Thursday, July 31, 2008

CSA Week 8: Still no zucchini!

Here we are, it's Thursday again. I'm watching SYTYCD, but of course, since it's a result show, it's 59 minutes of filler and 1 minute of "you're eliminated and you're eliminated". So while I'm waiting to fill those "you're"'s with names, I have plenty of time to blog about our CSA pickup.

Here's what we got:

2 green peppers
2 eggplants
6 ears of corn (please, oh please, let it be good this week!)
3 cucumbers (I'm making pickles tomorrow)
2 1/2 lbs squash (I think, once again I can't remember for sure)
2 lbs of tomatoes, plus some you-pick tomatoes (juliet and orange cherry)
1 pint of shallots
3 serrano peppers
More you-pick beans (we mostly picked purple beans)

What have we *still* not gotten? Any plain ol' zucchini. We have some golden zucchini, but none of that plain ol' boring-but-delicious regular zucchini.

Besides the pickles, any other ideas for me this week?

Random unrelated thought: Wow, nice SYTYCD results! I'm glad I was wrong about Twitch. This is my ideal top 4...I'll be happy with whoever wins as I like all of them. Here's my ranking by how much I like them: Joshua, Courtney, Katee, Twitch. Here's my current ranking on how I think they'll finish: Katee (I still think she'll win), Joshua, Courtney, Twitch.

All About N-man

Gotta keep things even with twins, ya know! So here are some recent funnies from N-man.

I decided to give them temporary tattoos when they use their potties. I put one on myself first, and N-man said, "You've got a tat! I need a tat." He's so hip.

Whenever we tell N-man something he doesn't want to hear, he says, "Don't say that." It goes like this: "It's time to clean up." "Don't say that." or "N-man, stop jumping on your brother." "Don't say that."

While looking at himself in the mirror, he commented, "I'm cute." True, but when do we start teaching about modesty?

Random unrelated thought: Got to go make dinner to bring to our CSA pickup!

All about B-man

Both kids have been really funny recently, but I have a few B-man stories to share. They're random and unrelated, like everything I write so follow along if you can :)

I was strapping B-man into his car seat the other day and started singing "Will the real Slim Shady please stand up" to him. He answered, "I can't, Mommy. I'm locked in." Apparently he thinks he's Eminem, and only the straps of his car seat are holding him back.

B-man loves to tell jokes, such as his famous "A B C D E F...L!" He's got a new one, though: "Old McDonald has a farm E I E I O. And on that farm he has a NOTHING!" This is followed by gales of giggles.

B-man fell asleep in the car one day, and as I was taking him out of the car seat, he woke up. As I carried him in, I asked, "Do you want me to put you in your bed or on the couch for your nap?" He replied, indignantly, "I'm not tired." Then he put his head on my shoulder and immediately fell asleep.

Random unrelated thought: CSA pickup tonight! I hope the rain holds off, although we did have a ridiculously good time picking in the rain last week...

SYTYCD Top 6 Predictions

Those of you who aren't So You Think You Can Dance fans will probably be excited to hear that next week is the finale. It's been a good season so far, although I haven't been quite as attached to any of the dancers as I was in previous seasons.

Once again, as every week, I have no idea of who will be in the bottom 2 or who is going home. I know who I'd *like* it to be, but I doubt that's what it will be. Or maybe. Who knows! Well, here goes with my predictions and comments:

The Girls:

Katee: She's still my pick to win it all. I like her, which is an impressive turn around since I wasn't crazy about her at the beginning of the season. And her paired with Joshua is amazing, especially in that contemporary. But even their paso doble was one of my favorite paso dobles I've seen. Is it just me, or have we seen too many solos this season? Her solo was just blah to me, but I'm not sure if that's because I feel like I've seen it every week recently. I think she's a shoo in to be safe.

Courtney: I really like her. I think she's my favorite of the girls, as in the person I'd most like to hang out with. Or more realistically given our age differences, the one I'd most like to babysit my kids. And I loved her solo. I didn't want it to be over, which is a sign of a great solo in my mind. I thought the jazz routine she and Mark did was the best of the night, although I think that choreographer Sonya is a bit odd. Their waltz was also respectable, although I still am just not a huge waltz fan. Maybe it's because of that ballroom dancing class I took with TK where I just couldn't figure out how to do the stupid waltz turns.

Chelsie: She kind of annoys me whenever they show her talking, and her solos are just a bunch of shakey-shakey hips. I don't find her dancing in general as great as the judges say, either, although she's certainly not bad. I thought she and Twitch looked a bit tired in their mambo, and their hip hop was good but not stellar. Although I will say it was the first Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop that didn't drive me crazy.

The Boys:

Joshua: I'm a little in love with Joshua. I thought his solo was the best of the night, and as I said above, I loved his dances with Katee. Plus, he just seems like a nice guy. I think (hope?) he'll be safe tonight.

Twitch: Ugh, those gold teeth and glasses in his solo. Can you say GIMMICKY? And most disgusting moment of the night: Cat putting in his fake teeth. I sincerely hope through the magic of editing they cut the portion where Cat first sterilized those teeth. Yuck. His dancing was respectable, but not all that exciting. I think I might be over my Twitch love.

Mark: I don't really get him. I mean, I appreciate how weird he is, and like that he takes chances in his solos. But that "swirling my shirt around my neck" solo? I'm not sure. The best thing I can say about Mark last night is that he didn't wear any v-neck tee-shirts, for which I'm eternally grateful.

My Predictions:

Bottom 2 girls: Chelsie and Courtney

Bottom 2 boys: Twitch and Mark

Going home:

Chelsie (fingers crossed...I'm worried it'll be Courtney, but I like Courtney so much more than Chelsie, I'm voting Chelsie to leave)

Twitch (I'd prefer Mark to go home, but he's been safe in a lot of weeks where I didn't even think he danced that well at all. This week, I must admit he did dance well so I'm guessing Twitch and hoping I'm wrong. I'd really love to see Twitch and Joshua dance together in the finale, but I don't think I'm going to get my wish).

So what do you think? Any guesses?

Random unrelated thought: What the heck has happened? I use firefox because it redlines my misspellings, but it's not doing it today. I can't spell. At all. What will I do if this doesn't cathc my mispellings? ;) Okay, fine, I just copied it into Word to spellcheck. The things I do for y'all...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I wish my life was as good as an ABBA song

A girlfriend invited me last night to go see Mamma Mia. So we headed out, on a Tuesday night, to see a 7:30 show. It was sold out! What's up with that? Quickly, we got into our cars and drove to another nearby theater to see the 8:00 show. Whew, there were tickets left. But there were also THREE bus loads of teenage Italian tourists. That's pretty weird, isn't it?

I thought I was being so wild, going to see a movie on a weeknight. I guess people do it all the time. Who knew?

I enjoyed the movie, although it made me wish I was watching three other things:

Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version, of course. It is a truth universally acknowledged that all women of a certain age (um, my age) are in need of Colin Firth*. He was very good and very funny in Mamma Mia.

Muriel's Wedding: I'm sorry, but this movie still holds the title for "best movie to use ABBA for the soundtrack". Mamma Mia came close, but couldn't quite dislodge it.

Veronica Mars, the first season, of course. I believe Amanda Seyfried will always be Veronica's dead best friend, Lilly, to me, no matter how great she is in other things. And she was pretty good in Mamma Mia. But again, it was no Veronica Mars.

So all in all, a very fun night. And now I have a lot of DVDs to pull out and watch!

Random unrelated thought: I got some awesome purple beans at the farmers' market the other day. They look like green beans, they taste like green beans, but they're purple! The boys were pretty excited about them, and both took a bite of the raw bean as we were getting it ready to cook.

So I steamed them, took off the cover, and GASP! They were GREEN! I mean, it's kind of neat that the beans turn from purple to green, but I'm pretty sure my boys thought I just switched out the fun purple beans with regular green beans so they wanted nothing to do with them.

Don't you think the purple beans should come with a warning: "These beans turn green when cooked."

But anyone with older kids and a glass topped pot might want to plan a "watch the purple beans turn green" experiment that if you're lucky, will end with all the beans being eaten!

*Did I go a bit too far in mixing my Jane Austen references? I hope not! I also am being too lazy to pull out my copy of Emma, so I hope I came reasonably close to "quoting" it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Add in some celibacy, and it's my idea of hell

I have a friend from college coming to visit. I'm pretty excited; it should be fun and I'll get to meet his girlfriend. But here's the thing: he's a vegan. I can see the vegetarian thing. I've even been a vegetarian at different times in my life, although never with strong conviction. A BLT could always sway me from my non-meat-eating ways. But I can understand the desire to become a vegetarian, either for health or environmental reasons.

A vegan, though...that just seems like a big ol' pain in the patootie. That's a lot of rules. Having a child with food allergies and having to worry about the contents on everything he eats, always having to closely read food labels and ask at restaurants, I know it's a lot of work. I am torn between being impressed that people would choose to limit themselves in this way and scratching my head in wonder.

Because being a vegan means no eggs and no milk. And you know what that means: no cake. Oh sure, I bet you can have some kind of vegan substitute, but really, let's face it: being vegan means no cake.

No bacon, no cake...

Wait, let me say it again: no bacon, no cake. Hell, if I could, I'd make bacon cake. Some vegan somewhere probably just threw up a little. Hmm, bacon cake actually sounds pretty disgusting even to me, so sorry Friendly Readers! I take it back, bacon cake isn't on the menu.

Luckily for the first time, I feel completely at ease preparing vegan food. Our fridge is overflowing with veggies, grab some black bean dip or hummus, and we've got a perfect snack. Anyone else have any quick and easy vegan-friendly snack food ideas?

Monday, July 28, 2008

CSA Week 7: Tomato Alert!

Oh yeah! It's finally time, what I've been waiting for: tomatoes!!!

Here's what we got:
  • 2 heads lettuce
  • 3 cucumbers (what in the world am I going to do with these? I hate cukes!)
  • 1 bunch of carrots (mix of orange, red, and yellow carrots)
  • 3 lbs (I think, I can't remember for sure) of squash
  • 6 ears of corn (this was the first thing I was disappointed with from the CSA. We cooked them right away, and it was some of the worst corn I've had. Yuck. Hopefully if we get more, it'll be better. I love corn, so this was a huge disappointment).
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 eggplant (we chose a neat round type)
  • 3 lbs of tomatoes! Yay!
  • 6 heads of garlic! Yay!
  • It was pouring when we went to our pick up, but that didn't slow us down any. We still went for the you pick green and yellow beans. In a downpour. It was so funny. We were all soaked and muddy. It was fun, but we did decide to skip all the other you-pick this week.
I'm getting buried in cucumbers. I really need to make some pickles. I wish I was getting buried in eggplant. We're not getting nearly enough eggplant. I'm not sure what to make with one little eggplant. We went to a farmers' market this weekend and I hoped to get a few more eggplants, but wouldn't you know there weren't any. Maybe we're still too early in the eggplant season??

Random unrelated thought: I organized a silent auction for the Mother of Twins National Convention this past week, which is why my posts have been pretty sparse lately. It was fun, but wouldn't you know, I ended up with the worst migraine of my life while I was there. I finally had to leave part way through the auction. Anyone know a miracle migraine cure? Because this is getting ridiculous as I've been getting migraines more and more frequently.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Berry berry cherry bleu burgers

While we were in Buffalo, we visited what was quite possibly the very best fruit picking farm in the whole country. Okay, fine, I haven't been to very many fruit picking farms, but the one we went to was really great. If anyone is ever in Western New York, check out Brown's Berry Farm. While there we picked vast quantities of sweet cherries, blueberries, and raspberries.

We ate them plain, I threw them in breakfasts, desserts, you name it. But in the back of my head, I'm still pretty intrigued by the meat/fruit combo I mentioned the other day. So as I was searching around for berry recipes, I was immediately captured by a few recipes that mentioned adding blueberries to burgers.

Okay, I'm game. But I wanted to use all the fruit we picked. And there was some bleu cheese left in the cheese drawer. I love bleu cheese and fruit. I love bleu cheese on burgers. Hmmmm...

I think it's time to create Berry Berry Cherry Bleu Burgers!

Here's what I did:


1 lb ground beef (I think I had more like 1.25 lbs)
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup raspberries
1/3 cup pitted cherries
Crumbled bleu cheese


In a large bowl, use a potato masher to coarsely mash the blueberries and raspberries. Finely chop the pitted cherries and add to the bowl.

Add the ground beef to the bowl and mix. I used my hands to really get it mixed up.

Form a very thin, flat patty. Add a generous amount of blue cheese in the center. Top with another thin, flat patty and mush the sides together until it's sealed.

I made 3 regular sized burgers and 2 mini-burgers for my kids. Your mileage my vary depending on how large you like your burgers to be.

Grill to taste, then top with additional cheese if desired.

Here's what it looked like before we cooked them. You can really see the berries mixed in!

And here's what it looked like after we were done cooking.

It just looks like a regular burger, doesn't it? I really loved the berries mixed in. It added a little sweetness and a lot of juiciness. The burgers weren't dry at all. I thought it was a definite improvement over a plain burger. But TK wasn't quite as convinced. He didn't dislike it, but said he'd prefer a normal burger in the future. Oh well, you can't please them all. Or in this case, anyone but me as the boys didn't even try it.

Random unrelated thought, SYTYCD edition:

I forgot to post my predictions this week. I haven't even seen the results show yet! So here are my predictions: Comfort and Will will go home. Hee! Oh, wait, even though I haven't seen the show, I did already here who is going home. My actual vote was that Mark and Comfort would be going home. How could Will go home instead of Mark??? I'm telling you, I wish I could vote AGAINST people. Because there's no one I like enough to vote FOR them, but I'd pick up the phone to vote AGAINST Mark and Chelsie. I don't hate those two, I just like them the least of the people left.

Will going home is actually kind of good news for me in my pool. Everyone but me and one other person guessed Will to win it all. I guessed Katee, and the other person guessed Twitch. So almost everyone else in the pool is already out of it for the winner...

Who do you think is going to win it all?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Goo Goo Ga Ga

We took the boys to the beach yesterday, and on the way there, N-man said, "I need my googles".

Now I have to wonder:
  • Am I on the internet too often and he needs to google something?
  • Does he want an incredibly vast quantity of something (googles and googles of chocolates perhaps?)
  • Is he mispronouncing "giggles", of which no one can ever have enough?
TK and I asked for clarification. He answered, "Googles. Like my cousins wear in the pool. So my eyes don't get wet in the ocean."

Oh. Goggles. Sorry, bud, we don't have any. But thanks for the google. Oops, I mean giggle.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Suspended three stories an entirely safe structure!

Today is the boys' birthday. They're three. It's all kind of vaguely surreal and odd how quickly the time has gone, but I'm sure I'm not telling y'all anything you don't know, so I'll stop now.

TK took the day off and we all went to The Children's Museum in Boston. When you first go into the museum, there's this huge web of suspended platforms enclosed in a cabled netting. It goes up three stories. So of course that's immediately what our boys want to do.

TK and I looked at each other, shrugged, and sent them off on their climbing adventure. It looked like a lot of fun, and with just a little encouragement yelled from the staircase running next to the structure, the boys both made it up no problem. They loved it, and wanted to do it again, so we said they could go back after lunch if they wanted.

We played for a few hours, had lunch, and then returned to the climbing structure. Again, both boys sped right up to the very top. B-man got out on the third floor exit, but N-man continued up to the very top. And somehow got his leg through the netting. And got stuck. We could see him, and he was starting to get upset when he couldn't get his leg free. And I was starting to get nervous. I mean, rationally a hole that is too small for him to easily fit his shoe through is not large enough for him to fall out. But, his little leg was sticking out, over three stories above the ground...

The staff member working there let me go in to "rescue" N-man. It was a tight fit...this structure is really designed for kids, not adults, and I had to do some serious wiggling. I finally made it over to N-man, shimmied his leg and shoe back in to the relative safety of the structure, and then looked down. Three stories.

Man, how come kids don't find that unsettling?? I was a bit freaked.

But it was also really fun. I joked with TK that every time we go back we're going to have to coach the kids to get stuck so we'll have an excuse to go into the structure! Anyone else ever gone into the climbing structure with their kids?

Random unrelated thought: Can someone please tell TK that it's bad taste to crack up when you suggest a person with a failing memory play Memory with your children?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CSA, Week 6

Oh boy, another fun week! Without further ado, here's the pic:

This week's distribution included:
  • 1 bunch onions
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 1 bunch baby carrots
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 2 lbs mixed summer squash (Can anyone identify them? I asked one of the farmers about the long striped ones, and she said they were "blah blah blah" squash, except she used real words, which I immediately forgot)
  • 1 eggplant
  • Then I had a tough choice: we could have 1/2 lb tomatoes (~2 little tomatoes), 1 extra eggplant, or a pint of okra. The okra was never really in the running. I love tomatoes. I mean, I LOVE tomatoes. But I picked an extra eggplant as the eggplants were little and I felt like one wouldn't be enough to make anything. But I coveted those tomatoes!
For you-pick this week, we had:
  • 2 pints green and yellow beans
  • Different types of basil
  • 1 hot pepper (serrano??)
  • And the most exciting thing, it's the last week of fava beans. Turns out I love fava beans, and we've only gotten 30 beans so far this season. Well, this week we could go out an pick whatever. There were still a bunch of bean pods if you really searched. And if you were willing to put up with the scratchy, prickly weeds that have overgrown the fava beans. Oh yeah, and the biting flies, which, to be fair, didn't seem to be biting anyone but me. I'm covered in welts. It was worth it, as this will (almost definitely, unless I can track more down at a farmer's market) be all the fava beans until next year. Plus, I had a fun conversation in the field with another woman picking fava beans.
Any recipe ideas, especially for eggplant, cucumbers, or baby carrots?

Random unrelated thoughts:

I just watched the SYTYCD results show, and noticed I'm back to my normal complete inability to predict the opinions of the people who vote. Gev? Really? All you voters, you stink. Oh wait, it's us non-voters who stink. C'est la vie.

N-man did the funniest thing in the middle of last night. N-man fell out of bed, which is thankfully happening less frequently than before, but still occasionally and usually when I'm complete sound asleep. He cried, and asked for me, so in I went. I picked him up, put him in bed, and he asked for some cuddles so I lay down next to him and hugged him. A minute later, he said, "Okay, that's enough cuddles." So I took my arm off him and just lay next to him. He paused for a minute then said, "Get out of my bed!"

He wasn't mean about it, he said it with a tone like, "I said I didn't want cuddles. Clearly I was dismissing you!"

So I gave him a kiss and went back to my own bed.

SYTYCD Top 10 predictions

I'm so late this week! I had book group last night (which was very fun), so I only watched part of SYTYCD last night and just finished watching the rest of the show, only 30 short minutes before tonight's show begins. So I didn't get to think this through as much as I usually do. And I have no idea of how accurate this will be. I can hardly hope to come anywhere close to my performance the past two weeks.

I'm in 2nd place in my betting pool. I have to brag for a minute, as I have no hopes of maintaining such a high standing. I'm preserving my golden moment of nearly being in the sun.

My predictions for the bottom 3 girls this week:

Comfort: I'm glad she was back for a week, and her hip hop with Twitch was pretty good, but her waltz stunk up the joint and her solo was nothing special. Plus, she was almost always in the bottom three, proving America doesn't pick up the phone to vote for her.

Kherington: She wasn't really good in anything this week. She's fizzled a bit for me in the past few weeks. I think we've seen all she has to give.

Chelsie: I thought she was great this week. I loved her Jive, and the contemporary wasn't bad. But I just didn't like her as much as Katee or Courtney, so she's in the bottom three by default. I don't expect her to go home, though.

My predictions for bottom 3 boys this week:

Mark: His solo was my 2nd favorite of the night. Only Joshua's did I enjoy more. Mark's so quirky and odd. But he and Kherington just weren't good tonight, so I don't know if he'll get the votes.

Gev: Both of his routines were good, and his solo was entertaining, but the judges panned both of his performances a little as compared to Chelsie. And I agree with them. He was good, but just shy of great.

Twitch: Gosh, that waltz he and Comfort did was stinky. I don't think the great hip hop erased the terrible waltz. And his solo, while adequate, paled in comparison to all of the other guys I thought.

Going home tonight: I feel pretty good about guessing that Comfort is going home tonight. Hey, maybe every week someone can get injured, Comfort'll be invited back, and I can guess she's leaving. That would take the load off. Anyway, I feel she's the weakest of the dancers left in the competition, and I unless she gets lots of pity votes, I don't think America loves her either. Adios yet again, Comfort!

For the guys, I'm less sure. TK says Gev. Or maybe Mark. He hedges his bets, doesn't he? But I'm going with Twitch. Last week, my friend and her husband were staying with us. They're in the betting pool as well, and her husband really convinced me that Twitch is not long for the competition. I think Joshua and Twitch really fill the same role and compete for the same votes, and I just like Joshua so much more than Twitch. So I say Twitch is leaving tonight.

We also had to pick our guesses for the top 4 and the eventual winner. I was very unsure of these picks, but for what it's worth, here's what I thought:

Top 4: Joshua, Will, Katee, and Courtney. I'm most unsure of the Courtney guess. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Chelsie or even Kherington. Who knows?

And I guessed Katee to win it all. I think I'd prefer it to be Joshua (I really love him), but Katee was my official vote.

Other comments for the night: I'm so in love with Lil' C. He's my favorite guest judge. His comments were constructive, interesting, and fun.

Also, I heard John Lennon rose from the grave to tell Nigel never to play that god-awful version of Imagine again. I love the Joshua and Katee Pas de Deux, but holy moly, that was the most atrocious recording of a song ever. It was insanely distracting in it's awfulness. Yuck!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Visit me at The Veggie Project!

As some of you know, I'm writing for another blog, The Veggie Project. There are a bunch of Boston-area folks eating locally and blogging their recipes. I just posted my first entry over there, an ode to summer squash. Okay, it's not an ode. It's just a recipe. But aren't recipes vaguely poetic? Isn't a good meal a form of artistry? Well, I'm stretching, especially as many of my meals, as best, could be compared to a dirty limerick.

If you're interested in eating locally, or finding new recipes, or seeing some foodporn pictures, head on over. Or if you just want to pop by and say hi and cheer on me (and the other authors). Or if you want to make fun of me (but not the other authors...I don't know how well they take teasing).

Now I'm just going to really have to focus and remember it's a VEGETARIAN blog. Who wants to take bets on how soon I'll have to rush over and edit a post because it contains chicken broth instead of vegetable broth? And you'll all just have to stay tuned here at my own blog for my inventive uses of bacon. Or not so inventive as the case may be. I'm sure I'll be eating BLTs once the tomatoes are in, and I don't think that's going to win me any "what an interesting and new recipe" awards!

Canadians, Food, and The Best Way to Be Kind

We just returned from a trip to Buffalo to visit my family, which as always was lots of fun. We go every summer for the Taste of Buffalo, a huge food festival. You may guess from my blog entries that I have a bit of a love affair with food, and most of my family is like this as well. So a food festival is a perfect reason to make a trip to Buffalo. I had something called chocolate sin. It was rich chocolate cake drowned in chocolate fudge, with a few strawberries. It was the most delicious food on earth. I also had about 1 zillion calories of other food, most of it incredible. It was wonderful!

One thing I love about the greater Buffalo area is the Canadians. We brought our wii with us on vacation, but of course forgot our wiimotes. So at 9:30 pm one night, I was off to Target in Niagara Falls, USA. I think I was the only person who didn't have Ontario license plates! I don't know what's up with the late night American shopping needs of all those Canadians, but the Target was completely hopping.

The guy checking out ahead of me ran out of American money and tried to give the cashier a coin. I couldn't see it well, but I think it was a toonie. With an annoyed tone in her voice, the cashier asked, "Don't you have any *paper* money?" He rooted around in his wallet and pockets, and pulled out some other coins to hand over to the cashier. With such disgust, she said, "What ARE these?"

I'm of two minds about this. First and foremost, you're a cashier working near the US/Canadian border. You're going to get Canadian money. Suck it up, or get a different job. However, having worked as a cashier near the US/Canadian border, I know what a pain in the tushy it is to get all the weird Canadian money. It takes forever to close out your drawer at the end of your shift, and it messes up your reconcilation (especially for me who had to do currency conversions in my head). Mostly, though, I was just annoyed that I once again picked the wrong lane and spent approximately ten thousand years to buy a wiimote.

As I walked out to my car, a bright yellow Hummer raced through the parking lot. It had Ontario plates. It made me glad to realize that us Americans don't have the market cornered on bad taste.

While at my parent's house, I perused my mom's People magazine. In it was a blurb* about some book called Quantum Wellness. I highly doubt I'd like it as apparently Oprah likes it. She's a pretty good judge of what I'll hate. If Oprah recommends it, I can almost guarantee I'll loathe it. But one quote really caught me: "It's making tiny changes that affect your health and the global well-being in a big way." I very much agree with this, and try to make the small changes in my own life that will add up to big changes. However, the author immediately ruined it by giving this example: "Like cutting out animal products: you're decreasing your chance of getting cancer, but you're also helping animals by not eating them."

Wow, there's so much wrong with that statement. First, I would argue that becoming vegan is not a "tiny change" in your own life. Also, it shows a complete lack of understanding of the affects to the environment and animals if everyone immediately became vegan. But, what really got me was the idea that you help animals by not eating them.

I was thinking of trying to do something to help the homeless. Oh, I've got an idea! I can not eat them. They'll love that.

Well, I'm back now, so expect some more blog entries. Leave me a comment about any crazy Canadian stories you have, or food festival memories, or just to say hi. Yes, I'm whoring for comments. What can you do?

*or was it a review? I don't regularly read People, and it seems like everything in the entire magazine is just a blurb. I don't recall it being quite so devoid of content in the past, but perhaps that's because I normally read it while distracted in doctor waiting rooms.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SYTYCD Top 12 predictions

For the last two weeks, I've had pretty strong opinions, but this week I'm far more confused. I thought a lot of the partners had one great performance and one not-so-great, most notably Will and Jessica who had my favorite (mostly nakey) performance of the night, but then also that stinky stinky quickstep. Will people vote thanks to the awesome dance, or not vote due to the terrible dance? And I think by this time, you also have to factor in that people have favorites that they'll vote for no matter how well they danced in the current week.

Yes, I freely admit I think too much about this!

Okay, let's get to it. I don't know who I'm going to pick yet, so this will be as much of a surprise for me as for you!

Bottom Three predictions:

1) Comfort and Thayne: Okay, I'm pretty sure about this one. I would be exceedingly shocked if they weren't in the bottom three. Their hip hop was okay. I mean, Thayne wasn't painful to watch like Chris had been. But Comfort just wasn't phenomenal, which is what I would have expected from her. And their contemporary piece: I'd comment, except that it put me to sleep. Sorry.

2) Kherrington and Twitch: Ack! I don't know if they'll be in the bottom three. Twitch just isn't doing it for me as much as he used to, and they didn't really stand out tonight. Their krump wasn't bad, but Kerrington looked like she was about to pass out by the end. She just ran out of steam. I loved how someone (Mia probably) was like "I usually hate all krump". I'm sure the choreographer was happy to hear all his previous routines hadn't lived up to her high standards. And their second dance, the smooth tango, just wasn't that special. The way they'd talked about it, I thought it would be more violent, like they were fighting. But it really wasn't. I was disappointed.

3) Jessica and Will: I'm so not sure about this. TK seems pretty convinced it'll be Jessica and Will in the bottom three; I was leaning a bit toward Courtney and Gev. As I said earlier, Jessica and Will's naked dance was my favorite of the night, but their quickstep was my least favorite. Are people getting as annoyed as I am by the weeks of over-praise of Will and will that make them refrain from voting? Or will the judges' absolutely atrocious criticism of Jessica give them some pity votes? My favorite was when Mia criticized Jessica for being too insecure. Hmmm, I wonder why the poor girl is insecure when every comment she gets is how she's nowhere near as good a dancer as Will.

I wouldn't be surprised if Courtney and Gev were in the bottom three, even though they won't be my official guess. My favorite comment was when Mia gave them a "compliment" that started out as basically, "I've never liked you, and you're not the best dancers, but...". Um, Mia, there's no possible compliment that you could give them that would cancel out that insult.

I also wouldn't be entirely shocked if Mark and Chelsie were in the bottom three, although the judges liked both of their routines well enough. I wasn't overly impressed by either, though, and was especially distracted by Mark's electrical tape suspenders in the Broadway number.

The only couple I really think is safe tonight is Katee and Joshua. They've been a bit of a surprise to me. Their waltz wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible, either (at least not in my mind). And the Bollywood dance was very fun.

Going home tonight: I have to imagine it'll be Comfort and Thayne. Thayne I'm pretty darn sure of...he's clearly the weakest of the guys who are left so no matter who else is in the bottom three, I think he'll go. Comfort I'm slightly less sure of. They might get rid of Jessica if she's in the bottom three, since Comfort is a more distinctive dancer to go out on the tour. And we already know Mia doesn't like Courtney, so Courtney might be at risk if she's in the bottom three. But if we're going purely according to ability across all dance styles, Comfort really is the weakest so probably should be sent home. Plus, it sounds like Comfort's shoulder is continuing to be an issue, so they might be worried about her endurance to continue in the top 10. So I'll guess Comfort is going home tonight.

I told you, I'm wishy washy this week.

What do you think? I get a lot of random google hits for SYTYCD related searches...feel free to leave you comments, strangers. I welcome friendly heckling!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

CSA Week 5: Yummy!

Here it is, this week's distribution. Due to vacations and people visiting, these past two distributions were pretty close together: Thursday last week and Tuesday this week. So we've had plenty of veggies to eat!

Included this week were the following:
  • 1 head of lettuce (whew, glad the lettuce is slowing down a little!)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 1 bunch onions (I'm not sure what kind...can anyone identify them? They're the little red ones with the long greens)
  • 1 bunch beets
  • 1 bunch baby carrots
  • 2 lbs of squash (patty pan, zucchini, and yellow squash)
  • 2 cucumbers (which I don't like. Should I try to make pickles?)
  • 15 fava bean pods (I LOVED the fava beans last week...15 beans were not enough!)
  • 1 small handful of green beans (yummy yum yum yum!)
We've made some interesting recipes, gotta blog soon!

Random unrelated thought: My friend, and frequent What A Card commenter, Maggie, is visiting with her husband and beautiful daughter. We're having lots of fun, but my posts may be a bit infrequent for the next few days! But don't worry, I'm sure I'll pop in with my SYTYCD predictions. If I can make up my mind. This is a rough week!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Expect a drop in teenage pregnancies... least in the north Boston suburbs.

I took the boys out for bagels for lunch. By myself. That doesn't sound like that big a deal. All of you who know me know that I'll bring my boys pretty much anywhere, at least once. They're pretty well behaved for the most part, so I'm really lucky that I have a reasonable amount of freedom in where we can go.

I had no worries about going to the bagel store. We've gone there many times. Usually on a weekend with TK, but a few times by ourselves.

We got to the bagel store, and I don't know if it was because it was right at the beginning of summer vacation, or if I just showed up at the wrong time, but the bagel store was PACKED with high school students from one of the local high schools. The line to buy bagels was out the door.

Again, I wasn't worried. The boys do fine waiting in line and we were kind of early for their lunch anyway so I wasn't worried about them being too hungry while we waited.

These bagels are really good. I thought I better clarify that point right away so you wouldn't all be thinking: "Why didn't she just leave?" Okay, back to the story.

So we're waiting in line. High school kids to the front of us, high school kids to the back. I was stuck in the middle with twins.

Who were a bit crazy.

They were in a good mood. Which was nice. But, if there is such a thing, they were in TOO good a mood. They were practically hyper, which anyone who knows my laid-back boys knows that isn't something I normally have to worry about. And certainly not both of them hyper at the same time!

They were running around in different directions. They were trying to open doors, trying to run behind the counter, climbing on chairs (at other people's tables), grabbing other girls mistakenly thinking these young women, who I'm sure just *loved* being confused for a 30-something-year old mom, were me. They were running in different directions. And they were totally ignoring me, in such a good-natured happy way that it was hard to get too mad at them.

I looked harried. The recent lack of sleep is taking a toll. I had no makeup on (a common occurrence, but I probably could have used some that day). I clearly couldn't control my children. I was alternating between trying to be stern and cracking up at how nutty they were. I must have seemed like an insane person. I was a spectacle. Everyone was staring at me, and I'm not just being paranoid. They were talking about us...really, I heard them.

Things didn't improve once we finally got our bagels. The boys kept getting out of their seats, running around, trying to eat food off the floor, both wanting to sit on my lap at the same time, begging for things to throw in the garbage can. You know, basically being three year old twins with a lot of energy.

Thankfully they weren't tantrumming. Things could have been far, far worse. But I think I gave all those high school students a good view of how much work children can be. I was a walking advertisement for the benefits of abstinence, or at least birth control, for high school kids.

So nine or ten months from now, if you hear a local high school bragging about how they've managed to drastically reduce teen pregnancy rates, you'll know the truth. It wasn't anything they did, it was just the view I gave them of how nutty life with preschoolers can be.

Random related thought: I had a great time that day, even though *I* needed a nap once we got home. Of course, the boys wouldn't agree to that so I powered through the rest of the day. Maybe the energy of an 18-year-old would have been handy. Oh dear, did I just encourage teen pregnancy?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Minty Garbanzos!

I had some leftover garbanzo beans, so I decided to try the minted chick pea salad recipe over on The Veggie Project.

Yummy! I have plenty of mint from my CSA, and also had half a leftover red onion from a different recipe, so this was a great to help clean out some of the odds and ends in my fridge. And I'm glad I made it as it was so delicious!

I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I tossed in some lemon thyme (also from our CSA), and lemon zest in addition to the other ingredients. It was a summery and fun salad. Quite beautiful and surprisingly colorful for a salad made primarily from chickpeas.

As an aside, can I tell you how much I'm in love with my microplane zester? We got it a few months ago, and I've been busy trying to incorporate citrus zest into nearly every recipe. Okay, I haven't gone quite that far, but it is awfully fun.

So what can I use my zester for besides citrus peel? I've used it for ginger root with some success, but I find it too difficult to use for garlic or parmesan cheese (I prefer my microplane coarse grater for parm :).

Friday, July 4, 2008

CSA Week 4: Anthony Hopkins would be proud!

So, what have we got here? I'll tell you!
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • Bunch of arugula (what to do, what to do?)
  • Bunch of beets (they only had the red ones this time, so I'm glad I tried the golden ones last week!)
  • Bunch of baby carrots (yum!!)
  • 15 Fava Beans (certain to be eaten as a Hannibal Lecter special: with liver and a nice Chianti. Just kidding!)
  • 1 Bunch scallions
  • 1 1/2 lbs squash (we took patty pan and yellow squash)
  • Misc. herbs, including flat leaf parsley, basil, and mint
  • Oh, and a small bouquet of flowers. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a big fan of cut flowers. I find them kind of depressing. But the boys LOVE to pick flowers, so how could we deny them the excitement of fully sanctioned flower picking? As opposed to the normal, "NO! You're not allowed to pick flowers out of someone's garden!"
Any recipe suggestions? I'm all ears!

Random unrelated thought, I'm a 4th of July Scrooge edition: Our neighbors are idiots. They're lighting fireworks off in their backyard. Um, fireworks are illegal here. Um, there are a zillion trees in our backyards. Um, the houses are densely packed together and my roof isn't that far from where you're lighting those things.

I don't hate fireworks, and I'm not particularly scared of them, I just think it's better left to the professionals. Perhaps that's due to a "neighborhood" fireworks display I attended a few years back at my cousin's house (in a state where it is legal for just anyone to buy and set off fireworks). One of the fireworks misfired sideways, hit a woman who lived across the street, and set her leg on fire. Hello, 911. Hello, woman screaming in pain.

Is there really any better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than with a trip to the emergency room and permanent scarring?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm Omniscient!

Bow before my SYTYCD prediction powers!

Hee! I guess extreme fatigue is the key to accessing my psychic powers. Or perhaps it just wasn't that hard to guess this week. I'll have to see what everyone else in my betting pool predicted. It'd be funny if we all made the same choices.

I've got to go to sleep now. I just had to crow for a mo'.

Soup and....Figs?? Plus BIG BOY BEDS!

Oh, I've done it now. I was at the Farmers Market, and they had fresh figs (no way were those local, but they must be in season somewhere as they were cheap...a pint for under $5!)

I decided to make figs with goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto with a drizzle of honey on top. I was inspired by this recipe, but that called for the figs to be wrapped in grape leaves. Why would I wrap something in leaves when I could just as easily wrap it in meat? I made a ton of other changes, but I did get the idea of fig/goat cheese/honey combo from the linked recipe. Here's my version:


5 fresh figs, washed and halved
1/2 log of goat cheese (I used herb and garlic, as it was left over from my beet recipe)
4 slices prosciutto
Honey for drizzling


Preheat broiler.

Layer a slice of goat cheese on top of each fig half. Wrap in prosciutto (I used about 1/3 slice of prosciutto for each fig half). Place on broiler-safe baking sheet.

Broil until prosciutto begins to brown and cheese begins to melt (about 5 minutes for me, but I'd recommend checking every minute or so).

Remove from broiler and drizzle with honey.

These figs were SOOOOO good. Really amazing. I've got to appreciate a recipe that matches fruit and meat so beautifully. It's not every day you can make a recipe like that (remember that Friends episode where Rachel misread the trifle recipe and put meat in the dessert? That doesn't count!)

Oh, now I'm thinking about it, and I do have a recipe sitting in my inbox for beef and peach pie. I've always been curious about that recipe, although never curious enough to actually try it. And I guess you can mix pineapple and chicken pretty easily. Actually, chicken goes pretty well with lots of fruits...blueberries, strawberries, cranberries. Oh heck, maybe a fruit/meat recipe isn't all that unusual. Do you have a favorite you'd like to share?

And I have to give a quick "eat local" shout-out to Crystal's Maine Wild Blueberry honey. This is the best honey I've ever had. It has a really distinctive flavor, and is so delicious. I've also tried their Cranberry honey, which was good, but not as good. Here's a page that lists where it's sold.


I served the figs as an appetizer, and had Kale and Bean soup as the main course.

I followed the linked recipe pretty closely, and thought it wasn't quite soupy enough. I'd probably add more liquid, or less kale in the future. Even so, it was good. TK and I agreed it was a really hearty meal and very filling.

We have another dinner's worth of the soup in the freezer. Maggie, I don't know if you'll read this before you get here, but I know you said E likes soup...think she'd eat this one? I'd be impressed...maybe she could teach my boys, who totally ignored it.


Random unrelated thought, our boys are growing up so fast edition:

Here they are, our boys' twin beds.

Isn't that set up ridiculous? I don't know how we're going to set up their room. We're handicapped by the fact that the roof slopes in on both side, making it too low-ceilinged to put their dresser anywhere but directly in the middle of the long wall of the room. That's why there is one bed that runs sideways.

And do you like how you can see the (totally chewed up) crib just in the very front of the picture? We had both cribs jammed in the room for a day, too. TK took them down this morning. Happy Independence From the Crib day!

N-man has fallen out of bed every night so far, three nights total. Last night when I went in to his room after he'd fallen out of bed, he said, so disgusted with himself, "Mommy, I did it *again*!" It's okay, honey, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it one day.

SYTYCD Top 14 Predictions

Oh my gosh, I'm tired today. It was the boys' 2nd night in their big boy beds, and it went far worse than the first night. They didn't go to sleep until after 9:30, which means we didn't start watching So You Think You Can Dance until after 9:30. Kind of late for a 2 hour show! So we got into bed late, then had to deal with a few middle of the night wake-ups. Anyway, that all combines to create a SLEEPY me, which, if my predictions are wrong this week, is what I plan to blame it on.

Okay, let's start out with what I liked: Oh dear lord, I finally get the Will thing. The judges must have seen him shirtless before. In all seriousness, he is smokin'. No wonder why they keep talking him up. He even overshadowed poor not-quite-as-hot Twitch. Will and Jessica's lyrical jazz number with the shirt was my favorite of the night. I even liked how he put shirt back on when he went over to the judges. In seasons past, it seemed like some of the guys were unnecessarily flaunting their perfect physique in a bid for votes (yes, Dimitri, I'm talking about you!). I didn't get that feeling from Will.

So let's get into my bottom three predictions. The first two I'm pretty confident in, but once again, I'm having trouble with my third pick.

Comfort and Thayne: I liked their partnership better than either of their earlier partnerships, but I still wasn't that drawn to them. Comfort I still like...I think she's fun, though perhaps not the strongest dancer. Thayne, not so much. And the smooth waltz is the kiss of boring death.

Kourtni and Matt: I've been quite vocal about the fact that I love Kourtni, and I think she was adequate tonight, but they both kind of fizzled for me. They had an air of desperation about them, like they know America isn't really interested in them. I actually liked Matt okay in the Hip Hop dance, but they both looked kind of worn out by the end of the Mambo. At least Kourtni's costumes weren't terrible. I was beginning to worry she'd pissed off the costume department with all the ridiculously unflattering things they've made her wear.

Courtney and Gev: I'm not sure about this pick. They're cute, and I'm not sure how much of the teeny-bopper vote they draw. Gev was not very good tonight, especially in the Hip Hop. And I found both of their dances kind of forgettable.

Going home: I'm sad to say it, but I think it's going to be Kourtni. She's just not connecting with the audience, and I think the judges aren't going to let her continue to slide despite her beautiful solos. I highly doubt Comfort will go home as she's distinctive, and Mary is completely in love with her. And I'm not even sure Courtney will be in the bottom three. So I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is Kourtni.

And much more confidently, I'm guessing Matt to go home. If Gev's in the bottom three, he might be a contender, too, and Thayne also isn't the greatest, but the judges really don't seem to like Matt so I don't think they'll save him yet again.

And my vote for most ridiculous prop of the night: that stupid bed in the Twitch and Kherrington contemporary piece. I hate Mia Michaels. That wasn't choreography, that was energetic bouncing on a bed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TK said to me today, "I love coming home to find out what you're cooking." Isn't that sweet? It has been so fun, experimenting with all new foods and recipes. Some are winners, some are losers (I haven't yet blogged about my strawberry gel-ly debacle, but believe me, my strawberry jam was a loser). But it's all fun.

I love vegetables, but I've found that I'm pretty tame in what I buy: if I'm at the store, I get what I know. Zucchini, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions. I love that the CSA is forcing me to branch out a bit. One of the vegetables we got that I had no idea how to prepare was kohlrabi. Honestly, I don't think I've ever even SEEN kohlrabi in the grocery store. I searched around online and found a recipe that appealed to me: kohlrabi and carrots in honey butter sauce. I figured, carrots: good. Honey: good. Butter: good.

The recipe was simple and I followed it pretty closely (although for some unknown reason, I halved the kohlrabi and carrots amounts but forgot to half everything else so it ended up a bit soupy. Operator error on that one but easily corrected as I just used a slotted spoon to remove the carrots and kohlrabi).

It was tasty, but somehow wasn't quite outstanding. The carrots were better than the kohlrabi. I'm not sure if I don't love kohlrabi, or if this just wasn't the best dish to showcase it, but I'd probably try a different recipe if we get kohlrabi again.


Next it was time for the beets. I must admit, I'm not a beet fan. I've mainly had them at salad bars and have come to conclude they're just there to fill out the salad bar without the restaurant having to worry that anyone would actually want to eat them. But, as always, I'm game to give something a try.

I got my inspiration from this recipe to match roasted beets with goat cheese. However, I thought this was a bit fussy with cutting everything into perfect rounds and having different oils and vinaigrettes and glazes. And I didn't have two different kinds of beets...just the golden ones. And I'm probably admitting to my pedestrian tastes, but I'm just not a big fan of towers of food. That's just weird in my admittedly non-gourmet opinion to have stacked food, unless it's a club sandwich.

So I just tossed the beets in a few tablespoons of olive oil, put them in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil, and baked them at 350 degrees for about an hour (for my small beets) until a toothpick easily pierced the center. You can peel them after they've been roasted (and cooled a bit). The skin just peels off with your fingers.

I sliced the beets thinly and alternated them with slices of herb and garlic goat cheese. (As an aside, the goat cheese was local as well, from Westfield Farm. It was outstanding cheese!)

My final vote: it was pretty good. I'm not a huge beet fan, but the goat cheese/beet combination was perfect. TK thought this was incredible, but he likes beets far more than I do. Three year old twins: liked the goat cheese, wouldn't try the beets.


As we were picking up the beets, the guy working the distribution mentioned that beet greens were delicious. Darn it, now I have no excuse for not cooking them!

I found a recipe for preparing beet greens (or kale, or collard greens) that used vinegar and bacon. Hey, that sounds good to me! As an aside, have I mentioned my theory of preparing these odd, new (to me) vegetables, or vegetables I haven't liked in the past? I try to pick a recipe that includes an ingredient I like. Goat cheese, bacon, honey...something familiar that I know I'll like.

Here's a link to the recipe I used. I made some changes, though, fairly significantly altering quantities:


Green from 5 beets
1/2 large onion, finely diced
2 strips of bacon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
Sprinkle red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Wash beet greens, remove thick stems, and tear leaves into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Fry bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.

Add onions to the bacon grease and cook over medium heat until slightly translucent. Add the garlic, stir, then add the water, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the greens and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (the original recipe calls for 30 minutes if you're using kale or collard greens). Add the vinegar, cook for about 1 minute, then you're done! (The original recipe is a little unclear; if you're using kale or collard greens you may have to cook for an additional 20 or so minutes....basically, if you're using kale or collard greens, you should probably just head on over to the original recipe linked above).

Place the greens on a plate and garnish with crumbled bacon.

These were interesting. It was definitely my first time eating beet greens. They were sweet and sour; a touch spicy and a hint salty. That sounds like a lot of competing flavors, and it kind of was. But somehow it worked. TK and I cleaned this up...there wasn't a bite left. At the end of dinner, we even ate the little bits we'd put on the boys plates that they had totally ignored. Well, except for picking the bacon off to eat.


If you look closely at the picture of the beet greens, you can see in the background that we had quinoa with it. In the last 3 minutes of cooking the quinoa, I tossed in some spinach. It was a great addition and a good way to use up some of that spinach. I'm not even going to include a recipe...just cook the quinoa however you normally do (or follow the directions on the bag/box if you don't normally prepare quinoa), then toss in some chopped spinach. Yum!


Random totally related thought: The last CSA newsletter had a link to a brand new blog, The Veggie Project. It's basically a bunch of folks eating local in the greater Boston area. Their only flaw is that it's a vegetarian blog, so I highly doubt they share my love affair with bacon.

There's only a few recipes there at the moment, but I'm pretty excited about the blog since I was looking for something exactly like this when I first started on my eat-local adventure. If anyone is eating local in New England, or just looking for in-season veggie recipes, you may want to check them out!

Oh, double PS~~I just noticed Snickollet is a contributer to the blog! That's weird...Snick, how did you find out about this blog that's only existed for a week or two??