October 27, 2011

Creative Juices Flowing.

This one is bound to cheer you up:

The Black Keys' new single "Lonely Boy" is out today digitally. On November 25, as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday series, it will be released on 12" vinyl  backed by "Run Right Back".

The new Black Keys album will be out December 6 on Nonesuch worldwide. As previously reported, the album was co-produced by the Black Keys and Danger Mouse.
The cover art for the single, below, features a photo taken by drummer Pat Carney's brother, Michael, who is the band's creative director. The building where the Black Keys recorded their album Rubber Factory once stood in the place of that bulldozer and pile of bricks.

October 21, 2011

A Place to Call One's Own.

How many of you had some sort of play house or tree house or something of the like growing up? A place to call your own, a place where you could set the rules. To be perfectly honest I was always quite jealous of those that fell in this camp, instead I resorted to building forts (admitedly they were super awesome, but a legitimate structure they were not).

I stumbled upon this picture and thought it was such an awesome use of space to dedicate to child's play. Let the games begin (and the imagination run wild!).
Photo Courtesy of.

October 20, 2011

ManEaters on the Loose.

Apparently this story is for real:

And the horrific aftermath:

A list of dead animals included 18 Bengal tigers, 20 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, a baboon and a wolf, while a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys were recaptured.

Owner Terry Thompson, who had been charged with animal cruelty 11 times since 2004, was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted wound when authorities went to the farm after reports of animals running free.

But this whole mess begs further answers about the dealers of exotic animals. How? Why?

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/5817626/Wild-animals-on-loose-after-keeper-suicides

October 18, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato with a Twist.

This recipe is a fun twist on the classic comfort food -- a loaded baked potato. It is brought to you via one of my favorite cooking blogs, Sprouted Kitchen, a blog I find myself following more for its mouth watering photography than recipes, but sometimes the two combine into a force to contend with.

Meet baked sweet potatoes with chili beans.


Medium sweet potato
Medium sweet white onion
1 tsp olive oil
One large beefsteak tomato (or canned whole tomatoes in juices, if no longer in season)
Two cloves garlic
Pinch of salt
Duck bacon (optional)
1 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from can)
One 20 oz can pinto beans
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp honey or nectar agave
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
Twist fresh ground black pepper

Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped green onions
Sour cream or greek style plain yogurt (whole or 2%)

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Pierce holes in the sweet potatoes/yams with a fork, lightly wrap them in foil, and bake on the middle rack for about 45-55 minutes until soft.

2. Cut onion in half and thinly slice into half moon shapes. Pour olive oil into skillet on medium heat, heat gently, add onions and saute until slightly wilted. Cut tomato into thin wedges and add to pan. Add chopped garlic cloves and a pinch of salt.

3. I happened to have some duck bacon on hand (highly recommended!) so I decided to add 3 pre-cooked slices (cut into smaller than bite size pieces) to add depth and robustness to the flavor of the dish. Regular bacon could do the trick, but be careful with respect to adding any additional salt as most store bought bacon tends to be very high in salt content.

4. Dice the chipotle pepper into smaller than bite size pieces and add additional liquids from the can into the onion/tomato mixture as desired according to ability to tolerate heat. I spooned the pinto beans into the pan with a slotted spoon reserving the extra liquid in the can for adding into the pan one spoonful at a time, depending on taste, desired texture, and need to dilute some of the heat from the chipotle pepper.

5. Add the cumin, honey/nectar agave, cinnamon, paprika, and black pepper to taste.

6. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat for an additional 20 minutes cooking time while the flavors combine. Continue to add liquid from the pinto beans to taste and desired level of spiciness.

7. As the sweet potatoes finish, remove from oven and let cool for ~10 minutes. Slice in 1/2 and create a little cavern down the middle. Fill the potato with the pinto bean mixture and add desired toppings. The sour cream/yogurt is a refreshing and cooling contrast to the spice of the pinto bean mixture, while the fresh cilantro and the diced green onions provide a nice, crisp contrast to the sweet potatoes. 


October 5, 2011

Just Another Day on the Job.

Today, I learned that my company is officially restructuring and that my group may cease to exist, at least in the form into which I was hired. Oh Joy!

Photo Source: http://completelytotallymadly.blogspot.com/2011/09/oh-monday.html

October 1, 2011

My New Favorite Band.

Just as Andrei promised (er, threatened) the title for this post has in fact become true.
One of the most exciting aspects of being home is having the chance to see some of long time favorite bands live. Orkkervil River kicked off a great fall season of live music for us, on our cotton anniversary in Richmond. Felice Brothers rocked out at the long time favorite venue, Black Cat this past Wednesday. And Bonnie Prince Billy will surely put on an unforgettable show at the Birchmere this Sunday. Tickets are still available - come one, come all!

In the mean time, here is a shout out to a good friend who was the first on the welcome band wagon for our arrival into DC. O, Dana.