lydamorehouse: (Aizen)
I turned in my apocalypse story yesterday morning. I will let you all know what, if anything, becomes of that. It was a good story for me to write. I normally DON'T use writing as therapy, but this one was a good vehicle to work out some of my feelings about my cats' deaths. It was kind of a "the world ends, but you go on anyway" sort of apocalypse.

Now it's time to turn my attention to Unjust Cause and getting that thing in order for Wizard Tower Press.

Last night, we had a guest. Mason has several close friends on his Overwatch Team. One of them is a young person named Græ (pronounced like Gray, and might even be spelled with a 'y' also. That is their online persona, but what Mason calls them, so...), who just happened to be in town with their parents visiting Macalaster College. Mason and Græ arranged to hang out and play video games in the basement. We ordered pizza, because of course, and also Græ is a vegetarian. We got to meet Græ's parents, who I absolutely ADORED. I mean, do you ever have that experience where you start talking to someone and you think, "Oh! This is one my people!" It was like that. Græ and Mason already knew each other, so they got on like a house on fire, as well. I think Græ was here from 4 pm to almost 10 pm, and then we all stood around the living room hanging out for another half hour when it was supposed to be time to pick-up because, yeah, they were all that great.

So that was a lot of fun.

While it Mason and Græ played video games and chatted in the basement, Shawn and I went upstairs and watched "Ant-Man and Wasp," which Shawn hadn't seen before. We started watching some Hong Kong drama called "Iceman," about time traveling Chinese warriors, but Shawn found that just too silly (many wires, much weirdness) and so we switched over to the MCU. Shawn had NOT seen the first Ant-Man, but was introduced to him via "Captain America: Civil War." She really loved the character Luis, so we're going to try and hunt down that first Ant-Man, because I do think she'll like the Luis bits, if nothing else.

Speaking of the MCU, I saw "Captain Marvel" and loved it. Only really a spoiler if you are living under a cave, but I respect cave-dwellers so... )

Over the weekend, we made a double batch of fleischkeukle, which, as my parents pointed out when they called, is something we seem to be doing more often. This is true, partly because we made the decision to make smaller batches more often. Otherwise, it takes ALL DAY. It only took MOST of the day this way.

Uncooked dough meat pockets, like slightly larger pierogi lining a baking pan

People on Facebook asked me what we fill these with. Shawn's family traditionally fills them with hamburger, onions, and spices. Very simple. The dough is really only special because it's a cream-based dough. They still manage to be very delicious, IMHO, particularly when eaten, piping hot, right out of the deep-fat frier.

Same meat filled pockets only deep-fat fried to a golden brown

My D&D group got cancelled on Saturday night, for reasons of a death in the extended family of one of our members. That made me sad for a number of reasons. I really look forward to playing, if nothing else, but the situation reminded me a lot of my (still living) first lover and all those complicated feelings that I will probably carry around my whole life, much like what our member described. 

The only other news is that we moved Shawn in to her new upstairs office on Saturday, while Mason was at work. Mostly this involved carrying plants and all the delicate things not normally trusted to workplace movers. I think her new office looks very nice, very IMPORTANT, befitting a State Archivist and Director of Library and Archives. The only thing she needs more of is art for the big beige industrial walls and she'll be set.

I think that's everything I know. I mean, I could squee at you all about my fannish life, wherein I have a fan of my fan work, who happens to be an artist and who has taken it upon themselves to make a manga-esque comic book out of on of my Bleach fics. As someone who always wanted to grow up to be a comic book artist herself, it thrills me no end to see my words put to pictures in this particular way. In fact, yesterday, I finished another chapter of this work and so I made sure to send a sneak preview to my artist ahead of time in the secret hope that they will feel inspired to draw something from the upcoming action. :-) I don't expect anyone here to be all that curious, but if you are, the permalink to my reblog is: http://junko222.tumblr.com/post/183671888942/aysmiro-comic-for-junko-and-her-story-forever (a note for those who are regular manga readers, this one reads English-language style, left to right.) The story of mine that 'aysmiro' is illustrating is linked to at the bottom of the three page panel spread, too, if you're inspired to check out my work, as well.

So cool.


lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
 I just got back from picking Shawn up from work. She only did a half day today, and wouldn't have gone in at all except for the fact that some budget or other is due. Shawn has the crud that Mason had last week. So far, knock on wood, it's passed me by.  Possibly due to my mutant healing factor.

Because it's that season, Kowalski's had corned beef on sale. There's a hunk of it in the slow cooker right now, waiting for Mason and I to get back from dropping off his PSEO application at the University this afternoon.  Next up, getting a PSEO application together for Metro State. I will be sad if Mason doesn't get accepted into the U's program, but he's going to have to get math somewhere next year so we're going to put in a couple of back-up applications. I would have driven the application to the U myself already today, but Mason is VERY insistent that he wants to come along. He's been the one driving this, so I can hardly deny him the pleasure of turning everything in. Plus, he has a couple of questions he wants to ask the admission folks, so.... Anyway, the offices are open until 4:30 pm. It should be no problem getting there before then.

I'm slowly getting back into the mood for reading actual novels. I'm about half way through a book called CONDOMNAUTS by Yoss, which, I think, was up for the Philip K. Dick. It's... arty, but I'm enjoying it, anyway. I'lll tell you all more about it, if I finish it by What Are You Reading, Wednesday.

I have a literal pile of books I want to read next, so I'm well motivated to finish it up. It's a sliver of a book. If I wasn't dyslexic and used to being a much slower reader than anyone I know, I'd feel bad about it taking me this long to get through it.

I worked on my apocalypse story again today. I've established enough that I now have to figure out how I want to end it. I'm going to have to do something about an ending in the next day or so, though, because I need to be able to hand it out at Thursday's Wyrdsmith's meeting. If I'm going to get it back in enough time to do revisions, it needs to go out at this first meeting.  It's a weird story. Very sad. Eleanor is going to hate it; she hates sad stories. Right now, despite having an official title, it's in my documents file as "Sad Apocalypse."

Speaking of finally getting back to reading and writing again, I also managed a letter yesterday. I have about four pen pal letters that I haven't replied to yet. Did I tell you guys that I FINALLY got a Japanese pen pal?  Eiko. I have been very careful so far, not to mention that I'm a giant, nerd otaku. I don't want to scare her off.

She's already been somewhere to see the cherry blossoms, so I'm looking forward to sending her pictures of the massive amounts of snow piles we have.

Okay, I'm going to get up and put the potatoes in the oven. I'm making twice-baked potatoes to go along with the corned beef.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 ...than using up my leftover homemade French bread for bread pudding.  I don't know why, I probably should feel more like someone who lived through the Depression (Captain America?).  

For those following along, it's a bazillion degrees below zero here. Mason's school is cancelled AGAIN for tomorrow. As he pointed out, now the only day he will have school is Friday and then it will be the weekend again. He says, "It's going to feel less like going back to school and more like a break in my winter vacation."

It's been lovely to have both him and Shawn home. We've done a whole lot of nothing all day; none of us is out of our PJs and it's 5:37 pm.  I did some stamping, but mostly I've been cooking and eating... and napping. I really have to say that this cold weather is working for me. I'm also really glad that several local businesses have taken it upon themselves to close. My coffee shop closed. The postal workers didn't try to deliver. People who could, should stay home, inside, and warm.

In less lovely news, my Loft class was officially cancelled.  I was really looking forward to it, but alas. I only got 4 people interested. (Worse, we could have used the money. Ah well.)

On the other hand, Broad Universe is trying out a mentoring program, and I signed up to be a mentor. I've got myself a mentee, and we've started working together. By chance, she's written a fantasy novel involving the sidhe and Irish politics. Considering that I wrote something similar (my first novel, which got weirdly published via a pay-as-you-go outfit: https://tapas.io/series/sidhepromised), I'm VERY excited by her novel.  So, that's a yay. 

I am reading something, but I'm not enjoying it. I decided to try to pick up the books that are up for the Philip K. Dick award and I started Claire North's newest book 84K. I'm... not much liking the fact that she leaves sentences trailing off, unfinished, and there are a LOT of fragments and fragmented scenes. I'm not QUITE ready to give up on it, but, man. It's tough going.

What are you reading this fine Wednesday?

lydamorehouse: (Default)
Though not by too many days!

Hello, hello! How's things? I don't have a huge amount to report. Friday was the day of forgetting things. I was just leaving the coffee shop when I got a text from Mason. He forgot his iPad at home. So, I headed home, picked it up, and then went back to school. As I was half way to school, he wanted to know if I could also grab earbuds? But I didn't get that in time to double back. I left his iPad with the school but then remembered we might have earbuds in the car, so I quick texted Mason to come back and grab them. He'd already headed back, but was able to turn around. That was all before 8 am!

Then, when I was getting ready to go to the coffee shop, I got a call from some guy trying to sell us on a paint job that made me unreasonably angry for various reasons, and I was so wound up about that that I brought my cord to the coffee shop, but forgot my laptop. I think that worked out okay, however, because it meant I was less distracted during the conversation we had about a story that [personal profile] naomikritzer was writing, which opened up a lot of interesting questions to me (none of which she was actually writing about, but hey) like: what's it like to know you're related to a criminal or a murderer (which I am) and any number of similarly fascinating philosophical questions.

What else... oh! Shawn finally watched "Infinity War" and we all saw "Solo." We ended up doing two movies because "Infinity War" was such a downer AND I had earlier tilted during a game of "Trivial Pursuit" that spilled over into another little snip. "Solo" was just what the doctor order. Y'all think it sucked, but I thought it was fine--entertaining, even.

Saturday Mason worked and I had my first session of a new Star Trek RPG game with a bunch of friends: [personal profile] jiawen [personal profile] bcholmes John T., and Sabs. MUCH FUN. As I've said earlier, I haven't role-played for some time and I had so much fun I ended up writing fan fic (in the form of my character's personal log) about our adventure.

Sunday we spent the day hanging out. Mason had an in-person D&D game, Shawn made a disastrous pie (it was a cannoli pie). Shawn notes that the "Idea" of the pie was good, but the flavor didn't suit us (me less than her). I did a lot of stamping, which I enjoyed.

This morning I woke and chatted a bit more with [personal profile] jiawen about life and the super, blood, wolf moon eclipse. Most of which I missed, because I CAN NOT with the late nights now that I'm old. (Shut up. 11 pm is late for me, okay??) Anyway, chatting with [personal profile] jiawen always fun, we can talk about anything for hours.

Then I did a lot of cooking. I tried to make cheesy puffy ball bread things, but they collapse. They were tasty though!

my sad cheese things

Very much like eggy popovers, which was fine since we ate them with lunch (spaghetti) with a hot marinara sauce dip.

Then we decided to have a big chicken roast, so I started roasting the bird around 1:30 pm, made mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, corn, cheddar bay biscuits (from a box), and chicken gravy. I managed the timing pretty darn perfectly, if I do say so myself, and the meal was a huge success.

So. LOTS of food today.

I managed to mostly keep up with my spells over the intervening days. I will give you a series of quick updates under the cut. I will note that I did spend the day after the DOWN THE DRAIN money spell, undoing it, and decided that was enough of a spell-of-the-day for that day, since it was supposed to be a day to get rid of something.

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan 18 & 19) )


Spell-a-Day (Jan 20) )
lydamorehouse: (Aizen)
Today was the day I'd signed up for a friend's meal train.

She was coming back home from fairly complex surgery yesterday and I'd agreed to bring "chili, and maybe bread, If I'm not too lazy." (Actually, I wrote "bead" on the form, but I meant "bread." I'm not sure how one would eat bead.) That meant that I started making bread around 8:00 am, right away when I got back from dropping everyone off. Bread is one of those things that is both time-consuming and takes no actual time. 4/5ths of the "time" bread takes, it's just sitting in a bowl doing its own thing. I put the bread in the oven at 10 am and started the chili, with the plan to drop-off precisely at noon.

The nice thing about making this particular bread (which these days is in the cookbook as "Lyda's French Bread,") is that it makes two loaves. I planned to give one to my friend and save the other for dinner tonight. I'd bought pork chops, thinking it would be a nice meat and potatoes + bread kind of meal... but that's a later story.

My friend lives in Minneapolis, so I got everything ready around 11:30 am (I'd bought flowers for her when I was at Kowalski's this morning, too,) and headed over probably a bit too early--but I'm like that. I'd much rather arrive five minutes early than five minutes late. Plus, now-a-days, I tend to get lost going into Minneapolis... which is weird, since it's the city I first moved to. But, apparently, I've been rejected by the Minneapolis fairy (and adopted by the St. Paul trolls.)

I only made one wrong turn and so drove around aimlessly, wasting time a bit before pulling up to the house.

I was really surprised to see her up and walking. Did I mention major surgery?? But, good on her. She and her wife were getting rid of some books and so I looked through those and chose a few for the little free library (Full Metal Alchemist light novels!) and myself (yaoi!). Their kitty inspected me very closely. Much sniffing. They have one cat named Uryuu, named after Bleach's Ishida Uryuu.

But, I wasn't there to have lunch WITH them, so I made my excuses and headed home.

For myself, I ate a couple of bowls to the chili before going over... so it was kind of breakfast/brunch (?) --though, ostensibly to taste test them. I'm not sure what to think of the fact that I gave myself heartburn. Mmmm.. Hopefully, my friends did not suffer the same. I'm telling myself that I got heartburn because it was the first thing I ate, and I had TWO bowls of it.

Dinner turned out to be "ah... no one really wants that" when I picked my family up, so now Shawn is in the kitchen eating bread and butter (and complaining that we don't have milk for cereal,) Mason took himself to Culver's just up the road, and I had a sausage sandwich at Caribou Coffee. I've had a little bread and cheese and butter, too, along with my tea. But, it's sort of sad "yoyo" (you're on your own) dinner. I probably should have put my foot down and declared the pork chops a "shut up and eat it" meal. But, bah. Thing is, I really like making food that people WANT to eat. Thus, when people don't want what I'm making, I don't want to make what I'm making, if that makes sense.

I'd rather save the pork chops for when everyone is in the mood for them.

In other news, last night's spell-of-the-day was the first one I've actively decided to 'unwind.'

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 16) )


lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...if a little picky.  I would totally make them again, and I'm going to experiment with how long they could be refrigerated ahead of time. So here's Grandma Gretzky's Pierogi Recipe:

Ingredients

Filling:
2 large potatoes
1 onion, whole
1 tsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated (I used 1/2 Vermont White Cheddar, 1/2 Sartori Montamore cheddar--though I suspect any aged cheddar would work just as well.)
Ground pepper

Pastry:
1 cup flour
1 egg yolk
1 dash salt
1/4 cup boiling water

Finishing:
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 tbsp butter


 
 
Preparation:

For filling: Boil potatoes and whole onion until potatoes are fully cooked.  Drain potatoes, discard onion, and mash. (I did this, even though I don't entirely understand the point, since you add sautéed onions as well). Sauté the chopped onions in butter until tender, but not browned. Combine mashed potatoes, cheeses, and sautéed onion. Mix well. Allow to cool.

For pastry: combine all ingredients for pastry and mixed together until mixture forms a ball (I found I had to add a tiny bit more boiling water, which I had on hand because I used our electric tea kettle to boil the water.) Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (One presumes to activate the gluten?)

Roll dough about 3 mm thick. Cut in circles of approximately 7 cm diameter.  (I just used a pastry cutter we had around. Given that I got a few extra--this makes 24, I ended up with 30--my cutter was a bit on the small size.)

Place filling on half of the circle, fold over, and press edges together well, slightly dampening the edges with water to help seal, if necessary.

Fill large saucepan 3/4 full with water, add oil and salt for cooking, and bring to a boil.

Add pierogis and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep from sticking for about 5 minutes until they rise to the surface of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon. (I had no trouble with sticking and mostly ignored them while they boiled, as I dropped them in in small batches, and I was continuously making more. A trick I have learned making kniefla.)

At this point I put mine in the fridge for a couple of hours. I dried them off pretty well, let them cool at room temperature, and then put them in a wax paper lined bit of Tupperware. (Like so much Tupperware, I've since lost the cover, so I just covered it with saran wrap.)

For finishing:
Sauté in a frying pan with bits of bacon and butter until browned or crisped to your preference.

Servings: makes 24

lydamorehouse: (ichigo freaked)
 This morning I spent a fairly ridiculous amount of time preparing a side dish for dinner.

I mean... what is this, Pioneer times? Am I Amish?  No, but I swear I might as well be. Because what did I make?  Pierogis.  

Shawn found an on-line recipe from CBC Life called "Grandma Gretzky's Great Pierogis," which purport to be Wayne Gretzky's Ukrainian grandma's recipe. We'll see what they're like after I fry them up at dinner time, but, man, that filling is good!  I wouldn't dare to improve on Grandma Gretzky's recipe, but since it only called for "cheddar cheese," I decided that meant a combination of Vermont white cheddar and a moderately fancy aged cheddar that I picked up from Kowalski's fancy cheese department. (It's French, but it was six dollars a brick instead of 12.) I was right that the sharper aged stuff in moderation would really making the filling zing.

Though it may all be lost once I fry them, though. And they're tiny, so gods even know if you'll be able to taste it. 

I had a bunch of the filling leftover, however, so if the pierogi are a bust, I'm going to just pull out the mashed oniony-cheesy potatoes and serve those!

If it's yummy, I'll post the recipe.  I will note, however, that this is definitely a picky project. Not to be undertaken on a normal work night when you have to run off to your kids' recital or soccer hockey practice (see what I did there!)

I think I will be happy to have done all the boiling of the dumplings BEFORE the temperatures soar to 90 F/ 32 C. I'm actually not quite sure what I'm thinking making pierogi and pork chops on a night like tonight.  Who knows, maybe it will finally thunderstorm... *looks outside at bright hot sun* ... or not.

I guess I just wanted to say that I spent way too much time on something that's probably going to be gobbled in ten seconds.  I'm a food weirdo.  I'm not even a real foodie because all my recipes involve something someone's grandmother used to make on the regular.

*sigh*
lydamorehouse: (ichigo freaked)
We always say we're going to clean the house on Sunday, but inevitably we end up cooking a ton of food. Shawn woke up this morning and wanted kuchen (edits because Shawn read this and said, no, change the link to reflect North Dakota German's from Russia kuchen.)  Mason wanted to make an apple pie for his girlfriend, so we all made that together.

An apple pie, freshly baked, with cut-outs of stars in the crust

Then, just as I finished the dishes from all of those, Mason announced he wanted Scotch Eggs for breakfast... so we went to the meat market and I made those as well.

Tonight, we're going to grill out.

I kept saying to my family, "Good thing I'm trying to cut down on my cholesterol! Hand me another Scotch Egg!"  Yep. Ah, well. My only comfort is that I spent a large part of the afternoon raking up a [bleep]-ton of leaves that somehow we always have in our yard in the spring (and literally no one else ever seems to. Maybe we're the yard that everyone's blown leaves end up in.)

Yesterday, when we ALSO had plans to clean the house, we ended up estate and rummage sale-ing.  That was a lot of fun.  Shawn and I used to spend a lot of weekend mornings estate sale-ing.  We spent all of $26.00 and came home with some plates, a few odds and ends, more fabric for her rugs, and an exercise bike.  :-)

The coolest venue we stopped at was St. Clement's Church.

St. Clements Church in St. Paul

The rummage sale was in the basement, but they had their sanctuary open to the public:

interior church sanctuary

The church building is on the national historic registry. It was really very lovely. An okay sale, though my latest goal at these things is to see if anyone is giving away decent stationary.  It's not really the sort of thing you find very often, so that makes it especially fun to try to hunt for.  I did find a few cards at the church that weren't too religious, so that's a bit of a find.

How was your weekend?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
Yeah, I know it's not necessarily unseasonable weather, but, frankly, I'm tired of it.

I'd been hoping that the snuggly weather would make me feel in a writerly mood, but, instead, I've been kind of zoned out or distractible all day. This kind of weather always makes me want to cook and eat All The Things. So, I distracted myself with some cooking. I made a big batch of borscht again this morning and had two huge bowls for breakfast/brunch. I pity my co-workers at Maplewood tonight. (Beets make me FART.)

I didn't really want to say 'yes' to work tonight, but, somehow, I managed to miss the call last month for regular hours for THIS month.  It's kind of on-call for me for April, or nothing at all. Of course, tonight is kind of the worst possible night to have to drive all the way to Maplewood (and back after 9 pm!) They're expecting as much as 8 inches?

Did I mention how done I am with this weather?

We keep getting random texts throughout the day from Mason.  Today's best one was, "Have seen three street preachers in two days so far.  If you listen closely you can hear hundreds of people's un-given f*cks."

That's my boy, the comedian.

He also reported today that they were on the Staten Island ferry, so presumably they made it to see the Statue of Liberty and all that.  Ms. Auyeung's itinerary for them was fairly ambitious. They had to bail on a bunch of things yesterday, though I notice things aren't so tightly packed today.  Today it was supposed to be: Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, Battery Park and ferry to Staten Island (for AM), in the afternoon: Manhattan Chinatown for lunch, Museum of Chinese in America, some shopping time after, and then...?  She has nothing for the evening, but they're staying in the Chinatown in Queens (which apparently at one time was known as "Little Taipei" for all the Taiwanese that settled there) so I suspect they'll explore their own neighborhood, as it were, in the evening.

I'm really sad that I'll miss whatever texts come through while I'm at work tonight, but I'm so glad that he seems to be having fun.  Apparently, they only briefly lost some students in Times Square.... 

lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Took Mason to robotics this morning.  Apparently, today was "bring your pet to work day" (okay, not OFFICIALLY!) and one of their teacher/coaches brought in her adorable Corgie, which prompted a number of shenanigans.  The point is, Mason had a lot of fun today, and their robot has a name, "Onyx."

I meanwhile, have been cooking and baking up a storm. I decided that what I really needed for lunch was a mess o' beans, so I made a big pot again for me to eat lunch from for the remainder of this week, into next.  Shawn made some orange, date, and pecan bread and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I've started a loaf of bread, half of which I'm thinking of making into onion rolls.  I may post pictures of some of this extravaganza later.

I'm trying a new white bread recipe from The Gasperilla Cookbook, which Shawn found at the library friends sale.

In about an hour or so, I'll be taking Mason over for movie night at his girlfriends'.  Mostly, at her house they watch "Great British Bake-Off," and here they watch an anime called "Haikyu!" and various other movies.  Shawn and I might have a movie night of our own and watch "Dark Tower," because we still get the occasional disc from Netflix and that's what we have at home right now. But, if we're not in the mood for that, we'll see what's streaming.

Otherwise, it's been a fairly quiet Saturday. How about you?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
Do you have big plans for tonight?

That's the question everyone is asking today. We _sort of_ do.  In our house, we traditionally stay up for (or, in years past, WAKE UP for) the ball dropping in New York City.  I find this tradition very strange, even though I participate in it, because America is so vast that we're in another time zone from New York City, so even though we tune in "live," we're watching something that was recorded "live" an hour earlier.  People in California and Hawaii have an even odder experience, I'd imagine, to say nothing of Puerto Rico and Guam.  

In past years, we've made Shawn's brother Mark's wild rice soup for New Year's Eve dinner.  We have made this particular soup because it calls for both ham and turkey, which we have in abundance in our freezer thanks to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  But, this year, we ended up making our batch of wild rice soup for a holiday party we were invited to.  We made that version vegetarian, so we COULD have chosen to have it again, but we decided to buck our own tradition this year and have steak and potato latkes.

Why latkes?  Well, first of all, they're yummy.  Secondly, I have this weird culinary issue with potato hash browns... as in I can NOT seem to make decently crispy ones.  No, seriously, I have tried everything you're about to suggest, I SWEAR. I once spent an entire week trying out different recipes and different tricks and every time, they were OKAY and edible, but just not what I wanted from my hash browns.  (What I want? Crispy on the outside, fluffy and white on the inside.)  Lots of people can do this outside of professional kitchens. My mother can. She made amazing hash brown my whole life. It's something with me. So, we decided that maybe what I need to do is make something hash brown like that really wasn't hash browns at all, with the hopes that I'd basically get what I'm looking for in a sideways manner.  

Wish me luck.

And, yes, you can, if you wish, inundate my comments box with your tips, advice, and recipes. I would still love to try to make the perfect hash browns, so anything you think might help me to do that is actually very welcome.

Shawn will probably go to bed early.  Mason and I are planning to stay up watching the ten episodes of season three of Haikyu! or at least as many as we can get in before midnight, when we'll wake Shawn up for sparkling cider and noise makers and time-delayed "live" NYC ball dropping.

You? What's your tradition?
lydamorehouse: (yaoi)
 Every other weekend, Mason goes over to his girlfriend's house for dinner and a movie. (On the opposite weekend, she comes to us.)  Shawn and I decided to make a big ol' batch of chili for dinner, while Mason was away, because he's not overly fond of oniony things.  I made my French bread, which turned out amazingly crusty.  Just as I was getting ready to take Mason over, Shawn unthawed the hamburger and detected a funky odor.  Rather than risk it, I agreed to stop and get fresh meat somewhere between here and there. I was a little grouchy, because our usual grocery store, Kowalski's, was just a tiny bit out of the way.  Shawn suggested I try a mom & pop place that's right on the way to the GF's house, Widmer's Super Market.

Turns out, that Widmer's is actually FAMOUS for its butcher shop!

Since I was right there (and the prices were good), I decided to pick up the fixings for Scotch eggs.  I used to make Scotch eggs all the time when we lived over in Uptown because there was an amazing butcher just down the street, and Scotch eggs really are just giant meatballs (normally, traditionally made with very few, if any spices) so the meat really has to "be the star" as Chef Gordon Ramsay might say on one of his multitude of cooking shows.

Of course, just as I was starting THESE, I noticed we didn't have quite enough eggs... so off to the store again. (It was like that old joke about house projects: can't be done without several trips to the hardware store, only in this case, grocery store!)

Once home, I dragged out my copy of Modern Ways with Traditional Scottish Recipes by Rosalie Gow, which I bought at the MacAlister Scottish Fair and my deep fat frier.  They turned out pretty darn well. I added seasonings to the meats (turkey and pork), but I should have added a lot more, since it's the meat's show, as I said.  Still, with a little Coleman's, these were delish~

Homemade Scotch Eggs on a plate

Otherwise, today is a slow day. It's cold outside and we are all very much still in hibernation mode, even though the snow outside has melted.  So, there's been a lot of video game action and Internet reading. I think, had I not had to get dressed to go to the store, I would have stayed in my PJs today.

Basically a perfect Sunday, even with the time change.

lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
I'm baking a LOT of cookies this morning. Mason's Robotics League is having a recruitment potluck and Mason signed us up for cookies, so I'm on batch two of chocolate chip cookies. I keep having weird mishaps. When I first started, I accidentally put in a teaspoon of ANISE instead of vanilla. I had to toss that batch before I even finished making it. The second batch I made, I completely forgot salt and baking soda. Weirdly, they seem fine? I'm going to keep that batch and see if anyone can really tell the difference. I would have thought they'd be flatter? But they seem fine.

Also, in the mail, yesterday, I got my AARP card! Whoot!

But, today is reading Wednesday, so let me see what I've been reading. It's been a food-focused week. I've been thinking a lot about how Americans celebrate food versus how other countries, but specifically Japan (at least in its manga culture), do. It started with me reading Sweetness & Ligtning / Amaama to Inazuma (Volumes 1-7) by Gido Amagakure. The story follows a newly single dad (he's a widower) who learns to cook for his pre-school daughter. By chance, he runs into one of his students (he's a high school math teacher) who is the daughter of a famous cook, who is secretly not good at cooking, either. Together they teach each other to make yummy food. There's a lot of family bonding, great-looking food, and ACTUAL RECIPES at the end of each chapter.

There are actually a lot of manga like this. What Did You Eat Yesterday? / KinĊ Nani Tabeta? by Fumi Yoshinaga, which is probably easiest described as a story of a gay couple whose love language is cooking. It, too, has actual recipes in it.

But, in both of these, there's a whole lot of exclamations of "Wow! SO GOOD!" and "Ahhhh!" Plus, scenes of shopping, preparing, and cleaning up. The WHOLE experience of cooking and eating. And, I thought about that a lot when I read these two articles. The first one I came across on Mary Anne Mohanraj's Facebook Page: "Grocery Industry Confronts a New Problem: Only 10% of Americans Love Cooking." This started a whole conversation of why cooking is actually a whole lot of work, much of which goes unappreciated, which was then echoed in an article that Shawn found for me from the Atlantic: "'Easy' Cooking Isn' Easy: A Thanksgiving Lament."

And that made me think about a bunch of things, including American cooking shows--most of which involve professional chefs or "home cooks" who "elevate" their cooking to standards that most people find impossible and WAY MORE WORK than anyone wants to do. Which also led Shawn to forward this "how is this not a parody" video of a woman making peanut butter 'slices,' making easy work FAR MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT EVER NEEDED TO BE. "Video Makes Peanut Butter Sandwiches Complicated, And Moms Have a Hilarious Field Day."


I also read a few non-food related things. I read the first fifteen chapters of Wolf in the House (a Korean manhwa yaoi) by Park Ji-Yeon, Not Simple by Ono Natsume, and Kasumi by Surt Lim / Hirofumi Sugimoto (Vol. 1).

How about you?
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 Mason's team did not win against Capitol Hill last night (not even close), BUT Mason got a hit, scored a run, and, for the first time, got someone OUT. Ironically, a kid also named Mason. So, it was almost like he got out his alternate universe self! (See: our tangled history with Captiol Hill in the post below.)

Mason was playing second base, which is, IMHO, a tough position because you have to be constantly alert for base steals, grounders, and of course any balls coming your way.  AND it's best if you have an arm strong enough to comfortably toss to first base, in order to do a classic 'double play.'  And coach kept letting Mason play there, which is a nice change from right field.

Listen to me, sounding like a baseball mom!

The bummer is that Mason is going to be headed off to Anaheim on Tuesday, so he's going to miss the play-offs.  Well, most of them. They start on Monday so he will likely make that one, so long as the informational meeting during 510 doesn't go overtime and it's a home game (or at a field I can find quickly.)  Weirdly, I'm going to miss cheering for the team. I jokingly asked Mason if it would be alright to cheer for the team while he was gone, anyway, and he snapped a quick: NO, DON'T BE CREEPY, IMA.

Speaking of Mason's trip, a bunch of us Kid Wind Team moms are planning a last-ditch fundraiser for the trip: a multi-family garage sale!  If you're interested to see what we're selling, feel free to stop by on Saturday, May 20 (8 am to 4 pm?) 2260 Sargent Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105.  I can tell you there will be lots of unusual things, more than your standard baby clothes (although a lot of those will be there, too!)  Shawn and I have, over the years, collected all sorts of odds and ends--and a fair number of them are on the chopping block, including an old foosball table and an antique adding machine.  It'd be nice if we could raise a couple hundred bucks, so to that end, we're pricing things TO  GO.  We will be very much "or best offer" because what doesn't sell is going straight to GoodWill.

Today I have to go get cash for the cash box and some plastic tarps, because the chance of rain, unfortunately, is quite high. (Bummer.)  But, we can't delay because the kids LEAVE on Tuesday.  We may end up extending the sale into Sunday, though I think it's supposed to be rainy all weekend (because Minnesota now has a monsoon season, apparently. Though, I do feel like this is more NORMAL than the spring droughts we've had in the past, so I'm not *really* complaining, universe!)

Because it's been cold and rainy, I made myself a big pot of borscht. I am literally the only person in my family who eat this. I don't mind making  big batch, because that means I can have ready-made lunch for a couple of days.  But, the hilarious thing is that while gathering ingredients at the store today, I FORGOT THE CABBAGE. For borscht!!  This is the second time I've made borscht with everything but the cabbage, so I guess that's partly why I keep doing this, but what heck.  Next time I spontaneously decide to make borscht I need to think: beets AND cabbage.

Right, I'm off to start the pre-garage sale errands!

Ja matta!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used "DoubleTake Hot Sauce.")
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp (I actually used what Kowalski's called 'salad shrimp' the little tiny ones.)
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I used Penzey Spice's Cajun seasoning)
4 hoagie rolls
romaine lettuce
tomato slices (optional in our family)
4 thin red onion slices (forgot these, but would make a good addition)


Preparation:

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a bowl; toss well. Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add shrimp to pan, cook 2 minutes on each side until done. Mix into mayonnaise mixture.

2. Cut each roll in half horizontally. (I then toasted them in our toaster oven.) Top bottom half of each roll with shrimp and mayonnaise mixture. Add toppings.


NOTES:

Okay, actually I screwed this up and they still tasted great. Because I have a tendency to read recipes line-by-line, sometimes I miss important steps.  So, here when it says put the sauce in a bowl and then fry the shrimp, I mixed everything together and ended up frying the shrimp in the sauce which of course just sort of melted. On the other hand, since I was working with the smaller shrimp (which were also frozen) it gave me a chance to drain off excess water and kind of marinated them a bit in their own juices and extra spices, as it were.  It wasn't difficult to recreate the sauce when everything was done, either.  Also the original recipe had the shrimp sitting on top of a layer of the mayonnaise mixture, but it was a lot yummier to mix the little shrimp in to the sauce, IMHO.  If you use bigger shrimp it might make sense to do it their way.



lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
A lot.

On Friday, just before the hail rolled in, Shawn and I stopped very small farmer's market that's on the way home from her work. It's on Lexington Avenue and Summit, in the parking lot of that big church there (St. Thomas Moore?). At any rate, there was one Hmong farmer there selling veggies, so we picked up two bundles of rhubarb, some green onions, and asparagus. The rest of the sellers had specialty items like honeys and jams. One lady sold meats and eggs. The majority were flowers. I guess it was really more of a flower market than a farmer's market which reminds me of Italy, but the point is, we got rhubarb!!

On Sunday, Shawn and I made a small batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam and a super-duper delicious strawberry-rhubarb pie (she did the filling, I made the crust):
audubon and more 130

Here's some action shots of the jam making:

audubon and more 122

audubon and more 125

More later! I have to run and pick up the little guy from school!

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