I am SO thankful for the sunny sunny day! I decided, since D. has a meeting tonight that I would work in the evening, to allow me to get other things done during the day while it was nice and sunny.
So, I caught up on my email and such this morning, then after a shower went to put the ingredients for prosphora in the bread machine. I did this, put it on, and it made a bad noise. I stopped it, dug into the doughy goo with my hand fiddled with the paddle thing, tried restarting it, and again, bad noise. Hmmm. Tried this about 3 times, then realized I was not going to be using the bread maker. So, that means making the giant giant batch of prosphora all at once. Considerably more time consuming, but I since I was going to work, I had the time.
So, I put the ingredients together, kneaded the dough for about 20 minutes (it's been a while since I made it - I'd forgotten what a good workout that is!), then put it in a bowl to rise.
While the dough did it's thing, I decided to walk into Oak Bay to go to the bank rather than drive, to get a bit of exercise in. So I had a nice long walk in the sun, and decided also to buy the raspberry flavour syrup from Starbucks. My reasoning is that this will save me money. M. got me addicted to starbucks double-shot on ice with raspberry flavouring. I'm buying them way too often. But..now that I have the flavouring at home, I can make it myself! I made one after all the bread was in the oven and ooohhh so good :-).
So, the bread has all been formed and baked now, and I think I may actually have 5-6 usable loaves. Not spectacular, but usable. This is far better than last time - the last time I made prosphora I made 10 loaves and 3 were usable. Ug!
Now I've cleaned the entire kitchen, wiped all the cupboards down, swept and vacuumed the kitchen. I am going to put on a load of laundry and try to tidy and vacuum the livingroom, then it will probably be time to go to work.
I had big plans to make headway on my thesis today. Ummm...no luck. Ah well. There's always tomorrow. And a big fat weekend at home!! Yay!! No mainland this weekend!!
What if that was all I wrote in this blog? It's hard to find words just now so I actually considered it.
My Birthday Weekend:
I worked on Friday and Saturday. Since I had to be on the mainland for work for my birthday, D. came with me :-).
On Friday night, I was surprised with a wonderful dinner out with D., my brother and his fiance, followed by some kitchen-floor swing dancing practice. It was a great night! I am so blessed to have such great family. I love my brother and C. so much and cannot wait for their wedding!
On Saturday, after I returned from work, we got a call from some dear friends. These friends have had such an immense impact on our lives and are people I love very much. They just had a baby (on Thursday!) and she is beautiful and healthy, and the birth was beautiful and as good as births can be from what they told me. They also told me that their new daughter and I share a name. My name is her middle name. I was humbled in a way I never ever have been in my life before. I am still shocked and overjoyed that two people I love and respect so much, and that have guided me spiritually for so long have given me the honour of having this special connection with their daughter. I can't quite explain it.
After talking with them, D. and I headed out for my surprise birthday evening (I knew we were doing something but not what or where or with who). It turned out we were headed to my favorite all-you-can-eat sushi and Korean bbq place downtown. AND, D. had arranged for so many of my favorite people to all be in one place!! It was a wonderful night, and it was exactly the perfect birthday evening for me...to spend it with people I love, talking, eating, and drinking really tasty blackberry-mint-cohitos (those were at the Cactus club later on). Then, after drinks and dessert at the Cactus club, D. and I headed to the Yale with M. and J. for some blues, beer, and more conversation (and a little dancing :-). We crawled into bed about 1:30 am after a fabulous night out.
It was funny, on the way back to our car we walked along Granville at about 12:30am. The closed off part - there were hundreds of people everywhere and the street was literally humming with the noise. I felt like such a "hick." I leaned over to Daryl and said "wow, this is crazy! I mean I've seen it on the news, but it's really like this!" NERD. lol.
Then today, before heading out to the ferries, D. took me for breakfast (brunch really) at De Dutch. I haven't had a pannokoek for a very long time, and it was sooooo good. We managed to catch a ferry earlier than we'd thought we'd get which was great, and put us arriving at home in time to watch some Mad about You on DVD (a birthday present) before getting ready for our week (I consider blogging "getting ready for my week").
Unfortunately, I forgot to renew my driver's licence though, so tomorrow will be hectic trying to fit that in with work, writing an exam and getting to the DMV while travelling by bus. S'ok though.
We were on the mainland for the last two nights. Today, before going home we stopped by a garage sale that D.'s parents' Church was putting on. I picked up 1) a work bag for 2.00, 2) A book for 25 cents and c) one of those pump things that you put olive oil into, pump, and then can spray like pam for 25 cents.
I don't know that I have ever been to a garage sale as an adult. I remember when I was young it was a frequent Saturday or Sunday morning adventure, and we got so excited about it - there were always interesting things - other people's pets, other kids, and the promise of possibly finding a new toy we could get. But, as an adult, I've just never thought to go garage saleing (sp?).
I think I may have to start garage saleing more often :-).
Fresh baked multigrain bread from the bread maker + organic unsalted butter + glass of red wine = happy.
The good thing about fresh baked bread from the bread maker: You can program it so it's ready to participate in a bizarre mish-mash dinner of marinated cod, bread, and spinach salad when you arrive home at precicely 8:30pm.
The unfortunate thing: You eat half the loaf of bread in one evening. Sigh.
But it was good :-)
And another favorite today: Berry smoothies. Mmmm.
So, yesterday was DH's birthday. We have friends who also have a birthday in the family on the same day and decided to have them over to celebrate together. Good. Okay. Unbeknown to D., they were coming for a BBQ, as I got him a BBQ for his birthday. The hitch with this is, after buying the bbq and various other things to fix up the deck I had to put it together and prepare dinner and get everything else ready for guests.
Okay, now I admit, I was cocky. In true M. style I planned out everything on paper, things I could prep the night before, planned the meal, made a shopping list, planned what I would prepare in the morning before work, then what would be left when I returned home. And, as far as the BBQ goes, I was sure that after putting together so much Ikea furniture, I'd be a pro.
Okay, so here's what happened. Woke up 6:30, checked email, had coffee etc. Went out to Safeway to pick up some needed ingredients around 7:30 am. Got back, mixed up batter for cakes, put in pans, then realized the oven wasn't working. Nope. Suddenly, as I'm about to put the cakes in and am pressed for time, not working. Thankfully, my landlord was around, came in and fiddled with it and made it work.
Put cakes in the oven, put bacon on to cook, put eggs on to hard boil (both for spinach salad). While those were cooking, I checked them intermittently and went to re-pot our giant hydrangea plant and get the new jasmine plant set up. I took the hydrangea down stairs to the lawn to re-pot it. After re potting it, I realized this meant carrying it up stairs by myself. K, this pot is ENORMOUS and FULL of gravel and soil. It was brutal. Okay once that was done, changed over the bacon, turned off the eggs, went out to the car to get the bbq. Realize it's very heavy also. Ug. Got it inside.
When it comes to the bbq I was VERY good. I read all directions before starting. I took out all the parts, laid them out on the floor, made sure they were all there. Okay, the first time I phoned the help line was on step 2. Step 2 of 12. Then, 3 hours later, I was almost finished and there was a wire I couldn't find a place for, AND I realized the bottom support panel and wheels were on the wrong side.
At this point, here was the situation: BBQ in livingroom not quite put together, BBQ refuse all over livingroom. Two baked cakes on counter in kitchen, Kitchen covered with cake ingredients. Plate of bacon and dirty bacon cooking pan in kitchen, boiled eggs still sitting in water on stove top, pieces of pots and dirt all over deck, me sweaty, dirt under my fingernails and not showered, and needing to leave for a team meeting in 30 minutes. So, I pulled the bbq outside, put the eggs and bacon in the fridge, covered the cakes with saran wrap, showered and threw my hair up and ran to the car and went to work.
Came home from work, felt a bit hungry, realised I hadn't eaten anything yet that day, put a cover on the bbq, bows on, wrote in card, and started cleaning up kitchen. D. got home, I rushed him upstairs, made him open his card and took him out to present the bbq, and preceded to tell him he had to fix it. Lol.
Then finished cleaning, whipped cream, prepped salad ingredients and was just starting to make the brie burgers as the guests arrived. We had a great visit with friends who are like family, yummy food, and I was so happy the cake turned out. I made a chocolate layer cake with whipping cream and strawberries in the middle, and whipping cream as icing, and covered the top of it with strawberries. It was sooooo good.
I just made the yummiest quick and easy pad thai ever. No, not gourmet, yes, catsup is an ingredient, but wait! So good! So fast to make! And easier than Pad Thai usually is in terms of having the ingredients on hand.
From the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home cookbook:
Ingredients: 2 quarts water 3/4 lb mung bean sprouts 6 ounces rice noodles (1/4 inch wide)
SAUCE 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime) 3 Tbsp catsup 1 Tbsp brown sugar 1/4 fish sauce or soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed 1 Tbsp minced fresh chili, or 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes 2 cups grated carrots 4 large eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt 2/3 cup chopped peanuts 6-8 scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
Directions: In a covered pot, bring the water to a rolling boil. Blanch the munch bean sprouts by placing them in a strainer or small colander and dipping it into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Set aside to drain well. When the water returns to a boil, stir in the rice noodles and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain the cooked noodles, rinse them under cool water, and set them aside to drain well. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.
Prepare the remaining ingredients and have them near at hand before you begin to stir-fry. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the garlic and chile, swirl them in the oil for a moment, and stir in the grated carrots. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Push the carrots to the sides to make a hollow in the center. Pour the beaten eggs into the center and quicklyscramble them. When the eggs have just set, our in the sauce mixture and stir everything together. Add the drained rice noodles and mung sprouts, and toss to distribute evenly. Stir peanuts and scallions, and serve at once.
Per 8-0z serving: 296 Calories, 11.3 g protein, 15 g fat, 31 g Carbohydrate, 21.2 mg sodium, 142 mg cholesterol.
And one serving (1/4th of what it makes) is a BIG serving. Definitely feels like a big filling meal. This could easily serve 6, especially if you had something along with it. Lots of left overs for lunch!! Sooooo good. Or, you know, left-overs for 2 hours later. With a beer. lol!
We had a lovely Sunday today. We went to Church, then came home and fell asleep and had a looonngg afternoon nap. We haven't done that in a long time. It was wonderful! Then we meal-planned and went grocery shopping. This part of the day was highly non-preferred for DH (he has a serious aversion to grocery shopping - seriously - he gets tired and sad just talking about it!). But, we're now stocked up with healthy foods for a while, which is nice as for the couple of weeks before I went away, and since I got back we haven't done proper grocery shopping. This results in coming home hungry, with no food in the house, then wandering the grocery store hungry and ending up buying unhealthy, overpriced convenience foods.
Laundry is on, the kitchen is relatively clean, and now to finish blogging and crawl into bed before the busy week begins.