Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Car Free Thursday

Here is a quick LRHS PSA:  Tomorrow, September 22, is World Carfree Day.  So, if you are able, try not to drive.  I will be not driving.  Maybe that means I will get something done around the house since I will be kind of stuck here.  I would walk places, but I think it's supposed to rain.  Imagine that.  I can't remember the last day it DIDN'T rain, at least a little.  The sun was out briefly yesterday.  That was nice.  It's raining now.

PS.  I fully support Carfree Day, but it seems like they kind of mailed it in on the logo design.  At least it's not a car with a red Ghostbuster thing through it I guess.

Also, that new Zooey Deshanel show is pretty good.  She is funny.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Soup Days

Well, fall has definitely arrived around here, and we've had two different soups to prove it.  I made potato soup last week, and Kev made chicken soup over the weekend because Daphne was sick.  She loves that soup.  She calls it "Daddy's famous chicken noodle soup," even though there are no noodles, and she eats every bite without giving us any dinnertime trouble. 

It's been really overcast, and I haven't felt like doing much.  I am looking forward to those crisp sunny fall days that make you want to be outside.  Lately, I just want to curl up under a blanket and read.  Or better yet, sleep.  I lost quite a bit of sleep over the weekend, because when Daphne gets sick, no one sleeps very well.  But she's on the mend, and there are sunny days to come, and I am sure a new groove is on the horizon.

In other news, I have had my first experience as part of the PTA.  I swear I never thought I would end up in a PTA, but here I am.  And I am now in charge of the lollipop tree at the school's Fall Harvest Festival.  And I think I might end up also being the leader of the Daisy Troop.  So, somehow in the matter of one week, I have become all Small-Town-Mom-ified.  I fear it's not my scene.  Time will tell.  Maybe I should do what my friend Jodi said, and drive around listening to the Clash really loud for a while to make myself feel better.

But I think I'll take a nap first.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Again

Another good weekend is in the books, and another week is underway.  Saturday, we tried out the new fancy bowling alley here in town (King Pinz).  They have an arcade with games - air hockey, guitar hero, etc. - they have bowling (obviously), and they have surprisingly good food, which they bring to your cushy couch right at your lane.  It is a very luxurious bowling experience, much different from the days at Blazer Bowl in Garland.  The lanes have big screen TVs, and bumpers that go up or down, depending on whose turn it is. So the bumpers popped up on Daphne's turn, and down when Kev and I bowled.  Honestly, I coulda used the bumpers.

After bowling, we went to Pinkberry for a frozen yogurt treat.   This place is GOOD.  We got there just in time, because by the time we paid for our yogurt, a line had formed all the way out the door and across the big wide sidewalk.  I still like ice cream better, but I am a Pinkberry fan.

Sunday morning, Daphne said it looked like a nice day for a family bike ride.  So we took a family bike ride.  This old barn and silo are on the trail.  

Then we went to South Street Under for our post-bike ride ciabatta breakfast sandwiches. It was nice to be outside and not get rained on for once.

Of course, we took a walk last night, and got rained on.  Oh well.

On Thursday, the high temperature is supposed to be 64!  That is so great.

Also this weekend, we saw a lot of 9/11 stuff on TV.  I don't care how long it's been, I'll never get used to seeing that footage.  It's always shocking.  Every time I see a plane hit one of those buildings, it's like getting punched in the stomach.

It just started raining.  Dangit.  We almost made it a whole day with no rain.

The pumpkin ravioli filling was terrible, by the way.  It was not worthy of going to the trouble of making the pasta, so I didn't.  I just threw it out.  Yuck.  Luckily, we had a bunch of left-over casserole.  We finished it off yesterday.  It was a very casserole-intensive weekend.  This week, there will be soup.  Because on Thursday, it will only be 64!  Sixty-Four!!!

A very happy birthday to Kim up there on L.I.  I hope it's a good one!  Please send me a pumpkin ravioli filling recipe if you have a one.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Comfort and Joy

Well, it's been a long time since I blogged about food.  I didn't really do a lot of cooking in August, I guess.  But, I got a little money for my birthday, and used some of it to get myself a copy of The Joy of Cooking in hopes that I could use it to learn some of the secrets of the Cooking Universe.  

Yesterday was grocery store day, so I decided to try my first recipe from the book.  But this is a BIG book.  4500 recipes.  Good grief, where do I start?

So, I was flipping through, and then I remembered the shocking statement that Kev made the other day about how my cooking rotation lacks casseroles.  WHAT?  Casseroles?  All this time, I was pretty sure Kev was against gooey comforting things like casseroles.  Live and learn.  And if Kev wants more casseroles, that's fine by me, because they are EASY and they are good for several meals worth of left-overs.

I found the recipe for Chicken Rice Casserole on page 96.  Hmm....sounds pretty good and very simple.  So I decided to do some googling to see if others out there had had any luck with this recipe.  I came across a blog called "The Joy of the Joy of Cooking,"  and it turns out that Jessica, the writer of this blog, had tried the recipe.  Awesome.  Her biggest complaint was that it was bland.  And when I looked at the recipe, I wasn't surprised.  There was no mention of seasoning of any kind in the recipe.  Not even "salt and pepper to taste."

So, I used the recipe as a guide, and added some things.  To the melted butter, I added some garlic and diced carrots (and salt!), and cooked that for a minute before adding the mushrooms.  I added some fresh thyme.  I used long grain and wild rice instead of white.  And more salt.  And pepper.  And, following the snooty foodie advice I read somewhere in the book, I passed on processed store-bought bread crumbs, and made my own.  Here is the resulting Chicken Rice Casserole:

And it was good!  Not bland at all.  My biggest complaint was that it was a little dry.  I used whole milk because my grocery store was out of half and half (!?), so it probably took away some of the creaminess I was looking for.  But the crunchy bread crumb topping was great, and the overall flavor was good.

Daphne didn't like it.  I knew she wouldn't.  But at least she tried it.  And now I won't have to cook this weekend because Kev and I can have left-over casserole.  For every meal!  Just kidding, Kev.

Today I am making pumpkin ravioli.  It isn't in the book.  So I'm winging it.  I'll probably use my Giada butternut squash ravioli recipe and just sub in the pumpkin.  Daphne's already turning up her nose.  She's gonna be eating a lot of Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches this weekend.  That means more raviolis for me and Kev!  I won't have to cook again for a week!

The honest truth is, I rarely experience the Joy of Cooking.  Sometimes I enjoy it, but mostly, it's just a chore.  But I regularly DO experience the Joy of Eating, and since I am the one who cooks most of what I eat, I might as well do it well.

I've heard good things about the brownies in the book.  Maybe that'll be next.  But now, it's off to experience the Joy of Laundry.  Have a good Friday.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Rainy Weekend

You know it was a pretty good weekend when there was splashing in puddles, a birthday party, a cookout, a movie date, lobster bisque, apple pie, homemade ice cream, a finished book, Star Trek night, Jamaica Jerk Chicken, and a couple feet of knitted scarf.*  And new shoes!

*18 more inches and this will be done and I can start my sweater.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Vacation Part 4 - Food, Field Trip, and the Fair

One day, we decided to take a break from all the relaxing at the lake, so we went on a little field trip.  First stop, the Village of Red Hook, where we had lunch at Lucy's Taco.  If we had read the really really bad reviews, we might not have gone there.  Apparently, people think it is so bad that there is a whole Facebook page about how bad it is (click the Lucy's link above).  The food was pretty meh.  It wasn't the worst, but it wasn't great.  It was really really messy and greasy.  But I loved Lucy's Taco, because the minute we walked in, it was like we had been magically transported to Austin.  The dude at the counter was Austin.  The other customers were Austin (girls with no makeup and long flowy skirts, head scarves, vintage thrift dresses), and the decor was totally Austin.  It made me happy/sad.  So, thanks, Lucy's, for the trip back home and the mediocre lunch.  Try to make better tacos.  Then again, you're in New York.  So good luck with that.

(On the other hand, I had the best barbeque I've had since leaving Texas in the same village, at Max's Memphis Barbeque.  Holy meat!  And, there were GRITS! Go there if you can.)

After Lucy's, we decided to take Daphne to see the Saugerties light house.  You have to hike in to it, which was fun.

You can stay there overnight, because it is also a B&B, but I don't think I would like hiking in with my suitcase.  Still, it might be kinda cool.  It's expensive, though, and usually booked up far in advance.

It has a little beach, where I guess you can swim if you want.  We watched some dogs chase tennis balls.  Daphne liked that.

Our last day of vacation just happened to be the first day of the Dutchess County Fair, which has become a staple of our summers.  We had our annual milkshakes:

Went on the Fun Slide:

Watched the Frisbee Dogs:

And generally had a great day with our good friends, Nate, Angela, and their cool kids.  I love the Dutchess County Fair.  And this year, it wasn't hot.  It was perfect.  A great way to end an awesome vacation.

I was telling Kev that we need to find our own fair.  We went to our local county fair a couple years ago, but it was really rinky-dink, plus we had  I don't think we'll be going back to that one.

Nothing will ever top the Great State Fair of Texas.  And the Dutchess County one will be hard to beat.  But I just found out about the Frederick Fair, and it looks pretty promising.  It is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I am hoping to go.  There will be a full report if we do.

The first week of school seems to be going well.  Daphne seems happy and I think she's making friends.  She doesn't really tell us too much.  I plan to volunteer in the classroom, so maybe then I'll find out more.  I just hope I don't run into Newman, the nemisis mommy.  I was reading the giant pile of handouts from the school, and it appears that school volunteers have to get a tuberculin test.  I am not looking forward to that, but I'll do what I have to do I guess.  I've been enjoying my free time while Daphne is at school.  I've been working out, and shopping, and cleaning, and knitting.  I need to make a list and get going on some projects.  Plenty of time for all that.

OK...dinner duty calls.  Leftover beef and noodles.  Woohoo!