Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No Substitutions

Last week I took a recipe for stuffed zucchini and revamped it completely--true to my cooking style, the end result only halfway resembled the original intent. But it was so good, I knew I ought to write it down for posterity or I'd never be able to recreate it! If you make it, be sure to change it up to make it your own; no recipe is complete for me without at least one substitution. :)

Stuffed Chopped Zucchini with Stuff in It

1/2 cup quinoa; you *could* use brown rice but why would you do that? Quinoa is nicer.
3 large zucchini or 4 medium zucchini or 5-6 small zucchini, chopped
maybe some asparagus, if it's not $6.99 a pound like I saw at Whole Foods last weekend
1/2 bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
1-2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander

Bring one cup of water to boil and add 1/2 cup quinoa. Cover, turn to low and let simmer 25 minutes. At the same time, thaw/cook the spinach in the microwave or on the stovetop.

In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey, drain it, and scoop it into another bowl. In the same skillet, saute the zucchini (and/or asparagus) and onion until slightly soft; add garlic, spinach and tomatoes and saute 1-2 minutes more. Add the spices plus salt and pepper to taste, and add the turkey back in. Turn all this to low and let it sit until the quinoa is finished, at which point you mix it all together and eat it up. You could serve this with naan, or you could put it in a pita--I'd leave out the quinoa if I did that, but your carb mileage may vary.

Tzatziki goes really well with this; it adds some extra flavor and moisture. You can buy it prepared in the refrigerated section or you can make your own: mix 6 oz plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1/2  a cucumber (peeled, with the seeds scooped out, and chopped finely). Pro tip: it's cheaper to make your own, and you get to snack on the leftover cucumber while you cook.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Different Sun

I just heard this bit of poetry, and am putting it here just to save it. I heard it on a BBC program called "A History of the World in 100 Objects;" this particular episode was about a woodcut of a rhinoceros. The artist had never seen a rhino, but heard about one that had been sent from India as a gift to the King of Portugal. Sketches were done of the animal, and this poem was written in its honor. For me, it encapsulates why I love to travel.

I am the rhinoceros brought hither from dusty India,
From the vestibule of light and the gateway of the day,
I boarded the fleet bound for the west, its bold sails undaunted,
Daring new lands, to see a different sun.


Thursday, April 12, 2012


Spring has sprung, and with it has come softball and school breaks and vacation days spent in search of good food. Meap is enjoying softball this year, and is proving to be her father's daughter--she can actually hit the ball, and catch it, and throw it! So impressive. 

I offered to put her in a softball camp this summer, but she said she'd rather do volleyball. When I asked her why she said, "'Cause it's indoors!" Makes sense to me.

During spring break we hit up the Reggae Hut for some Cajun shrimp and jerk chicken, and then went to the Museum of Natural Science with the rest of Houston. I *almost* got a butterfly to land on Meap's headband, and we watched a cool show at the planetarium about the Northern Lights. That's the only item on my bucket list, by the way--to see the Northern Lights. That's the only reason I'd ever plan a vacation someplace cold!

Pop and Baba came to visit the next week and got to see all sorts of cool stuff: Meap's performance as Ima Hogg in her school wax museum, the annual PE show (my absolute favorite of all school shows--the first grade hula hoop war is a showstopper), Number One's pottery class, and Meap's Bible-reading in chapel. And one day, I took off work so we could drive to Austin just for lunch:

It was totally, totally worth it. We stood in line for an hour and a half--the weather was amazing, thankfully--and ordered a little (ok, a lot) of everything. The pulled pork was okay, but the ribs were amazing and and the brisket was the best I've ever put in my mouth. SO GOOD. And the owner was nothing like I'd expected; for some reason I had it in my head that he was like the Soup Nazi of Austin BBQ, but he couldn't have been nicer. He chatted with Baba about the best places for barbeque in Nashville and I'm pretty sure she invited him for dinner the next time he was in town.

Easter was a wonderful day--beautiful weather, church outdoors with friends at Jones Plaza, lunch from a food truck, and free snow cones for dessert.

Now the jasmine is blooming, and I wish I could capture that smell in this blog. It smells like happiness and new life and hope, and if I could bottle it I'd be a millionaire. It's probably best, though, that it comes and goes so quickly. I don't take it for granted, and it's a good reminder to breathe deeply and enjoy this time, every minute of it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wicked Weekend

My BFF came to visit!

My beautiful, smart, funny, awesome friend from Lubbock came to see me last weekend, and we just had the best time. The best! We went to Austin to see "Wicked," we shopped in San Marcos, we shopped in Houston, we ate A LOT of food, and just enjoyed each other's company so, so much.

We spent one night at her in-laws' house, and she slept with her favorite dog Titus.

It looked less than comfortable.

We had such a great weekend, I had to take a sick day Monday to recover. When I got back to the office, my birthday plant looked sad:

I think I broke it. Or maybe it's just a metaphor for how much I miss my friend . . .

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Running Away

Running three miles doesn't sound like much, but it's pretty far for 10-year-old legs. These girls ran it strong, and they ran the whole way, never stopping to walk. Meap told me throughout the entire race that I was going too fast, but when we turned the corner and saw the finish line, she and her friend took off like they were on fire--it was all I could do to keep up.

While we ran I kept telling them how proud I was of them, but that doesn't even cover it--I was bursting. I hope they always try harder than they think they can and finish strong, and I hope they make themselves proud.
I think this one definitely felt some pride--this was a self-portrait on the way home. Way to go, Meap!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Faces

Number One and I got to pick out our new faces yesterday--we visited our favorite optician for new specs! She knew exactly what she wanted and had her new frames picked out in less than a minute. I had to try on just about every pair in the store before I found anything we could all agree on--and yes, those are ladies' frames.

On our way home we picked up Buffalo Wild Wings for late lunch/early dinner (linner?) and called GrandBob to come over and watch the Texans game. Obviously that's what made the Texans win, so now we have to eat wings during every playoff game, to help them win again. It's science.

(They are dubious of my scientific claims. But not so dubious that they'll turn down wings.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I Wore Today

I love this new skirt from Forever 21! And I have managed to make it through the entire day wearing blue tights without anyone asking if my legs were cold or making a Smurfs reference. I'd call this a success.