Saturday, October 31, 2009

Act I: The Kitchen.

Keri is baking more pumpkin and banana bread for Becca's baby shower, and Angus walks into the kitchen.

Angus: Hey babe. It smells awesome in here.

Keri: Thanks! She picks up an egg. Did you know that if you squeeze an egg really hard, it doesn't break?

Angus: He looks skeptically at her.

Keri: Seriously, it doesn't! I've done it before. See, watch! She squeezes the egg as hard as she can.

Egg breaks and gook flies across the kitchen.

Angus: He laughs and shakes his head.

Keri: She displays a look of utter shock.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The greatest thing.

The greatest thing about my job is that I laugh every single day. Today's example:

6th grader: "Man, this Friday is horrible! I forgot my belt, and my pants have been falling down all day!" (Said as he hikes up his pants.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Results of a snow day.

Finished all the laundry. Cleaned the bedrooms & kitchen. Made spaghetti squash for the first time. Used the fireplace allllll day. Mailed cards that were way overdue. Wrote grocery list for next week (!!). Planned for classes tomorrow (if we have them). Wrote letter of recommendation for my professor. Called for prescription refill. Saved a movie at VideoStation. Talked to my awesome sister, Katy, on the phone (Miss her!). Watched a lot of trashy TV including "So You Think You Can Dance," "Project Runway," "Oprah," and "The Hills."

And finally, and most importantly...experimented with a new banana chocolate chip bread.

It may not seem like a big deal, but believe me, this day was AMAZING and so necessary. Thanks, Mother Nature!


View from our balcony - 9:00 a.m.

View from our balcony - 12:00 p.m.

View from our balcony - 2:00 p.m.

Oops, left the sunbathing chair out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where does it all go?

I know this is morbid, but I've been watching a lot of Six Feet Under lately, so that's my excuse. What happens to peoples' Facebook accounts, emails, Myspace, etc. when they die? Is there like an Internet vacuum that cleans things out every so often? I wonder how many people learned way more than they originally knew about their loved ones by reading their emails post-death...

Wow, that was not my typical random thought. Sorry. Just got to thinking about the vastness of the World Wide Web today. It's like a history book minus the dry questions at the end of each chapter.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! OK, snapped out of my weird moment.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm just sayin'.

I find women's Halloween costumes to be fairly offensive. I'm running on last minute planning, as usual, so tonight I went to the local Halloween super-dump and paid $43 for an outfit that I can only wear two items from because the rest is too raunchy! I know I'm being a total hypocrite here as I just supported the companies I despise, but come on. Why does the men's section hold awesome costumes like the chicken suit, Sponge Bob, and a beer pong table and the women's section is just chock full of the same risque costume in a variety of colors? Maybe I'm really just mad at myself for buying one of them.

Never again! Girl scout's honor...a very clothed and honorable girl scout, that is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

Fall day perfection. Thanks, Kate!

H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N, spells Halloween!

Every year around this time, I start obsessing over finding a creative Halloween costume. This year, I either need one costume that is awesome and school appropriate or I need two costumes both of which are awesome and one of which is school appropriate. This makes things very complicated. To make matters worse, everyone in the Language Arts department is dressing as idioms. I am really clueless when it comes to intelligently humorous costumes. I’ve tossed around the idea of doing “under the weather.” It’d be pretty doable, and most of it could be homemade. Or, “as fast as lightening” could work. I’m envisioning a running uniform with a lightening bolt on it. Cough, lame, cough, cough. Maybe I’ll do “the early bird gets the worm” and borrow the chicken costume from this guy on the corner of 28th and Iris advertising for Boulder Subs. At least I’d be warm… While I contemplate my costume for this year, I’ll leave you with a few photos of my past Halloween brilliance. ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


is the theme for this year. And I proudly survived my first two nights of parent/teacher conferences! Feels good. AND, I even mustered the guts to ask my principal for a day off to do some planning. Go me! Also, a parent gave me a jade trinket tonight to thank me for being her daughters' teacher. She told me that it was meant to bless my marriage and promote fertility. Such a sweet gesture, right? So cute. Bring on the babies! ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

3 spectacular years.

Happy anniversary to us!  I came home from an uber stressful day to find that Angus had my wedding bouquet recreated.  He does it every year for our anniversary, but I'm still always surprised and so excited.  To see the dark red calla lilies, green hydrangeas, green orchids and white roses absolutely made my day.  That and eating take-out Chinese food, drinking red wine, and relaxing with Angus all night.  Love you, b!  Looking forward to many more years of laughs, full bellies, and love.  :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The recipe.

Here's what my wok cooked up this week:

Stir-Fried Pork, Mushrooms, and Carrots

6 dried shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces lean pork or chicken
1 tsp. dry sherry
1.5 tsp. cornstarch
.5 tsp. soy sauce
.5 tsp. sesame oil
1.25 tsp. salt
.5 tsp. sugar
2 T. vegetable or peanut oil
1.5 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 cups julienned celery
1 cup julienned carrots
.5 cup canned shredded bamboo shoots, rinsed
.5 cup thinly sliced scallions
.25 tsp. ground white pepper

1. In a medium bowl soak the mushrooms in .5 cup cold water 30 minutes or until softened.  Drain and squeeze dry.  Cut off and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps.  Set aside.  Cut the pork/chicken into 2 inch wide strips. Put the strips into a shallow bowl and add the sherry, cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, .25 tsp. salt, and .25 tsp. sugar.

2. Heat a flat-bottomed wok over high heat.  Swirl in 1 T. of vegetable oil and add the pork/chicken, spreading it evenly in the wok.  Cook undisturbed for 20 seconds, letting the meat begin to brown.  Then, stir-fry with a spatula separating the pieces until the meat is browned but still slightly rare.  Transfer to a plate or bowl.

3.  Swirl the remaining 1 T. of oil into the wok, add the garlic, and stir-fry 5 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the cabbage, celery, carrots, bamboo shoots, scallions, and sliced mushrooms and stir-fry 2-3 minutes or until the cabbage and celery are just limp. Stir in the meat, pepper and the remaining 1 tsp. of salt and .25 tsp. of sugar, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the meat is cooked through.

Serves 4.

Taken from The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young and Alan Richardson

Puerto Vallarta!

We're going!  The trip is booked!  I seriously cannot freakin' wait to point my face towards the sun, sip on exotic beverages, eat a crap-ton of Mexican food, and feel sand between my Skelator-like toes.  To be with my B for an entire six days far, far way from everything will be simply divine!    Hooray!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just breathe.

I just borrowed this cookbook from Matt and Becca called The Breath of a Wok.  As I paged through it, I noticed that the beginning was devoted to depicting the detailed history of this cooking vessel.  It's sort of amazing actually - quite mysterious.  Apparently, a wok is way more than just a pan with sloped edges and flat surface.   It's a sense, a flavor, a culture infused into food.  The wok is part of a  respected, emotional act of preparing a dish for another person to enjoy.  Reading about wok culture, I must admit, I'm really intrigued.  I own a wok (a very commercial wok, I've realized.  Now, I really want a hand hammered wok from the street markets of Taiwan), and I've never thought of it as anything other than a useful skillet.  Although I really appreciate the equal heat distribution and deep bottom, I don't think I've fully explored the versatility of the wok.  So, my goal this week (along with surviving parent-teacher conferences) is to cook a recipe from this book and to really "be" with my wok; I want to appreciate it's shape and it's "breath," even if it is breathing crappy Target-ified air.  I figure I'll be one step closer to knowing the secrets of a culture I am so deeply in love with.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mouthwatering Fridays.

Fridays...bring a new bounce to my step, clean air to my lungs, a smile to my face, and sushi to my gullet.  Angus and I admittedly have turned into creatures of habit, making Friday night our Sushi Zanmai night.  We sit at the sushi bar and order up the finest fish this side of the Mississippi.  Surprising that a landlocked state has quality fish, right?  I dare say it's the best fish I've ever had.  My favorite dish, by far, is the plum and shiso hand roll.  It's sushi rice with cucumber, Japanese ume (pronounced ew-may) plum, and shiso (Japanese mint) wrapped in crispy seaweed, and it's absolutely to die for.  I must pause to credit my friend Laurel for introducing me to this delectable treat.  Laurel says the ume plum aids in digestion, and lord knows, I need all the help I can get.  It's also got this uber addicting flavor: salty, sour, and sweet at the same time.  There is NOTHING like it.  Japan even has an Ume Festival to honor this delicious fruit.  I highly recommend a sampling, but beware of potential side effects including immediate addiction, puckering of the lips, and weird looks as you "Ooo" and "Ahh."

Cheers to Fridays!  Cheers to old habits and trying new foods!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good for the soul.

Chicken soup is the only meal Angus cooks.  He's got this weird method which involves ginger, dried dates, and chicken that boils in water for hours.  But, the weirdness pays off.  It's absolutely the best comfort food ever, and I've never tasted a chicken soup as delicious.  Extra bonus: he's cute to watch in the kitchen.  :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Letting go...and holding on.

I'm always really ready for the change in seasons.  I don't think I could handle living in a place where the four seasons are non-existent.  I rely on the predictability and the comfort of knowing that fall will surrender to winter, winter will melt into spring, spring will warm into summer, and summer will fade to fall.  However, this year has been different.  I'm finding that I am in denial that there's a chill in the air.  Example: I'm still wearing flip flops to work.  I don't want to admit that Farmer's Market is closing.  Example: I trudged through the snow this past Saturday to buy a butternut squash and a crate full of apples.  Moving the deck furniture and flower baskets inside is more than I can bear.  To turn on the heat will mean admitting defeat.  Up until tonight, I've been shuddering at the idea of fall and have pushed my mind past all thoughts of it.  

Then I talked to Kate, my friend in Seattle.  ("My friend in Seattle" does not do my friendship with Kate justice, but I'll save those stories for another post.)  Even from a distance, I could smell the pumpkin chocolate chip bread she baked this weekend.  I could imagine baking with her all day in the warm, cozy kitchen, and sampling everything twice, to make sure it was just right.  We'd stay up late talking, laughing, and sipping Shiraz and wake up early the next morning to take a walk and breathe the crisp air.   

Somewhere between talking to Kate about pumpkin chocolate chip bread and enormous batches of homemade organic applesauce, I realized I was ready to let go.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No limits.

For the past few months, I've been in limbo about creating a blog.  I've created and deleted at least three blogs, convinced myself it's a waste of time, and became a bit paranoid about the thought of people reading my writing.  Every idea I came up with wasn't good enough; somewhere between the hemming and hawing, I began to believe that every blog needed a theme.  Without a theme, there's no purpose, right?  Do I need to be pregnant to blog?  A writer with a message?  Do I need to be an expert of something?  Finally, I decided that I just need to be me, to have a place where I can just ramble on about the things I love, hate, find pee-my-pants hilarious, delicious, and simple.  So, that said, I'm taking the leap and beginning this blog because I'm sick of starting and stopping and of saying "I should do that."  This is me, and this is for me.  This is following through.  Booyah!