Sunday, January 2, 2011

new year, new adventures

Last night was kind of exciting - more so than New Years Eves past.  I saw more people than I've seen... since the last day I was at work.  Speaking of which, I really can't say I'm enthusiastic for Monday - AKA the day I return.  Regardless, Mister and I had a short visit from an old friend and then I travelled by bus, foot, and taxi to spend some time at another friend's party before rushing home to kiss my sweetie at Midnight.

We've had some interesting Midnight Kisses through our years together.  I think the most memorable (not intentionally, that's for sure) was the one I got on the side of a highway.  Mister had played a show that night, things had gone a little late, so we were speeding through the relatively traffic-less night to get to my friend's house (yes, same friend) before people were too wasted to remember we even showed.  I was also trying, in vain, to get there before Midnight, but no dice.  So, as the clock turned to 12:00, Mister poked me and told me to pull over so he could give me a proper kiss.  So there you have it: Romance on Rt 422 Eastbound.

Mister is recovering, but still "relapses" if he exerts himself too much.  He had been trying to get himself together all day so he could attend the party with me and be in as good of spirits as he can be when he's been sick for more than two weeks and is now taking medication that reduces his already short fuse, but in the end, we decided I would go solo and return for my kiss.  I had a ball at the party (no pun intended), and was a little late leaving, which resulted in me bursting through our door, all full of New Years Cheer (or Beaujolais) at exactly Midnight. 

So, happy new year.

I thought of doing a round-up post, but felt like it would be more boastful than introspective.  Instead, we'll flash ahead to my first First of 2011.

I made seitan!  It was really good, too!  (click here for recipe) Mister said it tasted kind of like the lamb-turkey sausage-jerky they put on those huge spools for Greek restaurants to shave off small bits and make gyros (pronounced YEE-rohs).  Considering how much we both liked gyros when we still ate Mary's Little Lamb, I consider it a success.  Also, I couldn't stop pulling off little pieces to chew on while I prepped our dinner. 

Segue, anyone?  For dinner, I made the Irish Stew with Potatoes and Seitan from Appetite for Reduction.  It was nice and thick and savory.  I will stop one breath short of saying it was hearty, because although it was utterly delightful, it was not so inside-out warming as other stews I've made.  The flour slurry definitely enhanced the thickness of the stew, but didn't make it quite as thick as the aptly named Homey Vegetable Stew w/Dumplings.

Mmm... look at those big chunks of homemade seitan....  I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself, and I can already see the savings over pre-made seitan racking up on my internal budget calculator.  As far as I can tell, I'll save at least 50% by making my own.  Besides, it wasn't that hard and I only burnt myself once.

I'll be excusing myself shortly to construct a new menu and corresponding grocery list.  I'll be back to work, thus out of time, come Monday, so tomorrow I'll have to shop for the week.  Additionally, Mister found his Hungry last night, so I "whipped up" Isa's Potato-Spinach Curry before I went to the party.  Actually, now that I have proper knives, the whipping up goes much faster, so it really didn't take me long at all to make dinner last night, which is good, since I was heading out afterward!

I used Whole Foods 365 Organic Chopped Spinach, which was an amusing addition to the curry and potatoes already in the pot.  One thing I really love about potatoes simmering in any small amount of liquid is how the potato starch escapes and blends with the liquid, thickening it and making an involuntary sauce.  It was fun to shock that saucing process with the addition of little frozen nuggets of chopped spinach!  The only complaint Mister and I registered was that the curry spices overwhelmed the tiny bit of salt I added, per the recipe.  I'll make this again, but when I do, I'll increase the salt to a full teaspoon.

Back to the whole New Years thing for a moment; I didn't consciously make any resolutions.  This may very well be the first year.  I'm trying to figure out if that displays apathy or if it is evidence that I am at peace with myself.  Previous resolutions have included:
1. reducing debt (yes, me and everyone else)
2. being content and living in the now
3. accepting that people love me and not asking why

I still have debt, but not as much.  Being content and living in the now is a constant struggle, but present on my mind, so I didn't feel like I needed to set aside specific energy for that.  I haven't had self-esteem problems in years, so number 3 is moot.  Aside from continuing to reduce my debt and work toward other financial goals, I can't think of any promises to make to myself.  What about you, dear readers?  Have you made any promises to yourself this year?


  1. Hurrah for homemade seitan. :) I put off making it for ages, but once I started it is so easy and cheap, I have been making my own now for the last couple of years.
    I am going to be bringing out Appetite for Reduction as my cookbook inspiration for this week, I have already got the pasta salad in the fridge for work lunches. It is a beautiful book.
    I am mostly resolution free this year, which is kind of liberating in its own way. ;)
    Happy New Year to you and Mister and, of course, to Angst the kitty!

  2. thanks so much, Susan! Happiest of new years to you and your kitties! The pasta salad looks great, and although my annual Salad Crave is approaching (I can sense it in the wings), it hasn't set in quite yet - we're still on a big baked/roasted you'll see in tonight's post.

    As always, thanks for reading and commenting; I appreciate hearing from you!