Feeling normal

Monday, August 31, 2009

I could get used to this. After everything that's happened this year, I was unsure whether my stomach would ever settle. But this post isn't about how I've felt in the past, it's about how I feel lately.

Productive - sure my poster is late, but it's finished, and I'm just waiting for the final approval before I send it to print. I packed my lunch today, I got to campus by 8:15, I have work out clothes in my bag, and I'm going to use them today. I generally sleep well at night these days (or these nights?), and even though I didn't last night, I still got outta bed this morning.

In control - as much as a person can be. Putting others before yourself is all fine, well, and good when things are going well, but when things are tough, you need to be able to look to yourself to make changes. That's impossible to do when you've put your feelings on the backburner for so long because "the only thing you can really change is your attitude". Well, thanks, but I've tried to change my attitude about things, and really, it's just my attitude about my feelings that needed to change. Why are everyone else's feelings so much more important than mine? They aren't... I'm taking back control of any reasonable factor in my life that can be improved. If anyone has feelings about that, they can express THEIR feelings and compromises can be made. For real.

Hopeful - goes hand in hand with control. I finally feel like I can do something to make things better, instead of feeling like my feet are glued to the ground in some dark, cold cave where the only comfort is under a warm blanket. (Although I can't deny that crawling into bed is very tempting right now, especially because the office here is FRIGID!)

It all adds up to happy. And happy can be increased exponentially by the grilling of steak and cabbage for dinner. Did you know you can grill cabbage? Whether I can do it successfully remains to be seen, but I'm trying it tonight. Supposedly, you just cut it into wedges, season it, and grill it in foil packets. Hmmm.

How I make pasta sauce lately

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dang, it's good. The essentials:

1 can tomatoes - whatever kind, stewed, diced, crushed, doesn't matter.
1 can tomato sauce

The optionals:
Ground turkey - I like to eat a few vegetarian meals a week (why do we think we have to have meat at every meal??), and this one is perfect. Tom still looks at me funny when I make something that doesn't have meat, though, so normally I do throw in half a lb or a lb of ground turkey. I like making a pizza with ground turkey, mushrooms, roasted garlic, and fresh tomatoes, so sometimes I have a half lb. already browned sitting around leftover from when I made that pizza, so in the pot it goes!

1 whole bell pepper, any color, diced up.

1 whole onion, diced

Carrots, diced or shredded. Prefer shredded, it's the same size as spaghetti noodles, so I think it looks cool.

Mushrooms - will normally only add mushrooms if I'm not using turkey.

Garlic - I love lots (3-4 cloves) of fresh garlic in this, had to use garlic powder last night and it wasn't the best. Oh well.

Whatever italian sounding herbs I have - last night was garlic salt, parsley, oregeno, and thyme. Salt and pepper, of course. It can handle a good bit of salt, so don't be shy. (Usually add these once all the veggies are in the skillet)

Zucchini - a whole, medium-large sized zucchini chopped up - I never leave out zucchini, but I could if I didn't have one handy.

Fresh tomato - if I have some tomatoes on their deathbeds, they get chopped and added as well. Could also use fresh tomato pureed and chopped in place of your canned tomatoes, if you have them sitting around.

Fresh spinach - don't add til you add the pasta to the sauce (I won't use frozen, but you can if you want. Not a fan of the frozen spinach, and Tom LOATHES it.)

Red wine - however much I have sitting around, if it's just a quarter cup, that's what goes in. If I have a whole cup, that goes in (yes, sometimes we do have leftover red wine. I know you're surprised) Makes a huge huge difference.

I like to brown the meat or mushrooms separately from everything else - the meat slows down the veggies, and the mushrooms put out too much water. I'll get some olive oil heating up in my big ol' skillet, and throw the veggies in as I chop them. Cook em til they're becoming pretty tender (the carrots take the longest, so add earliest, add garlic last so it doesn't burn), then pour your wine in, watch it steam up and cook it down a bit on a high. Add your meat and mushrooms here if you haven't already. I add the tomatoes and sauce to my veggies/meat when I add the pasta (a lb of whatever I have - whole wheat spaghetti or rotini are my favs) to the boiling water. Once the pasta is almost done, it gets drained (or use a big slotted spoon) and added to the sauce. Throw in your spinach here if you have some. Cook for a couple minutes making sure everything is mixed together well. Eat it. Put up the leftovers and eat them the next day. It's enough for two people to eat two very substantial meals.

It's one of my favorite ways to use up a bunch of veggies I have sitting around.

I'm alive

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not a whole lot of excitement to share, though!

Having a lazy weekend. Been fighting a sinus headache off and on.

Saw District 9 Friday, and it was good.

Saw Julie and Julia last Friday, and I liked it.

Leaving for Beavers Bend Thursday, coming back Sunday.

Need to make a super long to-do list. Have a lot that needs to get done but I keep putting it all off!

School starts next Thursday. :-O

Sharkathon is looming. It's over a month away, but I know it'll be here before I know it. I entered the trout division. Contemplating adding redfish, but will probably just keep it simple and stick with the trout.

Speaking of trout, how good does trout sound?? Mmmmm....I'm hungry.

Speaking of hungry, these are on the menu for tonight.

Addicted to dehydrated "okra chips" and Hawaiian Grog coffee from Central Market.

Miss bread from Spain.

Stuck on food - I'm going to get something to eat!

If I had lots of money...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'd be going to cooking classes all the time. I went to my first one last night at Central Market in Plano. It was Spanish cooking basics. We made paella with chicken, chorizo, shrimp, and mussels. I cleaned and debearded my first mussels ever, which was awesome. It's one of those things I would never try without help, because seafood is not something you want to mess up. They were delicious!! The paella was easier than I expected. Having eaten a ton of it in Spain, I have been scared to make it because I knew it wouldn't be the same. What we made last night wasn't as spicy as what I had in Spain, but I know what to change, so I'm going for it Friday and finally making my own paella!

We also made a garlicky shrimp with smoked Spanish paprika - man, it was awesome. We made gazpacho, which I didn't care for. They added too much bread - the other group's gazpacho was spilled because the blender fell apart, so I think they compensated by adding too much bread to ours to make it go further. My favorite dish of the night was the bacalao with roasted potatoes and peppers. Bacalao is salt cod, cod that has been preserved in salt. You have to soak it for several hours to rehydrate it, changing the water three times. Wow, I was so impressed with how tasty it was! We roasted it with potatoes, peppers, onions, and some other stuff, then they roughly mashed it together, I mean like one or two mashes, not like mashed potatoes or anything. It. was. so. good. I bought some salt cod last night, so I'll be making this tomorrow.

Heading into the office this afternoon. Wish me productivity!

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