Saturday, December 5, 2009

a tale of two dinners

I truly intend to write everyday so I can record my gratitude attitude, but yesterday my brain was way too busy thinking about something big and exciting (to be revealed in a future post) and I could barely focus on making dinner, much less writing about it. I did remember to take pretty pictures, though!
That is the Thai Pinapple Fried Rice. I was going to make it the night I made the Chickpea Stew with Fried Polenta but I really had very little faith it would come together quickly (lots of chopping - I knew cooking would go fast) and I was really hungry that night. It was really good and the coconut milk helped everything stick together in a way that made it easy to eat with chopsticks.

I've heard it said that you learn something new everyday. Yesterday, I learned how hot pineapple chunks get when you stirfry them in a wok on high heat for 7-10 minutes. Hot.

Anyway, while I was chopping I was chatting with my parents. This weekend they are celebrating my mother's *mumblemumble* birthday and their 40th wedding anniversary. That is so rare these days and I think it's wonderful that they still have so much fun together - today they went up to NYC to see the Rockettes Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall. Granted, bus trips with a bunch of people from their church kind of screams "old people hobby," but it still sounds fun!

Tonight's dinner was Hearty Stew which seems to vary from Colleen's recipe each time I make it. The recipe calls for tempeh, which I've mentioned before does not get along well with Mister's belly, so the first time I made this, I used Steak Stirfry Strips by LightLife. This time around, I used Ray's Seitan, but that is not the major variation.

This morning I tried to put together the week's menu and grocery list. I didn't get it completely finished because I remembered the uncertainty that presented itself to me at approximately 6 PM on Friday and realized that I really can't plan a menu for this week until that is resolved. Fortunately, I'm scheduled to be off from work on Wednesday, so I can take care of additional shopping then - I did get two recipes and I'm going to pick up some veggie burgers as back-up.

Anyway, the point is that I realized last night that I had underestimated the number of carrots remaining in the bag and needed to pick some up in order to make dinner tonight. So my plan had been to make my list and do my 3 days worth of shopping today so I could get carrots. Then came the 30-degree temperatures with wind, rain, and very wet (but beautiful) snow, and all I wanted to do was drive to lessons, teach, and drive home. I completely forgot to stop at some lovely suburban food store on my way home and pick up just the carrots.

I made an executive decision: Corn is an acceptable substitute for carrots.
And I was absolutely right - I think I actually like the corn in the soup better than the carrots! I love the combination of potatoes and corn. Dr. FAdkins is rolling over in his grave. Look how pretty the corn made it, though! It was sooooo good, between the corn and the seitan. I am also officially in love with this herb combination: thyme, tarragon, and marjoram.
Marjoram smells so much like tea I can almost imagine it tasting sweet all by itself.
Tarragon also has the most divine smell. I'm not a big fan of anise/licorice-scented things, but it's subtle enough to enjoy.
I love how people talk about the "subtle hint of lemon" in thyme. Thyme is one of only two herbs I can smell the moment I take the cap off the jar (mint is the other). That is not subtle in my book.
Yesterday I was grateful for:
1. a few minutes to talk to my parents and tease them about telling the whole world about their anniversary.
2. getting home safely and finding parking relatively easily for a Friday night.
3. the end of a very busy week.
4. a mind-blowing and flattering conversation I had shortly before leaving work.

Today I am grateful for:
1. time to relax this morning before heading out to work.
2. time to play Christmas songs on my piano in that "quiet" time.
3. my special treat - a peppermint americano
4. the first snowfall in Philadelphia! It was so pretty - I love snow. I hate when people say you won't like snow when you get older - it's not true! Any young folks reading this - it's not true - don't believe them!

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