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I don't say it enough

But through it all J's been great.  Also, for winter fun, people need to come here.  Within 45-minutes we have a ski mountain, a tubing park, a year-round winery and now we have a hot tub.  Like, for real, Princeton is cool!

...Or when I'm cooking.

J <3's my sloppy joes.

I always put a 1/4 of a beer in it - usually it's a Bud Light or some variation, tonight's it was a Shipyard Pumpkinhead.  My sloppy joe has just been taken to 11.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

I guess the only cure for my crying tonight is sincere rage.

There's this bitch at work.

She works next to me.  She's a decade older. 3 kids.  Insecure.  In EVERYONE's business.  HAS to be the center of attention. Thinks she's hot shit.  But that boat has passed years ago.

Unfortunately, because of her proximity (which is very close when you teach with no walls) is one of two people at work that know I am was am until tomorrow pregnant.

Everyone in my life has been wonderful over the last week and a half.  I love all of you and can not thank God enough for your presence in my life.  My fb messages over the last week have been vague, but if you knew what I was pregnant, you easily put 2 and 2 together.  And even if you didn't, you had compassion.

Her 4 responses (and I quote):
1) what's up with the "insinuating" messages.
2 )harumph. call me.
3) An annoying call at work
4) A fb chat: " is this considered stalking you yet??? :):)"

WHAT THE FUCK?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?  Why are you more concerned with knowing "what's going on" than giving compassion, sympathy, empathy, or any of the above? WHY DO I HAVE TO WORK WITH YOU.

I am just glad athena2483 is not in country or continent.  Or else wolfsavard and I may have serious double infliction of pain happening as we speak.

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And I never got to say hello...

For some reason, although most of you know, I feel like it has to be said.  Like this is a place where I can be sure that these feelings, these memories won't escape.  I also feel like there's something to be said about talking about this.  1 in 4 is a huge number and we don't really give it the respect it deserves.  And as much as I want them (the thoughts) to leave right now, I know, someday in the future, I'll want to remember..so here it goes.

June 16th changed my life forever.  After 10 months of trying, the colors of the test changed and, finally, I was pregnant.  Jesse and I shared the moment with joyous celebration - there is nothing we've wanted more in the world than to become parents.

There's a lot to tell that falls in the in-between like my parents joy when we told them on Father's Day, the way Jesse and I talked to our little guy, my constant prayers to God, and everything in between.  But, that will be a tale for another day.

Today, we found out for sure that our little wonder isn't going to make it.  I go in Thursday at 2:30 for a D&C since the little one's heart has stopped beating.  I'm scared.  I'm really angry.  I'm heartbroken. 9 weeks 4 days.  And I never got to say hello.

Reinvented Mac and Cheese

So good and so low cal! I tweaked this recipe from one given to me by a friend. Makes 12 servings, 250 cal/serving.

Also, applied for summer position at local market/cafe, sent them selected recipes, hoping to hear back!

Cooking spray
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
2 cups skim milk
2 cups 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon olive oil
S&P to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Recipe of the Week's

Crustless Quiche Amazingness (and only 120 cal/slice)!!

Choose fillings that suit you, the following is just what I tried out!

Sprinkle some of the cheese in the pie plate first before adding the ham and egg mixture. The thin layer on the bottom gives you another hit of flavor when you bite into a piece.

You'll Need:
Cooking spray
S&P to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Ham Steak, chopped into cubes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 chopped Red Bell Pepper
1 cup Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese (I like Cabot's 50% reduced)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
3/4 cup skim milk
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder


To Do:
1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ham, onion, S&P, garlic powder, pepper, and mushroom to pan; saute 4 minutes or until ham is lightly browned.

3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded cheese in a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Top with ham mixture.

4. Combine remaining cheese and ingredients through egg whites in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.

5. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over ham mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of quiche comes out clean.

Recipe Extravaganza!

Baked Cheese and Spinach Polenta!

You Need:

For Spinach:
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • s&p to taste
  • 2 tbl water
For Polenta:
  • 1 3/4  cups  water
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 3/4 cups veggie or chicken broth
  • 1  cup  yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4  cup  grated low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4  cup  reduced-fat sour cream
To Do:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach, garlic powder, s&p, and 2 tablespoons water; cover and cook 5 minutes or until wilted.

To prepare polenta, place 1 3/4 cups water, salt, and broth into a large saucepan. Gradually add the cornmeal, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook 4-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cheese, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon half the polenta into a 2-quart baking dish (8x8 glass pan) coated with cooking spray, spreading evenly. Top with the spinach mixture. Spoon sour cream over chard, spreading evenly. Quickly add remaining polenta, spreading evenly.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Recipes of the Weeks'!

I have been doing a lot of experimenting lately since I've been keeping track of what I'm eating every day.  It's made me re-think how I cook, make simple changes, and in turn, come up with some great recipes.  Here are two of my new favorites (excuse the formatting, things didn't copy over well from word)!

Butternut Bisque

 

6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup soup - 210 Calories)

 

You’ll Need:

 

  •     1  tablespoon  butter
  •     3 1/2  cups  cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4  cup  chopped carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped apple
  • 1/2  cup  chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  •    2 1/2  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth or veggie broth
  •     1/4  cup  skim milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 tbl honey

   

To Do:

 

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, apple, garlic, carrot, and onion; sauté for 8-12 minutes. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in milk and spices.

 

3. Place squash mixture in a blender or food processor. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. 


Portabella-Asparagus Risotto

I actually re-made this recipe tonight and added the meat of 4 Alaskan King Crab legs (they were on sale for $5.99/lb!) and topped it with seared sea scallops! 




Makes 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups 250 cal per serving)

 

You’ll Need:

 

  • 4  cups  (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 1/2 pounds), divided ( I used frozen and it       turned out great!)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  •     3  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided or Veggie Broth
  •     1 1/2  cups  water
  •      1  tablespoon  butter
  •     2  cups  chopped onion (about 1 large)
  •     2  cups  uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
  •     1/2  cup  dry white wine (I used cooking sherry)
  •     3/4  cup  (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  •     1/4  cup  skim milk
  •     1  teaspoon  salt
  •     1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

 

To Do:

 

1. Place 1 cup asparagus and 1 cup broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Combine puree, remaining 2 cups broth, and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

 

2. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, mushroom, and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining puree mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in remaining 3 cups asparagus; cook 2 minutes.

 

3. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. Transfer risotto to a bowl.

 

It's been the week of weeks.  Maybe even the week of a lifetime.  I'm pretty much a mess and can't make sense of it all, so I am hoping this helps.  Here's the skinny...

On Tuesday, this girl come barging into my classroom sobbing.  I have never met her before.  She asks to speak with me.  She addresses the fact we don't know each other but asks me if I remember a student named Steven D.  Of course I do.  I had him 3 years ago - he was a smart kid, one of the brightest actually, but completely unmotivated.  In fact, his sophomore year was the beginning of the end for him.  His grade were dismal - so dismal he ended up going to an alternative school the following year.  But through all of this he was a great kid - he always came to chat, talked about the future.  He ended up getting his GED this past June but found it impossible to get into college or even get a decent job.  Things were ok though because his parents didn't mind supporting him until he got onto his feet again.

A few months ago, his mom left his dad, took his little sister, and moved away.  His dad fell into despair, drugs, and eventually a number of suicide attempts.  He was eventually able to get treatment, then into a halfway house - but this left Steve, homeless.  Newly 18 (we actually have the same birthday) he got by sleeping on friends couches, rotating favors.  A couple weeks ago, the couches ran out.  Since then, he's been on the streets, staying in McDonald's until it closes then braving the winter cold.  The girl who came in is his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and asked me for my help. 

Now this is the point where the system fails.  I used my resources at work to try to find him some place to stay.  Apparently, the way the shelters work (at least in Worcester) there is always a spot for a woman or child, or a man with a substance abuse problem.  But for just a man, nothing.  That night I get a text saying "I've got no where to go, can I come over?".  This became the heart-wrenching decision of the week.  I agonized, really, and truly over what to do.  My head the entire time knew that letting Steve stay with us was no fix.  Without a car, he would never be able to get a job where J and I live, and without that, he would never be able to make it on his own. Yet, every day I stepped outside and felt the bitter cold, I thought about him and cried. And cried some more.

I ended up making a couple phone calls Wednesday night and found him a place to stay.   Thursday, we can to work with me for the day and we ventured out to Community Healthlink.  CH is the major service for homeless people in Central Mass.  It was the most horrific experience of my life.  We sat in a waiting room with drug addicts screaming and pacing and peeing and staring.  We finally sat down with a case worker who gave us the same song and dance about how it's so hard getting males placed.  Then, in one of the more gut wrenching moments of the week, the caseworker had Steve fill out a waiver so she could contact his mom before we proceeded.  He did, she called, explained to the woman her son was homeless, then with Steve and I right there, the mom said "No".  "No, he can not live with me, but be sure to keep me informed".  I almost died.

At the end of our two hour meeting we were able to Steve an interview at the new Walmart that was soon to open, and find a lead to get him into JobCorps, an organization that houses, feeds, pays, and trains kids for trades for free.  Later that afternoon, he went to the Walmart interview, got the job, but without ID, they can't hire him.  I offered to pay for him to get a duplicate license, birth certificate, and ss card and he turned me down a dozen times.

Steve joined me at work again Friday, and we headed out for more meetings, but not before he finally relented and let me pay for his duplicates.  He had found a semi-permanent place to stay too and is applying for food stamps and unemployment.  Homelessness is such a crazy problem. Without a residence, it's so hard to get work and be able to show up on time clean and not starving, but without work you can't get a residence. 

On my way to drop him off, we stopped by a Price Right so he could buy shaving cream, razors, and shampoo.  In line with our items, I suggested he get something for Kayla (the ex gf) who has been helping out so much.  He looked up to me and said "Really? What?".  I pointed to some flowers by the door, and he ran off, grabbed them, came back.  And smiled.  He smiled for the first time all week and maybe the first time in months.  Then I smiled too.

The saga is far from over, but already there are lessons learned already. 1.  Someday I will be a great mom.  2. I know why my parents worried so much: if J and I don't hear from Steve for more than 12 hours, we get frantic. 3. Homelessness is real, and it is a problem of such great magnitude that there are no easy solutions.  4.  My head and my heart can work together.  5.  I need lots of sleep soon.

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New Year, New Recipe, Old Thoughts

Happy New Year to everyone out there!  J and I just got back from an awesome trip to the Cape, now he's off with his brothers for the next two days.  Kim and I seriously considered forgetting we are dirt poor and buying tickets to the Winter Classic, but eventually decided to be responsible and just watch it at home.  I've been spending the majority of the day so far reminiscing on the last decade (the first of my life that I remember) and especially New Years 2000. 

2009 in general was filled with accomplishments and disappointment.  I completed a triathlon, raised over $2,000 for charity, traveled to Bermuda and Chicago, and settled into my first house.  Things with my parents were better (overall), but relations with my brother have all but fallen apart.  J and I continue to grow together but are becoming increasingly frustrated with the piece of our little family that for some reason just won't fall into place.  I am hoping 2010 puts those worries to rest, leaves us happy, healthy, and in the best of spirits.  I want to spend more time with my friends, reconnect with those I haven't made time for, and learn more patience in the new year.

All that aside, I made a truly spectacular dinner last night, perhaps my best ever, and wanted to share the recipe with you!  It definitely serves 4 or 2 with ample leftovers!

Another recipe that needs a good name:

You'll need:


1.5 lbs mussels (or other clam of your choice)
.5 lb bay scallop
.5lb pancetta
1 large shallot
.5 lb asparagus
1 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes
1 cup white wine you would drink
1/4 cup E.V.O.O
2 tbl butter
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock (or clam juice)
Chopped fresh parsley and basil to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 clementine (or orange, I just had clementine on hand)
S&P

To Do:


Rinse all seafood, set aside.  Chop shallot.  Saute with garlic in large frying pan over medium heat with e.v.o.o for 3-5 minutes, add asparagus and cubed pancetta and continue to saute for an additional 3-5 minutes.  Add mussels, wine, cover pan and let steam for about 5 minutes or until mussels open.  Add chicken stock, scallops, tomatoes, parsley and basil, lemon and clementine juice, s&p, stir, and let flavors mingle for a couple of minutes. When scallops are cooked through, add butter, allow to melt and serve!

I served mine over penne pasta and with ample Italian bread and shavings of Parmesan, but options are limitless ( I may do a lobster version at some point).

Optional Garnish: A sorta pesto
You'll need:
3 large basil leaves
1 tbl Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup e.v.o.o
1 tbl lemon juice.
1 tsp garlic

To do:
Put all ingredients in food processor (I used my Magic Bullet) until consistency of a sauce.  Drizzle around plate before serving.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!