Friday, February 27, 2015

Morris Tap and Grill

For our anniversary, we went to lunch at Morris Tap and Grill in Randolph. (Curt bowls on Thur nites so  dinner was out)  It's one of my favorite restaurants.  The chef, Eric LeVine has an amazing menu and an extensive craft beer list.  I like to try new beers when I go there, and this time I tried Kane Brewings Silent night, an American Imperial Stout (ABV 12.5) , served in a snifter, black with  a brown head, caramel, coffee, chocolate notes, good bitter. I loved it.  Curt had Unibroue's Ephemere , an white ale brewed with apples (ABV 5.5), also a really great drink.

  We split two appetizers off of the Specials menu - Korean Pork Belly Bun - sweet/spicy, topped with kimchi in a steamed rice bun and Mexican Empanadas::



I ordered the Butternut Squash Ravioli (pretty sure it goes away in spring) that has apples and pulled pork over them and those sage leaves? fried, sweetly crunchy omg:


Curt got the Pork Slab Mac N Cheese... I may have stolen a bite of the pork..


Then I really wanted the peanut butter cake and gellatto for dessert, Curt can't have peanuts so he had the caramel apple tart.



Altogether we were there for over two hours.. so worth it. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Light Sabers & Shoulder Seams

One of Nerdopolis's challenges this month is something inspired by a favorite villain in another Nerdery.  Clearly, I had to use Darth Vader (if you ever heard my phone go off, I have several Star Wars sounds for various things).  I also needed something I could accomplish in the short month of February.  Rules have changed when NerdWars and Nerdopolis split apart, but both got rid of the requirement that a project be started that month, however, since I didn't have anything started that was appropriate, I needed a small project. 

What do you think of when you think of Vader?  His helmet?  His voice? His lightsaber?  I went with the lightsaber, and made 2 - one for the Burt's Bees lipbalm I always use, and a slightly longer one for the kind that the Angie uses (pity it doesn't seem like she'll be joining me on the Dark Side anytime soon)  I used beads for the buttons on the sabers.  The original pattern was written for a heavier weight yarn - so I had to adapt it to sock yarn since the scraps I had in the colors required were sock weight.  Overall I'm pretty happy with them.


In  knitting  updates, I finally finished the back of my Tracery Vest and seamed the shoulders!!  Not I just have to do the neck and arm trims(two color ribbing) and block.  It is conceivable that I will have this finished by Easter!  (Now that I said this - watch and see what life hurls my way) I probably should have taken the picture before I picked up stitches for the neckbanding...


I also started a pair of two color toe up socks.  The pattern I chose for the instep doesn't really show in the dark yarn - but plain socks take me twice as long to knit, so I'm sticking with it.  Also the other pair of socks I made with Bearfoot yarn really bled out a lot of color when I wash them (handwash with Euclan!!) so I'm expecting these to fade quickly and maybe the pattern will show more then.  The toe and heel will be done with some leftover Happy Feet yarn - it goes well together - and Happy Feet makes me happy!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

America- Farm to Table review

Most people don't actually "read" cookbooks.  I do.  I'm not saying I'd read the Joy of Cooking or Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook cover to cover, but there are some cookbooks that are just fun, interesting and educational to read.  This book is one of them.  The book is broken down into stories of small local farmers and the chefs/restaurants that use their products.  What drives someone to still farm, how they keep the small quality product focus, the diary of chicks to chicken breasts.  I like reading these stories, I'm somewhat inspired by them, I think on some level I'm a frustrated farmer at heart.  The photos of the farmers, chefs, produce and animals are phenomenal, the photos of the recipes are mouthwatering (of course with a name like Quentin Bacon - we couldn't actually expect less could we?)  Mario Batali, who I like watching on the Chew better than on Iron Chef, then takes these ingredients and creates recipes inspired by them.  I have 16 recipes tabbed out as Must Makes*.  Another 12 as Really Want to Makes*.  And several oyster recipes that will require the Angie to make a trip home on Curt's bowling nights (stupid allergies- my next husband will only be allergic to food I don't like) 

If you love to cook you need to read the book.  If you love to garden you need to read the book.  If you love to eat you need to read the book.  If you are as averse to cooking and as culinarily lazy as my sister - don't bother with the book.  There are more than a handful of ingredients, many not found in the freezer section, some not in the produce section, some you may want the farmers market for, some of the recipes are for meat, and there is food prep, and cooking may take longer than 15 minutes, not microwaveable... so she shouldn't read the book.

* You will be definitely seeing these recipes (ok - confession here, I really have never in my life followed a recipe exactly.. just can't do it.. the best I get is follow the recipe mostly) on my Friday posts in the future.

Probably should hope that my sister doesn't know about my blog....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shaving Tips

So I'm "blessed" with Scottish and German genes from my dad (among others - I'm a serious mutt) My dad was a hairy dude, my brother has been known to shave twice in a day.  I wear shorts whenever the temps are above 40 degrees F.  So I shave my legs every other day.  A few years ago, I read a tip of using hair conditioner as shaving cream.  It's significantly cheaper than shaving cream/lotion/gel.  It softens your skin as well if not better than the shaving stuff.  I tried it, liked it and have been using it ever since.  Recently, I read a tip that using baby oil gel was the best shaving product, that it gave a closer shave and softer smoother results.  So, I tried it.  First with the conditioner on my left

Monday, February 23, 2015

Update on this morning's post- and trucks!

I watched another video lecture from the creativity class... I can't I just can't.  Even if there is some information that will help me in my quest, I just can't watch these classes.  I usually try to give courses until week 2 before giving up, but I'm waving the white flag.. I can't just can't...

I started watching week two's videos for the Astronomy class.  Week two is about telescopes and telescope technology.  I still am not committing to finishing this class ( I'm on video 6 of 27 for this week) BUT, it is definitely improved over last week.  I really liked the video on making the 8m diameter honeycomb backed mirrors.  Although to be perfectly honest, the tractor trailer that then hauls this mirror up the mountain top (even the top of the line military lifting helicopters can't get the weight up to the mountain tops these mirrors are used on because of the thin air at the high altitudes, fascinated me more than the mirror making.  These trucks have to get up the winding mountain roads and have moving counterbalances to keep the load from tipping the trucks over. 48 wheels, each with it's own hydraulic system to keep the load level are used!! 

The trucks fascinate me!  Really appeal to my inner 8 year old.  I was only able to find one article which was seriously lacking in the detail I want, in Sky and Telescope from 2003.  You can read it here if you're interested. I want to play with one of these trucks!!

Yes, I totally know most of my RL friends are laughing their butts off if they are reading this.

Disappointing Week for 2 New Classes, Astronomy and Creativity

Two new classes started on Coursera this week (well probably a ton more, but I'm taking two) .  The first class I was really excited about, ASTRONOMY: Exploring Time and Space.  It's out of the University of Arizona (my favorite astrophysics professor from college came from there) and Chris Impey, the professor has written books and won all kinds of fanfare over teaching astronomy.  It's a six week course, so realistically I do understand that there isn't going to be serious depth to the class, especially since there aren't any advanced maths required.  But the first week??  It felt like it was aimed at the fifth grade level!!  In his defense a lot of the first week was history- but that could have been made more interesting, the scientific method part seemed like he was directing it at all the people that didn't understand what a scientific theory worked, or how it was proven or needed revisions or disproven.  While not in so many words it felt like he was talking to creationists , explaining why creationism is not a theory. I'm giving him one more week.  Week two is about Telescopes and tools of astronomical exploration.  If I feel like I'm transported back to Mrs Barlow's science class again I'm dropping the class.

The second class, sounded like it had a ton of promise as well, Ignite your Everyday Creativity. I want to be a creative person.  Curt, a lot of my friends and people I work with think I'm a creative person, but I disagree.  Curt thinks that looking at random food in the kitchen and making dinner is creative, I don't see it that way.  I see it as once you made basic foodstuffs, I'm just popping different foods into the equation that seem like they'll work together, I have been wrong, not often, but usually in a spectacular fireworks kind of wrongness when I am.  People think my knitting is creative.  In reality, my knitting benefits from a lot of other creative people.  From people blending different breeds of wool, to spinning it at different twists and plies,  dyers who can figure out what colors will work well together in what amounts, pattern designers who write and tweak patterns.  All I do is find a yarn I like, find a pattern I like and cast on, usually if I'm doing something in more than one yarn I need Curt to help me figure out what would look good together.  Rather than creative, I'm more fearless, or more honestly, don't give a crap about other peoples opinions of me.  If I like something I'll wear it, I don't worry about neutral colors in my yarn, or if anyone else would wear _____ in those colors.  I'm not scared of making something horrible, if I don't like it, there is a garbage can and take out or delivery (the advantages of first world life - if I lived in the time and place of the pilgrims or Little House on the Prairie, I might worry about it a bit more).

I signed up for this class hoping to bring out some creativity, or learn how to at least.  OMG.  I can't begin to tell you, I got halfway through week one, will try to finish week one this week, but OMG.  First of all the professors have been snorting something, and I want some.  They are trying too too too hard to come across as fun? entertaining? hopefully not the creative I'm going for.  It's like watching

Friday, February 20, 2015

Slow Cooker Moroccan-ish Chicken


I wanted to make a Moroccan inspired chicken in the slow cooker.  Just as a warning - I don't usually add salt in most of my cooking, this requires me to bump up the spices to get the same flavor experience.  If you add salt you may need to adjust the spices.  I did two takes on this recipe- the first time I added 4 cloves of garlic... I usually am pretty vampyre proof with all the garlic I eat. It didn't work in this dish - so the second time I eliminated it.  The recipe makes about 3 servings, it's just Curt and I now, I'm not big on leftovers I can't remake somehow, but Curt will take them for lunch.  

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (obviously other parts will work) 
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 sweet onion (sliced)
  • 4 tbsp Moroccan seasoning ( I used McCormick) divided in half
  • 3 small sweet potatoes diced
  • about 1" of ginger root grated
  • small handful of baking raisins
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 servings of whole wheat pearl couscous

I cut each breast in about 5 large chunks, dredged it in the flour/allspice mixture and lightly browned them (centers were still raw) I put the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot, sprinkled with 2 tbsp of the Moroccan seasoning, and put the sliced onion on top.( ignore the garlic in the photo -it was from the first try)


I buy the bag of microwave sweet potatoes because they are smaller than the ones sold loose, and then I open the bag to release the moisture and use them  to cook with.  I put the diced sweet potatoes in a layer over the top.


I added a handful of baking raisins, grated the fresh ginger and sprinkled with the rest of the seasoning, poured the chicken stock around the edges so as not to wash the seasoning away.  I set the crock pot on low for 8 hours.


I cooked the whole wheat couscous ( the bigger pearl couscous actually does need to simmer for about 20 minutes as opposed to regular couscous that you just pour the boiling liquid over and cover) with chicken stock, cinnamon and more grated fresh ginger to go under the chicken.


I will be tweaking this a little, but overall a good base recipe.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Sheep, Swap and Felted misfortunes.

It's the year of the sheep/goat!  That means it should be a good year for knitters right??  One of the best things ever happened to me during the year of the goat 2 cycles ago... the Angie was born!!  If she was born when she was due, she would have been a monkey, but since she was a month early, she's a goat.  Really it fits her hard head better!  (She's a Capricorn - so double hard head whammy)

I was in a card swap in the Tiny Owl Knits group on Ravelry - here's the cute card I got, yarn that will become a hexi and some tea to try!


I'm also in a Chinese New Year's swap in the same group.. alas I haven't gotten my package yet, I'll post when I do.  I made a crocheted sheep to send my swappee - 


He's from the now defunct knit.1 magazine from 2008!!  There were patterns for all the zodiac animals in that issue - still haven't made my horse!!

We were also supposed to send handmade fortune cookies.  I used Patton wool - I've used that successfully before - but then again I usually felt bags or slippers.  I also usually felt with jeans - but since the yarn was light colored I thought that blueish fortune cookies might seem weird so I put them in mesh bags to protect them from lint and threw them in with towels.  I also used to felt with a top loader and these were done with a front loader machine.  Either way I had issues!



I knit a round and I crocheted a round, both were very loose going in (loose fabric felts better)  they weren't even close to round coming out and pieces of the edges fused in weird pleated ways.


These were after I attempted to get them round again while they were wet before they dried.  I then tried steam blocking them round.. it helped a little, in a amputating your foot is better than amputating your lower leg kind of way..


I finally realized that one of the beauties of felting is that you can cut the item without it unraveling. SO I used a DVD to trace out a circle, and cut them.


When I was finally ready to assemble them, I realized the white ribbon I was going to use for the fortunes was wired edged, apparently all my solid color ribbon except black was wired edged.  SO I used red construction paper for the fortunes - red is the lucky New Year's color anyway!


My swappee seems to really like the package I sent her - so all turned out good!

Happy New Years!!

Akemashite omedetōgozaimasu!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This book was a great finish to the trilogy!  Even though you know that by the end Branna and  Finbar would get together, and the powers of good will vanquish the dark.  There were some very interesting twists  going back to the 13th century with the original Sorcha and Daithi and there three kids - the original "three"  as well as the source of Cabhan's powers.  I read the first 50 or so pages one day - and then finished the book the next day, putting it down only to use the bathroom and get more coffee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Virtual Races

Who knew there were virtual races??  This is perfect for me!  First, I work most weekends, and with race season coming up, I'm saving my requests for racedays. But with virtual races, there is a time frame of a few days to actually run the distance.  Second, I don't always want to drive to some locations to run (the one in Newark, I'd be running for real!) so I can decide where I want to run.  The ones I'm looking at for the next couple of months send you a completion medal after you run.  AND you can order an actual race bib.  I think I'm collecting them.  Not sure what my plan is - but there it is.  Since you have to go back on and submit your time - I'll use an app on the phone for that, but I'll take the run more seriously and be able to see how I'm actually doing.

The two I'm signing up for coming up are:

The Lucky Leprechaun "in" Trenton.  There's a 5K, 10K and half marathon - let's not get crazy I'm doing the 5K. You can run anytime between March 14 & March 22. It benefits Prostate Cancer research - and the fun part? The medal is also a bottle opener!

The next one I've signed up for  Dark  Helmut -Calla's run.  Also a 5K or 10K run.  These are being run all over the country apparently.  I signed up for Newark because technically it's closest.  I can run it any time in April.  It's for the medical bills for someone who had a brain injury - if the fund supercedes the medical bills, the rest goes to Traumatic Brain Injury Foundation.  But realistically - I'm doing it for the medal - I mean Dark Helmut?  Space Balls?  I must have this!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

A girl's thoughts turn to...

We've had a cold a snowy several weeks in NJ (not like Boston though!)  I don't mind the cold - it was 3 degrees when I left the house this morning and I put on a zip up sweatshirt my friend Grace gave me with a sheep on it, fingerless gloves and my Devil's scarf - which is mostly open air.  I'm kind of getting tired of people feeling the need to inform me it's winter and asking me about the location of my coat... um my closet???  If I was uncomfortable, I'd put something else on.. seriously I'm not a moron, I do understand that if I feel cold, I need to put something more or different on.  I have a lot of hair - and I just don't have a good hat face - so my head is ok.  Sometimes if I'm going to be outside for a longer period and it's windy, I'll put a headband on to keep my ears warm.  When I walked Carl out to his truck (no coat, sweatshirt was in my locker) I got comments of do you know what the temperature is? and you'll freeze  to death.. Um I don't care about the actual number, and in 10 minutes it's highly unlikely I'll even get mild hypothermia.  I told Jim (groot) that love would keep me warm... he went grumbling off.... 

As much as I like winter, and truly enjoy making the people around me somehow feel colder because of my apparel, I find it great fun when my garden catalogs start arriving in the mail.  Right now, covered in snow, the possibilities are infinite... ok some things won't grow here... the possibilities are huge!  For me, the two things that makes summer bearable are going to racetracks and watching the cars, and having the perfect just picked tomato, pepper or other veggies.

My favorite place to order from is , they have over 500 varieties of pepper plants (sweet, mild, all the way up to scorpion and ghost peppers) 180 different tomato plants and 65 different egg plants.  I order most of the plants either for pickup - or some years I have them shipped (it's amazing how they pack the plants for safe travels!) but I like going to the nursery - its about an hour away from my house, because they have a ton of different basils and tomatillos that aren't available on order yet.  I haven't been really successful with the tomatillos yet, but love all the different basils!

 The striped Tioga is an eggplant!!  While the leaves of the plant look like eggplant leaves, the plant is tall - and the fruit grows in bunches, they are about 3" long.  Toss with some salt and olive oil - put on a grill until the skins start splitting, then sprinkle with balamic...omg.. I'm getting hungry!

Kermit is another favorite, nd not just because in my brain it's named after the frog.  About a 2" globe - it's very versatile, since it's Thailand - I tend to cook it with sesame and ginger dishes - another grills well. Kermit also ripens relatively early in the season, so I can get my fork in early!

Cloud nine has become one of my favorite for eggplant seems to be less bitter than the purple eggplants.. and it's cute!

I'm adding this Rotundo Bianco to the mix this year - It's an Italian heirloom variety.

Tomatoes coming soon - it takes me longer to figure out peppers!

All the pictures are from the website and belong solely to them.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Not a fan...

Not a fan of Valentine's Day.  Too annoying.  I expect my husband to love me everyday.  I don't want roses, to me as soon as you cut them off a bush they are dead --- you are just waiting for them to rot.  In NJ in Feb you aren't getting an actual rose bush, so no roses for me.  I'm more of the one seriously dark chocolate truffle than a box full of chocolate, so no valentine hearts for me.  Most importantly, I will NEVER go out to eat on Valentine's Day.  Everyone is out to eat on Valentine's Day!  Restaurants are crowded, noisy, the food takes forever, and no matter how great your server is - it just is not a relaxing meal, not to mention even when you make reservations you wait forever!!! So, unless a spider shows up in my house - my husband has it easier than most on Valentine's Day.

The other annoying part of Valentine's Day is people who don't want to be single.  Many of them are the same one's who are not happy in a relationship.  I'm not one to give relationship advice, I don't have the same aim as most women I know, but seriously, a significant other isn't going to make your life happy and stisfying and fulfilling.  It's too much responsibility, no one can come through.  Make your life happy and satisfying and fulfilling and then find someone to share that with.   Life changes, things change, circumstances and health changes, a shared life can withstand that, expectations of the other person making your life what you want won't. Cupid is an idiot leading to false expectations.


Friday, February 13, 2015



One of my best friends is on an elimination diet to help her doctors figure stuff out with her health issues.  Last week she developed a craving for burgers. ( can't have beef, but can have wild game.. figure that one out)  Unlike most people, she felt that having a burger vicariously through someone else would help her craving.  So me, being her most carnivorous friend, obliged.  Curt and I went to the place that makes the second best burgers around here. (The best burgers are at Morris Tap & Grill in Randolph - but the rest of the menu there is so freakin' tempting, that it's hard to stay focused and order a burger)  So we went to Tiff's.  Tiff's uses fresh ground beef - want to know how you can be sure?  They will cook a very rare burger.  I don't trust places that medium rare is the lowest temperature they cook a burger to - there is a reason they don't trust their meat to rare.  After I told a medium rare eating friend my theories on this, he started asking if they do the burger rare when he goes out to eat, if they no - he orders something else, if they say yes, he orders medium rare and confuses the poor waitress.   The one thing I often wonder about - and I've asked people, no one I know has ordered one is what is a chicken shake??


So here's my bacon blue with mushrooms (seriously- I'll put a mushroom on almost anything)


I mean check this burger- it is amazing!


Curt had a good burger too- his had a fried egg on it, I do that a lot but not when I go blue cheese:


Another favorite there is the chipotle sauce they serve with their tater tots (tater tots are light years better than fries.  I've almost given up fries except a stolen one here or there, and sweet potato fries don't count, but tater tots??)  YUM , I get Curt to split them with me - and I kind of hog the sauce.


The only thing is I need someone to try their Nutella shake and tell me what that's like!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Yes, much to the entertainment of various men in my life I read " chick-lit", usually on my lunch break while I'm sitting in my car being anti-social.  ( I really need to just get away from everyone after being surrounded for 6 hours, and if I'm in the breakroom, there are people, the tv is usually on something ridiculously stupid, and people think it's ok to come bother me and ask questions.  In my car I can roll up the windows. - mind you if they text the ?? I'll answer it - I just don't want to talk to anyone. OK, I'll admit, I have spent my lunch break hanging out with one of my drivers, when he's got to wait for his next stop to open back up from their lunch... but I actually like him as a friend, not just a work friend)  Anyway, it's hard to read something substantial and still manage to eat something in 30 minutes, so this genre is easy to pick up and put down and come back to.  I've learned the hard way that I have to be careful with Nora Roberts books.  Some are easy fun chick lit, some are pretty gripping.  When I was reading the first book of her Circle Trilogy : Morrigan's Cross, I got caught up and someone actually came out to the parking lot to see if I was ok since instead of 30 minutes I had been gone for almost 2 hours!  So now her books require a timer to be set, and sometimes I relegate them to home reading when I don't have constraints.

I like well written series books.  That take you through various characters in a town, while keeping up with what happened after the happily ever after ending of the last protagonists. Not all authors pull this off well.  While still keeping the main characters in focus, they need to build the auxiliary characters well enough, that the reader cares about what happens to them in the future as well.  Usually these books end up in small towns and the authors need to build that small town dynamic also. And as much as Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber will always be my two favorite authors that do this superbly well, I do need to check out other authors from time to time, to continue having something to read.  I've recently read two such continuations - coincidentally both have the word Lavender Lane in their titles.

The first is On Lavender Lane by JoAnn Ross.  It's the third in the Shelter Bay series. So far all three deal with male characters recently out of the service, dealing with their own post service demons. Lucas, a former Navy SEAL medic, trying to leave behind the men he couldn't save, is at loose ends because his post military plans are to renovate old buildings with his recently retired architect father.  His father dies before the book starts, and he returns to his childhood summer destination of Shelter Bay to spread his ashes.  He stays to help the grandmotherly woman, who helped him deal with his sister's death and mother's desertion as a child, renovate her farmhouse.  When her granddaughter - his youthful summer love- returns to her grandmother's to recover from her husband's very public affair - you know where the book will eventually take you. ( I started to read Freefall another series of hers that has these men in their service days, but it was much more graphic, and I stopped after just a few chapters - it wasn't the war zone graphics that bothered me - it was the really dark twisted rapist abductor killer and the scenes about him and his victim that made me stop.  I kind of wish Goodreads had a quit reading button)  An interesting twist of the first and third book was that it was the man who was interested in long term commitment not the woman, and he had to find a way to actually "woo" her.  Also I like the whole reunited from childhood trope.  An interesting side story was a woman who escaped a domestic violence relationship and built up the personal strength to stand up to her husband when he found her.  She has a budding friendship with a farmer who delivers fresh produce to the shelter she is staying at, and I want to know if it goes farther. 

The second book is the 5th in the Icicle Falls series by Sheila Roberts, The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane.  This book pits the two younger Sterling sisters, Cecily and Bailey in romantic competition.  Cecily, a former matchmaker who can match everyone but herself, is torn between former badboy, motorcycle riding, bar owner Todd Black and all around good guy, father, widower,safe,  line manager at her family's chocolate factory Luke Goodman.  When Bailey returns home from LA and is looking to start a new life, after Todd had bought a cute house in a commercial zone, she ends up going into business with him to open a tea shop, their budding friendship has Cecily seeing red.  The ending isn't what I expected, but if you want to find out - you need to read the book too. 

I missed book three in the series "What She Wants" because none of the libraries in my county own a copy.  I have already staged requests for Book 6 in the Icicle Falls series and Book 4 of the Shelter Bay series.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Training- Quality vs Quantity

Normally, when you see "Quality vs Quantity" in a title about exercise, you would expect it to be pushing quality over quantity.  Pay attention to form, less reps with better form is what you should be aiming for.  Get your heart rate to 80% for cardio health- keep it between x% and y% for fat burning (since I am constantly seeing different numbers there I left it as x and y).

My problem lately, the past two and a half to three weeks, we've had a lot of yucky winter weather.  Not snow - which I love, but "wintery mix" and "freezing rain" and just plain ice.  Clearly, I'm not a dedicated enough jogger to jog through stuff like this.  I really find it difficult to convince my brain to drive in the stuff to the gym to work out.  I think about working out at home- but this would be limited- and  gets  passed up for nothing.  Then there is when I'm pressed for time... is it worth, getting dressed, going to the gym, working out for only 15-20 minutes, diving home, taking a shower, getting dressed doing ____.   Part of the problem is perfectionistic thought.  If I work out at home, I probably won't get the full cardio or fat burning in.  If I work out from home, I won't hit all the muscle groups efficiently.  I actually did buy a jump rope - figuring when time was the constraint to working out, I could go outside and jump rope for not just the allocated workout time but the drive to and from time as well.. except weather (still holding out hope this will be a good idea when the --- latest weather on my phone?  freezing drizzle?!?!  finally ends) 

Then I read Scott Young's blog post "When the Less Efficient Method Gets the Job Done Faster" link here - or he's on my blog list on the sidebar.  Sometimes it's kind of funny how you could be thinking about something and find something very related to your thoughts shows up in a timely manner.  His point is that although efficient is better than inefficient, inefficient is better than nothing, and if you do inefficient enough times it will add up, maybe even reach effective.  I know I need to exercise to manage my BG levels.  And realistically, it would be better to do 6 ten minute not perfect workouts than one 60 minute perfect workout in a week. (yes, this is slightly exaggerated)  And I probably should go through the 15 minutes it takes to get ready and get to the gym and the 30 minutes of getting home, showering and dressed for a 15  minute workout.

So, now that I've pondered this, and the universe stuck stuff to make me think about in relation to this in my face, what am I going to do?  There is still frozen not snow falling from the sky, it's dark, I don't want to go out.  So I'm going to do some squats, pushups, dips and crunches.  Then I'll go up and down the stairs a bunch of times.  Maybe I'll break a sweat, I'll definitely be breathing harder.  I'll call it a victory of inefficient over nothing, and see what happens tomorrow. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Musings --- or Rant?

Ok, honestly it's a rant.  A mere couple of hundred years ago, to be considered "educated"  a person (ok, usually a man) had to speak another language, as well as Greek or Latin, had to be able to write poetry, know about literature, it was the age of Enlightenment - had to know about various newly discovered scientific principles, keep up with political events, etc etc. In all fairness to today's humans, he was probably also well to do and had servants to see to the basic needs of life.  But that isn't what this rant is about.

Today, we as a species, know far more about the universe and things in it, than those people ever could have imagined.  We have advanced medicine, engineering, science, psychology etc.  But as individuals we know less.  We're losing that basic curiosity to know what and why and how.  Oh, we're really good at who,  turn on the television or glance a the magazines and tabloids at the grocery store and clearly we are interested in the whos.

Liberal Arts education was developed to create "well rounded individuals"  who had a good basics in many different areas.  These people, and the "Bachelors of Arts"  are supposed to be flexible enough to deal with many different facets of the modern world.  I know as someone who went to school for a "bachelors of Science"  many of these people were perceived to be Nerds and Geeks.  The questions... so you really don't have to take a foreign language? ... so you take Freshman comp, humanities 1 and 2 and then only need 3 classes total from literature, history, art, music etc??... you only have to take one social science??  outright asking - don't you want to be "well rounded"?

Well now, just over 30 years since I picked a college , I'd say the well roundedness has not been achieved.  I think it's all the overfootnoted papers and essays they wrote.  To get a good grade, they had to justify their instructors opinion.  They spent 4 years of college without provable right and wrong answers , and it taught them how to kiss up to the person in power (instructor grading) by substantiating that person's opinion.  It taught them that as long as they knew the answers to the test questions, they were smart. Their version of what - what does the teacher think, their version of how - how does the teacher think this happened, and their version of why - because the teacher or the book or whatever says...

If you're wondering what has me upset about all the useless drone robots I'm surrounded by, it's actually a few things.  First, have a new person at work, who working part time while she goes back to grad school.  Who seriously asked me how many lines on a tape measure was 3/16.  This was after she asked how much to cut off of each side of a blind to make it 3/8 smaller.  And was very sure that 3/16 was BIGGER than 3/8.  Another, who is going to school part-time to be a NURSE, who could not understand how the vagina, could both have natural bacteria AND be a self cleaning organ, and how steam cleaning said self cleaning organ was probably bad because it was bound to change the dynamics of said bacteria.  Then a customer, who insisted we put "DR" in front of their name - even though our computer system DOES NOT HAVE A SPOT FOR TITLE!!!  (sometimes I wish it did, when I'm guessing if the person I'm calling is male or female, because I'm not familiar with their name) SO I made her first name Dr. Margaret.  could not understand that when buying something like carpet that comes in specific widths, I needed the room dimensions - not the square footage.  I tried several approaches to explain that 240 is great if her room is 12 x 20, but if her room is 10 x 24 she won't have enough carpet.  She then got mad when I said that a WALK IN closet can't be 4 square feet.  And that is she can hang a standard hanger in a 4 square foot closet - that would imply that her closet is 2 feet wide and she might get 10 hangers on the rod. And the man who was with her could not grasp the difference between a special order - you look at all the pretty samples of stuff that exists in a vendor's warehouse somewhere and pick the one you want and I order it.  And a custom order - you want a color between that blue and that green which unless you want like a million square feet, my vendors aren't going to make for you.  He just kept saying well just put it in the computer in the order we want between these two colors!!

 I guess this rant is just about all the people who lack any sort of cognitive function who are allowed to walk around in society and annoy those of us with brains.    

Friday, February 6, 2015

Breakfast cheesy grits.


I love good Southern food.  I love shrimp 'n grits.  I love cheesy grits.  Curt makes great grits when he makes me breakfast on the weekends when I'm home, but he's not really into cheesy grits.  It's easier to make a pot of grits than one serving of grits.  Recently though, I think I've got it figured out - and instead of shrimp (Curt's allergic, so I'd have to decide I wanted shrimp 'n grits and go buy shrimp... sometimes I use chicken)  I decided to use my breakfast wrap ingredients instead ( when I do the wrap there would be feta or goat cheese and egg whites)


First the grits, Curt uses Quaker Old Fashioned grits (quick grits have a different texture... and if you ever saw "My Cousin Vinnie" you know about the stuff called instant grits)  I like these stone ground grits for when I make something 'n grits for dinner.  They are more like the texture of polenta - only white.  If you have stone ground polenta that works exactly the same - it will just come out yellow.

In a small (hopefully heavy bottomed) sauce pan  put
 2 TBSP of grits 
 1/4 cup + 1TBSP water
 1/4 cup + 2TBSP milk or cream ( I used skim because that's what I have)
 2 TSP of butter ( I use unsalted)
 and a pinch of coarse sea salt

Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a VERY LOW simmer, whisking often.

Start some water heating for the poached egg.

While that cooks, I cut up 7 baby portabellas, a 1 1/2 inch piece of andouille (you can use any meat, or skip the meat) and minced a clove of garlic ( you can add some onions, I didn't when I made this) cook them over medium heat until the meat starts to brown and the mushrooms caramelize.




Don't forget to occasionally stir the grits!!!  Add about 2 cups of fresh spinach/greens or 1/4-1/2 cup frozen and a palm full of Herbs de Provence (those are my go to herb blend - you can use Italian or whatever your favorite herb is)   I use these greens, I go through about 3 bags a week by myself for breakfast:

While the greens cook down, we're going back to the grits for a minute ( at this point the grits should have been simmering about 20 minutes ) I add in:

1 TBSP (ish) goat cheese
1 TBSP (ish) cream cheese
1/4 cup (slightly heaping) of shredded cheddar ( I used Mexican cheese blend that was left over from chilli on Sunday)


Stir often until cheese melts and incorporates into a creamy cheesy grits.


(I took the picture before I added the pepper- my real life friends will tell you that I use a LOT of pepper.. Lots..)


Now, add a splash of stock or even water to the mushroom/meat mixture - just enough to get any bits off the bottom and create a bit of pan sauce.  Add a spoon of vinegar to the water and drop in the egg to simmer.  Once the egg is poached to your liking (in my opinion poached eggs should always be super runny - then you get the yolk oozing onto the mushroom/meat topping and into the grits) make sure to drain it well put the mixture on top of the grits and topo with the poached egg ( I took the picture on  top before peppering the egg - pictures of egg look funny with as much pepper as I use)  I also use a dash of hot sauce - but that's just me.