29 April 2010


I looked in the fridge. I looked in the cupboard. Epicurious to the rescue, and dinner was served.

Spicy Black Beans with Chorizo
adapted from Epicurious.com

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces chorizo sausage
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans, undrained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno pepper (or more-- I definitely used more!)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Brown sausage and remove from skillet.
Add onion and garlic to remaining oil, cooking until browned.
Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Serve over rice with sour cream and grated cheddar. And fresh cornbread, please.

26 April 2010

Recent novelties in the life of me.

For the first time ever . . .

I am participating in a yardsale. Our caregroup is throwing a get-rid-of-stuff-and-raise-money-for-the-building yardsale on May 8th. Thus, I'm sorting through our attic. This causes me to make exciting discoveries. (Like Jared's gigantic baseball card collection. ha)

I have a nephew. He is a cutie-face. He also likes to cuddle, which is a big plus in my book. Nothing like having a little person scrunched up on your lap, especially when the little person is:
A) related to you
B) constantly making hilarious "I am having weird dreams!" noises
C) the possessor of an incredible mop of dark hair ::jealous::

I'm giving final exams instead of taking them. Oh sweetness.

I bought five chickens, a big stinkin' chuck roast, two meals' worth of burger patties, three meals' worth of ground beef, and a pound of chorizo all within one week. (Thank you, chest freezer.) I know that doesn't sound like much meat to some of you, and it wouldn't have to me four months ago, but keep in mind that there are only two of us, so that really does constitute "stocking up."

21 April 2010

And There Was Vinegar, And Behold, It Was Good

Today the kitchen floor started screaming at me. It said unpleasant things like "I am filthy!" and "nobody cares about me!" and "for gosh sakes, woman, get down here with a sponge!" So I obeyed. With Riverdance turned way up and a bottle of vinegar in my hand.

I'm tired of paying through the nose for manufactured cleaners, so I'm on a quest to find natural-- and cheaper-- solutions. This afternoon was an experiment in vinegar. I sprayed the floor with a mixture of half plain white vinegar, half water, and mopped it down as usual. Seemed to work quite well.

Then I opened a package of O-Cel-O sponges and went on a cleaning spree (new sponges make me weird like that). Result: the stove has no more grease and the floor has no more sticky. The strong smell was worth the sparkling counter.

Vinegar is good for more than pickles.

But wait! There's more! Baking soda works well on steel sinks, as it turns out, and also on tea kettles like ours. A little goes a long way. I'm keeping a stash in the sugar shaker I have left over from the wedding-- I definitely plan to scrub my sink more frequently than I host 100-guest parties.

I buckled down and used Clorox on the moldy chest freezer, though.

Do you have any good "natural cleaning" tips?

20 April 2010

Oh pretty colors.

Delicious. That's how I would describe these color combinations.

All right, so I still visit Snippet and Ink. It's an awesome-possum wedding blog. More like uberblog.

And this is why: PRETTY PICTURES.

14 April 2010

For He Cannot Deny Himself

If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny Him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, He remains faithful—
for He cannot deny Himself.

-2 Timothy 2:11-13

13 April 2010

A Sad Clown

"Clown in the Moon"
by Dylan Thomas

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.

So... this poem’s narrator is the “man in the moon,” whom Thomas evidently thinks of as a clown. While that could be a hint about coming humor, upon further reading. you discover that this is a sad clown. Boo.

Here, I think, Thomas builds on the common idea that clowns, by painting on a fake smile, are merely covering up grief and depression inside of them. If so, he is deliberately popping the bubble of a childhood story. Many kids grow up thinking that the moon laughs, but Thomas is suggesting that it actually cries.

(Thomas does like popping bubbles, I must admit, so this explanation of the poem is entirely possible. He’s not a very happy person.)

In any case, the clown offers us a unique view of the earth. From his perspective earth is a place of legend, existing more in dreams than in reality. (Just like outer space can seem like a legend or dream to us.)

But as we know, the earth is neither as fragile nor as lovely as the man in the moon thinks. He cries over nothing, and he wastes his time daydreaming (night-dreaming?) about it. Perhaps Thomas is hinting that if something looks too beautiful to be true, well... it probably isn’t. Like magic roses and laughing moons.


Oh pooh, Thomas. The silver moon declares the glory of God, and rose petals sing of His handiwork. The earth is the Lord's, and ultimately, it's not going to crumble-- it's going to be redeemed, purified, and made into a paradise of joy.

So fie on your modernist gloom.

08 April 2010

Indonesian Food Adventures


Magadip magadip magadip.

Tee hee.

Funny name? Yes. Delicious chicken? Ohhh yes.

Jared and I have gone adventuring in the wonderful world of Indonesian food. We know nothing about it, except that everything we've tried has been delicious. This chicken dish was last night's dinner (and today's lunch, for the lucky woman at home. The working man gets sandwiches and potato salad, which isn't such a bad fate, but still nothing compared to Indonesian chicken.).

You're supposed to use whole cumin and coriander seeds, but I didn't have them. Oh well, this is where the substitutionary magic comes in.

Magadip (Aromatic Chicken from Madura)

3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
generous pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and sugar. Toss in large bowl and let sit about 10 minutes.

In food processor, mince together onion and ginger root. (Or you can chop them finely with a chef's knife.) Add spices to onion mixture and blend well. Inhale fragrance and imagine you are in Indonesia. Add broth gradually, blending well with each addition.

Heat oil in large skillet (one with a lid) over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and any juices they have released. Listen to the delightful sizzle.

Pour onion mixture over chicken and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cover skillet with lid. Cook 50-60 minutes, until chicken is very tender.

To serve, I removed the chicken pieces with tongs, then strained the cooking liquid and returned the onion-spice goodness to the skillet; I added a little bit of water and some salt, then reduced it to a delicious sauce. With rice and a green salad, this made us very happy campers.

07 April 2010

Blogs and Pearls and Such

Now that I'm done with wedding blogs, it's on to house-y blogs. Like Braeburn Farm and My Scandinavian Retreat and Nestled In and Decor Amor. Just what I need-- more websites to check-- but I just tell myself that I'm a young inexperienced wife and need inspiration.

It's actually just eye candy.

Oh well.

I've become ridiculously Suzy Homemaker-like. On Sunday I put on a shirtdress and pearls and was delighted with how 50's I felt. Rather like this:

Yup. A sale on strawberries makes me really excited. So does a weedless flower bed. So does getting oil spots out of Jared's baseball hat. Apparently, it doesn't take much to amuse me these days-- I don't care though. What's wrong with loving your job? :)

Now excuse me, I need to go fold towels.

p.s. For certain interested parties (you know who you are), I got a haircut yesterday.

06 April 2010

Mellifluous... Tuesday

"Dust of Snow"
by Robert Frost

The way a crow
shook down on me
the dust of snow
from a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
a change of mood
and saved a part
of a day I rued.

No snow in Lancaster anymore-- hurray-- but this phenomenon can occur in any season. A small action or image suddenly shifts our mood, and the whole day seems different. It's like twisting a lens to sharpen focus, or sprinkling soup with salt to make the flavors sing. Somehow, a little thing that's insignificant by any rational measure reaches in to affect us.

I wonder why? Usually, I think it's because of some "reminder" the small thing carries with it, whether it naturally has that meaning or has received it by association. A clump of primroses bursts into our day with a display of springtime life, its sunny colors defying our attempts to be gloomy. Or a stack of books reminds us of the grandmother who once read them, sobering an otherwise frivolous mood through its whisper of death.