Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oh yes...

Here's the Thai chicken salad:

Now, tonight, I made Chili con Pollo (chicken chili--it just sounds better in Spanish), which will eventually turn into chili casserole: take some of that chili, add penne pasta and cheese, bake, eat. Those are serious leftovers, man.

A stray can of coconut milk later...

That's it. When school starts again, I've decided that when I get home, instead of unwinding by sitting down, I plan to cook. I've enjoyed it so much this summer that I just don't want to give it up. I can control what goes in, which helps with the healthy and weight conscious aspect of things, and it means that when we go out to dinner, we're more likely to make a good choice because it won't happen as often. The fact that a sushi place just opened within walking distance of our house--and we live in suburbia, where they fear such wacky cuisine and consider it living on the edge to eat raw fish, ew--makes this even more enticing. If you read this blog at all, you know I've loved sharing my recipes, so I warn you, it may continue.

I still operate in the "follow the recipe" stage; I don't have the skill that some friends do, the ones who can open a cabinet and whip together an amazing meal from a can of kidney beans, ramen noodles, mustard, pepper, and a bag of rubber bands (Yes, Yum and Dr. M, I'm thinking of you). My friend M. has begun to teach me a few things, as well--you can thank her for the jicama-apple slaw and the avocado-cashew cakes. I feel fine about using recipes--I don't aspire to get on Top Chef; just to create meals that DH and I find tasty and sharable from time to time.

One of my new favorite re-found cookbooks is Now and Later, a Weight Watchers cookbook that has you make one recipe (now) that gives you leftovers for another (later). Last time Mom and R. cleaned out their kitchen cabinet, they gave us, among other items, a can of coconut milk. I took it because, well, it came in a bag with other items. I kept it because, well, I don't know why. But in this cookbook I found a recipe for Vietnamese chicken curry that called for...(guess) coconut milk. was so good. I served it to DH and a friend and both raved. Now I have leftovers for Thai chicken salad. I forgot to take a picture of the first, but I'll get one of the second.

Happy Wednesday and goodbye, Ted Kennedy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A good wind-down to summer

We spent this past weekend at my parents' house in E., about 25 minutes away from our house. It's just out in the country enough to not quite see one's neighbors and for us, it became the perfect staycation. They have a beautiful home, a "real grown-ups house", as my one friend put it. You know, the kind you can have once you've put in quite a few years of working and have earned and deserved such a place. I've definitely mentioned it before, I know. Penny especially likes that she gets to run around free and get delightfully filthy in the creek and pond nearby. Truly, she comes out all wet and bedraggled with reeds sticking to her. Then she sleeps the sleep of the tired puppy, looking like a discarded stuffed animal that some child left behind, all flopped and still. Now, home in her dog house, she's still pretty quiet:

(She's getting a haircut in a few days; I know right now she looks like the stand-in for Sandy from Annie.)

I didn't get any pictures, but you can get the gist of a lot of relaxing both outside and in, great meals, and, particularly yesterday, getting into a great book (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) as we sat on the screened-in porch, listening to the rain.

Now that we're home, I have to deal with a clogged drain that has not yet responded to industrial strength Draino. Next, the snake.... I may have pictures of that. To end the post on a good note, I must point out there's something incredibly satisfying to me seeing my laundry on the line, blowing in the wind:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lessons from the Dog

I know I always croon about Penny's latest (if only you knew how much I held back. Thank my brother for that, who begged me not to become "one of those people"), but having spent quite a lot of time with her this summer, she has taught me a few things.

Don't worry about getting dirty. Hell, if there's a puddle there, go for it. If the mud's there, don't be an adult--splash in it! You can wash your clothes and yourself later.
Love with your whole body. Light up when that person you loves comes home or even into the room. You may want to wiggle your behind in delight; I leave this up to you. Go ahead and greet that person with kisses. Lots of them.

Eat when you're hungry. Otherwise, it's not necessary. But find yourself good, healthy things to snack on in the long as it doesn't require replacing anything expensive.

Go on walks with friends. Everybody benefits. And there might be fun puddles to jump in.

Play well with others. If someone snaps at you, you need to figure out whether to snap back or turn and walk away. Otherwise, just have fun.

Take naps whenever you can. Self-explanatory.

Enjoy life every day.

I don't care if this sounds corny. I like it, and this picture of a filthy, happy dog says it all:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Goodbye, John Hughes

Sorry, Innspecter, but I had to take this one. Feel free to expand. I just read that John Hughes, director of almost every '80s comedy that I loved, has passed away of a heart attack at 59. God, that's like having part of my childhood gone. The man launched the careers of almost all the Brat Pack members (Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, etc.) and he wrote Home Alone and National Lampoon's Vacation. Plus he was behind such eminently quotable films as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. While he hadn't done anything in about 20 years, he influenced a generation of young filmgoers, including me.

YouTube won't let me embed the video, but here's a clip of the eight movies directed by John Hughes. Here are a few quotes.

Oh, and in other news, Penny got fleas, probably from walking in the woods...where there are fleas. I gave her a bath and sprayed the house. Hopefully she does not have fleas anymore. That is all.