Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Insomnia, Rain, and the Other Cat on the Roof

I still can’t sleep. Well, I can get to sleep, and I pass out around 9-9:30 pm. The problem is that I wake up around 3am – 4am and I can’t get back to sleep. My body acts as if it’s gotten a shot of adrenaline and it won’t calm down. In the past two days, I’ve woken up at 12:30am. That’s not fun.
I have no idea how to fix it, other than going and asking for a sleeping pill. Nothing else has worked and believe me, I’ve tried. I can’t do the warm milk due to the lactose intolerance thing, and drinking chamomile tea before bed just makes me have to wake up and pee. I hate the pills as I’ve tried a version before and it made me feel groggy the next day, but maybe there’s another I can try. I just don’t want to keep waking up and not being able to get back to sleep. I just can’t calm my body and mind down. I want to go back to sleep, oh how I want to, but I can’t. (Plus there’s the two furry lumps at the foot of the bed. And yes, they’re on MY side. Gabby still doesn’t like the boy all that much.)
Yesterday, I ended up going home sick from work because a) I could barely keep my eyes open and b) my stomach was really upset. I think the stomach issues have to do with not getting nearly enough sleep. I did the same thing this morning, but I actually got up feeling sort of ok. I felt as if I had slept, when in reality, I tossed and turned all night. My stomach is feeling somewhat better but it’s still eh.
It also keeps raining. Last year we were in a drought. This year, the rain won’t stop and we are under a flash flood warning every time it rains, which seems to be 3-4 days a week. Our lawn is insanely green and long. We’d like to mow it more often, but when it rains all the time, that doesn’t help. Plus cutting it wet is not so good.
Today there is an 80% chance of rain and storms. I’d rather be in bed, attempting to sleep but I don’t want to waste a sick day for not being that sick. It doesn’t help that I haven’t been to the gym since last Wednesday. (There was a small fire on Thurs and everything got soggy.)
Then, this morning, as I was leaving for work, I glanced up to the roof and lo and behold, there was a cat up there. At first I thought it was Pumpkin but then she meowed and I realized that it was Gabby. Lovely. (God that cat has a loud meow.)I hope she’s ok and got down. But great. Now both of the cats can get up on the roof.

Tonight’s dinner (if I can deal with it): Fresh pasta with garden tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, sautéed garlic and onions, and olive oil. Yum! I love produce time! Our neighbor has given us tons of cucumbers so I think I need to pickle. And I bought a head of red cabbage at the farmer’s market so I think there’s a slaw there too. Plus, we’re about to have a tomato explosion. (The bell peppers are coming slower. 2 plants were attacked by caterpillars and we weren’t sure if they were going to make it but they have recovered and are budding. One of the plants just got decimated by a big, fat, green, caterpillar. One day it was fine, the next morning- just stems, and the ‘pillar just hanging there.) We’ve got jalepenos too, so I’ll be making lots of pico and salsas too.
The boy is going to try to sell some at the restaurant- getting his name out there. They want him to write a proposal for a garden that will produce most of the produce for the restaurant. If it works, he’ll be in charge of it. He’s definitely ok with that…
We made potstickers (deep fried of course) on Saturday night and I’ll post the recipe I used later. I’ll also post about the butternut squash, leek, and lemongrass soup I’m making. Yay for the farmer’s market.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I know the food part of this blog has been rather remiss. I can't do much surfing on the net at work anymore, so scouting for recipes every day has become more of a once weekly thing. Plus there's been so much going on lately, I've only been doing new stuff on the weekends. It's hard when I'm exhausted every day due to the fact that I just can't freakin' sleep properly.
I'm going to try to get in some weekly food-type posts. I do have some good stuff planned for tonight. I've got some London Broil marinating in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and other assorted herbs. I have fresh corn from the farmer's market this morning (it was picked by headlight- hee) and I plan to make some potato salad with the fresh potatoes and leek I bought there too.
I do love my farmer's market. For less than $20 today I got 6 ears of corn, 1 leek, 3 red onions, 1 bunch carrots, 1 pint blackberries, 1 dozen fresh eggs (pullet so they're smaller but oh so tasty), and 1 pint of tomatoes. It was the 10th anniversary of the market today so it was crazy. They had tastings from local restaurants but that was mostly meh. Not the best ones in town. But oh the produce. It's peach season so I have to get me some Fredericksburg peaches next week. There are also fresh raspberries too. I don't even want to get into the meats and cheeses that you can find there too. It's amazing. And it's all Organic and is reasonably priced. It's happy food. I do most of my produce shopping there, and round out that shopping with a trip to the grocery store.
I've started to plan out my meals for each week. I've realized that I have so much stuff already but I never use half of it. So I'm trying to use what I have. The problem is that I love to buy food and I tend to like to eat the same type of things. Oh well.
I must stop and go soak my dried beans so I can prep and freeze them. Plus I have pasta dough to make and freeze and all sorts of other food planning to do. I love having an extra freezer. We just need another fridge!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Chicken Parmesan and Whole Wheat Pasta (plus a crime scene!)

Chicken Parmesan and Whole Wheat Pasta

1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 T olive oil
1-2 T water

Place flour in food processor or bowl. Add eggs and oil. Pulse until combined. Add water and pulse. The dough should be very fine but it will stick together when pressed. Pour onto plastic wrap and mold into a ball, kneading for about a minute. Let rest for at least half an hour or more. Keep in fridge for up to a week and may be frozen if well wrapped. When ready to use, let come to room temperature, roll out either with rolling pin or pasta machine and cut to size. Fresh pasta cooks in boiling water within 2-4 minutes.
Makes about 2-4 servings.

Chicken Parm

2 chicken breasts
1-2 c milk
1 egg
1 c. seasoned bread crumbs or season your own plain ones with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning.
½ grated parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce (homemade is best, keep it simple though)
Mozzarella cheese
Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Pound the breads into thinner pieces if desired. Beat the egg and mix with the milk. In a separate dish, combine parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip the chicken into the milk mixture and then coat with the bread crumbs. Place in a hot pan, lightly coated in olive oil, and cook until the bread crumbs turn a golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce.
If your pan is oven-safe, keep chicken in pan. If not place in a baking dish, placing a thin layer of sauce on the bottom first. Top chicken with mozzarella, provolone, and any extra parmesan cheese. Add sauce to pan and chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes, until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through.
Serve with pasta and a salad. Garlic bread is also welcome.

Interesting note: just got a call from the boy. One of our neighborhood streets is closed down and there are police cars and yellow tape everywhere. There appears to have been a shooting. Yay crime scene! From what we can gather, it’s at what we call the “crack house”, the one duplex that is trashed and run down. There was a DEA raid about 6 months ago that the boy witnessed, so we’re pretty sure there were drugs involved. Our friends, who live a few blocks away said that there was a police chase a few nights ago.
This is a rarity for our neighborhood. Crime is rather low, and stuff like this normally doesn’t happen, and when it does, it’s always the same house. It’s a very kid-friendly neighborhood. I hope that this solves the “crack house” problem for now.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pink Laundry and Feathers

One bright red slipcover + 1 load of light colored clothing= pink clothes. No, I didn’t do the laundry, this was the boy’s fault, and it happened to be all his clothing too. We bought a new-to-us couch that came with a red slipcover. (Couch is white with black stripes and well, that doesn’t fit our décor.) The boy washed it but also threw in a partial load of some of his dirty clothes which included several t-shirts, socks, and 3-4 button down shirts for work. Not long after he did this, I got a call asking how could he remove pink stains? Once I found out what happened, I laughed. And laughed. (I mean that’s one of the absolute rules of doing laundry. He knows better.) Two of the button down shirts are ruined as is one of the t-shirts. I was able to salvage most of the t-shirts, the socks, and surprisingly the khaki shorts, by washing them with bleach several times. Some of the button downs actually look ok with a little bit of a pink undertone. The black items escaped unscathed. So lesson learned for the boy: do not EVER, EVER, wash anything bright red with anything else unless you know it is not going to bleed, and then you really can’t ever be sure.
I’m going to dye the slipcover a darker red, more of a wine color this weekend. The red is a little faded, plus the wine color is more our style. Fabric dye is pretty cheap so I can get some more if needed. It will be a fun experiment to see how it goes.
The “new” couch is pretty comfy too. It’s bigger than our old one and doesn’t feel like it’s breaking every time we sit down. It’s nice. The cats love it. We’ve kept the old couch in the living room as well, as we just don’t know where to put it yet, so we have two couches. It works for now.
We also had some fun air-conditioning problems too. We live in Texas. It can hit 90 in April. AC is practically mandatory for comfort. On Friday, before the long weekend and before we were supposed to go out of town, we discovered that the condensation pipe for our AC was overflowing. Fun. I placed a call to our home-warranty company and we turned off the AC. It was supposed to rain most of the weekend so it wasn’t going to be too hot. When we got back, the water level had gone down so we turned the AC back on. The pipe overflowed again. So, for the rest of the week, until the service tech could get to our house on FRIDAY, we could only turn the AC on for about 2 hours at a time. Yeah, that was not fun. The weather was humid and in the high 80s. It was disgusting.
The problem turned out to be a blockage of sorts and was a really easy fix. We now know where the drain for the AC pipe is and how to solve any further blockages. (A bit of bleach and an air compressor.) These things happen and I’m glad it’s not a major problem like the one that one of my co-workers has. (Prev. owners never cleaned out filters and thus all pipes are filled with gunk. It’s bad. And an expensive fix.) Replace those air filters at least every few months if not monthly folks. It’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
On Wednesday I came home to feathers, feathers everywhere, along with little bits of dried corn. There was no bird, just a whole lot of evidence that it had been there. Yes, it was another case of cat catching bird.
Our ever skillful Pumpkin brought in yet another live, squawking bird to play with. That cat is a smart one. She knows that if she tries to completely mess with the bird outside, there’s a very good chance that it will escape and fly away, so she brings it inside. The downfall to this is that if one of us is home, the bird will be captured and let outside, which is no easy task but has to be done. That’s what happened yesterday. (The boy is the only one to have dealt with this twice so far. My bird finds have been dead.)
The boy was home and getting ready for work. Right before he was supposed to leave, Punk brought the bird inside. He heard the squawking and the fun cat noises that our little ones make and went to attempt to capture the bird. Punk had cornered it behind our large freezer and the bird had managed to squeeze itself into the motor area. Thankfully, the boy was able to shoo Punk away long enough with the broom to get the bird out from behind the freezer and out the door. Unfortunately, he was not quick enough in shutting Pumpkin inside and she zoomed out and caught the bird again. This time she didn’t bring it in.
The boy didn’t have time to clean up the mess as he was now late for work. Ever so kindly, he called me to let me know what had happened. And so, I came home to lots of feathers and a very loving Punk. (She’s become quite cuddly lately.)
This was bird number 2 this week. Pumpkin came trotting in Tuesday afternoon with a bird and laid it at my feet, all proud. This bird was barely alive and not really moving. Punk had mutilated one of its wings and it was just not doing well. I quickly wrapped it in a bag and threw it in the outside trash can before the girls could do any more damage to it. I say girls, because Gabby was sniffing around. She’s always following Punk around but just doesn’t have the patience to do anything.
This makes bird #5. Three dead birds inside and two “rescued” birds. (In quotes because Pumpkin is quick to recapture.) I’ve lost count of the lizards. (Only the top half of those too. Never the tail.) They’ve only been out for a few months too. The funny thing is, they really just play with the birds and lizards. Their play is just a little rougher than the animals can handle.
Oh, and to whomever is messing with my trash cans (not animals): PLEASE STOP!I don’t like having to go search for my trash can only to find it across the street in the cul-de-sac. Nor does the boy like coming home and having to move the can from the middle of the driveway so he can park. (I put it out the night before) I also did not appreciate having to move my neighbor’s can and recycling bin back to his driveway and moving my can back to its spot on the curb next to my driveway, not in front of it. I don’t know why it got moved there and it was put out early this morning so please stop it. Thanks assholes..