Saturday, April 28, 2007
I know a lot of people find fault with Whole Foods, but I'd kill to have one in this area. I'm lucky to have a mom who goes on a semi-regular basis and brings me things from there. It's hard to compete with the quality of their fish, and they charge MUCH less for certain products. Rip on them for their prices all you want, but when you go to buy Canola Mayonnaise, are you going to spend 3 dollars on their large jar or 4.50 for the small jar at a store up here? In this area, the only health food options are whatever Meijer happens to carry, which admittedly, is getting more numerous. Or the unbelievably over-priced things at the actual health food stores. It's a struggle to eat healthy balanced meals and not spend a ridiculously large amount of money.
Horrocks to the rescue! They're a gourmet market with incredibly good prices. Every two weeks I make up a menu and we shop for the two weeks of groceries. Typically, we spend about 125-150 dollars. That does include things like toothpaste, and paper towel, and litter for the rabbits and cats. But the majority of that is spent on food. Last night, we spent 44 dollars at Horrocks. Granted, that wasn't for everything, but we got all of our produce, some of our meats (we already had some in the freezer), dairy, and a few splurges. We got really incredible gourmet salami, and marinated feta with olives. Their prices are high on canned goods, so we went to Meijer for those. At Meijer we spent almost an equal amount on canned beans and tomatoes, whole grain pasta, a few frozen veggies, whole grain bread, rice, couscous and spices . Our new shopping plan is to stock up once a month at Save a Lot on all of our canned goods. They're significantly cheaper than Meijer, and the quality is comparable. We'll go to Meijer for the few things we can't get there, like whole grain bread and pasta, toiletries, litter, etc. And all of our fresh food we'll buy at Horrocks. I'm betting we can keep our bi-weekly grocery bill (including what we get at Save a Lot) under 100 dollars, and closer to 80.
Plus, I feel much better supporting a local, independent store as much as possible. As we left Horrocks and put our bags in the trunk of the car, we found a five dollar bill on the ground and no one around to claim it. Clearly a sign that buying healthy local food is the way to go.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sweet Potato Soup with Miso and Ginger – A really unusual tasting soup. Most sweet potato soups taste very fall-ish, but this is a nice soup for any time of year. We had it with whole grain bread, but it would have been even better with a crusty whole grain baguette. I used ground ginger instead of fresh, because the ginger root had gone bad. Next time, I will try it with the fresh and I will replace half of the chicken stock with water to cut down on the salt. Definitely worth making again.
Spicy Ginger Pork in Lettuce Cups – I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while and I am glad I finally did. It was simple to make, healthy and really delicious. Next time I would add a little bit more ginger and crushed red pepper. I might try a different type of lettuce, the Boston lettuce had a tendency to rip easily, and something a little sturdier might have been easier to eat. I really liked the contrast between the warm spicy pork and cool lettuce. Sometimes I don’t like the flavor of celery, I feel like it overwhelms a dish, but this was the perfect amount and the celery and water chestnuts add a really nice crunch. It was also really good cold as a leftover the next day.
Toad in a Hole – Despite the numerous references to it, and the fact that it always looked good, we’d never gotten around to making these. On the spur of the moment, we both decided they sounded good, so we made them for breakfast. They were very quick, and simple. The whole grain bread tasted good and was nice and sturdy. We experimented with a few different sized holes in the bread, and the ones made by the small juice glasses seemed to work the best. Anthony left it nice and runny in the center. Salt and pepper added a lot to the taste of the egg, and it was best when it was added before the egg started to cook. Anthony had his with passion fruit jam which he really liked, and I had mine plain. We’ll definitely make these again and I’m sure we’ll try it with different jams and maple syrup.
Tuna Melt – This was a really simple recipe, just a basic tuna fish sandwich with cheddar cheese on top, and then cooked in a pan like a grilled cheese. It was really good comfort food, and quick to make. Worth making again.
Carrot Raisin Salad – Also quick and simple, although next time I might buy pre-shredded carrots instead of grating them myself. The sauce is a little bit of plain yogurt with spices and salt and pepper. The recipe called for cumin, but I added a little bit of cinnamon too. Anthony wasn’t thrilled with the recipe, but I liked it. It was the cumin he disliked, so I might try it with cinnamon (and maybe ginger) next time. I thought it went really well with the tuna melt.
Chinese Pork Noodles – I modified this recipe quite a bit. I had just made a recipe with ground pork, so I substituted small slices of pork chops. Also, it called for
Italian Sloppy Joes
Braised Chicken with Scotch and Chutney - I halved this recipe, and it was just the right amount. I browned chicken thighs, onion and garlic in a little olive oil, and poured in the sauce ingredients, and put the skillet in the oven for a half hour. The chicken was really tender but the sauce was still really thin. I took the chicken out, and put it on a cookie sheet in the warm oven for a few minutes while I reduced the sauce on top of the stove. I topped the chicken with the sauce to serve, and it was incredibly good. It was sweet, and a little spicy and the chicken was almost falling apart tender.
Blue Cheese Greens – I served the chicken with mixed baby greens tossed with peas and green onion and a small amount of blue cheese dressing. I left the greens slightly damp from when it was washed and it helped the dressing coat the greens lightly. It was really delicious and went very well with the chicken.
Barbeque Baby Back Ribs – We didn’t have time to make a homemade barbeque sauce, so we bought Sweet Baby Ray’s, one that we knew would be really good. Anthony cut the ribs into individual pieces, and put it in a crockpot with a bottle of barbeque sauce and cooked it for 6-7 hours. It was almost falling apart when he took them out and caramelized the sauce on the grill. They turned out really well, and were tender, moist and very flavorful.
Rancho Beans – This is one of Anthony’s family recipes. It’s beans, onion, ground beef, sausage, and yellow and
Citrus Green Onion Coleslaw with Walnuts – Anthony wasn’t crazy about this recipe but I was really happy with it. He doesn’t particularly like coleslaw of any type, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. Instead of
Gardenburgers – We needed a quick meal so we had Sundried Tomato and Basil Gardenburgers. They have a pizza sauce flavor, and go really well with a little bit of mozzarella melted on top. They’re one of my favorite quick, healthy meals. I had leftover coleslaw with it, which actually went better than I expected.
Crockpot Raspberry Chicken – I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and I am glad I did. The sauce is very simple, raspberry jam, yellow mustard and a little soy sauce, but it adds a lot of flavor. I cooked the chicken leg/thigh quarters in the crockpot with the sauce all day and they were incredibly tender. The sauce wasn’t very appetizing looking though, and neither was the chicken, so Anthony put the chicken on the grill for a few minutes and I made up a second batch of the sauce. He basted it on the chicken and it was absolutely fantastic that way. I loved the sauce, and the combined crockpot cooking and grilling was wonderful, but I don’t think I’d ever serve it straight out of the crockpot.
Wild Rice – I served the chicken with wild rice. The flavors went really well together. I added a bit of salt and a small pat of butter to the rice, and it really added depth to the flavor.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Seven years ago I met Patrick. We dated for a little while and were officially in a serious relationship for eight months. It ended, and not particularily well. But we later got to be friends again. He had a habit of disappearing occasionally, but we reconnected the fall after I met Anthony, and we had dinner and hung out and talked and watched a movie. It was really nice to be able to talk to him and I really thought that we were going to stay in contact. But he disappeared again without a trace. I emailed him a few times, and called, but he never answered the emails and his phone number had been changed. The phone number wasn't so much of a surprise, I've never seen anyone change their phone more often than he did, but it really made me sad. I've been hoping he'll somehow reappear; without any luck.
Last month Anthony and I went to go see Macbeth at MeadowBrook Theater with my parents. On the drive home we stopped to get gas. Anthony went in to get water, and two guys came out and got in a truck. The truck backed up in front of me, and then paused. I stared at the driver, and he stared back at me. It felt like an electric shock and being kicked in the chest. Every tiny part of me KNEW that was Patrick. I sat there, stunned, and DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. I didn't wave, I didn't smile, I didn't get out of the car and run over to the truck. I was completely frozen and I don't know why. All it would have taken was for me to do something, anything...and I would have known. Sure, I would have been a little embarrassed if it hadn't been him, but I would have survived it. And it was at a nice, clean, well-lit gas station with my boyfriend 20 yards away, it would have been safe enough. Instead...I sat there with my mouth open and did nothing. I let the truck drive away and now I'll never know.
And since, I've been dreaming about him. No, get your minds out of the gutter...not that kind of dreaming. Dreams where we have a mutual friend who gets us in contact again, or we somehow stumble across each other. Dreams where I'm smart enough to do something. I had another one last night, and I'll never forget how elated I was. I was so unbelievably happy to be talking to him again, and when I woke up, how disappointed that it wasn't true. I do have one way I could possibly get ahold of him. His sister is rather well known in the fashion industry in New York and an author, and I could contact her. But I only met her once, and since I'm not actually a crazed stalker, I wouldn't ever do it. But it's so tempting.
I'm sure some people think I'm insane. How could I possibly care so much about some random ex from forever ago. Well, I do. It's as simple as that. I care deeply about all of my friends. Call it crazy, or blame it on the fact that I'm an only child. But I would walk through fire for any of my friends. And despite, well everything, Patrick was a friend too. And I can't just stop caring about someone I loved so deeply. This isn't some weird relationship issue I can't get over. Or a longing for a past boyfriend. I don't want to dredge up our past and understand what went wrong. I've already been through that. I don't need the past boyfriend, I need the friend. So if you're out there Patrick, whatever your reasons for disappearing again, don't let them stop you from getting back in contact with me. I miss you.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I was complaining about it to a friend who is also reading the books and said, "you know it would really help if they had some sort of chart or detailed descriptions in the back explaining all of this..." He said, "oh, mine does, but I have a hardcover, maybe the paperback is different.." so I complained some more about the fact that the paperback readers got shafted. Three days later the book happened to fall open to a page near the back that had pages and pages of descriptions of EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN THE BOOK. Um, yeah.
Note to self: next time, don't just look at the very last page in the book. It might just be the chapter from the next book in the series. But before that, there might be an entire appendix explaining all of the characters just to make you look like an idiot.
I borrowed the first three books from Erin a few months ago, and I am almost done with the second, A Clash of Kings. I don't read nearly as much as I used to, but Monday nights and Saturday mornings have become my reading times. On Monday nights Anthony likes to do this terrible thing to torture me. Something that makes me question why in the hell I ever wanted to date him in the first place. He likes STAR TREK. (shudders) And not even the old cheesy ones with Patrick Stewart, a man who manages to bring a bit of class to even the dorkiness that is Star Trek. Anthony is such a big geek that he watches the new Star Trek. Oh the horror. Since I actually do like him for some strange reason, and throttling him with my bare hands or throwing heavy objects through his large and expensive TV in a Star Trek induced rage aren't really good options...
I escape upstairs to the bedroom to read on the bed and snuggle one of the cats. Or to the bathroom where I draw a nice bubble bath, light a few candles and drink tea while I read. Usually also accompanied by a cat dipping his paws into the water and shaking them off, in order to fling as much water as possible all over the bathroom. The most recent bath also involved Ra climbing onto the few square inches of my chest that weren't submerged in the water and balancing there for no apparent reason. And people wonder why I don't want children. All I have to say is there is no way I am willing to give up my uninterrupted reading and bath time. The cat can always be locked out of the bathroom and left to fend for himself.
On Saturday mornings I get up at my usual time (9am) and come downstairs to curl up on the couch to read for an hour or so while Anthony sleeps in. Once it's finally warm out I will probably go out to the screened in porch, or the deck or the balcony off the bedroom to read. We don't have a single bit of furniture for any of those spaces yet. But I do having a hanging basket chair at my parents' house that will probably go on the porch. Eventually all three places will be nice little retreats for me to read on. I have a vision in my head of the porch with linen curtains billowing in a breeze and the basket chair with a comfy cushion to curl up in while I drink iced tea and listen to the splashing of my fountain. I want to sit on the balcony at a bistro table sipping coffee made in my French Press while I read. I want to lay on a nice fluffy beach towel on the deck reading for a few hours, moving only to stay out of the sun. After all, what self respecting bookworm like myself would be caught dead tanning. I like my pasty whiteness thankyouverymuch. After all, the light reflecting onto the pages from my face make it SO much easier to read...
Monday, April 16, 2007
Munich: I had heard a lot of great things about this movie, but hadn't quite been in the right mood to watch it. I am glad I did though. It was definitely worth it. It was sad, and wonderful at the same time, and nearly impossible to describe. Despite being a Spielberg movie, it didn't really feel like one. It was more simple, and much less showy than I would have expected.
All the King's Men: This was an interesting movie. I'm glad I saw it, and it was good. But I can't exactly say that I enjoyed it. I don't exactly know how to describe how I feel about it, other than it left me with a feeling of "huh...".
The Pursuit of Happyness: I really enjoyed this. Will Smith was incredible, and so was his son. It was well written, and well acted, and one of the few movies that I'd ever describe as being touching. And it was all done without being cheesy. Which is nothing short of miraculous. Movies that get promoted as being heartwarming and uplifting usually bore me to tears and end up being trite and overdone. I was incredibly surprised by how well the story was put together. It was a really worthwhile movie.
Children of Men: I really wanted to enjoy this movie, but I was disappointed. It wasn't bad. And I'm not sorry I saw it, but it seemed like there was so much more they could have done with it. I expected more to the story than what they showed. I wanted more back story about how the infertility began. And for them to take the story further at the end and explain why it suddenly ended. I think I was expecting a story more like 1984 or Brave New World. I expected it to be about government control and how it was overthrown. Maybe if I hadn't gone into it expecting that I would have been less disappointed.
Inside Man: This movie was better than I expected. I was expecting a basic action flick and it was much much more entertaining than that. It was also really funny, which I hadn't thought it would be at all. It was an Ocean's Eleven heist plot twist type movie. Definitely worth seeing, and something I'd actually want to watch again.
Capote: I'd been wanting to see this movie for a while too. It was a very low key serious movie. And fairly straight forward. But it was well made, and interesting to watch. I had read In Cold Blood a few years ago, so that really helped to have more of the backstory. But Anthony had never seen it before and he still enjoyed it.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
1. Do you still talk to the person you lost your virginity to?
I haven't in a while, but I did for many years after, and I'm sure I will again.
2. Is it harder to be rejected or to reject someone?
To be honest, I'm almost always the one doing the rejecting.
3. What kind of music did you listen to in elementary school?
Well, two of my favorite songs were "Digging in the Dirt" by Peter Gabriel, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.
4. What is the best thing about your current job?
Since my current job is looking for a job...probably that I have very flexible hours and get to play with the cats while I do it.
5. Do you wish cell phone etiquette was a required class?
6. What's the last thing you drank?
Peach Chai Spice Iced Tea.
7. Have you been on a date in the past week?
If you count Anthony and I vacuuming out the car this afternoon...
8. Where are you going on your next vacation?
I don't really have anything planned, but I hope to go camping this summer.
9. Have you ever thrown up from working out?
10. Are most of the friends in your life new or old?
Old. They're all over 85.
11. Have you ever gotten so wasted you didn't know what was going on?
Yes, yes I have.
12. Do you like pulp-y orange juice?
Absolutely, the more pulp the better.
13. Are you touchy feely?
Yes. I like physical contact. Although I don't feel the need to touch strangers or casual acquaintances.
14. Did you cry at your high school graduation?
God no, I just wanted to be gone.
15. Do you prefer the tanning bed or the sun?
Neither. I am reflectively pale and I prefer it that way.
16. What are two of your favorite places to eat?
Ukai (a sushi/Japanese Steakhouse) and Mediterran (a small place with a random mix of middle European dishes)
17. What could you tolerate...someone who snores or a sleep walker?
Snoring bugs the hell out of me so I would much prefer a sleep walker.
18. Do you consider yourself bi-polar?
Nope, just occasionally cranky.
19. What's something your friends make fun of you for?
My nickname. Because apparently I was too dumb to realize that it could also be interpreted as Vampire's Ass.
20. What's your worst personality flaw?
The fact that I let minor setbacks really throw me off. And that sometimes that stops me from getting where I want to be in life.
22. Would you ever parachute off of a plane?
Absolutely, with the right training.
23. Have you ever ridden an elephant?
Nope, but I think it would be awesome.
24. Are you Irish in any way?
Not that I'm aware of.
25. Have you ever ridden in a U-Haul?
Can't say that I have.
26. Do you like to play Scrabble?
Yes. My grandma and I used to play all of the time.
27. Have you ever been to a nude beach?
Not one that was SUPPOSED to be nude. ;)
28. Have you ever drank Jack Daniels?
Yes, although I'm not a fan.
29. Have you ever had sex on the beach?
30. What are you saving your money up for right now?
(sighs) what money?
31. What was the last giftcard you received?
Target, in my Easter basket. I love my aunt and cousins.
32. Who do you like right now?
Anyone who will give me a job.
33. Does the number of people a person's slept with affect your opinion of him or her?
Not particularly, although their reasons might.
34. Have you ever gone to a party where you were the only straight person?
No, but I'm not straight...
35. What do you do when you spot a bug in your house?
Usually just ignore it. Or send it outside.
36. What is your favorite Disney movie?
As humiliating as this is, I have to say "Beauty and the Beast"
37. Where were you 1 hour ago?
On the couch drooling over Jonathan Rhys Meyer in "The Tudors".
38. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
Either my parents or Anthony.
39.What was the last thing that really made you smile ?
Probably the most recent idiotic thing the cat was doing.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
I haven't done any menu reviews lately, but I thought I would try it out again. I've been planning out menus for about two weeks so we don't have to shop every week. I've been trying to eat healthy as much as possible. I refuse to have baked chicken and brown rice every day for dinner though, so I am eating really healthy breakfasts and lunches and being a little more relaxed about dinner. I still aim for dinners to be under 500 calories, but most of them are more like 300-400. I don't feel deprived at all, and I get to enjoy lots of interesting dinners. As always, if you want a recipe, be sure to leave a comment and I'll get it to you.
Sesame Pork Strips - The pork strips were FANTASTIC. Small strips of pork with a crunchy sesame coating. Cook for a little less time in the future. I served it with honey mustard dipping sauce. It wasn't a quick recipe, but it wasn't terribly time consuming. Definitely make again. We had an impromptu dinner guest, Anthony's friend Trevor, and he really liked them also.
Malaysian Cucumber Salad – I decided not to go with that recipe because it needed time to marinate. I substituted vinegar and sour cream cucumbers. Simple, but it went really well with the pork.
Black Bean, Spinach and Mushroom Burritos – Lots of veggies with a little bit of Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream. Delicious and very healthy. I forgot the enchilada sauce, and I really enjoyed it without. Anthony had seconds and tried it with the sauce, he preferred it that way. But it can easily be made either way. Make again!
Creamy Pesto Fish – Very simple and delicious. Fish baked with a pesto sauce and grape tomatoes. Definitely make again. I don't remember if we served it with rice or quinoa or a salad.
Roast Chicken – I didn't really have a recipe for this I just took a chicken and stuffed it with fresh rosemary and onion. Very delicious.
Squash and Mixed Greens - Basic frozen squash with a little butter and salt and pepper. We had mixed greens with dressing. Both went very well with the roast chicken.
Beef and Broccoli – Delicious. Moderately time consuming, but worth doing. Served on top of brown rice.
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup – I had originally planned on making the soup with wild rice but realized I was out. I changed it to Chicken and Barley Soup. I used the leftover roasted chicken carcass and added frozen mixed vegetables and some fresh ones. Very healthy and delicious.
Bean and Bacon Soup (Computer) – Delicious but really unusual. I was out of canned tomato but it was good without. I will try it with tomato the next time I make it. It's a slightly sweet and spicy soup. I need to reduce the chili powder a small amount and increase amount of bacon though and it will be perfect.
Feta Chicken– Anthony invented this recipe and it was amazing. He sautéed chicken with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Chinese 5 Spice Powder, cinnamon and basil. Once the chicken was cooked, he deglazed the pan with water. He cooked spaghetti with fresh rosemary. Drained the noodles and added feta and sliced black olives, tossed it, and served it with chicken on top. He sprinkled it with olives and feta and drizzled it with the remaining sauce.
Split Pea Soup with Ham - We had leftover ham and ham bones from Easter. I made a ham stock one day, and then the next day I added the split peas to the boiling ham stock. I let it cook for a few hours. I think next time I'll cook it a little more slowly, because it cooked down more than I'd like. I added carrots near the end, and then the ham. I had plenty to freeze.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
In a lot of ways I feel like everything we dealt with this summer used up the reserves I have. The extra strength to push myself through it and say "I can deal with this." Three months of having to do that EVERY SINGLE DAY wore me out. I'm tired. Deep down in my soul tired. Tired of having to spend every day struggling to make it to the next. Tired of feeling like it was never going to get better. And resentful. Resentful that I was forced to deal with it. It wasn't fair. And that makes me angry. I can handle it when I was the one who screwed up. If I can take responsibility for something, I can move on. If I caused it, I can fix it. But when it feels like the universe is out to get me, there's nothing I can do. I struggle and struggle and get nowhere. I hate feeling useless and ineffectual. Feeling like that for months wears you down
This week was a very similar feeling. Mercury is sick, and there is nothing we can do. The vet has no idea what's wrong, we've tried everything we can, and it isn't working. I've cried so many times looking at her and wishing so desperately that she could just talk. That she could tell me what was wrong so I could fix it. I would do almost anything to get her well, but I don't know how. I'm struggling and struggling to find a job and getting nowhere. My parents have been helping me out but they can't do that forever. I understand that, but at the same time it's very frustrating. I don't want to have to rely on Anthony. I don't want to put that strain on our relationship. I want to be able to take care of myself damn it. But there are no jobs. And I don't know what to do.
I'll keep struggling on, and today it's easier than it was a few days ago. But sometimes I wonder, how long can I keep doing this? How long can I go before I just can't do it anymore? Will there be a point where I just give up?