Cooking: Simple General Tso Stir Fry

ingredients lay on a floral table cloth (bell peppers, noodles, canned vegetables, jarred sauce)
cut bell peppers sit beside a knife on a cutting board, a kindle fire opened to a stir fry recipe* sits beside it, ingredients sit behind it
a cutting board with cut bell peppers and a knife atop it

Tonight I felt like making a stir fry, and I’m far from good at it, but it was okay nonetheless. 
First, I chopped up bell pepper. I used about 2 peppers worth, but from 3 different colors (I set about 1 pepper worth aside to use in a cheesy Mexican skillet later in the week.)

a pan with chopped bell peppers and olive oil

Next, I added those to my skillet with olive oil.  (Which I badly photographed because my depth of field was very narrow, I was rushing, and the focus is on a small spot of oil instead of any peppers…)

rice noodles sticking out of a plastic packet

Then I drained the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and added those.  Evidently I did not photograph this.

steam comes off a pot

I boiled the rice noodles but evidently the secret to avoiding sticky noodles is to cook them hours beforehand, pat them dry, and toss them in oil. I didn’t do that because it didn’t even occur to me until after my noodles came out sticky. Hindsight is always 20/20. 

a can of bean sprouts with several can opener openings and peeling label

Then I started suit frying the veggies. I added the mushrooms and bean sprouts partway through. At the end, I added the rice noodles and jarred General Tso sauce. It was a substantial fight to open these bean sprouts, my can opener kept leaving gouges but not actually opening the thing! But eventually I got it sorted.

stir fry in a pan with a wooden spoon

This dish wasn’t great, but it was okay. I would definitely make changes next time. Like for example, un-sticking the noodles properly and adding something green- maybe bok choy, since I’m not a huge fan of pea pods in my homemade stir fry.

close up of stir fry

* the recipe featured on the kindle in images was not followed. I simply checked it to determine when I should start the bell peppers in comparison to other items.

My 2019 Most Listened on Spotify

  1. You’re Not the Only One – Lukas Graham
  2. Mama Said – Lukas Graham
  3. Nancy Mulligan – Ed Sheeran 
  4. 7 Years – Lukas Graham
  5. Not a Damn Thing Changed – Lukas Graham
  6. Golden – Brandon Beal, Lukas Graham 
  7. Happy Home – Lukas Graham
  8. Love Someone – Lukas Graham
  9. Everything That Isn’t Me – Lukas Graham
  10. Stick Around – Lukas Graham
  11. September Grass – James Taylor
  12. Drunk in the Morning – Lukas Graham
  13. Rhythm of Love – Plain White T’s
  14. Rockstar – A Great Big World
  15. Sweet Caroline (Glee Cast Version) – Glee Cast
  16. You’re Not There – Lukas Graham
  17. Good News – Ocean Park Standoff
  18. A Whole New World – Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
  19. Prince Ali – Will Smith
  20. Lullaby – Lukas Graham
  21. Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara
  22. New Soul – Yael Naim
  23. One Jump Ahead – Mena Massoud 
  24. Better Than Yourself (Criminal Minds pt. 2) – Lukas Graham
  25. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
  26. Friend Like Me – Will Smith 
  27. Come on Get Higher – Matt Nathanson
  28. Take the World by Storm – Lukas Graham
  29. Speechless (Full) – Naomi Scott
  30. It’s Your Life – Francesca Battistelli 
  31. Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae
  32. Promise – Lukas Graham
  33. The Sound of Sunshine – Michael Franti & Spearhead
  34. One Jump Ahead (Reprise) – Mena Massoud 
  35. Speechless (pt. 2) – Naomi Scott
  36. Off to See the World – Lukas Graham
  37. Landslide – Dixie Chicks 
  38. One Jump Ahead (Reprise 2) – Mena Massoud 
  39. Speechless (pt. 1) – Naomi Scott
  40. Funeral – Lukas Graham
  41. Arabian Nights (2019) – Will Smith
  42. The Big Ship – Alan Menken
  43. One and Only – Teitur 
  44. Drunk in the Morning- Spotify Sessions – Lukas Graham
  45. King of Anything – Sara Bareilles 
  46. Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti & Spearhead, Cherine Tanya Anderson
  47. A Whole New World (End Title) – ZAYN, Zhavia Ward 
  48. Hold My Hand – Lukas Graham
  49. Love Yourself – Justin Bieber
  50. Wamkelekile – Hot Water
  51. This is the Life – Two Door Cinema Club
  52. Unhappy – Lukas Graham
  53. Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
  54. Love Song – Sara Bareilles
  55. Bibia Be Ye Ye – Ed Sheeran
  56. What Happened to Perfect – Lukas Graham
  57. Boom Clap – Charli XCX 
  58. Friend Like Me (End Title) – Will Smith, DJ Khaled 
  59. All the Pretty Little Ponies – Kenny Loggins
  60. Lie – Lukas Graham
  61. I Love it (feat. Charli XCX)– Original Version – Icona Pop, Charli XCX 
  62. Everyday People – Sly and the Family Stone
  63. Island in the Sun – Weezer 
  64. Strip No More – Lukas Graham
  65. Sugar – Maroon 5 
  66. Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz) – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  67. Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow
  68. 7 Years – Lukas Graham (Spotify Sessions)
  69. Rivers and Roads – The Head and the Heart
  70. Cheer Up! – A Great Big World
  71. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
  72. Say Yes (Church Ballad) – Lukas Graham
  73. Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo 
  74. It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy, Rik Rok 
  75. Sorry – Justin Bieber 
  76. Better Than Yourself (Criminal Minds pt. 2) – Lukas Graham (Spotify Sessions)
  77. Rockstar- Live from Spotify NYC – A Great Big World 
  78. Life is Short – Butterfly Boucher
  79. It’s Your Life- Dented Fender Sessions – Francesca Battistelli 
  80. Love Someone (feat. Sabina Ddumba)- Recorded at Spotify Studios – Lukas Graham, Sabina Ddumba
  81. On the 4th of July – James Taylor
  82. Really Don’t Care – Demi Lovato
  83. Dive – Ed Sheeran 
  84. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me – Lukas Graham
  85. Carry Me On My Way – James Taylor
  86. Agrabah Marketplace – Alan Menkin
  87. She’s in Love with the Boy – Trisha Yearwood 
  88. Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes 
  89. Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
  90. Caroline I See You – James Taylor
  91. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- Remastered 2009 – The Beatles
  92. Stand By You – Rachel Platten 
  93. Steal My Sunshine – LEN 
  94. October Road – James Taylor 
  95. 22 – Taylor Swift
  96. Peace Train – Yusuf / Cat Stevens
  97. Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran
  98. Baby Buffalo – James Taylor 
  99. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
  100. Intro- Lukas Graham 

Observations and reflections:

  • I am obsessed with Lukas Graham. This isn’t really an observation, although my Top Songs of 2019 certainly reflects it. I discovered Lukas Graham in early 2019 and spent most of the year listening to his music nonstop and on repeat.
  • I love Ed Sheeran. This is also not really an observation, I already knew this. I love his music, but I’m not a big fan of his most recent album.
  • I’ll never get a true gauge of my music taste over the year because I put my spotify on the T.V. where others can use it, and because I use it for parties and to let my daughter listen to music.
  • We listened to a lot of Aladdin. Jasmine is my daughter’s favorite princess.
  • We listened to a lot of James Taylor- which admittedly, 99% of those September Grass plays were my doing. But the other songs on the list largely made the list because my mom was shuffling them on the T.V.
  • I’m nostalgic. I listened to a lot of music I used to listen to as a kid or teen:
    • James Taylor
    • Put Your Records On
    • Island in the Sun
    • Soak Up the Sun
    • Ridin’ Solo
    • She’s in Love with the Boy
    • Blister in the Sun
    • Party in the U.S.A.
    • Steal My Sunshine
    • Peace Train
    • Uptown Funk
  • I love soundtracks! Featured on this playlist are songs from Aladdin, Soul Surfer, Blended, The Wild Thornberrys Movie, The Fault in our Stars, and Aquamarine. Also some songs I picked up from Grey’s Anatomy and “Everyday People” which I first heard in Definitely, Maybe.
  • My daughter loves A Great Big World, “Rockstar” is her favorite song.
  • My most listened song of 2019 was not my favorite song- my favorite song ranked #2.
  • I played my Beach Playlist on repeat more than I realized! Most of the sun and beach-themed songs on this were from that. I played it on the way to and from the beach all summer long.
  • Songs I played only one or twice made it onto my most listened because of how fervently I repeat my favorite songs.

Spotify’s automated playlists are an interesting way to gain some insight to yourself and your habits, which to me is just and added perk since I primarily use Spotify because I like being able to make custom playlists. 

Peony & Peach Photography | My Portfolio

two girls crouch beside an orange chicken next to a chicken coop from the “Cousins” photo series

If you know me, you know I’ve been doing photography as a hobby for about 12 years. I had various point-n-shoot cameras as a middle and high schooler, and I had a decent eye for a teenager.

a newborn’s legs in froggy position with hospital bracelets and umbilical clamp visible from”Fresh 48’s” featuring Jackson

I got my DSLR with my graduation money after graduating high school, when I was 18, about six months before my daughter was born.

two girls (sisters) with faces side-by-side from “Portraits” featuring Jade and Nora

In that time, I have done a lot of personal projects and a few professional shoots.

Over the years I have also taken two courses in photography: Beginning and Advanced Digital Photography. Between these classes and their cool professors and the help of some other photographers both locally and worldwide, I have come to achieve more consistent images and better work all-around.

a girl with cupped hands blows glitter from the “The Sweetest Peach” photo series

You can find my portfolio here, on Adobe Portfolio: Peony & Peach Photography (My Portfolio)

a couple stands on a mountain, laughing at one another from “Portraits”
a baby girl lies on a knitted blanket with fingers in her mouth from “Milestones”

On my portfolio, you will find my professional work (Portraits, Fresh 48’s, Milestones, Engagements, and Maternity) and my creative projects (The Sweetest Peach, Cousins, Candids, and Other Work).

a girl reaches to pick an apple from an apple tree from the “The Sweetest Peach” photo series
a child blows massive bubbles while reaching about their head from the “Cousins” photo series

My To-Read List

Just a list of novels on my list that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

First, books I own but still haven’t read:

Next, books I do not yet own but hope read in the near future:

Last updated 06/12/20