Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I love chicken curry... and this is one of the better recipes I've tried. The basic recipe is from a book called 1000 Indian recipes, but I changed it somewhat to reflect what I had available in my kitchen. I also reduced the amount of chicken and added vegetables to make it healthier. You can make this recipe vegetarian by simply omiting the chicken and adding another cup or two of vegetables. Something like eggplant might be add in in this case.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6 large slices of ginger
- 1 large onion
- 2 tomatoes
- handful of cilantro
- 2 serano or jalapeno peppers
- vegetable oil or ghee
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 t. cardamom powder
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 T. coriander
- 1 t. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 t. garam masala or curry powder
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 C. plain yogurt
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 1 C. water
- 2-3 cups chopped vegetables (potato, carrots, peas)
I served mine with rice, cucumber salad and melon. MMmmmmmm.
Monday, March 28, 2011
- When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. Confucious
- Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. Henry Ford
- Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away. Indira Gandhi
- Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu
- He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance. Friedrich Nietzsche
- I dream of men who take the next step instead of worrying about the next thousand steps. Theodore Roosevelt
- When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all that I can permit myself to contemplate. John Steinbeck
- Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts. Tao Te Ching Don't let the night sky intimidate you. Just take it one piece at a time. Start with what you know and build on that. Warren Hart (Astronomy Teacher at B.O.W.)
Many people have said it before, but sometimes it takes an experience like B.O.W. to bring something into focus. Staring up at the night sky and allowing the impossibility of it all to overwhelm me and make me feel small is not my personal road to enlightenment. I have to take baby steps down that road. I need to take it one step at a time. The first night at B.O.W. I did just that. I found the constellation that I know best... Orion... I looked for those three stars that make up his belt and from there I built the story that I had learned in class that day. I spotted his loyal hunting dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor at his side. I also recognized the stealthy rabbit Lepus crouching at his feet who is thankful that Taurus the Bull is there to draw the hunter's attention away. It didn't make me feel small, it made me feel like I was a part of something big.
The next day I applied this to what I learned in my other classes. In my outdoor photography class I decided that I was going to tackle my digital camera one function at a time instead of trying to digest the whole owner's manual in one gulp. In my introduction to hunting class I began formulating my hunting plan rather than feeling like I have to rush to the end. Finally in my last class, geocaching, I decided that rather than moaning and groaning about how I can't afford to buy a GPS receiver I was going to explore the host of opportunities out there that don't need any special equipment. I'll worry about buying stuff when I can afford it and just have fun for now.
Thinking about all the ways that I can apply this idea to the projects and goals in my life can be a bit overwhelming... so I won't do that. I'll just start with what I know and build on that. To start a fire first you need a spark. but that's a story for another day... Another baby step...
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I want to bring home the venison, fry it up in a pan, and never let him forget he's a man.
Right now I'm a woman who is caught between two visions of herself.
1. In January I decided that as my New Year's resolution I was going to learn to clean the fish that I catch and that I was going to learn all about hunting. If possible I want to hunt, clean, and cook something totally hands on. This isn't going to be easy for me... I'm not a squeamish person, but I spent 15 years as a vegetarian and I don't take the life of animals lightly. I think that that is the main reason that I want to do it... and if I can't maybe I need to rethink my diet again.
2. The other vision of myself is part of my vow for lent to give up negativity. A big part of that is getting rid of the negative self image that has been creeping in. I am banishing the sweatpants , holey t-shirts, and sloppy doo-rags (the stay at home mom uniform) to the back of the closet and getting back to a more girly me. I went through my closet and ruthlessly threw away the stained, the out of fashion, and the just plain ugly.
I'm sprucing up my clothing, taking care of my skin, reintroducing exercise and just trying to make the best use of this 40 year old body that I can.
So this weekend I'm off on a BOW retreat. There I will be taking classes on astronomy, nature photography, geo-caching... and yes HUNTING. And I will be doing all this with a bunch of women. Perhaps we can trade make up secrets while we hike through the woods looking for game...
So any fashion or hunting tips anyone?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Here are just a few expressions and idioms that we use every day:
Salt of the earth
Take it with a grain of salt
Worth his salt
Rub salt on a wound
Salt is also a traditonal housewarming gift in many traditions.
How is salt a part of your history... your lore... or you life?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
12-16 oz rice noodles
4 cloves garlic
1 container firm tofu, cubed
6 T. lemon juice
6 T. fish sauce (there are many recipes and ideas for vegetarian options available... just google it!)
2 T. sugar
4 oz. bean sprouts
6 T. roasted peanuts, crushed
8 green onions, sliced thin
4 T. cilantro, chopped finely
It is important to soak the rice noodles first. The package I bought contained 16oz of noodles so I just soaked the whole package. I didn't end up using it all... but I wanted to make sure I had enough. In the past I've had some difficulty with rice noodles... this time, however, I found this helpful tutorial and they came out just right. Just soak them in hot (not boiling) water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain. They will seem a bit tough at this point... but once you add them to the wok with the sauce they will soften up and become a wonderful texture.
Next you will need to assemble your ingredients. Mix together the fish sauce, lemon juice, and sugar in a small bowl. Dice the tofu and chop the garlic. I also prepared the bean sprouts, peanuts, green onions and cilantro and put them all in a bowl to add at the end of the cooking time.
Now it is time to cook. First you will cook the garlic until it is golden. Next gently stir in the tofu. At this point I also added in a couple of handfuls of chopped up celery, cabbage and carrots to add color. You can add whatever you like.
Reduce the heat and then add in the sauce mixture. Stir until the sugar is totally dissolved. While this cooks you are going to want to scramble the eggs. I made a small omelet in a separate pan and then rolled it up and sliced it into thin strips.
Add your noodles at this point and stir until the sauce is absorbed and the noodles seem fully cooked (but not mushy). Now all you do is add the sprouts, peanuts, green onions and cilantro and stir gently to mix. Top with eggs and garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Last week the prompt for the Sunday creative was soul... I immediately thought about grits. Not only are grits part of the soul food tradition, but grits are at the very soul of Southern cooking.
My mother doesn't like grits, so even though Texas is on the edge of the grits belt (it stretches from Texas to Virginia), I didn't grow up eating this tasty treat. I don't think I had my first serving until I was in high school... and while I didn't dislike the flavor I didn't fall in love with it either. I cooked some the other day, however, and I glad I did. Grits are great! They are warm and gritty... They lend themselves to almost any flavor, savory or sweet, and they could be a side dish any time of day.
I like mine with butter, salt, and pepper. It was nice how the maple syrup from my pancakes surrounded them giving them just a little sweetness without overwhelming their simple flavor.
Grits are either made of corn or hominy. They can be served as a porridge or they can be formed into blocks and pan fried. You can serve them with cheese, bacon, onions, garlic, sugar, syrup, honey... just about anyway you can imagine. How do you like your grits?
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
That is why I was particularly disturbed this morning. I was sipping on my coffee and watching "Go Diego Go" with my three year old. I should have known after watching the previous episode, where Dora came to his rescue by producing a bottle of polar bear milk from her backpack (still trying to figure out how to work that one into a blog entry), that just about anything goes in the world of Diego and Dora... The episode in question was titled "Green Iguana Helps Abuelito Plant a New Strawberry Farm!" Sounds lovely right? Little did I know that Diego was going to be using Green Iguana as a "mule" to transport the strawberry seeds across the rain forest in his... drum roll please... DIGESTIVE TRACT.
Sure I know all about manure, fertilizers, and the roll that animals play in planting seeds. I have a garden after all. In fact I read somewhere that birds (and their poop) are almost solely responsible for the spread of wild strawberry seeds. But after watching Green Iguana complain for the last leg of the journey about how bad he needed to go, and then watching him poop out row after row of strawberry seeds for grandpa, I just couldn't see myself sitting down with Diego and Alicia and digging into a delicious strawberry parfait. In Mexico they use the word for strawberry (fresa) to describe someone who is stuck up or has high bred ways or tastes. Does my disgust at iguana poop mingling with my favorite fruit make me fresa? No! I am far from fresa! I didn't say I wasn't going to eat them anymore...but I might have found a way to get my 6 year old to slow down a little and save some for me. Perhaps I should show her this episode tonight and see how she reacts.
Our iguana-poop-free strawberry patch... I can't wait to taste some of our own homegrown fruit.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I haven't been a practicing Christian for a long time. In fact I haven't seen the inside of a church since I lived in Mexico and that was just for sight seeing purposes. My kids have never been church goers and until this past year my older daughter thought that Christmas was Santa's birthday and that the angle on top of the tree was a fairy. This year we decided that it was time to start sharing the stories and holidays of our Christian background... and after last nights discussion about lent and Easter she is a bit confused about the old Easter Bunnies connection with the crucifixion of Christ. I assured her that he had nothing to do with it, but she still thinks it's all a little strange and certainly WON'T be giving up her favorite food (spaghetti and meatballs) for lent. This is why I've sheltered my kids from religion for so long... Look at how things turn out when I try to have the BIG talks with the kids. Suddenly Santa is being ushered into heaven by a chorus of Tinkerbells, and the Easter bunny is putting 30 pieces of silver in pastel colored baskets.
But just because I don't go to church doesn't mean that I'm without a moral code. I don't consider myself an atheist. My facebook profile says I'm Druid, but I've always been with Jed Clampet on this one, and I consider myself a golden ruler. I also haven't given up giving stuff up for lent. I've always loved holidays like New Year's and Lent. I love making resolutions and contracts with myself to make changes. Mental and spiritual makeovers rock! In fact I am one of the few people I know who makes New Year's resolutions that I stick to. One year I decided to acquire a green thumb... I've been growing a garden ever since... I learned to knit as a New Year's resolution... and this year I have already cleaned a fish, started researching bread baking, and signed up for a hunting class for my resolution to get closer to the source of my food. I've also been writing songs and preparing myself for my musical resolution. I plan to preform a set of my original music sometime this year. I hope to see you there.
But enough about New Years... let's get on to lent. I've decided that I'm going to give up negativity for lent. And that means that I can't give up anything for lent. Instead I have to do something positive... So let's rephrase... instead of giving up negativity I plan on embracing my positive side. I'm not going to shed extra pounds before summer... I'm going to sculpt a leaner body, eat healthier foods and start doing yoga again. I'm not going to get rid of dust bunnies... I'm going to open up the windows and create a cleaner environment in my home. In essence I plan on looking at the bright side of life.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I have always been needlessly confused about King's Cake or Rosca de Reyes. I found myself wondering why King's cake was in the store two time a year... Once right after Christmas... and another time early in the spring. Since information is just a click away these days...