food

What a summer/what a bummer and What’s for dinner? (part 2 -long)

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(Click here for Part 1)

What’s For Dinner?

I make some really yummy things to eat, even now that I am a diabetic and have changed my eating habits so that I can keep my fingers and toes and such. But overall, I’m just an OK cook. My Dad and my brothers are people who really love to cook, they really show their love to others through their cooking. My Dad wakes up every day thinking about what he and Mom are gonna eat for dinner, which – given that my mother takes a fair amount of time & caffeine to really “wake up”- has led to 50 years of him accosting her most every morning, right when she gets up, and demanding to know what she wants for dinner, which leads to a very blank and confused expression on her face that I find pretty hilarious these days.

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Of course, Mom’s not wearing the hat or the beard…..

Now I might wake up thinking of food, but it’s a completed dish I’m thinking of, preferably one that could be conjured up and served immediately by the chef/butler we do not have. Since I’m the one who does the VAST majority of cooking around here, I have tried many different ways to make the decision of what we will eat easier, and some of them have helped. I admit that we go out to eat way too often, mainly because I just don’t wanna cook much at all anymore.  One of the things that has helped a bit has been subscribing to Blue Apron** for one week a month. Since I’ve been sick or gone so much this summer, I have not been eating the way I want to and need to, and we aren’t sitting down to dinner  together nearly as often. Fresh things are going bad in the fridge, mainly ‘cos I forget that I bought them. And there’s loads of things in the pantry that should be eaten as well. I’ve fallen into a very lazy & unthinking pattern about dinners around here that is not only costly to my wallet, but to my health. So here is my latest attempt to change this downward spiral & act like an adult-

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If you click on the picture, you can see it better. I’m just happy to have a reminder of what’s going on foodwise each day. Studmuffin would rather eat chicken than almost anything else on the planet, ‘cept maybe chocolate ice cream, so that’s why there’s so many “Chicken Somethings” in the plan.  I have a lot of cookbooks, for someone who’s meh about cooking, so I put in “Use a cookbook” in hopes that I might try something new; it could happen. My favorite innovation here *has* to be “Pantry Roulette” – go into the pantry and see what interesting thing could be made from what’s there and the older the better. Please feel free to try this out yerself, or put in the comments how you deal with the daily grind of ‘what’s for dinner?’ BTW, it’s Crockpot Chicken Teryaki tonight. See? Workin’ already.

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** If you don’t know what Blue Apron is, go to the website and check it out. I have some free meals from them to give away; let me know if you want to try Blue Apron in the comments section and if you live in the USA, I’ll send them your way.

Some Actual Good Things this summer

Singing with the band Kaleidoscope & becoming a much better keyboard player because the fellas let me play more and more, singing with One Human Family Workshop choir twice, been married to Studmuffin for TWENTY-EIGHT years, traveling to Dayton with Studmuffin, traveling to WV for the Studmuffin family reunion, the Force of Nature graduated from high school – in the top twenty of her class, taking the Force of Nature to Marion Military Institute for college, the Duke of Curl spent part of the summer working in Colorado, he came home and now is in school AND has a job, paid off a fairly large loan, going to Birmingham several times for Baha’i Ruhi Institute training, YARN! FABRIC!……there’s been good things, many good things.

THE END:A Real Grievance

The day after I wrote the previous post (The Gardening groove…) on this here blog, June 1st, my beloved dog Boris suddenly died. His sister Natasha has been ill/dying with a chronic parasitic infection for the last 3 years and we thought for certain, she would be gone first. We know their deaths are coming – they are 13 or 14 years old, and for their kind of dog to make it past 15 is quite rare, so we know it is gonna happen within the next 2 years certainly. Natasha, whom I have nicknamed “the Crypt Keeper” because she looks so bad – patchy fur, flaking skin and so skinny – is still living and quite happy. She gets all the treats now.

I has a sad....

I has a sad….

I think he ate something he shouldn’t have – probably some poisonous vegetation. He always loved to eat leaves and green things. I planted zinnias every year, not because I’m fond of them, but because Boris loved to nibble the leaves so much. Others have told me that Labradors tend to get stomach cancer and that is possible, too.  I did not realize just how sick he was until about 2 hours before he passed away; I spent about 5 or 6 hours that day driving the Duke of Curl to and from his dr.’s appointment in Birmingham; I would not have done that had I known that Boris was dying. We buried him next to Bluto^^ that night, and a week later I planted zinnias on his grave.

We won’t be getting another dog while Natasha lives; she’s elderly and sick, but she was the less dependent of the 2 and I think adjusting to a new dog would be hard on her. I will rescue more dogs after she’s gone, mainly because of this video: Shy Shelter Dog gets Adopted. But it will be a while. Emmy the cat was sick this last week with a bad cold and it brought it all back.

Boris was the dog of my heart and life is really not the same without him for me. I am reminded of him everywhere in our house and yard and all the streets nearby. It’s been nearly four months and I’m still grieving, which of course, I have mixed feelings about. There are so many terrible things happening in the world all over, and I’m crying about a dog. A dog who had a seriously wonderful life, who I was privileged to have in my family since he and Tasha were 4 months old. All I can say is that grief is the price of love and buddy, your death is costing me a fortune. You were the BEST dog for me and none of us will ever forget you. Thank you Borisman.

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^^Bluto adopted us in the early Summer 1997 (est. 3 yrs old) – died January 7, 2010

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What a summer/what a bummer and what’s for dinner? (part 1 -long post)

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This has been one for the books. So let’s jump right into the whingeing, shall I?

Illness

So I’ve spent a fair bit of time this summer being sick and recovering from being sick. The only reason I’ve time to write today is because I have a cold and I don’t wanna give it to others, so I can’t go and do things, but I’m not so sick I’m gonna stay in bed all day. Studmuffin has had this cold far worse than I – I think I’ll be fine by Friday.

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feeling yucky….

No, the mostest, worstest sickness I got was for about the first 2 weeks of August. High fever, then mega-chills, all over aches – I mean even my eyelashes hurt when I blinked. And I could not sleep for more than 30 mins to a hour at a time for nearly 2 weeks. I even went to the doctor, knowing that he probably could not help – it was a virus I was certain- but if it was one of the ‘named’ viruses*, I could be at least a public health statistic. But no dice – no help and an un-named virus, but he still took my co-pay (which has gone up about 30%) and suggested I come back in a few days if I was still sick. HAH!  I really considered going to the hospital, but then I remembered 2 things: I never get any rest in the hospital -someone always wants to ask you something or stick a needle into you the moment you’ve dropped off to sleep, and hospital stays are very expensive.

A friend from the next town over was in the process of dying, and I had previously promised his wife that I would sing at his funeral. He passed away & I was too sick to even go to the funeral, much less sing.  This is something I will regret for the rest of my life. Though I am very thankful that Studmuffin went in my place. No, he did not sing.

I lost 15 lbs. in 12 days I was so sick. I cannot ever remember feeling worse….and I was sick for all 9 months of my last pregnancy!

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*Zika, Swine, H1N1,Bird, Spanish,Influenza and so on

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Buon appetito! – A Food Vignette

beautiful foodOver Mother’s Day weekend, Studmuffin made Angel hair pasta and sauce. It was yummy but he made a HUGE amount of pasta -far more than we could or should eat, so he suggested I make a baked pasta casserole of some type. The last few days have been quite warm – almost ‘normally’ warm, which we are unused to because it has been such a cold spring…….I had no desire to heat up the house by baking something in the oven when it’s 90 degrees F (32 degrees C)!

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A groovy sock idea part deux

Whilst I’ve been grieving for my late cat – many thanks to those who have sent condolences; it means more to me than you can know or is even REASONABLE (!) – I’ve been working on this homemade sock club idea off and on. I’ve not felt like knitting anything or crocheting on the Klimt-y Babette fer Mum (hereafter known as “the BEAST”), but for those of you who have befriended me on Ravelry, I’ve been looking at (and “favorite-ing”) plenty of pictures of knitting. Very therapeutic as well as listening to John Gorka’s latest CD.

One of the reasons this idea appeals to me so is that it is anti-hoarding in nature. I recognize that I have some issues with “lack”, and my yarn stash reflects this. It has been the enormous growth of my yarn stash that has helped me recognize this almost panicked feeling I get about not having enough – pretty yarns, CDs, books, food, whatever. It isn’t rational at all and I am working on it; I think this idea will help. Plus it’s FUN FUN FUN!

I sought out all the lovely free sock patterns on Ravelry, plus the ones I’ve downloaded for actual $. I also got out all of my sock books and have been perusing those as well. I ignored the knitting magazines I have – already I have too many choices! I did NOT go find all the single patterns of socks I’ve accumulated; they’re out in the unheated garage and it’s too bloody cold to go rummaging around in there. I guess when I get thru this batch, I’ll do those too.

I wanted to do some colorwork, some lace, cables and twisted stitch of COURSE, maybe learn some new techniques….. I only ended up with ONE pattern out of the 10+ sock books I own and one other that I had bought online – ALL of the rest are free ones. Remember when I said I would do maybe six packages of yarn & patterns? Such a FOOL am I! Feast yer eyeballs on this:

There’s 16 or 17 in there – I quit when the printer quit working. I was gonna try to put them into clear bags and then into a pillowcase, but I’ve no pillows THAT big, so identical ‘ Tarzhay’ bags it is.  After printing every one of them out, I put each one in a page protector all nice and neat. Now onto the yarns!

The yarn is also in the unheated garage, but they are in 2 bins that I can get quickly. God *knows* there’s puh-luh-henty more sock yarn to do more than 17 monthly packages.  There’s SO much that I had to use some kind of criteria for deciding which yarns to even consider, so I pulled out:
– the oldest sock yarns I remember buying
– the stuff I dyed myself
– the oldest indie dyer stuff on hand
– stuff I received thru swaps *especially* the colorways I wouldn’t have chosen to get for myself (SWAPS! Yeah! Remember those? Gotta get back to those…maybe by summer)
– the really GOOD stuff I’ve been saving for later

The actual pairing up of the yarn to pattern didn’t take very long after that. Only time and experience will tell if I did a decent job on that part. In fact, I’ve got this crazy idea of doing some kind of a raffle or something monthly either at my local knit night or here on the blog to try to raise some money for the India trip and the only thing stopping me is the pattern/yarn match-up. Or maybe since the divine Sarah did not want anything from Virginia, I’ll just pick one out for her and send it to her house…..if I only knew where she lived! Hey Sarah! Let’s meet for coffee someplace once a month & I’ll bring the giant bag and you can pick one out each time*.  What do you think? Comments about any of these ideas are read and treasured!

The giant (laundry) bag of Groovy Sock Club goodness!

Who knows? If this goes well, I could definitely see hosting a sock club on a local basis…perhaps in conjunction with my LYS…..Hmmmm, maybe not. That might take all the fun out of it and i am in this for the FUN.  I will keep y’all updated about each package as it is revealed.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:

The Force of Nature wanted to make a cake…and not just any cake: a blue cake.  Those darker areas on the top are intentional; there is a kind of icing “spray paint” one can get (we have blue).  The candy sprinkles are in the shape of cows and stars and moons and dinosaurs and dolphins.  Of course. And those purple blobs are icing too.

I think she’s been inspired by the Percy Jackson books; Percy’s mom makes blue food all the time.  This started out as a white cake mix and white frosting.  Here’s the inside:

We had a bit of a meltdown together as I was trying to make dinner as well and she hadn’t read the directions all the way through.  I had to remind her that my first real job was working at a bakery so I might know something about making a cake……….

The final product was too crumbly to ice properly – I think the amount of food coloring that eventually brought it to such an amazing hue compromised the strength of the cake. All appearances aside, this is a delicious cake.  I’ma have some before bed.

I hope the next post will have pictures from the Virginia/DC trip.  I’ll talk about Bluto some time in the future.  STAY WARM!  And now, some cake…..

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* there’s only 2 of them I won’t let you have: 1 beautiful skein of yarn has rather bad moth damage which I’m willing to mess about with but I couldn’t in good conscience give to anyone else, and 1 pattern which I hope to make at the end of this batch containing yarn from all the ones I knit.

Weekend Round up /Contest reminder

  • The Force of Nature’s soccer team won a game!
  • -ate some wonderful food at Mezzaluna (try the Eggplant Parmesan appetizer; fantastic!)
  • saw the movie “Good Hair” with some friends (I enjoyed it)
  • Got some more Kureyon for the Lizard Ridge blanket (I’m halfway there)
  • made zero progress on the Tapestry Cowl
  • got “The Individual formerly known as Homeschool Kid”‘s hair cut. Yay!
  • since my hairstyle was making me feel OLD, I even got my hair cut (I now now own a flatiron to style it with….)
  • no band rehearsal because the bandleader had a heart attack (please say healing prayers for Sylvester!)
  • spent what seemed like endless hours tryna fix the Force of Nature’s cobbled-together iPod (I should post a picture – it’s held together with rubber bands for REAL)  and to remove some rather nasty spyware from my ‘puter
  • Studmuffin left for Cali on a business trip
  • I didn’t remember to call my brother for his birthday til like 2 am. I still haven’t called :o(
  • Natasha’s limp has gone away as mysteriously as it came.
  • posted one of my cutest ever posts (I think) about Domo-kun with cute pictures AND NOBODY COMMENTED      :::sad trombone:::  I guess everyone is too busy?  Or do you just hate Domo-kun?  Or is it me?

Today, I:

  • forgot to put out the trash
  • felt like crap all day
  • spoke to 2 wonderful friends on the phone (I love you guys!!!)
  • finished knitting No.1 Son’s birthday prezzie and am felting it (and felting and felting….)
  • took a nap and was
  • late making dinner and so
  • burnt the spaghetti with meatballs……..

Life is good but I still feel yucky. It will pass…..  WHERE is the goshdurn heating pad?!
Meal plan Monday:
Mon- spags & meatballs
Tues- Shepherd’s Pie a la Cracker (this didn’t get made last week; I WILL share the recipe)
Wed- leftovers
Thurs- Mac & cheese & salad
Fri- Romano Beans & rice
Sat- Soup & sandwiches/Corn Chowder
Sun- Chinese take out

CONTEST Reminder

Contest ends on October 31st, 2009 at midnight Alabama time, and the winner will be announced when I get around to it (probably during the following week).  My choice will be completely arbitrary and humor is encouraged.  :o)
Please submit prospective names in the comments – the name I choose for him will win a $14 gift card to Starbucks. If you live someplace without Starbucks, I’ll contact you directly and we’ll work it out.
See all the other names submitted in the comments here

Toodles

I’m feeling better all the time…..

Hey y’all – sorry for the blog silence; I’ve been kept away from the ‘puter by my family but more importantly I have some actual knitting to take pictures of and cannot remember what I did with the special digital camera battery charger….so I was kinda waiting for that to reappear and 2 weeks slipped by.

HOWEVER, there are yarn crimes to report:

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Even the model seems to have mixed emotions on this……

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“Oh yes.  Just the thing to throw on when heading out to the chilluns’ soccer game….”

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It’s hard to know even where to start on this garment: the alien eyes located over the nipple area, the see-thru skirt or the open areas over abdomen?  Boy oh boy, it sure does LOOK comfy to wear too.  Well, at LEASt it’s EXPENSIVE…….

Of course, this designer has even MORE designs to show you here.

(A shout out to Marin at her very funny blog for introducing me to these criminal garments.)

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As amazingly mindbogglingly awful as the above yarn crimes are, the item for sale that inspired this post is one I saw in person today.  My dear sister-in-law has been here all week helping me out and she has been just great.  I decided early on that we really needed to goof off while she was here and that has proved to be a wise (but highly fattening) decision.

She enjoys going to the mall and so we have been touring some local malls and today we went to the oldest mall in the city.  It’s been rather a while since I went there and many many of the stores that used to be there are gone and a few newer but rather less swanky shops have opened there.  While Homeschool Kid was drooling over the used games at GameStop, sis-in-law and I got something to drink* sat down and we were able to peruse the offerings at a rather cool new shop that does a lot of wonderful airbrush painting.  Of course, I was captivated by the TACKIEST thing they had:

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It was the best pic I could get with my phone – I’m SO sorry you cannot see it in its full glory.  It’s an airbrushed toilet seat with a portrait of………………………

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……………that’s right: JOHN WAYNE.

If this had been a pay week, I probably would have bought it myself.  Dad’s turning 70 in a few months and this may just be the commemorative item for that momentous occasion……

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*  I totally wigged out the girl at the drink counter when I asked her for an orange sherbert milkshake.  She’d never heard of such a thing, which isn’t surprising ‘cos I made it up years ago when I worked at the Mill Stream one summer.  It actually has no milk in it: orange sherbert, ice and orange soda all mixed together.  It tastes like a very sweet unhealthy Orange Julius.  Homeschool Kid finished the last third of it, making happy noises the whole time.

A lovely little discovery for me

Organic V8 does NOT give me heartburn!

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I’ve learned over the years than V8 is usually a “love it or hate it” thing and I’m one of the lovers.  But I haven’t drunk very much of it for about 10 years because I would always get this bad heartburn about 20 minutes after drinking even a small glass of it with food.  I put that down to “the adventure of aging” and resolved only to drink my beloved red stuff every now and again.

About 3 months ago at Costco, they has a really nice price on a package of 2 large jugs of Organic V8 juice and I decided to take the plunge.  For over  2 months, the V8 has sat in the pantry looking red and luscious – practically taunting me with its tomato-ey goodness.  I couldn’t wait anymore last night & I opened one.

YUM!!!!!!!!!!!

I had 2 glasses of it and then I waited for the ‘burn.  And waited and waited and waited:  NO HEARTBURN!  Such a simple pleasure to be had so easily.

If you’ve had trouble drinking V8 in the past (Mom-this means you), I recommend giving the Organic V8 a try.  You’ll know it is organic because it is written in BIG green letters on the label,  plus there’s a nickel-sized circle on the right hand side of the label that says “USDA ORGANIC”.

rets001066 I just love this lady’s hair.  Amazing how that hairstyle on a 30-something woman (I’m judging that by her hands) makes her look 65+.  Not a glowing recommendation for tomato juice I’m afraid.  How *did* she get her hair to do that?  Could it have been the pesticide residue?  I’m pretty certain that massive quantities of Aqua-Net were involved at some point…..