Friday, January 29, 2010

Soon...

I've been MIA for a couple of reasons.

1) my body is a mess. sick, hormonal, insomnia, neck and back hell... you name it.
2) I've been taking a mini-Internet fast, I've been feeling a little blogged out lately. and been feeling totally OVER facebook. Even my email...
3)I got some BOOKS from the library. :-) As much as i love blogs, books are refreshing. An amazing home book, a couple of bread books (in keeping with my new years resolution,) and some fitness/stretching books that will hopefully help me to stop wincing when I try to turn my head.

So... soon I'll be sharing all the brilliant ideas I'm gleaning from them.

That's all for now. I'm mostly just posting so I stay in the habit. I'm committed to this thing.

P.S. I dreamt last night that Johnny Depp and I were really close. Like BFF's. And then I said something that hurt his feelings and he left all mad. In my dream I was so stressed 'cause i had no way to contact him and tell him i was sorry. It was awesome. lol.

I think I must have a pretty high opinion of myself subconsciously. I keep dreaming I'm close friends with the coolest people. (Like when I dreamt that Neo and Trinity were SO excited to see me.) Hahaha. Its a good feeling to be liked by cool people, even if it is just a dream.

And hey, Beefygeek loves me. In real life. And he's the coolest person ever. So that's even better.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New favorite tightwad site

Knock Off Wood

Make your own furniture for a half/fourth/tenth of the retail price.

I can't get over this blog. So awesome. Makes me wanna go to Home Depot NOW.

For instance, this table for $60:
















Which looks like this table for $600:





















That means that even if you messed up 8 times you'd still save $120...

Scratch

Things most people buy (either pre-made or mixes) that are way better homemade and super easy and of course... cheaper (some of which I've already mentioned, but here are some links to starter recipes):
hummus
stock/broth
cream of anything (just add mushrooms, chicken broth, etc.)
pizza
sloppy joe's (seriously over the top better than the can or the packet)
taco seasoning
corn bread
pancakes (just pick one out of a million recipes out there)
waffles (same as the above)
cake (same)

Seasonings and sauces in general are MUCH better made at home. The spices are fresher and they won't have things like MSG or a gallon of salt or hydrogenated lard of sealfat blob included.

As for baked stuff/quick bread mixes, If you're using a mix you need... what? Mix, eggs, water, oil. So, four ingredients. If you make it from scratch you need... maybe 6 ingredients... maybe seven? Is it really THAT much more work to measure out baking powder, flour, and sugar? Maybe a touch of vanilla?

And its SO worth it. Everything made with Bisquick... tastes a little bit like Bisquick. Don't get wrong. I'll still enjoy it. If you invite me over and serve me jiffy cornbread, I'll still eat more than an average silverback gorilla. Because I love to eat, and because its not awful, some of its pretty darn good. But I love to cook and I feel like mixes have bred a generation of people who say, "You made it from SCRATCH????!!!" like you just told them you built your car using your bare hands and a pot full of molten metal. Or a working replica of Air Force One out of tooth picks. Or a disposable cup that doesn't get covered with slimy condensation in the summer.

Besides, we don't have to grow the wheat, thresh the wheat, grind the wheat, raise the chickens, collect the eggs, raise the cow, milk the cow, churn the butter, draw the water from a well, travel to South America and barter for the sugar canes... THAT was making from scratch. As in, from nada.

If you say "it's too much work... I won't ever do that." Its not that much more work and besides, most of the things on that list aren't things we should really eat all that often... Betty Crocker makes Devil's Food a little too easy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

flickr faves



I can't wait.


go to heaven
Originally uploaded by Nug.
There was a slight warm up earlier this week and the birds were going crazy. It made me feel so good I ran the last stretch of my walk.

I'm so glad it's winter. 'Cause it mean spring's coming!

If only...

Everyday, several times a day, I come with something truly hilarious and think to myself, "I would so put that on my blog. If I was Dooce."

But I'm not. So I'll leave you to wonder about all the hilarious things I would write.

I'm afraid that's not a very good way to gain a readership...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Basalmic Chicken

Just made the best boneless skinless chicken breast I've ever made. Here's what I did:

- Into a 9X13 pan... or whatever size: Basalmic Vinegar (enough to cover the pan with out tipping), a smidgen of olive oil, four minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and shake or two of crushed red pepper, pinches of rosemary, thyme, and sage.
- Thinly sliced chicken breast into the pan, coat both sides.
- Bake, covered on 375 for about 25-30 minutes, turning once and removing the cover for the last ten minutes or so.

Seriously. As good as that chicken I love at Carrabba's. Especially mixed with a buttered baked potato. Carrabba's definitely dips their chicken in butter.

I read on Slashfood about how there are three kin ds of seasonings : oil/fat, spices/aromatics, and acids (vinegars, wines, citrus fruits etc.). The point of the article was that most of us ignore the third category most of the time. I think that's true, I never thought to add vinegar to anything before Jon taught me some Filipino cooking (they use a lot of vinegar). So now I'm experimenting with acids! (Sounds like a dangerous undertaking.)

Can't wait to buy a decent camera so i can upload some pictures on here. This chicken is GORGEOUS.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sleep and Ceramics

So I'm reading a book about sleep (to try to get to sleep one of these days...) and one of the things that I just read is that if you are severely sleep deprived, (as I was for a good chunk of my childhood) you can actually slip into "micro-sleeps" throughout the day. That's right. The old "so-tired-i-could-fall-asleep-standing-up" thing is possible. And these "micro-sleeps" can result in slips. falls. accidents. such as dropping a bag of steaks in such a way that they come out of the grocery store package and go rolling down a dusty hill. Okay, so I added that last one in myself.

BUT this means that perhaps my long, hilarious-to-others-but-not-always-to-me history of clumsiness may actually be just another result of chronic insomnia. Therefore, it may eventually be cured.* Therefore, I may one day be able to own beautiful but breakable things. Therefore, a post of all the lovely ceramic things I will buy when done with sleep boot camp.

Dishes so beautiful, you would want to wash them, so they'd be lovely again.



Milk bottles. :)



A strand of incredibly thin ceramic leaves. Wow.




Ceramic Snowflakes. Two of the most delicate things on earth. Insomnia Amy would make short work of them. (BTW, the name of the shop is peppersprouts. how cute is that?)



And little ceramic birds. So sweet.












*no, I don't really believe this, but a girl can dream can't she?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Good food rules

Check this out, I like this guy's simple take on healthy food. I really like the answer that he gives about "not being able to afford it." EXCEPT... you can get organic dried beans for 2 dollars a pound, he says. But you can get regular for 70 cents a pound, if you don't don't have an allergy to pesticides, you should be good.

Here are some good ones:
-"Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car."
-"Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk."
-"Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
-"Don't eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce."
-"Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot...There are exceptions --- honey --- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food."

I hope you have been finding my hyperlinks... I don't think they get underlined. Okay, never mind, I just changed their color. Shoulda done that a long time ago....

Another yummy vegetarian meal

I knew I had something I wanted to post here.

Pioneer Woman's Sesame Noodles. WOW. Seriously up the anti for stir-fry night... unbelievable when combined with a good stir fry and rice. Or rock the house using up leftover noodles that always sit in the fridge until someone works up the nerve to throw out...A WHOLE HALF A POUND OF NOODLES. I hate throwing out food. It's so wrong. It makes me feel like Joey Tribbiani. "Well don't waste it, it's still FOOD."

Seriously, try them, they're better than carry out lo-mein. Even when you only use half the ingredients like me.

I only use the noodles (obviously), garlic, sesame oil, sugar, and sub red pepper flakes for hot chile oil. I'm too lazy to go to the store to buy the things i don't have, and two kinds of oil seems excessive to me. Oh and I throw it all in a pot instead of I bowl 'cause I like the garlic a lil' roasty. Try it, trust me


.

Oh SO GOOD.

Beefygeek took these leftovers for lunch twice. The first time one of his co-workers came to his office asking "WHAT are you eating?" The next time a different co-worker said, "MAAAANNNNN, you eat like a king." Those poor guys only ever get fast food or lean pockets.

Speaking of stir fry... as I was a moment ago. Instead of store bought sauce use: soy sauce, red pepper flakes, a LITTLE corn oil, and... brown sugar. Don't skimp on the brown sugar either, trust me. Takes it from "eh" to "UM." It's loosely based on the sweet and sour recipe here. They say to mix it beforehand, I usually just toss it all in "to taste." Make sure your meat is cooked all the way before you taste anything though, cause that's nasty.

Not much...

Sunday I decided that I would try to post here everyday for a week, just as an experiment, to see if i would ever want to do this whole blogging thing FOR REAL. But then, I had a RIDICULOUS insomnia week and had zero brain power to spend on this blog. Que Sera, Sera.

On a slightly interesting note, I read this week that walking with even small dumbbells is NOT a good idea. So I guess I won't be doing that anymore. I don't really mind, since I felt super goofy whenever someone else walked past me, and exercising my weak arms is a lot harder than exercising my weak legs.

Yeah, not that interesting. I know.

Okay, I just made the same dumb typo twice. I guess I still don't have any brain power.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mermaids.


Kelp Beds Anacapa Island
Originally uploaded by d0c3nt
Still, every once in a while I dream about that mermaid. Except instead if being terrified, I'm just THERE swimming, floating, sometimes motionless in the deep dark waters. There's light streaming in, breaking through the green, blue, gray, black all around me, changing the colors continually. The greenish blue plants caressing me here and there as they move.

A morning after one of those dreams I found this picture.

If I thought there was a shred of evidence supporting evolution, I'd totally get behind the idea that we originated in the sea. Something about the deep, ever moving darkness makes me feel at home. Hmmm... now that I think about it, maybe it reminds us of the womb. Maybe that's where the whole idea of the origin of species started. Maybe not. Whatever the case maybe, in heaven, I'm asking for gills. Or maybe just the ability to hold my breath for a long, long time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vegetarian Meal Ideas

Ok so... some of them aren't 100% vegetarian, but they're low-meat, which means cheap.

- Any variation of the breakfast for dinner thing. French toast is great 'cause it uses up old bread. Whole wheat waffles or pancakes are more filling than their white flour counterparts.

- Homemade Pizza! Oh soooooo good. Here's a easy dough recipe.

-Soup. I usually make this with homemade chicken stock, so it's not really vegetarian. But you make the stock using leftovers, so it's pretty much free. (freeze any meat skin and bones, onion skins, carrot and potato peels etc. then throw them in a pot with some water and spices, let 'em simmer for a while and ta-da! Beats the can off Swanson's any day.) Our favorite is lentil and potato. We also love black-eyed pea and green split pea (with a ham bone...)

-Grilled cheese (with or without the soup mentioned above.)

-Bean Chili. Not as good as with meat in my opinion... but passable and once again, cheap. Maybe I just need to experiment with it more.

-Beans and rice.

-Quesadillas. Just with cheese or a little bit of shredded meat.

-Anything with beans really. Buy some dried beans. You'll love the way they look an a shelf in your kitchen and you can add them to any meal to make it healthier, heartier and longer lasting.

-Fried rice. You can do strictly vegetables or add an egg and a few bites of chicken or ham.

-Quiche. This is one I haven't done yet, but the "frugal zealot" recommends it, and I'm gonna do it eventually...

-Another good low-meat meal I make is chicken with white sauce over noodles or rice. I make this when we're on our second or third day of the roasted whole chicken. I (or Jon... usually Jon 'cause I don't like doing it) pick over the last of the carcass, and use whatever's left. Most of the substance from the meal comes from the sauce, vegetables, and noodles. Or you can have it with biscuits and it turns into potpie! P.S. Learn to make a basic white sauce. You can do so much with it. No need to buy Campbell's Cream of Anything.

-Hummus! Not really a meal but I just have to mention it. Make it, don't buy it. Its such much better that its really a different experience than store bought. And of course, much, much cheaper.

That's all I can think of for now. Hope this inspires at least one person to buy some dried beans and learn to cook 'em! We American bean snobs miss out on a lot.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Etsy Finds

Some things I would buy/make if I had the money/time.

This is so beautiful, I could picture Arwen wearing it. Geek, I know.



I love grasshoppers and crickets. People say they're lucky. If I believed anything was lucky, I'd believe that. They're so... cool.



I'm thinkin' bears for a nursery someday. Think Mr. Bultitude not Pooh. Although I love Pooh, especially non-Disney Pooh. A.A. Milne was a genius. His poetry is definitely gonna be on a favorites list one of these days.



Green and white is my current goal for at least one room in my home. I really do wanna try to make a mosiac one of these days:



This hat and scarf would downplay the whole bag lady thing, don't ya think?



This is just paper. But wow, Lovely:



And this. *





*Cool Button.

Just thinking.

Is spanking a child really worse for the kid then screaming at them?

Was looking through the comments on Dooce's latest about "worst parenting moments," and reading some of them I kept thinking... if those kids had been calmly given a smack on the butt after one warning, they would have listened up and the parents wouldn't have been frustrated to the point of screeching.

Now, I'm sure I'll have my screaming moments but it does seem like a lot of non-spankers end up make it their only discipline tool. I've seen it.

That kinda makes me sad.

I only remember one time (out of lots) that I got spanked and felt hurt by it. But the times I got yelled at, I remember. And some of them still hurt.

There are definitely wrong ways to spank too, of course. But I was just thinking.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lately I love...

-Rediscovering music. Such as...



Google them and listen for free on La La (another one of my new favorite things). I can't even recommend one in particular. Just listen to them all. All 3000. Its a string quartet (obviously) that does covers of pop music. You really here the music behind all the marketing. Sigh... delightful.

-Violins in general.



- Alicia Key's doing Jay Z's Empire State of Mind


Wow.

I recently told Beefygeek that I would cut off my left hand in exchange for a voice like Alicia Keys but not my right. After being haunted by that song, righty doesn't stand a chance.

-On a less musical note,



How amazing are avocados? Today I had half of one on flat bread with hummus. Un-freaking-believable.

-Relating to the resolutions posted here



This helps a lot with the whole read through the bible in a year thing. They divide it up so you read a section of the old testament, a section of the new testament, part of psalm and part of a proverb. It helps to vary the reading a bit when you get to, oh say... Numbers.


-Another thing that I'm enjoying is walking with weights. Little 5 pound weights. I look RIDICULOUS doing my exercises in all of my layers of clothing. But I feel so good. So who cares if I "end up on YouTube" (Beefygeek) I predict the title to be "The bag lady of Roland Park, exercising" Nice.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

people

First day of January. Seeing as my post have gotten progressively less each month since i made this blog, I decided to go ahead and post to start the year of right.

The title of this post is "people" because I've been thinking about "people."

Since Beefygeek and I are both very... how shall I put this... loud, it may come as a surprise to people who know us that we both consider ourselves introverts. And since we got married and moved at least an hour way from everyone we knew two years ago, we've really had a chance to see just HOW introverted we really are. I never thought in a million years we would be so perfectly content not to know anybody. Of course, it may have something to do with the fact that we were madly in love and in that lovely, dewy eyed newlywedded stage of self-absorption. Kinda still are...

And then, we're both homebodies on top of it. Perfectly content not to do much outside our own little place in this world. Its great on the budget, but hard to make friends. We haven't met many people at work for the simple reason I work with kids, he works at a small business, in a little studio, so our co-workers are essentially Elmo and a Macbook.

Lately however, we've been convicted that a part of this "contentment" is really just laziness. Laziness in maintaining old friendships. Laziness in using facebook as our only means of communication with the outside world. I'm starting to hate facebook for that. Laziness in being unwilling to step out of our comfort zones to make new friends. And we've been missing the fellowship with other believers that we used to enjoy without effort.

So, we've been trying. And it's been fun. I didn't realize how much I missed people until I started being with them again. Its so refreshing to be in other worlds again. Talking and thinking about the things other people care about. Hearing their take on the world. Laughing at new jokes. Getting involved at church instead of just attending and leaving. Having to get dressed on Saturday. Going someplace besides work, church, and the grocery store.

God wanted us to be in relationship. That's why He established marriage. But He also established the church. And told us to be "in the world, not of it." And I think He had a pretty good idea.