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Springtime in Chicago

It’s spriiiiiiing. My windows are open and the flowers are blooming. After a year of showing no interest in the birds outside, my cat Dresden has taken the 5am bird song as his cue to become possessed by his inner cheetah and sprint around my apartment.

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I’m celebrating Mother’s Day with Mom and John tomorrow morning, but we took the sunny evening as a sign that we should take a ride around the property. The buzzards were sunning themselves, we snuck up on a raccoon, discovered a group of turkeys showing off, and hung out with a Barred Owl for twenty minutes just before dusk.

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Mom’s doing all the cooking for tomorrow, because none of us can kick her out of the kitchen long enough to take over. But here’s my new favorite way to eat potatoes:

I’ve been using red potatoes cut into slices rather than just halving the small ones. They’re delish! I like my food super garlicky so I throw an extra clove of garlic in as well.

The first time I made these they were undercooked because I’m habitually scared of having my pan too hot. Binge watching cooking shows has really quelled that (enough). When I start to get nervous, I just let Gordon Ramsay remind me ‘color is flavor’ and I wash a dish instead of fretting.

Happy cooking!


Cooking is like Riding a Bike

In that I should do both more often and feel an overpowering amount of guilt when I realize I haven’t.

I’ve jumped back into the kitchen though. I’m not sure why this time it was easier to sustain. Maybe it was the week-long Gordon Ramsay binge. Or seeing the word “Obesity” on my medical file. At any rate, I’ve cooked real food from scratch in my kitchen nearly every day for the past three weeks.

Here’s one of my kitchen staples right now.

New and Improved Roasted Broccoli

  • Time: 25m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This one is a bit of watching Mom and a bit of watching Gordon Ramsay.


  • Broccoli (however much you want to eat later)
  • Salt
  • Spices (I use Italian Seasoning mainly)
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°.
  2. Cut your broccoli trees into pieces with long stalks.
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  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and trust you’ve chosen a pot big enough for all of the broccoli you want to cook and have put in enough water to submerge that broccoli once we put it in. It’s your kitchen. I trust you.
  4. Once boiling, put in your broccoli.
  5. The goal is to half cook your broccoli. I usually leave the broccoli in the water for about 5-7 minutes depending on how much there is and also whether I put the broccoli in before the water was actually boiling. Waiting for water to boil is my least favorite part of cooking.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the half cooked broccoli out of the water and place it in the middle of a roasting sheet. Spread it out as you add more, but keep it all together in the center.
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  7. Sprinkle your spices over the broccoli along with some salt. Not to worry if you get some on the rest of the sheet.
  8. Drizzle some olive oil over the pile of spiced broccoli.
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  9. Throw it in the oven. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy you want it.

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Et voila! Delicious roasted broccoli. I love to eat this with a bit of mascarpone, which is how my mom serves hers.

I’ve got a couple other kitchen staples to post, so who knows, maybe I’m back to this blogging thing too.


To Do list

Releasing myself from the Burden of “To Do”

My to-do list is a mile long. I’d like to think I’m joking, but I’d be nervous to test.

I’ve deeply internalized the idea that happiness comes after all the “stuff”. After all the cleaning. And the organizing. And the scheduling.

That, somehow, after I do all of that, the time for leisure and love and laughter will miraculously reveal itself.

And I’ll exist in some weird blissful space full of happiness. Devoid of stress and, the clincher, to-dos.

But the real part of life is that, there’s always more to do. There’s always more to learn, and to think about, and to create, and to do.

A friend told me in the midst of one of my anxiety-ridden fervent to-do list creating panic attacks ‘don’t put it down, put it away’. And as much as I hate shit like that, its worked. Its reminded me to take those extra two steps now, when its easy. So there’s less to bargain over later.

My only resolution for this new year is to find little ways to release myself from my to-do list. To let myself have fun before I finish the dishes. And skip the bargaining of folding clothes before playing video games. Or organizing my apartment before going out dancing.

I am sock obsessed

Very few people can claim that they think about socks all day. Even further, the few that can would rarely admit to it.

Well, I’m here to do both.


I knit socks like my life depends on it.

I knit so many socks that I get bored of knitting socks and start gloves.

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Only to turn them into socks part way through because I love turning heels.

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I mean, I looooooove it.

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It’s my favorite part of making socks, followed closely by that cuff.

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So there you have it. My name is Shawna Jean and I’m addicted to knitting socks.


Everything’s coming up…Calphalon?

So I went a little disappear-y on y’all. For good reason though! Shiny new apartment!!!

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Which meant that I had to go forth and BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!

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That’s right. That is FOUR full bags from the Calphalon outlet. I bought everything. So, now I have a fully stocked kitchen. I bought some silverware and collected my plates from the walls of my childhood bedroom (let’s talk about that laters) and can officially feed people, including myself, from the comfort of my own classy kitchen.

Continue reading Everything’s coming up…Calphalon?

welcome to the dark side

Last July, I woke up with a whooshing sound in my head. Several doctors appointments, hearing tests, pokes, and prods later, I had a piece of paper with the words ‘Ménière’s disease’ and ‘serialized allergy testing’ written in almost illegible doctor’s scrawl.

And then began the real poking. Serialized allergy testing involves not only testing whether you’re allergic to an allergen, but also how allergic. It involves a series of usually 3-5 shots for every allergen you’re tested for. And if you’re super allergic to things, like I am, quite a bit more. (Let’s just say I should probably never even look at a horse again.)

After two straight months of constant ringing in my right ear, a complete building mold remediation at my office resolved my mold allergy and I got back to a normal life, as normal as one can get after being reminded that they’re allergic to everything.

Alongside the environmental allergy testing, I went all out and got my blood tested for food allergies as well. The month and a half that it took for these results to come back mostly involved me bingeing on anything and everything I thought I might be allergic to. (Great plan, right?) The end result being that I am definitely allergic to gluten, wheat, eggs, milk, and soy.

Continue reading welcome to the dark side