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What's Cookin' Good Lookin' Round 3

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today my son & I collaborated to make a Sparkrecipe, Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Veggies, & it was delicious! I've moved the link to the end; maybe my cut/paste was the problem with the earlier link.

Here in St. Louis where G. lives there are a couple of international markets, so even though I'm far from my very multiethnic Chicago neighborhood, we were able to find the green curry paste & lemongrass (actually frozen lemongrass pulp, easy to use). We did serve it over brown rice as suggested; the rice takes longer than the curry, even including the veggie chopping, so I recommend getting it going first. I used Chinese broccoli, which we found in the market; it's mostly stalks & spinach-like leaves, mild tasting. I stir-fried the broccoli stalks with the onion & saved the chopped leaves to stir-fry just briefly at the end. Here is the curry in the wok before we started snarfing it:

Not only G. & I loved it, but so did my granddaughter Bea, who isn't yet two!

And so did G.'s stepdaughter E., who is a high-schooler who loves McDonald's--her enthusiasm especially surprised me.

A great success!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INAFFIT319 2/18/2013 12:20PM

    Looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

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HHB4181 2/17/2013 6:33PM

    great job!

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-AMANDA79- 2/17/2013 12:12PM

    Looks delicious! And it must've been if you were able to please a toddler and a teenager! emoticon

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YELLOWDAHLIA 2/17/2013 11:12AM

    Oh my! That looks fabulous! I just got a case of tofu for my birthday and I've been looking for some things to do with it besides baking it.

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TINAJANE76 2/17/2013 9:11AM

    Looks great! I love Thai curries. Thanks so much for sharing!

There seems to be a problem with the link to the recipe that you've posted. I keep getting an error message when I click on it.

Comment edited on: 2/17/2013 9:12:59 AM

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BEATLETOT 2/17/2013 5:57AM

    Hooray! I'm glad the whole family loved it!

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ARNETTELEE 2/16/2013 11:09PM

  Looks yummy!

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Whew, what a week

Friday, February 08, 2013

I gave myself a break from tracking food this week. It has been emotionally VERY difficult, & I need to be kind to myself.

Here's the deal. Finally it's a good time to refinance my condo mortgage, to get ex's name off the title & loan; my neighbor has just sold his unit for a good price, which means mine will be appraised at a much higher value than it was last year, & my mortgage will no longer be under water. So Monday a.m. before work I stopped by the county recorder of deeds office to record the quit-claim deed my ex signed as part of our divorce settlement. Turns out I would need several other docs to go with it; two would be easy to get, but the third would require his signature.

The thing is, not only is he a very complicated paranoid narcissistic person, but he has just moved back to his home country. I knew it wouldn't be easy to get him to sign, even though it would just be confirming the notarized signature he provided on the deed itself. I would have to e-mail him, after avoiding contact for many months.

It happens that the next day, before I'd put together the message, HE e-mailed ME to demand that I find out why my employer's benefits office has not yet forked over the portion of my retirement funds that he was awarded in the divorce. I am not responsible for getting him those funds (his lawyer had to file a form, & did--the benefits office at my workplace is just notoriously inefficient), & I certainly haven't done anything to block them. But I responded pleasantly & let him know that if there was anything I could sign to move things along, I would . . . & by the way, I had just learned that the attached scanned doc was legally required & would he kindly sign, rescan, & return it?

Of course not. He fired back a quick refusal, saying that ultimately I'm responsible for getting him that $$ & until that matter is resolved he won't sign anything.

It was very distressing. I lived 7 years with this paranoia & tendency to blame/bluster/threaten, & I'm still recovering from it. It was horrible to feel that I was again at the mercy of this abusive person. I'm afraid I haven't been very productive workwise this week. And last night I lay for hours without being able to fall asleep--very unusual for me (my insomnia tends to be the early-morning waking kind). Between sleeplessness, anxiety, & the wintry weather, exercise has worked out only one day thus far this week. Sigh.

But things are getting better. Yesterday my mortgage broker talked to a real-estate lawyer, who assures him that we can work around that tax declaration that ex was supposed to sign. I should be able to just submit the quit-claim itself along with my loan application, & the title company's lawyers will record the change.

It has to be confirmed by the lender, I guess, but presumably this lawyer knows his stuff. And I'm feeling VERY relieved. Tomorrow a.m. I'll just focus on getting to work on time, but Saturday I should be able to get in some good exercise. And if the stress means that I've not lost weight this week, or maybe have gained a bit, I won't beat myself up. Next week should be much better!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTULLY 2/12/2013 4:51PM

    Wow...what a week is right! It does look like it will all work out for you, but you certainly were put through the wringer yet again. How you stay as positive as you do never fails to amaze - and inspire - me. Be sure to blog when the whole refinancing situation is settled to your benefit. That will definitely be cause for celebration. Meanwhile, continue to take your advice and be kind to yourself!

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SUZYWM 2/10/2013 3:04PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
He's an ex for a reason. I hope you'll be more free of him after this, and that you'll have more peace and joy. You surely have been a positive participant in this world, and that will come back you.

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RUNNERRACHEL 2/8/2013 7:02PM

    I'm sorry that you are still having to deal with his difficult attitude and refusal to do something that would help you. It seems so unfair. I really sympathize and can see how difficult that would be.

I pray that you would be comforted, for relief from the stress and anxiety, and be able to release this problem and not feel the burden. God will take care of you and I pray that in the time you have to wait for the signature/resolution to this problem, that you wouldn't have this weighing you down.

Keep taking care of yourself and being good to yourself. You deserve it. Hugs, dear friend! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BEATLETOT 2/8/2013 4:24PM

    Ew, what a told him you would help if necessary, and then he acts like this? Way to bite the hand that feeds you, jerk!

Once it's all taken care of with the deed, you should reply to that email and say since he was SO HELPFUL to you, you decided you would be equally as helpful. Maybe he should think about that next time he wants to be a jerk.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 2/8/2013 1:48PM

    Sorry to hear of your distressing week. i HATE your ex. He sounds like a terrible person. At least he is ALMOST completely out of your life... you definitely need to have parties every year on your divorce anniversary to celebrate that fact! You are a strong woman!

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AMYLONGHORN 2/8/2013 10:07AM

    HUGS to you friend...I know everything will work out, but I'm so sorry you are still having to deal with all this. Here's to a GREAT week next week!!!

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What's Cookin', Good-Lookin' recipe reviews, round 2

Sunday, February 03, 2013

For round 1 I just commented in the thread, but now I'm going to do a proper review. Today (that is, yesterday, since it's now past midnight) I tried two new recipes!

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Quick Bread

It really WAS quick, even though I took time to whirl the oats in the blender to get them closer to a flour texture. I made a double recipe so as to fill a loaf pan. After 20 minutes of baking it was not yet toasty on top, so I added 10 more minutes, which proved just right. After it cooled I sliced a couple of pieces & put Brummel & Brown spread on them. It's delicious! And it slices nicely, so I can use it for an egg-salad sandwich for my lunch on Monday.

I also did my batch cooking for the coming week: Vegan Moroccan-Style Chickpeas!

This recipe would be very quick if followed as written. However, my housemate & I like to cook chickpeas & other legumes from scratch (dried), so I did that first. Chickpeas take the longest to cook of any: after soaking, I think I gave these a full hour & a half, & they didn't end up mushy at all. (It would be significantly faster to use a pressure cooker.) My other two alterations to this recipe:
1. instead of canned tomatoes that include green chilies, I used regular crushed tomatoes & added two jalapenos to the onions & garlic
2. during the final simmer, I added a handful of raisins, which always taste great in Moroccan-style stews

I haven't had a full serving of this yet, as I didn't need it for dinner. But I tasted it & like it very much. Next time I think I will use diced tomatoes instead of crushed, as I think I would like that texture even better in this dish. But it's yummy regardless!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUOVAELLE 2/4/2013 2:55AM

    The oatmeal bread sounds really good and I think I might try it.
Well done on cooking legumes from scratch! I never use canned legumes in my recipes. Next time you cook chickpeas, try adding some baking soda in the water that you'll soak them in and let them soak overnight. Don't forget to rinse them well in the morning. I cook all legumes in a pressure cooker, except for lentils.
Thanks for sharing your reviews!

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-AMANDA79- 2/3/2013 10:26PM

    I think I have everything for that bread. Sounds delicious! The chickpea recipe looks good too, but doubt my kids would eat it :/


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HEALTHYGRAMMY49 2/3/2013 1:37PM

    Cool! I like that you're cooking & tasting new healthy recipes. emoticon

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ALPINO22 2/3/2013 11:19AM

  These both sound terrific! My mother-in-law is a vegan so I'm always on the lookout for recipes I can make when she's around and we all eat vegan. Thanks so much for sharing!

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INAFFIT319 2/3/2013 11:16AM

    I've never tried to make a quick bread! Sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing!

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RUNNERRACHEL 2/3/2013 4:06AM

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. You're so creative in all areas and cooking is no different. Like the sound of these. emoticon

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Jewelers' Row

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Two blog posts in a day! Well, it is fun to share how things turned out.

I wore a dress (with fleece-lined tights--it IS winter!), a favorite scarf, tall boots, & my dress coat to my Jewelers' Row foray. I had no idea where to start, so I tried to enter the first jewelry store that I saw . . . & the door wouldn't open! Then the employee buzzed me in. I had never been in a store so fancy that they lock doors even in the middle of the day to keep out the riffraff!

The young woman working there told me they don't buy jewelry, but I should go over to 1 N. Madison & there were three different counters where people can sell their gold. "Just go to all of them & see who gives you the best price," she said. I left, but not before hearing her totaling up the purchases of the customers she had been working with--I'm not sure how many thousands it came to. Definitely those folks live in another world from mine. emoticon

At 1 N. Madison I located the three potential buyers by asking around. Interestingly, each of these counters was staffed by one or two young Asians. The woman at the other store was Asian too. It reminds me that the Cambodian pastor at my church doesn't draw any pay from the church because he makes a good living at his jewelry store in Little Vietnam. This sector of Chicago's economy seems to be dominated by Asians! Cool.

All three weighed my 14K gold ring very carefully. The offers were $130, $108, & $120. Of course I went back to the first counter, where I'd been offered most. I had to give her my ID; she filled in a little form with all my info, & I had to sign it to guarantee that this ring actually belonged to me & I had the right to sell it. Then she opened a safe & paid me in cash. It was a bit more than I had originally paid for the ring, so I was pleased.

As for my ex's ring, no one was interested. It's titanium, & they told me nobody is buying that. Interesting, because it originally cost more than twice what my gold one did! My husband had a penchant for avoiding cheaper items & choosing things that were more expensive & "cooler."

Of course I would rather have gotten good $$ for the titanium ring that my ex took off with a great flourish in our therapist's office 2 1/2 years ago, announcing that for him our relationship was over. But as I thought about it, I realized that it was quite symbolic of the relationship: his "cool" ring (bought with my $$) that ended up worthless, while my simple gold band, the least expensive wedding ring in the store, actually gained value. Made me laugh to myself! I've decided that I'm going to incorporate his ring into some kind of art piece--a collage that will symbolize the way God always redeems my pain.

I did take myself to lunch afterward--actually brunch at a nice restaurant on Michigan Avenue. I had my favorite breakfast/brunch food: eggs benedict & a mimosa. And fruit salad instead of potatoes on the side. emoticon And afterward a little pot of the most delicious gingerbread rooibos tea--mmmm!

The rest of the day was occupied with a meeting at my house. I was elected secretary of the Colombian women's organization that I joined in late 2011, & the other officers & I met to plan our annual work retreat, which will be Sunday 1/27. It was really productive & enjoyable; we all ended up energized & excited about what we're going to accomplish this year.

What a great day it has been!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTULLY 1/28/2013 4:11PM

    You day turned out nicely indeed. You so deserved that!

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4LEEFCLOVER 1/26/2013 2:01PM

    Such a meaningful day! I can picture it all! I wonder if the titanium could still be sold somewhere else, perhaps a place that takes various metals, not just for jewelery? Titanium is used in many things, so maybe do a little more research, unless your other idea is more appealing. Either way, you win! The process is part of the healing.

Your story encourages me to keep finding my own way! Thanks!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 1/21/2013 11:53AM

    Way to go, Ruth! I am really proud of you - you made the plan and carried it through! And I'm glad to hear you actually got more money for your gold! But that stinks about the titanium. I would look and see maybe you can like melt it down into something... of course my mind goes to something terrible like melt it down into a little poop pendant to represent your ex, lol. but i'm sure you'll find something better to do with it.

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REBECCATKD 1/20/2013 2:42PM

    It's not just the ring; you are worth more today as well.

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YELLOWDAHLIA 1/20/2013 1:09PM

    I love your idea of using the ex's ring in some kind of an art piece! Share a photo when you do.

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BEATLETOT 1/20/2013 5:00AM

    Aw, it sounds like SUCH a nice day! I wish I'd known about brunch. I wound up eating alone at Cracker Barrel yesterday morning! Yours sounds way better, even though Cracker Barrel IS awesome!

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BROWNCOFIDDLER 1/19/2013 10:50PM

    Very, very interesting! Loved your blog. I had my own adventures with gold selling & a jewelry store today. Never gave it much thought, but I bet Jewelers' Row in CHI is a real going concern. Didn't even know there was such a place. My ventures were just here in our little local town. You had a great day!! emoticon

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just weighed myself--another 0.4 lb down. More exciting: I've lost 1.5 waist inches since I started my personal challenge two weeks ago! Since I didn't lose in hips & bust, I am now back to my normal pear shape, yay! My upper arm & thigh both shrank a bit as well.

This week was a challenge because our office was still littered with treats a couple of days, plus I ate festive food with friends a couple of nights & went out to eat last night. I tried to eat judiciously & tracked as well as I could. The average for the week is just barely within my recommended range. And when I finish my exercise today, I'll have completed my target 150 minutes for the week.

I still want to lose at least 13.2 lbs & several more inches overall. This coming week I don't have any dinners out on my calendar (yet). I'm going to try to bring down my calorie count in order to pick up my shrinking pace.

Dear SASSACAIA asked how I am, which reminded me that it has been awhile since I posted anything more personal than my thoughts about shrinking my debt & my weight/waist. I'm struggling against depression a bit this winter as I always do, but being more regular with exercise is helping a LOT. Also I was in a highway accident on 12/26 but seem unharmed & am going to receive reimbursement for most of what I paid to repair my car. I'm incredibly thankful to have survived that very dangerous event.

In December I learned that my ex has moved back to his native city/country. He will be returning to the apt. he shared in my neighborhood sometime this month to collect "his" stuff (I put it in quotes because he bought all of it with my $$!) & have a farewell party. But basically he's gone. His sister contacted me through FB to find out about his work history & living situation--her experience with him, like mine, tells her that she can't trust what he says. So I told her the truth, & she said it didn't surprise her in the least but she was very sorry I'd had to go through that. She & his other siblings are very concerned that he not mooch off their mom, who is in her mid-80s. Not my problem anymore! But I'm glad they're on it. This all helps my process of resolution of the trauma I lived with him for 7+ years.

Today is special: I've made an appointment with myself, once I exercise, eat breakfast, & shower, to go downtown to Jewelers' Row with the wedding rings. I'm going to dress up for it & make it an occasion. I'll stop by several jewelry shops & compare what they would pay me for the two rings. Then I'll sell them to the highest bidder & take myself out for a modest lunch! Whatever I make will, appropriately, go toward debt paydown.

Happy midwinter! emoticon (Or summer if you're in the southern hemisphere.) emoticon (We actually are having the winter with the least snow on record in Chicago . . .)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBECCATKD 1/20/2013 2:40PM

    Ruth, you sound so upbeath and in charge of your life. Independence suits you quite well. Keep posting -- we're here for you! -Rebecca

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BABY_GIRL69 1/19/2013 5:13PM

    You don't sound the least bit depressed as I read & can hear you saying this words Ruth. lol You are so refreshingly warm & witty & I enjoy each interaction with you. You should vlog about your experience on Jewelers Row? No matter what you do you do it with style & such care.

God bless Ruth & enjoy your lunch!


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