Thursday, March 31, 2011


This morning I got up a little late and a little sore from Judo, but it was the good "I did something" soreness. Beautiful, if cold, Spring morning outside. Wobbled into the bathroom and started waking up, until I walk around some on cold mornings my achilles tendons are like steel cables. Find out from my darling wife that she is going to take the little one to daycare since she is off work and they can all sleep in. Take a nice hot shower, mosey around the bathroom getting dressed and brushing my teeth. Look in the mirror and remark to myself that I'm looking pretty sharp today. Say good bye to my wife, walk through the game room where the futon is filled with three teenaged girls like puppies in a cardboard box. Get myself a bowl of cereal, grab a glass of Mountain Dew, remark to myself how much cleaner the glasses are getting since we changed dish soap. Grab my book, 30 pages till the end of the series, I can knock this out and head on into work. Go to sit in my reading chair and dump the cereal in my lap.

Half an hour later I run out the door late for work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Home Cooking

Through my step daughters' comments and the comments of their friends I have started to realize something that seems weird. My wife and I are odd because we cook more often than we don't, and as a rule the family eats together at the table. About a two years ago I answered a survey about eating habits, and at that time we were eating about 18 meals a week not at a restaurant, and at least 12 meals a week as a family. I believe that the smallest category was 1-2 meals a week at home, and no meals together at the table. I can't imagine that.

My 13 year old step daughter seems to have no friends who's mothers cook that she's mentioned. They can take something out of a box and cook it, but that's it. So, it's not the fact that we make our own yogurt, or can, or pickle, or have a garden that makes us freaky, it's the fact that we cook and eat meals together!

We don't have huge conversations about every one's day at dinner, with two teenage girls we're lucky to get anything but grunts to answer "How was school today?", but we do sit together and share some time and some food together. We might talk about the weather today, or something we are doing on the weekend. But we are together.

More after the break, text walls make Sad Panda sad.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge - Cardamom

This month's challenge almost caused me to drop out of the challenge.  Believe it or not, I have NEVER used Cardamom!  Really!  I have looked at many recipes that call for it and almost bought it for a recipe one of my girls wanted to take to school but the cost prevented me from taking that leap.  Enter the Spice Rack Challenge!  Do I buy something that is really not in my budget for one recipe and maybe never use it again?  I checked my local grocer and only found it in the prepackaged spice jars for about $10 so thought I might pass.  My one chance was if we had enough time to stop by Whole Foods today.  Surely they would have it in their bulk section.  Not only did we have time but they had it in pod form which was my preference.  I grabbed a few pods and after wandering around the store and picking up a number of items we didn't need but wanted, we proceeded to checkout.  The weight of my pods were too small to register so the checkout lady gave them to me - GAVE them to me.  This is why I shop at Whole Foods, not for free stuff but because the people are so nice.  Of course I did only pick up about 10 pods but it is the idea.  For reasons like this I never hesitate to donate when they have some sort of drive going on.  Sorry for the long winded story but this challenge is doing more than getting people to use up what is in their pantry but to step out of their box and try new things.  So now that I have my Cardomom, what to make.  I searched online and found the perfect item.

Cold Strawberry Soup - serves 4

1 1/2 lb strawberries
14 oz sour cream
4 oz sugar
4 oz cold water
4 oz orange juice
Pinch of ground cardamom

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and pureed.  Chill until ready to serve.

Results?  I thought it was nice and refreshing and would be good on a hot day as a starter with a salad.  Woodman and my eldest did not really like it, they felt it had a medicinal taste.  I'm glad I tried and will have it again, just may not make enough for the whole family