Archive Page 2

Cooking Beats The Blues

IMG_3078

Yesterday was NOT a good day. There are some ‘things’ that are making me less than happy at work. I expect those to clear up, but in the meantime I’m not enjoying the state of things. I can tell that I really am fully healthy again because I have the energy to be grumpy. I’m aware of all the things that NEED TO GET DONE and all the things about myself that are not satisfactory. Gee, almost makes me wonder if being sick DOES have an upside. 🙂 I know – be VERY careful what you wish for.

To top it off I went out at lunch to try to find paint for several of the rooms in the house that still need finishing after taking apart the house for the new electrical wiring in the renovated kitchen. The paint is annoying for a few reasons. First, I can’t believe it’s been over a year and I still haven’t done anything about it. Well, that’s not fair. I DID engage someone to do the painting but he never got to it before I had to tell him to cancel the request. But I HAD picked out paint colors. I thought I’d run over to the big box stores and see if I could pick up the paint myself. Maybe my husband and I would be inspired and tackle one of the walls. I cannot find the colors I selected off of the contractor’s color wheel. I remember the numbers and some of the names. They were NOT at the first big box store I checked. I grabbed a multitude of color samples but none of them look right. I went to the other big box store yesterday to see their colors. While I was standing there the screen over the lights fell on my face. Yes, that is correct – on my face, cutting my nose and hitting my lip as well. I was very taken aback. It is indicative of my mood at that point that I wanted to cry. 😦 When I went to Customer Support to get the cut cleaned and bandaged and some ice for what felt like it might be a swelling lip, they were completely nonplussed. It was if no one had EVER been injured in that store before nor had they personally ever seen a bleeding cut. Really????? Anyway, the woman got me a wipe from the entry way (the kind you use to sanitize your shopping cart handle) and the man ultimately found me some ice, which he delivered in a napkin. And HE was the manager. Honestly, what passes for training these days? You can see why THAT errand left me grumpy and frustrated.

IMG_3074

carrots & onion

I came home early, resolved to bake or cook or something to beat the blues. I was expecting my husband home around 5:30. I knew he had an appointment far away and almost called him around 5:00 to ask where he was so I could judge arrival time. Imagine my surprise when he called a little after 5 to tell me he had only just left and wouldn’t be home until maybe 7:30. Ouch. That’s a bit late for me to eat. 😦 Good thing I had NOT called when I thought of it, as he would have still been in the meeting.

IMG_3076

carrots, onions, lentils, thyme, bay leaf, red pepper, tomato paste, salt, pepper

I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down to read and think. That all led to me feeling more relaxed and positive about cooking. I decided to try a lentil recipe that I’d found months ago when I was looking for dishes to serve for Sukkot. I wanted something with flavor and texture but uncomplicated because I wasn’t in a mood to fuss. I went with the Pasta e Lenticche recipe. I liked that it cooked in one pot. I hate doing dishes. *grin* I had nearly all the ingredients. I only had green lentils, not brown lentils (note to self: buy brown lentils) and I didn’t have the suggested pasta – I had rotelle, not any tubular pasta, and only dried bay leaf, not fresh. But I did have fresh thyme because that is one of my porch pots that is still producing. 🙂

IMG_3077

water added per the recipe; ended up adding probably another 2-3 cups because of using green lentils

The dish was very easy to make and very tasty. I had to add much more liquid due to the use of green lentils, but it was easy to judge how much to add. The use of rotelle seemed not to make a difference. I had to add salt to my dish but that is always the case as my husband watches his salt intake. Just as I finished the dish and began to move it to the smallest burner to keep it hot, my husband came through the door. Perfect timing! I’d even had time to put together a fresh salad. Delicious dinner, recipe well worth keeping and repeating, and I was no longer so grumpy. Food, wine and thinking creative thoughts beat the blues yet again!

IMG_3080

pasta e lentichhie all ready!

Life in the Office Kitchen

IMG_3065

Neat and orderly with SUCH a variety of choice!

We have a small kitchen in our office. Maybe it’s not that small, but I’m comparing it to the one in my former office, which also had tables and a lot more counter space. We have a snack vending machine, a drink vending machine, a refrigerator, 2 microwaves, a Keurig coffee maker, a sink, and a water cooler. I think that is a fairly respectable work kitchen. The big issue is over the Keurig coffee maker. Let me take that back. For ME, the big issue is that so many people are (1) slobs, (2) can’t follow directions and (3) are selfish. Three issues. (“Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…“) Our company does NOT provide coffee for us (do NOT go there) so I like to surprise my office mates by bringing in coffee, cream and pastries on occasion. Usually on a Monday, or on a day when the weather is awful. If I’ve done the grocery shopping that weekend and thought ahead I’ve tossed in “office goodies”. Often I stop on my way to work to pick up something for snacks or lunch and that’s most often when I’ll also treat the office. I did so on January 6, the unofficial “everyone back to work after the holidays” Monday.

We have what is known as a mobile office. That means that many workers are allocated to this office but they are mobile workers, going out on sales and/or service calls, or visits to client sites. So they don’t have assigned desks and there are always people coming and going. There were 2 people in the office that day that I’d not seen before. I filled up the K-cup dispenser with coffee, and put out a box of non-refrigerated cream pods. I noticed one of these ‘new’ people taking more than just one K-cup. Because I was standing there and watching, she walked out without taking the extras. I’ve seen this before. I’ll fill the dispenser, I’ll notice how many are there, go by a few minutes later and see that it has been depleted. I believe this is due to people “hoarding” the coffee. There aren’t used K-cups in the garbage and there wasn’t an influx of people so if several K-cups “vanish” in the matter of minutes, it means someone walked off with them for their own personal supply. I’m sure they think it’s no big deal – the company will put out more. But it IS a big deal because there ISN’T any more and they are depriving their coworkers of the enjoyment of a free cup of tasty coffee. It infuriates me. Well, that Monday seeing that ‘new’ person lining up an extra K-cup (and using THREE dairy pods in her coffee – that is NOT coffee, sweetie, that’s milk with some flavoring), I lost my temper a little bit. I made a sign and put it out on the counter explaining that it was a coworker supplying the goodies, and the other coworkers being deprived by people hoarding. Two weeks before someone had walked off with a completely full jar of honey that had been supplied by another coworker. Once my note was out another person wrote that one and half full bundles of paper towels had disappeared from the cabinets, as well as most of the paper in the printer. We are past hoarding here, and into STEALING. It’s disgusting.

IMG_3066

Offending K-cups hidden in the BACK of the drawer.

Some of us treat our coworkers from the goodness of our hearts (that would be me *grin*) and some of us treat our coworkers because of dietary preferences. One of my friends here keeps kosher. Yesterday 4 Swiss Miss hot cocoa K-cups appeared in the dispenser. Swiss Miss cocoa is NOT kosher. That means if someone uses a Swiss Miss K-cup in the machine, my friend will need to re-kasher the Keurig so that he can make coffee and tea. *grin* (It’s not that hard to re-kasher but it is annoying and if that’s what he needs to do to feel comfortable, it’s his effort). This morning he came in with tea k-cups and coffee k-cups and filled up the dispenser with those (I’d already added my 6 coffee K-cups). He hid the offending hot cocoa pods in the back of the drawer. *grin* I said to him that people might still be using non-kosher pods and he sighed, shrugged and said yes, but I think people tend to use whatever is in front of them. *laughing* So true!!! So we had a full dispenser of interesting beverages. We also had cream because *I* got tired of people stealing my half-and-half from the refrigerator, and tired of them hoarding the little pods, and I brought in a large container of the powdered non-dairy creamer. I also am the person responsible for straightening out the different sugar substitutes. *laughing* It was making me crazy to see everything all mixed up and messy. I started aligning sugars back in the fall. Someone had left a lot of hot cocoa mix packages on the counter so I found a way to make them neat as well. (Too bad this obsession with order and cleanliness does NOT extend to my house.) It’s now 1pm and it appears that no one is hoarding today, and the caramel vanilla coffee my friend brought in has been a big hit! (I have to say – it smells wonderful.) Peace reigns in the kitchen, at least today.

Perhaps This is What “Health” Feels Like

IMG_3040

Baking powder biscuits made with cream and butter. Yum.

I’m not sure anymore what “healthy” feels like. Are you allowed to have a little bit of sniffles and still be healthy? This weekend I had more energy than I’ve had in weeks. My sister and her husband were coming to dinner on Saturday. I gave myself the luxury of sleeping late (or as late as BC allowed).  When I got up, I fed the cats, put away the dry clean dishes from the day before, made coffee and made up a batch of biscuits!!! I haven’t really felt like baking in WEEKS!
IMG_3047

Have I mentioned here what I’ve been doing with my coffee these days?  I’ve been adding chili powder and cayenne pepper to the grounds before brewing. I sometimes add cinnamon as well. I find the heat really helps to clear my sinuses and cut through any PND syndrome that is present. I learned that I liked the chili/cayenne/cinnamon combination added to chocolate so I figured that it might work well with coffee as well. I think it was on one of Jinjer’s posts that I ended up in a discussion about those flavors, and the fantastic designer chocolate that introduced me to the combination – Chuao Spicy Maya dark chocolate. I love their website as well. How can you resist the slogan: “For when wine just isn’t cutting it“? They sure have me pegged. 🙂
IMG_3048

Anyway, once I had my coffee, I was a fountain of energy. I had the energy to have a text conversation with my niece, I cleaned all the counters, wiped down the white cabinets, swept the floors, damp mopped the floors, and cleaned off the dining room table. I then took an hour to relax and make sure I hadn’t pushed beyond my reserves. Then I started baking the spice cake for dessert, and preparing the vegetables to go along with my husband’s cornish game hens. He was also making potatoes au gratin. Dinner WAS delicious. Apologies that I did not take a picture of the cooked hens & potatoes – you will have to trust me that not only where they delicious but they were beautiful as well. My brother-in-law made TWO delicious loaves of bread – a grainy bread with pine nuts and seeds. Also fantastic and we’ve been enjoying the bread since then. 🙂 They left BOTH loaves with us.

IMG_3045

GC and WC helped my husband research how to cook the game hens

I did send the spice cake home with them. The menfolk told me that they loved the spice cake (made using Tagatesse and Sukrin Gold sugar substitutes) but neither of them much care for cream cheese frosting (in general – it was not a comment on the frosting recipe, which I found tasty). If I’d known THAT, I’d have skipped it and just served the spice cake with whipped cream. 🙂 I’ll know for next time. I have to agree with them. That spice cake recipe made a tasty moist cake that really doesn’t even need frosting. It would be perfect with coffee in the morning.

IMG_3052

very moist and tasty. sorry for the blur. 🙂

So the thing that is totally frustrating me at this point is that it is becoming impossible to obtain Tagatesse in this country. I don’t even mind paying the outrageous price Amazon demanded – $18/1 pound box. (You do realize that white sugar sells for around $1.50-$1.99 for FOUR pounds???) I need to make friends with someone in Europe (NOT the UK)and/or find someone heading over to Europe. Damhert does not ship to the United States. I only have one more box of Tagatesse. 😦

VICTORY!!!!

I WON!!!!!

3 CATS. 3 BEDS. Each cat in a bed AT THE SAME TIME!!!

I WON!!!!!!!!!! (and I don’t care that the quality of the photo is terrible. I had to do panoramic in a dark room. But I have PROOF!!!!)

3 cats in 3 beds

A New Definition of Insanity

IMG_3024

I’m such a GOOD girl – I NEVER give you problems!

We all attribute to Albert Einstein the saying that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” (even though it’s fairly certain he never DID say that). I have a NEW definition of insanity, one with which I think many of you will agree.

IMG_3001

spurned

The definition of insanity is “expecting cat behavior to make sense or conform to prior cat behavior”. My cats are in league to drive me crazy (or crazier than I am already). I absolutely MUST get healthy and get OUT of the house and AWAY from them.

IMG_2998

We’re sisters. We like hanging out together. Sometimes.

Cat beds. I will never ever again buy a bed for a cat. My dog was wonderful. I bought her a bed and she used it. She was CONSISTENT in where she slept and what she did. She was, in hindsight, perfect.

IMG_2995

I’m so cute

BC spent the day today in what I have been calling her bed in front of the fireplace. GC spent the day on the red couch, in my husband’s seat, keeping company with the WC, who was in HER familiar spot on the back of the red couch. Until we went in and spoke to them. Apparently THAT changed the aura in the house.

IMG_3009

I’d forgotten how much I like the radiator

WC is now comfortably ensconced in the ORIGINAL cat bed – the one that was hers, until GC gave it cooties. BC – in her bed. GC – on the radiator. My husband saw her approach what we thought was now her bed. GC saw WC in the bed and turned around and went to the radiator. (Actually she went and sat on MY work chair because I was not in it at the moment. When I chased her off so that I could sit she headed to the radiator.)

IMG_3011

What? This is MY bed now. Again. Sometimes.

3 cats. 3 beds. One might think that every cat could have a bed. But apparently that is NOT how cats think. Apparently the original bed no longer has cooties. Apparently the newest bed is unappealing. Apparently WC has a new game – driving me bonkers. I do not care HOW ill I feel next week – I am NOT working from home!!!!

IMG_3022

Except for when it is MY bed. Now. Sometimes.


IMG_3017

WHY do cats sit with their faces against a wall?? I don’t think this is a healthy pose. 😦

Don’t Forget To Water

IMG_3004

Succulents seem to be hardy

As I’ve mentioned in the last several posts, I have been struggling with the remains of some sort of sinus/bronchial illness since December 22. When I am “under the weather”, as the colloquialism goes, I tend to be less careful about all the personal hygiene routines. Okay, don’t freak – I shower and brush my teeth. *grin* I mean all those little extras in which some of us indulge: moisturizer routines, manicures, pedicures. I also tend to neglect my plants’ personal hygiene as well. I noticed yesterday morning that the plants in the kitchen window looked thirsty. That’s easily remedied. I put them all in the sink and ‘rained’ on them for a while with the sink spray. Today I realized that I’d also neglected the areca palms in the breakfast room. They’d been surviving there in the winter, but today I saw that two of the leaves had turned yellow. That’s not good. 😦 I watered them and made a note to myself (yes, a physical note up on the wall) to water them tomorrow. I hope I haven’t done irrevocable damage to them. I’d really like them to survive until I can move them back to the porch in May. The information I found online claims they can weather a little drought. I hope 2-3 weeks in a house with humidifiers counts as “little”.

IMG_3003

The areca palms. The pink is from the grow light.

Cat Beds, part 4

Or “Post In Which I Give Up Entirely”

IMG_2969

This bed thing is IN MY WAY

Last night I tried yet again to give the new cat bed to WC. Why? Because when SHE owned the first bed, she seemed to really enjoy it. Remember she gave up her perch on the red couch in the sunroom to be in the darker living room IN THE BED. I took that to mean that she liked the bed and the concept of ‘bed’.

IMG_2973

Okay, at least it doesn’t smell

Before I settled in to read, I tossed the new bed on the floor in front of the fire. That had seemed acceptable the night before. Indeed, WC went over to check it out. First she sat next to it for several minutes. I pretended to not notice. 🙂

IMG_2978

Fine. I’ll try.

I watched her stand in the bed, sniffing it. No cooties – GC has not yet sat in this bed. WC sat in it. She faced the fireplace, she turned around and faced the chair. I could see the discontent on her little furry face. So expressive. She never curled up in it. After a few minutes of sitting, and finding it lacking, she walked away. She returned to her perch on the red couch. All the rest of us (GC, BC and I) were in the living room, enjoying the fire. But not WC.

IMG_2981

I thought you said the bed was MINE

This morning the bed was still on the rug in front of the fireplace. My husband remarked that BC was in the bed! I got up to see for myself. Indeed, BC was curled up in the bed. WC was standing there next to her. You can see by WC’s expression that she is NOT pleased. (Contrary to what I post here, there ARE occasions when WC IS pleased. Usually, however, they involve her in my lap being brushed and not only is it hard to take a picture of her when I’m brushing her but my primary view is of her back. Sometimes she turns a blissful face towards me.) BC has now spent most of the day curled up in the bed, except for a little while when she was on my lap. WC is in the sunroom on the red couch, GC is on the couch in HER bed in the living room. Fine. You can all sit wherever you want. This is no longer MY problem. 🙂

IMG_2992

Thank you, Mommy! I LOVE the bed! Look how CUTE I am


Stat Counter

wordpress analytics