Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Apartment in Boston and other news!

Some other things about our place: We have a cute yellow kitchen (no idea why Ryan did not take a picture of it- I will work on this), as well as a front porch with some flowers (planted by yours truly) and a fenced back yard with a patio area, little garden plot, etc. Another thing we recently discovered is that there is also a basement with storage and a workshop area (though it needs to be cleaned up and organized!)

 Each weekend we manage to do a few more projects that make our place feel a bit more home. This past weekend included power washing the outsides of the windows, our porch and siding. Next weekend: setting up compost pile and perhaps some more gardening/leaf raking. If we end up sticking around much, we just might have to get ourselves some chickens!

 In other news, school is going well. I spent this last weekend working as a sub-citing grunt (that means working on a team checking the citations of an academic paper) for the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender. The article my team worked on was about different theories under which victims of domestic violence from other countries might succeed with asylum claims in US courts on the basis of gender-based persecution in their country of origin. Aside from this project, I am finally getting geared up on working as a research assistant for Professor Deborah Anker (faculty director of Harvard's immigration law and refugee clinic) on a project analyzing the current state of US law and policy with regard to individuals seeking asylum in this country and the continuing impact of the United States' agreement with Canada that requires asylum applicants to apply in whichever of the two countries they first arrive in.

 All in all, with the combination of the time I spend in classes, on homework, and doing these extra-curricular activities, I am clocking in at least 70 hours per week. The good news, is Ryan has found a job and is working lots of overtime, and so at least our schedules are somewhat mutual these days (though he is still doing more than his fair share of chores on the weekend!) For my part, so long as I keep getting a full night's sleep, managing to eat well, and continuing to run 3-4 days a week and do yoga 3 days a week, the peanut is happy and that means so am I.

 Signing off until next time, Alletta

Friday, September 23, 2011

That tasty watermelon salad...

I have been meaning to post this up since the beginning of August, when I threw it together for my mom's birthday party barbecue... It went over so well, I thought I had better make a note of what went into it. I know that watermelon is just past its season now, but at least this way I won't forget how to make it. Don't be afraid of the combo of feta with fruit- watermelon loves a little salty!! Ingredients: I medium watermelon, cut into medium/small cubes (seedless works best) 1 lemon, juiced 1 cup of fresh mint, chopped 1/4 cup of honey, 3/4 cup of feta cheese, cut into small cubes Directions Place cubed watermelon in a mesh strainer, cover and place strainer over a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (up to overnight), so that excess juice drains off. In a large bowl, mix together watermelon, mint and cheese. Separately, whisk together honey and lemon juice to create a dressing. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately. This should make enough salad for 10 people with leftovers.

Finally in BOSTON!

Hey folks... so after a VERY long delay in postings, I thought I had better explain what is going on! So much has happened these past six months, I don't even know where to start! Ryan and I have now moved to Boston, where I have just started my first year at Harvard Law School. While I hit the books, Ryan is off looking for a job in a local bike shop to tide him over until this Spring, when our first born is due to enter the world!

Given the craziness of our lives these days, I can't promise that we will be updating our blog often. But in any case, now that we are off on the East Coast, we will certainly try so that we can keep everybody posted about the big things!

Since arriving in Boston at the end of August, our lives have been mostly occupied with getting settled. Our apartment is in Allston, which is an area of town just south over the Charles River from Cambridge and the Harvard campus. It is a really neat place in an old house with big bay windows, hardwood floors, a porch and a fenced yard! We arrived without any furniture, but thanks to some generous donations from our friend Al's mom Bebe (who lives in outer Boston) and Craigslist, we have managed to get ourselves pretty well set up. For the final push, all we need is some bookshelves and to get some more art on the walls! We will do our best to get some photos up as soon as we can.

Now that we have managed to get a little more settled, school is going really well. This semester I am taking Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Legislation and Regulation and Legal Research and Writing. Believe it or not, I am really enjoying this so far! After getting a little bit of a rough start the first couple of classes due to getting called on A LOT (the highlight of which was getting grilled for 30 mins by the prof in my first Torts class) I am finally getting the hang of things. The homework is pretty heavy- around 4-5 hours a day- but thankfully it all makes sense! This Semester, I will also have the opportunity to participate in a reading group on the DREAM Act, work as a sub-citing grunt for the Journal of Law and Gender and help work on some independent research projects for the Immigration and Refugee Law Clinic here at school. Lucky for me to have such a nice hubby at home to keep me fed!

This weekend we will finally get a chance to do a little bit of fun stuff around Boston- including a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (courtesy of Ashley Sloan- thanks!) We will make sure to post some pictures of our little adventure.

Signing off,
Alletta (and Ryan)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Easy Kidney Bean and Kale Soup

Threw this together yesterday afternoon out of the remnants in my fridge. It was so darn tasty and easy to make, it pretty much made my day!

2 tbs olive oil
1 leek, chopped (white and pale green part at bottom of stalk)
1 bunch of kale (purple or tender italian variety is best), removed from stalk
6 cups of high quality broth (either make your own or get the boxed stuff)
2 cans of kidney beans, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
chunk of Pecorino (or other hard romano) cheese

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the leeks. Stir on medium high heat until they begin to cook down and brown a bit. Add kale and beans and broth and continue cooking on medium heat until the kate is bright green and tender enough to eat with a spoon.

Pull of the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and shred a little cheese on top to serve. We had this soup with a bit of garlic rye toast and some roasted veggies (yams, beets and white onion with olive oil and fresh herbs under the broiler until tender and then salt and pepper to taste. Pretty darn tasty.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Spicy squash soup

This one is for Kathy!

3 tbs olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1 red chili pepper, chopped finely
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 lb of cooked squash (pumpkin, acorn or butternut)
1 tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 can of coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook the chili pepper, garlic and cumin seeds, stirring often for about 2 mins. Add the squash, sugar and vegetable stock and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Once soup is fully heated through, remove from soup from heat and process with an immersion blender until squash is fully pureed. Stir in coconut milk and lemon juice and return to simmer on low heat. One soup is fully warmed, remove soup from heat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh cilantro on top.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quick Garbanzo Bean Salad

This recipe came from an adaptation of one in Bon Apetit! It was so super tasty and convenient to make I thought I should share it.

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2-4 tbs of fresh basil and oregano, chopped (or substitute 1-2 tbs of dried)
2 tbs olive oil
Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1 inch piece of hard Parmesan, shredded in medium chunks

Dressing- Mix to taste
minced garlic
dijon mustard
olive oil
finely minced onion or shallots

Mix all ingredients together into a bowl and enjoy!! I am serving this one tonight with some roasted beets and linguini with califlower in white wine reduction sauce with dried cranberries and chilis! Yum!

This should make enough for 3-4 small sides or two main dish salads.