Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
My current garden is a circle enclosed by edging stones. The new garden is going to be a long rectangle made of the composite timbers, which means the edging stones needed to be moved. They weigh approximately four thousand pounds apiece. We moved a bunch to the front flower bed, realized they were a slightly different color and size than the ones up there, moved all the ones from the front to the back, and built up the front flower bed. I now need more soil in there and to replant everything so it's higher.
Composite is very different from what I expected. It's unlike lumber in every way. It has deep grooves on the back, which make it difficult to nail without hitting a groove. The composite itself is extremely hard. We had to drill holes to help the nails get started, and even then I wasn't able to drive the nails in. Andrew loves me a lot.
Friday, March 19, 2010
They're... pretty good. I felt that the honey flavor somewhat covered up the yumminess that is pear. I don't know what would happen if I just slapped some pears on the grill. Is there enough sugar in pears to do any sort of carmelization? If not, could I use Splenda brown sugar or something besides honey? They take about 10 minutes to grill, so I would want to make sure the "sugar" carmelized and didn't burn. I'm not sure how I would get Splenda brown sugar to stick, but pears and brown sugar sounds awfully good to me.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
- I ate a blood orange. I find them incongruous and intriguing. It amuses me how much eating an orange that is not orange messes with my head. I'm looking forward to putting the peel in my compost bin. I feel it adds a bit of je ne sais quoi to my compost.***
- We're grilling out for dinner, and I'm going to try to grill pears. I love grilled food. I love pears. I sense something good coming out of this experience.
- The garden center I like has giant bags of vermiculite, which I needed to find for my Gardening Plan. (Dudes, much, much more about that later, I assure you.) I've read that people have had problems finding it, and I found it on my first try. It's also under $30, which feels good.
- I had a giant frozen coffee beverage after my doctor's appointment. It was delicious.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I decided I'd shell them to be safe, considered that there probably was a smarter way to shell them than the way I was doing it, wished I had a nice Southern woman in my kitchen who could instruct me, and fumbled through.
I went to the cookbook, looked up peas and found one that used rice. As I had leftover brown jasmine rice, this seemed like Fate. I didn't even bother taking a picture until after dinner because I was sure it wasn't going to be anything special.
I was wrong.
My friend Kyle had told me that fresh peas were unlike frozen peas in every way, but I didn't really believe him. I thought it was nostalgia for his dad's garden. It wasn't. I associate peas with tuna noodle casserole, and I thought I hated them both*. The only reason I ordered peas in the bin was because I'm still in my trying-new-foods-because-I'm-a-vegetarian-and-need-variety-and-perhaps-I-really-don't-hate-them-like-I-think-I-do mode. I'd never had peas crisp-ish, and certainly not cooked in a skillet. Boiled, yes. In unpleasant casseroles, yes. Sauteed, no.
I cooked the peas in (fake, somewhat healthy) butter, threw in some leftover asparagus we had grilled, and then added some more butter and leftover brown jasmine rice and heated it through. I scooped some on two plates and ground some black pepper on it.
Who would have guessed this would be so delicious? Now I'm wondering if I should be planting peas in my garden...
*I feel it must be said: Even if I were not a vegetarian, I would have no desire to eat tuna noodle casserole.
Friday, March 12, 2010
They were... fine. I think they need to have more spice on them, and they need to be eaten more promptly after being removed from the oven. It was a beautiful day (the only beautiful day in decades--it's rainy and sad again today) when I made these, so we decided to cook asparagus and burgers--meat and non-meat--on the grill as well. The timing could have been done better.
Anyway, they did turn out better than the sweet potato fries I tried shortly after becoming a vegetarian. That recipe had said that you couldn't use too much black pepper. That recipe was wrong.
This is something I may try again. I'm really ready for another big win on the Recipe Resolution front.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
- HGTV is a powerful thing. I found myself caring whether or not this couple got their basement ready to rent out and how families staged their home.
- The paperwork for gallbladder surgery makes a casual mention of "heaviness in the chest and shoulder pain" that might arise from all the carbon dioxide gas they stick inside you to puff you up so they can muddle about inside your abdomen. In my case, at least, this translated to excruciating pain in my right shoulder that was far worse than any pain from the incisions. It lasted for days. I am worried about my chi. Apparently things don't move around my body very quickly.
- When planning all the fun entertainment I could enjoy while off from work, I neglected to take into account that I would feel so rough that much of the time would be spent lying in bed staring at the wall. Unfortunate.
- Spring came while I've been inside. It's beautiful outside today.
Thanks for the positive thoughts. It's good to be nearing normalcy again.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Saturday was another At Sea day , and it brought its own adventures. Perhaps another day for that story.
Well, today is that day.
At lunch that day, I started to feel badly. I went to lie down. A couple hours later, I was up with horrible pain in my upper back. For the next several hours, I was either throwing up, hoping to throw up, or constantly trying to move to find a position in which I wouldn't feel like I was going to die from pain. We eventually ended up visiting our lovely ship doctor, and he gave me an anti-nauseau injection, a short run of antibiotics, and instructions to take a pain killer in forty minutes.
I love Percoset. It only took one dose, and I was able to go to sleep.
The next day we spent thirteen or fourteen hours in a minivan driving home. I ate nothing but Saltines for fear of further angering whatever was angry from the day before.
So, I went to see my regular doctor on Monday after we returned, and he said it was either my gallbladder or my stomach. That Thursday I went for an abdominal ultrasound, and it was my gallbladder. I should note that Andrew thought it was my gallbladder even as I was in the throes of agony. Smart guy, that Andrew. I should also note that he was a trooper and took very good care of me. Nice guy, that Andrew. I shall keep him.
I had said if it was my stomach I was blaming my dad and if it was my gallbladder I was blaming my mom. One of my sisters, who also has gallbladder problems and should have surgery, said so many of us have problems that we should get Have and Have Not t-shirts to wear at our family reunion.
This week, she sent me this:
I shall wear it home today from surgery. It should be noted that I'm wearing a t-shirt that reads, "Delicate Flower" to surgery. I feel better if the peeps at the hospital know what they're dealing with.
Em brought me goodies to work yesterday: a greeting card of monks riding a roller coaster, pencils, a whirly-fan-thingie, some silly putty, and, the piece de resistance:
Em says his name is Bladimir Lenin, and he's my replacement gallbladder. If I get scared, I am to hold him high and shout, "That's Bolshevik!" I'm actually leaving him at home because I'm afraid I'll do just that when I'm high on drugs. One must protect against oneself.
Bladimir is part-Irish. I can tell by his accent. He's hand-sewn and really, really fabulous.
As an added bit of fabulosity, he also came with a pocket containing a Half-Priced Books gift card. Nice play, Bladimir.
Send positive energy my way. Right now I'm all right except for the expected anxiety and acid reflux strong enough to burn holes in upholstery. Since I can't eat or drink, I'm stuck with it. Luckily, in a few hours they'll knock me out and I won't have to feel the fire in my esophagus.
Half full, people. The glass is half full.
See you on the flip side. I'll be the one in the cool t-shirt with the stuffed gallbladder.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Here's the nice cookbook holder Andrew gave me for my birthday:
This is the second time I've tried to put a picture of the cookbook holder on the blog, and the blog deleted it again. Luckily, my SD card is still in the computer. I wonder what the blog has against this holder?
Anyway, tonight's recipe was Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa, in case you, like me, am new to the world of quinoa) and Parsnip Rosti.
I am not exaggerating when I say to you that the only word in that recipe name I was familiar with three weeks ago was "and." The produce bin had parsnips in it last delivery, so I looked for a recipe that told me what to do with these things that looked like albino carrots. I had read about quinoa in Vegetarian Times, so I decided to go with this recipe.
Plus, it looked like a giant latke, and latkes are good.
Trader Joe's was out of plain quinoa, so I went with a blend of red quinoa, Israeli-style couscous, baby edamame beans, etc.*
Some things I learned:
a) When the recipe tells you not to peel the parsnips until after they've been boiled, there is, perhaps, a reason for it. It would behoove you to trust the cookbook author, who, you should note, gets paid to write recipes and probably knows a bit more about what he's doing than you do. You, after all, thought parsnips were albino carrots.
b) If you choose to ignore this, you should at least listen to the portion of the recipe that says, "Allow parsnips to cool." Trying to grate hot parsnips is not fun.
c) There's something in Trader Joe's Harvest Grains that gets very hard in this preparation. Chew carefully lest you break a molar.
Besides those tiny hiccups, I really was impressed with the resulting dish:
Not that I'm bitter.
Anyway, it's about a (gasp!) morning news show in (double gasp!) Miami. See how clever their title is? Constance Zimmer plays a sarcastic employee, and Mark Feuerstein plays the guy determined to turn the show around.
At a staff meeting, Jake (Feuerstein) announces that their age 18-56 male demographic is up X%. Penny (Zimmer) remarks with fake excitement, "Oh, good! We got Bob back!"
I was reminded of this when I noticed I had another blog follower. I'm now up to eight or some other number that can be counted on two hands.
Thanks, Bob*! Welcome to my blog. Unlike Penny, my excitement is not fake. I appreciate that you are reading.
*Not her real name, although that would make for a more linear line of thought.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The scarf is the Hot and Now Scarf from Exquisite Little Knits, sort of. Andrew likes his scarves really long, so I cast on 200 stitches, and I switched colors after every three rows for a total of eight stripes. This was knit holding the yarn double on gigantic (size 13) needles, so it didn't take long at all. Of course, with 200 stitches on each row, even doing 26 rows (8 stripes x 3 rows in each stripe + cast on + bind off) feels daunting.
The scarf was made to match this hat: