Curried Kale, Red Lentil, & Squash

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Headed to the garden on a whim before dinner, and I’m so glad I did.  Al is fighting fire on Cedar Mountain, so just Gabe and I…which in conversational context I think of as just me.

Miraculously, our zinnias are blooming. I’ve had this thought in my head that the garden is a barren wasteland, but its not, quite.

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I picked them, of course, to encourage more blooming. Mot much else of note in our plot besides some rather tough snap peas, but our neighbor moved away, and she had the hugest, softest, sweetest beets.

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I roasted some with carrots and a bell pepper from the store.

Then I cooked up a fun sauce with butter, red wine and leeks for the noodles.

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Plus some pan seared steak bits, and roasted corn on the Cobb (I just stick the whole thing, shuck and all in the oven…do real.people do that?).

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Plus I’m loving my simple yellow thrift store tablecloth.

Gabe says he’ll cook breakfast in the morning, instead of doing the dishes (which I.secretly wanted to do anyway). Yes!!

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Last week I made the best Pork Chops maybe ever (or since the last chops I made).

I know it’s been a while (forever) since I posted, but that’s not going to stop me from giving you this recipe.  As for my excuse, I’ll just say that we’ve been fully engulfed in the worlds: the world of sports and prom and high school and all things sixteen, the world of work and community involvement, the world of wedding planning (the last being possibly the strangest–it has somehow transformed me into someone who cares greatly about somehow everything, while trying very hard to not care).

Anyway, back to those pork chops.

A bit of left over and borderline-ugly rosemary; a heavy splash of my new favorite spice, mustard seed; a little garlic and olive oil magic; half an onion leftover from another meal, and some crinkly mushrooms.

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You can’t even see the pork chops under all that good stuff!

I mixed the herbs, oil, & spices together and pressed them into both sides of the pork chops, then laid them in a glass baking dish.  Then I squeezed the chopped veggies all around & on top, and drizzled some brown mustard over the top for pizzazz.

The great thing about pork chops is that they’re so easy: I just put them in the oven at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or so.  (not too worried about the details here: when the veggies look cooked and there’s juice at the bottom, put them out and cut into the middle to check the color…you want them pretty much white, but still with some juice).

I sauteed some asparagus that was begging to be eaten (there’s a theme here: I tend to wait to cook veggies until they’re just about ready to be thrown out).

Add some mashed potatoes (made with plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream–so yumm) and a little mug of wine, and A and I were about as happy as pigs in a brick house.

Gabe was at a buddy’s house watching the NFL draft (I have no idea why someone would do that).  He missed his chop, (probably a good thing since it had those dreaded shrooms) which just meant that A and I both got leftovers for lunch the next day.

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Yesterday morning, Al asked me to go to Gabe’s parent teacher conferences with him.  Which, in case you’re wondering, is a big deal, because as it turns out neither of us is Gabe’s parent.

Since I had nothing better to do, and I actually have a huge interest in hanging out in the place where both my boys spend their days, and I’m normally outlawed from, I agreed.  I went to parent teacher conferences, and I felt ridiculous, because Al and I walked around holding hands and meeting with high school teachers.  It turns out that none of the other parents hold hands.

But it was kind of awesome, because those teachers all talked about an awesome, friendly, funny Gabe that it seems I’ve never met.  Or that at least I don’t see very often.  The thing they all said was that Gabe always comes into the classroom with a positive attitude, respect, and intelligent, pertinent questions.  Which is nothing short of amazing to me, because the Gabe I see when he comes home is quiet, lazy, and frustrated with his studies.  But I think, just maybe, that it’s just because we’re his place to vent.  Which means he trusts us, and wants us to know what’s bothering him, and he’s actually not a grouch but a pleasure of a student.  VICTORY!

And then there was other little piece of personal victory, from his chemistry teacher.  First of all, even though he has a C, she loves him.  And she’s really impressed with how hard he’s working. And at all costs, she wants him to stay in her class.  But she also mentioned how much more organized he’s been this year, which I’m going to selfishly take the credit for.  Because I bought him a backpack.  That he actually uses.  And keeps his homework in.  And doesn’t lose.  So I had a little moment of, I am making a difference in his life.  A little difference, a big difference.  VICTORY!

Plus, just to top the day off, after we got home, Al agreed to help me re-organize the garage, to make room for our new chest freezer, in which we will be able to store lots of dead animal parts and not ever have to buy hamburger again.  Elk, baby, and I can’t wait.  Plus the garage looks, ahem, awesome.  VICTORY!

And to wrap up the day, I made Gabe’s favorite corn chowder and the best biscuits ever, and we ate dinner on the couch while watching Obama’s victory speech.  Say it with me: VICTORY.

So you can have your own victory celebration, here’s my loose corn chowder recipe.  A warning, though: I don’t really believe in recipes.  I see them as “This is how this person did it, but ____ just isn’t my style.”  And then I chuck the cookbook and start chopping an onion.  Al’s version of my soup recipes is “half a stick of butter, an onion, and some bouillon cubes.  Voila.”  Which is pretty much true.

So: Saute a chopped onion in half a stick of butter.  Add a couple cloves of minced garlic.  Meanwhile, blend some frozen corn and some hot broth (chicken or vegetable, whatever) together in a blender.  Dice some spicy smoked sausage and add to the pot with the onion.  If you don’t have sausage, try bacon.  Or if you’re a weirdo and don’t like meat, just please don’t put fakin bacon in.  Let it cook a bit, then add your pureed corn broth. Salt and lot’s of pepper, and you’re done.  I add red chili flakes and hot green chili if I’m in the mood to torture Gabe, and heavy cream or sour cream if I’m in the mood to put on ten pounds.  Also, vegetables, like red bell peppers or mushrooms or carrots if there are some weird soft ones lurking around the bottom of my fridge.  The end result looks something like this:

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But if you want to get my ultra-secret extra-awesome super-flaky always-make-a-double-batch highly-technical twenty-minute supreme biscuits recipe, you’ll have to keep reading my blog.  And maybe officially follow it too.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  Things have been crazy around here, with school back, Banditos closing, a new job for me, and knee surgery.

On Wednesday I had an ACL replacement and repaired a tear in my miniscus.  I’ve been on the couch since. But before you go feeling sorry for me, remember a few things: 1. I’m on pain meds, and happy as can be. 2. I was expecting this, and eventually it’ll mean that I’ll have a knee I can trust again.  3. Al has been waiting on me hand and foot, and couldn’t be happier about it.  Seriously, it’s given me a lot of opportunities to realize how much I love him, mostly because he’s demonstrating how much he loves me.

Yesterday, he gave me a bath–and I don’t mean he started the water and put a towel out.  He helped me take off my brace, undressed me, unwrapped my bandages, wrapped my knee in saran wrap, started the water, helped me into the tub, held my leg up while I leaned my head under the faucet, lathered shampoo in my hair (give me a break, I couldn’t sit up so I had to lean on my elbow the whole time), held my leg while I rinsed, held the towel out while I stood up, got my robe, helped me back to bed, got an ice pack for my knee, took a nap with me, and then redressed, rewrapped, and rebraced me.  Then he made me toast.

THIS GUY IS THE BEST.

He’s also been bringing me breakfast in bed, fetching my pain meds and water and cookies and tea and ice packs and phone, helping me get dressed to go outside, driving me to physical therapy, and watching endless movies snuggled up to my good side.  I’m probably snoring at night, just to top it off.

But i just wanted to tell you all that I’m alive, mostly well, and incredibly happy with my lot in life.  How did I get so lucky?

I promise to post more often, which should be easier now that I have internet and a lot of time on my hands.

Al talked to the sheriff this week about the situation with our former neighbors. Turns out, our landlord had called him as well. So the landlord is redeemed, and the sheriff is looking into the problem (and we trust the guy to do the right thing). Plus, our new neighbors are pretty nice. And nice to their kids. Feeling much better about everything across the wall.

Adult Ed Website Class

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Filling the need for trusted information on health issues

Sturdy Girl

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