It was ungodly cold in Michigan this weekend. A high of 14 yesterday. Fourteen. No, I didn’t really mean to type 41. The 1 and the 4 were in the correct locations. 14 degrees. Fahrenheit. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, 14 is not a temperature. It’s an awkward time in adolescence, yes, but it is not a temperature. It is against everything that is right and holy in my world.
Luckily, to combat this, my office had a chili potluck on Friday, complete with 4 delicious chili concoctions to take the freezing edge off, as well as chips, cheese, cornbread, biscuits–all the necessary accompaniments–cookies and cupcakes. It was delighful. But all too soon it ended and I found myself on my own Saturday morning with the cold wind trying to slide into the creaky doorways of my house. My house is a delight. I enjoy it immensely. After all, we did strive to pick a house that we adored, because I intend to live there until I die and then I’m going to haunt it (although admittedly, indeed, I do plan on retiring someplace warm and sunny, but I still plan on keeping and haunting this house). But some days, the grand old house is a little less grand. Like days where it’s 14 degrees outside. My house is three solid layers of brick wall (so if that big bad wolf ever comes around, I’m golden)…and no insulation. And all wood floors. And single pain, 150 year old windows. It just soaks up the cold like a sponge. With Josh off playing some RPG game with friends, and the dogs out of the house playing at day care (you laugh but it’s the greatest thing in the world if you have a puppy, especially one that weights 95 pounds and is the size of a deer, like our mastiff), I knew that if I followed my instincts and just melted myself into the couch, cloaked in a blanket like a ghost and watched endless hours of the Cooking channel, eventually….wait, why didn’t I do that? That sounds awesome. Continue reading
Oh, Internet. How I’ve missed you.
Let me tell you, I’ve had quite a week. The first week of May is always a terrible one for me, at least for the last few years. It is actually the busiest week of my entire year. Those of you who know me in the “Real World” (I’m in Season 27, how about you?) know that by day, I masquerade as my alter-ego, the instructional technology consultant. Or the academic technologist. Or the learning consultant. Or whatever version of that title I happen to respond to on any given day. Anyway, I work for a university and during the first week of May, myself and dozens of others like me (we are legion), put on a campus-wide conference and offer workshops on various technological and pedagogical issues and solutions to faculty and staff. It’s fun. It’s enlightening. And it is tiring as hell.
I have so much respect for classroom teachers, such as the delightful Patti from Palate of Patti. It’s exhausting to be up in front of 30 people, trying to teach something most of them consider to be completely alien to them while simultaneously trying to engage both the quick learner and the slightly slower to catch up, whilst still minding your time limits. And doing it for hours. During a normal week, my voice is strained.
But this week was even better. Because I got the flu the Saturday before. So that’s great, y’know. Losing my voice, being exhausted. Having to do all the regular duties of my job on top of giving 4 workshops, assisting 2 others and helping to host several large social events and on top of that, the cherry to my sundae of doom, as it were, feeling like complete an utter crap despite sleeping ten to twelve hours a night because I could not stay awake.
Good times. Continue reading
Ah, Michigan in the spring. This week was day after day of 65 degree weather with full sun and, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, nice long lit evenings. We grilled. We lounged. We ate out at cafe sidewalks. We…did yardwork. It was beautiful. It was gorgeous. It was—short lived. Today’s forecast? Rain and a high of 44. Tomorrow? Gulp. Snow. Sigh.
So even though I’m positively itching (that might be the bug bites from the yardwork) to hop on the grilling bandwagon and get my yippy-ki-yay on, I went back to my cold-weather friend, the slowcooker, and decided to try a new recipe…for goulash.
Am I the only person who, when they hear the word “goulash,” immediately thinks of Gargamel from the Smurfs? No, you do it too? Ok, good. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a proper “goulash,” which is a stew usually made of beef, onions, vegetables, and paprika. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that the word stems from the Hungarian word for cattle herdsmen. Ha! It’s like Hungarian Cowboy Stew. Continue reading
This post is brought to you by the letters “Y,” “U,” “M,” “M,” and “Y.” And the number 3. Let’s use those in a sentence. “This meal is 3 kinds of yummy.” Good!
This may actually be my favorite of the experiments so far. Granted, there have only been 5–so far—but this is still one of my top ones. My fabulous cousin Carmen picked this Puerto Rican chicken and rice stew to try out; I made it as dinner for Josh and myself tonight and bundled up a bunch to take her for lunch. This dish is not only tasty, it’s informative. It’s taught me at least 3 yummy things.
1. There’s such a thing as “annatto oil,” which is made by infusing oil with achiote seeds . It’s used to flavor and color foods in South American cooking. I didn’t actually use it here. I used olive oil. But good to know it’s possible. Continue reading
hey. how ya doin? It’s been a long time. In fact, I think the last time we saw each other was the Chili Cookoff at work in March. That was a great time, wasn’t it? Remember I had you slowcooking in a crockpot in a corner of the office all morning, filing the room and hall with your gorgeous and spicy aroma, eventually making me so hungry that I almost killed a bear? Ahh, memories.
It’s good to see you. We had a good time tonight, you and I and Cornbread. Cornbread is such a funny, reliable guy. The two of you together are like a perfect pair and the three of us, well three’s company. It was great when I diced a small medium onion and sweated it out in a couple good tablespoons of olive oil in my cast iron Dutch oven. That’s the perfect pan for evenings like this. You love how nice and hot that pan keeps you. I know. And on a rainy day like today, it’s especially excellent. And then I chopped up three cloves of garlic and a poblano and green bell pepper and added them in with some salt and pepper, finishing out our little magic trinity. Just that bit made the entire kitchen smell intoxicating. Continue reading