Taste of Fall

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I’ve had a hankering for one of my fall favorites…caramel apples.  So last night, Kimm and I made some.  And they were GOOD…gooey, tart and sweet and salty at the same time…oh yeah, and STICKY!

First, we unwrapped all the caramels (boring unless you are doing it with someone you like!)

The apples are washed and ready!

The nuts are crushed and the apples are stuck!

The caramels are slowly melting…

Ready to dip!!

Done!  Wonderful goodness!


Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Home Hunting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It’s official!  We’ve been approved for a mortgage (as of last Friday) and we have secured a buyer’s agent (as of today).  So what does that mean?  Instead of looking at houses just because we had a hope and dream that we could someday get a house, now we are SERIOUSLY looking because we CAN afford a house, that will become our new home!  So lately all of our free time is spent looking at houses online (kind of like zombies, “…must find house…must find house”).  We are looking for the best bang for our buck, and we don’t want to spend a lot of buck, so it will be a challenge.  But we are okay with that.  However, it doesn’t stop our new dream of hopefully finding something before Christmas!  Wish us luck!

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yummy-ness!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The apartment smells wonderful today.  I decided to today I wanted to do some baking and cooking since I haven’t done any in a long time.

And I have to say, the process of making food from scratch is satisfying–the measuring out of ingredients, the chopping of vegetables, the mixing, the aromas.  Knowing everything that is in the food I eat makes me feel good.  America in general eats a lot of processed food and I want to try really hard to get away from that.  I know it won’t happen overnight, but today just felt like I was self-sufficient and it was a GREAT feeling.

So here’s what I made:

1) Homemade bread (yep, with kneading and everything!)

2) Homemade vegetable soup

3) Homemade zucchini bread

4) Homemade macaroni and cheese (which I’ve made before)

I thought I’d share the recipes and some pictures.

The bread was from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com.  It is called Amish White Bread.  Here’s the link to the recipe.  The recipe makes two loaves, but I just made one loaf today to make sure I liked it.  It actually turned out pretty good.  I think when I make it again I will cut down the sugar by a bit (other people on the site who reviewed the bread also made this suggestion, but I wanted to try the recipe as is for the first go around).  The kneading was interesting–I wasn’t sure if I had kneaded it enough, but I did it for 10 minutes and then let it rise and it did rise until twice it’s size again so I must have done it right.  Although I did find the bread to be a bit denser than regular white bread.  So I’m not sure if I should have kneaded it more.  Hopefully with more practice I will understand the whole kneading process.

Here’s the warm water (110 degrees, approximately, since I don’t have a thermometer–but I did a cup of water for 55 seconds in the microwave).  After about 10 minutes the yeast, water, and sugar forms a foamy layer on top.

Here’s the dough after being kneaded for 10 minutes.  After being kneaded, the dough is placed in an oiled bowl.

And covered with a damp towel, and left in a warm place.  It rises for one hour.

Here’s the loaf in the oven, after being shaped and a second rising in the pan for 1/2 hour.

And the final loaf!!  It looked beautiful and smelled soooo good!

At around the same time I started making the veggie soup.  This is my own recipe.  It varies sometimes based on what vegetables I have in the house.  This is what went into the soup today:

As a base, 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Then after it heats well, add one chopped onion (medium to large sized).  Then also add 3 cloves minced garlic.  Add the leafy tops and one rib of celery, chopped.  Also add chopped carrots (I used the baby carrots, about 10, chopped).  I cook this for about 20 minutes.  Then add 4 cups veggie stock (today I used Emeril’s).  I also added one can of chopped tomatoes.  Plus I added a few red potatoes, chopped, one zucchini, chopped, one cup of noodles, one can of red kidney beans, and then some spices–ground pepper, celery salt, oregano, basil, and garlic powder (just a couple of shakes of each).  This is what this looks like…

Then I let it cook for about an hour to intensify the flavors.

Kimm came home for lunch and we had the soup and the bread.

The recipe for the zucchini bread came from one of my cookbooks, 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes, by Carol Gelles (p. 395). (I cut the recipe in half and it made three mini loaves).

**(This is the cut in half recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat four

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 egg white

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour pans (3 mini loaves, or one 8 1/2 x 3 5/8 x 2 5/8 pan).

In large bowl, stir together the flours, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg and egg white until frothy, then beat in the sugar and oil.  Beat in the lemon juice.

Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined; stir in the zucchini and lemon rind.  Pour in prepared pans.  Bake 50-60 minutes (for the mini pans it was a shorter time, 40 minutes).  The top will get lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted in teh center will come out clean.

I took a taste when they came out of the oven and it tasted super.  The whole wheat flour gives it a nutty flavor, and the lemon a fresh taste.  We’re going to have it tonight for dessert after the macaroni and cheese (of course this will be at about 9:30 pm when Kimm gets back from class!)

It was a really nice day, the house was filled with wonderful aromas, and the food tasted unbelievable.

My goal is to keep incorporating new recipes into our weekly menus until eventually we eat only non-processed foods.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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NO to hate, NO on 8!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Proposition 8 is an initiative measure on the 2008 California General Election Ballot titled “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples To Marry.”  If passed, the California Constitution would be changed (again…), eliminating the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California.

THIS WOULD BE COMPLETELY UNFAIR.  GAY AND LESBIAN INDIVIDUALS DESERVE ALL THE RIGHTS AFFORDED TO HETEROSEXUAL INDIVIDUALS.

In fact, the California Supreme court also believed this to be true.  On May 15, 2008, by a vote of 4-3, they ruled that statutes that limit marriage to only between a man and a woman violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.  They ruled that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry.  Since that ruling many gay and lesbian couples have obtained marriage licenses and have wed.  This right should not be taken away.

California is the second state to offer marriage to gay and lesbian individuals; the first is the state of Massachusetts where I live.

Gay and lesbians are no different than anyone else.  They get up in the morning, go to work, cook dinner, go out to the movies, stay at home and veg in front of the TV, they have kids (through various means), they are nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers, firefighters, hair dressers, grocery clerks, your next door neighbor.  They do the same things that everyone else does–they laugh, they cry, they love, they pay taxes, they buy real estate, they invest in stocks.  Who someone loves should NOT be an issue to anyone.

Who I love doesn’t affect anyone.  I have people who love me for who I am.  I feel sorry for people who can’t see this.  But, regardless of my personal feelings, this decision shouldn’t be made based on emotions.  Every individual has a LEGAL right, being a U.S. citizen, to marry and receive the federal benefits that are attached to this contract.

So please, educate yourself.  Read about Proposition 8, and vote NO to hate.

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 8:24 pm  Comments (1)  

iworld

Thursday, October 3, 2008

I have FINALLY entered the iworld by purchasing yesterday, my very own iphone!!!!!!

I cannot say how excited I am about this!

Still the same phone number so no one needs to worry about reaching me.  But I can access the internet anywhere, anytime.  So cool!  It’s so cool, that even my sweetie, who was like, “I’m never going to get an iphone” is now contemplating getting an iphone!

My next “i” purchase will be a macbook.  But that is for when I have more money saved up and have lost 50 pounds (total).  So hopefully by next spring, especially with my tax money back (see I’m already expecting it!)

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

October Changes

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It is a gloomy and gray morning as I compose.  Perhaps it matches my spirit, a mood of contemplation and self-reflection, and change.

I have done what I was not sure I would do, but now that I have done it, I feel a relief, a lifting, a surge of new hope.  I have formally withdrawn from the DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) program.  I originally never thought I would do this.  But now that I have, I am glad.  I think I knew from the beginning that it would be a long, rough haul.  But I don’t think I ever really realized how much it would drain me.  My life would be work and school, primarily, for 5 1/2 years.  And I didn’t want that.  Not for an end result that was not guaranteed to bring me happiness.  Prestige, maybe, but not happiness.  I don’t know why I constantly feel the need to be better.  I really don’t know.  I am okay the way I am.  I do think I need to find a better niche in nursing, one that will allow me to feel joy in caring for my patients.  I know that working on a med-surg floor DOES NOT do this.  But I am thinking hospice, or working with children.  I will have time now to explore and not feel pressed for time.

Also, I will have time to focus on my other life goals.  Owning a home, starting a family, having time for friends and loved ones.  These are not things I think on lightly.  When I look back on my life I want to not regret and that program was making me frustrated and irritated and not happy.

So I will be doing some soul searching and trying to find out what truly makes me happy during this month of October.  When I first withdrew from the program I was scared.  I had my life planned out for a good chunk of time.  Now I have to explore again, find out what makes me feel content inside.  It is a scary journey, but one that I am starting to look upon with pleasure.

Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 9:36 am  Comments (1)