care deeply for the men's archery team. 
  • Amazing amounts of sun tea. It's pretty much how I spend my time.
  • My face when I totally found a spider's web in my closet. Spoiler alert ... it was not an excited face.
.... and scene.

quinoa cakes are not boring


It's been a long while since I documented anything on le blog. 

I've been busy being reckless and turning 29 and organizing my life. Boston's been a wee bit warm so cooking hasn't exactly been the highest priority ... and there are only so many times I can show you a picture of Boston Harbor before you write to me and say enough is enough.

But, I'm coming off a 4 day staycation and feeling a bit refreshed... so I cooked and it was amazing and I'm going to share the recipe with you.

Whenever I cook with quinoa, I feel like I'm cooking at spa. It's just so light and I feel like I could pair it with a steak and still feel good about the decision (maybe that's a lie). But today, I was sitting on my roof sunning myself and thinking about what I wanted for dinner. I had leftover quinoa from my Bachelorette Finale Fiesta (will be blogged at some point in this lifetime) and wanted to use it. I stumbled upon a recipe for quinoa cakes and knew that'd be the winner. So that's where we are. Quinoa cakes. 

I first was introduced to quinoa when I was hiking on the Inca Trail in 2008 - and this is a far different use for it than when I was covered in sweat and gazing at Peru. Both are great, but if you aren't going to find yourself in Peru, you should just make this dish.

I can't wait to make this for some guests at some point. In which case, I'll probably mix up all the ingredients - except the egg part - and then just "whip up" the cakes as we chat over glasses of wine. But since tonight I was dining a la party of one, I just set myself up at the table and thoroughly enjoyed the last few moments of my staycation.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Make your quinoa. The ratio is typically double the water for the amount of dry quinoa. I'm terrible at making grains so you should just google how this works. I'm lucky I'm alive after making rice... seriously.

(Step 2) While your quinoa is cooking, mix up your two eggs in a small bowl and set to the side.

(Step 3) Mix together the onion, garlic, parsley, green olives, panko flakes, parmesan, lemon zest, and salt / pepper in a dish. Yes, you are reading that right. I pretty much told you to put everything else in a medium bowl and mix it all up. This is just that easy.

(Step 4) Once your quinoa is cooked and cooled, add it to the mixture and ensure its all pretty well blended. Then add in your eggs. You want the quinoa to not be hot because then you'd get scrambled eggs ... and well folks, this isn't breakfast so don't be scrambling the eggs. If your mixture isn't "moist", just add the tiniest bite of water until it is. You don't want the quinoa to dry out, seriously. That'd be terrible.
(Step 5) Get your skillet to a medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil in there. You need you give your cakes something to sizzle it.

(Step 6) Scoop about 2 tablespoons or so into a meatball shape and then flatten it. Gently put in the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on either side. You can make the cakes as big or as small as you want. It's your cake, not mine. But, I'd recommend ensuring each person gets 3 medium sized cakes.

(Step 7) Place your cakes on a bed of baby spinach and top with freshly grated parmesan.

(Step 8) Baby spinach doesn't excite me so I added a light dressing of nearly equal parts olive oil and lemon juice with 1/2 part champagne vinegar cause I'm fancy like that. This was amazing and you should also make this decision. 

And now you should eat.

Shopping List makes 6 cakes (serves two)
3/4 cup of dry quinoa
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/8 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup chopped green olives
1 cup panko flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 eggs
olive oil

dressing & bedding
baby spinach
champagne vinegar
lemon juice
olive oil

Bonus Picture?
I was so occupied trying to take pictures, play my Spotify, and flip my cakes ... that I had to wear one of my birthday presents ... this adorable polka dot apron from my amazing lady friends. If you are wondering whether it is as cute in person, the answer is yes. 

my friday > your friday


Oh guys.

Some days are just dreamy. I mean dah-re-me.

Sound it out.

Despite being a work day... today was just one of those days. Normally on a summer weekend, I run for the suburbs slash beach slash central air conditioning ... but this weekend .... I'm toughing it out. I'm staying strong in the city and exploring and sunning myself on roof tops. I mean that's what it's all about right?

Today could have been terrible. It was super hot. I had to take a work related field trip... but I turned all those things to my advantage. I used the rental car to go to a grocery store and Home Depot. There is nothing quite like becoming terribly overwhelmed in the cereal aisle because there are so many options of bran cereal. I quite literally had to get coffee filters and come back. Even now, I'm sure I made some poor cereal decisions.

But, I watched the sun go down as I ate some meat and had a friend constantly monitored my Prosecco level... and if that isn't what friends are for... well, then get yourself some new friends.

My Friday > Your Friday.

Of course I bought a multi-pack of mac and cheese. I'm just curious where the America shaped versions are... I mean don't tease me with an article in WSJ and then give me this animal crap. I want America noodles.

I ended up working from home this afternoon and folks... it was hot. Like stand in front of your AC unit in your underwear hot.... eating Greek yogurt loaded with fruit hot. The only obvious solution was to buy a slush from Polcari's. I rate it as one of the best decisions I made this week. 

Oh yeah. I joined the neighborhood pool. I'm one million percent sure that I don't fit in... but I'm also one million percent sure that I love the discount pizza and soda from the snack bar. Plus, my immune system feels really strong these days ... bring it city pool. Bring it.
I mean. I obviously love things that are free and I obviously love things that are tech based. So, if Uber is giving out ice cream and NEON tanks.... I'M ON BOARD. In fact as I write this, I'm wearing a hot pink tank and planning when and where to eat my free ice cream sandwhich I snagged today. I'm thinking a bench along the water. Plus, the guy running the truck? could. not. have. been. nicer.
It seemed like an obvious transition to go from the ice cream truck to meats on a friend's roof deck. And yes, the evening was as good as this picture alludes to... Monica's totally delivered on the meat and cheese selection. Those men never let me down.

Good hair days shouldn't be wasted on Netflix. They should be used outdoors on roof decks... or just outdoors. 
Sunset + American Flag + even better sunset + Zakem bridge = incessant instagram shots
Yep, this is where I live.

name it.


I was at a 4th of July party last week and inadvertently introduced myself to a new party lady with my faux name. I owned up to it immediately ... I mean ... my mom was standing right there. There was no sense in lying about who I was.

Oddly introducing myself to this woman as X (puh-lease, like I'm telling the intertubes my fake name) felt more like a truth than writing on a blog entitled "Hopelessly Techie". A few years ago, I worked on changing the subtitle of my blog away from MBA student to real-life person (here). Now, I feel like I need a totally new name. 

Despite my inherent techie nature, I'm much more a food / sun / soul lover. I write in the blog for a few reasons. 
  • One. It is amazingly therapeutic and helps me reflect on where I've been and where I want to go. 
  • Two. I love history and what better history is there than recipes and who I've made them for ... and the mistakes I made when I was making them. 
  • Three. I still believe I'm writing my personal history. I haven't gotten to the point where I'm willing to document dating but if I did, you'd fall off your chair in laughter. Instead, I'd rather tell you that putting lotion on before walking to work in the summer is the worst idea I've had in weeks. Feel free to call me Slick Rick.
But, it almost feels like I'm writing in a temporary notebook in a way. I'm just waiting for the next blog name to come to me... and it's not coming... and I want it to. The problem is that I'm not very creative. I'm good in Excel, I'm good in Powerpoint, and I'm solid in the kitchen. 

My idea was to put 60 seconds on the timer and see what words I would brainstorm and go from there. I went through a similar exercise in December 2011 (here) and it was really interesting to see what I wrote without a filter or much thought:
tide / ocean 
walk / run 
sun / sunglasses
soul / yoga / run

I've tossed just about any word behind "simply" and tried to make it a dot com. But they didn't feel right. My blog isn't just about bacon or coffee or farmer's markets. I even tried out "With One N" because that's how I spell my name. Result = vetoed by my creative team (baby sister). 

So, give me your best internet. I need it.

I feel a little lost and Bill Gates's suite of products won't help me out here.

Oh Monday.


yeah, that's me. i'm pretty much an amazing rock climber.

Mondays are tough transitions, but it seems as though everyone was feeling the Monday today.

I managed to finagle a way to be in the comforts of suburbia and the beach for almost a week ... and it was amazing. I only had one vacation day but that didn't hold me back from reading outside during my "lunch break", taking bike rides after work, or just taking in the general splendor that is that big blue ocean I love so much.

It also didn't hurt that I managed to get in 3 of my favorite BLTs.

But, I'm back to city living and trying to imagine how I'll get by without sponging off my parents' central air conditioning, riding my bike to get a BLT, and smelling like sunscreen. I almost said "putting on work clothes" but let's be honest, I walk the line between beach casual and office appropriate more often than not. You can take the beach away from me, but I'll still dress like I'm there.

Conference call starts in 4 minutes. 

I marinate my hot dogs. They will be better than your best hot dog. I'd put money on it.... but don't ask me for my recipe. It's pretty much a family secret.

When you were little it was annoying that your parents' dressed you alike... now we do it on purpose... aggressively. And. It's. Amazing.

Weekend Warrior. Tennis Champion. My Dad.

The last few moments of the weekend in my hammock.

I feel like floral class has paid off. 

Grilled peaches, ice cream, and a little liquor ... on the Cape. If they keep feeding me like this, I'm not leaving.

Sunset over Long Pond.

Coffee + boat shorts + a dock = eternal happiness.

In closing, I do have a few goals for the rest of the summer based on what an amazing week I had:
  • use my real camera. I missed my big ole camera this week. iPhone is great but it's not substitute for my DSLR. So, going forward I'm going to be less lazy about lugging it around.
  • eat more salads. Summer salads are amazing. There are so many fresh ingredients and endless combinations of what to throw together. Plus, tonight (despite the heat) I spontaneously made brownies... so if I'm going to keep doing that... I'm going to need more salads and less lunchtime trips to the food trucks. Boo.
  • evening walks. Do you know how late the sun is staying up these days? Longer than I'm outside that's for sure. I need to take more evening walks around the Harbor. No more explanation required.
Happy Monday.

Fancy (Easy) Strawberry Shortcake


That looks good right? Yes, it does.

Don't get overwhelmed. You will impress your friends. Even your enemies will be in awe of you. Meanwhile, you'll be like "seriously guys. I sat outside all day and read about the mob in Boston". Well, maybe you like to read other things. I'm weird like that.

For someone who has tossed around the idea of having Bisquick strawberry shortcake at her wedding (no, I'm not kidding), this suggestion literally made my mouth water. I would pass by the Turntable box in my apartment and find myself just looking at the pretty pictures and smelling the ingredients. I had no idea the buckwheat smelled great. The name alone is a turnoff. I'm never saying no to buckwheat ever, and neither should you. (Also, chamomile smells great but player please .... that's obvious).

So this is how it works. It may be obvious but you need to make the ice cream 6ish hours before you want to eat it. So, don't get all huffy with me when you want to be spooning it on your biscuits and it looks like soup. Make that shit the night before and we won't have any issues. But, we already talked about how that works here.

Here's the order I would do this in. Ice Cream the night (or 6 hrs) before, then make the biscuits and strawberries in the morning. I like to cook in the morning because I prefer to spend my days in the sun. Plus, you want these berries to marinate and mingle. Trust me it'll be better. I can say this because I quite literally sampled the mingle juice several times during the day while the strawberries were mingling.

End result? "Lick the plate" good. My own father who never finishes strawberry shortcake ... polished his plate clean. Just assemble in any which way your culinary spirit moves you. I put one half of the biscuit on the  bottom, ice cream and strawberries in the middle, add the top a little off kilter, and put a dollop of whip cream on it.... and drizzled a little extra juice all over because that's how we do.

Chamomile Strawberries
(Step 1) Boil water and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.

(Step 2) Add chamomile and give it a gentle stir. Let steep for 10 minutes.
(Step 3) While the chamomile is steeping, cut up your strawberries. This sounds picky, but I recommend cutting them into smaller than just quarters because then they won't really be "bite size" when you add them to everything else.

(Step 4) When the chamomile is done steeping, strain out the flavored sugar water via a sieve (or make your own like I did... I'm creative). But, be sure to press into the chamomile leaves to get as much extra flavor as possible. Don't leave any of that goodness behind.

(Step 5) Pour the sugar water over the strawberries and let sit for several hours (no less than 2 in my opinion... but really whatever works).

Buckwheat Biscuits
(Step 1) Preheat oven to 400 F.

(Step 2) Combine both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

(Step 3) Add in the heavy cream and mix the dough until it becomes "shaggy". I know that this is vague but just go with it, you'll know its shaggy when it's shaggy.

(Step 4) Toss some flour on your countertop and gently kneed the dough until it all comes together. Then smoosh it all down and roll it out until the thickness is about 1/2 inch or so.

(Step 5) You can cut your biscuits however your heart desires. My heart desires to do less dishes so I used a knife and made squares as opposed to circles.

(Step 6) Place your doughy biscuits on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

(Step 7) Lightly brush each babe with some cream and top with sugar. If you have chunky sugar (you know what I'm talking about), it'll be even better than regular sugar.... but I have regular... so we use regular.

(Step 8) Bake for 15 minutes or so until golden brown. After about half the baking time, I politely advise you to flip the pan 180 degrees ... I never do this but I did it this time... and it felt oddly required. 

Chamomile Strawberries

Buckwheat Biscuits
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sugar (plus more for topping)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup heavy cream for brushing on top

Non-American Pancakes

I've started and finished about a bazillion posts in the last three weeks.

There are about a million things I could have written about in that period of time, but instead I continued to procrastinate. What did I do during those few weeks? Well, I spent much of it in my parent's backyard, one day of it looking at Tall Ships in Boston Harbor with Baby Sister ... and one evening of it on quite possibly the worst slash most comical date of my life. Spoiler alert... he got bombed and peed in Boston Harbor. 

So, there's that.

But, today is America's birthday and I do love me some America despite the fact I chose to celebrate it by making German Pancakes instead of American Pancakes... if there is such a thing.

German pancakes are crazy easy and perfect for people that hate using lots of ingredients. Get ready... you only need 4 things. I'm not even kidding. The one hiccup for me was that despite having chickens in the backyard those crazy girls only gave up 4 eggs ... and I needed 6. I was pretty hell bent on making these suckers so I saddled up my bike and rode down to my aunt's house bra-less. Yep, it was that much of an emergency. Thankfully, she had plenty and we had the show back on the road ... all nestled into an American Flag beach towel.
Before I knew it, I had mixed all of my ingredients and was watching my breakfast grow like a school science project in the oven. I literally called people over to look at it with me. Pretty funny looking. Then they deflated (like they should) and I topped them with some supermarket maple syrup (sorry Meghan's Dad), powdered sugar, and blackberries ... and then I demolished them.

As you can see from the pictures, this recipe makes 12 average cupcake sized pancakes. In my book, 3 is a serving ... 1 or 2 would be fine if you had additional sides. In a house filled with 5 people, 12 doesn't divide up well so next time I'm doubling the batch or just exiling someone from breakfast Jeff Probst / Survivor style.

Here's how it all goes down...
(Step 1) Preheat oven to 425 F and gather your ingredients. Eggs, Flour, Milk, Salt.
(Step 2) Crack your beautiful eggs and whisk them right up. Mix in the other ingredients. Your batter will be lumpy, that's okay. 

(Step 3) Grease your cupcake tin and fill each one about 75%. It really doesn't matter too much.
(Step 4) Put these babes in the oven for 12-15 minutes. You'll know they are done when the tops get a little bit nicely browned. Don't worry this isn't stressful.
(Step 5) Throw a few of these delights on your plate, top with whatever you want, and dig in. I went with fruit, but I read that some people even used jam. Essentially, if you'd eat it on a pancake.... you can eat it on a German pancake.

Shopping List
6 eggs
1 cup of Flour
1 cup of Milk
1/2 t of salt
powdered sugar

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