Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hubby vs. ex-boyfriend

I have been loading up the ipod in lieu of my trip for tomorrow, and I very carefully asked Erich if he would sync up a cd an old boyfriend made for me with lots of cute songs like "Brown Eyed Girl" and "My Girl" and whatnot. They're good songs! I love my husband, and there's no reason I can't enjoy some classis love songs, especially if we already have the recordings for free. He put them on, but then furtively renamed the disc " I'm naming the garbage disposal -insert name of ex-boyfriend-here".

How charming. Apparently he got the idea from his father.

I guess it's fair enough. :P

Tiny loaves of bread!

I'm heading out tomorrow! I bought some decent gloves since I expect to be outside quite a bit; I packed my bags; I bought some food to pack in a little cooler and take with me. I'll probably still buy dinner, but I want to be able to travel and work without worrying about going out for overpriced fast food. Fresh veg, apples, a tub o' almond butter and a loaf of mixed grain bread. The bread didn't rise well, so it's tiny, which is disappointing to me. I like big poofy loaves, but I suppose having squat loaves is good for my ego. Or something.

I made some granola to take with me, and left to rest for Erich, which he is currently eating with a big soup spoon (oats, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and brown rice syrup/barley malt for sweetening). I like that he likes it so much. Also that he has to eat it with a big manly spoon instead of his fingers like the rest of us. :-P Hehe. I always intend to keep it as a breakfast cereal for the upcoming week but it never seems to last that long.

I'm looking forward to visiting my sister in law and my other friends in MN! Also to, you know, volunteering for a political leader that I think has the potential to change the direction of our country. Nothing big. :)

I'll be blogging about my experiences while I'm out (granted it's only a week, but I think it'll be a great time) and hopefully this will catapult me into my next adventure.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

rosemary foccacia and fresh pea soup

Dinner tonight was almost an accident; I was planning on making pea soup for the past few days with some of the frozen chicken broth I made a week ago with the bones from an easy grocery-store rotisserie chicken. This chicken proved to be a pretty good deal, as we got 1) the original meal from it 2) the bone pickings mixed with rice/beans/pepper sauce for a quick leftover meal and 3) the 3 pints of chicken broth I made from the bones. I froze the broth in pint jars my mom gave me a couple years ago. I love it because it has a mild but rich flavor without all the sodium found in store bought broth.

You know, I realize that for most people, buying broth to make soup is considered homemade, whereas here I am parsing the merits of home-boiled vs. store bought. I am so blessed. (By whom or what, I'm not sure, but that's for another post). Also I am happy I found another rare way for Erich to enjoy vegetables, as he really liked the soup. It's such a bright spring green color after blending, it makes me once again wonder what is in commercially produced soups to make them so dark and dreary.

* A quick side note: the minute peas are picked, they start losing their freshness (something to due the sugars in them, I don't know exactly how it works), and canning only exacerbates the process. Frozen peas are a great alternative if you are out of season as they are nearly just as fresh, as freezing suspends the ripening process. (Check the ingredients: I love it when they just say :peas. That's it. ) I suppose that's probably where the color disparity comes in...?

Anyway! A few sauteed onions, some garlic, a generous scoop or two of frozen peas and 2 pints broth boil up quickly. Blend in three parts ( and hang on tight to the blender! the hot steam puts a lot of pressure on the blender lid) and mix in the leftover half/half from last night's creme brulee. Add cracked pepper and cumin, pair with the rosemary/red onion focaccia bread I made today.

Some people work on cars or computers or go to the gym on their day off. I bake bread. I've never tried foccacia before, and it turned out pretty well. I made two loaves; the first was spread too thin and turned out a bit crusty, but the second was better proportioned and fluffed-up nicely. I have a few ideas as to improve the next attempt, so hopefully one of you is around then!

Of course, being that I am currently unemployed, I also slept in, read a book, drank some good coffee, played some guitar hero (yes, a video game that actually holds my attention for more than 15 minutes!) and tried to finangle some sleeping arrangements for the upcoming few days in MN. Please don't hate me! The last few days have been so relaxing, and my previous job was so stressful, that I have yet to regret quitting my job. I've also renewed my excitement to pursue bakery work after reviewing some of the fabulous recipes in 'By Bread Alone', a bread-baking book my friend Nat got me.

I figure that once I do get into this field, I'll be rising at the crack of dawn, so I'd better sleep in when I can! Oh, I also began researching washers/dryers since we are hoping to invest in some very good energy efficient ones after we move at the end of Feb. I plan to set up clothes' lines in the summer, but I still want a dryer for the winter. Maybe if we have a lot of room I could set up lines inside during the winter...I guess we'll see. I know some people do it successfully. This is all part of this whole living-my-values campaign I'm engaging, slowly but surely.

*I edited the rest of this post, it was getting too long and rambly. :-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

romantic dinner

I'm particularly proud of the dinner I made tonight! I cleared all the junk off my little table I had until a few weeks ago been using as a homework desk, piled it up on the floor and pulled it out into the living room. I set up a proper table with place setting and candle holders and all that (first time use for some of these wedding gifts!) and had romantic dinner with my husband. Well, as romantic as it can be in our little apartment, but since we normally eat dinner on the couch for lack of a dining room, it was a considerable step up).

Appetizer: crusty homemade flax bread with blood orange olive oil/fig-infused balsamic vinagrette
(My favorite homemade bread so far-mixed white/whole wheat flour with ground flax mixed in- it rose beautifully and got all poofy. Yea! It even has a crust, which is a first for me.)

Main course: mixed greens with red onion, capers, and bacon bits (this is a bit out of character but it made Erich laugh because I usually fight bacon bits tooth and nail) drizzled with olive oil and a raspberry vinagrette reduction sauce. I had fun drizzling it on the plate and pretending I ran my own restaurant, except it didn't look nearly as cool.

Salad was topped with sauteed tilapia and herb-encrusted goat cheese medallions, as Erich named them. This involved chilling the goat cheese, slicing it into little flat discs, coating with herbed bread crumbs, and chilling some more until frying in a pan. I'm trying to recreate something I had in a restaurant, and while it didn't really turn out (as you can imagine they got a little mooshy in the frying pan) they still tasted damn good on the salad after I scooped them out of the pan. Next time I will try baking them, I think.

Dessert: white chocolate creme brulee, which we made from a little box mix, and of course we had to have a competition over who could use the tiny kitchen torch to melt the topping sugar the best. It was a tie! (Not really). He tends to burn the sugar but he gets a better crackle when he breaks it, so it evens out. (Not really).

The best part about this meal was almost all of it was already in the house today; we pick up these little things like creme brulee mixes and then save them for special occasions. Then we forget they are in the cupboard and buy more. And so forth. Since we're moving soon, I've been trying to use up things in the house. All I had to get today was the salad mix, cheese, and heavy cream for the dessert.

Oh, also, a glass each of the most excellent St. Nick's Port from our honeymoon. Perfect.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm going to Minnesota!

I'm going to Minnesota to volunteer for the Obama campaign! I am so excited! I leave on friday and am planning on staying through Super Tuesday (Feb 5). I have found a place to stay for mon and tues night, but I still need to find a place for fri, sat, sun. At that point I will decide whether to continue to another state or come home. For those who aren't aware, the WI primary is Feb. 19th, so it would make sense for all of you in WI to vote and me to be here to volunteer for that one as well.

By the way, I quit my job. I gave a proper two week notice and did everything right, but now I'm free! They (my former employers) are good people, and I respect the organization, but I was so unhappy in pharmacy. It's time to start living life the way I want, and not the way that false promises tell me I should. I feel like I have to world at my fingertips! I'm living my life instead of watching it go by. Isn't that cheesy? It is, but it feels fabulous.

I'm thinking about bringing a cooler of food with me, mostly containing a loaf of homemade bread, peanut butter, and some fruits and veggies. I don't want to spend a ton while I'm traveling and I also want to maintain healthy eating. Normally I don't eat a lot of nut butters, but since it will likely be my main source of protein (and healthy fats), I think it'll be fine.

I'm planning on writing while I'm there, so stay posted!

For those who are unfamiliar with the Obama campiagn: Barack Obama

I've been irritated by politics ever since I started paying attention; this man represents a real option, a real source of change, a real leader. In this race it's not the lesser of two evils; it's the best chance for this country in years. It's a candidate that can not only rise above the typical games played in Washington, but inspire his peers to do the same. Check out the 'issues' tab for a clear and concise explanation of his stances on the issues that matter to you. Listen to him speak.
Join us!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

miliwaukee hates our car

It seems like every time we go to Miliwaukee our car dies. I think the city hates us. Today Erich spent two hours outside trying to jump our car, only to call Triple A and have them not be able to help. Fortunately a family friend in the city came to our rescue and drove us back home! Thanks Grace and co. ! Regardless it was a fun weekend! We ate a lot of excellent cheeses, drank a lot of excellent wine and had fun with family. Yea for cheese, boo for car troubles. Other than that I'm tired and am going to actually watch a football game for the first time in years, and relax.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

damali ayo

Thursday 1/24/08 damali ayo is speaking at Ripon college (7pm). We're driving down to see her after work (it's free and open to the public!) Anyone who wants to come, let me know!

Check her out! She's also listed on the side of my blog. I particularly like her work because she pushes me beyond the typical polite 'liberal white guilt'. She makes me say 'yes, I still have some learning to do and improvements to make'. She challenges me to rethink my preconceptions. I know that sounds trite, but that's because people usually say it when it's not true. This time it's true.


On a lighter note: I taught myself how to crochet last night. It's much easier than I expected! Of course, I probably shouldn't say too much until I actually finish a project-first Erich wants me to make him a scarf (isn't he cute?) and then I want to make an afghan. Can never have too many of those around. What can I say, I like creating things.

Does anyone know why small loosely linked blankets are called afghans?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Is that spelled with one 's' or two?

I went out and walked around with my aunt Amy tonight while she introduced herself to the residents of her district- she's running for alderman for city council. Mostly I just carried a few extra pamphlets and helped find houses-but it was nice to spend time with my aunt. We had fun too-almost too much since a couple times we passed houses while chatting and had to backtrack.

Primaries are Feb. 19th in Wisconsin! Go vote! (Amy for Alderman!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

great quotes from my husband

"You're a drunken hobo. Stop singing!"

(Me, lying on the couch with a bit too much wine, singing 'ain't no sunshine when she's gone' very only a little enthusiastically. You know, a typical monday night.)

no more pharmacy for KT

I put in my notice at work! YEA! My boss said, " That's sucks. But good for you."

There's never really a good time to quit your why not now? :P

Sunday, January 13, 2008

overnight rising

Last night I tried a new technique for rising a dough- instead of having it in a warm place for 1-2 hours, I left in in the fridge overnight. Obviously it's much slower with the cold fridge, but it has lots of time while I'm sleeping. It worked somewhat-but it only rose about half as much as I'd like, so I still have to let it sit out for a while.

I might still be able to salvage a decent loaf out of it if I can get it to do it's second rising up to par. Also I won't split it in two this time, I'm going to dedicate it all to one loaf.

Also I made pasta (just whole wheat flour, water, olive oil) last night, so now we have 4 and 1/2 portions in the fridge, each portion a generous amount for two people. It actually only took about 5 minutes to make the dough, then let rest for 15, then roll into sheets (about 1/2 hour), then cut into strips (about 15 min) then let dry for ~hour before dividing into portions and freezing. I think next time I want to try making some flavors, like black pepper or spinach. I have a little crank roller that I use for this, btw. It looks like this:

First you roll it into sheets as above and then use the attachment on the other side to cut into strips. You can make it by hand too, by rolling it with a pin and cutting it manually but I have no desire to really try that.

Does anyone else out there spend their weekends making food from scratch? ::sighs::

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Okay, leave it to me to follow up my feminist rant with one about my weight. I'd be lying if I said it didn't bug me that after a week of eating well, avoiding alcohol, and doing yoga nearly everyday I actually gained a pound. Yes, we went all out last night for Erich's birthday (pecan crusted goat-cheese balls with red pear, thai steak, and devil'sfood cake w/vanilla bean sauce), but I know better than to think one meal can have that kind of effect.

Anyway, what I'm taking from this week was that I felt good all week-good about my food choices, good about avoiding alcohol (I'm pretty sure my poor liver appreciated it) and good about the yoga. Slowly but steadily I will make the choices that lead to a stronger, healthier me. It's a fine line, because often there's often the implication that a feminist shouldn't care about her weight-but that's a fallacy. It lends to the stereotype so brilliantly propagated (by those who benefit from women's oppression) that feminists are man-hating, fat, and ugly, and their real beef is that they can't get laid. If we were prettier we wouldn't be so pissed off. My mind and body function as a whole, and the sharpening of my intellect coincides with the sharpening of my body. If I'm feeding myself crap, not only does my body suffer, but my mind slows and becomes clouded.

Of course we all know how much I like wine. But with the unfailing support of my husband I'm changing my life (which I'll write more about as things progress). I don't so much feel like I'm changing but finally respecting myself enough to live the way I want (need) to instead of how I have told myself that I should.

"Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society that you wanted. How would you live, personally, in that society? Start living that way now!"
Paul Goodman (1911-1972) Author and sociologist.

Kind of obvious, right? Yet sometimes I'm oblivious to even the simplest things.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

speaking of books...

Speaking of books...I've been reading much more than usual lately, especially in my research on the candidates thus far and just generally intriguing things, like the tenets of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Short story: they promote non-reproduction. No babies. Not killing people, just no more babies in the hopes thatwith a slow and gradual die-off (as compared to the drastic extinction event that overpopulating animals in nature suffer) our planet with be able to repair itself and return to it's natural paradise state since all the humans no longer present to fuck it all up. In a nutshell.

I'm not sure if it's serious or not. But even as a satire (though I don't think it is) they've got a point. Which brings me to my next point- I realized while reading their little chart (that presents their responses to common reasons for having children) that I have never in my entire life considered NOT having kids. Not once. Except in horror in some kind of deranged spinster nightmare. Even if I were a lesbian I'd adopt. It's always been treated as an inevitable part of life-but is it? "Go forth and multiply". GOAL MET. I think we covered that one as a planet. So why do we have kids?

My general reasons are 1) I think they'll be really neat people and I can't wait to meet them. Mostly because I like Erich, and I like myself, so it's logical that some kind of combination of us would be something that I like. I'm a nut and he's fun. nut + fun = nutty fun. Funny nut? Something.

2) It seems like to ultimate expression of our love. Or was that the sex? I love Erich so much it's generally assumed that I'll bear a child that will initially make my hips painfully widen, breasts sag, and cause pain so terrible that the mind, according to the women in my family, seems to have developed a natural amnesia to it. Not to mention the common-yet-unexpected dookie. Why don't we ever see that on those natural birth shows where you can see *almost* everything? For the most part they've made me feel more comfortable about the whole thing, but I still think their editing out the dookie. But I digress.

So, the love thing. The VHEMT people (as they call themselves) basically disregard this idea as a selfish -we think we're so great that we bring a new life into the world despite that fact that many of the lives already here are suffering terribly. True. Not that I really think I'm that great. I am, however, okay with them thinking I'm selfish. And to be fair, they did get me considering the issue, and that's what counts.

I want to address the fact that I implied above my body will be ugly after having children. I hear this complaint a lot from women who never lost all their pregnancy weight, or who blame their poor eating habits on the easy availability of their kids' fruit snacks. (Mmmm, high-fructose corn syrup. What's that? You use organic cane sugar? Well, fancy sugar has no calories whatsoever.) American obesity and sedentary lifestyles aside, I think that issue has just as much to do with how we view post-pregnancy bodies as a whole. Just as I object to being expected to shave and starve my body into a pre-pubescent (aka hairless) form, maybe the next step is to start respecting the way healthy, active bodies change after childbearing. What's a stronger act than building a new human being, cell by cell, and bringing them into the world? So why do we shame ourselves for the ways our body strengthens, builds, and delivers this child?

Now this is all easy for me to say, what with my still-a-normal-width feet and my unfertilized eggs running amuck. I guess we'll see. But whose boobs are really that perky to begin with? Sure as hell not mine.

I'm sure that I'll love my children when the time comes, but for now, I'm in no hurry. Sorry Grandpa Bacher. (But don't tell him to read this for pete's sake, he doesn't want to hear about my eggs).

courtesy of Nat: Shape of a Mother

I'll be first to admit that some of these images freak me out a little. I have to deal with body image and weight like most other people (and I say people intentionally). I'm just like everyone else- I expect a body to look like those of the magazines. Models, even the ones in the Dove commercials are exceptionally beautiful to begin with, and then the air-brushing puts them over the top. But that's the whole point! It's like a child who has only eaten junk food growing up picking up a potato or a piece of fruit and calling it gross because it doesn't come in a clean wrapper, and requires some effort to consume. They've never seen the real thing, but what they consider real cannot nourish the body.

new apartment!

Ooh, we applied for our new apartment on garland today! We're planning to meet with the landlord on sunday to have a final look-through and sign the lease! It's got just enough yard space for me to plant a garden this summer, a much larger kitchen and wash/dryer hook-ups. Which means I no longer will need to infringe on other people's yards and laundry rooms! HOORAY!

Imagine now: bright orange couscous, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas with turmeric and other assorted spices. The most orange-y meal ever. (tomato basil couscous, if you were wondering). If only I had a picture!

Monday, January 7, 2008

sticky rice is sticky for a reason

Tonight was leftovers. Which means I throw all the little bits of half-used ingredients together in a pat and saute with something or other. Actually last night was too, meaning I had a stir-fry of leftover tempeh, brussel sprouts, daikon, ginger and spinach. At which Erich complained that he had to cook my plate by smell as he couldn't be convinced to try it. It was actually not bad, the daikon gets a nice sweet flavor when it carmelizes, but the big brussel sprouts were a little out of place. Either way I'm happy to have so many vegetables around, even if I can't buy them from local farmers. If only there was some way to stock up in the summer and save them all. My mom used to store carrots in a bin of sand when she was growing on the farm. If only that worked for everything!

Tonight was leftover brown rice, and more daikon, ginger, and spinach. Again not bad, but not something I'd recreate. I threw some nutritional yeast and hempseeds on just because I have enormous containers of both. (They don't sell either in small portions...hmm, I wonder why? :-) Anyway, so endeth the fridge cleaning mission- tomorow I am definately making a real dinner. Although I still have a bunch of daikon left. Which, by the way, I keep calling a leek and Erich keeps scolding. It's actually taken quite a bit of effort to use it's correct name here. Ha!

Lindsay, I'm officially drinking the vanilla soymilk you left here. But I'll buy you a new one next time I see you. And just for the record, in case anyone was wondering, brown rice does *not* work in sushi. I tried it in place of the sticky rice and now I understand that the stick is an essential component of the whole process. I thought maybe I could get away with it, but no. Maybe if I overcooked it in a pot with too much water, or just picked up the maki and ate it like a hot dog without slicing it. Hmm. You'd have to cover the bottom or... roll it shut! Perfect!

Erich has officially threatened to boycott showering and general hygiene until I shave my armpits. His exact words were "I can stink you out". We'll see about that. He doesn't seem to have noticed the 3-month shadow on my legs. Don't tell him!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

de Nadie

de Nadie

I just watched a documentary of sorts about the journey that undocumented immigrants from Central America make through Mexico in search of work through the U.S. Some stay in Mexico and find work there, but some push all the way north. It's harrowing to hear their stories- they're simply trying to feed their families, but situations are so dire that they are willing to risk rape, maiming, robbery and assault (be it by fiercely violent gangs, the police, or the train that many attempt to jump, often severing limbs or killing them if they fall).

The people speak simply, directly. Though often with tears, there's a marked lack of self-pity; for these people, it is what it is, and all they can do is focus on one day at a time. They miss their families, but they're driven by the need to provide for them.

It's so easy to sit back in our comfortable lives and criticize these people for entering the country illegally and say "they should do it though the proper channels". But the economic situations are so dire, that they must feel no other choice than to risk such a dangerous trip. The people interviewed here knew what they were getting into- but they had no other options than to try or to watch their children starve. One particular woman interviewed

One man had an open wound in his stomach from his sternum to pelvis-it had been open so long that the skin would no longer stretch to cover it, and his stomach hung directly out. He wraps it in gauze each day. His can't get the appropriate surgery in his native country.

We saw a lot of the same appalling poverty in Ecuador. The way their poorest live is unfathomable to us. Just as our lives are to them.

The thing that really gets me is that, so often, the people who call for undocumented workers' immediate and complete deportation are the same people waving the ever self-righteous flag of family values. Non sequitur, anyone?