Friday, February 24, 2012

You Know When ....

You know when your boss who has a PhD doesn't read an email that was sent to him?  And then something goes wrong because said boss did not read through that email?  And then somehow it becomes your fault for not marching into boss' office, email in hand, and demanding they listen carefully as you loudly read through email, stressing important points?  Yeah, that.
OK, focus on the positive - since it's so warm I planted radish, carrots, and dill yesterday, and my 3 rows of garlic are good and sprouted.  I pulled the wisps of Butterbean's hair up into pigtails today and they stuck straight out, she looked like Cindy Lou-Who.  Mooch said, Bean I love you even though you look ridiculous - let's start wishing for some real hair for you.  And it's Friday.  THANK THE BABY JEEBUS.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Veggie Burger That Will Change Your Life

So it's spring ... we skipped the whole winter thing this year.  This was the great snowstorm of 2012 in the mid-Atlantic ....

Slush angels!

Good thing I stocked up on can goods and knocked that old lady out for the last loaf of bread. We're snowed in!

I'm hot Mama, can I take my coat off?
Boooo.  I like at least one good snowstorm a year.

I know we are all hooked on Pinterest and letting it make us feel like failures as decorators/cooks/craft-types/model-types (my pinboard is here) so I take it as a personal challenge to test out any particularly raved-about pin.  That whole "put a chopstick on a boiling pot and it won't boil over"??  FALSE!  I got a little excited to comment on that one.  However, the apple slices with mini marshmallows between them to look like teeth thing was so easy and so cute, and I got to feel super-mommyish at Mooch's birthday party until my sister called me out for getting the idea from Pinterest.  WHATEVER.

I re-pinned this recipe for Sweet Potato and Bean Burgers and it took me a while to hunt down the link, but here it is -
I was planning on making the kids turkey burgers with sweet potato fries anyway, so I just peeled and chopped up extra sweet potato and threw it in a pot of boiling water.  When it was fork-tender I drained it and added rinsed and drained black beans (1 can - I was out of cannelini) then used a potato masher to mash everything up.  I added 1 Tb tahini sauce, a dash of lemon juice, s&p, and about 1/4 c of panko bread crumbs. 

Word to the wise, I tried these on the George Forman since that's what I was making on the kid's burgers on - nooooope.  They fall apart and don't crisp up.  Definitely either pan fry them or put them under the broiler.  I used olive oil in my cast iron skillet - lightly coat the patties with additional panko before frying them.

Served over a bed of greens with avocado and of course, Frank's Red Hot.  These were sweet and savory at the same time and I haven't been able to stop eating them.  I had high hopes of freezing these and having them available for work lunches but they went too fast. 

It is the veggie burger that makes you forget why you would ever want a fast food version.  Now to plot out my sweet potato patch.

Left on the table by my sweet big girl - she loves her "famale" :-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Very Sad Poem

A poem for you:

Never have I forgotten
Your lips the last time they touched mine

Gone those days may be
In my soul indelibly etched.
And what now?
Not more time away from you.
Time is too cruel.
Sweetness, bittersweetness, I will take it all.

Again this want
Rapidly wearing down my resolve
Eroding every reason to say no

Tracing our timeline, right back to the beginning
Holding onto you in the only way I can
Entering into this new chapter, this new hope

Bittersweet love
End this indecision
Sun, drive away the shadows
Tell me I can never lose you.

*DISCLAIMER* First of all, I am a terrible poet.  Second of all, normally I wouldn't allow this kind of filth on my blog, but I lost a bet. :-)  I promise to go back to gardens and minions and being snarky tomorrow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey You Guys I'm Old and Wise Now.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of thirty three years of - ME!!  A friend told me this was the age where Christ was reborn and came back as a zombie and killed all the dinosaurs, or something.  So far my water into wine skills are lacking.  Sad face.

As a pre-birthday present to myself (thank you self) I took a personal day to go to a symposium at Longwood Gardens in PA.  Longwood is an absolutely amazing estate and public gardens established by Pierce duPont (more history, etc here) they have concerts, tours, kid's activities, etc.  Oh, and the Christmas displays ...

Ahhh-maaaaa-zing.  They have themed rooms of different cultivars and climates.  A ROOM FULL OF ORCHIDS, FLOOR TO CEILING.  It is my happy place.
The symposium was called "Today's Horticulture" and touched on everything from sustainable landscape design, container gardening, entomology, water resources management, and native planting vs. non-native.  And in between these sessions that were so informative and interesting, I got to wander through the gardens and shop the plant sale.  The only downside was the majority of people there have degrees in plant science or are professionals - a lot went over my head.  So, it's officially time to figure out this whole getting-my-degree thing.  I have never wanted anything quite like I've wanted this, but I also refuse to give up any time I have with my girls.  So it will take me a loooong time, because I will only, realistically, be able to take 1 or 2 classes per semester.  I have to start with the hard (for me) classes, math and chemistry, and I will probably cry and swear and throw things but I WILL get through them, because without chemistry none of the soil or plant science will make sense. 
And while doing this I will also have to work and take care of a house and husband and two kids, and a dog and a cat and two rats; and volunteer at Mooch's school and take care of the garden and cook every night, etc.  Completely do-able, right??

Oh yeah, resolutions.  Because this post is about me being OLD.  

1. Practice being still and present, at least once a day.  My degree won't matter much without my sanity.
2. Make peace, completely, with my body.  Yes my belly is pooch-y from two babies and my boobs just aren't what they used to be.  Yes, stretch marks happen.  But at 33 I can run 3 miles in under 28 minutes and tear up a spin class.  These things I couldn't do 10 years ago.  Mooch said to me the other day, "Mama you're not too fat and not too skinny, you're just right"
3. Plan more.  I suck at planning.  I blamed this on the Mister the other night (I can't completely remember my reasoning here, honestly - he handed me a piece of dark chocolate and kept watching the Military Channel) but I need to carve out my own space in our home to set up as Mama HQ and plot all this junk out.

3 things, plus all that other junk.  Bring it, 33.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Make Granola, Not War

True story - I once worked at this super-fancy gym for a summer just because I wanted to be able to work out there for free.  Everyone who worked out there came in in designer work out clothes and full makeup and drove these gigantic SUV's.  Obviously I looked slightly out of place pulling up in my '01 Focus and running on the treadmill in stretched-out yoga pants.
I was working at the front desk and one day this family that looked like they had stepped out of a J. Crew catalogue came in and my coworker nudged me and pointed and the trophy-wife had "PINK TACO"* written across the ass of her pants.  I shit you not.  Her kids, who were behind her, were old enough to read.  When I recounted to the Mister he said I should have told her her pants were on backwards.  I LOVE THIS MAN.

 One of the Pilates teachers who worked there was always super cranky and the staff couldn't stand her.  One of my front desk bitches said this chick was on the "Master Cleanse".  Have you heard of this?  No?  Wikipedia, help us out, will you?

Master Cleanse is a modified juice fast that permits no food. There are three parts to the regimen. Each morning one drinks a cup of water with 2 teaspoons of salt or a cup of herbal laxative tea. This is followed by six to twelve lemonade drinks during the day. Finally, a cup of herbal laxative tea is taken in the evening. The lemonade is made from purified or spring water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, organic maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The alleged purpose is to "detoxify" the body and remove excess fat. The regimen is followed for a minimum of ten days.

Because nothing says I'm healthy and sexaaaayyy like having non-stop diarrhea and routinely fainting since all you're allowed to consume is cayenne pepper lemonade.  No wonder this woman was bitchy.  My regular talking voice would have been full-on yelling.

There are lots of cleanses out there and for the life of me I can't figure out why people are so into them.  Quick fix?  I guess - but you also gain back any weight you lose when you go back to eating regular food.  That they're even referred to as "cleanses" kills me - your body does a fine job of removing toxins itself, as long as you eat right.  When you attempt to "flush toxins" with an extreme diet you also upset the balance of good bacteria in your gut and leave your immune system compromised, and you can do serious damage to your digestion.  And you will probably be like Bitchnado Pilates Instructor and people won't want to be around you.  

  Instead, just make granola, ok?
My mama always made granola and we would eat it like cereal in the morning, and use it to top apple sauce and yogurt.  This is my own, loosely measured recipe.  I tend to use whatever I have on hand and once substituted finely chopped up apple for the dried fruit (I added it for the last 20 minutes so it would dehydrate) and it was extra good - the fruit juice means you don't need to use as much honey.

Mama's Granola 

3 c rolled oats
1/2 c each finely chopped almonds, walnuts, and pecans (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c water
1/4 c honey (or agave nectar for vegan version)
1 1/4 c dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, whatever you prefer) 

Preheat oven to 250.  On large rimmed baking sheet mix oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and whole wheat flour.  In a small bowl whisk together water and honey.  This will be the "glue" to bind your granola a bit more.  Pour over oat mixture and toss well with a spatula.  Bake for 1 1/2 hrs, until granola is lightly toasted on top, tossing mixture every 20 minutes to toast evenly.  Add dried fruit for the last 5 minutes of baking.

This recipe makes a LOT of granola, but don't worry, I know two minions who can help if you don't finish it all.

 *The "Pink Taco" from what I gather is a bar in Florida that caters exclusively to assholes impressed by a vague vagina reference. 
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