Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Colinism Spelling

Colin still says inventive, funny things.  I love his sentences for spelling homework.  Here are a few gems:

My hair is bald.

I love to look at cat claws.

True or false, do frogs like peanut butter?

Over 1,900 people drowned in the Titanic.

I saw the cat rising on it's legs.

After I went swimming I stripped all of my cloths.

Every person in jail wears a striped shirt.

The mean people were bragging about their trophy.

The stalagmite dripped water droplets off of its end.

No one spotted a seagull at the beach today.

In the cival war many people escaped captivity.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

My poor, withering blog, languishing like a houseplant I've forgotten to water for months.  I have used it recently to look up menus and recipes from the past, and I loved looking back on all the memories.  I don't scrapbook, but I used to blog.

So I am recording this year's epic feast.  We had the largest crowd ever - 21!  We used every plate, fork, and glass, plus some borrowed from Emily.  In attendance were Emily & Ian; Joe, Jimmy, Becky, and Grandma Dulce; Tom & Taylor; Marion & Tony; cousins Terri, Charlie, & Judy; Smith & Noah; Jason; Alex; and the four of us.

The Menu:
Greenburg Turkey!
Cure 81 Ham
Mushroom Dressing
Herb Cream Gravy
Red&Black Rice
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Chachie's Cranberry Relish
Butternut Squash Roasted in Maple Syrup
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze
Creamed Spinach and Artichoke Casserole
Perfectly Steamed Tiny Asparagus
Porter House Rolls

Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie X2
Chocolate Cream Pie
Coconut Meringue Pie
Apple Crumble Pie

When Anna decided to become vegetarian, she said she wanted to make an exception and eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  But now 9 months later, she didn't want any.  She's actually mostly vegan these days, but she indulged in lots of things cooked with butter, eggs, and milk.  I indulged in it all!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh my poor, poor blog.  I did start a post in May about my vivacious Grandmother, and never finished it.  What happened?  Do you care?

May, as previously stated, is horrible for us.  Too many birthdays (4 in my immediate family), anniversaries, graduations, piano recitals, ballet recitals, Mothers' day, etc.

June we decided to move up our long awaited trip to Ecuador.  Which meant I had to get all my shit together to apply for the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry before we left.  That ate up every spare moment of my free time.  I was relieved to get it done!  Mixed messages so far from the Academy while my application is being evaluated.

The last week of June/ first week of July we went to Ecuador.  We were interested in Ecuador as a potential place to retire, maybe even early.  I didn't even know anyone who'd been there when we planned our trip.  Finally in May I met a former Ecuadorian (gone for 20 years) and a few days before leaving, I met a client who went there 2 years ago for a birding trip and was very enthusiastic.

Here's some photos - Anna and I on the top of Mount Cojitambo.

Anna with a large meal.  This one was expensive -- around $5.  Most of the traditional large lunches were around $2.

 Anna and Colin on Cotopaxi, overlooking Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
 Amazing tropical fruits in Ecuador!  Here, Colin poses with a bunch of bananas.
 Me on top of a cathedral in Quito.
 Colin with a hearty lunch - rice, fries/chips, steak, fried egg.  Also came with salad and avocado.
 Mi amor, with his Panama hat.  Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador of local materials.  It's a misnomer.
Ecuador was wonderful.  The weather in the mountains was in the 50s to 70s, as it is year round.  In Texas they suffered a heat wave after we left (108!).  Ecuador is cheap, and friendly.  But it is not Nirvana.  We loved it, and we want to explore more.  More of Ecuador and more of other parts of the globe.   To be continued....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Geez, this is terrible.  My only post last month was on the first.  My only post this month is on the last.  I've been busy, blah blah blah, with work, kids, writing dental reports, choir, teaching Bollywood, etc.

Also, flirting with the E2 Diet.  Have you seen the documentary "Forks Over Knives"?  It presents a lot of evidence for a whole foods, low fat, plant based diet.   The E2 Diet is short for Engine Two Diet - an Austin firefighter got his whole firehouse to go basically animal protein free and watched their cholesterol and weight plummet.  It's tough - no meat, no diary, no added fat.  I can do it about 75% of the time.  My sister Emily is also interested, and Anthony eats the food, too, since he lives with me.  Stuff like this wrap with hummus, sautéed onions and red peppers with fresh spinach tossed in balsamic.

Or this black bean taco with sautéed zucchini and tomatoes.

What has really impressed me is that my parents have also joined in, and are more faithful to the diet than me.  Previously committed meat eaters, they both say they feel better on the diet, and my dad is hoping to eliminate his cholesterol meds.  I am so proud of them for trying something so radically new.

So, here is an easy weeknight Tofu Recipe we enjoy around here a lot, with one of my Dad's favorite ingredients, Teriyaki Sauce!

First, I like to drain my tofu to make it firmer.  This is a large package of firm tofu, diced, and placed on tea towels.

 Put another tea towel on top,
 Then another cookie sheet on top, with a couple of heavy cans or pots on top if it for weight.  Let it drain for about 30 minutes, then toss the tofu with teriyaki sauce.  (Sometimes, if I don't have time to drain the tofu, I skip that step and it turns out fine.  But I like the texture of the drained tofu better.)

 Then spread the teriyaki-glazed tofu on a cookie sheet, lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Place under the broiler for 5-8 minutes.  Then turn them and broil the other side.
 Meanwhile, assemble your veggies.  This night, we had quartered white onions, halved baby brussels sprouts, mushrooms, squash, asparagus, and mushrooms.  Other veggies I like include baby bok choy, cauliflower, and sugar snap peas.  Use whatever you like or got in your farm basket, but I never leave out the white onion!
 Here they are, likewise glazed with the teriyaki, ready for the broiler.
 I like to strategically place the denser veggies in the center, and the more tender veggies on the periphery.  All these veggies were pretty even in size and water density, so they are all jumbled together.  The asparagus I put on another sheet with the stems in the center, and the tips pointed out.  I do the same for the bok choy.  Whatever veg you have, turn it after about 5-10 minutes, until its nicely caramelized on both sides.

Then serve the whole glazed mess on top of brown rice, with a little extra soy sauce or teriyaki on top.  A sprinkle of cilantro is nice, too!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

My Heart Will Go On

We finally got Titanic last weekend from our local library.  It can be hard to locate slightly older movies now that there are no video stores anymore, and I wanted to share this flick with my kids ever since they got interested in Titanic lore a few months ago.

"We get to watch Titanic this weekend!" I told the kids.  They screwed up their faces and said, "We don't want to watch it.  It's too violent!!"  What?  It's not violent, just tragic. (OK I forgot that one guy does get shot.)  Still they were opposed.

I tried a different tactic.  "Anthony, remember when Titanic came out and it was so huge, everyone was talking about it.  And some parents wouldn't let their kids see it because there are boobies in it."  Anna played it cool and said, "Well, I'll let you decide if I should watch it."  Colin remained doubtful.

Saturday night we cued up the movie, and they both sat down to watch.  It's a long show - 3 hours.  Anna got hooked on the love story; Colin was fascinated by the mechanics of the ship.  The kids sank lower and lower on the couch, one curled up on each side of me.

Finally, the ship went down.
"I love you, Jack!" said Rose.
"I want you to promise me you're going to live," said Jack. "And I want you to hold on to that promise."
"You have to pause the movie," said Colin.  "I have to pee."

"Now?!?" said Anthony.
"Yes," said Anna. "I have to go, too!"

So we paused in the middle of the dramatic emotional climax for a potty break.  They both liked the movie, and fortunately no one had nightmares.

Anna got the music for the theme song from her piano teacher.  Titanic lives on...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Benefit Concert

Remember Jump Rope for Heart?  At my kids' school they still do it.  Mostly it seems like a big bribe, all these neat prizes you can win if you raise a lot of money.  And then there's the day when you jump rope in the gym while wearing a red Tshirt.

Kids aren't allowed to go door to door anymore (too unsafe, according to the school) (too embarrassing, according to me).  They are encouraged to ask all their friends and family for donations.  Anna wanted to email everyone in my address book, something I was not cool with either.  My sister Emily and I both donated $5.  I took the donation envelope to work, but everyone I work with makes poverty wages, so that got another $1.

So one day Anna announced she was walking her dog, and started to leave with a stuffed satchel over her shoulder.  "What's in the bag?" I asked.  "N-n-nothing!!!" she stammered guiltily.  "Just show me," I said.

She produced a hand-made poster that said:

"Oh, sweetheart," I said.  "This is great, but you can't go posting your name and address, inviting people to our house, all over the neighborhood."  She was crestfallen.  "We'll think of some other way for you raise money."  Reluctantly, she agreed.

Fast forward to the next Sunday.  I had boxes everywhere, putting Christmas decorations away.  (I don't keep my decorations up that long; its just been that long since I posted).  A polite young man knocks on the door and says, "Hi, my name is Alan G.  Is Anna Martin having a benefit concert today?"

"Um, Anna!  Your friend is here for a concert."  Anna looked sheepish and scared.  She had told some classmates about the benefit concert, but forgot about it after I nixed the posters.  This boy's mother had driven him to our house!  "How long is this going to last?"  he asked.  "Five minutes," I promised, and told Anna she had to follow through.  The boy relayed it to the mom, who was waiting in the car.  I rounded up Colin and some nice neighbor boys who were playing outside.

Anna wasn't exactly prepared, so first she played a song on the piano.  Then while she got herself "ready" Colin played a song on the piano.  Then Anna returned with her song notebook, a spiral full of lyrics she's written herself.  She backed up to the wall looking nervous, took a deep breath, then sang two of her creations.  She did great.  You can tell Taylor Swift is a major influence on her songwriting.  Then Colin came out with a jar that had a post-it note on it that said, "Tips."  Alan put $5 in the jar and left.

I was so proud of Anna!  I don't think she realized it would be that hard to actually throw a Benefit Concert, but she didn't crumple.  Unfortunately, she still didn't raise enough for the prize she wanted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My favorite pasta

 This is my favorite pasta dish, referred to in our house as "Peasant Pasta."  It's made with fresh spinach, asiago cheese, and white beans, dressed with olive oil, balsamico, and fresh garlic.  And this is my favorite shape of pasta for it, because sometimes one bean will lovingly fit inside.
But last week when I made it, the pasta kind of reminded me of Admiral Akbar.

 "It's a trap!"