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August 2008
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October 2008

Do try this at home

Pear Salad  It seems like whenever Matt's parents come to visit we end up eating out or Matt cooks dinner leaving them with the impression that I am basically inept in the kitchen. Which might be true, but I just can't have that. So Friday when they came out for the weekend I decided to put on my Homemaker hat and have at it.

I made stuffed green peppers which were good, minus the uncooked crunchy rice. The recipe said it would cook! Here's the one little line I seem to have missed: ...simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Luckily I made face-saving salad. 

 I think the magazine photographers used Super Glue for their picture but the end result is the High and Mighty (Good) Salad from BHG's "October Cook" was really was damn good.

I can't seem to find a link to it so here's the recipe and, of course, my notes.

For four appetizer servings, toss two cups of watercress, two tablespoons toasted pecans, and two ounces crumbled blue cheese with your favorite vinaigrette dressing. Core four smooth-skinned pears from bottom, keeping stem intact. slice pears in four horizontal slices; brush cut sides with lemon juice. Reassemble pears with salad mix in between. Drizzle with honey and serve.

First, the watercress, I washed half the bunch in my salad spinner which slipped in the sink and landed in the pan with raw meat water soaking in the sink. Shit. Threw that out and started over with the second half. Needed more greens since I didn't factor in the raw meat water accident, stole some Spinach from Sam's drawer.

Didn't have enough pecans so I used a mix of pecans, pecan dust and pine nuts.

Don't have a favorite vinaigrette dressing - Annie's organic Roasted Garlic vinaigrette was on sale. It was perfect.

I already had five very ripe pears that were not pretty but delicious just the same. This step happened just as all the other steps of the main meal were converging so my mother-in-law stepped in for the coring duties - she sliced first then cut the core part out. Seems easier that way. I more like splashed the cut sides than brushed, but whatever. And I more like dumped than drizzled the honey but this was a seriously sweet salad!

An unlikely housewife

Our clothes and towels all smell like sour dog puke - something about leaving them in the washing machine too long.

It turns out I'm not as bad of a cook as I thought, the oven just needs to be cleaned and then the smoke alarms won't go off every time I cook.

I had no idea mold could come in pretty shades of pink.

I've cleaned the fridge out twice and it still smells so bad I woke up when Matt had his midnight snack, not from the noise but from the smell.

So I've managed to create the ambiance of a meth freak without any of the perks like energy, weight loss or feeling like I could take on the world.

I share this with you not to mortify Matt, or my parents - but as a preface to the announcement that I am about to take on a job I am totally unqualified for.

As this current project of mine wraps up, I am tucking away my AP Stylebook and interview pads and taking on the task of being a stay-at-home mama, who writes in the margins of her life until Sam is older.

More about what lead to this choice later, but after rounds of conversations and complete chaos around here we decided that until we can afford to hire that maid, chef and parent clone nanny, one of us needs to stay home.

In no way do I feel I drew the short stick, I'm totally excited about staying home with Sam and getting to parent him completely based on our values. What I'm totally stressed out about is the "homemaking" aspect of the gig.

The fastest way for my mom to get me off the phone is to ask me, "What are you having for dinner?" Especially when I'm just trying to figure out breakfast.

I recently sent this in an e-mail to a friend who was bringing an important guest over after a fancy meal in town: "use the bathroom at Cuvee, tell S. too, cuz ours is gross."

I mean, that's a good friend you can say that too, but still.

Don't worry, I'll still be taking notes along the way. I was planning to call my memoir of my life as a half-assed housewife something like "Diary of an Unlikely Housewife" but that's taken.

Any ideas?

Salmon Marinade, Christmas past

   Scan0001 My sister-in-law e-mailed me yesterday for a recipe we once made together for Christmas dinner. It was when Matt and I lived in Garibaldi and my niece Riley was the only little one in the family. Pulling out the recipe card reminded me of how we stood in our very crowded kitchen trying to figure out the ratios to get the right balance ... oh, wait - maybe that was for the pasta recipe ... I'll have to dig that one out too.

I'm just a little confused why the only picture of anyone working in the kitchen is the one "photo op" of the guys. Scan0002Anyway, Carrie, here it is!

from jeff & jo

6 cloves garlic - chopped (For years I did this by hand until a friend looked at me like I was insane and recommended I buy a garlic press. So it's more squeezed than chopped. Tomatoe, tomato.)

1 Tbsp. peeled, grated ginger

2 Tbsp. minced, fresh cilantro leaves

3 Tbsp. sugar

Mix together the above ingredients and set aside

Combine the following:

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 Tbsp. dry sherry

3 Tbsp. sesame oil (toasted sesame oil is also delicious)

1 tsp. coarse salt

1 tsp. pepper

Mix both together and pour over salmon. Marinate 2 hours. Unless you're not a planner in which case it'll be fine just poured right over the meat or fish. Or spooned right in your mouth.  

Notes: So who can afford salmon these days? This marinade is good on everything! I usually double the recipe because I'm kind of a more is better kind of girl. Also if I'm already getting my fingers all garlicky and gingery, might as well make it count.


Writers Delight

I'm late in posting this because I've spent the bits of spare time I've had trying to figure out how to do something very simple on the computer and still can't seem to make it work.

So, instead of a cool little button for you to click on to direct you to the fun and games at Writer Mama's site, I'll use good old-fashioned words to tell you about it. It's the Back to School giveway with some seriously cool swag* - but it's even cooler than that. Questions are posted daily that have been fun to ponder, even if I haven't gotten an answer together in time to post it, I enjoy reading the answers others come up with.

Head over to Writer Mama and dive in.

*I didn't use "swag" correctly, but I'm letting it stand 'cause I like how it flowed. Swag, FYI, is actually an acronym S.W.A.G. (stuff we all get) according to the Urban Dictionary. Now you know.

Shameless self promotion

September's column published yesterday and I'm getting some great responses to it. If you've ever read something and considered contacting the writer - I highly encourage you to do it. Especially if it's a positive comment! An exchange like that can make a person's day. It's always nice to know your work resonates with someone.

The column is available on the News-Register's new web site:

Here's my little request - if you have time, and you like the article and think someone else might enjoy it - could you use the new "e-mail" this article or "comment" option? And if you're really feelin' the love, the Giraffe column is still available, too!

Play.Eat. Sleep and Repeat

 Sam high chair For the first time in years we aren't filled with "Back to School" spirit tonight as the rest of the County prepares to go back to school. Since Matt and I don't work in public schools anymore and Sam is a few years out from having a new backpack full of fresh school supplies waiting by the front door, it's just another Monday night around the Hardy house.

As part of my "Holiday mom" fantasy, I always planned to be the kind of mom that was really into celebrating big and small holidays and the kind who would have all sorts of traditions around seasonal and annual festivities.

So far, Sam's first year of holidays has been rather uneventful. Luckily, all the days roll into one long play-eat-sleep and repeat cycle for him.

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the start of each season but truly this one is my favorite. Goodbye summer, shaving all the time and stupid shorts that barely fit and helllooooo sweaters, soups, hats, crispy air and crunchy leaves.