Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

I'm constantly looking for easy lunches I can throw together, especially if it involves using up leftovers.  Some days I feel inspired, and other days I can't think of a damn thing, so I'm going to try to start documenting them for future reference.  Today I had pinto beans and brown rice that I had cooked earlier (from separate meals).  I love beans and rice, but never quite know how to season it.  Here's what I did:

- started some diced onions sauteing in a bit of grapeseed oil
- added a couple of small cloves of garlic
- threw in some "Better than Bouillon" chicken base*
- once the onions were done, I deglazed with some of the bean cooking liquid I had reserved (which was completely unseasoned) and then dumped in the cold beans and rice.
- I let the liquid cook down a bit while the beans and rice heated, and then dumped the whole thing in a soup bowl.
- I topped with some fresh green onion, fresh cilantro, some low-sodium soy sauce, and hot chili oil

*Chicken broth would have also been good here, but since I did have broth from cooking the beans and didn't want the rest of the broth carton sitting in the fridge, I opted for the base

So I got this awesome looking tomato at the farmer's market this weekend.  Kinda funky looking, like homegrown tomatoes often are.  And it looked *so* good.

So the effing dog decides to grab it off of the counter and eat it.  Now I'm not dumb enough to leave something like a plate of meat up on the counter.  But a tomato?  Who knew?

I'm really pissed about this whole deal with the dogs getting shit off of the counter/table all the time.  I'm not sure what to do about it, either, and I don't really have a good way to block them out of the kitchen (aside from blocking them out of the common living area in general, which doesn't work because they get bored/aggravated with being away from us and get into trouble...besides, if I keep them away from us, what's the point of having them?).

Anyway, I'm not as pissed as I was the time Berry grabbed an entire loaf of bread I had just baked off of the counter and hauled it off into his kennel to munch, but I'm close.

Today is my third day in a row having muesli for breakfast.

Wednesday I made it that morning with rolled oats, and I didn't soak anything ahead of time.  It was tasty, but it did give me some mild digestive issues later.

Wednesday night I covered some rolled oats with apple & lemon juice and soaked them over night.  The flavor was still good, but the oats were mushier than I cared for.  This didn't surprise me, because I like my regular oatmeal less done than most people (and can hardly stand regular rolled oats for oatmeal...I much prefer steel cut oats because they are chewier).

So last night I tried soaking steel cut oats.  They taste good, and still have some chewiness.  However I don't think I used enough of them, so the grated apple & dried fruits I added are completely overpowering the oats.  Still tasty, but it just tastes like I'm eating fruit and yogurt with a background of tasteless chewiness.

But, at least it's healthier than the egg, potato, bacon, cheese, onion, and bean breakfast taco I was really craving. :)

I just finalized the booking for our vacation to Vail the first week of September!

Yes, I know that's not ski season.  While I'd love to go skiing, it's still difficult for us with the kids.  Nathan is only just old enough to try, and not old enough to have endurance.  All those ski lessons and child care gets expensive, so we're just not up for a ski vacation as a family just yet.  We'll get there, though.

However, Vail is where Jim and I met, around this time of year (a little later).  It will be a welcome break from the summer heat, and I'm a forest kind of gal, so I'll be in heaven.  Should be plenty of things to keep both us and the kiddies entertained.  And with a 700 mile drive, we should be able to get there in one day no problem (seeing as how we've done 1000 miles to Austin, although admittedly there is no mountain pass driving involved there).  I've never driven up to Vail from the west side (only from Austin with my family many moons ago), so I'm looking forward to that as well.  I can't wait to pack up our little Prius and jet up there!

Now, to finalize my plans to drive with the boys out to Austin this summer...

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them.

1 Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (well, I'v read part of it...I love the story and I want to like it, but it's so hard for me to get through that I've never finished it)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (ok, so I probably haven't read the whole thing, but I read plenty of it during my church years.  I never read it now, and have no particular plans to change)

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (Hubby says I've read this, although I swear I don't remember it!)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (This one I did read all the way through, but boy was it work!)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams I *hated* this book!!
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery I love the book, but the actress who plays Anne in the movies does such a great job, that I love watching the movies even more.
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert I had to read this in 4th grade, while I was home sick.  I *hated* it!!!
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White Only about 4000 times when I was a kid.  Even though we were almost strictly a library family, my mom ended up buying me a copy so the other library patrons could have a shot at reading this book :)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery Well, I'm reading it with my son now (the English version)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Almost a year since I've posted, and that's all I can come up with.  I spent the day poring through logs on the test servers at work, trying to get my code to work.  I feel like a zombie, like my brain is fried.  For some reason I'm in the mood to post, and yet at the same time I'm too brain-dead to come up with anything interesting to say.

Life is good.  Hot, but good.  Monsoon season already officially started, which is really early.  So we'll be dealing with the humid part of the summer earlier than usual (which means I'll have to run the air as opposed to the evap more, which means higher electric bills for this summer...boo).  We have clouds over the valley right now, along with a smoky haze in the air due to some lightning-induced fire west of town.

Let's see...the most interesting thing I can think of is that I've recently discovered homemade muesli for breakfast.  Soak some rolled oats & chopped nuts/seeds in an acid (I chose unfiltered apple juice with a squeeze of lemon) in the fridge overnight to aid the digestive process; top with yogurt, grated apple, flax meal, and dried fruit the next morning (I like Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend with golden raisins, cherries, cranberries, & blueberries, although I wish it was organic).  Oh, and don't forget the pumpkin pie spice.  The oats were a little soggy for my taste (my palate prefers them soaked for only a few minutes, but then you get the digestive problems), so I'm going to try steel cut oats tonight and see if they retain their chewiness a little better.  I'm a huge oat fan, but somehow when it's 110 out, I just can't cozy up to a steaming bowl of oatmeal, so this cold version is a nice change for the summer.  I also like that I can vary the taste quite a bit by changing up the nuts/seeds, fruit, and soaking liquid.  I'm thinking a bit of candied ginger might add a nice zing sometimes.