That time I almost stole a kayak in Poland.

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Ok, I might be exaggerating slightly. But not much, actually. I really did almost steal a kayak. The only thing that held us back was the lack of an oar, and therefore no way to steer ourselves down the adjacent river.

So I suppose the next step in this story is to give you some context. Because you’re probably just thinking I’m some asshole who tries to steal people’s kayaks, but I promise you it’s not like that. (Ok, it’s only sort of like that.) Also, I just switched from “I” to “us” in the previous paragraph without warning, and I swear it’s because there were other people involved, and not because I think of myself in the plural. We’re not that crazy.

ANYWAY. A few weeks ago, I went to Poland for work. As many of you know by now, this usually means I go to a foreign country and I spend a LOT of hours in a field watching people play ultimate frisbee and/or selling apparel to said ultimate frisbee players. And then, once us frisbee people leave the fields, weird things happen. Because that’s how we roll. Also, we’ve all gone insane from spending 12 hours a day in a fucking field, and we don’t know how to properly behave in the real world.

And so, on this particular Saturday night, we got into all sorts of shenanigans. The tournament had ended earlier that afternoon, so all the staff were finally done and allowed to actually let loose and enjoy themselves. So that night, it was time to go. And I mean, “let’s fucking GO” level go.

First, I should begin by saying that the crew involved consisted of 4 Brits, 2 Canadians, and myself. We all work in the ultimate frisbee world, in some capacity. So by default, we’re all a bit weird, and totally 100% awesome.

The night started with champagne. Actually, I think we had hard cider first. But then champagne. And then we went out for a very late, incredibly magnificent dinner which involved a very large beer, and then more wine. (And holy shit so much food. Pretty sure the Canadian dude ate 3 entrees because he is apparently a human garbage disposal. I mean that in the best, and most impressed, way.)

And THEN we went to this insane beach bar along the river, which also happened to be right next to the zoo. As we walked through the forest on the way to the bar, we kept passing ridiculous graffiti showing zoo animals who were apparently going into space. I promise you I’m not lying. The images were very upsetting, just look:

IMG_0471I don’t know what this octopus did to deserve being sent into space against its will, but it made me sad.

I was fascinated by the graffiti, as was this British guy Jon. We were so enthralled by the crazy space animals, in fact, that the two of quickly lagged behind the rest of the group. We stopped to marvel at them and took several selfies. And then we lost everyone.

So when we found a beach bar, we assumed we were in the right place. So we bought a beer, and then looked around and realized that there were definitely no frisbee people there. And I think everyone thought we were insane because we wouldn’t stop talking about the “crazy bird” and the “space octopus.” I only hoped that everyone there assumed these were our code names and that we were really awesome special agents. (I’m certain this is what they thought. There’s no other explanation for our behavior.)

We already had a beer in hand, so we figured we would drink it and then continue onwards to find the group. And frankly I don’t remember if we kept walking, or if frisbee people just appeared out of nowhere, because suddenly we were in the right place and everyone we knew was there too. It all seemed to happen rather magically.

We ordered more beers and then spent some time sitting on a very funky piece of architecture that I believe Jon referred to as a “geometric orgasm.” I wish I had a photo of it, but I don’t. It was pretty cool, though. His description was fairly accurate, to say the least.

And that’s when we saw the kayaks.

So here’s a little thing about me: when I get drunk, I like to do things that a) I probably wouldn’t want to do while sober and b) seem WAY more fun than they actually are. So at that particular moment, I was inexplicably excited about sitting in a kayak. Actually, I think I was more excited about the prospect of going down the river in said kayak, but getting into it was step one.

Fortunately, Jon (who I had only just met) turned out to be as ridiculous as I am, so he was as excited about this idea as I was. So we went to the kayaks. And we crawled into one. And I think we sat there for a good hour, with the very serious intention of actually taking the kayak down the river, but lamenting the fact that we didn’t have an oar. Pretty sure someone was hiding the oars from us, probably because whoever owns the bar is very smart and knows that stupid drunk people will otherwise try to steal their kayaks. (We totally would have stolen that kayak. Totally.)

IMG_0499This is a terrible photo, but it proves the existence of the kayaks and us being in them.

Eventually we got out of the kayak, because sitting in a non-stolen kayak and doing nothing gets pretty boring after a while. But then we were hanging out on the floating dock next to the kayaks, and the Canadians thought it would be funny to untie the floating dock from the thing it was attached to. While Jon and I were on it.

So for a brief moment, a new idea came to be: Let’s take this raft down the river!

IMG_0500Our Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn rafting adventure begins! (Except not.)

We very quickly realized that was a terrible idea and we would probably die, but fortunately there was still one tiny chain keeping us attached to the mainland. (Without which, we were totally fucked, actually. Because, if you can’t tell from the photo, there was no way off the raft at that particular moment.)

But then, as Jon attempted to pull us back using that tiny chain, it snapped. I was completely unaware of this fact, but he began to panic and kept telling me to “Jump! Hurry, jump to the other dock!” while I kept saying “Dude, chill out, you’re overreacting.” Because I just thought he was being a sissy. But apparently, for a brief moment, we almost actually floated away down the river. Which would have been exciting, but then I probably wouldn’t be around to tell you this story, so I’m kind of glad that didn’t happen.

And of course, in the midst of all of this chaos, we continued to drink beer. In fact, despite the fact that we’d just had a near-death experience*, we managed to continue drinking for several hours. And then a wedding party showed up after their reception, which apparently had been at the zoo. We thought a zoo reception was pretty cool, until this guy kept yelling “DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARY IT IS TO BE IN A ZOO AFTER DARK?! THERE ARE BEARS EVERYWHERE.”

It was about this point that I realized I was far too drunk and tired to be having a conversation with someone who has severe bear-phobia and is still suffering PTSD from his nighttime zoo experience. (Frankly, I think he’s an idiot, because I would LOVE to be in a zoo at night. That sounds fucking dope. You could pretend to be a jungle explorer. You could practice your night vision. YOU COULD STEAL A MARMOSET.)

(I promise I wouldn’t actually steal a marmoset. I barely know how to care for myself, let alone a small monkey.)

So, after many failed attempts at conversation with the terrified-of-bears man, we decided to leave. And before we even managed to make it out of the park, the sun was rising.

Leaving a bar at sunrise? That’s some college-level party shit right there. I haven’t done that in years. Mad props to the crazy British/Canadian crew for partying like rockstars.

I am so proud.

 

*Ok, we didn’t actually have a near-death experience. But it could have been a near-death experience if we had floated away. We just didn’t try hard enough.

*****

[Next time: When in Ireland…]

I really should put things here more often.

IMG_0145Urban beach party! This shit was the jam.

Well, here we are again. Months ago, I recounted the harrowing tale of my new life in Amsterdam. At this point, I’ve forgotten all about that crap. But at the time, it sucked. A whole fucking lot. (Ok, so I haven’t forgotten. The world and particularly the absurd Dutch bureaucracy spent many months telling me to pack up and go back to America. It was infuriating. I might still be a little bit angry.)

BUT. The point is, it’s over now. And guess what? THINGS ARE SO MUCH BETTER! In fact, I feel like I can basically live my life now and the Dutch government isn’t trying to make each day a living hell anymore! So that’s nice. (I’m not being sarcastic. It really is nice!)

But the REAL point is, I’ve been doing so many things and I haven’t written about any of them! It’s a total disaster. (Not the doing things part, just the failing to record it part.) I guess that’s what happens when you live a fast-paced, crazy, completely unreasonable lifestyle.

(I’ve gotta say, I really never expected to be living this kind of life. It’s a bit mad, really. But I love it, so who’s complaining?)

But here’s the kicker: there are two sides to every story. There’s the “my life is insane!” story (in a good way). On this side are some of the absurd things I’ve done over the past many months, such as:

  • Sledding down the side of a mountain in Switzerland while slightly tispy
  • Pouring honey rum into someone’s mouth from the top of a human pyramid 4m tall
  • Watching my father get hilariously hammered at a Gin Festival
  • Climbing on the roof of a building while very intoxicated against the advice of pretty much everybody
  • Drunkenly running around naked in a children’s playground in a London suburb at 3am
  • Falling off my bike while inebriated. Doing it again a month later.

(If you hadn’t noticed, I like synonyms. But also, I promise I’m not always drunk.)

But, you see, there’s also another side to this story. There are all the very sober, very real “my life is insane!” moments that seem to scare the shit out of my non-insane friends. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard “Um, you seriously need a vacation” or “WTF are you doing with your life?” or “You’re doing WAY more than one might consider normal” or the horrified stares I get when I say my next weekend at home isn’t for 2 months.

And to all those people, here’s what I have to say: you are right. This is totally unsustainable. I’m addicted to having a completely unreasonable schedule and I don’t know how to stop!

IMG_0029This is my “I am trying to be normal” face. Convincing, right?

But with all the bad comes the good, right? And lately, it feels like the good has been even better and more fun, so I don’t exactly want to stop, despite the fact that I am highly aware I might just drop dead from stress at any moment. But it’s worth it, damnit! #livingontheedge

[Cue: wine. I am drinking it now. Because why should I start being reasonable NOW? That would just be absurd.]

So, instead of listening to all the reasonable people in my life, I am doing EVERYTHING and loving it. Who needs sanity anyway? ALSO, I’ve realized I have a backlog of half-written posts about some of the aforementioned adventures, which I am planning to finish right now. Because, why not? Also, wine.

Get ready. The deluge is coming. And this time, I’m not fucking around.*

*She said for the millionth time.

******************

[Next time, on Christina’s totally unreasonable adventures: I’m about to spend a week in Belgium! Let’s see how much trouble I can get into there.]

The Turnaround

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I knew this moment would come eventually. The moment when life suddenly felt right-side-up again. The moment when I stopped “trying to be” and started “being” an Amsterdammer. The moment when, sure, life was still scary and different and I’m still not really sure what I’m doing, but that’s just life so who cares where I am when I feel those things?

It’s been a month since my last post, and it’s not because I was lacking things to write about. There are several half-written posts sitting in my drafts folder that I just never managed to finish. That time I went to Carnival in Den Bosch. The fact that I’ve started cooking good food again. All the craft beer I’ve been drinking. That time I biked 50km round-trip to Haarlem and drank at a brewery inside a church.

But I never finished writing those posts because, frankly, it’s hard to write honestly and sound like yourself when you’re not really feeling like yourself. And basically since I arrived in Amsterdam, I’ve felt a bit like a ghost watching myself try to live this new life. But I wasn’t actually living it yet.

There have been many low points, including one night where I sent my boss a very emotional email at 9:30pm because, oddly enough, he was the only person who would really understand the stress and isolation I was feeling at that moment. That was rock bottom. That was when I thought I couldn’t do this. That was when I was sure I had made a horrible mistake by deciding to move to another country to run a mini-company.

But things got better, as they inevitably do. And this weekend marked the turning point. The moment when I remembered why I came here. The moment when I realized that this is what I was meant to do. And I realized that maybe, just maybe, I’m kind of good at it.

DSC_0083 copyThis weekend, we moved into our new office. That may not seem like a big deal, but somehow Saturday symbolized everything that I’ve been envisioning for the company I’m supposed to guide through 2016. I came to Amsterdam so that my company could actually accomplish something new and great. And moving into a new office was the symbolic starting point. Everything leading up to this point was just preparation.

Saturday was one of the most exciting days I’ve ever had at work. I had an amazing crew of people around me who were helpful and supportive and just lovely to spend the whole day with. The move went so incredibly smoothly that I could hardly believe it. There was so much smiling and laughing, and the only truly stressful moment was when I set the alarm off and thought the entire building was going to fall down from the racket. (Oops.) And after the move was done and the space was clean and pretty, we stayed there for hours drinking beers and eating burritos and simply enjoying each other’s company.

And no, my whole life doesn’t revolve around work. But work is the reason I came to this place, and all of a sudden I feel like I can actually live here and do things and be Christina again. This Christina just happens to live in Amsterdam now.

It’s finally real.

Sure, I got sick (again) after the move. And sure, there are still plenty of kinks to work out, and I know there will be many bumps in the road ahead. But right now, I’m sitting in bed drinking red wine (which is apparently good for colds, ha!), and I am so incredibly happy that I hardly know what to do with myself.

Thank you to everyone in Amsterdam, in Europe, in America and elsewhere who has been there for me over the past 6 weeks. I love all of you.

And to the Wrecking/Building/Moving Crew from Saturday: y’all are rockstars. I heart you like whoa.

*****

[Next time…] I actually go back to talking about the things I do best! Drinking, traveling, drinking, eating, and riding my bicycle.

When your wine does the talking

You know those times when you come home and suddenly that bottle of wine on your counter starts talking to you?

No? Just me?

This afternoon, I left work early to go to the Seattle Cider Summit. Doesn’t that sound fancy?? I mean, it’s sort of fancy. Cider is basically the thing you drink when you’re like “today I’m feeling fancy and want something other than beer, but I’m not fancy enough for champagne.” That’s exactly what it’s like. Seriously.

[The point is, it wasn’t really a “summit” because that is an important meeting between heads of state or something, and this was more just a bunch of casual Seattle folk getting drunk on cider.]

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Photo stolen from Twitter, specifically @seattlebeernews

 

Disirregardless, it was super fun, and it was a damn good excuse to leave my office at 3pm. So I drank a bunch of cider. Here is a bullet-point recap:

  • Apple cider is far better than pear cider. I have done the testing. Trust me.
  • Sometimes brewing cider with hops makes it taste super duper amazing.
  • Dry cider is always the better choice.
  • If you can barrel-age your cider, you probably should do that. (OMG bourbon)
  • Some men who make hard cider are incredibly attractive.
  • People from Alberta, Canada are really awesome.
  • I love dogs.

I tried 8 ciders, I bought 1 bottle, and then I came home and planned to do very little with my evening. Some leftovers for dinner, maybe a beer, watch The Daily Show…

And then the wine started talking.

Oh god.

What do I do??

I cannot possibly resist its advances. It’s basically the most effective pickup line on earth. And by “it” I mean the wine itself. By simply being the wine, it is automatically more successful than pretty much any pickup line I have ever heard.

(Note to all men: If you want to succeed at picking me up, become a bottle of wine. OR make me lamb chops and enjoy my use of the word “segue.”)

The point is, I am immune to many things. Especially horrific pickup lines (like the one where the guy saw me texting at a party and asked me if I could recommend a service provider to him…worst ice-breaker in history).

BUT. I am not immune to wine. Nope. The wine on my counter looked at me, and in the sultriest voice an inanimate object can muster, it said “Hey baby. I’ve been sitting here for 2 days. There’s only a few glasses left in me. Liberate me, baby. I know you want to.”

*SWOOOOOOOOOON*

Yeah. That’s right. I just got turned on by that bottle of wine. It fucking worked.

And now I’m drunk. And it’s awesome.

Happy Friday ❤

That time I got drunk (again) and baked some things (again).

Well, friends. I did it again. Drunk baking. My favorite pastime!

And this time, it got real drunk.

A few weeks ago, I decided to make one of the most involved recipes on the planet. Like, holy cow. It’s pretty unnecessary how involved this recipe was. As such, since I knew I would be devoting most of my afternoon to the project, I decided to get really drunk.

Oh, and I succeeded. Obviously.

This time, I also did something else new and exciting. I attempted to make a podcast. It didn’t go so well. I got too drunk and disorganized to handle my shit, so it turned into two hours of me rambling, making messes, dropping shit, burning myself, and laughing uncontrollably.

Here’s how it all went down.

The recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

First, I made pie crust. Nothing too complicated.

Then I made miniature pumpkin pies. Adorable, but still not particularly complicated.

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But then I was halfway through a bottle of wine and things started to get weird.

I managed to make the cupcake batter, but once the first batch was in the oven I sort of lost my shit and this happened:

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Yeah. It was bad. Even worse considering I took that photo of myself. Yikes.

Despite this, I somehow managed to make it to the grocery store and back before the first batch was done!

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But then the podcast seriously went south. I couldn’t stop laughing, and I nearly destroyed my kitchen trying to get the second batch in the oven. I had drunk over 75% of the bottle of wine on an empty stomach and shit was getting weird. I ended up sitting on my floor while the second batch was baking and just eating batter out of the bowl.

DSCN1490

Yes. I ate all of the leftover batter. ALL OF IT.

Thank goodness I managed to stay coherent enough to pull the cupcakes out of the oven at the right time. Because immediately afterwards, I passed out for about an hour. When I awoke, I knew I needed to feed myself something solid, so I made myself a bunch of pasta and (of course) finished the wine.

By that point I was so drunk and exhausted that I simply gave up on making frosting and decided to leave it for the next day.

On the upside, although the podcast was an utter failure (even hours of editing couldn’t make it worth listening to), some of the outtakes seemed worth saving. And so, dear friends, here is a sampling of what happens when I get really drunk and try to make cupcakes:

Happy Thanksgiving!

A list of “sometimes” things.

Sometimes Sunday is the best day for drinking.

Sometimes one glass of wine makes you tipsy because you forgot to eat all day.

Sometimes you get drunk before dinner.

Sometimes you make stir-fry while drunk.

Sometimes you forget how to cut carrots.

Sometimes you’re drunk and you eat all the mushrooms before you cook them.

Sometimes you have to look at the recipe 4 times because you have drunk ADD.

Sometimes you tell yourself you’re only going to have half a bottle of wine tonight, but then you’re already two glasses in before dinner is ready.

Sometimes you think, “That’s cool, I can just have one more glass,” and then you laugh because that is totally ridiculous, why would you ever do that?

Sometimes you dance around your kitchen and then forget you’re cooking and then freak out because shit is burning.

Sometimes it’s not even 7pm and you’ve had nearly half a bottle of wine.

Sometimes your dinner is ready but all you want to do is have a dance party.

Sometimes you can’t remember whether it’s “your” or “you’re”.

Sometimes you manage to eat your dinner, but then you’re really drunk so you feel like dancing, so then you dance.

Sometimes you actually do your dishes, but in the process you feel like you’ve earned more wine, so you do that too.

Sometimes you’re on your 5th glass of wine and it’s Sunday night.

HAHA.

Sometimes you don’t care.

Sometimes you think, “I’m young and reckless!”

Sometimes you think it’s stupid to think those things.

Sometimes you think that’s why society thinks your generation is a bunch of lazy bums.

Sometimes you think society sucks.

Sometimes you dance around your living room to feel better.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes you drink more wine.

Sometimes Sundays are super awesome.

Summer: If you’re not drinking outside, you’re doing it wrong

First, dear readers, I must warn you all that I am drunk. Hooray wine!

Second, tonight I made myself lamb chops. If any of you out there wish to seduce me at any point in the future, making me lamb chops is a good way to start. Figured I’d throw you all a bone on that one.

(Sorry if that was wildly inappropriate, but as I mentioned previously, WINE.)

Third, last weekend was really freaking awesome. You know why? Because I spent much of it outdoors and much of it drinking. And that’s really what summer is all about: drinking outdoors.

On Friday night I went to this super cool event at Gasworks Park called “Clips of Faith.” Hosted by New Belgium brewery, the event is basically a short-film screening (featuring 18 different short films made by New Belgium drinkers) and a beer festival (featuring 16 different New Belgium beers) all in one. And it was wonderful!

clipsoffaith2

I sat outside in the grass.

I watched some awesome short films.

And I drank some limited-release/collaboration New Belgium beers.

WHAT.

I think I win that round. (If you’re not playing the “drinking outside in summertime” game you should get on it pronto.)

[Note: I was just about to start my next awesome weekend story, but then I finished my wine and had to get a refill. So consider this a “commercial break.” Blah blah blah WINE IS FULL OF ANTIOXIDENTS YOU SHOULD DRINK MORE OF IT blah blah blah]

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Saturday was pretty chill. I walked to Lake Washington, dipped my toes in the lake, sat in the sun, walked lots, ogled lots of puppies, and then headed home for what was supposed to be a quiet evening…

But THEN my friend texted to ask if I wanted to go out and get drinks, and I said yes (duh, I have a reputation to uphold). And I ended up right in the midst of Capitol Hill, where the Capitol Hill Block Party (a pretty sweet music festival) was just wrapping up. And so I wandered in through the sloppy, drunken crowd and spent an evening at the bars drinking, dancing, and debaucher-ing. Until 3am. Woop!

The best part of this whole experience was the part where I met up with a friend of mine whose other friend happened to have a spare ticket to the festival on Sunday. HOW LUCKY FOR ME.

chbp-2013-lineup

So I woke up Sunday exhausted and hungover, made myself a wonderful breakfast of biscuits and gravy, pretended to be an adult by going to the Farmer’s Market, and then dragged my ass over to the Block Party.

We spent the afternoon in a pretty great state of “chill,” wherein we absorbed some lovely music, ate some food, drank some beers, and really just enjoyed ourselves. And then we went and saw The Flaming Lips.

And I was afraid.

Because this happened.

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It probably doesn’t look that terrifying to you, but to me (and I swear, I was SOBER when this happened) it looked like thousands upon thousands of BATS being unleashed from the stage and it was fucking ridiculous.

RIDICULOUS.

Also there were flames.

And bright lights.

And lots of scary shit.

Basically, I’m really REALLY glad I wasn’t on some sort of hallucinogenic drugs (or high in any way) because I might have had a heart attack.

So…ok. I’m going to be honest here. I was going to make some big point about drinking/being outside/drinking outside in the summertime, but I think I’m too drunk to be coherent at this point. And I just spent the last few paragraphs talking about bats and fear.

So, regardless of whether this segue makes sense or not, you should drink outside in the summertime! There is really no other way to do it. If you fail to do any outdoor drinking this summer, well, you’re doing it wrong.

*************************

Next time, on Christina’s drinking adventures: hopefully I will be more sober and can be coherent.

Also, I used the word “segue” even though I’m drunk! I am SO COOL right now.

Drink #7: Coffee with Kahlua

Those of you who know me already know that I LOVE Kahlua and coffee. LOVE, I say.

To those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, my senior year of college, my roommate, KB, and I finished our finals SUPER early. I mean, finals week ends Friday, and by noon on Monday we had turned in all of our papers and finished all of our exams. HOME FREE!

And so, we decided, we must celebrate! And how did we do that, you may ask? Well, we were over-committed college students with no free time, so our apartment was kind of a sty after a quarter of hard studying and no cleaning. So we cleaned and drank coffee spiked with Kahlua and watched Love Actually all day long!

(And then we spiked our coffee the next day. And the next day. Until eventually, it was an ordeal. You know, if by “ordeal” you mean AWESOME.)

Since then, each year starting on December 1st all the way until the New Year, I put Kahlua in my coffee every single morning. Yes, EVERY morning. Even when I’m hungover. Even when I don’t want it. It’s a tradition, damnit!

So if you’re feeling blue, or (on the opposite end of the spectrum) if you’ve just finished finals, spike your coffee with some Kahlua and join the party! I swear, it’s worth it.

DSCN0516Apparently I drink enough Kahlua that I get free coffee with it… Bad sign?

P.S. If you liked that story, you should hear about the time KB and I moved out of our apartment and got high on Clorox. And then we drank a bottle of wine! Ahh, good times…

Let the recipe wave begin…

Alas, dear readers, I have forsaken you. In fact, I figure most of you have abandoned my blog as a lost cause. ‘Tis truly sad.

BUT forsooth! I am returned!

Ok seriously, I’ll stop with that fancy English nonsense. I am back, and I have a wealth of recipes to share with you all. I have decided that I will, I MUST, post at least one recipe per week for my own sanity. (And so you don’t think I’ve completely disappeared.)

Since moving to Seattle, I’ve been trying to keep the spending down a bit from my WILD life out in Chicago. (Lies, but I did go out waaaay too much. BEST JOB.) At any rate, Craig and I have been experimenting lots, and we’ve come up with some sweet recipes to share with all of you. Most of them are made up on the fly, and many of them are super budget-friendly. So if that floats your boat, read on, dear friends!

First, a quick note: I don’t measure things. Thusly, I am going to tell you what ingredients you need before I write the recipe, and then I’m just going to sort of guess how much I used. You will just have to figure it out based on how many people you’re cooking for… 🙂

So let’s dive in. Today, we begin with something which will seem a bit upscale, but I promise it’s not as fancy as it sounds. In fact, this meal cost precisely $6/person! Check it out:

Roasted pork loin chops and onion quarters w/ garlic-dill potatoes and collard greens

You will need:

  • pork chops
  • onion
  • olive oil
  • lemon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • red-skin potatoes
  • collard greens
  • garlic
  • fresh dill
  • Provence herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, any or all of the above, etc.)

First, preheat the oven to 350° F. Put the pork chops in a baking dish with some large chunks of raw onion (I used 1/2 an onion for 2 chops). Pour a little olive oil in the pan, along with some balsamic vinegar, lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best) and lots of herbs. And salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Put the chops in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

While the pork is cooking, chop the potatoes into large chunks and set them aside. Also chop the collard greens into strips and set aside. If you manage to do all of this before 30 minutes is up (which you should), have a dance party in your kitchen.

When the timer goes off, take the pork out of the oven and flip the chops over. Put them back in the oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes. Move away from the oven.

Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil (for the potatoes, yo). While the water is heating, chop some garlic into itty bitty pieces. Also chop some fresh dill. Set these things aside.

Boil the potatoes until they’re done. (12ish minutes? Who knows?) While the potatoes are boiling, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, then add a little bit of chopped garlic. Put the collard greens in the pan and cook them until they’re all wilted. This should take 5-7  minutes. Set them aside when they’re done.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them. Pour some olive oil in the pan they were boiling in and swirl it around. Throw the potatoes back in the pan and stir them so they’re all coated with oil. Add some chopped garlic, fresh dill, salt and a dash of pepper. They’re done, hooray!

By now, your oven timer should have gone off as well. Take the aluminum foil off the pan and cook the chops for 10 more minutes (to brown). Then, remove them from the oven and inhale deeply. Yummmm. Serve with a nice red (a big Cabernet Sauvignon or Cab-Merlot blend is best) and enjoy!

If you did everything right, it should look like this:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re feeling adventurous, try marinating the pork in a different sauce: soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, beer (red ale or something simple), herbs, and smashed garlic cloves. MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. DO IT.

 

Next time on Christina’s Cooking Adventures: SHRIMPS! LOTS OF SHRIMPS!