Month: October 2006

Creepy Treats

Halloween is upon us. A holiday that combines fall cooking, creative gorey goodies, and heavy eye make-up; it’s definitely a favorite time of year for me. I hosted a small party last night in celebration. More pictures to come later (including a few glimpses of the house, decorating still in progress).

See how many candy bars you can identify (answers at the end of the post). The winning guest only got 6 out of 10 correct! I guess I made it harder than was necessary.

Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with cream cheese frosting.

Deviled Eggs (made by request at 11:30 last night I might add)

Mystery Candy Bar Contest Answers:

1. Nut Roll
2. 100 Grand
3. Snickers Cruncher
4. Heath
5. Mounds
6. Wonka Bar
7. Twix
8. O Henry
9. Reeses’ Fast Break
10. Hershey’s S’mores

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Getting settled

It’s starting to feel like a home. I still have that unnerving sense that I’m lost when the lights are off at night, but at least the house is functional.

Molly loves the stairs as much as I imagined.

She chases toys from the top floor to the basement. I shuttle them back upstairs about 5 times a day, and that’s on a work day.

The stairs help her access sweaters put in otherwise inconvenient places.

(I realize that the number of cat pictures I post is ridiculous. You don’t want to know how many I take and don’t blish).

She and Ben have slap fights from the top steps every night. They’re doing again right now.
(I dig Ben’s hair flip in this picture)

She also learned to play fetch with her toys, but she’s usually only in the mood right after I go to bed, and right after I feed her in the morning (when I have the least energy). She’s lost weight and is definitely building more muscle.

Have I mentioned how great my oven light is???

Finally a good seasonal meal. Roasted garlic rosemary pork loin (I’m putting leftovers into a baked sandwich loaf tonight) with yellow and purple fingerling potatoes and sweet acorn squash.

We got dumped with slushy wet snow today. Perfect night for hot baked food and more Battlestar Galactica on DVD.


What do you do after a long day at work? Paint the house! I put one of two colors on the walls of the living room. I’m not sold on this blue yet. It’s darker in person, but just as bright. After I put the complimentary color up, I hope it will look better.

Snow everywhere except my car

Glorious glorious carport! What joy I have experienced this morning, to come outside where there is one or two inches of snow everywhere, but my car is clean and dry. There is not even frost to scrape!

I’m really disappointed in my cooking habits since the move. Meaning the cooking doesn’t exist. I’ve made a little of this and that, but mostly we go out a lot. There’s always an excuse – I got back from dance class late and don’t have the energy to cook. I spent the whole day cleaning the old apartment, let’s celebrate! We’re going to the ballet, we already planned to go out to Indian food! Ben’s sick, so there’s no reason to cook for one. It’s snowy and cold, let’s go out for pizza. And on and on. I think it’s partly because I’m tired, partly because I haven’t done meal planning, and partly because the kitchen is disorganized and doesn’t flow well.

The ballet, by the way, was fantastic. I had not seen Giselle live before. For those of you who don’t know the story, or have only seen clips on that one episode of Angel: Giselle is a peasant girl who loves to dance, but has a weak heart (literally). She has an admirier, Hilarion, who is a bit of a prick. She prefers her lover, Loys, who is actually a nobleman named Albrecht. She and Loys become engaged, Hilarion reveals that Loys is a fake, and in fact Albecht is also engaged to a noblewoman. Giselle freaks out and dies from shock and grief. In the second act, Giselle has become a Wili – “vampiric ghosts of betrothed girls who have died before their wedding day.” Hilarion visits her grave, the wilis catch him and make him dance to death. Albrecht visits her grave and the wilis make him dance. Giselle pleads for the wilis to spare him, they refuse. He dances until dawn, when the wilis must retreat, and his life is saved. Giselle returns to her grave.

Here’s a video clip from another company. The first variation it shows it my favorite, those traveling changements are incredible!

The sets and costumes were really impressive. A couple dancers were having an off night, but overall it was a crisp performance. I was a little disappointed that Maria Mosina was playing Giselle. She’s ok, but she played the lead in every performance we saw last season. They have other great dancers who I would like to see featured. They rotate the part of Giselle between three dancers, and Maria just happened to be scheduled for the time we saw it. She’s always paired with Igor Vassine, who is pretty good, but our favorite male dancer is Kubo Koichi, and he’s too short of Maria, so we haven’t seen him in a lead yet either. (Link to dancer bios) Oh well, it was still a lively, engaging show. And I love any excuse to put on a stockings and heels.

I know what you’re wondering

But Rachel, how is your cat doing? Well, I’ll tell you – in multimedia! Oh, scratch that, umm, singular media. . . pictures. . .

She totally digs my new down comforter and duvet.
(btw Mom: see what I mean? What color do you do walls when this is the focus of the room?)

She also digs the cover I sewed for her cat bed (even though in this picture she’s making the same face she makes while using her litter box, trust me, she loves it.)

Oh! I’m so confused! There’s boxes everywhere and I can’t find my food. Woes me! And get that camera out of my face.

Look, a squirrel! I feel a primal urge I haven’t felt since I found that moth three weeks ago. I think I’ll run up and down the stairs some more!

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Old and New Cooking

Old Apartment cooking: Lettuce wraps – these were so good! I found a recipe supposedly copying a certain appetizer at a certain restaurant. I made a couple changes (ground turkey instead of minced chicken, button mushrooms instead of shiitake, and added carrots) and it turned out great! I should definately keep this recipe on hand for later.

The tree in the parking lot had these gorgeous apples.

I decided to try an apple crisp recipe. The “topping” (if you can called two tablespoons of brown sugar a topping) didn’t really cook. So I used my blowtorch!! The cinnamon sparked when I blazed it (kind of scary).

These were supposed to be bars you can eat out of hand. They were far too gooey, in fact, the center didn’t cook while the edges were dry. I have that problem with bar cookies a lot. I should get this pan.

Stuffed zucchini and pork sandwich. Blah.

Pasta with two sauces and standard green beans. Blah. (Getting close to moving, can you tell?)

A sudden spurt of energy led me to pizza!

The one on the left has steak, carmalized onions, cheddar, and garlic on marinara. The one on the right has a pesto base with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and garlic.

Sweet Potato Soup. Ingredients: sweet potato, sage (thanks mom!), butter, chicken stock, salt and pepper.

Simmer all day, stir in cheese, you’re done. I also made wheat bread with sage.

New House!! It took me several days, but I finally cooked in the kitchen. This is my first dinner (not counting the mac and cheese from a box). I improvised with food on hand (hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet) and used a recipe I found online as a base. It’s acorn squash, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and garbanzo bean stew with Indian curry.

After shopping I made – sandwiches! I know, real ambitious of me, huh? But they were quite tasty: bacon, gouda, and butter lettuce with grainy mustard and horseradish. I picked up the requisite gallon of cider at the store. The neighborhood king soopers was fairly impressive.

And tonight’s dinner: rosemary pork tenderloin, sweet roasted acorn squash, sweet and sour braised cabbage, and you’ll notice my prized roasted garlic nestled on the right. I have a whole head of it, baby. I just brought a batch of brownies with butterscotch chips out of the oven.

It’s starting to feel like home.

Almost unpacked . . .

I finally found my camera cable so I can upload some pictures. To my surprise, I hardly have any of the new house, but a lot of old pictures of my cooking! I guess that’s what you get. 🙂 I did take this one of my kitchen:
(Roses from Ben, of course). I’ll take some more house pictures later as the design starts to fall in place. I need to paint the walls and get a bit more furniture. Then I’ll show you.

Little things I didn’t notice but now that they’re there, I love:

Spray nozzle on the kitchen sink
Oven light
Butter tray in fridge
Keeping the TV in a special room (I watch so much less! It’s great. Though part of the reason is stupid baseball preempting all of Fox’s shows.)
Room to leave my hair dryer plugged in all the time.
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(What do you call 1/2 of a duet?)

Love is:
my new top-of-the-line Duet washer.

Hate is:

Calling a plumber at 9:30 pm because your washing machine debut ended with water draining onto the floor, soaking your next 3 loads of perfectly sorted laundry, which have been festering in their dinginess for three days longer than you anticipated because you didn’t test the previous (used) washer until your dryer was set up, which needed a vent, and then said washer would not start, and then having to wait a day for the new washer to be delivered, but not being able to test it until after work, and when you did and it flooded first you tried a snake and then drano before executing the final step in our three step program: hire a professional.

Owning is fun!

All is well. I have done 5 loads in the past 12 hours (in addition to sleeping and working) and Ben and I have sloughed our stinky layer for crisp, clean clothes. I love my washer. so very very much.

Moving, moving, moved!

Today was the big day. Yesterday was the boring, anxiety-building drudgery that is boxing up everything one owns. Today with friends and family help and two loads in the 15 foot truck (we’ve grown!) We got everything in by 3 pm (started at 9:30).

Molly was freaked, then excited and curious, then scared and whiney, then exhausted and limp. She spent her first 5 hours in her litter box. Just sitting and glaring. She has made two noble voyages into the den (right next to the laundry room, where her box is) but is sticking to closet corners and under furniture. I expect she will start really exploring late tonight.

I was able to say that all of our things made it in one piece, but Ben just knocked over a box, breaking a couple serving dishes. Eh, I expect a little damage, so we’re still doing pretty good.

Oh, I wish I could take this week off work! So much to do . . . but at least we’re here on lovely little Quail street.

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