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Cheapness has its place, but the kitchen isn’t one of them.

7 Dec

Well, something has finally happened to me that I never thought would happen: I spent a surprisingly large amount of money (for me, anyway) on kitchen accessories.

Around this time every year, the company I work for gives everyone cash gift cards as a holiday gift. This is completely rad, as it’s a fairly decent chunk of money. Until this point, I have always spent the money on random crap for myself like video games, Snuggies (a man’s gotta have a full range of colors, amiright?), or candy corn. One year I went on an 80’s music spending binge. When’s the last time you listened to Walk the Dinosaur by Was (not Was)? It’s aural sex, I promise you.

While my taste in purchases is eclectic when it comes to random holiday gift cards, one thing has always remained constant: I have always purchased inconsequential shit that I immediately regret.

Always, until this weekend, that is.

My special lady friend works in the book industry. A direct correlation to working in the book industry, believe it or not, is being exposed to a lot of books. As such, I usually expect to see a couple new books in our house every few days. Meg especially likes bringing home two genres of books almost exclusively: fantasy books and cookbooks.

Until about 3 weeks ago, I guess both genres could have classified as fantasy in our house.

Anyway, I’d usually quickly thumb through the cookbooks, looking for the token Thai recipes they contained before tossing the tome back on the kitchen table, not to be used except in my uttermost need. Seriously, Frodo could have hidden the Ring of Power in any of our cookbooks and no man would have ever seen it again.

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Crock Pot, Saver of Marriages

2 Dec

In the annals of history, I don’t think there will ever be a kitchen invention that will be more revered than the crock pot. It’s cheap, its easy to use, and you don’t have to think. You just throw some shit in there, put on the lid, and select one of two settings: ‘low’ or ‘high.’ For a complete lazy asshole like me, there is no better use of time and effort than the crockpot. I look like I worked hard on dinner, when in reality I read 250 pages of Calvin and Hobbes while drinking Session.

It uses less energy than a lightbulb (it’s scary to think that an incandescent bulb could potentially cook your food) and it makes your house smell like a french…um…cook…house. Seriously. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day in the salt mines and smelling braised beef stew coming from every nook and cranny. Is there anything the crock pot can’t do?

Well, there are a couple things I would like to see in a crock pot. I’m sure they make one with the features I am about to list, but it’s hard for me to justify a whole new purchase when I already have a perfectly functional crock pot, but this is my blog post, so I’ll say whatever the hell I want, and you have to accept it. Or I guess you could just stop reading, but where’s the fun in that?

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Cash is King

30 Nov My man Scrooge knows what to do with his spare change.

Over the last twelve or so days, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that comes as a byproduct of only buying food at grocery stores: I don’t spend very much money right now. I’m like Scrooge McDuck, swimming in a big ‘ol pile of gold doubloons, or whatever that was that he swam in.

Total madness, right? Yeah, yeah. Not super surprising.

However, that’s not the end of the story. There is an aspect of not spending money all over town that I wasn’t fully expecting: I watch my bank account like a hawk. Or like Bravestarr who, as we all know, has the eyes of the hawk and the ears of the wolf.

Think about that for a second. Not only am I watching for crazy shit to happen, I am also listening for crazy shit to happen. In my bank account. You have to really strain your ears, but you can hear money being withdrawn: swift and nearly silent, like a ninja using a port-a-potty at a K.I.S.S. reunion concert.

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29 Nov

Two for two!  Second vegan dinner a success.  Loving “Speed Vegan” thus far.  Tangy sweet and sour sauced tofu with soba noodles and a boatload of green onions.  Freaking delicious.  Last night was Hominy Hash with vegan italian sausage added in.  Not going to lie, I thought the author was being modest when he said the Hash looked like an utter disaster halfway through, but not, it does indeed look like it’s going to be a complete failure two steps from the end.  My first thought after adding in the tomato puree was “Yup.  Complete disaster.  Not lying.”  Second, “Denny will never let me try something weird ever again.”

It may not be squash, but it'll be a show stopper when it happens.

Denny is possibly the most patient husband on the face of the planet.  Aside from being a derby widow, he’s put up with years of crazy habits, such as lifting his arm up and re-setting it on my side when trying to sleep due to my skin being “pulled” the wrong direction if he just slides an arm around me, and trying new foods all the time.  When new friends come over and see our cookbooks, they almost always ask if we’re vegetarian.  No, Megan just has an addiction to cookbooks and variety.  Growing up a meat-eater, non-animal based meals are a fascinating foray for me.  Vegan solutions boggle my mind.

Take cashew cream, for instance.  If you want a serious, dense cream without dairy, this is your prize winner.  You soak cashews overnight to soften them up and then blend them with some water until smooth.  Cashews have no taste of their own, but just deliver fatty, creamy goodness.  I used it to replace milk in mashed potatoes, and then the next morning, to replace water in gravy.  I have yet to try it in my coffee, but I have no doubt it will be delicious.

Another favorite?  Raw Chili Rellenos with mole sauce.  We made this during our marathon training on a regular basis.  Raw green chiles, which can be warmed in a dehydrator, and then cleaned out, stuffed with homemade cashew cheese, and slathered in a homemade mole sauce.  I can’t believe I missed chile season this year.

There have been disasters, for sure.  I thought tonight when I added hemp oil instead of flax oil to the soba noodles that we were done for on that one.  Hemp has such a strong, plant-y flavor.  The smell of it made me again flashback to my previous “Denny will never let me do this again” feeling.  It ended up fine, but I’ll be getting myself flax oil the next time we make it to avoid that overpowering feeling of dead.  At some point I expect to find this in my oven, or some variation.

Until then, onwards!


Are kitchen gadgets gonna save the day?

28 Nov

I was hoping that this challenge was going to get easier for me as I went along. I expected to reach some kind of tipping point- a point in time where my antiquated ways of eating every meal in public would become harder to accomplish than simply coming home to my fully-stocked fridge and whipping up a delicious and healthy meal.

This hasn’t happened yet.

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Sunday, Sunday

27 Nov

Wah wah.  Lops is off skates for a couple weeks.  Suspected meniscus tear.  At least this happened during November so I can heal up in December and jump back in when January comes around.  Regardless of the meniscus.

I told myself I could handle a week without derby, that I didn’t need to go to scrimmage to NSO.  Keeping PJs on until the last minute didn’t help. I ended up grabbing a leftover biscuit from yesterday and running out the door with coffee in hand and NSOing.  Punches had to keep me in line as a box timer, due to my forgetting I was not on the red team and yelling that they needed more people at one point.  Oops.  But it was good to see the faces, and I’ll be back at least one day a weekend to help the NSOs, because they’re rad and I get to see my people.

Just FYI, one biscuit is not enough for the Hummingbird.  So we made some ironically vegan cheese-laden ham sandwich melts when I got home and salads on the side.

I had big plans to take care of oil changes, buying a dog poop scoop, make a 3 day meal plan,yada yada yada.  Instead Denny played video games and I read for 5 hours straight.  But he got inspired at some point when the sun went down to make homemade mac and cheese, which was delicious.  How can anything with Velveeta turn out poorly?  Don’t answer. I can imagine.

Regardless, a relatively uneventful day.  However, on Saturday night, I did get a taste of what would happen should I throw this whole challenge to the wind on a whim.  We went out to El Diablo with Sans Sheriff and had a few drinks, and on his recommendation, ordered a Mitchelada.  Denny was nearest to the bar so I asked him to order for me.  The look on his face was priceless.

Just add a little stubble and it looked something like this.

It read something along the lines of “I can’t believe you just let me down like this.  One night out and you’re throwing our challenge baby out the window.  What the fuck is wrong with you?”  I, knowing I’d just ordered a bloody beer, was incredibly confused as to why I was getting the worst shame face I’d ever seen in my 7 years with Denny.  I had to ask him why to clear up the little hurt cloud forming above his head.  Adorable.

I think it’s safe to say I’ll be sticking to this challenge until the end.


Friends are rad.

26 Nov

I’m gonna say it: there is nothing better than a four day weekend. Except a five day weekend, I guess. Just doing the math, five is better than four. Because, you know. It’s bigger.

A Saturday in the middle of a four day weekend is also great, because I feel that the third day off is when I really start to hit my stride, day off-wise. The third day off doesn’t have the associated horror attached to it that the final day off typically has, and by the third day off you’ve actually realized that this isn’t a typical weekend.

So, for our magical third day off, we had brunch with friends. These were the same friends that we had over for Thanksgiving dinner, so it was nice to see them in a more laid-back setting that involved mimosas and biscuits & gravy.

Not just biscuits & gravy. VEGAN biscuits & gravy.

And it was good! I thought sure it was gonna taste like a cat’s asshole, but I’m learning that vegan food is actually really good if you make it with love and care.

We also bought like ten pounds of oranges so that we could use our juicer for the mimosas. That’s right. We actually used a kitchen gadget that we purchased four years ago. You’re next, rotisserie chicken machine! I’m gonna set it and forget it, alright. Right in your face!

That made little to no sense, but I don’t care. The kitchen gadgets are coming out of the closet!

I know what I just said. I’m going to shout it from the mountaintops!

Anyway. Friends.

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