First of all - I accidentally scared off the daddy bird this evening - oops! I haven't seen him come back yet, but maybe if I stop sticking my face against the window through the blinds he'll show up.
I am getting ready to tune into Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (the show!) on ABC. He's going to try to transform the "unhealthiest" town in America. I can't wait! I almost feel like he needs Gordon Ramsay with him. Jamie doesn't seem like he could really whip people into shape like Chef Ramsay can. So, Jamie could be the leader and Chef Ramsay could be "the enforcer"! Those people would be slim and trim and eating their veggies in no time! OK - time to hook up the rabbit ears (ha ha ha- I am so behind the times). Jamie's on soon!
Also - Alex has made a total recovery from his chocolate bread encounter. He loves the prescription food he has to eat, and he's been out enjoying the lovely weather the last few days. What a relief!
This sweet little birdie has made one of my flower boxes into her nest! How cool is that? I love getting to see here out there, and I can't wait until her little babies hatch! I'm going to get some birdseed to put out there for her. It doesn't seem to bother her if I open the door or the window, but we're trying not to disturb her so we don't upset her or scare her off (I want to be a good neighbor!). I'm just so happy she's decided to make my balcony her home for a little while.
Yesterday, I came home from work to find that Alex had pigged out on a loaf of chocolate bread that I had stupidly left on the table. I was planning to take the bread to work to share, but Alex thought he needed to try to eat it all himself.
After much difficulty trying to discern exactly how much chocolate he had ingested, I figured out he hadn't eaten a toxic amount. There is a lovely chart in a dog book I have that tells you how much of all the different kinds of chocolate is toxic to your dog, but you still have to figure out many ounces of chocolate was in what they ate, and that sort of thing.
He was fine all last evening and also slept fine through the night. But when we got back from our morning walk, he started acting funny. When he doesn't feel well or he's hurt or something, he gets upset - you can tell something's wrong. So, I was freaking out thinking he was having a delayed reaction and was going to start having seizures at any moment. I called and made him a vet appointment first thing, and off we went. I was having horrible visions of him hooked to IV's and having all his little organs flushed out and having to get oodles of shots and medications. I had definitely worked myself into a state by the time we got there.
Well, after an exam that consisted of taking his temperature (it was a little high), listening to his heart and just checking him over for any swelling or anything, turns out Alex did not have chocolate poisoning. He had pancreatitis. Basically, he ate too much rich food and gave himself an upset tummy. He's a pig, in other words.
The doctor gave him an anti-inflammatory shot there, and he's had to fast all day today. He's absolutely hating that. He also has to take antibiotics to make sure his pancreatitis doesn't lead to any infection or anything and he has to eat special food for two weeks.
That loaf of bread was sooo not worth it!!
**Bad doggie update: I caught Alex with a chocolate bread stash! That stinker had taken a chunk of the bread and hidden it for a snack later! I caught him when he was still trying to retrieve it, so he didn't eat any more of it, at least.
I found this amazing marinara sauce over at Smitten Kitchen. I am a big fan of pasta dishes that contain butter. (Actually, I am a big fan of just about anything with butter!) So, of course, when I stumbled upon this marinara that's made with butter, it was love at first sight! And it's ridiculously easy to make. Even better!! I made this sauce one night for dinner after work. It smelled so good while it was cooking, I kept running over and eating spoonfuls out of the pot.
The sauce turned out beautifully. It was delicious - I ate an embarrassing amount! I ate until I was absolutely stuffed. And then I ate some more. I finished it all off the next day for lunch. This is a great sauce to make for an everyday meal, but it's equally suitable for something more special. It's definitely a no-fuss sauce. Maybe you could throw on a little parm when you serve it, but other than that - it's perfect as-is!
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (the canned tomatoes add saltiness to the sauce)
1 28 oz can San Marzano* whole, peeled tomatoes (my can contained 9 tomatoes, for reference)
Over medium heat, add all three ingredients to a big saucepan (I used a 3 qt). When the butter gets soft and starts to melt, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir the sauce occasionally, and smush the tomatoes as you stir. Remove from heat and toss the onion.
This sauce comes out a little chunky. You could use a potato masher or an immersion blender to make it smoother.
*I think these are the best canned tomatoes, but it's totally ok to use whatever brand you like!
My bedroom walls! I've been on the search for a color to replace the unfortunate smurf-esque shade that is currently gracing my walls. I wanted something more vibrant. After much deliberation and thought - I'm just going to go all out and paint it bright green. I've chosen Benjamin Moore "Baby Fern" - the shade that's used on the walls in the bottom right picture. I can't wait! (I wonder if brighter walls will help me get up on time in the mornings?)
ps - I just learned how to use Mosaic Maker and I can already feel an obsession coming on!
Tonight, I had a raging headache. My original, awesome Meatless Monday plan of this and this was postponed. I ended up baking a yam in the oven and throwing some butter and brown sugar on it. I then proceeded to curl up on the couch with Alex and watch the Golden Girls until bedtime.
We had the nicest weather today we've had since last summer. It was such a beautiful day. Windows were opened, jackets came off, and I was wishing I could be outside. I am always so excited and grateful when the first days of spring finally arrive. After the winter, the sun seems brighter and even though the air is damp and cool, there's the promise of warmth to come. It feels lovely to say "Farewell, Old Man Winter!"
There are two happy campers here tonight. I am happy because my class was cancelled, so I'll get to catch up on my knitting and relax. And Alex is happy because he had leftover rice and chicken broth mixed in with his dog food this evening!
After a rejuvenating weekend, I am happy to report that I am back in the game. I did lots of catching up yesterday around the house. The laundry's caught up, the kitchen is clean, and my stress level is back within acceptable parameters. I made a less ambitious meal plan for this week, and stocked up at the grocery store. I feel better now that my cupboards aren't completely bare! I don't know about everyone else, but I LOVE going to the grocery store. I'm surrounded by food - what could be better than that?
Today is Meatless Monday, and I decided to try a Chana Masala recipe - it's something I've been wanting to take a crack at for quite some time, but I wanted to get the amchoor powder that is used in some recipes. I ordered it here. It's powdered unripe mango - it lends a fruity, sour note to whatever you're cooking. I was intrigued by this and just HAD to have it for my Chana Masala. I served it all over long-grain brown rice with a garlic naan. The recipe I used called for 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a hot green chili pepper. I used around 1/8 of a teaspoon of the cayenne and didn't use the chili pepper at all - and it was still too hot for me, although I do have a pretty low tolerance in the spicy department. So, while this was pretty good, it didn't quite hit the spot. I'll be adding a dollop of creme fraiche when I eat the leftovers, to make it a little more creamy and mild. I looked around online and it seems like there's an incredible amount of variation between recipes. I'll start bookmarking some that look less spicy. I'm determined to master this recipe. I am still working on perfecting beef stroganoff, but this will be next in line for my "test kitchen". I haven't had a real hit in the kitchen in quite some time it seems like *wipes away large tears*, but I'm stepping up to the challenge. I don't have any new recipes on tap for the rest of this week. I'll be continuing to tweak my beef stroganoff and eating lots of salads and leftovers.
In other news, we're finally seeing signs of spring around here. I couldn't be happier about that! We change the time next week, which means more light in the evenings. Soon we will be saying farewell to the loooooongest winter, and hello to the sunshine!