Monday, September 12, 2011

But you already knew this

I'm really getting to hate the very word "cancer". I just e-mailed the couple who were the life's blood of the folk dance performing troupe I used to dance with. She e-mailed me back with an answer to my question, and with the news that her husband died of cancer back in June! He was barely in his 50s, had been healthy as any horse (they ate right, danced, worked out, ran - you name it). He was a vibrant personality, patient teacher, a wonderful dancer - hard to believe he's gone!

The Chief's cousin seems to be failing fast with her cancer too. He talked to one of their cousins the other night, who said M never got on the phone any more and cited some other things that just aren't like her. Sounds like we may need to make sure our funeral clothes are ready to go.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another culinary experiment that's a keeper

Busy day in the kitchen today - made a pot of mushroom soup from scratch from an online recipe. I want to play with it a bit (e.g., I think it would have thickened if I'd used 1% milk instead of skim and low-fat sour cream instead of fat-free) but it's definitely one I'll make again. Served it with bread & salad - very good and very healthy. I used "baby bella" mushrooms, so even the virtually fat-free version tasted rich and indulgent. I always ask the Chief's opinion on my experiments; he's not a big soup fan, but when asked my usual "should I make this again?", he answered "definitely!"

We're doing pretty well with our decision to try to eat better. I've done a lot of experimenting with lower-fat versions of standards (found a good baked eggplant parmagiana recipe I'm still tweaking), tried some new things. We haven't been nearly as good about eating more meatless meals. The baked eggplant recipe is the only meatless entree added to the repertory. I've asked the Chief to look for meatless entrees he'd like to try but he can't really look at a recipe and decide if it sounds good; to him it's just a list of ingredients. Guess I'll have to pull out our one vegetarian cookbook and take another look at the things I'd marked to try first.

I saw another mushroom recipe that calls for 3 kinds of mushrooms but it's meant as a side; I'd have to play with it to see if I can figure out how to work in some protein to make it an entree. Any ideas, anyone?

Look, up in the sky!

The sun! We finally got a sunny day yesterday, for the first time in a week. High humidity but no rain, so I actually got out and took a quick walk before dinner. Wanted to do that today, but didn't get out before it clouded up and threatened yet another storm. We didn't get any rain, but I was reluctant to go out and find myself blocks from home if the heavens decided to open up.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Any mourners for the deceased?

The Chief found a corpse the other day! He was up in the attic measuring for insulation when he spotted a little mouse carcass. He has since moved a few traps up there, in case the mice are hanging out up there now that the weather isn't so hot. I just hope we can get rid of the vermin before the cold weather gets here, or we'll be stuck with them all winter, chewing on things and making a mess.

Such a crazy week!

Last week was one for the record books. Storms Sunday night that spawned a few tornados (no major damage, thank God), the East Coast's first significant earthquake in not nearly enough years on Tuesday, then Hurricane Irene Saturday, which tried to obliterate poor Vermont and from which some people in this area are still out of power!

The earthquake was my first. I was in a class for work that day, had felt the occasional rumble or vibration earlier in the day, but then the projector images started bobbing up & down while the screens swayed and the floor kinda rolled - very weird! They ended up sending us home early (along with practically everyone else in town), and several buildings were closed the next day while structural damage was assessed, but most places seemed to escape with little or no damage.

The hurricane was another disaster that wasn't as bad as it could have been. The power outages persist, but they weren't quite as widespread as from Isabel, and at least in our area, there wasn't as much damage from downed trees. That was my biggest fear, given that it rained and rained and rained, for close to 24 hours straight! The chief & I lost power for 23 hours, but the weather wasn't blistering or freezing, we have a gas stove and plenty of non-perishables, and we're not on a well, so we had water. Could have been much worse, although trying to shower & shave by flashlight was an experience we'd prefer not to repeat.


We ended up coming home from the fair with about 13 LBS. of beefsteak tomatoes! In my innocence, I decided to make marinara sauce. Note to self: beefsteak tomatoes do NOT make good sauce - much too watery! Much basil, rosemary, oregano, and tomato paste and 8 or so hours later, we ended up with 18 cups of sauce. I gave away at least half of it, used another 1 1/2 c. in a baked eggplant recipe I found online, but we still have tons of the stuff left. We may be eating a lot of pasta this weekend, or maybe it'd be good over, say, a baked potato...