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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 You have to really strain your ears, but you can hear money being withdrawn: swift and nearly silent, like a ninja using a port-a-potty at a K.I.S.S. reunion concert.

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Saved!

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!

-Meg

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.

-Meg

The Morning After

25 Nov

Do I remember what happened this day? Not at all. The day after Thanksgiving kind of pales in spectacle. Painting, with the help of Blitz, failed color schemes, and leftovers. Glorious, glorious leftovers. We’re definitely past the one week mark, which is rad. I think we’re on Day 8 if my calendar is to be believed, and my math.

I have discovered a great dearth of friend time this week, partly due to the holidays, partly due to being informed I likely have a small tear in my left knee’s meniscus and hence taking two weeks off derby, and what I am starting to wonder, partly due to this challenge?

Everyone keeps asking us how it’s going. It’s going great, but we miss you. Come over for dinner, keep inviting us to join you guys, we’ll just have drinks. I didn’t think of myself as a social butterfly until derby, and now without seeing my people 3 times a week, it’s awfully lonely. Denny and I make a great team, for sure. I’d be utterly bonkers already if not for him, but having a group of friends around is also part of what makes up our relationship.

There’s a book that inspired this challenge, called The Art of Eating In, by Cathy Erway. She actually pulled this crazy shit off for a year. While I totally admire that, I need a much more realistic goal to ever get anywhere. I have a feeling that a lot of what she found replacing her eating out, such a supper clubs, weekend trips to local farms where the group cooked meals together, etc, only comes with longer challenges. I haven’t read the book yet. It’s been sitting on my shelf mocking me whenever I order delivery for the past year or so. But my guess is that she had this limbo period as well. Luckily I’m tearing my way through The Child Thief by Brom, so I can still read this other book before the end of this sucker and maybe see if my theory is correct.

-M

Hello, Glovebox

23 Nov

I was incredibly jealous of Denny this morning as he sauntered off to work where they were serving him breakfast because he’s so damned rad at his job. Lame. At least I’ll get to rub it in his face when my boss brings cupcakes from her local bakery. I had some Kashi style grape nuts with chocolate almond milk. If I don’t get breakfast from my job, at least I got chocolate.

Lunches were leftover fried chicken from last night. I’ve only ever attempted my mom’s fried chicken once before. I would say I’m learning. This time was way better than last time.

Everything was copacetic when I left work to head to a chiropractors appointment. Found out I may have a slight tear in my meniscus in my left knee. Not so copacetic. That a bump from a hematoma on my ass in June will likely have calcified and be solid forever. Not so copacetic. It’s the one part of my body that I used to feel like crap about and then was starting to come around to. Vain, vain little creature.

The glovebox is the new fridge. For crazy people.

Going to IKEA with Denny to buy a new bed and frame with cold, hard cash in hand? Fucking awesome. We didn’t plan well(see previous post) and ended up tying the bed to the car with about 10 pieces of twine from the stash IKEA gives out at the loading zone. Also add in me sitting in the back seat since we’d laid the front seat down to fit the frame, and, concerned that the twine would be cut by closing the door on it after a test run, had all the windows down and twine running through them. I would like to note that without Denny’s awesome knot skills, we would have been fucked royally.

It took almost everything I had, and then Denny helping back me up, to not say screw it to this challenge for one night. I had eaten my lunch at 12:30, my gas tank was running empty starting at 4:00, and it was now 7:00 All I wanted was to pull into the nearest restaurant and grab an appetizer, fries, anything to fill the void. I need food constantly. Denny calls me the Hummingbird because of how fast I metabolize my food and need more. My solution is going to be throwing snacks in the glovebox. I did this for a while in Durango until I got sick of my particular snacks. Time to bring it back, for sure.

After a 45 min drive from IKEA home, heat blasting, windows down, and both of us praying for light traffic on backroads, we jumped through the car windows and immediately chowed down on snacks at home. I don’t think I even let the dog out before opening a bag of potato chips leftover from another snack attack. After we got everything inside, Denny started putting the bed together and I headed to the store for Thanksgiving groceries and a frozen pizza.

Lesson learned: There must be snacks in the glovebox at all times.

-M

When Incentives Collide

21 Nov

The heat went out while we slept our little lives away on Sunday night. When we got up at 6:30 on Monday morning, the temperature was 50 degrees. Awesome. Thank god for the little bit of leftover quinoa bake from Saturday. It was a welcome relief to eat something warm instead of a bowl of cold cereal. I felt transported back to our cabin from four years ago when we’d dive into the down comforter like a hell hound was on our heels.

We(read: Denny) got the pilot light fired up on the heater, to no avail. The landlord said it took some time to kick back on if the pilot light went off. It had warmed up to a balmy 55 degrees by 6:15pm. My bright idea was to warm the house up with baking. The warm oven could radiate heat while making some delicious banana bread or cookies, brownies, any variety of sinful baked goodness.

Or, you know, run away. This was a perfect night to get the hell out of dodge and into a wonderful eating out situation. If not for having to admit it to our friends in this blog, we might have. I ended up making a tilapia black bean skillet with kale, as fast as I could, and washing dishes in near boiling water in order to keep my hands flexible enough to handle a fork. I think we’re hitting an excellent turning point, actually. We’ve gained some momentum from a few days of keeping ourselves in check, so it’s easier to keep rolling.

We did use one of our loopholes in the rules, and to be brutally, and shamefacedly honest, I did some self-bargaining Monday night. We still hadn’t turned in our keys from our old place 7 miles away, down a stupidly busy and traffic-light swamped road. The dudes have a new tenant moving in who didn’t want outstanding keys floating around in the hands of freaks such as myself, so we had to come up with an incentive to drag our asses over there. Denny and I suck at leaving the house once we’ve gotten home. Luckily, Denny had a $5 Starbucks gift card that he had from his office. So the trip across town turned into “Let’s take a really extended drive to a Starbucks and use that gift card.”

Not breaking the rules: Using a gift card to buy coffee.

Breaking the rules: Megan throwing it to the wind at the last second and getting a small sugar-laden Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of decaf with hazelnut syrup.

Result of breaking the rules: $2.35 spent on coffee.

Justification of breaking the rules in my sick little head as it made it’s split second change of mind: 2/3 of that coffee was paid for by someone else’s gift card, right? It was just the leftover. Denny can’t get a coffee without me. I need one too, and it needs to be awesome, or I’ll die!!!

It was liberating.

Yikes. This spiral of delirious addiction is why we can’t have one meal out a week. So much for using an incentive to get our asses across town without screwing up other goals.

I hate rules.

-M