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Archive for October, 2008

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Yay Pictures!

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Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Make Your Leftovers Work for You

That’s my motto most of the time.  I’m on a big campaign to curb the amount of food that gets wasted around here.  It most often happens because I prefer to have a hot lunch of leftovers at work rather than a sandwich or other typical lunch foods.  Which is fine except I only work part time which means that more than half of the week I have to make enough leftovers for a second meal or suffer the consequences of the food going potentially uneaten.  The whole thing is complicated by the fact that Ben’s views on lunch are the exact opposite of mine (although lately his view is shifting).

As a side note, my other big problem is my failure to plan meals ahead.  I just can’t seem to get it done reliably.  It’s a big problem because it means that if I’m feeling too tired or harried that we end up eating out (like we did on Monday) or ordering in.  I like going out as much as the next person but it’s a treat I don’t like using it as a crutch.  

Which all leads me to tonight’s dinner.  Around 3 I started complaining to Erin that I had again forgotten to plan our dinner in advance.  I complained a little more and then I thought and thought and thought about it.  I ended up having to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some reinforcements but I did manage to turn one and a half leftover pork chops into three servings and have it on the table in 20(ok, maybe 25) minutes.  A quick stroganoff is one of my go tos for using  up leftover meat.  It makes for a quick and satisfying meal.  Maybe one day I’ll write down a recipe but for now I’ll just tell you how it goes.  Maybe you’ll try it one day when you’re scrambling for dinner ideas.  

First I sliced a medium onion into half moons and browned them in a little olive oil over medium or medium high heat.  Next I cranked the heat to high and added a package of button mushrooms sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper.  While the mushrooms and onions were cooking I sliced the meat and tossed it into the pan to heat through.  Then I added a few dashes of worcestershire and a good tablespoonful of dijon mustard and stirred that in.  Next goes in about 1/4 cup of chicken broth.  I let the mixture bubble for a minute or two until I’m happy with the amount of sauce that’s left in the pan.  Turn of the heat, stir in a good dollop of sour cream and serve over egg noodles or rice.  

I defy you to take a picture of this dish that leaves your mouth watering but all the same it was hot and homemade and pretty dang tasty if I do say so myself.  What do you do with your leftovers?

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Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Bolstered

Sometimes I have bouts of low self-esteem.  I chalk them up as low self-esteem days but sometimes they gather together to form low self esteem weeks.  They can be triggered by anything but dissatisfaction with my appearance or uncertainty about my career are typical culprits.  Oh wait, I forgot the biggest culprit of all, PMS.  I try to be conscious of what’s going on and to deal with my feelings in a positive way but it’s not always easy.  But at worst, it usually passes in a couple of days.  

This weekend brought on some of those old familiar feelings for a number of reasons and they were holding on for dear life well into the start of my work week.  What I didn’t anticipate was that I’d be called on to be the voice of reason; to buoy the self esteem of another, and in doing so, my own.  Being so wrapped up in the goings on of my own little family I don’t do any of the things I used to do like volunteering or even just working in the public interest field.  I didn’t realize how powerful it is and how much I miss it.  The attorneys I work with often try to spin the work we do as being something of public interest work but it’s not the same.  I like what I’m doing now but it’s nothing like being an educator or working in social services.  Which were both as rewarding as they were challenging.   

After being at the office all day, coming home and tending to dinner and bedtime I’m tired.  I’m totally vegging in front of the tv with my laptop watching repeats of the daily show and colbert report that I watched last night (because I’m too dang lazy to change the channel) but I’m not feeling tired AND decrepit like I was last night.  Bonus.

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Monday, October 27th, 2008

Halloween! Almost.

Phase two of the peep costume is complete! I was barely able to convince her to try it on. I was seriously concerned that the whole endeavor was going to end up being a huge waste of time but she eventually let me get her into it though I didn’t get the crotch velcroed shut as you can see. It’s a little tight there I might have to extend it somehow. I don’t know, I’ll figure it out.  You can see the original post about it here.

Getting it on her was kind of critical at this point since I neither measured her before starting nor fit her in it at any earlier time. If I hadn’t been able to get it on her I would have had to start all over again. Because I could never remember to actually measure her and I was running out of time I used her monkey pyjamas (with feet!) to estimate the size.

Also, I bought her the black shirt to go under her costume and can I just say that I am so ready for her to take ballet lessons?

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Sunday, October 26th, 2008

New Shoes and Art Blast

Chase got a pair of new shoes today.  When I’m not in the market for new baby shoes I see tons of cute styles in all the stores but as soon as I’m actually ready to shell out for them I can’t seem to find anything that will do.  We tried Nordtrom yesterday they had a couple of different styles but they had might as well have just had two pairs of loafers, one in brown and one in black in terms of available cuteness.  I ended up buying an ok looking pair for way more than I wanted to spend because any price is too much to pay for something you don’t actually want.  I feel the same way about buying stuff you don’t need because you have coupon.  Anyway, they’re super cute and what I was looking for, I’m happy, she’s happy.  

I’ve been buying Stride Rite shoes for her since she started walking and I’m really happy with them.  The shoes, while not fabulously cute, strike a good balance between appearance and comfort.  The shoes are both sensible and durable and I haven’t heard any complaints from the wee one yet.  They make all of their shoes in wide widths that accommodate her fat little feet.  In spite of all that I still sometimes, as I do in all similar circumstance, question whether or not it’s really worth the extra money.  I have decided that it is.

I base my conclusion on a pair of patent leather mary janes that I picked up at Target.  The shoes are cute but they’re the first and only pair that gave her a blister.  The shoes are the right size but as soon as they were on she started complaining that she didn’t want to walk.  Sure enough, there was a blister on her foot by the end of the day.  That was enough to satisfy me, particularly since I discovered the Stride Right outlet at Arundel Mills.  Lots of good deals there and plenty of selection. 

Our neighborhood has many faults BUT today I was extra happy to be here.  We stumbled upon Art Blast at the BMA which ended up being a totally awesome way to spend an absolutely beautiful fall Sunday afternoon.  It was nice so we walked over to the playground.  We could hear loud music that sounded like a concert.  After swinging for about 2 minutes she decided it had to be investigated.  Of course, by the time we got down and up the other side of the park the band was playing their last number but no matter; the whole street was closed off and set up for big art projects to celebrate the museum’s newest installation.  We ran into some friends, did a little sidewalk chalk and then a big drawing that we turned into a button.  Have I mentioned that I’m really big on having fun for free?  

I haven’t posted a recipe in eons but I have one, maybe two in the works.  In the meantime, I made this fake trifle.  There’s no recipe for it.  It’s just a quick way to use up leftover cake.  I had intended to make a luscious version that I saw on Everyday Food but when it came down to it I just needed something sweet and quick.  I just cut the cake into small pieces and layered it in the cup with whipped cream, topped with berries and a little more cream and ate.  It was good though and looked really nice… made Ben jealous that I didn’t make him one, hee.  

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Not the Jared Diet

Some time last week, probably near the end of the week where my creativity tends to get low we made sandwiches.  I’m still going strong with the five minute artisan bread making and have been making dough weekly to have on hand.  This particular day I was really stumped for dinner.  I made something for Chase and hoped that something would come to me by the time she went to bed for Ben and myself.  I finally decided to try using the dough in the fridge to make sandwich rolls.  I was really happy with the results.  To be fair, the bread would have had to be really, really bad once it was piled high with salami, provolone and pickles but it wasn’t.  It was really, really good.  So good that the sandwiches were a satisfying meal and we both felt happy as if we’d just eaten take out.  They tasted a little junky but not disappointingly so.  I’m totally sold on this whole method.  Now, to branch out beyond the master recipe.  On the other hand if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?

Last week I also took Chase to the BMA.  I’d might as well just put it out there that yes, we live within walking distance and no, I have not yet taken her there myself.  I know, I know, there’s no excuse for it but in my defense, she has been before just not with me.  This particular day was a ridiculously beautiful fall day and we were looking for something fun to do.  We checked out the contemporary art and then headed into the sculpture garden.  If I had time to do stuff like read on a park bench this is the first place I would go.  The garden was beautifully landscaped and so tranquil.  Even Chase was in awe of all the greenery and impressive sculpture.  Signs ask that people not touch the sculpture which for the most part was doable.  There was only one giant red sculpture that was too tempting to not touch.  There was plenty of other distraction though, lots of stairs, ramps and a water feature.  I’m glad we finally discovered this local resource.  Not to mention that admission is F-R-E-E.

PS-We are heading directly into an ‘I’ll pick my clothes, thank you very much!’ phase… I’m really curious to see where this goes

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Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Admitting Defeat

I’m giving up waiting for my laptop to get better and learning my way around this machine.  Uploading and editing photos is particularly interesting.  I have a Flickr account but I can’t access it.  I can’t remember any of the info I need to access it and I changed my Yahoo password to something so un-crackable that even I can’t remember it.  In any event I really wanted to get some pictures up because we took Chase to Weber’s Farm again and she had a blast.  I”m not a big pumpkin patch girl so I don’t really have anything to compare it to but I’m quite certain that there are better ones out there.  However, I can drive to this one in under 15 minutes and Chase thinks it’s the best place on earth.  This year she was big enough to go down the big slide with daddy and that had to be the highlight of her day.  The slide and the baby bunnies… and the cider doughnuts and picking out pumpkins and the hayride.  All that fun for under 20 bucks.  We brought back two perfect specimens ready to be carved up all election year like.  I bought all the little carving tools and everything.  I’m totally gonna cut a finger off but it will be fun to try all the same. 

 

Yesterday was Ben’s birthday.  We had a little shindig over here with three other couples from our block and their 4 collective children.  A little bit of an after dinner pre bedtime dessert party.  Something fun to fill those couple of hours on a Friday night.  The kids had a great time.  I think they all thought it was their birthday.  I kept it pretty simple and that really helped keep the anxiety down.  I actually really enjoyed myself and felt good at the end of the night when everyone went home. 

We had chocholate dipped pretzels (from here, although whether you can call it a “recipe” is questionable.)  Brownies from a special chocolate edition of Fine Cooking; a recipe that’s finally a keeper.  I hauled out the fountain style milkshake maker for made to order chocolate and vanilla shakes for the kidlets and for the grownups I mixed chocolate stout milkshakes.  The lady at the beer store directed me to a chocolate stout by Brooklyn Brewery.  She handed me a six pack, hesitated and said, the stuff’s really intense you can’t really “drink it.”  She wasn’t kidding.  It made a fabulous shake but to taste it out of the bottle you’d have to be a diehard stout and dark chocolate fan.  Diehard, like in every fiber of your being. 

After everyone went home we watched Raising Arizona.  As a rule I hate Nicholas Cage but I liked this movie.  I have no idea how I ended up adding it to my queue.  If a couple of months passes between the time I add movies and the time I watch them sometimes I play a little game where I try to retrace the steps I took when I was lost in a web of browsing and adding movies to the list.  I think in this case I added No Country for Old Men which led me to Barton Fink, directed by Joel Coen and then on to Raising Arizona, directed by the Coen bros.  See?  A suddenly incomprehensible and random assortnement of videos in my mailbox suddenly makes sense.   

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Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Choking Back My Rage

So I had my computer back for exactly 24 hours before I had to turn it over for repair AGAIN.  There’s nothing wrong with the computer itself but it seems that when they replaced the RAM they destroyed the optical drive.  I’ve never heard a disk drive sound so sad.  Although this time I got smart and took it to a local authorized repair shop so I can avoid dealing with the dudes at store in Towson, now that’s genius.  So, I’m feeling so discouraged about it that I don’t really feel like writing a post.  I had lots of things that I wanted to write about and kept pushing them off until I got my computer back.  Now that it looks like it will be another week before that happens I’m taking advantage of the fact that Ben is out at some event thing or other and I can use his machine.  

I’ve been using the crockpot a lot lately although when Erin asked me what I’d made recently I could only think of two things.  I have turkey mole up there right now waiting for me to decide whether or not I’m hungry and I made a Cook’s Country recipe for sunday gravy that I caught on television last weekend.  I was pretty happy with the sauce.  I didn’t have sausage on hand so I made meatballs and cooked them before adding them to the pot.  They held up just fine over the long cooking time and I felt good that I hadn’t needed to buy any extra meat (you know, on top of the 75 lbs we brought home two weeks ago).  I’ve never actually seen the recipe itself so I can’t say this is it exactly as printed but it seemed to approximate what I saw on the show.  I subbed in some shoulder chops for the country style ribs too.  Oh, and yeah I only had skirt steak so I subbed that too.  But aside from changing all of the meats… 

I served pasta on the night I prepared the sauce and used the leftovers to make a yummy lasagne that served for two more dinners.  That was the center of my meal plan for the week I guess.  I also brined, spatchcocked and roasted a chicken that we had for dinner one night with… the name escapes me now for that orange colored cauliflower.  I prepared the turkey mole tonight but didn’t serve it for dinner because I ran away from the office early which through me off my game plan for starting dinner and I put it on an hour late.   

Good news though, I had those mini meatloaves in the freezer so dinnertime was saved.  It was something of a success I suppose.  She scraped off the mashed potatoes and ate the meat.  I just went upstairs and turned the pot off.  I tasted the turkey and the texture is right on.  I think the meat might do well to have a little added seasoning but I’m not to worried about it.  I see this recipe like the sunday gravy.  It was good over pasta but great in lasagne.  This will probably make an ok supper of turkey with rice and beans and a salad but I think it will make great tacos or burritos, among others, shredded and mixed with the sauce.  So I’m done with cooking for the week.  I can enjoy a whole day of not thinking about what to make for dinner before the cycle starts all over again.  Now, what I could really go for is a cookie.  A nice, fresh chocolate chip cookie.  That sounds so much better right now that turkey mole for one.  

Oh, and my fabric arrived today from Crafty Planet for making the book sample.  It has a directional print!  I’m a little psyched and a lot freaked out.

PS Ben just called from Ignite Baltimore and said it’s awesome.  I want to take part in informal festivity and merriment, this is total BS!

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Friday, October 10th, 2008

Elated

Really, I am.  I just got an email today informing me that the jumper I made for Chase a while back was selected for publication in this book!  I can hardly believe it and I’m so totally thrilled.  Law school really got me thinking about getting published somewhere.  I always thought it would be something accademic but this is much cooler.  So now I’m waiting for the fabric that’s been selected for the book sample.  I have to finalize the instructions and remake the jumper using that fabric.     

Oh, and I can post again because Ben hooked me up with a loaner computer until mine is back from the shop.  This thing is a beast!  We use it as a print server and… wait, I shouldn’t say anything bad about it lest it konk out on me too.  The point is I can check my email again and that makes me happy.

On the work front things are pretty good.  I’ve been tasked with a lot of lawyer type things to do lately.  I think I crossed that invisible threshhold that moves you from the new kid to co-worker.  Not a single thing changed between this week and last but all of a sudden I have lots of work to do, email to write calls to return.  A little down time is nice but it’s also good to feel like there’s a purpose behind schlepping your butt to work everyday.

I posted a while back about this quick little headband project I found on someone’s blog.  I can’t give credit where credit is due because I have no clue without my bookmarks where I found it.  It’s a cute project though and I’m going to make more.  It’s not the best picture but it takes about 100 years to upload a single photo so it’s abotu as good as it’s going to get for now.

From Project

 

I was also tagged by Kayris here, so without furtrher ado… Six Random Things

1) I have a bionic nose.  I can smell anything… anything from far, far away.  I used to have bionic ears too.

2) I don’t like candy and ice cream and I don’t like chocolate.  It’s not so much that I don’t like it.  I can eat a nice piece of dark chocolate or a scoop of vanilla every now and then but I’m a fruit desserts kind of a girl.  I’ll always pick lemon bars, apple pie or strawberry shortcake over any of the above mentioned items. 

3) I am so addicted to my morning coffee that if I don’t have it by 9 I’ll either a) kill you b) be too weak to kill you but really say really bitchy things c) be so weak that I can only yell bitchy things at you from a horizontal position.

4) After 8 years of higher education I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I secretly love being a student.

5) I have a lot of Indigo Girls CD’s… a lot.

6) I know the lyrics to almost every song on the radio.

I have a few more things to write about but there’s a bottle of Coke upstairs that’s calling me.  We can’t buy soda for this very reason.  If it’s here no one can rest until it’s gone.  Hopefully I’ll get to writing about this past week’s menu plan tomorrow and start thinking about one for next week.  MommyK, I’ve got some turkey on deck too… we need to brainstorm.

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Incommunicado

I had to turn my laptop over to some incompetent fool dude at the genius bar.  He says he’ll have it back to me Tuesday latest.  It wasn’t even my fault this time and I still had to threaten them with litigation to get them to apply my apple care coverage… bastards.  Ok, well I didn’t threaten litigation but I did use words like “as likely as not” and “tips in favor of the consumer.”  They were duly impressed.  

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