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 You have to really strain your ears, but you can hear money being withdrawn: swift and nearly silent, like a ninja using a port-a-potty at a K.I.S.S. reunion concert.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

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.

-Meg

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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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

Ah, Thanksgiving.

24 Nov

Sometimes (ok, many times), I have no idea what I’m going to write until it comes kicking and screaming into the world, mucus and bits of placenta still clinging to it’s body like barnacles on weathered old sea captain’s ship. This is one of those times.

As you can tell, I have no problem mixing metaphors into barely intelligible sentences, adding pieces as I go like Dr. Frankenstein. I do it for the craft, people. I do it for you.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

"Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown! Let's watch Woodstock eat his father-in-law!"

What can I say about Thanksgiving that hasn’t been said a million times before? First, and most applicable to this blog, Thanksgiving is probably the easiest day of the year to eat at home. They give you the day off, just so you can eat at home. Most restaurants are closed. It’s a no brainer.

That being said, I have to admit that I don’t really like Thanksgiving food all that much. Of all of it, the thing I like best is pumpkin pie, and thanksgiving leftover sandwiches the next day. Turkey by itself has never really done it for me, as I have no idea how to cook it myself, and in my experience it’s usually either dryer than a saw pit or not quite cooked. Stuffing is a really nasty food. Why cook something inside of a turkey’s asshole and then eat it? This food usually reminds me of something my cat might puke up, so I have problems eating more than about two tablespoons of the stuff before I start dry heaving (although, by the time I start eating stuffing, I’m pretty crammed full of beer, so I guess ‘dry heave’ isn’t the best choice of words). Cranberry sauce is fine, as long as it’s coating a turkey. By itself, I can take it or leave it. Yams (or sweet potatoes, if ya nasty) are pretty great, but let’s be honest- they’re only like a quarter step away from dessert.

This is why, for me, Thanksgiving is more about spending quality time with my family, and almost killing all of them by the end of the day. Until I met Meg’s family, get-togethers like Thanksgiving were simply a time to remember why I hate most of my family and want to spend as little time with them as I possibly can. Most Thanksgivings weren’t complete without at least one drunken haymaker punch attempted at another family member, two to three drunken mumblings of, “You think you’re better than me? (Yathhhinkyerbettr’nme),” four attacks by the host’s cocker spaniel while everyone drunkenly laughs, and a couple uncontrollable fits of drunken hysterics. It’s like the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ except for drunks and white trash.

The point I’m trying to make (If I am making a point at all) is that I really, really like my new family, and every single holiday reminds me how great they all are. I want to spend every single holiday with them, just to revel in how nice they all to each other, and how they can actually have fun without being forced to solve their problems in ‘The Cage’ (honestly, don’t even ask. There’s a lot of chicken wire in The Cage, I can tell you that).

And if nothing else, we can spend one out of every five Thanksgivings with my family just to remember that some people actually have problems, but manage to love each other anyway. I don’t know how they do it, but that’s the beauty of family, I guess.

Happy Turkey Murder Day.

-D