Sunday, February 28, 2016

Today's yummos

I usually do a bit of cooking on the weekends...  it is hard to find good vegetarian things that are fast and easy to make or convenient to have on hand!  There is no open a can of tuna, ya know?  Anyway, I get tired of frozen stuff, of which our grocery store has a sort of ok selection, so I cook.  And if only I could get someone to wash dishes and clean up after me.

So let me digress for a moment to Coco's of Washburn.  The Mad-English teacher and I frequently will split up orders of dal and falafel and enjoy 2 amazing dishes. While I love the falafel, I adore the masoor dal that they make.  It has warm Indian spices, a little pepper hotness and yet has a punch of ginger from a red cabbage component and a yogurt sauce that has cucumber and possibly dill. Anyway - I continue to try and replicate this dish, only because I can't get up to Washburn more than every 4-6 weeks or so.  
Dal with gingered cabbage and yogurt

I've made dal a couple times now- and I have that pretty well situated.  I used this "recipe", so to speak, and followed some of the recommendations, at least the things I had in my very well stocked spice rack.  But the red cabbage I wasn't sure at all about.

Gingered red cabbage
The dal I made last week I paired up with some fermented ginger carrots that I had in my frig.  THAT was really good!  Perfect complimentary foods, so I wanted to go the next step and work on that Coco's dish.

I found that most of the recipes are either  coleslaw or a sweet-sour recipe, but there were some that had a simple ginger based flavoring.  And this is what I went with- with a little adjustment.  I only put in one tablespoon of brown sugar and just a little balsamic vinegar.

I got the formula for dal from Food 52, a guideline for this simple dish.  I used yellow split peas, and threw a bit of turmeric and a piece of ginger in it, you cook it down for a while- up to an hour.

You saute the onion/garlic in oil and then heat up your spices  (I used cumin, coriander, pepper flakes and some good curry powder) to let them release their flavors, and pour that into the dal, then add in your veggies and in this case parsley.  Last week I used spinach for the greens.  

Then you cook that all down into this not quite soup, not really stew that is dal!  I combined a scoop of the cabbage and a scoop of yogurt that had a little za'atar on it, and then the dal.  I do not have access to naan or a lavash here, so flat bread it is! It was outstanding.  Not exactly what Coco's serves, but it is super good.  

It is so nice to come home and be able to have a quick and delicious supper after a LONG day at school.

Aaaaand, I had some bananas that I just didn't get a chance to eat this week.  So I made that amazing double chocolate banana bread recipe from last winter!  

Double chocolate banana bread

It is no wonder I am sleepy tonight!  I got a great walk in this morning, and I was only mildly bothered by ice chunks. ;)

Anyway, I am going to continue my evening and get ready to start a new week.... one that I hope is full of joy.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

First photos

I have a new obsession- of course I have quite a few of them, which is why I am distracted like 24/7 these days- that thing is a new camera.  I recently had a little unexpected ship that came in (our family's euphemism for money coming in from an outside source, to put it in a fairly dull way) and so I got myself some better camera equipment.

My first thought was a boring thing, like pay off a bill that I have- I mean that was the only thing that sprang to mind when I found out about this.  Then I thought.... hey I could pick up that new camera lens I have been saving for/coveting/drooling over....  then the ideas came pouring in and I could spend 3 times as much-  you know how that goes.

So I consulted with a photog friend of mine about the lens and she insisted (!) that I get a new camera body as well, and as long as I was getting a telephoto lens, I should get a wide angle to go with the rest of it, and so that is sitting on my coffee table right meow!

It is an interesting thing about me- I have no problem spending money in my head, I have NO problem enjoying these things that I get.  I have a real issue actually pulling the trigger on big purchases.  I guess because so many things like this I waited to have the money for them, and in reality I did for this too, but to actually go and buy like this-almost without restraint- was really weird.  It made me strangely uncomfortable.  I have gotten over it. :)

I actually enjoy the anticipation of getting as much as the having (um, well, sort of), apparently delayed gratification is a pleasure for me.  I really do like the waiting and thinking about things and what I will do with them.  It is satisfying when it happens then and I really appreciate what I have in my hands.  I took 10 whole photos so far.  The first night- and I knew this would happen- I couldn't even do anything with it, as I had to charge the battery.  I plugged it in after I got home late from play practice- and it was ready just as I headed to bed....  I knew better than to do anything with it then.  So I thought about it all day, and by the time I got home Wednesday night I was fairly twitching.  So many new things to learn, and I am just bathing in the joy of this....

Such a pretty girl! Canon 70D with a Sigma 24-70 4.5 lens
I took the first photo that night- nothing struck me as very interesting in the house- so I made a self portrait.  Just for something to do.  Yesterday then, I went outside and did a little bit there.  I took a Lola picture and eventually a sunset picture, and in between I took this of one of the kitties.  I was smitten with the camera then and there.  The lighting was perfect, her expression was adorable and I got her in a perfect pose.  This photos was cropped and nothing else.  I learned a few settings on the fly, and was quite happy with this first grouping of pictures.  It is quite amazing how different cameras are from one another.  Now I have to figure out if I truly want to use the wifi connectivity or not.  If it doesn't work it will make me INSANE, and none of us wants that.  haha.

So I have been digging around on line and have ordered a companion manual and all that- I could read the camera instructions, but wow people, those things are boring.  :)  I have to find it, though, I know I will need it today.  All those words and almost no pictures....  hehehe.  Seems sort of ironic that a camera manual is so text based and not so much visual.

Anyway, I should finish this off.  The MA will be up soon and I need to go to get a little pampering session for my toes and the horse won't feed himself- not in the winter at least.  OH- Jacpot portraits will be coming I should think.  Maybe someone should send me daffodils so I could shoot those inside.....  So many wonderful possibilities for the day....  so much joy to be discovered.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winter in the north

I had been waiting for this adventure for quite a while- this little trip to Bayfield.  It was originally made to give us a place to crash after the Book Across the Bay, which we decided for a variety of reasons to nix.  Much of it is related to my fear of ice(y water).  Lol, say what you will that and a few other things made us decide to snowshoe on dry land.  Good decision for us, really.
Ravine Trail in Bayfield

Ravine Trail

Jerry Jay Jolly Trail

Jerry Jay Jolly Trail
We - meaning the Mad-Science Teacher and the Mad-English Teacher and I - began our journey by heading up to Washburn and ate at the fabulous Coco's.  This of course is no big surprise, and our breakfast was fantastic, which is also no big surprise.   After eating, we went to check out the Jerry Jay Jolly Trails to see where it was, and then took a drive over to the Big Ravine trail over by the Bayfield High school.  These were two fantastic places to snow shoe.  Big hills, beautifully groomed trails and a sunny day made for some amazing hours out in the snow.  These are some really good wide trails that made it a pleasure for us to walk.  


While one of us stayed at the Bayfield Inn, the other two of us stayed at the delightful little Isaac Wing house- in the QEII apartment.  It is a cozy little place on the bottom floor that has a reasonable view of the lake.  Reasonable enough for photographer sorts to notice amazing sunrises and have to dash out to the dock in really, really, cold weather!!  Anyway, it is such a nice place with a little sitting area and a mini kitchen and most importantly, 1 block away from Big Water Coffee!!  :)
The ice and the ferry trail

Ferrys in dock
We enjoyed a really nice meal at Gruenke's where we entertained ourselves quite nicely with lively conversation and a few unexpected purse surprises....  it was one of those  you had to be there moments.  The rest of the evening was filled with us chit chatting, walking around in the dark, and finally turning in a little early.  I was tired but unfortunately as is my weirdo habit, didn't fall asleep.  Until way late.  ugh.  But all was well, I do well with a day or two of poor snoozing.

A sad little photo of the docks at night...  lol
The next morning, as I alluded to above, while began as not the greatest looking sunrise, developed into a spectacular one.  I am so excited to have captured this.  I felt like my trip was done.  I had a wonderful Saturday, but that moment was just amazing.
Sunrise over the ferry and the dock
Waiting for summer
Clouds and color
 Well, of course we were not done, as we had some Island visiting to do.  There was a powerful need for the three of us to get over to the island and that need was met.  It is a very interesting thing to ride that ferry through the ice. The ferry rides sort of low in the back and shakes and rocks and makes quite a noise as it cuts its path through the slush.  It is a little unsettling when it is your own car on that ferry! :)
Heading out on the ferry

The Science teacher in her element

We spent the morning on the island walking at Big Bay State Park, looking out at the ice formations, chatting with people and their doggies (of course we talk to their doggies)  and generally having a great time.  Got a couple of good pictures too!

It was a great weekend, though we surely should have stayed another day, but that will have to wait for summer....  which cannot come soon enough.

However we should not be wishing our life away, so I will find my joy every day.