Saturday, October 24, 2009

all goes ....

i now have the Internet set up in the new place ... just about everything is over here in big messy heaps, save the furniture, which will be here next Saturday, Halloweeen. Recovering from the stress of moving and too much takeout ... and a possible VERY mild case of swine flu that involved a yucky cough for 2 weeks. definitely on its way out.

went to a very healing-feeling yoga class this morning. possible sewing class next Friday, and a concert by one of my favorite bands.

things are good here ... sorry for the lack of posts as my life's been relatively upside down and i work to release the anxiety.

hope you all are well. beautiful warmish fall day here, and tons of color in the trees!



Saturday, October 10, 2009

That's right, I'm a fighter.

How's this for a breakfast to combat whatever this nastiness (sore throat, cough) is that I've contracted?

Echinacea tea
smoothie: soy blueberry yogurt, orange juice, agave, flaxseeds, frozen blueberries
two eggs with an avocado
500 mg vitamin c
bilberry extract
garlic extract
2 zinc/elderberry lozenges

I'm stuffed.

tonight: if i'm feeling fine, going to a vegan multicourse dinner cooked by a chef from Connecticut, where I'm from! Can't wait.

for now, moving more stuff into the new apartment. pictures soon.

hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On meals.

Make the time.

::tonight's dinner, eggs with leftover roasted potatoes and chickpeas, sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese, and two slices of gluten-free girl's miracle bread with olive oil and salt. That's Throat Comfort tea in the background, as I'm getting something gross ....

I think it's always important to come home to a hot (generally) meal, no matter how tired you are. Having lived by myself for a long while now, I realize that making the time to cook and then plating the meal properly (I'm not talking fine china here, just food on a plate with a fork and napkin), with a pretty presentation, makes the transitions easier: from the work day to being home again, the most natural expression of "me."

Since I cook everything I eat from scratch, I don't have the literal convenience of "convenience foods" when I come home starving. So I do find that without a pretty well-thought-out meal plan, it becomes soooooo easy to just grab something from a local sandwich shop or restaurant on the way home because you are STARVING. The thought of nothing "easy" waiting in the fridge ... is just sad. The solution, especially when you live alone as I do (how often I lament "I WISH I had someone to cook a nice hot meal for me!"), is to HAVE something homemade there, like a large bowl of grain and fruit salad, or a pasta salad, or nuts, or pre-cut fruits and veggies, even if these exist merely to stave off the crazy awful hunger while you cook dinner ... or even to allow you to relax for a bit once you've come home from a long, energy-draining day (I work with preschool age children in a classroom, so I love my job but they do majorly deplete your mental/emotional/physical reserves) before getting down to the business of cooking dinner.

Knowing what will be cooked beforehand alleviates a lot of stress. For a long time, I cooked ALL my meals ahead for the week, simply having to reheat those meals (which I'd pre-portioned, too) on a pan in the stove (I don't own a microwave, that's a personal preference). But some nights ... because I love cooking so much, I think it's okay to save the cooking -- so long as the HUNGER is temporarily satiated -- as a transition to a diffferent, relaxing, element, of your day.

No matter what, I'm coming to firmly believe that sitting down to each meal, whether it's a snack or a big plate o'dinner, is integral to the calming of the mind, to enjoying and being grateful for the food you're eating rather than just sucking it down/inhaling. To slowing down, in general, and focusing, right here, right now, on what's most BASICally important in our lives.

::kitchen sink soup (lentil/vegetable), made for lunches this week

If you live alone, don't eat your dinner as you cook it, don't eat it out of the pan, and at least clean the table you're eating on if you don't yet have the energy to clean the house/kitchen. Light a candle, or keep flowers nearby. This is YOUR time, and you've earned it.

:: roasted Magda squash with homemade tomato sauce "stuffing" topped later with homemade pesto

Menu planning isn't difficult. At some point during the week before you know you'll be doing a food shop, sit down when you feel inspired with a cup of evening tea or hot chocolate. Flip through cookbooks, or browse the Internet to expand ideas you have. Try to eat seasonally, I think it tends to balance you just right when you eat that way. Warms you when you need warm, cools when you need cool. I usually write down a few recipes (some can be simple, veggie stir fry with rice), and sometimes decide what I'm having for lunch and dinner out of that pool for each specific day. Presto, all the thinking taken out of it. A time-and stress-saver. So that after-work time can be spent actually relaxing (and yes, I do think cooking is relaxing, but not running around to the shops mid-week for ingredients or trying to plan when you're starving and tired, oh NO ... trust me, doesn't work, and you'll waste tons of good, hard-earned money on too much restaurant eating, or you'll end up eating crappy PB sandwiches, not that I don't love my PBs and honey on occasion but let's face it that's more of a SNACK....), doing hobbies you enjoy, getting enough sleep, taking a long walk or going to a yoga class.

I said write down lunch and dinner because weekday breakfasts for those who work tend to be simpler/of less variety. And because I'm horrible at waking up to make it. (Again where i fail and get a bagel at the end of my street, grrr) But of course you could make a breakfast menu plan, too. I find that breakfast is hard to pre-make, unless you have baked goods and fruit. I'm actually starting to think that for weekdays, this is a better option for me -- non-breakfast foods -- because I don't like to eat when I've just woken up and I need to be at the school by 7 a.m. and need something portable I can eat at 7:30-45 and not need to reheat. If you have some ideas let me know them, please. Simple is just fine.

Be well out there.


:: my homemade basil-walnut pesto came out AMAZING!!!!


::I'm going to miss this place. I don't have the new place's keys yet, but went over and put my little gnome-man welcome mat out on the porch over there. The first carload of stuff is ready to go, hopefully tomorrow. Hopefully it stops raining. Pouring here.

I almost never post complete pictures of the kids I work with/babysit, because I just feel strange/squeamish about it for many reasons, but I have a feeling I'd be forgiven for this one, and I just couldn't resist the cuteness: enjoy the rarity.



oh ... yeah! here's that gluten-free bread recipe, which I believe come's from Shauna's blog (I am lazy to link here, just go to my gluten-free girl link). I'm not GF, but was looking for a bread that would stay SOFT, and this one delivers! I suggest a teaspoon or so of vanilla or almond extract, and baking for only 30 minutes, but here is the recipe as I found it:


1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot starch
1/4 cup flax seed meal (ground flax seeds)
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 additional egg whites
1 cup water, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200F.

Sift the flours, yeast and all other dry ingredients together into a medium bowl. Stir in flax meal and combine.

Combine the wet ingredients in a separate large bowl using a hand-mixer on low or medium speed. When fully combined, slowly add dry ingredient mixture and mix until fully blended, with no lumps. Scrape the sides regularly.

Grease a 9x5" bread pan, and pour the dough into the pan. Turn off the oven and immediately place the pan in it. Do not open the door again, if possible. Allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes. It should rise to the very top of the pan.

Increase heat to 350F and bake for approximately 40 minutes. The crust should be golden-brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing it from the pan to finish cooling. Do not slice until the bread is no longer hot.

This loaf does not need to be frozen, but if there are leftovers after a few days, place slices in airtight bags and freeze.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I got the apartment!! (yes, the kitchen was lovely, huge and tons of storage space if a little mismatched cabinets to floor etc, and the bathroom was fine though an ugly yellow and brown tile floor, otherwise it's perfect, perfect, hardwood floors... and TWO closets full of shelves and a stained glass window in what will be the sewing room) ....

...I move in (gasp, what is this whim?!) in two and a half weeks. The movers are reserved for two Saturdays from this coming one, and I have not a thing packed.

More to come .... have I done the right thing? My heart says yes; my head hasn't even had time to comprehend, let alone catch up. Sorry, head.

Sometimes you just move where the energy takes you. Bend with the wind. Here we go again!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another Simple Sunday.

:: Loca in a patch of morning sunlight

::last waterfront wednesday music festival of the season : (

Although I'm sitting here thinking about how much better I'll feel once my apartment is vacuumed and tidied, I must say that this weekend is going nicely. I'm trying to have a reclaimed "simple sunday" as frugal trenches does. she's really on to something. I've done this for several weeks now, spending 90 percent (or all) of my day at home, not doing anything too taxing, cooking, knitting, reading, hanging out with my cats. In fact, this morning I woke, washed dishes, swept the floor, cleaned cat litter, threw away some old stuff in the fridge, and made coffee.

There is a community yoga class at noon today at my studio, but I think I'm going to save the yoga for tomorrow morning, and spend the day here slowing my mind, and of course ... cooking! Stuffed squash of some sort that I haven't decided upon yet (shall scour Internet for recipes) and pesto to freeze in small half-pint jars. Apparently I missed the last spinach of the season at the farmer's market by a week or two. Oh, well. Shows you what growing knowledge I have ... lol. I was told I could use chard, so I bought a bunch from the usual stand, but ... well, I have my doubts. My other ingredients are parmesan, basil grown at the school where I work, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and walnuts.

We are lucky in Louisville to have a large handful of responsible local bakeries. Yesterday I enjoyed a cherry danish and a date-walnut scone ... must do baking again. I'm having problems when I bake bread. It never stays soft enough and is no fun to eat after just a day, so I'm going to give a gluten-free recipe a try (figure that's better for me, anyway, no? less sludge.) ... those who have used it swear by the taste and soft texture of the loaf. I'll let you know how that works out.

Oh, I have a question. Can anyone answer it? How do you store a block of cheese when you take it out of the plastic it comes in in the store?

So ... what else? Well, yesterday was the much-anticipated annual St. James Court art fair. Many Christmas presents purchased -- some from local artisans (potters, crafters, painters, etc.), some from other independent artists from around the country. Junk food had: portobello mushroom sandwich with field greens and gorgonzola, and french fries. cool, breezy weather and sunshine enjoyed.

:: painted by local schoolchildren to benefit a local children's hospital. of course i bought one!

:: now that's what I'm talking about!!

and ....

:: note art fair tents on "street" (not an actual road..there's a green and sidewalk in between the two rows of houses)

i fell in love. with THIS. let's say: pedestrian-only street of historic homes. screened-in front porch with adjacent outdoor patio. hardwood floors. working fireplace. built-in bookshelf in living room. radiator heat! tiny back porch. sewing room. dining room. space for growing veggies and plants. backyard patio. washer and dryer in the basement. sure it doesn't have a parking space ... but that's a detail. i have an appointment to see it tomorrow (i am off from school for the next two days).

:: note ceiling fan inside porch ... and to the right of porch is the entryway to the apt, which opens into a tiny cube of hallway space and what looks like -- french doors! -- that go into the rest of the apartment. To the right of the entry door is a window from the living room that looks out onto the "street" ...

:: note the for rent sign. the deck is not mine, i'd be on the first floor.

it's funny, i've been considering when to move into a bigger place for some time now, and keep saying wait, wait for "the one." i'm pretty sure this is the one (will know for definite tomorrow). it's in a neighborhood i never would have expected it to be in, a neighborhood that doesn't have nearly as much as my current one in the name of restaurants, little shops, etc. But it's still a 10-15 minute drive to it. And less than a mile more to work. You know when you just have that "go with it no matter what" feeling? this is a place i'm almost positive would be *perfect* to live in for the next four years I'll definitely be in Louisville.

Would you do it? Even if it was kind of not what you expected? Part of me is so attached to the little tiny space I've created for myself here, but I do feel on top of myself sometimes. I even made a list of pros for both places, and the new place was quite a bit longer than the old. .... I've told myself if it doesn't work out, I can always come back to the old neighborhood again. But something just clicked with me and this place. Like, seriously, a primal feeling that hasn't gone away since I've slept on it (as I'd half-hoped it would, as it usually does when things like this get stuck in my head).

:: a little peek at the surrounding neighborhood

I'll keep you posted on what happens after I see the whole place tomorrow.

For now: cooking, a walk, knitting, lounging. Reclaiming Simple Sundays. Thank goodness for one day a week, at least, all to ourselves.

oh, and here's how the banana/raisin bread turned out:: perfecto!!

it's finally fall here.