Monday, November 28, 2005

Weird Wild Rice

Sometimes, things that sound a little odd at first turn out to be just fantastic. Here's what I threw together for dinner:

Combine in a medium saucepot, cooking for 5 minutes:
2 tablespoons light cooking oil
1/2 cup cracked wild rice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (the shelled kind, obviously)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is tender.

I love the way my apartment smells after cooking wild rice -- all earthy and nutty and yummy!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

weekends stink, all of a sudden

I am a little confused about a recent phenomenon I've been experiencing. I haven't been looking forward to my weekends! I'm not entirely sure why, except that I feel like I haven't been getting nearly enough time to rest, relax, and recharge. Why? Probably a number of factors:
~ Friday night babysitting jobs
~ Lots of plans with friends (which I love . . .)
~ Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, and other general house maintenance stuff
~ Church on Sunday mornings
~ A recent inability to sleep past 7:00 a.m. (7:30 if I'm really lucky)
~ Errands
~ Work that has been following me home (newsletters, computer maintenance, conference forms, etc.)

The upcoming weekend probably won't be very relaxing either, with family plans and travel involved. Bah.

All I can say is, I am very much looking forward to winter break. Four weeks and counting! And then . . . two weeks of nearly nothing to do. I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

golly, it's cold.

Now, I love living in Minnesota. I love the seasons. But I don't love how the seasons change overnight. For example:

balmy fall,
balmy fall,
balmy fall,
balmy fall,
balmy fall,

We reached our high of 25 degrees today before I ever got out of bed. The wind was fast and furious, and about 4 degrees.

I better run and shower so my hair has some time to dry before I leave for choir practice -- otherwise, it will probably freeze. Bah!

Monday, November 14, 2005


Souhwestern Black-Eyed Peas (Courtesy of Betty Crocker's New Cookbook)

1. Cook 3/4 cup dried black-eyed peas. Drain.
2. Cook 1 cup sliced okra, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce in 1 tbsp oil 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
3. Stir in black-eyed peas, 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped. Heat through, adding a little water if necessary.

Now . . . spill a bunch of that over a piece of cornbread, and you've got a mighty tasty dinner.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

caramel nut brownies

I updated an old brownie recipe to make these goodies . . . enjoy!

Whisk together:
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
4 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Stir in:
5 tbsp baking cocoa
10 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour

Pour batter into greased 8 inch pan, then top with a good drizzle of caramel ice cream topping and a big handfull of chopped pecans. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until they test done. Cool before cutting into 16 squares!

(You could possibly reduce the amount of sugar to half a cup -- if you do, let me know how they turn out!)


What is with all of the nutters in my neighborhood lately? I was just getting home from Ann and Michelle's, and parked my car just outside the hospital across the street from my apartment building. I get out of my car and some dude pulls his monstrosity of an SUV over near the curb and yells out his window how I can't park there and I need to park at a meter. I look at him with the "interested, don't have any idea what you're saying because I'm pretending I can't speak English" look, and he then says, "the cops are gonna tow your car, IDIOT!" and then drove off. I felt somewhat taken aback. So, like a smart girl, I high tail it into my apartment building, drop off my purse, wait to see his car pull away, and go back and check on my car. As I had originally thought, I was completely parked in a meter spot. (You only have to put money in from 8 am to 6 pm M-F.) Perhaps he didn't see the meter sitting there on its lovely little silver post.

Somehow, I don't think yelling "idiot!" after someone out your car window is an effective way of helping them out.

Perhaps he had been drinking. I am doubly glad my car is safely tucked away for the evening! Sheesh.

Like I said earlier, nutter. Just plain nutter.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Blue Skies smiling at me

An unusual title, given the especially rainy weather today.

HOWEVER, we are currently selling Blue Sky guides at work right now, as a fundraiser for the scholarship fund. Let me know if you want one -- they are twenty bucks. (The preschool makes $10 off each guide sold.)

In unrelated news, I am nearly done with my Christmas shopping. It feels a little strange going Christmas shopping when it's still 60 degrees outside. But, when your mom asks you for a Christmas list in early October, it gets one to thinking. Also, unless I buy early, all the good stuff is gone off people's lists. Kind of like waiting until the last minute to get a wedding present, and then all that's left on the registry is a garlic press, one napkin, and a soap dish.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Cookie Monster is banging my door down.

So, I made killer, fabulous, awesome chocolate chip cookies yesterday. (They are actually vegan, because I made them for this week's staff meeting, and I have one coworker who is vegan and several coworkers who have severe dairy intolerances.) They aren't incredibly healthy . . . but they still have a bit less sugar, are whole grain, and have no trans fat and very little saturated fat. And I can't stop eating them! (Some may end up going to Michelle's on Saturday night, if there are any left, so I can get them out of the house!)

Here's the recipe:

Cream together:
1 cup Earth Balance spread
1/2 cup natural/raw sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Whisk together, then stir in:
1 tablespoon commercial egg replacer (such as Ener-G)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla

Combine, then stir in:
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Stir in:
2 cups chocolate chips (check the label if you are actually trying to make these vegan -- some may have dairy)
1 cup chopped pecans

Drop by rounded tablespoonfulls (you may want to slightly smush them flat, since these don't spread quite as much as traditional CCCs do,) onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10 or so minutes.

(I've found it's best to slightly underbake goodies made with whole wheat flour, as opposed to overbaking them -- they get tough if they get too brown. You want to pull them out just as they are completely set and are a light golden brown color.)

Something you could do to cut down on some of the fat would be to replace half the Earth Balance with an equal amount of soy or regular yogurt, (stir the yogurt when you stir in the egg replacer,) and then use 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, instead of the 2 cups of regular chips.

Hey, so all of this talk of CCCs . . . I may have to go have another. Although I made fabulous homemade pizza for dinner tonight, and am still a little full from that . . . decisions!

Happy Monday, folks!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

ah, harry potter . . .

I just finished rereading all six of the Harry Potter books today. I had started this project, oh, a month or so ago, and it was well worth my time -- as Christine suggested might happen, I became completely immersed in that world. And I caught stuff I missed the first time 'round, since I wasn't in such a hurry to find out what happened. And I'm even more excited for the last book to publish. Well, or the next book, anyway.

See, I have a few cockamamie theories concerning the Potter series. I actually think there will be 4 more books. Why, you ask? Well, for starters, Harry has to find 4 horcruxes and then kill Voldemort -- a big task for just one more novel, if you ask me. (See, find one horcrux per novel, then also kill Voldemort at the end of the last one.) Also, Harry technically has one year left at Hogwarts, then will be required to do some sort of wizard college, since he wants to be an Auror. (I'm sorry if someone who hasn't read the books is reading this -- you have no idea what I'm rambling about.) Also, I think ten is a nice number of books -- much more well-rounded than seven.

Other conspiracy-type theories: I think Sirius Black will come back, and I'm not entirely sure Dumbledore is dead. I still think Snape is working for the "good guys" -- although there is the problem of that unbreakable vow thing he formed at the beginning of book six. Perhaps he "had" to kill Dumbledore, because of the vow, and didn't know what he was agreeing to at the time. Or it could be a big, fat setup -- Snape was in on faking Dumbledore's death or something. Who knows. But it's incredibly interesting fiction!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

ya, you betcha

I watched "Fargo" tonight. I had had several people over the years tell me I shouldn't watch it because I wouldn't like it. They were wrong! I thought it was both disturbing and interesting, and I was surprised to find out it was a true story. And I appreciated the message they tried to send.

And, strangely enough, I know one of the actors. I used to babysit for the guy who played the parking attendant's kids. Crazy, eh?

Off to bed -- I was running a fever earlier today, and I have a sore throat and am all achy and stuff. Bah. At least I have a sub for work tomorrow, and can take it easy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

occupational hazard

So, something unpleasant happened at work this afternoon. Dan and I had a small group of kids bushwhacking around the overlook pond when suddenly, I felt something strange in my hair. I had a "small' ball of burdock seeds (i.e., about the size of a baseball,) stuck to the back of my head, tangled in my hair, near my collar. I had another clump of them attached to the top of my head, too.

Bless Tammy, for she spent fifteen minutes with me pulling them out.

And what did I learn today?

Always, always, always wear a hat.