Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer of Reading

This summer has been exceptionally HOT. I can't seem to find any actual WICHITA dates, but Medicine Lodge seems to have reached 63 days (or more) of 100+ degree weather. That's over two months, folks. Since that is our summer here, I have NOT been turning on the stove that often. When I did cook it was usually just to boil some pasta. One great thing about pasta is that you can keep it around and make different meals out of it. Italian dressing for an easy cold pasta salad, a few veggies, maybe add some pasta sauce from a jar, some spices... the possibilities are, well not quite, endless.

No, this post is not about food.

It is about books. I was a damn reading fool this summer. I Finished the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series (the books that HBO's True Blood is based on) by Charlaine Harris. I read 7 of them in about a week and a half. Mindless dribble, and about the closest thing I'll ever get (and admit) to romance novels. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed them! They are just a very easy read, and not too much existentialism to digest. My entire purpose for reading them was that up to that point I had read a lot of serious non-fiction and just needed a break. After I finished those, I headed over to the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs. More fantasy, yes, but not so much overtly sexualized characters. Although I do enjoy the series (I got through 3 in a week), I was ready for something different. My brain needed some stimulation. So what did I decide to read? "The Sea of Monsters" by Rick Riordon, second in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, shelved in Young Readers. Yep. Deep. Ok, it was a hot summer!! At this point it's the middle of July. I saw through my FB feed a link to an NPR article about Superhero books. One in particular caught my eye called "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman. I would qualify it as a 'good' read, but I wasn't awash in amazement afterward. I bought along with 'invincible' a book I had noticed 2 years ago when I first started working at Barnes & Noble - "The Unit" by Ninni Holmqvist. I read this book in just over a week, and only at work. I only get approximately one hour to read at work, that is if I don't get interrupted. So only reading for about an hour for 5 days is saying something! This was a fast read and I really wanted to keep going. In fact, the day I finished it I came home and finished it in my room. I just couldn't wait to see what happened. The subject of the book hit somewhat close to home - it takes place in the somewhat possibly near future (in Sweden) where women over the age of 50 and men over 60 are taken to be experimented on humanely and have their organs harvested if they are not working in a profession deemed 'productive' and have not had children. The antagonist ends up getting pregnant (sorry if I spoil it, but you see it coming) and the rest of the book is written in a way that makes you think. Excellent. Recommended. Next I picked up "Juliet, Naked" by Nick Hornby. I've only read one other Nick Hornby title - "High Fidelty". I enjoyed his style and the voice of the book, and now that I've read another of his I am kicking myself for not picking his books up sooner and more often. Being a musician struggling to admit that I am so, books about morose musicians appeal to me. This happened to be part of the storyline. Girl is with Boy (ok, so they're almost middle aged), Boy cheats on Girl and therefore Girl has great excuse out of a lousy relationship. Girl meets musician (who is coincidentally the subject of Boy's obsession) and starts to think she can live again. The end of the book leaves the character's future to the reader's imagination, as if we think of these things everyday anyway. It seems like real stuff and real people as opposed to fantastical worlds where anything is possible. I am currently reading "Super Sad True Love Story" by Gary Shteyngart. I waffled over starting this book (since I had already bought it a few weeks ago) and trying out "The Help" which has been so popular. I decided to go with 'love story' a) because I had it and b) because a friend and former co-worker had previously mentioned she enjoyed it. I'm just a few chapters in, I'll let you know if I like it at the end!

Til next time... Good eats and reads

Thursday, May 12, 2011

inner monologue-ing

I have started to constantly ask myself if the way I could act is necessary. Choices to be made, life affecting choices are coming my way more than ever. Well, at least I'm noticing these opportunities now rather than ignoring them as I did years ago. When I moved away from Louisiana (which I definitely regard in hind-sight as a stupid decision) I was still thinking off the cuff. It was shortly after the move (a very short two months after) that I realized it was a dumb decision that (at the point I realized this) could not be reversed. I had no choice but to make the best of my situation. I tried living the way I had in the past, and it got me nowhere fast. So I took stock of the people I knew, chose the ones who were good for me and went forward. Not all of my choices panned out, but I can honestly say that I have no hard feelings toward the totality of the people I called friends starting the year off in 2009. When I had to concede defeat to independence in Manhattan (KS) I was finally at a point where I could humble myself enough to ask for help from my parents. It was rough going after a while, but with help from my grandparents I was able to move out and get on some solid solo ground again. This was a little over a year ago, and I once again thought I would be able to pick up my carefree independence where I had left off in Louisiana. After just a few months I discovered that was not the case. I no longer found joy in the idea of, as they say down south, "Laissez le bon temps roulez" (Let the good times roll.) I found a routine and stuck to it, as best I could. I was lucky enough to find three jobs that worked within each other and slowly struck a successful note. It's been through that schedule, this last year, the positive changes made and friendships acquired that I've finally come to realize myself as an adult. Resulting in the eye and mind opening experiences of this last week. Twice I have been put into situations that came about completely out of the blue, and as I look back on them, have come out sparkling. Yeah, I know, that's not too humbling. And I'm aware that it may be too early to judge, but let me explain a bit further. I think a lot while I drive, and while I'm in the shower, and when I start to go to sleep. Lately I've been thinking a lot about where I am in regards to the rest of my life and relationships. I always say I don't want to get married. And I really don't. I have no plans to get married and I never have. I was never one of those little girls who planned her wedding, or picked out what kind of dress I wanted, or what names I would have for kids or anything like that. Recently, this singleness has made me sad. So sad that I've gotten myself into some really stupid relationships. Not that the guys were bad to me, or for me for that matter, but I really had no place being in any sort of resemblance of a relationship at all! And for that I apologize to those guys for wasting their time. So, back to my recent revelation. All my thinking lately has made me decide that I'm turning a leaf over. Here is my declaration. I'm no longer looking for Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now, OR Mr. Whatever. I've got a job with responsibilities to maintain, friends who are good to me AND for me that I want to be there for as well, and a life to cultivate. I have for too long been preoccupied with getting my kicks right now. I am officially becoming an old fart and saying no. I am only here to be your friend, and if you want more than that, please have the where-with-all to stop yourself and say no. There are plenty of great ladies out there who want to be with you, now and or forever, and I am not one of them. So fellas, let's be buddies. I'm good at that.

Let the title of this post be "An inner monologue that turned into a diatribe on singleness"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

more veggie pasta experiments

I needed another quick lunch today, so I decided to go a more italian route.

I once again boiled a small amount of wheat linguine. I then seasoned a frying pan with olive oil, minced garlic and crushed red pepper. I opened a bag of frozen italian style veggies into the pan. After about a minute I added some thyme, basil and oregano. I tossed the veggies in that and then added about a teaspoon of honey, tossed the veggies some more then added a little italian dressing, tossed again. As I was waiting for the veggies to cook all the way through I opened my fridge and thought about what else I could add. I had some blackberries and raspberries that were about to spoil if I didn't use them soon, so I thought 'what the heck... I'll try it'. I put in a handful of the berries, stirred them about the mix a little then tossed the mix. The finished result was very tasty. The sweetness of the honey, dressing and fruit complemented the seasoning well. This was just a bunch of stuff from my kitchen thrown together off the cuff though. Now that I've tried them together, I think next time I'll make a glaze with the honey/dressing/fruit mix... possibly add some fruit jelly (apricot, orange marmalade) into the glaze.

The pic is a bit blurry, but you get the idea. You can see the seasoning and the berries all up in there. YUM!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

mid-day quickness

Today I was contemplating what to eat... I boiled some noodles and decided to do some stir-fry with my own seasoning choices. I seasoned the pan with about a tablespoon and a half of sesame oil and garlic with some thyme. Then I added the veggies, just a stir-fry blend from the frozen section in the grocery store. I added a little more sesame oil and some hoisin sauce and put the veggies over the pasta. YUM!

Just a quick documentation. This was a yummy and easy lunch and I'm taking the rest for dinner at work.

Added bonus: it smells amazing!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

still cooking

Yeah, I'm still cooking. February was quite hectic though. I did a lot of Crockpot-ing last month. Yesterday, however, I got back into my cookbook. I Made some Thai Cashew Chicken... it was delish! Good company shared it, and now the weekend is made.

On another note, I'm up for a promotion of sorts at one of my jobs. If I get it I'll have to quite the other two for the most part, but I'll be moving up in the company. I need to do some serious future looking in the next few weeks. Interviews start monday.

Then again, maybe I'll just move to Florida and hang out with my brother and his family. HAH I'm sure they'd love that!

Peace out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

as usual

Yes I'm still cooking, I just haven't been cooking a whole lot. Last week my boys got sick, and I got sick of pasta. I got the bug at precisely 2:30 in the morning on saturday before I had to go to work. I went back to bed and felt fine when 6 O'clock rolled around so I went to work, but I felt pretty puny for the next couple of days. Not to mention the fact that we went out to my parents house saturday night to have Christmas with my brother who has just returned from deployment with the Marines. Then sunday David's mom made some lunch so we headed out there. Lots of food for my poor tummy.

Monday I cooked my next pasta dish. I really only cooked it because it called for a lb. of ground beef and I had already bought it. Didn't want it to go to waste! However I guess it really didn't make a difference becuase I've only eaten the leftovers once and it's now thursday. Whatever.

I made dark chocolate chip cookies yesterday, so that's yummy! I missed the gym though (until yesterday) due to feeling yucky and crummy weather. By the way, this is the third day in a row that schools are cancelled but the first day it actually affects me! I think I may actually get my laundry done today!!!

So that's what's up. Sorry for the no updating. Also, since I'm so sick of pasta I think I'm going to change up my approach. I'm gonna go chapter by chapter... not recipe by recipe. We'll see how this works out.


Monday, January 24, 2011

WEEK 2! restaurant pasta

Tonight was Spaghetti Carbonara. I'm going to be brutally honest about myself. I'm a bit of an idiot. I burned the bacon. And of course I only got enough for the one dish because I don't cook bacon that often so I had to go to the store to get more bacon. Now, the guy at the meat counter is kind of an idiot so for my second time around (which was during the after work shopping rush) I decided to bite the bullet and just get the pre-packaged bacon. Whatever.

Aside from that, this turned out great. Plus, yay because the bacon MADE the dish! Very flavorful and spicy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 5: woot

No, I didn't post yesterday. Yes, I did cook. I had a very long day again and had company all night and another early morning.

Last night's meal was Linguine (again) with a Tuna red sauce. I'm still pretty drained from today so I don't really feel like going to check the actual name of the recipe.

It really turned out delicious! Yay, again.

I'm not 100% sure I'm going to cook this weekend, there's a lot going on. My oldest brother is back in town from his deployment with the Marines. Church is tonight. I joined a gym so I need to get at least one workout in this weekend (for my own good). We'll see.

And you know, if I do end up cooking the next recipe, I'll be posting. Keep your eyes peeled!


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Tonight I had the privilege of cooking my 4th experiment for my good friend Abby. Tonight's meal was Linguine with a Red Clam Sauce (as opposed to last night's White Clam Sauce.)

It was really super cool to have someone to share it with, and have a girl's night on top! I haven't seen Abby for a few weeks and she's truly one of my favorite people and closest friends, so I was excited.

Alright, on to the meal. I actually remembered to pick up some french bread tonight and made a little salad at the same time. However, I apparently can't read because I missed the part where I was supposed to get some red wine for the "red" clam sauce. I happened to have some white cooking wine, so I decided to substitute that. Also, I'm an idiot. The prior recipe that first called for the crushed tomatoes (Pasta Puttanesca) called for one can - 28 oz. I misread and thought it called for 8 oz. No wonder it didn't turn out so great. Oh well. Now I know. Of course since I had saved the rest of the can, I was 8 oz. short tonight. I think a discrepancy of 8 oz. is slightly less obvious than a discrepancy of 20 oz.

Anyway, tonight's dinner turned out fabulous! Tasty! Fun! Yay! I can cook!

And although we discovered tonight that Abby's not too fond of clams, she still enjoyed the pasta and sauce. I don't think the wine she brought discouraged us from eating either!

After dinner we finished the wine and did the dishes... and of course gabbed.

Food is much more wonderful when shared with good friends.

A fabulous end to a full day!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day three... ug.

To be perfectly honest, I just about didn't cook today. I certainly didn't eat much of my meal, but only because it's late. Wednesdays are always super rough time-wise. Most days, my life moves along pretty slowly. I go to work at job A for a spell, come home to rest a bit and change clothes, head off to job B, then possibly head off for a few hours at job C. It's really not all that demanding. Except for wednesdays. I pretty much work a 14 hour day straight through on hump day. I head into the bookstore at 7 AM (after waking up at 6), get off at 3:30 and head over to Hyde to pick up 5th grade H and then over to pick up 7th grade L from basketball practice, back to the house of H and L and then over to church to drop off L for youth worship, back to the house, back to church for wednesday night nursery until about 8:45. So all in all, it's from 7 AM to about 9 PM. 14 hours. UG. Now, today was slightly different... we got out a little early tonight. 7:45 instead of 8:45. Because of the freezing rain and the resulting sheet of ice covering our cars and the parking lot.


So after going back and forth in my mind on whether or not I really wanted to cook after the super long day I had, I decided to go ahead with it. Besides, tonight was a meal I was sort of looking forward to. I did need a few more things at the store, but it's on my way home so that really wasn't a problem. Also, as I said, I got out a little early, so - plus!

The recipe tonight was Linguine with White Clam Sauce. I couldn't for the life of me locate fresh Thyme (at little Dillon's) OR Clam Broth. But I did get some Thyme from the spice aisle and some vegetable broth. When I got home I decided to try and just use the juice the clams were in tonight and if I make it again I'll try the vegetable stock. (If I still can't find clam broth.)

I tried to make the picture bigger because there really are clams in there! Quite a few actually! It was pretty good. More flavorful than the last two nights. I also discovered that eating in front of my drafty window when it's below freezing outside makes my noodles cool off really fast. So my noodles were a bit cold by the time I was done, but that was my own fault not the recipe's.

Ok, Rachael... I have to give it to you. Not the tastiest, but I could definitely see me whipping this up for a family or myself after one of these 14 hour Wednesdays. That is IF they're still awake when I get home.

So sleepy......
Stay tooned for the RED clam sauce tomorrow...
ooo getting saucy with that sauce...

Oh I need to go to bed!



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 2: Pasta Puttanesca

Ok. For starters, I realized as I pulled out my cookbook today, I've been spelling Ms. Ray's name wrong. Her proper name is Rachael Ray. Sorry.

Alright. So my pasta puttanesca was, I dunno, kinda blah. Forgive me if I maybe expect too much. They are, afterall, meals you can make in only 30 minutes, but I want something tasty! I thought as I was consuming my meal that the blandness may possibly be due to the fact that I usually (when making pasta) boil my chosen pasta in butter and a little Tony Chachere's. (Side note, Tony's is a great allspice mixture from Louisiana pronounced shash-er-ees.) So I think, even though Rachael's recipe doesn't call for it, in the pasta I make from here on out I'm gonna go ahead and use butter at least.

So aside from all that, it was much more flavorful than last night's Aglio Olio. Also I ran into some snags while shopping for ingredients. The recipe called for an 8 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. I could only find the big 28 oz. cans and of course my measuring cup was nowhere to be found. I ended up eyeballing it with a paper cup I had that looked to be about the size of an 8 oz. can. My second shopping issue was that the recipe called for capers. I am not a super chef. I have heard the word used on the Food Network shows, but I really had no clue what it was. The only capers I could find were with the pickles. Meaning they were, of course, pickled. I didn't really notice that they gave the dish much of a bad flavor so I don't think it really mattered. Of course the best part of the dish was one of the smallest. It called for a palmful of pitted olives cured in oil. I decided to grab some of those mediterranean olives and it turned out great.

I think that going forward with this cookbook I will be using my brain. As in modifying as I go. Well, I say that now but in a few days the recipes go from easy pastas to restaurant pasta dishes. So I guess we'll see!


Monday, January 17, 2011

LindsayMachine's home chef school: Day 1

Today was MLK day. I happened to have the complete day off from everything. At the beginning of the day I thought I'd just be a lazy bum and lay around watching shows in my pjs. However, around 3:00 I decided that I'd get to work on my new year's resolution (of sorts) and start making my way through one of my cookbooks. I have a few, but being a single girl who doesn't always get the chance to see her boyfriend and his son around dinner time, I decided to go with the first cookbook I ever bought myself.

I've tried a few recipes from this, but I haven't cracked it open for a long time. I opened the book to the first recipe - Aglio Olio: Garlic and Oil Pasta.

It was a pretty simple recipe. It called for anchovies. My first thought was "ick!" But I went ahead and soldiered through. Rachel Ray promises on the side of the page that we will not taste the anchovies in any of the recipes that call for them. Reassured as I was, I have to say, I did end up screwing up. I burned my first go 'round of the garlic and red pepper mix because I didn't read properly... of course. I regrouped and put a new mixture in the pan. From that point on things went according to the page.

I have to say that when I started consuming my creation, I found it pretty dry and flavorless. I had to add some italian dressing, but it still seemed to be missing something. I didn't add anything else this time, but since it is served in a salad-like capacity I think I may add some chopped tomatoes, possibly add in some grilled mushrooms or olives if I make the recipe again. Also, as I was getting through my meal, the red pepper decided to come out. My lips were on fire after I finished.

So recipe number one is out of the way. I have lunch for tomorrow and notes for next time I make it. It was very simple and indeed came out in 30 minutes or less, as promised!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"New Year New You"

That's what the sign above CGW 1 in Magazines is supposed to say. It doesn't, but what's new about that?

So Christmas came and went. The eve of the new year came and went. Here I am dragging my old ass straight into 2011. I still haven't figured out if I'm kicking and screaming or falling headlong into it. I look at where I am in life and think to myself:
"Well that makes sense."
Then I think about how old I am and, well, we don't really want to go there right now.

Christmas was good. David and Connor were a hit at my family celebration. My Great Grandma was there and as awesome as ever for being in the hospital not a week before. She actually just turned 97 on the 10th. Crazy! I won't mention what a hoot David's family and extended family turned out to be.

For New Year's Eve we acted like old people. (Laughing) No really, we had Connor with us so we stayed in a watched a movie or something (probably Buffy), played some scrabble and drank some adult beverages. Along came midnight, we toasted and immediately crashed. See, Laughter is appropriate!

Now I'm on the verge of 3 months, and then V-day. I've already booked a hotel with 2 beds in Lafayette during festival, so here's hoping that works out! Just kidding. It's suprising how much I really enjoy having them around on the weekend, but not suprising that I still relish my weeks alone. Still contemplating futures and all, but it's looking stable.

Also, trying to get back into school. Again. Can someone please pull the giant stick out of K-State's butt so they'll release all their shit along with my transcripts? Sigh. I'd like to at least be on the road to not being a failure by the time I'm 30. Which is less than 2 years away now.

I'm trying an experiment. I'm going to cook through my cookbooks. Hopefully. I just need some quality cookware now. Of course one could say that I need to prove I need it by actually doing this thing. But that person is not me and I say I need nice things!

As I'm typing this and finishing up, I'm listening to "Goodbye Sweet Dreams" by Roky Erickson and Okkervil River. Yeah, that crazy guy from the 13th Floor Elevators.

Check it out.

so there's my update. I'm feeling quite robotic today.
Lindsay Q.