Monday, July 07, 2008

I made croutons!

All by myself! Without a recipe!

I was turning the bean salad I made for the 4th into a soup for dinner. (Another talent I'm developing and excited about - turning leftovers of one meal into a totally different meal.) The salad recipe mentioned the idea of soup, served with croutons. I thought, "hmm. I do not have croutons. But hey! I have a quarter loaf of slightly stale baguette. If sliced baguette baked at 400 or so makes crostini, I bet I could make this into croutons."

And I could! I just cubed it up, laid them out on a pan, drizzled them with a tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and a little Italian herb mix, and popped them in the oven.

Then I tasted the soup, decided it was still a little bland, and seasoned it excellently. The soup and the croutons were both awesome.

As a bonus, it was really nutritious - beans, fresh tomatoes and herbs, not too much salt, good bread, just a little olive oil - and I wouldn't have noticed that it was healthy if I hadn't cooked it myself. Which I did!

I feel like I'm finally becoming the person I've always wanted to be, but didn't know how.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Must be summer

I ate well-balanced meals all day, including cooking a new recipe. These meals involved considerable fresh produce. I had time both to ponder and to enjoy them. Dessert hinged on introducing a campfire favorite to my house-friend. Surely, it must be summer.

As I am drastically out of practice on this thing, I will now list for you what I ate today. I promise I'll try to do better on the next post. For now, my day of healthy, well-balanced deliciousness:

Breakfast - Fake bacon and decaf cappuccino
Lunch - Hummus, pita, and a Jerusalem falafel sandwich
Dinner - Asparagus with fried eggs and cheese, and a side of tomato slices
Dessert - Pear boats!

For those who haven't been to Girl Scout camp in a while, fruit boats involve half a pear/apple/canned peach, or a whole banana, stuffed with chocolate chips and other goodness (tonight featured marshmallow pieces, peanuts, and raisins), wrapped in foil, and stuck in the hot embers. Or, in the magical world of indoor cooking, a hot oven. Then when the foil starts to puff or scorch - or, indoors, when you smell caramelized pear juice dripping - you take them out, and if you're lucky, as we were tonight, you have soft hot fruit with melty goodness on it. (And peanuts, if you're us. The peanuts don't really melt.)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Woe to you who are preaching now...

Perhaps that's not really consistent with the biblical Beatitudes. It feels right, though. I've just discovered that all the concrete, juicy parts of my sermon for Sunday are actually an incipient sermon on Matthew 27:25. Which would be fine, except that I'm preaching on Matthew 4.

This would also be less frustrating if I hadn't had to spend this morning recreating the work I did on it yesterday morning that somehow didn't save; or if I weren't in class 1-9 today and 9-3 tomorrow; or if I had any real idea where the other part of the sermon is going; or if it weren't my last sermon (last day, in fact) with this conregation; or if there weren't so damn much going on in my life that isn't currently preachable material.

I suppose it's good for me to stretch, but I'm usually a big believer in the "whatever you're feeling, just dance it" school of sermon writing. It's hard to figure out what I feel strongly enough about to preach when everything at the top of my mind I can't say in this sermon. (Some other sermon, someday, but not this one.)

In other news, I'm not sure how much I'm really back from hiatus yet (see "not currently preachable" above). I really need to be focusing all my writing energy on my thesis (draft due March 1; 2 pages down, 48 pages to go), but I have at minimum gender balance awards for both J-term and spring semester to post, so I'll try to pop in again soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sometimes I relapse...

I am, in general, opposed to much of the Romantic movement. I love nature as much as the next person, but I love it as a wild thing to be cared for but not trusted. Nature can be as brutal as her creatures. But sometimes I relapse into a romantic attitude toward simple things.

My roommates are both gone for Thanksgiving, so I have the house to myself. This meant I got to get up late, watch the first half of the Ohio State-Michigan game in my pajamas, shower on my own schedule, and come back and watch the Buckeyes win. Now I'm curled up on the futon in long underwear and my Ohio State fleece vest, reading Krister Stendahl and Nils Dahl while my laundry runs downstairs, with the Penn State-Michigan State game in the background and a cup of tea at my elbow. And I'm actually excited about spending the day reading for my thesis, something that hasn't happened all fall. Maybe I'll even make some soup tonight - I'm pretty sure we've got stock, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions at least. Maybe there's even some barley around.

It's a very cozy way to spend a very November day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Burning question

For several years now, I've remembered one snippet from a children's/YA novel I once read. I have not, in all those years, been able to remember what novel it comes from. I suspect it was a fairly well-known one. It's now begun to bother me enough to ask - do any of you recognize this conversation?

What I know: It comes near the end of the book. Elizabeth is a young girl - white, I think. Charles is a young boy, her friend - black, I'm pretty sure, and the son or nephew or something of Elizabeth's family's maid/housekeeper/cook, whose name I can't remember. Elizabeth is the narrator.

"Can we have some hot tea with lemon and honey?" I asked.
[Housekeeper] looked at me. "You got a sore throat, Elizabeth?"
"No," I lied. "I just thought Charles might like some. Would you, Charles?"

Shortly after this, Elizabeth sneaks out of the house, I think to look for someone, and they find her passed out in the woods with a high fever. I sort of think the person she was looking for might be dead, but I'm not sure.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Grandmothers should never be allowed to shop alone"

My roommate and I were just talking about when our various families begin preparing for Christmas, and what that means to them, and noting that both of us have grandmothers who bought our Christmas presents by our birthdays (both in early October). I mentioned that my mother's mother always wanted my Christmas list before I'd opened my birthday presents to find out what I still wanted, something I always found annoying. She eventually started shopping on her own, which is usually dangerous. My roommate agreed, and said "Grandmother should never be allowed to shop alone."

My father's mother, on the other hand, lost her shopping privileges years ago. The year I was eleven, my Christmas presents from her included two white turtlenecks - one printed with stars, the other printed with hearts. I wasn't mortified, since my parents weren't making me wear them, but I was disappointed. The next year, my parents started giving her lists of things she could buy from catalogs. She fed most of my American Girls Collection obsession for several birthdays and Christmases after that, before my parents started actually shopping for her, and in recent years wrapping for her too. There was simply no reason for her still to be shopping independently for anything. We were all happier with my parents doing the shopping. Grandmothers should indeed never be allowed to shop alone, at least not mine.

Except that my father's mother also died on Tuesday afternoon, and right now I'd give anything to get a white turtleneck with turquoise and magenta hearts for Christmas this year - if it meant she were there to watch me open it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Hugo Schwyzer regularly posts short poems, which I sometimes read and sometimes skip - today's caught me rather deeply, so I'm sharing it here.

Termination for Cause

I had thought the terms of our agreement
Were quite clear.
You were to provide me length of days,
Model children by a docile wife, support for same;
Keep far away all disaster man-made
Or act of your own.
And a death if not quite painless
At least sudden, without humiliation.
I in turn would confess You Creator
Of all things seen and unseen, offering customary
Praise and adoration.
Regarding line four above
Your performance has been marginal at best,
And I have now confirmation
From two physicians
Of what I must deem willful disregard
As to length of days and dying.
I therefore recognize no further obligation whatsoever
To provide the aforesaid praise, etc.
Or, indeed, to acknowledge Your existence.
Any further communication should be directed
To my counsel,
Who assures me that he knows You
from of old.