Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Frivolity

It's Friday, the end to a week that was full of long, heavy, somewhat stressful meetings.  So how does one unwind from a week like this?  For starters a short fast run before the rain, and then a long stroller ride with my favorite guy after the rain.  Jett and I were fortunate that just as we stepped out the door a beautiful spring rainbow appeared.

The unwinding continues with a little Friday frivolity. We all have those things that we do that are dorky or edgy, slightly weird, unconventional, in certain company perhaps a little bit salacious, and that if done excessively may put us in the same category as the people from the "My Strange Addiction Show." These guilty pleasures get us through this kind of week when we just need something light to preoccupy our attention for a bit.

For me this list includes watching The Real Housewives or Bethenny Ever After, making my own Girl Scout cookie blizzard with mint chip ice cream and Thin Mints, munching on chocolate covered popcorn, reading People Magazine, or perhaps the worst, listening to teenie bop music by Ashlee Simpson (yes, she recorded a very crappy album about a decade ago before the whole Pete Wentz thing and child named after a Disney character) and "Party in the USA" by Miley Cirus. No judgement people!

But let me add another to the list that has jumped to the top of things I do when real life is bogging me down, a blog that my sister told me about, Suri's Burn Book.  This is perhaps the most hilarious blog that I have ever read.  It's written from the perspective of Suri Cruise, framing her as a celebrity toddler hater and professional criticizer of all things TomKat.  Her post about Jessica Simpson's recent cover of Elle Magazine made me laugh so hard I was almost crying.  So incredibly funny! A truly great way to salute the week goodbye and ring in the weekend with a few laughs.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tonight we had Indian Food. Don't tell my husband!

Tonight we had Indian inspired food.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT tell Kevin! He had no idea.  You see I have this theory that if I just slowly introduce new food styles and flavors and pair them with old standbys like smashed potatoes and green beans, that over time my family's taste bud profile will expand.

I am a huge fan of Indian food and Indian inspired food, but I don't get to eat it enough.  Living in a moderately small Midwest town, we can barely find authentic Chinese food (the best is at Hy-Vee) let alone Indian food.  That's one challenge.  The other is that very few people in my immediate circle like Indian food.  I think I need to get some new friends! (Kidding of course.  Well, mostly.)

I love you Hamburger-Plain-Ketchup-Only-Thank You, and I'm-Allergic-To-Peas, well you know you have my heart, but sometimes a girl has got to step out and have some flavor!  So I'm slowly introducing it in hopes of an eventual menu revolution.

Tonight's new recipe was one that I had been dying to make since I saw it in Everyday Food Magazine, Tandoori-style chicken.  This simple marinade was easy to make and the flavor profile was not overwhelming, just incredibly delicious.  Slight sourness from the yogurt and lemon juice, with a nice kick from the spices, paired with a beautiful fragrant aroma from the ginger. 

I picked up on a step from Aarti Sequeira that Indian food often calls for ginger and garlic, and that you can save a couple of steps by dicing the two ingredients in a food processor with some vegetable oil, and save the extra in an air tight container in the refrigerator for future recipes, up to about two weeks.  If you have not caught Aarti's new show on the Food Network on Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m., it is definitely worth setting your alarm for.  She gracefully battles the misconception that Indian food is complicated to make with a lot of airy charm and quiet wit, and is very good at teaching helpful tricks that anyone can use.

In addition to my old standbys I also tried something new for me - braised kale.  Kale has been hailed as one of the new super foods and has made headlines in most of the major health and fitness magazines and food publications over the last 12 months.  It's high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, and a host of other nutrients that I can't spell.  I cooked it like I would wilted spinach and flavored it with a bit of lemon.  I wouldn't say that it was on my top ten list for vegetables, but it wasn't too bad.  I'm definitely going to try a couple of different methods of cooking it, so stay tuned.

What kind of food do you love, that no one else will eat with you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The First Signs of Summer?

You know how after a long holiday break or vacation, you have to consciously remind yourself which day of the week it is. Or after daylight savings time, what time it really is. Well that's exactly what I have to keep doing with the calendar date, because it can't possibly be March 27th.

It's been a beautiful range of high-70s and low-80s for nearly three weeks or better. Yards have been mowed, the baby has been sunblocked, the dog is laying sunny side up in the grass, and I've even worn shorts! The flowers even think it's summer, not spring, but summer. I have iris in full bloom!
This is truly a miraculous event, as iris do not usually bloom until May. (It's also pretty miraculous because I'm not exactly the best gardener in the world.) But here it is, proof that the ozone is weakening, global warming is upon us, and that someday our grandchildren will have to Google what a penguin is.

These iris are really special, beyond their early arrival. These are transplants from my Grandma's garden, where she has a rainbow of beautiful varieties. She helped me plant a row of iris along the walkway of our house and in the front flower bed last fall. My grandma is truly a gifted gardener, and has true love for the plants that she cares for. Her yard is the talk of Cuming County when it is in bloom, and people drive from all over just to see the beauty that she has diligently and artfully created.

Not only are these blossoms special because of my Grandma, I also love the symbolism of the flower growing up among the rocks. For me it is a great reminder this Lenten season of God's mercy and grace. As I see these flowers emerge and blooming among rocks and hard places, in the middle of March, I'm reminded that nothing is impossible with God. If He can make something beautiful come from the most unlikely of places where it would seem like nothing could grow, I know that by His grace he can bring forth something good in my life too.