Thursday, October 02, 2008

time for a change.

Time for a change of scenery. After 442 posts, I'm moving. I've been blogging in a new spot for a bit now (can it still be called "blogging" if it's no longer blogger? "wordpressing"? "pressing"?) I feel a bit sad to be leaving this blog, now that I've gone and done it, but I seem to require a change of blogs every four years. (Let's see what happens in 2012?!)

I can now be found at

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

three things on a thursday

1.) we have a betta fish. his name is jacques, and he came home with me a few days ago when I saw him languishing in about an inch of water in a tiny container, on the shelf at wal-mart. he's feeling a bit frisky tonight, swimming around his (comparatively HUGE!) fishbowl, winding his way between the plants, blowing little bubbles up at the surface. This is in contrast to when I first brought him home, and jacques did a lot of what John called "Lying on his couch" (lying almost perfectly flat, nestled against the botttom curve of the bowl).

2.) I haven't told anyone, but I have a huge thing for this show on TLC. I love how they don't try to pretend that their lives are perfect; yeah, they get cranky, yes, sometimes the screaming makes them want to scream. But they love each other, work it out, and are doing a wonderful job. Yay Jon and Kate Plus 8!

3.) I've been reading SARK's Succulent wild woman : dancing with your wonder-full self!. I'd heard things about her for years, and finally Inter-Library Loaned a few of her books; this was the first to arrive. and my, is it ever talking to me. relax. let it go. you don't have to be - or keep trying to be - perfect (what?!). be powerful. have fun. let yourself be creative. be delighted. These are all things I should know, but really, I get so distracted by other things to the point that I don't put enough of a priority on them; so I wander around in a sleepy haze after work until something tells me to snap out of it and do something for us or myself, instead of obsessively thinking about the latest bad situation at work.

(also, I just stumbled across this wikipedia page. oh my goodness! I want to go pack my little red suitcase, grab John's hand, and go there right now.)

(ps, I do actually have a little red suitcase. I found it at a yard sale last summer, and it is in 1950's mint condition. I took it on our honeymoon - it's small enough to be a carry-on and fit in the overhead compartment, and besides, it's just so darn cute!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

these days were made for cookin'

Friday night, I made Molly's Braised Onion Sauce with Pasta (originally from James Beard). I adapted it to meet our own taste; we've been dairy-free for three months now, so instead of butter, I used a few tablespoons of canola oil. We didn't have any Madeira, so I used 1/4 Chardonnay, and it was just amazing. I made a pound of pasta to go with it, so we had a lot left over (not as much as should have been; we kept going back for just one more bite), and it was so good reheated the next day, too (it made for a nice, comforting lunch at work on Saturday, paired with a great book and a quiet corner in the library).

Last night I made brownies. we should be ashamed there aren't more left. but we're not! oh, so brazen.

Today was chilly, windy, and felt like March or April. I hadn't spent a day in the kitchen for a while, but this one seemed made for it. I made two loaves of my French bread this morning; it's loosely based on a recipe I found at recipezaar, but changed to gluten-free, dairy-free, and with various other changes to certain ingredients, and also in handling. Today it turned out the best that it ever has, and unlike regular gluten-free bread, it also rose. This is amazing, because usually, gluten-free bread benefits from relaxing in a warm oven for a while before baking, but it doesn't rise, due to the lack of elastic gluten strands in the dough. I almost fell over when I opened the oven to check on it after 20 minutes nestled in the oven; I couldn't believe that it had risen as much as it did! It's light, chewy, has a crispy crust, and still, tonight, is moist; generally, gluten-free breads dry out and become crumbly quite quickly. I'm going to make two more loaves tomorrow, slice them, and put them in the freezer for sandwiches and toast. Yay!

Tonight, partially because I was so happy with how the bread turned out, and also because I was chilly in here, even with jeans and socks on, I made minestrone soup.

Minestrone Soup
(adapted from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook)

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c water
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 large or 4 small celery stalks, sliced
1 T dried basil
3/4 T dried oregano
10 oz fresh mini portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 c chicken stock (I used 1 c hot water and one "Not Chik'n" boullion cube)
7 c water
1/2 head green cabbage
1 large potato, cut into small dice
1/2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise and sliced into thin semi-circles
2 14.5 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes, with juice
1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Bragg's Liquid Aminos

1.) In a large pot, heat the olive oil and 1/4 c water; add onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery until they're soft. stir in the herbs, a little salt, and pepper (if the mixture is getting too dry, turn down the heat and add 1 T water). add the mushrooms; when they're soft and have given up their juices, add the 1C water and boullion cube, and simmer until there's half the liquid.

2.) Core the cabbage; slice half of it into thin shreds. Add the water, cabbage, potato, zucchini, tomatoes, and chickpeas; simmer until the vegetables are tender. Splash in a tablespoon or two of Braggs, rather than salt; this adds a deeper flavour to the soup.

Feeds an army.

(I think it's even better the next day, after the flavours have blended overnight.)

weekends are for: minestrone

Friday, May 16, 2008


Interesting post about commercial shampoos and conditioners, and detailed instructions on how to cleanse your hair without using them.

Update: I tried this last night, the baking soda shampoo mix and apple vinegar rinse, and my hair feels wonderful this morning; it's soft, curly, and, I can't stop touching it; it's lovely. There's no residual paste from the baking soda, nor is there any lingering vinegar smell. My hair smells fresh, and looks better this morning (straight out of bed) than it has maybe ever.

Looks like I'll be doing this again next time.

sweet nothings

John: Did you know that in general, a woman's pH levels are more acidic, and men's are closer to a base?


I'm more like detergent, you're more like hydrochloric acid.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

back away slowly.

I tend to bounce around from craft to craft, not staying long enough to completely master it, but enough to get a feel for it and be comfortable doing it. also, have noticed that i tend to change crafts with the seasons. winter? lots of heavy yarns and knitting almost every night (it keeps my hands warm). spring? open windows, beautiful watercolors splashing across the paper.

and now, heading into summer? quilting. what did I get myself into?! i keep cutting out squares. place the template on the cutting mat, slice, slice, slice, slice. trim frayed threads. go back over random spots the rotary cutter missed. move the template. slice, slice, slice, slice. trim frayed ETC ETC ETC. I've got hundreds of lovely tomato red, sky blue, and white squares (some patterns, some not, except for the white, which are solid) and am not done with this step yet, even though I've got tons of these things lying around; when i started out on this project, i was going to stick with square blocks of color, not attempting a more intricate pattern - not for my first quilt.

was. was! for some reason, i decided that slicing each square into two triangles and alternating 8 colored patterned and white triangles into a pinwheel shape to form a square (really, I have no better way to explain it) would be a better idea. way to add onto the time necessary to make this thing!

i can do it. it just feels like it's taking forever. i'm not an impatient person; it's just that i don't have tons of time to work on this project, and also that i'd never used these tools before, so it's moving along at such a slow, excruciating rate.

(and all this time, there's this little tiny voice that pipes up inside my head sometimes. "what? you, making a quilt?! you won't finish this thing!!" and then it nearly dies of laughter.)

the past couple of days I've been eyeing it, the stack of fabric on top of the cutting mat, sitting in the corner of the living room, as though it's an animal I'm worried is going to make an attempt on my life. walk carefully. don't make eye contact. it can smell fear.