Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not for the faint of heart...or the tender hearted

as the title suggests, this post is not for you if ...
... you are a vegetarian due to ethical reasons/strong feelings re: animal rights
... you are a farm animal lover
... you prefer your meat in fillet form (rather than the way it looks when it arrives at the butcher's)

along with that disclaimer, i need to clarify that posting (me, in this case) and carrying on with reading (you, in this case) does not mean that we are anti-farm animal, heartless meat-atarians (is that a word?).  its just me sharing a story with you, despite its moderately gory nature.  don't hate me.

without further ado, my friday:

we drove out here: (stunning, isn't it? i love this place!)
to do this:
in this weather:  (yes, we're sissies - in our mild-weathered books, this was FREEZING)
took a break or two to do this:
then went back to this:
which eventually went alongside this:
and ended with this:

all mixed in with laughter, good conversation, catching up with old friends & making new ones - 'twas lovely, to say the least. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

doom, gloom and BAKING!

this week's weather was typical fall/winter fare around here:  wet.  and cold (perhaps a flurry or two!). and oh so dark.  those are the three things that make winters here hard to face.  but alas, in 34 days (yes, I am counting down and yes that might make me seem crazy, but it's what I do to try and keep from actually going crazy) the days will slowly begin to stretch, until that glorious summer day when sun sticks around till like, 10pm.

in the meantime, I look for things that counteract the gloom of the season(s):  time with family, coffee shops, new recipes with whatever the season has to offer [plus old favorites of course], friends, games, hot chocolate, baking etc -- those are just some of my go-to 'winter busters'.

monday night I went down the baking route and attempted german[ish] chocolate cake.  sadly, I was a little eager on the peel-it-out-of-the-pan-and-ice-it ball, which gave me a falling apart cake that didn't take too well to icing, but it was yummy nonetheless.  (you live and you learn I suppose!)

ironically, despite actually following a recipe (for once!), I still made changes along the way.  too many changes, as it turns out.  so the final recipe is sort of a mystery.  maybe one day i'll have a recipe for you, but until then, pictures will have to suffice. if you're really that eager to know, I can try and retrace my steps just for you!  

what do you do to beat the winter blues?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ang: 1; Chicken: 0

I cooked my first ever whole chicken this past week... for the most part, it was actually pretty easy (easy peasy some might say).  Just threw it in the crockpot with some spices (thyme + italian seasoning), half a red onion, a sliced up lemon, and some garlic cloves.  Set it to "low" and waited till the end of the work day.

Easy, right?  For most people, yes.  For me, not quite.  You see, I don't do well with raw meat - it's all slimy and salmonella-y (well, chicken is, at least) and I just don't care for it.  Well, that's not entirely true, I suppose - I don't mind it when its supposed to be raw-ish (i.e. sashimi or steak) but a whole chicken?  That was a hurdle.  But one that I faced - something I am quite proud of myself for doing.  My reward was a SUPER tender dinner, with tons of leftovers for me to use in a couple more dinners.

So here's the synopsis:
since it was a whole chicken, Daniel got to enjoy dark meat while I delved into the white stuff 

it was the first crockpot meal that we have tried and liked (read: hasn't turned to mush)*

there was SO much meat on the thing - which equals double (or maybe even triple!) dinner duty 

having the carcass = a chance to attempt home-made chicken broth (while perhaps not a highlight for most, this gets me very excited - I love trying new things in the kitchen)

very little prep time

*which is more than great, since we have 4, sometimes 5 pre-booked evenings a week and crockpot cooking = banked precious time!

slimy, gross, raw chicken that I had to touch 

my irrational fear of burning the house down as a result of crockpot cooking with no one home 
 (ok, I'll be honest, I took it to work with me this time to alleviate said fear - I can only tackle one fear at a time!)   

If you ask me, that's a win!  :)  Oh, and I've already used the leftovers in a second dinner, but more on that later. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

six seven eight

i love this man:

six years, seven months, and eight days ago, he asked me if i thought i might be hungry on saturday evening. because he tends to get hungry around that time and thought that if i did too, maybe we could go to the olive garden and fix this whole hunger issue together.  i laughed.  and obliged.  we were just kids then.

and after all this time, he still seems to always find a way to be the highlight of my day - happy just over six years, babe.  because i am cheesy like that.  and you humor me - yet another reason to love you.  i am blessed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

thoughts bouncing around in this ol' head of mine

Absurd ideas always seem so realistic in the wee hours of the night.  Sometimes said ideas are fears, other times they’re dreams.  When they’re the former, nights seem endless.  I recall many a night filled ridiculous fears from my childhood...oh who am I kidding, I still have those kinds of nights; the fears have just changed as I’ve grown older.  But eventually, sleep comes, restless as it may be.  And daylight exposes the monsters of the dark as silliness and makes them seem so far away.  I usually end up chuckling at the very thing that left me paralyzed with fear a mere twelve hours before. 

The dreams, ironically, aren’t much better – they haunt me with possibilities and opportunities, beckon me to think big and repeatedly whisper you can do better.  And they always seem brilliant ...right up until the morning light melts them away with realism and practicality.  Daniel says I should just run with them and see where they take me.  Maybe one day I’ll scrape up enough courage to do so...maybe that day isn’t so far in the distance.  Who knows – until then, I will enjoy every.single.new.day for its many blessings and for the reminder of mercy and grace that it brings. 

Ok so now that you think I’m crazy – I must admit that am a dreamer and a thinker so sometimes these things just slip out (thanks for listening—err—reading)!
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