February 26, 2011

the taste of good things

The last few weeks have been such a slump, for some reason. Maybe because the best part of winter has passed and I like to have something specific to look forward to, and there isn't anything on the radar right now. Maybe also because it's a weird time of Life Plan uncertainty for us (which you'd think we would be used to by now) and while I like to think I'm flexible and such, right now I'm pretty much just uncomfortable and discontent and a grouch.

So in an effort to rally, here are some things that I like, for no particular reason. Most of them are food.

We tried quinoa for the first time last week, and going into it, I was a little worried. Being a recovering Picky Eater (Hi, my name is Anna, and I'm a Picky Eater) and a total texture phobe, I wasn't sure how the quinoa was going to go over. So I found a recipe full of stuff that I like and hoped it would be enough of a distraction. Success!

And, my husband was a good sport and ate some too, even after I repeatedly told him that my feelings weren't in danger and he didn't have to eat it if it bombed. The quinoa was pretty bland and reminded me a lot of couscous, which we also had last week, and in an attempt to avoid any more bland mines (HAAAAA), I found a recipe that used all of this.

I mean, come on. How can sundried tomatoes steer you wrong? We had the couscous with a whole roasted chicken, but that did not turn out nearly as good-looking so I didn't take any pictures as evidence. It wasn't a disaster or anything, but it wasn't a chicken to brag about for generations to come, either.

Something I really, really love is roasting whole heads of garlic (which I did in the same pan with the undocumented chicken). I toasted some bread in the oven too, squeezed some roasted garlic on, took a bite, and passed out from sheer delight.

... I might be drooling a little over here.

I also found a Maple Pecan scone recipe while flipping through my new Pioneer Woman cookbook (a Christmas gift I received two of, one from my mother-in-law AND one from my stepmom, who are apparently competing for the thoughtfulness prize) and I am truly sorry I can't link to it for you, because it is delicious. Obviously this is the result of whipping cream, sugar, and about 19 pounds of butter, but I got over that guilt pretty quickly.

That icing is just ridiculous. I used to always use the scone recipe in my copy of the BHG Cookbook, but no more. We have a new normal around here.

I love this mug but I look like a fool when I sip out of the corners. It's the only way to work with it. The dignity we sacrifice for love.

I'm not very creative when it comes to cooking. It's like when I clean; most of the time I avoid it until I just have to deal with it, but every once in I while I'm struck with inspiration and clean all the things! or in this case, try something new without exceeding our means. It's a tricky thing, sticking to a budget and staying cheerful and creative about it at the same time. I'm not great at it but I have my occasional moments of grace that allow me to see the joy in what we so often see as "less".

I've been reading 'A Moveable Feast', a collection of essays from Hemingway's time in Paris, and he often mentions how poor he and his wife and his young son are. He does acknowledge having to choose between good things because of this, but it's never in a bitter tone. I love the simplicity and warmth in this quote:

"But then we did not think ever of ourselves as poor. We did not accept it. It had never seemed strange to me later on to wear sweatshirts for underwear to keep warm. It only seemed odd to the rich. We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other."

February 12, 2011


I love, love this short. So clever! And not just because it was produced by Aardman, who is responsible for the joy that is Wallace & Gromit.

February 2, 2011

Empathy, or lack thereof

Scene: I am watching "The Bachelor" on tv. I make fun of it out loud, but secretly there is a part of me that enjoys it. (What is with reality tv and the false sense of superiority it gives me?) Bryan sits in the same room reading, but listening just enough to add his own commentary, because obviously the saga of human emotion is irresistible. He leaves the room briefly, and when he comes back, our friend the Robot Bachelor has sent a girl home, and I am laughing (because I am heartless).

Me: Do you know what she said? She just said, "I feel like I just got punched in the stomach. AND THE HEART."

Bryan: Aw, I liked her!

Somebody's a sucker for the drama, and it's not me.