Monday, November 29, 2010

Pepper? Really?

The fiance and I just spent 9.5 days hosting his mother for the Thanksgiving holiday. She's a lovely woman, but 9.5 days is a long time to host anyone in your home, and she's a very picky eater. I began dreading meal time. We defaulted to take out a few times, and it seemed like just about every meal was loaded with carbs. I love carbs. LOVE THEM! But they do not love me - especially my waist.

I had lost 30 pounds. I think I've gained back 5 in 9.5 days. =P UG. Guess it's time to start running after that Weight Watchers Bandwagon. I could use the extra exercise anyway.

Back to the pickiness. I made minute steaks one night. Simple, easy, nearly fool proof right? Wrong. Apparently, one half of the the dynamic duo of basic kitchen seasons, the Wonder Twins that are used in every savory offering is practically poison to my future Mother In Law - pepper. Like any good cook (I dare not call myself "chef" for fear than Anthony Bourdain reigns terror upon my lowly head), I seasoned the steaks with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I seared the steaks on each side, watching for that perfect balance between tasty brown bits (a very technical term) and over doneness. As I sat down next to my FMIL, I noticed her fussing over her plate. She was PICKING OFF THE PEPPER!!!! "I hate pepper. I can't stand it. It's disgusting."

I was crushed. And then I almost immediately become resentful. She was a guest in my home refusing the hospitality I was offering her. I had already planned a lot of the big Thanksgiving Day meal around her preferences to make sure she could eat most of the dishes. And I was getting really tired of hearing "Oh I don't like _____." I wanted to yell "Have you even tried it? When was the last time you tried something new?"

She didn't try the green beans I made (with shallots, balsamic and roasted hazel nuts! Yum!).
Though I really wanted a pumpkin pie, my mother graciously made an apply pie since that's was FMIL preferred.
Her own son made a lovely gazpacho for a soup course - she made tacky comments as he prepared it "How can you eat that?! I can't believe you're putting cucumbers in there!"
When our chicken sandwiches from McD's got mixed up, she wrinkled her nose and said "Ew! Pickles!" and started pouting until I pointed out that our sandwiches had been mixed, and a simple swap would solve that (then she pouted that her sandwich was on a whole wheat bun - like whole grains would someone how damage her).

I felt like anything green and nutritious had been temporarily exiled from my kitchen and, by extension, my plate.

I'm really looking forward to a veggie fest this evening. I NEED GREEN!

It didn't help that it seemed that all she could talk about was her daughter. If she complaining about her, she was comparing me to her. It's no secret that I can't stand my fiance's sister. It's also no secret that she doesn't like me. Last night, as I was putting little dollops of whipped cream on my ice cream sammich with each bite, FMIL said "Oh! K does that too!", I really wanted to blurt out "Please don't compare me to her!!!"

But I remained silent and silently repeated in my head, "I love my MIL. I love my MIL. The visit is nearly over. Nearly over. Think of all the lovely veggies! Broccoli! Cauliflower! Squash! Butternut! Onions! Tofu! Edamame! Yum yum yum yum."

I need a vacation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time to resume the blog

Now that I can access my blog again, I will updating more often. I'm aiming for about once a week.

So if you've been checking, and checking, and checking since May have been diappointed that I've not posted anything - I'm sorry!!! But your wait is over.

Now I need to re-read what I've posted in the past to see if I need to post any updates.

Monday, May 3, 2010


The garden is teaming with life. All the upside-down tomatoes have blooms and and small tomatoes growing. The Matt's Wild Cherry is covered in small, green, hard, marble like fruits. The Ping Pong Pink has fewer, but larger fruits. The Amish Paste's few fruits are already starting to elongate. And the Sweet 100 is finally starting to get big and has just a couple of itsy bitsy micro-tomatoes forming. The Burpee Big Boy (now called the BBB) has a small fruit on it. The Brandywine is huge, but few blossoms and no fruits yet.

We've got a large bell pepper on one Big Bertha, and few other small bells on the other plants.

Lots of blossoms on the zucchinis. The crook necks have blossoms, but the plants are still on the small side.

The bed cukes are also blooming, but not as large as the upside down cukes. We have tiny little cuke-like growths that are less than 1 inch on most of the plants.

We're dying with anticipation. The garden is filled with all these rock hard baby fruits and it feels like it's been this way for AGES!


Still no okra from Pops. *sigh*

It's steadily getting warmer and warmer, so I hope the heat will bring the ripeness. It's still quite cool at 5:30am (often need a sweater to walk the dogs in the morning. The highs are in the 80's.

At least it's not so hot that we can't enjoy the deck each evening. We're usually out there after getting home. The dogs run amok (Bon even looks like she's yelling "Amok! Amok!" inside her head as she plays leap-frog over Jack - goofy giant puppy), and we chill with a drink and a small cigar. The skeeters aren't too bad, but they're getting a little worse every week. It's nothing a few squirts of OFF! doesn't help. Ed likes to burn a citronella candle. It's one of those nifty coiled up rope candles. I don't know how effective it actually it, but it looks cool. And Ed doesn't seem to be bothered by the bugs as much when it's burning. I don't notice a difference.

So each even, we sit, we smoke, and we try to will the dern plants to ripen through telepathic wishfullness. No luck. And so we wait.....and wait....

Maybe, just as watched pot never boils, a watched tomato never ripens?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh Coffee, thy name is Keurig!

My boss has a Keurig in the office that he lets the rest of us use. I bring in my own K-cups, and we alternate providing filtered water.

I bought a large variety pack of k-cups. I've not tried all the varieties in the box yet, but I'm working my way through. My thoughts so far:

English breakfast tea - very good. Just want EBT should taste like (though EBT's aren't my preferred tea). B+

Earl Great tea - AWESOME! I love EGT, and this one is very good. My new morning staple. I've already purchased a box. A

Organic Green Tea - perfect for an afternoon. I don't like a lot of caffeine, and this is a good option for me. A wee bit bitter, but not anymore bitter than the Flavia green tea I've had at other offices. I have a box of it, but I'm not sure I'll get more once I'm out - not sure that I want a hot beverage in the afternoons with summer on its way. B+

Emeril's Big Easy Bold - a big nasty flop in my book. Very harsh flavor. Tasted somewhat burnt. D-

French Roast - not bad. Not amazing, but still good. Roast could be richer, but it's not weak. I give this a B. Needs more tasting.

Cinnamon Roll (Donut House) - not for me. The cinnamon tasted burned. My Sweetie reports he liked it. D+

Butter toffee - yummy! My favorite of the flavor coffees so far. Sweetie reports this is his fav flavored too. B+

Nantucket Blend - had this one earlier, but needed to refresh my memory. Today I added one Moo and a bit of FrV dry creamer (the horror!). Smooth, well blended. No bitter after taste. No harshness. A good morning blend. I think I may need to pick more of this up. B++

More reviews to come!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Garden is here!!!

To date, we have planted:

In the bed
12 pepper plants - 4 varieties of bell peppers, 3 plants each (purple, green/red, orange, and yellow)
6 yellow squash
6 zucchini, 3 pickling cucumbers*
3 slicing cucumbers
room for 9 okra plants from Pops and maybe some onions.

On the deck
12 seed potatoes in "grow bags"
3 cherry tomatoes (each a different variety - Ping Pong Pink, Matt's Wild Cherry, and Sweet 100) and 1 paste tomato (Amish paste) in upside down planters
3 Brandywine tomatoes in a container
3 Burpee's Big Boy in a container
*we also have one pickling and one slicing cuke that will go into upside down planters

The herb area
2 stevias/sweet leafs
2 Pesto basil plants
2 Italian flat leaf arsley plants
Chives in a container
Catnip - survived from last year
Arp rosemary - also survived from last year
2 pots of aloe - rescued from Sissy last year

This evening I need to work on the front flower beds. There’s gonna be a whole lotta transplantin’ going on! Mexican heather into the beds, geraniums into the Mex Heather's former pots, 1 boston fern into the shady part of the bed and a Butterfly Weed into that pot (then back to the deck), plus some caladiums and fox tail ferns and 2 more Butterfly weeds into the beds.

I am SO thankful I don't have to mow, edge, & blow. Salvador's crew do an awesome job of that for me!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New jobs

Started a new job at the end of last week. I won't go into much details about the where's, but I'm working in what is essentially the marketing/PR dept of a local organization that does a lot of good work for the people of Houston. I'm excited to be a part of such an organization, and to FINALLY be in a position to use my degree. I started crying this weekend because I was so happy. And then my Sweet Patootie pointed out that I had also gotten the job on my own merits, and not with my Dad's help or any of our family political connections. I can't really describe how good it makes me feel.

One of my biggest fears of returning to Houston was that it would reinforce my identity as "Ken's Daughter" - that I would only be a reflection of my Dad's success. While it's certainly helpful at times to be "Ken's Daughter", it's also a lot of pressure. What if I screw up? What if I offend someone? I would hate for my Dad's reputation to be tarnished because of something incredibly stupid that I'd done. And in the ever changing political climate of Houston, what if Dad fell out of favor? Even though he's not an elected official, he's connected to several. In fact, his former boss was recently involved in a big scandal that ruined boss' career. What if Dad's current boss does something scandalous? Dad could be dragged through the mud by association. Would my repuation suffer as well? Afterall, we have a fairly uncommon last name (and I'm often asked at political events if I'm "Ken's Daughter" or "Ken's Wife" or "Kin to Ken") - so making the connection between us is quite easy.

So I'm proud that I was able to get this all on my own (save for the fact that my parents raised me and provided countless oppourtunities for me that had contributed to my success - but you get the idea). I'm also relieved. This is my success, and if I fail, it's my failure. Just like all my failures in Chicago.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bed Hog

How is that a 60 lb dog manages to hog a queen sized bed from a full grown woman? I try to move him back to his "side" (which is more like the middle), but he gives me the side eyes, or makes this pathetic noise halfway between a whine and a groan.

Lately, he's been trying to sleep alongside me, facing me, with his head next to mine or on my shoulder. Cute right? Not so much - he needs a bath, and he's REALLY warm. Plus, he leans in, putting his weight towrd me, gently pushing me closer to the edge of the bed.

At least he's quiet, unlike a certain Sleeping Loudly in the next room.