Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
As an experiment this week I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t bring any work home from the office. Dumb idea. By Thursday I was behind on things and felt awful about it. I made significant progress catching up on Friday afternoon, working from home where I wouldn’t be interrupted all the time, but I’m still going to have to do some weekend work to be on track by Monday morning. It’s frustrating, although at least I work with people who seem okay on the concept that if someone has to work extra hours, they should at least be allowed to choose the venue and time of day for those hours. Especially when it’s all unpaid. You can bet if these management jobs were hourly and paid extra for everything after 40 hours a week, we’d suddenly have much saner workloads!
I finished my alteration project on the $2.50 capri pants I bought last week. They’re black with three bands of ribbon trim at the cuffs, and oh-so-cute! And now they don't balloon out at my hips. Joy! I wore them to go have Indian food today and I have a feeling these are going to become this summer’s favorite pants.
I have another alteration project going on, but it’s much more complicated and I don’t know how long it will take me, especially since I don’t have a sewing machine and have to do everything by hand. In addition, I have decided I should have an apron if I’m going to keep on with all my recent baking projects. The easiest thing (which I’ve seen on the Wardrobe Refashion website) is to convert an old sundress. I was pretty excited about that idea until I realized that: a) most of my summer clothes are still buried at the bottom of a huge wicker chest, and b) I think I gave all my unwanted sundresses to charity when I moved. So there’s a potential dilemma here. We’ll see what I find once I start changing out my closet for spring.
I baked some carrot cookies tonight. I tried adding a little molasses to see if that would make the end result a little less crumbly. It helped a little, but I’m going to have to keep tweaking this particular recipe. I used craisins (dried cranberries) instead of golden raisins and it added a nice little flavor punch. Highly recommended! Now if I can just get the moistness right, I’ll be in business.
Not much else is happening. The week went by unbelievably fast, even with me not working from home in the evenings. I hit all my workouts though, and things are coming along well with my new novel, so I’m happy.
Monday: 30 minute elliptical (intervals), weights and abs
Tuesday: 7 mile run
Wednesday: 45 minute spin
Thursday: 35 minute elliptical
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 19 mile run
Sunday, March 23, 2008
What a weekend! Here’s the lowdown:
- Got watch fixed
- Got hair cut (hate it, but that’s a separate issue)
- Donated a big ol’ stack of old magazines
- Bought new cookbook
- Went to cheap store to stock up on baking supplies
- Went to my usual organic stores for weekly groceries
- Went thrifting—bought cute capris for $2.50
- Colored my hair (nothing fancy, just covering the gray)
- Started altering the $2.50 capris (needed to be taken in at the hips; for $2.50 I don’t mind doing a small alteration)
- Tidbit’s Easter photo shoot
- Banana-walnut bread
- Carrot-Apple bread
- Carrot cookies (came out dry, although I followed recipe exactly)
- Black beans with garlic
- Brown rice
- Wilted spinach with garlic
- Curry zucchini
- Curry rice
- Hard-boiled eggs (not for the Easter Bunny but for my lunches this week)
- Saturday lunch (Indian restaurant!) with Dan
- 17 mile run (including first-ever encounter with hostile canine)
- 90-minute spin
- Weights and abs
- Posted Spring Flash Fiction Carnival
- 4,000 words on current WIP, bringing total word count to 31K+
- Flash fiction accepted for Word Catalyst Magazine’s May issue
- Nice review of my book on The Lulu Book Review site
- Five blog posts (including this one)
- Numerous comments on other blogs
I think that’s it. I’m tired now and I still have to feed the critters and iron some clothes for tomorrow. I swear sometimes I need a vacation from both my job and my weekends!
Tidbit apologizes for the late post, but she was exhausted after hiding all those eggs!
For those who celebrated, she hopes you had a happy one! For those who didn't, I hear there's lots of half-price chocolate in the stores starting tomorrow!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Just Regular Eats (food for the coming week):
I also dehydrated some spinach. Central Market has been selling locally-grown triple-washed spinach for several weeks now and it occurred to me that I’m going to really miss it when the season for it is over. So I broke out the dehydrator and now have lots of dry, crunchy spinach leaves sealed in a freezer bag and residing in my freezer for some summer day when I want cheap spinach. Because it’s dehydrated and crumbles easily in this state, it would also be good for any sort of pasta Florentine dish—no chopping required, just crumble before rehydrating.
I don’t know how many of you out there have been paying attention to the value of the dollar, the state of the American (and by extension, the world’s) banking system, and oil/gas prices, but it looks like we're in a situation that’s going to get worse before it gets better. And if you haven’t read up on what’s happening in the grain markets, the short answer is that prices of most grains, especially wheat, are also going up due to a number of factors including drought and wheat rust. Add in the higher cost of shipping now that diesel is at $4/gallon in a lot of places, and you’d have to be blind not to see where all this is trending for summer.
If you don’t know how to cook cheap, now is a great time to start. With a rice cooker and a crock pot, you can have tasty meals for pennies, with about 5-10 minutes of actual time spent working in the kitchen. (Yeah, food takes longer than that to cook, but you don’t have to actually be present.) For the same amount of time a lot of folks spend at the drive-through breathing exhaust fumes, one can cook a cheap, healthy meal at home!
I hope all the economic indicators are wrong or that a deus ex machina is about to swoop down and save us from the crazy confluence of problems driving the dollar down and the cost of everything up. But I’m not betting on it. Right now, $2.54 buys me a 5-pound bag of organic wheat flour. How many loaves of wheat bread can you buy for that price? If our economy doesn't get straightened out fast, how many do you think you'll be able to buy this summer?
Food for thought, indeed.
Monday: 35 minutes elliptical, 10 minute row
Tuesday: 6.5 mile run
Wednesday: 45 minute spin, abs and weights
Thursday: 35 minute elliptical, abs and weights
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 18 mile run
Sunday: 2 hour spin, weights and abs
Saturday, March 15, 2008
BTW, your house will smell heavenly while this is baking!
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil (may substitute applesauce for oil)
- 2 cups white sugar (or 4 packets stevia and 1 cup sugar)
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup diced dried apples
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in oil (or applesauce) and sugar. Stir in carrots and apples. In separate bowl, combine flour, spices, soda, baking powder, salt and nuts; stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans.
- Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.
Some notes on my ingredients. These are personal preferences and not required for this recipe to work:
- I use organic ingredients
- I substitute 1 cup organic applesauce for the 1 cup oil, but one could also do ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce
- I usually use 4 packets of stevia and one cup of brown sugar instead of all that white sugar. If you decide to reduce the sugar, you may want to add more of the spices.
- I use whole wheat flour, but white or a combination of white and wheat would also work
- When I have it, I use a little hazelnut or pecan flour in all my breads. These are very finely ground nuts that one can get in the bulk bins at an organic foods store.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Attention Small White Creature:
Two things cannot be in the same place at the same time.
This is a mandate from God/Nature/Science, not me. I obey the laws but I do not create them. Physics is not a democracy. I was given no vote.
What this means for you is that if you shove your face in the food bowl, I cannot put your morning kibble in. Really. This is why you sometimes end up with kibble on your head, and this is why you have no business looking at me like that when you do.
Read up on basic principles of physics and you'll understand. And check out Pauli's Exclusion Principle while you're at it.
We'll try this again tomorrow.
That is all.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The carrot bread came out pretty good! It's a little dense, so I may want to tweak the recipe for next time. I got a little too happy with adding stuff to the batter, like an extra cup of shredded carrots, hazelnut flour, and some dried apples and cranberries. It's all good, but I think the bread would've been lighter with not so much stuff in it. It could've used more nutmeg too, and maybe some ginger.
I love experimenting in the kitchen!
Saturday, March 08, 2008
I’m always sleepy in the morning and the feeling usually passes, so I didn’t worry about that. And although I’m having a lot of asthma troubles with all the ash pollen these days, my lungs usually figure things out after about half an hour, so I didn’t worry too much about that, either. It was a little colder out than I would’ve liked—I had to wear my fleece headband to keep my ears warm and my hands got cold and stiff. I wasn’t happy about that at all. But I figured those things would resolve themselves with time and I’d end up enjoying my run.
But since I hadn’t been able to work out for two days and had been doing a lot of eating, I forced myself through it. I had mapped out a route that would take me on the newly-refurbished part of the bayou trail, to the zoo, to Rice University, and eventually to my bank before coming home. The bank was kind of a priority since my father sent me a check to help with my student loan repayments.
It was a clear sunny day with bright blue skies, perfect for running. Flowers were in bloom, robins bopping around in the grass, ospreys soaring over the bayou looking for fish. Nice. There was some kind of event going on at my university and there was a run going on at the Rice campus—race bibs, timing mat and everything. In all, it was a really nice morning to be out seeing people and other wildlife, but I just wasn’t feeling it for some reason.
Oh well. I got my check deposited. And I earned lots of yummy Indian food for lunch.
I got a package today from my father. He has always been one to give random little gifts that aren’t necessarily very expensive or significant of themselves, but always carry a warm “thinking of you” message. Today’s box contained dried chiles, pecans from his tree, some Easter candy, and an over-engineered water bottle that tracks your hydration throughout the day. I offered Dan the bottle, telling him maybe it would help him keep from getting kidney stones again!
Tonight I’m working on a new culinary experiment. See, I have a carrot problem. Tidbit loves carrot tops but she can’t have a lot of carrots because of the sugar content. And although I like carrots just fine, I get tired of them. How many ways can you cook a carrot? So tonight I’m making carrot bread, using a zucchini bread recipe and substituting grated carrots. Results should be available for tasting in about half an hour!
Monday: 30 minute elliptical, weights
Tuesday: 5.5 mile run
Wednesday: 35 minute spin (intervals)
Thursday: no workout
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 19 mile run
Friday, March 07, 2008
It turned out all right. Tasted like...bread.
I'm starting to scare myself.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Boil a little water, dump in the couscous, cover, remove from heat, walk away. Five minutes later, dinner! It’s almost as easy as microwaving a frozen dinner, but much cheaper and with none of the nasty plastics and preservatives! I added herbs, sliced grape tomatoes and crumbled feta to my couscous and it was filling and delicious! How on earth did I not make this discovery years ago?
I hope to have a fun Tidpic soon. Dan has been coming home for lunch lately and took some pictures of Pixel and Tidbit napping on the bed in the study. I need him to send me the pics so I can post them. It’s funny to see them hanging out together because whenever we’re around, Pix makes a big deal of being too cool to hang out with a rabbit. But when we catch him unawares, it’s clear that the real story is quite different!
Speaking of cats, there’s a new one hanging around—a tortoiseshell. There was already a black cat, who often sleeps on our front porch, but now there’s this other cat who hangs out on our back deck. I haven’t fed any of these cats, since they already look well-fed. It’s fun to see them around, even though sometimes they get to looking in the windows and then Pixel gets upset.
I ran about 17.5 miles this morning and wanted to do more but got a late start. Somehow I managed to re-set my alarm clock in my sleep! There was a lot going on around campus today, so I had to change my route almost from the beginning. I was going to do the “diminishing loops” route I tried last weekend, where each loop was shorter than the last. Good psychology! But instead I was stuck with same-distance loops. Lucky for me, my brain was up for it and I didn’t try to talk myself out of it. It’s funny how often it’s the mind that sabotages the body and not the other way around.
In other running news, it looks like the south-side trail along the bayou is essentially done, which means I’ll feel more confident about leaving the neighborhood and going up to Hermann Park. Since moving here in August, the south side where the mansions are has been under renovation, leaving only the north side open. The north side abuts some highly questionable apartments and although I’ve only twice seen people who gave me cause for worry, that’s been enough for me to not feel comfortable running that trail with regularity. The other side is much safer and I’m excited that it’s open again. I might even go check it out this week.
Monday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute row
Tuesday: 6 mile run
Wednesday: 45 minute spin
Thursday: no workout; got stuck late at the office
Friday: 30 minute elliptical
Saturday: 17.5 mile run