Sunday, January 22, 2012

this was me.

i don't think that we smile enough.

you watch this and tell me that you don't laugh.
come on. do it.

pssst. i've got a secret.

I have a secret dream of becoming vegetarian.

You might think this is a little strange... considering most people tend to choose that lifestyle because they feel some sort of moral obligation to furry creatures, etc etc... I don't. I think it just sounds cool. 
Guess what? I'm a vegetarian. 
Kind of rolls of the tongue eh?

Vegan Lentil Chili with Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, and Green Onion
from Kalyn's Kitchen

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped in small pieces
2 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 T Chili Powder (I used Penzeys Regular Chili Powder, which is quite mild.)
1 T ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1/8 tsp. dried Chipotle chile pepper (or cayenne; use more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 cup brown lentils
1/4 cup red lentils (or use more brown lentils if you don't have red ones)
3 cans vegetable broth + 1 can water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 can (6 oz) black olives, drained and sliced
1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
lime slices for serving (optional) 

Use a large dutch oven type pan so you have a big surface area for cooking the vegetables.  Heat olive oil over medium heat, then saute the chopped onion until it's starting to brown.  Add garlic and saute about 1 minute more.  Add the chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and Chipotle or Cayenne powder and saute about 90 seconds more, or until the spices are fragrant.

Add the brown lentils, red lentils, vegetable broth, water, and tomato sauce and heat until the mixture comes to a low boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and let the mixture cook until red lentils are mostly dissolved and brown lentils are well-softened.   Cooking time will depend on how fresh the lentils are, but I simmered this for slightly more than an hour, adding more water a couple of times.  (Tomatoes make the lentils cook a bit more slowly, so if you're in a hurry don't add the tomato sauce until lentils are starting to get tender.)

While the mixture cooks, slice the green onions, drain olives and cut into slices, and drain the roasted red pepper and chop into small pieces.  When lentils are cooked, add green onion, olives, and roasted red pepper and let the mixture simmer 15-20 minutes more.  Serve hot, with slices of lime to squeeze into each serving if desired.

This freezes well.  For best results, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then heat in microwave or in a small pan on the stove.

Did I mention that this winter has been one of the driest that I have ever seen in Eastern Idaho? It's crazy. 
Kinda feels like Mexico I think. 
(If I see anyone come into town with their Hawaiian-print shirt, I'll know that someone is reading this...)

But it snowed yesterday!
Jess = :)


Monday, January 16, 2012

a little bit of every scattered thought.

how is everyone this (lazy) holiday morning?!

i'm fantastic... just in case you were wondering. :)
today is one of those mornings when life is just good. 
happy music-baking-motivated-i'm gonna go on a long run-type of morning!

so i have to work on my motivation to try this... because you know me, i am a very lazy person when it comes to my hair. anything that takes over an hour to do just isn't worth it in my book. 
this one looks like it could take a while...

and you remember that granola that we made like, two days ago?
it's gone!
crisis! i need to make some more!!!
this time, i think i'm going to try this recipe. and then maybe this one. this one??? (i have a surplus of recipes, most of which i haven't had the chance to try yet!) 

pumpkin granola
originally from baking bites

5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas

1. preheat the oven to 325° F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. in a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. mix well.
3. in a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. whisk until smooth. pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. they will be moist. evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. bake for 20 minutes. remove pan from the oven and stir. bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. let cool completely. store in an airtight container.

i was reminiscing this morning... and decided to plan my next big adventure.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

deja vu.

just a little musical background for your sunday morning.

i'm just sitting here preparing a lesson for church today (thanks to my new attempt at being social and outgoing, my bishop called me to teach a lesson.) note to self: no more being social until after all the callings are made...
just kidding!!!
have a beautiful, happy sabbath!

and one of these days, i am going to make this wonderful bread in honor of shabbat.

challah bread
(courtesy of

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
  1. in a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  2. punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
  3. preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
  5. bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

whatcha got in there?

what's in my purse right now.

favorite vacation.
(you thought i was going to say jerusalem right?)
but i have to say that the best vacations have been the ones with my family.
pizza face is josh. (fyi)

something i've learned:
life. it is a crazy thing. and it doesn't always go the way that you want it to.
(but there is ALWAYS a reason for what happens.)

(are you noticing that i'm just trying to finish this???)
do the shuffle. on my ipod.
dead girls dance - oberhofer
whoa - we the kings
we are pilots - shiny toy guns
what kind of fool am i? - rick springfield
beautiful disaster - jon mclaughlin
time awaits - the kooks
mockingbird - rob thomas
behind the sea - panic! at the disco
joy to the world - three dog night
never grow up - taylor swift

my dream wedding...
just go look at my pinterest and you'll get the idea...
but we can't forget this place!
like pretty much ever other mormon kiddo, i've grown up singing the words to the song - 
"i love to see the temple, i'm going there someday..."
and i am.
(currently workin on the dating/boyfriend part right now...)

around town...
oh little town of rexburg, how still we see thee lie
(but for once... not under 10 feet of snow!!!)
pic courtesy of wikipedia. ha.

(i think i'm missing my summer/fall/warm/decent weather right now...)

potato fields outside of rexburg.

sand dunes.
please tell me you are jealous and are coming to visit me soon!
(my evil plan is workinggggg!)

something that stresses me out.
handsome men.
i just don't know what to do with myself around them...

(almost done!!!)
3 wishes.
wish 1:
that i could marry superman.
wish 2:
i could have hair like this everyday.
wish 3:
to spend all day in bed.
no homework.
no alarms.
no deadlines.
no stress!

we made it folks!
(this pic makes my nose look HUGE.)

to wrap this up (finally)... and hopefully you haven't been bored to death...
5 good things that happened to me during this challenge:
1. i got over sharing pictures of myself.
2. it got me writing.
3. consistency? not. at. all. (but it has motivated me for the next time i decide to do something like this again!)
4. it actually got me blogging! part of the new year's resolutions... to write more diligently. we'll see how it goes!
5. i tried to think outside of the box. maybe it worked, maybe it didn't... but baby steps are what we're working on!

Friday, January 13, 2012

i'm gonna get over you.

this is my happy thought for the day. :)
i want her clothes. and her hair. 

so we tried an experiment today, and made super yummy pumpkin crunch granola
(this is like pavlov's dog... i say a food, and you start salivating. muahaha!) 
looks pretty delish don't you think?

(we did make a little subsitution and just used honey instead of all the agave-necter-health-nut stuff... i mean, we are poor college students after all!)

so i told you about my dream yes?
of running a half marathon.
tomorrow is the 5-mile run.
and guess who is a little scared.
i'm gonna dominate this thing.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

my favorite pic

my favorite picture (of me) of all time.
why is that?
i think to me, this picture represents a lot of the changes that i've made in my life over the past four years of being in college. (no... not becoming more of a nerd...)
this picture represents how comfortable i am with myself. if you would have asked me to pose for a picture dressed as a nerd, and then told me you were going to post in on facebook... a few years i would never have done it. wouldn't have even given it a chance.
this picture also reminds me of the semesters that i have been able to live with my sister. (you see that empty spot on the couch next to me? she goes there.) i don't know anybody that can read my mind or function on the same exact wavelength as me all the time. we know what each other is thinking so often that it is actually freaky. if we weren't two years apart we probably could be twins.
in this picture, i felt good. i look at this, and i think of being healthy, happy, and even though i was stressed out of my mind with school - i loved life. looking at this picture gives me something to strive for. a goal to reach. 
my new goal for this year:
anyone care to run with me? 

i want to make these sooooo bad!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a (jess) by any other name

it would smell as sweet right?

i've have my fair share of nicknames growing up... 
(most of which were given to me by my dad. wassup with that?)


i actually think my dad was referring to this kind of toad...
but we'll pretend that he meant the cute one...
(this nickname was later changed to big toad as more chillins came along)
(here you have little toads 1, 2, 3, and 4)


da beast.

sharkgirl. (i'm taking applications for lavaboy... my future comrade/partner-in-mischief. *wink wink*)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

*insert jaws theme song here*

something i miss.
this view.

i know it might look a little bit dry and dusty... 
cuz it is.
but it is the best place on the planet. 
aside from maybe here:

so i don't actually have a picture of my house... and google earth only had a very tiny, grainy picture.
it just can't do it justice.

and you want to know the best part about my day?
getting this:
it's got a fin!

i'm sold.