Not much has been happening around here lately, as you probably figured out from the lack of blog postings. A lot of co-workers were at a conference this week, which gave me time to work on some older projects without a lot of new things coming my way. Wednesday was the university’s annual Tech Fair, and although I usually don’t go because there’s nothing I’m in the market for (nor do I want to be marketed to), Dan was working the fair and it was a chance to see a lot of my old IT friends, so I went and hung out for a bit. Sometimes it’s good to go to these things for no other reason than to have a little face time with people you know, keep your name out there and all that.
Now that the weather is cooler, I don’t have to start my Saturday long runs so ridiculously early. So today instead of driving to Memorial Park at 5 am to run where it’s safe to do so in the dark, I started my run around 6 here at home, running around the university until there was enough light to head out to Hermann Park and Rice. Nothing special happened on the run, but it was nice to do a route I hadn’t done in awhile and that didn't require I drive somewhere first. And in case you’re wondering why the university is safe at 6 am but not 5 am, it has to do with the arrival time of work and cleaning crews for both regular operations and the seemingly endless activities and events that go on over the weekend. The police presence seems to step up around that time, too. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to upcoming time change. More morning daylight is a good thing for early-rising runners.
Here are a couple of recipes I’ve tried recently:
Oatmeal and Prune Muffins: In spite of prunes’ reputation, they’re moist and tasty dried plums that aren’t any more likely to send you to the bathroom than any other dried fruit. I made a loaf of quickbread out of this recipe instead of muffins, baking it on 350 for about 45 minutes. The first time I made this recipe the salt-to-sweet ratio seemed off but I followed the instructions exactly. My suspicions were right. The second time I reduced the salt by half and added raisins and chopped pecans just for fun. The result was very tasty. And since it contains molasses and raisins, I can claim it as a source of iron! Okay, maybe that’s pushing it a little. But it’s good and healthy, regardless.
Bulgar Salad with Grapes and Feta: This was a nice dish to prep ahead for weekday lunches. It requires no cooking other than boiling a little water. I’m not crazy about sweets in my main courses, so I skipped the grapes and used grape tomatoes. I added some finely chopped fresh spinach, since I had no fresh herbs handy, but the herbs of your choice and/or some fresh chives would work nicely in this. Top with freshly ground black pepper before eating and enjoy! As noted in the recipe, it only serves two so I recommend doubling or even tripling it.
And that's about it for news in my life. All the excitement is in my current fiction project. Although I've written some amusing scenes in previous fiction, this is my first novel-length work intended solely as a humor piece. It's been a fun ride so far and a welcome distraction from post-hurricane stress and the gyrations of the global economy. I could write a lot about the economy, although I don't know if I will because I try to avoid controversial topics on this blog. I will say, though, that if you aren't going to be retiring for at least another decade or more, this is a time of great opportunity. Play it smart.