Saturday, April 12

The Business of Wedding Planning

Ben thinks we should open a business—our first product will be challah croutons. If those sounds good, it’s because they are. It also takes me about nine hours to make the little buttery croutony bites considering I make my challah from scratch. So, yeah, scratch that business venture.

Ben later proclaimed our second (well, first if you’re nixing the croutons) product should be the yogurt fruit dip I whipped up with apples as a weekend snack. The only problem is this isn’t quite a Dana creation. This recipe is available in stores by the masses, but heck, I’m I’ll happily take the praise anyway!

These “business ventures” remind me of wedding planning. Nine hours of baking for croutons is just not worth it. My mom repeated that sentiment back to me when I declared I’d skip a florist and pick my own flowers the day of our wedding. The headache of doing that the day of isn’t worth the money we’d save—especially when I found our using our local greenhouse as my florist would suit my budget and flower needs perfectly.

Then there’s the yogurt dip. I could easily buy this but making it was easy, saved me cash and heck I kind of enjoyed it. This is how I feel about engagement photos/save the dates. Pre-engaged Dana didn’t understand why you wouldn’t want to play dress-up at a fun photo shoot; post-engaged Dana realizes my want for this isn’t worth its cost and there are a million ways to DIY this saving mass dollah dollah billz.

There’s something strangely intimate about making food from scratch. It saves money yes, but it’s also a source of pride and somehow makes our apartment feel more like a home. Finding the right wedding vendors creates that similar comfortable feeling, but the more we tackle on our own the more this wedding begins to feel like ours.

Not-My-Own Yogurt Dip
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ tablespoon honey
a dash of cinnamon

Mix everything together in a bowl. The dip is good right away, better if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, and best if eaten straight off your finger.

Eat with apple slices, strawberries or graham crackers.

Wednesday, April 9

Two Miles

We ran two miles. It wasn’t particularly far, or particularly long, but it was a good run.

Ben sets the speed when we run together. I could say I’m being respectful of my non-running running partner—but his pace keeps me steady and forces me to run better.

To him, running sometimes feels like punishment. For me, running with him reminds me of why I love him—he keeps me steady, inspires me to be better.

We followed a new trail by our apartment doing a run/walk interval. When I hear his feet fall heavier, I push him to finish the run out farther ahead. To the end of the bridge. To the rock. To the tree. When we walk we challenge and teach each other. About work projects. About dog training. About wedding planning.

Two miles. It’s not far, and it’s not long but it brings me miles back to us.

Sunday, April 6

Lessons in Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Last Friday I got a nasty paper cut while writing a check for our wedding photographer. (Don't worry, that irony isn't lost on me.)

Band Aid and spending most of my income tax return within a week aside, choosing a photographer was shockingly easy. Most of our wedding-related decisions have been. Every choice has felt comfortable, like it fits within our puzzle.

I felt the same kind of comfort when Ben and I ate at the Beat Hotel in Boston. I ordered the Inca Bowl, a roasted veggie and quinoa conglomeration so close to my own cooking style had it been served on blue Ikea dishware I would have thought it was mine.

The kicker was a cilantro yogurt sauce. I definitely hadn't been there, done that. When I recreated the Inca Bowl at home, I took a step outside my norm and attempted my own cilantro sauce. And yum, I must say. It's like hot fudge to a bowl of ice cream—you don't need it, per say, but dang it all, it brings the party.

When it comes to wedding planning, I'm making note of the cilantro yogurt sauce lesson. I'm grateful for areas of comfort, but no vendor or venue will make this thing feel like it's ours. We're in charge of the details that will add to the recipe of our perfect day.

Bring it on.

Roasted Veggie Bowls w/Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

sweet potato
baby carrots, cut in half
a small onion
½ cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup steamed kale
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut sweet potato, carrots and onion to similar bite size pieces. Drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees until cooked through (about 20 minutes).
2. Combine cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, garlic and lime juice in a food processor. Grind until cilantro leaves are pulverized and sauce comes together.
3. Combine quinoa, kale and roasted veggies in a bowl. Drizzle cilantro yogurt dressing over top and eat.

Saturday, March 29

Spring Break In Boston

Welp, this post is a little late!

Last weekend Ben and I took our adventuring on the road—to Boston. It’s not your typical spring break destination, though we did get to laugh at the herds of pastel short wearers we saw waiting for flights headed to Florida. You know, when I say laugh I mean cry a little.

I love Boston a lot. And since I was already headed to Beantown for a work related trip, it was financially friendly to have Ben meet me there for a couple’s getaway.

Quincy Market
On day one, I took him down to the north side of town to Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market and the Freedom Trail. We saw a museum exhibit exploring anatomy with real human bodies, we shopped and ate at Quincy Market and we had a beer at Union Oyster House—one of the world’s oldest restaurants.

The normal clientele at Union Oyster House 
Later we visited Fenway and the south end of Boston. We walked Boylston Street and imagined it packed with marathon runners instead of teenagers in anime costumes who were in town for Boston’s Anime Expo. The appeal of wearing fake animal tails is lost on me.

The site of the Boston Massacre--and downtown
Sunday night was the highlight, though. Michigan State conveniently played Harvard in the NCAA March Madness tournament, so we took the subway to Cambridge to watch the game on campus.

First we ate at a hippy-esque spot in Harvard Square. I had the Inca Bowl with quinoa, roasted veggies, kale and a yes-more-please cilantro vinaigrette. Ben had the brisket lasagna, which was so good I almost didn’t get my standard hey-lemme-taste-that bite.

John Harvard’s Brewery was standing room only even an hour before the game started. Ben and I tried to be undercover Spartan fans. And man, when Harvard tied the game up at the start of the second half, the place went nuts.


On the flight home—where even more basketball was on the in-flight TV, of course—Ben and I agreed, we had done Boston well. Now maybe we should talk about joining those short-wearers in Florida...

Wednesday, March 26

To Chi

Dear friends, family and internet lurkers,

We’re gathered at this blog post today to pay tribute to my beloved hair straightener, Chi.

Chi lived a long, long, lonnnnnnng life. In her seven years of service she lived in many bathroom counters and on many bedroom floors.

She was indeed a great confidant and supporter with a style all her own.

She kept me on the straight and narrow and was incredibly kind and warm—oh was she warm. So unreasonably good-God-I-have-a-second-degree-burn-on-my scalp-again! warm.

It’s with this brief eulogy that I say goodbye to Chi. May you rest peacefully my dear friend.