Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

My love for this can not be described but the shear number of stars in this video make me believe wholeheartedly in how awesome everyone thinks these guys are.  I have missed them so!  ENJOY!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Hair Perry

My disdain for Repub Governors goes way back.  This year, between failing to coming up with a solution to our education issues to now misusing his position to push a religious solution for wildfires burning out of control not far from me, I can say that I continue to be furious that we can not get people in this state to vote against him.  I would very much like to win the lottery and move very far away from here.

Check out his latest move of utter stupidity HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

eat local: CSA week 2

nom nom nom

On my second week of CSA, the farmer brought to me:

U choy, Bok Choy, Pok Choy, Pole Beans, Parsley, Red onions, Tomatoes, Red Leaf Lettuce, Fingerling Potatoes, Squash, my Egg Share and I bought a Cantaloupe

It’s been a weird week. Because of the storms, they have had issues with any of the greens that normally would have been available and a large portion of this list, I would never have used. Nonetheless, we got busy. I failed to get the name of the squash but one of the volunteers told me that they are best used like cucumbers and boy was she right! I have used the mandolin to slice them for salads and some nights we have had them drizzled with balsamic vinegar…YUM. The parsley, tomatoes and one of the baby onions were used up in my favorite bucatini recipe from Rachel Ray that you can get here. The choys have freaked me out but at the suggestion from the CSA, we opted for grilling them. I took the baby bok choy and split them down the middle, rubbed them with garlic, sprinkled with salt and pepper drizzled with olive oil and threw them on the grill. I didn’t leave them on long and turned them back and forth frequently until the leaves just began to wilt. Pretty tasty business…some where in between celery and lettuce in taste and texture. I think I would actually use them again.

I feel like the Iron Chef and I am enjoying my cooking challenges. What are you cooking this week?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Post: The Disaster

     This is a first for me so a big HUZZAH for the first guest post here.  The author is quite serious about this "using the imagination" thingy and since this blog was started because of her, I feel an obligation to provide her a format whenever it tickles her fancy.  I was quite surprised to find this waiting for me when I got home last night and have transcribed it here.  Minus the auto correct, I will advise I have made no corrections for syntax, punctuation, etc. because, well, that just wouldn't be right.  In case you haven't read her bio, the author is 10.


The Disaster

I live on Cemetery Dr. It’s not the ideal place to live for a 10 year old girl. My street, I am the only kid on the street, the rest of the houses are abandoned it’s only me and my brother. My mom and dad are in the airforce we try and video chat with them every night, but something has been happening lately. They haven’t been video chatting with us but the sergeant has, he has been saying there are strange figures coming out of the mist and they are hovering figures over them and soldiers have been disappearing. He says our parents are still at the base but are very sick, and the sick soldiers have been the ones disappearing. He says blue lights have been coming from the mist and paralyzing the soldiers when they are well and they get sick, very sick. When I heard the news I started crying after we heard about mom and dad. Strange figures out of the mist started happening here in California, along with earthquakes, tornados and tsunamis, and this doesn’t make sense, SNOW. Strange figures, strange weather, what is happening to the world? I heard a “crash” slammed the window. “JASON,” I screamed. Jason came running into the room “What is that?” screamed Jason. “How am I supposed to know?” I exclaimed. He got shot with blue light from the strange figure. “I don’t know how to take care of you,” I said with tears running down my face. So I turned on the TV and tried to find any information but the TV wasn’t working now. The next thing you know, the computer isn’t working so I never find out what condition my parents are in. 5 years later, my dad walks through the door along with a broken arm and leg, with a crutch and says “I’m here.”

The End

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Good Morning

In greeting the sun,

I find my day begun,

It’s just as well.

Resolute in my plan,

Where previously I ran,

It’s just as well.

Do what I must,

My decisions I trust,

It’s just as well.

I know that I am okay,

My vision no longer gray,

It’s just as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

eat local: CSA and Cooking

This week was our first pick up from our CSA share. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how we would like it but overall I am mucho impressed. Aside from being a foodie and loving to cook with fresh stuff, I found the quality far better than the organic I buy in the store. I also calculated out how much we are spending and this came in as cheaper for us (a family of four). Definitely will be doing this again!

Bubble, bubble...
I have some pics to share and some ideas for what to do with the things we picked up. I love to cook so this isn’t a big deal for me but I recognize everyone needs some inspiration from time to time. My biggest piece of advice is it isn’t really that hard. Some things you get right, some things you mess up. I am constantly evaluating “how can this be better” when I eat. Don’t be afraid, branch out. 
A pasta sauce is always a great place to add loads of veggies or use up some you may have over ripe or wilting in your "crisper" drawer.  You also don't have to always make it from scratch.  There are a couple of great canned sauces and a few jars of them that make acceptable bases for whatever you can dream up.  For these meals I was looking for both fast and incorporating fresh ingredients.  My leftover sauce became topping for home made pizza another day!
This was more tasty than I can describe!


One pound of ground turkey, browned

One jar of your favorite marinara (I love Mario Batalis!)

One red tomato, chopped

One yellow tomato, chopped

Two Tablespoons of chopped garlic (yes, I add extra to everything)

Through all of this in a pan, stir; simmer on low for 30 minutes with the lid on. Stir every couple of minutes. This can stay on as long as you need if you want to throw together a salad or finish a load of laundry. When you are ready to eat, heat water in another pot to boiling, adding a couple of teaspoons of EVOO and a pinch of salt to it. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, drop in the fresh pasta (bought a couple of packs at the pick up), stir to coat with the olive oil and boil for two minutes. Drain and plate. YUM! (Yes, it’s that easy)

Love the color of free range eggs!

The secret to good omelets is one Tablespoon of cold water per egg you are using. Have anything you want to go on the inside chopped in advance (at this point I also put meat and veggie ingredients on a small plate in the microwave for 20 seconds to take the chill off from the fridge). Drizzle the pan with EVOO and let it heat up on medium for a bit. I pour in the beaten eggs when I can feel that the bottom of the pan is warm. You let this coat the pan, swirl it a bit and when it begins to look cooked around the edges, use a small spatula to pick up the edges. Once the omelet is released on the edges, shake the pan a bit and the entire piece should be able to slide back and forth because of the EVOO you put in. At this point, I break small holes with the spatula into the base and let the remaining runny egg fill these places so it will cook. Once it begins to look cooked BUT NOT DRY I put the contents on. Using the handle of the pan as a guide, place your meat/veggie/cheese combo along one side of the egg base. When this is done, use the spatula to gently fold over the empty side and cover the contents with it. Leave it in for a bit to heat/melt it through and slide it out on a plate. This also takes practice and if you want a super stuffed omelet, sometimes it breaks. This doesn’t matter because it’s tasty and you can use some extra bits of the stuffing to cover any tears. Eat up!

In progress, wild boar sausage and fresh made pasta

Finished product, weird color but SO tasty!


Aside from being a hunter extraordinaire, my man tends to load things on the grill for me once or twice a week because he is awesome like that. I find if I have everything selected that I know I will use as ingredients during the week, the actual cooking during the week is faster AND gets done instead of reverting to the “eggs and toast anyone?” This week, he grilled 6 chicken breasts and 6 wild boar Italian sausages in advance. The chicken breasts were consumed with a great salad and I took two of the sausages to prepare with the pasta. For the sausage, I sliced these in circles and put them in a pan with a bit of EVOO on medium low with the lid on. Periodically, I flip the slices over. This allows them to heat through and get a crusty exterior while waiting on the pasta. I put on water in another pot to boiling, adding a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt to it. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, drop in the fresh pasta, stir to coat with the olive oil and boil for two minutes. I grabbed two plates and divided the sausage between them, returning the skillet to the eye quickly. I used a pasta fork to pull the pasta from the boiling water and put it into the skillet with the drippings, adding about 2 Tablespoons of pasta water. I dropped in 3 Tablespoons of basil pesto (Whole Foods 365 brand is great to have in the fridge but you can make your own). Stir quickly here to incorporate the pasta water with the pesto and coat the noodles. I divided this between two plates and got to the eating part. This whole process was about 10 minutes since I had pre-cooked the sausage.

All in all, it was a great experience and I am looking forward to future boxes. This is just two days of stuff so I will have another post later with more stuff.  I think this has made the eat well and in season thing MUCH easier. Find a CSA in your area and try it out. Remember, cooking is not about being perfect, it is about experimenting and learning about things you didn’t realize you could do! (And you can do it, I know you can!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Soundtrack of My Life...So Far


     It’s no secret that we are music people. Aside from all three monkeys playing instruments, Little Man and Little Monkey both are performers. I hope that in some measure, it is because music has always been a requirement in my house, whether in the car driving to the store or at home in full “clean the damn house” mode, there has always been something blaring for everyone to dance and sing their hearts out to. Recently, I was having a conversation with Middle Monkey about an old episode of Ally McBeal where it was discussed how everyone has a soundtrack song, something that defines them, their go-to melody but as much as I love music, and all types of it, there is no way I could pick just ONE song. Songs tend to define periods of my life…it seems impossible to pick just one. For that reason, I present the soundtrack of my life so far…

Bad Bad Leroy Brown (1973) My parents where music people in their youth. This is the first song that I can remember singing at the top of my lungs in the backseat of the car and getting in trouble because I said “damn town” in the lyrics. What can I say, I was a rebel early in my life.  Later I would find that this was the anthem of the Redcoat Marching Band because of the line "junkyard dog"...I felt vindicated sitting next to Granddad in his seats in Sanford Stadium.

You Sexy Thing (1975)/Play That Funky Music (1976)/YMCA (1978)  These songs began my life long love affair with funk music and disco.  With Earth, Wind & Fire, The Bee Gees, and all things Village People, I learned that shaking my groove thing was something I loved to do.  It also made roller skating pretty damn cool too.

Heartache Tonight (1979) This song is why I love all things Eagles.  I was 11 and the cool teenager down the street (Angie) who drove a T-Top Trans Am told me every time she heard this on the radio, she knew she was going to get into trouble before the night was over.  She was grounded from using her car often and had to take the bus so I knew this was both true and the greatest thing I had ever heard.  Later in my life, many times I would use the same excuse when Rock Me Like A Hurricane came on.

Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough  (1979)  First album I every saved literally every piece of spare change I could find around the house until I had enough to go to the record store.  This is the memory of Michael I retain, along with that of long gone record stores.  I miss them both.

Rappers Delight (1979) My first pirated song.  I would sit at the radio with an old school tape recorder, wait for it to come on and record it over and over again until I got the whole thing.  I knew it backwards and forwards and still to this day, LOVE THIS SONG.

Black Out (1982)/Photograph (1983)/Shout At The Devil (1983) This started my Freshman year in high school and pretty much defined where I was headed for four years musically.  While I still threw in Beastie Boys and Run DMC while rocking my fat laces, this is what I bought and these are the concerts I went to see.  This music was particularly helpful in drowning out the family when you wanted to pretend they were not there...LOL  IPods now make it much easier to use any music to do this.

Your Love (1986)  Every time I hear "Josie's on a vacation far away..." I can't help but be transported. This album marked the beginning of me trying to figure out what being a grown up was.  I am not sure I did very well at that but post-graduation, you do what you can with what you think you know. 

Kiss (1987)/Brass Monkey (1987)  Who doesn't love Prince and the Beastie Boys?  These were my favorite getting ready to go out to the disco songs.  Greatness.

Silent Lucidity (1990)/Jeremy (1992-video)  These songs became significant because of my oldest two monkeys.  One loved Silent Lucidity as a lullaby and Middle Monkey would have been named Jeremy if she had been born a boy.  Two great and theatrical bands from the Seattle sound.

Come to My Window (1994)/Longview (1994)/Fly (1997)/Slide (1998)/Happy Day (1998) This string of albums represent a period in my life where I struggled to find my footing as an adult and make decisions solely based on what was best for my kids.  I am not sure that they were always the correct decisions but it's what's made them what they are (and they are pretty damn awesome) so I will take it.  (I don't care who you are, Johnny was smoking hot in that Slide video...:)  To this day, Better Than Ezra remains one of my all time favorite bands and I continue to see them in concert at least once a year.  As a side note, though its not the best recording, I put that video up for Happy Day because we were at that show.  Middle Monkey texts me from the front row simply with "Happy Day!!!"  As a mom who has tried to give my kids great musical experiences and positive songs to embrace, this made me very emotional...

Happy (2003)/Ugly Side (2003) Another of my all time favorite bands and I was sad to see Socialburn fall apart and Blue October not really regain the epic feeling generated with the History for Sale album.  I cross my fingers on both.  This marked a transformative and largely painful part of my life that lingered for another six years.  Still looking for the sheet music for Ugly Side because that's a tattoo I am still waiting to get.

So What (2008) This is the anthem for my resergence.  I think this was when I conceiously decided I was entitled to a great and glorious life.  Many Pink songs have this feeling and she is one of my favorites.
Breathless (2008)  Another great BTE song, these were lyrics I sent to a wonderful man.  I felt I knew him my entire life (even though I was 19 when we first met) and to be reunited in our advanced age seemed impossible.  Despite the odds, that broken soldier came back into my life and we are both much better for it.  He was so touched by the lyrics that he went out to buy the album and we have been together ever since.  It was a glorious day when I could take him to his first BTE show.  This band continues to by my road trip music, my need-to-feel-better music and my in general go to band.  Lucky for me, they have tons of material and all of it great!

Hot Chocolate (1970's) What goes around, comes around.  I play Hot Chocolate's Greatest Hits in my car, open the sun roof, crank it up and make my kiddos sing at the top of their lungs with me.  It feels good.  Here is hoping the music and art of being silly rubs off on them.  I would be so happy to hear, years later, one of them does the same with their kiddo in the car.

     While certainly not comprehensive, this is a list of those songs for which strong emotional responses are produced.  They are so ingrained in my life, it is impossible to hear one and not be transported back to those times, both good and bad.  Music is powerful in that way.

     If posed the same question, what's your soundtrack?  Can you put it on just one song?  I hope some of you have the same wonderful problem as I!

Dark Matter

For you, I have this dark and grimy thing to reveal.

It floats and consumes me,

so quietly that I put my hands to ears to muffle the unbearable. 

This place that hides the pain of my life so quietly I have put this away.

This place that bears the brunt of my screams.

This place that never lets me wander too far from its grip.

This dark, quiet, echo in the place where I sometimes hide.

I bring this to you for your help.

Your light.

I am frightened no longer of the dark and grimy thing

but of what happens when you see all of it

and I can no longer hide the pain from you.