Monday, October 30, 2006

National Drive Like an Asshole Day

Today I am declaring "Drive Like an Asshole Day." It seems every other driver on the road has a serious bug up their ass, are mentally challenged or lacking even the basic knowledge of how to drive a freaking car. Seriously. Did someone put something in the water? Is there going to be a full moon?

My commute to work usually takes a half-hour - that is from the time I leave my driveway till I actually sit down at my desk. Not today my friends. I get on the highway of hell and come to a snail pace at the overpass. From that point it takes me an HOUR to get from the overpass to my parking garage. Why? Because serveral people suffered serious brain farts today. The first was an accident where I have to exit for work - this exit is approximately 3 miles from where I was on the overpass. So I am in the middle lane not moving an inch and noticing that the left lane is whizzing on by me. What the hell? I can't understand it - the left lane is closed up by my exit so why is it moving along --- oh. Some piece of crap car broke down in my lane up ahead and no one can get over to the left lane to pass it because the dickheads on the left won't play nice. I spy an opening, put on my blinker and head to the left lane in front of a truck, who gets pissed that I cut in front of him. Suck it asshole - people need to get around this car - so I let 3 cars stuck behind the broken down piece of crap in front of me. HA! Take that Mr. Truck butthead who was driving way to fast in a 4 lane highway backup guy.

I crawl along and somehow get stuck behind an old lady that thinks she must leave 3 car lengths in front of her at all times in a highway backup. OMG the urge to get out and just bitch slap her. Well then she decided it is time to get over to the right lane and was apparently really nervous doing so since she didn't TURN ON HER BLINKER and just sat there hoping someone would let her in or there would be THREE car lengths of room for her to get over. At this point I am just shaking my head and saying the serenity now prayer (by the way, it didn't work).

I finally reach my exit - now this exit is tricky. You have the people (me) that have the right-a-way and on the right people coming off the other highway needing to merge in with my lane. As if that isn't bad enough, you then have the bone heads that try to squeeze in from the left at the last minute to make the exit. Everyday is a day in patience at this exit. I made it through! At the end of the exit I notice that everything is all freaking screwed up under the bridge? What the hell! Oh. People all of sudden decided NOT TO STOP AT THE RED LIGHT that are coming from the left and are blocking the intersection so people coming off the highway can't get in. This is the first time in the nine years of driving to work I ever seen this happen. What the hell! As if that wasn't bad enough, people are switching lanes - I want left - wait no right - shit - no I was left. Is there a convention in town? Is that why no one knows where the hell they are going?! I can't believe that I didn't have a stroke from the road rage I was experiencing or the sheer fact I didn't kill someone.

The moral of the story? Feel free to flip anyone the bird and express your road rage for it is National Drive Like an Asshole day.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sugar Comma

Today was a super crappy day with the wind and rain. So being stuck in the house I got the itch to bake and I went a wee overboard. So much so that if I even look at another cookie I just might puke.

The last 3 hours were spent making "Bloody Fingers" and "Pumpkin Oatmeal" cookies from Yeah that Vegan "Shit" blog. She has the best recipes on her blog! The bloody fingers were a blast to make and turned out great. My husband said they looked a little too 'real' and didn't think he could eat one. Ha! He did LOVE the pumpkin oatmeal cookies and I must agree with him. These things are the freakin' frackin' bee knees. Hence while I am feeling a little sick to my stomach - ate - too - many - cookies - - - - experiencing - fat - hanging - over - jeans ---- groan.

Tonight we are under a winter storm warning. Great. Just great. They are calling for 60 mile per hour winds and snow showers. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Bill and I were supposed to run a 5k Halloween run and get this...he still wants to go! Huh? I told him good luck because my butt isn't going to be running in that kind of weather. On second thought after all the sugar I ingested today I should run no matter what!!

Success!!

Oh yea baby! I made a killer Tortilla soup on Friday thanks to a recipe from my "125 Vegetarian Slow Cooker" cookbook by Judith Finlayson. The flavor blend was wonderful and the toppings of avocados, crunchy tortilla and sour cream made it so freakin' good that I sucked down the first bowl in about 5 seconds and had to have a second bowl (shucks) to really get the true essence of the soup. Okay that is total bullshit, I just wanted to make a pig of myself and have 2 bowls.

Recipe was pretty easy to make and you can make most of it the night before, which I did. In the a.m. I just added the vegetable broth and turned on the crockpot. Viola!

Tortilla Soup with Corn and Chilies -

**This soup can be partially prepared the night before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 through 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, continue cooking as directed.

1 dried New Mexico chili pepper
2 cups boiling water
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp grated lime zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 can (14 - 19 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, including juice
6 cups vegetable stock
1 can (4.5 oz) mild green chilies, drained
2 cups corn kernels, thawed if frozen
3 tortillas, perferable corn, cut into 1 inch strips
Vegetable oil
1-2 avocados, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Finely chopped red onion
Sour cream (optional)
Finely chopped cilantro

1. In a heatproof bowl, soak chili pepper in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and discard stem and soaking water. Set aside.

2. In a dry skillet, over medium heat, toast cumin seeds until they release their aroma and just begin to turn brown. Transfer to a mortar or a spice grinder and grind coarsely. Set aside.

3. In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring until softened. Add garlic, reserved cumin, oregano, lime zest, salt, peppercorns and reserved New Mexico chili and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a food processor along with beans and 1 cup tomato liquid and process until smooth.

4. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. If you prefer a smooth soup, add remaining tomatoes to food processor and process until smooth; otherwise, chop coarsely before adding to slow cooker stoneware.

5. Add vegetable stock. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours, until mixture is bubbling and flavors are combined. Stir in mild green chilies and corn. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15-20 minutes, until corn is tender.

6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush tortilla strips with oil, place on baking sheet and bake 4 minutes per side, until crisp and golden.

7. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls, lay tortilla strips across surface and top with chopped avocado, red onion, sour cream, if using and cilantro.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Recipe failures

What the hell is wrong with me? Why did my brothers get all the Martha Stewart genes and I got the shaft and got the Sandford and Son gene? This week has been very disappointing in the kitchen. Last night I attempted to make a not-so-chicken salad and it was gross. No other word to describe it. I used TVP and too much vegetable broth and probably several other f'up's. It was so disappointing! I was all hyped up to eat it at lunch, took a bite and immediately wasn't hungry anymore. WTH?! Why does it have to be so hard!!

Hold the whining train. I did make a yummy pasta on Sunday so I am not a total bone head. It was an artichoke and sun-dried tomato penne. Had a ton leftover for lunch on Monday and I ate the ENTIRE huge bowl of leftover. I practically crawled in the bowl to lick the sides. Half of me believes it was because it was so damn good, but in reality I think it was due to the fact I was about to start my 'ladies days' and would eat the bark of a tree.

This week I am going to attempt to make a Tortilla soup that is in my Vegetarian slow cooker cookbook. It sounds delcious and man I hope it is because I need a pick me up - a culinary ego boost if you will.

Other news - Sally my oldest greyhound had her 6 mth old lady check-up. She was checked over from snout to tail and violated several ways. Poor girl. She still hasn't forgivin' me yet. At the ripe age of 11 she is going strong and is the most active dog in our pack! Damn if she isn't cute too. I will have to post some pics of the crew wearing their winter pj's. John looks like Vinnie Babarino from Welcome Back Carter with his pj's on. Ha!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Due to the Graphic Nature

This past Thursday was my Broncoscopy, finally (it was cancelled twice before). For some reason on Wednesday I just had a weird feeling about it. I was kidding around with my co-workers about how if I die they had to figure out all the paperwork on my desk and they better give a kick-ass funeral. Humor is how I deal with uncomfortable situations or odd feelings that I get sometimes. I just knew something weird was going to happen, but what am I supposed to do, cancel the procedure because I was feeling a little hinky about it?!

I should of known things were going to be 'hinky' when the nurse, God love her, was trying to get the IV in my arm and couldn't get the vein. For about 5 minutes she is rooting around with the needle because she can see and feel the vein, but it is so deep in my arm she can't get the needle in it. Yes, it hurt like a bitch but I didn't say anything except to crack a couple jokes. Helps me not cry. Another nurse was called in and managed to get the IV in my other arm.

With a Broncoscopy they only give you two types of drugs - one to relax you, but keep you awake, yes, awake. The other is to help with any pain from having the camera shoved down your nose into your lungs. Ummmm - can I have a double dose of both please? The whole staying awake during the procedure had me totally freaked out. I don't want to be awake, I don't want to watch, I don't want to know anything! Nothing! Nada! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Oh wait! I forgot about the numbing shit-tasting stuff to numb your nose and throat. Lets start with that....

They wheel me in the room for the procedure. There is a wonderful nurse named Mary, who if it wasn't for her I would of gone into a full blown panic attack, a respiratory therapist who had the personality of a plant, and some guy named Igor, whose job it is to take x-rays and my doc - Doc El Bayati.

Doc comes in and proceeds to put the foulest, nastiest gel and liquid shit down my nose and throat. OMG it was disgusting. What I don't understand is that people make billion dollars a year in medicines, but they can't come up with something that doesn't taste like liquid tin foil. Nasty. This stuff is to numb the throat and nasal passages. By the way, I never realized how hard it is to swallow when your throat is numb. Anyway, during the time I am swallowing above meantioned foulness, they are giving me the happy drug. Trust me when I say I wasn't that happy.

Here comes Johnny!!!!! Down goes the scope. Somewhere, I don't know where, but it started to hurt - maybe around the vocal cords - I don't know, I started to cry. Tears just rolling down the side of my face. Anyone that knows me, knows I RARELY cry. The doc tells me I doing great and they give me more pain meds. Thank God. Next thing I remember is looking up and seeing something like a steel fishing line that he is putting down the scope. I am wondering what the hell that is? I quickly found out. This contraption has given me nightmare's for the past couple days. I watch as he YANKS as hard as he can on this device to pull something out of my lung. Now it didn't hurt, but I could feel it. Weird. What is he doing? Getting biospy's - a couple of them. After that I remember watching him push a ton a liquid down into my lung. This I remember because I start coughing, and coughing, and coughing. Totally freaky!!!

Finally, they are done. They sit me up and ask how I am feeling. Ummmmmm....can't breathe. Seriously, can't breathe. So I am starting to panic a little, they are starting to panic a little. They keep asking me if I am in any pain. Sorry, can't talk right now because I CAN'T BREATHE. It was horrible and incredibly scary. I could barely talk in a whisper because I just could get my breath. They order an emergency x-ray. Igor is the only person in the room to do the x-rays - Doc and Mary are outside talking about what the hell is going on. Igor sits me straight up - wrong thing to do. Not only can I not breathe, now I am ready to pass out. I am waving my arms at him, trying to talk to tell him I am light headed and about ready to faint - "You'll be okay, it will be just a minute" WHAT THE HELL?!?! Anyone who has fainted knows the feeling - the blackness that comes from the side of your head and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to lay down and the sweat storm that starts. Igor opens the door, Mary and Doc take one look at me and now they look like they are about ready to panic. I am whiter than a sheet and clammy. They lay me down and I feel a little better. Still can't get my breath and coughing, but now I am not going to faint.

Obviously something is wrong and this is not normal. What is normal is that you can go home an hour after the procedure. Ha! Not for me today my friend.

I was having pain under my breast and along with the breathing trouble it looked like, at least on the x-ray, that I had a tiny air bubble outside my lung. Ouch!!!! It was going to go one or two ways. The air bubble was going to get bigger and I would need a chest tube or it was going to get smaller and I could go home. After hourly x-rays until 7:30 p.m. the air bubble finally decreased and I could go home. HURRAY! Thank you Jesus. I was schedule to come in the next morning for another x-ray to make sure it was gone.

I called my two best peeps to let them know the scoop and of course they are freaking. I love them. I keep telling them I am okay, everything is okay, don't worry, etc. There was nothing they could of done anyway. Geesh! Well Trac insisted on driving me to the hospital for my x-ray the next day - Jen was insisting that Trac taking me to the hospital the next day. Like I said, they are the best peeps ever! I am so glad Trac did because I don't think I could of done it alone because I was soooooo tired. After Bill and I got home from the hospital on Thursday I was so freaked out that I wasn't going to wake up that I couldn't sleep. Didn't get an ounce of shut-eye.

Friday morning Trac took me to the hospital, kept my mind off the x-ray and made me the best damn pumpkin muffins ever! Yum. The x-ray came back perfect - Trac took me home, I slept the rest of the day and feel like a normal person again. Woooooo hoooooooooooooooo!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

OH YEA BABY!!!

My chili WON!!! My Shock'N' Y'all Chili (vegan) won BEST NON-TRADITIONAL CHILI!

Monday, October 16, 2006

In the beginning


This is a picture of the start of my final version of the chili I made for the cookoff tomorrow. Doesn't it look yummy! What you are seeing is some onion, garlic, green pepper and long red sweet pepper simmering in some olive oil.

I added all the spices (chili powder, chili paste, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper and few other things I can't remember and let all that cook together. Then I threw in a big can of fire roasted organic tomatoes, a bottle of Corona (hey it tasted so freakin' good while I was drinking it so I figured what the hell), and then I added beans, beans, beans and more beans (black, chickpea, kidney, butter and great northern). Of course I couldn't leave out the cashews! Personally, I think everything should have cashews in it. Love 'em!

It looks damn good and tastes damn good. I am happy with it. Screw everyone else :-)

30 Rock!

Last Friday I get a call from an Newhouse alum that worked in my office when he was in school. Just the nicest guy, and funny! He reminded me a lot of my brother Pat who passed away 2 years ago. I always felt that if Pat never got sick he would be a lot like Eric. Since Eric graduated he has been working for NBC and is currently working with Tina Fay and for the show '30 Rock' on Wednesday night! He even had a teeny part on the preimer! And I missed it!! Damn. Anyhoo, I am going to have to tape ATM so I can watch 30 Rock. So far I've heard it is pretty funny and I want to keep Eric employed.

Just gotta share

It has been awhile since I posted some pictures of the pups. We took these the other day and I just had to put them on my blog. This first one is of Wilson. We dogsat Wilson while Wendy was in Dewey. Of all the dogs that have come through our house, Wilson is the first to actually sit in this recliner. Just look at him! He is just so goofy.

It has been very chilly the past couple weeks and our dogs love to lay up in the front room in the 'sun' spots. Even on the coldest days the sun comes in and makes our living room nice and toasty. We pulled three beds up in front of the window and here is the result.


Sunnin' on a chilly fall afternoon.

This is also pretty much what every room in our house looks like, full of dog beds and blankets. No furniture, well one couch, but they hog that every night. It is a house totally catered to our hounds. One day, it will look like a grown-up house.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Veggie galore!

This weekend I went a little overboard at the farmer stands. It seems there are such lovely things in season now and all the mom and pop farm stands are just overflowing with garden fresh goodness!! There is a little place about 3-4 miles from my house that you can go to and pick your own pumpkins and cut your own collards - which were absolutely HUGE!! I stopped by and picked up some pumpkins, 2 different types of squash, fresh out of the ground beets, sweet potatoes, still on the stalk brussel sprouts, cabbage, red pepper, green pepper and purple pepper, spanish onions, few red onions and eggplant. It was a rainbow of health.

Last night I make spicy tofu & eggplant stir-fry. Holy Mary Mother of God it was SPICY! Next time I need to cut waaaaaaaaaay down on the chili paste. It was very good, but I couldn't eat most of it because it made me want to rip my tongue out and dip in a cold glass of soy milk. However I am very proud to announce this was my first experience making eggplant. Normally I just order and have someone else worry about preparing it, but not this time. My time had come to step up the plate. I peeled it and let it 'sweat' for about an hour and rinsed it really well. It was damn good and really soaked up the spicy flavor - there were like little fire bombs.

Next I had to make something for lunch so I decided to tackle the beets. Now I have never had beets. Yes, you read that right. Never. I always thought them to be sort of gross looking and never thought to try them, but I decided I needed to grow-up and give them a try. Boy are they messy to make! Beet juice everywhere!!! The recipe I was making was a roasted beet salad - very easy. Beets, olive oil, balsamic, spanish onion, garlic, salt and pepper (i think that is everything). It called for mint, but I don't really care for mint so I left that out. I tossed everything together and threw it in the oven for about 1.5 covered till the beets were tender. I will report on how it turned out today.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Crazy Day!

First let me say I miss my buds, Trac and Jen. They are at this moment at Greyhounds Reach the Beach in Dewey Beach, DE enjoying sun and sand. It is weird to not have our traditional 100 emails flying to and fro and the 20 phone calls to each other to talk about what I don't know. However I have to say that since they haven't been around I have gotten a butt load of work done. I hate that!

Today is Homecoming and I just caught a little break before I pick up an alum and students to head out to lunch. We are going to Redfields and I hope they have vegetarian dishes. Will report back on that. This morning I had to rush another alum back to her hotel to get her wallet that she forgot and when we got to my van she noticed my "GO Vegetarian" sticker and said "I am a vegetarian too!!!" Very cool.

Before I forget. My chili that I thought didn't turn out that good was actually pretty good! What it needed was to sit in the frig for awhile. I brought it to work and everyone loved it. Maybe I am on to something?!

Okay back to smooozing!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tricky chili!

I made two batches of chili yesterday, which both came out very disappointing. The first one had the heat, but didn't look very appetizing. The second, looked more appealing, but didn't have enough 'umph'. Sigh. This is going to be harder than I thought! I was going to take pictures of the aftermath in the kitchen, but was to embarassed to put it up on my blog. Cans, spices, bowls, spoons, food, everywhere!

The first batch I marinaded the seitan in the hot and spicy sauce and that is where the heat came from and it had a nice flavor. The second batch did not have the hot and spicy sauce, but had LOTS and LOTS of beans and beer. However, it didn't have any wow or punch to it. Very bland even after adding lots of different spices. Hmmmmm..... The next batch will have to have the hot and spicy sauce in there and maybe a better beer. Trac suggested cashews and green peppers (I forgot to get some at the store).

On to the next test batch....

Third time a charm?

Today my bronc scope was cancelled again. Again, I am not disappointed. The doc had an emergency and had to get to Boston. So maybe the third time will be the charm.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Gift Shop

I know this is heavy blogging about the same topic, but this is the last one. I went a little crazy in the gift shop -


Farm Sanctuary Part 2..

It seems I have to break up the pictures in order to fit everything.

Our last stop on the tour was my favorite! I can't stop thinking about the pigs. I want to adopt a pig. I want to go to a farm and steal a pig to take to a santuary. I want to knock people down in the parking lot or grocery isle when I see them walking out or looking at pork loins and/or bacon. I want to bitch slap people in the face with a strip of bacon. Here is why...

Just look at this face!! Happy, contented face. This was after I gave her a big belly rub! I could of done that all day and I think she would of let me. I love these pigs. When I walked in, they reminded me so strongly of my greyhounds. I will NEVER eat pork again. Never. This picture I am printing out and putting on my refrigrator as a reminder.

Animals: Happy and Content - the way God intended.

Farm Sanctuary

Yesterday, Trac, Andrew, Wendy, Judy and I headed out to Farm Sanctuary in Glenn Falls, NY. It was disturbing, incredibly sad and joyful day.

We get there and it is FREEZING!! All of us didn't expect it to be that cold, but we weren't detoured from seeing the animals and listening to the message of the sanctuary. Here is a picture of Trac, Wen and Judy waiting for the tour to start:



We are at the "People Barn" that held a gift shop and some disturbing information, such as this:

This is a gestation crate for pig. It reads - " Breeding pigs live in a constant cycle of impregnation, birth, & re-impregnation. They spend years in gestation crates where they cannot walk or even turn around"

This damn near brought me to tears. How do people honestly think that is right?

They show us a 5-minute video about the mission and some of the abuse cases that come in to the sanctuary before we head off for a tour. In 5 minutes I was so horrified at what the farming industry does to animals to make money. It makes me sick, angry and sad all at the same time. The worst for me is finding out what they do to chickens and turkey's. The de-beaking is an image I will never get out of my head, and when people tell me, well I don't eat beef, just chicken or fish, I will have something to tell them. Eating chicken to me now, is JUST as bad as eating beef.


Friday Night out

Friday night Trac picked me up from work early so we could hit a couple Asian markets to look for some chili spices for my veggie chili before we headed out to met Jen . I may have gotten a wee bit carried away. I couldn't help it! Some of the stuff just looked so damn interesting and I figured it wouldn't hurt to have them in my aersonal of spices. Right?! So here is what I got...I am so excited and I will not use all of these in my chili...omg can you imagine if I did!!!

Lao Gui Yang Chili Sauce: This stuff looks like pure fire ass! Ingredients: vegetable oil, cayenne, peanut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cashew kernels, walnut meats, other condiment. Hmmmmmm....interesting.

Hot & Spicy Marinade (Korean BBQ Sauce): Special blend of Korean pear and apple. Ingredients: Red Pepper paste, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Red Pepper Mix, Apple Puree, Pear Puree, Water, Salt, Garlic, Rice Wine, Black Pepper Power, Ginger extract, Sesame, Paprika Oleoresin and Capsicom Oleresin (whatever the hell that is).

Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste: Ingredients: Chili, Salt and Distilled Vinegar.

Sweet Chili Sauce: Ingredients: Tomato, long pepper, sugar, salt, mushroom extract.

And finally, some really good Soy Sauce. Don't know the name because it is in written all in Koren.

We bought our stuff and away we went to meet up with Jen for some letterboxing. I am happy to report that ALL of Jen's boxes were re-hidden well! Whew! So she decided to keep them out on the trail. It was a great night to letterbox, be it a wee bit cold. Okay, I was freezing my ass off.

Since the medical profession has taken it upon themselves to screw with my thyroid I am all messed up. First I was HYPERthyroid and couldn't take any of the medication to treat it because of allergic reactions so they had to get rid of my thyroid by radioactive treatment, which I did, grudgingly. NOW I am heading down to HYPOthyroid, which means, until they get me on medication (hopefully next week or two), I suffer from the following: Lack of tolerance to the cold. When other people are comfortble I feel like someone standing in a bikini in the middle of the artic - severe muscle cramps, which one hit while we were letterboxing. I get them in the upper hamstring - butt area. Holy Mary Mother of GOD does it hurt! You know the kind of hurt that leaves you speechless and makes you want to vomit and/or pass out. Damn I can hardly wait till those go away. Then there is the hair loss. Great. Just lovely. I have been using a special combo of hair products that are working to keep it at bay. And irritability. :-) I was a bitch before (I say proudly) but this type of bitchness goes up to the level of people scattering to get the hell out of my way...which I kind of like. Anyway, that is my ramble on hypothyroid. In the next couple weeks I will be on medication and I should go back to my jolly bitchy self !

After letterboxing we headed out to get some dinner at a Mexican place. It was pretty damn good! All of us had the veggie burrito and even Jen is re-thinking her stance on Mexican food. She didn't like it before because it was too spicy. Afterwards, we sat around and argued, just for the sake of arguing about everything. It was great! See the three of us enjoy getting together, talking, gossiping and debating this or that. We laugh and want to kill each other, then laugh some more. The three of us have such a strong bond that we can do this and still want to talk to each other the next day. That my friends is true friendship.