Friday, August 9, 2013

Saying Yes and Recipes

Dear readers, I have been so good at saying yes this week! (Disclaimer: I've only technically said it twice and one of these was more of me just doing my duty rather than saying yes, but I'm getting there!)

Although it has been another hell-week for me at work, I have tried my darndest to not let that interfere with life after 5. I probably royally sucked that up on Monday and Tuesday. In fact, I KNOW I did. I was pouty and miserable Monday--not to mention hungry. I mean, for real, do not mess with me when I'm hungry. Monday was yet another day when The Universe decided to work against me. I got an email about professional life stuff that was more than disappointing--it was kind of heartbreaking. The printer delivered 700 invitations ($1,100 worth!)--700 INCORRECT invitations. I needed these invitations the next day so that the 10 volunteers I had scheduled to show up would have something to stuff in the 700 envelopes that were correct. (It all worked out in the end.) And something else happened, but I think I erased it permanently from memory, so you are spared that grief. I got home ready to commiserate but W had had a pretty rough day, too. And after a solid 10 days of him waking up at 4am, I decided to cut him some slack, plastered on a happy face and made him some southern delicacies.

We're talking white rice, cayenne pepper fried porkchops (I use brown rice flour #GFbaby), stewed zucchini and onions and corn on the cob. He was a happy man.

Fuzzy, but cuuuuuute!

Tuesday royally sucked. There's nothing like having to deal with crappy neighbors whose trees keep falling on your property. These neighbors also happen to be the (boy scouts), so you think trees and nature and destroying things would be right up there alley. Apparently not. Then, I had to spend all day with a bunch of women, who are great, really, but sometimes a bit much. My brain was mush and I'd been treated like a dumb intern all day rather than the ED that they pay me to be. So, I was little on edge and very cranky. Also: HUNGRY.

W and I decided our favorite Mexican would be a nice cure. He was sort of right. It was good and filling, but I sort of kept up the pouting for the rest of the night.

Wednesday was pretty much a repeat of Tuesday, except when W got home at 5:30, he said: We are going on a boat ride. Let's go.

And I saluted, "Aye, aye!" And went to change. The boat ride was lovely. It was overcast and moody. Sometimes, there's just nothing better than moody mountains. I fit right in! Y'all, I probably would have foregone the boat ride. I wasn't feeling very fit for human interaction, but I faked it like a champ. Windblown hair and windburned cheeks made me happy that its still summer even though all anyone can talk about is fall. And, I'm like, people!?! We just got here!! Don't you remember the winter that lasted through the first week of April? Let's leave summer alone. We've still got a month and a half left!

I've been darkening my brows since they are non-existent. I haven't plucked my brows since high school.

So, my next example isn't really a great one, because it wasn't so much about saying yes as it was about fulfilling my expected Junior League duties. I met with the communication committee last night and it was fun and exciting! I am one of the two newsletter editors, which I love. I am looking forward to my pseudo-leadership role in the league. This is why I joined. Its all about the small groups and committees--that is where you meet people and really connect. Also, I had the brilliant--if I do say so myself--idea to create a grandma meme to attract a younger generation. Who doesn't love memes featuring grandmas?? Tell me, who!?

Now, I will leave you with some of my favorite recipes. I get asked all the time for recipes, and I've barely talked my lazy ass into sharing them, but I'm feeling motivated right, this, moment. Momentum forward!

French Lentils
I made this up but it is based on an actual recipe that I tweeked a bit. These are delish!
Dice up (small--not fine) one small onion, 1-2 carrots and one celery stalk. (Celery isn't my favorite, so I only do one. You could do as much or little of both of these as you want.)
Mince one clove of garlic.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven.
Sautee without browning the onion, carrots and celery until soft. 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your veg/how high your burner is.
Add the garlic for the last minute of sauteeing the veg.
While the veg is sauteeing, rinse 1.5 cups of lentils (I used green but you can use whatever) in very hot water. You can even bring water to a boil, take it from the heat and throw in the lentils for a few minutes. I'm not sure what this does, but I find the lentils done this way don't hurt my stomach as much.
Once the lentils have been rinsed/soaked and your veg have sauteed, throw the lentils in with the veg and sautee for a minute.
Add 1/3 cup red wine. (DO THIS. ITS THE BEST PART. NO QUESTION.)
Stir around.
Add 4-6 cups of chicken broth, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer 15-20 minutes until desired tenderness.
Holy Moly. I eat it like a soup. YUM. Enjoy!

I ate mine with some fresh spinach and shaved parm. Perfect.

Quick Marinara
I think I got this from Gwyneth. Yeah, Paltrow, because we are tight. Not really. I saw it on goop, but I don't think I make it exactly like her's.
You need as many tomatoes as sauce you want to make.
For a single serving (which I made quickly for lunch one day), I used a large orange/yellow heirloom tomato that I chopped roughly.
I diced up 1/4 of a medium onion and minced a small clove of garlic.
I heated up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauteed the garlic and onion for a few minutes. Don't brown them.
Then, I threw in some crushed red pepper flakes, a dash or two of dried oregano and then the chopped tomato.
I let it all sautee about 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes started to break down.
Then, I tossed in my al-dente (GF) pasta and let it soak up the yummy goodness for a minute or 2.
Then I tossed in some chopped basil, salt and pepper.
I garnished it with a few slices of yummy mozzarella and some parmesan cheese. (Garnish with cheese off the heat so it doesn't separate.)

Target has the best GF noodles--their Archer Farms brand.
Stewed Tomatoes 
Roughly chop 4-5 (or however much you want to make) large red (or heirloom) tomatoes. Place the tomatoes and 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Stew on medium heat (so they are bubbling) for 45-60 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash or two of sugar. ENJOY. With rice. On top of butter beans. On toast. On bread. On eggs. On grits. ON EVERYTHING.

The beginnings of the best stewed tomatoes ever.

You need to make these IMMEDIATELY. They are called Cowboy Candy. They are jalapenos that you pickle in sugar. They are firey hot but sweet at the same time. Incredible. We like to eat them on crackers with cream cheese.

Cowboy Candy above (my mom made them with yellow jalapenos) and cukes with cream cheese, red onion, smoked salmon, dill and lemon below. Hors'devours we had when my parents visited this weekend.

I also made these curried chick peas. Yum.

And, finally, I leave you with the piece de resistance. Scott Peacock's Fried Okra Pancakes. We made this last weekend when my parents were here. W doesn't approve of okra--I know, I swear he isn't southern either--so we made them with grated zucchini. OMG. There is no picture because they didn't last long enough. BUT MAKE THEM. IMMEDIATELY. And serve them with some Japanese mayo (mayo mixed with sriracha).

Have a great weekend! I look forward to saying lots of YESES!


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