Showing posts from July, 2012

Squares: Because I needed something to make me smile today

I slipped on a wet spot on the floor yesterday and watched 4.5 hours of the olympics opening ceremonies in a less than stellar seat with no headrest, so today I'm nursing a whopper of a sore neck and hip. Let's just say, boredom has set in.
I came across this brain teaser to count how many squares there are in this set of squares. A couple things to mention:
* I did not make colors to account for colorblindness, something which I really should have done but I was just doing this for myself and the options I had were limited and the next thing I knew it was getting published.
* Forgive the not-quite-square-ness of this, just deal with it, you get the idea.
* I have no idea why this is opposite, it's not like that in the photo that got selected for upload! 
So, the blank one.
17: 8 purple, 8 green, and their 4x4 perimeter friend. 10: 2 green, and the 4 inside each. [Total: 27]

4: 2 green, 2 purple [Total: 31]

4, all the same size as the pink one [Total: 35]

5, all the same s…

Recipe: Stuffed Peppers & Avocado Chunk Salad

I have to start out by saying that if anyone has had my stuffed peppers, these aren't them. They weren't bad and I don't mind sharing what there is of a "recipe," but they weren't my preference. So you get my preference as a bonus recipe! (It's the meaty parts.)

Step 1: Make Beans & Rice in the crockpot overnight.
* Rice, beans, and a can of diced tomatoes. 
* Season to taste, then about twice as much, especially if using dried-rehydrated beans. Don't make it too spicy because some freaks in this house don't like spicy.
* When using brown rice, use 3x as much water as rice--this isn't a bad rule for brown rice anyway if you're not using the pasta method, but that should give you enough water to last overnight.
* Don't get halfway through starting this and forget about it until you're happily snuggled up in bed with beans boiling on the stove and rice sitting in an unheated crockpot. 
* Don't instruct Mr. Moon or anyone e…

Ruminations on my life as a cook

I've always wanted to like omelets. Quiche too, really. Veggies, cheese, eggs, maybe some chunks of meat... what's not to love? I spent two years when I went low-carb trying every omelet, frittata, quiche, and scramble recipe I could find. Nothing helped, nothing was good, even when other people were raving about the best of its kind they'd ever had.

Ultimately, I gave up. I looked at my quiche one day and I just told it, I don't like you. I'm sorry, I want to, but this is becoming a waste of good food. I think it's that I'm not a big fan of scrambled eggs, though I love them when they're that liquid pasteurized egg stuff that restaurants use, and cooked gently so they're still just a little runny, but the runny-ness will have settled out in the carry-over cooking before my plate hits the table.

I wish I could tell you this entry is some sort of epiphany and now I love these things. It really isn't. The only epiphany I had was that I could ord…

Eats & Treats: Mango Chicken & Rice

VERY interesting dinner tonight. One of those "toss shit in and see what happens" meals, although it's been on the menu plan for three weeks now and kept getting bumped.

Brown rice (2 cups) mixed with walnuts and chopped apricot, topped with chicken (seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, yellow curry powder, and black pepper) and a bottle of Tropical Mango Vinaigrette dumped on top (and enough water to make the rice). Cook at 350 in the dutch oven until the rice is done, which dear heavens took 2+ hours. Could have gone up to 400 and been much faster.

The dressing isn't sweetened with anything other than apple juice and obviously mango, but I think I still expected it to be a lot sweeter. I put on easily 2 tbls of curry powder but it's only a light flavor--possibly an old bottle, but moreso I think I always greatly underestimate how much to use because I hate when it's overwhelmingly yellow-curry flavored.

It needed veggies. But yesterday's dinner wa…

Food Values

Regardless of your opinion on the state of our food systems, having options and making informed decisions is always good in my world. Years ago I started questioning every bite of food I put in my mouth, in some very specific ways: notably, with the goal of eliminating sugar and reducing carbs.

Over the years my vision has changed a bit. New information about artificial sweeteners and insulin-reaction was released, I became a certified nutritionist and learned to cook even more, I was having trouble sticking to my choices without becoming a hermit, and I found myself questioning a lot of my decisions. I really couldn't understand how using a chemical that is known to cause cancer and obesity is somehow better than a potato, a whole food grown in the ground and eaten with skin intact for maximum nutrition.

So now, I am trying to define my food values. A lot of this relates back to the hierarchy of food needs, though I'm not ready to prioritize them. In no particular order, her…

Lesson Learned: Roof replacement

The 'Rents just got the roof replaced on their house. Mr. Moon and I weren't terribly involved in the process, so not a lot learned there (besides the necessity of reading the contracts in full before purchasing, which frankly isn't a mistake I would have made--not reading them being the mistake, that is).

But one thing I did learn is this: The garden needs to be covered.

Yeah, you know that nice vegetable garden I've been taking such pains to keep free of non-edible substances? It's now covered in shingle grains. They put down tarps to collect the shingles as they threw them off the roof, but they didn't put them down to protect the gardens, and then promptly threw a bunch of shingles into the gardens, missing their tarps entirely. The flowers, fine, whatever, but MY FOOD, PEOPLE!!!

Lesson learned. Sunk cost. Moving on. :(

Slooooowing dooooown for summer

The last month and a half seems like it's been a whirlwind of activity and taking it easy. Mr. Moon and I have been spending a lot of time together, and driving each other crazy. With his new job having fewer hours, I get less time to blog, and I spend a lot more time recovering from the busy days we have when he's off. I find I'm using a lot more spoons and taking longer to recover them.

This week we spent a lot of time in the garden, and catching up on household chores that had fallen behind. I'm pleased to say, we have cleaned the kitchen to shining the sink at the end of the day for three days in a row this week. The laundry is caught up and put away, though I struggle with the desire to do only a load at a time and having 4 loads come up needing to be done at once. I'd like to be more mindful of making this a regular habit, since doing 4 loads at once just results in 4 loads of clean clothes sitting in baskets in the walkway of my bedroom floor.

Mr. Moon and …

The Lastest Dirt: The life of a garden in pictures

Thought I would give you all a garden update!  Tiny strawberry! We moved the plant so it gets a little more sun and natural water. 
 Mr. Mustard is protecting the sugar snap peas. See a couple pods back there?
 My poor cauliflower plants. They have caterpillars. I cut off all the holey leaves and picked off a couple greenbacks, seems to have mostly fixed the issue.
See? Greenbacks. 
Watered the compost pile and this lovely appeared!
Clematis attacking the apple tree. Aren't those flowers lovely?
 This blackberry bush needs to GO so we can get into our hose-minder.
 This bush will be exiting stage right in the fall to make room for something hiding behind it. But first... Gorgeous fuchsias in bloom.
 This lovely blackberry bush is hiding behind the big furry thing that we don't want. Making room for that come fall. 
 Our roses were just pruned, but returned to overhanging the walkway. Tsk. Tsk. 
 I could swear this was a clear walkway just a few weeks ago!
 Isn't it l…

Eats & Treats: Bacon Salt!

An old roommate brought home bacon salt one day because it was funny. I actually liked the stuff though, and it became a favorite popcorn topper. I was so sad when the bottle ran out, and then one day I decided to see how to make my own. Although to be fair, store-bought bacon salt (at least all the ones I've seen) are actually vegan products, and this is certainly NOT.

I don't have any pictures of the process, but suffice it to say, it was super easy. Almost-burn some bacon, puree, then blend with salt and seasonings. Store in the fridge.

I haven't actually tried it on popcorn yet, but I'm really looking forward to it!