Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala (Or, OMFG I’m Gonna Eat It All)

J recently bought a cookbook that focuses more on fuelling athletic performance. The authors cook for professional cycling teams, so they know about cooking on the fly, cooking for hungry guys, and cooking for maintaining athletic performance. The recipes in the book are some they have used on the road. They hope to give athletes the means to eat healthy on their own.

I actually sat down and read through the introduction and explanation sections before delving into the recipes. The book? The Feed Zone Cookbook, by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim.

J had found one recipe online to try, a simple chicken fried rice. We modified it a bit (something they encourage) by using brown rice instead of white, and adding carrots to the mixed veggies, instead of just corn and peas. It’s delicious. I love it.

This week, J is gone for work and I have cleaned up the leftovers from the fridge. With meals running low, I flipped through the cookbook and found one of my favorite Indian dishes, Tikka Masala. It’s very basic, so you can modify it as you want from there.

The recipe calls for:

2 pounds of chicken
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt

For starters, we had some frozen chicken tenderloins, so I thawed them out, not a full 2 pounds. I rounded that out with a green bell pepper cut in strips and a small zucchini cut into half circles.

I used a can of tomato sauce and greek yogurt, since that’s what I keep around. Also used up all my curry powder. Guess I’ll be buying more of that!

After chopping everything, I just mixed together the tomato sauce, yogurt, and curry.

I poured that over the chicken and veggies.

Then I put it in the fridge to marinate. I was a little slow getting the oven preheated, so it sat for about an hour and a half in the fridge, then I just popped my glass dish in the oven and set a timer for an hour.

I started some brown rice to serve with it and sat down to start writing this. Wait, what? Never you mind.

So, here’s a lesson for you. Read your recipe. Then read it again. And again, as you do it. And again, and again.

I forgot to cover the dish with foil.

Alas! All is not lost! Although it was not as soupy as it should have been, it was still very delicious. The sauce cooked down to a thick tomato paste and I enjoyed every bite.

I will make this again and remember the foil. Or you can cook it on the stove, just simmer for 30 minutes. You can also add some fresh ginger or chiles, which I hope to try next time as well. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pulire - To Clean (Or, OMG! A Post From Italy!)

A long time ago, in a land far, far away…..

I created a cleaningschedule. Seriously. Me. I made a little monthly calendar and had household chores for me to do each weekday. I put that little calendar in a plastic sheet protector on my fridge and marked off the chores as I did them. It actually helped me keep my house a little neater than it was.

Then I moved, and moved, and moved again. I need to do that all over. I don’t seem to have saved a copy of that cleaning schedule, but guess what? I blogged it!! So I can take the old schedule, tweak it to fit the needs of my new house and home, and get organized. (ha! Me? Organized?) I gotta make this happen.

I will be working here. OH hey! Guess what! I got a job! I haven’t blogged. I know, bad blogger. I am only working part time, which means keeping my house clean shouldn’t be a struggle, right? I mean really, how much mess can 2 people make?

I suppose, since it’s been so long since I posted, I owe you all an update. J and I love our little townhome. The animals love the spring weather we are having. I’m making friends and J is getting settled in to work. I got a part time job on post that should be starting soon and I’m taking a twice a week beginner Italian class.

J and I work out together in the mornings. I’m actually building some upper body strength for the first time in my life! So yes, life is good and things are going well. Now I just need to get organized.

One thing I know I’m bad at is dealing with stuff right away. I like to set it down and tell myself I’ll deal with it later. I’m a master procrastinator.  How do I get over this? I have to start making myself put things away instead of just setting them down. Or if I really don’t have time “right now” to handle it, set a time to handle it later. And I have to stick to that.

I also realized that I made a mistake in setting up our house. I was going to use my craft room as my place to let my stacking habit loose, but that won’t work if my craft room is also the guest room. Will it? I mean, I guess it could, and I could just clean it up when we have guests. But I’m thinking of swapping the office and craft rooms. So the guest room will be combined with the office, and I will borrow the guest bed when I’m sandwiching a quilt. Then I can always just shut the door on my messy craftiness. J and I had agreed that I could have a space to be messy in, so it makes more sense for that space to not be the guest room.

I really just use my blog to write out my thoughts, don’t I? Oh well. I think it will work. I’m going to make some changes. But first, I’m going to make that cleaning schedule. And buy a 220v vacuum so I can just plug it into the wall and not have to drag the giant extension cord with me to vacuum up dog hair. I think I want a steam mop, too. Maybe with my first pay check?

Friday, December 12, 2014

It's That Time Again (No, I Don't Mean Christmas)

I haven’t blogged much here. But then again, we all know I’m a bad blogger. But now I’m getting ready to move again, and it’s time to think about my (short) time here in Maryland.

For starters, I’ve been spending every Monday with my BFF, Misty. She works from home 3 days a week, so I watch the girls while she works. It’s mucho fun. I love getting to spend time with her, and I’m bonding with my goddaughters. I usually take Rem with me, and he loves having a yard to hang out in.

My whole health and fitness thing hasn’t gone all that well. Getting a new tattoo meant a few days off while I healed, then I had a swollen ankle, then I got Hand, Foot, and Mouth from my darling goddaughter. But I feel like I’m starting to get back in the swing of things. In fact, in the few months I’ve been here, I’m able to use heavier weights on some of the moves J and I do on weight days. My bench press started with 10 pound dumbbells and now I can do 20s! (We don’t have barbells at our fitness center, so dumbbells it is.) Maybe I’ll be able to push the 25s before I leave.

I mentioned the new tat. I have had this tat idea for years now. The flame and water drop on my shoulder blades. I found a great artist out here and got it done. Finally! Seriously, I’ve wanted this since before we even left Kansas. Kinsey worked with me over email, sent me a sketch, and did the work. It took 2 hours. Turns out even my racerback sports bra rubbed them a bit, so I couldn’t work out for a few days while they scabbed over and healed. However, they healed amazingly; quick, painless, not a lot of itch, and they look gorgeous.

This is right after they were done
I forget the tat is there most of the time. It just feels like it always should have been there.

And now it’s time to move again. I’m looking forward to actually staying in one place for a while. This past year has been stressful, but next year is bound to be amazing.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sometimes I Open My Mouth And My Dad Comes Out (Or, Daddy's Girl)

Girls are supposed to grow up and become their mothers, right?

Not me. I’m becoming my dad.

I play with kids and animals the way he does. I make up my own words like he does. I find myself using nicknames for my nieces and nephews that he used to use with me. And I make silly sounds for little kids just like he still does.

I have his sense of humor, and his DGAF attitude.

My dad has a shoe collection, mostly work boots. My shoe collection is mostly running shoes.

I once compared signatures on driver’s licenses: mine, dad’s, and grandpa’s (dad’s dad). They were all very similar.

My dad has a tendency to just set things down wherever is handy. I do the same thing. I’m working on that, trying to assign a place for things and put them in that place.

My dad can walk past something 10 times without seeing it. We used to leave his presents sitting on the table, unwrapped. We’d wrap them just in time to give him his gift, and he would be surprised. No clue it had been sitting there. Yeah, I can be that way, too. I’ll walk past my keys 10 times before I see them.

He likes to work, labor, but is a klutzy. Me too. Always getting cuts, burns, scrapes, and then showing off our wounds to everyone who will listen. Still, we fix things.

He gave me my love of classic rock and appreciation for different kinds of music. He also gave me my appreciation for whiskey. Dad knows that a good whiskey is to be sipped and enjoyed, not downed fast for a quick buzz.

He gave me my love of the outdoors. Some of my fondest memories are of outings with Dad. I remember my first Dad-&-Me campout. He woke me up to start fishing and I found out later that he’d been up fishing for a couple hours already. I remember quite a few times just floating around a lake in the canoe. Sometimes we’d barely get a bite; sometimes we’d haul them in. He’d always take care of worms for me or hook me up with non-worm bait. We would make a deal that he could keep what I caught if I didn’t have to eat any of it. I hated fish back then (except for the tasteless fish and chips at restaurants and fried shrimp). We would hike. We would drive down roads that weren’t much more than deer paths. We’d get stuck and have to unstick ourselves.  I love being in nature. I am content to sit by a lake and just relax. I can fish without catching anything and call it a success. I get that from dad.

I still take after my mother quite a bit too, much more so physically. I sometimes catch myself sounding like her. My friends used to confuse us on that phone. That was entertaining. My medical history almost mirrors hers. I have her hands (but dad’s crappy finger nails), her hair, her migraines, her stubby toes, definitely her chest.

Yes, mom gave me a lot, but today is about dad.

As I get older, I find myself turning into my dad. And I am totally OK with that.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thoughts On Motherhood (Or, A Serious Post)

I have to get something off my chest, and this won’t sit well with quite a few of my acquaintances and even some friends. However, it’s something I’ve thought long and hard about, and I think some of you will agree.

I am not a mom.  Having pets does not make me a mom.

I admit, I refer to myself as “mommy” and J as “daddy” when talking to my pets. I am willing to call myself a pet-parent, but I cannot equate that to being a mom of human children.

So often these days, especially around Mother’s Day, you see everyone sending special well-wishes to pet-moms and saying, “You’re a mom, too, just with four-legged, furry kids!” They try to say that I’m just as much a mom as all those who’ve grown and birthed a human child, that I deserve to celebrate motherhood as well.

Well, I disagree. I am not a mom. I did not go through pregnancy (the thought of which scares the shit out of me, honestly), I did not give birth. Yes, I adopted my pets from a shelter, but let’s be honest here, adopting a pet is 100 times easier than adopting a kid.

I had my pets sterilized so they can never reproduce. Ok, so the shelters took care of it, but I would have fixed them both if it hadn’t been taken care of already. This is something we find inhumane and abhorrent when done to human children. Guess what? I don’t have kids. I am not a mom.

I leave my pets home alone all day, and have since they were very young. The dog was even left in a small cage until he learned to behave and not chew everything. People go to jail for doing this to human kids. I don’t have kids. I am not a mom.

My pets use a litter box and the yard to use the bathroom. They get in trouble if they go in the house. When I house-trained the dog, he learned to ring bells to let me know he wanted to go outside. I would again be put in jail if I did this to a human child. No kids. Not a mom.

I feed my pets the same food twice a day, from a big bag. It’s healthy food, but it’s dry kibble. No cooking, no 3 square meals. Yes, healthy is a concern, as is weight and activity. The dog gets put on a leash. The cat, well, he’s a cat. He does what he wants. Not kids. Not a mom.

When I go out of town, I leave the dog at a kennel. The cat gets left at home with someone to check on him. Do that to a kid? More jail time. No kids. Not a mom.

Sure, you can find some similarities. I get them annual check-ups, I care about their health, I even brush the dog’s teeth sometimes (Duke won’t let me). But Remy is never going to grow up and move out of the house. I don’t have to teach him much more than to not be a spaz, and he will most definitely not take care of me in my old age. The cat? Again, he’s a cat. He does what he wants.

So yes, I appreciate that you see me as a caretaker of animals and notice the work I put into spoiling these critters rotten, but please, don’t compare me to a mother. I raise these animals and even call them my babies, but I do so knowing that I will outlive them. I am here to give them a better life while they are here. Parents of children have much greater responsibilities. The whole future is in their hands. I feel that calling me a mom belittles all the work and responsibility that goes into raising another human being.

I don’t wake up in the night to feed and change diapers. I don’t worry about getting my kids the best education. Moms (and dads) make many sacrifices for their children that I haven’t even considered. I have the utmost respect for parents and all they do for their kids. I am grateful that they let me be a part of their childrens’ lives.

But after all that, I just don’t want to be a mom. I have chosen to not have children. I chose pets because I feel called to raise pets, not humans. It’s easier, cheaper, and I can choose what kind I get. As much as I love kids, I enjoy going back to the simplicity of my pets.

I try to be a good pet-parent and a good Auntie, but I am not, and do not want to be, a Mom.