Cooking from my Cookbooks: Edamame pesto with Asparagus

I confess, I have been slacking on my “Cooking from my Cookbooks” series, but I’m here to rectify that.  While I was on my vacation, I browsed my kindle cookbooks (I have quite a few now…at least six) for four recipes–two to catch up on for March, where I did not cook anything from my cookbooks, and two for April, to get me back on track.

This recipe comes from the 30-Minute Suppers e-book put out by America’s Test Kitchen.  At such a low price point, it’s a  pretty short cookbook, but there’s enough interesting and fast ideas in there that I found a few things that piqued my interest.  I chose this Edamame pesto with Asparagus because I have had this bag of frozen edamame in my freezer since….well, at least 2013 and possibly even 2012!  Why I bought it, I don’t know.  I bought it with nothing in mind other than “Edamame! fun!” and then never came up with a use.  Also this leads me into admitting for the past two weeks I’ve actually planned out my dinners in advance, and made shopping lists based off them.  I’ve saved myself money by not buying excess stuff, and planned things that used up stuff that’s been in the freezer or pantry for a while.  It’s also made dinner prep go much faster, because I already know exactly what the game plan is every night.  Why haven’t I done this before!?

This pesto is FANTASTIC.  I’ll be buying frozen edamame again….and this time it’ll get used up fast.  It doesn’t change the flavor IMO, but it makes for a creamier, thicker pesto than usual.


8 oz frozen edamame, thawed

1 cup each of: parsley, basil, cilantro

1/2 C pine nuts

1/3 C grated parmesan (but you should add more!  I’m going to note that I got Parmigiano Reggiano aka the “real stuff” at Mariano’s for $15 a pound, which is unheard-of cheap for Chicago)

1 garlic clove

2 T lemon juice

1/4 C olive oil

1 lb asparagus

1 package fresh pasta

Blend the edamame through olive oil in a food processor.

Boil water, add the asparagus, then when that’s almost done, add the pasta to finish both at the same time.  Making sure to reserve the cooking water, strain the pasta over a bowl.

Put the pesto in a saucepan, and stir in the reserved cooking water til you reach your desired consistency.  Then add back your pasta/asparagus and toss to coat.


Southampton and Eastern Long Island

Here’s some pictures of my vacation…they’re sized kind of small here cause that’s what wordpress does, but you can click to enlarge.  I don’t know how to get them to embed larger!

This is the beach and some ridiculously expensive homes at Mecox Bay.  It was pretty chilly, unfortunately!






This is Scallop Pond, a wildlife preserve:




These pictures are of Shelter Island.  I really liked this area the most.  You have to drive your car onto a ferry boat to get across the water, but the ferry trip takes all of three minutes.  We went there to check out the public library’s book sale and just to explore.



Here’s J. trying to get a good shot.


Finally a few shots of Central Park.  The cherry blossoms were in bloom!



Fun with SkyMall

Heather over at Heather Homefaker did this awesome post about the insanity that is SkyMall.  I loved that post–I feel like no one else I know adores SkyMall the way I do.  Every time J. and I fly I try to get him to laugh at it and he just looks at what I show him and goes “huh.” with a shrug.  Gah!  How do you not see this stuff is hilarious!

Anyways, seeing how I was just on a plane for my vacation last week, I thought I would add to her idea and post some of my favorites from this trip:


Like this flying yard pooch!  SUPER WEINER.



I’m sure you all wanted the ability to strap a small child to your neck.  Am I right?  Seriously though this looks like one hell of an accident waiting to happen.



Supposedly this is a litter box but I prefer to think of it as a Cat Spaceship.



And for the wealthier customer with $2,250 burning a hole in your pocket, you can pick up a life size bigfoot statue for your yard.  The classiest in 1% decorating!

Do you also love SkyMall?  Please tell me I am not alone in this.




High Five For Friday!

It’s that time of the week again!

1. This is the cutest thing in the world:

2.  I am REALLY psyched for this.  The Wire will be streaming on Amazon Prime!!!  If you have not seen The Wire and you have Amazon Prime, remember to put it in your queue, it’s my favorite show of all time (though, Mad Men might take that honor when all’s said and done).

3.  A new cafe opened up by my place–well, not new so much, it used to be a restaurant, but a cafe asked to merge with the restaurant owner to reconcept the place as a cafe but still offer the same restaurant foods.  I love the idea…a cafe will work out  much better in this neighborhood, I think, than a sit down restaurant.  So I plan on checking it out this weekend.

4. I saw this article on Cooking Light about a month’s worth of easy side dishes, and I thought it was great.

5.  I’m really excited to write up some blog posts this weekend at the cafe mentioned up in #3 there.  I’ve got one almost finished about canning, and have others in mind for my cooking from my cookbooks series, my April Books post, also I found some food pics on my phone from before I started this blog that I can write about, as well as meal planning and bathroom renovating.


OK–time to get ready for work.  TTYL!

Makeup Review: Naked Skin by Urban Decay



I recently went to Sephora because my skin was driving me crazy.  I’m very pale, so any sort of blemish or mark will leave a scar on me.  Plus that leads to undereye circles as well.  Not a good look.

I learned two things on this shopping trip:

1. This was the most I have ever spent on makeup–yes, I spent about $200 on all this.  Yikes!  But…

2. You get what you pay for.

This stuff blows anything from the drugstore I’ve ever tried out of the water, full stop.

I bought:

Complexion Primer Potion

which I apply by squeezing a line onto the back of my hand (about an inch in length) and using my kabuki brush to apply a thin layer all over.

Then I add a pump of

Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

to the back of my hand and apply the same way as the primer above. I’m a 2.0 shade, I think it’s best to go and have one of the clerks help pick out the right shade, rather than try to figure it out on the computer.

I bought two of these:

24/7 Concealer Pencil

One in a shade to match my skin, to cover any sun spots, red marks, or anything else I’m getting in my “old age” of 32.  One is also in a slightly darker shade and that is to cover right under my eyes.  I rub the pencil on the tip of my finger and then apply using my fingertip wherever needed.

Then I set it all with:

Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder

This really finishes it all off and is an important step.   Again, I use the kabuki brush.  And finally, I add a bit of color with:

Naked Flushed

You swipe your brush either left to right or right to left across the palette, depending on if you want more of a bronzed look or a blush look.

And I set it all with a few sprays of:

Chill Makeup Setting Spray

This makeup stays on just fine all day and will cover even the darkest discoloration or scarring.  I have seen photos of myself since I bought this makeup and it truly has transformed my skin into something that looks flawless.

Can’t recommend this stuff enough!  Truly worth every cent.

Liebster Award!


Woohoo!!  Heather from Heather Homefaker has nominated me for a Liebster award!


Which is basically a fun meme but I’m still really flattered because Heather’s blog is awesome.  She’s got such a great sense of humor and I love reading her posts–she’s the kind of person I can see me being friends with IRL if we lived in the same area.  Also, she has achieved expert level gif usage.  A good gif can replace an entire paragraph if you ask me.  If you haven’t read her blog before, check out the link about.

The Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog.

3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate 5-11 blogs to receive the award.

6. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.

7. List the rules in your post.

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link to your post so they can learn about it if they haven’t heard of it.

1. What makes you laugh?

Lately, it’s Archer, which is now on both Amazon Prime and Netflix (has anyone else noticed that Amazon Prime is really stepping up its TV streaming game?  And Transparent got greenlit for a full season!  I’m thinking having Netflix and AP is redundant at this point…that is, until OITNB comes back!)  Also, my little grey cat Ruby is honestly hilarious.  My cats are part Siamese, so they’re really talktative.  Every time you swat at her to jump off of something she shouldn’t be on, she makes this noise like “hmmph!” like she’s saying “how dare you tell me what to do”.  I’d love to capture it on video sometime—everyone who witnesses it cracks up.

2. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done?

Move to Charleston, SC from Chicago when I was 21 without a job because I knew two other people who were moving there.  OMG was that dumb.  I didn’t make it 10 weeks, I don’t think.

3. Tell me how much you love TV. Oh, it has to be a question? What do you love on TV right now?

Oh, this is easy.  Mad Men, first and foremost.  Loving Season 7 thus far and will likely weep when it ends.  Sleepy Hollow.  Orphan Black is a lot of fun.  House of Cards.  OITNB.  Falling Skies.  The Walking Dead, if only to roll our eyes at it together while we eat dinner, and Downton Abbey for the same reason.  Parks and Rec and Archer for comedies.  I could watch reruns of Arrested Development for days.  And a shout out to my favorite show that’s over now, The Wire.  Also, I love a good cooking show but they’re hard to find these days—I guess the best one I can think of now is America’s Test Kitchen.

4. What celebrity would you most like to meet, and why?

This is a hard one for me actually because I don’t follow a lot of “celeb culture” stuff…hm…I know!  Ina Garten.  Because she had that totally fascinating White House career prior to Barefoot Contessa, and I love her style and her recipes always turn out great.

5. What quality do you detest about people on Facebook? Dish!

Attention getting behavior.  People who post everyday kind of crappy stuff looking for sympathy.

6. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been?

Lake Tahoe, on the CA/NV border.  It’s so gorgeous!

7. What is your favorite band/singer?


HAHAHA totally kidding.  Probably the Beatles.

8. What would someone have to do for you to unfriend/unfollow them on any social media platform?

Continually post stuff asking me to play Facebook games with them.  I don’t use any other SM platforms regularly other than Facebook.  I have an Instagram feed that I check, but rarely post to, and I don’t use Twitter or Tumblr or anything else.  I don’t really “get” social media.

9. What’s your favorite line from a movie?

I’m just gonna throw this clip up here and let it speak for itself.

10. What was the last movie you saw? Did you like it?

Hmm…I don’t watch a lot of movies, but when I was on my knitting retreat last month we watched Butter.  It was not my choice—one of the other attendees picked it out.  But for the most part I liked it.

11. What’s your favorite holiday and why?

Probably Memorial Day/4th of July/Labor Day.  They’re always spent at the beach, which in my neighborhood is fascinating.  I live in Rogers Park, one of the more diverse neighborhoods in the city, and going to the beach on a holiday means some serious people watching.  Hundreds upon hundreds of people stake out a spot by the Lake, and I cannot think of a time where I witnessed any real conflict between people.

Here’s a pic from Memorial Day 2012, of some totally nutty people at the beach:



Note that the man in the costume is not wearing that outfit for any particular reason.  People just show up there in goofy outfits.

OK:  eleven facts.

  1.  I majored in music in undergrad.  I played double bass—classical, orchestral music.  I started my career after college in arts administration, but moved to non-profit accounting when I realized that accounting and finance help was what many non-profits needed.
  2. My goal is to retire young, but live cheaply and work part time after I “retire”.  Like, instead of owning a home I want to sell my place and live out of the smallest, cheapest thing I can imagine.  Something like a tiny house.  And work part time in accounting doing something really low stress/entry level.  I figure if I can keep my expenses low and get rid of my mortgage and student loans I don’t need to work at high stress/higher pay jobs for decades and retire in my 60s.
  3. This might be obvious to some who read my monthly book posts, but the social issue that interests me the most is the prison abolition movement.  Prison abolition doesn’t mean that criminals roam free—but it means that society re-evaluates its laws and sets punishments other than the current prison system.  I am also interested in the housing movement and the shift to bank- and corporate-owned housing.  Chicago is still overwhelmed with foreclosed and abandoned homes.
  4. My bf J. and I are pretty far apart age wise but it honestly never comes up between us.  I think this is because we have the same interests in our community, in TV shows, in activities, etc.  I think had we gotten together when I wasn’t old enough to be used to taking care of myself (I’m 32 now), I think it wouldn’t have worked out.  But now, it’s all about attitudes and interests!  Plus, I also have friends of all ages—the youngest friend of mine I can think of is 22 and in college, and on the upper end I have a number of friends in their 60s and 70s.
  5. I LOVE CATS.  I wish I could have ALL THE CATS.
  6. I knit a lot, but I realized I almost never post about knitting on here.  I should fix that.
  7. I try to eat locally produced food as much as possible, to support the many farmers of the Midwest who are doing their thing outside of the corporate chain.
  8. I’m actually writing this from Southampton, NY.  I’m on vacation visiting J’s sister, brother in law, and their three kids.  His sister is about as far from him as you can get—she worked her ass off to make it on Wall Street.  They have a home out here, as well as an apartment in the Upper East Side, where we’ll be headed to this evening. Listening to the two of them talk politics is something!  I try to stay out of it though, as I am just a guest, and she and her family are incredibly generous and gracious whenever I visit.
  9. I grew up in upstate NY, around the Rochester/Finger Lakes area.  I do not think I will ever move back though.  My parents still live there. The winters….
  10. I am an only child and I am pretty happy that way.  When I was very young I wanted siblings, but as I got older I really appreciated having my home be a peaceful retreat!  I grew up in a neighborhood where kids were encouraged to play outside often, so I did not feel lonely.  Any time I wanted to play with kids, I just had to go outside!  And when I wanted alone time it was as simple as going indoors to my room.
  11. I also do not plan on having kids of my own.  Kids are nice, just not for me!

OK, now 11 questions:

  1. What’s your favorite cuisine?
  2. What are your plans for your blog over the next year?
  3. Do you have a favorite book?
  4. Why did you start a blog?
  5. Favorite TV show?
  6. Where do you want to be in five years?
  7. Where is your favorite place you’ve visited?
  8. What’s your favorite dessert?
  9. Do you have a favorite comedian?
  10. Are you a coffee, tea, or neither drinker?
  11. What’s your favorite holiday?

I know many bloggers have already done this, but I’d love to nominate Chasing Yellow Cabs!

Thanks again to Heather for the nomination!  This was fun (and, as you noted, the longest blog post ever!)