Warm and Toasty after Cold

Twelve degrees this morning (feels like zero according to the weather app – who decides that). But, still for the challenge of it, or to prove our manhood or womanhood, or for the sheer stupidity of it, we dipped in the pool…that is after breaking up the ice on top, slowly, as it feels like sharp glass.

Getting a pool wasn’t even on our radar, but we thought it would be easier than ice baths. You may ask what instigated this madness? Back in October of 2015 my husband and I began taking the Wim Hoff online course, also known as Innerfire. After over a year we still consider it to be one of the best things we’ve ever done together. It consists of breathing exercises, yoga exercises and immersing yourself in the cold. The cold is still not my bosom buddy, but at least we are somewhat on friendlier terms.

And later for lunch, a warm meal — vegetarian rueben and baked fries with hot tea.

Also, the experience has given me writing ideas. “The Color of Cold and Ice” was inspired by this cold adventure. The short story, “The Mermaids” from “The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries” was inspired by the pool. As they say, write what you know.

My husband in the pool.

Happy New Year!

IMG_0369We spent the holiday break traveling, a road trip. The plan was to surprise my husband’s family on Christmas Eve. And, that we did. They said, best Christmas present ever.

It was a long trip, two days down, three days back, three days on the way back because we decided to rest an extra day. 

Our first overnight stay was in New Orleans, actually, where we spent our honeymoon. Finding vegetarian places is always a challenge. It has gotten easier over the years. We were in the mood for Mediterranean. The hotel recommended Cleo’s. At first glance we were a bit hesitant. It was nothing fancy, one side plain tables, the other side a grocery store. At first we thought we were to place our order at the register, but we were directed to sit down by a waiter who took our order. We did choose our own drinks out of the cooler. 

The food, pictured above was excellent. I read later that the owners were Egyptian. Our brother-in-law is also Egyptian. We were on route to his house. While there he fixed us some excellent vegetarian dishes.

IMG_0523_2One of my new year goals is to learn to cook like this.

Mexican Night

I think we started a Wednesday night tradition – Mexican night. A couple of times we went to a new Mexican restaurant near us on Wednesday nights as margaritas were half price. More times than not the food was swimming in oil, so much so the last time that I didn’t eat mine. The margaritas certainly had a kick, but I could just feel the high fructose corn syrup melting in my mouth. Then there was the indigestion and heartburn afterward. 

So, on a trip to Whole Foods, my husband looked over the margarita mix selection. Even after buying the most expensive one which had the most wholesome ingredients (of course, I’m sure there is nothing wholesome about the liquor), we concluded our margaritas would come out to about half of the half price ones at the restaurant.

Except for the fajitas and cheese, all of the ingredients I used were organic. Since we bought Trader Joe’s brand fajitas and cheese, there should have been no GMO issues. I always feel that when we eat out we are getting high doses of GMO. Plus, I used no oil. I sauteed in a small amount of water.

We actually don’t get to go to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods that often, as we live an hour and a half away. I’m excited because I just heard they both may be coming to the town where my husband works. One day I followed a woman I had seen in Trader Joe’s into Whole Foods. I had noticed her because I liked her blouse. So, I commented that I liked it, and said, weren’t you just in Trader Joe’s? She said, “Yes,” and that she went there first for the cheaper prices and then to Whole Foods for the rest. That’s exactly what I do. So, I guess a lot of people do that. 

But, then we get sucked into the dessert department, and those extra things that only Whole Foods carries.

Whole Foods, also known as Whole paycheck, is supposed to become more affordable. I have noticed that their 365 brand is just as cheap.

In our immediate area we have Kroger, and I’ve found that as far as their organic department goes they don’t compete at all with Whole Foods, and certainly not Trader Joe’s. I’m guessing Whole Foods buys tofu in bulk. 

Luckily, in the summer we have a garden, and we are still working on that greenhouse.

I remember forty year ago grocery shopping. I adhered to a strict budget, and could buy a weeks work of groceries for $20. And, that was back when we ate meat. Now a loaf of bread from the bakery can cost a fourth of that. I so need to learn to make my own bread, and I’ve tried, but I must not have the baking gene. I’m more of a casserole, stir-fryer, sandwich maker, soup maker. 

 

Weekend

On Friday I attempted a Thai curry. I was pleased as was Chris. On Saturday and Sunday we worked on plowing and tilling the garden, Chris on the tractor, me behind the tiller. Each year we make it bigger.

The long hard winter and deer did a number on some of last year’s plantings. We worked on planting shrubs around the house. I’m thinking more shrubs and small trees of differing colors and less flowers as they are more work is the way to go. I’m hoping that will be easier maintenance.  The greenhouse is now getting functional to some degree. Now to keep the deer out of the garden. We haven’t quite worked that out yet.

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Rainy Day and Spiraled Veggies

We woke up to rain this morning, not a bad thing since it fills our cisterns. It’s not a great day to go out. My husband wants me to come pick him up from work since it’s Friday, but like I said, not a great day to go out. I responded, “Why do I want to go out? I have my chai. I have my new spiralizer, and a refrigerator full of veggies.”

Last night I tried it out for the first time. I made a potato casserole. I didn’t want to stop there so I spiraled a cucumber and added a salad. The spiralizer worked great with the potato, but not so great with the cucumber, I guess because the cucumber was so watery. I couldn’t get a good grip on it, but still it turned out. I can’t wait to make chips with it, possibly beet and sweet potato chips today.

I found a blog dedicated to spiraling vegetables:  http://www.inspiralized.com/

I don’t have the same spiralizer that is on the blog, but I’m pleased thus far with the one I got. I will test it some more before posting the brand.

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