Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Morning Meditation

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Jams #2.35

This morning I'm taking to the open skies and flying down to Austin, Texas to visit a very dear friend that I haven't seen in a very long time! Eep! I'm sooooo excited and also a little nervous to travel and fly alone. Luckily there are a few activities one can do to calm their travel nerves, i.e. don't check a bag with the airline (as someone who works in travel insurance, I can't taut this advice enough), bring a good book, wear a watch so you always know what time it is, download your airline's flight tracking app so you don't have to mess around with tickets, and last but not least, prepare your iPod, iPhone, Pandora or Spotify station with some relaxing jams and podcasts. Sayonara Omaha! See you next week!

Beyoncé - "XO"
I've been kind of obsessed with this song this week. I just find it so sweet and romantic.

Bob Log III
I just saw this dude play last night at O'Leaver's and it was pretty wild. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spike Bearheart & The Destruction of The Greater Dinosaur Population

If there's one annual event my friends and I partake in that always marks nearing of the end of summer for me, it's camping for our  friend G's (now formally known as Spike Bearheart) birthday. As we have done now for the past two years, we packed up and moseyed out to the wilderness - this time with dogs in tow - to a new location, Memphis State Recreation Area.

Each year, we add a new element to our camping experience. This year it was the induction of Sloshball - which ended up being a glorified home-run derby of sorts due mostly to lack of organization and the early partaking of adult beverages.

A returning element was the piñata. In our opinion, every birthday needs a child-like activity like a piñata. This year, we went with a dinosaur, and much like last year, we required that G at least attempt to destroy it with a log. Thanks to Sloshball though, we did have access to a better weapon for mass paper mache destruction.

Overall, our time camping was spent eating, drinking and relaxing, which is exactly what we all needed. This trip also marked the initiation of my very own tent, an investment I've been wanting to make for some time now. Now, being in possession of a tent, I'm really hoping to partake in a few more camping adventures before the weather doesn't allow it anymore.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Scouring & Devouring Omaha: Modern Love, Walks Beside Me

Like the David Bowie song starts off, "I know when to go out, I know when to stay in" - when it comes to our latest venture out to Modern Love, we definitely made the right decision by going out.

Located right next to O'Leaver's, I had been peeking in to see the restaurant's progression for what seemed like forever. Formally occupied by Worker's Takeout (now located downtown), then Star Deli (now located in Benson), This teeny spot next to one of Omaha's best patios and dive bars just couldn't seem to make anything stick.

That is until vegan wonder Isa Chandra Moskowitz invaded the space. On a side note here, I can't tell you how lucky we should all feel to have Isa in our little town. A celebrated author and activist, sometimes I still can't believe that she's ours (for the moment at least).

While some may classify Omaha as progressive, other's will tell you it's just your average Midwest town where you'll find the best steak your money can buy. Needless to say, the opening of an exclusively vegan restaurant certainly piqued some of our interests. I'm sure there are those nay-sayers out there who will say that a meal just can't be good without meat...

But we're here to say that it absolutely can be.

Inside, you'll find that Modern Love is cozy, bright, comfortable and fresh, just like their food. Accessible is the word I would most frequently use to describe our experience here. For some, dining vegan may seem daunting, or even undesirable. However, the food at Modern Love is nothing less than desirable.

To start our meal, the jalapeno corn fritters were calling our names. The fritters themselves were a little too batter-based for our liking. The corn and jalapeno flavors were there, but the batter taste occasionally overpowered the spicy flavors. The arugula and sauce really complimented the dish well though. The sauce was equally sweet as it was spicy, which had there been a bit more of it, would have cut a lot of our batter feelings regarding the dish.  

Kerry opted for the Mac n' Shews. The pecan-crusted tofu on this dish is really something to write home about, however the cashew cheese was a little less stellar. While we were eating, we chatted about how difficult it must be to turn out a rich, creamy cheese favored dish without, you know, using cheese.

And here in lies the "problem" with vegan cuisine. We're so used to the real deal - meats, cheeses, creams, dairy, etc. it almost feels like an unfair fight when you take all of that away.

Or maybe in that space is where the magic really happens...

I ordered the Polenta Romesco and was not disappointed. The flavors here are almost impossible to describe because they were that good. This is truly a complete dish. It's savory, sweet, filling, smoky and salty. OH AND THERE'S A FRIGGIN' STAR IN IT! I'm not a huge fan of brussel sprouts, but holy god these made me a legitimate convert.  I'm still salivating over the thought of those sprouts. 

the aftermath

To cap off our meal, we just had to order dessert. DUH. Desserts at Modern Love and constantly changing and all of them sound like perfection. The night we dined, there were probably four or five different dessert options. I had heard wonders about the pie, so we had to indulge in some mixed berry action. We were tickled with the results and the surprise stunner here was the homemade ice cream that tasted like the real deal (remember no dairy folks).

a few selfies were taken due to the adorable surroundings

All in all, Modern Love lives up to everything we thought it would be and more. Be sure to make a reservation (which you can do online on their website). Also, keep in mind they're still applying for their liquor license, so if you do visit soon, feel free to bring your own alcoholic beverages, i.e. wine and/or beer. The service at Modern Love is extremely friendly, albeit a hair slow. It could possibly be due to the fact that they're less than a month old, but then again, you get what you pay for - and at Modern Love, you get love-filled food.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy National Dog Day!

If there's one thing you will learn on this blog, it's that we really really love doggies. Our furry companions are so incredibly important to us and our well-being. We literally can't imagine life without them.

In honor of National Dog Day, here's our lovely Bebop dressed up like a hot dog!!

Of Cabbages and Kings

Here in Nebraska, we're not ones to shy away from cabbage - I mean, we're home of the Runza after all. So as you can imagine, coleslaw is a pretty common side dish around these parts, especially during these hot summer, BBQ heavy months.

Like I implied in this previous post, I've been trying to up my BBQ side dish game, so when I came across this recipe for spicy coleslaw that didn't contain mayo, I thought, "Hey, why not try it?". I ended up being very pleased with the results. Offering a "healthier" option during what can be a pretty carb  heavyand empty calorie ridden situation is always something I can get behind.

Spicy Coleslaw
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (I added a bit of parsley as I had some leftover from another dish)
  • 1 red cabbage shredded
  • 3 green onions sliced thin
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 peeled and shredded carrot

Combine vinegar, lime juice, oil, honey, salt and cilantro in a large bowl and whisk together.

Add remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine and leave out for 30 minutes at room temp

Chill until ready to serve (best same day) but can be kept for two additional days if needed. Keep that last part in mind in case you want to spend a few dinners grilling out while only making one side. PS this coleslaw is great on a hamburger, turkey burger, or veggie burger. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Web Wilderness / Branching Out

Oh dear weekend, why do you flee from us so quickly? At least we just have to get through this week where a long weekend will be awaiting us on the other side. I'm especially excited because on Saturday I will be traveling down to Austin, TX to visit one of my very dear friends who I haven't seen in far too long! 

So if you're dragging a bit today, here are some internet links to help you out, and just remember, a three-day weekend awaits you, so take advantage of these last few weeks of summer! 

  • Be sure to head to Turner Park on Wednesday to catch Noah's Ark Was a Spaceship and Snake Island! play a free concert starting at 6 pm! 
  • Oh, someone ranked all of Shelley Long's outfits from Troop Beverly Hills? YES PLEASE
  • This is a great write up about the 40th and Farnam area. We still need to check out Farnam House Brewing Company
  • I get so proud when amazing local ladies get the opportunity to tell their stories of success
  • This recipe looks like a pretty perfect way to end the summer season. 
  • Seeing sweaters like this make me long for fall. Soon enough I suppose…
  • Speaking of fall, I'm getting so excited for the upcoming season of American Horror Story!
  • Well this is definitely my new favorite Etsy store. 
  • I'm in love with these undies. I have a feeling I will soon own a pair for each day of the week. 
This is a face that would very much enjoy a piece of pizza. I should really stop eating food in bed. 

I hosted a little end of summer gathering for some of my friends and these string lights ended up being my favorite part (other than the conversations had that is).

But this weirdo kept eating the grass in my lawn, some of which became lodged in his beard that I eventually had to cut out.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Jams #2.34

This Saturday feels particularly like a summer Saturday. It's hella hot and there are so many outdoor summer events going on like the Greek Festival and Dundee Day. Tonight I'm hosting a little end-of-summer get together at my place and I'm excited because it's actually the first party I'll be having at this apartment (even though I've lived there now for about 9 months, whoops). My day is going to be filled with errands and cleaning, oh, and of course excitement to party down tonight.

Iron Maiden - "Run To The Hills"
This song always gets me pumped.

Van Halen - "Panama"
No, I take that back, this song always gets me pumped.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wind Down / Wound Up

This week feels like the first real heat of summer and, you guys, it's terrible. The older I get the less the humidity agrees with me. I have definitely been keeping my ass cool in the AC all week. I am definitely ready for my favorite season, Fall. I will probably continue my trend of parking my ass in the AC this weekend and that works out quite well because, to be honest, there's not quite as much as going on in Omaha as usual. As the work week winds down, WO+SF and crew are getting wound up for the weekend.

FRIDAY August 22

SATURDAY August 23
  • It's State Fair time!  So maybe the Nebraska State Fair doesn't quite compare to Iowa's but there is still a lot of tasty food to eat!
  • If you feel like keeping close to home you can check out Dundee Day 2014 which offers a pancake feed, beer garden, and live music. 
  • Check out the Omaha Farmer's Market down in the Old Market. 

SUNDAY August 24
  • I haven't been to the Farmer's Market in a couple weeks and I've missed it. I will totally be there this week, Aksarben!
Stay cool, y'all!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Girls Be Dippin'

While some folks go to BBQ's for the grilled meats, I'm the type of weirdo who goes for the chips and dips. Seriously, if I had to draw out my personal food pyramid, the base of it would read "Chips & Dips" and it would probably take up more than half of said pyramid.

I'm a real class act y'all.

Recently, I've had the itch to up my dip game and I've been lucky enough to have a few opportunities present themselves in form of coming home celebrations and end of summer jams.

Then, when I came across this recipe for Creamy Black Bean Dip, I figured I had to try it because it looked so easy and delicious. What I discovered in the process is that I've been wasting a lot of money buying salsa when I could have just been making it at home - insert palm to forehead motion here.

Creamy Black Bean Dip
  • 15 ounces (one can) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic (or more if you're like me and lurve garlic)
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 whole tomatoes (or any tomatoes you have/like)
  • How ever many dashes of cayenne powder you like based on your spice preference
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Start by making salsa in a food processor. Pulse garlic, onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and juice from half the lime until blended but still chunky. You don't want this to be completely smooth. Pro-tip: Don't accidentally turn your food processor on before you plug it in, because your salsa will get blended a hell of a lot faster than you intended, and it won't be as chunky and you would like (or is this just me that this happens to?).

Transfer salsa to another bowl and throw the cream cheese, black beans, juice from the remaining half of lime, and cayenne into your food processor. Blend until smooth.

Stir (by hand) the salsa into the cream cheese mixture. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve chilled with lots of tortilla chips.

The next dip on my list was one I had been dreaming about since a co-worker of mine brought it into our annual Health and Wellness potluck. I know, having a big potluck to celebrate your health and wellness makes a lot of sense, right? Well, at least the recipe below has a lot of veggies in it and if you wanted to substitute the sour cream for Greek yogurt, I bet it could end up being less than 10 calories per quarter cup serving.

Crisp Cucumber Salsa
  • 2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.