Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pasta with Mushrooms and Lima Beans

Tonight was a new dish made of items I needed to use out of the fridge. My portions are for one and I didn't measure anything, so you'll need to adjust for how many you are feeding.

2 slices of red onion
2 mushrooms, sliced
handful of frozen Lima beans
one clove of garlic, chopped
tablespoon of pesto
1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste
olive oil
Parmesan cheese
small handful of whole wheat spaghetti

Prepare spaghetti noodles as directed on the package. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. divide slices of onion into quarters and begin saute. Salt onions to sweat. Once onions are beginning to go clear, add sliced mushrooms. Stir and salt again to sweat. Add Lima beans and saute until mushrooms are carmelized and lima beans are cooked. Add garlic and stir. Cook for about 30 seconds and turn heat off of burner. Garlic will continue to cook, but won't burn.

Once pasta is cooked al dente, drain and place in skillet with saute. Stir until noodles are coated. If skillet has cooled down, bring back up to low until finished stirring noodles.

Transfer noodle and veggies to a plate and add pesto and tomato paste.

Stir until coated. Season with pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

This dish was extremely satisfying. It was a nice easy comfort meal. I accompanied the dish with Meridian Chardonnay and some green olives. The whole dish can be made Vegan with the omission of Parmesan and subbing a Vegan Pesto.

Congratulations Tiberius!!!

Today Tiberius found his forever home! Someone else in the rescue fostered him over the weekend while I was out of town. I wanted someone else to see if they thought his upper respiratory infection was finished. It was, Finally! Goodness gracious we went through a time getting him over that. And he turned out to be allergic to the medication, so it was just that much harder to fix.

When I arrived back in town this afternoon, I called in to the adopt a pet event to see if I needed to pick him up or not and, as luck would have it, his adopter was making the final decision on him and wanted to talk to me to make sure she was making the right decision. So I had a nice chat with her and I am absolutely positive that he has a Perfect home now.

One black kitten down, one more to go. Efah's almost finished with her own upper respiratory infection. As soon as she is over that, she is also big enough to be spayed and go to adopt a pet events to look for her own forever home.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pasta with sauteed zucchini and sundried tomatoes

Today was an especially lovely day for recipe blogging. I bookmarked A Lot! Tonight I decided to try out this Pasta with Zucchini and Chickpeas I saw on Cheap Healthy Good. The only problem was that I was missing a key ingredient-Chickpeas!

Actually, that's not entirely accurate. I always have chickpeas on hand. It's just that the chickpeas I keep on hand are dried and I don't have the kind of time needed to soak, and cook those chickpeas. I do buy the canned version often, but I don't always keep cans on hand. I generally will purchase what I need plus one extra can so I can save precious space in my cabinets. Apparently, I used up the last can I bought.

So in the absence of one key ingredient for a pasta dish, I did what I normally do, I subbed sundried tomatoes! Otherwise, the dish was prepared exactly as instructed in the recipe. Plus a dash of lemon. And I forgot to put the crushed peppers in while sauteing so I just left them out altogether.

The result was pretty good! It would probably have been better with the chickpeas and with grated Parmesean instead of the powdery kind. The kind I have on hand is real parmesean, but there's just something different about that grated consistency that makes a difference.

Tonight I'm having Meridian Chardonnay with my meal. Newmarket has had it on sale lately and I've taken a liking to it over Barefood Chardonnay.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Efah meets the Vet

Today was a milestone in Efah's young life. She met her first Veterinarian. After Efah did not respond to any of the antibiotics we've given her, I decided it was time to throw in the towel and make an appointment. Metro Paws Animal Hospital has a working relationship with Texas Pawprints for more affordable veterinarian care of our foster animals. Thankfully, they were able to see her this morning on such short notice! The regular vets were not in, but the fill in Veterinarian was great with Miss. Efahline. And Efah was Really good about the whole process-except for the fecal sampling. But who can blame her for that!!!

As was suspected, Efah has a chronic upper respiratory issue. It's viral, not bacterial. And she also has ear mites, which was not expected. She hadn't been shaking her head until today. But the really good news is that she does NOT have any worms. The vet said it must be the new food upsetting her stomach.

So her treatment schedule is more Clavamox (from the vet), ivermectin for the ear mites (from the shelter), we're still going to worm her anyways just in case (I have wormer leftover from the shelter), and I'm changing her food back to Halo's Spot's Stew. I'm also to continue steaming her in the shower and syringing saline into her nose.

I really was hoping the Texas made BG food would work out because it is grain free, but she's not the only one who is gassy and having an upset tummy. The litterboxes are generally much stinkier since I changed. Halo's never upset anyone's tummy that I know of. All of my cats are young and healthy, so having a grain free diet isn't as big of a bonus as it is for Maizy. It would be nice, but it is not super important. And boy to they LOVE that Halo's Spot's Stew!!! Thankfully, Pet Supplies Plus has decided to carry Halo's now. So I can just pick it up anytime as opposed to having to order it. That's so much more convenient!

We sure could use some "get well" energy for Efah. And Tiberius too. He's still trying to get over his sniffles as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beethoven Success!

I am disappointed to report that practice time for the fiddle these two weeks was Very sparse. Unfortunately, I had a lot of sick cats, and various other house issues which took most of my time away. Then there was an attempt at having a life... However, I was able to get the first two lines of the 4 line assignment memorized and at least sounding Sort of right. So I called that a nice success.

At today's lesson, we progressed to that third line. I was disappointed in myself that I had not practiced to a point of even trying that third line out before my lesson, but it didn't take long for me to pick it up. And the fourth line is the same as the first, so I already had that one down. By the end of the 30 minute lesson, I had the whole thing nearly memorized and I accidentally taught myself how to "slur."

This doesn't exactly mean I sound Good. My tone is apparently ok, but we made some adjustments in how I was holding the violin neck so I could reach the notes, and I received tape markers for a few of the finger positions because I was placing them just a little off naturally. Apparently that's why I didn't like how I sounded at home. Plus apparently my instrument was a little out of tune. It'll be nice when I get to a point where I can recognize what is in and out and do that tuning thing on my own.

As usual, I am absolutely my own worst critic, so I got told to "lighten up!" I have to keep reminding myself that I am just learning and doing well for someone who has only had about 4 lessons. I'm even learning something I'm not supposed to learn because I accidentally taught myself!

So no new songs this week. We just worked on getting Ode to Joy right and readjusting my fingers. I do have a nice new warm-up to replace the horrible made-up scale I was playing, though. And next time I get to bring my Own song in! So I'm looking for sheet music to something celtic. I guess I need to go through my CDs and find something traditional that I like and might be able to get the music easily.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is the Food Network hindering our desire to cook?

Today on La Vida Localvore Jill Richardson discusses an assertion made by Michael Pollan that watching cooking shows on TV may be part of causing the opposite reaction than we would think.

Like Richardson, I was a little surprised by this idea that people who watch the Food Network aren't actually cooking. I remember very well a recent Thanksgiving where the Blessing was said and then immediately after the "amen" I pointed out that the prayer was missing an important Thank You to the Food Network for without their programming much of the bounty on our table would not be possible. I got a good laugh out of the family for that joke, but it was really the honest truth. I personally had made one dish derived from a recipe I saw on Food Network and one of my mother's crown jewels in the annual feast is Rachel Ray's Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish. That particular soup has jockeyed to the top of the Favorites list. I've even negotiated a favorite dessert omission just so we could keep the soup in one year when Mom said she had too much to make and threatened to take it out!

In my own life, I watch food oriented shows sparingly. This is not to say that I don't enjoy them. I enjoy them immensly. I most especially enjoy the PBS foodie programming. PBS is where I first met Michael Chiarello and Lidia Bastianich, two chefs from whom I have learned a great deal. Those shows specifically presented recipes that made me want to run right out and get the ingredients to cook that meal for dinner That Day. And as much as I would like to be able to say "oh, he's talking about the reality competition type shows, " even they serve as stimulating inspiration, or a provocation for research into new ingredients, tools, and techniques.

But time has slipped away from me as well. And I do understand Pollan's point that today's families just don't seem to think they have the kind of time to cook that their parents may have had. However, I find that instead of running to fast food or packaged frozen foods on a daily basis, I enjoy the challenge this time issue presents. Some days I do succumb to the spell of the frozen pizza, but most days I am able to throw together something interesting with little active cooking time, lots of taste, and that is Healthy. I have found that the lack of time issue has presented me with an interesting food puzzle. And interestingly enough, I know I am eating cheaper by home cooking, than I am by going the convenience route.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Taking "Mommie Nabisco" to a new level

Little Miss Efah is slowly getting better from her upper respiratory issue due to some antibiotics along with shower steam therapy. She doesn't like the steaming, but she tolerates it. Mostly she tries to hide under my arm. I really hope it is making a difference as I'd hate to put her through ththe stress of the shower for nothing.

Last night after Efah's steam Nimue came into the bathroom to clean and comfort her. Nimue was being very sweet about her bathing opportunity. Usually she is too rough and I have to separate her from whomever is the object of the mothering. I didn't get to that though because about halfway through the bath, Nabisco butted in and decided Efah needed to be removed from the situation altogether.

Efah is around 9 weeks old, so she isn't exactly tiny. But Nabisco actually attempted picking Efah up by her neck. Nabisco never did get Efah off the floor, but she still accomplished what she wanted as Efah walked in the direction she wanted to carry her. When they got to the bathroom door, Nabisco stopped and began a very thorough bath. And in between licks, she would shoot me this rather funny, "How Dare You" look. Apparently, I was overstepping some boundaries with "her kitten." Nabisco has been known to try stealing kittens directly from under mothers' nests, but I think that her protection over Efah has brought her "mommie" status to a whole new level.