Sunday, May 27, 2012

The start of something wonderful

We did a little mead (fermented honey) taste testing tonight to see how our three meads were progressing. One is an blood orange tea mead (kinda blah), a pyment (grape mead - still pretty harsh), and our lemonade mead.
The lemonade mead is deeeeelicious. It reminds me of a Mike's Hard Lemonade, only ours isn't sparkling. Sounds like the boy is ready to bottle it and then we'll leave it alone to finish bottle conditioning for at least another month and then it should be ready for mass consumption. Maybe we'll have some ready to take with us next month to share with our mead buddies, Buck and Patty, when we visit the 'rents. Or maybe I will just drink it all myself, mwhahaha!! Just kidding Dr. Mansell, I know I have liver disease and would never drink 2 1/2 gallons of alcohol by myself (wink, wink).

Day #2 of Memorial Day weekend proved to be as unproductive as Day #1. Today started with the Indy 500 the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, also known as. the "Greatest Testicle in Racing" per Mr. A., that I stayed home from church to watch with the Canadian though I did have to go back to church at noon for a Finance Committee meeting (...zzzzz). I followed that up with more racing, some internet surfing, and a little bit of meal preparation. I think the most strenuous thing I'll end up doing today is going to the gym tonight.

I've got a new toy coming my way, complements of the Canadian. A Ninja Kitchen System 1100 which is like a way more affordable Vitamix.
It can blend sticks, stones, and small vermin in the blink of an eye. The boy had read blender reviews in Consumer Reports while waiting in the dentist office which rated it very high. I'm excited to try making my gluten free muffin mix in it which requires grinding old fashioned oats to a powder consistency. And you can even make soft serve ice cream in it. I'm going to start pureeing everything whether it needs it or not, just because I can now!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I was hanging out in the front courtyard the other day and noticed that our mandarin orange bush was crazy loaded with baby mandarins.
I counted over 40 little mandarins, but if they all grow up the poor bush will fall over. We didn't plant any major  crops this year, just a planter of basil, mint, and chocolate mint.
We might have to double the mint thought at the rate we're blowing through it for mojitos!

For dinner tonight I made another recipe from of one my newest, favorite gluten free blogs. It's General Tso's Chicken. I love how much the author uses gluten free bisquick which is so much easier to get my hands on than the specialty gluten free flour I have to order online. It's basically breaded, baked chunks of chicken coated in a sweet and spicy sauce with broccoli served over rice.
So good that the boy rubbed his Buddha belly and asked for the leftovers.

We put if off as long as possible, but we finally braved a trip to Walmart so that I could look from some softball cleats. Once there I found men's, boy's, and girl's cleats but no women's cleats. Not even an empty spot for them. Luckily the boy's cleats went up to size 6 which equates to a women's size 8 so now I'm the proud owner of a pair of $15 boy's cleats.
We biked over to a neighboring park this morning to play catch to get me up to speed before my first game which is coming up the first week of June. Hopefully between my practices and fancy shoes I won't make a complete fool of myself!

An evening at Walmart

God bless America (and this shirt).

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Forgotten treasure

When I was in the beer room earlier tonight I spied some mason jars I had stored on the bottom of one of the shelves earlier in the year. They were Christmas gifts from my friend Joanna and one was filled with brownie mix and the other had oatmeal cookie mix. The oatmeal cookies sounded like exactly what we needed tonight.
Oatmeal cookie mix with dark chocolate M&Ms and chopped up figs. Yummy. I literally just dumped it all in a bowl, rubbed in some margarine, and added some egg whites (I was out of egg beaters) and vanilla. After 12 minutes in the oven they were ready for some serious consumption.
What a wonderful surprise!

Soooo....I finally talked to my thyroid surgeon Tuesday afternoon regarding my post-op blood work. He said my thyroid hormone level was right in the middle of the normal range so he won't be putting me on any thyroid hormones. I'll need to keep testing my levels in the future, but so far so good. What he did mention though was that my platelet and white blood cell levels were low and he wanted me to go back to my general doctor to figure that out. However, last year I changed my insurance to a cheaper policy which no longer covers the general doctor I've been seeing for the last couple of years so I spent all morning on the phone trying to find a doctor that did take my insurance and was still taking new patients. Not as easy as I thought it would be. Five strikeouts before finally finding a medical group that still had two of their seven doctors taking new patients and accepting my insurance. And even better, he could see me tomorrow morning which happens to be my Friday off. After a quick call to my thyroid doctor's office I got my lab results forwarded to the new office so that hopefully we can have a productive conversation in the morning.

Dear four-day weekend, you are my new best friend.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hottest thing on two wheels

While I was busy tonight doing dinner dishes and making lunches for tomorrow the boy ran off to do some errands. When he got back he came in and showed me a photo he took on his cell phone of two bicycles which I immediately recognized as being parked in our front courtyard. So I abandoned boiling pots of pasta on the stove and ran outside to check out our new pretties;
That's right, that's my new raspberry pink girls bike! Okay, the boy assures me it's not an actual kids bike (even though we saw a 6 yr old girl biking around on something bigger), it's just a smaller woman's bike for my tiny midget legs. Before we take it out for it's maiden crash I need to get a helmet since Lord knows that given any opportunity to fall down I will. Make that a helmet and a seat pad. Since I've had everything nipped and tucked, there's not enough padding in my caboose to make the stock seat even remotely comfortable. Then I'll be off like greased lightening and people will wonder who that little boy with the short hair flying by on a bright pink bike is. I say all this assuming that I can even remember how to ride after a 20 year hiatus. So my next photos will either be that of triumphant victory or of me in traction. It's a 50/50 chance either way.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Childhood memories

I don't remember how the subject came up, but during one of our evening walks the Canadian and I started talking about Jello and I brought up how my mom used to make us black cherry Jello with fruit cocktail in it as a kid. The Canadian grew very excited at the thought of making some, so after picking up some black cherry Jello and fruit cocktail from Raley's, I got busy making a batch yesterday.
It was as good as I remember it, especially topped with a dollop of cool whip. Between yesterday and today we already ate it all so I had to make another batch this afternoon. My only question is, when did Jello start costing $2.00 a box?!? I thought it was like Ramen and only cost $0.25 a box or something at least remotely reasonable. That'll learn me for making a last minute trip to Safeway. I bet they're a better price at CholoMaxx.

Made a new recipe last night (stir fry meat in a spicy peanut sauce over rice that I completely forgot to take a photo of) and tonight that were both delicious. Tonight was a spinach artichoke chicken casserole that literally tasted like artichoke spinach dip with pasta in it.
Even the boy ate it up and spinach is on the bottom of his list of good eats. And even better is that I recently realized that Trader's sells gf pasta on the cheap thereby saving me the trip and expense of buying the pricey (though tasty) stuff at S&S. Nothing else new planned for the rest of the week, we'll just be eating leftovers since I'll be gone for two nights for work stuff.

Since my mom works graveyards at the hospital I knew that an actual Mother's Day event wasn't really going to work with me being gone at church all morning while she's awake so I took her out to lunch (her dinner) on Friday after I got off of work at 11:00 a.m. We went to Sophia's Thai, which I'd taken her to on a previous Mother's Day, and ordered some of the same dishes that I knew she liked from the first time we went. Chicken Pad Thai (which thankfully is made with rice noodles), shrimp pineapple fried rice, and shrimp eggplant red curry which had just the right amount of spiciness. A delicious lunch and gift certificate to a local nursery once again secured my rightful place as her favorite daughter (right Mom??, wink, wink). So, Happy Mother's Day Mom - I love you, even though you clearly love the Canadian more than me (shall we count the beer to candles/stamps ratio??).

Mothers Day

I just got a carnation from Cash & Carry for mothers day. Sweet!

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

What is that smell?!?

After talking about it for months and months, we finally made it down to Petaluma for a quick weekend getaway. We chose Petaluma because there's a brewery there, Lagunitas, that the boy is a fan of and wanted to visit and they have an old, historic downtown that I thought would entertain me for a few days. I mean, doesn't everybody plan their vacations around breweries? And only a 20 minute drive from Petaluma is Sears Point raceway where there was motorcycle racing going on this weekend so the boy also picked up weekend passes for the races (which he'll blog about).

I got to dictate the schedule for most of Saturday in exchange for time at the race track. I was also in charge of picking all the restaurants since I needed places that served gluten-free food. We got an early start on Saturday thanks to some dill-hole customer of Chris' who thought it was okay to call him on his cell phone at 7:15 a.m on a Saturday. At that point we were up and decided we might as well get dressed and head out to breakfast. I'd chosen a place on the south end of the downtown where they had lots of egg scramble platters that you could substitute gf bread with. Chris was unimpressed with his dish, while I really enjoyed my scrambled eggs with gruyere cheese, artichoke chicken sausage, and spinach served with a side of gf bread and a small bowl of fresh fruit. Yum! Since it was still wicked early when we finished with breakfast we walked around a few blocks and admired the industrial style apartments that had been built on the south end by the waterfront. They had a corrugated steel look on the outside, but painted in bright colors, and designed with what looked like recycled building materials. We really liked the look of it. Eventually some businesses in the downtown started opening and we were able to take a peek in a place or two. One of them was a ginormous old bank that was three stories tall and now operating as an antique store.
We were first ones there when they opened so we had run of the whole place. After a few hours of wandering the mean streets of Petaluma it was lunch time so we stopped at the Wild Goat Bistro and had hot sandwiches and salads for lunch. After lunch we did the Victorian house walk a few blocks back from the downtown. There were unique street signs within the neighborhoods they wanted you to walk in so we could kind of follow it.

Super cute houses to look at, but nothing I'd want to live in. Especially not the hideously painted turquoise, yellow and magenta house. Pretty awesome church though - obviously Catholic. On our way back to the downtown we stopped at a local brew pub that made their own beer so Chris could quench his shopping thirst. It was right on a waterway that flowed behind the downtown.

Then it was off to the Petaluma Outlets!! Chris gets "husband of the year" award for following me around the outlet stores and picking up the tab for anything that caught my fancy.

At the end of the adventure I ended up with three shirts, a necklace, and new pair of Clark's ballet flats. By then it was late afternoon so we decided to head back to the hotel and relax a little bit before dinner which was just in the shopping center next to our hotel. During each vacation we always have that one favorite meal that trumps all others and Saturday night's dinner was that meal. We ate at Namaste Kitchen which was a Nepalese, Indian, and Tibetan restaurant. We had two, complete Nepalese dinner plates that came with appetizers, entrees, and dessert. It was absolutely phenomenal.We started off with some tandoori chicken wings and drinks.

I ordered a ginger mint iced tea which was unbelievable. It tasted like lemon iced tea soaked with fresh ginger and mint. It was both sweet and spicy from the ginger. On the advice of our waiter, Chris ordered a Nepali beer that was super malty. He ended up loving it so much he ordered two. Next was a crispy cracker appetizer with dipping sauce. I don't remember what it was called, but I couldn't have anything more than a tiny nibble since it was clearly made of flour. Based on the taste that reminded us of seasoned taco meat, we're guessing the seeds in the crackers were cumin seeds.

Then came the piece de resistance;
Let me introduce you to my dinner: In the center was a pile of rice and peas. At 12:00 was dal (lentil soup), then clockwise is "mushroom mattar" which was bits of mushrooms and peas in a creamy tomato sauce, then  a chicken curry, the little ball was dessert of a fried dough ball sitting in a honey cinnamon syrup, then a pickled mango relish and some other spicy dipping sauce for the roti bread (kind of like naan).
Chris' platter was similar, but had a potato and cauliflower curry (instead of mushrooms), and a lamb curry (instead of chicken). We shared the different dishes with each other and agreed that my combo of mushroom and chicken was the best, but really there were no losers. We both agreed that this was some of the best food we've ever had.

So, our favorite part of Petaluma? Namaste Kitchen, hands down. The worst part? The freaking chicken sh*t smell!!! I kid you not - that entire town smells like a giant patty of chicken sh*t. And nobody seemed to acknowledge or talk about it. I felt like the only person who was smelling it. Especially at the outlets. It was oppressively strong there. I know Petaluma is known for their egg production, but wholly cow that was brutal. I guess it's kind of like La Comida up in P-town that always smells like sewage in the back parking lot. All the locals know that's just how it is and are used to it. I guess if you like ridiculously earthy and musty smells then Petaluma is the place for you!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lagunitas brewery

Who's up for a beer sampler at Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma?!?

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Road trip!

Chris has business in the bay today so we're just going to stay for the weekend in Petaluma and catch some motorcycle racing at Sears Point. Lagunitas brewery here we come!

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