Too much of a good thing

I’m longing for normal days again. Making meals, doing laundry, sweeping floors. Too much ecstasy is almost as bad as not enough. Almost…

No more excuses!

Yumster in waiting!

I still haven’t unpacked my bread pans, so I’ve been waiting to bake bread here. But it was bugging me, and Paul and Lindsay were both asking about it. So, no more excuses. I decided, “What kind of a baker am I if I can’t bake bread without a pan?” So here we are, bread dough rising. I’ll just make a shaped loaf, and I’m sure it’ll be just as tasty as it would if I used a pan! Just less suitable for toast. So what.

Confidential: Kitchen Chaos

She doesn't look too thrilled.Entropy is one thing you can always count on…

Just last week, the kitchen was looking dreamy. All spic and span, and ready for whatever I had a notion to whip up. Ahhh, bliss! Kept up with the daily duties. Prepared interesting foods. Lovely. Today it’s a different story. There’s dishes in the sink and dishes in the drainer. Various fruits and veggies are lying in piles, waiting for attention, with bread and pastry threatening to spill out from bags and baskets. All sorts of things are under the table, on the table, and next to the table. The counters are trashed!

How does it happen so fast?!? Amazing…not in an awestruck way, but in an astonishment way. How can not doing kitchen chores for, like, two days result in a kitchen environment that resembles some kind of hurricane/tornado/earthquake aftermath?

This is what happens when I forego doing these all-too-necessary chores to concentrate on clearing up the clutter in another room. Obviously, I have to find a balance, but it’s really hard when I get super motivated to tear into a big messy area and am determined to restore some kind of order to it…today! (Or maybe by tomorrow… Monday?) Once I get started working in one area of the apartment that really needs it, I don’t like to interrupt my flow to do something else, because then it’s hard to get back to this urgent project. (Although it certainly didn’t seem too urgent Maybe I need a husband to help!just a couple of days ago.) But if I don’t maintain the everyday tasks, like doing the dishes and picking up, then things get out of control and I don’t like to face them.

This is an ongoing battle for me. Some days I don’t want to face it, and other days I am certain that I can win it, only to find that I’ve overlooked something completely different. I want to feel positive, but the things staring me in the face don’t look very positive.

I once read how I should be thankful that I have dirty dishes, because that means that we have food to eat. Thankful for dirty laundry, because that means we have clothes to wear. Maybe I’m getting tired, but I’d rather just go naked than do another load of whites.

Naturally, tomorrow is Sunday. Hardly a day I feel like devoting to a slew of increasingly unpleasant household chores.

The Weekly Yum-ster: Food Pantry Smorgasbord

Food Bank For New York City

Image by Walmart Stores via Flickr

When life gives you lemons, they say, make lemonade. So when the food pantry gives you asparagus, make hollandaise! (Actually, I just steamed the asparagus, and served it with butter and parmesan cheese, with a side of Italian herb focaccia bread.) This is one of the ways that being given a quantity of free food forces one to get creative. You get what you get, so you make what you get!

I went to a weekly food drop-off today, for the first time, and what a haul. An hour or so in line netted me four pounds of asparagus, which, after being picked over, yielded a usable three pounds. Also about two pounds of Anaheim peppers. I have NO idea what to do with those, so I’m scouring the internet for ideas. This is one advantage of the internet—ready access to hundreds of ideas about food! We also got a number of other, more typical items, like bread and snack foods. Whatever. I can use it for Sophia’s work lunches. Nothing I would buy myself—and I guess if it’s in the food drop-off, maybe no one else did either.

I also got some mini pound cakes, which I used as a shortcake substitute with some peaches and vanilla yogurt for dessert. Very yummy. I may go again. It’s a better culinary adventure than I’ve seen in a while.

The Weekly Yum-ster: Lunchtime Goodness

Young Pineapple, Koh Chang, Thailand

Image via Wikipedia

My daughter, Sophia, and I made an excellent lunch today: Grilled chicken and pineapple sandwiches! Of course, since there was about one hour of sunshine, we made them on the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Grilling Machine, but it was a poor substitute for the outdoor fun.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwiches: (multiply ingredients per person)

1 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
1 slice fresh pineapple
1 sturdy bun (don’t use regular hamburger buns, they’ll fall apart)
Lime juice (we used fresh limes, but I’m sure bottled would work)

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Grill them on a hot grill, using the lime juice as an occasional marinade. You may grill the pineapple at the same time, but add it a little later, because it doesn’t take as long. We didn’t grill the buns, but I wish we would have, because they got very soggy from the delightful juiciness of the chicken/pineapple/lime juice.

All in all, a yummy lunch.

Living the Laura Ingalls Life: Whole Grain Breadmaking

Loaf for LearningI’ve got about a dozen things going today, including making some bread. My all time favorite bread recipe book is the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, and I’m making the Loaf for Learning, which is the first recipe I ever learned for bread, and good enough for me for everyday. Honestly, it’s been good enough for everyone I’ve ever given a loaf to for everyday, too. Even poor home made bread is so much better than store-bought that I’ Of course, it’s not been every day, it’s been years, but I’ve got the breadmaking bug and so the time to act is now!

Time line:

  • 9:45 am: Bread is in for first rising. It’s a little cool out here, but it’s warmer outside than in, so I put the bread out to rise.
  • 11:15 am: Deflated and bread is back in the bowl for second rising.
  • 11:50 am: Interrupted bread rising to put in fridge due to oven difficulties. Hmmm, wonder how this will work.
  • 2:15 pm: Back in action. Oven is okay.
  • 3:45 pm: Shaped and put in the pan for final proofing.
  • 4:20 pm: In the oven! Yay!
  • 4:45 pm: Out…just had a slice. Yum! Good.

I think I’ll make another loaf tomorrow.

A day without sunshine…

Memorial Day 05-Deviled Eggs (Irma calls them ...

Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

is a day in LaGrange. Another day of rain. We had a two day respite, and now we’re supposed to get up to one half inch of rain every day this week.

Easter dinner was great though. Ham, mashed potatoes, pasta salad, corn, deviled eggs, rolls, jello and dirt pudding. Yum.