This week has been a little wackier than anticipated. Why don't we start with a colorful vignette?
On Wednesday night, I was driving my familiar route down I-95, about a mile from my usual exit, when the unpleasant scent of exhaust reached my nose. I was sniffing the air and trying to discern whether it was my car or the truck I was following which was the source of that scent. Suddenly, a familiar light on my dashboard helped me decide:
The picture is a little blurry - my cellphone does not take pictures as clear as those taken by my camera. In case you can't guess by the context, that is my check engine light and when it illuminated, I decided the source of the smell was, in fact, my car. I had a short conversation with God about how much I would prefer breaking down within walking distance of my home, meanwhile pondering exactly what would qualify as "walking distance" in 4-inch heels. I made it all the way to my street, and serendipitously, there was an open parking spot right in front of my home and on an end spot which will be very convenient for a tow truck to reach my car.
Having only gotten my car back from its last stay at the mechanic's less than a week ago, to say I wasn't excited would probably be understating the situation. More than anything else, I am really just quite weary of "dealing with" my failing car, so it has been sitting in that same spot since Wednesday night. I have discovered over the course of these past few days how much less stressful and how liberating it is to take the train to work, rather than driving through multiple construction zones, road/lane closures, stop-n-go traffic, and all the people in Montgomery County who only could have gotten their licenses as a cereal box prize.
I hope you enjoyed that little tale of woe. I'm a little aggravated, but I'm actually more focused on the positive changes this could affect now. It is possible that I am right on the verge of my first public-transit-induced cold, but it's a small price to pay (and hopefully a quick one).
Last night, after a fun but immune-system-weakening walk through light rain to get home from the train station, I made Penny-Pinching Pinto Picadillo from Vegan on the Cheap. I was a little nervous about the russet potatoes, but they steamed to squishy perfection. The recipe instructed me to include rice in the finished project, and I did, but honestly, it would be a completely fulfilling meal without the rice.
It's a little sad, but I don't think there is anything visually pleasing about this dish. I know everything doesn't have to be beautiful to be tasty, but I think the very first class I would take if I were taking cooking classes would definitely be Presentation. I feel like someone more skilled in presentation probably could have made that more attractive.
Tonight's dinner was slightly more attractive and it was tasty enough that its appearance didn't really matter, especially considering the speed with which we wolfed it down.
I made Garden Rotini and Chickpea Salad with Inner Goddess Dressing also from Vegan on the Cheap. Actually, you could take out the "and Chickpea" part, since I completely forgot to add them until I had already tossed everything else with the dressing and had begun to scoop dinner into my bowl. I actually dumped the contents of my bowl back in, thinking I would add the chickpeas and mix everything up again, but then I decided the salad would be just fine without them. Mister and I just end up chasing them around the dish with our forks anyway.
I love the way the fresh, raw garlic complements the crunch of the cucumbers and celery and brings out the sweetness of the grape tomatoes. The dressing has a lot of ingredients, which makes it a little less than ideal, but it was so good, I'm sure I'll make it again.