brown rice casserole

for thanksgiving this year, i wanted to make sure i brought something extra delicious so i wouldn't feel left out while my dining companions were munching on turkey and roast beef. this brown rice casserole with mushrooms and brussels sprouts was the perfect choice. and i'm sharing it after the holiday because it's also something you could make on a rainy sunday and eat all throughout the week.

brown rice casserole adapted from this recipe 

3 cups cooked brown rice 
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced thin 
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, quartered 
1 yellow onion 
3 gloves garlic, minced 
2 eggs 
1 cup creme fraiche 
1/2 cup goat cheese 
1/3 cup grated parm 
2 tbsp olive oil 
salt and pepper 
juice of 1 small lemon 
chopped fresh herbs (thyme, sage, parsley)
    start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. in a large skillet, saute mushrooms and brussels sprouts on medium heat in olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and browned a bit. add onion, saute until translucent, then add garlic and cook for one more minute. remove skillet from heat and stir in brown rice.

    next, mix eggs, creme fraiche, goat cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper, and lemon juice. add wet ingredients to the rice and pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. sprinkle with the grated parm, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. remove foil, add chopped fresh herbs and bake for another 30 minutes, until edges are brown and crispy.



    this year, all of us transplants from uconn spent the holiday together. though friendsgiving is a bit more unconventional than thanksgiving with family, i actually felt like this was the most traditional thanksgiving i've had in a while (in my family, every holiday calls for sushi). we cozied up with food, football and a lot of alcohol for about eleven straight hours. everyone got a little sloppy by the end, but isn't that what holidays are for?


    chocolate pecan pumpkin pie

    happy thanksgiving! just in case you're a procrastinator and haven't figured out a dessert to make for thanksgiving yet, make this pie. i'm trying very hard not to eat half of it now before i bring it over to jill and jeremy's. we all know my willpower isn't very strong.

    chocolate pumpkin pecan pie

    frozen whole wheat pie crust from whole foods 
    4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped 
    1 cup half + half 
    1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin 
    3 eggs 
    1/2 cup brown sugar 
    1 tsp vanilla extract 
    1 tsp ground cinnamon 
    1/2 tsp ground ginger 
    1/2 tsp nutmeg 
    1/4 tsp ground clove 
    1/2 tsp salt 
    14 pecans
      for the chocolate bottom: in a small saucepan, on medium heat, bring 1/2 cup of half + half just up to a boil. remove from heat immediately and whisk in chocolate until completely melted. pour mixture into pie crust and let cool so it can partially set.

      for the pumpkin filling: preheat oven to 350 degrees. in a large bowl, whisk the eggs. then, add remaining 1/2 cup of the half + half, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and all spices and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. pour mixture over the partially set chocolate bottom and bake pie for about 55 minutes (or until a knife inserted about 1 inch from the outside comes out clean). place pecans along the rim of the pie for the last 10 minutes of baking. remove from oven, cool completely, and refrigerate until ready to serve.


      starting the holiday early

      this is the wine i bought to have on thanksgiving. i wasn't home for more than seven minutes before drew asked if we could crack it open. who am i to say no? speaking of thanksgiving, still on the agenda: make my brown rice casserole with goat cheese, brussels sprouts and mushrooms and my pumpkin pie with dark chocolate ganache and a pecan topping (recipes to come). oh, and buy a new bottle of wine.


      sleep talkin'

      one of my most favorite things in life is when people talk in their sleep. something about the random, incoherent things they mutter while lost in dreamland cracks me up every single time. luckily, i'm dating someone who talks in his sleep quite frequently. usually, i'm asleep too, and only wake up for a moment after hearing his crazy chatter and therefore cannot document (or remember the next day) the hilarity of it all. the other night, however, i was wide awake and able to capture this little gem of an exchange...

      d: babe, can you please call for the sheets?

      l: what? what does that even mean?

      d: ughhh!!! you know what it means!!! call.. for.. the.. sheets!!!

      l: i actually don't know what that means (dying of laughter).

      d: ugh fine!!! just ring downstairs.. they'll do it..

      obviously, the next morning he had no idea what he was talking about or why he got so sassy with me when i didn't understand, but i'm still laughing about it.



      today's song is one that makes me happy because i'm trying to stay positive! i called the vet yesterday out of concern for penny's worsening asthma attacks and we have to bring her back in today. they are concerned about fluid in her lungs, which they referred to as a "death sentence". they also warned me that the visit is projected to cost around $500. at the risk of sounding dramatic, penny is truly the love of my life, and i want her to outlive me so i never have to know what it's like to lose her! yep, definitely just reached crazy cat lady status.


      portland bazaar

      though i loved the rural area where i went to school, i now see why living in a city is where it's at. there are always wonderful things happening, too many to take advantage of really, which isn't the worst problem to have. 

      my obsession with design*sponge grows, as grace bonney has orchestrated one of the most fabulous events to happen right here in portland. handmade wares, food trucks, live music, vintage clothing! i could go on and on about it, but this website does a better job of explaining it. needless to say, i'm ecstatic and can't wait to attend!

      image via 1


      red wine spaghetti

      there's something so comforting about a bowl of spaghetti and a giant glass of red wine to accompany it. sadly, the spaghetti and red wine never get to fully appreciate each other, as they are consumed separately. so why not cook the spaghetti in the red wine? it gives a whole new meaning to the dish, drunken noodles...

      warning: this will make your entire (1 room) apartment smell like booze for a while. just don't invite company over, unless you want a referral to alcoholics anonymous.

      red wine spaghetti adapted from food + wine

      5 cups water 
      1 bottle dry red wine 
      1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti 
      1/4 cup olive oil 
      4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
      pinch of crushed red pepper 
      1/2 cup finely chopped parsley 
      1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese (+ more for serving) 
      4 roma tomatoes, diced 
      drizzle of truffle oil 
      salt and pepper
        bring water, all but 1/4 cup of wine, and a large pinch of salt to a boil. add spaghetti and cook until al dente, reserve 1/4 cup of liquid, then drain.

        in a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the garlic, crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt for a minute or so on medium heat. add the reserved cooking liquid and the remaining 1/4 cup of red wine and bring to a simmer. add the pasta to the skillet and cook until the liquid is absorbed. finally, toss in the parsley, remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, tomatoes and grated cheese. 

        serve with salt, pepper, a drizzle of truffle oil and grated cheese.


        home sweet studio

        just a few decorations shy of being all settled into the new studio! the only downside to living on the third floor (and in the back) of the building is the lack of natural light, so i apologize for these grainy pictures.

        when you walk in the "front door", directly to the right you'll see the "living room". the "living room" came complete with a hideous old phone that we can't remove and a useless cabinet that can barely fit anything in it besides the pictures that i taped up. 

        along the back wall is the "kitchen". you may be wondering where the fridge is. well, naturally, it's in the closet directly to the left of the "kitchen" that houses the washer + dryer and all of our shoes and clothes.

        moving along, directly left of the closet is the "dining room". queen penny eats here too.

        directly left of the "dining room" is the bathroom (which is actually huge so it does not warrant quotations). there's a built-in vanity which is perfect for storage. and check out the vintage fan drew's dad sent! i'm in love with it.


        directly left of the bathroom is our "bedroom". to the left of our bed you'll find the one lone dresser we share.

        storage: drew has a serious book addiction, so there are bins underneath the bed storing books that didn't fit on the bookshelf (along with about 5 boxes in the basement storage unit). a vintage trunk in the corner next to the "front door" houses all linens, towels and bulky clothing items. i hung two contraptions on the wall for jewelry and scarves and such. underneath the vanity is perfect storage space for the hamper and litter box. and little nooks on each side of the "kitchen" are also places to store extra kitchen stuff without taking up valuable counter space.

        even though it's ridiculously small for two people + a cat, it's got everything we could possibly need. also, it's just plain hilarious. sleeping next to the kitchen table? eating next to the bathroom? going into the closet for some milk and a shirt? all of this will certainly make for good material to include in my memoir one day...



        happy friday! today is an extra happy friday. the wood brothers are coming back to portland in february and tickets go on sale today. this is actually our "song", for no particular reason other than we listened to it a lot when we first started dating. though i recently heard in an interview with them that it's actually about their mother, so yeah... fail.

        i also have the day off today (thank you, veterans, especially my grandpa!) so i'm heading to a coffee shop now to get some schoolwork out of the way. hopefully i can finish it so i can indulge in a long walk, do a little shopping and sip some wine at drew's gig later on.


        well's vegetarian thanksgiving

        we successfully moved into our new place this past weekend, but i am completely exhausted. it's definitely going to take a while to adjust to studio living (i really don't know if i'll ever get used to the "kitchen" being about five feet away from the bed). once everything is a bit more tidy, i will share pictures of how we set things up to make the one room feel cozy but also space efficient. 

        in other news, i was thrilled to find this vegetarian thanksgiving feature in the new york times health section. new recipes are added every day, and i'm so inspired by the recipes already! since we'll be away from family this year, we're doing thanksgiving with friends, and some of these recipes will definitely be part of my contribution.

        coconut butternut squash soup
        dijon brown rice with broccoli
        whole wheat pumpkin sage pasta

        images via 1, 2, 3



        this song is a little late (would have been more appropriate on halloween), but is certainly still relevant. i'm feeling a little bit like a zombie myself today, as i'm begrudgingly going through the motions of moving. we left everything to the last minute, so it will be interesting to see if we can get the place packed up, moved and return the u-haul on time by the end of today. i can't believe that the next time i post will be from our tiny little studio!


        best veg

        over the weekend, drew's dad treated us to a fancy dinner out at wildwood. wildwood is known for daily menu changes, inspired by what's fresh and local in the moment. the bottle of local pinot noir we shared was divine and my entree was pretty life-changing. for once, i had a vegetarian meal that completely blew me away. it wasn't the token vegetarian meal put on the menu just for the sake of having one (i'm looking at you, bland pasta dish). it was carefully crafted, flavorful and healthy.

        i felt strange pulling out my camera in such a nice restaurant, but i managed to snap a picture on my phone. the dish had freekeh, eggplant, little fingerling potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, castelvetrano olives, feta, all surrounded by brown butter harissa and a drizzle of oregano yogurt. it was like a vegetarian moussaka from heaven. i'm still dreaming about it.