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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

1.  There has been (and continues to be) quite an earthquake swarm in Nevada.  According to (one of my favorite I-am-a-nerd-blogs) Eruptions: There is the interesting coincident that the focus of the swarm is near the Auroa Volcanic Field – however, Graham Kent from the director of the Nevada Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, doesn’t think a volcanic eruption is likely.  Eruptions blogger notes that Nevada has seen many earthquake swarms over the past few years (true, says I) and none have led to volcanic activity.

2.  Life is generally good.  Sweetie and I are enjoying our house and the endless list of projects (mostly his!) that come with it.  He is currently constructing two raised veggie boxes for me to plant our own crops.  I am very happy about this!  We inherited, in the backyard of this house, a couple of nice artichoke plants.  I have managed to not kill them yet and they are producing a nice little crop of artichokes.  Wonderful!  I picked three the other day, cooked them up, and served them with my mom’s patented (should be) artichoke dipping sauce.  Delicious! 

3.  Work is good and sometimes crazy.  True to form, my work and overlapping deadlines sometimes results in weeks like last week where I have to work 13 to 15 hours for a while.  Not true to my old (younger self) form, I can’t maintain that level of work/brain effort for very long.  I worked so hard for most of last week, I crashed on Friday.  Went to a meeting I couldn’t reschedule and then came home, hugged my Sweetie, wasted time on the computer, and went to see a movie.  We saw Hanna.  It was good, but not as good as I was expecting. Good, but I was expecting more there there.  But fine because, heck, I was NOT working. I won’t link to the movie trailer because I think it shows too much.  But I will link to a short clip featuring some of the brilliant soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers. That particular music piece was probably my favorite in the movie, but others were quite good.  If you like that sort of thing at all, you’d love the soundtrack.  Sweetie and I definitely appreciated the soundtrack. 

4.  I was thinking of writing a separate blog called “Why I don’t blog about Sarah Palin.”  But then I thought “Well, really.  I don’t blog much at all these days so that seems like a silly title.”  But there actually is a reason I don’t blog about her.  Not that I don’t read about her.  I do.  And there has been plenty to read about lately.  I could say all sorts of things.  The ridiculousness of her posing as some sort of political analyst for Fox News.  How much her reality show (and all the rest of her goings-on) does nothing to really promote the great state of Alaska since she resigned as Governor.  The hypocrisy of her daughter prancing around lecturing about abstinence while supported by a group that advertises abstinence with a close-to-pornographic picture of a young girl wrapped around a guy.  ?  Yeah, that makes sense.  We have to be hip for the young kids and then expect them to absorb a message completely opposite from the visual.  How I don’t really believe most of the conspiracy theories about Trig’s birth.  Mostly because I subscribe to the same belief for almost ALL conspiracy theories: If there were more than 3 people involved, it’s not very likely that a much-talked about conspiracy theory wouldn’t be able to provide proof by now.  I could throw in my two cents about her actions surrounding her son’s birth (was she trying to self-abort for 8 months, including the last few days? maybe).  All of these things (and much more) could have been separate blogs.  But I don’t bother.  Why?  Because when I wrote this, my main interest was that this dear country that I live in not make the horrendous mistake of electing this woman to any high office in this country.  Not in 2012.  Not ever.  I said I didn’t want her on the national stage.  There is nothing I can do about the fact she is all over the national airwaves.  There is nothing I can do about the fact that educated people I know seem to love and support her, blinded by her messages of Faith Faith Faith God God God, without realizing (or acknowledging) what a wicked truly twisted person lies beneath.  But as for high office, I don’t worry about it anymore.   She is a non-entity.  If she runs, it will be for the publicity and her own narcissistic satisfaction.  She is not a viable candidate.  Not for her potential scandals.  Not for her prostituting herself and her family for any amount of cash that can come her way.  And not because she can’t seem to form a coherent sentence on the fly.  But because of this:  She quit.  She quit, ladies and gentlemen.  She was elected to an executive office to serve a term for the voters who cast their ballot for her, and WHAT DID SHE DO?  She quit.  Game over.  Buh bye.  No excuses (should every potential lame duck executive quit??). What more do I, a mere blogger who talks about food as much as I talk about politics, need to say?  Pretty much nothing.  Why do I mention it now?  Because potential candidates are starting to proclaim their intentions right now and there may be another buildup of support for her.  And I may note it as it happens.  But do I honestly believe she has a snowball’s chance in a Texas wildfire to be elected President?  No.  And I trust that a large majority of people of this good country know this too.

5.  If I can’t get my act together and blog more, I resolve to at least be better at reading, and hopefully chiming in at, other folks’ blogs. 

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I don’t know if these work.  Yet. 

I plan to try some of them.  Why not?  It’s just food.  I’ve tried other food.  I’ve tried milk (now they say milk to help you sleep is a myth….grrrrr…).  I tried Melatonin when the Dr. who conducted Sweetie and my pre-marriage counseling lectured me about taking prescription sleep aids.  She told me to try Melatonin.  I tried it.  Didn’t help.  Actually seemed to make my insomnia worse.  I’ve tried other methods.  I’m game to try new things out.

My current experiment?  Sesame seeds.  It’s on the list.  Supposed to be loaded with tryptophan.  Sure, I’ll try that.  It may take a while before I can figure out if they help or not.  I can’t easily correlate one good night of sleep with any one solution.  Except prescription sleep aids (Nahnah nah nahhhh to you Dr. Counselor!).  So, I’ll try and track sleep progress with sesame seeds and without.  Who knows.  Can’t hurt.  Sure, I’m skeptical (goes well with my cynical nature), but I’m not closed-minded.  I mean – almonds as stress relievers?  Who wouldn’t be skeptical of that??

Everyone has a theory.  I work in an office full of insomniacs and everyone has a different theory.  I’m telling you – if someone really had a natural solution to insomnia and could bottle it – they’d be gajillionaires.  Someday I’ll figure out something mass-producible.

Happy dreaming!

Link in case you didn’t click above:  http://www.naturalhealthontheweb.com/sleep/snacks.html

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I play poker and drink rum…

…nothing really wrong with that.

I was thinking about it tonight as I joined a couple of co-workers for a quick drink after work. 

My co-worker and the bartender are great wine aficionados.  They spent a bit of time talking about food and wine, and wine, and wine making.  All good stuff.  I like good wine.  But I will admit I do not have a very sophisticated wine palate.  My senses just aren’t that stellar and the appreciation of the subtleties of wine are lost on my sub par sense of taste.  So, I honestly don’t know oakey from woody or whatever the proper wine terms are. 

So, there they are talking food and wine.  And I’m talking about how the World Series of Poker just started up in Vegas and how I’d love to watch some of it.  Then, I ask the bartender if he has any rum from Belize, which of course he does not.  Don’t know where I’ll find any after I finish the wonderful bottle my dear friend just gave me after her wedding.  It just tastes soooooo much better than regular rum.  Buttery and vanilla-y and yum.  1 Barrel.  Where do I find that in the States?

Anyway, I thought it was funny.  Wine and food.  Rum and poker.

In defense of my cultured side, I also play piano, can eat a five-course meal with good table manners, and I love love love the Academy of St. Martins in the Fields.  And I do like wine.  And wine making.  I’d just rather watch a professional poker player than wine maker.   

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Today’s prompt for Holidailies is “Post a personal photo and tell us a story about it.”

Looking back at some of my photos, I am reminded of a couple of things.  1) I like food.  2) I never finished all the travelogues I was going to write about my Europe trip.  I managed to blog about the wonderful day Sweetie and I spent with my family hiking in Biel.  It was a near-perfect day.  But there was another day.  Another day on a mountain.  And it was grand……..

Morning came and Sweetie and I knew what our destination for this day was.  Our Switzerland portion of our Europe trip had been left completely in the hands of my family.  I told Sweetie that everyone wanted as least a day with us – Mom’s oldest sister, her middle sister, her cousin and his wife who live in Zurich.  I rarely knew what was planned for the day.  Sweetie, the improvisational wiz, loved it. 

But today was the Rigi.  One can hardly stay in the vicinity of Luzern and not go up the Rigi.  She is sometimes known as “The Queen of the Mountains.”  What better way to pay our respects to the queen than to put on our hiking boots and tromp on top of her?

After our customary breakfast of fresh bread and preserves, we gathered our backpacks and piled into my uncle’s car.  My uncle drove.  A good thing since my aunt never learned to drive.  I have two aunts who never drive.  Don’t need to in Switzerland.  Between the buses and the trains which run constantly (and famously on schedule), many families have no need for more than one vehicle.  I’m not even sure if three of my four cousins own cars. I think they do not. 

So off we drove halfway around the lake to the cable car station to wait for two more friends to join us.  While waiting, my uncle presented Sweetie and me with our very own “Rigi” caps which we fit snugly onto our heads.  Pia and Seppi arrived and up we went, through the tree canopy with its splashes of fall colors and away from the tiny houses beside the lake.  We disembarked and my family swept us past the trail markers:  Chanzeli, 15 min.; Greppen, 2 Std. (hour) 25 min.; Weggis 2 Std. 10 min.  We were on the trail with no idea where we going, how far we were hiking, or where this particular trail would take us.  It was glorious. 

We started the hike on a  wide paved trail in a forested area, with park benches and trash cans, and a log fence beside us.  Sweetie and my uncle talked, as my uncle has the best English skills.  My aunt, Pia and Seppi don’t speak much english.  When I can, I translate their Swiss German (Schweizerdeutsch) for Sweetie, cobbling together what I remember from childhood talking to my grandparents and the little I remember from high school and college German classes.  The family always seems surprised and amused when I laugh at something they say or try and translate for Sweetie. 

We walked and talked and took many pictures.  Sweetie snapped a shot of a gargantuan log carved in the shape of an alphorn.  We transitioned to a more narrow dirt trail with barbed wire and wood fencing.  There was a universal sign – the silhouette of a biker with a large red “X” through it.  This portion was for the hikers alone.  We walked beside the greenest of grass while crispy fall leaves disintegrated under our feet.  We had views of the lake.  The landscape took a dramatic turn and suddenly we had sheer rock walls to the left and a steep drop-off to our right on the other side of fence that was now metal posts and cable.  From this spot, we stopped at another park bench and looked down at the beauty and wild jabbing points of Lake Lucerne. 

Lake Lucerne was all I had ever called this lake.  In college, my German teacher turned to me when got around to talking about Switzerland and asked me the name of this lake.  I said: “Lake Lucerne.”  No.  She wanted its proper name.  I had no idea.  It is Vierwaldstättersee.  Four.  Forest.  Lake.  That’s about as far as my German gets me.  Vierwaldstattersee is “Lake of the Four Forested Cantons.”  The cantons are somewhat equivalent to states in the US.  Wikipedia describes it as “The lake is a complicated shape, with bends and arms reaching from the city of Lucerne into the mountains.”  That sounds about right.  Looking at it from above, it reaches in all directions, dividing little bits and pieces of land around its meandering shores. 

We came out from behind the rocks and walked through grassy fields.  And then, up ahead was a little train station.  We sat down on more benches for a short wait for the stout little electric cable to chug us up to the top of the Rigi.  We trekked up to the summit: Rigi-Kulm, 1,800 m./6,000 ft. 

And then, of course, it was time for a snack.  I’ve blogged before about how much the Swiss like to eat and drink.  And drink.  I don’t think I’ve ever been out sightseeing, or hiking, or shopping, or anything with my family without stopping at least every two hours for something to drink (with the possible exception of mom’s middle sister who rivals my mom for lack of patience).  Just wait until I get to the blog about our day in Zurich with mom’s cousin.  It was  taxing day for the bladder.

Anyway, a snack on the Rigi.  Not just any snack, mind you.  No, there was no pulling granola bars and plastic-bottled water out of the backpack.  We sat at a bench and my uncle and Seppi proceed to pull out small metal cups (their group hiking cups, we were told), a couple tupperware-type containers of breadsticks and nuts, and (of course) a bottle of wine.  They laid six little cups out on the bench and six little cups were filled with wine.  We toasted together and leisurely sipped wine while enjoying the views.  The skies were a little overcast but we could see for miles in all directions.  To our good health indeed!

We made our way back down to the tram station and there we split up.  My aunt, uncle, Sweetie and I were to take a slow ambling hike to our next stop.  Pia and Seppi were taking a “short cut” to get their quicker.  Why?  Well, to start setting  up lunch for us all, of course!  We parted ways, with my jolly happy rarely-drinking husband waving wildly as the wine worked its way through his veins. 

We walked downhill and the gray skies were replaced with bright blue, warm sun, and white clouds.  We kept walking until we saw, on a slight hill above us, a covered picnic area.  Supposedly, they are called Gruebinen.  According to one site:   For the construction of these shelters, the builders have used trunks, that have fallen at a recent major thunderstorm. The locals call such covered dwelling places which protect you from sun, heat and rain “Gruebinen”. Of course, they are all well equipped with campfire-site, wood for burning, comfortable benches and tables. It’s all ready for you – enjoy your picnic or barbeque!

By the time we arrived, our friends were hard at work preparing a feast for all.  Indeed, the Gruebinen was well equipped.  But not nearly as well equipped as Pia and Seppi!  They had packed in fresh bratwurst, bags of carrot slices and small tomatoes, a loaf of bread, seasonings, and beauty of all beauty! – raclette cheese!!  Oh joy!  Oh happiness!  Of course, raclette cheese must be served warm and melty over potatoes.  These dishes came pre-packaged in tin foil containers with potatoes included.  Seppi had six little packs of cheese warming over the open fire along with the bratwurst. Six little bundles of cheesy goodness to pry open and devour with a fresh bottle of wine and all the other food already spread around the picnic table.  Can you possibly imagine being more spoiled than that?  I cannot.  It was heaven. 

We sat and vegged by the picnic table as our systems started to digest the food.  My uncle pulled out one of his ubiquitous skinny cigars, put his feet up on a stump and puffed away.  My relaxed hubby sat in the shade with his back against the fat pale logs and just stared out at the green hills.  Or maybe he slept behind his sunglasses, I’m not sure. 

More hikers came along and added more wood to the fire for their own lunch.  We abdicated the picnic table and made our way down to a final lookout spot before catching the cable car back down the mountain.  We slowly made our way back down the Rigi.  Sweetie and I marveled at the beautiful fall colors and at (once again) our amazing luck in vacationing in October in perfect weather.  The possibility of rain exists year-round in Switzerland, but they had just come through some cold and stormy weather.  Yet we had sun every day.  Most of our time with the family was spent outdoors and there would have been no way we could have hiked all day along the Rigi in rain.  As Sweetie and I just celebrated a third October hiking outside in surprisingly gorgeous weather (the first was in Yellowstone, this third was in Yosemite), I told him I think both our fathers are looking out for us around our anniversary.  Someday, maybe someday soon, our streak may end and we’ll spend a stormy cold October together.  But for us, that day on the Rigi with family and friends is probably one of our top five days together ever.  It was certainly the best day of a fantastic trip. 

And that, is the story behind that one little photo.  I smile just looking at it.

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Whew!

I almost thought I was going to have to move off Maui. 

A while ago, I raved about and praised our new Indian restaurant here on the island.  Truly, it served some of the best food I have ever had.  A tad expensive, but so is all the other food to eat on this island. 

I called a couple of weeks ago to see if they were serving lunch and, horror of all horrors! was told the restaurant was closed indefinitely.  Wahhhhhhhh.  No more Indian food?  How could I cope?

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry.  There is still an Indian restaurant on the island.  It’s even in the exact same place – in the Menehune Shores complex on South Kihei Road in Kihei.  Yup.  Basically the same place.  Just a new owner and new name.  The new name is Monsoon India.  Website is here:  http://www.monsoonindiamaui.com/

And the food is just as good.  I made Sweetie go grab some takeout lunch for us this week just to make sure.   All is good.  I’ll hang out on Maui for a little while longer.  As you were.

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Finally!

I finally made it to the Maui County Fair.  It seems I am away from the island every year around the beginning of October.  Ok, so last year I was getting ready for my wedding.  I was still bummed to miss the Fair. 

But yesterday, Sweetie and I made it!  Hooray.  We shelled out our 5 bucks for……uhhhhhh….  ummm.. … ………… ….errrrrrrrr………..what has to be the smallest County fair I have ever attended.  Even the Yolo County Fair – which was free at the time – was a little larger, I think.  But!  No matter.  We knew it was a small affair.  Ha ha.  It was very local and very quaint.  With prize-winning star fruit and bread fruit and lots and lots of roosters.  ‘Cause we got a LOT of roosters on Maui (though not nearly as many as Kauai, I found out). 

We walked around the cool Orchid show.  Saw the local art from elementary school through high school.  Walked through the small livestock and poultry area.  Watched as unsupervised kids tried to take swipes at the roosters.  Walked through the arts and crafts tent.  And we went in search of fried food.

Jeez! There was a serious lack of fried food at this fair.  Of course, they had the fried twinkie booth.  But I wanted lunch, not dessert.  Sweetie and I walked past every food booth.  Past the loco-moco plate, mochiko chicken, and poi mochi.  Past the pork adobo, Irish stew, BBQ pork, and nachos.  Past the dry mein, chow fun, lau lau, and chicken hekka.  Oohhh…..wait.  We stopped at the chicken hekka booth for some chicken hekka for Sweetie.  Finally, we ended up at the fried ice cream, fried cheese, and fried zucchini booth.  That was pretty much my only choice and I REALLY wanted some fried food at the fair.  So, since I love fried zucchini, I ordered up a plate and we settled down for lunch.  The fried zucchini was pretty good.  Not as good as the good ol’ days of fried zucchini at Sudwerk (*sigh*), but pretty good.   We also ended up getting some hot malasadas at the end of the day.  mmmm…..fried bread dough in sugar.  Wooo!  Can’t beat that. 

We walked past all the rides and I asked Sweetie if he wanted to try anything.  I said I was game, even though we all know I can get motion sick from riding a tricycle.  But the lines were long, the kids were screaming, and we both had work to finish before we leave for our trip.  So, we just walked around and then headed out.

All in all, it was a good quick trip to the fair.

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So, why were Sweetie and I just staying in San Diego for a few days?

Well, the main thing that took us to southern California was The Boys.

I tell my Sweetie that Curt and Roland are My Boys because, well…..we’ve been together for so long. Yes, musically I am still sometimes a child of the 80s. And a huge part of my musical 80s was Tears for Fears. Huge. Loved them. Still do. From the raw power of The Hurting, experimental greatness of Seeds of Love (not that song, but the rest of the album), go-it-aloneness of Elemental, and even through the slightly excruciating “comeback” reunion of Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, I am a Tears fan in my soul. So is my pal, T. And when we found out that they would be playing in San Diego at Humphrey’s by the Bay, we jumped at the chance to see them again. Fourth time for us.

We ate dinner last night – the three of us and Sweetie’s buddy in San Diego who we have been staying with. Fantastic meal at Cafe Sevilla in San Diego. Tapas. Yummmmm…….

I know. I know. You are thinking “Is there any food on earth that Stone Girl *doesn’t* like??”

But really. Tapas are so good. You know tapas? You must try tapas. From the cafe’s website:

Tapas are Spanish appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, a few of these tasty little dishes selected from an infinite variety can make a full meal.

Long before the discovery of America it was obligatory for innkeepers to serve food with wine, so a tasty morsel of cured ham, chorizo, cheese or olives were served on a small plate which covered the jug of wine like a lid, top or “tapa.”

Tapas are an extension of the spontaneous Spanish character, chosen and eaten at whim, accompanied by wine, sherry, beer or sangria, to be shared with friends in a convivial setting, with folk songs, dance and lively conversation.

The Cafe was a great place to have tapas. And Sangria. mmmmmm……good sangria.

But I digress.

After dinner was the concert. Which was good. And you know, good is ok. It was not the best Tears concert ever (nothing can beat the Seeds of Love, with Oleta Adams and a grand piano on stage, the energy of the first three albums, and the FANtastic version of Famous Last Words). But last night was good because, hey The Boys only performed three shows in California, and I love to see them live, and they at least played a few older songs. Again, I think the weakness was the last album, and they played almost everything off that album. Roland said something to the effect that the reviews for the album (when it came out two years ago) were “remarkable.” Remarkable was the word he used, in a tone of voice that says he understands why it got less than rave reviews. Or maybe he doesn’t. But he deserves rave reviews for their whole body of work, and for his awesome voice, which seemed to be in full force last night. And made me wish they would go back into the studio together and create something original and powerful like the old albums. Like their old primal scream therapy via music. What better thing to do, sometimes, than just “Shout?”

Was it perfect for me? No. Perfect would have included Year of the Knife and Famous Last Words. But oh well. The crowd was pretty excited, Curt and Roland seemed comfortable and slightly goofy on stage, as they always were. T and I got to relive a bit of that giddy feeling of long ago. We danced and I sang my tone-deaf heart out.

And I got to see Tears for Fears live with my Sweetie by my side. Which is a very very special thing. Which is a whole other story.

DId you know, if not for Tears for Fears, Sweetie and I may not have gotten together?

He doesn’t really believe that. He thinks he would have, no matter what. But, I gotta say, The Boys had a little something to do with that.

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