Friday, September 19, 2014

Reaching cruising altitude

It is a beautiful Friday. Friday! Only one more day until the weekend. With a little bit of premature break yesterday my outlook for today is good. Plenty on the to-do-list, but the attitude is adjusted, the energy slightly recuperated, and it is doable again. Hopefully, I reached cruising altitude for the semester.

This morning I came across this photo.

no bake french silk pie best dessert recipe cupofjo

It looks like sensuality in the form of cake batter. Silky, fragrant, abundant, luxurious. I just want to stick my finger into this. Here is the recipe!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mulled hot cider

The weather is still wonderful, sunny, not particular warm but not cold either. The trend continues of too many things pilling up with little downtime, and I feel exhausted. It feels like going to an all you can eat buffet with colleagues, being careful what you select because there are many cool things to try out, and then several colleagues piling on a few more things on your plate a la “Oh, you should try this!”. By midweek I had started to cruise to just make it through the week.Today I opted to go home early, I was just too tired. Frost is predicted for tonight and the plants needed to be moved inside again. Watched a movie and made hot mulled cider, with fresh local cider available everywhere these days. A few pinches of mulling spices, a spoonful of raw, unfiltered honey, a dash of black rum. A hot bath is waiting, too. Let the resting begin.

ciderlrSJ

Sunday, September 14, 2014

(One) Apple picking

It is the time of the year, when the cats come next to me, slightly tap me on the shoulder, and indicate that they want to slip under the covers because there it is toasty warm. And cats, like me, like it toasty warm. The male cat is more rambunctious, finally feeling the weather matches his equipment of a long fur coat and it is also, as all males know, hunting time. Being an indoor cat comes as an impediment at this point.

The outdoor temperatures drop into the 60s, and yet I still don’t want to turn on the heat after summer.

This week was a tiring, productive and turmoiled one, but then by the end of it I adjusted my objectives for the coming year, felt relieved, felt my agenda is doable and fun without requiring be to turn into superwoman every single day, and the smile came back to my face and into my day. Looking forward to each day is a good way to live. Waking up and wondering how to survive it, not so much.

It’s Saturday and I am lingering. Lingering feels good after such a week. The time for the farmers market came and passed. But I still could go apple picking.

I did go apple picking, but it was picking from one of my own trees in my garden, the only full grown apple this year (which is one more than any other year). The elderberry bush was hanging low with heavy berries and inviting the harvest. I got a huge bucket and brought a scissors. While snipping the elderberries and plunging them into the bucket, I heard music in the neighborhood. It dawned on me that I had seen an email about a block party in the mail this week. “Is that today?” After cleaning up, and getting ready for running errands, I checked my emails and indeed, it was happening right there and then.

I headed over to at least say hello, and to my surprise 3/4 of the neighborhood was eating, chatting, and plenty of kids running around. There were the people that I know and then plenty of people I had not had the chance to talk to yet. – Telephone numbers were exchanged, plans were made, and it was no surprise that it turned out that Kitchn is everyone’s favorite cat and that on his daily strolls he visits everybody and even talks to the indoor kitties sitting at the window fences. Kitchn is the neighborhood mayor. (He also attended the party).

In the evening I heated milk to make kefir, moved all the summer shoes back into the shoe closet and brought out the fall ones. The first fire in the woodstove was lit, the heat in the house turned on. While I plucked the elderberries, I watched Brad Pitt save Linden and the world from zombies. Fall is coming. Time to indulge in antioxidants.

harvest-1-6LRSJ

Note: elderberries need to be cooked, this fruit can be toxic when eaten raw.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baked ramen pasta with kale

The days are long these days, very long, very full, very productive. Once I arrive at work I typically don’t get around to take a break for hours, mostly until I leave. By 4pm I might eat my home-brought lunch. By 6pm, I head back to the car or the bike and ride back home. At that point, my head feels like it ran a marathon and needs a break from all things people and computer screens or any kind of thought-provoking input. Often, I shed my work clothes, put on gym clothes and sneakers and go for a walk. Or a run. No need for music. My mind is on pause, and the body trots along, in a simple rhythm, finally pumping blood filled with large amounts of oxygen through my body.

This morning I read a study that you can offset the negative impact of sitting for 3 hours with regular short walks. (I wonder if those short walks to the coffee machine and printer count? Or more like a short trip to another building and starbucks? --- 5min walks required, so yes, maybe get the coffee at Starbucks.) – It is always a concern if there is no time for feeling playful during work, time for laughs, and all signs are towards that it is more a marathon of getting things done. Coming home so exhausted is not a good idea, it would be better to lighten the to-do list or lower the expectations, and well, live well. But then, we all think we are superwoman or superman, and quite heroic for working so hard. (when indeed it is more stupid, if you think about it).

Another trend for me is to make a big baked pasta dish in the evening with leftovers for the next evening or for lunch the next day. So good. The variations are endless.

pasta_bakeLRSJ

Baked Ramen Pasta with Summer Squash and Kale

for 2 people or 1 with leftovers.

  • 3 oz small penne pasta
  • 1/5 of a block of ramen noodles
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • ca. 2 inches of Soy chorizo (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 regular tomato, diced
  • 1 summer squash, cut into rounds of half rounds
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 2-3 leaves of curly or flat kale, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of roasted bell pepper sauce (just 1 cup of tomato sauce)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 TB ricotta
  • some grated garlic or garlic powder
  • 2 TB goat cheese crumbles

Cook the pasta and ramen noodles in a boiling water for 8 min. Preserve some of the cooking water!

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the onion, and the chorizo meat (discard the skin). Add the tomato, kale, corn, and summer squash, mix all together and saute until zuchini and kale are wilted and cooked. In a separate bowl, combine the tomato sauce, soup, worchestershire sauce, garlic and ricotta and mix well. Once the pasta is cooked, add to the pan with the tomato sauce, a few laddles of the pasta water and the oregano and taste for salt. Combine well and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle with and distribute over the pasta. Bake for 20min.

pasta_bake_2LRSJ