Um, Welcome Back, Charlotte…? Or… Huh???

After the traumatic loss of Charlotte the spider, I was astonished to make my way out to the car a few days ago and find this remarkably familiar spider hanging out on the side mirror.

Charlotte? Is that you?

OMG! You didn’t die!

Ok, but here’s the weird part: After that awesome reassurance that I hadn’t let our spider friend plunge to her death on Roosevelt Road, I haven’t seen her since.

Was it her ghost? Or perhaps she is alive and was calling on me to stick out her spider tongue and say, “Ha! I lived and now I found a better place to reside than your stinkin’ side mirror!”

I’m now fairly confident that Charlotte is either in a better abode, or stuck in some sort of spider purgatory where she can occasionally come by and stick it to me.

Either way, I’m satisfied.

An end of summer second attempt at a window garden

If you’ve been following closely, you’ll know that I recently downsized from a house back into an apartment.  While I love the apartment, I can’t say I don’t occasionally miss having a little plot of land to dig in the dirt.

To fill the void, I spent a good portion of my summer digging in someone else’s dirt.  A lot of it.  I worked at Midnight Sun Farm this summer and got free vegetables in return.  We also planted a little window garden at the apartment.

Which was really beautiful.

Until it died.

Record heat, no rain, and too many jobs were the culprit in killing the little window garden.  But fear not, I managed to save the marigolds for a little while, and one of the pansy plants lives on!

Using the basil plant I got in the CSA box a few weeks back, and two geraniums I picked up at the farmer’s market last week, and the garden is back in action and looking lovely.  As I write this I’m gazing out my sunny dining room windows, past my little pink geraniums toward Chicago’s far north skyline, and thinking, life is pretty good, Lauren.

P.S. Seeing as I killed a bunch of Marigold plants, I thought now would be a good time to save seeds for next year. Inspired, I made this rather shoddy video showing you how!

A quick moment for gloating

When I first wake up in the morning, I usually take a big stretch, scratch my belly, and check my feeds.  I browse Facebook and Twitter and update my Words With Friends.  Occasionally I glance at the news.  Then I eventually roll out of bed and get my day going.

So this morning was extra special when I pulled up the Huffington Post’s Arts and Culture page and saw this:

That’s me, the headliner, dishing about naked dancing.  ON THE HUFFINGTON POST.

Maybe you didn’t know that this isn’t my only blog… I also write about dance on my own site, as well as here and here. And did you happen to catch the guest spot I wrote here?!?  And it just so happened that my recent post on 4dancers.org was pitched to HuffPo and they liked it.

Anyway…

Had I known all it would take was talking about modern dance in the buff to get in at Huffington Post, I would have done it a lot sooner.

In any case, I’m simply tickled to be part of the the team of esteemed bloggers at HuffPo, and couldn’t resist taking a minute to brag.

Video: How to core and quarter tomatoes

I spent a lot of my Labor Day in the kitchen with lots and lots of tomatoes.  I bought 10 pound from my local farmers market and though my intended sauce turned out like juice (this is the topic of another post, perhaps), I thought that it would be fun to start a tiny little how-to video series!

I have tons of recipe books, but sometimes instead of browsing through index after index I find it’s just easier to google stuff that I want to know instantly.

So here I am on the YouTube, in my teensy apartment kitchen (hey, a lot of awesome stuff comes out of that little room…), giving a quick lesson on how to core tomatoes.  The video is tiny, like my kitchen, because it was taken by iphone… but you’ll get the idea.

So, what do we think? Yay? Nay?  Want more of these? Let me know!

So long, Charlotte.

For the past month, there’s been a spider living in the side mirror.

After about a week, she earned a name, Charlotte (naturally).

She grew larger and spun intricate webs.  Sometimes she would enjoy a breezy ride down Lake Shore Drive in the mornings.  Other times she would hang out in the mirror, only to reappear days later.  Yesterday as I was driving with the window down she managed to get inside the car, and, thinking we were tight I placed her on my pen to coax her back to the mirror.  With two inches to go, Charlotte feel off my pen and I haven’t seen her since.

Ok, so I got attached to a spider.  Whatever.

I can just only hope that she’s in a better side mirror now.

So, so long, Charlotte, wherever you are.

What happened to What’s in the Box? and, a recipe for tacos

I’ll tell you what happened.

I couldn’t keep up.

and then I went on vacation.

and then, I thought, those posts just didn’t seem that interesting to me anyway.

So I ditched the weekly updates on what arrived in my box of deliciousness and opted to spend the time eating said deliciousness instead.  What has resulted is perhaps one of the most culinarily creative summers I’ve had to date, and a REALLY conscious effort to not let anything go to waste.  Once you’ve weeded carrots with your own hands you’ll never let them turn flimsy and brown in the fridge again.

So now comes that point in the post where I share a recipe, and although I can’t take credit for the nifty taco shell because I saw it on The Garden Pantry‘s Facebook Page and had to try it.  The rest?  Leftovers.

Lauren’s Leftover Taco Night

Ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas (make sure they are good quality and extra soft)
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 onion, diced
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • lime
  • whatever veg is in your fridge: I used lettuce, scallions, cherry tomatoes

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 deg-F.  Using a muffin pan turned upside down, press tortillas into the notches and spray with cooking spray.  Bake 10 minutes for cute little crispy taco shells.

Brown the ground turkey in a skillet coated in non-stick cooking spray over medium high heat.  Add the taco seasoning and diced onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent.  Place turkey aside on a plate covered in paper towel to drain oil.

Prepare your tacos in the shells.  with the meat on the bottom.  Add your toppings, squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top, and pour yourself a margarita.

 

Recipe for the Perfect Picnic

Brie.

Grapes.

Italian bread.

Wine. Red.

Add a little greenery, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a bumpin’ twitter feed and a few thousand of my closest friends, and this is the making of a beautiful evening.  

People do it up right at The Ravinia Festival.

There’s the mad dash from the gate. The in-fighting over the shaded spots close to the Pavilion.  The pop up tables, real crystal, and vases of flowers.  Everything you’ve heard about Ravinia is true.  It’s at times chaotic and dripping with wealth, but the North Shore folks in khaki pants and claustrophobic lawn quickly fade away once the music kicks in.  You settle into your bottle of wine, gaze up at the trees, and all your worries melt away. 

For just ten bucks, you can sit in the most beautiful back yard in the tri-county area and hear some of the best musicians in the world.  This particular Sunday it happened to be Idina Menzel with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Admittedly sniffly, and suprisingly crass, that bitch can sing.

What a glorious way to spend a summer evening. 

Lauren relaxing on the lawn at Ravinia Festival