The Big News!

{dramatic pause}

We're moving to Bellingham, Washington!

Okay, so I know I was slow to post it here, and a lot of you know by now. But there it is, the big news that we've been waiting for for 10 years (sorry to disappoint those that thought I was pregnant.) ;)

When Andy (my then boyfriend, now husband) told me more than 10 years ago that he wanted to go to graduate school with the eventual goal of teaching at the University level, I never thought the journey would be as long, complicated, frustrating, or uncontrollable as it was. Now that we're on the other side of it, I can also say it's been wonderful, amazing, humbling, eye-opening, and an adventure...but if we had known all those years ago what we were signing up for, I'm not sure we would have made the same choices. Nevertheless, life takes us all in crazy directions that we're not prepared for, so I'm so happy to be where we are today. After 5 years of grad school, a 3 year post-doc postition in California, and 2 years of a post-doc position here in Seattle, we are moving--finally and permanently!-- as Andy takes a tenure-track faculty position at Western Washington University!

In pursuit of his dream, we have sacrificed being able to start a family, buy a house, make a stable income, and I've had to quit jobs that I have loved. Of course, this is all on top of having to leave friends and family repeatedly and start over nearly completely in new cities 3 times in 5 years. But the end is in sight, and we are over-the-moon thrilled with where we are landing! Bellingham is a beautiful little city, about 90 miles north of Seattle and 20 miles south of the Canadian border, right on the coast of Puget Sound and in the shadow of the North Cascade mountains. Ever since moving to Seattle, we have felt at home in the Pacific Northwest, and now we never have to leave. The photo above is from our whale watching trip last fall, and while it's not quite of Bellingham it's very close to where we'll be, and looks just like this. Mt. Baker, which you can see in the background, looms over the area spreading it's mountain-y good vibes. :)

Thanks for sharing the exciting news with me!  



Frijoles Con Todo

Hiya, friends. I've had a few posts lined up, but we've had a bit of a roller-coaster couple of weeks around here, which has resulted in some news that I'm not quite ready to post on the internet yet (tantalizing, right?!). I'll share the deets as soon as I'm able, but in the meantime, now that things have settled down a bit, I'm here to share a tasty somethin' somethin' I whipped up recently.


When we lived in Berkeley, one of our very favorite places to eat was Tacubaya, which was essentially a fancied-up taqueria with delicious Mexican food of all kinds. The frijoles con todo ("beans with everything" for those who don't hablo espanol) were something that I often mused that I should try to make myself sometime, but somehow never managed to think of it at, y'know, a meal-time decision making moment (a.k.a. the ever-constant "what's for dinner?"), until recently. The thought of these beans popped up seemingly randomly, over 2 years since we lived in Berkeley and on a grey, Seattle afternoon. Aren't thoughts weird?

I digress.

BEANS. The staff of life. So much of the world lives on beans as a staple food, or a variation thereof. This makes basically just a big, tasty pot of flavorful beans, and then you can add whatever you like on top. Plus, it's stupid easy. Here's what you'll need:

FROJOLES CON TODO (adapted from here)


2 cups dry pinto beans
4-6 c. veggie or chicken stock
3-5 garlic cloves
½  white onion
1 jalapeño
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Mexican oregano
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
S+P to taste

TOPPINGS (suggestions)

diced red or green onion
sour cream
sliced avocado
crumbled cotija or feta cheese
bite sized pieces of Oaxaca cheese
halved grape tomatoes
diced peppers (red/green = milder), serrano/jalapeño = hotter)
minced fresh cilantro
poached egg

...and here's how to do:

Rinse and pick over your beans. I have never found a rock or weird thing in my dried beans, but it always says to do that, so I do, because the one time I skip it is the time there's some kid's stray Lego or something in them. Add the picked over beans to a large pot with the stock, and heat to just boiling. Knock back the heat so that the beans are just at a low simmer. Take a few garlic cloves, peel and smash them, and throw them in whole. Peel and cut the root end off of your onion, and drop it in. Slice the stem off of the jalapeño, and drop her into the pool with the rest of the kids.  Add all the spices and THAT'S IT. Pretty much, anyway. You just want to give it a stir once and awhile, and keep an eye on the moisture level. When it gets low, add a bit more stock or some water. They'll take about 2 hours total, so when they start to be about 80% of the way done and they begin to thicken, you'll need to keep a sharper eye on them. You want just enough liquid in there for them to cook all the way, but you don't want to be left with too much when they're done. At about 80% doneness, I'd keep the liquid level no more than 1/2" inch over the beans, and add liquid more frequently if need be. Once everything is tender, adjust the seasonings--including salt, especially if you used more water than stock to cook.

Spoon it up, and top it off as you like!


// You can choose to leave the onion, garlic, and jalapeño in that you added at the beginning, or pull them out at the end. I found that they pretty much disintegrated into the beans, and the bites that had a bit extra of one of these were extra tasty.

// Serve with warmed corn tortillas to scoop up all of the bean-y goodness.

Next time I'm back here, I'll share the news we've been siting on!