Jim4884

Psyching Up For a December Whole 30 Graduates

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I have never been called up for jury duty and I hope it stays that way. I know it's our civic duty and all of that but I'd really rather not. How did it go?

Your kebabs sound good. I think I have some leftover yogurt marinade in the freezer from my butter chicken adventure but it's not enough for a whole recipe of butter chicken so kebabs sound like a plan; thanks for the idea. BBQ in the dark makes dark food! We even have one of those LED lights you attach to the handle and a good light next to the door that shines on the grill but we still manage to burn things in the dark. That's funny that you put the smoke detectors in the freezer!:lol: That cracked me up but it's a good idea. We have a downdraft vent and it just works soso. Part of my spice/pantry reorganization last weekend involved cleaning out the cabinet over the stove and it was so greasy! I guess I need to remember to clean it every 13 years whether it needs it or not, huh?

Last night my husband put in a request for chicken soup so I guess that'll be my next soup adventure. Did I ever tell you about the time I used heirloom purple carrots in chicken soup? Just say no. Everything, including the pieces of chicken were lavender colored- not the most appetizing look for a soup. I have some of my mushroom soup for lunch today. I think it's still too thick and rich but I'll find out in a couple of hours and then try to figure out how best to fix it. I think a roast in the crockpot might be on the agenda for this weekend, too but I'm not sure what else. Meatloaf tonight. Maybe I'll use some mushroom soup as "gravy" for it.

We've had almost an inch of rain since about 4 AM. The windows are all open so I was lying in bed listening to it and thinking that it would be such a game changer if it was coming down on the fires but it was just an inconvenience to factor into the morning commute here.

Been feeling a little tiger blood-ish even if some peanut brittle did force it's way into my mouth yesterday afternoon!

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Purple soup sounds like a Halloween treat! I'm sure it was delicious, but I can see why you might not want to do that again. How was your mushroom soup? I thought I had thinned mine out enough, but it was better with more broth in it today - it's been my breakfast all week, with avocado toast. I needed sustenance this morning as jury duty wiped me out emotionally. At 730 last night I felt like I had been up for days.

This is the closest I have ever gotten to serving. It's a two-count premeditated murder trial. The guy killed two people, and the DA has filed special circumstances so that the death penalty is on the table if he is found guilty - that, or life without parole, are the only sentencing options if he is found guilty. I gather there will be issues of gang membership and undocumented status. I didn't have an honest hardship to report (except that it would be stressful for my staff) so I had to stand before the judge and the lawyers to state my name, and spell it as they will check that against the questionnaire that would come next. I tell you, the sizing up and deep, penetrating stare of the defense attorney gave me a chill. Like he had x-ray vision or something. If I had known how long and time consuming the questionnaire was going to be I might have asked the judge right then and there if I could be excused on account of my rock-solid opposition to the death penalty. Certainly this will be a deal breaker. But the whole thing was exhausting. I understand your feelings about jury duty and that has always been my stance, too. In recent years I came to feel that if I don't have a hardship to serve, I might find it interesting and worthwhile. I won't really relax until I hear that I am disqualified. Argh.

Hello Tiger Blood! How did you fare after the brittle, did it bring out a dragon, or cause any discomfort? 

That's funny, yes, the kabobs were blackened here and there. I am not allowing myself to grill anymore until I clean it thoroughly. I know it is advised to clean it after every use, but, hello, dinner, and dishes, and...what is your habit in that area? I'll kill off the leftover chicken kabobs for lunch, which I had to actually negotiate with my husband because he would have eaten everything that night then complained of being too full. I have to hid stuff, which seems dysfunctional but he is ok with it LOL.

For now, I have another crock pot full of soup simmering away - that navy bean vegetable. I'm experimenting with spices and quantities, but I am trying out 1/2 tsp each of ground marjoram, ground thyme, and ground fennel. I held them all up to my nose to test out how much I liked the combo, like I do with EOs. Do you have a rule of thumb about salt with beans? I recall not to salt until the end. I think I'll salt it, and add EVOO and some lemon juice at the end.

Must get back to work now, and will work full days as we will be off next week for my bday - will mostly staycation but also spend 2 nights up at the park, looking forward.

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I was thinking you had a birthday coming up. Yay for taking some time off and double yay for getting to spend two nights outside!

Your jury duty experience sounds like exactly what I've always been afraid of. So may social issues all wrapped up in one big, tragic mess. I would probably be disqualified as well: I've been the victim of an armed robbery twice, I was married to the police in another life and I had a horrible experience with a corrupt, lying reserve police officer that was the buddy of the corrupt, lying sheriff. Even though I am eternally grateful for the honest, dedicated men and women that put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day, I have waaay too much experience with the lying, power hungry, sadistic ones. OK, off my soap box now.

The brittle was nothing except delicious! No dragon, no binges, no discomfort. Also, no more of it. I've been super on-track the last few days and it feels good.

Beans and salt...Serious eats had a nice long article about it and it confirmed what I had always done plus taught me a new trick. I've always salted them when I cooked them because it seemed to go against all flavor advice to cook them unseasoned. I also always soak them but learned that soaking them in salted water makes them hold their shape better- less splitting- so that's what I do now. Soaking also gets rid of some of the lectins and some of those extra fermentable sugars that make them the "musical fruit".

I can't remember if you got a gas grill or charcoal but either way, we let the fire do most of the cleaning for us. When we use the gas grill, we crank up the fire (and set a 5-minute timer so we don't use up the whole propane can or burn the house down) then scrub the grates with one of those wire brushes made for grills. If we're lazy, we do it when we fire it up the next time but even then, there's enough residual heat that there was no raw food or debris left in there.

That spice/herb combo in your soup sounds good. I have a Mediterranean herb blend that sounds very much like that and I really enjoy it; the fennel adds a nice little touch to it. My herbs got delivered yesterday so I celebrated by adding herbs de provence to our brussels sprouts last night. It went nicely with the double sized meatloaf I finally made. I topped the meatloaf with some of my homemade tomato paste and it caramelized in the oven and was so good. Is that something you do? We have a friend from Minnesota and he said that putting catsup/tomato products on meatloaf is a Southern abomination. I had no idea! Oh well, he doesn't know what he's missing. It's funny to discover things that you grew up with are totally regional.

Winter is arriving today. It was in the 60's last night but is already 42 today, 32 tonight and then upper 20's by tomorrow night :( I wish we'd remembered to close our bedroom windows! 

Time to put together my pieces/parts lunch: half of a burger patty with some leftover roasted cauli, a cup of mushroom soup (needs salt but I'm liking it) and a little side salad so I can get some extra vegetables into the mix. Leftovers for dinner so no cooking tonight!

 

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My mother was from the Mid-South, and meatloaf was one of her dishes. It always had a catsup glaze on it, so that is what I'm used to. I have never made meatloaf myself, but you are inspiring me to try it. I will use catsup, which means I'll have to make my own...but it sounds good, and I'm all for something like that which generates plenty of leftovers. Do you get tired of fielding comments about Southern things like that? It sounds prejudicial.  My mom went to high school with Elvis (three years behind him in school) and had lots of Southern food preferences. But meatloaf was about the most intricate thing she was willing and able to cook (pot roast maybe, too). Something in her regular repertoire which may or may not be Southern but is definitely something Elvis made famous: those pb and banana sandwiches. She made them with mayonnaise. She didn't live long enough to taste my homemade Paleo mayo. Being a sugar junkie, Mom used Jet Puff marshmallow cream, too, on her banana sandwiches. And the banana cream pie recipe off the Nilla Wafer Cookie box. She was brilliant, and a scholar, just had no interest or intellectual curiosity for food and cooking, quite the opposite! One of my earliest food memories is from about the age of 2 or 3 in Baltimore, with my maternal grandmother (she died when I was 3 so I know I was super young) trimming pie crust and making sugar-cinnamon twists. I remember the beautiful fragrance, and watching them coming out of the oven, browned and mouth-watering. No wonder I developed a likeness for sugar, eh? I used to joke that I was on a steady stream of lemon meringue pie from the womb on, and yes, eating that kind of pie, with Mom, is another one of my earliest food memories. That, and scrambled eggs in my high chair tray. Ha.

Yeah, I still haven't heard from the court, but I hope to be dismissed! Wow, your experiences with armed robbery gave me a chill. How terrifying. I had a couple of close calls with a bad dude when I lived next door to a Section-8 apartment building one time. I thought I blended in to this neighborhood, and I found out the hard way how naive I was. Two incidents that put me into elevated fight or flight response before I quickly moved away. On a separate occasion I am sure I was about to get jumped, but some pedestrians came around the corner just in time...but nothing like what you experienced. That is so scary. And the law enforcement experiences, too, sound very grave. No wonder you want to avoid the whole business of jury duty! Ooh, yikes, I'm so glad you are on safe ground now, and not married to the police. I understand that mental health is a huge issue in law enforcement, which often becomes a family issue very difficult to deal with. Safer times for you, please.

Ok, good to know re the grill. Yeah, I got a gas grill. I always heard to use the high heat to burn off the grates, then scrub them with the wire brush. Of course the manual says not to do that, and reading/following printed recommendations/instructions is one area where I get hung up and rule-sy. So I did that method the first time, and not the following 5 or 6 times, hence the mess I'm in now. Once I get a clean slate so to speak, I will try your method. Just thinking about grilling is making me hungry even though I had soup two hours ago. I've been all about soup all week.

In cat news something funny happened today. We heard from a mutual friend/neighbor/pet sitter that our physicist friend has some kittens! We hear they are quasi feral kittens, which I guess means they are ferals that he and his family have been feeding and keeping an eye on. I didn't know, he never told me! Like magic, when I thought about adopting two kittens from my friend, I started to come around to wanting to get cats - these particular cats. Then I imagined if they weren't available or if they are past the age of being socialized as indoor house pets, would I be ready to go to the shelter to get a pair of sibling cats....and the answer was yes. Of course, this is contingent on my husband's willingness to share in cat box duty. I definitely have/had some caregiver burnout from recent months, I am aware of that. So his partnership is a must, and it is promised....meanwhile my friend hasn't texted me back yet, so I don't know what will happen, but this is definitely news. We figure when we get back from the park on Friday we will either pick up his cats, or go to the shelter.

While waiting to hear from him I made some foot balm with peppermint, tea tree and orange. And a face wash blend with frankincense, rose, sandalwood/ylang ylang that was pretty good, but then I got carried away and added nutmeg, and now I don't like it as much. I was making it as a gift, but I don't think it's worthy, so I will use it and try again once I have more bottles on hand.  

Happy weekend and stay warm! 

 

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Cat news! Hurrah! Birthday kitties, to boot! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to hear how it all works out. 

Aren't food memories amazing? Was your lemon meringue pie the one made with condensed milk? That's always been my fave and my dad's wife makes it for my nephews now. Mmmm and banana pudding. The flavors of childhood. The very first thing I ever baked from scratch was a banana cream pie. We all had a piece of it and left it on the kitchen table. When we came back, the dog had licked all of the meringue off of the top.

My ex was a good guy but being around that many police and listening to them talk definitely instilled fear over how badly they can mess up your life just because they have the power. I know most are not like that but all it takes is one...

I made some foot balm last week, too. I used lots of peppermint and a little tea tree and now I realize I forgot the orange! Mandarin, actually. Thanks for turning me on to it. I really like it; it has more punch that the regular sweet orange. I did a triple batch of lotion: one unscented for my husband, one with grapefruit for me and I divided the third in half for the foot lotion and the one I like to massage my hand with- ginger and ylang ylang.

Fun cook-up this weekend! Sticking with the soup theme, I made a big batch of chicken soup. I made it mostly for my husband but I split some off and added delicata squash and kale to mine so I could put lots of carrots (not my favorite vegetable) and noodles in his. I let the stock go overnight in the crockpot so it was really chicken-y and delicious. I found some beautiful radishes at the farmer's market so I got a little batch of them fermenting. I also started a new batch of kombucha but I messed up the flavoring and now I have to figure out how to fix it. I had gotten some fresh squeezed grape juice and wanted to use it but I tried to make too much and now it just tastes vaguely fruity instead of like grape. I might just add some elderberry syrup to it since the grape flavor is so diluted out anyway. I made a double batch of "hamburger helper" Saturday for lunch so we'd have lots of leftovers and then got all of my breakfast stuff done yesterday. Yesterday was one of those ADD mornings. I had a half dozen things all going at once and was spinning in circles but I finally got myself organized enough to finish everything up. I have some beautiful kale so I'm going to make a chicken dish with it tonight to use up the rest of the two chickens I got on Friday for the soup. After this, I shouldn't have to cook for the rest of the week! It'll be nice to be able to restock the freezer a bit.

We're still going strong on minimizing stuff and my mom has joined us. Today we all get rid of 4 things so it's still being pretty easy. Yesterday we started a box with some socks and undershirts for a local veteran's organization so I'm looking forward to seeing how much we can contribute to them.

Now if I can adjust to the miserable time change...

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Glad you're liking the mandarin. We're using lemongrass and mandarin at the store in the demo diffuser (Hubs calls it the smell of money, which makes it barely tolerable for him) so I brought sweet orange home, and am noticing the differences, too. Using coco butter in the balm with peppermint and tea tree really gives it a Carmex vibe, which I am enjoying, and hadn't anticipated. I will play with that some more, maybe peppermint eucalyptus next time with a little less coco butter. As for the pie, I think the meringue was made with eggs and I must say if I have ever had the condensed milk version I didn't know it. As usual, I learn so much from you = ) And chicken soup sounds so good - I will make that soon....meanwhile, I found a Bon Appeitit site last night with some really nice looking lentil recipes. I will try making their burgers, and roasting vegetables for a lentil salad....and there was a harisa recipe in there, too, that sounds like a nice departure from my usual flavor profiles.

Well, our friend's kittens were all placed already, but things have been developing this week. On Sunday I asked a friend who is on FB to keep an eye out for 2 young litter mates. By Monday I had my eye on a pair of 6-8 week-old calico kitties (like Patches from the sandwich shop!) and looking at them gave me/still gives me butterflies. It turns out that a Nat'l Park Svc scientist friend of mine was posting for her friend who also works up in the park, and this cat maven is about to transfer to Redwood (the other park we would love to live near, our so-far favorite National Park. Redwood Country, deep sigh)...so it is all feeling very familia-like, which is definitely part of the beauty of living in our small community. She was slow to respond (yesterday I was on pins and needles) but I have been communicating with the cat maven since last night...the kittens are available still, and she will hold them for us until Friday when we go to have a look. It's about an hour from here or I would have already been there! I can't imagine anything that would break the deal for us, and since we are leaving in a few hours to go up to the park for our 2-night stay, I am scrambling around to prepare the house. I am re-arranging the pantry and mudroom area, which is shaped like an "L" so that the litter box can have it's own corner, the short leg of the L, and I won't fret so much about litter dust. I think what I learned is that I have to take the box outside when it's time to pour in fresh litter. Learning as you go, right? We have plenty of litter pans, and I have two cozy kitten beds. I think all we will need to buy for now is kitten food, and then get them to the vet pretty soon for vaccinations, etc, and to be spayed. I'll try to post pictures here...one of them is white with orange and dark markings, and the other one looks kind of black with white and orange markings. I know we will discover good names for them once we get to know them, but I can't help geeking out with names, and I like, for the black one, Smoky, or Spooky (homage!!) or Noche. Holly, my heart is skipping a beat like a school girl with a crush, I'm all preoccupied. Thank you for sharing the anticipation with me <heart emoji here>

Ok I had better get back to my chores!

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G'morning on Monday! How are you doing Miss Holly? Did you get your kombucha fixed? What's cooking at your place?

It's kitten palooza over here since Friday afternoon. They are gradually taking over the house and allaying my fears about socialization. The fluffy one is more social, more willing to forge the way of exploration, and the short haired one is a bit shy, hence my concern...but in just a few days, I can see they are both going to be very friendly sorts. Yesterday I learned that I have to keep the play sessions a bit shorter - I was wearing them out. It took a couple of days before they were vocalizing, and Hubs is calling them Squeaky, like yours, isn't that funny?! The other names we like are Fiver and Hazel. DId you ever read Watership Down? Fiver is the runt of the (rabbit) litter, and has special extra-sensory gifts. Hazel is the first to trust Fiver's instincts, and becomes the leader of the group on their oddysey. And since our little fluff-ball seems to be the runt, smaller, less agile, and resembles a rabbit....also the short haired one, Hazel, is super athletic and leads the charge. The names work in the book really well, and seem to fit these cats, but the names don't roll off the tongue so well...so then there is always Fluffy and Jumper, or Fluffy and Peaches. We're trying it out. Ha ha. Meanwhile, the vet has their names as I have an appointment tomorrow, so we'll see how it sounds and feels.

"Meanwhile"...I got a wake up call. The bread party is over, it seems. I woke up with a sore throat on Saturday, and after a while realized it is my impeccable ally, the allergy related sore throat that abated on W30. Yep, time to dial it down, and later maybe I can enjoy bread again on an occasional basis. Sure is addictive I am realizing now. So with that, I realized it was time to get cooking. So yesterday in between kitten play, I made a pot of Peruvian bean soup with chili lime seasoning. I'm about to have some for breakfast so we will see if it's any good. I am also polishing off some delicious Chicken Posole that a friend sent me home with after a baby shower on Saturday. The hominy might not be the most gut healing, but man, this soup is made with love. My friends are adopting their grandbaby, and the foster parents are Mexican Americans who have become good friends, and will be God Parents, and she made a gigantic batch of Polsole for the shower...it was very moving to see the baby with her well-integrated, big, loving extended family, and so I am associating all that with the soup!

Zucchini is at the ready for MJ's gingered soup, and also the Bon Appetit recipe for curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup. I'll stick to the recipe, but I have a feeling it will be easy to add more vegetables to it, and experiment a bit.

Have a good week!

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Kitten palooza! Congratulations! That's how Squeaky got his name- he squeaked (a lot- can't blame him since he was only a day old) :) and we couldn't think of anything else. Can you tell if they're boys or girls yet? I never did read Watership Down. I like Hazel but, you're right, Fiver feels a little tongue twister-ish but you'd probably get used to it and it's pretty cool that their personalities seem to fit the names, too. My dad was king of naming pets- always something unusual but fitting and clever.

I haven't been having a bread party but I've sure had a popcorn party. No adverse effects and I hope yours subside soon. Hominy isn't big in Louisiana so I hadn't eaten it until a couple of years ago in a roasted vegetable "stew" that Sean Brock made for the annual Food Summit here and I just couldn't get enough of it. I loved the taste and the texture. I was hoping the recipe would be in his cookbook but it wasn't. I haven't checked out his newest one yet, though.

I didn't get around to as much of a cook-up as I hoped but I did OK. I made a mustard chicken with kale that was really good and I did individual breakfast "quiches" for my breakfasts with some gorgeous kohlrabi and kale. I also have a real treat for two lunches this week- tabbouleh! I got a couple of beautiful bunches of parsley at the farmer's market and I had some cherry tomatoes leftover from my mustard chicken dish so tabbouleh and salmon cakes for lunch. I rescued my kombucha by adding a bunch of elderberry to it so it's tasty but I'm sad that I wasted that precious grape juice. I have a sirloin tip roast that I need to do something with and I was going to treat it like a pot roast but, after doing some research, that might not be the best treatment for that cut. I've never cooked one but it was on sale...

It was a beautiful weekend and we got to spend some time out on the deck yesterday mostly cleaning up giant piles of leaves but just hanging out for a bit, too. Now it's time to pay for 70 degree weather in November- rain turning to snow tonight and it's going to be 20 by tomorrow morning. We haven't tested the all wheel drive capability of the new car yet and I'm a bit apprehensive.

Any Thanksgiving plans? We got invited over to some friends' house so that will be nice. They've got the proteins coveredand everything else is potluck so I just need to decide what sides or snacks to bring. I know my husband will want pecan pie so I might do that so he can get his pie fix there and I don't wind up with a whole pecan pie staring me in the face.

Happy kitten-ing!

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Squeaky was only one day old? Wow! These cats are both girls, and they have the cutest squeak. Oh! You have me missing your dad now, knowing he was the king of names...everything you wrote reminds me of my Grandad.  He was a newspaper man, literate and clever. I have a scrapbook of all his witty headlines. Once he named our brother-sister kittens Hit and Miss. What a guy. Kinda like your dad, eh? What were some of the names your dad thought of?

Hubs requested popcorn on Saturday night, so I made some with a honey caramel glaze that I learned from a family friend when I was a teen. Decadent! I'm jonesing for avocado toast to go with all the soup I've been making! Dang. I'll have to eat the avocados on their own. Turns out the bean soup is very rich and filling! The zucchini soup is bubbling away on the stove. I also made my "get back on the wagon" chicken apple sliders, and there is a batch of leftover roast brussels and sweet potatoes in the fridge, and fresh coleslaw, and plenty of other fresh veg on hand, so I'm good for several days now. Whew! Oh, yes, the hominy has a lovely texture, doesn't it? How cool that you got to enjoy an unpublished recipe from your man, Sean Brock! Do you think you could take a stab at the stew from memory? I'll bet you could do it. The tabbouleh sounds beautiful, and delicious. Mmmmm. I'm looking forward to working with cilantro and lime for the upcoming lentil soup...I don't usually use fresh herbs, I realize, and that must be remedied. I hate to waste it, and too often do.

Wow, that is a wild seasonal transition! 20 already? Is that normal for early November? It's been so long since I lived in freezing temperatures, but my (youthful) ears remember cold Chicago wind. Brrrr. Good luck with your car - more will be revealed. Trust the process, Friend!

Your Thanksgiving plans sound perfect. Oh Lordy, pecan pie. I do love me some pecan pie = ) Yes, by all means, don't bring it home. Will you enjoy a piece at the party? Do you like to make paleo-ified treats? I'm not really into such things, but I admire when people do...I just need to mind my Ps & Qs. As for me...I had a little dilemma when I was invited to a step-relative's for Thanksgiving...a lot of old crap came up for me, and there was a little words-not-spoken drama. I took some time to think it over, and made excuses about being too busy at work, and declined. And am I glad I DID. Because then my cousin in SF who finally has a guest room finished invited us. My husband won't come/doesn't want to travel etc because he has to work the next day...but I can do it, and I will, and I'm SO EXCITED about it. A home base in SF again, with family whom I miss and love. Since Mom died there has been no home base, for any of us. One of my sisters could host, but chooses not to...anyway, this may be a new era, and I am psyched about it. It will take about 5.5 hours on the train, a little longer than if I drove but traffic will be hellacious, and then a short Uber ride. We'll go out to eat. I'll spend one night, and then two nights also in SF visiting with other friends. Yay! Happy dance...For me SF is like Avalon. I can't go back. I had all my fondest times there, and I can't ever live there again. But I can visit!!!!

Speaking of plans, did I tell you about our big plans for 2020? It's going to be a big backpacking year for us. We're doing a bucket list hike in the High Sierras that will be an 8 day and 7 night climb. In August. So to prepare we'll do a lot of smaller trips with the packs in spring and summer. I'm excited about it, and need the event on the horizon to get my ass in gear. So the time to start training is now...first training hike on Wednesday. I'll approach it just like I did for half marathons.

More soon! Good night...or good morning!

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14 degrees this morning and Squeaky is none too happy about it! The world is his litter box and it makes him very grumpy when it's too cold, snowy or rainy to use it. That is much colder than we typically are this time of year but it's not unusual to have cold snaps. When we came up here to look at houses after returning to NO, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and it was 17. We learned that credit cards are meant for scraping off your windshield! Thankfully we have a garage and don't have to start the day scraping ice off of the windows.

Yep, my big boy could fit in the palm of your hand and still had his umbilical cord attached when the universe gave him to us. I fed him with an eye dropper at first and learned that you can get juice boxes of kitty and puppy formula. Who knew?? We had a fiend that was a vet and he told my husband not to expect Squeaky to make it but my husband was kind enough not to tell me or Squeaky that.

I don't even want to know how to make that honey caramel; it sounds dangerous and I know my husband would love it. I used to make popcorn balls when I was a kid and love that sweet/salty combo. Uh oh, I might be in trouble for dredging up that memory. Now I have popcorn balls on the brain. Sounds like you had a very productive cook-up. Good for you! I don't use fresh herbs as much as I would like either. I've never gotten around to making them but I ran across "recipes" for flavor bombs. They are essentially chopped fresh herbs with some kind of fat that you freeze into cubes. The fat stops the enzymatic reactions that dulls the flavor of the herbs. I put them in my recipe software so I wouldn't forget about them; I'll send them to you. Unless I make tabbouleh I can't even use up a bunch of parsley before it goes bad but I freeze it all the time. I just chop it then spread it out on a kitchen towel so it can dry out a bit and put it in a ziplock in the freezer. It keeps its nice color and flavor. My only problem is keeping that darn cat out of it. He has a thing for parsley and will lie down in it if he can. Cat hair parsley-yum!

I've made a few paleofied treats but I'm always disappointed in them. SWYPO! It's just not the same and the ingredients tend to be pricey, too. I'd rather have one piece of the real deal and just don't do it very often. It can be hard, though. I used to bake A LOT. I was making and selling desserts out of my kitchen in NO and got to the point where I either needed to quit my day job and find a commercial kitchen or stop. I stopped. Your Thanksgiving trip sounds like an all-around winner! Good, good, good for you for declining that invitation! "No" can be such a good word and by using it you said "yes" to yourself.

2020, The Year of Backpacking. That sounds awesome. And motivating. You're probably on your first training hike about now. I've been doing pretty well getting some extra movement but I need more endurance stuff. One step at a time- literally, right? We've talked about taking a trip or doing something special this year but haven't thought of anything that won't break the bank and really floats our boat. We have a couple of big anniversaries and birthdays this year and would like to do something celebratory. I need to look into it more; if I leave it up to my husband, we'll be sitting at home. Like you said, there's nothing like an event to get your ass in gear! I'm going to use that to find something for us to do. Something outside and somewhere we've never been even if it's not very far away.

Happy hiking!

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Poor Squeaky, and all of you Easterners in this cold snap! He is a survivor, and a true rescue - yes, sweet of your husband to hold the vet's input close to the vest - discretion being the heart of valor. What a guy! Hazel and Fiver survived their vet visit in stalwart fashion. I'm treating their ears for mites, and we're using Revolution for fleas that they picked up at their first home...the cat lady rescued them but then let them outside (?), so they are/were loaded with fleas. Way less scratching today, so I think we're heading in the right direction. In a month we'll go back for a booster, and they'll get tested for kitty leukemia and feline AIDS since they were born to a feral mama. Fingers crossed that they are negative!!

The allergy I mentioned morphed into, or alongside a bad cold. So on principal I'm staying on program and not doing bread, but not sure what is going on in the scheme of things. So I postponed my hike, and I'm taking today off and enjoying getting caught up on chores, playing with the girls, and, having plenty of good food on hand.

I'm real grateful for your tip about freezing herbs, and the flavor bombs. Yes, please do share your recipe when you have time. Cilantro and parsley are the ones I would use more of if I could figure it out...cat hair parsley - funny! Have you tried freezing cilantro in the same way?

8 hours ago, hollysmokes said:

 "No" can be such a good word and by using it you said "yes" to yourself.

That's such a great way to put it! Yes. Thank you for the support!

Wow, I'm not surprised to learn about your baking operation - I'll bet it was amazing! Everyone must drool when they know you are bringing anything savory or sweet.

Keep me posted on what you are dreaming up to celebrate your occasions this year. I like it that we will be in solidarity, with our eyes on something specific to work towards. I could use all the accountability and solidarity I can get. I guess I'm feeling really appreciative of my husband who forges the way of these outdoor adventures. I always loved walking all over San Francisco, and a few favorite State Parks. But he has really gotten me going with the hiking and backpacking. I dreamed of backpacking, and had inherited my dad's backpack years before we met. (Our first trips I had Dad's pack on my back, but I had to upgrade for comfort and efficiency, and gave the heirloom to my brother.) So the backpacking was a first for both of us, but he was way more experienced than me, and is the more ambitious one. This trip was his idea and his instigation, that he's talked about since we moved here...in recent years I didn't think I wanted to do it, but we have worked up to it, and I am confident I can do it if I am prepared. (And I don't want him doing it alone. But I wouldn't go/won't go if I'm not trained for it). We are well matched. He is fitter than I am right now and never fudges on his spin cycle program at home, but even when I am less fit, I am no slouch, and manage to keep up with him, often smoking him on the downhills, which I can't account for. Our wedding cake topper showed us as backpackers, and the cake had mountains and camp scenes LOL. I hope we will always hike and camp. He wants to eventually get a camper, but I like the idea of sleeping on the ground, plus they burn so much fuel!

So whoopee! It's a healthy approach to the new year, and the new year is a launch pad for awesomeness in 2020!

Back to my laundry, and maybe a nap...

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Wheeee! Busy day yesterday! So you settled on Fiver and Hazel! Those sound like good names. Fleas are the worst! Ticks are disgusting but fleas can be so hard to get rid of. We sporadically use Advantage for flea/tick prevention and it seems to work really well even though I've heard from doggie people that fleas are becoming immune to it. 

I hope you are on the mend and starting to feel better. I don't feel sick but feel like I might have the beginning of a sinus infection so I've been rinsing my sinuses, drinking elderberry kombucha and made a steamer with oregano oil to inhale. I'm hoping I can nip it in the bud before I actually come down with something that makes me feel yucky.

I love that camping and backpacking is such an integral part of you as a couple. Driving in to work this morning I asked my husband what he thought of planning a destination hike that would challenge us enough to get motivated to spend more time moving outside as preparation and he liked the idea. We've had some amazing trips to VA, NC and SC and there's so much history on top of the beauty. We've both been to the Smokeys as kids but never together and that might be an option, too but it's the most visited national park and I don't like to be around people when I'm trying to enjoy the outdoors. My husband has mentioned campers, too but more along the lines of a small Airsteam or one of those cute teardrop campers. Right now our plan is to get a newer, more comfortable pick-up truck (ours is an old workhorse kind of truck) and use it as our camping vehicle but getting 20-25 mpg is good so I'm not crazy about that. I have very quickly gotten used to getting 40+mpg with the Prius and I love it.

This year has flown by so quickly that it hadn't dawned on me to start planning next year yet but it's definitely time! We don't have Christmas or NY (aka anniversary) plans yet but I just got tickets to our first concert for 2020 so that's pretty cool.  Back to the here and now, though! I need to come up with some cook-up ideas for this weekend and I might even be able to persuade my husband to help out. Last night he commented how nice it was not to have to cook dinner at all this week so he's starting to see the cook-up light! I have a pork roast so I might put it in the crockpot with some tomatillos, garlic, cilantro. I'm going to make some egg muffins to bring to a breakfast potluck at work Tuesday morning but I'm just going to prep them Monday and bake them early Tuesdays so they'll be fresh. I think this afternoon is going to involve freezing some leftovers and cleaning out my fridge and tomorrow morning will be one of running errands  and going to various farmer's markets & stores. 

Feel better!

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Great self care, nipping that sinus infection in the bud. Did you catch it before it took hold? Hope so, those are the worst. Is the elderberry kombucha homemade? I'll bet it is. I'll bet you could sell that stuff to very grateful aficionados! Does your husband appreciate the kombucha, or help you make it? ! I'm not out of the woods with my symptoms, but I believe it has everything to do with my diet. The air is really hazy, and yesterday was an all time bad reaction - it felt like sand paper on my eyes, and I don't usually get that reaction. I couldn't wait to get home.

Yes, it seems the names have stuck. They are growing so fast, and we are watching them both blossom. By day 7, Friday, they had pushed to the final frontier, our bedroom suite upstairs, so we put a box up there, and they made good use of it, but spent most of the day as far as we can tell, playing under the bed. The less agile one is catching up with her sister, and they are both "this close" to being able to jump on the dining room table, so a squirt gun is on my shopping list. I want to get best habits in place while they are young. Speaking of that, were Maybelle and Squeaky kittens at the same time? I think Maybelle came later, is that right? Did you ever have to separate them from sharing a food dish? I'm struggling a little-bit with that...I want to always be able to monitor what each of them is eating, but that means breaking them of the life-long habit of sharing a dish. I am practicing the alpha female cat behavior, hissing and all, as the vet demonstrated for me, but it is, as they say, like herding cats. Ooh, ticks are terrible, I hate ticks! We're on program, but not completely out of the woods as I need to sprinkle and vacuum up borax from the carpet, and get the vacuum out more often...work in progress.

Speaking of work in progress, I need to seriously detox. I have two pots of soup on the stove, one with lentils (that curry dish, finally) and one is a navy bean soup with loads and loads of vegetables, to christen the giant new soup pot. I've still been on and off with bread, but I realize it is all hinging on having good compliant food on hand. It was a pretty good week, but I ran out of leftovers, and just wasn't prepared. So I'm trying not to beat myself up, but just get back to best practices. Back in a W30 groove. I will not do a Dec. W30, but neither will I enter the month of December the disgrace that I have felt myself to be of late. (Not for the bread party, but the difficulty breaking up the party!!)

Yay for a destination hike! I really relate to your not wanting to go where throngs and throngs of visitors will be crowding the trails. We feel the same way. Is there an off-season? Not sure when that may be in the climate zone (and visitor habits) of the Smokeys, but we try to keep that in mind in our area, and it is always nice when you *practically* have it to yourself! On our biggest hike ever 2 years ago, on a very popular trail that also intersected with the John Muir Trail (long-haul through-hikers) we knew it would be crowded at the peak of summer, which is not what we prefer, but we wanted it so much, we just sucked it up, and adjusted our expectations. I think that kind of mental mayhem (speaking for myself, when encountering lots of people) is part of the challenge/benefit of the hike....just being present for it. Same with the mental mayhem of hiking with my husband, although it is MUCH better since the last big hike - what i mean is, he used to take off leaving me in the dust - and now he sticks close by me, which is much better. Lots of potential mental obstacles on any hike, I think. The worst is backpacking where there are a lot of other campers, and setting out to find a private spot with the poop kit. LOL

Your egg muffins and breakfast potluck sounds fun! Was/Is this the pork roast that you hadn't used that cut before, or did you already cook that? I have a frozen tri tip for later in the week and I will try to blend a delicious steak-type rub for it (the Costco one was seriously yum and of course not compliant). I guess I had the impression that your husband partnered you in the cooking, or is he an occasional kitchen assistant? My husband prefers to stay out of the kitchen but is a good sport about clean up afterwards. Aren't they lucky! What is your concert?

Rain is forecast for Wednesday, (oh please....) so we are off to stack to the wood that has been laying in a big pile. More soon! xo And THANK YOU for the flavor nugget recipe!!!!

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After a weekend that wasn't as productive as I would have liked, I started of the week by hitting a deer on my way to work.  I don't know if I killed it or not but I feel terrible. I usually keep a sharp eye out for them but I was in a string of vehicles and was watching the guy on my tail instead of keeping an eye out for critters. I slammed on my brakes and veered as far over as I could without going into oncoming traffic but I clipped his rear end with my passenger side headlight. I don't even know if there was any oncoming traffic because I had to make sure the guy behind me wasn't going to rear-end me. I'm dreading the drive home this afternoon. I don't want to see him on the side of the road but if he's not there, I'm afraid he's out there somewhere injured. I have a lot to do and just can't seem to make it happen today. This really sucked the wind out of my sails.

Talk to you later. I hope you're feeling better.

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I'm so sorry! I feel your pain on this. I want to remind you that this is not your fault. Sometimes it happens, and there is no avoiding it. It took me a long time to understand that, in recent years when it happened to me, too. It sucks....deep sigh. It's not your fault. Hugs

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