Thursday, July 31, 2008
We actually came away learning a bunch of cool stuff from this trip. For example, I felt bad about feeding Fenix cold cereal and cold fruit puree for breakfast. Well we had some peaches that we brought for a snack and I thought it would be smart to wrap the peach in foil and throw it in the fire to roast.
After the peach got really hot and mushy we took it out of the fire and scooped out the flesh and what do you have? Warm fruit puree (aka baby food)! You could do it with an apple or a plum or a banana... whatever you've got. So easy, so yummy.
Speaking of fruit in the fire, what got me down the road of roasting the peach was our dessert from the previous night. I had read a recipe for inside out caramel apples as a camp dessert so we whipped some up. You just core an apple and stuff several caramels down in the hole where the core was. Wrap the whole thing in foil and throw it in the fire. Cook until it's mushy and eat it up with a spoon. I can confirm that this was a delicious and easy recipe and it is now a permanent fixture on our camp menu.
A much more important discovery of this trip was this incredible invention called the "rocket". A rocket is a small pouch of biscuit that you roast over the campfire and fill with delicious things. Here's how it works:
First you have the rocket apparatus which is basically one short piece of a very wide dowel with a very long piece of narrow dowel attached to it.
You take a biscuit (from one of those cans of horribly processed premade biscuits) and you mush the uncooked dough evenly over the end of the rocket. After the dough is on their good you roast it over the fire, turning it slowly being sure to cook the part closest to you first and working your way down towards the 'butt' (the end of the rocket).
When the biscuit is cooked it should slide right off of the rocket apparatus leaving a deep pocket that is ready to accept the filling of your choice. In this case it was scrambled eggs with mushrooms and chorizo.
So on our way home from this trip I got to thinking how I could really expand on this and create an entire arsenal of rocket ideas. First of all, that processed biscuit dough is not the greatest but a homemade dough is often too short to work with in this application. I will need to experiment with some recipes to figure out what would work. And better still, what if instead of biscuit dough we used pizza dough and filled the pocket with cheese, tomato sauce and sausage or grilled veggies? You see where I'm going with this?? I am even having thoughts of dessert rockets filled with warm apple compote. The possibilities are endless.
So I bet you want to go camping now don't you?
Friday, July 25, 2008
Anyway mass transit in Seattle is a well documented problem. Besides driving or riding your bike (which is never fun in the winter since it RAINS ALL THE TIME HERE ;-)) there is only one option for most people commuting into downtown or other Seattle metro areas and that is the bus.
Seattle has 3 main bus systems - Sound Transit, Metro and Community Transit. Metro buses service anything within city limits and some outlying areas. Sound Transit services south Seattle suburbs and Community Transit handles the north end suburbs. There's some overlap between the services areas of all three systems but it is negligible.
So here's the thing.... there is a Community Transit bus stop very close to our house. I usually walk to and from there on the days when I go in to work. The Community Transit buses are very clean and comfortable, always have seats available and have wifi. Nothing to complain about there... EXCEPT (!) they do not run frequently unless it is rush hour and even then it's 30-45 mins from one bus to the next. Picture it if you will... me, 7 months pregnant, winter weather and I'm making my way to catch the 5:15 bus. I've left myself plenty of time but as I reach the top of the hill I watch it drive right past me. But it's only 5pm, I say angrily in my head. And I can't run because, well, I'm pretty slow on my feet at this point. So it's another hour of waiting (outside in the cold!) for the next bus. Christ, I just want to go home.
Now take that story and imagine that it happens over and over and over again. How freakin' early do I have to be to catch this bus?! There are also times where the bus just. never. shows. up. By the time a bus actually does roll up it's time for the next scheduled stop (or worse, the one after that). I am positive that you can see the smoke pouring out of my ears on those days.
Moving on, there is the Metro bus. Well it's certainly got more frequent instances than the Comm Trans bus. And for that matter there are many more places to catch these buses as well. But much like any other *free* city bus it wreaks of urine and is usually heavily populated with mentally unstable people. There were times when I was on this bus where I was positive that I would never make it to work because the person sitting in front of me was ranting to himself and rocking so wildly in his seat that I was sure he was going to kill us all.
That leaves Sound Transit - I can't tell you jack shit about that because we don't live in the south end but I hear that it's on par with Comm Trans - posh and clean but you better get to your stop extra early.
So what is the problem, Seattle? Why is there no subway? And don't you dare mention that light rail or that lame ass monorail! How can such an educated, forward thinking community continue to limp along like this? It really feels like I'm missing something. I don't like this car culture. It's partly my fault for not researching this before we moved here but you don't know what you've got til it's gone, right? In NJ I would leave my car sitting parked for weeks. God, I really miss that.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
We're headed out to the Olympic peninsula for a bit of car camping with a couple of other families. This will be our first time camping with Fenix but my confidence in our ability to pull this off is growing as I talk to people who have done it before and realize that if all goes to hell, we'll just pack up and leave. I have a feeling though that Fee will love it - it's in his blood after all since his dad lived outside for a bunch of time. He'll have to tell you all about that some day. It's a pretty great series of stories that I don't mind hearing over and over again. Aaanyway....
As far as tools/utensils go, we bring:
camp stove and fuel
a bit of firewood for the campfire
compact cutting board and knife
1 small pot
1 cast iron skillet
cheap flatware that we bought from the bins at goodwill (who cares if it gets lost!)
wooden spoon, wooden spatula
french press (after a fitful night of sleep in a stuffy tent, I must have the kind of viscous coffee that only a french press can provide)
*cast iron popcorn popper for making popcorn over the campfire
enamel coated dishes and cups
Several big jugs of filtered water - just sterilize some jugs that we have and dump in Brita water (I do not want h. pylori, no, I really do not)
For meals we like to make things that can go in one pot:
Southwest skillet ragu
Braised chicken thighs with pinto beans (I'll post the recipe later)
It's also good to have some sort of charcuterie plate for snacking before the meal is done because salted cured meats are awesome and of course we throw some cheese, fig jam and crudites on there too. You could always just do chips and salsa but I think a meat and cheese plate with delicious olives and fresh raw vegetables and fruit brings an air of elegance (if that is even possible on a campground).
There is always wine - white because red makes you groggy and headache-y and you want to stay bright and fresh for as long as possible or at least until the neighboring campers tell you to pipe down.
What about breakfast? A granola bar is the easy way out but that isn't very exciting, now is it?
Have you ever had the pleasure of being lured from your tent by the smell of bacon frying?
Up round these parts we get beautiful morels that grow in wooded areas and if your trip included a little mushroom hunting you could make a wonderful scramble with a sautee of minced shallot and chopped mushrooms in butter - fold that into some scrambled eggs - and serve with a side of bacon of course. For bread we just do english muffins because they hold up better than sliced loaf bread.
Lunch is usually pretty spare, just a piece of fresh fruit and snacky things like the aforementioned granola bars and maybe some jerky or a piece of cheese if you want some protein.
For Mr. Fenix who eats his fair share of solid foods now, we are going to go the easy route to avoid an accidental case of baby botulism and buy some of the organic jarred stuff and supplement it with bits of mild cheese and freeze dried fruit (which he LOVES).
We'll take lots of pictures so that you can see how it goes. I'm off to find my headlamp.....
*now honestly we would not even have this thing had it not been for the fact that we discovered it for some insanely low price at the goodwill. i'm not a big fan of single use kitchen tools but it's for popcorn (!) over the campfire (!), how could we have left it in the store?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
oh, and also, it's food month... weds night for dinner reese took some pork and roasted it over low heat for an hour, plus wood chips on the grill to smoke it out. she handmade a carolina-style barbecue sauce and we had pork sammies with cole slaw.
besides all that... do you ever get somewhere and it's empty there and you have to decide where the best place to sit is, like, on the fly? every time I get on the bus, for sure... at least until I have a groove. a strategy. I used to have a subway strategy when I was back east. another story.
we sold our second car and my wife needs the car today so I'm riding the bus. so i get on and switch seats later, whatever, right? anyway, we sold the second car because, well... because of the fucking gas crisis, where every fucking thing costs more because nobody planned ahead. i'm not blaming the bush administration, either, this not planning ahead shite has been going on for decades! this bullshit "crisis" is of our own doing. the goddamn model-t got 25 miles per gallon! for real. edison had an electric car in 1899 for fucks sake!
riding the bus ain't that bad. i'm writing this while on it. so far, a good first day.
I was nervous and pissed that I would have to walk like a million fucking miles uphill on a busy street with no fucking sidewalk, but it didn't work out that way and I only had to go a couple blocks.
it's pretty awesome not to be driving right now, I'll tell you that. I've been getting into this hypermiling thing, which is kinda fun, but i live 22 miles from my job and traffic in my town is stupid bad... not matter how good your gas mileage that still sucks, you know? again, see lack of fucking planning. if you wanted to be a kick-ass big city, why would you NOT build subways? NY said fuckit, tore up the streets, and put in the subways like a hundred fucking years ago.
seattlites will be toiling around on buses for the rest of our fucking days. there will never be comprehensive mass transit in seattle, period.
ah, riding the bus. it's nice leaving the driving to them or whatever, but I want a subaru outback sport and a pontiac vibe and a toyota matrix and ooh i really want a mazda3 protege. that would be sweet! zoomzoom.
nobody sat next to me so that's alright. it's a bummer that reese has to come get me, that i can't walk from the termination point to home. but! it arrived on time and is dropping me off on time and I've had a seat in the sun the whole ride and haven't had to drive. I've been sitting in the sun, writing. I could have been listening to music but I'm so out of practice that there's no headphones in my backpack. I could have been napping! there was some napping going on, for sure.
my wife just pulled up beside the bus next to me and i just saw my son napping in the back. how fucking awesome is that?
and now we're here. bye!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
sooo... besides corn, what else is there to do on a tuesday night? I know! let's surf the tubes!
wait, do you know what surfing the tubes even is? ok, back up backup. do you know who senator ted stevens is? of alaska?
he's this old fart who's almost certainly corrupt (not a little corrupt either, but i'm just saying, whatevs). you may remember him from his frequent clips on the daily show. some old jackass on the senate floor yelling NO!
aaaanyway, there was something that happened awhile ago. stevens was talking to somebody about something and it was being recorded. they started talking about the internet... and he starts trying to explain it or something, which sorta comes off .... just wrong. it's like he's explaining it to himself but the details are just not right; clearly stevens just does. not. get. it. which is sort-of understandable. i mean, the guy is older than alaska. he's probably as old as abe lincoln! imagine trying to explain fucking match-dot-com to abe lincoln, should the opportunity present itself. as smart as we figure that guy was, that'd be a LOT of explaining, right?
so stevens rambles for awile, which is hilarious, and eventually gets to how the internet isn't a truck, it's ... a series of tubes. it's... it's pretty awesome. checkit:
besides ted stevens (no!) what else do we got... ok, time for another recommendation.
The first thing I noticed was that even though the iPhone 3G is slightly bigger than the original, it felt a tad lighter. Otherwise, my old iPhone and his new one were all but identical. The first iPhone was a revolution in smartphone design and a dramatic leap forward into an age of ubiquitous connectivity. To match the original in revolutionariness, the 3G version would have to fire lasers, electronically impregnate you with your own clone, or at least be way smaller. But this was … the same thing. I mean, I knew the two phones were to be basically the same, but seeing this with my own eyes made a difference.
there's also a bunch of other stuff. they try to do sports, like Derek Jeter vs. Objective Reality Why baseball researchers are obsessed with denigrating the Yankee captain's defense
One reason why baseball statisticians didn't get too excited about the study is that Jensen's methods ("for each grounder ball-in-play—g-bip—we have the—x,y—coordinates in the field where the g-bip was fielded" and on and on) are grounded in the familiar language of the sabermetric literature. Mostly, though, the paper didn't provoke much intrigue because Jeter's badness is already an axiom of said literature. In fact, debunking the conventional wisdom about the Yankee captain's fielding prowess has become a standard method of proving the validity of a new fielding statistic.
they have a bushism of the day section. today's is
"Should the Iranian regime—do they have the sovereign right to have civilian nuclear power? So, like, if I were you, that's what I'd ask me. And the answer is, yes, they do."—Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., July 2, 2008
so basically... what I'm saying is eat corn if it's in season near you, don't be afraid to blacken the corn, and read slate, because mostly it's fun.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats (traditionally pork and goat, but now including chicken, fish, beef, sausage and even tofu) are dry-rubbed with a fiery spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (Jamaican pimento) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, which are mixed together to form a marinade which is rubbed onto pork, chicken, or fish.
Jerk is on of those things that scares the bejeesus out of me. I . . . I'm afraid of it. I'm not afraid to say it, I fear the jerk.
anyhoo, I'm reading "the times" one lovely sunday morning and what do I find but an excellent article about jerk. check this out (emphasis added):
"This is a dish that is ours, not coming from England like the patty, or from India like the roti," said Winston Currie, owner of the Best Jerk Center in St. Ann, Jamaica. "Real Jamaicans can eat jerk every day; we never get tired of it."
If you want to read "the times" click the link above. if you want to read about the jerk story (not talking about the jerk store, mind you) then click on this link right here.
now, after all this, you might ask: are you any less afraid of the jerk?
A: no, now that I know more about it, now I fear it even more. seems very complicated. but! I wish I were back in NYC so that I could go to brooklyn and get some of the real thing.
let me ask you - why do you have to be a registered user to read past articles on the new york times web page but, on the web page of the international herald tribune the global edition of the new york times, you don't?
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I was looking for a recipe that used apricots as I had found some nice organic specimens at the market. I went with a recipe called Breakfast Crisp and it was delicious. I have since made this recipe with nectarines/blackberry combo and a peach/raspberry comb.
It is delicious with a dollop of plain yogurt on top and can serve as a breakfast or a dessert.
The process is simple and after making it twice I needn't look at the recipe because I have all of the steps memorized. Furthermore, a well stocked pantry would have all of the necessary ingredients on hand so this is a great thing to whip up on a whim.
What you do:
Cut up the fruit into small-ish pieces - if the fruit is very soft, like apricots, you can just tear it up with your hands.
Next you make the topping. The recipe calls for turbinado sugar but you can sub in regular sugar. I always have turbinado sugar in our pantry so I've never subbed. So why don't you just buy some?
After you've made the topping assemble the whole thing and shove it in the oven. A few notes though.... I noticed that with the peach/raspberry combo, there was a bit of liquid pooled at the bottom. I think next time I will use more flour than the recipe calls for.
I never wait for this to cool down because I am usually making it when I am hungry and I end up hovering near the oven til it's done but the Smitten Kitchen post says that it's even better the next day and I tend to agree.
Friday, July 11, 2008
- prepare the cake mix per the directions except sub Kahlúa for the water
- sweeten a brick of cream cheese with 3-5 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla to taste
- fill the muffin cups HALFWAY with the chocolate cake mix
- add a dollop of cream cheese to the center
- top with chocolate chips
- bake per directions
- bring to work and make people jealous
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Grinding the rice:
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
There are billions and billions of reasons to hate McDonald's. They took the McRib away, for one, and that burns. (Sometimes I almost wish I'd never loved it at all.) There's at least one good reason to like McDonald's: They're being boycotted by the American Family Association.
What did McDonald's do to cross the AFA, its president, Donald Wildmon, and -- by extension -- Jesus (R-Nz.)? They donated $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. McDonald's' revenue runs about five billion dollars a quarter, so you can see their profound commitment to destroying the family through sodomy.
The AFA says that by donating one thousandth of one percent of its 2007 earnings, "McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda."
Which seems like a kind of shrill definition of "full weight," but maybe it's like the Quarter Pounder®, and it's the weight before cooking that counts.
There's one other line I want to share and agree with: just bring back the McRib.
check out the full article here. and bookmark the huffington post.
for more cartoons check out See Mike Draw.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
it's kind of crazy and gross, actually, but it's also entertaining in its own way and a recommended stop. here, look (emphasis added):
As far as I can tell, this is the web's first page dedicated to introducing the world to Japanese pizza which, in some guises, is truly an abomination for mankind. But I won't make any further value judgments here and simply describe the pizzas that are selling at Pizza Studio, an establishment in my neighborhood in Setagaya, Tokyo.
oddly enough, that's not the only scary thing out there on that topic... there's more over at this dude's site. checkit, emphasis added:
I love pizza... But nothing I had ever experienced came close to preparing me for PIZZA in JAPAN. They do evil, nasty things to pizzas over here...Sometimes there are things present that God never intended to sit atop a pizza pie. Especially if you get one of their special combos from the twilight zone... pizza from the dark side.
then I went here, which... this is just, I don't know, there's just something wrong with this whole thing. PH in Japan? no, it's not right. not like this!
so, em, anyhoo, japanese pizza. weird, huh?
also, this was on my mind today: you know those people that hold on to a grudge, like, fucking forever? everybody knows someone like that, works with someone like that, or lives with someone like that, right? holy shit those people drive me insane. fenix just threw up all over me, right, so I said to him Fenix, when you're seven I'm going to withhold your allowance one week because you puked on me when you were seven months old.
I was mocking those assholes... but when you boil it down, that's about the extent of the thought process for the grudge-holders, isn't it? as if there's punitive damages in personal relationships... and as if children would get it? it's so messed up and the dysfunction just feeds more dysfunction later.
man, you gotta leave your dysfunction at the door. we all got enough already without you adding those two cents.
i'm irish... and the old joke goes like this:
question: you know what irish alzheimer's is?
answer: no, what?
punch line: we forget everything but the grudge (bah-dum-bum!)
and for no reason whatsoever, I'll conclude this with this cute picture of a wet dog.
take it away, noodle:
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
first I ran across this interesting post over at the curiously ravenous blog for those of you interested in making your own yogurt. reese used to make hers, many a year ago, and perhaps she'll make some more soon.
for the rest of us... you know "activa"... the new-ish yogurt made by dannon that claims to help with the making of your boom-boom's? slate, always a fun site to check out, had a great article reviewing the health claims made by dannon and their accuracy.
enjoy today, yogurt-y goodness.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
boutique number 27 was next to a pub so we said "the next boutique you go into that's next to a pub, we're drinking"... as it turns out, boutique 32 was next to a pub, so in we went. the pub was great. it had a few things for us, among them:
so we had a pint and played a game whist we waited for the ladies. what in gods name do they do in those places anyway?
then the ladies arrived and it got crazy. crazy! the jukebox got turned on! they ordered tater tots! there was a baby in the bar!
the tater tots were awesome and the music was good and the company was great and my kid was allowed in the pub until 9pm. now that's living.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Do you ever run into a recipe that you just can't wait to make? bonus points if it combines lamb with mint, salt, and pepper. oh, hey, what do you have here... Lamb Lollipops. yes. yes, I want to make that. well, mostly i want to eat it. in any case, we'll see if we can work that in before the end of the month. if so, we'll take pictures and tell you how it goes.
also ... aHAHAHAHAHA. remember what i was saying, just like five seconds ago, about the weather here? how's it's all nice, like summer, and whatnot? and how that's unusual because it always rains here on the 4th of july?
lookey here, a map of the weather in june, last month. you'll see what i was talking about with the "it's still spring, nope, now it's summer" thing... if you click on the pic it will be much easier to see the details.
now... here's july. again with the clicking
that is all.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
We got one that was new in the packaging from a seller on Craigslist. I was so happy to have found it for such a great price. Well.....
7 months later and I want to throw the thing off a cliff. Here's why:
- It hurts your back A LOT. You will feel like you have done serious back breaking yard work after an hour of wearing your infant in the Bjorn. Mind you I have no back pain issues outside of those inflicted by this carrier.
- Your baby will quickly outgrow it. Fenix is a petite baby but his chunky ham hocks are barely squeezing through the leg holes of the Baby Bjorn. Sometimes when I was wearing him I would look down and see that his little feet were blue. Nope, not a fan.
So what do I like? Well I'll tell you.
Wrap style carriers:
- can be used from birth until they are too heavy/bratty/sassy to be carried around
- baby can face in our out (only after they have full neck control)
- relatively inexpensive - Ours was $60 but you can get the basic model for $40 - a structured carrier like a bjorn is much more.
- many different types of hold options (hip, front, back, cradle)
- hot as balls for you and the baby in warm weather unless the wrap is made of very lightweight gauzy material.
- can be awkward to get the baby in when done without a spotter.
- has a bit of a feminine look when worn - if you are a dude, you may not be into it - j isn't :-/
We have the Moby D wrap and I love it because the D model has a non-stretch panel of fabric, that adds a bit of extra support for your baby.
Soft structured or pack carriers:
- easy to put the baby in and out
- some allow facing in or out
- structure gives more support for carrying a heavier child.
- manly enough for a dude to wear - unless you get one that is made with pink flower print fabric LOL
- expensive - a new ergo carrier costs ~$100, other brands are even more.
- limited positions for carrying
I really want to purchase a Beco, Ergo or Pikkolo structured carrier to use in addition to the Moby D. The drawback of the Ergo is that it does not allow for the baby to face out (they have a bunch of rhetoric on their site about why they don't - meh). I know that unless Fenix is really sleepy, he wants to be facing out in the carrier so that puts Ergo on the bottom of the list.
So anyway if you are in the market for a carrier maybe this will help. We are keeping our Bjorn because until we buy a Beco or Pikkolo, that's what J will wear. And I have heard that they are now making a Baby Bjorn that has lumbar support but you know what??? Who cares because I'm so over them :-P
- "Notably mild-mannered" Republican Senator Thad Cochran, of Tennessee, speaking about Arizona Senator John McCain
1 small shallot
2 cloves of garlic
I always use everything except the shallot. I just save it for using in something else. I wonder why they include it. I love shallots but I have never had guacamole with it before. Instead they should throw in a couple of sprigs of fresh cilantro. You can't have guac without cilantro!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
today's holy shit! moment comes courtesy of Fox News. recently the NY Times wrote and published an article examining media ratings this year. they indicated that cnn and msnbc viewership has grown while fox's had plateaued. you can read the original piece here.
fox ran a piece about the the writer and of his editor, and posted their pictures on the screen... except, first they - and by "they" I mean somebody (probably the terrorists) - digitally altered the photographs. one poor schmuck had his teeth yellowed, his nose and chin widened, and his ears made to protrude even further out from his head than they already do. the other guy had his teeth yellowed, black eyes added, and his hairline moved back.
I don't know, but... doesn't this sound ... ok, I'll say it. doesn't this just sound crazy?! they wouldn't do that, would they? on a NEWS program? in AMERICA?
here's a better question - could the schmucks sue fox and win? on what grounds?
if your eyes haven't glazed over by now then I imagine you want to see the before and after pictures. they are available at this link.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
mind you, up until June 18th it was the coldest start to the year in recorded fucking history in this town. as is routine, there was no real transition from winter to spring this year... but there was a noticeable turn from spring to summer over the last ten days or so. now - all of a sudden - it's been hot and dry here, hot enough to set records.
I'm sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with global warming, which - obviously - is Made Up To Instill Fear In The Hearts Of Everyday Americans. if you believe that global warming exists then You're Helping The Terrorists Win. donut help the terrorists! go buy that hummer today. what with the discounts and things they practically cost the same as an accord, and I'm *positive* that gas prices won't top four bucks a gallon before... wait, what's that? what'd you say? they're already at... really? are you sure? hmph. i don't believe you. neither does my man johnnie mac. well, johnnie just doesn't know, but that's ok. wapner's almost on.
anyhoo, it's july! NaBloPoMo month again! this month it's FOOD. so most importantly, we'll be posting daily, and we'll be posting about food. this will probably turn into "what we ate for dinner last night and a rant on an unrelated topic"... last night was a homemade italian sub while we waited for someone to come test drive the jeep we have for sale. eff you, craigslist jerk who stood us up!
and the "rant of the day"... well, see above.
Looking forward to a month of food and beverage posts!