September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Wedding

I’m off today, with my lovely husband, to spend five days in Portugal to celebrate our sixth anniversary. Six years! I honestly can’t believe it’s only been six years- and I mean that in a good way. I feel like we’ve been together forever.

Six years ago, on the 27th, we got our friends from Washington DC, NYC, Atlanta, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow together to help us celebrate our big day. It was a perfect day considering we were in the middle of a tropical depression. Two days before the wedding the water from the Indian River was lapping over the sides of the at the place where we had rented four old Key West style fishermen cottages and the grass where the marquis was being erected was soaked.

But by the Saturday, the wind had stopped, the ground dried and the weather was perfect. Not too hot and wonderfully sunny. Pretty soon after the ceremony, which took place under an arch erected right by the edge of the river, we jumped into my friend Meg’s rental car and jetted across the bridge to Jensen Beach where we caught the last bits of sunset.

Then we headed back and dug in to my favorite bbq from Dales that was catering the event. Mmm, I know I don’t eat meat, but I still love their special sauce and baked beans! Then we went for the cake. I didn’t really want a cake, but my mom convinced me. Instead of the cheesy cake toppers I bought little groom and bride cut-out thingies at Michaels (which is where I got most of the stuff for the wedding) and I pasted our funny faces on and they still make me laugh when I see these photos.

We are going to attempt to have a wedding reunion for our tenth anniversary and invite everyone (well, mostly everyone- one of the couples have split and a friend married another one of my guests so I don’t think her old bf would come) to stay in the cottages again. Its very rare for me to see my friends in the states and it would be incredible to all be in one place again.

September 22, 2014

Tofu Udon Noodle Bowl

Usually I work late on Wednesdays, but I covered a day shift last week as a co-worker is on holiday. It was quite nice because my other co-worker Lucy and I got to have a little jaunt into town between assignments.

We work all over the place and rarely get to see each other. There’s one of my co-workers that I haven’t seen in six months. So this was a luxury. We are both interested in cooking and baking healthy food and we’re both veggies so we went in search of tofu for both of us and nutritional yeast for Lucy.

I ended up in a green grocer/health food/Asian food store that was brilliant and I was able to get everything on my list for our tea (that’s what dinner is called over here).

I made a dish from The Vegan Cookbook by Adele McConnell. The Udon Noodle Bowl was full of well udon noodles and pak choi, mushrooms and tofu.

Unfortunately the marinated tofu was the best part of the dish. The flavours were really good while I was working on it but the recipe called for four cups of water. I only put two and a half in but it was enough to completely drown out the flavours. I don’t think I’ll try this recipe again, but if I did I’d triple the amount of mirin, rice vinegar and miso.

There are other recipes I’ve tried in her book- like the artichoke pasta, which I’ve adapted by adding butter beans and is now a weekday staple for us- so I won’t let this one put me off making more. She has several recipes using tempeh, which is really hard to find around here. 

September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Scottish Edition

For my photo blog this week I spent hours scouring my image archives digging out photos from Scotland. I lived there with my husband the first three and a half years of our married life and had visited many times before when he and I were long-distance so there were a ton of photographs to choose from.

So in honour of Scottish referendum I am putting up a whole slideshow worth of Throwback Thursdays. I do sincerely love Scotland. Whenever I go back and see how beautiful it is I have this feeling that if I didn't have any ties there, if it was uncertain that I would ever be back, that would be devastated. But knowing that I will have a connection with the country for the rest of my life makes leaving it a little easier.

My husband is a highlander. But no body calls it the Highlands except for Americans. In Scotland its just called the North or up north. Thurso is as far north as you can get without getting on ferry and taking it to Orkney or Shetland. And north of that is Norway! Thurso is right where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea and therefore was home to an international surfing competition. (Billy's step-dad who sadly passed away this time last year used to say "Bondi Beach, Thurso!" comparing the surfing beaches).

Whenever I go up north I am always freezing. My mother-in-law (who was born in Glasgow but moved up there when she was 13) always has the windows open- even in the winter!! She opens the window in the bathroom after a shower and then I go to take a shower and my teeth are chattering. I always gravitate towards chunky fisherman sweaters when I'm there. I want to be warm and cozy. The sweaters/jumpers are called ganseys and they were different in each village so that if a fisherman was killed at sea whoever found him could find out where he was from by looking a the pattern knitted on his jumper.

See its these little things that make Scotland so special. If you want to know more about my opinion you can see my blog post on my photo blog though I tried to stay neutral.

September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Front Page News

This photo was taken in 2006 when I was working for the Southbend Tribune in Southbend, Indiana. It was a seven month-long internship and it was the second internship I had worked after graduating.

I was still learning. I feel I learned more practical knowledge with those two internships than I did in my four years at uni. I loved working at the Tribune because it had a huge photo department and all the photographers there were great. They were so nice and helpful and one of the photographers, Chago, is still my buddy to this day. He, incidentally, is now the photo editor.

It was Chago who took this photo of me on my big day. I had had a frontpage photo before, but it was still exciting when it happened. The way the Tribune worked was that the Sunday paper was a big seller and they would keep it in the newspaper rack all week until the next Sunday paper came out.

On this particular day I came to work and stopped on the street outside where I saw my photo not just on one of the papers, but on both. I did a little happy dance right there despite the looks from the guys in the security booth.

The photo on the left is from Easter Sunday and the other photo is from a story on Indiana's first Saint that I had to go all the way to Terre Haute for. 

This photo reminds me of how far I’ve come as a photographer. And it reminds me of how far phone technology has come! Seriously, look at that flip phone. Thank god for iPhones.   

Vegan Spicy Bean Burgers

Its funny how we have certain roles when it comes to food. I am the Katsu Curry, chilli (we debate about this one), falafel and baked goods maker and Billy is in charge of lasagne (his is the best), pizza, calzones, bread and Sunday roasts. We make lots of other things together like Indian dishes but we definitely have our specialities. 

Friday nights have long been Pizza Fridays in the Sully (Su + Billy = Sully) household. But lately we've been feeling a bit bored of the usual pie. So last Friday I opted to make one of Billy's recipes- his Spicy Bean Burgers. I made these once before in Florida when Billy was busy making meat burgers and I had to fend for myself. 

These are really great veggie numbers that are pretty healthy as they are full of, well, beans. As I was in charge of making these guys I decided to make them vegan by using the flaxseed "egg" as a binding agent. I am again in awe of this method as I think it actually worked better than an egg. I was able to get perfectly formed little patties and I got to nibble on the mix while I chopped up the sweet potato wedges. 

Your eyes are not deceiving you, those are sweet potatoes! Every once in a while we'll get a few sweet potatoes that are white and it is always a bit odd eating them because they look like normal potatoes but with all the yumminess of the sweet variety.

The burgers (which we had again last night) freeze very well which makes them a great mid-week meal. I like them with corn on the cob that I grill on the George Foreman so it's healthier that always having the wedges.

Though I love these burgers I still want to try some other recipes. Giraffe has a super tasty falafel, burger with hummus, beetroot, rocket, tzatziki, harissa and best of all halloumi. I make pretty good falafel and tzatziki already so this should be pretty easy.

You can find the burger recipe here. It uses my simple salsa which can be found here. The sweet potato wedges are super easy. You just chop a sweet potato into the wedge shape and mix in a large bowl with a tablespoon Grey Poupon mustard, olive oil, some cayenne pepper and sea salt and pepper. I bake them with a little bit of oil and they are super tasty. Bon App├ętit!

September 7, 2014

It's Salsa Time!

I love Mexican food. I love nachos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, chimichangas, empanadas and tamales. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. But you can't have good Mexican food without salsa.

I've talked before about how I grew up eating out of tins, jars and cardboard boxes (think Kraft mac n' cheese) so its no surprise that my salsa too came from one of these containers. I would make burritos using a tin of refried beans, season my beef from a small packet and use my jar of salsa to top it off. 

It wasn't until I was visiting my bf Jess in Washington DC that I ever saw anyone make salsa- I was I was 27! Jess used her food processor and quickly tossed a few ingredients in and suddenly there was a green salsa that was incredibly spicy but otherwise amazing and it only took minutes to make. My mind was blown! 

Now salsa is a staple in our house. We use it in veggie burgers (see my next post), as a side with steak (when I ate meat) and of course with Mexican food. The great thing about my recipe, which I developed over years of trial and error, is that if you add avocados, then presto, you have guacamole! 

So here is my simple salsa recipe.

September 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Roman Holiday

I've spent the past few days going through old photographs and videos on my computer in an effort to free up my scratch-disk so I can actually do some proper work. Its crazy the photos I've found that I completely forgot about, both professional shots and just-for-fun friend shots. I also came across a ton of 'selfies' from when my husband and I were long-distance dating. We didn't have webcams back then so we relied on photos to remind each other what we looked like!

I've decided to do some 'Throwback Thursday' postings with old shots on my professional website to highlight work that has aged out of my portfolio (you don't want a bunch of old work in your portfolio because people will think you haven't done anything new). I figured it would be a good idea to do it on this blog too. Hopefully I won't embarrass my husband/friends with all of our youthful dalliances. I don't care if I embarrass my family cos lord knows they embarrassed me enough growing up!

This photo is of my dear friends Jess (Larsen) Jukelevich and Meg (Vincent) MacKay at the Colosseum in Rome from December 2003. We were at the end of our semester abroad in London and about to head back to the states. We all look like babies in our early twenties!

Meg and I were mooning over the Scottish boys we had met a few days before when all three of us had gone to an indie club in London. Fast-forward to present day and Meg and I are married to those Scottish boys and Jess is married to her boy who was at the club that night. 

If it hadn't been for Jess neither of us would have met the lads. Jess dragged me out on the dance floor and literally pushed me into the arms of my future husband and we proceeded to dance to the Clash and play some mean air guitar.

Crazy huh? We think it would make a good movie someday.