Sunday, February 10, 2019

Freezing temps mean lots of delicious soups

The weather is still chilly here and this morning there were big fat flakes floating down. It looked lovely but I was too bleary-eyed to snap a photo. We made it through the week without one snow day though which will help us in June. We'll see what this week brings with more snow predicted.

[From Minimalist Baker}
I made two hearty dishes to keep us all warm and full this week. On Monday I whipped up Minimalist Baker's Rich Red Curry with roasted vegetables.  We played with the ingredients and added tofu and regular brown lentils and left out the cabbage. This I will make again - the red curry sauce was delicious and would pair well with many vegetables. I used a mix of broccoli and cauliflower and swapped yellow potatoes for the sweet.  We love sweet potatoes here but Groovy Girl does not like them mixed in with other ingredients. This recipe made enough that we had leftovers for the next few nights and even added it with brown rice into a tortilla for an on-the-go dinner.  

[Gimme some oven]
Yesterday I was craving fish and found some raised-in-the USA cod, fresh in the glass case. It's very difficult to find quality fish-I don't want my fish to come from China-sorry China but you're not known for good fishing practices and I like my food to be a little more local. I already have issues about eating fish and pollution  in the ocean and depleting numbers of fish in the ocean and for the most part have stopped buying fish and ordering fish when I'm out just for this reason yet yesterday I guess I was in the mood. I bought $20 worth of nice fat pieces of cod.  It was delicious, tender and flaky with a little cracker crust and a lemon squeezed over the top.  I loosely followed this recipe. 
We had baked sweet potatoes with our flaky cod fillets plus I made this lemon lentil soup for an appetizer but we ended up eating all at the same time. I got held up making the soup as I scoured my kitchen for my immersion blender which is missing.  I love my Hamilton Beach immersion blender and I'm confused as to where it's gone. Anyway we used the big Ninja blender instead (more parts to clean) and this soup, Lemony Lentil Soup, was fantastic.  

To match with my two new recipes I also I have two books to share.  Cold weather always makes it easier to lay on the sofa and read, except lets be honest, any season has me sitting/laying somewhere and reading. I wouldn't be adverse to springing ahead to some hammock-time soon. 


Less by Andrew Sean Greer ( 2017): The comical tale of Arthur Less, an accomplished author, who feels less than all the time. His current lover has left to get married in Sonoma and he takes this opportunity to plan via a few author invites for teaching abroad and odd award ceremonies to get away from his current Bay Area life. What follows is a wonderful travel journey in much the same vein as Kerouac's On the road but with planes instead of cars and gay lovers and wine instead of copious amounts of drugs. This is my first Andrew Sean Greer novel and I'm happy to be introduced. I can't wait to discuss this with my book group.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (2017): Recently I was able to break away from dance mom week to see If Beale Street Could Talk which is a beautifully done film almost in an old noir style, slow and steady with great acting and a good background jazz beat. This book has a similar story line probably all too common in the racist world we live in. We have to realize this happens far more than we can ever imagine. Celestial and Roy, married for one year, find themselves separated by a prison door after one woman's rapid complaint against Roy who is innocent.  Jones' writing is very easy to read and I'll have to go back and read Silver Sparrow. 

Stay warm where ever you might be. I have friends headed to Mexico today and friends who just came back from a cruise.  All I can do is bask in the winter sunshine flowing through the library windows.  



Sunday, February 3, 2019

February Peace

It's here and it's brought warmer weather so I'm happy. I'm not foolish enough to think that the cold snap or #PolarVortex won't return yet for now I'm happy to see snow melting all around us. Drip Drip

(Sally's Baking Addiction)
I made cinnamon rolls for an event yesterday. Insomnia had me up at 5am  and I thought "I should get up and make rolls" for the state speech event we volunteered our time at yesterday morning. We didn't get to try the rolls as they were whisked off for the judges' break room and making them was super easy so I plan to whip them up again real soon. Just maybe not at 5am.

Last week was a crazy school week; we had school on Friday only. I was pretty lazy and did a lot of reading. Some cleaning (Maria Kondo on Netflix is great motivation) but mostly reading.  I have several books to recommend to you.


Heads of the colored people by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (2018): Excellent short stories that lifted me and educated me.  Nafissa has an amazing array of characters in these 12 well-crafted tales including two mothers who sling insults at each other through notes sent back and forth in the backpacks of their daughters, Marjorie, a woman who tries therapy because of her anger issues, Riley, a young man headed to Comic -Con, a young woman obsessed with men who've become amputees, and a young woman struggling with social media likes and suicidal thoughts. Here's a great article form Electric Lit highlighting these stories and an interview with Thompson-Spires. I enjoyed this book so much I'm going to order my own copy and probably give it as gifts this year. Thank you to Verda for bringing this book (and the next one) to my attention.


Black Girls must die exhausted; a novel for grown ups by Jayne Allen (2018): "The day I turned 30, I officially departed my childhood. Not the pigtail braids, devil may care, 'don't get your Sunday church clothes dirty' kind of childhood. At 30, I just knew it was the end of the dress rehearsal. I was officially grown."  So begins our journey with Tabitha as she navigates relationships with her friends and men, and the growing demands of her television reporter position and what it means to be the only one in the office with "black perspective" as she moves up into a lead position. I felt connected to Tabitha and held her pain throughout the book which most affected me when she  argued with her girlfriends and when she was pulled over by the police car.  The raw fear of what might happen juxtaposed against what actually happened was mind-boggling for me and for Tabitha. It made it very real and highlighted, even though her experience was pleasant, very easily can go the other way. good cops/bad cops situation. I loved this casual story and look forward to reading the second.

So make some cinnamon rolls and cuddle up with a good book as February brings us one month closer to Spring.