Vegetable Stroganoff

Have I touted the delicious benefits of Farm Fresh Delivery? I receive a bin of fresh, seasonal, organic fruits and vegetables every week. They offer a standard selection that varies by week; also, they allow for modifications and substitutions if you don’t want a rutabaga and would prefer oranges.

I love that the bin comes with recipes for using the stuff. For example, I had never eaten fennel, and the fennel salad recipe was simple, healthful, and delicious. I’m licking my own produce section.

On the negative side, you can’t pick your own items, so you may get an apple with a mushy spot. And I’ve found that the shelf life for organics is half what it was for chemically-enhanced produce. Also, the website for updating produce is not the easiest to navigate. Not only do I have a short window to adjust the bin, if I miss the window, I have no clue what they are sending me! Difficult for menu planning.

OK enough. On to the recipe. I was inspired by a bunch of things I found in my bin this week and some potatoes from last week.


2T butter and
1T olive oil

To a skillet on medium-high heat. While the butter foams, chop and add

One small yellow onion.

After onion has started to turn golden, add

One small bunch rainbow carrots (see note below)

One pound porcini or other mushrooms, chunked into quarters

Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally until mushrooms have given up their water and all vegetables are golden. Add

3T whole wheat flour

and stir until mixture has cracker-y consistency and flour is turning gold. Deglaze the pan with

4T good red wine (I used cabernet). Slowly add

One teaspoon No-Beef stock base, dissolved in one cup warm water

1/2t black pepper
2t coarsely chopped parsley
2t finely chopped fresh rosemary.

Stir frequently. Once mixture has thickened (about 3 minutes), add

1/2c fat-free yogurt and
1/2c heavy cream
(I know, these two ingredients are an oxymoron).

Simmer until thickened. Serve over garlic mashed potatoes.

I had fun inventing this recipe. You’ll note that there’s no salt added. That’s because the only drawback to the No-Beef base is that it is a bit too salty.

The purple carrots add a beautiful color to a sauce that could have been brownish grey. Hey, Pasta Queen, have you ever licked a purple carrot? (I promise that’s not as bad as it sounds!!!!)

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min
Taste: [rate 3.5]
Ease: [rate 3]

I Feel the Earth! Move! Under my Feet

So I’m feeding the baby, and I hear the house creak a little, no big deal.  Then, I get the sense that the cat is getting on the back of my chair.  Except neither cat is allowed in the baby’s room, and the door is closed.   My chair starts shaking very rhythmicaly and I keep looking around for who’s doing it.

I finished feeding Ainsley, put her to bed, and checked the internet.  There were no updates about any tremors…so my irrational side took over.  I was afraid.  Yes, folks, I have an irrational fear of ghosts.  I hate this fear, but I cannot use my rational brain to overcome it.  Isn’t that ridiculous?
Luckily the local news had a breaking news story about it, so I only had to worry for about 5 minutes.  I felt like I could be one of those idiots they interview: “golly gee, I thunk it was my great uncle tellin’ me he made it to heaven okay.  Thought they only had earthquakes in California.”

OK, I’m tired and need to work.  Have a great day.

My New Favorite Toy

We’re all a big bunch of technophiles, and this is my favorite thing so far. My husband installed a secure network camera so we can see Ainsley while she naps/sleeps. It has been very useful…but mostly tons of fun.

It’s useful because we can see if she’s going to sleep or if she’s fussing for real, or if she’s wiggled herself into the corner and is stuck, just needing help to be comfy. I also never knew how much she moves in her sleep.

It’s totally fun because I can look at her while she sleeps and feel all warm and snuggly inside. Here is a snapshot for you (that’s not how I put her in her crib, btw):

Duckie Jammies

Aww….the neat thing that with a secure username/password, I can see the cam while I’m at work. It doesn’t keep me from working; actually, it’s the opposite- it keeps me on task and motivated to hurry up and finish so I can go see her when she awakes.

Speaking of which: back to work so I can go home!

Trash Reduction – My Household’s Story

I was recently reading an article in No Impact Man about trash.  He recommended saving and then sifting through the garbage produced in one week.  Sounds disgusting.  So I did a mental inventory for a while.  My two-person household had two large, 40-gallon garbage cans.  Each week we filled one, or even both cans!  We started recycling until our town stopped taking anything but aluminum and paper (curbside), reduced the pickup to twice monthly, and charged twice as much.  Somehow we recycled but didn’t seem to produce much less trash.

Three years have passed, and I’ve done a few things. 

  1. I attempt to buy products in little or no packaging.
  2. If not available package-free, I opt for aluminum, glass, and cardboard, all of which I faithfully recycle.
  3. I do not buy fruit that is not in #1 or #2 plastic.  I also almost never buy any other products that are not in these plastics.  While other numbers are recycled, there’s a reason they don’t do it curbside: #1 and #2 are the most easily remanufactured.  Using and recycling other plastics uses more resources.
  4. I take my lunch to work in reusable containers.
  5. For health and environmental reasons, I have almost eliminated fast food from my diet.
  6. I use my own grocery bags.  But y’all knew that already.
  7. I brew my own beer and avoid all the bottles and cardboard (which reminds me I need to brew more beer).

So, for our four-person household, we are down to one medium trash bag weekly and that is counting the fact that we have a baby using disposable diapers (sorry, landfill).  We also have 1-2 bins of recyclables.  The total garbage and recyclables for four people is half of what our garbage was for two people.  That’s ¼ the garbage per person.

I’m not No Impact Woman, but this is a good start, I think.  My goals are to switch the baby to cloth diapers at age one or so; to start composting my food scraps instead of using the garbage disposal in the sink; and to grow/can more of my own food. 

If anybody still reads my blog, I’d appreciate knowing what your tips are.

60 Questions

Ah, the meme, the writer’s block savior! Copied from someone else. I added some new questions to replace the ones missing from hers. Enjoy.

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now? Flat tire kit. It’s pretty clean in there. I adore my car, plus, junk in cars is just extra weight wasting fuel.
2. When was the last time you threw up? Last weekend. Migrainey fluish thing.
3. What’s your favorite word or phrase? Deipnosophist! I love obscure words. The only problem is it isn’t intuitively descriptive.
4. Name 3 people who made you smile today? Ainsley, Elizabeth, Carlton, Amy, The cleaning lady at work
5. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Working hard
6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Cleaning the kitchen and making beer
7. What is your favorite holiday? Good Friday
8. Have you ever been to a concert? Many times. I prefer albums actually, but the concert experience is fun.
9. What is the last thing you said aloud? I found my mouse.
10. What is the best ice cream flavor? Homemade Black Pepper and Sour Cherry. Honestly. Trust me.
11. What was the last thing you had to drink? Beer
12. What are you wearing? My husband’s t-shirt and some maternity cargo pants (haven’t been pregnant in 7.5 months)
13. What was the last thing you ate? Brown rice with carmelized root vegetables
14. Anyone have a crush on you? I wish. I really do! I think crushes are cute.
15. When was the last time you ran? I can’t remember. Elliptical doesn’t count, right?
16. What’s the last sporting event you watched? College basketball. North Carolina lost.
17. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Yap
18. Who is the last person you sent a comment/message on myspace? Ha ha, never had a non-spam MySpace message! I’m old.
19. Ever go camping? As a kid, yes. It seems like a good idea now, but also seems hot and sticky and buggy.
20. Do you have a tan? I have not had any amount of tan in years, even when I went to Hawaii. Hello, people, skin cancer! And wrinkles of course are not good either. Man, I’m old.
21. Have you ever lost anything down a toilet? Not that I recall- did drop a bar of soap in there and wondered how to clean it.
22. Do you use smiley faces on the computer a lot? Yes, especially the old-school ones that aren’t made into graphics.
23. Do you drink your pop from a straw? No. Straws are wasteful. I do use them occasionally if I’m given one in a restaurant.
24. What is the last adjective someone has used to describe you? Whiney.
25. What did your last text message say? “It’s OK if you hate me”
26. Are you someone’s best friend? Yes. I think I’m two people’s best friend.
27. What are you doing tomorrow? I am working from home so I can eat lunch with my daughter. I will also be making another batch of beer.
28. Where is your mom right now? I’m guessing she’s finished with a day of gold and is in her family room watching FOX News.
29. Look to your left, what do you see? Carlton’s laptop amid a mess of papers
30. What color is your watch? Gold, silver, mother of pearl, diamond.
31. What do you think of when you think of Australia? Reef fish! And my final resting place as a Reef Ball.
32. Ever ridden on a roller coaster? Once for one day. I loved it but have no desire to do it again.
33. What’s your zodiac sign? Who cares? But Libra, if you do.
34. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? Drive through. Hate going in. Seems liek everything is sticky.
35. Do you have any friends on myspace that you actually hate? Again with the MySpace. No.
36. Do you have a dog? My sweet Sunny Girl!
37. Last person you talked to on the phone? My mom.
38. Have you met anyone famous? Yes but I’ve talked about that before and it’s not that interesting.
39. Any plans today? Making beer. Ainsley’s in bed for the night, so this is just wrapping up the day and preparing for the next.
40. Are you still keeping any of your New Year’s resolutions? I restarted my diet in January, and also restarted going to the gym. Both are doing OK.
41. Ever go to college? Yes. Loved it. Miss it. Wish I could do it again.
42. Where are you right now? In the den/bedroom.
43. Biggest annoyance in your life right now? Lack of sleep. Eight hours is the key to a good day!
44. Last song listened to? Ryan Bingham, Bread and Water. Music better than vocals.
45. Last movie you saw? Blades of Glory. I am ashamed.
46. Are you allergic to anything? Most perfumes/colognes. I recommend that everyone go scent-free for deteregents, body washes, et cetera for six months. You’d be amazed all the subtle smells you’re missing.
47. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? Merrell Mary Janes.
48. Are you jealous of anyone? The lady at work with the great job, great clothes, and husband who just got a huge promotion so she can stay home. It’s healthy jealousy, though; I’m not mad at her and I’m not unhappy with my own life.
49. Are you married? Yes.
50. Is anyone jealous of you? I think people used to be, but now I’m just so boring.
51. What time is it? 8:32PM
52. Do any of your friends have children? Yes.
53. Do you eat healthfully? Yes. Lots of vegetables, whole grains, low protein.
54. Do you think tofu tastes good? Yes!
55. Do you hate anyone right now? Not any one single person. However, if I see an article about someone abusing animals/children/anyone, I feel hate.
56. Do you have a crush on someone? Yes.
57. How many kids do you want? Zero. But instead God sent me an angel.
58. What book are you reading? The China Study.
59. Have you ever been to Six Flags? No.
60. I deleted 60, as it was scatological.