Tagine is a traditional North African dish cooked in a device of the same name. It consists of tender meat and spiced vegetables. This is my version!
Gather 2 teaspoons paprika (I forgot to get it in the picture!), 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a plastic bag, mix all these flavors together, throw in 2 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin and toss to coat. I'm not convinced this is the best meat choice, It's quite expensive. If you can think of something better let me know in a comment! When you buy the meat, ask your butcher to cut it into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Don't be afraid, they're just waiting for someone to ask them to do something butchery! Anyway, let the meet marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and no more than 12.
When you're ready to start cookin' get 4 carrots, pitted kalamata olives, parsley, cilantro, 1 clove garlic, ginger, lemon, and an onion. Also 32 oz chicken broth.
For your mise en place, cut the carrots into thin sticks about 3 inches long, cut the onion into thick slices, zest half the lemon, grate (or chop into tiny pieces) the ginger, mince the garlic, slice the olives in half, and chop the parsley and cilantro. Mise en place is a great phrase, I just learned it. Can you use context clues to figure out what it means? If not, click here! Oh yeah! I almost forgot! Around this time start cooking the quinoa according to the directions. You'll need about a 10 oz box.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots and onions and cook for about 15 minutes until they look like this...
sooo tasty! Transfer them to a plate. 
Adding a few bits of pork at a time, brown all sides and then put aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining pork until they're all browned. Add all the pork, onion and carrots back to the pot, and stir in the garlic, ginger and lemon zest too.
Pour in the whole box of chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Once it's boiling, take out the biggest piece of pork and cut it in half to make sure it's done. If it's not ready yet, keep the broth boiling and check another piece in a few minutes. Once, the pork's cooked, stir in the quinoa, cilantro, parsley and olives.
Spoon into bowls and enjoy!
Pork Tagine with Quinoa
adapted from Real Simple

2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut into thin 3 inch strips.
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
zest of 1/2 lemon, grated
1 32 ounce container low sodium chicken broth
1 10 ounce box of quinoa
handful of chopped cilantro
handful of chopped parsley
3/4 cup kalamata olives pitted and halved. 

In a ziploc bag, combine first 6 ingredients and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pork and shake to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, no more than 12 hours.
When you are ready to start cooking, cook quinoa according to box directions.
Heat the remaining 2 tbspns of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onions and carrots for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.
Adding a few pork pieces at a time, brown all the pork on all sides and set aside.
Return browned pork to the pot with onions, carrots, garlic, ginger and lemon zest.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once pork is done, stir in quinoa, cilantro, parsley and olives. 
Divide into bowls and serve.
our quilt
I love quilts. Even when I was younger and had no creative bone in my body, I really appreciated the hand made quilts that made their way into my home. I have no idea who made them, and I wish I did. I would try to decipher the pattern, inspect the details in the different fabrics and try to imagine how it was made. Now that I have confidence in my textile skills, I want to learn how to quilt! Thus, the next of my 26 goals before I turn 27 is

7. Learn how to quilt.

Thankfully, there are lots of resources for new quilters online like Rachel Denbow's e-course "Modern Patchwork"
image from Smile and Wave
Cute stuff, huh? I really want to learn how to make that stuffed dinosaur. Rachel is giving away 3 free spots in this e-course, all you have to do is comment on her post here. I reeeeaally hope I get into one of those 3 spots, but if I don't, I'll probably purchase it anyway! Now I just need a sewing machine, does anyone know where I can get a good one on the cheap?
We survived the snowpocalypse! For those of you who don't know, which I'm sure is none of you because all my readers are friends and family, but I will explain for posterity, there was a blizzard earlier this week. This picture doesn't really do it justice because knee-high snow isn't that rare up here, it's just that it usually builds up over a few months. But all this snow basically fell overnight! Jared and I both had the day off work, so we went out to explore!
Look what we found in our parking lot! An abandoned "bobcat!" I know that's what it's called because our neighbor who was also exploring told us. He said that the person manning it was trying to plow the snow but gave up. We're stuck at home, not only because we can't drive through the snow, but also because this machine is blocking our only exit! But who cares, we're having a blast in the snow, what could possibly go wrong? As we gleefully bound through the snow, unaware of what fate is about to befall us, our keys fell out of Jared's pocket. Normally, not a big deal, we can just retrace our steps until we find them. But when you drop something in fresh snow, it sinks straight to the bottom, and you have to dig to find it, and it is very likely that you will cover it up with more snow as you dig.
Our keys were somewhere beneath all this snow. Jared searched for about an hour and I helped for 15 minutes before I panicked and started crying. We were locked out of our apartment! We can't get a locksmith because no locksmith would ever go into work today, he's probably snowed in at his house. Even if a locksmith were available, there is no way he would be able to get to us. Our landlord does not have an extra key, the manager of the condos does not have a master key, and even if they did, we couldn't call them because Jared doesn't have their numbers in his cell phone and I left mine in the apartment! We have friends that live within walking distance, but I'm not exactly sure where they live and we don't want to get lost in this blizzard. Plus, Jared is just wearing a hoodie because he wasn't planning on getting locked out of the apartment. If I could just call these friends they would tell me how to get to their apartment and I'm sure would welcome us with open arms because they're very hospitable, but Jared doesn't have their cell number in his phone. I call the police. They say they don't break into people's homes unless it's an emergency, like if something is on fire, also they are really backed up on emergency calls and are having enough trouble as it is maneuvering through the blizzard. So they can't help. We ask our sweet elderly neighbor for help. If she has access to the internet I could read my emails and find phone numbers of the friends who live nearby and maybe we could stay there for...how long? How long before a locksmith would be able to get us into our apartment? At least not for another 24 hours. Sweet Neighbor does not have a computer but she does have a phone book. We call several locksmiths just in case they might be available and as expected they are all closed. She also has the white pages, maybe we can call a friend for help! We realize all our friends use cell phones and are thus not in the white pages. Our friends who do have a house phones live in Downers Grove or Wheaton so they won't be in the Naperville white pages anyway. But even if they did live in Naperville, how could they help? No one can drive!!! *calming breath* 

I hope this paragraph expresses the panic we felt during those 2 hours. I'm sitting in the hall (thank God our building doesn't lock, so we were not out in the cold this whole time) searching for someone I might know in the white pages, so I can make an awkward, tearful, pleading call for help when all of a sudden I hear two loud bangs and Jared yell "It's open!!"
He broke the door down! My hero! Apparently, the door was disturbingly easy to break open. I've never been more thankful for shoddy workmanship! Luckily, there are three locks on our door, and we only had to break one, so we can still use the other two to lock the door. We'll have to replace the door and the deadbolt, but I'm pretty sure that will cost less than a locksmith anyway. All in all, problem solved. 

I learned a lot during this experience. Never before have I been in a situation where literally no one could help us but ourselves, not even the police. I'm thankful that I've never experienced that before. It also made me appreciate my neighbors more. Sweet Neighbor was so comforting! She told us that she had been locked out before too and everything would be okay. She told me she doesn't blame me for crying and was willing to help in anyway she could. I want to get to know her better, I don't even know her name. The snow seemed to bring a lot of neighbors together. Usually we don't talk to each other much, but that day everyone was outside sharing their stories and helping dig each other's cars out of the snow. Being locked out makes me want to be a better neighbor.
Being locked out reminded me of how many friends we have around us who would be so willing to help us if they could. Even though we couldn't reach them, it made me feel better knowing that they were there. I hope they know that we're here for them when they need us. Being locked out makes me want to be a better friend.

Also, I felt like Jared and I managed this crisis well. I cried like a baby, while he took care of business. What a team! We didn't get mad at each other, which I'm thankful for. He could have gotten mad at me for not being helpful, and I could have made him feel bad for losing the keys, or breaking down the door, but we were able to focus on what mattered, getting back into our apartment. I hope that we are able to handle future crises, there will inevitably be many, even better. Mainly I just don't want to be a weepy wreck next time. Being locked out makes me want to be a better wife.

Thanks for reading this! I hope it wasn't too long or sappy. I've been reading my favorite blogs and thinking about what I like so much about them. It's not the style or the pictures or the food or clothes (although I love those) but the way in which the blogger is able to be authentic, open and honest. I feel like I have been guarded in recent posts. I think about something to write then say to myself "No one cares about that part of my life" and don't write it. I'm going to try to not do that anymore. Not because I know you are all just dying to hear every mundane aspect of my day, but because reading the sincere thoughts of other bloggers encourages and inspires me. I love that I can relate to complete strangers because of our common experiences. So in hopes of being encouraging and inspiring, I will try to write more personally in the future. Wish me luck! 

Locals, how did you survive the Snowpocalypse? Please share in the comments. Let's get some authentic, open, and honest dialogue going here!