I’m (Still) With Her

Image result for hillary clinton

On the morning of Tuesday, November 8, 2016, my husband and I signed all the paperwork to begin our journey of starting a family. I’m 37, and we live in a city only two hours away from a country that’s had travel restrictions in place for months due to the Zika virus. Egg freezing and IVF seemed like the most logical option for us as we thought about our future family. Driving back from the appointment, I marveled about how amazing it was that we even had that choice: thanks to so many people fighting for women’s rights and reproductive freedoms, we could choose when and how to start our family. How incredible it was, I said, that we’d someday be able to tell our kids that we started to build our family on the same day our country would elect its first woman president of the United States.

When I was little, I wanted to be the first woman president. Long before I set out on a path of politics, healthcare and marketing, I believed that I could be anything I wanted to be, because I knew I was smart, talented and capable. In my 15 years as a professional, and my 37 years as a woman, I’ve had doubts that those qualities were enough to lead me to success. And last night, the country I live in confirmed that.

This election cycle has been a circus of absurdity from day one of Donald Trump’s ridiculous, gold-plated presidential candidacy announcement. I’ve watched with morbid fascination as he insulted, demeaned, trivialized and lied his way through situation after situation, all the while gaining supporters and the admiration of those who claim to like the way he “tells it like it is.” The media could barely keep up with him: the minute they focused on one point that seemed certain to lead to his ruin, he was off and running in another, more horrible direction. Every time I thought “this will end him,” he proved me wrong. Throughout it, I grew more and more mystified: how the fuck was he doing this??? Were his supporters stupid or just hateful? All the while, Hillary Clinton, a woman with more experience, talent and knowledge than perhaps any other presidential candidate in this lifetime – who was, I’m sure, thinking the same goddamn thing – kept her cool. And do you know why she had to? Because she’s a woman.

Let’s not mince words: it fucking sucks to be a woman in a man’s world. I say that because that’s my truth. I know what it’s like to be in a professional setting as the only woman in a room full of men, knowing you are just as smart, confident and capable as them – if not more so – and still know inherently that I needed to “know my role.” Be a little more demure. Laugh a little more than necessary at their jokes. Let them man-splain something to me that I already knew better than they did. Because it’s one thing to be smart, talented and capable. But it’s another thing to let on that you know you are.

Quick poll: how many men have had a stranger or co-worker come up to them and, unsolicited, tell you to “smile!” Zero? That’s how many I’d guess. On the contrary, the amount of times this has happened to me in both my professional and personal life is too many to count. It’s as if I exist, to a certain group of strangers, for no other reason than to look nice and make them feel good about themselves. It doesn’t matter why I’m not smiling: maybe I’m thinking about how to work through a crisis situation, maybe it’s just my resting bitch face. No matter. If you’re a certain kind of guy and I’m in your eyeline looking anything other than pleasant, it’s your obligation to tell me to look nicer for you. I’m not your equal. I’m your object.

With this election, this country has commanded women to “smile.” They have said that yes, they know who Donald Trump is. They acknowledge his hatred, his lies, his corruption, his charade of “character,” his homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny and racism. A large part of America is grateful to him for validating these qualities they share, for giving their hatred a voice. But another large part of the population looked at all of this and shrugged all, “Meh. Still better than a woman.”

Why don’t you like Hillary? Emails. Benghazi. “Corruption.” This is bullshit. You don’t like her because of who she is. You call her “dishonest” and “arrogant” when she displays the same qualities that could and would get a man elected. You don’t like the way she looks. She isn’t smiley enough. She doesn’t know her role.

Driving home yesterday, I thought about all those meetings when I was the only woman in a room full of men. I thought about all the times I’d been labeled a bitch when a man could have exhibited the same decisiveness and strength and been applauded for it. I thought about how hard I’ve worked to get where I am and how tough I’ve had to be to get over what people think of me when I knew what I was doing was right, if unpopular. I thought about when I was passed over for a job that was given to a man less qualified than me. I thought about all the times I discovered I was being paid tens of thousands less to do the same job that a male coworker was doing, even though I was working harder. And I imagined with hope our country electing Hillary Rodham Clinton as its president and all of that beginning to change.

Instead, by electing Trump as president, this country told me that my value is less because I am a woman. I can be as smart, confident, talented and capable as you can imagine, but it doesn’t ultimately matter because this is still a boys’ club. I am angry and I am deeply sad. I am heartbroken for Hillary, for our generations of young women and for the future of this country.

My (ever-patient, loving, supportive, super-smart and handsome) husband is an environmental journalist. I’m a healthcare professional living in the state of Texas who wants to start a family. What does this presidency mean for our careers? What does it mean for our lives? How can we bring a child into a world of ruin when we’ve both worked so hard to create positive change within it? Donald Trump has repeatedly come out against everything we are and everything we work to further. And the country I live in looked at all he stood for and said “Yup. Let a man do the man’s job, no matter who that man actually is.” I know that we’re going to have to work ten times harder now to prove ourselves and create any sort of positive change. Maybe that will start tomorrow, because I sure don’t have it in me today.

So thanks, America. For now we’ll just grin and bear it.

Spinach Pie


IMG_1909

Ughhh, I love this so much. It’s like a giant spanikopita, which is one of my favorite foods in the world. It’s both healthy and indulgent enough, needs almost zero seasoning, and can be prepped the day before, then assembled after work for a quick meal that’s ready in no time flat.

  • 32 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained really well
  • 1.5 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 C. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • One sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg (for egg wash on puff pastry)

1.Preheat oven to 375.

2.Heat the 1.5 TBSP EVOO over medium in a large saucepan.

3.Dice onion and mince garlic, then add to the saucepan and stir until soft and translucent.

4.Remove onion mixture from saucepan and set aside to cool.

5.Wring out as much liquid as possible from thawed spinach, using a cheesecloth, or in small fistfuls with your hands.  This is key so you don’t have a soggy spinach pie.

6.In a large bowl, combine the spinach, the room-temperature garlic and onion mixture, the feta, nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill, lemon and two eggs. Mix well to combine. If you’re going to make this the day before, so the flavors really meld together, leave out the eggs until the next day.

IMG_1902

7.Roll out the sheet of puff pastry according to directions, then line a standard-size pie pan with it.

IMG_1901

8.Top the pastry with the spinach mixture, evenly spreading it around the pie pan.

IMG_1903

9.Fold pastry over itself, then brush with the egg wash (use the remaining egg for this).

IMG_1904

10.Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.

IMG_1906

11.Let cool for five minutes, cut and serve.

IMG_1908

 

Lemon Chicken

FullSizeRender_3
This was honestly one of the best meals I’ve made in a long, long time. First of all, it’s super easy. Second of all, it made our house smell amazing. Third of all, it’s bright and light and so delicious we both were practically licking the sauce from the plate. I couldn’t wait to have leftovers the next day.

LEMON CHICKEN (serves 4 – recipe from Ina Garten)

2 lbs. chicken breast, skin on (this is critical to the dish, don’t get skinless breasts)
1/4 c. EVOO
8 cloves minced garlic
1/3 C. dry white wine
Zest of two lemons (be sure not to grate into the white part, or the “pith” – this will make the dish really bitter)
Juice of two lemons
1 Lemon, cut into six quarters
1.5 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher Salt & freshly cracked black pepper

1.Preheat the oven to 400.

2.In a small saucepan, warm the EVOO over medium heat, then add the mined garlic and cook until fragrant, about 60 second. Remove from heat.

3.Add white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 tsp. salt, stir to combine. Pour into a medium size baking dish.

FullSizeRender_1

4.Pat the chicken breasts dry and season with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Add to the baking dish with the sauce, skin-side up.

FullSizeRender

5.Take the six quarters of unsqueezed lemon and tuck them among the chicken breasts.

FullSizeRender_2

6.Bake, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is done and the skin is light brown. If you use a meat thermometer and it indicates the chicken is done, but the skin isn’t brown and crispy, just crank up the broiler and cook for about 2 minutes, making sure not to burn it.

7.Remove, loosely tent with foil, then serve. We had this with quinoa and roasted veggies, and spooned the lemon sauce all over everything. So, so good.

FullSizeRender_4

Bacon-wrapped Asparagus


FullSizeRender_2

What’s better than grilled asparagus? Grilled asparagus, wrapped in bacon. These were so simple to make and completely delicious, and totally worth the little bit of a smoky kitchen. Throw open those windows and get ready to make this fantastic side!

BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 4 pieces bacon
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • Pinch of Kosher salt

1.Preheat the oven to 400.

2.Trim the asparagus – you can either just snap off the ends or cut them. Wash and dry well.

3.Divide the stalks into four even bundles.

FullSizeRender

4.Wrap one piece of bacon around each bundle, making sure not to overlap the bacon as much as possible. This is key to getting the bacon to cook at pretty much the same rate the asparagus does.

FullSizeRender_1

5.Place each assembled bundle on a cooling rack over a foil-covered baking sheet (this will create a little convection-cooking and allow the bacon to cook evenly). Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

6.Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through. Serve and enjoy!

IMG_1524

Pitaya (Dragonfruit) Breakfast Bowl

FullSizeRender_1

I’ve been sporadically buying these for a couple weeks down here in San Antonio, and realized lately I better learn how to make them myself, because $9 for a breakfast bowl is notttt happening. Dragonfruit (or Pitaya, if you want to be really fancy about it) is a crazy-looking fruit that’s packed with antioxidants and is a gorgeous bright pink color the stuff my eight year old birthday party dreams were made of. I combined a frozen smoothie pack of this with some coconut water and frozen cubes of fresh papaya and banana, plus about a tablespoon of chia seeds that I soaked overnight. Then, you blend it into “eat with a spoon,” not “drink with a straw” texture, top artfully with fruit and toppings of your choice and serve to your fiance, who will think this is so pretty he’ll instagram it (Hi Brendan!).

PITAYA (DRAGONFRUIT) BREAKFAST BOWL (makes 1)

  • 1 packet Pitaya Plus Smoothie Pack (NEPA friends – check Wegman’s)
  • 1/2 frozen banana (peeled and cut into slices)
  • small handful frozen papaya cubes
  • Coconut water, about 1/3 a cup
  • 1 tbsp. soaked chia seeds (optional)
  • Toppings (your choice): Sliced fresh banana, raspberries, blueberries, coconut flakes, granola, kiwi, etc.

1. In a Nutribullet or a blender, combine the smoothie pack, frozen banana and papaya, chia seeds and coconut water. Blend until it’s an “eat with a spoon” consistency (add more frozen banana or even ice to thicken it, or more coconut water to thin it).

FullSizeRender IMG_0981

2. Pour carefully into a smallish bowl.

3. Top creatively with fruit, granola, coconut etc. There are so many options for this beautiful, insanely healthy way to start your day. Enjoy!

FullSizeRender_2

 

 

Cauli-rice


FullSizeRender (3)

I swear, cauliflower is one of my favorite sneaky little foods. It seems so boring and basic, but then all of a sudden, it’s cauliflower mashed “potatoes” that would easily pass for the real thing. Or it’s an insanely flavorful roasted little snack. Or it’s blended with potatoes and a hearty, comfort-food-style soup.  I kept reading about cauliflower “rice” and – amazingly – doubting its ability to be awesome. And then I tried it, and once again, cauliflower surprised me. This was so delicious (and healthy!), I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the real deal.

CAULI-RICE (serves 2)

  • Half a head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  1. Carefully cut away most of the stems of half a head of cauliflower. Working in batches, pulse in a food processor until the texture resembles rice.

FullSizeRender (1)

2. Heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add cauliflower to the skillet when oil is heated, then cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. You want to let this sit a bit to pick up some flavor from browning, so don’t stir it more than once or twice.

FullSizeRender (2)

4. When cauliflower is ready, serve alongside just about anything. We had ours with salmon in parchment for a super-simple, heart-healthy Sunday dinner.

FullSizeRender (4)

 

 

 

Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Honey, Basil and Sea Salt


CS2

Winter in San Antonio has been…not terrible. While the poor East Coast is getting Snowzilla’ed, we’re outside enjoying the sunshine. And Central Market is currently having their Citrus Celebration, which features about 60 different kinds of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, etc. It’s beautiful and delicious and makes me happy every time I set foot in that store.

This salad is perfect as either an appetizer or a dessert. Blood oranges are seasonal, and sweeter than a typical orange, but the addition of a little drizzle of honey, some flaked citrus salt (if you have it, if not, regular salt will work too) and some julienned basil is the most amazing combination. So many flavors!!

BLOOD ORANGE CITRUS SALAD WITH HONEY, BASIL AND SEA SALT (Serves 2)

  • Two blood oranges
  • Local honey, approx. 1 tsp. per salad
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • Pinch of flaked citrus salt or regular sea salt
  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the orange, so it can stand on one end. Then, carefully remove the skin with a sharp knife, making sure you don’t cut away too much of the orange.

FullSizeRender

2. Cut orange into slices, width-wise, and arrange on a plate.

3. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt and top with julienned basil. Serve immediately.

CS3

citrus

Look at all this citrus!!! Come on!!

Paleo Chicken Fingers (Gluten-free)


IMG_0561

Ok, to preface this  – I am not “going gluten-free.” However, I’m half Sicilian, and I love pasta way too much. And I also have a wedding dress I need to fit into in seven months, so something’s got to be done. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free recipes during the week, and “cheating” during the weekends. It keeps me in check with what I’m consuming, especially down here in Texas, and the portion control piece of all of this is also working out better than I expected. After three months of indulging in our new city, it’s time to reign it back in. And it’s a testament to these recipes that Brendan had NO CLUE I’d decided to start eating, and cooking, gluten-free. These were seriously delicious.

PALEO CHICKEN TENDERS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. chicken breast or chicken tenders
  • 1.5 C almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great combo of the meal/flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prep your setup: in one bowl, have the eggs. In another, larger bowl, combine the almond meal with the spices. IMG_0559
  3. Using a fork (this will keep your hands from getting all breaded, themselves) dip the pieces of chicken first in the eggs, then on both sides in the almond meal, lightly pressing to make sure the almond meal forms a good coating on the chicken.
  4. Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray or rub some olive oil on it.
  5. Place the “breaded” chicken on the baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once, until golden and chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with a side of honey mustard – I made this by just combining dijon mustard with a little honey and a little mayo – and some green beans.  So good.

IMG_0560

San Antonio – AndWhatIDid (for the past two months, at least)

It’s been a a little while, I know. This transition to San Antonio over the past two months has been just that…a transition. Both my job and Brendan’s are going really well, we’re finally getting the hang of the layout of this city, we’ve had some serious eats at some awesome restaurants, we’ve been doing a lot of cool activities but best of all, we’ve been doing it together. It’s a good thing he’s my best friend since we have been spending a LOT of time together. Making friends in a new city is harder than I remembered, but maybe I’m just missing my friends and my family. In any event, it’s been great to be living in a city again – we’re taking advantage of it. Here’s what we’ve been doing, next up is what (and where) we’ve been eating.

Moving day morning snuggles with Colly, Mom and Murray before hitting the road.

IMG_1476 IMG_1481  IMG_1489 IMG_1490

IMG_1484

Co-pilot game strong since 1997

Traveling through the southern states, spent a night in Knoxville and another in New Orleans – first time for both! Tennessee is so much prettier than I expected it to be and New Orleans was like Vegas for me: a quick trip in and out, some good eats, a little fun, cross it off the list.

IMG_1496  IMG_1497 IMG_1504 IMG_1520 IMG_1541 IMG_1549

Got to San Antonio after three days of driving and almost three weeks away from Bren.

IMG_1554 IMG_1558

La Crema for less than $10 a bottle at Trader Joe’s? Shopping at Anthropologie  in my city? Two reasons I love San Antonio.

IMG_1586 IMG_1616

La Fonda quickly became one of our favorite places for its around-the-corner location, awesome food and the enormous Live Oak canopy on the backyard patio. Also awesome: scoring box seats to the Rampage, the rosemary in this city that grows like San Antonio was Seattle, “Ice Houses”, which are basically outdoor bars in every neighborhood.

IMG_1647 IMG_1654 IMG_1667 IMG_1765

Brendan: bed hog, camping enthusiast and belated birthday-celebrator.

IMG_1775 IMG_1781 IMG_1807 IMG_1814 IMG_1819 IMG_1818

Before we moved here, everyone was all “Ohhh, the River Walk!”, and I thought, “How good could this possibly be?”  It really is. The Museum Reach portion of it, with art installations every block or so, is probably my favorite part, but the whole thing is just so beautiful and unique. It’s probably my favorite piece about living in San Antonio.

IMG_1841 IMG_1843 IMG_1844

Went back to Colorado to surprise Brendan’s family and his grandparents for Thanksgiving. They’re all such great people and I’m so excited they’re going to be my in-laws.

IMG_1969

Love that man. <3

IMG_1956 IMG_1985 IMG_2010 IMG_2073 IMG_1994 IMG_2014 IMG_2040 IMG_2080

IMG_2088

Brendan and I stayed up until 4 a.m. one night, DEAD SOBER, to finish this puzzle we’d started a little before midnight.

San Antonio’s music scene may not be as well-known as Austin’s, but it’s strong. I love having the option of walking to shows just about any night of the week. Architecture in this city is also pretty incredible – Brendan’s office building is gorgeous, and are you kidding me with that Majestic Theatre???

IMG_0040 IMG_0015 IMG_0002 IMG_2103

The Octopus Project at Paper Tiger, Tamale Fest at The Pearl, Christmas Tree cutting.

IMG_0041 IMG_0050 IMG_0057 IMG_0061 IMG_0063 IMG_0079

The sunset here on my Dad’s birthday, wedding venue dreaming (8.6.16 in Breckenridge – check out that view!!), lit-up Cinderella carriages downtown, San Antonio Museum of Art, concert in a cave (which my environmental-journalist-fiance called his best date ever), 108 sun salutations in honor of the winter solstice.

IMG_0111 IMG_0112 IMG_0168 IMG_0229 IMG_0218 IMG_0236 IMG_0238 IMG_0260 IMG_0262 IMG_0278 IMG_0279 IMG_0290

Such thoughtful Christmas gifts from my cousins, how Christmas looks via Skype when Delta delays your flight a full TWO DAYS, ON CHRISTMAS, so your only alternative is to cancel your flight home and stay in Texas (don’t even get me started, I had a fullblown meltdown), Christmas weekend in Austin, where we ate the best Italian food I’ve had so far in this state, visited these ancient springs and saw a seven-months pregnant woman juggle a table, a vase and two of her three children, ON HER FEET. #KeepAustinWeird

IMG_0374

Don’t worry. I saved him.

IMG_0296 IMG_0332 IMG_0324 IMG_0361 IMG_0363 IMG_0371 IMG_0378 IMG_0383

Coming up next – AndWhatIAte. San Antonio is so much more than tacos!!