Friday, August 14, 2009

Ugly Food Day

Yesterday I continued with my culinary adventures. I woke up with a real hankering for scones. Hungry Girl has a recipe that I have used before which is pretty good and of course you have the benefit of not loading up the calories. The only little thing is that it calls for vanilla soy milk and I didn't have that on hand. I substituted with regular milk and a dash of vanilla. Not sure that was the greatest plan. I suppose that taste is what ultimately matters, they did taste good, but boy were they the ugliest scones I have ever seen. I actually thought they were a little soft but the critics (aka BKay, Doraida and Rolando) disagreed.

Abuela's salad was my next mission. My grandma makes the simplest tastiest potato salad. It is just potatoes and hard boiled eggs. The trick to this salad is to be sure to properly salt it. I prefer to eat it warm but it can be eaten cold as well. It is super easy. I steamed up one large potato, the kind you'd use for a loaded bake potato, and boiled 4 eggs. Add salt to both pots of water. Add salt to the potato. Once everything is cooked, diced and mixed together, salt one more time. The yellowish look of the whole thing doesn't scream yum, but eat up!

The last of the taco meat I used to make spaghetti and meat sauce, then used to the sauce to make a pizza. Pizza with fresh mushrooms and onions, layered with mozerella. This too got rave reviews! It was simple! The impromtu game night attendents enjoyed the treats. Tre and I maintained our Taboo title. Us against the world!

My crafty sense kicked in and I have been crocheting. I am making a nifty scarf. In these moments I wish I lived in Alaska to use these more often. I also made a bolster pillow that matches the ottoman that I recovered a while ago. Tomorrow marks the return to school. The end of summer! The day teachers all over come out of the summer hibernation and excitedly teach the young minds of the future. If we teach them well they will lead the way.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Lawn

One of our summer projects was to get the house tented because the bug guy found the very evil dry wood termite. Last week we evacuated. In the process of killing the lawn the pesticide and suffocation also killed all the plant life in the surrounding area. The grass had not been cut in three weeks and I don't think I have ever weeded since I moved in almost 2 years ago.

I woke up in the wee hours of the afternoon (I still have 5 glorious days of summer left) and ran to Home Depot to get the cowboy: Round up that is. Real weed killer. The deadliest in the west. By the time I return my real cowboys were already mowing my lawn: My parents that is. The real lawn people. My mom mowed the front while I sprayed the endless amounts of weeds and my dad trimmed large bushes that were browned. Then I mowed the back, my dad fixed a latch and my mom did laundry. Then I pulled weeds, my mom raked and my dad sawed a tree in half with the neighbor. After that, I hedge cut more weeds growing out of the fence, my mom too branches to the garbage and my dad sat and had some water because it's crazy ass hot in Florida! My folks took off, but I was out there from 12:00-4:30.

Each time I would come inside to cool off. I would ask Eliot how people do this. Why do people do this? He replied that most people don't do it at high noon and the hottest part of the day in August in Florida. I was stunned? You mean people get up EARLY to do this? That is just madness. There is usually something that I don't like about yard work. It's the work part. If I had a bit more money I would not beneath hiring a gardener. I would call him Javier and gaze at him as he trimmed the roses, except the only Javier I have ever known pulled a fistful of hair out of my head when I was 6 and pushed me into an ant pile which I am allergic too. My eyes are crying themselves out of my head and my legs are swelling. Both are competing to see which can get bigger and redder when my mom comes running. After her was Javier's dad with a bottle of whiskey which my mom decides is the perfect thing to pour all over my legs. Oh and I don't have rose bushes either.

It was rewarding to look at the yard at the end of the day. It looked good. It felt good to be sweaty. It felt good to be tired from actual manual labor. There is still plenty to do. Weeds to keep pulling and new things to plant and watch grow. I will do some more tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Nights...dwindling way...

I'm officially done with my first semester of my second graduate degree and though, I am thrilled to be on the road to becoming a counselor, I must stop to wonder, what was I thinking? With one week left of summer, and many unfinished summer projects I wonder if I will have the time to finish them all. The truth is a resounding no. Instead I have plunged into a couple of my favorite passions reading and cooking. I went to the grocer a few days ago for the first time since well...May? (Life has been a little nutty.) And have been cooking and reading and watching random TV and sleeping. I love sleeping too.

Anywho, so the cooking has been the most fun. One of my favorite things to do is to make one thing and use it to make several others. First, I made a fresh tomato salsa, with 3 different types of heirloom tomatoes: red, orange and green. I whisked together vinegar, salt, evoo, lime juice, and sriacha (Asian hot sauce.) Diced some onions and tossed it all together. I must say it was delightful. I snacked on it and then used it for some tasty tacos that evening. The next day, I made a Mexican pizza for lunch using all the same ingredients. Tomorrow my plan is to use it to make huevos rancheros.

Since I have gained some cool kitchen gear from the wedding I find the magic of appliances wonderful. I made chocolate chocolate chocolate cookies, made a dozen and froze the rest of the dough in order not to indulge completely. Warm cookies and milk hit the spot tonight. I also made homemade blueberry pancakes. Breakfast was yummy and also froze a bunch to save for Eliot's snacking and breakfast on crazy school mornings. You can pop them in the microwave and have a good morning with no fuss.

My last foodie treat was linguine with zucchini and chickpeas. I saw the recipe in Real Simple (I borrowed the picture from there too.) and though I like to take inspiration from recipes but I usually don't make them. I don't like following directions, or I'm impatient or I am a cooking artisan, any way you play it, this recipe looked good and simple. A rinsed can of chickpeas (always wash canned beans to get the salty preservatives off), cut fresh zucchini, garlic sauteed in olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes (I eat these on everything lately). While working on the mix cook up your pasta of choice, I used angel hair. Once the zucchini looks soft and the pasta is ready-just mix and add Parmesan cheese. I wish I had fresh cheese because the taste is so much better but I am not that cool. It was good and it was enough for 4 healthy servings. Still have a bit in the frig.

I am catching up on my nonacademic reading. Finished Friday Night Knitting Club and ordered the sequel (which I didn't know existed until my friend Michele told me thanks!), picked up Julie and Julia (which I am loving, thanks CD!) and finished up Trees Grow in Brooklyn which was great as well. I am on a roll!

Tomorrow another new food adventure awaits and more joyful reading...but better yet I might do some of that gardening I was talking about, go for a bike ride and hopefully see my little kiddies E's in the afternoon! Eliot is on the mend it seems. Keep those prayers coming and soon he will make his debut on the blog too.