Archive for Cooking

The Chili Diaries

Posted in Entertainment, Food with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2012 by urbannight

Earlier this week:

I was sitting on the couch, pretending to stitch, I was feeling pretty poorly and just didn’t have the energy.  My roommate comes out of the computer room and sits down in his recliner, looking at me expectantly.  I wasn’t sure what he was up to.  It was definitely an I’m-up-to-something look though.  You never know where those are going to go.

Do you make chili? – Him

Now I had made my spicy beef soup earlier.  At first I thought I mis-heard him.

No, oh, wait, do you mean can I make chili? – Me.

He nods his head.  At this point, I feel like I’m having a conversation with a kid.

Yeah, I make chili.  I haven’t done so in a while. – Me

What do you put in it? – Him

Wow, a whole sentence.

Beef, Kidney Beans, Tomato Sauce and Chili powder. – Me

He didn’t say anything.  He just sat there looking expectantly. Still.

Do you want me to make chili? – Me

Chili dogs – Him as he nods his head.

It feels even more like a conversation with a child.

Needless to say, this is why I am now making chili tonight.  He bought the ingredients so I can cook it so he can have chili dogs.

Inspiring Blog Award

Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, History, Hobby, Life, Movies and Theatre, Photography, Science, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by urbannight

Wonder

Hey, I got nominated this!  WOW.  I never thought of myself as inspiring.  The thanks for this nomination go to storiesbywilliams who has an amazing wealth of knowledge about science and science fiction that just puts me in awe.  The amount of research it must take, with the amount of writing and blogging he does, I don’t know how he finds the time to do things like work, eat, sleep, and generally live.  He always reminds me of things I’ve forgotten and challenges me with things I didn’t know.

Now is the part where I talk about myself.  Ouch.

1. Canon.  To the annoyance of some of my friends, I sometimes get a little too caught  up in the idea of ‘canon’ and get annoyed an non-cannon stuff in films based on books, comics, or older films.  I’m not good at pretending it is an alternate universe. I have no problem with suspension of disbelief until the universe contradicts itself.  Then it all comes crashing down on me.

2. Tea.  I drink a lot of it.  I am, at this moment, sipping on Pumpkin Spice Warm up the Day Tea from The Republic of Tea.

3. Cosplay.  My unit at work wanted to go a group costume idea for the Halloween contest.  But I didn’t care for the idea.  It wasn’t elaborate enough.  Over the past years, I’ve set an expectation of fairly elaborate costumes.  The Fairy Goth Mother, A Kabuki Ghost, Marie Laveau – Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.  I didn’t want to go dressed up as a computer, a headset, a mouse, a new loss form.  So I am doing my own thing.  Either a representation of The Raven or a Death Maiden.

4. Cooking.  I love to cook.  Lately, I haven’t been doing too much of it.  The budget has been tight, so elaborate dishes have gone by the way side for a while.  I really want to post some more cooking blogs, but I’m just not here with it right now.  Maybe after I meet a few other goals I’ll get back into it properly.

5. Temper.  I have one.  It doesn’t come out to play much.  But one morning, a person I actually value ticked me the hell off and I sorta unleashed.  He didn’t like it and deleted and blocked me on Facebook.  I’m a little sad but I admitted I over reacted.  I could admit that but he is the one who decided to take his ball home and not play with me anymore, to use a childhood metaphor.  It will probably take another 10 years to reconnect again.

6. Cats. I have two.  They are almost as anti-social as I am.  But the one likes to lay across my boobs when I’m working on the computer.  This requires me to use both arms to hold him so I can’t get anything done.  He had gotten me killed many times in online games.  Maybe I ought not to have named him Puck?

7. Tarot Cards.  I have a Tarot Card addition.  I love to accumulate them.  There are so many lovely sets out there.  So I stay away from places that sell them when I have no money.  I think I have about 8 sets right  now.  I just love seeing all the different interpretations of the cards that people draw.

Here is the part where I nominate a bunch of other people who inspire me.

1. Fogs’ Movie Reviews. This reviewer is one of my favorite all time movie reviewers.  We have a blend of similar and dissimilar tastes in films.  He reaffirms some of my thoughts on movies while also, occasionally, getting me to give something a try that I had planned on skipping.  Even when we disagree on a film, I can appreciate where he is coming from on his assessment of it.  My movie reviews are nowhere near as detailed and in-depth as his and me makes me realize how I could do so much better an makes me want to improve my style of reviewing.

2. Gin & Lemonade. This lady writes some of my favorite posts about everyday life.  She reminds me that nothing is to big or to small.  It all deserved to be valued and appreciated.  But perhaps the small things need it most of all.  Because the big things are all made of small things and we tend to ignore or brush aside the small things most often.

3. Kloipy Speaks.  This gentleman fluctuates between movies and life, much like I do.  His focus is a bit narrower and he comes across titles that I haven’t seen and really should.  Although I think our taste in horror is a little more divergent than, say my taste in movies when compared to Fogs.

4.  Madame Guillotine‘s amazing quality of research reminded me how much I used to like researching things.  (right after college, I continued to research stuff just for the fun of it.)  The really weird thing is that I want to write fiction and I keep getting really great ideas for non-fiction projects anymore.  She also posts about things she buys or her husband has given her that I drool over; weird and wonderful gothy sorts of things that the average person just doesn’t get or understand.

5. Meanwhile, back at the farm. . . .  This blogger is probably on with whom I have the least in common.  Her photography is wonderful.  Her blogs remind me of home despite the fact she is from the Dakota plains and I am from the mountains of North Idaho.  Her blogs often make me think of my father, who grew up on a farm in South Dakota.  She makes me miss my old camera that broke when it got caught in a door and hate my new camera which was the closest in comparison to my old one but simply fails at taking as good of shots at that one did.  Still, thanks to her, I’ve started carrying it with me at all times, like I used to do.

6. Rantings of an Amateur Chef is my favorite food blogger.  Not only does he post the most amazing things, his food has even gotten me to try food items I normally hate.  Oddly enough, I still hate them, but I keep on trying them.  He is better than a lot of the cooking shows out there.  I’ll take his blog, any day, over the food network.  Well, over anything except Without Reservation.  But that isn’t a cooking show so much and an interesting food and travel program.

7. Sweet Mother has to be the funniest blogger I’ve come across.  She cracks me up.  I appreciate this a lot because I just do not think I can do funny.  And we all really need a good laugh at least once a day.  More is preferable.  And she is guaranteed to produce at least one good laugh, if not more, out of nearly every posting she does.

 

One of THOSE Days

Posted in Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by urbannight

I cannot read your mind, so I shall eat it instead…..
(I think I can get a lot of mileage out of this one image)

Why do people think I read minds?  I can’t.  It would be nice thought.  It would save me a lot of time.  

Names, Date, Places, are deliberately avoided to protect the sane, insane, and differently sane.

First there was the lady who called to report a loss from a week ago.  A week isn’t bad.  Really, it isn’t.  Not compared to some.  But she is all worried and said she was on vacation at the time. 

She is giving me info from a police report.  No problem.  I ask her to give me a description of what happened. 

Her: What do you mean?

Me: How did the Accident happen? 

Her: How should I know, I wasn’t there!

Me: But you have a police report that you have been reading from.

Her:   Do you want me to fax it to you?

Me: I just need you to read me the accident description from the police report.

Her:  Why are you coming at me with all this attitude?  What do you want me to do?

Me: You have a police report and you tell me you don’t know what happened.  It’s on the police report, all I need you to do is read me that information. 

And she finally does, calms down, and we finish the loss reasonably quickly.  Only at the end, she tells me she took photos of the other vehicle.  All I can wonder is how that happened if she was on vacation?

Then I get an email and two in-house phone calls to make changes on three claims all at the same time.  I can only answer one line at a time, thank you.  Two of the three were no problem.  Aside from the fact that as I’m trying to get to it, the other two calls come in, plus two external calls, and then another internal call asking why it wasn’t done yet.  We  found out more info and were able to change suspense claims to proper policies and get them set up accurately.  Finally, I got it out of my hair and off my desktop.

The third was an issue.  They changed the Date of Loss and now if fell inside the policy period.  But they never sent me a request to put the loss claim on the correct policy, so it was committed to the main frame as a suspense.  That just means a dummy policy to allow us to set up something if it fell before or after a policy period or if we couldn’t find any policy at all. 

The examiner wanted to know why it wasn’t changed to go on the correct policy.  For the simple reason no on informed me of the change of date and there was an active policy for the new date.  If I am not told, I cannot go in to make the change.  I don’t read minds. 

I would like to read minds.  I really would.  Then I might know who was in or not, who was on their phones or not, and I could stop wasting time an energy on people who don’t like me.  But I can’t.  Maybe I could saute them up in a little bit of butter.  I do like to cook. Anyway….

I’ve had another person in the unit tell me that she apparently can’t do anything right today and a third person is having some odd calls too.  Like one on man who told her if he could find the driver he would strangle and kill him, he just wants his 50$ deposit to the rental place back. 

If you are going to risk a murder wrap, please have it be more meaningful than over 50$.

I still have not taken my blood pressure meds today.  I really need to.  I’m starting to feel it rise.

I don’t think I want to know what the rest of today is going to bring.

Partial Success

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by urbannight

I got the litter box done and the hot bath done, but I intended to finish the room by sweeping and moping under and around the litter box and that didn’t happen.

The Holiday tubs are out and the Halloween wreath is put up.

I found the book in my underwear drawer. It was a supernatural/paranormal thriller/romance. Not a book I would feel the need to hide in a drawer.

I started the pork chops at about 10:00 pm. Then I did rice instead. After so I could use the pan with the pork drippings. I only just got it all packaged up for lunches.

I did very little stitching, did not watch the film I intended to watch. Took starting three movies to get one that captured my attention. I did not reread and write about the article I wanted to work on.

I am not going to bed early.

Did your evening go as planned.

Evening Chores

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by urbannight

My apartment resembles this.

I’ve picked up olive oil and sweetener from the store and had dinner and fed the cats.

The litter box needs to be cleaned before I can take a hot bath.

I need to get the Holiday tubs out of the storage closet.

I need to find the book I was have through last night.

I need to cook up the pork chops and millet for lunched over the next three days.

I have a Halloween ornament to work on and some shows to watch and some articles to read.

I need to try to get the two blogs, one on a particular show and one on an article written.

And I wanted to go to bed early.

What does your Tuesday evening look like?

So you think you can’t cook…..

Posted in Food, Gaming, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by urbannight

Here is another fast and easy recipe for those who think they are kitchen challenged or those who just don’t feel like cooking from scratch. Like when you decided to play Star Wars The Old Republic for May Fourth and you end up playing for three days straight.

1 pound

Start with a lb of ground beef. Brown up in a large sauce pan. Season with black pepper or cayenne (if you are like me) or both (something I also do). If you use beef with a high fat content (70/30), make sure to drain it. If you use beef that is too lean you sacrifice some of the flavor. Even thought I use seasoning I can still tell flavorless beef from flavorful beef. I use 80/20 most of the time because 85/15 has gotten really hard to find. I used to use it all the time.

Black Beans

Lets talk about black beans. These are my favorite. Even thought I’ve not gotten the knack of cooking with them from scratch. Canned black beans will save a ton of time and are great for fast, easy dishes.

Take one can and drain well. If you add water to the can, shake well, and drain again, repeating for a total of 5 times to get the water to run clear. Or put in a colander with small holes and rinse out the black stuff it is packaged in. They will cook up clearer (won’t turn your dish black) and it gets rid of a lot of the sodium it is packed in. Don’t worry, I will be putting sodium back in elsewhere. I use the rinse and repeat method to cut down on dirty dishes. I’ve been known to dirty a lot of dishes when cooking so I like to cut back on that when I can. Toss in on top of cooked beef.

Normally, I have a horribly low opinion of canned potatoes. Sliced and whole ones cook up horribly. I don’t have that problem with diced canned potatoes. Use one can and rinse but don’t worry about doing it 5 times. Just a couple of times to clear out the sodium. Toss on top of the beef and beans.

Now I add three cups of water and two beef bullion cubes. These are high in sodium which is why I try to get rid of it from the cans. I know there are other forms of bullion that are not so high in salt but I don’t know the amounts to get the results I want as I do for the cubes. Let simmer a while to heat beans and potatoes all the way through and to mingle the flavor of the cooked beef with the bullion with the beans.

Northwoods Fire

You can season this simply with black pepper. It will taste a bit like beef stew. Or you can use chili powder to have a chili like flavor. In that case, you may want to add a can or two of tomato sauce instead of water. I kept it soup like and used Northwoods Fire from Penszeys to season.

I would show you the end result but I ate it while I was typing this.   I just can’t keep it in the pan long enough to photograph.  It is too yummy.  There is more at home tucked up in containers for other lunches.  Yummy lunch.  I can’t wait until lunch tomorrow to eat the other bowl.    If you make proper servings with a salad and veggie side, you get 5 servings out of it.  I tend to put more in my containers and only get three servings.  It’s easier to do lunches that way and have a veggie heavy dinner.

When Life Derails You.

Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by urbannight

I was under the weather at the start of the week and then I have been working long days in order to make up some of the time rather than burning sick time or vacation time.  As a result, my list of blog topics is growing but I’m not finding time to actually work on them.  

I’ll try to get back to writing something this weekend.  I want to review a movie I saw, write about books I’m looking for but have forgotten the titles, the tea I ordered, not so lovely doctor’s visits, and a photo shoot of beloved clothing I can’t part with and the clothing I would like to purchase if I ever lose some weight.  

So if you like movies, books, YA sci-fi, tea, and gothish and gothic clothing and corsetry, Heavy Red in particular and some random cooking and crafting stuff, stay tuned for future installments.