same_sky: (Default)
Okay, this has bothered me for years so please don't ignore this question just because it's Friday and LJ is slow on Fridays.

When you look at the directions for frozen pizza, they almost always tell you to place the pizza directly on the oven rack. In a small sidenote, it will say something about how you can put it on a cookie sheet for a softer crust. What I want to know is... does anyone put their pizza directly on the oven rack?

If you do, I would also like to know: does it not bother you that oven racks are not cleaned? Or do you acually clean your oven racks more than I clean mine? Or that pizza cheese and toppings are likely to slide off the edge and burn onto the bottom of the oven, if not during cooking then during transport? And okay, I can see how you could put a frozen pizza INTO the oven and onto a rack successfully, but how would one remove it? I guess that you could use a pizza peel but if you have one of those out where it's easily accessible are you really making that many frozen pizzas? Or maybe you remove the whole oven rack. But still, I am thinking of all the burnt-on places on my pizza pans. Doesn't it stick? And/or create a big mess? Why would you do this in the first place anyway?

Also, does anyone ever fix a frozen pizza without adding more cheese? I personally add more cheese, green peppers and onions (pre-chopped from the freezer, usually) and pepperoni. I recently bought some Freschetta pizzas (on sale, with coupons) and they could probably be used without adding more toppings. I refuse to pay premium frozen pizza prices, though, so maybe that's the difference in adding more toppings.

There are a lot of really important things going on in my head, as you can clearly see. Please given me more frozen pizza information because I seriously want to know.
same_sky: (Default)
I have had two pen cups on my desk since I brought my stuff home from work, September 2007, because I have been too lazy to consolidate them. It took me until today to do something about it. Better late than never?

I just did something sneaky with my Walgreens receipt that earned me $4.20. I makes me feel giddy and a tiny touch guilty, but it is not worth the trouble of explaining. I didn't break any laws or anything but I did do something that was Not Intended by Walgreens.

On a similar note, M and I taught E to do the evil laughter thing this morning. Muahahahahaha. It was so funny.

We have spent the weekend working on a computer room cleanup project. I started it a while back but this room was piled high with stuff that I couldn't decide what to do with on my own so it didn't get anywhere near done. Plus, M's desk is always the worst part of the room, so I definitely needed his help there. (That post is still one of my favorites.) Inconceivably, my desk is now the worst looking part of the room. Good thing I got started on the pencil consolidation project this afternoon!

Even though I make homemade pizza from the same simple recipe at least twice a month, I always have to have the recipe out, hanging on the fridge. I always check the measurements, too, even though I know them. I don't know why I do this but it's very important to me, apparently. I don't like to cook things without access to the recipe if it's a dish that I first made from a recipe... even though I completely know them and have made so many changes to them that the original recipe barely applies. If I make something up or learned it from someone else without a recipe, it doesn't bug me at all. I just realized that. Yay for self-awareness!

I looked back at all of my old journal entries from May 12, 2006 and before (2007 being Evelyn's birthday) and tried to imagine myself writing those entries with absolutely no clue that two, three, four, five, years from then, I would be having a wee little baby yanked from my abdomen. It feels so strange that a day that is so emblazoned on my mind now meant nothing special then. It makes me wonder if today will be something amazing (or awful but let's so not go there) in future years.

We are teaching E to play in the computer room while we do other things. It is F A N T A S T I C. Occasionally stressful but fun. The cleanup project is helping a lot, too. Also, sometimes I turn M's computer on and let her watch YouTube videos in Swedish. She likes that for up to four minutes at a time! ;)

There is pretty much nothing better than strawberries and ice cream. *nod* I just told M that since I fixed them last night, I thought he should fix them tonight. He decided that he didn't think we should eat any tonight, in that case. He is such a guy sometimes. He did actually follow through and bring me ice cream. I used to have something to the nature of "True love arrives with Ben & Jerry's" as my 'title' on the muds... also M-inspired. I do believe I will keep him.

I just informed him of my plans to buy another twenty bags of frozen vegetables. He informed me that the basement freezer is getting really full by now. I think I shall have to plan some vegetable-type meals again. I just bought twenty .50 coupons that will double and make them free this week at Kroger. Spending three bucks for the coupons equals fifteen cents per bag. I love my new coupon hobby, really I do.
same_sky: (under the same sky)
I told [ profile] carrieb a while back that she should make a peach cobbler for dessert. I think it was when her in-laws were visiting. There is really nothing that is as easy to prepare as this cobbler. She was skeptical that this would turn into any sort of actual baked good when I described it, so I am offering photographic proof. Really, it was all for Carrie that I made a cobbler yesterday, not because I have been craving one for months. Really! Also, I am greatly looking forward to snack time today.

First, the "recipe".

Preheat oven to somewhere around 350. I did 375 because my oven is quirky and last time I made it, it took way too long. Put a stick of butter or margarine in a baking pan. We usually use 9x13 ones. Stick it in the oven until it melts.

Meanwhile, mix together one cup each of sugar, milk and self-rising flour in a bowl. (Hence why we call it one cup, one cup, one cup cobbler.) Although it'll be easier to mix if you do the milk and sugar first.. honestly, it really doesn't matter if there are a few lumps. The batter will be runny and kind of gross. Add a healthy shake of cinnamon. (I guess you could add nutmeg too, but I don't care for it much.) When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven and dump the batter on top of it. Open a large can of peaches and spoon them onto the top of the whole mess. Don't put too much syrup in there, though it's not that important that you drain it or anything.

Ta da! It will look like this:
cobbler before baking

I think we can all agree that that mess is not good eats. Trust me here, and just stick the whole thing in the oven for a while. I baked this one for about fifty minutes, but again, my oven is odd so really, just keep an eye on it after it's been in there a while.

When you pull it out, you will have something that looks like this:

cobbler after  baking

Throw some vanilla ice cream on it and enjoy! Best served warm and bubbly, and hey, there's fruit so you can pretend it's healthy. Save a corner piece for me, would you?
same_sky: (Default)
I have mentioned before that we freeze leftovers from dinner so that we have a ready supply of lunches. It used to be just M that ate them but I eat some of them now that I'm home, and also now that I am off the evil metformin that made me constantly queasy and ruined a great deal of my favorite dishes. Anyway! Our house came with an ancient freezer in the basement. They were planning to haul it off to the dump, I think, but we asked them to leave it, and they were more than happy to oblige. Thanks in part to TWO batches of M's Lunch Slop of Total Awesomeness, we are very well stocked right now. My sweetie husband decided this weekend that he couldn't think of anything he wanted to do more than defrost the freezer downstairs, so he cleaned it all up and organized all the shelves. I was not involved in this project AT ALL, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It wasn't even my idea! What more can a woman want than a husband who cleans major appliances without prompting?

freezer assets

They're double stacked within each shelf, so there's almost twice as much as what you see. Top left contains random pasta dishes and the middle is random non-pasta dishes. Top right is probably chili but possibly spaghetti sauce (I try to keep all ingredients upstairs but M is not always with the program on that so we have to figure that out at some point). Second shelf on the left is M's Lunch Slop of Total Awesomeness, right is soup (cheddar vegetable there in the front, yum!) Third shelf is definitely spaghetti sauce and meat (pork). The next shelf.. well, I guess we don't have to be healthy and cook from scratch ALL the time, right? The bottom shelf is frozen vegetables and what used to be eight full pounds of burgers. M LOVES to buy in bulk, haven't I mentioned that? :)

I just had to show that off because I love love love having all of those meals stored away in the basement. There are 53 meals if I counted right. 53! What's in YOUR freezer? :)
same_sky: (Default)
M likes a good ridiculous project now and then. I try to keep him under control but now and then he breaks free and decides to Do Things. This week, he made up a hypothetical dish to add to his freezer reserves of frozen lunches, and he bought ingredients for it while at Kroger last night. Let me just tell you that M? He doesn't believe in recipes, and he is religiously opposed to small quantities. He was throwing things in with wild abandon, so I pestered him for his ingredient list (he told me to check the garbage can because he really couldn't remember--the things I do for you) so I could give you all the recipe for his new dish. Anyone feeling hungry? I mean, really REALLY hungry?

M's Lunch Slop of Total Awesomeness*
14 cups of cooked white rice
2 summer sausages, diced and fried
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 large cans of mushrooms (or 4 small)
3 cans corn
1 can peas
1 can carrots
1 can diced new potatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of onion soup
6 chicken bouillon cubes
paprika to taste (1 jar)
garlic powder to taste (1/2 jar)
cayenne pepper to taste (1/4 jar)
1/2 small jar horseradish mustard
4 cups of cheese (colby jack)

1. Combine in the largest freaking pot you can possibly find.

Makes 14 generous lunches.

*Yes, he named it, how can you tell? ;)
same_sky: (Default)
I don't think of myself as being that particular when it comes to desserts (sugar = good) but my mom called today to talk about Thanksgiving and in the course of the conversation, she let me know that there were SEVEN planned desserts, and I don't like any of them. Seven! I assured her that was okay because I really don't need to eat anything sweet anyway, but she called me back later to ask if she could make me a peanut butter pie. Well, gee, Mom, I guess if you just HAVE to... :) Desserts which I do not like include: fruit salad made with sugar-free pudding (I really like it with regular but I am both afraid of and dislike sugar substitutes), Mary Martin salad, pumpkin pie, chess pie, blueberry delight without-the-blueberries (my family is odd, what can I say... they make this every year. I think it's disgusting, with or without the berries), dirt cake (okay, I could eat this one) and cheesecake. No, I do not like cheesecake. I hate cheesecake. Cheese and cake are independent concepts. Peanut butter and pie, now, that is a winning combination! Mmm. By the way, half of my family is diabetic. Go sugar!

We are in the process of trying to move the baby's bedtime up a little earlier. We're having some small success, although this so far is just meaning that we're back where we used to be. It's not that big of a deal to us but it would be nice to have a little evening time. All it's allowing us to do thus far is go to bed half an hour earlier... but I'll take it. As a matter of fact, I'll take it right now. ;)
same_sky: (cartoon me)
When Carrie made enchiladas for us, there was a batch of leftover chicken and a batch of sauce leftover, so we put those in the freezer. The only corn tortillas that we could find were in a pack of 100, so we had a few of those leftover, too. Last week, I went into the kitchen to make something for dinner. Feeling uninspired, I decided to make quickie quesadillas. Suddenly, I was frying up my own tortilla chips, and then defrosting the chicken, rolling it up in a flour tortilla and making chicken chimichangas covered in a cheese sauce. It was sooo good. I felt a tad guilty for using the chicken for that instead of with the sauce for another batch of enchiladas, though, but then I found out that Carrie put squash in a lasagna* and so I have to conclude that all is fair in love and food. ;) Seriously, it was fantastic. I guess I'll have to make another batch of chicken to make it all work out evenly. The chips were really good, too, so I guess I'll have to do it again to make a dent in that monster stack of tortillas in the fridge.

*I am not bothered by this, but I did find it oddly amusing. I would have picked carrots and celery if I were going to add veggies.

Since I mentioned last night that I would post this.. for no particular reason, really.. then I'll do it while I'm thinking of it and Babyo is asleep. No, this is not going to win any awards for authenticity but to be honest with you, it's damned good and I would rather have tasty food than authentic food, so I never worry about it.
lasagna recipe' )
same_sky: (us - pasquales)
Seven years ago today, I married my best friend. :) Yay us! That's generally accepted by me as one of the best things I ever did. To celebrate, I roped him into an organizational project and we cleaned out a (craft-containing) dresser in our bedroom to use for our clothes. Exciting! I also threw away old, shoddy undergarments and put away all my maternity clothes, and gave M a stack of my old t-shirts that I will never wear for use in his woodshop. And he mowed the front lawn to chop up some leaves! And Evelyn refused to nap! And then we made a broccoli casserole for dinner because the prospect of having it just once in a week (crucial part of the Thanksgiving meal) is just not enough, I guess.

Look, I am sort of embarrassed that my signature dish, the one that I have to make for every food event, for my family is broccoli casserole. I mean, it's Velveeta. Is that even real food? And crumbled crackers! And yet, it is so, so good. I had to type it out for my cousin Rae, who moved herself away to North Carolina and will be missing out on my cheesy goodness on Thursday, so I'll post it here in case anyone is feeling peckish. I thought I already had but I can't find it. Try it, it's good stuff. It is so much better than the nasty broccoli casserole with cream of mushroom that some people make. My other 'signature' dish is lasagna, and I will post my recipe for that soon, too. It does not contain butternut squash or spinach, no matter what my dear crack-smoking friend says. Lasagna is brilliant because everyone likes it. It's the perfect dish to make when you have potentially picky people coming over for dinner. It's not too weird, it's full of cheese, and you can make it ahead of time, unless your baby wakes up in a phenomenally bad mood, screaming her sweet little head off, just as you have cheese dust and pasta starch all over your hands and houseguests arriving JUST RIGHT NOW KNOCK KNOCK! Because then, it does not get fully prepared in advance. I'm just saying, that's all, not that that happened to me recently or anything.

My cousin Rae doesn't cook a whole lot so I was fairly explicit in my directions, just in case. Does anyone but me really enjoy reading chatty, non-technical directions for recipes?

Broccoli Casserole
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
8 oz Velveeta
1/2 stick margarine (for broccoli)
3/4 stick margarine (for crackers)
1 sleeve townhouse crackers

Preheat oven to 350. Cook broccoli. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove. Drain. While you're doing that, cut the Velveeta and butter (for broccoli) into chunks and microwave until melty--you don't have to do this but it's MUCH easier to get it smooth like this than just adding it at the end like the original recipe says. Also, cut up the butter for the crackers and melt it in a different bowl. Add the crackers to a ziplock bag and whack the hell out of them with something hard like the bottom of a glass or (no kidding, what I used tonight) a rubber ducky. When the broccoli is done, mix it with the cheese and butter and pour into an 8x8 pan or something like that. When everything is completely ready, add the crackers to the butter and stir, maybe with a fork. I usually use my hands for the cracker part, to be honest. To get both a solid crust and a nice flaky topping, which seems to be what most people prefer (from all my research, you know) dump about 3/4 of the cracker crumbs on top and pat down firmly in an even layer. Then sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown, bubbly and delicious. Oh, and it works just fine if you fix it the night before and put it in the fridge before baking--it will take longer in the oven the next day, though, especially if you're baking it at the same time as something else. Plan for at least about 40 minutes (usually).

This recipe actually usually tastes better when you double it. It's the broccoli to crust ratio, I think.
same_sky: (Default)
First, I have been remiss in not saying that we fed Evelyn her very first solid food this week! Tuesday night, I mashed up a banana and gave it to her. I think in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words.

solid yuck

It was... not a success.

More stuff! With Pictures!) )
same_sky: (rings)
M has been telling me for the last week that we really need to make a few dinners that produce leftovers, because he's running low on lunch meals in the freezer in the basement. He added lasagna ingredients to our shopping list last night because he wanted to build up our stash. I was thinking that it was a pretty good thing that we're running low--nice to start fresh every now and then, you know?

I went down there just now to grab some soup for lunch, and guess how many lunches the boyo has down there? Since he's running low and all?


Yes, my love, that will only feed you for FIVE WEEKS if I don't cook anything else between now and then. I can't believe how close we are to the edge this time!!

same_sky: (stop and smell the flowers)
It's after midnight and I am sitting here on the couch for absolutely no reason. The baby is asleep, and I should soo be in bed, but I'm not really sleepy. I was up for an hour and a half with her this morning, but I went back to bed when she did, and all three of us slept until after NOON. It was fabulous, fantastic, wonderful, lovely, nice, terrific, amazing, great, perfect. I could go back to bed every day if I wanted to, I guess, but I never do. I feel caught up on sleep! How nice.

I made a double batch of soup tonight, and then a casserole to take for a family dinner tomorrow. In no particular order, I found that we were out of, or did not have enough of: carrots, chicken stock, stick butter, cheese, wine (otherwise known as: the reason I was making a huge batch of soup in the first place. I wanted to finish off the bottle since neither of us drink it.) It was cheddar vegetable soup, so essentially, I went into the kitchen to make the stuff and was missing both cheddar, vegetables, and also, the soup's base. YAY ME. In the middle of this process of substitution and emergency cooking decisions, E woke up in the pissiest mood, and cried like her heart was broken if Mommy wasn't holding her. M had to finish cooking for me. It ended up tasting pretty good but it was touch and go there for a while. It made nine meals, seven for the freezer, so it was worth the trouble, I guess. I LOVE having all those meals in the freezer. It's so fun. It really takes such small stuff to make me happy.

In other news, my baby is a brat. We were asking her tonight if she was Mommy's girl or Daddy's girl. She would laugh at us in response. Judging from the intensity of the laughter, we could determine that she was Daddy's girl when I asked her, and Mommy's girl when M asked. Basically, she likes whoever isn't talking to her best. Isn't she a little young to be so very contrary? M might say that she's taking after her mom, but then I would be SAD and I would HIT him, so I bet he'll keep that opinion to himself. Now.
same_sky: (Default)
A few weeks ago, I almost tried to get my mom to start a weight loss plan with me. We had been talking about health issues--she's a diabetic and will admit that she does not eat as well as she should be eating. Then I realized that I am the last person in the world she would want to diet with right now. I can see a conversation going like this.

Mom: I had a salad for lunch, no dressing, and a small piece of grilled chicken with a side of steamed veggies for dinner every day this week. I have gained a pound. How are you doing?
Kisha: Oh, not too well. I had two plates of lasagna for dinner, and a huge bowl of ice cream with butterscotch topping tonight. Oh, and I had some potato chips this morning for a snack, and a couple of sugary beverages.
Mom: Well, you'll do better tomorrow, won't you? How much did you gain?
Kisha: Gain? I lost two pounds!
Mom: You were never my favorite. I think I'll take you out of my will now.

This just to say that breastfeeding is awesome. My PCOS kicked in the summer after I met M. I'm not saying I was tiny before we met, but I didn't do my shopping at Lane Bryant. I decided that I was going to lose some weight before he came back, and Mom and I were dieting together. I lost five pounds, and then suddenly, I gained thirty-five more in three months and my reproductive cycle went haywire. When I went on the pill, I finally stopped gaining weight, but the damage was done by then. The PCOS makes it extremely difficult to lose weight so I've been ten pounds down from my highest weight (umm, not counting pregnancy weight, of course) for most of the time we've been married. Just after I worked at the produce market, I had lost about seven pounds more, but that all came back. These days, I am down twelve pounds from what I weighed before I was pregnant, for a total of sixty pounds gone in the last three months. And, while I would love to be all gung-ho on the healthy living, I am so not doing that (yet). We have, I admit, been eating plenty of ice cream and cookies and potato chips and everything else that's bad for you. It feels rather lovely to enjoy stepping on the scale in the morning, while at the same time not putting that much effort into the whole weight loss thing.

I am currently planning to breastfeed this child until she is sixteen.

About that "yet", though.. M and I are chatting now about how we would like to a) eat better b) stop eating out c) spend less money on food d) cook more often and d) exercise more. The fun thing is that goals A, B, C and D work very, very well together. I have no intention of going through our pantry to throw out everything that's bad for us, but I think that when they're gone, we're going to stop regularly replacing them. As for exercising more, well, we are lugging around a fifteen pound baby everywhere we go. I think that counts as a start.

Just think, I have lost the last twenty pounds by making terrible food choices! Eating right should help at least a little, right? If not, I am going to be so pissed. :)
same_sky: (under the same sky)
My mom, aunt, niece and cousin came over yesterday to spend the day with Evelyn. I mean, Evelyn and me. The truth is that they couldn't have cared less about me being there as long as they could sniff the sweet sweet baby in peace, but whatever. My mom came in bearing fresh-from-the-garden zucchini. I happen to love zucchini, and had grilled some just the night before and was thinking happily of grilling more. (Grilled zucchini--slice zucchini. Toss with a bit of olive oil, lemon pepper and kosher salt. Cook on cast iron grill pan, or a real grill, I suppose, if you happen to have one of those, until done and delicious.) Alas, I was informed that the zucchini were destined to become zucchini bread. My mom visits, bringing chores. ;) Zucchini bread is very tasty, and does not taste of zucchini. It's more in the style of a banana nut bread--sweet and desserty. I just had some for breakfast while checking the internets this morning, so I thought I'd post the recipe.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
2 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
1/2 C nuts (I use walnuts)
1 T cinnamon
1 t soda
1 1/4 t salt
3 C flour
2 C grated zucchini
1 T vanilla

Cream sugar, eggs and oil. Add vanilla. Add zucchini. Sift all dry ingredients (except sugar) and add to zucchini mixture. Last, add chopped nugs. Bake in two loaf pans for one hour at 325 degree oven.

(This is one of my relatively few recipes on a 3x5 card. It's in my mom's handwriting. She added a little note that says, "From: Mommy, To: Kisha, 9-2001" in the top corner. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I love the whole concept of recipes being handed down in families. I am such a sap. I dream of one day completing a project of turning all of the recipes from both of my grandmothers into books, but I fear I'll never get around to it.)
same_sky: (Default)
I am home from work, of course, because doesn't that just figure? I'll try to go in for at least half a day tomorrow unless I'm dying, because I have something I need to do. I have a bit of a rule set for today, though, and that is that if I am sleepy, I must go to bed. I slept nine hours (ha! if you could call it sleeping for nine hours when you're awake half the time to go to the bathroom or because your hip hurts or because you're hot or uncomfortable. Carrie warned me that the sleep thing was awful, and I love her dearly and all but geez, couldn't she have been right about something ELSE?) and then I slept for over an hour this morning. I am hoping that all the sleep will hasten getting well.

But, since I'm home, I'm planning on making the best of it with those little things on my to-do list that require nothing much more strenuous than sitting at my desk. Updating the budget, working on a website that really has to be done by Saturday-I've only had a whole year *blush*--and paperwork and lists. Of course, by now I have fiddled away most of the day, which is also okay. I had good intentions, after all. :) Right now I also have my first load of baby laundry in, and I have to admit that I giggled the entire time I was moving ridiculously small items from the washer to the dryer. Have I ever mentioned that I love doing laundry? I mean, I don't love it in the way that I want to do it above all else, but it's by far my favorite household chore. I think that might be why the concept of cloth diapers doesn't terrify me. There's just something satisfying about the whole process.

I am also a very bad girl because I had a caffeine overdose at lunch. I gave it up last week again because of the swelling. Didn't seem to do anything and I was Weak. Very weak. You know what the worst part of the swollen feet is? I can feel it jiggle on top of my foot when I walk. It's creepy. I may not be that slender of a person but I've always had relatively nice looking feet, as far as feet go (as long as I keep my toenails painted. Speaking of which, [ profile] totte, love, I have a job for you... Remind me!)

Remember I talked about nesting? My desk sits under a window, and just on the window sill, there is a robin's nest with three perfect eggs in it. We have the blinds closed so I can barely see her at this angle--we would have opened them for our watching pleasure but we were afraid of scaring her off. She's sitting on her birdlings right now, looking a bit bored. I am enjoying the notion of nesting three feet away from a literal nest. It's spring! There are babies here!

For no particular reason, I will leave you with a recipe. I've amended the original recipe I have, which is supposedly the Hard Rock baked potato soup, and two of M's coworkers asked for the recipe because it smells so darned good when he takes it to work. I had it for lunch--it freezes extraordinarily well, which surprises me because it shouldn't (too much dairy). This is probably the best baked potato soup that I've ever had, and it's less work than the old recipe I had. Having said that, I hope I remembered everything I changed about it. I usually cook it through to the end and then we stand around tasting it and throwing in more spices and cheese (the original recipe called for one cup. Hardly.) until it tastes right. You should try it.

Kisha's Version of Hard Rock Cafe Baked Potato Soup )
same_sky: (Default)
K, 3025d.
30w5d - Here's a picture taken this morning, as promised. Please ignore the fact that the ribbon that ties is flipped up. The other pictures we took had the ribbon right, but there was flash and you can see my undergarments in a startling fashion, so I won't be posting those.

I have an Easter lily in a champagne glass on my desk, because my husband is the most awesome person I know. He also made me ice cream, and didn't even comment when I requested that he add more butterscotch. Well, he laughed, but there were no words.

My lower belly has gotten significantly worse today, and as of this afternoon, I can barely walk. Yay. I think I have SPD. I'll ask about it next week. I kept trying to get people to agree that it was normal to have a sore belly in pregnancy, and everyone kept saying, "umm.. yeah, I think I was a little sore" or the equivalent. I have a very hard time doing anything that requires me to put my weight on one leg instead of both, such as walking, rolling over in bed, getting in and out of the car, putting on clothes, etc. Everything fits, from the weird back pain I had (that pretty much stopped the day I broke my rib. Not sure what to do with that info) to the clicking noise when I walk to the standing on one leg thing. I would like to stop having weird personal problems now. Because I'm still feeling like I'm having a good pregnancy, but GEEZ can I have a good pregnancy that doesn't HURT so darned much? I don't have time to cover this topic fully. Will revisit at a later date.

Does anyone actually use fresh parsley in every recipe that calls for it? Seems like most of my recipes say that you should add fresh parsley. I have done it before--I used to keep it in the fridge, cleaned and ready, but then I got bored with that. Mostly, I just throw in a few shakes of dried parsley for color (if I even do that) when I think something looks boring without it. I know that it has a flavor, but does anyone actually miss the presence of parsley in a dish? Or even notice that it's there? I can't taste it unless I chew on it separately. Maybe I'm missing the parsley tastebud. My dill tastebud is somewhat impaired, too--I don't think it has much of a taste either, unless perhaps in pickle form, but M assures me that dill is a very strong flavor. I think he's lying. Do you think parsley is an essential part of a recipe, or do people just add it (as I suspect) to be all fancy?

This is an important question that keeps me up much too late at night.

And I am still hungry. I had dinner twice and then ice cream. And I didn't tell the XM radio story. Let me just try something new and skip all the tangents. XM radio? Sucks, and they stole $150 from me, and me hates them. I might elaborate more tomorrow, but if not, remember that the key point is that they are a bunch of jävla skitapor. At the moment, I am so sleepy that I don't know what to do with myself. I am not drunk, I promise. Just tired. Very tired. Is it really just Thursday? Not Friday yet? Gah.
same_sky: (there's no place like home)
Something is bound to go wrong shortly, for I just called to transfer the cable modem / local telephone service, and it took five minutes and culminated in "okay, great, we'll call you within a few days to schedule your installation!" That is entirely too simple, and I have found that these people are not so good at the simple. I was also told by someone who switched that he hooked the thing up before they came out to officially install the modem, and it worked, so we just might be trying that shortly. Otherwise, I'm just going to hope that they can come out two weeks from today, or maybe that M will let me skip work another day to stay home to wait on them. That would be excellent. M wouldn't actually tell me that I couldn't do that if I wanted, but it is so, so hard to motivate taking time off right now that isn't strictly necessary. And can I just add that flex schedules are the most wonderful, wonderful benefit of my job? Having an extra day off every other week is fabulous. Of course, it also means that I get stuck with all of the administrative tasks that must be done within regular working hours, but it's worth it. (Update! They called to schedule the installation, but their offices are closed on my next day off. Drats! They'll call me so I can come meet them, at least.)

This post is all about the procrastination, for there are taxes to be done and laundry to be switched over and carrots to be chopped for the roast, which is simmering in the crock pot. I got a crock pot for our wedding six years ago, and I used it for the first time last month. This is the third time it's been used--one unqualified success (being repeated today) and one southwestern chicken soup failure. (It wasn't BAD, exactly, but it never really came together and it just wasn't our style.) I am not yet brave enough to leave it on all day while I'm not here, though I'm working on it, so it's become my flex day thing. This is probably not the time to tell me about your Aunt Bertha, who left her crock pot on while she ran out to church one morning, and came home to no house. Because that is exactly why I can no longer leave my dryer running while I'm gone. It is, however, probably the time to tell me about the absolute best thing to cook in a crock pot.. keeping in mind that if it calls for cooking meat beforehand, I am going to not like it. Bonus points if it's cheap, because this roast thing I'm making is kind of not cheap at all.

Last year, after we moved--our house came with an upright freezer in the basement that we requested that they leave--I got a bug in my bonnet about how much money we were spending on frozen lunches and how completely terrible said lunches are. I rarely ate them, but M took them to work most days. So, I started freezing lunches in individual containers, and so M has hearty, healthy lunches for very little money. He was a little skeptical at first when I started on this plan, but quickly came around and we both absolutely love doing it now. I could eat the frozen ones, too, but I come home for lunch and usually just fix something fast.

It was a bit of a struggle at first to get organized because I wasn't used to cooking that way, and as always, the tendency is to over-do it and then you lose interest. Although it is true in theory that making three lasagnas is not much more work than making one... it actually takes quite a bit longer. Go figure. Anyway, the best way to do it for us is just to freeze leftovers from normal meals, making just a reasonable, manageable amount more than usual, if any. I've also taken to throwing vegetables in wherever they'll fit, because M and I are like children, and apparently do not know enough to eat our vegetables if they're not hidden in a casserole. ;) That makes the leftovers go farther, though. I have occasionally doubled batches of chili or soup or Sveedish meatballs or lasagna (which are M's favorites) to plump up our reserves, but I don't have the disposition for the true once-a-month style of cooking. It took a little while to readjust our way of thinking, but it is now perfectly natural to spend five minutes at the end of every meal boxing up the leftovers, considering our schedules and leaving some out in the fridge for immediate use. M will take the rest of the boxes downstairs right away and pile them up in the freezer. I don't really even plan meals for their leftovers anymore, like I had to do at first--we have enough of a stockpile at the moment that there's just no need. At some point recently, we had thirty (THIRTY!) individually-packaged meals in the freezer downstairs, plus seven commercially-packaged frozen lunches (purchased on sale). At first, we would have periods where we were out of lunches, so they were good to have for that, or so he could have some variety and not eat the same thing all week. Now, we haven't run out in a very long while, and he has a pretty serious variety to choose from by now, so he hasn't eaten one of them in a long while, I don't think. We've also found that basically anything will freeze and reheat as long as you're not terribly picky about appearance after it reheats (otherwise, avoid most dairy products, although cheese works fine, usually.) A touch of water usually helps with the reheating, too. This obviously requires freezer space (though you could do it on a smaller scale with just your regular freezer) and freezer containers. We've bought ours over the last year very gradually, and throw out/replace them as needed. We currently use the cheap plastic ones (Glad, or Reynold's, or dollar store equivalent) that they market on the premise that it's no big loss if you lose them. The next step is to upgrade our containers to the durable glass types--we have some Pyrex soup bowls, but we haven't replaced the entree dishes yet.

That became a bit long and rambly, but it's one of my favorite Things That We Do, and sometime in the last year, it became a hobby in addition to just economically sensible. We get downright giddy when we realize that a meal made six batches of leftovers (rare!) or we calculate how many weeks he could exclusively eat frozen lunches before he runs out. I should also add that it took me a while to really get started on doing this, and I found inspiration in a lot of different places before settling into our style. I finally asked Carrie about her insane food system and she was nice enough to post about her super-organizational food skills. Strangely, that was all pretty much exactly a year ago, so apparently I think about food preparation at this time of year. My newest project involves making my own stock, for which I was inspired by [ profile] mayna, and I began saving vegetables just today for an upcoming stock-making weekend project. I have a long way to go, but my food resolution this year is to eat and cook better foods. I may even force myself to buy organic now and then. (I desperately want to, but it goes against my grain to willingly pay twice as much for the same item. I'm working on it.) Hopefully at this time next year, I will be telling you all about my progress there, too.

If you do something weird or fun or helpful or creative or organized with your food, I'd love to hear it. :) Especially if it pertains to eating healthily or cheaply!
same_sky: (Default)
When M interviewed me last week, he asked if there was one thing I could change about him, what it would be. I gave a real answer, but found the question hard for a couple of different reasons. 1.) It is not who I am to bitch about my husband in my journal. 2.) I really couldn't think of anything all that profound anyway. I did think of something this afternoon, though, so I thought I would tell the internets that M and I? We are not very food compatible, and I would like to fix him in that area.

This is becoming even more clear now that one of us is pregnant and hungry all the time*, though it has been brought up many times in the past. Somehow, he just does not require regular sustenance, and I am a three-meal per day sort of girl. I want to eat at twelve (exactly at twelve, mind you) and I want to eat dinner at a reasonable time (between five and seven, let's say.) It doesn't particularly matter if I eat breakfast at eight or if I eat at ten thirty, I will want to eat lunch at noon. M, on the other hand, wants to eat when he gets hungry, and that drives me batshit crazy. I know, it sounds like I am anal and controlling and bossy, but you have to know how it works out to really understand why it bugs me. Example: he will get up on a Saturday morning, and putter around for a while, and finally eat something at say, 10:30. At noon, when I start talking about what to have for lunch, he'll say he's not hungry yet and will eat something in a little while. That doesn't bother me in itself because we rarely eat joint meals for lunch. So he'll eat at one thirty. At four, I am beginning to want to start on the dinner plans, and he will be so uninterested that he falls asleep in the middle of the conversation. He is completely unable to discuss what he wants for dinner if he's not hungry because he just doesn't feel like eating. (I, of course, can talk about what I want for my next meal while I am still at the table from the previous meal.) So, I am starving by the time we end up compromising on what time we eat dinner, and he isn't particularly hungry. I can't claim that I'm surprised, though, because when we met, he would occasionally realize, on a Sunday, that he hadn't eaten since Friday because he had been so involved in some game or movie or whatever that it hadn't occurred to him to eat. Me, on the other hand... I just can't imagine going that long without food, on PURPOSE. (How this usually works, of course, is that I nag him about getting out of bed and eating breakfast at an appropriate time, and then he calls me bossy under his breath, to which I must say--he met my dad before he married me, so he knew what he was getting into...) And the reason I am thinking about this, of course, is that less than two hours after M ate lunch, I am starving. Troublesome.

Somehow, it feels like it should be later than it is, which is a pleasant surprise. We've cleaned the house and taken care of a bunch of chores for the week, and now we're just hanging around without anything in particular that must be done. It's lovely, really, especially since I have tomorrow off work again. We also just received a refund check in the mail for almost four hundred bucks, which kind of gave a nice little boost to the weekend. Our insurance company covered a few things that they really weren't supposed to, and I have been nagging them about this since September for services rendered in June. (They weren't supposed to cover it, but they did, so the hospital in question should damned well give me my money back, that's how I saw it.) Of course, I can't imagine why they covered anything at all since I apparently don't exist in their system. ;)

*I made my first emergency McDonald's run from work during break on Friday afternoon. I decided that I needed a sundae, because [ profile] starrflowerr and I went for one a couple of months ago and it was really good. On the way there, I decided that french fries also sounded perfect, what with the grease and the salt. And, somehow, when I ordered my food, I was surprised to find myself requesting the above two items AND a cheeseburger. I was completely and utterly starving when I left, so I guess it wasn't that surprising. It was good, really good, and now I am going to have to endeavor to forget that little experience ever happened so I don't repeat it.
same_sky: (Default)
Our kitchen cabinets now have handles on the doors! We had thirty-three cabinets and drawers and it drove me crazy that none of them had handles. There were a few handles laying around in the basement, but not enough for the whole kitchen. I was dreading the purchase of the things because I knew it would cost a fortune to do the whole kitchen, but my dad bought a set of about fifty at a yard sale. Brand new, in brass. This was also good because left to our own devices, M and I are much more likely to buy something in silver, and part of the reason we hadn't done it was because silver, contemporary handles would actually look a little weird in our very traditional-style oak kitchen. And he did the laundry room (four cabinets) while he was at it. We were talking about my dad, and the projects that we would like him to help us complete when next he comes down with an eye to do something productive. M mentioned that he thought Dad was going to want to help put those up because of things he had said at various times, and he (M) could really do that without Dad's help, so he'd rather Dad help with something he couldn't do on his own. (My dad is super-handy with pretty much everything home repair. Except, my mom would point out, drywall.) So, I pointed out that... he could solve this problem by doing it himself first! And, he totally fell for it. I love my boy, I really do.

(We were talking about the perceptions you get from people's journals at some point. I said that I made myself sound emotionally unstable--much more so than I actually am, I promise. I'm afraid I make M sound patient and a touch stupid. He's not, dear internets, he really is very sharp, I promise. He's just extra big on the patient part and lets me get away with putting my own twist on everything. We are pretty well matched on the smarts. Which is almost always fun except for when it is really annoying, and that is when we are arguing about something and he is winning because I was (as it turns out) clearly wrong. Man, I hate that.)

Anyway, we did get a few things taken off the to-do list, then, which always makes the weekend better. Last night, we had to go visit family in Pseudonymous Hometown, so that took three hours of driving (both ways). My cousin was in visiting from North Carolina and so we had to go see her her baby. And conveniently, she was craving going out to eat at a local type of place which is the very one that I am always missing about Pseudonymous Hometown--it's closed on Sundays, which happen to be the days we are usually in town. That kind of helped take the annoyance out of the commute. Oh, who am I kidding? I usually sleep in the car on the way back so I guess I can't complain too much. I kind of wish I would stop doing that because it is horribly uncomfortable. But M rides home the entire time with his right hand holding my head upright so I won't have a crick in my neck. I have told him that he doesn't have to do that but honestly, y'all, I'm pretty sure he enjoys the sensitive husband gig. (I certainly do.)

And now I need to go check on the ribs. This is another thing that I wish I hadn't learned to love this summer, and certainly one that I wish I hadn't started cooking at home. Too easy, much too easy. Purchase: country-style pork ribs, preferably on sale. Don't worry about the fat, it'll mostly melt off. Season with salt, pepper, seasoning salt and lemon-pepper. Put in roasting pan, cover with sauce. (Prepare sauce using a bottle or so of prepared barbecue sauce, a chopped onion, possibly a chopped green pepper.. really, whatever you think sounds good.) Bake, covered in foil, at 350 for a long time... two and a half hours or until you get so hungry you can't stand it anymore. Turn them and baste a little every hour or so. The meat will fall apart when done. Eat with some sort of potatoes, enjoy your clogged arteries. (Keep in mind that the sauce should be used sparingly at this point, because it now contains a pound of pork fat. Yum!) I'm just glad that it takes so darned long because it really means that it is at MOST a weekend food, and in this household, we have a self-imposed rule against having it two weekends in a row, too.


Jul. 10th, 2006 10:03 pm
same_sky: (Default)
Once upon a time, Boyo and I had a grown-up lemonade stand. We sold freshly squeezed lemonades (shaken, not stirred) at several festivals while my parents did fried veggies. Actually, I spent most of my time with Dad on the deep fryer while M handled the lemonades and ice cream. Dad and I were the only ones who felt really at ease frying stuff.. the others got stressed out. Anyway, M made quite a production out of squeezing the lemons and then shaking the whole thing up. It was a beautifully orchestrated little dance that he had. I think some people bought lemonades just for the entertainment value, because he had it down to an art.

M helps Krista squeeze a lemon.
M, helping my cousin Krista squeeze a lemon for herself. Yes, this is a totally gratuitous shot of my boyo being cute. And young.

During the festivals, many, many people told us that we had the best lemonade they'd ever had. Several people came up to us to let us know that we were doing it all wrong. We could make it easier if we processed all the lemons at once, and we could make it cheaper if we followed the recipe they gave us. Through all the advice and comparisons we listened to, not one person ever told us that we could make them better, because what we came up with is simply the perfect lemonade.

The Perfect Lemonade
1 lemon
1/4 C sugar
Water - we always used bottled. Yes, even when it meant carrying dozens of gallon jugs.

Fill glass with ice. Juice one lemon thoroughly. Add sugar. Fill with water--I can't tell you exactly how much but we used a 16 oz styrofoam cup.) Shake well, using a second cup that is just a bit smaller than the glass you're working in. I had environmental objections to styrofoam but they're perfect for this because you can create a better lock to prevent spilling. Drink and enjoy.
We bought the lemon juicer at William-Sonoma for $200 less than we had originally ordered at a restaurant supply store, but we still paid $100 for it. There's no way on earth we would have paid that for it now, but the nice thing about the lemonade business is that after you get out of it, you can keep the equipment.

And that's how it is that we have been relaxing this evening with a glass of concession-quality shake-up lemonade. Come on over, we M will be glad to make you one.
same_sky: (Default)
Things That Went Wrong With Today
1. In an interesting choice of morning activities, I apparently decided to give my kitchen floor a nice olive oil coating. It's good for the shine.. or something. I was getting the cereal down from the cabinet and it tumbled from five feet to the floor. In a plastic bottle. And shattered. Anti-whine: the boy cleaned it up since I had to leave for work pronto. [Note: if you try this at home, make sure you use the extra virgin olive oil, like I did, because otherwise you just won't get that same fresh shine on your floor..]

2. Olive oil splashed on fresh-from-laundry jeans and favorite socks. Oil is a bitch to get out of clothes. Also, had to change clothes. (I guess an anti-whine is that we can wear jeans to work. Also, that they weren't my favorite jeans, and that I HAD other clean jeans due to responsible streak on Tuesday.)

3. I splashed milk on my shirt while eating cereal. Please note that item #3 is still before eight a.m. Anti-whine is that I decided it wouldn't stain, and it didn't.

3. Ten minutes late for work. Anti-whine is that I don't have to feel guilty because I stayed after half an hour late. HEY, WAIT!!! That was an ant-anti-whine, that sucked.

4. Have been busy with other project involving lots of other people and finally got around to finishing up--read, running a program twice and error-checking the results since it's due tomorrow. Only, yeah. That double-checking thing is a bitch, ain't it? I am hoping that I can figure it out tomorrow. Anti-whine: Smart Friend came up with a list of things that could be wrong and I had already looked into all of them, which is what I was doing staying late, so at least I'm not just dumb. (Other friend I talked about this with briefly is also smart but we didn't talk long and the one I just called Smart Friend is well-known for her problem-solvingness.)

5. Reached for a cashew, stuck fingers in Pepsi.

6. Reached for Pepsi, spilled on shirt. Anti-whine: still didn't stain.

7. Went to lunch. Got rained on.

8. Arrived back at work from lunch to very minor crisis that had people looking for me while I was gone. Cell phone rings insistently (forgot to turn off the ringer) while talking to my boss's boss. Anti-whine: that really isn't a big deal but I added that part for Dramatic Effect. Also, the minor crisis wasn't my fault or anything.

9. The itchies. Weirdo blister on arm oozes liquid for a full hour. Anti-whine: it seems to be healing now, and the other places are feeling better, too. And I wasn't awake all night scratching.. though it still has a long way to go, I think.

10. Did I mention that yesterday sucked, too?

11. Technically, I should have counted staying late at work as a separate item. Oops. Anti-whine: eh, really not that big of a deal.

12. You thought I was done since I put two lame-o not-real items in there, didn't you? Only, this is where it gets EVEN BETTER. Because I spent an hour and a half putting part of our dinner together. I have been in a real fresh-produce mood lately, and tonight's thing was the fanciest, most time-consuming thing planned all week: stuffed mushrooms and roasted cauliflower. The mushrooms are easy but they take a while, especially with only one person, because you have to fry bacon and chop onions and clean the mushrooms and destem them and chop up the stems and garlic and melt butter and make bread crumbs, etc etc, and it must all be done in the right order. You know what? Let's put "spending excessive amounts of time in the kitchen" on the list, too, because this paragraph is getting long.

13. After lovingly preparing the damned mushrooms, and sprinkling them with butter and caressing the bottoms and sides with butter BY HAND just to make sure there's an even coat, I put the beautiful mushrooms in the oven. Or, I attempt to do this difficult thing, and instead, the pan doesn't slide onto the rack correctly, and the mushrooms? They fall all over the open oven door, and the stuffing comes out and lands in heaps, and falls down into the crack at the bottom between the door and the oven.

mushroom disaster

14. I just accidentally clicked to set that stupid picture as my Windows desktop. NOT WHAT I WANT TO SEE RIGHT NOW.

15. Forgot to turn the power off on the VCR last night, so my timer didn't work and I didn't get my show taped.

Things That Were Right About Today
1. Umm.

2. My boy makes things better just by being him. Also, he cleaned up the stuffing mess in the oven and convinced me that I didn't have to throw it all out, pointed out the some of them were salvageable and motivated me to make some more stuffing to use in the others, and they turned out really well. The cauliflower didn't happen, though, due to the pissyness of the cook. In total, I spent two hours on dinner on a weeknight and made half of what I was planning to make. Great.

3. I called someone today that I haven't talked to on the phone in.. I dunno. Four years? We've had email and LJ and we both moved, and it really hadn't occurred to me in ages that I could like, call her. Happy birthday, chickles!

4. Tomorrow is Friday, and I have Monday off. TGI.. Almost.. F.

June 2015

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