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Tuesday
Nov182014

Camp Cookery - Jambalaya

jambalaya

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pounds sliced sausage

1 pound shrimp

1/2 onion diced

1 cup diced bell pepper

1 cup diced celery

1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1 cup rice

14.5 once can diced tomato

1/4 teaspoon diced thyme

2 cups chicken broth

bay leaves

first things first, i totally disregarded the portioning i had planned on using. this is one pot meal cooked in a cast iron dutch oven, it is very forgiving, and when cooking for a big group; the more food the better.

start your fire well before you plan on cooking, you'll need a solid bed of hot coals to get this dish cooked. it'll take a while for the fire to get to this point so i used that time to start chopping the veggies and slicing the sausage. when the coals are ready place the dutch oven on a stable portion and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. 

once the oil is good and hot throw in your sliced sausage and let that cook for two minutes or so. next up, toss in celery, onion, bell pepper and cajun seasoning.

cook until the vegetables become tender. then goes the rice, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and chicken broth.

the only issue i ran into was at this point was needing to constantly add more chicken broth while the dish cooked. whether it was because i payed no attention to the amount of ingredients i threw in or because the fire was hotter than it should have been, i'm not sure. either way, constant stirring and tasting will let you know if more liquid is needed or not. at this point everything is cooked so i was just waiting on the rice. 

when the rice seems just about done (ten minutes for me) throw in the shrimp, cover and let cook for an additional two minutes. that's it, pull that sucker off the fire, remove the bay leaves and serve!

lessons learned: wash the oven immediately, with the libations flowing i neglected to clean it right after cooking. i spent a fun hour the next evening scraping caked on jambalaya off the bottom of the cast iron.

 

*sure is nice being on the other side of the camera sometimes. big thanks to lauren simpson for the bulk of these shots(click for portfolio)*

Thursday
Nov132014

Mustang Island State Park

"you can't be your best self until you find your tribe."

i have never felt more a part of something in my life than i have with this group of people. i have never felt more care come from people than i have with this group. i have never felt more concern come from people than i have with this group. i have never felt more enthusiasm come from people than i have with this group. i have never felt more love come from people than i have with this group. 

these folks took me in when i needed it the most and they didn't even know it. no questions. people who were genuinely interested in what i had to say, and more importantly what i didn't have to say. people who would sacrifice their own time to make sure i was having a good time.

people who would bear their souls to me with no expectation that i would do the same (even though i did). people who are always ready to have a good time, but understand the importance of embracing sorrow and heartache when it comes around. people who are nothing but sincere with their words and actions, sincere, so sincere. 

i have found my tribe in these people; and everyday they help me become my best self. 

 

*shot with the help of lauren simpson (click for portfolio)*

Tuesday
Nov042014

Arrowhead Patch

designed by joshua minnich and made right here in the usa. 3in. by 2.15in. iron on backing. $5 (free shipping, usa only).

Wednesday
Oct292014

Bastrop & Corpus Christi

"....no longer by the circumstances themselves, but my mandate to assess them." marina keegan

trying to write about this weekend had me crossing out line after line in my notebook. trying to articulate how this weekend was refreshing, how time alone, how time with old friends, how time with a new friend, all converged to make for a weekend the was hectic but also the most relaxing i've had in a while. so that is all, and i need to remind myself that sometimes that is all there has to be. 

Wednesday
Oct222014

Camp Cookery - Trout with Squash and Zucchini

trout with squash and zucchini

3 small trout (one and a half pounds total)
salt
pepper
1 lemon
.25 ounces fresh dill sprigs
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
non-stick cooking spray
grill basket

 

for the first installment of camp cookery i chose something very easy and straight forward. things would be a little bit more involved if these were fish i caught, but i opted to stop by the local seafood market on the way out of town as to not risk ending up with no dinner.

luckily these trout were already butterflied making this whole meal very simple. 

basically the only prep work was slicing the lemon and vegetables. 

season the inside of the trout with salt and pepper, then place the sliced lemon and dill sprigs inside.

generously spray the grill basket with a non-stick cooking spray and then throw that thing in the campfire.

for cooking i had the fire burned down to coals on one side and still putting out a flame on the far side of the ring.

cooked eight minutes on each side over the coals then moved it over to the flame for about a minute on each side to crisp up the skin a bit. 

and that's it!

lessons learned: next time i would definitely wrap the zucchini and squash in foil before putting it in the grill basket. cooking it on the open fire left portions of it way too dry.

Tuesday
Oct142014

Field Trip - Pedernales Falls

every morning on my way to work i crest a hill by my house, the skyline peaks its head out at me, glowing in the light of the freshly risen sun. i'm filled with an overwhelming sense that everything is going to be GOOD. i'd rather be going somewhere other than work, but seeing a sleepy city just waking up reminds me that we're all in this together. we all struggle, we all triumph, most of us stuck in a line of traffic probably wish we were doing something else. but we are all here and we're all part of it.

i was speaking about this with my friend lauren, she mentioned how familiar that feeling was. how she takes a look in her rearview mirror on the way to work to glance at the sun rising behind the city, "i think that's a little daily reminder that life is bigger than us and that work and heartbreak and hard times are temporary."

temporary. temporary. temporary. 

"if you have an emotion, especially negative, FEEL IT, wholly and as painfully as you can. embrace it. if you're sad. BE SAD. and then, let it go. breathe and release it back into where it belongs; not inside of you"

as lauren said above, even though those feelings are temporary that doesn't mean we can't take something beautiful away from them, even if it hurts in the moment. because at the end of the day, it is just that, the end of the day. tomorrow is a new one, a new chance to feel how ever we'd like to feel. 

photos two, three, five and eight shot by lauren simpson (click for her portfolio)

Friday
Oct102014

Developed - Colorado, New Mexico, Austin

shot on : ilford xp2 iso 400

Wednesday
Oct012014

New Mexico - Day Two

day two of new mexico was spent with my dear sarah rose. she had recommended ruidoso. she found an amazing place for us to stay. we had a few hauntingly beautiful hours on the banks of a mountainside lake, covered with thick fog and drizzle. but i couldn't shake the feeling that soon the day would be gone and we wouldn't be together for another month. i let these thoughts get the best of me, and looking back they got in the way of what could have been a magical few hours together.

 as i have learned many times in my life, it is very important to embrace the time you have with someone, no matter how long or short that may be. death, divorce, moving and distance have all taken away people i once loved. it's in my nature to enjoy what ever i'm doing and whom ever i'm with in any given moment, i can honestly say i failed at my own teachings on this day. once something comes to an end there are always those thoughts of could have, should have, would have. did i say the right things? did i say the wrong things? did i let thoughts of the future get in the way of taking as much as i could from a given occasion? but as they say hindsight is twenty twenty.

Friday
Sep262014

To Summer

Wednesday
Sep242014

New Mexico - Day One

the beauty of solitude.

it's been a long time since i've had hours on end to myself. this summer has been a perpetual state of activity; work, play and travel has all been done with the company of others. 

this past weekend i made a solo drive all the way to ruidoso, new mexico, nine and half hours each way. i was meeting sarah rose late saturday night, but the day was mine and i planned to spend it alone in the lincoln national forest. 

leading up to the trip i was talking to my friend about how excited i was to have some time alone. cut to saturday morning text messages; 
"lauren, i don't remember the last time i was alone, it feels weird." 
to which she responds,
"why do we feel the need to tell ourselves that we're okay when we're alone". "its like if we're alone the stigma behind that is that there is something wrong with us, when in all actuality the people who can be alone are always the best people"
thoughts were racing through my mind as quickly as the mile markers on the side of the highway. musings on the past, present and future; deep and grandiose thoughts, with no one to share them with. 

finally, after hours alone in the woods of the sierra blanca mountain range i was feeling pretty good about my time . it wasn't that my endless pondering had subsided, but i had realized something i learned in a previous life, things do not have to be all right one hundred percent of the time. as an overly optimistic person sometimes that is a hard concept for me to grasp. 

lauren left me with this little bit of gold on solitude, but can actually be said for almost anything that that is new or foreign to us, "it's like cold water. you jump in, it's a shock, you hang out for a bit and before you know it you're swimming along and enjoying it."