Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer of George and a Bucket List

I  have to thank - patsearle for inspiring this post.  Check out his blog to see his Summer Bucket List.

I also have a decade specific bucket list (things to do before I turn 30), but so far I've been pretty negligent of it. For that reason I hope to start at least one of those things this summer.  I have also included some things I know I'll be doing, but they're on here just the same.

Summer Bucket List 2010
- Go horseback riding
- Go on a portage
- Catch a big fish (but if you don't, make up a story about one)
- Go golfing (not on the Wii)
- Take a piano lesson
- Finish Auburn Like Anne Sweater (seriously!)
- Finish at least one other knit/crochet WIP
- Sew something
- Read something for the love of it and do so without guilt
- Wear sunscreen

Last year Jason decided summer 2009 would be his "Summer of George".  Strangely, it did end up being the summer of George, but not perhaps in the way Jason expected.  I think George had a good time though.

George's Cake

George as George

Manny the dog as George with @jclarkey and @kclarke5

Really though, I see no reason why every summer can't be great, memorable, exciting, awesome, adventurous, and all the things that would make it "George".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Obscure Hobbies Done Right

When I was in high school there was a small group of guys who were very skilled when it came to making funny noises.  I think back then we called it beat-boxing -- almost 10 years later I'm wondering if that's an out of date terminology.  My drama teacher theorized boys were good at that kind of thing because they made sound effects when they were little kids -- you know, playing with trains, planes & automobiles.  I played with Barbies and Playmobil, so it would follow that I am good at manipulating people.  I don't know if that's true, but I do know one thing I'm not good at: drama... and beat-boxing.

Mike went to my high school and he is very good at both.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Smart Food

Every once in a while @jclarkey and I get it together and plan our meals out wisely.  Last night, for instance, we had steak salad with tomato, red pepper and goat cheese.  Today for lunch I had a similar salad (sans steak) and tonight for dinner we had steak, tomato, red pepper & goat cheese pizza.  It was delicious -- and there's still lots of lettuce, tomato, some steak and a bit of goat cheese left!  It was a giant steak.  I'll also be having steak pizza for lunch tomorrow :)

We're not always so clever, but when it works out it's great.

In my opinion, chicken is the perfect food for going a long way.  A roasting chicken is a perfect Sunday night meal.  You can cook it slowly all day, filling your home with mouth-watering chicken aromas.  I usually like to make the chicken breasts the first meal.  That evening I'll separate the thighs and drumsticks, and remove any other meat I can manage.  The legs will be the following night's dinner and the other bits will go into a chicken salad sandwich.  What comes next is my absolute favourite part of cooking chicken -- making the stock.

Throw the rest of the chicken remnants and bones into a stock pot along with your choice of herbs, vegetables and spices.  My faves include garlic, onion, bay leaves, carrots and celery.  For the best flavour, I recommend leaving the skin on the garlic and onions and cutting them into large chunks.  I would suggest never adding salt to your stock -- odds are you'll add salt to your soup or whatever other dish you end up making with your stock.  There's really no need to add salt to stock.  The last time I made stock I also decided to add an apple and it ended up being a wise choice.  You can't really taste the apple, but there's a slight hint of it in the aroma.  You'll want to simmer your stock for a considerable length of time -- this is another one that can go all day and fill your house with wonderful smells.  When it's done just filter out the bones and vegetation and strain your stock into freezable containers.  Make sure you strain it well!  Chicken bones and bay leaves make especially dangerous choking hazards.  One chicken should produce about 10 cups of stock.

If you're not digging the chicken salad sandwich idea, throw the chicken bits into a few cups of stock, ramp up your spices (@jclarkey adds a dry soup mix called Cock Soup Mix.  I wish I was joking -- that's really what it's called) and viola, chicken soup.  For a real masterpiece add homemade noodles about 5 minutes before your soup is done.

Planning ahead to eat smart home cooked like this is not only healthy and delicious, it can save a lot of money.  A $15 chicken or steak might seem like a lot at the grocery store, but if you can make it cover 3 or 4 or more meals it's a pretty good deal!

Aaaand, for a well-rounded blog post, here's a picture of my adorable dog: