Sunday, January 31, 2010

Now and later

Several years after lugging the family videos down from NorCal, we've finally purchased a tape adapter to allow us to watch the tiny tapes, so R and I have been spending time watching moments of my past. It has been interesting seeing how much things have changed, but also how many things have stayed the same.

My mom and dad, already being adults, are pretty similar (R says it feels like present day people walking around in the past), though you can chart the downfall of their marriage over the 5 year span of the tapes. In the later ones, whenever my dad does anything silly my mom moves the camera or tells him to cut it out. In the earliest tapes you get to see some friendly banter between the two of them. My mom even cracks a few jokes.

Recent cooking:
Toscana soup - I had been waiting for kale to arrive in my CSA basket so that I could make this soup. It didn't disappoint, and I plan on making it again next week with the remainder of the kale.
Sardine and avocado sandwiches - Saw this on an episode of Good Eats and, while I'm not into the whole "diet" thing or regimented food consumption (daily carrot?), this is a pretty tasty sandwich.

Friday night could only be described as kitchen failure night. Made too much stock, brownies that were leaking butter (apparently these puppies are close to the saturation point, so don't be lazy when measuring), and a lasagna that was in no way moist enough.

Saturday night was my cooking redemption, as I made a delicious Buffalo chicken pizza. I marinated cooked chicken pieces in Buffalo sauce while the crust was rising. I then topped the crust with pizza sauce mixed with the Buffalo sauce marinade, mozzarella cheese, the marinated chicken, and chunks of blue cheese. It was awesome.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Three odd tidbits

It was raining pretty heavily last night, here in San Diego. This morning I peeked outside to discover that half of our row of condos hadn't put their trash cans out. Apparently they all took a look outside and decided it wasn't worth it.

In celebration of National Popcorn Day, I made peanut butter popcorn. R and I both found the recipe a little uninteresting (and regretted not making the crunchy version), but I couldn't seem to stop nibbling on it. I suppose that could be a recommendation of sorts, though I wound up throwing the rest of the batch away, as I didn't want to mindlessly eat it.

We've discovered a use for those smoked meat logs one tends to acquire around the holidays: fried rice. No, it's not what one would consider a traditional ingredient, but it's not bad.

A's Fried Rice
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 or 4 cups day-old rice
  • 1 hunk of meat log, diced
  • soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • oil
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • green onions, chopped (optional)
1. Cook carrot and onion in a little oil until nice and soft. Set aside.

2. Scramble eggs and cook, chopping, so that you wind up with smallish chunks of egg. Set aside with veggies.

3. Cook meat log until the chunks have a little color. Set aside with eggs and veggies.

4. Cook rice, adding oil as needed, until grains have separated and look a bit more transparent. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste (rice should wind up fairly uniformly brown). Stir in meat, eggs, and veggies. Stir in a little Sriracha and some green onions. Serve.

Monday, January 18, 2010

1/2 bottle soy sauce, partially full jar of cocktail onions...

After three and a half long years, my in-laws have finally sold their house and are moving out of San Diego this week. R and I have inherited their pantry contents that they didn't feel like transporting. I spent the morning combining the contents of various sauce and liquor bottles with their partially full twins from our own supply. We received one massive bottle of Tabasco, so aged that the bright red pigments had all oxidized to a deep brown-red. As my in-laws never cook spicy food, one has to wonder why the purchased such a large container of hot sauce. I'm hoping to use the style of the label to date the container. Anyone know when they started requiring nutrition facts on labels?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The fat one

The Litter-Robot breaks, and only now does the fat cat start using it again. Hopefully we'll get it back from the company soon (thank goodness it was still under warranty and the company has been helpful), but he'll still be using a regular litter box for a while. Maybe I should manually cycle the machine when we get it back. He did start using it again after it broke...

Target has apparently found a weak spot. I can't resist the baby socks they have in the cheapie bins by the front door. They get new patterns for each holiday. Luckily, their $1 price tag makes them a cheap thrill.

Recent cooking:
Chicken and bacon pasta in garlic cream sauce - Simple, quick, delicious.
Roasted cabbage with lemon - Did you know that slightly charred cabbage tastes just like the outside of a toasted marshmallow? The resemblance is uncanny.
Inspirational eggs - Eggs baked in potato skins. Not bad, but the general consensus was the recipe would be improved by cooking the constituent parts separately and then assembling. Or, you know, frying up some potatoes and eggs. Ah, well. Trying new breakfast items keeps us from getting bored of the old standards.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10th

A little lesson on the importance of carefully reading instructions. Last night we noticed that the power outage was scheduled for 12:30 AM, rather that 12:30 PM. This explains why the outage was scheduled for a Sunday - they didn't want us all to be late for work - and managed to cause very minimal disruption. Kudos, SDG&E.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

January 9th

Need to figure out what to do tomorrow, as they're shutting down our power for 4 hours in the middle of the day. Freaking city. Why are you doing this on the weekend?

Also need to figure out how to keep the baby from turning into a bipolar mess in the evenings. She hasn't been napping so well lately, leading to horror and chaos in the hours before bedtime. Do we need to become rigid schedule people? Her natural rhythms are pretty regular. She goes to bed easily. Just need to figure out how to get her down for naps.

Recent cooking:
Pasta with white sausage sauce - Tried the red wine variation. Tasted like wine.
Cream-braised Brussels sprouts - Tasty, though R thinks it lacked bacon. I'm sure that can be rectified next time.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cute baby!

Managed to create a little scene in Costco today. The baby was great, it was the people around us who were behaving oddly. Apparently the Friday lunchtime crowd reacts strongly to the phrase "cute baby." First the cashier and bagger (boxer?) were cooing over the baby, then the employee from the next line came over, then another customer. Suddenly we were in the middle of this mass of women. Some of them were poking at her and grabbing her feet. It was a bit intimidating. The one of the customers walked out of Costco at the same time as us and kept pointing out the baby to all the employees she passed.

Still, beats what happened when we went to Costco on vacation (yes, we went to Costco while on vacation, in two different cities even). This woman in one of those rascal scooter carts asked if she could see my baby. I lowered the baby down a little so that she could get a closer look (you know, being in a wheelchair and lower to the ground) and she reached out her arms as if to grab my baby. I stiffened up a little and pulled her closer, but there was definitely some baby fondling. Had the lady looked in my face, I'm sure my expression of horror would have clearly conveyed my thoughts at that moment. What the hell? Are you in elementary school? Look with your eyes!

Gah. Boundaries, people!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

January: You start the year off fine

My sister came over today to get a little auntie-niece time. We ate some of the coconut curried chicken soup I'd put in the freezer to prepare for the baby, but never got used thanks to the outpouring of love (and food) from our friends and relatives. As I just quit my old job and the new job is still in the prospective phase, I've been playing the "How little food can we buy this month?" game and have been eating previously frozen soups for lunch. My sister was here on a good day - I've got a couple of containers of bean soup in the chest freezer that she probably wouldn't have wanted to be a party to. Anyway, my sister brought a letter from my mom with her. We both noted that she says mean things, but uses such beautiful handwriting. The letter is practically a piece of art.

We got a new vacuum for Christmas and, thanks to the little one actually taking a nap in her crib (yay), I finally got to try it out. Our old vacuum only made the place look less dirty; this new vacuum makes it look clean. R remarked that he would even feel comfortable putting the little one down on the carpet (precisely the reason we wanted a new vacuum in the first place). Now I just need to do the upstairs. And the stairs. Which have drifts of cat hair (eww).

Recent kitchen exploits:
Slow cooker black bean soup - Meh.
Coffee toffee - So good!
Chicken thighs with balsamic vinegar - A surprise hit, as R isn't a vinegar fan.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Woo! We celebrated the new year in style - new parent style that is. After being on the road for 10 hours we defrosted a bag of breast milk, drank some of the champagne leftover from our wedding, watched the clock click over to midnight, and immediately fell asleep. Envious?

Really, though, we've had a great vacation. The little one turned out to be a great traveler. She slept in large blocks of time, ate quickly and easily when we stopped, and didn't mind spending all day in her bucket. When we finally made it to Oregon, however, she took one look at her cousins and doubled the number of feedings. I guess she felt she needed to catch up. Unfortunately, this meant I was unable to store up enough milk to leave her with her grandparents and go snowboarding, but since the snow wasn't very good we decided to cancel the trip anyway.