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Jun. 16th, 2010

Summer!

It's been awhile since I posted here.  Sheesh...I never thought I'd spend more time on Facebook.  Actually, I'm spending less time on FB than I was a few weeks ago.  I finally deleted all of the stupid games I was wasting time on.  

I'm teaching summer school, but it's almost over.  5 more days, then I'm FREE!  I'm actually doing a few other projects this summer, some of which I'm getting compensated for, but it's nothing that sucks up major time (I can do it either piecemeal over a long time or put in a lot of hours in a short period of time).  Either way, I feel like my time is appreciated, and I've been pretty productive so far. 

Now that summer's here, I have had lots of time to cook.  My healthy shopping has continued.  I buy almost no processed food, and any I do get is usually minimally processed.  I've learned to make a Salisbury steak recipe that is to die for.  To....Die....For!!!!!   I make it with 96% lean ground bison.  I adapted a recipe from a book by Devin Alexander.

Steaks:
1/4 c. oat meal (you can use rolled oats or instant, just make sure it's plain!)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 packet Lipton dry onion soup mix or something similar (onion and mushroom works too)
1/4 minced onion
2 cloves pressed garlic
1 lb. ground lean beef, bison, elk or venison
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Gravy:
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 1/2 tbsp white flour
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 medium portobello mushrooms, sliced thin

Mix the beaten egg with the oatmeal and let sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.  Mix all of the steak ingredients together and form 4 oblong patties, about 1/2" thick.  Use some plain flour (white or whole wheat is fine) to lightly coat the outside of each patty. 

Heat a large skillet on medium and spray or spread some healthy oil (grapeseed, olive, etc) to coat the pan.  Place each patty in and cook 1-2 minutes per side to brown.  Mix up the gravy ingredients well (shaking it in a sealed container works great- no lumps), then pour over the steaks into your hot skillet.  Add the onions and nestle them down between the steaks.  Distribute the mushrooms over the top, cover the skillet and lower the heat - simmer for 15-20 minutes, occasionally moving the onions and mushrooms around to get into the gravy as it cooks. 

Serve either with rice, noodles, potatoes or plain old bread.  The gravy is amazing and you'll want to soak it up with something starchy. 

A single serving of this (one patty and 1/4 of the gravy) comes out to approximately 6.5 weightwatchers points if you use the lean meat and don't get crazy with the oil in the pan. 

Jan. 9th, 2010

Mmmmmmarmite!

I grilled a few slices of roasted garlic bread in the panini press this morning with just a touch of butter, then spread a bit o' marmite on it.  Ate it with lovely poached eggs.  Yummmmmmm!

No big plans for today except for hockey game tonight.  Supposedly we get a free beer stein if we get there early enough.  Woot!

Dec. 6th, 2009

Hack hack hack

It's been a while since I posted here, but I've been trying to keep up with reading other folks' posts. It's been a hectic couple of weeks. We went to Houston for Thanksgiving and I promptly got sick. Read more...Collapse )

Nov. 23rd, 2009

Roman vintning supply jackpot!

I've spent quite a bit of time this weekend on my Roman wine project. I got most of my wines racked over and clearing, and I finally got around to starting the date wine. The pear wine rocks. The first-press Columella recipe that I made with the shiraz grapes is just plain weird. Not sure if it will age into something nicer, but I'm not keen on it now. It's also still pretty cloudy and I'm not sure if it will clarify, but I can always add some gypsum like Columella suggests, and see if that helps it floc out. The second-press wine with the resoaked grape skins (lora) is actually pretty tasty so I'll save some just for drinking. The salty lora is odd but worth the effort for the novelty factor.

I got a small bonus at work for the holidays so I celebrated by buying some more supplies for my vintning project. I managed to find muscat concentrate for a pretty good price so I ordered enough for a 5 g. batch. I'll probably use half for Roman wines, and the other half for my Phrygian grog project later on.

I also found this cornucopia of things I need to add to the Roman wines to make a few different varieties: www.mountainroseherbs.com/
They carry the pure myrrh and frankincense I've been looking for, and also iris root. They even had calamus root, but since it has warnings about not taking it internally, I decided against getting any to put into the wine no matter how period it is. One of their November specials is saffron, so I ordered some too (and hey, it's a Roman wine additive to boot).

I'm looking forward to writing up all of my documentation on this project over the coming holidays. I've got some of it started from the class I taught on Roman wines, but I need to do a much more detailed description of the primary literature. I'm thinking I'll have a cool entry for Kingdom A & S this year.

Nov. 8th, 2009

The wurst is the best

We went to Wurstfest today!  In spite of the rain, it was a lot of fun.  G and I drove up a little early, figuring we could scope out where to park.  We got there a bit before the gates opened and got in with the first crowd while things were still pretty empty.  We met up with UnkaStanky and the fabulous Miss M just in time for the bars to start serving beer, which we used to wash down our wurst kabobs...yes, ladies and gentlemen, 5 different types of sausage on a stick!  I enjoyed a plate of sauerkraut with mine too.  There was also strudel and other pastries aplenty. I enjoyed a slice of "German chocolate pie" just before we headed home.

Tonight I am atoning by eating nothing but veggies...Brussels sprouts and butternut squash for me.  I could probably use some time on the Wii Fit too.  Not sure I have that much energy. 

Nov. 1st, 2009

Itchy

Ugh, I found out Friday that Ziggy has ringworm on his head, which accounts for the scabby bloody mess he's made of the area in front of his right ear.  I took him in to see the vet for an annual check up and a couple of vaccines that he seems to have missed in his bouncing around between foster care and homes that didn't keep him.  I had the vet check out the irritated spot on his head.  It started off with a rashy pink area that I thought might be flea irritation (he had fleas when we brought him home), and his scanty vet records mention he has a flea allergy).  Over the last week or so he's irritated it to the point of bleeding and looking pretty sad.  And since his favorite method of cuddling is to bump his head under my chin, I now know why I have an itchy pink spot on my neck.  Luckily it's really tiny. 

Ziggy is now on Tresaderm and I'm on Tinactin.  I don't mind my medicine nearly as much as he does.  His has to be stored in the refrigerator and be applied in runny drops.  Kitties don't like cold stuff dripped in their ears.  

Oct. 27th, 2009

You know you've been in Texas too long when...

...69 degrees in the house when you wake up is so chilly you don't want to get out of bed!

As I approach 10 years living in this state (almost unfathomable really), I realize more and more every year that I've become a wimp!  And here I was looking forward to winter.  OK, so I still am looking forward to winter.  I'll take the rain and cold, as long as I don't have to suffer the heat like we had this summer. 

I'm going to school this morning, then running back home to deliver G to a doc appt., then back to the zoo with my freshmen class.  Should be a busy day, but hopefully a little fun with the zoo part and all. 



Oct. 12th, 2009

Pesto panini

G and I were shopping at Le Target last week and he wanted to look at sandwich makers.  One of his buddies at work has a little sandwich press so we went to check them out.  While looking at the one like his colleague has, we spied a slightly larger, very sexy looking panini press (if a sandwich press can be sexy, that is).  It was on sale, and looked a bit more versatile than the little bitty one that only does one or two perfectly square sandwiches at a time.  We bought the panini maker.  He made me a breakfast panini yesterday, complete with salami, tomato and cheese. 

Last night kytherean_tx brought over a FULL grocery sack of fresh basil from her yard and some walnuts.  I had olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan, and so we embarked on a pesto-making marathon.  THREE batches of pesto from this bag of basil, and that was with pressing the leaves down to pack them as tight as we could get them while measuring.  WOW.  And it was really tasty pesto.  We made a walnut pesto, then a pine-nut pesto, then a mixed batch and had G taste-test them all.  Turned out the walnut was #1 in popularity.  We ended up blending them all together (they tasted pretty spiff that way) and splitting the giant batch between us.  I have enough pesto to last the rest of the year and beyond I think.

I made myself a pesto panini just now, with light mozzarella cheese, a layer of homemade pesto and a few slices of salami.  O....M....G!!!!!

I am SO quitting my job and opening a panini hut.  With my mad coffee-makin' skills, it could totally work. Paninis and coffee, man. 

And beer.  Lots of beer. 

Oct. 9th, 2009

Wii fun

I've been jonesin' for some new Wii games lately.  I've been pretty bad about playing Wii Fit, as I had done most of the activities, and tended to do the same ones I liked over and over and it got a little dull after a while.  Last weekend, bigsarahfan highly recommended the Wii Sports Resort with the new controller addition.  G and I had seen it at Best Buy when I had a gift card to use up, but I hadn't heard anything about it at the time, and it seemed so expensive.   We went to Target tonight after an honors reception after work where I had a couple of glasses of a lovely cab and was feelin' kinda spendthrify.  I went to the Wii aisle while he went to look at the discount XBox games and by the time he came back I had filled my basket with Wii Sports Resort, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Ski (on sale!).  It's gonna be a Wii-ful weekend!

Oct. 4th, 2009

Kitty

Greg had a momentary lapse of reason and/or sanity and let me adopt this kitty Thursday night.  He's a two year old  "color point" Siamese.

I wanted him when I saw him back in the spring (he was at a PetsMart with a bunch of rescue kitties), but he got adopted out (plus Greg said no at the time).  Then he was returned, apparently, because he isn't great with very small kids. We saw him Thursday and this time it just seemed like we were meant to have him.  We have a houseful of creatures and objects not good with small kids, so no worries there. 

Anyway, we did his paperwork Thursday night, then I went back to pick him up with a friend on Friday morning with the cat carrier.  He's possibly the mellowest cat ever.  He's HUGE, playful, sweet and very chill.  Seems to like everyone, at least a little.  Even the dog.  The other pets are curious and slightly annoyed, but no one is being terribly ugly.  No violence or destruction. 

We're trying out the name Ziggy, after a hockey player we like.  We tried the name Dylan, but it just didn't stick. 

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