Archive for November, 2005

November 30th, 2005

» ramble ramble

I think I’ve come into sudden and unexpected accord with my round brush. I don’t expect it to last, but the past two days it has done fabulous things with my hair, and the cut is looking fresh and cute in a way I don’t think it has since I stepped out of the salon. I credit the new clips I bought to hold the top layers of hair out of the way while I dry underneath first. Well, and my renewed determination to use the brush correctly.

I broke out the second volume of my yoga dvd set yesterday. It was a little frustrating to do — I was never entirely sure I was in the pose correctly, and most of them involve staring at either the floor or the ceiling, which makes checking out the tv very awkward. Afterwards I felt like I hadn’t worked that hard, like I probably did it all wrong or something. Today I’m delightfully sore in all sorts of places, though, so I must’ve been doing something right. It’s renewed my desire to take a yoga class somewhere, just so I have some assurance that I’m doing the poses right. Well, and to do yoga.

I’m going to look at another apartment after work today. I was excited about it a few days ago, but today I’m just feeling cranky at the possibility that it might suck and then I’d've wasted all this time driving out there and back when I could’ve been home exercising and figuring out dinner. I feel all scrambling and flat-footed without a weekly menu. I get home and wish I’d done something in the crock pot, which requires way more planning than I’m capable of right now. Realistically it needs to be done three days out — evening one to figure out the menu, evening two to do the shopping, and day three to prepare it (morning for the crock pot, evening for something else). I have a mental block against defrosting meat, see, so if it hasn’t at least been set out the day beforehand to start defrosting, I won’t cook with it. Maybe it’s because the freezer is so cold. The idea of rummaging around and prying out a frozen hunk of something and then microwaving it and having to pry it apart and microwave it some more, and washing my hands six thousand times because it’s raw chicken — I’d rather just have something else. My hands are horribly dry enough as it is.

* * *

Update: The apartment was pretty great. I like the building and it seems like a good neighborhood — and weirdly it’s like directly down the street from Carrie! So I have someone to ask about the neighborhood as I mull things over. I have one more place I want to check out, I think, but this one might be it. It’s a liiiittle far for the commute — not any longer than I drive now, but it’d be nice to cut down that time. On the plus side, it’s super close to the Calhoun area, which would be awesome. It’s not available till January first — though I imagine December is going to absolutely fly by, so not sticking a move into the center of it is definitely not the worst thing in the world.

As I was pulling into my neighborhood the street light I was approaching blinked out. I didn’t think much of it, since it happens sometimes — they get too hot and turn off for a while. But then I noticed that it was abnormally dark on the street, and realized that there were no lights on in any of the houses. None of the festive hanging lights along the trims, no helpful outside lights to illuminate the driveway and front of the garage. No lights inside either.

I groped around in the dark until I found a flashlight, then lit a bunch of candles around the kitchen and living room. I had been planning to exercise before dinner but obviously that was right out, so I decided to make chili. It was the only thing I could think of that didn’t involve anything from the fridge or freezer. Luckily we have a gas stove so that was easy enough to light. The lights came back halfway through the chili being done, but I went ahead and ate anyhow, so now I’m too full to exercise and my schedule’s all messed.

I had been planning to watch About A Boy tonight since it’s due back at the library on Sunday (which means I have to bring it back tomorrow or Friday), but ooo, Rudolph’s just come on tv. I haven’t seen this in ages, and I love it, so I think I may watch it instead…

And I’m going to stop. rambling. Right now.

November 26th, 2005

» more food talk

Two words: Baba. Ganouj.

I don’t know what this traditionally tastes like, but the recipe I’m about to share tastes wonderful. I don’t even know how to describe it, except that it looks like hell and is So Tasty. I don’t know how expensive eggplants are going to be at Christmastime, or if they’ll even be available, but if they are I’m making this. I served it last night with toasted pita wedges and it was lovely. The biggest challenge is getting people to try it, I think, because of the aforementioned looking like hell.

The recipe:

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November 25th, 2005

» ‘as the working class sleeps in on a holidaaay’

Thanksgiving is over and so the Christmas season may officially begin without my wrath. The world has chosen to kick it off with snow. Lots of steady, sorta fluffy snow. Not the big huge gorgeous floaty flakes, but we’re getting a respectable accumulation, and as far as I’ve noticed it’s been coming down very steadily since before I woke this morning.

The holiday went well. Our reduced menu was just right, I think. We had the turkey, of course. We did stuffing in the crock pot — and I have to say doing one of the dishes in the crock pot was a stroke of genius that I hope to remember every holiday, since fitting everything in the oven is always an issue. We did our own this year; just a ridiculously simple recipe, since no one likes the ones with fruit in it — or with lots of anything in it, really. So it was just the bread and onion and sausage and spices. (My mom and I now secretly use vegetarian sausage in everything, since it’s insane the calorie difference between even it and turkey sausage. So far no one’s caught on, or if they have they haven’t said anything about it.) The green beans were done on the stove top — it was a dish with bacon and cocktail onions, and while it was quite tasty I think it’s far superior as a summer dish. It had a bright, fresh taste, and on Thanksgiving in particular I’m always looking for things that are a bit richer, with heavier, warmer flavors. Then we did the excellent acorn squash with cranberries and apples. It’s one of my favorite dishes, I think; it’s simple, pretty, and delicious. Missed by no one: rolls (stuffing is mostly bread, after all), mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes (the squash was our other starch), corn (again, we had plenty of starch, plus green beans), cranberry sauce (we had cranberries with the squash), heaps and heaps of extra fat.

For dessert we had the crustless pumpkin pie that almost wasn’t and an apple pie. The pumpkin pie I made Wednesday night after my mom and I returned from our traditional night-before-Thanksgiving-shopping. It was, in retrospect, not the time to bake. Luckily the pie had been in the oven for only just under ten minutes when I realized I’d forgotten to add the sugar. I was a little concerned that the texture wasn’t as smooth when I poured the batter back in the pan, but I thought it came out with a lovely texture and tasted good, and my mom and sister both said it tasted exactly like other (much much higher-calorie) pumpkin pies they’d had (minus, of course, the crust). (I’ve actually never had pumpkin pie before — not counting this one, now — so I didn’t have anything to compare it to.)

The apple pie turned out well, which was a relief since it’s the first pie I’ve made from scratch. Well, first good old-fashioned crust really, with flour and butter and shortening. I found it delicious, though next time I’ll add something to make the filling more liquidy. I do like apple texture but I want more mushy gel-y…stuff, around my apples in a pie. I kicked the crust’s ass, though, which was the important part.

As my dad carved the rest of the turkey after the meal (we bought a big 22lb-er even though we only had 5 for dinner, so we’d have lots of leftovers), I was struck with the thought that we should make stock out of the bones. We very rarely have whole birds in our house, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to try it with something that was just going to go to waste anyhow. We didn’t have as many different sorts of veggies and spices as I would’ve liked to try with it, but we had enough on hand to make it worth a go. I made two big pots of it and it’s even now in the fridge waiting for skimming. I have my fingers crossed that it will soon turn into some excellent soup.

I’m (sort of freakishly) looking forward to planning a Christmas menu now. I’d like to do stuffed mushrooms, I think. Traditionally we just do heaps of appetizery stuff for Christmas Eve. It started out as my mom putting out lots of fun appetizers before the Christmas meal. For years we’d eat of the appetizers and get ridiculously full and then everyone would sort of laze around the table picking at their plates. We finally got wise and stopped doing Christmas dinner altogether, and just have appetizers. Christmas Eve we do lasagna, since it’s easy to make ahead of time. My mom’s all about simple. I’m kind of wanting to try a big fancy vegetarian lasagna of some sort.

Also, I’m making a gingerbread house. I’ve already decided it’s going to be gorgeous. I have books on order from the library for ideas and techniques and all that, because it’s not going to be just any old gingerbread house. I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with it. I’m torn all sorts of ways — castle, Victorian mansion, fairytale cottage, farmhouse-style with a big old porch, church (to justify the stained glass windows I’m planning). Pirate ship. Part of me wants to make a replica of my favorite tinyhouse. We shall see.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, and that no one’s out in the insane shopping crowds right now. Or if you are, that you’re the sort of person who has a ball with it.

November 19th, 2005

» Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

We went to a 2:20 matinee of Goblet of Fire today. It was sold out, as was the showing after ours. Cutting for spoilers:

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November 18th, 2005

» brief but happy

Shipment Date: Nov 16, 2005
Estimated Arrival: Nov 28, 2005
Track your package:
Nov 18, 2005 05:34:00 AM MAPLE GROVE MN US Out for delivery

Oh Amazon, you always deliver before promised. Thank you for a bright bit in an otherwise unspeakable week.