Monday, March 31, 2008

Posts from other blogs

I've decided to do one of those posts where I post a list and link to various posts on other blogs that I have found interesting lately for various reasons.

Stop The Ride has a great post on Meal Planning without a Menu. I completely agree with her. On occasion I may actually plan a new recipe I want to try, but mostly I just keep our basics on hand. Our most common dinner to throw together, as I have mentioned before, it red or green curry.

TreeHugger had a fantastic post on How to Green Your Funeral. This is something I have been concerned with since I did tons of research into modern funeral practices when I was considering a career in mortuary work. I am not a fan of the common US way of funerals. Not only for the environmental impact, but also because of the way it distances us from the natural cycle of life and death.

Straight from the Farm has a recipe posted for Spiced Green Tea and White Chocolate Ice Cream that looks incredible! I plan to procure an ice cream maker for the warm months this year, I have wanted one for years.

That ice cream looks like it would be the perfect follow up to Kalofagas' Thai Green Curry with Scallops and Shrimp. I love scallops, they are my favorite shellfish.

Be Thrifty Like Us has a great post on Saving on Baby Expenses. I have managed to get a TON of baby clothes and furniture and "gear" for free, from friends and others. The only major expense at this point for us will be a crib mattress, since I do want one new. This post deals with the other types of expenses, like diapers and formula, which is where the consistant out of pocket expenses come from. With my previous two, I did cloth diapers and breastfed exclusively, so those weren't anything I had to pay for. But this time, it will have to be formula, and I'm not doing cloth without a washer and dryer because I know my limitations. So having this information is invaluable!

Tiny Choices had a recent post on Community Supported Agriculture, which is an important subject to me, and I hope to you, too.

How to Kill A Chocolate Bunny
from Accidental Hedonist just amuses me!

TreeHugger has a post on a builder in Huntsville, TX who is Building Affordable Homes Out of Discarded Materials.

That's all I have time for right now, folks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Farewell, My Subaru

Doug Fine, a contributor and journalist for NPR, has taken on the adventure of sustainable living. How? Watch this video that was featured on Boing Boing last week.

I so enjoyed this video and my husband thought it interesting as well, so I stopped out the next day and bought the book on the day it was released. The book is called Farewell My Subaru.

I am not quite done with it, I keep trying to catch up on my RSS feeds, and falling asleep in front of my laptop rather than reading in bed this week. But I have read most of it, and have really enjoyed it. It makes a nice break from The Omnivore's Dilemma.

I will have more on it when I finish it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yesterday I made it out to Bayou City Farmer's Market, and I am so happy with my purchases!

Strawberries, of course, cause if they're in season and available I will be all over that.
Eggs, including Araucana eggs in a delightful shade of green.
Fresh goat cheese, that is magical.
A lavender bath bomb, mmmm....
Lavender lip balm
Olive Bread
A Knife!!!!!

The more into The Omnivore's Dilemma I get, the more concerned I become about where my food is coming from. Wow. The evolution of CAFO's based on governmental decisions regarding the surplus of corn is fascinating, and revolting.
I love Michael Pollan's way of approaching the subject, without any type of sensationalism. Instead he approaches it with a factual and well researched representation of the realities of the food we eat based on history and policies that have created this bizarre chain of events leading to industrialized food.
I am not even half way through, but I would already highly recommend this book. I'll let you know if I change my mind at any point.

Easter Lunch

I offered to make Easter dinner for my in laws for Easter, since we didn't have any plans, my step mother in law hates cooking with a fiery passion, and I actually enjoy it. We went over there since have more space for people and such, so I did my cooking over there, bringing what I needed with me.

I have been just so worn out this week with keeping busy with fun things with the kids and dividing cells, so I wanted an easy stress free menu, and I totally succeeded. I am quite pleased and would like to share what I made to feed 10 people that took me only two hours and didn't stress me out at all:

Spiral Sliced Ham
Au Gratin Potatoes
Sauteed Asparagus
Spinach Strawberry Salad
Deviled Eggs (of course)
Chocolate Pie

Spiral Sliced Ham
For the ham, I got the Kroger spiral sliced fully cooked ham. I love this stuff! We didn't even heat it with the glaze today, just plain and it was wonderful. It's only $1.69/lb with the card, which is a great deal. My step mother in law usually buys the Honeybaked Ham Co stuff for $50-60 for a ham, and she preferred this ham over those.

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes from All Recipes
Prepared for 10 servings
  • 10 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 onion, sliced into rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 3-3/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
  2. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.
I diced my onion and only used 2, and I took the foil off of the potatoes for the last 20 minutes or so of baking to let it brown on top. This made a large amount and was cooked in two casserole dishes.

Sauteed Asparagus
I just cut 2 lbs asparagus into two inch pieces and sauteed in about 2 TB of butter with 3 cloves minced garlic and salt and pepper (I would have used Olive Oil, but they didn't have any)

Spinach Strawberry Salad from

1 lb. fresh spinach, washed & dried
1 pt. strawberries, washed & halved
1/2 c. pecan halves, toasted

1/3 c. raspberry vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable or olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds

Combine dressing ingredients except the poppy seeds in a blender. Add the poppy seeds by hand. Toss dressing with spinach, strawberries and hot pecans. The hot nuts will slightly wilt the greens.

Oh goodness, this salad was GOOOOOOD!

Hope you all had a good Easter day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Livestock Show & Spring Break

Wow, it's been a hectic week so far. The boys and I have been going non stop!

Today we spent the day at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, sans the actual rodeo part.
I love farm animals, and the highlight of the day for all of us I think was the petting area. The baby goats! Oh goodness. I wanted to smuggle one out with me under my shirt. Some were no bigger than an average size cat, I could have done it!
We went today since DH was off of work and could come, too, and it was great. But goodness, we spent a LOT of money. Those carnival rides are so expensive!

But back the animal part of things, that was wonderful.
Just reinforcing my desire to move out of the city and have goats and chickens. And slowly breaking down my dh's reservations. No way could he deny how adorable those goats were. And the wee tiny cow. Heck, there was even a wallaby!
You can see more pictures here.

For my birthday my dear husband got me a copy of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I have been trying to read in my few spare moments, with the kids being off of school this week. The evolution of corn into a commodity from a crop is fascinating, and I am really enjoying this book so far.

Many of my friends have defected to Austin for spring break with their kids, if they haven't already moved there altogether. I really like Austin, but it would be so hard for me to leave Houston. I never thought I would really think of Houston as home, but it really has become home for me. Even though it's ugly and dirty, and a non-driver's nightmare, this is the place I see myself for a long time. Unless everyone I know eventually ends up in Austin, then I guess we'll see.

More recipes to come soon, I made a nummy spinach artichoke dip the other night, and a really great smoothie.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Baby Update!

I am so happy! The baby is doing well and guess what!! I'll give you a clue:

Hee hee! It's a GIRL, if you can't figure out what that blob up there might be! (Feet legs and booty!)

There she is!

She says hello!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


So, as you may know, if you read the previous post about Zelda, Max loves it. My husband did this for him today:


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Long Day, Busy Week

This past week went by really quickly! I'm not even sure where it all went. It felt busy, though.

So, this week I made a few recipes from different blogs and they were wonderful!

First I made made this Smoky Refried Bean Soup and it was wonderful. The only things I did differently was I left out the green pepper, I didn't have any and I am not thrilled about them cooked. I love them raw, though. And then I substituted a chipotle in adobo for the chili powder, hot sauce and paprika. For the tomatoes called for in the recipe I used the Muir Glen Organic's Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Between those and the chipotle and adobo sauce, it had a great smoky flavor. It also had the perfect amount of spice to it. It was super simple to make, too.

Another thing I made were these Banana Cookies. OH, they were good! They were like banana nut bread in a cookie. YUM! I didn't add the clove to the recipe, and I'm not sure I will in the future.

In my veggie box this week I got 4 heads of wonderful red and green leaf lettuce, a huge bunch of cilantro, 4 smallish onions with green parts, one bunch of bright lights swiss chard, and one bunch of beets with greens. I think that was it. It was all gorgeous and the other night I made an awesome salad that went a little like this:

Wash and dry green and red lettuce, tear into pieces.
Dry roast half a cup of pecan halves until fragrant, toss them onto the lettuce.
Cut 1 1/2 navel oranges into segments and add to the salad.
Squeeze the 2nd half of the left over orange over the salad.
Add a large handful of cilantro very finely chopped to salad over oranges.
Add as much fresh goat cheese, crumbled (the best you can with goat cheese), onto the salad as you like.
Squeeze a lime over, add fresh black pepper.

That was a mighty fine salad. The only thing I lamented not having on hand was a red onion. I would have taken a quarter of it or so, finely chopped it and added that as well.

Today was a TaeKwonDo class and clinic for the oldest. The clinic was board breaking. He broke his first 3 boards ever, and was THRILLED with this, as you can imagine an 8 year old to be! I was so proud of him, he loves this sport and is so into it.
He used hands and elbows to break the first 2, then the 3rd, he decided to do a kick. The board broke into 3 and the 3rd piece flew way over the instructor's head. No one else's board did that, so of course that was a big deal, too.

Unfortunately, due to an accident on the interstate on our way to get there, we didn't have time stop and pick up a new digital camera before this. ARGH. That was very disappointing. We did get a new one afterwards, though, so I'll have new pictures to be posting again soon.

We ended up getting another Canon Powershot, which is what our last one was, and it was a great camera. It suffered an unfortunate fall several months ago, but in the 2 years we'd had it, we never had an issue with it, other than it's lack of indestructibility. ;)
The new one is a much improved 8MP, with a 4x zoom, and it was a very reasonable price. It's amazing how much things change in just two years' time regarding technology.

I have so many things I would like to post about, but I have been so tired by the time I get to sit in front of my computer in the evenings that I only manage to make it maybe halfway through my blog feeds before I just crash. I haven't had much energy for posting!

And now, the RIAA is stealing my sleep (heh), and I have to do that whole coffee demo thing in the morning at what will actually be 9 to my poor brain instead of 10 like it should be!

Also, it's still cold. WTF? It's over a week into March! I'm in Texas! It's supposed to be pushing 80 on a regular basis at this point. I am not ok with this weather thing, and I would like to call for a moratorium on all of this unseasonably cold weather.

I think I may need some sleep!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Phew! I'm tired!

After only 4 hours of sleep and several hours of running, I am TIRED!

But, today is a beautiful day, and the kitty is at the vet being spayed, my veggies are picked up from the co-op, and it is a dear beautiful, fellow Piscean mama friends birthday today, so I got to see her and other friends this morning to celebrate.

I will post more about what was in my all local organic box of goodies later, but for now, just know it all looks gorgeous!

And this weekend, said birthday mama friend's son is having his birthday party at The Last Organic Outpost. I just found out it will be a chicken coop raising party! SWEET! I love chickens! I want to get involved in the caring of the chickens. I can't have my own right now, so maybe I can at least care for the little buggers over there.

More about veggies and chickens and recipes later, I have a lot I want to post on, but I need to head in to my caretaking gig for a little while, at least.

Monday, March 3, 2008


The primaries are tomorrow!

If you are an eligible voter, GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!!!! If you have already done early voting, go you! BUT STILL GET TO THE CAUCUS, all you dems! Remember, voting in Texas is not enough! YOU MUST show back up to your polling place at appx 6:45 and get your vote in for the caucus.
As a TX Dem you get to vote twice. MAKE IT COUNT!

I am so excited about this. Tomorrow night will be spent with friends watching the results rolling in. GAH! Nail Biting Excitement!

Now, I don't care who you are supporting, make sure you do your part in all of this. Your vote really does make a difference!

Of course, we all know who I'm voting for!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Oh! One more thing!

I just want to toot my own horn and say I have finally completely done away with plastic grocery bags! I have enough reusable bags that I have managed to remember on each shopping trip for several days now.

Now, next on my list is to purchase some of those tulle/mesh produce bags I saw on Etsy so that I can do away with those produce plastic bags, too.

So go me! It is a "tiny choice" that I have made, and I am pleased.

Damn, I make yummy food

So, I made the "winter pesto" I posted the recipe to previously. YUM! It alone is excellent.

But it doesn't stop there! What I did for dinner tonight was take leftover pork loin from last night and cut into 3/4" slices, put it in the skillet to warm it through and brown the slices a little, then put a dollop of the pesto onto each piece. Then I flipped the pesto side down onto the hot skillet for just maybe 15 seconds and then removed the slices and pesto onto my cutting board. I sliced the pork up into bite sized pieces, tossed it into two bowls of spring greens and baby spinach, added some sliced roma tomatoes, some black pepper and a just a little splash of rice wine vinegar (I thought balsamic or red sounded too heavy for this) and tossed.

Ohhhhh. That was so yummy, the husband loved it and now he said he loves me more than he did before ;)

It was wonderful, and I highly recommend that pesto. It is not overwhelmingly cilantro flavored, and the pecans are very nice.

Tomorrow night I plan to take the goat cheese I have and make it into croquette shapes, and press into the pesto, with maybe some additional pecans, then I will grill that on each side in the skillet and serve on a bed of greens and tomatoes, probably with some red onion (if I remember to pick one up) and possibly even a citrus fruit of some type or mango.
There is an amazing ceviche salad that Chris and I love at this restaurant we go to with his father. It has a disc of goat cheese covered in pine nuts seared on top of the ceviche and greens, with a mango salsa. That's where I got my idea for the goat cheese and pesto thing. I think it will be nummy.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Forays into Container Gardening

So, last week I got a cherry tomato plant, basil, rosemary, and a small Japanese type eggplant, all good for container gardening. They are all doing well, and I even have a tiny tomato on my plant! Today I planted seeds for green onions and cilantro, and I have seeds starting inside for parsley and spearmint. I've never managed to keep basil or rosemary alive before, but so far so good.

I need to find more containers for planting, and I need to find a place with optimal sun for the tomato and eggplant, especially. I also have a bush cucumber to start, and some catnip and a few other seeds.

I think I need to build a shelf on the back porch to raise the plants to get more sun. I could even move the plants to the front if I needed to, but I like to have them where I can keep an eye on them. I don't trust those guys that come through here every week with the leaf blowers.

I think if I manage a successful container garden for a few seasons, I will feel more confident about regular gardening in the future.

I wish, I wish, I wish we could just get a few acres of land right now and I could start my larger garden and goats and chickens, but starting on a smaller scale is probably for the best.

Sharon at Casaubon's Book made a post yesterday about dealing with her 2 year old toddler and 8 year old autistic child in the running of a household, gardening, farming, canning, etc, and the trials that go along with it. It reminds me that sure, at this point the kids are at an age where everything is relatively calm and I can get as much done as I need on any given task, but come the end of the summer this is going to change again in a major way. Having a new baby means a few years of constant struggle to get things done and it's probably ok that we don't have the money or credit yet to pursue the land and farming, etc. A few years from now will probably be a better time to jump into that anyway.

I will continue to live in my nice all bills paid urban apartment for now and be happy with what I can grow in pots.

How much Zelda is an Awesome Game

(Title of this post brought to you by Max)

Max has implored me to write a post about the video game Zelda. Starting out in it's original for the original Nintendo system, and moving through to the N64, Gamecube, and now Wii, Zelda is one of the most long lived and popular series out there.

Max is playing through The Ocarina of Time now, which was originally an N64 game. Remember my post from a few weekends ago about the Vita Mix and the game that was bought instead of a Wii? That was a Zelda collection that includes the first 2 games (which Max does not like or understand in all of it's 2d glory) and Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. We have the Windwaker and Twilight Princess at home and have for a while, so Max and Chris have played through those already. The cool thing is that even though Ocarina is technically an older game, it's still tons of fun and doesn't really seem all that dated. Sure the graphics are the best, but they aren't awful, and the Zelda games are always fun.

The only thing about the game is that Max is terrified of the Zombies that scream and paralyze you! (Max, who is reading and making suggestions on this blog post, said that he thought that should be an exclamation point) They are very slow and easy to get away from, but the weird screaming and being stuck in place really freaks Max out. I had to play through the part of the Hyrule Family Tomb earlier for him cause he knew there would be the zombies.

Max would like me to also link to a t-shirt that he would really like: Triforce T-Shirt

Another post later or tomorrow.