Aug 22

Thursday’s cooking class: Cooking Methods

Yep, two classes this week. (But I won’t get to go to any next week, so it evens out, I guess. Though I will be missing the class on “Desserts.” Waah!)

Cooking Methods learned: Searing, Sautéing, Braising, Roasting, Poaching, Steaming, Frying and Curing

The menu:

Salmon Cerviche
Lamb Stew
Tuna Nicoise Salad w/Nicoise Vinaigrette
Potato Croquettes
Poached Salmon w/Tomato and Basil Dressing
Fruit en Papillote w/ Ginger and Chili Sugar Syrup

Or, the pictorial view:
(Clockwise from bottom left: Salmon Cerviche, Salmon Cerviche arranged with mixed greens to look purty, Tuna Nicoise Salad, Lamb Stew, Potato Croquettes, Paoched Salmon)

And here is the Fruit en Papillote getting ready to go into the oven:

This week was probably my favorite menu of all of the classes I’ve been to so far. I can easily see myself making any one of these recipes again. I’ve already made several dishes from previous weeks, but some of the above dishes are easy (and healthy!) enough to go into a permanent rotation.

Definitely made of lots of heaping Yum.

Aug 22

Wednesday’s Cooking Class: Great British Food

Yes, we made all the jokes about “Great British Food” being an oxymoron. It was still frickin’ awesome!

Learned how to make:

Lancashire Hot Pot
Pickled Red Cabbage
Fish n’ Chips
Tartar Sauce (The BEST tartar sauce I have ever tasted. I usually detest tartar sauce, and I was scooping this stuff up by the fingerful!)
Toad in the Hole
Yorkshire Pudding
Spotted Dick and Custard

Jul 25

Awesomeness from last night’s cooking class (theme: cooking with herbs)

Clear tomato soup.

Wow. Just… wow.


Scamp grouper with herb crumbs
Cilantro Oil
Herb mayonnaise
Pesto Genovese Sauce
Chicken Bois Boudran
Fennel salad
Red wine and basil jellies with strawberries and sweetened cream.

Sunday’s agenda: Bicycle 40 miles.

Jul 8

Wii are not that fat

I really do love my new Wii, and really really love my WiiFit, but I do wish it wouldn’t let out an electronic “Oof!” when I step on as if it can’t stand my weight

Apr 28

I seldom have the time to post daily entries lately, so instead my loyal readers (both of you) will get to read a long rambling post consisting of all of the various topics that I’ve meant to blog about over the past week or so. I know. You’re excited. Try to contain your glee.


The spawn of my loins turned 4 this past Saturday. In traditional ritual celebration of the event, I chose to torture myself by inviting several spawn of other people’s loins to our house in order to enjoy a house full of over-sugared and over-stimulated spawn. Fortunately, said self-torture lasted only a couple of hours. My spawn enjoyed herself tremendously, all of the various spawn enjoyed the enormous blow-up jumpy thing we’d rented, and the parents of the spawn were all pleased that the event did not last overly long.

(Jack and I have now attended enough children’s parties that we’ve learned that one of the tricks to surviving that sort of thing is to NOT wait until the kids are tired/overstimulated/oversugared to do the cake/presents stuff. We started at 2, did cake/presents at 3, and by 4 the parents were gratefully bundling their bundles of joy off to their homes.)

In other equally exciting news, I’ve been having a great deal of trouble keeping up with my running lately thanks to an extremely persistent case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I’ve been through all the “home remedy” options (i.e. stretching, icing, anti-inflammatories, insoles,) and thought I had it conquered—especially when I had my forced 3-week layoff from running thanks to my gallbladder issue. But it came right back with a vengeance the first time I ran again. So, in the spirit of taking it to the next level, I bought higher-quality orthotic insoles, and I’m laying off the running again until I can go across the lake to the specialty running-shoe store where I can get professionally fitted for shoes. (Yes, seeing a doctor will be the next step, but I want to see someone who actually specializes in sports medicine so I won’t get the, “Stop running, wear insoles, ice your feet,” line. Yeah, been there. Now do something for me I can’t do for myself.)

And I’ve discovered something odd about myself. I actually like running. Oh, I know, what I call running would be heartily sneered at by purists. I mean, my pace is slightly over 11 minutes/mile fer cryin’ out loud and my weekly distance almost never tops twenty miles. But I try and go out at least three times a week, I don’t stop to walk, and I keep moving for 4-5 miles (and if my feet would ever frickin’ heal up I’d like to increase that distance considerably.) But on days when I run first thing in the morning, I feel good and really charged up for the rest of the day. It also gives me about 45 minutes of brain-clearing time which has proven to be valuable when I’m stuck with something in my writing. And, I’ve started to notice that those times when I lay off of the running either due to laziness or injury, my mood suffers a noticeable downturn (and the size of my ass suffers a significant upturn!)

So, as a stopgap measure, I bought a bicycle yesterday. It’s nothing fancy—just a mid-range bike for riding around the neighborhood. I bought two headlights (since I do my exercise long before sunrise) and a semi-fancy odometer/speedometer thingy, and this morning I strapped on my helmet and biked a measly 4 miles. And I learned a few things:

1) I haven’t done any serious (or even semi-serious) bike riding for about twenty years or so, and even though it comes back to you pretty quickly, I still nearly wiped out when I attempted to signal a turn with my left hand. Never let it be said that I am coordinated.

2) When it’s really dark, I can’t see the semi-fancy odometer/speedometer thingy which renders it pretty useless.

3) I’m probably going to need to do about triple the distance of my runs to get the same effect as far as caloric burn goes.

4) I really really need to learn how to shift.

Mar 5

Running, TV, and the One Gamer to Rule Them All

It was frickin’ COLD this morning, as in low-thirties, and before any of you northern types roll your eyes, please remember that I live in the Deep South, and the reason that I live in the Deep South and endure the summers here is because I Hate Being Cold.

But despite it being frickin’ cold, I managed to run three miles this morning, which is the farthest I’ve run in a while. I’d taken a bit of a hiatus from running/exercising/eating right/anything healthy at all during the combined crush of the holidays and the house-buying hell. As a result many of the pounds that I had shed prior to going to World Fantasy managed to find their way back onto my not-so-svelte frame. (Hence the reason I forced myself to go running at insanely-early o’clock in frickin’ cold temperatures.) One thing I really love about our new neighborhood is that it’s sprawling enough that it’s easy to map out a nice variety of running routes of varying distances. Plus, I don’t have to get in the car and drive anywhere to go run, which is what I had to do in our old subdivision. The only negative about this neighborhood is that there are no streetlights, so any light on the street comes from people’s porch lights which may or may not be on. And, since I run at insanely-early o’clock (when the stars are still out), I’m often placing a lot of faith in the quality of the roads. (I’ve considered running with some sort of light, but I can’t think of any method that wouldn’t be more trouble than it’s worth.)


I watched New Amsterdam last night. (Stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers.) I had high hopes for the show after seeing the previews, but I ended up being pretty disappointed. The basic concept is cool—homicide detective in New York who’s been around for several hundred years and can’t die—but the execution of that concept had some major flaws. I thought that the “finding the one true love” angle placed a big whopping limitation on the series as a whole. Okay, so he spends his time looking for this chick, and what happens when he finds her? He either starts aging, which would mean the end of the series, or he loses her again, which would bring the whole darn thing back to square one. But more importantly than that, I was severely disappointed in the police procedures, which were Heinously and Egregiously Inaccurate. Oh holy shit but can anyone else see the many problems with the whole business of allowing the suspect-in-custody to get away in order to “reveal the true killer?” Okay, so the gun wasn’t loaded, but what if he’d started beating the crap out of the guy? Or pushed him off of the balcony? (Which is what I thought was going to happen!) Plus, any sort of admission made by the “real killer” would never in a billion jillion years be admissable since it was pretty darn clearly under high duress. (Hello, gun pointed at my head!) By this time in the show I had a headache from all of my eye-rolling. Anyway, I guess what bugged me the most about it was the fact that it IS a good concept, and they could have done some seriously neat stuff with it, and instead they made it stupid. Bummer.


And, Gary Gygax has gone to the great gaming table in the sky. Thanks for giving us the chance to live so many adventures.

Dec 12


Knees: What the hell?
Hips: Oh no… she isn’t…
Knees: She is! She’s running! It’s been over a month. I thought we were done with that crap!
Hips: Dear god, doesn’t she know she’s over 40? Oh, ow. Why? Why!?
Brain: Hey, guys. Sorry about this, but she’s put a few pounds on, and Ass is filling out her jeans a bit too much.
Ass: Oh, that is SO not fair to put all the blame on me.
Knees: Well you like to collect the fat the most!
Ass: Not just me! Boobs do too, and Arms have a pretty healthy jiggle on their upper portion.
Boobs: No one complains when I get big though.
Arms: It’s winter. I’m cool with long sleeves.
Knees: Yeah, whatever. Hey, stomach! What the hell has she been eating?
Stomach: Well, she finished off that pumpkin pie last night. And there’ve been a lot of frozen pizzas.
Liver: And beer! Don’t forget the beer!
Hips: Okay, this is starting to really hurt. Brain, you’ve got to stop this.
Brain: Sorry, guys. She told me she wanted to do two miles.
Knees: Well, how far have we gone? I’ve got a sharp pain going on down here.
Brain: We just hit a mile.
Hips: Oh, you have GOT to be kidding.
Knees: Holy crap, this is a lot harder than it was a month ago.
Stomach: Yeah, that would be Ass weighing you down.
Ass: Not Fair!
Heart: If it’s any consolation, I’m holding up just fine.
Lungs: Same here. She still has her wind, at least.
Knees: Well, Hips and I are feeling the pain for all of us. This sucks ass.
Ass: Hey!
Knees: Oh, for the love of god, it’s a figure of speech.
Hips: Brain, how much farther?!
Brain: Jeez, you guys are a bunch of weenies. We’re a little over a mile and a half.
Abs: Wow, we haven’t done this in a while. I’m just going to hold on really tight to this right side.
Brain: Abs, you’re just looking for attention. Let go of the cramp.
Abs: Not until she stops. I’m sympathizing with Knees and Hips.
Knees: At least someone in this damn body understands. Brain, you’ve got to make this stop.
Brain: Okay, okay. Look, I’ll ask her to stop at that next stop sign. That’s almost two miles. Close enough. Oh, wait, there’s a car coming, and she doesn’t want to look silly for stopping to walk.
Face: She’s afraid of looking silly? Has she seen how red I am?
Knees: You have GOT to be kidding me! Brain, make her stop, or by god I’m pulling the meniscus!
Brain: All RIGHT! What a bunch of weenies! Fine, she’s walking now. Happy?
Hips: Much better. Ow.
Knees: What do I have to do to get some frickin’ endorphins?
Ass: Hey, that was pretty cool. Let’s go eat some chocolate!

Oct 22

Breaking the laws of physics

M: “I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. I ran 5 frickin’ miles yesterday, I ate really well all day–”
J: “And you gained five pounds?”
M: “TWO! I ran five miles! And I didn’t cheat on my diet at all!”
J: “You didn’t hear your phone ring while you were in the shower?”
M: “Um… no?”
J: “Oh, yeah, it was God calling to tell you he hates you.”

Oct 10

That which does not kill you…

I’ve been feeling kinda ‘eh’ the past few days, dealing with some stomachy-flu-ish virus thingy that seems to be rampaging through the populace around here. Saturday found me laid out on the couch under two blankets and on a heating pad and STILL feeling chilled to the bone as my temp wandered around in the area of 101. I haven’t really felt fevered since then, but I’ve been having unpleasant bouts of stomach pain. No nausea or anything like that, just very annoying pain. On the plus side, it’s really killed my appetite. On the negative side, well, obviously it hurts, and it’s also kinda kicking my workouts to the wayside.

So, this morning I thought that I was feeling enough better that I could try to get out and run. I groggily cheerfully hopped out of bed and laced up my new running shoes (which are only new in the sense that this particular pair is new. I was insanely lucky and found the exact brand/model/size of my worn-out running shoes which I liked very much but were ready to be retired.) I donned the rest of my running attire (including the entire running-bra combo that my particular physique requires), and drove to my usual running route. I started running, and instantly got hit with a stitch in my side. I told myself that I would at least run a mile and see if it got better. Over that mile the stitch gradually increased to take on the esteemed position of The Worst Frickin’ Stitch I Have Ever Had In My Life. At about 1.1 miles I stumbled to a gasping halt, clutching at the spot on my side which housed a dozen or so phantom ice picks embedded in my flesh.

At this point a smarter lesser person would have perhaps turned around and returned to the wheeled vehicle and gone home, perhaps to rest and try again another day. But no, I slugged it out in a walk for a half mile, then started running again, determined to be a stubborn bitch conquer the distance. Fortunately the sensation of icepicks receded to merely ‘vicegrips’ after another mile or so, and I actually managed to tough out for 3.7 miles. It was easily the most painful and horrible run I have ever done, and it sucked doubly because the weather this morning was awesomely cool and non-humid, and had I not been in agony it could have easily been the most wonderful run I had ever done.

Yeah, right. I. Hate. Running.

On the other hand, I’m finally below the weight I was at when married Jack!


I have also discovered that Honeycrisp apples are the Best Apples Evah.

Just sayin’.

Oct 2

Here come the drums

Big Things might be happening on the House Sale front, so keep fingers crossed that a precarious chain of buyers and sellers will be willing to exchange large sums of money at approximately the same time.

The weather here has entered that wonderful cool-and-less-humid phase which makes living in Louisiana very much worth enduring the summer for. I went out at my usual insanely early hour this morning to run, and was delighted to find that I was almost cold. It was perfect running weather, and I cranked out 3.7 miles without misery.

I also recently added Rogue Trader’s Voodoo Child to my MP3 player, which is a really fantastic song for running. HUGE bonus points to the first person who can say why that song would be extra-cool to an uber sf-geek like me.

(Okay, you really have to be a nerd to know that one without major googling.)

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