Food, Recipes

Adultish things from February

Well then! A lot of monumental things happened in February. It was a stressful and exciting month to say the least. On February 8th, Philip made good on his promise to provide me with 1 kitten as a late Christmas present.

Photo By Ryan Mowery

Her name is Zoey–after Zoe Saldana–and she has drastically improved the condition of my life. She is sweet, silly, and makes me laugh. Isn’t she cute!?

It’s amazing how having another creature depend on you can really make you feel much more like an adult. It’s a really nice feeling knowing that someone wants me home, and it evokes in me a feeling of belonging somewhere. Animals are great that way. They make home feel like home.

Two days after adopting Zoey from the Oregon Humane Society, the dawn of February 10th came upon us: mine and Philip’s Three Year Anniversary. Epic, right? So epic that we actually got each other gifts (we don’t usually do this). From Philip I received the ever-appropriate spa certificate. Here’s a hint to any man who will ever buy a gift for a woman: Flowers. Jewelry. Spa certificate. I guarantee you that those are your best bets, (I spoke with my council and we concur). For Philip I got us each a ticket to see the Ducks play the Beavers in the Civil War game at the new Matthew Knight Arena. We both gave each other the gift of a desired experience, which was nice.

On the night of our three-year the festivities included a homemade–and might I add delicious–dinner that we made together, the movie Easy A (pretty funny), and an all-night-cuddle session with Zoey.

Adulthood story number three is the tale of me selling my car. If you were following on Facebook, you will have already seen the photo of me hugging the Plymouth Neon that I’ve had for the past five years…you know, this one:

Her name is Debbie. Well, her name was Debbie. May she rest in peace.

Her new owner now holds the power to re-name my tenacious little car however she sees fit. Despite my initial sadness over the fact, I have found immense joy in what I am about to announce: I am now the owner of a shiny, girly and white 2001 Honda CR-V. She doesn’t have a name yet, but it will come to me when the time is right. Oh wait, it just came to me.

Harriet. Her name is Harriet. Harriet the Honda.

In addition to the aforementioned happenings, I have also been re-experiencing the challenges of living alone and eating healthy. Without the convenience of having my mother around to promptly stock the fridge, I haven’t been cooking nearly as often as usual. The last time I had an adult meal was on mine and Philip’s anniversary.

We made salmon, broiled asparagus, and hot red potato salad. I call it an “adult meal” because the potato side dish alone had several steps and ingredients that took a great amount of my attention, effort and focus.

So this is the recipe that I will share with you today.

Hot Red Potato Salad

Adapted from The Jacob Family Recipes

As is usually the case with great recipes, this one was passed on to me. My former roommate Rachel shared this gem with me a couple years ago. I think it was a family recipe because she made it at her little sister’s graduation party and that’s when I fell in love with it. Although I’m not sure if I’m still doing it right, I have found that I am quite pleased making it my way, however much adapted. It’s great for serving lots of people at summer barbecues and picnics. The ingredient measurements are based more off my own preference than anything, so don’t take them too seriously. For instance, I usually make about 2-3 potatoes per person (believe me, you will want seconds). Here’s what I did for just me and Philip:

  • 7 small red potatoes
  • 12 ounces Tillamook Light Sour Cream (about 2/3 of tub)
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Seasoning Mix
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash the potatoes and cut off the bad spots. You can peel them if you’d like but I like to leave the skins on.  Chop the potatoes into quarters or a little smaller. Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until just tender enough to bite. The skins should still be on the potatoes. Do not overcook because they will continue to cook in the skillet.

Heat garlic, olive oil and onions in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and the garlic starts to brown, add the potatoes to the pan. Continue to cook over medium until the sides of the potatoes are brown.

Meanwhile, combine and stir together sour cream and ranch seasoning mix in a small bowl. When mixture is thoroughly blended, pour it into the skillet with the potatoes and stir. Then stir in chives, salt and pepper, and parmesan. Let the potato salad simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes.

Serve with parmesan. Yield 3-4 servings.

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I’m Back.

Hi. How have you been? I know it’s been a long time since I last wrote…

 

Oh look, there I am–not blogging.

 

A couple nights ago, I dreamt that my blog had died. I was routinely surfing the internet when I stumbled upon some generic-looking media site that had created a ranked list of this month’s Top Ten Most Dead Blogs. As if there are documented rankings and varying degrees of dead for blog sites (I Googled it, and it doesn’t exist). A breathless blog sounds like a silly thing to be concerned about in the midst of my slumber, but the truth is that I have been awfully concerned about the direction of No Moore Muffins for quite some time now. It’s part of the reason that I haven’t written in so long! I’ll be the first to admit that my coping strategies have not been topnotch. Running–unless literally–from the problem is clearly not going to solve anything. And neither is procrastinating giving an explanation for as long as I have. For both of these things I am sorry and regretful. And don’t worry, I have been constantly reminded of my neglect. I can’t escape the inquiries–sometimes nagging inquiries–from my readers, friends, fellow journalists, and even near strangers. But I am grateful for the nagging. It has shown me that it doesn’t go unnoticed when I stop writing.

You should know that my absence was only meant to protect you. I wanted to protect all of you from taking useless, and perhaps even detrimental, advice that would have resulted from the confused and deranged state that I have been in since September. It would have been the blind leading the blind, for lack of a better metaphor.

So let me tell you what I have been doing (and not doing) for the last couple months: adjusting to living alone, and consequently, cooking alone.

I have had some challenges with eating right now that I have an entire refrigerator, kitchen, and apartment all to myself. First of all, I’ve discovered that I love being able to use any appliance I want, at any given time, with any given food. It’s Fabulous with a capital ‘F’. I don’t have to wash anyone else’s dishes before I get started (but I might choose to do some of my own), and I don’t have to wait for the stovetop to be free. Most noticeably, I don’t feel obligated to share my meal with anyone. Not. A. One. The upside of this is that I produce lots of leftovers and don’t need to whip-up a new meal every night. The downside to this is that the recipes I generally like to cook usually revolve around some type of carbohydrate. This has often resulted in my scraping the same pan of cheesy-starchy-salty goodness all week.

Another bittersweet luxury is the basic fact that I don’t feel any judgement–positive or negative–by anyone, at any time. This can come in pretty handy when I surge into an ‘I’m-so-fat-and-ugly’ breakdown, and must quickly solve the problem by eating half a box of chocolate-covered pretzels while watching Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami without shame. But, as you can probably imagine, this is also a con. When I had roommates, even if I knew they didn’t care, I always weirdly hoped that they were judging me for going soft on my exercise and eating habits; that they would make a mental note for every time that I ate a few too many tortilla chips and wonder if I was going to gain all the weight back. It’s pretty twisted, and don’t judge me, but I actually thrive under the pressure of my peers’ judgement. I, sadly, relied on that contrived judgement when I couldn’t conjure up my own will to work.

So because I am now starved for that ass-kicking peer pressure that I always used to rely on, I’ve been searching for a new motivator to start my next plan. And actually, if I’m being honest, my plan is already pretty much planned out. I have just been waiting to start until I felt truly inspired. (This is the kind of plan that will need some hardcore inspirational back-up if it’s really going to work.)

Happily, I very recently decided to do a profile story on Molly Wizenberg, the creator of Orangette.  I interviewed her early early this morning. Orangette is an award-winning and very successful food blog that I initially modeled my format and aesthetic for No Moore Muffins after. From Orangette, Molly now has a monthly column for Bon Appetite Magazine, has written a book of essays called A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen. Through it, she also met her husband, and opened a restaurant in Seattle. In doing research for my feature story, I also read her book. It is fabulous, it is funny, and it is a New York Times Bestseller. Oh, and you should read it.

So once again, I have found myself inspired my Molly Wizenberg. Her blog, her book, her writing, and her passion for her topic are all sublime. And this is why I am starting again today and renewing my commitment to No Moore Muffins. I have a gazillion things to try, and many things to write, so be prepared for my content to skyrocket this week and from now on.

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