Wednesday, September 7, 2011

coming up for air

Should I cry about being a bad blogger again?  While I always feel a little guilty/bad when I miss a few days (because they always end up being more days than I thought), sometimes I think it's better just to be quiet.  After all, nothing is more boring that reading about dull, mundane events in someone else's life.

Actually, the past several days have been anything but dull, I just didn't think they really needed to be captured for all time in the pages of this blog.  I haven't been doing anything special with dinner - in case you didn't notice, every item on the current menu is an "old favorite" or at least "past success," so there weren't any ground-breaking discoveries to share.

So, what have I been up to?  Well, I spent the weekend teaching and shopping.  Food shopping, clothes shopping, shoe shopping - you name it.  As a result, I had plenty to say on Pretty Woman in an Ugly World, so if you have some time, why don't you read about my experiences?

Yesterday, I started my new job!  So that's fun, right?  Absolutely exhausting, too.  See, it's funny - for the last several years, I have been the one standing up in front of a group of new hires and teaching them about the company, processes, products, etc.  Now, I'm in the learner's seat and it's fun to see the other side - the side that is slightly bewildered, not by the information, but the speed at which it is delivered.  I'm learning quickly, though, which is good since we have a special event this weekend and need all hands on deck, so to speak.

I actually had intended to post last night, but was quite exhausted after all that learning and could not even focus on the screen so I just went to bed after convincing myself to wash the pots and knives so I could just come home and cook tonight without having to clean up.  That's another thing:

I get home when it's still light out.  You may or may not realize how incredible this is, but it is rare that I need my sunglasses on the way home from work, since I usually got home around 9pm.  Today, I was sitting on the bus for my 15 minute commute home (can I tell you how much I love that??) an hour and a half earlier than I would have been leaving my old job.  It was such an incredible feeling that I found myself grinning like a fool and the other folks must have thought I'd lost it.

Tonight, I made and ate dinner, cleaned up leftovers and started this blog before the time I would have even been putting dinner on the table two weeks ago.  Again, I cannot express (and I have a lot of words) how wonderful that realization was.  Not only are we eating dinner closer to times that "normal" people eat dinner, but I also don't have to start dinner the very moment I walk in the door to ensure that we can eat and I can clean up before bedtime.  I'm still getting used to that - four years of walking in the door and immediately starting dinner is a tough habit to break.

Enough about all that - let's have a food parade!

The last meal I made before starting my new job - Rotini with Spicy Vegetable Ragu from Vegan on the Cheap, at Mister's request.  If you haven't noticed that he always gets what he asks for, just keep reading.

It was tasty and pleasantly spicy, but I think I must have overcooked the rotini because it kept falling apart.  I feel like that happened last time I made it, though, so I might experiment with a more stable pasta shape in the future.  

I hate having an open package of Tofurky sausage lying around for very long, so the very next meal I made was the delightful and hearty Savory Sausage and Peppers, also from Vegan on the Cheap.

Depending on where you live or how much you care about the weather in other places, you may or may not know that it was miserable here in Philadelphia yesterday.  The temperatures didn't quite make it past 65 and it was pouring rain - in fact, it was the most opportune time possible for me to learn about the leak in my umbrella, as I was standing in the rain, in pumps, waiting for the bus...and then walking through a 2-3" puddle to get into the bus....poor shoes, poor feet.

Needless to say, after Mister finished coddling me and petting me and telling me what a cute little drowned rat I was, I stripped off my shoes, soaked stockings, wet clothes, and put on my "comfy clothes."  All I could think of cooking was something warm and slow and hearty...

Today, on the other hand, started out quite grim and foreboding, but by lunchtime the sky was clear and sunny and the weather turned out to be beautiful.  It almost seemed a shame to be inside a training room, and once again, I could feel sympathy for the hundreds of new hires I taught over the last few years, especially when the training room had no windows.  Nevertheless, preferring to see opportunity rather than obstacle, I just thought of how lovely it will be to take picnics in Rittenhouse Square this fall.

Speaking of lunch, from the rumors the seasoned employees are spreading and the way we've been treated so far, it seems the boss knows quite the way of "wining and dining" his new employees - we've been taken out to lunch or had lunch ordered for us and there will be a big grand opening party this weekend with food, fun, and open bar.... what a great introduction to the company!  From what I can tell, people are their primary focus and I'm completely on board with that - it is evident that every employee is valued, and because they feel appreciated, morale is high enough that everyone is completely pleasant and invested in passing on those "good vibes" to the customers.  What a great place to work.

Tonight, I made Kedgeree from The Accidental Vegan because if I didn't, Mister was going to eat all the kalamatas I bought for the recipe.  The recipe actually calls for mushrooms, but we don't do mushrooms, and long ago I decided that the earthy flavor of kalamata olives was an adequate substitute for them.  Regardless, Mister loves kalamatas, so though he knew he wasn't supposed to eat them, I could see the level in the clear plastic container dropping...

I love how dark emerald green the kale's really gorgeous.  I used lacinto kale because it's a little easier to work with than curly kale and I think it went well in this recipe.

Shortly after dinner, Mister started poking around in the freezer and then the cupboards.  He did the same thing a few nights ago, so I asked him if he wanted something and this time, he told me.

So I made him cupcakes.  He didn't know whether he wanted cookies or cupcakes, so I gave him a few choices.  He chose Peanut Butter Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but I didn't feel like making the ganache-drizzle topping, so I just plopped 4 chocolate chips onto each cupcake while they were baking.


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