Braised Celery

A couple of weeks ago, my husband had dinner with my sister-in-law and couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was. Which was actually pretty hurtful, since I cook a lot and  he never raves about how awesome my food is.  Note: This is mainly due to the fact that the Hubby thinks any meal that doesn’t consist of meat and two sides isn’t a meal. Or tasty. 

With that background, I was surprised (and hurt) when I found out the meal he had been raving about was basically vegetarian. Sigh.

R. told me yesterday where to find the recipe and, surprise, surprise, I had all the ingredients except three. Hubby picked up those three on the way home and by 6:30 this evening, I was making Braised Celery with Parmesan Polenta. I had to make a couple of changes to make it vegetarian (substitute veggie broth for chicken, no cooking the bacon and celery in the same pot), but despite that it was  really really easy to make. It took about half an hour start to finish.

And the verdict is… Great! This dish was absolutely fantastic and I completely understand why the Hubby kept talking it up. I basically never want to eat anything other than Parmesan polenta ever again.

Thanks for tip, R.!

Good Morning Yoga

I’ve been trying recently to re-establish my daily yoga practice. This has been difficult because I don’t really have time to go to a studio and, even if I did, class times are not convenient for my schedule. If you’ve been ready the ol’  blog for any period of time, you know that I am not good at having a home practice. I’ve already tried once this year to get in the habit of home practice… and failed miserably. But you know what they say… try, try, and try again. So, I am.

The good news is that I’ve been doing pretty well at this for the last couple of weeks. The bad news is I don’t want to jinx my success by calling it a done deal. So, I will not say I have a home practice. What I will say is that I found a new (to me) subscription yoga website, called yogaglo, that I really like and I’ve been doing classes with the site 4-5 times a week.

This morning, because another of my goals is to practice in the mornings, I did a class called Inspiring Morning Practice. It was a great practice, but also SUPER hard. I’m by no means a beginner, so I thought I could handle a level 2 class. Apparently not. I’m currently feeling a very odd mix of exhaustion and invigoration.

I guess that’s a good thing… Maybe?

Oh. I also learned what the scariest thing on earth is as a result of this class. Opening your eyes from savasana to see that your 60 lb dog is trying to to find a way to jump off the bed without landing on its owner. And then realizing that said dog has decided to try to jump over you. I’m pretty sure I’ve never moved so fast from savasana.

Rudest awakening ever?

Probably.

Works in Progress

I’ve been working on a couple of knitting projects that may or may not be Christas gifts. Here’s a preview:

I’ve made a LOT of progress since I took this picture and expect to finish it up shortly.

I feel like I’ve been working on this FOREVER. Literally, forever. I may never finish it.

What have you got going right now?

Chai Tea Lattes

In the fall and winter, I like spicy teas. And by spicy I mean like cinnamon and nutmeg not like jalapenos. Anyway, during this time of the year my go to afternoon/late morning Starbucks drink is a Chai Tea Latte. One day last week, I received some very disturbing news.

Apparently, the Chai Tea Latte doesn’t actually have chai tea in it.

That’s right. There’s no chai tea in the chai tea latte. I’ll let that sink in.

I discovered this when I asked a pretty confused looking barista (baristo? what’s the masculine version?) if I could have my latte without sweetner. He responded that I couldn’t because they use chai flavored syrup to make the chai tea latte. I was speechless. And confused.

Anyway. After some discussion with my local baristas (what’s the plural? why is this word so hard?), I figured out that the way to order a chai tea latte that is actually made of chai tea is to request a brewed tea misto. It’s hard, needlessly confusing, and apparently a secret, so I thought I’d share.

Good luck and enjoy your “real” chai tea latte.

Christmas Shopping

I’m a big Black Friday shopper. It’s always been a thing that the women in my family do together. When I was a kid, I anxiously awaited the day that I could go with my mom and my grandma and aunts and older cousins. In recent years, though, Black Friday has gotten crazy. Some people actually start shopping in the middle of the night. Ridiculous.

My MO is to scope out the sales the day before, decide what (and who) I’m looking for, and make a plan to get in and get out as fast as possible.  And bby as soon as possible, I mean start about 6:30-ish. Not start at 3 am and be exhausted all day. Generally, we can usually be finished (or mostly finished) by mid morning and go for brunch. It’s actually pretty awesome.

The last few years (since I started law school) I haven’t really partaken in the Black Friday ritual. Money has been tight, but more than that, time has been tight.  This year I have a Christmas shopping plan (so that I’m not freaking out on December 23rd) and, yes, it involves Black Friday shopping. But it also involves making a lot of gifts because, lets face it, money’s tight for everyone these days.

My plan this year is different than my gift giving strategy in past years. I used to just make a list of people I wanted to get gifts for and then buy something I thought that person might like. As I get older (and more environmentally friendly), I’ve started to put more thought into what I give people. I want to give something that my recipient is going to really cherish, not something they’ll politely thank me for, put in the top of their coat closet, and send to the yard sale next summer (or the trash). So this year,  to save money, time, and stress, I’ll be doing a lot of baking for some recipients, knitting for some, and mixing in some store bought things for others.

What’s your strategy for gift giving this year?

P.S. This post was the inspiration for this topic.

Crockpot Oatmeal

Yesterday I was browsing the interwebs for vegetarian crockpot recipes when I started finding recipes for oatmeal made overnight in the crockpot. I really like oatmeal a lot, so I was intrigued. I settled on Alton Brown‘s  Overnight Oatmeal recipe because, well, when has Alton Brown ever steered me wrong?

The recipe is super simple and takes about 5 minutes to put together. It consists of steel cut oats (which I bought on a trip to hell, aka Wal-Mart, yesterday), water, half and half (or milk, if you forgot to buy half and half), craisins, and dried figs (or apples if you have no figs). All you do is put all that into the crockpot, turn it on low for 9 hours, and go to sleep.

And then, when you wake up you have this:

And you think, “Oh God. It’s finally happened. Alton Brown has led me astray.” And then you think, “How in the hell am I going to get burnt cooked on oatmeal out of my crockpot?” And finally you think, “Maybe I should give it a stir and try it anyway.”

So you give it a stir and try it even though it looks like something out of a Dickens’ novel.

And that ‘s when you discover that this stuff is delicious! It looked seriously unappetizing but it is amazing. The steel cut oats retained a little crunch and the craisins and dried apples got all plump and juicy.

There’s really no other way to describe this other than delicious and amazingly convenient. Waking up to find breakfast (and coffee) waiting for me, was particularly awesome. That being said, I’ll definitely be working on this dish to find a way to make it so that it doesn’t look quite so gross.

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November…

…Because this is my 250th post!

(Also, wasn’t there a thwarted terrorist attack on Parliment on this day several hundred years ago? Did I make that up?)

To celebrate this special occasion, I’ve decided to do a list of resolutions. Fall resolutions, I guess you would call them. This may be a bit non-traditional, but I’ve always felt like fall was a time for beginnings (probably because I was in school for about 20 years), so it makes sense.

Anyway, here they are.

  1. Post at least one blog per week.
  2. Run a 5k by the end of 2012 (yes, I realize this won’t be that hard, but I need time to actually find one, sign up, and remember to actually run it).
  3. Make time for myself everyday.
  4. Cook dinner three times a week
Since this is a 250th post thing, I’ll try to keep you updated on the progress. Have a great weekend!
  1. Have Christmas shopping finished by end of November