Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’m not sure how many inches of snow we’ve gotten so far; snow tends to melt away quickly in Colorado.  At least a foot of it.  This is Bella, showing you.  (Yes, she wanted to be out there…although briefly.)feb22_bella2

I decided it was a weekend to roast vegetables.  So I, along with the other 152,000 people that knew it was going to snow big this weekend stocked up on food Friday night.

vegan, gluten –

  • 6 beets
  • a lot of carrots, peeled
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • more handfuls than you think of brussel sprouts
  • a head of cauliflower
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • several glugs of olive oil

roast vegChop carrots, cauliflower and brussel sprouts into bite-size pieces.  Toss with oil, oregano, salt & pepper.  Roast those veggies on trays lined with aluminum foil (because I am lazy and have a hard time with blackened pans; I reuse the foil, though).  Roast beets and sweet potatoes in their own pockets of foil.  Don’t bother washing.  When tender, take out of oven, let cool, and remove skins under water.  Chop beets and toss in with other veg. IMG_0195 IMG_0199

Crush cumin, toss in with potatoes and mash.

Serve roast veggies on potato mash.

Holy cow, it’s awesome.  I couldn’t wait to eat them to cool, I kept popping them into my mouth.  Not a fan of any of those above veggies?  Roast them; you will be.

Red Chile Sauce

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

I made this a few days in advance of making the Red Chile Seitan Tamales.  (I will post those later…)

  • 3 – 4 ounces dried chiles (there’s five ounces in a large bag of anchos)
  • 2 tbsp peanut or corn oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Simple chana dal

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

So I haven’t cooked anything that requires more than four ingredients in several months.  It’s the new job thing….and today was an incredibly short NINE HOUR DAY!  WOO!!!  Mostly, I’ve been eating out.

So this is the kind of thing that’s considered a laughably simple recipe for normal people.  It’s fine cuisine for the way I’ve been eating for the past few months.

source:  Mark Bittman article:  Chana Dal

  • 1 cup split chickpeas (chana dal) (I actually used masoor dal, because I had masoor or urad…having an Indian grocery in your back pocket is a good thing.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably Indian
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed-red-chili flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Easy food is good.  It’s good food, and easy.

And one lesson is sinking in to a degree, and I think it’s the most important one:

Let go of that Currier and Ives postcard holiday thing in your head.  It’s not easy to do.  It’s a lesson worth sharing.

I let go of my usual four-day Thanksgiving weekend.  For two decades, these four days have been my holiday highlight, mostly because I’m increasingly indifferent to Christmas.  The two days I had with my husband for the annual Star Trek Movie Marathon were really nice.  We didn’t have the skid for it this year.  But instead, we three had a Harry Potter Movie Marathon that lasted over a two or three week period and we watched the movies as we had time together.  That was nice, too.  Chase was around for the last Star Trek, which is his favorite, anyway.

I made Thanksgiving brunch.  I haven’t had attachment to turkey with cranberry sauce for two decades.  It seemed that my husband and I were the rare ones who were happy to try new things, new dishes, new time of day….but it was a really nice brunch.  There was strain and family dynamics at the table….but it had nothing to do with my awesome food.  Or with me or Mark or Chase for that matter.

I have let go of the fact that my skid and his dad put up the lovely tree with lights (and forgot most of the ornaments).  The Godzilla ornament and the Packers candy cane are there….what else does this house need?  Do I really want to fuss over it?  Nope.  Are there going to be pictures of this tree that we’ll save and cherish forever?  Nope.  Ever since I threw out 25 years worth of my handwritten journals before I moved in with Mark, I’ve come to terms that nobody actually cares so much about what I’ve said that they’ll keep it for posterity.  This year bit.  I think we can skip it and keep the photos from 2011, and have new ones for 2013.

I have let go of Christmas Day being December 25.  I’m pagan.  Who cares?  We’re having family festivities on the 23rd and that’s fine with me.

The ex-wife has Chase Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  In some stepfamilies, this would be fought over.  In court, it could be not only fought over but won easily.  We don’t actually care.  We were asked to not request him for any more extra time for the rest of the year when we asked to bring him back three hours later (at 8pm) on Sunday.  To this, even I said ‘whatever’.

We have stockings over our fake fireplace.  (It’s not actually fake….we just haven’t figured out how to get a key remade to open it up again).  I don’t worry about how the presents are, or when they’re given, and I’m not caring that we don’t have a “proper” Christmas dinner…we’re doing wine and desserts at my mother-in-law’s house.  Initially, the family agreed to this because nobody REALLY wanted to host.  Or rather, Mark and I did Thanksgiving, and I had hoped to work Christmas Day, like I have for the past six years.  And after there was significant cricket chirping, Jane volunteered….and planned Christmas gathering on her terms.  Which is fine.  Nice, even.  It is not appearing to meet with everybody’s expectations and ….should’s.

I don’t actually mind at all.

Know what I do care about?  My husband and I have the entire Christmas Day off…and have it to ourselves.  I want to take him to see Les Mis.  Or the Hobbit again.  Yeah, a large part of me wanted to go wear my Santa Hat in the ICU….just like every year for the past six.  But you know what?  I have a random Tuesday in December off with my husband and we will have fulfilled all family obligations.  We can have it…TO OURSELVES!  That’s so awesome!

I care a lot about the fact that I’m going to see my parents, when I thought I wasnt going to see them at all this year.  I care a LOT about that.  I’m flying home….don’t care at all about the $300some cost….and don’t care at ALL that it’s the weekend after Christmas.  I don’t care at all that they put up a plastic 2 foot tall tree that they decorated once, and keep decorated, stored in a box eleven months a year.  I think that’s wonderful and it makes me very happy.

Mom is delightedly making not one, not two, but THREE different kinds of gelato PLUS a homemade pie before I get home.  I estimate she has 5,000 calories planned for me.  None of it traditional holiday meal-type stuff.  All of it lacto-ovo-vegetarian because my parents love me, and they have absorbed the Rockford Italian culture that says food is love.  They just get that vegetable food is just as much love as the food we all used to eat, when my Dad’s cholesterol was much higher.

I think a Christmas evening at my mother-in-law’s place sounds nice.  Her house is comfortable to me, and it’s full of quilts, and it’s just as good being the family’s Geneva or Switzerland as our house is.  I think it will take me less time, this holiday, to blow off the strain and family dynamics.  Because it isn’t about me.  I’m gonna have egg nog and listen.  That’s what I usually do at tables of large people…most of the time, I listen.  Mark’s family is full of talkers, so this tends to work fine.

I’m happy about the cool presents I gave Chase, and even the iTunes my folks got him…am excited to see him open them.  I’m happy about the really nice coat I got for Mark, and the nerdy laptop fan that he’ll love.  I’m happy about giving my niece grown-up makeup….Gramma Jane got her some, too, but she’s going to be 14, and ready for big girl stuff.  It’s cool.  I don’t know what Mark and Chase have gotten Colton, my nephew yet, because I was told “you get the girl stuff, we’ll get the boy stuff”, but it’s always fun to watch him open presents, too….he and Chase run around together and have a good time.  The three of them are great kids, and they’re fun to watch run around and have a good time.

I’m not making kiffles this year.  I gained 10 lbs with the new job.  Nor am I making my Christmas cheesecake.  (Okay, maybe I’ll make Christmas cheesecake.) …..(All right, maybe ONE batch of kiffles, but only to bring to Jane’s house.)  Maybe.

I know I had the anxiety dream right before Thanksgiving….but deeper into the holidays, and things are going a little easier.  I’m taking what’s put in front of me this year….instead of deciding what should be there and noticing how reality doesn’t match.  I wish I could have gone back in time and told myself this before.  I just have to remember to KEEP telling myself this.

It’s like my Christmas tree.  It’s beautiful as it is.  I need to stop looking for things that should be there, and are not.  Happy holidays.

Thanksgiving brunch menu

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

We’re hosting this year.  I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but that’s what happened.  Part of the family is out of the state for Thanksgiving proper, which means that I can still happily watch my Star Trek movie marathon, I just have to cook and clean through it.  Mark is cleaning, too.  Which is fabulous.

Just got back from the grocery store after having spent the morning figuring out the menu.   Here’s the idea:

Broccoli, Tomato and Emmentaler Quiche

Carmelized Onion Quiche

Homemade granola with Fresh Fruit and Greek Yogurt “Bar”

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Walnut Phyllo Pastry

Mashed Potatoes and Italian Seitan “Sausage” with Cashew Gravy

Pumpkin Pancakes with Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Mimosas & Coffee & Sparkling Cider & Frozen Chocolate Banana Smoothies

Much of this can be made early.  I plan the granola today, the phyllo pastry and muffins probably Saturday.  (I’m working Friday.)  I could make the quiches early, too….leaving only the pancakes and mashed potatoes for the morning.  It’d be nice to have the cranberry sauce warm, too.

I have no idea whether or not I’ll be able to pull this off.

The meat-eaters in the family know that everything’s vegetarian.  (Come to think of it, some of it is vegan.)  (The carmelized onion quiche actually is a vegan recipe that I’m adapting to lacto-ovo.)  If I CAN pull it off, it should be delicious.  The woman checking out my groceries looked puzzled as we chatted about brunch.  She said, “I’m being really careful, because I don’t know what to do with a lot of this stuff.”  It didn’t seem complex to me….uncommon things, maybe, like a pomegranate, and phyllo dough, and raw cashews, but there’s nothing weird about cheese or eggs or spinach or cranberries or ginger root.  I told her the planned menu and she said, “That sounds amazing!”.

Yup.  Vegetarians eat well.

Whether or not I can cook it well is another issue entirely.  You, gentle reader, shall be seeing recipes and photos soon….

The finished blanket

Posted: October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve been on a crochet kick.  I haven’t painted in years (and have no space anymore), and bookbinding hasn’t been touched in an equally long time.  The good camera needs a good cleaning, and the darkroom photography I did in college is a dead media that I am mourning…everybody with a phone is a photographer.  The quilt project I’ve got on the wall in the sewing room has progressed a little, but mostly I’ve been on a crochet kick.   The scolding of my professors of art that disdain craft still yell at me in my head, but their voices are faint anymore.

Bex and I went to my favorite yarn store the other week, and it was filled with busy women with their hands in yarn and needles.  It’s the cold weather front that moved it.  It’s the time of year to make warm things.  It’s in the air, which is crisp and tastes of apples.

Mark has told me that I make my quilts or crocheted blankets too small…they don’t quite cover his feet when he stretches out.  (Of course, he is taller than me…I suppose I stop crocheting when the blanket covers me.)  So I wanted to make something large enough to fit him, too.  This is a queen-sized blanket, and I finished it in 2 and 3/4 months.   It fits both of us comfortably.

I am calling it either The Confluence Blanket or Depression and Mostly Unemployment 2012.  Can’t decide.  Well, it just depends on the day.  It was started in late July, and finished today.  Made the final stitch this morning.

I needed this blanket.  I needed to be very busy while I was immobile, and I needed Rain Man like repetition.  I can make these rows with my eyes closed if I have to.  There were times I did.  One stitch, then another, then another, then another, then another, then another.

It is all done with either half double crochet or double crochet….I’m not sure which stitch that actually is that I made.  (No I don’t know why a half double crochet is not simply a single crochet, but those are different things.)  But at least it’s the SAME stitch.  There was a woman at the yarn shop that reassured me that the crochet police are likely to let it slide.

I chose colors of Utah, my happy place.

I got the border stitch from Robyn Chacula’s book’ Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia.  It’s an incredibly easy thing to do.  I like it okay…I’ll try something different next time.  I like the idea of HAVING a border, which I hadn’t done before, and the blanket does look more finished.

Chase modeled the blanket for size for me.  In this photo, the blanket on the right folded on the couch arm was made by my mother sometime in the 1970s (browns and yellows being the cool colors at the time).  (I just now realized hers has orange and so does mine.)  I stole her blanket from the house when I went off to college and have always loved it, and it was the blanket that gave me the idea that I could do this.

In the photo below, Beau is modeling the blanket with me. He LOVES being hugged and squeezed.  Really.  He’s just faking that he hates it in this photo.  He’s not whining at all.

 

Feels good to have this done….I start my new job Monday, and so I have a small sense of good riddance of some really profoundly awful months. On the upside, I have something pretty and warm to show for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue cheesy eggs, by request

Posted: September 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

He’s 12.  I’m not gonna have the chance to make blue cheesy eggs in the morning forever.

Am happy.  He’s a pretty awesome kid.